Sunday catch up with the book review café

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I thought it was time I did a Sunday catch up post, as I haven’t done one for a couple of weeks. Life continues to get in the way of me reading as many books as I would like, but never the less I’ve still managed to get a few books read from my humongous TBR pile, although I’m not sure I will ever clear the pile, if anything it just gets bigger, please tell me this is a book blogger problem and not just me😂😂

Books I’ve read

 

 

Books I’ve bought

I have been trying to be really good and not buy any books, but then the wonderful and long suffering Mr book review café gave me an Amazon voucher as a surprise, well it would be just so rude not to use it so I did buy a couple of books

 

Arcs

I have been really good and haven’t requested hardly any books via NetGalley, but I have noticed since I’ve started using the UK site most of the books I would like to review are now all “wish for” books, so for now it means my NetGalley shelf is nearly empty (for the first time in two years I should mention).

 

 

Most viewed posts this week

My interview with B A Paris continues to be one of my most viewed posts, in fact it continues to get views every week, even though it was first published way back in 2016, and I can never work out why.

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

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/05/22/he-said-she-said-by-erin-kelly-bookreview/?wref=tp

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

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/11/16/a-day-with-author-phoebe-morgan-phoebe_a_morgan/?wref=tp

My next reads

 

That’s all for this week folks,  I’m full of cold and feeling sorry for myself. That’s another reason I hate this time of year I always end up getting a stinking cold….roll on the summer

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#Blogblitz Dying Day by Stephen Edger #Review @StephenEdger @Bookouture

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Today I’m thrilled to be one of the stops on the Dying Day by the awesome and very talented Stephen Edger #Blogbitz tour. Dying Day is published by one of my very favourite publishers on the planet Bookouture. You don’t even have to wait to buy yourself a copy of this gripping crime thriller as it was published yesterday, so you can hop over to Amazon and “click” the buy now button, before you do you might just want to read my review or maybe not!

Book description

Some mistakes you live with. Others you die for…

When the body of a young woman is found in the boot of an abandoned car near the Southampton Docks, Detective Kate Matthews is ordered to stay well away from the scene.

Exactly a year ago, Amy, a junior detective on Kate’s team, was murdered when she was sent undercover to catch a serial killer targeting young girls. Kate never forgave herself for letting the killer slip through her fingers and her team are worried this coincidence might push her over the edge…

When another girl’s body is uncovered days later with similar bruising around the neck, Kate launches an investigation of her own, determined to connect new evidence to the old to catch this monster before more innocent lives are taken…

Mysterious sympathy cards sent to the victims’ families finally lead Kate to the twisted individual from her past. But if she’s found the killer, why does the body count keep rising?

An absolutely heart-stopping crime thriller that will have you sleeping with the lights on. Perfect for fans of Robert Dugoni, James Patterson and M.J. Arlidge.

My review

Flipping heck I just loved Dying Day it’s much darker and than the first book in the series, and do you know what? that’s just the way I like a crime thriller to be, make of that what you will! Dying Day is the second book in the Detective Kate Matthews series, personally I think this book could be read as a standalone, but if like me you prefer starting a series at the beginning it’s definitely worth reading Dead To Me  first. Stephen Edger draws the reader in with a prologue that leaves you desperate to learn more and keeps you in his clutches until you reach the “OMG I never saw that coming” conclusion.

Dying Day has an extremely spine tingling premise, Young women brutally murdered and left naked, exposed, in public places. As the body count rises Detective Kate Matthews is determined to connect the killer to past crimes which resulted in Amy a young Detective being killed whilst under cover hunting down the killer. If I’m honest, I disliked Kate’s character in Dead To Me but I was surprised to find she’s actually growing on me. Burdened by guilt over the death of Amy, she is determined to seek justice for her by hook or by crook. Her feelings of guilt give her a sense of vulnerability that was lacking in the previous book.

I love the way the author has written this book alternating chapters that move between the current investigation and the POV of Amy before her death, the two threads work well and there’s a constant sense of unease reading about Amy, and the chapters around the police investigation add a sense of urgency to the plot. Perfectly paced, the author misdirects the reader at every opportunity which I just love in a crime thriller. I don’t know about you, but I’m left feeling slightly miffed when I guess the killer early in a book! Crime series are two a penny so for me to continue to invest in a series, each book has to be better than the last, and I’m thrilled to report Dying Day is a worthy addition to this series and I’m excited to see where the author goes from here.

