Sunday, 17 November 2019

BLOG TOUR: The Raided Heart - Jennifer C. Wilson

As a fan of historical fiction, I have been hearing about this much-anticipated book for quite some time so it is my absolute pleasure to take part in the Rachel's Random Resources blog tour for The Raided Heart by Jennifer C. Wilson.  Not only do you get to read my review of this fabulous book, but you also get the chance to win an e-copy of The Last Plantagenet?, which I absolutely LOVED.  So make sure you scroll down to enter the giveaway after reading my review.

Meg Mathers, the headstrong youngest sibling of a reiving family on the English-Scottish border, is determined to remain at her childhood home, caring for the land and village she’s grown up with. When an accident brings her a broken ankle and six weeks in the resentful company of ambitious and angry young reiver Will Hetherington, attraction starts to build. Both begin to realise they might have met their match, and the love of their lives, but 15th century border living is not that simple, as Meg soon finds herself betrothed to the weakling son of a tyrannical neighbour, Alexander Gray. When tragedy strikes, can Meg and Will find their way back to each other, and can Will finally take his own personal revenge on Gray?

What did I think?

I am a huge fan of Jennifer C. Wilson's Kindred Spirits series so I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy of The Raided Heart; a book that I have been hearing about at my local book group.  The Raided Heart is a historical romance, so don't expect any famous ghosts to appear although there is mention of a famous figure from history but more about that later.  

You can't live in Northern England without having heard of the border reivers but for those new to the subject, Jennifer C. Wilson has included a little explanation of key definitions at the start of the book.  This is invaluable to understand what is going on in the book; I had never heard of a bastle or hot and cold trods.  There is also a cast of characters, although I was happy to meet them as the story unfolded.  I did have a little chuckle at the cast when I saw Richard, Duke of Gloucester listed; I know enough of my Plantagenet history to recognise Richard III when I see him.  Of course, it wouldn't be a Jennifer C. Wilson book without Richard! 

Before starting the book, I did worry a little about the 'romance' part of it.  Would it be too Mills and Boon for me?  Thankfully, not!  There are no heaving bosoms or throbbing loins, it's more about the feelings growing between Meg and Will.  I think the romance part was perfectly proportioned with the historical element, as it's more the history that I am interested in but the romance helps to bring it more to life.

The story itself has many threads running through it which make it a very multi-dimensional read.  I really enjoyed Will's story and his link to Alexander Gray which felt like a simmering pot left to boil on the stove.  I also loved how close Meg's family are and how her brothers treat her as an equal and value her opinion; it made it all the more difficult for Meg to become a simpering wife and her struggle was often comical as the reader is party to her thoughts.

The Raided Heart is an outstanding story; the historical setting is vividly described and the characters are so well developed that they virtually jump out of the page.  I know Jennifer C. Wilson has been working on The Raided Heart for quite some time and I am delighted to say that it is well worth the wait.  

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

About the author:

Jennifer C. Wilson is a marine biologist by training, who developed an equal passion for history and historical fiction whilst stalking Mary, Queen of Scots on childhood holidays (she has since moved on to Richard III). Enrolling on an adult education workshop on her return to the north-east of England for work reignited her pastime of creative writing, and she has been filling notebooks ever since. In 2014, Jennifer won the Story Tyne short story competition, and has been working on a number of projects since, including co-hosting the North Tyneside Writers’ Circle. Her Kindred Spirits novels are published by Crooked Cat Books and her time-slip novella, The Last Plantagenet?, by Ocelot Press. She lives in North Tyneside, and is very proud of her approximately 2-inch sea view.

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Giveaway to Win 2 x e-copies of The Last Plantagenet? (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Friday, 15 November 2019

BLOG TOUR: Nothing Important Happened Today - Will Carver

Nine people arrive one night on Chelsea Bridge. They’ve never met. But, at the same time, they leap to their deaths. Each of them received a letter in the post that morning, a pre-written suicide note, and a page containing only four words: Nothing important happened today.

That is how they knew they had been chosen to become a part of The People of Choice: a mysterious suicide cult whose members have no knowledge of one another.

Thirty-two people on a train witness the event. Two of them will be next. By the morning, People of Choice are appearing around the globe. It becomes a movement. A social-media page that has lain dormant for four years suddenly has thousands of followers.

