A Place to Lie by Rebecca Griffiths #BookReview @rebeccagriffit7

About this book…

In a dark, dark wood

In Summer 1990, Caroline and Joanna are sent to stay with their great aunt, Dora, to spend their holidays in a sunlit village near the Forest of Dean. The countryside is a welcome change from the trauma they know back home in the city; a chance to make the world a joyful playground again. But in the shadowy woods at the edge of the forest hide secrets that will bring their innocence to a distressing end and make this a summer they will never forget.

There was a dark, dark house

Years later, a shocking act of violence sends Joanna back to Witchwood. In her great aunt’s lonely and dilapidating cottage, she will attempt to unearth the secrets of that terrifying summer and come to terms with the haunting effects it has left on her life. But in her quest to find answers, who can she trust? And will she be able to survive the impending danger from those trying to bury the truth?

My review…

I seem to have been waiting FOREVER for this book after loving the debut novel The Primrose Path by Rebecca Griffiths. But I have to say that the wait was worth every single moment of anticipation as A Place to Lie is a wonderfully intriguing and beautifully crafted book from start to finish. There was a darkness here that I felt was reminiscent of those childhood nightmares brought on by grisly folklore tales told by children trying to scare the living daylights out of their friends! The woodland setting and the small village mentality were perfectly brought to life with a creepy atmosphere, so much so that I began to dread having to flashback to that Summer of 1990! The tension built slowly but I was kept thoroughly engaged by this coming of age journey. How did a young girl become so affected by what happened during that visit to her great aunt? And how has it lead to an estrangement from her sister and, ultimately, an extreme act that will change Jo’s life forever?

Jo actually doesn’t return to Witchwood until about 3/4 way through the narrative so there was plenty of natural movement in the characters and a gradual development of the plot during the summer of 1990 with plenty of red herrings to throw the reader off the scent. I have to admit to NOT guessing the “who” or even the “why” which really impressed me because it’s VERY hard to pull the wool over my eyes! And I was gobsmacked by that ending!! So full marks to Rebecca Griffiths for keeping me utterly enthralled for a whole afternoon to the extent that I could not physically put A Place to Lie down! But the fact that she managed to keep me in the dark until the very end with those rather shocking reveals really was the cherry on the top of the cake for me.

This was a brilliant read that could have gone down a more traditional path but instead took the twistier journey, edging along the confines of the plot until that jaw dropping denouement. I couldn’t have picked a better book to spend my Sunday afternoon with and I still get goosebumps whenever I revisit this creepy and devastating storyline in my head.

Highly recommended by me!

Meet the author…

Rebecca Griffiths grew up in rural mid-Wales and went on to gain a first class honours degree in English Literature. After a successful business career in London, Dublin and Scotland she returned to mid-Wales where she now lives with her husband, a prolific artist, their three vampiric cats as black as night, and pet sheep the size of sofas.

Advertisements

Halfway by B.E. Jones #BlogTour @damppebbles

Today it’s time to share my review of Hafway by B.E. Jones. Many thanks to Emma at damppebbles tours for inviting me!

About this book…

If everyone is lying, who can you trust?

The Halfway Inn is closed to customers, side-lined by a bypass and hidden deep in inhospitable countryside. One winter’s night, two women end up knocking on the door, seeking refuge as a blizzard takes hold.

But why is the landlord less than pleased to see them? And what is his elderly father trying so hard to tell them?

At the local police station PC Lissa Lloyd is holding the fort while the rest of her team share in the rare excitement of a brutal murder at an isolated farmhouse. A dangerous fugitive is on the run – but how can Lissa make a name for herself if she’s stuck at her desk? When a call comes in saying the local district nurse is missing, she jumps at the chance to investigate her disappearance.

The strangers at Halfway wait out the storm, but soon realise they might have been safer on the road. It seems not all the travellers will make it home for Christmas . . .

My review…

If you’re a fan of true crime then I would recommend this crime thriller as a book that comes close to giving the reader a similar kind of shock value. Halfway uses its characters to tell the story over the course of one day which worked well as a storytelling tool and gave it a stylish, current feel. The threads are told in different points of view from The Law, The Hitchhiker and The Old Man and they gradually come together until they collide with some unexpected and shocking twists!

One of the things that struck me whilst reading was that it could easily have been a play due to the Halfway pub playing such a huge part in the plot with everything revolving around this isolated and creepy location. The atmospheric setting was practically a character in its own right, it played such a huge part in what happened when all the characters came together at last. And I have to say I did love how the connections finally became clear as Beverley Jones was far cleverer than I gave her credit for! Very well played!

