Thursday, 30 April 2020

The Cornish Connection - Amanda James


Where extraordinary things happen...you'll find Nancy Cornish

Nancy and Charlie Cornish are happily married and live in Padstow, Cornwall. Nancy works in the Whistling Kettle Cafe and Charlie is a DS in the Truro police. Charlie's a down to earth Cornishman, while Nancy, seemingly an ordinary member of her community, has an extraordinary gift. She is able to make psychic connections with those who have passed, and objects belonging to those still living.

Charlie mostly tries to ignore that aspect of his wife's personality, he can’t abide all that ‘mumbo jumbo’ as he calls it. Then, out of the blue, Nancy leaves her job and decides her mission in life is to use her gift to help others. This is not what Charlie signed up for, and he lets Nancy know about his feelings in no uncertain terms. That is, until he realises she might be a very useful detective...

Helping Charlie find a missing teenager boost Nancy’s confidence, and makes her determined to continue her work. People come to see her because they want her to find a long-lost friend or relative, an object that is dear to them, or a pet who’s gone missing. Helping people find happiness is Nancy’s main aim. Charlie, however, wants her to help him solve crimes.

Will the couple find some common ground? Or will their connection be broken?

The Cornish Connection - a beautifully told, thought-provoking and uplifting story. The perfect feel-good summer read!


What did I think?

I love Amanda James' books and I have read some absolutely brilliant ones over the years but she has really outdone herself with her latest novel and start of a new series, The Cornish Connection.  This book is really something special; it's completely different from anything I've read before and I think it really spices up the crime and mystery genre.

Nancy Cornish is such a warm and charming character; not only does she bake amazing cakes but she has the special gift of psychic ability.  She really does see dead people!  You'd think this would be something her husband Charlie would be used to but he constantly pooh-pooh's Nancy's gift.  That is until it becomes useful to him in his latest police investigation, but even then he won't acknowledge Nancy's input in case his colleagues laugh at him.  I thought Charlie's blatant disregard of Nancy's abilities would make me dislike him but he certainly grew on me.

When Nancy finds she is helping more and more people to reconnect with their loved ones, both alive and dead, she decides to leave her job in the local cafe and set up as a PI: Psychic Investigator.  Her office is the summerhouse at the bottom of her garden and when word spreads about her abilities she sees a growing number of clients asking for her help.

Each case that Nancy works on is like a little story within The Cornish Connection, making the whole novel so vibrant and varied.  Some stories are shocking and disturbing whilst others are heartwarming, beautiful and sometimes amusing.  I loved the mix of characters that Nancy comes across, with each one of them having a special story to tell.  

I'm so glad that The Cornish Connection is the first in a new series as I can't get enough of Nancy Cornish.  I enjoyed it so much that I didn't want it to finish but at the same time I couldn't read it fast enough either.  I'll definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for the next book in the series.

The Cornish Connection is a quirky, unique and mystical novel filled with a myriad colourful characters.  It's crime and mystery with a supernatural edge and it's absolutely outstanding.  Amanda James has hit the jackpot with Nancy Cornish and scoops a full house of five stars for The Cornish Connection.

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

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Q - Christina Dalcher


IN THIS WORLD, PERFECTION IS EVERYTHING.

Elena Fairchild is a teacher at one of the state’s new elite schools. Her daughters are exactly like her: beautiful, ambitious, and perfect. A good thing, since the recent mandate that’s swept the country is all about perfection.

Now everyone must undergo routine tests for their quotient, Q, and any children who don’t measure up are placed into new government schools. Instead, teachers can focus on the gifted.

Elena tells herself it’s not about eugenics, not really, but when one of her daughters scores lower than expected and is taken away, she intentionally fails her own test to go with her.

But what Elena discovers is far more terrifying than she ever imagined…


What did I think?

