5*, book review, debut author

#BookReview Only Child by Rhiannon Navin. @rhiannonnavin @MantleBooks #bookblogger #greatread #5star

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Only Child by Rhiannon Navin.

My Review:

Sometimes a book comes along that climbs right inside of you and lodges itself right into your heart. It doesn’t happen very often but when it does you know that the book is really something very special.

That is what happened to me when reading Only Child by Rhiannon Navin. It isn’t an easy book to read, I think that even the most hardened reader will struggle to stop the storyline from affecting them.

This book grabbed me from the start when Zach was hiding in the cupboard at school listening to the pop pop pop of a gun going off. Little does he know that his life is about to change forever. I loved Zach as a character, aged only six that could have been very different, but he is believable and just wonderful in so many ways.

As his family falls apart Zach struggles to understand what has happened and how he can get his family working together again, as they once did. I really liked Zach’s Dad, while his mother fell apart he struggled to keep things as normal as possible for Zach and although he hadn’t been the best Dad before he works hard to make things better. I think that he was underused as a character and I loved reading the scenes between Zach and his Dad.

Readers of my blog will know that I love reading crime and thriller books, but once I finished Only Child I really struggled to read anything with a gun in it. Very unlike me but that is the impact that this book had on me. It didn’t last (thankfully), but this book did have a strong and long lasting impact on me. It really was a wonderful read but not an easy one. For a debut novel it is nothing short of outstanding, I can’t wait to read more from the author and I am pretty sure that Only Child will be on my top reads of 2018 though.

Thank you to the publisher Mantle, for a copy of Only Child by Rhiannon Navin. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

Readers of Jodi Picoult and Liane Moriarty will also like this tenderhearted debut about healing and family, narrated by an unforgettable six-year-old boy who reminds us that sometimes the littlest bodies hold the biggest hearts and the quietest voices speak the loudest.

Squeezed into a coat closet with his classmates and teacher, first grader Zach Taylor can hear gunshots ringing through the halls of his school. A gunman has entered the building, taking nineteen lives and irrevocably changing the very fabric of this close-knit community. While Zach’s mother pursues a quest for justice against the shooter’s parents, holding them responsible for their son’s actions, Zach retreats into his super-secret hideout and loses himself in a world of books and art. Armed with his newfound understanding, and with the optimism and stubbornness only a child could have, Zach sets out on a captivating journey towards healing and forgiveness, determined to help the adults in his life rediscover the universal truths of love and compassion needed to pull them through their darkest hours.

About The Author:

Rhiannon+Navin,+AuthorRhiannon Navin grew up in Bremen, Germany, in a family of book-crazy women. Her career in advertising brought her to New York City, where she worked for several large agencies before becoming a full-time mother and writer. She now lives outside of New York City with her husband, three children, two cats, and one dog. Only Child is her first novel.

 

You can follow the author on TwitterFacebookGoodreads and on her website.

 

Only Child by Rhiannon Navin is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

5*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour #Bookreview Th1rt3en by Steve Cavanagh. @SSCav @orionbooks #Thirteen #book #backablogger #greatread

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My Review:

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I started to read Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh, I used to read a lot of American crime books but now I rarely do and wondered whether this book would change that.

I loved the concept of having a trial influenced by someone on the jury, let alone that someone being the person who committed the crime that trial is for. But when I started the book I didn’t know that that was what the book was about, as I had heard about it from other bloggers and how much they had loved it so I read it on that alone. It didn’t take me long to work out and I have to say that I loved it, such a different concept to the standard court drama and one that hooked me and kept me right there, devouring the pages as I discovered just how far he was willing to go to get the result that he wanted.

What he hadn’t banked on was defence lawyer, Eddie Flynn, being brought in at the last moment and his different approach causes problems for our naughty juror. Eddie was a great character, totally believable and definitely a lawyer that I’d like to have on my side if I were ever to face a trial. He also provided some lighter relief from the darkness that surrounded the juror.

I really enjoyed reading Thirteen, it has a very clever premise and is well written and I was sad when it ended. I will definitely be reading more from Steve Cavanagh, and I will definitely be reading more American crime fiction again.

Thank you to the publisher, Orion Books, and Tracey Fenton, for a copy of Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

thirteen

THE SERIAL KILLER ISN’T ON TRIAL.

HE’S ON THE JURY…

 

They were Hollywood’s hottest power couple. They had the world at their feet. Now one of them is dead and Hollywood star Robert Solomon is charged with the brutal murder of his beautiful wife.