This is the first of this authors books that I have read but I’d happily read another in an instant. She has a contemporary crime writing style that felt fresh and interesting throughout with some cracking twists. A creepy and chilling crime thriller.

Meet the author…

Beverley Jones was born in the Rhondda Valleys, South Wales, and started her ‘life of crime’ as a reporter on The Western Mail before moving into TV news with BBC Wales Today.

She covered all aspects of crime reporting before switching sides as a press officer for South Wales police, dealing with the media in criminal investigations, security operations and emergency planning.

Now a freelance writer she channels these experiences of ‘true crime,’ and the murkier side of human nature, into her dark, psychological thrillers set in and around South Wales.

Halfway, her fifth crime novel follows the release of Where She Went by Little Brown in 2017.

Bev’s previous releases, The Lies You Tell, Make Him Pay and Fear The Dark are also available from Little Brown as e books.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bevjoneswriting

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bev.jones.9083477

Website: http://bevjoneswriting.co.uk/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34040919-where-she-went

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beverley-Jones/e/B00F6I6XQG/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

A Winter Beneath The Stars by Jo Thomas #randomthingsblogtours

Today I’m thrilled to share with you my review of A Winter Beneath The Stars, the first Winter novel from Jo Thomas. Many thanks to Anne Cater for the tour invite.

About this book…

Halley has been running from her problems for years.

On a courier trip to Tallfors, deep in Swedish Lapland, everything is going to plan. Halley has her bag, with two precious wedding rings inside for delivery… until she doesn’t.

The only way to save the wedding is to team up with mysterious reindeer herder Bjorn, the one person who can lead her across the snowy tundra to be reunited with her bag.

On a journey of a lifetime beneath the stars, with only the reindeer and a bad-tempered stranger for company beside the fire, Halley realises that she will need to confront her past heartaches in order to let the warmth of love in once more…

My review…

Jo Thomas does THE BEST romances and I’m so chuffed that she has now written her first winter book. A Winter Beneath The Stars was much anticipated by me and I have to say that it didn’t disappoint. I’ve already passed my copy onto friends who have loved it just as much as I did. It’s like a huge mug of hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows-heartwarming, sweet and utterly addictive till the very last drop!

Halley was a likeable character from the very moment she appears on the page, full of secrets but with a passion for life that she uses in her travels for the most amazing job. She’s on her way to Sweden with a pair of wedding rings and when she has delivered them she knows that she will be able to move onto the next level of her courier job-long haul flights will be hers! But when her bag gets accidentally mixed up with another, she ends up on a journey of discovery across the solitude of the Swedish Lapland with a reindeer herder called Bjorn where she learns about a culture rich in food and traditions but also learns to face her own past heartaches.

This is a beautifully written book full of tender moments that really do reach into your heart and give it a good old squeeze! Honestly you would need to have a heart of ice not to be touched by the interactions between Halley and Bjorn. Their journey to find the lost bag together was full of self discovery that lead to an impressively heartwarming conclusion for them both. To watch the coming together of two different cultures, as they learnt from each other was fascinating to watch. I just wish I was able to visit the characters in the setting that Jo left them as I want to check on how they are getting on now! And have some of that mushroom soup ofcourse!

I’m hoping that Jo Thomas delivers her own personal brand of winter wonderland every year now! It was wonderful to have a book that worked on a festive level but without being “over the top Christmassy” in its presentation. It was emotional without being overly sentimental and I adored every single page!

Meet the author…

Jo Thomas worked for many years as a reporter and producer, first for BBC Radio 5, before moving on to Radio 2’s The Steve Wright Show. In 2013 Jo won the RNA Katie Fforde Bursary. Her debut novel, The Oyster Catcher, was a runaway bestseller in ebook and was awarded the 2014 RNA Joan Hessayon Award and the 2014 Festival of Romance Best Ebook Award. Jo lives in the Vale of Glamorgan with her husband and three children.

Cuckoo by Sophie Draper #cuckoo @sophiedraper9 @AvonBooksUK

Today I am absolutely thrilled to take part in the blog tour for Cuckoo. Many thanks to Sabah for the blog tour invite.

About this book…

There’s a stranger in your house…

When her stepmother dies unexpectedly, Caro returns to her childhood home in Derbyshire. She hadn’t seen Elizabeth in years, but the remote farmhouse offers refuge from a bad relationship, and a chance to start again.

