Her Perfect Life Sam Hepburn – Blog Tour Review

Publication Date: Available Now from Harper Collins

Source: Netgalley

How far would you go to create the perfect life?

Gracie Dwyer has it all: the handsome husband, the adorable child, the beautiful home and the glittering career. The perfect life.

Her new friend Juliet doesn’t exactly fit in. She’s a down-on-her-luck single parent with no money and not much hope.

So just what is it that draws Gracie and Juliet together? And when the cracks start to appear in Gracie’s perfect life, can both of them survive?

Her Perfect Life was an intriguing read, following the “friendship” of two very different women, one who seemingly has everything, one who seemingly has nothing. As such it was a clever, involving character drama with a psychological thriller twist as motivations and truths start to emerge.

To be honest it was the friendship angle that interested me most – as a reader of many psychological thrillers there are not many surprises – but Sam Hepburn has written a multi-layered and compelling portrait of two different women who come together, a toxic manipulative friendship develops, seeing it as we do from both points of view makes it endlessly fascinating.

Well written, you get sucked into the tale very easily, Sam Hepburn throws plenty of intrigue and twists into the tale, as it unfolds it gets ever more addictive – towards the end of the book I could barely put it down even though it was a  slow burner it was highly involving.

Overall a really good addition to this popular genre and one that as a reader you can take many different things from and a well constructed plot that manages not to be utterly obvious – as such I would definitely recommend it.

Find out MORE

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To Purchase A Perfect Life clickety click right HERE

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Happy Reading!

Ones to Watch in 2017: Ragdoll – Daniel Cole.


Happily a victim of Daniel Cole and Ragdoll today reposting my original review. Out tomorrow! Go get it if you just like to rock along with a book….This book is rocking.

Publication Date: 23rd Feb 2017 from Trapeze

Source: Review Copy

Six victims: one body

Controversial detective, Nathan Wolfe, has just been reinstated to the force after months of psychological assessment following accusations of assault. A veteran to the job, Wolfe thinks he’s seen it all, until his friend and former partner, Detective Emily Baxter, calls him to a crime scene and gleefully leads him to a career-defining cadaver: the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together like a puppet – a corpse that will become known in the press as the ‘ragdoll’. With six victims to identify, the stakes are raised when Wolfe’s ex-wife, reporter Andrea Hall, is anonymously sent photographs from the crime scene along with a list of six names… and the dates on which the ‘Ragdoll Killer’ intends to murder them.

The final name on the list is Wolfe’s.

Ha! Ragdoll is Fast, funny, brilliantly unpredictable and scarily horrific.

Loved it.

One of those books that a lot of people are talking about and you go hmm. Can it really be that good? Well if you like your crime novels to be indecently clever, terribly addictive, with a twist of horror and a huge dose of dark humour then yep it really can be that good.

It was.

ANYWAY characters? Yep got some of those in here, some utterly fantastic ones, none of whom seem to follow your usual tropes or if they do they do so in irregular and unlikely fashion. With style. Wolfe well, you never really know what he is going to do. It makes it beautifully engaging. Taking a cue from a note from the author , I thought Wolfe was a bit Jack Bauer on acid with better occasional wisecracks. I fell a little in love. Emily Baxter his one time sidekick is  well, she just is. Then the whole police team around those two have their own little weather patterns and externally you have news people(including wife Andrea – oops I mean EX of course) and possible victims and what have you, all entirely fascinating. Even if some of them did make me want to hide under the bed never to emerge again.

The dialogue crackles, the plot is beautifully woven to keep you guessing, although I gave up guessing around the middle of the book and just went along for the ride. It was a topsy turvy joy of a read that never once let up  in quality or stimulation  and it was a rocking rollercoaster from start to finish.  With body parts. And blood. And death. And giggles. And Wolfe.

And WHAT an ending.

Ragdoll? Yep yep and yep. Is what I have to say. This time the hype for me was justified. Its just good fun people! Even if the subject matter is the stuff of nightmares. Oh and by the way, great take on human nature here. If you are thinking this is all popcorn no depth think again. Works on many levels. Many many levels. Can’t wait for more from Daniel Cole.

Look here he is on Twitter HERE

Order Ragdoll by clickety clicking right HERE



Happy Reading!



Desperation Road – Michael Farris Smith – Blog Tour Guest Post.

