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Archive for October, 2016

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Published: 13 October 2016
Reviewed: 31 October 2016

5 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by Bookouture in return for an honest review

 

Description:

Imagine you are having lunch at an exclusive restaurant, filled with Hollywood’s hottest stars.

And a masked gunman walks in and takes everyone hostage.

You must bargain for your life against a twisted individual who knows everything about you.

He also has a bomb set to detonate if his heart rate changes.

If he dies. You die.

You have four hours to stay alive.

What would you do?

A heart-stopping thriller with plenty of twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat, for fans of Peter Swanson, Harlan Coben and Linwood Barclay.

My Thoughts & Review:

When I first saw this book mentioned on social media I knew it would be a book that I would regret not finding out more about.

James Carol writes a wonderfully tense thriller, one that instantly grabs the reader and is action packed throughout.  It’s the sort of book that holds the reader in it’s grasp, entirely at it’s mercy and leaves them reeling!

The story is well plotted, rich in action and drama.  The characters are well created, engaging and fully fleshed out.  The idea that the plot is set over a four hour period adds to the appeal of this book, it instantly conjures the idea that this will be a racy and adrenalines filled read and for those readers who are sceptical and want to see if it really is possible to plot a story that is set in a 4 hour period I suggest you read this and prepare to be amazed by Carol’s skill as an author.
There are characters in this that are likeable and there are ones that are utterly abhorrent.  For me one of the best characters was the bomber, so cold, so calculating and so fascinatingly fear inducing, there were points that I felt anxious reading this at the unpredictability of this character.  Not knowing what this character would do next added to the intensity and to the frenetic reading pace.    The ending…..it’s just as thrilling as the beginning!

I would definitely say this is a book that begs to be on the big screen, it’s sensational.

You can buy a copy of The Killing Game here.

 

About the Author:

James Carol is the bestselling author of BROKEN DOLLS, the first in a series featuring former FBI profiler Jefferson Winter. The novel was released in the UK in January 2014 to rave reviews and reached number 1 on the Amazon fiction and thriller charts. In addition James is writing a series of eBooks set during Winter’s FBI days. PRESUMED GUILTY is the first of these. Under the pseudonym J.S. Carol, he has also written THE KILLING GAME.

James was born in Scotland and moved to England in the early-eighties. At various times he has worked as a guitarist, sound engineer, guitar tutor, journalist, and a horse riding instructor. When he’s not writing, James spends his time training horses and riders. An accomplished guitarist, he relaxes by writing and recording music. He lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and two children.

For more information go to: www.james-carol.com or follow James on Twitter @JamesCarolBooks

 

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Published: 6 October 2016
Reviewed: 27 October 2016

5 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by Orion in return for an honest review

Description:

When editor Susan Ryeland is given the tattered manuscript of Alan Conway’s latest novel, she has little idea it will change her life. She’s worked with the revered crime writer for years and his detective, Atticus Pund, is renowned for solving crimes in the sleepy English villages of the 1950s. As Susan knows only too well, vintage crime sells handsomely. It’s just a shame that it means dealing with an author like Alan Conway…

But Conway’s latest tale of murder at Pye Hall is not quite what it seems. Yes, there are dead bodies and a host of intriguing suspects, but hidden in the pages of the manuscript there lies another story: a tale written between the very words on the page, telling of real-life jealousy, greed, ruthless ambition and murder.

From Sunday Times bestseller Anthony Horowitz comes Magpie Murders, his deliciously dark take on the cosy crime novel, brought bang- up-to-date with a fiendish modern twist.

My Thoughts & Review:

Magpie Murders harks back to the Golden Age of detective fiction, and I think that fans of Agatha Christie or Dorothy L Sayers will appreciate the clever mystery within a mystery of this book.