Print Length: 326 pages

Publisher: Bookouture (17 Nov. 2017)

Buying links: Amazon UK 🇬🇧Amazon US 🇺🇸

About the author

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Stephen Edger is a British crime writer, who has been writing since 2010. In that time he has written and published eleven novels, and five short stories. He writes mysteries and thrillers focused on crime.

Stephen was born in the north-east of England, grew up in London, but has lived in Southampton since attending university in the year 2000. Stephen works in the financial industry, and uses his insider knowledge to create the plots of his books. He also has a law degree, which gives him a good understanding of the inner workings of the UK justice system.

Stephen is married, and has two children, and two dogs. He is passionate about reading and writing, and cites Simon Kernick and John Grisham as major influences on his writing style.

Author links:   FacebookTwitterWebsite

Print Length: 326 pages

Publisher: Bookouture (17 Nov. 2017)

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A day with author Phoebe Morgan @Phoebe_A_Morgan

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Today I’m thrilled to welcome author Phoebe Morgan to the book review café to share her day in the life of a author post. Phoebe Morgan is the author of The Doll House, it’s a gripping debut psychological thriller and one of my top reads of 2017, you can read my review here The Doll House by Phoebe Morgan #BookReview @phoebe_A_Morgan @HQDigital #2017MustReads.

I’m glad to see I’m not the only nosy person I have been amazed at the response to this feature , and I’m so pleased you seem to be enjoying them so much, and there are lots more to come. So anyway I’m sure your all eager to see what a day in the life of author Phoebe Morgan looks like, so here you go.

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A day in the life of author Phoebe Morgan

I work full time as a commissioning editor at HarperCollins, so most of my writing is either done in the evenings or at weekends. I always wish I could be the kind of person who springs out of bed at 5am and dashes off 2000 words before going to work, but sadly I’m not a morning person! I prefer to write when I get home, cosied up with my laptop either in my flat or in a café somewhere.

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When I was writing my first book, The Doll House, I used to go to either Pret (the wifi there is so bad that it couldn’t distract me!) or to my favourite café in Islington which sold cheap coffee and crepes. If I’m really needing to get some serious work done, I have to put my phone in another room so that I can’t play with it – I’m awful for procrastinating and getting distracted! I like to write at a table or sometimes (shamefully) in bed; luckily, my laptop is nice and small so I can pretty much take it anywhere. Depending on how I’m feeling I’ll either have tea, coffee or a glass of red wine by my side when I’m writing, and if I’m at home I’ll usually light a candle too as I find them quite calming.

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When I’m writing a first draft, I try really hard to be strict with myself and write 1000 words a day – no matter how terrible they are. For me, I need to just get that initial draft onto the page, and then I can get to work on the edits, which is much more enjoyable because you already have 80,000 words or so to play with. The blank page can be quite daunting, but once the body of the work is written, things get a bit easier. I’ll usually write the 1000 words in one go, or try to get most of it down and then finish it off later on if needs be – as long as I’ve written it by the time I go to sleep, then it’s okay. I find it’s also good to finish writing in the middle of a scene or at the beginning of a new scene, so that when I come back to it the day after I know at least how I want the next few lines to go and am not met with instant panic at the thought of sitting down to write!

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I’ve found connecting with other writers incredibly useful – it’s good to get encouragement and motivation from other people who are trying to meet their word counts too. Once I’ve finished writing for the day, I might message them to see how they are getting on, then make myself get up and do something else – being hunched over a computer is not good for your back or your eyes! I live right next to an overground station so I like going outside to the little balcony and getting some fresh air as the trains go by, listening to their rhythm and mulling over my characters and where I want my plot to go next.

Some days as a writer are good – the words come easily and you might get the spark and excitement of a new idea – but some are bad, when you can’t think what to write next and feel as though what you’ve done so far is rubbish. I think the key is to push through the bad days and persevere – your next idea might be just around the corner!

