#BlogBlitz : Game Players by Anita Waller @anitamayw : @BloodhoundBook @sarahhardy681 : #NetGalley #GamePlayers #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on “Game Players” by Anita Waller today as part of a blog tour by Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books. It is available to purchase from Amazon UK. My thanks to Sarah, Anita and Bloodhound for my copy of the book from NetGalley.

Synopsis:

When a gang of six children playing in their den in the woods spot a man burying drugs nearby, it marks the beginning of the end of their childhoods.

Unsure what to do, the children dig up the drugs and take them away. But when the dealer, who they watched bury the stash, shows up dead, the youngsters are thrown into turmoil.

Scared of what might happen, the children tell the police about the body they have discovered.

Meanwhile, a group of gangsters start searching for their missing drugs.

 Soon the children and their families become the target of the vicious criminals who will stop at nothing to retrieve their narcotics…

My Thoughts:

Well the synopsis definitely did the job for me when I agreed to read this book for the Book Blitz, it did not however prepare me for the journey contained within its pages and the emotions I would go through reading this story. Be prepared to put everything on hold when you pick up this book, for me it was a “one sitting read” a book that I could not put down.

The six children are a close-knit group and it was great to read a story about a group playing outside, making dens and basically building the bonds of a strong friendship. They definitely have each others backs and this really shows when they discover not only bag of drugs but then a body. They discuss the stages of what they will do and the possible outcomes of their actions. They did not however discuss every possible variable or outcome and I can say that I didn’t envisage the route this story would take.

This fast paced story had me with my heart in my mouth as I read how their childhood innocence was taken from them, the author has injected real emotion, feeling and absolutely shocking story lines within its pages as I read.

The children are fundamental to this story in making this story a really great read. The plot is twisted and although I am not going to give any details, believe when I say you will be horrified, shocked and if like me you really get into a story you will also go through the wringer. It is easy to follow and also quite detailed.

This for me was a book I absolutely loved. It had crime, mystery, suspense and murder that was wrapped around the story of six children and their families as well as a community. It showed the bond of friendship and how decisions they made were for their own justifiable reasons. This is an absolute Highly Recommended read from me.

About the Author:

 

unnamed (1)  Anita Waller was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire in 1946. She married Dave in 1967 and they have three adult children.

She began writing when she was around 8 years of age, writing ‘compositions’ at junior school that became books with chapters.

In 1995 she sent Beautiful to a publisher and as they reached the contract stage the publisher went into liquidation. As a result, the book was consigned to the attic in dejected disgust but in 2013 it was dragged out again for an enforced complete re-type. The original was written on an Amstrad 8256 and the only thing that remained was one hard copy.

Anita is not a typist and it was painfully reworked over two years, submitted to Bloodhound Books who, within three days of reading it, offered her a contract. 31 August 2015 saw its release into the wide world.

Following the outstanding success of Beautiful, she began a sequel on 27 December 2015, finishing it on 19 March 2016. The new novel, Angel, was launched on 7 May 2016.
34 Days followed, with its launch in October 2016. This was a huge success, particularly in the United States. While this, her third book in the psychological thriller genre, was flying out in all directions, she began work on her fourth book.

Winterscroft was a change in genre. It is a supernatural tale, set in Castleton, Derbyshire, and its release date was February 2017.

While she was writing Winterscroft, it became very clear from reading reviews that a sequel to 34 days was needed, and she began work on that. Bloodhound Books launched Strategy, on 10 August 2017.

Her next book, launched February 2018 and entitled Captor, is a psychological thriller, set exclusively in Sheffield. It was an instant success, both in the UK and the US.

The along came Game Players… once more set in Sheffield, the story involves a group of six children who have each other’s backs to a remarkable extent. The darker, criminal side of Sheffield is explored, and the book launch is 18 May 2018.
In her life away from the computer in the corner of her kitchen, she is a Sheffield Wednesday supporter with blue blood in her veins! The club was particularly helpful during the writing of 34 Days, as a couple of matches feature in the novel, along with Ross Wallace. Information was needed, and they provided it.

Her genre is murder – necessary murder.

Follow Anita on – Amazon Author Page – Facebook page – Website – Twitter

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#BlogTour : Decide To Hope by June A. Converse @JuneAConverse : @rararesources #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on “Decide To Hope” by June A. Converse as part of the Blog Tour by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. My thnaks to June for my copy and Rachel for my spot. Decide To Hope is available in paperback and eBook from Amazon UK and Amazon US

Synopsis:

An unimaginable trauma. A future that seems impossible. When your world shatters, how do you put it back together?

