5*, blog tours, book review, series

#BookReview #BlogTour Killing Mind by Angela Marsons @WriteAngie @bookouture #KillingMind #BooksOnTour @ifonlyread

While life is very unusual and uncertain at the moment in lockdown but there is one thing that we can be sure of, a damn good read from Angela Marsons. I’m delighted to be part of the blog tour for Killing Mind and I was delighted to be asked by Bookouture to be part of it. I received a copy of Killing Mind but I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

My Review:

It is hard to believe that Killing Mind is the twelfth book in the Kim Stone series. Over the years I have read many other series but I don’t think that there has been one that I have still been enjoying at book twelve. Kim Stone has staying power and keeps readers enjoying and desperately waiting for more.

One thing that I love is that Angela Marsons picks topics for her books that she is interested in herself, that interest and the subsequent research that the author clearly does means that the books feel fresh and interesting and, frankly, a joy to read.

I still love the characters and how they have developed, every books sees them face challenges and more forward in their story.

If you haven’t read any of Angela Marsons’ books then you are in for a treat, I do think that every book can be read as a standalone, but you will be missing out on an amazing journey and some cracking reads so I really would start from the beginning.

There really is something special about Angela Marsons and her writing, I love visiting Kim Stone and her team as they solve crimes, it really does feel like I am visiting friends and although I am always disappointed when the visit is over, I know that it won’t be too long before the next visit, and that one will be just as good as all the visits before.

Roll on book thirteen…

Blurb:

It had seemed so simple. Get in, get the information, get out. But now they were getting inside her mind and she didn’t know how to stop them…

When Detective Kim Stone is called to the home of Samantha Brown, she finds the young woman lying in bed with her throat cut and a knife in her hand. With no sign of forced entry or struggle, Kim rules her death a tragic suicide.

But a visit to Samantha’s parents rings alarm bells for Kim – there’s something they’re not telling her. And, when she spots a clue in a photograph, Kim realises she’s made a huge mistake. Samantha didn’t take her own life, she was murdered.

Then a young man’s body is found in a local lake with his throat cut and Kim makes a link between the victim and Samantha. They both spent time at Unity Farm, a retreat for people seeking an alternative way of life.

Beneath the retreat’s cosy façade, Kim and her team uncover a sinister community preying on the emotionally vulnerable.

Sending one of her own undercover into Unity Farm is high risk but it’s Kim’s only hope if she is to catch a killer – someone Kim is convinced the victims knew and trusted.

With Bryant distracted by the emergence of a harrowing case close to his heart, and an undercover officer in way over her head, Kim’s neck is on the line like never before. Can she protect those closest to her before another life is taken?

An unbelievably gripping crime thriller from multi-million copy bestseller Angela Marsons that will have you hooked on the Detective Kim Stone series.

About The Author:

Angela Marsons is the Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of the DI Kim Stone series and her books have sold more than 3 million in 3 years.

She lives in the Black Country with her partner, their cheeky Golden Retriever and a swearing parrot.

She first discovered her love of writing at Junior School when actual lessons came second to watching other people and quietly making up her own stories about them. Her report card invariably read “Angela would do well if she minded her own business as well as she minds other people’s”.

After years of writing relationship based stories (The Forgotten Woman and Dear Mother) Angela turned to Crime, fictionally speaking of course, and developed a character that refused to go away.

She is signed to Bookouture.com for a total of 16 books in the Kim Stone series and her books have been translated into more than 27 languages.

Many of her books, including Blood Lines, Dead Souls, Broken Bones, Fatal Promise and Dead Memories reached the #1 spot on Amazon on pre-orders alone. 
http://angelamarsons-books.com/
https://www.facebook.com/AngelaMarsonsAuthor/ https://twitter.com/WriteAngie

Buy Links:
Amazon: https://bit.ly/2SXw61I Apple Books: https://apple.co/2WMR6cK Kobo: https://bit.ly/2WPhm67 Google Play: https://bit.ly/3bpFNMH

4*, blog tours, book review, psychological thriller

#BlogTour #BookReview Strangers by C.L. Taylor. @callytaylor @AvonBooksUK #DontTalkToStrangers


Today it is my stop on the mammoth blog tour for Strangers by C.L. Taylor. This blog tour really is huge and that should tell you a lot, it means that bloggers love the authors books and want to be involved in shouting about this book. Thank you to Avon Books for having me on the tour. I received a copy of the book via Netgalley, I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

My Review:

I really wasn’t sure what this book was going to be about as I often read a book because of the author, I don’t read the blurb as I like going into it without expectations of what the story might be.

This normally works well and it certainly did with this book as I thoroughly enjoyed it from the start and loved seeing how the different characters came together. The story was full of twists and surprises and it was great trying to work out what was really going on and who was not who they said they were.