About Phoebe Morgan

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Phoebe Morgan is an author and commissioning editor. She studied English at Leeds University after growing up in the Suffolk countryside. She has previously worked as a journalist and now edits crime and women’s fiction for a publishing house during the day, and writes her own books in the evenings. She lives in London and you can follow her on Twitter @Phoebe_A_Morgan, or find her blog about publishing and writing at https://phoebemorganauthor.com/  The Doll House is her debut novel.

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Buying links: Amazon UK 🇬🇧

My thanks to Phoebe Morgan for taking time out of her busy schedule to write a post for the book review café.

Cruel Secrets by Kerry Barnes #Review @KerryBarnes1

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Book description

A gripping thriller that will shock you to the core.

Controlled all her life by her religious mother, fifteen-year-old Kelly Raven commits the ultimate sin.
She soon discovers that running away to the cold, frightening streets of London is less harsh than her previous life.
A drug dealer, two fraudsters, and a prostitute are her new family now and she becomes the woman she was destined to be.

Little does she know that Eddie Raven is coming for her, but she is no sweet four-year-old child and he is certainly no doting father.
The Raven’s blood may run through her veins, but in her case, blood is not thicker than water.

My thanks to fellow book blogger Shell Baker over at Chellesbookreviews for recommending this author to me.

My review

I get so excited it when I come across a new author and even more so when When I pick up their book and it exceeds all my expectations. Cruel Secrets by Kerry Barnes falls into this category and WOW I can’t believe I haven’t picked up a book by this author before, in fact I’m kicking myself, how have I never heard of this author before? The author writes what I call “grit lit” and it’s a genre I really enjoy reading, Kerry Barnes writing has been likened to that of Martina Cole, I would agree there are some similarities but in my opinion the author has her own unique style that made Cruel Secrets an exciting and very gritty read.

What I really loved about Cruel Secrets was the abundance of characters, all of whom appear lager than life, you have the good, the bad and the downright ugly. Kelly is a brilliant character you can’t help rooting for her, as someone who starts off as the underdog I loved the way her character evolved, she’s a mass of contradictions gentle but tough, caring but hard as nails when people cross her, but she also has an air of vulnerability that make the people she meets along her journey want to care for her and protect her. Unfortunately her father Eddie Raven, the epitome of a gangster thug is definitely not a likeable character, in fact I ended up despising him, to the “why” I felt like this you will just have to read the book and see.

Cruel Secrets explores the underbelly of the crime world, so expect violence and plenty of swearing, for me this added a gritty authenticity to the plot. The author certainly knows how to write a story that packs a punch. From the first chapter it’s one of those books that just grabs your attention with a wicked plot and characters who get under your skin and worm their way into your heart (but definitely not Eddie Raven). Kerry Barnes brilliantly delivers a story of violence, treachery and family ties, a fab book to read and an impossible one to put down. I will definitely be pre-ordering the sequel Wicked Lies which will be published in 2018.

Print Length: 479 pages

Publisher: ONCE UPON A BOOK (1 Nov. 2017)

Buying link: Amazon UK 🇬🇧Amazon US 🇺🇸

The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd #Review.

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Book description

A young schoolteacher falls for a man on Death Row whom she believes is falsely accused, only to begin wondering after their marriage – and his release.

Twenty years ago Dennis Danson was arrested for the brutal murder of Holly Michaels in Florida’s Red River County. Now he’s the subject of a Making a Murderer-style true crime documentary that’s taking the world by storm – the filmmakers are whipping up a frenzy of coverage to uncover the truth and free the victim of a gross miscarriage of justice.

Samantha may be thousands of miles away in Britain, but she is as invested in Dennis’s case as any of his lawyers. Perhaps even more so, as her letters to the convicted killer grow ever more intimate. Soon she is leaving her life behind to marry Danson and campaign, as his wife, for his release.

But when the campaign is successful, and Dennis is freed, events begin to suggest that he may not be so innocent after all. How many girls went missing in Red River, and what does Dennis really know?