For 950 days, Kathleen Conners has struggled with that choice. Behind a scarf and sunglasses, she hides from the world, from herself, from The Event, from any future with anyone.

After receiving a box of letters from his deceased mother, Matt Nelson is shoved from his predictable, controlled life to a secluded beach in North Carolina. While trying to understand his mother’s intent, he discovers Kathleen.

Matt must choose whether to follow the path his mother orchestrated or rescue the woman who has captured his heart. When the only person Kathleen blames more than herself reappears, can Matt be the strength Kathleen needs to create a new life, or will he be forced to walk away if she decides the climb is too great?

My Thoughts:

Now I admit to being a little unsure whether to read this book when it landed in my in-box. I was in a bit of a grumpy mood and when I came back to the email the next day I decided that yes I did want to be part of the tour. Life can at times get in the way of things and how we deal with these things goes in some way to explaining what makes us react as we do. Why am I telling you this? Well, life for the two main characters Matt and Kathleen is what this book is about, though their life problems are very different to mine.

Matt is a high-flying tax attorney who has a job that is routine, the job it what he does and not who he is. Kathleen is a recluse dealing, or rather not really dealing with her past, she exists. They do not know each other but the connection is Matts mum and the letters she left to her son  regarding him and Kathleen. His mum saw a special something in Kathleen and hopes that he will see that same something. He cannot ask his mum anything about the letters as she had died recently, he has to decide if he wants to work his way through them.

The plot of this story is about two people who do not realise how to live life to the best they can, they are consumed with different things, Matt’s is his work and Kathleen’s is her past. They have to come to a realisation and make their own decisions as to how they want to experience life. Thy have to make the choice to Decide to Hope.

This book is a beautiful and also a hard book to read. At times I thought that Matt was overbearing, but actually he was taking control in order to help, but is he up to giving the strength that will be required. The story behind Kathleen is brutal and it is gradually teased out as the story progresses.

This is a story about two people and their battle. It is a story that brought me to tears several times with this incredible story. It has that raw, honest, brutal and awe-inspiring feel that gives a glimpse into others lives. The author has given me a glimpse into a side of mental illness at a level I am aware of but have not read about in this quite this way before.

This is a story that I would highly recommend to readers of Womens Fiction.

About the Author:

June Converse Author Photo.jpg  June happily resides in Sandy Springs, Georgia, with her husband, Dave, and their dog, Sodapop.  They have two wonderful adult children and two grandchildren.  She is an enthusiastic exerciser and an accomplished cook.  She and her husband enjoy hiking with Sodapop, traveling, scuba diving, trying new restaurants, concerts, and whatever other adventures they can find.  Reading and a constant desire to learn keeps her busy too.

A trauma survivor who struggles with mental illness, June is continuously reaching for hope like the characters in her books.  She openly discusses her personal struggles on her blog, JuneConverse.com

Decide to Hope is her first novel and relies a great deal on her own experience with trauma, choices, recovery and hope.  If you’d like to discuss trauma, coping and recovery, contact her at JuneConverse.com or DecideToHope.com

Follow June on – Facebook – Twitter –  Website

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#BlogTour : The Old You by Louise Voss @LouiseVoss1 : @OrendaBooks @annecater : #BookReview #TheOldYou

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I am delighted to be finally sharing my thoughts on “The Old You” by Louise Voss as part of the tour by Anne Cater at Random Things Tours with Orenda Books and my biggest thanks go to them for my spot and copy of the book. The Old You is available from Amazon UK in eBook and Paperback formats.

Synopsis:

Nail-bitingly modern domestic noir
A tense, Hitchcockian psychological thriller
Louise Voss returns with her darkest, most chilling, novel yet…

Lynn Naismith gave up the job she loved when she married Ed, the love of her life, but it was worth it for the happy years they enjoyed together. Now, ten years on, Ed has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia, and things start to happen; things more sinister than missing keys and lost words. As some memories are forgotten, others, long buried, begin to surface … and Lynn’s perfect world begins to crumble.
But is it Ed’s mind playing tricks, or hers…?

My Thoughts:

How would you deal with your husband gradually loosing himself to early onset dementia? Personally it is something I hope never to have to experience though I know people who have had to deal with it. The author takes dementia and how it impacts not only the sufferer but those around them. Then she takes it on a route that I never saw coming as she took me on a suspense filled and breathtaking journey.

