Monday 30 January 2023

BLOG TOUR: Fatal Dose (DC Mel Cotton Crime Series Book 3) - Brian Price

Death stalks Mexton
When a spate of poisonings hits the town of Mexton, DC Mel Cotton and her colleagues are left perplexed. All the deaths seem to be ingeniously planned and the police cannot see anything obvious to connect the victims.

Is a vigilante at work?
Jenny Pike, reporter for the Mexton Messenger, seems to think there’s a link and she’s not afraid to publish her controversial theories. All the victims seem to have got away with harming people in some way. Is that the connection?

Fear from the East
Already stretched to the limit, Mel and her colleagues also face another huge challenge. A ruthless Albanian gang has launched a crime wave in the area and someone has murdered a notorious blackmailer.

How will the team cope? With a serial poisoner at large, is anyone safe?

Fatal Dose is the thrilling sequel to the critically-acclaimed Fatal Trade and Fatal Hate by the brilliant Brian Price

What did I think?

I don't know what they're putting in their authors' tea at Hobeck Towers but there's something special about the third book in a series at the moment.  I enjoyed Fatal Trade and Fatal Hate but Fatal Dose takes this fantastic series to the next level.  It is absolutely outstanding and I loved it.

Although it's the third book in the DC Mel Cotton series, you could read it as a standalone and enjoy it, but it's well worth reading the series in order to follow the characters as you really get to know them throughout the series.

I loved the poisoning storyline and the murders happen so quickly that the police are stretched to their limit.  The headlines almost write themselves for local reporter, Jenny Pike, and she has no qualms about creating panic and fear for her readers.  Is she next on the killer's list though?

I really cannot praise Brian Price highly enough; the plot and the writing in Fatal Dose are both exceptional.  This is a crime series that is going from strength to strength.  The whole execution of the killer storyline is very cleverly done and I loved the other threads of the story that run alongside and keep the police very busy.  

Clever, gripping and very fast-paced, Fatal Dose is an outstanding police procedural that should not be missed.  Very highly recommended.

I received an ARC to read and review for the blog tour and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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Sunday 29 January 2023

Emergence (The Necropolis Series Book 4) - Guy Portman

There’s no stopping this young sociopath.

Teenager Horatio hates his mother’s boyfriend, and there is nothing his long-suffering single mum or half-sister can do about it. The tension soon boils over into school when he attacks the class bully.

While suspended, Horatio has plenty of time to plot revenge against the man he holds responsible for all his problems. It won’t take the adventurous adolescent long to stumble across a depraved and degrading solution.

Now all he needs to do is keep deceiving the psychiatrist and wait for an opportunity to strike.

This suspenseful story will appeal to aficionados of psychological fiction and darkly humorous crime.

What did I think?

I absolutely love the Necropolis series and I was intrigued to see what direction it would go in after the dramatic events of book 3.  The first three books in the series follow Dyson Devereux as he kills everyone he doesn't like and book four sees the emergence (see what I did there?) of Dyson's son Horatio who has the same homicidal tendencies.

Whilst I didn't warm to Horatio as much as Dyson, Emergence is another dark and entertaining novel in this fantastic series.  I just loved reading Horatio's thought processes as he plans to murder his first victim.  Murder shouldn't be so funny but Guy Portman creates such vivid imagery of almost farcical situations that I couldn't hold my laughter in.  Just thinking about it now makes me chuckle.

Horatio is one clever sociopath as he deceives everyone around him, but the reader is privy to his innermost thoughts and can see how very dark he is underneath.  He's perhaps not as clever as his father (yet) but I'm sure he'll leave a trail of bodies in his wake as we hopefully see him develop over future novels.  More please, Mr Portman!

Emergence is as hilarious as it is dark and it's a fascinating and highly entertaining insight into the mind of a sociopath,  If you're just picking up this brilliant series now, Emergence can definitely be read as a standalone, but I very highly recommend the earlier books in the series.

Many thanks to the author for sending me an ARC to read and review; this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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Thursday 26 January 2023

BLOG TOUR: Cut and Shut (Louise Miller Crime Series Book 3) - Jonathan Peace

June, 1989

Tensions are high - tempers short
Following a stupid, drunken car theft, the tragic deaths of three local lads uncovers a powder keg of racial intolerance and bigotry.

A vicious attack
When two Muslim brothers are violently attacked, Louise sees her hometown with jaded eyes, shocked that so many of her colleagues are reluctant to get involved or help in any way those they once called neighbours.

