Monthly Archives: December 2016

**End Of The Year Wrap Up **

img_1164

Well I for one will be glad to see the back of 2016, for many reasons this hasn’t been the best year I’ve ever had. I’m going to embrace 2017 though and make it my year to take on new challenges.

Now I’m not one for New Years resolutions I always fail at the first hurdle (usually the 2nd of January 😂), but I am hoping to do a couple of things regarding my reading and my blog

  • Read some books from my TBR pile, which I’m desperate to get through
  • cut down on blog tours, as there’s too much pressure to read a book in a limited time
  • Only request one book at a time on NetGalley (this ones going to be hard)
  • if I’m not enjoying a book, I DON’T have to finish it, after all there are far too many amazing books out there to waste time on a duff one!
  • learn to say “no” it’s ok NOT to agree to read and review every book that comes my way (my new mantra😂)
  • Read more books by authors that are new to me, I’ve already got a couple lined up…..so watch this space!

Although I haven’t compiled a list of my top reads, here are just some of the books I really enjoyed this year and would highly recommend.

My top five most read posts

You can read the reviews here……

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2016/02/11/author-interview-behind-closed-doors-by-b-a-paris/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2016/02/08/behind-closed-doors-by-b-a-paris/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2016/01/26/tainted-love-by-kimberley-chambers/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2016/02/26/between-you-and-me-by-lisa-hall/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2016/06/10/the-sister-by-louise-jenson/

My First read of 2017

My first read of 2017 is Snatched From Home by Graham Smith, this is a book that has been sat on my TBR pile for a while, it’s also by an author I haven’t read yet which means I’ve already started on my goals for 2017

img_1182

Books I’ve read to watch out for in 2017
As the end of the year approaches I would like to say a huge thank you to each and everyone of you who follows my blog and wish you all a fabulous New Year and hope all your dreams come true.
Lorraine x x x

 

 

Her Husband’s Lover by Julia Crouch #Review @thatJuliaCrouch @headlinepg

img_1111

Book description

After the horrors of the past, Louisa Williams is desperate to make a clean start.

Her husband Sam is dead. Her children, too, are gone, victims of the car accident in which he died.

Sam said that she would never get away from him. That he would hound her to death if she tried to leave. Louisa never thought that he would want to harm their children though.

But then she never thought that he would betray her with a woman like Sophie.

And now Sophie is determined to take all that Louisa has left. She wants to destroy her reputation and to take what she thinks is owed her – the life she would have had if Sam had lived.

Her husband’s lover wants to take her life. The only question is will Louisa let her?

img_0925

This is an absolute cracker of a read and what a compelling and unsettling thriller Her Husband’s Lover by Julia Crouch turned out to be. I have read numerous novels that have been described as domestic noir, but this one takes you somewhere much darker, it’s disturbing and uncomfortable at times, but it’s a hell of a twisted tale and one that was difficult to put down, I was so caught up in this novel I was reading it at every possible opportunity.

Her Husband’s Lover concentrates on two protagonists Louisa the poor heartbroken widow who not only lost her husband, but her two children in a car accident, and Sophie the pregnant mistress, the stark contrast between the two make them even more intriguing. I love an unreliable narrator in a story, but the author goes one better here and gives you two! The story is told from both Louisa and Sophie’s POV, past and present which really works for this novel. I have to applaud the author on her character development both characters are complex, and I found my sympathies towards each character constantly shifting for reasons I’m not going to go into, as I don’t want to give away spoilers, suffice to say by the end of the book I was absolutely astounded that my opinions of the two were reversed completely. Neither character are particularly likeable I found them selfish, manipulative and very unreliable, which normally means I struggle with the whole concept, but thanks to authors skilful writing I was desperate to learn more about these two.

Sometimes I find a novel told from two characters POV and past and present can appear disjointed, fortunately this wasn’t the case and the author goes between the two very skilfully. I wouldn’t consider this to be a fast paced plot, as the story is unravelled slowly building on the tension and suspense until it reaches fever pitch, but it’s one that will pull you in and keep you in its clutches to the very last shocking page. As the plot builds in momentum the author reveals more shocking events, it’s then you realise what a well constructed and dark tale Her Husband’s Lover really is. Nothing is what it seems in this novel and that’s what I enjoyed the most about this book, what the author does brilliantly is play with the reader’s sympathies, she pulls you in one direction and then throws a spanner in the works, making you question everything you believe. Julia Crouch has written a brilliant and compelling psychological thriller that I would highly recommend to lovers of psychological thrillers and domestic noir.