The start of this book really sets up the life of Lynn and Ed as I followed then through the diagnosis and how Lynn can see how their lives will change. My heart went out to both of these characters initially, please note the word “initially” as this believe you me when I say that my thoughts definitely made a massive u-turn!

The story does have a slight time slip element as I got to learn about Lynn in her life before she met Ed and how she met him. I almost dropped my book at this point, and from that point on the sinister and frighteningly realistic story really starts to make itself felt.

I want to say that I had a little hint of a something in the story, but as I reflect back I didn’t work anything out, the author just played games as she let teasing little pieces of information out. By the end of the book I was a little stunned, i should add in a good way, and it took me quite a while to write my review on paper as I was trying to work out what I had read. The twists and jaw dropping realisation that the author has managed to work into this story is brilliant. The plot is devious and manipulative as I learnt, experienced and saw through Lynn’s eyes what was happening around her.

This is a book that caught my attention from the get go and subtlety drew me into a world that was addictive and a real eye opener. By the end of the story my thoughts on the characters had changed so much. If you want a story with a definitely sinister, dark, manipulative and psychologically twisted route then this is the book for you. Billed as having a feel of Hitchcock and a domestic noir, and yes I completely agree with this. It is an addictive and brilliant read, one I would Highly Recommend it is an absolute cracker.

About the Author:

Louise VossOver her eighteen-year writing career, Louise Voss has had books out via pretty much every publishing model there is, from deals with major traditional publishing houses (Transworld and Harper Collins), to digital-only (the Amazon-owned Thomas & Mercer) and self-publishing – she and co-author Mark Edwards were the first UK indie-published authors to hit the No. 1 spot on Amazon back in 2011. She has had eleven novels published in total, five solo and six co-written, a combination of psychological thrillers, police procedurals and contemporary fiction. Louise has an MA(Dist) in Creative Writing and also works as a literary consultant and mentor for writers at http://www.thewritingcoach.co.uk. She lives in South-West London and is a proud member of two female crime-writing collectives, The Slice Girls and Killer Women.

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#BlogTour : No Remorse by Robert Crouch @robertcrouchuk : @CarolineBookBit : #BookReview

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I am delighted to be on the blog tour for “No Remorse” by Robert Crouch and the third instalment in The Kent Fisher Mystery Series. My thanks to Robert for my e copy and Caroline at Bits About Books for my spot on the tour. No Comment is available in eBook format from Amazon UK

Synopsis:

An old man dead. Dementia or murder? Threats won’t stop Kent Fisher from finding out.

At luxury retirement home, Nightingales, appearance matters more than the truth. But what is the truth? Was Anthony Trimble killed as he predicted? If so, who wanted him out of the way, and why?

Kent puzzles over the only clue Trimble left him. Do the numbers come from a takeaway menu or are they a mysterious code that could reveal his darkest secret?

As Kent digs deep, people start dying.

Will Kent win the race to discover the truth, or become the next victim?

Inspired by Agatha Christie and Sue Grafton, Robert Crouch brings a fresh voice and a new twist to the traditional murder mystery.

My Thoughts:

Oh I do like Kent Fisher and in this third book he definitely gets himself into more trouble. His day job as an Environmental Health Officer is becoming increasing more stressful with new workloads, schedules and reshuffles, his home is an animal sanctuary and during his spare time he visits a residential home with his dog Columbo as part of a therapy programme. It is during one of these visits that things feel just a little bit off.

If you have not read this series, then please take a tip from me and read them, another tip read them in order as you will get a real feeling for what makes this character. I am speaking from experience as I read book 2, then 1 and now I am in order for future book 🙂  This is a brilliant series that see’s Kent getting caught up in crimes and mysteries. This book follows certain thread from previous ones building on what we already know of Kent.

No Remorse brings in new faces as well as the key characters from the previous books. The story of a nursing home is the basis for a story that is in my opinion just a little darker than the others and taking various routes that I didn’t expect. There is a mystery for Kent to solve and one that will put him danger yet again. The plot is definitely one that gets you turning the pages as you try to discover what the clues add up to.

I really like the various threads that run through this story, it is not just about the mystery of a body. There is the ongoing problems with the sanctuary and it’s future, the continual battle with his EHO boss Danni who doesn’t seem to live in the real world as far as doing actual groundwork goes, (No! I’m not a fan of her either) and on top of that there is Kent’s love life, if you can call it that. You get a lot of story, well stories within a story from the author.

