book reviews · Bookish

House of Straw by Marc Scott (Review)

Good afternoon! I hope everybody is keeping safe and well. Today I am pleased to be on the blog tour for House of Straw by Marc Scott. It’s available in Kindle and Papaerback formats. I received a paperback copy for free for review purposes.

Review

House of Straw follows two women, Bree and Poppy. Bree loses her brother in a tragic and brutal way, however, he becomes a hero in the process. The question is, was this tragedy truly an accident? People hound her about the possibility of a suicide note, but things really aren’t the situation they think it is. Bree ends up falling in to absolute despair and her friend Kayleigh tries her best to help her friend.

Meanwhile, Poppy is living in a flat, with an abusive, nasty piece of work that she calls her boyfriend, due to feelings of obligation. Poppy clearly has a lot of issues, however, she managed to get herself clean from drugs after some time at her majesty’s pleasure and manages to stay clean after that, despite her drug abusing boyfriend. It’s not surprising Poppy has a lot of problems. To say she was dealt a rough hand seems like an understatement.

It turns out, Bree and Poppy are half sisters. They share a parent. It turns out that they also share something else thanks to that parent. It’s clear the two of them are very troubled women. At first, it seems they are absolute polar opposites, Poppy having a rough upbringing and eventually going through the care system where Bree led a more privileged life. The book follows them through their current day struggles and tells us about their past. It feels wrong to say that their tales are fascinating but.. they are. Fascinating and disturbing.

Poppy had a horrible time. I found myself gasp out loud at one moment and wanting to cry because my heart hurt for her. This book is focused around the characters so it’s important that a good job is done with character building. Now, neither of these women are particularly likeable but I couldn’t help but root for them, even knowing what they’ve done, their characters and the bubbles they live in are incredibly well written and it makes their life stories enticing and interesting. I feel a bit like I was staring at a fish tank.

I think this is one of those stories that lingers in the mind, that will stay with you. I couldn’t often predict what would happen next, all I knew was “something bad is going to happen”, twists all over the place. The ending picked up pace and there were a lot of revelations in a short space of time, things I didn’t predict. When I finished, I had to sit for a moment and process what happened. The writing really evokes feelings for these two women, good and bad – or it did for me, personally. It feels wrong to say I enjoyed such a tragedy of a book, but it was a fantastic read and I’m interested to see what Marc Scott does next! House of Straw is a true psychological thriller that really hones in on the troubled minds of these women and I couldn’t put it down.

About the Book

Traumatised by the tragic death of her twin brother, Brianna falls into a state of deep depression, isolating herself from the world and all those that care about her. When a twist of fate reveals that she has a half-sister she finds a new purpose in her life and sets out to find her sibling, desperately hoping she can fill the void left in her world.

Poppy has not enjoyed the same privileged lifestyle as her sister while growing up. Abandoned into the care system at the age of eight, she has encountered both physical and sexual abuse for most of her life. Passing through the hands of more care homes and foster families than she can remember, the damaged product of a broken upbringing, Poppy has never found a place to feel truly safe. Kicking back at society, she turns to drug abuse and acts of extreme violence to escape from reality.

When the two siblings are finally united, they discover that they have much more in common than their DNA. Their paths are shrouded with sinister secrets of betrayal and regret and both girls share a deep-rooted hatred for one of their parents. As the dark truths of their lives are unveiled they realise that nothing can ever be the same again…  

Bookish · Life · Uncategorized

One? Writing the book and tips for aspiring authors – A guest post by Jennifer L Cahill

Hello, hello! Happy Monday! Today I have a guest post from Jennifer L Cahill about writing her book, One?. It’s out now in Paperback and Kindle formats.

Why I wrote ‘One?’.


I had a very interesting experience when writing my first book. I didn’t ‘want to write a book’, I literally just sat down and started writing and the book flowed from there. A confluence of events set up the circumstances for me to start to write. From the minute I started the first sentence, the writing process was almost addictive. The story came tumbling out onto the pages.  It felt like life went from black and white to technicolour, as everything and anything could spark inspiration or add depth to the characters or the plot. It was also very much one of those ‘aha’ moments when you realise what you are supposed to be when you grow up. 