5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️out of 5

Print Length: 480 pages

Publisher:Headline (26 Jan. 2017)

Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

**Blog Tour** Witness by Caroline Mitchell @caroline_writes

img_1127

I hope you’ve all had a fabulous Christmas Day and aren’t feeling too fragile. Today it’s family party day in our household, so I’ve got a very busy day ahead, but when I was asked by Caroline Mitchell to join the Witness blog tour I literally bit her hand off to take part.

I’m so excited to finally be able to share my review of Witness by Caroline Mitchell with you all. Witness is Caroline Mitchell’s first book to be published by Thomas & Mercer, it’s very different to her previous crime books as it’s a psychological thriller, and OMG it’s good in fact it’s Pretty damn amazing.

Book description

To Rebecca it was a brave decision that led to her freedom from domestic abuse. To Solomon it was the ultimate betrayal.

It’s been ten years since Rebecca’s testimony saw Solomon locked away. Enough time for the nightmares to recede, the nerves to relax; enough time to rebuild her life and put the past behind her.

Then one day a phone rings in her bedroom—but it’s not her phone. Solomon has been in her home, and has a very simple message for her: for each of the ten years he has spent in jail, Rebecca must witness a crime. And, to make matters worse, she has to choose the victims.

Fail to respond and you get hurt. Talk to police and you die. Ready to play? You have sixty seconds to decide…

As the crimes grow more severe, the victims closer to home, Rebecca is forced to confront a past she had hoped was gone forever.

img_0925

OMG this has to be one of the most twisted and nerve-wracking books I’ve read this year if you love a psychological thriller you DO NOT want to miss this one. Caroline Mitchell never fails to amaze me, she has written three books this year alone! Witness is the third and final book to be released this year, but I’m thrilled to report that despite this being her third book it hasn’t lost any of the quality I’ve come to expect from this author. Give Caroline Mitchell her due she certainly knows how to draw the reader in and keep them in her clutches. After reading the first two bloodcurdling chapters I just knew I was going to love this book, even though I was left feeling slightly traumatised after my first meeting with Rebecca and Solomon.

As you can see from the book description above Witness has a highly original premise, I’m not going to go into plot details as “the less you know, the more you will enjoy” but suffice to say the author has devised a very cleverly plotted thriller that made for a compulsive and addictive read. The plot is told from the POV of Rebecca and the fearsome Solomon who just happens to be one of the most controlling and manipulative characters I’ve come across in a while, he made my blood run cold as he skilfully turns Rebecca into his “perfect partner”. Events that follow actually made me come to detest Solomon and I couldn’t help hoping he would get his “comeuppance” as he sought his revenge on Rebecca. The chapters told from Rebecca’s diary which describe some pretty horrific events were spine chilling to read, but certainly added a sense of tension and malice to the plot.

Another thing that added a real sense of unease to the story were the random text messages sent from Solomon to Rebecca that are dotted throughout the book, for me personally they made this a terrifying psychological thriller and yet I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough as I couldn’t wait to read more of this tangled tale. The pace is relentless and each and every damn twist had a sting in its tail, I really couldn’t guess where the plot was leading. Caroline Mitchell manages to keep the reader in suspense right up until the final nail biting chapter. Some readers might prefer a more credible read but in my opinion I liked the fact that Witness stretches your imagination further than some psychological thrillers.

Caroline Mitchell has taken a bold step and changed direction as her books are Normally centred around the police and crime procedures, Witness is very much a psychological thriller, but I’m thrilled to say Caroline Mitchell has shown she can change direction and still write with the same passion and flair that make her one of my very favourite authors. There are so many elements that make Witness a truly thrilling read and I personally think this is Caroline Mitchell’s best book yet, so if Christmas hasn’t left you completely broke you really should grab yourself a copy I promise you won’t be left disappointed

Print Length: 338 pages

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (December 20, 2016)

Amazon UK 🇬🇧        Amazon US 🇺🇸
img_0926

A former police detective, Caroline has worked in CID and specialised in roles dealing with vulnerable victims, high risk victims of domestic abuse, and serious sexual offences. Originally from Ireland, Caroline lives with her family in a pretty village on the coast of Essex. She now writes full time.
Published by Bookouture, her DC Knight crime thriller series reached the number one position in the Amazon crime charts. Love You To Death, the first in her new series featuring DS Ruby Preston was published in November 2016.