I enjoyed Christina Dalcher's debut, Vox, but WOW she has completely outdone herself with her second dystopian thriller, QQ is so addictive that I found it impossible to put down and only ended up reading it in two sittings because I had to sleep in between.  If I'd timed it right, I definitely would have read it in one sitting.

I started reading Q and thought it was going to be a story about motherhood and Elena's fight to keep her daughters safe, which it is to a degree but oh my word it is so much more than that.  Everyone in this dystopian future is continually tested and given a Q rating; the pressure to perform has never been more intense, especially when under-performance has such drastic consequences.  

Elena has two daughters: Anne who seems to glide through school effortlessly and wears her Q number with pride and Freddie who struggles with the pressure of tests and sees her Q number dropping like a stone.  Elena loves both her daughters but her husband Malcolm doesn't have any time for Freddie and is only interested in his perfect daughter Anne.  Malcolm is an absolutely vile character; it's like he's a robot with no feelings for his family unless they are performing to the perfect standards that he was instrumental in implementing.  Elena deserves extra points just for putting up with him!

Q completely floored me; it's shocking, horrifying, disturbing and completely believable, especially as the novel is inspired by real historical events.  Events that we don't learn in history class as they are far too horrific and disturbing.  Although I'd never heard of the American Eugenics Movement, I was aware of the Nazi eugenics program where Hitler planned to produce a pure Aryan race.  Never has a book been more thought-provoking and actively demanding of further research; you simply can't read Q and be unaffected by the subject matter.  I just hope I haven't set off an alarm in MI5 with all of my googling of eugenics.

Q is absolutely brilliant; it's a novel that has remained in my thoughts long after I finished reading.  It's a shocking, stunning and compelling book that I want to read again and I can't recommend it highly enough.  

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

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon




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Monday, 27 April 2020

Fifty Fifty (Eddie Flynn #5) - Steve Cavanagh


Two sisters on trial for murder. They accuse each other.

Who do YOU believe?

'911 what's your emergency?'

'My dad's dead. My sister Sofia killed him. She's still in the house. Please send help.'

'My dad's dead. My sister Alexandra killed him. She's still in the house. Please send help.'

One of them is a liar and a killer.

But which one?


What did I think?

Although I have been collecting the Eddie Flynn novels I hadn't read any of them until I received a copy of Fifty Fifty, the fifth book in the series.  Usually, I wouldn't start an established series so far along but the synopsis of Fifty Fifty was just too intriguing to resist.  You can definitely read Fifty Fifty as a standalone, like I did, but it's so outstanding that it's given me a voracious appetite to devour all of the previous books in the series.

I love courtroom thrillers and a large part of Fifty Fifty is based in the courtroom so I was in my element reading the prosecution and defence arguments and tactics.  Steve Cavanagh writes with such vivacity that I felt as if I was watching proceedings from several viewpoints; simultaneously sitting in the public gallery watching events unfold whilst also being judge and jury as the evidence was set out before me.  Two sisters, Alexandra and Sofia, are on trial and one of them killed their father so the question that was constantly on my mind was: which sister did it? 

This is my first introduction to lawyer Eddie Flynn and I love him!  I love his quick thinking, clever mind and his unconventional approach that pushes the boundaries of the law to breaking point.  Defending Sofia, Eddie is up against new lawyer Kate Brooks, who is defending Alexandra.  Kate set up her own law firm when she had enough of her boss making unwelcome advances and she took Alexandra with her as her first client.  Kate really comes into her own when she leaves the big firm; it was like they had clipped her wings and kept her in a cage and now she is flying solo she can spread her wings and be the brilliant lawyer she is destined to be.

With a cunning and crafty plot, Fifty Fifty kept me guessing from beginning to end.  My eyes were racing full steam ahead as I rushed to discover who the killer was and I had to consciously stop them from skipping down the page before I had a chance to read every word.  I thought my heart was going to burst out of my chest at one point, when one of the double defence team is under threat and Steve Cavanagh cleverly has several characters hearing a knock at the door.  That was absolutely heart-stoppingly brilliant and deserves a virtual round of applause.  The whole book deserves a standing ovation and I'm certainly crying out for more (both past and future).