The police are under pressure to find a link between the cult members, to locate a leader who does not seem to exist …

What did I think?

Will Carver is another author who piqued my interest at Newcastle Noir 2019 so when the blog tour invitation for Nothing Important Happened Today landed in my inbox, I jumped at the chance to hop aboard.  What I didn't expect was such a crazy ride; crazy but brilliant and with so many WTF moments, I felt like my brain had been put through a blender when I finished the book.

A suicide cult is a very disturbing subject to write about but Will Carver takes this to a whole new level with a cult with no apparent leader and cult members who have never met each other before they turned up to kill themselves in a horrific mass suicide.  The only thing they all have in common is a letter they received in the post containing four words: Nothing Important Happened Today.

The whole book feels very angry and Will Carver didn't even have to use capital letters to portray this.  I felt as if the narrator was angry at the world, especially at people walking around with their heads down, glued to their phone screens and I wondered if the mass suicide spectacle was simply an attempt to make people stop and take notice of what's going on around them.  Perhaps there's a lesson to be learned there for all of us.

Shocking, original, very disturbing and slightly crazy, Nothing Important Happened Today is one of those books that's very difficult to describe; I've never read anything like it and I don't expect that I will ever read anything that even comes close to it.  

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

About the author:

Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children. Good Samaritans was book of the year in Guardian, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Express, and hit number one on the ebook charts.

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Tuesday, 12 November 2019

BLOG TOUR: The Name Beneath The Stone - Robert Newcome

Three generations, one family, connected by an historic secret. 

1917 - Private Daniel Dawkins fights at Messines Ridge and Passchendaele. He writes home to his true-love Joyce, but reveals little of his extreme bravery, his kindness, his loyalty to his comrades and the horrors they experience on the Western Front. 

1920 - Captain Peter Harding is tasked with a secret mission to assist in the selection of a body dug up from the battlefields of Flanders to be buried in Westminster Abbey as the 'Unknown Warrior'. Events take place on that expedition that come to haunt him for the rest of his life. 

2011-Sarah Harding discovers Daniel s letters and Peter s diaries. Together with historian James Marchant she pieces together the hidden truth behind the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior and must decide what to do with it. Values are challenged and characters are tested in this gripping novel which asks what if the identity of the Unknown Soldier was discovered - and should that secret ever be revealed?

What did I think?

Oh my word, I am speechless.  What can I say about this outstanding book that would do it justice?  My paltry words will never be able to describe how simply breathtaking this book is.  Well as Yoda said, "Do or do not, there is not try" so here goes!

I knew of the Tomb of The Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey, but knew nothing of the story as to how it came to be.  The inspiration behind the idea and the inconceivable task of having to locate an unidentifiable body from the Western Front are explored in The Name Beneath The Stone.  As this is a fictional story based on fact, Robert Newcome adds an emotional story of the young men who were sent to war in 1914, many never to return.

The mystery of The Unknown Soldier caught the hearts of the nation in 1920 when an unidentified body was brought from France and laid to rest in Westminster Abbey.  Many grieving families imagined it was their son being laid to rest and in this way the soldier belonged to the whole country,  The tomb is so revered that it is the only floor tomb in Westminster Abbey to have never been stepped upon and in an act of deference royal brides follow the Queen Mother's tradition of having their bridal bouquets placed on the tomb.

Now imagine if the identity of The Unknown Soldier was revealed; the mystery would be obliterated and the whole point of the interment ruined.  The establishment will do anything to keep this secret hidden if anyone ever does provide proof of the soldier's identity.  It is on her father's deathbed that Sarah Harding hears the words 'Unknown Soldier' whispered and, with the help of an historian, begins to unravel the mystery of her ancestors.

The story of Daniel Dawkins and his sweetheart Joyce is heart-wrenching.  More so because it is a story that would have been replicated thousands of times over during the course of the First World War.  The casualties from going over the top in an attempt to push the Germans back were enormous.  Whole platoons were wiped out in seconds and I struggled to contain my emotions thinking about this devastating loss caused by war.

I had goosebumps from the end of Chapter One right the way through the book as Robert Newcome brings to life all of the known and unknown soldiers who died during the Great War.  The story is moving and poignant, never more so than when I was reading it on Remembrance Sunday.  