Her new psychological thriller, Witness, was published with Thomas & Mercer on 20th December 2016.

Sign up to join her Reader’s club for access to news, updates and exclusive competitions and giveaways. Reader’s Club

img_1128

Website      Facebook       Twitter        Caroline’s Books
IMG_0977.JPG

Love You Dead by Peter James #Review

img_1068

Book description

An ugly duckling as a child, Jodie Bentley had two dreams in life – to be beautiful and rich. She’s achieved the first, with a little help from a plastic surgeon, and now she’s working hard on the second. Her philosophy on money is simple: you can either earn it or marry it. Marrying is easy, it’s getting rid of the husband afterwards that’s harder, that takes real skill. But hey, practice makes perfect . . .

Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is feeling the pressure from his superiors, his previous case is still giving him sleepless nights, there have been major developments with his missing wife Sandy, and an old adversary is back. But worse than all of this, he now believes a Black Widow is operating in his city. One with a venomous mind . . . and venomous skills. Soon Grace comes to the frightening realisation that he may have underestimated just how dangerous this lady is.

img_0925

I’ve always been a huge fan of Peter James and the “Roy Grace” series, and yes I’ve read everyone of the twelve books in the series! Now I wouldn’t blame you for thinking as I did that come this point in a series something usually gives, detail to characters, poor plot construction it can sometimes feel the author has written another book in a series because “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”, fortunately this isn’t the case with Love You Dead it has all the hallmarks of a crime thriller that you would expect from such a well known author. In fact it’s another gripping read in one of my very favourite series.

I did have some reservations when I started reading this novel as the star of the series DS Roy Grace doesn’t feature much in the earlier part of Love You To Death, but I was willing to put my faith in Peter James and as usual he delivered on both plot and characters. The first half of the novel is concentrated on Jodie Bentley a femme fatale who wants it all, looks, money and a lifestyle that most people can only dream about, she’s known as “the black widow” as her unfortunate husbands would bear testament to, if they were still alive! What a piece of work Jodie is, manipulative to the core, with a heart made of ice she wasn’t a character I was drawn to, in fact she was very unlikable but that’s not a criticism. I always think an author is doing his job well if I have strong feelings either way about a character. As for DS Roy Grace his character has been perfected throughout the series, so you feel like you are meeting up with an old friend. Life doesn’t get any easier for Roy in Love You To Death, but it certainly gets more interesting.

Love You Dead has many plots running through it, a black widow looking for her next victim, old adversaries of Roy Grace who are back on the scene and to cap it all and one that readers of the series will have been waiting for the saga of Roy’s ex wife Sandy is finally bought to a dramatic and satisfying conclusion, WOW I never saw that coming! In part this novel reads like a black comedy, which made for a fun read rather than a thrilling one, as I prefer a crime read to be darker and more of an intense read. One thing I always find particularly outstanding is Peter James research, its second to none whether it be police procedures, venomous reptiles or his settings, which add a unique feel to his tale, he’s perfected the inner workings of police procedures which make for an authentic read.

As I would expect the complex plot is neatly tied up by the end of Love You Dead, and although I wouldn’t describe this novel as gripping I did find it a very enjoyable read. Personally I don’t think this is the best book in the series as I did find the plot predictable in parts, but it is a worthy contender for the series. Do I think this series has run its course? Hell no I still think it has plenty Life in it, will I be reading the next book in the series? Of course but I’m hoping the next one is darker like the earlier books in this series.

4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️out of 5

Hardcover: 448 pages

Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

**Christmas With Bookouture** Robert Bryndza @bookouture @RobertBryndza

img_0943

Yikes two days to Christmas, can you believe it? Well I hope you are nearly ready for the “big” day and if not, I’m sorry I can’t help you there, but I can encourage to put your feet up for five minutes, and forget about “all those things you should be doing”  and read the last in the series of Christmas With Bookouture.

Today’s post is from one of my favourite authors (sorry no prizes for guessing who, as anyone who follows my blog will undoubtably have already guessed) yes I’m thrilled to have the very talented and awesome Robert Bryndza pop by to share his thoughts on Christmas, so without further ado here you are…..

What is your favourite Christmas memory? 

When I was six, I asked for a He-Man Castle Greyskull, and I remember being so excited that I almost threw up, and had to be told to calm-down by my Mum.

img_1097

Where will you be spending Christmas?

In Slovakia, with my husband and our two dogs.

Do you have any Christmas traditions?