As always the author gives us varied characters who feel real, they have troubles and flaws and generally they act in very believable ways. I really don’t want to give the story away to you as I genuinely think that it would be better for the reader to know as little as possible about the story.

You can be sure that you will get a thrilling read that will keep you guessing when you read a book by C.L. Taylor and this book did not disappoint.

Blurb:

The Sunday Times bestseller and Richard & Judy Book Club author of Sleep returns with her most gripping book yet.

‘Fast-paced and satisfying’ DAILY MAIL
‘I was glued from start to finish!’ SHARI LAPENA

Ursula, Gareth and Alice have never met before.

Ursula thinks she killed the love of her life.
Gareth’s been receiving strange postcards.
And Alice is being stalked.

None of them are used to relying on others – but when the three strangers’ lives unexpectedly collide, there’s only one thing for it: they have to stick together. Otherwise, one of them will die.
 
Three strangers, two secrets, one terrifying evening.
 
The million-copy bestseller returns with a gripping new novel that will keep you guessing until the end.


Strangers by C.L. Taylor is out now and is available from Amazon UK.

5*, blog tours, book review, series

#BlogTour #BookReview Dead Wrong by Noelle Holton. @nholten40 @OneMoreChapter_ @BOTBSPublicity #DeadWrong @harpercollinsuk

Today it is my stop on the blog tour for Dead Wrong by Noelle Holten. Dead Wrong is the second book in a thrilling series, you can read my review of the first book, Dead Inside, here but I do believe that this book can be read as a standalone.

I received a copy of Dead Wrong by Noelle Holten from the publisher, I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

My Review:

I really enjoyed the first book in the Maggie Jameson series, Dead Inside, by Noelle Holten so I was really keen to read Dead Wrong. What surprised me was that Dead Wrong is even better than the first book, the writing is so assured and confident and there are plenty of twists and turns and goodness, the cliffhanger…

It was nice to touch base with some of the characters again, although one of my favourite characters from the first book barely featured in Dead Wrong but I am hopeful that they will have more of a role in future books.

The storyline is suitably gruesome, with plenty of unexpected twists. I could really see the difference between the authors’ debut novel and this one, you can see how the writing has matured and grown in confidence. I’m really blown away by the difference and I cannot wait to see what the author will give us next. Noelle Holten is definitely an author to watch.

Blurb:

The serial killer is behind bars. But the murders are just beginning…

DC Maggie Jamieson’s past comes back to haunt her in this dark and gripping serial killer thriller.

Three missing women running out of time…
 
They were abducted years ago. Notorious serial killer Bill Raven admitted to killing them and was sentenced to life.

The case was closed – at least DC Maggie Jamieson thought it was…
 
But now one of them has been found, dismembered and dumped in a bin bag in town.

Forensics reveal that she died just two days ago, when Raven was behind bars, so Maggie has a second killer to find.
 
Because even if the other missing women are still alive, one thing’s for certain: they don’t have long left to live…

About The Author:

Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and was a regular reviewer on the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast. Noelle worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of cases including those involving serious domestic abuse. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, attending as many book festivals as she can afford and sharing the booklove via her blog. 
Dead Inside is her debut novel with One More Chapter/Harper Collins UK and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson. 

Connect with Noelle on Social Media here:
Twitter: (@nholten40) https://twitter.com/nholten40
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/noelleholtenauthor/
Blog FB page: https://www.facebook.com/crimebookjunkie/
Instagram: @crimebookjunkie 
Website: https://www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk
Bookbub Author page : https://bit.ly/2LkT4LB

Dear Wrong by Noelle Holton is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

4*, blog tours, book review, crime thriller

#BlogTour #BookReview Her Broken Wings by D.K. Hood. @bookouture @DKHood_Author #HerBrokenWings #BooksOnTour #CrimeFiction

Today it is my stop on the blog tour for Her Broken Wings by D.K. Hood. It is hard to believe that this is the eighth book in the series, the books have flown by and I have thoroughly enjoyed every one of them, you can read my reviews for them here. D.K. Hood is definitely one author that has a mind that I sometimes worry about, how on earth she comes up with all the serial killers and twisted ways to kill people is beyond me, but they sure make for a good read.

I received a copy of Her Broken Wings by D.K. Hood from the publisher, Bookouture, via Netgalley. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

This is the eighth book in the Detective Alton series by D.K. Hood. They are written so that they can be read as a standalone book but I would strongly recommend reading them all as the characters grow and develop as the books go on and, if you didn’t read them, you would be missing out on some great reads.

I love the two main characters, Detectives Alton and Kane who make a great team, together they manage to find themselves desperately hunting a crazy killer who is once again terrorising Black Rock Falls.