I have to admit that this is the first book by Horowitz that I have read and I’m really impressed with both the style of writing and the skill of the author.  Masterfully weaving two narratives throughout, Horowitz introduces the reader to Susan Ryeland, a wonderful character who is Head of Fiction at Cloverleaf Books.  It is through Susan that one thread of narrative is cleverly related to the reader, she begins to read a novel by Alan Conway, despite not being a fan of him on a personal level, she is very much a fan of his work.  His novel is about Atticus Punt,  a German detective who turned PI in the 1950s in England, the latest case involves a death in the village.  But as she nears the end of the tale, Susan realises the ending is missing, and more startlingly she discovers that the author has died.
What then follows is Susan’s attempts at sleuthing to discover the missing pages of Conway’s book and along the way she makes remarkable discoveries that seem to show a link between Conway’s life and what happened in his novel.

This wonderful technique of storytelling means that the reader is spoiled with two mysteries to ponder, and it does feel like a salute to the masters of Golden Age detective fiction with the clever use of puzzles in the ‘Magpie Murders’ to help solve the case in the present day.  Well fleshed out characters make this an entertaining read, Susan Ryeland is a great character who develops so well throughout the novel.  Alan Conway on the other hand is a hard character to like, and there are no shortage of motives for his possible murder.
The way in which Horowitz brings all the strands of each narrative and mysteries together is very well done, everything ties up nicely and once the final reveal is made you almost feel like berating yourself for missing the obvious clues scattered throughout and for being led astray by the red herrings – well played Mr Horowitz!

A very enjoyable read, with brilliant characters and an absolutely fantastic plot!

You can buy a copy of the Magpie Murders here.

 

 

About the Author:

Anthony Horowitz is the author of the number one bestselling Alex Rider books and The Power of Five series. He has enjoyed huge success as a writer for both children and adults, most recently with the latest adventure in the Alex Rider series, Russian Roulette and the highly acclaimed Sherlock Holmes novel, The House of Silk. His latest novel, Moriarty, is also set in the world of Sherlock Holmes and was published in October 2014. Anthony was also chosen by the Ian Fleming estate to write the new James Bond novel which will be published next year. Anthony has won numerous awards, including the Bookseller Association/Nielsen Author of the Year Award, the Children’s Book of the Year Award at the British Book Awards, and the Red House Children’s Book Award. In 2014 Anthony was awarded an OBE for Services to Literature. He has also created and written many major television series, including Injustice, Collision and the award-winning Foyle’s War.

For more information on Anthony’s books go to his website anthonyhorowitz.com or follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHorowitz

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Published: 17 March 2016
Reviewed: 24 October 2016

3.5 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by publisher in return for an honest review

 

Description:

The Hatton Garden Heist captured the public’s imagination more than another other crime since The Great Train Robbery. It was supposed to make a fortune for a team of old time professional criminals. Their last hurrah. A final lucrative job that would send the old codgers off on happy retirements to the badlands of Spain and beyond. It seemed to be the stuff of legends. Tens of millions of pounds worth of valuables grabbed from secretive safety deposit boxes in a vault beneath one of the most famous gold and jewellery districts in the world.

But where did it all go wrong for this band of old time villains? And why did the gang’s bid to pull off the world’s biggest burglary turn into a deadly game of cat and mouse featuring the police and London’s most dangerous crime lords?

Nobody is better placed to reveal the full story of the Hatton Garden Raid than Britain’s best-connected true crime writer Wensley Clarkson. Through his unique contacts inside the London underworld, he’s persuaded those who really know the truth to reveal the chilling details behind Britain’s biggest ever burglary.

My Thoughts & Review:

This is an informative look behind the scenes of a world that many readers may have little to no knowledge of, except from what they may have read or seen on screen – The London Underworld and organised crime.  This book gives a detailed insight into the workings of the criminal activity involved in the raid dubbed the Hatton Garden Heist, and Wensley Clarkson gives his unique perspective on the proceedings.

