book reviews · Bookish

Who Is She? By V Clifford (Review)

Today, I am on the blog tour for “Who is She?” by V. Clifford. This book is the 5th installment in the Viv Fraser Mysteries and is available now in both Paperback and on Kindle – it is also available to borrow via Kindle Unlimited.

About The Book

Who is She? No one knows that the past is a strange country more than Scottish sleuth Viv Fraser. In this, the fifth Mystery, Viv is compelled to investigate a series of misadventures that are too close to home. Unravelling a veil of deception she discovers just how much of her past is in the present. No stranger to a challenge, she risks more than her pride hunting down the people who have threatened her family. Mac is on hand to help but will she let him?  

Viv Fraser is a hairdresser. She also has signed the official secrets act and has great technical prowess. “Who is she”? indeed?

This book is the fifth in a series, but it was my introduction to this character and series. It read perfectly fine as a standalone, but I feel I definitely would have benefited from reading previous installments. There is a dynamic between the characters and I feel like this would have added a lot more to my understanding of it, however, it wasn’t difficult to really pick things up and understand the bonds of the main character and those she interacted with. Viv Fraser is definitely up there as one of my favourite characters to date.

I really want to know more about Viv, and I am definitely looking forward to the next installment, as the book ended on an open note, paving the way for the next installment. Despite this, the plot of this book did all wrap up and conclude to a satisfactory ending.

I feel like it’s hard to talk about this book without spoiling it. Viv is an enigma. It would appear that she gets this from her mother! Viv’s mum, Trude, lives in a place not-so-affectionally referred to as “The Pound” by her daughters. A person had been looking in her mum under the pretense of window cleaning and Viv had been convinced her mum might be losing her marbles, but it turns out, she couldn’t be further from the truth, in fact, her mum was so incredibly on the ball, with a whole lot of history that Viv only so much as get a glimpse at.

Viv only got to glimpse this alter-ego as her mother ends up going missing and herself and her sister need to find out what is going on and if she is okay. It turns out, someone has been following Viv, her sister Manda and her mother, and they have an agenda.

I guess I’ll be leaving this review here – I never intend to give spoilers; and you can go and meet Viv Fraser for yourself if I’ve piqued your interest!

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Think Yourself Lucky by Ramsey Campbell (Review)

Today, I’m on the Random Things blog tour for Think Yourself Lucky by Ramsey Campbell and I’ve got a review for you! The books is available in Paperback, Hardback and Kindle edition.

Think Yourself Lucky Blog Tour poster

Categorised as a horror novel, I wasn’t sure how this book would go. I’m not majorly familiar with horror as a genre and the works I am familiar with are more “classic”, so I was pleasantly surprised that Think Yourself Lucky was something totally different, and a new experience for me. Instead of a traditional horror, this book is very psychological and sardonic; it’s not what I was expecting at all.

At first, the book opens up with someone else – we later find out his name is Lucky. He’s aggressive and clearly hates people. We are almost instantly presented with his own monologue about his neighbours and how irritating he finds them. I thought, ha! Yeah, we all think like this sometimes when people are irritating, but then things took a dark turn. I wasn’t sure if these instances were meant to be humorous or just aggressive and shocking. I didn’t find them funny, it felt a little tedious and hard to read, but this dude clearly isn’t a good guy, so I just put this down to the character himself. In this sort of book, I figured there would be characters I wouldn’t like. I found myself feeling rather uncomfortable and weirded out through the book, which I guess is good considering it’s genre!

The main character, David, is bored with his life, working at a travel agency. The point is made – repeatedly – that he absolutely is not a writer. Accosted in the street, he ended up going to a writers meeting where he mentioned a “title” for a book. He then finds out that somebody “took the name” and created a blog with it – a rather grim, sardonic blog at that. Though he doesn’t care the name was taken, because he isn’t a writer.

The events in the blog seem to somehow coincide with his life, weirding David out and clearly affecting his mind. How did it line up with him like that? Did he have some sort of influence on things? Did he have a stalker? We do find out, but it’s not made explicitly clear what happened. I felt because of this, the book didn’t really conclude very well. I found myself reaching the last pages and wondering where the ending was going to be.

The book didn’t flow well for me. Some parts were really engaging and had me going, other bits I just couldn’t wait to get past for the next thing to happen. It was quite a strange read but I definitely enjoyed the experience as it was totally new to me. The premise itself I found pretty interesting and I’m sure people who are fans of the genre would enjoy it more than I did; but personally, this one wasn’t for me.