The setting that these books take place in is very much a character of its own and I can picture the main settings clearly in my mind. I love reading these books because I know that I will enjoy it, I know that the author will have found some more warped ways of killing people and Her Broken Wings does not disappoint.

These books are fun to read, I love catching up with the characters as they grow and it was nice that Her Broken Wings featured two new characters who teamed up with Alton and Kane to hunt the killer.

I’m not going to give the story away, but if you have read any of the previous books in this series then I’m sure that you will be reading this one, and if you haven’t then you will enjoy the rollercoaster ride. Hold on tight!

Blurb:

The sound that wakes her from sleep is unmistakable—someone is in their house. She listens as heavy footsteps start up the stairs, and as the bedroom door is flung open, she doesn’t even have time to scream…

Following a frantic emergency call in the middle of the night, Detective Jenna Alton arrives at a secluded family home to find the body of Lucas Robinson lying in a pool of his own blood in his bed. His wife Carol, shivering in shock, has just watched an intruder shoot her husband in cold blood.

As Jenna investigates the murder, she soon discovers that Lucas was having an affair. And when his mistress is also found strangled to death in the centre of the small town, Jenna is convinced that the murderer is living amongst them.

When the killer escalates with a mass murder at a remote ranch on the outskirts of Black Rock Falls, Jenna knows for sure that she’s dealing with a murderer more twisted than any other she’s faced before.

As the town begins to fill with revellers for the annual Halloween festival, Jenna has to work fast to stop any more lives being taken. But as the killer always seems to be one step ahead of the investigation, has she finally met a murderer who can outsmart her?

Fans of Robert Dugoni, Karin Slaughter and Rachel Abbott will love this compelling and nail-biting crime thriller from bestselling author, D.K. Hood.

**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

Her Broken Wings by D.K. Hood is out now and is available from:

Amazon: https://geni.us/B082CYKG74Social

Apple Books: https://apple.co/2RALy4b

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2YmYjQZ

Googleplay: http://bit.ly/34W2d5W

5*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour #BookReview A Dog’s Hope by Casey Wilson. @CaseyWilsonAuth @bookouture #ADogsHope #DogsLove #BooksOnTour

Ok, so things have been far quieter than usual here on If only I could read faster and I’m sad about that. I have totally lost my reading mojo, it has never happened to me before and I am not impressed that it has happened now but A Dog’s Hope by Casey Wilson is the first book that I have actually finished in 2020. And it is March! I’ve tried and put down more than a few books in that time but this is a book that I finished. It’s strange because it is a genre that I don’t normally read and perhaps that is a sign that maybe I need to change my reading habits a bit. Who knows but I am delighted to be part of the blog tour for this lovely book, thank you to Bookouture for having me on the tour. I received a copy of A Dog’s Hope from the publisher but 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. I normally read thrillers which are full of twists and generally shows the bad side of people. This book is not like that.

Toby is a resentful teenager who is not happy that his mother is moving him from a big city to a small town after separating from his bully of a father. Toby is convinced that life in such a small place can only be boring but he is quickly proved wrong when he is asked to try out for the school baseball team and a golden retriever, who he names Buddy, appears matted and dirty when Toby is walking home from school .

Unusually, the book is written from the point of view of Toby and Buddy, and in the present and the past with different chapters featuring on pov. I don’t think that I have read another book that has chapters with an animals thoughts and feelings, it was a bit strange but also rather lovely, although I am sure that dogs don’t really think like Buddy. Sure, they are perceptive but can they really get a feeling of what is about to happen, or that something is happening to their owner when they are apart?

I don’t know, I’d love to know what my dogs think of me and I’d love to think that they love me in the same way that Buddy loved Toby. If you don’t like dogs or understand the connection that a person can have with their dog then perhaps this book isn’t for you, although maybe it will help you to understand. If you love dogs then you will probably love this book, although you may want tissues handy.

The story is beautifully told, the author has done a great job of putting into words how a dog can help a human. I have had dogs for most of my adult life and without them I am not sure where I would be now, their love and loyalty has carried me through many difficult times. I’m sure that this helped me to connect with the relationship between Toby and Buddy and it has really made me think about my dogs over the years and the relationships that we had.

A beautiful book that is easy to read, makes you think and fills your heart with love. I’m now off to go and give my dog a cuddle.

Blurb:

There are some things in life that only a dog can teach you.

A poignant, heart-wrenching, but ultimately uplifting novel about the unbreakable bond between a boy and his dog. Perfect for fans of A Dog’s PurposeThe Art of Racing in the Rain and Marley and Me.

