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Degrees 1 apple neo goth + gnuolane

** My thanks to Sarah at Bloodhound Books for the opportunity to read a copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

Pre-teen girls are being abducted from their homes and their families murdered. When Frank Rogers, once a DI with the Met and now running his own debt collection agency, is told that his own daughter is missing, his son murdered, he naturally wants to become involved with the case.

Soon Frank’s face is all over the news. In an unexpected turn of events, the killer contacts the police and says he is willing to talk, but only to Frank.

When the body of the first abducted girl is discovered, Frank realises it is a race against time to save his daughter.

In order to solve the case, Frank must work out how the killer is picking his victims.

But how do you catch a murderer who is hiding in plain sight? And can Frank solve the mystery, when he has so much to lose?

 

My Thoughts & Review

Beginning with such a petrifying opening chapter, Tony J Forder sets the tone quickly for a chilling and claustrophobic thriller.  The panic and fear felt by Laura was so well written that I found myself worrying for her and on the edge of my seat desperate to find out what was going to happen next.  What then follows is a deviously twisted case with one of the most twisted killers out there, that draws the reader in and holds them effortlessly.

The plot of this book is wonderfully crafted, and I loved the way that narration switched between Laura, Frank and the killer.  Switching just at the right time to keep tension high and readers on edge – perfect!  There were moments that I did squirm and wanted to hide behind a cushion, this is a seriously abhorrent killer and not one that can be underestimated or outwitted easily by the Police or his captives.
I really appreciated the creeping unease that Forder wove through his book, making me worry for the safety of the characters and their families, something so small but effective from the perspective of a reader.

The strong survival instincts of Laura were something I wanted to applaud at times, and at her young age were commendable.  Her ability to stop and think coherently was something that helped her and made her stand out as such a strong character.  Her father Frank was also an interesting character.  He was a broken man after the murder of his son Gary and his ex wife Janet, but his determination to get Laura back kept him functioning.  The comradeship between Frank and his ex police colleagues was one of great respect (well most colleagues….), and in particular the relationship with his ex partner on the force was wonderfully written.  Their easy conversations about the case acting as a therapy for Frank as well as helping the investigation.

Such a brilliant, frenetic read that kept me on the edge of my seat and lingered in my head when I did manage to prise my kindle out of my hands (only when I had to do the dishes or something I needed to pay attention to).  Would highly recommend this book!

You can buy a copy of Degrees of Darkness via:

Amazon

 

About the Author:

On 1st February 2017, Tony signed to Bloodhound Books, who published his edgy crime thriller Bad to the Bone in spring. It is the first in a series.

Later this year, Tony’s second novel for Bloodhound Books, Degrees of Darkness, featuring ex-detective Frank Rogers, will be published.

Tony has been writing stories since childhood, but it was only when he won a short story competition judged by an editor from Pan Books, that he realised he might actually be half decent at this writing business.

The story, Gino’s Bar and Grille, went on to be published in Dark Voices 2, part of the celebrated Pan Book of Horror series. Three further short story sales followed: Book End, published in Dark Voices 4, Character Role, in FEAR magazine, and finally A Grim Story, which featured in A Rattler’s Tale.

During a book singing for Dark Voices 2, Tony was seated next to author Brian Lumley. At one point, Tony revealed to Brian that he felt out of place alongside all the proper writers. Brian then told Tony something he has never forgotten: “The moment you sat down and pulled a story out of your imagination and put it to paper, you became a proper writer.”

Subsequently, Tony began to focus on novel writing. He admits that his initial attempts were exploratory and somewhat derivative, although there was some interest from an agent – who oddly enough turned out to be Brian Lumley’s wife, Dorothy.

Tony wrote Degrees of Darkness, which he was happy with. He wasn’t so happy with a follow-up, so that never saw the light of day.

As a part-time writer with a full-time job, plus some ill-health, life got in the way and, although Tony continued writing, it took a back seat to making a living.

This year, however, Tony has been inspired by new ideas, and has been working hard on two new books, both of which should be completed in 2017.

Connect with Tony:

https://www.facebook.com/tonyjforder/?fref=ts

https://twitter.com/TonyJForder?lang=en-gb

 

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Description:

Danny Bird and the gang are back.

In this, the 3rd book of the popular series, life at The Marquess of Queensberry public house has returned to something resembling normality. Although his complicated love life is still in a state of some disarray, things are looking pretty rosy for Danny Bird.