Absolutely brilliant, I can't recommend Fifty Fifty highly enough.  Steve Cavanagh certainly has a new fan here and I'm sure he's scooping up many more with this outstanding addition to the Eddie Flynn series.

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

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

Sunday, 26 April 2020

BLOG TOUR: The Princess of Felling - Elaine Cusack


The Princess of Felling describes Elaine’s childhood and adolescence growing up on Tyneside in the 1970s and 1980s. The book pays homage to her home town of Felling on Tyne and is an extended, loving letter to her late parents.

This illustrated poetic memoir features a Foreword by Michael Chaplin, photographs of Felling taken in summer 2018 by Rossena Petcova and unique maps by poet and artist Steve Lancaster.

The book contains reminiscences by Felling folk plus guest appearances by Nick Heyward, David Almond, Tracey Thorn, Sir Kingsley Amis, The Reverend Richard Coles, Lady Elsie Robson, U.A. Fanthorpe, Gyles Brandreth and more.


What did I think?

I've lived in Wardley, neighbouring 'The Felling', since I was 3 years old, so I was very intrigued by The Princess of Felling by Elaine Cusack.  Of course, you don't have to live in, or even know where Felling is, to enjoy the book as it's part personal memoir of a child of the 70's, part homage to Felling, part musical influences and part portrait of family life in the North East with a sprinkling of poetry in between.

I was hooked from just reading the introduction as Elaine talks about being the Princess of Felling in her very own castle when she was a child.  I had seen Elaine's 'castle' ruin on many occasions and always wondered what it was, well now I know!  There were so many things that resonated with me in Elaine's story; I suppose being a child of the 70's too, I have some things in common with Elaine.  A lot of Elaine's stories brought a smile to my face, especially when she was reminiscing about her Nan; my Nanna always had a bottle of Puroh milk too and I remember her using it to make rice pudding.  Such happy memories!

Following in Elaine's footsteps, I also left my primary schoolfriends in Gateshead and took the short trip across the Tyne to go to senior school in Newcastle.  I went to Central High whereas Elaine went to Church High but we had similar experiences with our accents making us stand out from the posh lasses.  I'm sure like Elaine, I wasn't even that Geordie to begin with but I sounded like I'd just come out of the pit in comparison to the Ponteland crowd.  It does make me smile remembering that and it's funny that it wasn't something on which any of my friends ever remarked, it was just something that made me feel different but I wasn't changing my accent for anybody and Mam will always be Mam!

Elaine has also shared a few poems in her book and I think Skin Stains is the best poem I have ever read.  Now I'm not a poetry lover as they don't normally make sense to me but I got every single word of Elaine's writing.  Poetry for the people!  

What a fabulous collection of poetry and reminiscences!  I learnt a few things about the area that I didn't know and remembered things that I was surprised were still stored in my memory.  Just Elaine reminding me about the call of 'Allyooken' brings back such happy memories of a time gone by when we played out in the street until dark, running off far and wide in a game of hide and seek.  'Allyooken' was a call to return to the street for those who were still hiding and hadn't been found.  I can't even say 'Allyooken' without singing it: Aaaaaaaalyooken!

The Princess of Felling is a chart-topping literary mix tape; there's something for everyone in this fabulous memoir.  It's not only about Elaine's life and the history of The Felling (the 'The' is obligatory if you live there), there's the fabulous poetry and reminiscences of the music scene in the 80's (from Elaine's appearances in the audience of The Tube that was filmed in Tyne Tees studios).

Elaine's writing is so full of love for her family, her home and her music that some of it inevitably rubbed off on me and brought some of my long forgotten memories to the fore.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank Elaine for dusting off and digging out some of my old memories.  The Princess of Felling is an outstanding memoir and an absolute must read if you're a child of the 70's (but still a mighty fine read if you're not).