In the farming town of Riverside in Washington, Toby Fuller is feeling more alone than ever. Nothing Toby did was ever good enough for his father, but he never expected his father to leave, to abandon him and his mother forever. He loses hope, until a scruffy golden retriever called Buddy follows him home from school.

Though he’s struggling to walk, Buddy matches Toby step for step, never taking his eyes off him, as if Toby is all he needs in the world. And from that day on Buddy never leaves Toby’s side.

Buddy shows Toby a loyalty that he has never known. But then disaster strikes and Toby’s life is changed forever. Will Buddy be able to give Toby the strength he needs to carry on?

A tale of how unconditional love can bound into your life when you least expect it, giving you hope in the darkest of times.

About the Author:

Casey Wilson is the author of A Dog’s Hope, published with Bookouture.

Born and raised in the United States in Nevada, she is the owner of a gorgeous golden retriever, who may or may not have inspired the dogs in her novels.

Author Social Media Links:

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CaseyWilsonAuth

A Dog’s Hope by Casey Wilson is out now and is available from:

Amazon: https://geni.us/B083XYXMLKSocial

Apple: https://apple.co/2u41lyH

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2FYLp3f 

Google: http://bit.ly/2RweWa6

4*, blog tours, book review, crime thriller

#BlogTour #BookReview Criminal Actions by Mel Comley. #CriminalActions @Melcom1 @BOTBSPublicity

I’m delighted to be part of the blog tour for Criminal Actions by Mel Comley, she’s a lovely author who is very active on social media and she has a wicked sense of humour. The links to follow her are at the bottom of this post. She also manages to write a crazy number of books, something that I am only slightly jealous of, and she has sold many, many books. I have to admit that I haven’t read as many of her books as I would like, I did read The Caller which she co-wrote with Tara Lyons, and I loved it. I remain disappointed that they have not written more books in the series. Anyway, when the opportunity came up to be on the blog tour for Criminal Actions I decided to take part, I don’t normally read books in a series when I haven’t read the previous books but I decided to make an exception and I’m pleased that I did.

Thank you to Sarah Hardy for asking me to be part of the blog tour. I received a copy of the book but I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

My Review:

I haven’t read any of the previous books in the Hero Nelson series so I was slightly wary of reading this one out of sync but I really want to read more books by M.A. Comley so I decided to risk reading Criminal Actions. I didn’t feel at any point in the book that I was missing out because I hadn’t read the previous books, there didn’t appear to be any complex back story that I couldn’t understand.

The storyline is brilliant, it is definitely one of the best storylines that I have read recently and given the number of books the author has written I am impressed that she is able to come up with such a great storyline.

Jacinda is a nanny with a seemingly nice family, but all is not as it seems behind closed doors. When Hero Nelson is called to the family’s home he is not expecting what he finds. The family has disappeared, but where are they and why did they leave in such a hurry?

Hero sets about finding out all he can about the family and where they ran to, everything points to things not being as they should and he can’t help but think that he needs to find them urgently.

The book is written in a way that makes it easy to read and I loved the premise. I wasn’t so sure about Hero and him seemingly perfect home life, but it makes a change from the alcoholic detective with a broken marriage that so many books seem to feature. I also never felt that the person that Hero was rushing to save was really going to come to any harm which made it a lot less thrilling than the book may have been.

But that said, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Criminal Actions and I will definitely be reading more from the author.

Blurb:

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Justice series, M A Comley who has sold over two and a half million copies worldwide to date.

In a position of trust…
What happens when that trust is broken?

Jacinda Meredith follows her boyfriend south from Scotland. After a few weeks she finds a dream job working as a nanny for Sadie and Leonard Knox. However, all is not as it seems.

DI Nelson and his partner are called to a murder scene which turns out to be both horrifying and perplexing.

Other cases soon come to light.

Does this mean Nelson has yet another serial Killer on his patch?

Other books in this series are:
Torn Apart
End Result
In Plain Sight
Double Jeopardy
Criminal Actions

About The Author:

M A Comley is a KINDLE UNLIMITED ALL-STAR author as well as being a New York Times, USA Today, Amazon Top 20 bestselling author, she has topped the book charts on iBooks as a top 5 bestselling and reached #2 bestselling author on Barnes and Noble. Over two and a half million copies sold world wide. She’s a British author who moved to France in 2002, and that’s when she turned her hobby into a career. 

When she’s not writing crime novels as well as caring for her elderly mother, she’s either reading or going on long walks with her rescue pup Labrador, Dex.

Here is a list of her books, Cruel Justice, Impeding Justice, Final Justice, Foul Justice, Guaranteed Justice, Ultimate Justice, Virtual Justice, Hostile Justice, Tortured Justice, Rough Justice, Dubious Justice, Calculated Justice, Twisted Justice, Prime Justice, Heroic Justice, Shameful Justice, Immoral Justice and Overdue Justice. There are several novellas and short stories in the series too.