How I picked the title

I had another title for the book but as the story developed, and it rapidly turned into a trilogy, the title(s) changed. One night while I was just about to fall asleep, inspiration struck and I knew that the book needed to be called ‘One?’. It’s a very bold title, it’s a sentence, a question, a word and a number. I doubt I would have had the courage to call it that if it wasn’t for the dramatic way in which the title came to me. When inspiration strikes like that, you know that it’s going to stick. 

My writing process

I’ve outlined my writing process for my first book, the book almost wrote itself. The trilogy is trickling along in the same manner, and the second book ‘Two?’ will be out in 2020. I talk a lot about my writing process on my YouTube channel, but I can’t stress enough the importance of the magic combination of space and time to write. When you are writing you can’t do anything else so it’s important to plan and to structure your life so that you can write. Space is also very important, as books are big and messy. My writing room looked like a paper volcano had erupted by the time I had finished the final edit. It’s also really important to have a physical desk, there is only so much you can do on a laptop. When writing a book it gets to the point where you need a lot of space and you don’t want to be confined to a laptop in a coffee shop. 

My more recent projects are more planned out. I’ve been through the process once, so I know what to expect, and how much time I need for the subsequent books. 

Advice for aspiring authors

I have a writer’s tips playlist on my YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLvrlsV9Ru8qEWuRp5UQUHh8lShQvsiHDv) with advice for aspiring authors, but my main advice is to simply write. It’s not a spectator’s sport. I don’t understand the concept of ‘I want to write a book’ if someone isn’t actually writing anything. It’s good to start off writing shorter things. A book can be a little overwhelming so my advice would be to start with short stories, poems or even non-fiction.

Julia Cameron’s book – the artist’s way (https://amzn.to/2X2XESL) is a must-read for any aspiring author or creative of any kind. We all get blocked sometimes, often without realising it, and this book will definitely unblock you. 

What’s next

Two?’ will be out in 2020, and ‘Three’ will follow in 2021. I’m also working on a book about where I’m living at the moment, the story is extraordinary, I’m very excited about. As a contemporary fiction writer, my aim is to capture the essence of a place and time, and I’m living in a very exciting place, at a very exciting time. 


About Jennifer L Cahill

I write contemporary fiction and try to capture the essence of a place and time in my books. Above all, my aim is to make you laugh, and hopefully learn a little, as you recognise yourself, your friends and your exes in my books. I love hearing from my readers, and you can contact me via my website, or @JLCAuthor on Twitter.

My first book ‘One?’ is about Life, Love and London, and most importantly about finding the one in the most innovative period in living history. It’s set in London with a sprinkling of Paris and New York for good measure :). It is the first book in a trilogy.

About One?

It’s London in the mid-noughties before Facebook, iPhones and ubiquitous wifi, and One? follows the highs and lows of a group of twenty-somethings living in leafy SW4.

Zara has just moved to London for her first real job and struggles to find her feet in a big city with no instruction manual.

Penelope works night and day in an investment bank with little or no time for love. At 28 she is positively ancient as far as her mother is concerned and the pressure is on for her to settle down as the big 3-0 is looming.

Charlie spends night and day with his band who are constantly teetering on the verge of greatness.

Richard has relocated to London from his castle in Scotland in search of the one, and Alyx is barely in one place long enough to hold down a relationship let alone think about the future. 

Jennifer’s social media links:

Twitter @JLCAuthor
Instagram @jlcauthor
www.JenniferLCahill.com
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18085530.Jennifer_L_Cahill
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMo65VpfqU4p1lFG68f2txA?view_as=subscriber

Book tube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLvrlsV9Ru8qFLPawjOpaCPk_lAADbrFHE

Amazon links: 
https://amzn.to/2uZ9lOp
https://amzn.to/2VwKBJf

book reviews · Bookish

The Serial Daters Shopping List by Morgen Bailey (Review)

Gooood afternoon! It’s the end of the week and I’m bringing you a review of The Serial Daters Shopping List by Morgen Bailey as part of the BOTBS tour. I was given a copy for free for my participation in the tour.