My review

When I read the book description for The Innocent Wife I knew it was one I had to read. I’ve often wondered about the woman and men who write to prisoners on death row, and then go on to fall in love with them. I’m sure the reasons are complex and way beyond my comprehension, but intriguing never the less. If you are a fan of true crime documentaries then this is a book you won’t want to miss, as it’s a story which reads very much like a true crime story.

As you will see from the book description The Innocent Wife is a thriller about Samantha who strikes up a friendship with Dennis a prisoner on death row. What start’s out as a relationship based wholly on writing to each other, soon escalates into something far more intense. The author has created a very intriguing but flawed set of characters, I found myself sympathetic to Dennis’s predicament one minute, and then a couple of chapters later I found myself questioning his innocence and his motives for marrying Sam.You would think a character who has spent twenty years on death row would be the only flawed character, but no Sam is just as flawed, she’s obsessive with HUGE trust issues, not a good combination and doesn’t bode well for “a happy ever after”.

The Innocent Wife is told mostly in a documentary style, eye witness accounts and documents which gives the reader an in depth look into Dennis life and his personality. The plot is very much based on did he do it? Or not? So throughout the book has a sinister and threatening feel to it. I did think this book lacked any real drama or excitement, but then the focus is very much on the did he or didn’t he? conundrum. The author kept me guessing right up until the last few chapters, which is always a bonus and guaranteed to heighten my enjoyment of a book. Twisted and compelling The Innocent Wife is well worth a read if your looking for an original thriller that will keep you guessing right up until the final chapter.

Buying links: Amazon UK 🇬🇧Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 356 pages

Publisher: Cornerstone Digital (6 Oct. 2017)

The book review cafés most anticipated reads for **December 2017**

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I happened to be browsing Amazon, that’s a first NOT!! when I came across a wonderful thing, a list of all the new books to be released. I spent ages drooling over all the fabulous books and then I had an idea, yes I do have one every now and then 😂😂 and thought I would do a monthly post featuring my most anticipated books for the following month. Books  I personally “must read” and want to read, and desperately need to get my hands on a copy kind of reads. So here goes……

Save Me by Mandasue Heller

IMG_3194 Save Me, is a gritty crime novel by the bestselling author Mandasue Heller.

When Ellie Fisher misses her train home one night, she has no idea that being in the right place at the wrong time will change her life forever.

That night she comes across Gareth, a young man about to take his own life, because as far as he’s concerned there is nothing left to live for. Putting her own life in danger Ellie convinces Gareth that there is always something left. Her own life is no bed of roses, she explains, but she always pushes on.

However, good deeds aren’t always repaid the way we want. Has Ellie unwittingly put her life in danger, or is the real danger a lot closer to home?

White Bodies by Jane Robbins

IMG_3207 ‘He’s so handsome and clever and romantic. I just wished he hadn’t forced Tilda under the water and held her there so long.’

Callie loves Tilda. She’s her sister, after all. And she’s beautiful and successful.

Tilda loves Felix. He’s her husband. Successful and charismatic, he is also controlling, suspicious and, possibly, dangerous. Still, Tilda loves Felix.

And Callie loves Tilda. Very, very much.

So she’s determined to save her. But the cost could destroy them all…

Sometimes we love too much.

The Missing Girls by Carol Wyer

IMG_3213 The boy studied the bruise turning yellow at the base of his neck. With quick fingers his mother tightened his tie, and pulled his collar high above it. Her eyes alone said, We will not speak of this…ars later, a man is found shot dead in a local park. On his phone is a draft text: I can’t keep this secret any longer. The recipient is unnamed.

Detective Robyn Carter knows this secret is the key to the case, but his friends and family don’t offer any clues, and all her team have to go on is a size-ten footprint.en a woman is found in a pool of blood at the bottom of her staircase, and a seemingly insignificant detail in her stepdaughter’s statement makes Robyn wonder: are the two bodies are connected, and has the killer only just begun?

When another body confirms Robyn’s worst fears, she realises she’s in a race against time to stop the killer before they strike again. But just as she thinks she’s closing in, one of her own team goes missing.ried in the past is a terrible injustice. Can Robyn uncover the truth before another life is lost?

