book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

The Brides Trail by AA Abbott (Review)

Hey guys. Today I am delighted to be on the tour for The Brides Trail by AA Abbott, out now in both paperback and Kindle formats – also available on Kindle Unlimited. I was sent a copy of this book for free as part of the tour.

The Brides Trail is a fairly short read at 212 pages, but it is jam packed with a fascinating story and I absolutely consumed it, cover to cover. It’s told from multiple perspectives, but is mostly from Amy’s point of view later in the book which I quite enjoyed. I was interested in the fact a portion of the book takes place in Birmingham, which is my home town.

This book mentions brides, but it’s no romance! Kat and Amy are roommates living in tiny flat in London. They had only known each other for a few months before Kat suddenly disappeared and trouble ended up on Amy’s doorstep. It turns out, someone is VERY unhappy with Kat and is determined to find her and punish her.

Enlisting the aid of her crush, Amy turns to a work colleague who is infatuated with Kat – Ross, to help find Kat, however, they end up finding Kat and then some. While Amy tries to find Kat, she learns a lot about her, and as it turns out, Kat is not a great person, having stolen Amy’s identity for a sham marriage, yet Amy still tries to find her and warn her. Will she make it before Kat’s pursuers do?

I really enjoyed the book, but it left a lot of questions unanswered which I can only hope and assume will be answered in the next book which I’ll be reading very soon. I’ll be featuring the rest of the series in due course, so keep your eyes peeled!

About The Book

This great story, packed with twists and turns, begins in London’s smart Fitzrovia and ends in secret tunnels below central Birmingham.

Ross has a swanky penthouse and a high-flying job in the City. When he meets Kat, a glamorous blonde croupier, he starts to plan a future. Now she’s disappeared, he’s devastated.

Casino boss Shaun realises it’s not just Kat who’s vanished –  £20,000 is missing too. He wants his money back and he’s after Kat’s blood.

Young graduate Amy has discovered Kat’s stolen her ID for a sham marriage. She can’t stand Ross, but only he will help her find Kat and clear her name.

High stakes, twists, action and suspense keep the pages turning in A.A. Abbott’s crime thriller, the first in the Trail Series.

About The Author

English thriller writer AA Abbott’s real name is Helen Blenkinsop; she chose her pen name in a shameless attempt to slot into the first space on your bookshelf. 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

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Hunters Revenge by Val Penny (Excerpt)

Today I am on the tour for Hunters Revenge by Val Penny, out now and available in Kindle and Paperback formats. It is also available on Kindle Unlimited (Use my link for 30 days free!). This book is the sequel to Hunters Chase; I recently shared a guest post from the author (Plotting in Novels) as part of another promotional tour for that book.

Much of the action in Hunter’s Revenge revolves around the car showroom and garage Thomson’s Top Cars. Here we meet Jamie and Frankie who are running the business while Jamie’s father, Ian, is in jail.

“I’m glad we’re doing this together,” Jamie said to his cousin. “I know having to leave us in charge is stressing Pop out!”

“Aye, probably more stress than his time in prison could ever have done. But at least you’ve passed your driving test now.”

Frankie could have been reading his uncle’s mind. Ian Thomson had just under two months to go before he was eligible for parole, and in the meantime could only hope that Jamie and Frankie didn’t do anything too stupid to ruin his business. At least the wee receptionist, Jenny Kozlowski, seemed to have a bit of common sense.

“I’ll be a bit late in today, Frankie, can you hold the fort?”

“Aye. What you up to, then?”

“Nothing much. It’s just that it’s Jenny’s birthday, and I’m going to pick up cakes for all of us for coffee break.”

“If it’s her birthday, she should buy the cakes. That’s what the rest of us all do,” Frankie protested. “You fancy her, don’t you?”

“Don’t be stupid!”

“Aye you do. Well, I won’t tell the guys in the workshop, if I can get a chocky doughnut.”

“Piss off, Frankie.”

“Am I getting a chocky doughnut, then?”

“Aye,” Jamie grinned.

***

Jamie was disappointed to see Frankie at the reception desk when he walked in.

“Where’s Jenny, cuz?” he called over to Frankie.

“Dunno. Not even a phone call. And she’s well late now.”