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

My rating:


Buy your copy in person from selected outlets including Hexham’s Cogito Books, Felling Volunteer Library, Newcastle Central Library, Happy Planet Studio and Gallery in Whitley Bay and online from Elaine’s publisher www.limelightclassics.com.




About the author:


Find out more about Elaine’s writing and forthcoming gigs by visiting www.dipdoomagazoo.wordpress.com, www.ticketsource.co.uk/cusackmansions and by liking her Elaine Cusack writer page on Facebook.










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Thursday, 23 April 2020

BLOG TOUR: Hackney Central (DCI Jack Mason series Book 5) - Michael K Foster


Walk these streets at your peril!

When newly appointed Detective Sergeant Jack Mason steps through the doors of Hackney Central Police Station, he is tasked with his biggest nightmare. A pensioner lies dead, his flat has been ransacked, and no one is willing to talk.

But why pick on a vulnerable old man?

No stranger to London’s East End, Mason is under no illusion that the chance of finding the killer is slim. Gripped by notorious drug gangs, knife crime runs rife, and nowhere appears safe.

With time rapidly running out, it soon becomes clear that he’s dealing with a version of justice terrifyingly different to his own. . .

You’ll be hooked from the start by this gripping crime thriller. There’s tension, suspense, and a plot full of twists and turns. Why not find out more about Jack Mason’s early career, and order your copy today.

The series in order:

The Wharf Butcher (Book 1)
Satan’s Beckoning (Book 2)
The Suitcase Man (Book 3)
Chameleon (Book 4)
Hackney Central (Book 5]


What did I think?

Although Hackney Central is book five in the DCI Jack Mason series, it is actually a prequel novella so can most definitely be read as a standalone.  If, like me, you've read the first four books in the series then it's a glimpse into Jack Mason's past when he was a DS in London.

Jack Mason is a character I already know and love but I loved reading about his past when he was about to become a father for the first time whilst investigating a gang related crime.  The impending birth of his daughter doesn't mean that Mason has one eye off the ball; far from it, he's as determined as ever to bring the murderer to justice.

With a fast-paced and gripping plot I absolutely raced through this novella.  Although I love reading about places I know in the North East, I enjoyed going back to Jack Mason's roots in London.  We also get to read about his first introduction to criminal psychologist David Carlisle who also appears in the North East based books and plays an invaluable role in helping Mason solve crimes.  Reading about Mason's past felt like flicking through an old photo album; it didn't need to fill in any missing blanks as there are none: what you see is what you get with Jack Mason.

The storyline is very intriguing, especially when Mason has a run in with a local gang leader at the start of the book.  The victim had a valuable watch stolen and Mason knows that this is the key to solving the crime.  The writing is so vivid that I felt like I was following the clues along with the police and I was on the edge of my seat as the net closed around the killer.

Hackney Central is a fabulous novella and not only a great addition but also a great introduction to the amazing DCI Jack Mason series.  I really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it to all. 

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

My rating:


Buy it from Amazon




About the author:

Michael K Foster has been writing crime thriller novels since 2006, all of them based in and around the North East of England. His bestselling debut novel, 'The Wharf Butcher,' was released in 2015 and offers a unique insight into this rugged landscape. He has now written four full-length novels featuring the hard-hitting DCI Jack Mason and local criminal profiler David Carlisle. 'Chameleon,' the latest book in the series, was released in June 2019.

Michael was born in Plymouth, England. After ten years' service in the British Army, he moved to Newcastle where he gained a master's degree. A former Magistrate, he now writes full time and lives with his family in County Durham.

If you would like to find out more about Michael, he can be found at:




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Tuesday, 21 April 2020

BLOG TOUR: The Thunder Girls - Melanie Blake


Jackie Collins for a new generation. The Thunder Girls is a blockbuster novel, filled with obsession, addiction, betrayal and revenge, that charts the rise and fall of an 80s girl band from Melanie Blake, a true insider of the music business.
Perfect for fans of Tasmina Perry and Daisy Jones and The SixSoon to be a nationwide play with an all star cast.