Today I am very pleased to welcome author Michael Farris Smith, talking about writers who inspired him.

Guest Post – Michael Farris Smith.

Sometimes I wonder if I should feel guilt over being so hard on my characters, but then I’m reminded of the writers who have inspired me, and the courage and strength I always find in their stories because they situate their characters firmly between a rock and a hard place. And dare them to find a way out.

The most striking influence of this for me came from the late Larry Brown. As a beginning writer, and fellow Mississippian, I was inspired by Brown’s stories of down-and-out men and women in down-and-out towns, but I was just as influenced about what Brown had to say about writing fiction. His interviews were always full of thoughts about the guts and courage it took to sit down and write, the guts and courage it took to face rejection after rejection and keep trucking. And I learned from this. I learned perseverance and work ethic. And then I began to notice another word he seemingly used over and over when describing the grittiness of his stories. Sandbagging. This is the word he referred to when asked why his characters had to deal with so much. He said he liked to sandbag them, to pile on to see just how much they could take and how they would react. That made sense to me immediately, and still does.

Because in life, you don’t really find out about people until things go bad. It’s not a challenge to be a good person on the days when the sun is shining, and you get off work early, and you find twenty dollars in your pocket, and your favorite person has said something nice to you, and the bills have been paid with more than a little left over. But let the rain wash out the picnic, or let the boss make you put in a few extra hours on a Friday evening and you have to cancel a date with a pretty girl, or let the one nail in the middle of the road find the tire on your car, and that’s when the truth comes out. The real self revealed. And that’s what I want to find out about my characters. When it’s tough, when there is only a faint speck of light at the end of the tunnel, what will they do? How will they get out of it? Will they give up or keep fighting? Can they climb over the pile of sandbags?

I bet they will try.

About the Book.


Published by No Exit Press.

For eleven years the clock has been ticking for Russell Gaines as he sits in Parchman penitentiary. His sentence now up, Russell believes his debt has been paid. But when he returns home, he discovers that revenge lives and breathes all around him.

Meanwhile, a woman named Maben and her young daughter trudge along the side of the interstate. Desperate and exhausted, the pair spend their last dollar on a room for the night, a night that ends with Maben holding a pistol and a dead deputy sprawled in the middle of the road.

With the dawn, destinies collide, and Russell is forced to decide whose life he will save—his own or those of the woman and child.

Find out MORE

Follow the author on TWITTER

To Purchase Desperation Road clickety click right HERE

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Happy Reading!

Aye Write -Getting to Know the Authors. With Daniel Cole.

Ragdoll is out this week – more on that tomorrow – YAY but the lovely author Daniel Cole is also appearing at Aye Write – ticket info and book info to follow. Gordon of Grab This Book and I are getting to know a few of the appearing authors  so keep an eye out on his site too. Today it’s Daniel’s turn. Having received his answers I kind of love him. So if you can, get along to Aye Write in Glasgow and see his event. By the way the book is blinking brilliant!

Tell us a little about your current novel, what readers can expect from it…

It’s called Ragdoll and in the category of books about serial killers and dismembered body parts stitched together, I’d say it definitely falls into the more light-hearted and entertaining end of the spectrum. It certainly isn’t a straight police procedural. It’s larger than life escapism, it’s got a whole cast of great characters, a very cinematic feel, and lots and lots of dark humour.

Where did you grow up and what was family life like?

I grew up in Bournemouth and it was fine – thank you for asking.

Academic or creative at school?

Definitely not academic, so I’ll say creative… although I’m not entirely sure that fits either. I did manage to get through A-Level Music Technology without being able to read a note of music though, which is quite impressive in an incompetent sort of way, I suppose.

First job you *really* wanted to do?

I remember being so happy when I got accepted onto the Paramedic training course. I’d been working on and off in an investment bank (it took several attempts to escape). The whole shirt and tie office thing just wasn’t right for me so getting onto that course was my way out.

Do you remember the moment you first wanted to write?

I started off writing screenplays. I think that was due to becoming a little frustrated with my favourite television shows and believing that I could do a better job. The US series especially, tended to have a lot of ‘filler’ episodes when there are 22 or more in a season. …Still do.

