Category Archives: Fiction

Roar by Cecelia Ahern

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Roar by Cecelia Ahern

From the best-selling author Cecelia Ahern is collection of 30 short stories about women for women. Each of the stories are just imaginative and based around challenges that women will face. Thirty stories from thirty different women.

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From the best-selling author Cecelia Ahern is collection of 30 short stories about women for women. Each of the stories are just imaginative and based around challenges that women will face. Thirty stories from thirty different women.

There are so many stories that cover every angle of what a woman faces on a daily basis. Have you ever been scared of your boss or petrified at the thought of standing in front of people and giving a speech with your nerves hanging by a thread and suffering from wind? Here they are the stories about women and women should read.

Some of the stories may seem a little over the top and a bit fanciful I think most women will really get behind the messages here and find themselves laughing along with some of the more amusing stories. The real beauty here is the pure honest in which Cecelia Ahern writes. Now with sales over 25 million and in over 40 countries. So if you have been in a position and have wanted to Roar here is a collection of stories and voices that you could not forget and only Cecelia Ahern could have written a collection with such honesty.

#Roar    #HearUsRoar   @Cecelia_Ahern

352 Pages.

Thank you to Liz Dawson for the review copy of Roar by Cecelia Ahern

Roar by Cecelia Ahern was published by Harper Collins and was published on 1st November 2018 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

 

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The Lingering – SJI Holiday

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The Lingering – SJI Holiday

Last Christmas I read the much acclaimed The Deaths of December and what a festive feast it was. Now Susi Holiday is back with The Lingering which is a dark and twisty spine chilling ghost story that is also the perfect thriller.

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SJI Holiday has managed to write a creepy story that really seeps into your pores of your skin and haunts you long after you have finished the perfect book for the dark autumn/winter evenings.

The centre of attention is Rosalind House a home that was once a psychiatric home that is now a commune. Jack and Ali arrive as they seek to find themselves. Many of the people now at the commune are escaping the day to day rat race of city life. The area has been known in the past for stories and myths of witches. Even Rosalind House itself has a pretty scary history.

Soon after Jack and Ali arrive things really start to happen and the reader is sucked into the scary history of the home. Pretty soon history is starting to repeat itself and something or someone is hell bent of some form of pretty scary vengeance. Now everyone at the commune is getting freaked out.

Was it Jack and Ali’s arrival that sparked the latest creepy goings on. They both have something in their personal lives that seems to brings things to the boil. There are really two stories here, Jack and Ali and then the darkness of the world we don’t want to see. Bit by bit the pair are coming undone and with it the secrets that they have been keeping to themselves. The characters that come together in The Lingering will keep you page turning all the way through page after page. There is among them a ghost hunter and she is single minded and is sure there is something that is haunting Rosalind House but she is in for something much more than she expects and what a character SJI Holiday has created. A cracking spine-tingling story that is just perfect for this time of year. Dare you turn the lights off when you put the book down. Highly Recommended.

256 Pages.

Thank you to Karen Sullivan (Orenda Books) for the review copy of The Lingering by SJI Holiday

The Lingering by SJI Holiday was published by Orenda Books and was published on 15th November 2018 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

The Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett

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The Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett

How I loved Rush Oh! and so it was with great excitement that a copy of Shirley Barrett’s latest novel The Bus on Thursday arrived. I was not disappointed. This is basically a black comedy. Eleanor Melett’s life has been turned upside down for more than just one reason and so she has decided to head off to an Australian town but not ordinary town. This one is out of the way. But this town has its own secrets.

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Eleanor has had to deal with the break-up of her relationship and then to discover she has cancer but she deals with this with disdain. She has a breast removed and now is thinking she needs to get away and while she is recovering she applies for a teaching post in the remote Australian town of Talbingo. A bit of a town that is a bit strange. The previous teacher (Miss Barker) disappeared one night and no-one knows what exactly happened to her. Now Eleanor has moved into Miss Barker’s house.

Eleanor does have a bit of a character issue and that can be taken out of context at times and can cause her a few problems but this is how she is dealing with her post op cancer treatment. The town is a bit creepy and has an obsession. For our Eleanor she does tend to bring things onto herself. Not sure why she chose teaching as she comes across as being a bit off in class. Not sure sleeping with the brother of one of her students is a good idea. Then there is the local priest who seems to think that the wine for communion is purely his to enjoy and his views on cancer don’t win him many votes.

I loved Eleanor but did find I wanted to take to one side and give her a good talking to. There are a number of interesting characters that lend to the storyline really well. Miss Barker although not present is a leading character and everyone in the town loved her. But what did happen to Miss Barker? And why are there so many locks in her house were Eleanor now resides?