THE

Chrissie, Roxanne, Carly and Anita, an eighties pop sensation outselling and out-classing their competition. Until it all comes to an abrupt end and three of their careers are over, and so is their friendship.
THUNDER
Thirty years later, their old record label wants the band back together for a huge money-making concert. But the wounds are deep and some need this gig more than others.
In those decades apart life was far from the dream they were living as members of The Thunder Girls. Breakdowns, bankruptcy, addiction and divorce have been a constant part of their lives. They’ve been to hell and back, and some are still there.
GIRLS
Can the past be laid to rest for a price, or is there more to this reunion than any of them could possibly know? Whilst they all hunger for a taste of success a second time around, someone is plotting their downfall in the deadliest way possible . . .


What did I think?

Finding it difficult to concentrate on reading lately, I was looking for a book to grab my attention and help me escape real life for a little while.  Well The Thunder Girls did just that and I absolutely loved it.  There's so much drama in The Thunder Girls, it's like a glitzy soap opera on steroids.

Set in the music industry, The Thunder Girls is the story of the world's biggest girl band getting back together after a 30 year gap.  With a group of girls there'll always be bitchy backstabbing and catfights, even 30 years later when the 'girls' are in their fifties!  Even more so when one of the girls left to pursue a solo career and the record label kicked the band into the gutter.  They all dreamed of playing at Wembley one day and with the offer of a lifetime to do just that on the table, how can they possibly resist?

I absolutely loved the drama of The Thunder Girls, it reminded me of the the bitchy feuding between Krystle Carrington and Alexis Colby in Dynasty but even worse!  These four girls had the world in their hands back in the 80's until one of them wanted the whole world to herself, or at least that's the way the other three saw it.  So who can blame them for giving Chrissie the cold shoulder?  They start to thaw with the Wembley carrot dangling in front of them and the promise of a cool half a million each for one show.  The Spice Girls said 'friendship never ends' but will the girls ever be able to forgive and forget?

Filled with secrets, lies, tension and drama The Thunder Girls is THE book to read this summer; it's pure escapism and hugely entertaining.  It's a glitzy and thrilling rollercoaster ride so you'd better buckle up for the ride of your life!

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

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon




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Monday, 20 April 2020

BLOG TOUR: We Begin at the End - Chris Whitaker


With the staggering intensity of James Lee Burke and the absorbing narrative of Jane Harper's The DryWe Begin at the End is a powerful novel about absolute love and the lengths we will go to keep our family safe. This is a story about good and evil and how life is lived somewhere in between.

'You can't save someone that doesn't want to be saved . . .'

Thirty years ago, Vincent King became a killer.

Now, he's been released from prison and is back in his hometown of Cape Haven, California. Not everyone is pleased to see him. Like Star Radley, his ex-girlfriend, and sister of the girl he killed.

Duchess Radley, Star's thirteen-year-old daughter, is part-carer, part-protector to her younger brother, Robin - and to her deeply troubled mother. But in trying to protect Star, Duchess inadvertently sets off a chain of events that will have tragic consequences not only for her family, but also the whole town.

Murder, revenge, retribution.

How far can we run from the past when the past seems doomed to repeat itself?


What did I think?

A new Chris Whitaker book is always something to get excited about and I didn't even read the synopsis of We Begin at the End before grabbing a copy.  I really enjoyed his previous novels, Tall Oaks and All The Wicked Girls, but I absolutely LOVED We Begin at the End.  This book is really something extraordinary!  It left me speechless and I honestly don't know how any review I write will do it justice but I'll give it a go.