“Well, she must be somewhere, her coat’s here. She looks good in red.”

“Well she’s not anywhere, as far as I can see.”

“She’s usually early. Wonder what’s up.” Jamie rubbed his hands together. It might be spring according to the time of year, but with its wide glass front and the open garage at the back, the showroom was cold.

“She maybe went to get cakes,” Frankie suggested hopefully.

“Without her coat? I doubt it!” Jamie retorted.

“Well, she was probably out on the lash last night and slept in.”

“Could be, but I still can’t see her leaving last night without her coat.” Jamie shrugged and turned away, trying to hide his disappointment. “It’s fucking freezing in here. I’ll make us a coffee first to warm us up, then I’ll try phoning her.”

“Phone her first, Jamie. You know you want to.”

When Jamie wandered back to reception from the office he plonked a mug of coffee in front of Frankie.

“Her mam says she never went home last night. Do you know if she was going out with pals or the like?”

“I don’t know. You gave that guy a test drive in the Bentley and I went home. A fellow came in just as I was leaving, but Jenny said she would see to him because she would stay on and lock up with you.” Frankie smiled. “I thought, aye aye, nudge nudge, say no more. So off I went. I picked up the twins from their child minder on the way home. You know?”

Jamie frowned. “She wasn’t here when I got back, and the showroom wasn’t locked up. I was pretty pissed off about that. But I couldn’t see nothing missing, so when the guy said he wanted to think about the Bentley, I just locked up and came home.”

“Nothing was missing except Jenny, you mean.”

“I didn’t know that. I thought you’d both just buggered off.”

“Like we’d ever do that. Your pop would skin us alive when he got hold of us. Do you think I’ve got a death wish?”

“Funny accent the man had,” Jamie said. “European or something.”

“Jamie?” The head mechanic, Gary, called across the showroom. “Where’s that old blue Volvo that was waiting to go through its service?”

“What old Volvo? I don’t know. Don’t you keep a log of all the cars you work on?” Jamie asked angrily.

“Aye, but we didn’t get to this one yesterday. It was just waiting outside for us to get started this morning. The customer asked us to give it a service, then put it up for sale. Said he had a buyer for it who’d pay eight grand, but he might need a test drive first. I told him he’d need a brain test if he was paying that much for that car. But it seems like he was right; it must have been sold. ”

“So what happened to the paperwork?” Jamie shouted. “We’ve not sold any fucking old Volvo. Where is the damn thing?”

“No idea.”

“So what do I do now? Jenny’s not in, and a fucking car has gone missing. This is a truly rubbish start to the day. Pop is going to bloody skin me.”

Frankie shrugged, “Phone Jenny’s mam back? Maybe the man she spoke to took the Volvo.”

“I suppose I should. I don’t fancy it though. She shouts. I don’t think she likes me. Then what do I tell Pop about the car?”

“I think you’ll need a chocky doughnut before you do that. I know I will!”

“I’ll need more than a fucking chocky doughnut, Frankie, if we’ve lost one of his customer’s cars.”

About the Book

Hunter by name – Hunter by nature: DI Hunter Wilson will not rest until his friend’s death is avenged.

DI Hunter Wilson is called to the scene of a murder. He is shocked to find the victim is his friend and colleague, George Reinbold. Who would want to harm the quiet, old man? Why was a book worth £23,000 delivered to him that morning? Why is the security in George’s home so intense?

Hunter must investigate his friend’s past as well as the present to identify the killer and identify George’s killer. Hunter also finds a new supply of cocaine from Peru flooding HMP Edinburgh and the city.

The courier leads Hunter to the criminal gang but Hunter requires the help of his nemesis, the former Chief Constable, Sir Peter Myerscough and local gangster Ian Thomson to make his case. Hunter’s perseverance and patience are put to the test time after time in this taught crime thriller.

About the Author

  Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer.

However she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels. Her crime novels, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ and Hunter’s Revenge are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by Crooked Cat Books. The third book in the series, Hunter’s Force, follows shortly.

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Plotting in Novels – Val Penny (Guest Post)

Hey everyone! I hope you all had the most wonderful weekend! I’m kicking this week off with a Guest Post from Val Penny as part of a blog tour to promote her book Hunters Chase which is available now in both Kindle and Paperback formats. It’s also available on Kindle Unlimited and you can get a free 30 day trial of that here.