This breathtaking book is an absolute must read, I really can't recommend The Name Beneath The Stone highly enough; I'd give it 888,246 stars if I could, one for every military fatality of World War I.  Every once in a while a book comes along that renders me speechless and The Name Beneath The Stone did just that.  Stunning and imaginative, it took my breath away.  Absolutely outstanding and perfect in every way; this is a book I will be recommending for many years to come.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

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Sunday, 10 November 2019

BLOG TOUR: Violet - SJI Holliday

Carrie’s best friend has an accident and can no longer make the round-the-world trip they’d planned together, so Carrie decides to go it alone. 

Violet is also travelling alone, after splitting up with her boyfriend in Thailand. She is desperate for a ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express, but there is nothing available.

When the two women meet in a Beijing Hotel, Carrie makes the impulsive decision to invite Violet to take her best friend’s place.

Thrown together in a strange country, and the cramped cabin of the train, the women soon form a bond. But as the journey continues, through Mongolia and into Russia, things start to unravel – because one of these women is not who she claims to be…

What did I think?

I first heard of Susi Holliday when she appeared on a panel at Newcastle Noir 2019; I immediately added her to my list of authors I wanted to read and Violet is the first SJI Holliday book that I have read.  It's not a creepy ghosty book of the style that made me sit up and take notice of this author, but it's spine-tingly chilling in its own very different way.

What a multi-faceted character Susi Holliday has created in Violet.  Violet is like a spark in a firework factory; you really don't want to encounter one!  There's a definite dark undercurrent and an air of mystery about what her endgame is but it's clear that there's something not quite right about her.  I really feared for Carrie's safety when Violet tagged along on Carrie's spare train ticket and couldn't help but feel that Violet was a bad influence on Carrie.  I had no idea how this would all turn out, but I suspected it would turn out badly for Carrie.

I loved the inclusion of email exchanges between Carrie and her friend Laura, who would have travelled with her if she hadn't broken her leg just before they were due to set off.  It really gives an insight into Carrie's thoughts and feelings and it's also interesting to read how we often put a positive spin on things and choose what we tell people.

What a blindingly good page-turner Violet is!  I was totally hooked by Violet's story and the darkness within her; I think if you cut her she'd be black inside.  Of course, things are never what they seem and SJI Holliday has quite a few surprises in store for the reader.  Is Violet deluded, psychotic, dangerous or all of the above?  You'll just have to read the book to find out.

Violet is a dark and disturbing page-turner that had me on the edge of my seat; it's not just a cracker of a book it's a real firecracker!  It's an unusual and outstanding book and I'm off to shop for more SJI Holliday books right now!

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

About the author:
S.J.I. (Susi) Holliday is a scientist, writing coach and the bestselling author of five crime novels, including the Banktoun Trilogy (Black Wood, Willow Walk and The Damselfly), the festive chiller The Deaths of December and her creepy Gothic psychological thriller The Lingering. Her short story ‘Home From Home’ was published in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and shortlisted for the CWA Margery Allingham Prize. Encapsulating her love of travel and claustrophobic settings, her latest novel, Violet, explores toxic friendships and the perils of talking to strangers, as well as drawing on her own journey on the Trans-Siberian Express over 10 years ago. All of her novels have been UK ebook number-one bestsellers. Susi was born and raised in Scotland and now divides her time between Edinburgh, London and as many other exciting places that she can fit in. 

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Saturday, 9 November 2019

Relatively Strange - Marilyn Messik

Forced to call on resources she didn't know she possessed and thrust headlong into the violence of a situation for which nothing could have prepared her, Stella’s suddenly face to face with the stark reality of medical experimentation and its horrifying consequences.

But in a world of uncertainties, she’s sure of one thing - this hero stuff really isn't her. Normal, or as near as damn it is what she wants,  and if that means smothering her instincts and adjusting her expectations well so be it. At least she'll know should she slip off the wagon occasionally, it'll be choice not chance, and to suit herself.

Isn't it a fact though, just when you think you've got yourself on track, events can overtake and derail you?