The story is very character driven and there's a small cast of broken characters for us to get to know in the small town setting of Cape Haven.  Walk, the local police chief, is the glue that binds the strands of the story together as we read about his interaction with all of the main characters.  Walk's childhood friend, Vincent King, has just been released from prison after serving time for killing Star Radley's sister and the town must cope with his return home.  Star is perhaps the most broken character, struggling to make ends meet as a single parent to 13 year old Duchess and 6 year old Robin.  I also have to mention a character called Milton who likes to think he's up with the police lingo (10-4 and all that) but he keeps getting them wrong and it made me laugh every single time!  

It is Duchess who goes on to completely steal the show.  What an absolutely brilliant character!  She's tough, sassy, gutsy, prickly and cheeky but underneath that hard as nails outer shell is a caring, selfless young girl who gave up her childhood to look after her mother and brother.  I loved her sense of humour and quick, witty answers when she got challenged.  Duchess is such a well developed character that I felt as if I knew her and I was so completely invested in her story that I laughed and cried as events unfolded.

Chris Whitaker is such a talented author that We Begin at the End feels like an instant classic.  The writing is as flawless as the characters are flawed and I felt completely stunned when I finished reading it.  I love how Chris Whitaker writes a serious story but still manages to inject a bit of humour into his writing; Witty by name and witty by nature, obviously!

We Begin at the End is so flawless that I think Chris Whitaker may have written the perfect novel.  When a 5 star rating doesn't seem adequate, you know you've read an awesome book.  A stunning novel not to be missed and so very highly recommended.

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

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon




About the author:


Chris Whitaker was born in London and spent ten years working as a financial trader in the city.

His debut novel, Tall Oaks, won the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger.

Chris's second novel, All The Wicked Girls, was published in August 2017. He lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and two young sons.

Follow Chris on Social Media:
Twitter: @WhittyAuthor







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Thursday, 16 April 2020

Atone (A Taryn Winter Crime Thriller Book 2) - Karen Crawford


Retired Detective Taryn Winter returns to consult for Las Vegas Metro Detective Daniel Brady and FBI Special Agent Jenae Shannon. They are tracking an elusive opponent who has been watching them and learning their secrets - their vulnerabilities. 

After a near miss the first time, the three are determined to put an end to the killing spree, embarking upon an investigation that will take them to remote places in Nevada and Arizona. 

The killer is leaving a trail, hoping to lure them into a trap. But there are unexpected twists, sparking an evolution that could lead to more violence and unpredictable behavior. 

An obsession with Taryn Winter will bring the killer back to Las Vegas and force a second confrontation. Will their own vulnerabilities be used against them?

Will the Vegas trio be prepared for a new game with a ruthless killer?


What did I think?

I was totally blown away by Underbelly, the first book in the Taryn Winter series, which ends on a bit of a cliffhanger so I was chomping at the bit to read Atone.  As it's very much a continuation of the story, you do need to read Underbelly first in order to get the most out of Atone.  Also if you read them out of order, you'll find out who the killer is in Underbelly so I would definitely advise starting at the beginning of this outstanding series.

Picking up where Underbelly left off, we follow the killer out of Las Vegas and the focus is on them for the first half of the book.  Although I love reading about the working relationship between Taryn and Daniel, I really enjoyed seeing inside the mind of a murderer so I wasn't too disappointed at the shift in focus.  I usually don't have any empathy with the baddie but Karen Crawford really turns her character inside out and I found it made the killer more human than monster as they wrestle with their emotions and we learn about their past.

I can't really say anything about the superb plot as it could give too much away and spoil the story, especially if you haven't read Underbelly yet.  With plenty of shocks and surprises in store, Atone is as fast-paced, gritty and outstanding as Underbelly but the pair of them together are out of this world AMAZING.  If you'll forgive me for keep mentioning Underbelly, but the pair of them go together like two halves of the same whole and I really can't recommend them highly enough.

Atone is an outstanding, and very well named, conclusion to the story that started in Underbelly; Underbelly left me completely speechless but Karen Crawford has really hit one out of the park with Atone.  The writing is vivid and dramatic and I was so invested in the story that I had more than my fair share of gasp out loud moments.  The character development is excellent and as Karen Crawford gives us a glimpse inside their minds, I felt like I knew them personally.  I am most definitely a huge fan of the Taryn Winter Crime Thriller series and I can't wait to see what her next case might be.  