Take it away, Val!

    Thank you for having me on your blog today.

    I think that plotting is central to writing a novel, but it is a highly individual process. No two authors plot in the same way. Some plot organically while others plot in a very orderly fashion. Many writers even plot differently from one book to another. Some write scenes: hundreds of scenes that interest and excite them and then they stitch the scenes together to from the novel. While others visualise the way the book will take shape using dozens of bits of paper laid out on their desk or even on the floor. It must be important to make sure the windows are closed if you plot this way!

    Some authors use tree diagrams, spreadsheets or mind-maps to plot and there is software available to download on line for this.

    However you plot your novel, the goal is the same, to allow the journey the plot is about take, that will last several months, to become a novel. It is important that you, as an author, choose between the ‘organic’ and ‘orderly’ methods of plotting so you are comfortable that your choice works best for you and the book you are setting out to write. I plotted my first novel ‘Hunter’s Chase’ organically but, after attending a course run by Sue Moorcroft at last years’ Swanwick Writers’ Summer School, I plotted the sequel ‘Hunter’s Revenge’ using diagrams and spreadsheets. Neither is wrong. Both have strength and weaknesses and either can be successful for crafting a novel.

    Writers who follow an organic way of plotting, approach the outline largely as a form of awareness of the story, rather than as an actual document to be followed strictly. Many view the outline not so much as a planning device but more of an analytical tool that helps strengthen the final draft by indicating the flaws in the story-line.

    Some authors begin with an idea and just jump in to tell the story. They write steadily and regularly until they have written tens of thousands of words. Then they go through the organic draft and delete large chunks and add other pieces until the final manuscript is complete.

    Other authors, like Sue Moorcroft, plot meticulously and there is no doubt that plotting an outline is hard work. However, having undertaken an outline on ‘Hunter’s Revenge’, I found myself writing my novel with confidence. I was happy that one chapter followed another in a sensible sequence. My characters retained their identities. Of course, at the end of the first draft, there were flaws, but I found I was able to repair those readily.

    Whether you plot organically or in an orderly fashion, the important issue is that you can tell the story to your readers and that you, and they, are satisfied by your novel.

About the Book

Hunter by name – Hunter by nature: DI Hunter Wilson will not rest until Edinburgh is safe.
Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson knows there is a new supply of cocaine flooding his city, and he needs to find the source, but his attention is transferred to murder when a corpse is discovered in the grounds of a golf course. 

Shortly after the post-mortem, Hunter witnesses a second murder, but that is not the end of the slaughter. With a young woman’s life also hanging in the balance, the last thing Hunter needs is a new man on his team: Detective Constable Tim Myerscough, the son of his nemesis, the former Chief Constable Sir Peter Myerscough. 

Hunter’s perseverance and patience are put to the test time after time in this first novel in The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries series.

About the Author

Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels. Her crime novels, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ and Hunter’s Revenge are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by Crooked Cat Books. The third book in the series, Hunter’s Force, follows shortly.

book reviews · Bookish

The Boy at the Door by Alex Dahl (Review)

I’m pleased to be bringing you a book review as part of the #LoveBooksGroupTours for The Boy at the Door by Alex Dahl. Available now on Kindle, in Hardback and Paperback editions.

The Boy at the Door is a psychological thriller based in Norway and goes between the perspective of Cecilia and Tobias. Cecilia, the main character, is married to Johan and has two daughters. She initially appears to be a snobby, obnoxious and entitled woman, but it turns out that there is way more to her than you’d think, and frankly, the blurb doesn’t do the tale justice.

Tobias is a young boy who met Cecilia when he was at the same swimming lessons as her daughter, and when nobody came to pick him up after his lesson.

This book was a strange read for me, although an enjoyable one. I felt a few parts dragged a little, but this negative point was far outweighed by the excellent way Dahl built up the characters and their world and the parts that dragged were a part of that. Can’t have it both ways! So while I wanted to get on with the “meat” of the story, I was happy to really get to know the characters. The writing style was different to what’s typical of the genre and may not appeal to people who dislike a direct sort of tone and prefer a more nuanced style of writing.