The first screenplay I ever wrote faded in to reveal the imposing hallway of an investment bank. The main character watched his boss enter through the unnecessarily Hagrid-sized doors below before throwing himself down the main staircase – a painful and bloody; albeit well worth doing way of getting a day off (an only slightly embellished version of real life).

Who are your real life heroes?

My heroes are the frontmen of my two favourite bands: Max Bemis of Say Anything and Ace Enders of The Early November. I’d also add to the list a few of my very favourite screenwriter/directors such as Joss Whedon, Shane Black, Alex Garland and Martin McDonagh.

Funniest or most embarrassing situation you’ve found yourself in?

So many… Too many. Stand next to me for five minutes – ten at a push – and I guarantee I’ll say or do something stupid.

DIY expert or phone a friend?

I’m not sure my friends are any less useless than I am so… phone a stepdad.

Sun worshipper or night owl?

Both. And I live in Bournemouth next to the beach to make the most of the sun when/if it ever comes out.

A book that had you in tears.

I am far too tough and manly (some would say intimidatingly so) to cry at a book. If you were really determined – you could put one of the old episodes of Scrubs on where Dr Cox has a proper meltdown and smashes up a hospital room – that should do it.

A book that made you laugh out loud.

Both of the Alan Partridge books made me laugh a lot.

One piece of life advice you give everyone

Don’t listen to me.

Ok. I won’t. Thanks Daniel! 

Purchase tickets to Daniel’s event HERE

See the full Aye Write Programme HERE

Come back tomorrow when I’m one of the victims on the Ragdoll Blog Tour and you can read my review.

About the book.

Six victims: one body

Controversial detective, Nathan Wolfe, has just been reinstated to the force after months of psychological assessment following accusations of assault. A veteran to the job, Wolfe thinks he’s seen it all, until his friend and former partner, Detective Emily Baxter, calls him to a crime scene and gleefully leads him to a career-defining cadaver: the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together like a puppet – a corpse that will become known in the press as the ‘ragdoll’. With six victims to identify, the stakes are raised when Wolfe’s ex-wife, reporter Andrea Hall, is anonymously sent photographs from the crime scene along with a list of six names… and the dates on which the ‘Ragdoll Killer’ intends to murder them.

The final name on the list is Wolfe’s.

Follow Daniel on Twitter HERE

Order Ragdoll by clickety clicking right HERE



Happy Reading!

Getting to Know You with Gwen Parrott

Today I am very happy to welcome Gwen Parrott telling us a little bit about herself and her 1940’s Murder Mystery “Dead White”

Tell us a little about your current novel, what readers can expect from it.

‘Dead White’ is set in rural Pembrokeshire, South Wales, during the terrible winter of 1947. Della Arthur has just arrived off the train to take up a job as the Headteacher of the local school when she becomes disorientated in a snowstorm and is forced to take shelter in what she thinks is an empty farmhouse. The terrible discovery she makes there, and the bewildering lack of concern of the locals, drive her to seek the truth. As if the weather didn’t make life hard enough during that particular winter, Britain was still recovering from WW2, and everything was rationed. Life in the remote village of Nant-yr-Eithin is tough – no electricity, no transport apart from bicycles or a horse and cart, and every luxury nothing but a distant memory. It’s a world that is only 70 years ago in time, but it might as well be 200. However, Della is feisty, determined and self-sufficient, and despite only having the help of an Italian prisoner of war, and having to cope with a disturbed pupil and a very unwelcome guest, nothing is going to stop her finding out what happened.

Where did you grow up and what was family life like?

I grew up in a very similar village to the location of the book, and although we had electricity, it used to fail regularly. I lived through two episodes of deep snow, when the village was cut off for six weeks at a time and my dad was the Headteacher of the local two-roomed school. As an only child I was adept at making my own fun. I don’t remember being lonely, because there was a real sense of community, and you were free to wander almost anywhere. My parents also included me in every decision and discussion, and my obsessive interest in people was sparked and encouraged by them.

Academic or creative at school?

Both. I can remember being quite sad when I had to give up Needlework in order to do Latin. Oddly enough, although Latin has been hugely useful right through life, crafting of all kinds has been my main means of relaxation. I suppose it was worth it – you can make a lot of progress in crafting by teaching yourself. Latin, not so much.

First job you *really* wanted to do?