Not for long…

Something horrible is discovered in the cellar, someone horrible comes to threaten one of the gang, and Danny and Lady Caroline are faced with some of their biggest challenges yet.

With local crime-lord Chopper Falzone keeping a watchful eye on his investment, Danny and Lady Caz must unmask a murderer, find some stolen diamonds and thwart a blackmailer – just another day at The Marq.

As the plot races breathlessly towards its conclusion, everyone realises that secrets, no matter how well hidden, can’t stay buried forever.

My Thoughts & Review:

I have to admit I did give a little squeal of delight when I heard that the third book in the Danny Bird series was going to be out soon and then headed over to Amazon to pre order it as soon as the publisher tweeted the pre order link was working.  Then there was the (impatient) wait until publication day….finally Death of a Devil arrived on my kindle and I took some time away from my review books to savour this one.

Death of a Devil sees the return of the prodigal Danny Bird and Lady Caroline Holloway who worked their way into my heart back in November 2015 when they first appeared in Death of a Diva and since then have delighted and amused me in equal measure.
Farrell’s writing has always been fantastic, but this latest offering feels different, like he’s developed a newer level of plotting and story telling that exceeds all expectation.
Beautifully clever plotting keeps readers guessing and completely off guard throughout.
The varied cast of characters add colour and shape to the series and each in their own right is superb.  Having followed the series it is nice to see the development of the additional characters, as well as the stars.
In this book it was interesting to explore more of the London gangster background as well as learn more about Ali the bar manager and see a different side to her that many readers might not have ever imagined.

The madcap adventures that Danny and Caz end up embroiled in are chaotic to say the least, but they somehow seem to have more lives than the proverbial cat and come out of it all relatively unscathed – just a little wiser for their troubles.

For those not familiar with the Danny Bird series, the first book Death of a Diva, the second book Death of a Nobody, and then finally Death of a Devil.  These books are fantastic to read and I would recommend reading them in order, but if you fancy picking up the latest installment it can be read as a stand alone book as there is ample information woven throughout the plot to inform you of previous events.

Another impressive novel from Derek Farrell, I just hope he doesn’t keep us waiting too long for his next book!!

You can buy a copy of Death of a Devil via:

Amazon

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I am so excited to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for “99 Red Balloons” by Elisabeth Carpenter (stop singing the 1980s pop song by Nena!) and share an extract from this gripping thriller!

Description:

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Two girls go missing, decades apart. What would you do if one was your daughter?

When eight-year-old Grace goes missing from a sweetshop on the way home from school, her mother Emma is plunged into a nightmare. Her family rallies around, but as the police hunt begins, cracks begin to emerge.

What are the secret emails sent between Emma’s husband and her sister? Why does her mother take so long to join the search? And is Emma really as innocent as she seems?

Meanwhile, ageing widow Maggie Taylor sees Grace’s picture in the newspaper. It’s a photograph that jolts her from the pain of her existence into a spiralling obsession with another girl – the first girl who disappeared…

This is a gripping psychological thriller with a killer twist that will take your breath away.

You can buy a copy of “99 Red Balloons” via:

Amazon
Wordery
Book Depository


Extract: Chapter 20 p.105-107

The bingo restarts, but I still can’t concentrate. Without saying, Jim has taken over my next card. I look at him from the corner of my eye. He never was a looker, bless him, but he looks better now he’s older. What’s it they say about growing into your face? It must be the case with Jim. I think about what’s happened over the last couple of days and I don’t know what I’d have done without him.

‘Come on then, let’s get your winnings,’ he says.

‘They can’t have played three games already.’

‘They have indeed. You’re away with the fairies. But I don’t blame you. You’ve enough on your plate.’

Jim’s up and ready in seconds. He kept his coat on the whole time we’ve been here. He must have cold bones these days. He stands waiting, patiently. I know I’m being slow, but there’s something about that woman that unnerves me. I’m in no rush to get to her.

He almost drags me there; my feet are so heavy. She watches us while we walk and stands when we reach the table.

‘It’s nice to see you, Maggie.’

She holds out her hand. I’ve never seen her before in my life. Her hair is too dark for her age; she must dye it – there’s not a grey in sight. She’s wearing a velvet blouse in maroon that reminds me of my great-grandmother’s curtains.