Relatively Strange, the first in the Strange Series introduces Stella; her irreverent sense of humour, the conviction she always knows best and an overdeveloped sense of justice. Throw into the mix a complete  inability to keep her nose out of other people's business and some serious psi abilities, and results are as unpredictably uncomfortable as you might expect.

What did I think?

Relatively Strange is perhaps the strangest book I have ever read; Strange by name and Strange by nature indeed.  Stella is such an amazing character and the way that this book is written from Stella's birth makes you feel like you've known her your whole life.  

Stella is a child of the 1950's and I was shocked to discover that her school days weren't very different from mine in the 1970's.  For pity's sake, for how many years did children suffer the boiled cabbage lunches and frog spawn tapioca and jam pudding?  I felt very nostalgic reading about PE lessons in the school hall with the bars along the walls and the pointless throwing of the coloured bean bags.  Of course, I hated PE and would have much rather been reading a book than doing roly polies on the mat but it did bring back some long forgotten, although not so fond, memories.

I loved Stella's Grandma and her Grandma's sisters.  I don't think it happens so much these days but many of my Dad's aunts used to mouth their words so that young ears couldn't hear.  The only problem was that nobody else could understand what they were saying either unless they were proficient in exaggerated lip reading.  The whole family dynamic and Stella's place in the family was very interesting to read and I loved how a lot of her family were blind to her abilities.  She couldn't possibly have flown up that tree so she must have climbed it!

When Stella's abilities become known, everything gets more sinister with the evil Doctor Dreck experimenting on gifted children.  Someone has to stop him before it's too late and Stella joins forces with a motley crew of gifted people who have a plan to rescue Dreck's latest patient.  It felt a bit like X-Men as Stella is trained for her mission and her fearlessness and bravery is quite astounding.

I bet a lot of people have wished that they could read someone's mind, when you wonder what someone is thinking or how they feel about you.  Well Stella has that gift and it's not all its cracked up to be, that's for sure.  It's actually quite sobering to realise that you really don't want to hear someone else's thoughts.  It's hardly surprising really if you consider how often you have negative thoughts about yourself, but it's always more hurtful hearing it from someone else.  Although there's nothing wrong with being different, it's perhaps good to be normal.

Written with such amazing humour and warmth, Relatively Strange is a very unusual, nostalgic and thought-provoking book.  I am delighted to see that Stella's story continues in Even Stranger and I look forward to picking up with her where we left off.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

Friday, 8 November 2019

BLOG TOUR: The EX-Girlfriend - Nicola Moriarty


Luke is the one. After everything she's been through, Georgia knows she deserves someone like him, to make her feel loved. Safe. 

The only problem is his ex-girlfriend. Luke says Cadence is having trouble accepting their break-up, but Georgia thinks there's more to the story. She has the feeling someone is watching her. 

So when everything starts to go wrong at work, at home, in her old friendships and her happy new relationship with Luke, Georgia starts to feel afraid. 

It's becoming clear Cadence wants what she has. But how far will she go to get it? 

What did I think?

I've been meaning to read a Nicola Moriarty book for a while and The EX-Girlfriend sounded so good that it jumped right to the top of my Nicola Moriarty queue.  It's fast paced and a really easy read that is impossible to put down so I found that I raced through it in two sittings; it would have been one sitting but, rather disappointingly, I had to put it down so I could go to sleep when I was 75% through.

The prologue is entitled 'The Elevator' and it sent shivers down my spine; there's nothing worse than being in an enclosed box with someone you don't want to be in close contact with.  It could be quite innocuous but there is just something so menacing about it and that's before we even get to know the characters of Georgia and Cadence.

I really liked the character of Georgia; the youngest and only girl in a family of boys.  Although she may have been taunted and teased by her brothers when they were all growing up, I had no doubt that they would look out for her and never more so than when she brings her new man, Luke, to her brother's wedding.  The way she met Luke was rather fortuitous as she had been stood up on a Tinder date.  Georgia was just about to leave the bar when she got hassled by some beefy blokes and Luke rode in on his white horse to come to her rescue.  Fate does seem to work in mysterious ways and Georgia happily exchanged numbers with Luke.  She later finds out that Luke comes with a lot of baggage, namely his ex-girlfriend Cadence.