Mixed in with Kent’s unique detective / sleuth role is a sense of pride and doing the right thing. The right thing by the residents in the home, by the sanctuary and at work. He comes across as a very principled character but a sense of humour.

The author has a real love for the South Downs and his descriptions of the area allow this to come through as he describes the area and scenery as well as adding the odd historical snippet of information.

This is a series I would recommend for those who like a sleuth style, whodunit murder mystery. It has a darker atmospheric feel, with a great sense of tension, suspense and drama. A Highly Recommended from me xx

About the Author:

Robert Crouch Author Image With more baggage than an airport carousel, amateur detective, Kent Fisher, should appeal to readers looking for an alternative to the usual crime procedural and private detective novels.

Robert Crouch blends his extensive experience as an environmental health officer with inspiration from Sue Grafton, Agatha Christie and Peter James to offer a fresh interpretation of the traditional murder mystery novel.

If you’re partial to a baffling whodunit with a complex twisting plot, engaging characters and a unique amateur detective, the Kent Fisher mysteries may be just what you’re looking for.

Now writing full time, Robert lives with his wife and their West Highland white terrier in Eastbourne. Together they enjoy reading, running and roaming the South Downs and beautiful countryside of the UK.

For monthly updates, offers and insights, you can sign up to the Kent Fisher Reader Group  or follow on Twitter.

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Blog Tour Poster No Remorse - Robert Crouch - Final Cover

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#BlogTour : a spoke in the wheel by Kathleen Jowitt @KathleenJowitt : #BookReview

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I am delighted to be on the blog tour for “a spoke in the wheel” by Kathleen Jowitt. My thanks to Kathleen for my copy and also for my spot on the tour. You can buy a copy at Amazon UK and is available in paperback or eBook format.

Synopsis:

The first thing I saw was the wheelchair.

The first thing she saw was the doper.

Ben Goddard is an embarrassment – as a cyclist, as an athlete, as a human being. And he knows it.

Now that he’s been exposed by a positive drugs test, his race wins and his work with disabled children mean nothing. He quits professional cycling in a hurry, sticks a pin in a map, and sets out to build a new life in a town where nobody knows who he is or what he’s done.

But when the first person he meets turns out to be a cycling fan, he finds out that it’s not going to be quite as easy as that.

Besides, Polly’s not just a cycling fan, she’s a former medical student with a chronic illness and strong opinions. Particularly when it comes to Ben Goddard…

My Thoughts:

Ben Hubbard is a disgraced drug taking cyclist. He wants to become anonymous as he walks away from his career, instead of trying to make excuses or trying to justify his actions. He leaves his family and his lifestyle and wants to start afresh. A chance encounter with flatmates Vicki and Polly gives him the chance to a take the first steps.

This is a book I wasn’t sure what to make of from the synopsis especially as I am not really a road cycling fan. Little things caught my eye and I am so glad they did because I started the book and devoured it in one sitting. I love books that surprise me and this is one that did that.

Three characters Ben, Vicki and Polly are very different in their personalities and come across as quite a rag-tag bunch. With various aspects of their lives that make them stand out you get to learn about Ben and his past and the way he is starting from scratch. Polly is a brilliantly blunt, no-nonsense person whose chronic illness means she is reliant on a wheelchair. Finally Vicki a workaholic who likes to give people a chance and I think is something like the glue to the group.

So this is not just about cycling though it does play a role and has mentions throughout. What it is however is a story about three people and how they deal with life from three very different perspectives. Cycling is the unifying point of this group for various reasons and the author has found a wonderful balance and not allowed it to be the most important factor of the book. Kathleen allows each characters story to unfold and make themselves heard.

If you want a wonderfully addictive and absorbing character driven story then this is one I would highly recommend. It is not a depressing book by a long shot, and it is written in an honest and at times humorous way. The author has brought life to the characters on the pages as you experience the ups and downs of their lives in this realistic portrayal of three people.

My huge thanks to the author for bringing this book to my attention and for my honest thoughts on it and for my spot o the Blog Tour xx

About the Author:

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Kathleen Jowitt was born in Winchester, UK, and grew up deep in the Welsh Marches and, subsequently, on the Isle of Wight. After completing her undergraduate degree in English Literature at the University of Exeter she moved to Guildford and found herself working for a major trade union. She now lives in Cambridge, works in London, and writes on the train.