Good question, because for many years I never really considered the possibility that writing could be anything more than a secret pleasure. Then, by a series of lucky events, I was offered the chance to help storyline and script a Welsh language radio soap for the BBC. I finally felt I’d come home, and it was a very valuable experience – and an incredibly steep learning curve.

Do you remember the first moment you wanted to write?

No, because I’ve done it ever since I could print my name. When I got pocket money, it was a really hard choice between a bar of chocolate and a shiny red exercise book to write down my latest epic. The exercise book won out very often. The sight of a fresh, unsullied page still fills me with joy – all those possibilities.

Who are your real life heroes?

People who sacrifice their own lives and comfort in order to devote themselves wholly to a sick or disabled loved one. I simply don’t know how they get out of bed in the morning. It’s humbling to consider their selflessness and disgraceful that they don’t get more help and recognition.

Funniest or most embarrassing situation you’ve found yourself in?

Some years ago, my mother and I went down to the south coast to Sidmouth for a few days’ shopping before Christmas. The hotel held a quiz night and guests formed themselves into teams – some made up of whole families or people on a group holiday. Mum and I didn’t know anyone else so we just did the quiz for a laugh although it didn’t help that she’d left her spectacles in our room. When we’d handed in the answers, the quizmaster told us that two teams had drawn – a team of eight and guess who – us. The tie-breaker was ‘What bodily process goes at 150 miles an hour?’ – and I happened to know that the answer is a sneeze. We won a box of chocolates and a bottle of sherry, but quite frankly, I wish we’d stayed in our room that evening, because the team who lost took massive umbrage and were mortally offended at having lost to a team of two, one of whom had had to have the questions read out to her. They ignored us pointedly from then on. You could feel them glaring from the other end of the dining room. I actually heard one of them mutter ‘I bet she’s having an affair with the quizmaster!’ I laugh now when I think of it, but at the time it was quite disturbing – good copy, though.

DIY expert or phone a friend?

If it’s within my field of capability then I do it myself – otherwise I just shout for my husband.

Sun worshipper or night owl?

Night owl, definitely. It is beyond me why people get up at the crack of dawn – there’s nothing happening! I also like being up late at night, with the sense of the world winding down, lives being lived behind lit windows, strange noises and lonely pedestrians passing by. It’s no coincidence that my favourite painter is Edward Hopper – he captures that mood so well.

A book that had you in tears.

‘We need to talk about Kevin’ by Lionel Shriver. She has famously said that it’s a book that polarizes readers – you’re either on the mother’s side or the son’s side. And despite recognising the mother’s shortcomings, I’m with her and I feel for her.

A book that made you laugh out loud.

‘Lake Wobegon Days’ by Garrison Keillor. He could copy out pages from the phone book and I’d still find them funny. One of the reasons he resonates with me is that parts of his experience of childhood and community are familiar. It’s a mistake to think he’s a ‘cuddly’ writer and I so admire his turn of phrase and his cold, clear eye.

One piece of life advice you give everyone

Leggings are not trousers – anyone who tells you they are is lying.

Thank you!

About the Book:

During the harsh winter of 1947, Della Arthur arrives at a remote Pembrokeshire village in the middle of a snowstorm to take up her new job as headteacher of the local primary school. Losing her way from the train station, she comes across a farmhouse and takes shelter there. After finding two dead bodies inside, Della struggles to discover the truth behind their deaths. She soon realises that in this close-knit community, secrets and lies lurk beneath the surface of respectability.

Della must choose who to trust among the inhabitants of this remote village – should she reveal what she knows to the sardonic minister of the local chapel, Huw Richards, or the Italian prisoner of war, Enzo Mazzati? Della finds herself under siege on all sides, and encumbered by an unwelcome lodger, a missing colleague and a disturbed pupil. It is only when her own life is threatened that she understands how dangerous her discoveries in the farmhouse really were.

You can purchase Dead White HERE

Happy Reading!

Six Stories with Matt Wesolowski – Harry Saint-Clement-Ramsay.

So the third part of Six Stories with Matt Wesolowski today for you – this time he is talking about one of the characters in the novel, Harry Saint-Clement-Ramsay, whose story forms one of the many moving parts to this incredibly atmospheric and brilliant book. Which I shall be reviewing at the end of all this. But really if you don’t want to wait you can see below for ordering details..