For the most part I felt that Clarkson wrote fairly about the individuals and their parts in the proceedings with openness and for the most part with impartiality.  Through his connections inside the London underworld Clarkson is able to methodically recount the details of the daring burglary but also to shine a light on the connection between this and the Brink’s-Mat Robbery which makes for fascinating reading.
Despite some of the material being similar if not the same as was reported in the media at the time of the burglary and subsequent court cases, Clarkson is able to provide his readers with background information about the gang members and give insights into their histories which makes for fascinating reading.

The pace of the book is good, it is quite a quick read and one that you can easily pick up and put down if you need to without losing track of what is going on.

The conundrum of Basil’s identity is a puzzle that will rattle around in my head for a while I feel.  I desperately want to put an identity to this ghost, tie it all up with a bow, but alas if even the members of the gang have no idea who he is, there is no chance I will ever know.

You can buy a copy of Sexy Beasts: The Inside Story of the Hatton Garden Heist here.

About the Author:

Wensley Clarkson is one of Britain’s most knowledgeable writers when it comes to the criminal underworld.  His books – published in more than thirty countries – have sold almost two  million copies.  He has also written movie screenplays and made numerous TV documentaries in the UK, US and Spain.

For more information on Wensley’s books go to his website http://wensleyclarkson.com or follow him on Twitter @wensleyclarkson

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Author: J.A. Schneider

Published: 21 October 2016
Reviewed: 25 October 2016

4 out of 5 stars
Copy supplied by the author in return for an honest review

 

Description:

A chilling psychological thriller about a woman caught between two men…
Mari Gill wakes to horror in a strange apartment next to a murdered man, and can’t remember the night before. Accused of murder, she feels torn between her husband, a successful defense attorney, and a mysterious, kind man who wants to help. Can she trust either of them – or even her friends? Detective Kerri Blasco battles her police bosses believing Mari is innocent…but is she?

My Thoughts & Review:

I was so excited when I saw an email from Joyce with the invitation to read and review her latest thriller Her Last Breath.  Having thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the series Fear Dreams I was keen to see how Detective Kerri Blasco would develop in this one.

This is a psychological thriller that utterly takes away the breath of the reader (you see what I did there?!).  Right from the very beginning Schneider draws the reader in and keeps them ensnared by beginning the book with a instant hit of action.

Waking up next to a murdered man means Mari Gill is in a horrendous position, on the verge of an asthma/panic attack she scrambles around for an asthma inhaler, she is just about to pass out when her life is saved by a stranger.  Who is he?  Where did he come from?

The clever plotting in this book means that the reader for the most part will be as much in the dark as the protagonist.  Mari’s paranoia builds with such intensity that at points I began to feel uncomfortable for her.  Trying to work out who the killer was and just who could be trusted in this were absolute head scratchers.  That coupled with the investigation by Detective Blasco who is determined solve the case make this a thrilling and addictive read.  Not the sort of book you can pick up as bedtime reading, you will be hooked until the end (in my case 4am….oops).

Character development in this is fantastic, it is good to see  Detective Blasco grow as a character and come more into her own, but equally it was interesting to see the crafty way that some characters were billed as “ordinary” but there was more to them than met the eye.

This is a clever psychological thriller, it gives the reader the feeling of being part of the action, feeling the intensity of the situations and the paranoia of Mari.  It’s one of those books that as you read you try to work out what’s going on and fail abysmally because the author cleverly weaves twists and turns into the narrative to keep the audience guessing.  I would absolutely recommend this book and indeed this author, I’ve only read two of her books so far but already I am a huge fan and will be eagerly waiting to see what she writes next!

You can buy a copy of Her Last Breath here.

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About The Author:

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J.A. (Joyce Anne) Schneider is a former staffer at Newsweek. Once a Liberal Arts major (French Literature), she has become increasingly fascinated with medicine, forensic science, and human psychology. Decades of being married to a physician who loves explaining medical concepts and reliving his experiences means that there’ll be medical angles even in “regular” thrillers that she writes. She lives with her family in Connecticut, USA.