Izzy works at her local newspaper, usually writing about tech, she’s thrown in to the deep end when she is tasked with dating one guy a day for an entire month. 31 days and 31 dates. Poor Izzy!

She sets up her dating profile and comes up with a shopping list of what she does and doesn’t look for in a man. She states how everyone has their shopping list, whether they write it down or not, but some guys manage to break out of those check boxes – she’s not wrong!

Izzy’s first date was what one may deem as a success. Off to a good start! Admittedly a little disappointing. Girl, we want the tea! Okay, so there ended up being plenty of that later on – phew! Some of the guys are interesting, some are incredibly cringey, some great. There was quite a wide selection of guys in Izzy’s month and it made me laugh. While I’ve never signed up to a dating site before, I’ve had the ups and downs of online dating and tinder terrors relayed to me in technicolour detail on multiple occasions and I laughed how some of these stories echoe’d my friends’ experiences.

This was a really enjoyable, laid back and easy read for me. I found myself smiling on multiple occasions and appreciated the humour. I really liked the main character, Isobel, her best friend Donna and her boss, William. They all felt like really sweet people and it was nice to see their personal growth, even if at the end, I think Donna has made a few questionable decisions! Nothing to heavy and keeping it light hearted, I rather enjoyed this read.

About the Book

Are you looking for the perfect summer holiday read? Then you’ll love this laugh-out-loud comedy about the highs and lows of dating.

Izzy is a journalist who usually writes a technology column for a local newspaper. Her somewhat-intimidating boss William sets her the task of dating thirty-one men, via an internet dating site, all within a month, and writing about it for the paper.

Having an active, though fruitless, social life with her friend Donna, Izzy knows what she wants in a man, so creates a shopping list of dos and don’ts and starts ticking them off as she meets the men.

Follow the ups and downs of the dating process including Tim ‘the Weeble’, whose date leads Izzy to see banoffee pie in a whole new light, Lawrence the super-skinny social worker, Felix with his bizarre penchant for Persian Piranhas, and ‘the music maestro but don’t talk about dead pets’ Jake.

By the end of the month, will Izzy have met Mr Right?

About the Author

Based in Northamptonshire, England, Morgen Bailey lives and breathes writing. ‘Morgen with an E’  is an author, speaker, tutor, editor, and podcaster. As well as being a competition judge, she is a columnist for Writers’ Forum magazine. 

Morgen’s fiction books include crime and mystery novels, and short story collections. They are mostly set against a Northamptonshire background, whether there is crime involved, a dog-detective that can talk, or a serial dater on a mission! 

Her non-fiction works are aimed at all levels of writers whether beginners or those who want to refresh their skills – Morgen also tutors in person and has several online writing courses available. She runs her own mentor group on Facebook, very much a collaboration, and she invites all authors to join. Her Writer’s Block Workbooks are a go-to for every author. 

When Morgen is not editing, speaking, reading, or writing, she’s walking her dog, out with friends or at literary festivals. The only time she sits down and does nothing is at the cinema but even then she’s making mental notes!

Morgen Bailey on Social Media:Author Website:        www.morgenbailey.com
Twitter & Instagram:        @morgenwriteruk
Facebook Page:        www.facebook.com/MorgenBaileyAuthor
GoodReads:             www.goodreads.com/morgen_bailey
Amazon Author Page:    https://author.to/MorgenBailey   

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Shelf Life by Livia Franchini (Review)

I hope you are all having a wonderful bank holiday monday! Today I am on the tour for Shelf Life by Livia Franchini which comes out tomorrow and I have a review for you guys. I received a copy of this book for free as part of the tour.

Ruth’s fiance has called it quits on their relationship after many years together, something I feel really was a good thing. It’s easy to be blinded by love, but our first introduction to Neil – her now-ex, throws up some red flags. He feels manipulative and like he is gaslighting Ruth. Later on, these red flags become more apparent, so I feel she had a lucky escape!