Cecilia is not a good person. She’s also clearly got some mental issues. She makes you mad but also evokes sympathy from the reader too. She’s hard to be angry at even though she’s clearly quite regularly in the wrong. Tobias is written so well that you will want to just scoop him up and soothe him at times. The other characters mentioned are easy to visualise – one in particular, Annika, have a very firm and significant presence through the book and her characters story is woven through and will give you a dose of “feelings” too.

The story hits you with a significant event fairly early on and from there, it’s a wild ride. I guessed a small portion of the outcome but there were a bunch of twists that were entirely unexpected. Cecilia is a master at deception. So much so, she manages even to convince the reader with her lies.

We get to the truth in the very end, and I found myself rooting for Cecilia, despite all that she had done. I wanted the ending to be happy, but instead, the ending felt unfinished and left me with so many questions. One significant question – What about Tobias? It felt a little like a see-saw. Up and down and up and down but then the other person gets off and you go down with a massive thump and you’re a bit stunned. It ended with a bang but personally, I find these types of endings a little unfulfilling – I’m bad at imagination, even though you can likely fill in the gaps yourself. This is the only thing about the book that bothered me personally. That being said, it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the book as a whole and I would recommend it to anyone who likes thrillers that are a little bit different.

About the Book

On a rainy October evening, Cecilia Wilborg – loving wife, devoted mother, tennis club regular – is waiting for her kids to finish their swimming lesson. It’s been a long day. She can almost taste the crisp, cold glass of Chablis she’ll pour for herself once the girls are tucked up in bed.

But what Cecilia doesn’t know, is that this is the last time life will feel normal. Tonight she’ll be asked to drop a little boy home, a simple favour that will threaten to expose her deepest, darkest secret…

About the Author

Alex Dahl was born in Oslo, Norway, and is half American, half Norwegian, fully Francophile, and London resident.

Alex is the author of The Boy at the Door, published world-wide in 2018.

She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University, as well as an MSc in Business Management. Alex loves to travel and has previously lived in Moscow, Paris, Stuttgart, Sandefjord, Switzerland and Bath.


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Favourite Character to Write – BRM Stewart (Guest Post)

Today I am on the blog tour for The Deaths on the Black Rock by BRM Stewart, available now on Kindle and in Paperback formats. I’m pleased to bring you a guest post from the author about his Favourite Character to write.

Many of my characters are different aspects of me. Martin McGregor, and Michael, are me really. Martin’s life is stable just at the moment, so he doesn’t have a big role in this book (but wait for the next one!). Michael is developing well, and is going to take on more responsibility in the next book (as is the young Kylie).

I like Mark Grosvenor, the old semi-retired FBI agent, who appears to give his wisdom and knowledge, and help out generally using his contacts. Grosvenor has been with me since the first book, and I think he’ll always be around to give that international perspective. Anything involving cybercrime and online terrorism in the world will involve the FBI.

Overall, I think Amanda Pitt has to be my favourite character, and she has become a much more rounded and important character over the years.

She arrived late on in Digital Circumstances, with quite a small role as a corrupt cop. Right at the end, she seduced Martin’s secretary Claire, who was engaged at the time to a man she described as psychologically abusive.

I thought then that I could use her again, and friends also said they hoped to see more of her. In the second book, Digital Investigations, she rather took over: she was a member of a Major Investigation Team working on a murder and kidnapping.Amanda has a complex past. In ‘Investigations’ I explore that past, both how she discovered and came to terms with her sexuality, and how she became corrupt – being drawn in to a criminal gang as a result of doing a good turn for someone. It can be dangerous for a straight man to write about a gay woman, but I hope it rings true. I certainly hope I’ve avoided the standard pitfalls – I’m sure someone will tell me if I haven’t.

Amanda is a team player in ‘Investigations’. She lets the team know her ideas, and explains them. She also does what her boss asks her to do. She is the one who leads the team to make the breakthroughs. But she can also be ruthless: there’s an investigative reporter on her tail, looking into her past, and she will do anything not to let him bring her down.