‘Do you two know each other?’ asks Jim.

‘I’ve never met you before,’ I say to her.

‘Sorry about that, love,’ Jim says to the stranger. ‘Not one for niceties, isn’t Mags.’

‘That’s okay. Sorry,’ she says. ‘I could’ve sworn we’d met before.’

She sits back down. I look at the table and what I thought were playing cards have strange pictures on them, rimmed with gold.

‘I’ll just get your prize ready.’

She counts out five ten-pound notes and puts them in an envelope. Before she seals it, she puts in what looks like a business card. She looks up. ‘Just in case you need to contact me.’

I’ve never heard anything so ridiculous. Why would I need to contact her?

Jim rubs his hands, again. ‘I’m just off to the gents while we wait for the taxi. Won’t be a min.’

I want to follow him, but that would be a little undignified.

‘I’ll wait in reception,’ I say, trying not to look at her.

I only get a few feet away when I feel a hand grab my elbow.

‘Wait, Maggie.’

I turn slowly, knowing it’s her. ‘How do you know my name?’

She glances at the floor, before looking me straight in the eye.

‘I’m sorry,’ she says. ‘My name’s Dee. I remember you from years ago. When your poor granddaughter went missing.’

‘Right.’

I don’t know why I didn’t think of that before, but strangers haven’t approached me for years. I knew they meant well, but it was mortifying, heartbreaking. It was why we hardly went out.

‘I’d better be going,’ I say.

‘Maggie, please wait a minute.’

‘Hang on. Why do you keep calling me Maggie? I was always Margaret in the newspapers.’

She comes closer to me; I step back.

‘I know you probably think I’m insane – I get that a lot. But . . .’ She takes a few breaths and taps her chest. ‘Zoe’s still alive.’

 


I don’t know about you, but that’s got be seriously intrigued and desperate to know what happens next!

Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour:

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Hello and happy Friday!  And you all know what Friday brings, yes,  its time to share another post to celebrate Indie Publishing and this time it’s Elliott & Thompson in the spotlight!   Today I have a review of What’s Your Bias? The Surprising Science of Why We Vote the Way We Do by Lee De-Wit.


Description:

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Pundits, pollsters and politicians are queuing up to tell us, but do they really know? More importantly, do we really know?

Psychologists have been studying how we make political decisions for years, and the truth is we’re a lot less rational than we think we are; sometimes we vote for reasons we’re not even consciously aware of.

Delving into the science and psychology of politics, What’s Your Bias? gets under the skin to reveal what really drives us – whichever way we vote. In this absorbing book, psychologist and neuroscientist Lee de-Wit explores the subtle – and often surprising – factors that could be influencing our votes, from our personality traits and unconscious biases to our susceptibility to campaign targeting and fake news.

Whether we’re debating nationalism, immigration, welfare or equality, psychology can help us to better understand the decisions we make in modern politics. If you want to know more about yourself, your friends and family, or the bigger political picture, this is essential reading.

My Thoughts & Review:

This is a book that jumped out at me after reading the blurb, I’m not sure why really as it’s not something I would normally pick up and I tend to leave books that are more politically based alone, but there was something about this book that grabbed my attention enough to make me want to give it more attention.

From the opening pages this takes on a easy to read stance, the author stating “I’m not intending to offer an academic overview of political psychology…” helped to allay my worries that this would turn out to be “too high brow” for me to understand or enjoy.
I found this to be quite a thought provoking read, and regularly pulled my head out of the book to quote passages to my (long suffering) husband, finding that some sparked interesting debate between us or gave information on things we’d wondered about but never thought to research personally.
The chapter titled “Silent Majority” was one that I read with much interest, voting turn out is always something I look at when election results have been declared – for no other reason than it fascinates me.  I enjoyed that the author wrote from personal perspective throughout this book but especially in this chapter.  “One of the most common explanations for low vote turnout is that people are lazy or apathetic.  As a psychologist, I struggle with this explanation.”  This gave me the impression that the author actually cared about the research carried out and  wanted to address misconceptions as well as expand upon the psychology of the politics being discussed.

Breaking down the science behind voting makes this quite informative and does give great food for thought, and offers information to help understand the concept of nationalism from the perspective of those who support it.  It won’t necessarily change your mind about it, but it might just help you see the idea from another angle.
It is interesting to see that the author chooses to give examples from both UK and American politics to emphasise his points or illustrate them, there have been plenty instances both sides of the Atlantic Ocean recently.