No Right To Kill, Killer Blow, The Dead Can’t Speak, Deluded and The Murder Pact in the DI Sara Ramsey series. 

Her other successful series are: The DI Sally Parker thriller series, which includes WRONG PLACE, NO HIDING PLACE, COLD CASE, Deadly encounter and Lost Innocence

The DI Kayli Bright Trilogy – The Missing Children, Killer on the Run, Hidden Agenda, Murderous Betrayal and Dying Breath. 

The Hero series, TORN APART, END RESULT, IN PLAIN SIGHT, DOUBLE JEOPARDY and CRIMINAL ACTIONS.

There are three books in the Intention series, Sole Intention, Grave Intention and Devious Intention.

Plus a couple of standalone novels – EVIL IN DISGUISE and FOREVER WATCHING YOU.
I’ve also penned a cozy mystery Private Investigator series – Murder at the Wedding, Murder at the Hotel and Murder by the Sea.

As well as co-authoring the Deception Series co-authored by fellow NY Times bestselling author, Linda S Prather Clever Deception, Tragic Deception and Sinful Deception.

You can follow M A Comley via:-

Twitter @Melcom1

Blog: http://melcomley.blogspot.com

Facebook: http://smarturl.it/sps7jh

Newsletter: http://smarturl.it/8jtcvv

BookBub: www.bookbub.com/authors/m-a-comley

Criminal Actions by M. A. Comley is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

5*, anthology, blog tours, book review, charity

#BlogTour #BookReview When Stars Will Shine, edited by Emma Mitchell. #HelpForHeroes #CharityAnthology #WhenStarsWillShine

Emma Mitchell is a fellow book blogger and fabulous editor that gives so much of her time to help authors. And now she has decided to combine that with helping an amazing charity, Help For Heroes. Some amazing authors have written short stories for the anthology, many have a Christmas theme but not all.

I received a copy of When Stars Will Shine but I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

My Review:

Anthologies are a great way of discovering new authors, and when buying the book also helps an amazing charity then that can only be a good thing.

Some of the stories in When Stars Will Shine are only a few pages long, and others are longer, a lot have a Christmas theme but this book can be read year round. Given the charity the book is raising money for, many of the stories have a war theme, but many do not. The stories fit into a variety of genres so it will suit every reader.

I have read books by many of the authors before and it was great to read their stories, but I also discovered authors who I haven’t read and now want to. I loved reading this book, not only to discover new authors but because you never knew what the next story was going to be about as they were all so different from each other.

Editor Emma Mitchell has done an amazing job putting this anthology together, I know she has worked incredibly hard on it and that has paid off with this fantastic collection of stories from some amazing authors. Buy this book, you will be helping an amazing charity and you’ll have a cracking book to read. Win-win in my book!

Blurb:

When Stars Will Shine is a collection of short stories from your favourite authors who have come together to deliver you a Christmas read with a twist. With true war tales that will break your heart, gritty Christmas crimes that will shake you to your core, and heart-warming tales of love lost and found, this anthology has something for everyone. And, with every penny made being sent to support our troops, you can rest assured that you’re helping our heroes, one page at a time. From authors such as Louise Jensen, Graham Smith, Malcolm Hollingdrake, Lucy Cameron, Val Portelli, and Alex Kane, you are in for one heck of a ride! When Stars Will Shine is the perfect Christmas gift for the bookworms in your life!

Featuring:

Fredrick Snellgrove, Private 23208 by Rob Ashman
Four Seasons by Robert Scragg
The Close Encounter by Gordon Bickerstaff
Believe by Mark Brownless
What Can Possibly Go Wrong? by Lucy Cameron
Mountain Dew by Paul T Campbell
The Art of War and Peace by John Carson
A Gift for Christmas by Kris Egleton
Free Time by Stewart Giles
Died of Wounds by Malcolm Hollingdrake
The Christmas Killer by Louise Jensen
The Village Hotel by Alex Kane
A Present of Presence by HR Kemp
The Invitation by Billy McLaughlin
Brothers Forever by Paul Moore
Girl in a Red Shirt by Owen Mullen
Pivotal Moments by Anna Osborne
Uncle Christmas by Val Portelli
Time for a Barbeque by Carmen Radtke
Christmas Present by Lexi Rees
Inside Out by KA Richardson
Penance by Jane Risdon
New Year’s Resolution by Robert Scragg
Family Time by Graham Smith

Available from: Amazon

4*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour #BookReview The Girls In The Lake by Helen Phifer. @bookouture @helenphifer1 #BooksOnTour #The Girls In The Lake

Today it is my stop on the blog tour for The Girls In The Lake by Helen Phifer and published by Bookouture. This is the second book in a series but it can be read as a standalone, and I don’t say that often!