A terrible truth
As she investigates, Louise, accompanied by WDC Hines and psychologist Karla Hayes, discovers links between the car theft and the assault but worse; the racial tensions that now threaten to tear the community apart, have masked an even darker crime – one that has gone long undiscovered, but will have devastating consequences.

What did I think?

Cut and Shut is the third book in the Louise Miller crime series and I think that it is the best one yet.  I've loved the previous two books, but it really feels as if Jonathan Peace has upped the ante with his third book in the series.  Although you can read each novel as a standalone, I'm reading the series in order and it's very rewarding to see the character development.  

Racial tension is as taut as a bowstring in 1989 West Yorkshire and it's quite difficult to read about the misogynistic and racist mindset of the 1980s.  It's frightening that it doesn't feel like that long ago, although I feel old when I realise this book was actually set 33 years ago.

With car theft, hate crime and the discovery of some gruesome remains that even made the police vomit, there's a lot going on in this novel and I was riveted from start to finish.  There's also a little bit of crossover from the previous book which tidies up some loose ends, but it's written in such a way that any readers new to the series will not be disadvantaged.

Gripping, atmospheric and clever, Cut and Shut is a fantastic novel that brings the darkness of the 1980s back to life, as discomforting and difficult to read as it is.  Brilliantly written with a razor-sharp plot, Cut and Shut is outstanding crime fiction and a very highly recommended read.  I'm already excited to see what's in store for Louise Miller in book 4.

I received an ARC to read and review for the blog tour and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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Monday 23 January 2023

The Footage That Shook America (The America Trilogy Book 2) - David B. Lyons

Smile. You're on camera. Everywhere you go.
— A conwoman. A cop. A gentleman. A rebel. —

In a small suburb of Connecticut, and totally unaware of each other, four lives are about to collide.

But will their lives entangle before experienced cop, Nate Bennett, and rookie cop, Maggie Zucha, complete their investigation of tracking down footage that, if released, will shake America to its very core?

Their detective skills are put to the toughest test, but they'll need to be quick because they’re not the only ones searching for this story… and whoever finds it first will hold all the power.

...but just what is on that footage?

Will you see it coming?

The Footage That Shook America is the sequel to the controversial bestselling novel In The Middle of Middle America and is the second book of a trilogy based on the escapades of television news anchor Sarah-Jane Zdanski.

What did I think?

I read The Footage That Shook America a while ago but I've only just got round to posting my review as words completely failed me after I turned the final page - mind officially blown!  I was gripped from start to finish and I couldn't read fast enough to find out what the footage was, but that's not even the best part as there's so much more to this outstanding novel.

Love her or hate her, Sarah-Jane Zdanski once again takes centre stage in this second book in The America Trilogy.  We already know how ruthless she is and that's why she's such a successful news anchor.  The story is told from several different viewpoints and it's like gathering all the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, but the picture doesn't become clear until you have all the pieces.

It's impossible to predict and I was filled with rage and indignation as the story played out but oh how I enjoyed every single second of it.  The writing is as breathtaking as the plot and David B. Lyons has such an inimitable style that makes him one of my favourite and most recommended authors.

The Footage That Shook America is so exquisitely clever; David B. Lyons goes straight to the top of the class with five gold stars.  Very highly recommended.

Saturday 21 January 2023

BLOG TOUR: A Winter Grave - Peter May

From the twelve-million copy bestselling author of the Lewis trilogy comes a chilling new mystery set in the isolated Scottish Highlands.


A young meteorologist checking a mountain top weather station in Kinlochleven discovers the body of a missing man entombed in ice.


Cameron Brodie, a Glasgow detective, sets out on a hazardous journey to the isolated and ice-bound village. He has his own reasons for wanting to investigate a murder case so far from his beat.


Brodie must face up to the ghosts of his past and to a killer determined to bury forever the chilling secret that his investigation threatens to expose.

Set against a backdrop of a frighteningly plausible near-future, A WINTER GRAVE is Peter May at his page-turning, passionate and provocative best.

What did I think?

Peter May has done it again!  This is an author who is consistently at the top of his game and his new crime thriller, A Winter Grave, is outstanding (and a little mind-blowing).

One of the things that I've remarked on in the past is Peter May's attention to detail and the depth of his research, but this book is set in 2051.  How do you research the future?  If anyone can, the Master of Meticulous Research can.  This is no Back to the Future style fun with hoverboards and flying cars, this is a highly imaginative and scarily realistic future based on fact and environmental warnings that should not be ignored.