But going through Elizabeth’s belongings unearths memories Caro would rather stay buried. In particular, the story her stepmother would tell her, about two little girls and the terrible thing they do.

As heavy snow traps Caro in the village, where her neighbours stare and whisper, Caro is forced to question why Elizabeth hated her so much, and what she was hiding. But does she really want to uncover the truth?

A haunting and twisty story about the lies we tell those closest to us, perfect for fans of Ruth Ware and Cass Green.

My review…

Oh this was a brilliantly dark and atmospheric read that deserves to be read all alone in the dark to take full advantage of its ghostly mystery. This is a book that will slowly drag you into its cold and remote setting from its opening chapters and keep you prisoner until the denouement comes along to release you back into the real world. Cuckoo was a hugely anticipated read for me and I’m happy to say that it delivered on all levels!

Dark and disturbing fairytales play an important part in the storyline here, and in a way Cuckoo itself reminded me of a modern day Cinderella with Caro the stepdaughter who was abused by a wicked stepmother. The stepmother, Elizabeth, is now deceased and Caro has returned to the Peak District in Derbyshire to sort out Elizabeth’s affairs. But there are many secrets to be uncovered and, as Caro finds herself snowed in, she has plenty of time to investigate further those concealments but why are people still lying to her?

This is a slow burning, chilling storyline that built towards a twisty finale I found both shocking and fascinating. I had an idea of what was happening behind the scenes but have to admit that even I was surprised when all the threads meshed together. The setting plays an integral part in the drama here and I got a real sense of place as I watched Caro try to make sense of the things she found out whilst snowed in. The locals were perfectly placed to give Caro a feeling of paranoia whenever she came across them and I got chills throughout the narrative from the interactions between them.

I can highly recommend Cuckoo for anyone seeking books similar to those of Cass Green or Ruth Ware, both of whom are favourite authors of mine and whose books I really enjoy. The Derbyshire setting will appeal to anyone living nearby and they will definitely recognise that Sophie Draper has captured the atmosphere of the region perfectly with her wonderfully crafted storytelling. This is a brilliant debut that comes highly recommended by me!

Meet the author…

Sophie Draper won the Bath Novel Award 2017 with this novel. She has also won the Friday Night Live competition at the York Festival of Writing 2017. She lives in Derbyshire, where the book is set, and under the name Sophie Snell she works as a traditional oral storyteller.

🎄🎶On The Sixth Day of Christmas Bloodhound Books gave to me…🎶🎄 Cold Alice by C.P. Wilson #BloodhoundChristmasCrackerBlogTour

Today I’m taking part in Bloodhounds Christmas Cracker Blog Tour with my review of Ice Cold Alice by C.P. Wilson.

About this book…

They thought that they had all the power, until she took it from them.

A killer hunts abusive spouses, blogging about their sins post-kill. Soon the murders and the brazen journaling draws the attention of Police Scotland’s CID.

This killer works with surgical preparation, precision and skill, using a unique weapon of her own and never leaves a trace of evidence behind.

Edinburgh’s DI Kathy McGuire, nearing the end of her career, begins the hunt for the murderer as a media frenzy erupts. But McGuire might have met her match…

What has led this killer to take the law into her own hands?

Is the woman accountable really a cold-hearted killer or a desperate vigilante?

My review…

Sometimes you start reading a book and you stop to check the blurb again because you realise that the book you are reading far outweighs the book you were expecting! And that’s what happened to me here because this book caught me out with a plot and setting that were far superior to anything I could have hoped for. Once I started reading, that was it and this book became like another limb-attached to me permanently! I absolutely loved it!

The plot follows a serial killer who is unlike any murderer around at the moment. Her victims are men who are abusive to their wives and pretty nasty pieces of work they are too. So I found myself actually cheering her on alongside her supporters, followers of her blog and Twitter account (although I have to admit it took me nearly the whole book to get the Tequila Mockingbird pun!!) Now this obviously isn’t great news for the detective who is in charge of finding her, DI Kathy McGuire. Now, if I loved Alice then I just felt such an incredible empathy with Kathy. It was inspiring to have the investigation lead by a woman in her 50s who was also trying to balance her family life with her career, definitely a protagonist I could identify with!

I ran the whole gauntlet of emotions with this one, teetering on the edge of my seat and utterly lost in the drama that was unfolding before me. It moves at speed, delivering satisfactory bursts of tension as the reader encounters the unexpected twists and turns of the plot. A smorgasbord of imperfect characters is presented to us in such a way as to make them not only relatable but also very likeable as you get engrossed in their stories.