This at times is a real laugh out loud read with some dark humour thrown in. A book that at times also asked a few questions of the reader and the ending might do the same. Still I really enjoyed The Bus on Thursday and was really worth the wait.

272 Pages.

Thank you to Fleet for the review copy of The Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett

The Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett was published by Fleet and was published on 18th October 2018 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

The Glorious Dead – Tim Atkinson

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The Glorious Dead – Tim Atkinson

All wars leave an unspeakable human cost, but the deaths of The Great War are on a dreadful scale. When the war ended what happened next? Many of the casualties of the battlefields of WWI were left were they fell or in temporary graves.

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Tim Atkinson has just written a book called The Glorious Dead (Unbound) and tells the story in a novel format of some soldiers who stayed behind when the guns fell silent. Their story is about the gravediggers. An overlooked story of World War One.

It is 1918 and World War One is finally over. The battlefields are scarred and are a muddy grave to those who made the ultimate sacrifice and these battlefields hold the remains of thousands of soldiers who fell.

This story follows Lance-Corporal Jack Patterson and his men from the platoon who stayed behind to work in the appalling conditions to find bodies of soldiers and give them a final resting place. But that is not all that Jack stayed behind for. Jack has eyes for Katia who works in one of the bar. But Jack is not going to have everything his own way. What is there in Jack’s past that yet may come back to haunt him.

This is a story that never really gets told, the men who cleared the battlefields after the war ended. A deeply emotive story and one being told as we prepare to commemorate the Centenary of the Armistice which brought an end to a war that many believed would end all wars.

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Back in the mid-1980’s I visited the WWI cemetery’s and it is one of the most emotive places to visit. Yet 100 years later there are still many who lie were they fell and have no marked grave.

400 Pages.

Thank you to Anne Cater for the review copy of The Glorious Dead by Tim Atkinson and for arranging the Blog Tour through Random Things Tours.

The Glorious Dead by Tim Atkinson was published by Unbound and was published on 1st November 2018 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

 The Glorious Dead Blog Tour

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Trap – Lilja Sigurdardóttir

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Trap – Lilja Sigurdardóttir

If you read Snare by Lilja Sigurdardóttir, then you must head off to your local bookshop and get yourself a copy of Trap (Orenda Books) which is the second in the Reykjavik Noir Series. This I raced through in one day it was that gripping. One book I knew when I started there was no way I was going to put this book down.

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Sonya is trying to make a new start and escape the world of drugs and is happy in Florida, the sunshine state. What could possibly go wrong. Her life is Thomas her son but when he is taken, Sonya’s life falls back into the chaos and hell of the past and this will include heading back to Iceland a country she thought she had seen the last of.

Back in Iceland is her shocking husband Adam who is behind her son’s kidnap. He is desperate to get Sonya and bring them back to Iceland. Now Sonya is back and back into the world she tried to escape from a world of drugs and drug lords. Sonya wants her son back but things are about to get raw and nasty. Firstly, there is her ex in Adam but then there are a few seedier and creepy characters that threaten Sonya’s life and that of her son.

In the strong storyline there is financial misconduct that involves Sonya’s lover Agla, but there is real tension between them both now. Agla owes big money to a group of men who want their money back and they will do what it takes to make sure they get it back.

We also meet more of the characters from the first book including Bragi who is the customs officer who is not far off retirement, for Bragi he is ticking off the days and caring for is very sick wife. Sonya will always be able to count on Bragi for help in her quest despite everything that Bragi has to cope with in his life.

Sigurdardóttir has written a very strong second book in Trap. This is a real page turner strong on characters and is dark and leaves you with punch in the gut feel as the storyline gets darker and chilling and has left me hoping there is to be a book three. Highly Recommended.

 230 Pages.

#Trap @lilja1972     @OrendaBooks

@annecater     #RandomThingsTours

Thank you to Karen Sullivan (orenda Books) for the review copy of Snap by Lilja Sigurdardóttir and also to Anne Cater (Random Things Tours) for arranging the Blog Tour.

Snap by Lilja Sigurdardóttir was published by Orenda Books and was published on 18th October 2018 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

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Lies Between Us – Ronnie Turner

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Lies Between Us

I have known Ronnie Turner for quite a while on Twitter, a fellow book blogger, so when Ronnie announced that she had written a book and it was going to be published via HQ Digital I was absolutely delighted. This was one of those really great positive news stories. One us (book bloggers) was going to be in print. So to be asked if I would review for Ronnie, this was probable more nervous for me than Ronnie herself. What would happen if I did not get on with the plot? Well I am delighted to say that Lies Between Us is a real cracker of a psychological thriller.