This is the celebrity murder trial of the century and the defence want one man on their team: con artist turned lawyer Eddie Flynn.

All the evidence points to Robert’s guilt, but as the trial begins a series of sinister incidents in the court room start to raise doubts in Eddie’s mind.

What if there’s more than one actor in the courtroom?

What if the killer isn’t on trial? What if the killer is on the jury?

About The Author:

stevecavanaghSteve Cavanagh was born and raised in Belfast before leaving for Dublin at the age of eighteen to study Law. He currently practices civil rights law and has been involved in several high profile cases; in 2010 he represented a factory worker who suffered racial abuse in the workplace and won the largest award of damages for race discrimination in Northern Ireland legal history. He holds a certificate in Advanced Advocacy and lectures on various legal subjects (but really he just likes to tell jokes). He is married with two young children.

Find out more at www.stevecavanaghbooks.com or follow Steve on Twitter @SSCav.

Th1rt3en by Steve Cavanagh is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

5*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour #BookReview Dying Truth by Angela Marsons. @WriteAngie @Bookouture #DyingTruth #KimStone #brilliantread

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I am so very, very, excited about Dying Truth by Angela Marsons. If you’ve read my little blog before then you will probably know that Angela Marsons and her DI Kim Stone books are my most favourite series. I will warn you though, if you are reading reviews for Dying Truth then please be careful and make sure that it is a review that gives away no spoilers. I never give spoilers in my reviews so you’re safe here, but do be careful as you absolutely and most definitely do not want to ruin the surprise! Please don’t post any spoilers in comments on here too please, although I’d love to hear what you thought please don’t ruin it for others.

My Review:

Woah!!! I adore the DI Kim Stone books, I’ve read and loved each of them and eagerly wait for a new one to be released.

The fact that this is book eight of the Kim Stone series and is not only going strong but getting better and better is impressive and shows that this series is something special. It is hard for an author to keep a character going for so long and keep the readers engaged and wanting more. Angela Marsons has sold millions of books and if you read one or two of them then you will see why.

Anyway, back to Dying Truth. Once again Kim’s instincts are correct, something is going on at a very exclusive boarding school where a student supposedly jumped to her death. Kim and her team of reliable detectives who all play an important part in working together to solve the crimes.

Fans of the series will be excited to hear that Dr Alex Thorne makes a guest appearance in Dying Truth, this is the third book in the series that she has appeared in and once again she makes a big impression.

The one thing that I will remember Dying Truth for is the completely unexpected curve ball thrown at the reader, something that you will not see coming and something that will shock you. I will say no more but I think that there may need to be some support groups set up for readers to help them cope with this book.

It is a fabulous book and I have so much respect for Angela Marsons. She’s one hell of a writer and this really is an amazing series. If you haven’t read any of the Kim Stone books before then you really really should, but do start at the beginning with Silent Scream, although I’m sure that you could read Dying Truth as a standalone you really would be missing out if you don’t start at the beginning. And if you have read the previous seven then bump Dying Truth to the top of your reading pile and enjoy!

Thank you to Bookouture for my copy of Dying Truth by Angela Marsons. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

dyingtruthHow far would you go to protect your darkest secrets?

When teenager Sadie Winter jumps from the roof of her school, her death is ruled as suicide – a final devastating act from a troubled girl. But then the broken body of a young boy is discovered at the same school and it’s clear to Detective Kim Stone that these deaths are not tragic accidents.

As Kim and her team begin to unravel a dark web of secrets, one of the teachers could hold the key to the truth. Yet just as she is about to break her silence, she is found dead. 

With more children’s lives at risk, Kim has to consider the unthinkable – whether a fellow pupil could be responsible for the murders. Investigating the psychology of children that kill brings the detective into contact with her former adversary, Dr Alex Thorne – the sociopath who has made it her life’s work to destroy Kim. 

Desperate to catch the killer, Kim finds a link between the recent murders and an initiation prank that happened at the school decades earlier. But saving these innocent lives comes at a cost – and one of Kim’s own might pay the ultimate price.

The utterly addictive new crime thriller from the Number One bestselling author – you will be gripped until the final shocking twist.

 
 

About the author: 

 
Angie - updated author photo - no credit neededAngela Marsons is the author of the International Bestselling DI Kim Stone series and her books have sold more than 2 million in 2 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.