I haven’t read any of this authors books before but having read and thoroughly enjoyed Ice Cold Alice, I will most definitely be reading MORE! This has turned out to be one of my most unexpected pleasures of 2017 so far. It just didn’t put a foot wrong for me. I loved everything about it right down to that spectacular cover. And if ever a book was crying out for a big screen Hollywood adaptation then Ice Cold Alice would be it!

Highly recommended by me!

Meet the author…

Mark Wilson is the Amazon-bestselling author of ten works of fiction and one non-fiction memoir. He also writes Crime Thrillers under the pseudonym, C.P. Wilson

Mark’s short story ‘Glass Ceiling’ won first prize in May, 2015 on Spinetingler’s Short story competition and will be included in Ryan Bracha’s Twelve Nights at Table Six. dEaDINBURGH reached the quarter finals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award in 2014 and is a finalist in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards, 2015.

Mark’s works include:

Coming of Age – Bobby’s Boy.

Psychological Thriller (Novella) – Head Boy.

International Thriller – Naebody’s Hero .

Horror novels – dEaDINBURGH: Vantage, dEaDINBURGH: Alliances, dEaDINBURGH: Origins, dEaDINBURGH: Hunted

Satire: On The Seventh Day

Psychological Satire: Wake Up And Smell The Coffin

Autobiography – Paddy’s Daddy

As C.P. Wilson:

Psychological Thriller – Ice Cold Alice (Tequila Mockingbird 1) (Bloodhound Books)

Medical Thriller – The Only Truth That Sticks

Psychological Thriller – half the Lies You Tell Are true

Mark’s acclaimed Lanarkshire Strays series are standalone novels and feature Mark’s home county. Lanarkshire Strays is also available as an omnibus edition.

His novels have been well received and feature Scottish characters and locations.

Mark has several other stories in progress:

Tequila Mockingbird book 2

The Headnet – Sci-Fi Dystopic Nightmare

AMSTERDAMned – Horror

Vesalius – Historical Fiction

Mark currently teaches Biology in a Fife secondary school and is founder of Paddy’s Daddy Publishing, a company he set up to assist Scottish authors. He writes in his spare time, in lieu of sleep.

You can visit Mark at markwilsonbooks.com or facebook.com/markwilsonbooks

You can also connect with Mark on twitter: @bellshillwilson

And make sure you follow the rest of the blog tour. Here are the other dates and books to look out for.

The Silent Dead by Graham Smith @Bookouture

Today I’m sharing a review of The Silent Dead as part of the blog tour. Many thanks to Noelle from Bookouture for the tour invite.

About this book…

He’d found an angel for his collection. But one angel at a time was never enough…

Detective Beth Young has just joined the Cumbrian major crimes team when a body is found posed in a ritualistic manner – arms spread and graceful wings attached – at a crumbling castle in the hills of the Lake District.

The entire police force are on red alert. But Beth begins to feel she’s the only one who can follow the disturbing clues left by the twisted killer. Because she doesn’t think like everyone else. To Beth, crimes are puzzles she can solve. Even if real life is a little harder.

As more bodies are discovered in derelict stately homes across the Lake District, she knows she’s in a race against time.

But the killer is looking for another victim to add to his collection… Will Beth be able to save her? Or will he get there first?

A tenacious young detective with scars both physical and emotional, Beth Young will stop at nothing in her fight for justice for the innocent. The Silent Dead is the first book in the series. Set in the Lake District, it is perfect for fans of Joy Ellis, LJ Ross, and Peter James. 

My review…

I was thrilled when I heard that another favourite crime author had a new heroine to introduce to us. Graham Smith is responsible for the Jake Boulder series which I ABSOLUTELY LOVE so I was keen to meet Detective Beth Young.

This is the first female protagonist that Graham Smith has introduced to us as a lead character and I thought she was fabulous! A feisty female detective who was the perfect opponent for the twisted serial killer stalking the area. She comes with baggage (don’t they all!?!) and some facial scarring that adds a frisson for a certain someone! But she still remains a bit of an enigma and I hope we find out a little bit more about her backstory in future books. The relationships she forms with her team are probably some of the best I’ve read recently. And because of that, this investigation felt realistically portrayed which is a real bonus for fans of police procedural novels.

This is a dark and gruesome crime chiller that made me feel incredibly uncomfortable at times. The villain is well drawn and creepy at all times plus I was kept guessing as to their identity which I liked! The setting was an added bonus for me as it set up a sense of time and place that was atmospheric and current.