By the end of Chapter Two my bullshit-o-meter was going absolutely haywire.  Maybe I'm just old and sceptical but, apart from his ex-girlfriend issue, Luke seemed too good to be true.  Meanwhile, Cadence sets out on a campaign to get Luke back by stalking Georgia.  This really was very frightening and it just shows how easy it actually is to stalk people these days thanks to Social Media.  I always cringe when people 'check in' to places, sharing every minutiae of their life and not realising that they're leaving themselves wide open and vulnerable.  Georgia didn't seem to be able to go anywhere without Cadence's eyes on her and I really started to worry about how far this would go when it seemed like Cadence not only wanted Luke back, but she wanted to ruin Georgia's life in the process.

Gripping, chilling and scarily believable, The EX-Girlfriend is a firecracker of a read; I couldn't put it down.  Even if I had worked some of it out (and I'm not saying whether I had or not), it didn't spoil my enjoyment one bit and I was immensely satisfied at the girl-power ending.  Nicola Moriarty has definitely earned the full five stars for this The EX-Girlfriend and I'm even more excited to read her other books now.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

About the author:

Nicola Moriarty is a novelist, copywriter and mum to two small (but remarkably strong-willed) daughters. In between various career changes, becoming a mum and studying at university, she began to write. Now, she can't seem to stop. The Fifth Letter was her UK debut novel, followed by Those Other Women. 

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Monday, 4 November 2019

BLOG TOUR: The Damned (The Darkest Hand Trilogy Book 1) - Tarn Richardson

I'm thrilled to be opening the RedDoor Press blog tour today for The Damned by Tarn Richardson.  The Damned is book 1 in The Darkest Hand Trilogy and you can read my review below.

1914. The Outbreak of War

In the French City of Arras, Father Andreas is brutally murdered and the Catholic Inquisition sends its most determined and unhinged inquisitor to investigate. Poldek Tacit's mission is to protect the Church from those who seek to undermine it. At any cost.

As Tacit arrives, British and German soldiers confront each other across the horror that is No Man's Land and a beautiful French woman warns Lieutenant Henry Frost that there is a dark and unnatural foe lurking underground more awful than even Tacit can comprehend.

What did I think?

Firstly, I have to say that I think the publishers have done an amazing job with the covers of the books in this trilogy.  I know we readers never judge a book by its cover but we still appreciate a thing of beauty and there's something so very eye-catching yet ominous about the beautiful cover of The Damned.

I am a huge fan of historical fiction and I do like a bit of supernatural now and again so The Damned ticked both of these boxes for me.  Set during the start of World War I, with flashbacks to the late 19th Century, the main character is a dark, brooding and mysterious Inquisitor named Poldek Tacit.  Tacit is sent to Arras to investigate the mysterious death of a priest who is brutally murdered inside his church.  Sister Isabella is simultaneously sent to Arras seemingly to assist Tacit, but with the real task of assessing his faith.  I loved the pairing of these two characters, they work so well together with Isabella's feminine wiles and Tacit's quick-wittedness.

Tacit is used to dealing with the supernatural so there isn't much that will shock or concern him, but what he encounters in Arras and Fampoux is certainly more than he bargained for.  Not only does he have to deal with a huge pack of damned souls, but there is a greater conspiracy afoot; one that plans to undermine the church on the world stage as the cathedral of Notre Dame prepares to host A Mass for Peace.  The clock is ticking and time is running out for Tacit and Isabella to prevent what is sure to be irreparable damage to the church.

With the church wielding so much power and conspiracies aplenty, I can see why The Damned would appeal to fans of Dan Brown, but the supernatural element adds something that Stephen King would wish he'd written.  It doesn't stray too much into the fantasy genre, merely dipping a toe (or a claw) into the supernatural, but it adds such an imaginative layer to the story that even purists could start to believe in the impossible.

One thing that I did struggle with slightly was the flicking back and forth through time periods over very short chapters.  One minute I was reading the story in 1914 and literally one or two minutes later I was back again in 1914 after a brief sojourn to the 1890's.  Once I got into the rhythm of the book, it didn't bother me so much but it did take a bit of getting used to and the flashbacks are imperative to understand how and why Tacit got to where he is now.