With a strong emphasis on climate awareness throughout, this is a gripping crime thriller.  The discovery of the body in the prologue is unforgettable - it's so vivid and unusual that I think it has been seared into my brain.  The story has several facets that intrigue and entertain from start to finish, particularly the fractured relationship between two characters: the daughter who discovers the body and the father who is sent to investigate the murder.

I just loved everything about this book: the stunning, multi-layered plot, the character relationships, the remote and chilling location, the flawless writing and the powerful and incredibly sobering message.  We must act now before it's too late; this is a future that we should all hope doesn't become a reality.

A Winter Grave is a futuristic thriller that chilled me to the bone, so wear your thermals to read this one.  It's an absolute must-read and I can't recommend it highly enough.  It's jaw-dropping, it's mind-blowing, it's exceptional, it's Peter May!  An easy five stars.

I received an ARC to read and review for the blog tour and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

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Don't miss the chance to see Peter May in real life!  He has a number of upcoming events in Scotland.  Click on the location to order tickets:
Monday 23rd January – Glasgow
Tuesday 24th January – Inverness
Wednesday 25th January – Perth
Thursday 26th January – Waterstones Dundee – formal signing at 12 midday – 1pm
                                         Toppings, St Andrews at 7.30pm - event
Friday 27th January – Waterstones Edinburgh – formal signing at 3pm – 4pm
                                    Toppings, Edinburgh at 7pm

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Friday 20 January 2023

BLOG TOUR: The House That Made Us - Alice Cavanagh

One Day meets Up: The House That Made Us is a love story – and a life story – told through a series of photographs and based on a true story
When Mac and Marie marry and find a home of their own, Mac takes a snap of themselves outside their newbuild bungalow, the garden bare and the paint on the front door still wet. It becomes a tradition, this snap, and slowly the photographs build into an album of a fifty-year partnership.
Every year they take a photo and though things change around them – the garden matures, the fashions change, they grow older – the one constant is their love. Every year, come rain, come shine, from the Seventies through the decades, every photo tells the story of their love.
Until the last photo, where the couple becomes one, and their story comes to an end…

What did I think?

Oh my goodness, I am a total blubbering mess after reading this outstanding book.  Knowing that it was based on a true story, I was reaching for my tissues just reading the dedication at the front, and that wasn't the only tear I shed.  Yes, it's heartbreaking but it is filled with so much love and I enjoyed every beautiful moment.

I simply adored Mac and Marie and how their story played out over a series of photographs in a treasured album.  It's an album that has found its way into new hands where each photo is discovered for the very first time.  It's a dual storyline of sorts, as the photo album is being looked at in the present day and each photo tells a story from the past.   

The characters are larger than life and Mac and Marie instantly found a way into my heart.  It's nostalgic at times as the decades pass and colour choices fade but Mac and Marie's love grows stronger.  Every anniversary they take a photo in front of their house and I couldn't read fast enough to discover their story, whilst simultaneously dreading the final chapter as I was so emotionally invested.

Emotional doesn't even begin to describe The House That Made Us and to say that Alice Cavanagh put me through the emotional wringer is an understatement, however, it's an emotional journey I feel privileged to have been on.

Beautifully written and filled with heart and soul, The House That Made Us is a stunning novel of a full and happy life, with inevitable tears at the end (and the beginning and everywhere in between).  Have your hankies at the ready as you discover Mac and Marie's story for yourself.  An easy five stars and more - completely unmissable and very highly recommended.

I received an ARC to read and review for the blog tour and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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Tuesday 17 January 2023

BLOG TOUR: My (extra)Ordinary Life - Rebecca Ryan

Have you ever wondered how normal you are? 
What if you were perfectly average? 
More than anyone else. 

For Emily – it's true. When she watches a documentary on the average human she sees her life. Her job, her hair, her favourite food. All of her – plainly, horrifically average. Even her blood group. Right there and then, she decides she wants more. 

She'll travel the world (i.e. venture out of her hometown)

She'll become a vegan (it's interesting to hate cheese, right?) 

She'll do something daring (As long as it's safety tested) 

Nothing will stand in the way of Emily living her best life. Not even Josh and his dimples. Because she absolutely can't fall in love... that would be too ordinary. 

And from now on, Emily is going to be extraordinary. 

What did I think?

My (extra)Ordinary Life is an absolutely fantastic debut from Rebecca Ryan; it's a feel-good hug in a book that really puts the reader through the emotional wringer.  It's a romcom with all the feels.