Her last three books – Blood Lines, Dead Souls and Broken Bones – reached the #1 spot on Amazon on pre-orders alone.

Dying Truth by Angela Marsons (Detective Kim Stone Crime Thriller Series Book 8)
5*, book review, debut author

#BookReview Home by Amanda Berriman. @DoubledayUK @MandyBerriman @jounwin @TransworldBooks @bookreview

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Home by Amanda Berriman.

My Review:

When I read the blurb for Home I knew that I wanted to read it, I then started to hear from others who had read it and they all seemed to love it so I was even more determined to read it. And I’m so pleased that I did.

From literally the very first page I was hooked. The book is narrated by Jesika, a four year old who lives with her Mummy and little brother Toby after her Father moved to Poland, never to be heard from again. Jesika’s Mum is struggling with life, she doesn’t have enough money and they live in a flat that’s got many things wrong with it, including mold. As a result Toby and their Mum both have a bad cough that won’t go away. Life is about to get very difficult for Jesika.

A book narrated by such a young child could easily be awful but thankfully that is not the case here, not even close. It is written in a simple language but I really liked that. From the very start Jesika worked her way into my heart, she was such a wonderful little girl who felt so very real. Her innocence was wonderful and I loved seeing her world through her eyes, but this isn’t always an easy book to read.

Home gives a brilliant example of how grooming happens, the subtleties and ways in which an adult will convince a child to keep secrets for them. While it is not easy to read I thought that Amanda Berriman handled it sensitively and realistically, something that is impressive for any author, let along a debut author. But some will find this very difficult to read so be warned.

But despite this darkness, there is much light in the book. The love that Jesika has for her Mother is wonderful, but also for her little brother Toby. Jesika really is a special little girl who unknowingly brings out the best in people.

Home had me going to bed early so that I could read and check in on Jesika because I’d be worried about her and how she was doing, that is how real that she felt to me. When I finished the book at 2am I felt as though my heart had been shattered by little Jesika and what she went through, but filled with hope that her life was going to get better. The most upsetting thing? That I won’t get to check in on Jesika again and see how she is doing. Home really is a special book and for a debut author it is nothing short of brilliant.

Blurb:

Jesika is four and a half.

She lives in a flat with her mother and baby brother and she knows a lot. She knows their flat is high up and the stairs are smelly. She knows she shouldn’t draw on the peeling wallpaper or touch the broken window. And she knows she loves her mummy and baby brother Toby.

She does not know that their landlord is threatening to evict them and that Toby’s cough is going to get much worse. Or that Paige, her new best friend, has a secret that will explode their world.

About the Author:

Berriman-Mandy-Author-Pic-640x707Mandy was born in a British military hospital in Germany and grew up in Edinburgh, reading books, playing music, writing stories and climbing hills. She studied music at Sheffield University, where she met her husband, and they climbed some more hills in the Peak District before setting off to travel around the world. After learning to teach in Glasgow, she taught in a primary school in the Cambridgeshire fens (not very hilly), where she rediscovered the joy of making up stories and started writing again. She’s now a specialist music teacher at a primary school in Oldham and lives on the edge of the Peak District with her husband, two lego masterbuilders and dog.

Home by Amanda Berriman is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

5*, book review, debut author, psychological thriller

#BookReview The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor @cjtudor @MichaelJBooks

 

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The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor

 

My Review:

Ok, so this review could be very, very short. Basically, all that I will say in it can be summed up in these few words ‘It is bloody brilliant and you should read it.’

If you’d like to know a little bit more about the book then keep reading, no spoilers obviously, but if not then you get the gist and that is all that you need to know.

I’d heard a lot about The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor and was desperate to read it, I just couldn’t wait until publication day so I totally abused my position as a book blogger and begged the publisher to let me read it earlier. Luckily for me, they were very obliging. I was so excited when it landed on my Kindle that I started to read it straight away and once I started I struggled to stop. It was just so so good I couldn’t put it down! Forget the washing/cleaning/cooking/shopping/kids/pets/work/tv/sleep/anything, it won’t get done until you finish reading this book. I’m a slow reader and I read it in two days, sleep didn’t matter, I just had to keep reading.

That this book is a debut is incredibly impressive, the writing is solid and the plot is twisted and well written, the characters are believable and realistic. It’s pretty much as close to a perfect book as you can get.