Connect with Joyce:
Website: http://jaschneiderauthor.net
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5832782.J_A_Schneider
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoyceSchneider1
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joyce.schneider.142?fref=ts

 

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Published: 20 October 2016
Reviewed: 21 October 2016

5 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by Sphere / Little, Brown Book Group in return for an honest review

Description:

It’s Christmas in the Cornish coastal village of Mount Polbearne – a time for family, friends and feasting.

Polly Waterford loves running the Little Beach Street Bakery. She’s at her happiest when she’s creating delicious, doughy treats and the festive season always inspires her to bake and knead something extra special for the village residents. In fact, the only thing she loves more than her bakery is curling up with her gorgeous boyfriend, Huckle. She’s determined that this Christmas is going to be their best one yet, but life doesn’t always work out as planned…

When Polly’s best friend Kerensa turns up with a secret that threatens the life Polly and Huckle have built together, the future begins to look uncertain. And then a face from Polly’s past reappears and things become even more complicated. Polly can usually find solace in baking but she has a feeling that’s not going to be enough this time. Can she get things back on track so that everyone has a merry Christmas?

My Thoughts & Review:

As much as I am a fan of crime and psychological thrillers, there’s something about Jenny Colgan’s writing that makes me do a meerkat impression whenever I hear she has a new book coming out and this one was no exception.  Christmas at the Little Beach Street Bakery is a heartwarminly wonderful slice of Christmas and it sees the return to the beautifully described coastal village of Mount Polbearne.  Even more exciting was “seeing” one of my favourite characters – Neil the puffin.  Yes, ok the other characters are alright too I suppose…..

I should point out that you can read this book as a standalone, if you’re looking to start your Christmas reading list this is an excellent book to include.  You don’t have to read the entire series to make sense of what happens in this book, the who’s who and why etc but with a series as lovely as this why would you want to miss out on the preceding books?  They are Little Beach Street Bakery and Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery.

We are reunited with Polly Waterford who is a great character, with baking skills that would rival any in the tent at the Great British Bake Off I reckon.  She has grown so much over the course of the previous books and the development of her character has been wonderful to watch.  This Christmas all she wants is a quiet time with her boyfriend Huckle, but alas, things never go as planned for her.  Throw in familial issues, friendship worries, trying to save the puffin sanctuary and trying to juggle running a business and it’s only a matter of time before Polly is faced with making some uncomfortable decisions about her present and her future.  The test of her character comes when trying to remain loyal to those she loves and keeping them all from being hurt by revelations that could ruin everything.

I absolutely loved catching up with the residents of the wee village, their stories are intertwined and it’s so lovely to see the community spirit between them all.  The fact that Polly has “pet” puffin living with her and Huckle is so funny and endearing, even more so when Colgan depicts him as such a heat loving, affection giving bird – the idea of  him warming up by the Aga made me chuckle.  I also loved the fact that because he’s overweight Polly and Huckle took him for a walk….expect Neil had other ideas and slept in a backpack.

Jenny Colgan writes with such a wonderful flair, the vivid descriptiveness means the reader can easily visualise the village, the crossing to get over to the island (tide permitting), the people and the mouthwatering bakes that Polly creates.  There is an easy going feel to the narration, almost as if the reader was having a chat with Jenny, the conversational tone really works and makes this such an enjoyable read that you don’t realise how quickly you are reading the book whilst savouring each detail.

The plot is filled with humour, romance, loyalty and friendship.  The festive feel of it all is cozy and uplifting.  It’s the perfect Christmas read!

A huge thank you to Jenny for the recipes at the back of the book, but don’t think that this will let you off the hook for making this the last book in the series!  I will be sad to say goodbye to Mount Polbearne and the villagers – especially Neil but I can honestly say it’s been a real delight to follow such a lovely series.  And it does mean that I will have to move on to Jenny’s next set of books, whatever they shall be!