In The Deaths on the Black Rock, Amanda is centre stage, and there’s no team around her. She alone thinks there is something dodgy about Rima Khalaf’s death, and I give her free reign to explore it. Amanda does some outrageous things as she gets more and more obsessed about the case, though hopefully it never comes across as unbelievable. It’s all very liberating for an author and great fun.

At the same time, I have to keep her rooted in reality: her task in her day job has to be carried out, and she does that well.

What I love about Amanda is that she works things out – not quite Sherlock Holmes, but close. She thinks about the problem. She does the spadework, so that when a piece of luck comes her way she can capitalise on it.

Blurb

It’s been a year since Rima Khalaf died in a fall from the Black Rock, deemed to be a tragic accident by the police.

But her grieving parents are dissatisfied with the police investigation, so DS Amanda Pitt is sent north from Glasgow to the small town of Clachdubh to re-examine the case.

Despite the suspicions of the distraught parents, all the circumstances seem to confirm Rima’s death was indeed a tragic accident until another woman is also found dead in the town.

Frustrated by the lack of any real evidence, DS Pitt pushes the limits of legality in her quest for the truth.

About the Author

Brian RM Stewart was born in Rutherglen and grew up in Grangemouth. He attended Glasgow University and Jordanhill College of Education, taught in Edinburgh, then moved to Nairn where he and his now-late wife Jan raised their children.

Brian now lives in Broughty Ferry with his wife Sally, where he is a member of the Angus Writers’ Circle and an active member of Rotary.

Brian spent much of his working life teaching mathematics and computing, but is now partially retired and lectures for the OU. When not writing, Brian attempts to play golf and the guitar (though not at the same time), and is a keen Bridge player.

He has published two previous novels, Digital Circumstances and Digital Investigation.

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Chasing Monsters by Paul Harrison – Review

chasing-monsters

Hey guys. Today I’m bringing you a review on this new release from Urbane Books – Chasing Monsters by Paul Harrison. It came out on the 4th October 2018 and is a crime thriller, available in both Paperback and Kindle formats – to buy and to borrow as part of Kindle Unlimited.
A pretty cool fun fact about the author is that he has spent a lot of his professional life working within the UK’s criminal justice system, primarily as a police officer, however he has also worked as a dog handler and criminal profiler, as well as working with the (now defunct) FBI’s Behavioural Science Unit in Quantico.

The first thrilling book in the Will Scott series.

In a sleepy northern seaside resort, The Eastborough Police Force is shocked into action when a heavily mutilated body is found in a quiet suburb. Murder rarely happens in these parts. Within a short space of time, the body count begins to rise rapidly, as a serial killer runs amok.

DI Will Scott is tasked with finding the murderer. In so doing he treads paths he never expected to traverse and uncovers a web of deceit where no one can be trusted.

The killer relentlessly continues to strike terror across the community, but without warning, the killing ground changes. Where will the killer strike next …?

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The first thing I have to note about this book, is the book itself. The cover is gorgeous and very suitable for the book. It’s only now I’ve finished the book in it’s entirety, that I feel I really understand it. Many books have fantastic covers, but there are few I feel have had this much thought go in to them. There are also themed chapter pages and wings throughout which is a lovely touch and matches very well with an element revealed later in the book.

The book jumps right in with finding a person on the beach and a lot of dialogue, using a lot of very British lingo which US readers may have a bit of trouble with – however, I believe it to be quite an accurate representation how many of us (English folk) speak. This sort of fades out though and the writing relaxes a little more, or it feels that way to myself at least.

The start feels quite structured and I struggled with it. This is character, here are details about character. It felt a little overwhelming and “for the sake of it” but things were upwards once these details were disclosed to the reader and everything felt like it was advancing the story. I may have struggled with the start, but by the end, I couldn’t put it down.

It doesn’t take too long for us to get to the first proper crime scene and this really had me hanging on. Harrison has you hanging on and makes you work for the details. The built up suspense is excellent and it was from this point that I realised he had me hooked. The nature of the corpses was a grim one and there are a few elements that sound like implausible scenarios and unrealistic reactions for experienced police officers; when the team go through the crime scene later on is a prime example. It really bugged me at the time, but it’s pretty minor in the grand scheme of things and by the next crime, I’d forgotten all about it.