I received a copy of the book but I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

My Review:

I really enjoyed the first book in the Beth Adams series that follows the forensic pathologist on the shores of Lake Windermere. The Girl In The Grave introduced us to Beth at a time when she was vulnerable and a low point in her life so it is nice to see her, a few months down the line, moving on from that, although of course, the path isn’t going to be smooth.

I don’t like reading books in a series when I haven’t read the previous ones, I’ve done it but not very often, but I do think that The Girls In The Lake could be read as a standalone book. Although saying that reading books in order does make the story flow and gives the characters more depth.

When dead girls start showing up in the beautiful Lake Windermere, Beth Adams job is to confirm that the deaths were the accidents they look like so the police can close the file. But something doesn’t feel right to Beth and so she starts to dig deeper and soon finds herself facing the dark side of the beautiful lake.

I love the setting for these books, it’s somewhere so idyllic and an unlikely setting for the story that unfolds. I loved that the story was not what I was expecting, but I did feel that it didn’t grab me in the way the author’s books normally do. This is the fifth book of hers that I have read and they are all easy to read books that suck you in. This one didn’t quite do that.

It’s still a great read and is the second book in a promising series that I look forward to reading more of!

Blurb:

Peering over the side of the boat, the glare of early morning sun catches on something pale in the inky water. The boy’s curious fingertips break the surface, pulling up a tangle of long blonde hair from the reeds below…

The discovery of a young student floating face down in Lake Windermere, her naked skin almost translucent in the freezing water, looks like yet another tragic teen suicide. But the victim’s lack of clothes make Forensic Pathologist Beth Adams want to investigate further. Anything to distract her from the arrival of her abusive ex-boyfriend’s body on the mortuary table that morning.

With witnesses keeping tight-lipped and any clues washed away by the tides, it’s up to Beth to find the evidence her team needs. But then another girl is found in the lake, this time still clinging to life. She tells them she was at a party on a boat, and that she was pushed…

As more bodies surface, Beth finds tiny traces of boat paint present on each victim. It’s a critical lead that links these attacks back to a tragic accident involving a group of school children years ago.

Faced with a killer hungry for revenge, and with her own life spiralling out of control, it’s going to take every ounce of skill and determination for Beth to catch this monster before he takes another innocent life. But will Beth realise he’s been right beside her all along?

An absolutely unputdownable serial killer thriller that will have you sleeping with the lights on. Fans of Patricia Gibney, LJ Ross and Angela Marsons will have to hold on tight for this nail-biting rollercoaster ride!

About The Author:

Helen Phifer lives in a small town called Barrow-in-Furness with her husband and five children.
Helen has always loved writing and reading. Her love of horror films and novels is legendary. Helen adores reading books which make the hair on the back of her neck stand on end. Unable to find enough scary stories to read she decided to write her own. 

Author Social Media Links:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Helenphifer1

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/helenphifer

Twitter:      https://twitter.com/helenphifer1

Website:     https://www.helenphifer.com

Amazon: https://geni.us/B07YNQ4N5VSocial

Apple Books: https://apple.co/2K7Z4aU

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2oMUcQl

Googleplay: http://bit.ly/2pBkLIU

5*, blog tours, book review, crime thriller

#BookReview #BlogTour The Sound of Her Voice by Nathan Blackwell. #TheSoundOfHerVoice @orionbooks @Nathan_B_Author @Tr4cyF3nt0n #NZCrimeFiction

If a book is set in New Zealand then you can be pretty sure that I will want to read it so I jumped at the chance to be part of the blog tour for The Sound Of Her Voice by Nathan Blackwell. Thank you to Tracy Fenton from Compulsive Readers for asking me to be part of the tour. I received a copy of The Sound Of Her Voice by Nathan Blackwell but I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

My Review:

When most people think of New Zealand they think of sheep, greenery and stunning views. They would be right, all those things exist in New Zealand but there is a far darker side to the country than most people know. Gang culture is big and that leads to crime and violence that you wouldn’t think would be part of life in a county that is often hailed as one of the best places to live.

The Sound of Her Voice by Nathan Blackwell is a gritty crime book, following Detective Matt Buchanan as he tries to solve some truly heinous crimes. The death toll in the book is high and many of them involve people that Buchanan is close to, it drives him to do everything to solve the crimes and ensure that those responsible are held to account, and that often leads him to act far outside the law.

I often wondered how much of the book was based on fact rather than fiction, it felt so very real at times. The author, Nathan Blackwell although that is not his real name, does a frankly remarkable job of portraying the mental impact of the job on the Detective. It is hard for me to put into words how real it all felt and how at times it was painful to read Matt Buchanan’s breakdown.