The Perfect Neighbours by Rachel Sargeant

IMG_3214 An addictive debut psychological thriller from a new star in the genre. When Helen moves into an exciting new neighbourhood, she finds herself in a web of evil with no escape…

Behind the shutters lies a devastating secret…

When Helen moves to Germany with her loving husband Gary, she can’t wait to join the ex-pat community of teachers from the local International School. But her new start is about to become her worst nightmare…

As soon as the charming family across the way welcome Helen into their home, she begins to suspect that all is not as it seems. Then Gary starts to behave strangely and a child goes missing, vanished without a trace.

When violence and tragedy strike, cracks appear in the neighbourhood, and Helen realises her perfect neighbours are capable of almost anything…

The Collector by Fiona Cummins

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A taut and terrifying psychological thriller from a the author of Rattlee Collector by Fiona Cummins is the gripping sequel to Rattle.

Jakey escaped with his life and moved to a new town.s rescue was a miracle but his parents know that the Collector is still out there, watching, waiting…

Clara, the girl he left behind, is clinging to the hope that someone will come and save her.fe has fallen apart for Clara’s mother as she starts to lose hope.

The Bone Collector has a new apprentice to take over his family’s legacy. But he can’t forget the boy who got away and the detective who had destroyed his dreams

Detective Etta Fitzroy’s life collapsed when the Collector escaped. With Clara still missing, and a new wave of uncannily similar murders beginning, will she be able to find him again?e Collector is back and this time he has nothing to lose.

What books are you really looking forward to reading in December? Please feel free to leave a comment in this post.

The Teacher by Katerina Diamond #Review

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Book description

You think you know who to trust? You think you know the difference between good and evil? You’re wrong…

The body of the head teacher of an exclusive Devon school is found hanging from the rafters in the assembly hall.

Hours earlier he’d received a package, and only he could understand the silent message it conveyed. It meant the end.

As Exeter suffers a rising count of gruesome deaths, troubled DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles must solve the case and make their city safe again.

But as they’re drawn into a network of corruption, lies and exploitation, every step brings them closer to grim secrets hidden at the heart of their community.

And once they learn what’s motivating this killer, will they truly want to stop him?

 

I must be one of the few book bloggers on the planet who hasn’t read The Teacher by Katerina Diamond, but I’ve finally rectified that. Prior to publication of The Teacher, I remember there was a lot of hype on social media regarding this book, add to that a tag line definitely “not for the faint-hearted hearted” and you would think I would have bought it straight away but no me being me I decided to wait until all the hype had died (excuse the pun!) down, also with a huge TBR pile I just never found the time I’m afraid.

My review

I really have mixed feelings about The Teacher it was a book I really enjoyed reading, but there was a small part of me that was expecting something far more gruesome, now this could be because I read such a large amount of crime books I’ve become accustomed to descriptions of murders that might turn other readers stomachs, but I really don’t think it was that disturbing or gruesome. On the other hand if you don’t like well described murder scenes this may not be the book for you I’m afraid.

To begin with I admit I found myself confused each chapter introduces new characters, so by the half way mark there were an array of characters that I found difficult to keep tabs on, but then it happened! The Teacher began to make sense and I realised just how clever the author had been, she set the scene and then cunningly bought all the characters together in a dark and troubling tale. From the title I pretty much had the plot worked out in my head, but rather like the book nothing was as it seemed and it wasn’t long before I realised I had been pretty much misdirected by the blurb.

The Teacher introduces a new partnership DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles, and I’m intrigued by the pair as I’ve come to expect in a crime thriller they both appear to be messed up, but I’m interested to see how there partnership will evolve over the series. The Teacher is very much about good V evil, I never expected to have any sympathy for a killer that could do such awful things to other people, but I did, as to the reasons why, well I’m not about to giveaway spoilers so you will just have to read the book and see.

Although I enjoyed The Teacher I did find it a slightly disappointing read, I think because of all the hype surrounding this book I expected something more, but in fairness that’s my problem and not the authors. I do think The Teacher was a great start to a new crime series, deliciously dark with an eclectic mix of characters and I will certainly read the next two books in the series at some point.

Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧        Amazon US 🇺🇸

Paperback: 400 pages

Publisher: Avon; UK (10 Mar. 2016)