Overall an enjoyable crime thriller!

Meet the author…

Graham Smith is the bestselling author of four explosive crime thrillers in the Jake Boulder series, Watching the Bodies, The Kindred Killers, Past Echoes and Die Cold. Watching the Bodies spent over two weeks at number one in the Amazon UK chart and Amazon CA charts. Graham is also the author of the popular DI Harry Evans series and has collections of short stories and novellas. His latest novel – The Silent Dead is published by Bookouture and set in Cumbria / the Lake District, featuring DC Beth Young.

He is the proud father of a young son. As a time served joiner he has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. Since 2000 he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland.

An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer for the well-respected review site Crimesquad.com since 2010.

When not working, his time is spent reading, writing and playing games with his son. He enjoys socialising and spending time with friends and family.

Little by Edward Carey #BookReview @BelgraviaB @EdwardCarey70

About this book…

There is a space between life and death: it’s called waxworks

Born in Alsace in 1761, the unsightly, diminutive Marie Grosholtz is quickly nicknamed ‘Little’. Orphaned at the age of six, she finds employmet in Bern, Switzerland, under the charge of reclusive anatomist, Dr Curtius. In time the unlikely pair form an unlikely bond, and together they pursue an unusual passion: the fine art of wax-modelling.

Forced to flee their city, the doctor and his protégée head for the seamy streets of Paris where they open an exhibition hall for their uncanny creations. Though revolution approaches, the curious-minded flock to see the wax heads, eager to scrutinise the faces of royalty and reprobates alike. At ‘The Cabinet of Doctor Curtius’, heads are made, heads are displayed, and a future is built from wax.

From the gutters of pre-revolutionary France to the luxury of the Palace of Versailles, from casting the still-warm heads of The Terror to finding something very like love, Little is the unforgettable story of how a ‘bloodstained crumb of a girl’ went on to shape the world…

My review…

Sometimes a book comes along that seems destined to become a literary work of art and you are just so thankful that it was brought to your attention as you’re convinced you would have missed out otherwise! I was in France on a school trip when I got the email from Gallic books about Little and when I read the blurb I just knew that it was a sign! So when my paperback copy arrived, complete with little prints of some of the illustrations inside, I knew that this book was meant to make its way to me as EVERYTHING about this fascinating and intriguing book appealed to me. And when I read it, this book spoke to my soul in a way I hadn’t been expecting and it has now sneaked onto my favourite books of the year list! It’s absolutely PERFECT!

Having been born and bred in Great Yarmouth, my childhood summers weren’t complete without a visit to the Louis Tussauds House of Wax or as it later became known, “The Worlds Worst Wax Museum”. I found it fascinating as a child and pleaded to be taken to Madam Tussauds in London for my birthday, where I went into the Chamber of Horrors and immediately decided that it was way too lifelike for me and never went again! I had no idea that there was such a wonderful background story to be unveiled but Edward Carey has brought the woman behind this institutional tourist attraction to life with his novel Little and I guarantee you will never look at waxwork models the same way again!

This books tells the story of Marie (or Little as she becomes known for reasons you will understand when you read it) against a backdrop of an incredibly interesting time in French history. Complimenting the prose are illustrations that add a quality of depth and understanding to the storyline (the one on the back inside page actually made me quite teary I can tell you!) and really brought the work done by Marie to life. Her life is extraordinary and it doesn’t take long for the reader to become drawn into her interactions with the other characters as her journey weaves it way through the historical events and paves the way to the next enthralling chapter for her.

I highly recommend that you purchase a physical copy of Little as you won’t regret having this beautiful piece of craftsmanship on your bookshelf after you’ve read it. It’s a stunning, uniquely narrated novel featuring a heroine that I will never forget. Beautifully crafted from start to finish so take your time and appreciate every single page!

Meet the author…

Edward Carey was born in Norfolk, England. He is a novelist, visual artist and has also written and directed a number of plays for the National Theatre of Romania and the Vilnius Small State Theatre, Lithuania. In England his plays and adaptations have been performed at the Young Vic Studio, the Battersea Arts Centre, and the Royal Opera House Studio. He is the author of the novels Observatory Mansions, Alva and Irva, and the acclaimed YA series The Iremonger Trilogy, which has been published in thirteen countries and has been optioned for film adaptation. After university, Edward worked at Madame Tussaud in London, preventing people from touching the waxworks, and it was there that he learnt the incredible story of the museum’s founder. Edward lives in Austin, Texas in the United States, and teaches at the University of Austin. He is available for interview and to write features.