Having two Christmas days! In Slovakia Christmas day is celebrated on December 24th, so we do both Slovak and British Christmas days.

img_1098

What was your best ever Christmas present?

Nothing has topped Castle Greyskull – yet.

What was your worst ever Christmas present?

There has been a few awful jumpers. When I was little our next door neighbour used to knit me and my sister one each. She seemed to use the scratchiest wool and the hole for our heads was always way too small. We were wrestled into them whenever the neighbour appeared at the door.

Favourite Christmas tipple?

Whisky.

img_1099

What are you hoping for this Christmas?

For everyone I love to be healthy and happy.

Have you got a Christmas message you would like to share with readers and bloggers?

Thank you to everyone, and have a very happy Christmas and a safe and prosperous new year. I can’t imagine not having such a connection to readers and bloggers. It’s very special and I feel so lucky.

img_0944

Robert Bryndza is the author of the international #1 bestseller The Girl in the Ice, which is the first in his new Detective Erika Foster series.

The second book in the series, The Night Stalker, is a Wall Street Journal no.1 bestseller, and the third book, Dark Water, has just been published.

Robert’s books have sold over 1.5 million copies and have been translated into 22 languages.

In addition to writing Crime Fiction, Robert has published a bestselling series of romantic comedy novels. He is British and lives in Slovakia with his Slovak husband Ján.

img_1101

Website     Blog     Readers Club     Facebook      Twitter: @RobertBryndza

Robert Bryndza books published by Bookouture 

Links to all Robert Bryndza books can be found here …….

Amazon UK 🇬🇧           Amazon US 🇺🇸

If  you’ve missed any of A Christmas with Bookouture posts they can be found here….  Authors Interviews
img_1100

Thank you to Robert Bryndza for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer my Christmassy questions, and to the other fabulous Bookouture authors who took part. special thanks to Kim Nash for helping me to get this feature off the ground and for her fabulous and very popular Christmas post.

I wish you all a fabulous Christmas and a very happy new year 😘😘

**Christmas With Bookouture** Angela Marsons @bookouture @WriteAngie

 

img_0943

Eeeeeek! Four days to the “big”day, if you are frantically trying to get everything done, a word of advice, take a deep breath, pour yourself a stiff drink (make it a large one!) and put your feet up for five minutes, whilst you read all about the super talented and awesome Angela Marsons Christmas. If your stressing about cooking Christmas dinner I think everyone should take a leaf out of Angela’s book (excuse the pun) and sod the Christmas dinner and focus on the “big day”

What is your favourite Christmas memory? 

I think it would be when my partner and I first shared a home. We were late twenties and had spent many Christmases with our parents but having that first festive season in our own home was magical. Each year my favourite time is Christmas Eve. I love the anticipation of the day itself and I always check Norad to monitor Santa’s progress.

img_1079

Where will you be spending Christmas?

Christmas Day will be spent at home with my partner Julie, our Golden Retriever puppy and a parrot that will continually shout ‘Merry Christmas’. We spend time with family on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day.

Do you have any Christmas traditions?

Yes, that I am not allowed to cook a proper Christmas Dinner because we prefer to enjoy the day. Every year we have Turkey sandwiches, pickled onions, garlic dip and pringles for our Christmas lunch.

What was your best ever Christmas present?

My best ever Christmas present was a huge box filled with bags of my favourite crisps. I am a huge crisp addict and there were over a hundred packets in there. It made me laugh all day and kept me happy for about three months.

img_1080

What was your worst ever Christmas present?

A ‘grow your own grub’ kit. I’m still not sure how it was supposed to work but as I hate insects it wasn’t a great present for me.

Favourite Christmas tipple?

Oh, it would have to be a Latte Machiato. I don’t drink but I absolutely love my Tassimo coffee.

img_1082

What are you hoping for this Christmas?

Another box of crisps! I’m a simple kind of girl.

Have you got a Christmas message you would like to share with readers and bloggers?

I would like to thank readers and bloggers for all their support in 2016. The love of words and sharing never ceases to amaze me and as I come to the end of this year it is something for which I am truly thankful.

img_0944

Angela Marsons is the author of Amazon #1 Bestseller SILENT SCREAM.

She lives in the Black Country with her partner, their bouncy Labrador and a swearing parrot.

Angela is the author of the Kim Stone Crime series. She discovered a love of writing at Primary School when a short piece on the rocks and the sea gained her the only merit point she ever got.

Angela wrote the stories that burned inside and then stored them safely in a desk drawer.

After much urging from her partner she began to enter short story competitions in Writer’s News resulting in a win and three short listed entries.