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Three different characters, three different timelines. The main characters are Miller, who is a chilling character, controlling even at a young age. Miller has some serious issues and Ronnie Turner really plays a blinder with Miller. Maisie Green is a nurse in ICU. She really cares for her patients and those loved ones who are worried at their bedside. But despite her wonderful happy life with Ben, Maisie hides a secret even from her beloved Ben. This she carries with enormous guilt. Then finally there is John who is a writer. A life lived and worked hard for. John could not ask for anymore a wife he adores. Until one-day John’s daughter Bonnie goes missing. Both John and his wife Jules are shaken to the core at the thought their daughter has been kidnapped. Then things get worse for them both as it becomes clear the person behind knows both John and Jules. Is their daughter still alive? Can the Police find her before it’s too late?

Each of the three stories are connected, and it is a really compelling psychological thriller that is addictive, it can be uncomfortable when the story is talking about Bonnie. But what is the connection between all three. What is Maisie hiding and her latest patient she is taking a real interest in the wife of the patient.

The reader may make up their own mind as the story progresses, but be warned some thrillers do not go the way you think, same old secrets and lies? This one will test you and make you think. For a debut novel this is incredibly plotted and character driven. Congratulations Ronnie and a fantastic debut. 

384 Pages.

Thank you to HQ Digital for the review copy of Lies Between Us by Ronnie Turner.

Lies Between Us by Ronnie Turner is published in paperback on 13th December 2018 and the eBook is available now and published by HQ Digital.

#LiesBetweenUs  @Ronnie_Turner

 Lies Between Us – Blog Tour.

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Help the Witch by Tom Cox

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Help the Witch by Tom Cox

To me autumn means many things days get shorter, the colour of the trees looking for natures rich harvest cosy days and evenings curled up with a book of short stories and if that book is one of old folk tales and creepy stories that just make the hair on the back of your neck stand up all the better. Well if this has got your attention then you are going to love Help the Witch (unbound) by Tom Cox.

 

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Tom’s previous book 21st-Century Yokel was longlisted for the 2018 Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize. Help the Witch is a book I just loved. This is just the perfect autumn book to curl up with. There are ten stories some of which I went back to read twice. I always feel a book of short stories should start with a story to grab the reader and in this case the opening story just nailed it. It is the story of the title of the book. Help the Witch. I just loved the setting and of isolation. A journey and in the snow and the snow gets heavier as you travel and then you arrive. I have always found travelling country lanes in the dark really creepy did I really see something or was that just a shape of a tree, a shadow. You have the feeling something is watching you. You get the drift.

Then there are a further nine stories to read. I was just totally immersed in each story.  These are stories that that could have been written many years ago but Tom Cox gathered his inspiration from E.F. Benson and M.R. James. Some tell of natural landscapes and old broken sheds and rusty barbed wire with shred of old wool still clinging on despite best efforts of winter winds. Each story is unique but just perfect for this time of year. You know you are being taken on a journey but you are not sure how or where. Then there is the last story. I will just leave this hanging there.

I have come to really enjoy reading books by Tom Cox because you know you are reading a book by a very talented writer. Tom has covered many genres but this is his first foray into short stories and I am hoping there are more to come. Readers will flock to this attracted by the incredible cover designed by Joe McLaren and there are illustrations in the book by the authors mum. How wonderful is that.

Help the Witch is just superb and another by the superb publisher Unbound and I am delighted to Highly Recommend.

208 Pages.

Thank you to Anne Cater (Random Things Tours) for the review copy Help the Witch by Tom Cox

Help the Witch by Tom Cox is published by Unbound and is released on 18th October 2018 and is available to pre-order through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

 

Help the Witch – The Blog Tour

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Palm Beach Finland – Antti Tuomainen

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Palm Beach Finland – Antti Tuomainen

No secret here, I really enjoy Nordic Crime Noir and also Antti Tuomainen’s books so I was delighted when his latest landed on my doormat a while back. Palm Beach Finland (Orenda Books) Still contains the added humour that makes Tuomainen’s thrillers so good.

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Our intrepid detective Jan Nyman of the Covert Operations Unit of the National Central Police is now investigating the somewhat strange death of a man in a quiet and unassuming seaside town. But there is a holiday village here that has quite a boast. The ‘hottest beach in Finland’. Complete with a shocking plastic Flamingo. (That would put me off visiting) But the money is rolling in and the characters are arriving in their droves to holiday here. Now all the Jan has to do is solve the mystery death.

Straight off Jan has one prime suspect and that is the owner of the house were the man died and that is Olivia Koski. But Koski has a strong alibi and that she was not there at the time. There is the usual mix of characters who all have their own stories to tell yet this is what makes Toumainen’s books so good and so brilliantly readable. One of THE great characters of this book is the owner of the holiday village Jorma Leivo. He is one character to keep an eye on.