But going it alone means Ruth needs to figure herself and her life out. Using their final shopping list, she tells her story. It’s a concept I found to be really intriguing, though I honestly thought it fell a little flat and I wonder if I’d have picked up on it had I not already know that was what the situation was, but that’s just fine for me, it was interesting to see how this concept evolved.

Shelf Life is a pretty candid look at Ruth’s life in both the present, and in the past, as she learns about herself and gets through her break-up. The author has written her really well and my heart hurts for the poor woman. She’s such a sad character and seems so fragile. She needs help but she seems so alone. I really felt for her, she felt incredibly authentic and I was so hoping things would work out well for her. I’ve read books that are sad, but this one really felt like a punch in the gut. I honestly feel really mixed about it but it’s a refreshing change of pace for me to read something that doesn’t just wrap up in a neat little bow because life isn’t like that.

About the Book

Ruth is thirty years old. She works as a nurse in a care home and her fiancé has just broken up with her. The only thing she has left of him is their shopping list for the upcoming week.

And so she uses that list to tell her story. Starting with six eggs, and working through spaghetti and strawberries, and apples and tea bags, Ruth discovers that her identity has been crafted from the people she serves; her patients, her friends, and, most of all, her partner of ten years. Without him, she needs to find out – with conditioner and single cream and a lot of sugar – who she is when she stands alone.

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

The Unmaking of Ellie Rook by Sandra Ireland (Review)

Hello! Today I am on the blog tour for The Unmaking of Ellie Rook by Sandra Ireland and I am bringing you a review! This book is out on July 11th 2019 and will be available in paperback and kindle editions. I received a copy of this book for free as part of the tour.

Finella, better known as Ellie, couldn’t wait to leave home. She was half way across the world when she received a phone call. Her mother is missing, presumed dead. Out walking with her Ellie’s brother, River, nearby a local waterfall, their mother suddenly vanished. They believed her to have fallen in and died, but with no body and no real answers, Ellie is not satisfied, however, her dad wants to plod on like normal and brushes over the entire thing.

It turns out, Finella is named after a huntress from folklore, and her mothers disappearance bears striking resemblance. Nobody seems to really know the truth about what happened.

The Unmaking of Ellie Rook is a tense and dramatic story with parallels to folklore, the like of which inspired Finella’s name and had a significant presence in her life growing up. There’s a significant theme of water throughout the book which I really liked. Water represents the life cycle, if I recall correctly, and so it seemed quite relevant. There is some wonderful imagery in this book! Nothing is completely clear cut and laid out, it’s like real life. It’s complex. The author really builds up the tension so beautifully right up to it’s crescendo, and I couldn’t put it down.

I wasn’t prepared for the truth about what happened to Ellie’s mum, it had me on tenterhooks wanting to see how things would play out. It’s kind of hard to explain it without spoilers, so I’ll just say this – it was incredible. The ending? It was not at all what I was expecting. It was fast and dramatic and I was loving it! Incredibly well written, this shorter read (200-ish pages) is perfect for this summer.

About the Book

A single phone call from halfway across the world is all it takes to bring her home . . . ‘Ellie, something bad has happened.’

Desperate to escape her ‘kid from the scrapyard’ reputation, Ellie Rook has forged a new life for herself abroad, but tragedy strikes when her mother, Imelda, falls from a notorious waterfall. Here, according to local legend, the warrior queen Finella jumped to her death after killing a king. In the wake of her mother’s disappearance, Ellie is forced to confront some disturbing truths about the family she left behind and the woman she has become. Can a long-dead queen hold the key to Ellie’s survival? And how far will she go to right a wrong?

book reviews · Bookish

The Revenge Trail by A.A Abbott (Review)

Hi! Today I am on the blog tour for The Revenge Trail by A.A Abbott. This is the fourth installment to the series and it is available now in both Paperback and Kindle editions – it’s also available as part of Kindle Unlimited!

The Revenge Trail is the fourth and most recent installment in the Trail series. One thing I love is that the author offers this series in large print and dyslexia-friendly versions for those who don’t have e-readers.