The book is well paced and becomes quite easy to read from cover to cover. There are constantly events happening with no “lull” that would be convenient for the police. There are force politics involved, as with many crime books, however, not the expected “ah, budgets” and things like that. Very different to the usual office politics I’ve come to expect from crime fiction.

It’s quite a ride. The book has you question your own morality when you discover the victims are bad people themselves. Did they deserve to be murdered? Is it justice? Should we feel sympathy regardless or quietly celebrate? It really gives you a lot to think about.

I avoid mentioning mid-end books of spoilers, however I can talk about this without context, so it’s spoiler free. Later in the book, it feels like the story is being wrapped up and the premise is being set for a second installment (which I believe there will be) but then more action happens. It was incredibly intense, more so than the rest of the book had been and I ended up staying awake late to finish it because I absolutely had to know. It wasn’t what I was expecting and I found it absolutely gripping; a stark contrast to when I had first started reading the book and didn’t feel particularly excited about it – it wasn’t bad, it just didn’t stand out. It came along in leaps and bounds and became something I didn’t expect at all. It turned out to be a phenomenal read and one that I would highly recommend. Never had I read a crime thriller that has had me think so much about myself as well as the characters and the system that they operate in.

I really hope Harrison does follow through with a sequel and that it’s as excellent as this book was. I highly anticipate it and I know I’ll be reading it for sure!

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Stealth by Hugh Fraser – Review

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I’m pleased to be opening up the Love Books Group tour for Stealth by Hugh Fraser with a spoiler-free review! Stealth is the fourth installment to Fraser’s Rina Walker crime-thriller series, but can happily be read as a stand-alone. It’s available to pre-order and comes out on 4th October 2018.

When a step out of line means a fight to the death…

London 1967. A working girl is brutally murdered in a Soho club. Rina Walker takes out the killer and attracts the attention of a sinister line-up of gangland enforcers with a great deal to prove.

When a member of British Military Intelligence becomes aware of her failure to fulfil a contract issued by an inmate of Broadmoor, he forces her into the deadly arena of the Cold War, with orders to kill an enemy agent.

Rina needs to call upon all her dark skills, not simply to survive but to protect the ones she loves.

If you’d like to find out more about the book, please do check out the other stops on the tour! Here is the poster with the details:

Stealth

Stealth opens up leading straight in to action – not the sort I was expecting based on the blurb of the book. A lot more “shady-dealings” than super spies. Though I will say, there are spies and because of being a London hit-woman, assassin, whatever you’d like to call her; it’s interesting to see how she deals with what gets thrown at her later.

Based in 1967, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I dived in, but I felt immersed pretty quickly to a London from decades ago. The environment and the language used by the characters led me to be a lot more comfortable with the book and the entire thing flowed well. Now, I’m no expect on the 60’s – it’s well before my time, and so I’ve no idea on the accuracy of the way the characters speak compared to people of that time; however, I felt convinced and that element added strength to the character and the story.

At first, I wasn’t sold on the main protagonist, Rina. She seemed brash, unfeminine and I thought she was written a bit like a male character – however, that soon changed as I made a little more progress with the book and got to know Rina more. In actual fact, she’s a badass, female protagonist and almost every single thing that happens with her adds to her character development, in my personal opinion. She does use her femininity, but not in the way that I’d expected. On multiple occasions, I was surprised and pleasantly so, at the direction things went in.

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Hugh Fraser said that he has “no set writing process” and that he tends to not plan the story in advance and let Rina take over. I was wondering how this would translate within his work and the answer is “very well.” The book was well paced, with plenty going on, there weren’t really any lulls and it felt like I was right there with Rina, along for the ride and if I dared to stop and rest, I’d end up missing out. Despite not having read any of the previous books, I was indeed carried along with the action and I really enjoyed the ride.

So if you enjoy fast-paced crime-thrillers and a strong, female protagonist, you should definitely pick this book up and give it a go. You can grab it over on Amazon in both Paperback and Kindle editions.