Part 3: Harry Saint-Clement-Ramsay

Matt Wesolowski

The idea of hunting animals for pleasure is as indecipherable to me as it is abhorrent. Even more so the construction of special land in which to do so.

Britain, however had the highest density of ‘Hunting Parks’ in the entire world and it is for this reason that we have more ancient trees than the rest of Europe1.

‘To the medieval mind the park was a closed space quite separate from the other wilderness outside. Within that park everything was the dominion of the noble who had created it. Inside the park courtiers and would-be aristocrats could ride and hunt, overlooked by a castle from which perhaps they might be watched by the objects of their courtly love. Parks, then, were places of recreation for the privileged.2

The untamed land around Chillingham, Castle in Northumberland was the primary influence for Scarclaw Fell and it surprised me that much of that land was a medieval ‘Hunting Park’, with deer brought by the Normans from Sicily alongside native boar and, of course, the famous Chillingham Wild Cattle.

It’s a lazy and unpleasant generalisation to make that all rich people enjoy hunting. There are a fair few that do and a fair few that don’t. I don’t actually know anyone particularly rich, personally, so creating the character of Harry Saint-Clement Ramsay wasn’t easy.

I liked the idea that whoever it was who found the body of Tom Jeffries and was therefore bound to to Scarclaw Fell, was ignorant to the power of the ancient land. It would, again, have been easy and lazy to construct a selfie-obsessed urbanite who didn’t want to get their brogues muddy but what I felt was that, like the rest of the cast of Six Stories, Harry should be an outsider in his own right. To me, it felt like as Harry’s character emerged, he showed no desire to hunt and even his friends – taking lamps and dogs into the ancient woods of Scarclaw felt like they were playing a role rather than acting of their own accord.

With Harry’s character, I was not making some sort of statement about animal rights (although I do have fantasies about terrible things happening to people who hunt animals for fun), I guess I wanted to reflect the insecurity of the other teenage protagonists, showing that awkwardness and the desire for acceptance straddles class.

Harry fights his own battle on Scarclaw Fell and unfortunately does so alone…

1 Dr. John Fletcher’s Chillingham as a Deer Park. ‘Chillingham’ (Fonthill Media Limited, 2016). P.117 2 IBID p.112

1997. Scarclaw Fell. The body of teenager Tom Jeffries is found at an outward bound centre. Verdict? Misadventure. But not everyone is convinced. And the truth of what happened in the beautiful but eerie fell is locked in the memories of the tight-knit group of friends who embarked on that fateful trip, and the flimsy testimony of those living nearby.

2017. Enter elusive investigative journalist Scott King, whose podcast examinations of complicated cases have rivalled the success of Serial, with his concealed identity making him a cult internet figure. In a series of six interviews, King attempts to work out how the dynamics of a group of idle teenagers conspired with the sinister legends surrounding the fell to result in Jeffries’ mysterious death. And who’s to blame…

As every interview unveils a new revelation, you’ll be forced to work out for yourself how Tom Jeffries died, and who is telling the truth. A chilling, unpredictable and startling thriller, Six Stories is also a classic murder mystery with a modern twist, and a devastating ending.

Follow Matt on TWITTER

To purchase the paperback clickety click right HERE

Watch out for more from Matt coming soon….

Happy Reading!


April Book Watch: Here and Gone Haylen Beck.

Publication Date: 6th April 2017 from Harvill Secker

Source: Review Copy

Here and Gone begins with a woman fleeing through Arizona with her kids in tow, trying to escape an abusive marriage. When she’s pulled over by an unsettling local sheriff, things soon go awry and she is taken into custody. Only when she gets to the station, her kids are gone. And then the cops start saying they never saw any kids with her, that if they’re gone than she must have done something with them…

Meanwhile, halfway across the country a man hears the frenzied news reports about the missing kids, which are eerily similar to events in his own past. As the clock ticks down on the search for the lost children, he too is drawn into the desperate fight for their return.

Oh I LOVED this one. Well, you know, I use the word loved to mean it destroyed me and stole a few hours of my life then spat me out ragged the other side. One sitting, totally immersive, bang on the money thriller with heart. Just load up on the sugar and dive right in (the slight sugar rush might be running this review too)

So Here and Gone has a hugely emotional core, missing children, now in danger – of course its going to get you right by the throat. What helps that along and makes it so darned addictive is the near perfect pacing, the highly intriguing and resonant characters and that indefinable something that means you just CANNOT put it down.