The Revenge Trail brings together characters met previously in the series in another vodka-fuelled tale. Returning to the stage is our main lady! Kat White and vodka salesman/business partner, Marty Bridges. Kat is an excellent distiller of vodka and Marty wants to monetize that alongside his sales of Snow Mountain vodka which comes from a distillery now owned by Kat’s mum. However, disaster strikes when Marty gets a tainted delivery and a lot of the book for Marty is all about damage control for the the situation and his financial losses.

Kat wants to just make her Starshine vodka, leave her criminal past behind and focus on her dreams. Unfortunately for her, Shaun Halloran, who we met in the first book, decides to show his face. I won’t go in to the details in case you’ve not read previous installments (you should fix that!) and because I don’t want to spoil later content in the book.

I really enjoy how Kat has developed as a character, she’s far better person than she was when she was first introduced – she seems to have grown a lot and includes others in her equations now.

The chapters are short and not filled with fluff; I really enjoy that about this series and it makes it really easy to just consume a chapter when on the go or waiting for a bus or something, but without feeling like things are lacking or that things have been cut short. Just like the previous books in the series, this was well paced and enjoyable from start to finish.

While I feel you could read this book as a stand-alone, you’d get far more enjoyment out of it if you have read the other parts of the series as this really rounds out some characters stories and plot lines and brings them to an end, so while I recommend this book, I would definitely suggest you go read the other installments first! If you’re interested and didn’t see it before, you can read my review of the first book here.

About the Book

VODKA TO DIE FOR…

Kat’s craft vodka brand makes it big, but a crazed murderer’s on her trail.

Glamorous blonde Kat White makes the best vodka in the world. At last, her craft vodka from Birmingham is going places, while the mother who abandoned her faces financial ruin.

So does vodka salesman Marty Bridges. Kat doesn’t trust him, but she has to save his business or hers will go under too.

That’s not her biggest problem. Crazed murderer Shaun Halloran wants to kill her, even if it means breaking out of jail to take his revenge.

Kat dreams of love, riches and success in her life – but shouldn’t she just focus on staying alive?

With twists, tension, secrets and suspense – “The Revenge Trail” is a gripping crime thriller that will draw you into Kat’s exciting world.  

About the Author

English thriller writer AA Abbott’s real name is Helen Blenkinsop. She loves city life, having lived and worked in London, Birmingham and Bristol. Her crime thrillers, set in Birmingham and London, sizzle with suspense, twists and the evils of office politics.

Helen’s books are available in a dyslexia-friendly large print as well as standard paperback and Kindle editions.

Her Trail Series follows the fortunes of glamorous blonde Kat White, a party girl who finds her purpose making vodka, shrewd businessman Marty Bridges, and manipulative East End crime lord Shaun Halloran


Bookish · Uncategorized

Wants of the Silent by Moira McPartlin (Excerpt)

How’s it going everyone! Today, I’m taking part in a blog tour the next book from Moira McPartlin’s Sun Song Trilogy! It’s out now in Kindle and Paperback versions. If you missed the previous book in the series, you can read about Ways of the Doomed here.

Excerpt

It was pitch black inside the van, the windows had been tarred out.  My chest was glued to the door and crate corners spiked my shoulder blades. Travelling in style.  I heard the cab door slam then we were off. I set my breathing to shallow and waited for the short trip to the tower to be over.

After about five minutes I heard another engine roar behind us. The driver swore, the van weaved, braked. The crate pressure released, then whammed me into the door with the velocity of a bullet. I felt a rib snap.  A shot fired outside, Vanora roared in anger or pain. More shots. Then silence. I shoved at the door, it didn’t budge. Was it Pirates, the Military, the same beings who shot Ridgeway from the sky? I checked my comms for a signal – dead. No, not dead, blocked, I could see the signal with the cross through it. It had been aeons since I heard Vanora roar.   My belly turned to water, I felt in my pocket for my knife. I pressed an ear to the window and heard scuffling. Putting my back against the door I pushed, I eased a hand free but didn’t want to punch in case they heard. I might be able to make a run for it. The door didn’t budge. If they wanted the cargo why didn’t they come? I heard a door slam, another engine rev then drive off, leaving the only sound, the thudding of my heart.