Emily Turner is average and whilst I would say there's nothing wrong with that, the whole reasoning behind why Emily wants to be extraordinary is completely heart-wrenching.  After this wake-up call, Emily creates The Life List and over the next few months, she will do things that ordinary Emily would never have done.  Apart from fall in love - that's not part of the plan at all.

Oh my goodness, I didn't think I had particularly connected with Emily but I found myself choking back tears at the end; in a happy/sad kind of way.  Just seeing a little glimpse of her in the mirror makes my heart ache and I could completely understand why she wanted more from her life.  

It's so beautifully written and I alternated between laughing out loud and holding back tears as I experienced not just a rollercoaster of emotions, but a helter-skelter and bungee jump range of emotions too.  I would love to see it made into a film but I can't promise I wouldn't cry at the end.

Charming, funny and completely wonderful, be prepared to laugh, cry and everything in between when you read My (extra)Ordinary Life.  I loved it!

I received an ARC to read and review for the blog tour and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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Wednesday 11 January 2023

BLOG TOUR: The Hiking Trip - Jenny Blackhurst

Don’t trust everyone you meet here…

A young British backpacker goes missing on the West Coast Trail.

No one is sure whether she died or simply disappeared.

Apart from Laura.

Twenty years later, a body has been found.

And there’s only one person who could reveal the secret that Laura’s been hiding all this time.

But she knows that two can keep a secret.


A tense and suspenseful thriller perfect for fans of M.J. Ford and Susi Holliday.

What did I think?

You're always guaranteed a good read with a Jenny Blackhurst novel and The Hiking Trip is no exception.  I really enjoyed it, even though I did manage to work out one of the twists (but then it was a 50/50 chance, so I'm really not that clever).

It's a dual timeline novel set in 1999 and 2024. In 1999 we follow Maisie as she sets off on adventure to go hiking in Canada.  She was let down by her friend so she's on her own but she soon befriends fellow hikers Sera and Ric.  25 years later, Laura's world is rocked when bones are discovered in Canada...

Well, I just couldn't read fast enough to discover all the secrets of The Hiking Trip.  Both Maisie's and Laura's stories had me gripped like a vice and I had to constantly stop my eyes from skipping ahead on the page.  It's non-stop entertainment with lashings of mystery, intrigue and danger woven throughout both storylines.

Fast-paced, gripping and highly addictive, The Hiking Trip is another great read from Jenny Blackhurst; she is a fantastic author and I absolutely love reading her books.

I received a digital ARC to read and review for the Instagram tour and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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Thursday 5 January 2023

Golgotha (The Necropolis Series Book 3) - Guy Portman

This sociopath is spiralling out of control.

Dyson Devereux is languishing in an Italian prison awaiting trial for murder. His capricious paramour Alegra is desperate for him to be released, so they can start a new life together. But all Dyson wants is to be back in the UK with his treasured mementos.

Time inside has not abated Dyson’s violent urges, and it won’t be long until he is hunting new additions for his collection. He will need to be wary, for hell hath no fury like a sociopath scorned.

Golgotha is a funny, frenzied crime novel boasting a sinister and sardonic protagonist.

Grab your copy and settle in for the ride.

What did I think?

The Necropolis Series is definitely my favourite series at the moment and I can't get enough of my favourite sociopath, Dyson Devereux, so I'm delighted that Golgotha is my first book review of 2023.  Golgotha is the third book in the series and it picks up where Sepultura left off, so it's advisable to read the series in order.

After a work trip turned deadly, Dyson is stuck in an Italian prison.  He's hundreds of miles away from his treasured memento collection and of course his son.  Without being able to be soothed by her particular token, Dyson's dreams are haunted by his cousin and his first kill.  He needs to get home to his precious fly fishing tin.

Dyson hooked up with a woman he met through work on his trip to Italy and Alegra has stood by him while he's in prison.  When Alegra is no further use to him, Dyson drops her like a stone and if she doesn't let him go quietly, she might be the next kill on his list.  I'm not saying another word about the fantastic plot but suffice to say that I loved every second of it.

I just love Dyson, in the same way that I loved Dexter on TV; you know what he's doing is very wrong but you can't help rooting for him and hoping that he doesn't get caught.  This would be a brilliant Netflix series and I'd love to see Dyson brought to life on our screens. 

Highly original and incredibly entertaining, Golgotha is absolutely brilliant from start to finish; it's dark and gory at times but Guy Portman weaves his wonderfully dry humour throughout the prose and it's impossible not to laugh out loud at times.  I love it so much I'm already planning to read the series again from the start.

An easy five stars - very highly recommended.

I received a digital ARC from the author and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

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