Her first novel, Speak Its Name, was the first self-published book ever to be shortlisted for the Betty Trask Prize.

Follow Kathleen on –  Website – Twitter – Facebook – Instagram – Amazon Author Page

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#BookReview : Wildcat by JP Harker @JP_Harker

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Today I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on “Wildcat” by JP Harker. This is available in paperback and eBook format from Amazon UK and is the first in The Caledon Saga.

Synopsis:

Rhianwyn of the Caderyn is conflicted about giving up a warrior’s life to become a wife and mother, but her love for her new husband is enough to at least make her consider it. However, with the conquering Gaians moving ever closer to her homeland a peaceful life may no longer be an option, for Rhia or for any of her people. With rival tribes, old suitors, and the dangerous General Lepidus to contend with, Rhia soon finds her new family in unprecedented danger, and her choices now must be about more than just herself… 

Wildcat takes place in a fantasy land inspired by Iron Age Britain and follows Rhianwyn’s story as she encounters a civilisation unlike any she could imagine, and is constantly forced to learn and adapt through trial after deadly trial.

My Thoughts:

Rhianwyn (Rhia) is a woman you really do not want to mess with. She, like other women, is a  warrior of the Caderyn, women fight beside the men and are just a ferocious and deadly. As with all things, nothing stays the same. Change is on the way as the Gaians gradually take over land and the people. A truce between the Calderyn and the Gaians is formed with Rhia and her sister Gwen starting a new life to keep the peace.

This is an absolute cracker of a read and the author has created a story that is heavy in elements of Iron Age Britain. The references and general feeling of the story show the authors obvious interest for the period and at times I forgot this was actually a fantasy read. When the tribes are conquered there you understand who by as the references to them of their lifestyle, training and language is apparent. The fight for power and control took me through underhand politics and battles as the story was laid out.

The plot evolves around Rhia and her life and her roles within a tribe and also as part of the conquers family. I really liked the way the author had done this as it showed a contrast between two cultures through one set of eyes. I was able to see different traditions, rituals and lifestyles while following Rhia’s journey. It shows several sides to her as a person and I loved the way she had evolved from the first meeting to years later.

The descriptive passages of the surroundings, people and their lifestyle I really enjoyed, there was plenty to build up a vivid image but without going over the top. The author has balanced it well within the story so as not to disrupt the flow of the story. It is a story that spans several years and you get to meet a great many characters especially at the beginning, but the time span allows the other characters to be gradually introduced.

Now this is a fair old lump of a book, it is 500+ pages long and I devoured it in two evenings and was thoroughly caught up in it. I liked the historical feel to it and as I mentioned before, forgot that it is a fantasy based read with a historical inspiration. It is one I would say is an Epic Fantasy rather than a series as it has a great depth of  plot and characters.

This is a book I would recommend to readers who like stories with elements Historical Fiction as well as fantasy. It is a book I completely lost myself in for several hours as it took me through a few emotions, especially towards the end. A series that I will definitely be reading more of and I would highly recommend this book to other readers.

About the Author:

JP Harker is the pen-name of James Thomas, an obsessive martial artist and history fanatic. A proud Welshman with just enough Saxon in him to make things interesting, James hails from glamorous Glamorgan, Old South Wales.

You can find JP Harker on Twitter  and his Website.

 

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#BlogBlitz : Under The Woods by KA Richardson @KerryAnn77 : @Bloodhoundbook @sarahhardy681 : #BookReview

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This is the fourth book by this author, but my first time reading one of her books.  “Under The Woods” by KA Richardson was published by Bloodhound Books yesterday. It is available for purchase from Amazon UK in eBook format.  My huge thanks to Sarah, Bloodhound and KA Richardson for my copy and my spot on the Blog Tour. I am including the four book link HERE for the series xx

Synopsis:

Looking for a fast-paced crime thriller? Then you’ll love the gripping Under The Woods.

When a homeless woman, Cheryl Whiffen, hears voices in her head telling her to do bad things, she can’t help but obey.

But when Cheryl becomes the victim of a serial killer who is collecting angels, this time the voices can’t help her. She is deemed not worthy of being an angel and the killer has to find another way to dispose of her body. 

TJ Tulley has connections in the police force – her brother Jacob is a digital forensic analyst and her soon to be sister-in-law is a CSI. She knows many of their colleagues so when someone breaks into her house at the riding stables she owns, it’s not a surprise when the police dispatch CSI Jackson Doherty.