The door inner mechanism felt gritty, rusted.  I hooked my finger through it and pulled it up.  The force almost broke my finger and the door stayed firm.  I pushed it down. Nothing. I levered back into the crates, but there was no room to manoeuvre.  Sweat trickled my spine, I leaned into the door again, a panic fluttered on my belly. I couldn’t breathe, it was like the time the power failed in the prison and I nearly suffocated. I balled my fist to punch, then something stopped me. A sound from outside.  Giggling? Shouts, laughing. Doors closed, the van engine fired, filthy fumes filled my small space. The van shuddered forward, kangarooed, stalled, laughs, fired again, began to move. I yanked the door, a dread filled me. I kicked, breath short, my ribs ached. The van jounced from side to side, bounced. Somehow I managed to twist my foot up to the tarred window, I kicked, my knee locked.  The van bucked. Curdling screams rang from the cab. The crates fell, rumbled, the world rocked, my head under heels and a box on my chest, rolling, rolling and I knew I was done for.

About the Book

This second thrilling volume of the Sun Song trilogy takes Sorlie to the floodlands of southern Esperaneo to discover that family, love and resilience can triumph against even the harshest regime. Escaping from the penal colony on Black Rock, Sorlie joins his grandmother Vanora’s revolutionary army, expecting to find freedom. Instead he finds murder and mayhem. With her army in disarray and her network of supporters disappearing, Vanora chooses Sorlie to become her warrior. When Vanora is kidnapped, Sorlie becomes injured and marooned in the strange reservation of Steadie where old people and specials are hidden and protected from The State. But these outcasts are not the only secrets Steadie keeps. Why is Sorlie kept drugged for over a week? What are their links to The Blue Pearl Society? Why are they so wary of the Noiri black marketeers? And who is The Prince everyone is whispering about? The Sun Song trilogy explores life in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic Britain where society’s norms have broken down and life has to be lived differently. 

Bookish

Ways of the Doomed by Moira McPartlin (Excerpt)

Today, I am pleased to be bringing you an extract from Ways of the Doomed by Moira McPartlin, out now in both Paperback and Kindle editions, published by Fledgling Press.

I smelled the fear. Not from the old man: this was his domain and his confidence shone brighter than the buttons on his coat. It could have been my stench, but more likely it was seeping from the abyss ahead.

‘We must pass some prisoners’ cells to reach my private quarters. This will be the only time. After today you will never be permitted access to the Penitentiary.’   

What about when I leave?   But the question stayed cradled in a pocket of worry at the back of my mouth.

‘Walk by my side,’ he said. ‘Don’t make a sound. Don’t even breathe.’

I nodded. It seemed my voice had packed up and left with Ishbel.

Emerging from the shadows at the other end of the corridor a Military style guard stood rigid. His uniform was flat black and he carried an old fashioned automatic rifle.  A riot baton hung on his belt. His eyes never wavered from some fixed point above our heads, even when he clicked his heels in salute. My grandfather ignored him and poked me in the back with a sharp finger.

‘Move!’

Blood thundered round my body and I put my hand to my chest to try to catch the pulse to quieten it. Could the prisoners hear it or did they have their own sounds?  I imagined huddled beings, behind doors, ears pressed to cold metal, listening for our footsteps. The temptation to flop to my belly and crawl the length of the corridor was so strong I hunched to keep low, afraid of disturbing the pregnant air. The sound of my heels clattered like rocks on a snare drum. The locked doors crowded me, the corridor stretched, narrowed and with each step the guard seemed to move farther away. A voice from somewhere sizzled and singed the hair on my nape, Grandfather’s step missed a beat, I lost my footing and tripped.  He grabbed my arm before I fell my length and jerked me forward like a naughty child to be punished and sent to bed early.

Sweat soaked my oxters and groin and by the time we reached the guard I wanted to pee, but to ask to pee at this stage would be impossible, I probably couldn’t do it anyway.

About The Book

Book 1 of The Sun Song Trilogy.