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

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

Sunday, 12 April 2020

BLOG TOUR: Mortmain Hall - Martin Edwards


WINNER OF THE CWA DIAMOND DAGGER 2020.
ENGLAND, 1930. Grieving widows are a familiar sight on London's Necropolis Railway. So when an elegant young woman in a black veil boards the funeral train, nobody guesses her true purpose.

But Rachel Savernake is not one of the mourners. She hopes to save a life – the life of a man who is supposed to be cold in the grave. But then a suspicious death on the railway track spurs her on to investigate a sequence of baffling mysteries: a death in a blazing car; a killing in a seaside bungalow; a tragic drowning in a frozen lake. Rachel believes that the cases are connected – but what possible link can there be?

Rich, ruthless and obsessed with her own dark notions of justice, she will not rest until she has discovered the truth. To find the answers to her questions she joins a house party on the eerie and remote North Yorkshire coast at Mortmain Hall, an estate. Her inquiries are helped – and sometimes hindered – by the impetuous young journalist Jacob Flint and an eccentric female criminologist with a dangerous fascination with perfect crimes...

Mortmain Hall is at once a gripping thriller and a classic whodunit puzzle: a Golden Age Gothic mystery, the finest novel yet from a modern master of crime writing.


What did I think?

I love a good old-fashioned murder mystery so I was very eager to read Mortmain Hall.  I thought the cover was very alluring and gives the impression of a Golden Age mystery, although the whirls and swirls also resembled the tangle my brain got into whilst reading.

I have to be completely honest and say that I really struggled with this book at first; there are just so many characters that I was completely overwhelmed.  I was so confused that I stopped reading at 60% and started it all over again, but made sure to write down many of the character names the second time around (I didn't write them all down but still had a huge list of over 40 characters).  Of course trying to concentrate on reading during a global pandemic doesn't help, especially when the story is so intricate.  I can say that it was definitely worth persevering with as the last third of the story is brilliant when all of the tangled threads unravel for the big reveal.

Mortmain Hall is the second book in the Rachel Savernake series, of which Gallows Court is the first.  As I had jumped in at book 2, I wondered if reading the books in order might help alleviate some of the confusion over the myriad characters.   So unless your brain can cope with such a huge cast of characters, I would definitely recommend reading Gallows Court first.

I loved the Cluefinder list at the end, listing 30 clues to the plot that were hidden within the narrative of the book.  I'm a really poor detective as I didn't pick up on any of them but I have to applaud Martin Edwards' inventiveness in hiding these clues in the book.  It was very eye-opening to read them at the end to see what I'd missed and it was a fine way to pay homage to detective novels of the Golden Age.

Intricate, clever and inventive, Mortmain Hall really does have the feel of a Golden Age detective novel.  Martin Edwards has really embraced the writing style of the era which results in a very authentic read.  

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

My rating:





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Saturday, 11 April 2020

BLOG TOUR: 8 1/2 Stone - Liz Jones


When I reach eight and a half stone... I will be able to shop in Topshop. I will be able to go swimming and not displace all the water and create a tsunami. I will fit in changing rooms without banging my elbows or exposing the moon of my arse through the curtain when I bend over. I will be able to fit behind the narrow benches at Ronnie Scott's to listen to jazz instead of being offered a chair at the end of the row. I'll be able to see my toes, which I haven't seen since 1996 without the aid of a selfie stick. I will be promoted and not have my desk moved to inside the stationery cupboard for being off-brand.


What did I think?

This has to be one of the funniest books I have ever read; I was laughing so much I had tears running down my face just from reading the very first page.  I mean I've always been suspicious of anyone who is able to whittle down their favourite chocolates to create a Top 10 so I have total respect for Pamela's honesty.  With a sweet tooth like mine, I don't think I could even narrow it down to a Top 20 but my number 1 will always be Maltesers, which is something I have in common with Pamela; she's a woman with great taste!