This book is not for the faint hearted or the easily offended. There are many, many swear words in the book including the ‘c’ word, it is strong and that might bother readers. I don’t mind swearing if it is appropriate, and most of the time it was but the one thing I would change about the book is the number of swear words including the ‘c’ word.

But if you can stomach that and the gruesome murders and the descent into madness then read this book, it is disturbing and thought provoking and may just make you look at policing a little bit differently. I was blown away by The Sound Of Her Voice by Nathan Blackwell and it will stay with me for a long time to come. Hopefully, the author will write more books as I will be keen to read them!

Blurb:

Some murder cases you can’t forget.
No matter how hard you try.

The body of a woman has been found on a pristine New Zealand beach – over a decade after she was murdered.

Detective Matt Buchanan of the Auckland Police is certain it carries all the hallmarks of an unsolved crime he investigated 12 years ago: when Samantha Coates walked out one day and never came home.

Re-opening the case, Buchanan begins to piece the terrible crimes together, setting into motion a chain of events that will force him to the darkest corners of society – and back into his deepest obsession…

Sound of her Voice is an authentic, gritty, character-led police procedural by an elite former detective – for fans of Ian Rankin, Stuart Macbride, and Joseph Knox

About The Author:

Nathan Blackwell was raised on Auckland’s North Shore and attended Westlake Boys’ High School before commencing a ten-year career in the New Zealand Police. Seven of those years were spent as a Detective in the Criminal Investigation Branch, where he was exposed to human nature at its strongest and bravest, but also at its most depraved and horrific. He investigated a wide range of cases including drug manufacture, child abuse, corruption, serious violence, rape and murder. Because some of his work was conducted covertly, Nathan chooses to hide his true identity.

The Sound of Her Voice by Nathan Blackwell is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

blog tours, non-fiction, Q&A

#BlogTour #GuestPost #Q&A Oi by David Jackson @OYFtheBook #Oi #RandomThingsTours

Today it is my stop on the blog tour for Oi, a powerful book that I really wanted to support even if I wasn’t able to read it myself. David Jackson, author of Oi has joined us to tell you a bit more about himself and his book.

Q&A

1) Tell us of your journey as a writer.

It all began when I attended the inaugural Your Life, Your Story event organised by Amanda Knowles (MBE) and Rosie Canning.  I had tinkered with the idea of writing previously, but never got round to it because, I like to procrastinate.  After the event, it all seemed like a case of the right time, and the right place, and so I simply started writing, then couldn’t stop.

2) What made you choose to write about care experience?

It was something that just seemed appropriate at the time.  I had turned the story over in my head a millions times, and so it was an easy hit in that sense for a first stab at writing. The key for me was to enjoy the writing.  I didn’t want it to become onerous, and once I had started, the last thing I wanted was an unfinished manuscript on my hands.

3) Do you have any personal experience with the care system, fostering, children’s homes etc? 

Yes, I spent the first sixteen and a half years of my life in one form of home or another.  It was a brutal indoctrination into a careless world as it was at the time, but it taught me plenty, and made me the man I am today.

3) How did you go about the writing process?

My starting point was to develop my timeline.  As the story was a reflection of my life at that moment in time, there was a clear chronology. I plotted the start date, the end date, the midpoint, and then I began to populate events that occurred between all points on the time line.  Within the hour, I was looking at a timeline with nearly one hundred events listed against it.

I then began to trim that down, using on those events that had a significant link between them, and which also at face value, appeared to support that narrative that I had in mind.  This proved a more difficult task, as items came, went and then returned. But eventually it led to a strong timeline, from which I could begin the actual writing process.

My first draft comprised approximately 70,000 words, which was essentially a brain dump of everything that I had rolling around in my head.  It was completely without structure, but the point was to get it onto the screen in order that I could work on it later.  The second draft rose to around 100,000 as I added more and more detail, fleshed out the storyline and improved the overall readability.  I think the final draft peaked out at around 130,000 words.

4) What is the meaning of the title?

In essence it is just a reflection of the feelings that I and many others probably felt as life was brutally unfolding in front of us.  It is the one word that I seem to recall hearing frequently throughout my childhood.  It was as if people simple chose not to use your name, and that ‘Oi’ would do..

5) What are you currently working on? What can we look forward to reading? 

I am currently sketching out a thriller, and have a few other ideas rolling around in my head.  I will follow the same process as before when I start writing, and hopefully you will all see me on a best-sellers list sometime soon.

6) What diverse characters do you think are missing from literature?