You can buy a copy of Christmas at the Little Beach Street Bakery here.

About the Author:

Jenny Colgan is the author of numerous bestselling novels – Little Beach Street Bakery and the Top 5 bestseller Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop of Dreams, which won the RNA Romantic Comedy Novel Award 2013. Meet Me at the Cupcake Café was also a Sunday Times Top 10 bestseller, and won the Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance 2012.

Jenny is married with three children and lives in Scotland. For more about Jenny, visit her website and her Facebook page, or follow her on Twitter @jennycolgan

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Published: 19 October 2016
Reviewed: 19 October 2016

4 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by Bookouture in return for an honest review

 

Description:

Step inside a beautiful winter wonderland where love, laughter and cosy nights by the fire will make this Christmas one to remember.

Neve Whitaker loves managing the Stardust Lake hotel. She gets to work alongside her wonderful family and she’s spending Christmas on the most enchanting, snow-covered island in Scotland. So why is her heart so heavy this festive season?

It might have something to do with the gorgeous actor Oakley Rey, the man she finished with before he left for California and the man she loves more than anything. With Oakley’s career in Hollywood soaring, Neve is convinced she’d only hold him back. She had to end it with him – at least that’s what she keeps telling herself.

But now she has a secret she’s struggling to keep, and when Oakley arrives on Juniper Island determined to win her back, Neve is thrown off balance. Will Neve’s fear of having her heart broken again push Oakley away for good, or is it time for her to take a leap of faith?

Get swept away by this deliciously sweet and heartwarming tale, and spend an unforgettable Christmas on Juniper Island.

My Thoughts & Review:

Christmas Under a Starlit Sky is the second book in the “A Town Called Christmas” series, book one being Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky.  It is possible to read this book as a standalone.  The skill of Holly Martin shines through all of her books so that they can really be read without following a series, but for fans that do follow devotedly they will be rewarded by the appearance of some much loved characters or hints to previous characters in the narrative.
The story continues on from the arrival of Oakley Rey, Neve Whitaker’s ex.  The pair split some weeks previously, Neve believing that she would only hold Oakley’s career back, and Oakley assuming that they were merely taking a break makes for an entertaining read.
Happily, Martin includes Gabe, Piper and Wren (from Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky) in this book too, it was lovely to see these characters continue to develop.  But there are also new characters to meet and love too.

Once again, the reader is rewarded with some of the most beautifully vivid descriptions, Juniper Island sounds utterly divine and so magical.  The attention to detail means that the reader really feels like they have been transported to Juniper Island.
The characters are likeable and have such rich backstories that it means the reader feels like they know them by the end of the novel, which means that you find yourself hoping for a positive outcome for each.

Reading Holly Martin’s books always feels like catching up with old friends, there’s a wonderful warmth when you start one of her books that continues right through to the end when you breath a satisfied sigh that all is well in the world.  A festive feel good with plenty of humour and romance – what more could you ask for?

You can buy a copy of Christmas Under a Starlit Sky here.

 

About the Author:

Holly lives in sunny Bedfordshire in a house with round windows. She studied media at university which led to a very glitzy career as a hotel receptionist followed by a even more glamorous two years working in a bank. The moment that one of her colleagues received the much coveted carriage clock for fifteen years’ service was the moment when she knew she had to escape. She quit her job and returned to university to train to be a teacher. Three years later, she emerged wide eyed and terrified that she now had responsibility for the development of thirty young minds. She taught for four years and then escaped the classroom to teach history workshops, dressing up as a Viking one day and an Egyptian High Priestess the next. But the long journeys around the UK and many hours sat on the M25 gave her a lot of time to plan out her stories and she now writes full time, doing what she loves.