I always think its clever when an author manages to make a book fairly rock along, but still keeps the heart and soul in it. Here and Gone is a book that you feel – from the opening pages when Audra is making her tentative but determined escape from an abusive marriage you just get enveloped right into it. Then the heart stopping moment when she loses sight of her kids stays with you from that moment and as events unfold you spend half the time wanting to clap your hands over your eyes, wondering what fresh hell Audra will face next. The plotting is tight, intense and utterly riveting, the final few chapters I barely drew breath for and in the end you let out a huge sigh of…well you’ll have to read it to find out but the whole thing was completely traumatic – reading trauma. Its what I live for.

Oh that Sheriff, I wanted to poke him with red hot pokers. Danny I adored. Audra was a particularly strong character because her flaws were on display for the world to see but she had that tough inner core that just resonates so you are with her all the way. And she wasn’t stupid. You know? Sometimes in thrillers like this the main protagonist is so stupid you want to throttle them, but Here and Gone has a healthy dose of reality that just feeds into the wider drama.

Things I wish would happen now.

Danny would get his own book series.

I could see what Audra does next.

Patrick’s mother falls down a well and Lassie never comes. (remember the whole sugar rush thing)

Seriously though, Here and Gone is a very clever, very emotive, highly charged read that will mess with your head and keep you up at night. The themes running underneath the thrill ride are hard hitting and distressing. None of it is impossible. All of it is compelling. Overall Here and Gone is a purely dazzling read.

I thought I would probably like it, this being the pseudonym of an author I’m already a fan of – but you can never be quite sure when these authors go rogue and write something different whether they really should be doing that or not. In this case the answer is a hugely resounding YES. So do it again please.

An edge of the seat full on emotional blast of a novel.

Highly Recommended.

Follow the author on TWITTER

To purchase Here and Gone clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!

Lie With Me – Sabine Durrant. Blog Tour Review.

Publication Date: Available Now from Mulholland

Source: Review Copy

Paul Morris is running out of money, friends and second chances. His new relationship might be his last hope of success.
Alice is not like any of the women he’s pursued in the past: wealthy, lonely, driven. When she invites Paul to her holiday home in Greece, he decides to do whatever it takes to make the romance stick.
But the summer is not the idyll he had planned. Ten years ago, a thirteen-year-old girl went missing on the island, and now a fresh sighting and another attack unsettle the long hot days.
For Paul is not be the only person with a plan… and his dreams of a life worth living may yet turn into a nightmare he cannot escape.

Lie With Me is a real page turner of a psychological thriller, certainly for me the best one from Sabine Durrant I have read with its cool (or hot if you like) setting and taut, clever prose that just drags you right into the story and holds you there.

The story is told by Paul, a really divisive fellow, you sure are not meant to like him and I did not, who leeches off the people around him based on one successful novel years earlier. His latest provider is Alice, a widow, who when they start a relationship invites him on holiday to Greece with the family. Never one to turn down a freebie, off he goes. But maybe this time he is not the one with the nefarious motivations…

It really is quite clever this novel because to be honest nobody in it is particularly lovely. The plot bubbles with untold secrets, every conversation, every action is layered with insinuation, as the story unfolds it is totally gripping and best of all you really are not sure where it is going. Rather than a Game of Thrones “Everybody Dies” vibe instead you have “Everybody Lies” – true in real life as in this book, but Sabine Durrant plays with that so beautifully, leaving the reader with an off kilter, slightly disturbed feeling throughout.

Lie with Me is a slow slow burn of a tale, the character interactions are loaded with the promise of future revelations, which when they arrive illicit a truly emotional response – despite really hating Paul at times I did feel vaguely sorry for him. The group dynamic once they all reach Greece is intelligently woven into the wider plot involving a missing girl and a long ago crime, the mystery elements are perfectly in harmony with the intense character studies. The end, when it comes, is brilliantly placed and hugely satisfying – basically this book simmers, comes to the boil, then goes BOOM.

I really loved this one. It was clever, immersive and totally unsettling. Beautifully done.

Highly Recommended.

 Follow the author on TWITTER

To Purchase Lie With Me clickety click right HERE

Follow the Tour!

Happy Reading!