Think Yourself Lucky Cover

BLURB: David Botham just wants a quiet ordinary life―his job at the travel agency, his
relationship with his girlfriend Stephanie. The online blog that uses a title he once thought up has nothing to do with him. He has no idea who is writing it or where they get their information about a series of violent deaths in Liverpool. If they’re murders, how can the killer go unseen even by security cameras? Perhaps David won’t know until they come too close to him―until he can’t ignore the figure from his past that is catching up with him…

Ramsey CampbellABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ramsey Campbell is a British writer considered by a number of
critics to be one of the great masters of horror fiction. T. E. D. Klein has written that “Campbell reigns supreme in the field today,” while S. T. Joshi has said that “future generations will regard him as the leading horror writer of our generation, every bit the equal of Lovecraft or Blackwood.”

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Perfect Liars by Rebecca Reid – Review

perfectliars2

Today, I’m on bringing you a review as part of the tour for Perfect Liars by Rebecca Reid, out now in Paperback, on Kindle and as an Audio Book.

They have it all. And they’ll do anything to keep it that way.

For fans of The Girlfriend and Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies as well as TV hits Doctor Foster and The Replacement.

Sixteen years ago, at an elite boarding school secluded in the English countryside, best friends Nancy, Georgia and Lila did something unspeakable.

Their secret forged an unbreakable bond between them, a bond of silence. But now, in their thirties, one of them wants to talk.

One word and everything could be ruined: their lives, their careers, their relationships. It’s up to Georgia to call a crisis dinner. – she knows there’s nothing that can’t be resolved by three courses in her immaculate kitchen.

But the evening does not go as planned.

Three women walk in to the dinner, but only two will leave.

Murder isn’t so difficult the second time around…

Gripping and unputdownable, Perfect Liars tells the story of a group of friends bound by their dark pasts and their desperate need to keep their secrets hidden from the world around them. How far would you go to protect the life you’ve built?

Perfect Liars PB 1

If you liked the show Pretty Little Liars or Doctor Foster, you’ll like this book; unless you need to like the characters, then.. perhaps not… The story has three main characters who attended boarding school together. Out of the three, two of them are wealthy, one is on a scholarship but all three of them are well written, awful people. Teenagers are often pretty terrible people, but grow in to decent people. How about these three? As it turns out, no, they don’t. Instantly, I took a dislike to all of the main characters.

The story is relatively easy to guess and the blurb gives away a lot, but it also gives the impression that maybe one of the characters isn’t so bad after all, that maybe she’s likeable? Nope. Not in my view at least; however, I don’t need to like the characters to enjoy a book. There’s no “good-guy” in this story really – they’re all pretty awful people, even as adults.. The only character that doesn’t suck as a person is the only one who isn’t married to this heinous human beings. I loved to hate these characters. They were well written and very “human”. They were quite believable and I find with stories like these, it’s not always the case.

The book opens up with the end, and switches between present day and the girls’ time in boarding school and their individual perspective. The book focuses heavily on their guilt and how it effects them, even in their current lives. The book flows brilliantly, it’s well paced and well written, making up a little for its predictability. Despite knowing the way the story would go, I couldn’t put it down. The characters and the story itself I found all to be very believable which I found made it stand out compared to other books in the genre.

rebecca-reid-2 1
Rebecca is a freelance journalist. She is a columnist for the Telegraph Women’s section, works for Metro Online and has written for Marie Claire, the Guardian, the Saturday Telegraph, the Independent, Stylist, Glamour, the iPaper, the Guardian, Indy100, LOOK and the New Statesmen amongst others. Rebecca is a regular contributor to Sky News and ITV’s This Morning as well as appearing on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, LBC, BBC News 24 and the BBC World Service to discuss her work.

She graduated from Royal Holloway’s Creative Writing MA in 2015 and Perfect Liars is her debut novel.

Rebecca lives in North London with her husband.

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Stealth by Hugh Fraser – Review

9781911583660

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.

Hugh_Frazer-745x1024

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.

Bookish · Uncategorized

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.

AA6D4539-2F8C-4021-A9FF-E615B3215361

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.

0374DE05-60D3-44D4-B0C7-F81A6630E934

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?

88F67720-0A6E-4698-9DE9-C4784E062B88

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. 😉