The Damned is an amazing start to The Darkest Hand Trilogy; although a very satisfyingly fully wrapped up story in its own right, it certainly left me wanting more.  Dan Brown meets Stephen King in this gripping and downright scary historical fantasy fiction novel.  It's a recommended read from me but if you're not sure whether it's your cup of tea, download the free prequel from Amazon here.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

About the author:

Tarn Richardson is the author of The Darkest Hand trilogy, published by RedDoor Publishing.

Consisting of THE HUNTED (free prequel novella), THE DAMNED, THE FALLEN and THE RISEN, The Darkest Hand trilogy unleashes the flawed but brilliant Inquisitor Poldek Tacit upon a Europe engulfed by the First World War.

Having grown up in Somerset, he now lives in Salisbury with his wife, the portraiture artist Caroline Richardson.

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Sunday, 3 November 2019

BLOG TOUR: Bad Seed - Jessica Eames

A tragic death. A dark family secret. A past you can't escape. How well do you really know those closest to you?

Sarah's world has descended into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to find out the truth of what happened, and make sure the guilty are brought to justice. She is haunted by her dad's death, consumed by her grief and the memories of a cruel day that changed her life forever... she doesn't even know who she is anymore. But the future holds some hope for Sarah, as she tries to move forward.

Nicola's future is not looking so hopeful. Since her husband died, the secret she's been keeping from her family - especially her daughter, Sarah - is eating away at her. The past is catching up with her, and the consequences will be devastating.

Inspired by the news that more people are having DNA tests to discover their heritage, BAD SEED subverts the tropes of the domestic thriller by exploring the closest relationship of all: that between parent and child. Clare Mackintosh's I LET YOU GO meets FRIEND REQUEST, this is a story about family, and of obsession, revenge and identity.

What did I think?

Oh wow, I LOVED this book!  It definitely has the wow factor as Part One ended and I was absolutely stunned, but that didn't even come close to how gobsmacked I was at the end.  Family secrets are always a good hook to have in a book and the secrets in the Gregory family are about to tear them apart.  Not content with just the damage caused by secrets, someone wants to speed things up a bit with the use of belladonna, also known as deadly nightshade.  Secrets and poison!  Awesome!

The story is told in three parts: Part One is Nicola's story having just lost her husband, Part Two is Nicola's daughter, Sarah's story and Part Three is Nicola's sister-in-law Fiona's story.  The whole Gregory family is grieving the loss of Charlie Gregory but none more so than Sarah who was devoted to her father.  Nicola didn't appear to have the perfect marriage and even Charlie's death doesn't manage to put a rose coloured tint on it as she moves on with her life.  Fiona is married to Charlie's step-brother, Ben, and although she invited Nicola to live in an annex in her garden after Charlie's death, she only just manages to tolerate her...for reasons that will become clear when you read the book.

Jessica Eames weaves a cunning tale as the reader is cleverly misdirected through the murderous plot.  It's often said that poison is the preferred method of murder used by women, so I must have pointed my virtual finger and shouted 'J'accuse!' to almost all of the female characters in Bad Seed.  With so many opportunities and motives, my head was in a spin as I tried to work out who was the real 'Bad Seed'.  

I loved every single thing about this book: the fast pace, the cunning plot, the police interview transcripts, the clever misdirection and the multiple possible culprits.  It certainly burrowed its roots under my skin and was kept fed and watered by Jessica Eames' stunning imagination and compelling plot.  Bad Seed is as chilling as it is gripping; a highly recommended read.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

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Saturday, 2 November 2019

BLOG TOUR: Ghoster - Jason Arnopp

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 flat. 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 . . .

What did I think?

Holy Ghoster, Batman!  What have I just read?  Ghoster is not at all what I expected it to be but I absolutely loved it.  Jason Arnopp has written such a highly original creepfest that it melted my brain and blew my mind.  Prepare to be gobsmacked when you pick up a copy of Ghoster; also clear your schedule as you'll not be able to put it down.

Oh Kate Collins, where do I start?  She needs a good talking to after deciding to move in with a guy she met only 3 months ago, not only that, it involves her relocating from Leeds to Brighton, and not only that again, she met him on a digital detox retreat after Super Liking him on Tinder.  Coincidence?  I don't think so, Kate!  This was a car crash waiting to happen and I wasn't wrong, just not in the way I thought.