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Implant – Ray Clark: Excerpt

Hey guys! Today, I’m on the blog tour for a fantastic book called Implant by Ray Clark. It’s the third in a series, but admittedly, this book was my introduction to it. I’ve added the previous installments to my TBR pile as I’ve really enjoyed this book thus far; and while it is part of a series, it works perfectly fine as a standalone. The book doesn’t take too long to really get in to the “meat” of the story, and I was really a big fan of that. I’m currently still reading the book though. I had planned on doing a full review for my spot on the tour, but moving house left me short on time – so today I have an excerpt to share with you instead. I hope you’ll love it and pick up a copy and we can chat about it if you’d like! Thanks to Kelly from Love Books Group, Urbane Publications and Ray Clark for inviting me to be a part of this! Implant is on sale now in both paperback and kindle editions.

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Bramfield, near Leeds, a sleepy little market town nestled on the borders of West and North Yorkshire. Detectives Stewart Gardener and Sean Reilly discover the naked corpse of Alex Wilson, nailed to the wall of a cellar in his uncle’s hardware store. His lips are sewn together and his body bears only one mark, a fresh scar near his abdomen.

Within forty-eight hours, their investigation results in dead ends, more victims, no suspects and very little in the way of solid evidence. Gardener and Reilly have a problem and a question on their hands: are the residents of Bramfield prepared for one of history’s most sadistic killers, The Tooth Fairy?

Implant is the perfect read for fans of Peter May, Mark Billingham and Peter James.

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3.

3:20 a.m.

“Do you want me to put a trace on the calls?” Cragg asked.

​Both men had moved out of the back office now, into the more clinical surroundings of the lobby and the front desk.

​“Might be a good idea, sir. While you do that, maybe I should have a walk round to Armitage’s, see what’s happening.”

​Gary didn’t think a trace to his phone would do much good. He knew that as you travelled up and down the country, your mobile phone ‘shook hands’ with each phone mast as it came within range. You didn’t have to be using it, but the mast would know it’s available to make or receive calls. At the end of the day, however, the range was only accurate to within 1.5 miles.

​“It’s okay, lad. I can dispatch a car if you like.”

​“Where are the others?”

​“Further north, at Rudson, investigating an attempted break-in.”

​“You could give them a call and see how they’re doing. If they’re nearly finished, let ‘em know I’m going, and maybe they can meet me there later. After all, we don’t know what this is yet, and it’ll only take me a few minutes to walk round.”

​“If you’re sure,” said Cragg.

​“Course I am. Anyway, the doc said I needed the exercise for the leg. Can you trace the calls?”

​“I’ll use Charter to try to trace them. It’ll just take longer.” Charter was a software program the police used to obtain information from phone companies under the RIPA Act.

​Gary put his helmet on and stepped out the station front door. The sky was still dark with little cloud and no breeze, which made for a mild September morning. The road was quiet: no traffic, no people, not even a brave fox.

​The station was situated on Old Bramfield Road, to the north of the town, going towards Bursley Bridge and eventually Harrogate. Armitage’s place was in Carpenter’s Alley, behind the Market Square, at the foot of The Shambles. He estimated it would only take about ten minutes to walk, despite his leg.

​It took less than a minute for the bloody thing to start aching, an annoying pulsing sensation.

​The accident was still very clear in his mind. They were playing a team from Ilkley. One of their defenders was known locally – and nationally, he shouldn’t wonder – as “The Monster.” He’d been sent off more times than any other player in the league, and it was probably the sole reason that had stopped Ilkley Town achieving promotion. Maybe their manager would see that one day.

​The Bramfield defender, Steve Preece, had supplied the perfect cross for Gary. The goalkeeper was the only man to beat, and Gary reckoned it wasn’t much of a problem. Where The Monster had come from was anyone’s guess.

​Gary went down like a sack of spuds, even heard the break. He hadn’t felt any pain at first. He couldn’t remember the exact point at which he had felt pain, but it had more than made up for his initial lack of it.

​Mr. Sinclair had called it a ‘green stick’ break. His bones had been broken laterally in a jagged fashion, and they had needed to be straightened and pinned. The surgeon had been to see him a couple of times in hospital, gave him extra injections in the leg. He’d said it would take time, things would improve, but it was unlikely Gary would play football again. Not at Sunday League level, anyway.

​Mr. Sinclair would know. He was as good as anyone. Had to be to treat Gary’s mother the way he had done.