Blurb:

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy little English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code; little chalk stick figures they leave for each other as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing will ever be the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he’s put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out his other friends got the same messages, they think it could be a prank… until one of them turns up dead. That’s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

Expertly alternating between flashbacks and the present day, The Chalk Man is the very best kind of suspense novel, one where every character is wonderfully fleshed out and compelling, where every mystery has a satisfying payoff, and where the twists will shock even the savviest reader.

About The Author:

20374489_158877098004329_719442257321190286_nC. J. Tudor was born in Salisbury and grew up in Nottingham, where she still lives with her partner and young daughter.

She left school at sixteen and has had a variety of jobs over the years, including trainee reporter, radio scriptwriter, shop assistant, ad agency copywriter and voiceover.

In the early nineties, she fell into a job as a television presenter for a show on Channel 4 called Moviewatch. Although a terrible presenter, she got to interview acting legends such as Sigourney Weaver, Michael Douglas, Emma Thompson and Robin Williams. She also annoyed Tim Robbins by asking a question about Susan Sarandon’s breasts and was extremely flattered when Robert Downey Junior showed her his chest.

While writing the Chalk Man she ran a dog-walking business, walking over twenty dogs a week as well as looking after her little girl.

She’s been writing since she was a child but only knuckled down to it properly in her thirties. Her English teacher once told her that if she ‘did not become Prime Minister or a best-selling author’ he would be ‘very disappointed.’

The Chalk Man was inspired by a tub of chalks a friend bought for her daughter’s second birthday. One afternoon they drew chalk figures all over the driveway. Later that night she opened the back door to be confronted by weird stick men everywhere. In the dark, they looked incredibly sinister. She called to her partner: ‘These chalk men look really creepy in the dark . . .’

She is never knowingly over-dressed. She has never owned a handbag and the last time she wore heels (twelve years ago) she broke a tooth.

She loves The Killers, Foo Fighters and Frank Turner. Her favourite venue is Rock City.

Her favourite films are Ghostbusters and The Lost Boys. Her favourite authors are Stephen King, Michael Marshall and Harlan Coben.

She is SO glad she was a teenager in the eighties.

She firmly believes that there are no finer meals than takeaway pizza and champagne, or chips with curry sauce after a night out.

Everyone calls her Caz.

The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor is released on 11th January 2018 and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

5*, book review

#bookreview Broken Bones by Angela Marsons @WriteAngie @Bookouture

brokenbones
Broken Bones by Angela Marsons

My review:

Regular readers of my book blog will know just how much I love Angela Marsons. Her DI Kim Stone books are outstanding. This is book seven and each one has been a brilliant read in their own right. Each time a new one comes out I cannot wait to read it, but I am also scared that this book will be the one to let the series down and I worry that Marsons will get to the point where she has done all that she can with Stone.

My favourite of the Kim Stone books has been Evil Games, I absolutely loved the baddie in that book and felt that she was an amazingly written character that, even though I knew she wasn’t real, still managed to scare me. I didn’t expect that any book would push Evil Games off that number one spot, but Broken Bones has done just that.

This book was just wonderful to read, from start to finish I loved every single page and I didn’t want to stop reading. Sure, the books are easy to read and not the most high brow books, but if you enjoy an easy read that you can really get into then Broken Bones is for you.

I normally give a bit of a summary of the book in my reviews, but I’m not going to here. It isn’t necessary. It doesn’t matter what the book is about really, if you’ve read Kim Stone books before (and I do strongly suggest that if you haven’t you start with book one, Silent Scream, in order to get the most that you can out of the series) then you will know that you want to read Broken Bones, and if you haven’t? Well, what are you waiting for?

Thank you to the publishers Bookouture for a copy of Broken Bones by Angela Marsons. I was under no obligation to review and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

They thought they were safe. They were wrong.
The murder of a young prostitute and a baby found abandoned on the same winter night signals the start of a disturbing investigation for Detective Kim Stone – one which brings her face to face with someone from her own horrific childhood.

As three more sex workers are murdered in quick succession, each death more violent than the last, Kim and her team realise that the initial killing was no one-off frenzied attack, but a twisted serial killer preying on the vulnerable.

At the same time, the search begins for the desperate woman who left her newborn baby at the station – but what looks like a tragic abandonment turns even more sinister when a case of modern slavery is uncovered.

The two investigations bring the team into a terrifying world of human exploitation and cruelty – and a showdown that puts Kim’s life at risk as shocking secrets from her own past come to light.