Holly has been writing for 6 years. She was shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance. Her short story won the Sunlounger competition and was published in the Sunlounger anthology. She won the Carina Valentine’s competition at the Festival of Romance 2013 with her novel The Guestbook. She was shortlisted for Best Romantic Read, Best eBook and Innovation in Romantic Fiction at the Festival of Romance 2014.

Follow her on Twitter @hollymartin00

 

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Published: 20 October 2016
Reviewed: 11 October 2016

5 out of 5 stars
Copy supplied by Bookouture in return for an honest review

 

Description:

Beneath the water the body sank rapidly. Above her on dry land, the nightmare was just beginning.

When Detective Erika Foster receives a tip-off that key evidence for a major narcotics case was stashed in a disused quarry on the outskirts of London, she orders for it to be searched. From the thick sludge the drugs are recovered, but so is the skeleton of a young child.

The remains are quickly identified as seven-year-old Jessica Collins. The missing girl who made headline news twenty-six years ago.

As Erika tries to piece together new evidence with the old, she must dig deeper and find out more about the fractured Collins family and the original detective, Amanda Baker. A woman plagued by her failure to find Jessica. Erika soon realises this is going to be one of the most complex and demanding cases she has ever taken on.

Is the suspect someone close to home? Someone is keeping secrets. Someone who doesn’t want this case solved. And they’ll do anything to stop Erika from finding the truth.

My Thoughts & Review:

Dark Water sees the much anticipated third instalment of the DCI Erika Foster series.  I would thoroughly recommend reading the previous two books (The Girl in the Ice and The Night Stalker), but this can be read as a standalone, enough detail is given to understand previous cases and relationships mentioned in this book.

While working to recover vital evidence in a narcotics case, a shocking discovery is made in a disused quarry.  The skeleton of a child is a grim discovery, but when the remains are identified as a girl who went missing 26 years ago, Erika is determined to solve the cold case and bring justice for the family of little Jessica Collins.

Erika Foster is a fantastic character, the development over the three novels has been so carefully and cleverly done.  She’s come a long way from her cold and hostile beginnings in The Girl in the Ice, granted knowing the back story of this character helps immensely in understanding her.  Her hard earned reputation of solving the almost impossible cases proves how determined she is, how hard working she is and most of all stubborn she can be.
The appearance of Moss and Peterson was a welcome surprise, initially I had worried that they had been written out when I saw that Foster was no longer with the Murder Investigation Team in Lewisham.  But Bryndza knows how to keep his fans happy, after developing these characters more in The Night Stalker, especially Moss, it was nice to see a little more of Peterson.  The continuation of the friendship between Foster and Dr Strong was also great to see.

The layers of the plot are masterfully crafted, so many little tangents add up making this an utterly thrilling and addictive read.  There are so many secrets in this book, and the key to solving the case is unlocking them all.  As always, the reader is kept guessing as to “whodunnit”, Bryndza expertly leading the reader astray with red herrings and enticingly dangling clues.  The underlying menacing presence that tries to thwart the investigation really builds the tension, and makes the final quarter utterly addictive reading.

This is a book you really need to finish before bedtime, otherwise you will be up into the wee hours of the morning hooked!
Now I just need to catch my breath and patiently await the next book……..

You can buy a copy of Dark Water here.

About the Author:

Robert Bryndza is the author of the international #1 bestseller The Girl in the Ice. The Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller is the first in the new Detective Erika Foster series.

The second book in the series, The Night Stalker, is a Wall Street Journal no.1 bestseller, and the third book, Dark Water, is available to pre-order and will be released October 20th 2016.

Robert’s books have sold over a million copies and have been translated into 18 languages.

In addition to writing Crime Fiction, Robert has published a bestselling series of romantic comedy novels. He is British and lives in Slovakia with his Slovak husband Ján.

You can find out more about the author at www.robertbryndza.com and on Twitter @RobertBryndza

Sign up to Robert Bryndza‘s New Release Mailing List here: http://eepurl.com/UITxz

 

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