Unfortunately for Pamela, she may have great taste in chocolate but she certainly doesn't have great taste in men.  A lot of this is down to her own self-confidence and her unhappiness with her body; they do say that in order to be loved you must love yourself.  As someone who has struggled with her weight for many years, I could totally relate to Pamela and found it completely heartbreaking.  It's not very pleasant when you're constantly dieting and depriving yourself, especially when it seems like you can put on weight just by looking at a slice of cake.

As much as I found some of Pamela's stories funny, especially written with Liz Jones' amazing side-splitting sense of humour, it is very sobering at times when reading Pamela's innermost thoughts and insecurities.  Many women think that they're unloveable because they don't have the perfect body but I think it's good to remember that the perfection we are striving to achieve is more than likely an airbrushed fabrication.  It really made me think about how we judge each other unfairly when somebody may be over or underweight due to an underlying health condition.

I experienced a full spectrum of emotions when reading 8 1/2 Stone from laugh out loud funny to heartachingly poignant.  I'll never be able to pick up a copy of Marie Claire magazine again without laughing; I keep calling it the same name as Pamela and even typed it wrong at first.  A well deserved 5 stars for this brutally honest and absolutely hilarious debut from Liz Jones; this book needs to be on every woman's bookshelf.

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

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon




About the author:


Former Marie Claire editor-in-chief Liz Jones’ debut comic novel is inspired by her own long-term struggles with an eating disorder and takes an honest look at how women view their bodies, and themselves.

Liz has millions of readers across the world and was shortlisted five times in the last six years as Columnist of the Year at the British Press Awards and Columnist of the Year 2012 at the BSME awards. Editor-in-chief of Marie Claire - where she ran a high profile campaign to ban skinny models - fashion editor at the Daily Mail and now columnist at the Mail on Sunday, Liz grew up in Essex, and now lives in Richmond Yorkshire.

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Friday, 10 April 2020

BLOG TOUR: Strangers - C.L. Taylor


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.


What did I think?

You're always guaranteed a good read with a C.L. Taylor book and her new novel Strangers does not disappoint.  With a massive hook in Chapter 1 that drew me in immediately, I absolutely raced through the book and read it cover to cover over a 24 hour period, begrudgingly putting it down so I could go to sleep.

Strangers is well named as it is a bit strange; reading the backstories of three unrelated characters and wondering how they all end up being in the position where we are introduced to them in Chapter 1.  The three characters are all very different but hover around the periphery of Alice's life: Alice manages a clothes shop in Bristol Meads Shopping Centre, Gareth keeps a watchful eye over the centre as a security guard and Ursula is a shoplifter.

With three separate stories there's a lot going on, but not so much that it ever gets confusing.  Alice ends up with a stalker when she starts online dating, Gareth has his hands full looking after his elderly mum and Ursula is so desperate for somewhere to live that she moves in with creepy Ed.  Ed really made my skin crawl and if I was Ursula I'd rather sleep in my car than spend another night under his roof.  As well as what's happening in the characters' lives there is also a story of young men going missing in Bristol and I loved how C.L. Taylor adds social media posts of people chatting about this to bring the story to life and to keep it in our mind.  

Rather surprisingly, I don't think I had a preferred character; I loved reading about all of them and how they each cope with their own loneliness.  I felt for Alice suddenly finding herself single, Gareth putting his life on hold to look after his mum and Ursula who is punishing herself for something that happened in her past. While I was reading, I was wondering how these three separate stories could ever intertwine but of course C.L. Taylor does this magnificently.

Fast-paced, gripping, intriguing and completely addictive Strangers is another outstanding novel from C.L. Taylor, the queen of psychological thrillers.  Strangers is a top of the charts guaranteed bestseller and a 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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