​Gary approached the crossroads in the town centre and turned right on to Wheelgate, passing the shops. He hadn’t seen any people on his walk, and passed only a couple of vehicles approaching from the south side, one of them was a bus with no passengers.

​He turned left on to Finkle Street, and his thoughts were once again with his mother.

​She had a type of brain cancer called glioma. He remembered the day when she had suddenly started having epileptic fits, right out of the blue. With progression, she’d had more, and had then grown forgetful.

​She was so frightened. So was he, come to mention it. He’d lost his father; he wanted to hang on to his mother.

​Gary approached the old library, which led to The Shambles. As Armitage’s hardware shop came into view, he could indeed see the light burning in the window, and the front door open.

​He glanced behind him and noticed Richard Jones with his pushbike, standing outside The Golden Lion pub. The man waved, wheeling his bike towards Gary. He was dressed in an old trench coat and trousers. Gary reckoned his age to be mid-fifties.

​He turned his attention to the old hardware store. It had been a part of the community for as long as he could remember, much longer in fact, as he read the sign above the shop that told him it had been established in 1939.

​It was a long fronted building made from different shades of brick, indicating when and where it had been extended. He suspected the main door at the far right side was not the original entrance, which was probably the more central one now used as a window display. To reach the shop you had to walk down four huge concrete steps, with a slope for wheelchairs running down the middle. To the far left were a cycle rack, and a huge potted plant. On the corner of the building an old-fashioned gas mantle was fixed to the wall, unlit.

​Gary was about to tell Richard Jones not to come too close when movement caught his attention. About thirty feet in front of him, where the shop ended and a wall separated it from the public toilets and the car park beyond, someone had stepped back into the shadows.

​At least, he thought someone had.

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Book Simulator (#LoveBooksGroupTours)

book simulator

Woo! I’m so happy to be taking part in my first blog tour! I’m thankful to be able to take part. I’m not the only one, so if you fancy checking it out, see the above poster for all the other lovely bloggers who will be covering Book Simulator by Chris Yee on the book tour! For now, here is the synopsis and my review of the book.

Book Cover (1)

HATE READING? THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU!!!

We all know you don’t like to read, but don’t worry, Book Simulator is here to save the day. Convince your friends that you are an avid reader. Utilize techniques that almost anyone can learn. Techniques include: page turning, eye movement, note taking, and much more. Book Simulator includes interactive exercises that allow you to practice your craft. Impress your friends and master the art of book simulation.

Looking for humor, comedy, laughs, jokes, and all other forms of funny? Book Simulator is a humorous take on the conventions of a traditional book. While it pokes fun at various aspects of reading, it also celebrates the spirit of storytelling and encourages the exploration of future stories to come.

For extensive coaching in the very serious field of pretend reading, purchase Book Simulator today.

Print and ebook versions of Book Simulator are slightly different, each with format specific content and other small variations. Why not try out both?

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Book Simulator is a humorous, tongue-in-cheek take on reading. I was intrigued by the books synopsis and instantly knew I wanted to try it out. Spoiler alert, you don’t have to hate reading.

This book is an excellent, light read, it had me chuckling multiple times throughout as the humor came through immediately; meanwhile the Book Simulator told me off for failing to follow some very simple instructions. The style of writing is casual and informal and it feels very much directed at the reader and more personal, which I found to help connect the reader (me) with the humor and aided my enjoyment of the book.

While the book jokes about simulating book reading while not having to read a single word, it actually reminds us of how enjoyable books can be and how we can engage with them, get more from our reading experience and enjoy it; rather than just reading to appear intelligent and get brownie points from people in society who probably actually don’t even care.

I don’t want to spoil the ending of the book; because it could very well be easily spoiled, however, I do want to tell you how the book took an unexpected turn as I headed towards the end and I was lead on a journey that I really wasn’t expecting. The final note reminds us that there are always people who will fight for stories, giving a nod to some classic authors, y’know, in case you feel like reading a real book, or pretending to, at least!

I’d definitely recommend giving this book a go, especially if you like light reads that will make you chuckle.

Book Simulator is available on Amazon in both Kindle and Paperback versions. There is a difference between the two versions. I personally have the paperback, as you can see, however the Kindle edition is free at the moment. I recommend paperback for the more realistic Simulator experience though. 😉