It would be nice if a care experienced person was portrayed somewhere in literature that didn’t involve a prison, drugs, homelessness, etc.  The change has to start somewhere, and so I am writing in one or two care experienced characters into my thriller, and they will feature prominently.

7) Who is your favourite literary character from childhood and why?….

I sadly don’t have one.  My childhood reading was mainly confined to comics and football stickers/albums.  There was no parental influence, and very few books at my disposal as a child, and so you could say I not only missed out, but have cultivated the non-reading habit into adult life.  Maybe that’s my next big challenge.  A book a month for a year, and see how I go.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Oi-You-cker-Snowball-People/dp/1912183730

Blurb:

This is a harrowing personal voyage into the 1960-80s childcare system as experienced first-hand by the author and many like him. It was a brutally horrific system, that made countless victims of the very children it was designed to protect. These brutally horrific regimes, founded upon extraordinary levels of inhumanity, cruelty, violence, fear, and intimidation, brought children to their knees, brutalised, cowed and often in fear for their very existence.It was a stark, depressive, and oppressively dysfunctional system, that imposed perpetual physical suffering and mental hardship, upon its most vulnerable charges. It was a pernicious cycle of ritualised systematic abuse, inflicted on some of the most vulnerable children society could offer up.This was the environment that the ‘Unfortunates’ found themselves embedded in during the 1960s. It was a system that lacked care, thought, and all things humane. A system where the imposition of brutal physical and sexual abuse had become normalised, legitimised, embraced and ultimately, forcefully accepted. This was life in a local authority home. These were the homes of ‘the Damned’, where a catalogue of daily horrors were inflicted for the personal pleasure of those charged with the care of this hidden, and often forgotten, sub-culture of children who, through no fault of their own, were forced to embrace these traumas, and endure a fight for their very survival.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

The author, David Lee Jackson (1964 – Present) was born in Withington, Manchester in England, into an impoverished black family.  Within months of being born, he found himself on the wrong end of abusive parenting, being hospitalised and close to death.  

Eventually recovering and well enough to be treated as an out-patient, he was placed into foster care, where he was loved and he began to thrive.  Unforeseen circumstances forced him from this loving home, and he found himself at the brutal and often criminal mercies of an abusive and violent childcare system.  

The 1960s and 1970s British Childcare System cared little for the children under its control.  It was a brutal, degrading, violent and occasionally deadly environment, into which children were not only thrown like lambs to the slaughter, but were then expected to emerge as competent, capable, contributing members of the society that had so shamelessly failed them at every juncture. 

He survived by navigating his course through one violent and abusive encounter after another.  Living on his wits, and his fists where necessary, and longing for the day he would finally be freed from this physical and psychological turmoil.

David survived, educated himself, obtaining an Honours Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in International Business.  He has been an elected public official, served on a number of charity boards and forums, and is an active campaigner on social justice and equality issues.  David has worked in the criminal justice system, working with drug-addicted offenders, many with shared or similar backgrounds to his own, and he is a well-travelled and widely respected project management consultant.  

In 2018, David (under the name Snowball) published the widely praised and much talked about book, ‘Oi’ through the  Amazon network,  in which he detailed in all its brutally cold and horrifically  ignoble glory, the horrifying levels of abuse, brutality and criminality that he encountered, while being raised in the British Childcare System throughout the 1960s and 1970s. The book itself is a testament to the enduring resilience of all children living through adversity and both physical and psychological hardship, and an indictment of the casually brutal and often criminal systems, that inflict relentless brutality upon children it has been charged with caring for.

Reviews included:

…..Harrowing, Brutal and Truthful!  Buckle up and read Snowballs heart wrenching account of a life that no child should ever experience- prepare to be shocked to the core, be ready to feel every emotion…..(Brenda Lee)

……one of the most emotional journeys you will ever take with a child who survives unbelievable childhood adversity. At times it is almost too painful to witness, it truly is a tribute to the child and the man who wrote it……Amanda Knowles (MBE)

…..this book is as epic, as it is painful read at times and extremely sad!  It illustrates a time when Victorian child care was still in evidence even in the 60s, 70s & 80s and children were definitely to be seen and not heard………this book will educate……Anon

David is currently resident in the United Kingdom, where amongst other professional endeavours, he has embarked on a blossoming career as a Keynote Speaker and Motivational Presenter.  He has an adult son and enjoys the comfort of a vast extended family, that is spread across the entirety of the United kingdom.  

To quote David in words he would choose himself:  

………….Life has been a tough ride at times. It would have been easy, and acceptable to simply give up, to shrink, to fade away as expected.  However, there is an irrepressible force inside all of us called, the Human Spirit, and it constantly screams at me, ‘David, you may not be responsible for being down, but you are responsible for getting back up again’…………………and so I get up.

Twitter @OYFtheBook