It’s the year 2089 and everything is altered. The revolutions of the early 21st century have created a world divided – between the Privileged few and the Native (Celtic) underclass. Sorlie is enjoying a typical carefree Privileged teenage life until it is smashed apart by the cruel death of his parents and he is spirited away to live with his ice-cold grandfather at a mysterious island penal colony. Sorlie’s discovery that the captives are being genetically altered to remove all trace of their Native origins triggers a chain of shocking events that reveal his grandfather’s terrible secrets and, ultimately, the truth about himself.  

book reviews · Bookish

Stitched by Cheryl Elaine (Review)

Today I am pleased to be bringing you a review as part of the Baker’s Blog Tour for Stitched by Cheryl Elaine, out now in both Paperback and Kindle editions and also available as part of Kindle Unlimited.

This book, holy moly. I had to really think about my review for this one. This book is brutal. I’m going to say that straight up. It has such horrendous things happen in it, yet it’s not police procedural type-of-book and I feel maybe that made it feel more raw and harder to swallow, you don’t know about a team that are fighting for the victims, not really. This book was excellent, the things that happen in it are absolutely awful. I don’t want my praise of the book to seem like I condone the occurrence of it’s content at all and I feel like it DOES need a content warning because it isn’t made clear just how much brutality is within its pages.

You can gather from the blurb that there is domestic violence and murder, what you don’t glean from that is that it also features a whole host of other horrific instances. My face when reading it was quite the contorted one, but I couldn’t put it down.

Emily lives with her husband, Andy. Andy is an alcoholic and a wife-beater, amongst other things. The book immediately opens on a scene of abuse. Emily can not escape his abuse – and neither can the reader. I thought that was a significant thing to do. It’s unpleasant but it feels realistic. It’s an unrelenting situation. There are certain things that are incredibly repetitive in the book, the language used by both Emily and Andy, however, this works in this case as it’s seems very realistic for a victim and her abuser. The feelings of being trapped, that she’ll die at his hands, how did she end up in that situation? And for Andy, that she belongs to him, she needs a “firm hand” and to be “kept in line” and that it’s just discipline.

Later on, it gets more out of control and we discover a whole host of even more messed up things which I didn’t think was possible and the reason for the title and a certain sort of language used in the blurb begins to become apparent. I don’t want to post spoilers, but I do want readers to be aware that this book contains substance abuse, kidnapping, serial rape, serial murder, incest, mutilation, domestic violence and yet only the smallest sliver of justice, but I suppose this is also fairly realistic too, bruises and other wounds take time to fade and those mental ones take a whole lot longer – the book itself has a similar effect. I feel like I need a good shower, to cuddle my cat and to do something positive. It’s going to linger with me for a while. The author really gets to you with this gruesome, brutally raw book and I am not bad about it. It’s a damn good read. It’s so well written, I can’t really think of other ways to convey just how great it was written. It feels wrong to say I loved it when it was so…yeah.

It’s engaging, it is riveting, I couldn’t put it down and I had to know what would happen and if Emily would get freedom, if Andy would be caught, if Emily’s new neighbor, Donovan would be her savior. I was not prepared for the plot twist later on in the book, I was incredibly surprised to read it and I didn’t see it coming though I could imagine there was something amiss, but what I really didn’t see coming was the ending. This book doesn’t really have a happy ending, and that final twist had me actually shout at the book. I swear, by the end, my face hurt from all the faces of disgust and shock I pulled throughout reading it.

It’s complicated, but I would recommend this book, but you also need to consider if you’re mentally equipped to handle so much brutality in one story. I’ve done my best to try and make you aware of it and now only you can decide whether you’ll pick it up or not and if you’ll go to that dark place with Emily. I’m glad I did. I feel in shock, but I also feel a host of appreciation for things in my life and so thankful that I have never been in such an awful abusive situation. It should be the norm, but there are many women AND men who suffer like this regularly. They’re missing in society because of people like Andy and that’s heart wrenching.

About The Book

A gruesome tale of control, fear and brutality.

Marriage is not the bed of roses story books describe. More like a bed of torturous thorns.

And, how Emily bled.