I would say this is a good book to start with if you want to look into the psychology of politics and voting, it certainly offers plenty to facts to whet the appetite of the audience.

You can buy a copy of What’s Your Bias? The Surprising Science of Why We Vote the Way We Do via:

Amazon
Wordery
Book Depository

My thanks to Elliott & Thompson, especially Alison Menzies for sending me a copy of this book to read and enjoy.

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white lies final

 

** My thanks to Sarah at Bombshell Books for the opportunity to read this book and inviting me to be part of the blog blitz **

 

Description:

Lydia knows first-hand that ‘having it all’ isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be. As far as she’s concerned, when it comes to job versus family, it’s a case of one or the other. And whilst most women her age have spent years climbing the corporate ladder, she’s made a career out of bagging her perfect man. Now nearly thirty and still single, Lydia wonders if she’d made the right choice.

Realising the time has come to take stock, she goes against her family’s wishes and goes travelling in the hope of finding a new direction. At least that’s the plan.

So when Sam comes along, she decides to tell a little white lie, re-inventing herself as a professional chef – not exactly the best new identity for a woman who can’t cook. But the truth can’t stay hidden for long and when her family show up unexpectedly things go from bad to worse…

Can Lydia find love? Will she ever learn to cook?

Little White Lies and Butterflies is a heart-warming comedy about finding your place in the world.

My Thoughts & Review:

After reading Suzie Tullett’s previous book The Trouble with Words I was delighted to be offered an early review copy of her next book by the publisher.
Despite this being only the second book that I’ve read by this author, I definitely have a new name to add to the list of go to authors for when I need a book to pick me up or offer an escape, she’s right there alongside Holly Martin, Darcie Boleyn, Rachel Griffiths and Jenny Colgan.

I won’t go into the ins and outs of the plot, that’s something for you to discover on your own, preferably with a hot cuppa and a chocolate biscuit or two.  But I will say that I loved how the story flowed so easily in this book, the way it all wound perfectly together despite the madcap escapades of certain characters.
Lydia, wants to find her soul mate, her perfect match, the one…..and in doing so she has a strict list of criteria she is looking for and not willing to deviate from it.  But with this mindset she is potentially missing out on perfectly nice men in search of a mythical man that might not exactly exist.  There were times I could sympathise with her, if you were to settle down you would want it to be with someone special, someone who is the chocolate to your digestive, but there were also times that I wanted to give Lydia a shake and tell her to stop being so quick to judge.  To open her eyes and see what was right in front of her, see who was in front of her.

There were so many moments in this that I found I was chuckling out loud, seeing little white lies becoming huge whoppers that snowballed cataclysmically made this such a humorous read.  However, this book has more to offer than just light-hearted comedic read, it has romance, and some enthusiastic family members that cause embarrassment and panic.  But ultimately it has an important lesson to share – everyone has their own place in this life, it may not be apparent if you are quick to judge and only see one perspective, look deeper and try to appreciate what’s around you.

I absolutely love Suzie Tullett‘s style of writing, it flows beautifully and it feels like it transports you into the book.  The descriptions of the Greece were mesmerising, the beaches became such clear images in my head, the sights and smells (especially food) felt so rich and authentic.  One of those books that’s perfect to lose yourself in for an afternoon.

You can buy a copy of Little White Lies and Butterflies via:

Amazon

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37 hours

 

** My thanks to Noelle & Kate at Thick as Thieves Book Publicity and Promo for the opportunity to read and review this book, and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour **

 

Description:

The only way to hunt down a killer is to become one.
Imprisoned by MI6 for two long years in solitary, Nadia suddenly finds herself free again. But there is a price to pay for her release. Another dangerous and near impossible mission – retrieve the Russian nuclear warhead stolen by her old nemesis, the deadliest of terrorists.
But he is always one step ahead, and soon Nadia finds herself at the front line of preventing London from disappearing into a cloud of ash. Only this time, she is ready to pull the trigger at any cost.
And with the clock counting down from 37 hours, time is running out…
My Thoughts & Review:
You know that feeling when you finish a book and cannot wait to get started on the next one in the series?  Well that’s a tiny bit like the anticipation I had for this book, 37 Hours is the second in the Nadia Laksheva series and it begins with a bang that sets the pace throughout.
For readers new to this series, you can read 37 Hours straight away, there is more than enough information included in the narrative to explain who people are and the connections between them, but I would highly recommend reading 66 Metres first as the writing is fantastic and the small details you will pick up from that book will absolutely enhance your enjoyment of 37 Hours.
As always, I won’t say too much about the plot, there is a blurb above to give you some idea of what goes on in this book, and suffice to say Nadia seems to be back in the middle of a dangerous situation that will push her to the limits of her abilities and mental capacity.
When I read 66 Metres I was astounded by how strong a character Nadia is (you can read my review here) and this instalment has firmly cemented my liking of this character.  Her tenacity in the face of danger is almost chilling, she’s calculating and careful in some aspects, but at other times she will take risks which increase the tension and enjoyment of the book.  Her strong connection to her family makes her that little more relatable, often a female protagonist such as this ends up being portrayed in a less realistic way.
I am a big fan of Kirwan’s writing style, it’s easy to follow despite it covering some topics I have no knowledge about.  I don’t profess to know anything about diving and yet I was able to read this book and not feel that I was missing any details because of the care that the author has taken to ensure that all of his readers will be able to grasp the facts of what is happening.  The vivid images I could conjure of scenes were down to the wonderful descriptions included, and for me this makes a book more enjoyable as I feel that I can “see” everything as it plays out.
Now to wait patiently to see what happens next……….
You can buy a copy of 37 Hours via:
 
About the Author:

In his day job, J. F. Kirwan travels worldwide, working on aviation safety. He lives in Paris, where he first joined a fiction class – and became hooked! So when a back injury stopped him scuba diving for two years, he wrote a thriller about a young Russian woman, Nadia, where a lot of the action occurred in dangerously deep waters. It was the only way he could carry on diving! But as the story and characters grew, he realised it was not one book, but three…

You can connect with the J. F. Kirwan via:
Follow the blog tour & pop over to my tour buddy’s blog to check out what Meggy has to share with you at  Chocolate ‘n’ Waffles
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512qmyicizl

 

** My thanks to Abbie at Farrago Books for the opportunity to read this book and be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

The new Miss Seeton mystery – the first in almost 20 years!

It’s practically a Royal Marriage. The highly eligible son of Miss Seeton’s old friends Sir George and Lady Colveden has wed the daughter of a French count.

Miss Seeton lends her talents to the village scheme to create a quilted ‘Bayeux Tapestry’ of local history, inspired by the wedding. But her intuitive sketches reveal a startlingly different perspective—involving buried Nazi secrets, and links to the mysterious death of a diplomat and to a South American dictator . . .

Serene amidst every kind of skulduggery, this eccentric English spinster steps in where Scotland Yard stumbles, armed with nothing more than her sketchpad and umbrella!

My Thoughts & Review:

I was intrigued when I first read the blurb of this book, especially the part about it being the first book in almost 20 years!  I was assured that I would be able to read this without having read the previous 21 books so decided to give it a go as change of pace from my current gritty crime thrillers.
I will admit that I did have to take my time reading this one to get a good grounding of the characters and the stories surrounding them, and with so many different strands to the plot it did take a wee bit of concentrating to keep up but once the story moved on I found I got into the book more than I had expected and was less confused about who people were and what was going on.

Miss Seeton is a strange character, and I mean that kindly.  She is renowned in the village of Plummergen for psychic drawings that aid the local police in their investigations, a big fan of yoga and always carries her trusty umbrella with her.  But over all she is an endearing character that will appeal to fans of cosy mysteries like those penned by Agatha Christie and M.C. Beaton.
The plot revolves around some secrets that involve German spies, hidden radios, a painting of Henry VIII and a quilt.  The scandal and gossip surrounding Miss Seeton does add some light humour to the plot, providing some light relief for readers as they try to follow the clues to solve the mysteries of the book.

Initially slow to begin with, but once I got used to the style of writing and once the plot picked up this did turn into an enjoyable enough read, I think I might have perhaps fared better if I had read one or two of the previous books to get a better grasp on the village and it’s cast of characters.  A good example of the cosy crime and mystery genre that should delight fans of Miss Seeton.

You can buy a copy of “Miss Seeton Quilts the Village” via:

Amazon

 

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