When Kate turns up in Brighton, with all her worldly belongings, Scott's flat is empty and there's no sign of him.  As a paramedic, she's used to gaining entrance to homes in an emergency and suddenly finding herself homeless in a strange town certainly counts as an emergency.  When she gets into Scott's flat the only thing left to show he was ever there is his mobile phone and a creepy face drawn on the glass of the balcony door.  This throws Kate into even more turmoil as she has gone cold turkey on social media and smart phones since her obsession with looking at her phone caused an accident at work.  Just picking up Scott's phone is like holding a cigarette to your lips after you've given up smoking.  It's something Kate must do if she wants to find answers to why Scott disappeared but she must control her addiction before she loses herself again.

As scary as the story is in Ghoster, it has a more frightening underlying message: mobile phones can kill.  It's good to be reminded of this as we've all heard the horror stories of fatal car accidents due to somebody texting or checking their phone, but this was a more sobering smack in the face of accidents that can be caused by the actions of a mobile phone user anytime, anywhere, anyplace.  You can't go anywhere now without seeing people walking around with their heads down looking at their phones and it doesn't stop there as chances are that conversation at home is lost to the digital device to which their eyes are glued.  Ghoster definitely gave me food for thought regarding my own mobile phone usage and I think switching my phone off, although difficult to do, would be a great way to have some distraction free time to do more reading.

Ghoster is very original, current and creepy as hell; with the dramatic disappearance being a massively intriguing hook, I simply couldn't put it down.  You need to have an open mind to enjoy this multi-dimensional out of this world thriller; even if you expect the unexpected, it will still blow your mind.  Ghoster is an outstanding book; I absolutely loved it!

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

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About the author:

Jason Arnopp is the author of the new Orbit Books novel Ghoster, which Barnes & Noble's SFF blog has said, "just might qualify as the first true horror novel of the 21st Century." The Three author Sarah Lotz calls it, "a fiendishly smart exploration of obsession and social media addiction", while Cross Her Heat author Sarah Pinborough reckons it's, "twisty, creepy and utterly absorbing."

Arnopp's previous novel was The Last Days Of Jack Sparks (2016), which has been described as "a magnificent millennial nightmare" (Alan Moore), "scarier than watching The Exorcist in an abandoned asylum" (Sarah Lotz) and "The Omen for the social media age" (Christopher Brookmyre). Director Ron Howard (Apollo 13, Frost/Nixon, The Da Vinci Code) optioned the film rights shortly after the book's 2016 release.

Arnopp co-wrote the official behind-the-scenes book Inside Black Mirror with Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones.

Check out his four shorter-form fiction titles:
-- Beast In The Basement, a suspenseful, mind-blowing thriller novella
-- A Sincere Warning About The Entity In Your Home, a chilling and groundbreaking short story set in YOUR home
-- Auto Rewind, a dark, emotionally charged thriller novelette
-- American Hoarder, a supernatural creep-fest available only when you join the author's free mailing list at

Arnopp previously wrote and executive-produced the Lionsgate feature film Stormhouse and script-edited the Peter Mullan feature The Man Inside. He has also written for the worlds of Doctor Who (BBC), The Sarah Jane Adventures (BBC) and Friday The 13th (New Line Cinema).

In his past life as a rock journalist, he interviewed the likes of Bon Jovi, Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne and Guns N' Roses. He was once surrounded by angry guards holding semi-automatic weapons at The Vatican. His Slipknot biography, Slipknot: Inside The Sickness, Behind The Masks, was released in 2001 and is now available as a Kindle Edition. Arnopp has also written a guide to journalistic interviewing, entitled How To Interview Doctor Who, Ozzy Osbourne And Everyone Else, which is also out on Kindle.

Arnopp's latest non-fiction book is From The Front Lines Of Rock. Available in the Kindle Store now, it gathers 30 of his favourite nterviews he wrote as a rock journalist, with the likes of Metallica, Guns N' Roses, Iron Maiden, Korn, Kiss, Faith No More, Garbage, Nine Inch Nails and Green Day.

When you sign up for Arnopp's free newsletter at, you can also download his short story American Hoarder for free. You might also want to check out his YouTube channel by searching for his name there. What a wonderful world.

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