Sometimes when you have a host of characters in a book it can be easy to lose track of who is who and doing what. But this is why I really enjoy reading Antti Toumainen. He makes his books so readable and this is a book were time will pass you by very quickly. If you like your crime novels with added wit and humour, then Palm Beach Finland is one book you will love. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

304 Pages.

Thank you to for the review copy of Palm Beach Finland by Antti Tuomainen

Palm Beach Finland by Antti Tuomainen is published by Orenda Books and is published on 18th October 2018 and is available to pre-order through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

 

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The All Night Bookshop by David Belbin

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The All Night Bookshop by David Belbin

I have been very fortunate to have been able to review a number of titles by Candlestick Press and I am delighted to share my review of their latest release that came out just in time for Bookshop Day 2018. The All Night Bookshop by David Belbin is a short but beautifully written story for anyone who like me loves books and bookshops.

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A shop like many others in the area that has seen better days. This shop is though unlike any of the others, it is a bookshop though you may not know it as it only opens during the night for those who work unsociable hours or just cannot sleep. It does not sell bestsellers as those are sold by supermarkets in the area and of course whisper it quietly Amazon. The shop is dusty and on many floors. Old books, magazines and periodicals.

The short story is told by a young man who was hired by Zelda the young manager who is blind in one eye who like her assistant rarely sleeps. This young man holds an unspoken love for Zelda as they quietly run the All Night Bookshop. The mystery here though is the owner of the bookshop, he/she has never been seen and there are many stories of the reclusive owner who lives in the flat above the shop.

The shop rarely makes enough money to survive but survive it does for those who cannot sleep and arrive in dressing gowns and slippers. The narrator clearly loves Zelda but also wants to find out about the mystery owner of the dusty old bookshop.

A book with a hidden story behind it, a mystery, a love story. And just who lives in the flat above The All Night Bookshop. This may be only 16 pages but I just loved the idea with poems by Jim Burns and Jackie Kay. If you love books and bookshops especially those old dusty bookshops that I seem to find myself in this is for you and this is for bookshops everywhere.

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Candlestick Press are a small independent publisher based in Nottingham and were founded in 2008. The team consists of four dedicated people in Di Slaney (Publisher), Kathy Towers (Assistant Editor) and two admin assistants. Their aim is simple to spread the joy of poetry to adults and children alike who love poetry and or may be just beginning their journey in to enjoying poetry. These small pamphlets are just ideal for bedtime reading or like I have been doing and that is enjoying them on journeys.

They have published so many of these beautiful pamphlets on a wide range of topics from Christmas to Cricket, from Dogs to Sheep and even Clouds. With Christmas not too far away this is an ideal time to think of sending cards to loved ones and friends. The pamphlets of stories and poetry make the ideal gift to send. For more information, please visit the Candlestick Press website: Here

 16 Pages.

Thank you to for the review copy of The All Night Bookshop by Jim Belbin

The All Night Bookshop by Jim Belbin was published by Candlestick Press and was published on 1st October 2018 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

 

 

The Syndicate – Guy Bolton

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The Syndicate – Guy Bolton

I have to admit I have not read The Pictures but everything I hear about this novel was that it was superb. Guy Bolton now returns with the sequel The Syndicate. (Point Blank) The year is 1947 and Ex police detective Jonathan Caine now out of retirement following the murder of the infamous mobster Benny ‘Bugsy’ Siegel.

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Now Caine’s son’s life is in danger and now he must return to Hollywood and find the killer. The pressure on Caine is massive as mob boss Mayer Lansky has given him just five days to find the killer of Benny Siegel or he and his son will die.

Caine now must use all his experience and knowledge of his past experience and track down the killer before the trail goes cold. Going to the police is clearly out of the question so he must use other methods in tracking down the killer. Plus, he is not alone. For the mob have added ‘Abe’ Levine to accompany Caine at all times. Keeping a close eye on proceedings.

The clock is ticking and every hour that goes by and the thought of his son being killed at the hands of the mob keeps Caine focussed at all times. The scene is brilliantly depicted at all times and the violence of the day you cannot hide from. The movie business rules throughout here and with the links that Caine had from his past all come through in this brilliantly portrayed crime novel. You don’t mess with the mob when the stakes are high and Caine knows what will happen if he fails in his task. It is all to play for. Added into the mix are some major actors of the day with Humphrey Bogart, Judy Garland, and Cary Grant all have walk on parts in this exhilarating sequel. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

 400 Pages.

Thank you to Margot Weale at Point Blank (Oneworld) for the review copy of The Syndicate by Guy Bolton

The Syndicate was published by Point Blank and was published on 4th October 2018 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

 

 

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