Is there a link between a suspicious fire at the stables and the serial killer?

As TJ and Doherty get closer to the truth they don’t realise the danger they are in. He is a killer – he’s angry at their investigation and he’ll do just about anything to protect his angels… 

Also available in The Forensic Files:

I’ve Been Watching You

Time to Play

Watch You Burn

Under The Woods is the 4th book in the unmissable and best-selling Forensic Files. It will appeal to fans of authors like Joy Ellis, Faith Martin, Robert Byrndza and Angela Marsons.

My Thoughts:

A woman is abducted and no one knows about it. Her body is buried and no one knows where. Another is abducted and is only missed by a homeless person. TJ Tulley discovers a break in at her home at her home at the riding stables and thinks it could possibly be someone close by who is responsible.

I am all over the place with where to start My Thoughts on this books, I should add that this means it was so good I want to tell you all about all of the story. easy to say this is a great read as I read it in one sitting, yep it was that good. This is the fourth in the Forensic Files series and true to my usual form it is the first one I have read. Under the Woods can be read as a standalone but I do want to read the other books in this series,

This is a dark and addictive murder mystery read with various plot lines.  It is a procedural mystery but from the usually overlooked forensic side of the investigation. This is something that I really liked, normally CSI guys come in do their thing and are gone, where as in this they have more of a lead role within the story.

The character of TJ is really quite an intriguing one, she has a past medical condition that affects her everyday life.  This becomes more prominent as the story and her part in it unfolds and explanations are given as to what happened.The killer is unknown until the author lets you in on who it is, I did have an ever changing idea as to who it could be and I really liked this cat and mouse style game between myself and the author as I tried to work it out. He is one of those characters you will love to hate, he makes his presence felt from his own point of view within the story, and he is a very creepy and twisted individual. There are various members of TJ’s family and also of the CSI team that make an appearance and once you realise who thay are and their role they are easily identifiable.

If you like dark, multilayered, well written, addictive and absorbing crime, thriller, mystery suspense reads then this is one I would highly recommend. I am now off to buy the rest of the books in this series xx

About the Author:

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My name is Kerry-Ann Richardson (generally known as Kerry) and I write as KA Richardson. I started writing the North East Police series in 2010 when I was working towards my MA Creative Writing – I used the first 15000 words of With Deadly Intent as my dissertation. I passed my MA in 2011 and kept on writing. This all came about from working as a Crime Scene Investigator – I’d always written but when I was a CSI I went to see a psychic, Anthony, and he wanted to know why I wasn’t writing. He reminded me that it was my passion and said he could see me signing in Waterstones in 5 years. That was 5.5 years before my first ever signing in Waterstones so he wasn’t far wrong! 

I did the normal things writers do when their book is ready to go out into the world – submitted to agents etc. I got a few nice personal responses back – still saying no but being constructive and polite about it. I approached Darren Laws from Caffeine Nights whilst at a crime festival and he asked to see my work. He agreed to publish With Deadly Intent from there, and once that was out I approached Bloodhound Books as wanted to know if there was any other interest in my novels. Bloodhound came back within 24 hours and offered me a 3 book deal!  And I’ve since signed an additional 3 book deal with them which covers the series up to and including book 7! 

LinksWebsite – Twitter – Facebook – Amazon

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#BlogTour : Keeper by JohanaGustawsson @JoGustawsson : @OrendaBooks #RandomThingsTour @annecater : #BookReview #FrenchNoir #Keeper

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I am so delighted to be sharing my thoughts with you for “Keeper by Johana Gustawsson.  Published by Orenda Books and available from Amazon UK in paperback or eBook format.  My huge thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours, Orenda Books and Johana for my copy of this book and my spot on the Blog Tour.

Synopsis:

Whitechapel, 1888: London is bowed under Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror. London 2015: actress Julianne Bell is abducted in a case similar to the terrible Tower Hamlets murders of some ten years earlier, and harking back to the Ripper killings of a century before.

Falkenberg, Sweden, 2015: a woman’s body is found mutilated in a forest, her wounds identical to those of the Tower Hamlets victims. With the man arrested for the Tower Hamlets crimes already locked up, do the new killings mean he has a dangerous accomplice, or is a copy-cat serial killer on the loose?

Profiler Emily Roy and true-crime writer Alexis Castells again find themselves drawn into an intriguing case, with personal links that turn their world upside down…

My Thoughts:

This see’s the return of BIA Emily Roy and French True Crime writer Alexis Castells as they investigate a murder.  The work of an imprisoned serial killer comes into question when the same M.O is used.  Looking at possible connections from the past, this story is one that will have you eagerly turning the pages.