About the Author:

Angie - updated author photo - no credit needed

Angela is the author of the Kim Stone Crime series. She discovered a love of writing at Primary School when a short piece on the rocks and the sea gained her the only merit point she ever got.
Angela wrote the stories that burned inside and then stored them safely in a desk drawer.
After much urging from her partner she began to enter short story competitions in Writer’s News resulting in a win and three short listed entries.
She used the Amazon KDP program to publish two of her earlier works before concentrating on her true passion – Crime.
Angela is now signed to write a total of 16 Kim Stone books forhttp://bookouture.com and has secured a print deal with Bonnier Zaffre Publishing.

 

Broken Bones by Angela Marsons is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

 

5*, blog tours, book review, psychological thriller

#blogtour Her Last Secret by Barbara Copperthwaite @BCoperthwait @bookouture

Her Last Secret - Blog Tour

My Review:

Having read and enjoyed the author’s previous books I was looking forward to reading Her Last Secret by Barbara Copperthwaite. In fact, I enjoyed her books so much that I agreed to read and review this one without even reading the blurb. I went in totally blind.

The book starts early on Christmas Day, we know that the police have been called to a house after a neighbour heard gunshots and the officer in charge is trying to decide when to go into the house, fearing that a gunman (or woman) might shoot someone in the process.

We then go back in time to a few weeks before Christmas and meet the people who live in the house, Ben and Dominique with their children, teenager Ruby and Mouse, the youngest of the family. As the book goes on we learn that all is not well within the Thomas family, but the question remains, who fired the gun and why?

There are regular chapters that are back in the present day, to the police officer outside their house on Christmas Day. I am not always a fan of chapters that go back and forth in time but it worked incredibly well in Her Last Secret, building the tension and keeping the reader guessing.

I was often sure that I had worked it all out, but of course, I hadn’t. This is not a short book, at 408 pages it is quite lengthy but when reading it on my Kindle I had no idea that it was that long and it certainly never dragged. I only ever wished that it would hurry up because I was desperate to find out what had happened on that Christmas morning.

I thought that Her Last Secret by Barbara Copperthwaite combines all of the ingredients needed to make a brilliant psychological thriller. I thoroughly recommend it.

I received a copy of Her Last Secret from the publisher, Bookouture. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

Her-Last-Secret-Kindle

There are some secrets you can never tell.

The last thing to go through Dominique Thomas’s head was the image of her teenage daughter’s face and her heart lifted. Then the shot rang out.

They were the perfect family. Successful businessman Ben Thomas and his wife Dominique live an enviable life, along with their beautiful children; teenager Ruby and quirky younger daughter, Mouse.

But on Christmas Day the police are called to their London home, only to discover a horrific scene; the entire family lying lifeless, victims of an unknown assailant.

But when Ruby’s diary is discovered, revealing her rage at the world around her, police are forced to look closer to home for the key to this tragedy.

Each family member harboured their own dark truths – but has keeping their secrets pushed Ruby to the edge of sanity? Or are there darker forces at work?

This dark, gripping psychological thriller will have you holding your breath until the very last page. Fans of Behind Closed Doors, Sometimes I Lie, and The Girl on the Train will be captivated.

About The Author:

barbaracopperthwaite

What people say about Barbara’s books:
“Will have you looking over your shoulder and under your bed… Original, gripping, with a deep psychological impact,” Sunday Mirror
“Enthralling, tense and moving,” Real People magazine
“Totally gripping, and scarily believable,” Bella magazine

Barbara is the author of psychological thrillers INVISIBLE and FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD. Both have been Amazon best sellers. She is also the author of THE DARKEST LIES, and her latest book HER LAST SECRET is out on 13 October.

Much of her success is thanks to her twenty-odd years’ experience as a national newspaper and magazine journalist. She’s interviewed the real victims of crime – and also those who have carried those crimes out. Thanks to people sharing their stories with her, she knows a lot about the emotional impact of violence and wrong-doing. That’s why her novels are dark, realistic and tackle not just the crime but its repercussions.

When not writing feverishly, she is often found hiding behind a camera, taking wildlife photographs.

Author Social Media Links:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorBarbaraCopperthwaite

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BCopperthwait

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

Website: www.barbaracopperthwaite.com

Her Last Secret by Barbara Copperthwaite is out now and available from  Amazon UK and Amazon US.