Latest Reads: King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard

Publication Date: Available Now from Orion

Source: Netgalley then Purchased copy

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.
As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.
When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

We are on book 3 of the Red Queen series and it is just getting stronger and stronger, with multiple layers and intrigue being woven into every separate novel, deepening the mythology and making all the character arcs ever more gripping. Therefore I add a cautionary note to readers to ensure they read Red Queen and Glass Sword first, before entering the utterly riveting story that is King’s Cage.

I love these. There are a very few absolute stand out series in this genre, although a lot of very good stuff, but with Red Queen and beyond Victoria Aveyard has created an immersive, beautifully described and intensely addictive other world with a cast of eclectic and troubled characters and a divisive and ever changing political landscape.

I won’t say too much about this instalment just in case you are reading this cold, but suffice to say our heroine  Mare, is in an untenable situation, brought about by the events of Glass Sword, she is now living the consequences. For a lot of this book you live that pain with her as she wonders if the life she has is worth continuing on with. Meanwhile more political maneuvering and a war that is widening its grip goes on both around Mare and in the background, leading to an explosive, thrilling and emotionally charged finale. Oh what will happen now? I can’t guess – another one of the reasons this is so good – but boy am I keen to find out.

I like that the author throws surprises at us regularly, not only with regard to the ebb and flow of wider loyalties but with how you view individual characters. One of the mainstays of the series showed us a whole new side in this, it was both fascinating and made you view previous actions in a different way, that is what Ms Aveyard does so well. There is good and evil in here – but good is not always honest and evil is not just born but made – those are the themes that come to the fore a lot in the Red Queen series, none so much as they do in King’s Cage. Murky motivations abound on all sides.

The magical fantasy elements are just ingrained into the stories now, its like that is just life, the abilities of different groups within the varying factions just pretty much the norm and having them there makes for some extensively thrilling, edge of the seat battle scenes. The intricacy of the world building is intensely good, more understanding of the history and the way different factions came into power, all beautifully imagined and flowing through the narrative, you never quite know where the next friendship will be thrown aside as the battles, both civil and extended, rumble on with often powerfully emotional consequences. Especially when you are invested. I’m invested. I love these characters. I’m probably slightly weird in that my main sympathy lies with Maven. But you know. I like the divisive ones, the ones who show so many sides you can’t grasp onto a single one of them..

Overall King’s Cage was a gorgeous, intense and beautifully written rollercoaster ride of a read, it took me but moments to be absorbed once again into Mare’s world and I seriously cannot wait to go back.

Highly Recommended.

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The Elisenda Domenech Investigations: City of Drowned Souls. Blog Tour Review.

Publication Date: Available Now from Canelo

Source: Review Copy

When a child disappears, the clock starts ticking.
Detective Elisenda Domènech has had a tough few years. The loss of her daughter and a team member; the constant battles against colleagues and judges; the harrowing murder investigations… But it’s about to get much worse.

When the son of a controversial local politician goes missing at election time, Elisenda is put on the case. They simply must solve it. Only the team also have to deal with a spate of horrifically violent break-ins. People are being brutalised in their own homes and the public demands answers.

Could there be a connection? Why is nobody giving a straight answer? And where is Elisenda’s key informant, apparently vanished off the face of the earth? With the body count threatening to increase and her place in the force on the line, the waters are rising…

Be careful not to drown.

I love the way Chris Lloyd  writes because he does that slow burn to the finish thing that involves many moving parts, all cleverly layered and all coming together but without necessarily tying it all up in a beautiful bow.

Such is the case with City of Drowned Souls, a beautifully engaging crime novel within the Elisenda Domenech investigations series. Elisenda herself continues to have multiple intriguing layers that just feeds into the wider plot and makes for an anchor to the rest. The descriptive prose is vivid and immersive, the political threads are fascinating and in all that you have a great mystery too. An emotive one in this case and throughout the read I was not sure where things might end up. You just travel along with it, caught up in the moment.

You can read this one on its own too, this is my second that I’ve read and just confirmed for me that I want to read the rest. The scene setting is particularly good both in relation to the places and to the social attitudes, a great depth to things and that is what I personally look for in my crime drama.

Overall an excellent read. Bring on the next one I say. You really can’t ever have too many great books to look forward to. Chris Lloyd gives good book.


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To Purchase City of Drowned Souls clickety click right HERE

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Happy Reading!