Having recently read Johana’s debut novel Block 46 I was looking forward to getting stuck into this one. Would I love Keeper as much as Block 46. I have to admit to no I didn’t love it as much, I loved it even more than the first.

Keeper has some of it’s plot in 1888 in London’s notorious Whitechapel and gradually works its way along side the present day setting until they are both connected.  It is a style I really like in the previous book and was glad to see it being used again.  I enjoy this dual timeline style setting that the author uses, it is  like you are getting two stories for the price of one and the connections are not really seen until they are being brought to their climax.

The characters are a mix of old and new faces, not so much police investigative as more profiler and researcher investigations.  This is something that is a refreshing change, as much as I love police procedural investigations I like to see read something that is a little bit different. One of the new characters is that of Aliénor Lindburgh a very analytical and logic based character, one I would like to see again and learn more about.

The plot… where to begin…. well its complex, it’s brutal and made me wince as I read. It takes in the various timelines and also various stories and I really don’t want to say anymore.  In fact that is all I am going to say id that the plot is a really strategic one and you have to read it to believe it.  As the end was approaching I still had no idea as to how the ending would play out and I was nowhere close to working it out either.

There is one final but also very important mention that I think deserves a big recognition here, that is the translator Maxim Jakubowski. His flawless translation gives those of us, including me, who only read or speak only one language a chance to read a book that would otherwise be unknown.

This is now the second book by this author I have read, and I can honestly say Johana is one of those authors whose books I would most probably buy without reading the synopsis. For me she is a must read author who shows an intense, deeply thought out and intricate way of telling her stories. If you like your crime to be full of darkness and your thrillers to be hard-hitting then you must definitely get a copy of this book. A definite HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from me xx

About the Author:

Johana PicBorn in 1978 in Marseille and with a degree in political science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French press and television. She married a Swede and now lives in London. She was the co-author of a bestseller, On se retrouvera, published by Fayard Noir in France, whose television adaptation drew over 7 million viewers in June 2015. Her debut, Block 46, was an award-winning, international bestseller, with Keeper following suit. She is working on the next book in the Roy & Castells series.
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#BlogTour : The Ice Swimmer by Kjell Ola Dahl @ko_dahl : #TheIceSwimmer #NordicNoir @OrendaBooks #RandomThingsTours @annecater #BookReview

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I am delighted to be part of the blog tour for “The Ice Swimmer” by Kjell Ola Dahl. This book is available in various formats and published by Orenda Books.  My thanks to Orenda, Kjell and also Anne Cater for my copy of the book and also my spot on the tour.

Synopsis:

The Oslo Detectives are back in another slice of gripping, dark Nordic Noir… Introducing Detective Lena Stigersand Award-winning, critically acclaimed and international bestselling author

When a dead man is lifted from the freezing waters of Oslo Harbour just before Christmas, Detective Lena Stigersand’s stressful life suddenly becomes even more complicated. Not only is she dealing with a cancer scare, a stalker and an untrustworthy boyfriend, but it seems both a politician and Norway’s security services might be involved in the murder. With her trusted colleagues, Gunnarstranda and Frølich, at her side, Lena digs deep into the case and finds that it not only goes to the heart of the Norwegian establishment, but it might be rather to close to her personal life for comfort.

Dark, complex and nail-bitingly tense, The Ice Swimmer is the latest and most unforgettable instalment in the critically acclaimed Oslo Detective series, by the godfather of Nordic Noir.

My Thoughts:

Lena Stigersand is called to attend the scene of a drowned man in the freezing waters of Oslo Harbour.  Her colleague Gunnerstranda is working on another case of suicide.  Amongst these cases a letter threatening a Member of Parliament arrives.

This book is broken down into chapters that then have several sub chapters, I found this really helpful as it meant I could get used to the names of the various characters and familiarise myself with their names. As the investigations proceed the presence of the other characters make themselves known and not always in the best of ways. I soon found myself getting used to their names, and some I am sure I have not  pronounced  correctly.

There are several plots that run together and the author has done a wonderful job of not blurring or mixing them up, this is where I think the sub-chapters really help.  I found myself taken around the streets of Oslo as well as the back alleys and also underground into tunnels. As well as this I discovered a variety of food that certainly whet my appetite and also a few Christmas traditions. By adding these little steps away from the hustle and bustle of the investigations it gave me a chance to almost catch my breath for a moment before being taken off again into the story.