She used the Amazon KDP program to publish two of her earlier works before concentrating on her true passion – Crime.

Angela is now signed to write a total of 16 Kim Stone books for http://bookouture.com and has secured a print deal with Bonnier Zaffre Publishing.

img_1084

Website     Facebook     Twitter: @writeangie     Goodreads

Angela Marsons books published by Bookouture 

You can find all the links to the above book’s here……..Amazon UK 🇬🇧 Author Page

If you would like to read more about Angela Marsons you can read an interview she done earlier this year with the book review café here……Author Interview With Angela Marsons

My thanks to Angela Marsons for answering my Christmassy questions and for allowing me to use some photographs from her personal collection.

 

 

**Blog Tour** Dark Minds A Collection Of Short Stories #Review

img_1065

Book description

You think you know darkness? Think again.Bloodhound Books presents Dark Minds –
a collection of stories by authors who have come together to produce an anthology that
will lure, tantalise and shock its readers.

What took place By the Water?

What goes on behind A Stranger’s Eyes?

And what is so special about Slow Roast Pork?

From master authors such as Lisa Hall, Steven Dunne, Louise Jensen and Anita Waller,
readers can expect a one hell of a ride…

All profits from the sale of this book will be donated to Hospice UK and Sophie’s Appeal.

img_1071

img_0925

Dark Minds is definitely a book any crime and horror thriller lover will love, it’s a collaboration of a group of 41 amazingly talented authors, Louise Jensen, L.J. Ross, Lisa Hall, Steven Dunne, Betsy Reavley, M.A. Comley, plus many more, so you see you really are spoilt for choice. All profits from this book go to two charities, Hospice UK and Sophie’s Appeal so not only do you get a gripping book, but you are also helping two worthy charities.

When I picked up Dark Minds I faced my first dilemma, there really are so many fantastic authors included in this book I really didn’t know where to start (I felt like a kiddie in a sweet shop!), but then I decided to do what I normally do when I pick up a book and that’s start at the beginning, simple! There are a wide range of stories some more chilling than others but each and everyone is deliciously dark and sometimes disturbing.

The one I’m going to mention is London’s Crawling by Emma Pullar, oh my, oh my this was one dark and creepy story, the authors descriptive writing allowed me to image the fear, the setting and much more, so much so it gave me the heebie jeebies. The author takes the reader on a terrifying trip through London, Jody is alone, with no signal on her phone, and someone appears to be following her, what happens next is blood curdling.

Don’t think for one minute that just because they are short stories they are going to lack depth. London’s Crawling only took me five minutes to read, but it felt like much longer as the plot was so detailed. Emma Pullar certainly doesn’t lack imagination as each page of this short story was filled with horror and dread.

img_1064

Each story is worthy of a mention, unfortunately it would take too long to review each one, but for me personally it’s giving me a welcome introduction to some new authors, whose books I’m certainly going to order at a later date. Dark Minds is one of those books you can dip into when the mood takes, or you could read the WHOLE book in a couple of sittings. It’s a collection of short stories that fit all the cliches you can think of….spine-tingling, gripping and thrilling, this book also brilliantly showcases the diversity of crime fiction. I would highly recommend you get a copy of Dark Minds, why?  Because not only are you guaranteed a damn good read, but all proceeds go to two very worth while charities, win  win in my opinion.

Print Length: 399 pages

Publisher: Bloodhound Books (9 Dec. 2016)

Amazon UK 🇬🇧        Amazon US 🇺🇸

About the two charities 

img_1066

Hospice UK are the national charity for hospice care, supporting over 200 hospices in the UK. They believe that everyone matters throughout their life right up until they die, and that no one should die in avoidable pain or suffering.

https://www.hospiceuk.org/

IMG_1067.JPG

The aims of Sophie’s Appeal To support the social, emotional and educational welfare of children, their families, nursing and support staff and provide a caring and supporting environment in both local hospitals and in the community. There are so many ways in which the Trust can provide support to parents, carers and schools who find themselves suddenly faced with the reality of cancer.

Treatment to provide additional resources to meet the specific needs of cancer care. The Trust aims to work with two Hampshire hospitals and monies raised can meet their treatment requests. Research Without research…without hope! This is why it is vital to support research and development into treatments and cures for childhood diseases Sophie’s Appeal is funding a research project at the University College London into Wilm’s Disease, a rare childhood cancer.

http://www.sophiesappeal.org/sophie

img_1057