Escape seemed an illusion, a mirage of a rocky road between overgrown thickets of despair. Emily couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel; she wasn’t allowed to dream or think for herself and had no alternative other than submitting to his rage.

Andy was a narcissist. Emily could not, and would not, disregard his superiority. Her naivety often clouded her judgment; she was damaged both mentally and physically. Would putting her trust in another lead her to a happy ending?

About The Author

Cheryl Elaine is a British Author, and resides in Yorkshire.  Throughout her life she has been an avid reader and wrote many short stories, which lead her on a path to the world of publishing. She released her debut novel – No Ordinary Girl, followed by her latest release – Stitched.

I hope you enjoy my dark and disturbing crime books, and if you fancy reading something lighter, why not check out my fantasy novel – Dragged to the Depths.

You can find out more about me, at the following places

https://www.cherylelaine.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/cherylelaineauthor

https://www.instagram.com/cherylelaine15/

book reviews · Bookish

The Grass Trail by AA Abbott (Excerpt)

Today I am on the tour for The Grass Trail by AA Abbott, the third book in the Trail Series. It’s out now both in Paperback and Kindle Formats and is available as part of Kindle Unlimited.

The kettle hissed, rocked, and jolted to a halt. “Want a brew?” Shaun offered.

“Please. Milk, one sugar.” Jenner held out his plastic mug. “Thanks. Hot and wet; that’s how I like it. Are you married, by the way?”

“No,” Shaun replied. “My wife died a few years back.” He added brusquely, “Of natural causes. And don’t get any ideas. I’m strictly hetero.” He didn’t suppose Jenner had the nerve to make a pass at him, but it wasn’t impossible for the MP to feel some attraction. Shaun’s Irish heritage had blessed him with good looks; even pushing fifty, his now-grey hair was thick, his blue eyes large, his body trim and well-muscled. The paunch he’d developed on the outside was gone; he was back in shape at last, his muscles honed by the gym and judicious use of smuggled steroids.

“Of course,” Jenner said soothingly. He pointed to the gallery of photographs on the wall. Torn from magazines and haphazardly fixed with blobs of toothpaste, their ragged edges were curling. “Who’s that? Your girlfriend?”

Shaun sipped his tea. The sweetened breakfast cereal was beginning to boost his blood sugar. He felt less groggy. “No,” he said, unwilling to be drawn any further. He would never admit to Jenner how he’d been charmed by Kat’s looks and posh accent, had offered her a job in his unlicensed casino in the hope of knowing her better. It had all gone horribly wrong. She’d disappeared, and so had twenty thousand pounds from the gambling den. It had taken a wild goose chase to weird Cold War tunnels in Birmingham to establish the truth: Kat wasn’t a thief. She’d seen Shaun kill the culprit, though, and had held a gun to his head in the tussle that followed. No one, least of all a woman, should have had that power over him. As if that wasn’t enough, it had been her evidence that had sent him down. His lips tightened.

Jenner wouldn’t stop. “Who is she?” he persisted. “A model? I’m sure I’ve seen her in the news. You know, you must have one, two, three – my goodness, ten pictures, all of the same woman.”

“Forget it, okay?” Shaun snapped. “She used to work for me. I’m looking forward to seeing her again.” His eyes lingered on the picture showing the most cleavage. There was no doubt he’d enjoy a reunion with Kat. Finally, she’d see who was boss. The pleasure would be his alone, and all the sweeter for it.

About the Book

Shaun knows who put him inside – and he wants to make her pay…

Shaun Halloran wouldn’t be in prison if glamorous Kat White hadn’t taken his gun. Pictures of the stunning blonde are plastered all over his cell. As soon as he can escape, she’s dead. But with his criminal empire crumbling, he can’t trust anyone.

Kat, panicked by poison pen letters, has nowhere to turn. Her parents are dead and her brother’s ill. Even her sexy new business partner may not be what he seems. When she receives life-changing news, vodka is the only answer…

A tense crime thriller with plenty of twists, “The Grass Trail” races through Birmingham, London and the former Soviet Union – tempting you to turn each page.