Obviously murder and crime feature in this book, but the author focuses also on finding the who’s and the why’s of the case.  But also there is a good amount about Lena, the main protagonist in her personal life and newly diagnosis condition. She comes across as a mix of a logical thinking but also one that rushes headlong into trouble sort of person as well as being a guarded character regarding her personal life.

So this is a book I would highly recommend to readers of Nordic Noir, Crime, Mystery and Thriller genres.  It is a brilliantly twisted in a complex and well laid out story, with various investigations unfolding and all being brought to a satisfying conclusion. My first time reading a book by this author and it will not be my last.

About the Author:

Dahl-Kjell-Ola_Foto-Rolf-M-Aagaard.jpgOne of the godfathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Kjell Ola Dahl was born in 1958 in Gjøvik. He made his debut in 1993, and has since published eleven novels, the most prominent of which is a series of police procedurals cum psychological thrillers featuring investigators Gunnarstranda and Frølich. In 2000 he won the Riverton Prize for The Last Fix and he won both the prestigious Brage and Riverton Prizes for The Courier in 2015. His work has been published in 14 countries and sold over two million copies. He lives in Oslo.

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#BookReview : Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson translated by Maxim Jacubowski @JoGustawsson : @OrendaBooks

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Today I have my thoughts on “Block 46” by Johana Gustawsson and translated by Maxim Jacubowski. Published by Orenda Books and available in various formats from Amazon Uk and other book sellers.

Synopsis:

Falkenberg, Sweden. The mutilated body of talented young jewellery designer, Linnea Blix, is found in a snow-swept marina. Hampstead Heath, London. The body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea’s. Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as a human again. Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald? Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea’s friend, French true-crime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light. Plumbing the darkness and the horrific evidence of the nature of evil, Block 46 is a multi-layered, sweeping and evocative thriller that heralds a stunning new voice in French Noir. 

WINNER: Nouvelle Plume D’Argent 2016 
For fans of The Missing, Dominique Manotti, Camilla Lackberg, Stieg Larsson

My Thoughts:

The body of Linnéa Blix is found in Falkberg, Sweden the wounds are similar to the body of a young boy found in London. Are the two connected, if so how? Running within this stroy is that of a Prisoner of War from the Buchenwald Concentration Camp his story runs from arriving at the camp through the years of his life. It will take the on loan Canadian Royal Mounted Police Profiler Emily Roy to try and find the pieces to this intense puzzle with French True Crime Writer Alexis Castells.

First of all, if you have not read this book then you need to take yourself off right this moment and get a copy.  If you have read this book, then why the hell didn’t you demand I read it?  This book has a time slip element to it and the author has done such a fantastic job bring the past up to date within this deeply tense, suspense filled thriller.

So what to say about this book without giving anything away? The depth of the plot is as creative as it is chilling, as the author relates and weaves several stories together in quick snappy chapters.  It is told from the perspective of key characters to give different opinions and viewpoints giving the reader a much bigger picture. The descriptions of the camp conditions and practices are detailed enough to allow the evil nature of the place and of some people to be felt.  But the way the author has dealt with this topic has been done with sensitivity and respect.

As I said earlier there are several story lines and they are gradually and expertly drawn together, adding more suspense, intrigue and intensity as she brings you closer to the end. The end was jaw dropping, unexpected and to use a cliche “I really did not see that one coming”, or in fact the next one… absolutely knocked me sideways.

I am going to share few lines from the first page of this book and I hope you can see why I was immediately hooked :

“He picks up his spade, gathers earth and spreads it out in the hole. A single shovelful and the legs are already covered; all that sticks out are the toes. Toes as smooth as pebbles, as cold as ice, that make him want to touch them with the tips of his fingers.”

So if you are a reader who likes suspense, crime, thriller, mystery reads that are hard hitting, strongly written, totally absorbing, addictive, brutal, outstanding read then you MUST READ this book.

About the Author:

Born in 1978 in Marseille and with a degree in political science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French press and television. She married a Swede and now lives in London. She was the co-author of a bestseller, On se retrouvera, published by Fayard Noir in France, whose television adaptation drew over 7 million viewers in June 2015. She is working on the next book in the Roy & Castells series.

Follow Johana on :  Twitter ~ or Website

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or a share would be amazing 🙂 xx