Category Archives: Stuart James

**The book review Café top ten books of the year 2019**

6CB698B2-E6BD-426C-B544-A9D26B4DBC27.gif

With a new year approaching it’s time to share my final post of the year, my top ten reads of 2019. I must admit I was hoping to read lots more books this year, but unfortunately life got in the way. Compared to some book bloggers my total read is abysmal, am I bothered? The answers believe it or not is ‘no’ I would rather read 103 fabulous books in a year, than hundreds of books that were unmemorable!     

I decided to choose my top ten reads from the books I choose to give my book hangover award to, 16 in total. It was a really hard choice but these are the books that I still think of months after reading them.

What criteria does a book need to meet to win my book hangover award?

It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page.

So without further ado here are my top reads of 2019 in no particular order…..

Changeling by Matt Wesolowski

6FBAFB72-3291-403C-B243-0353D3B12353

If you’re looking for a series with an ingenious plot, a book that’s tense, deliciously dark, a classic mystery with a horror feel then look no further than Changeling by Matt Wesolowski it has all these elements and so much more.

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2019/01/21/changeling-sixstories-by-matt-wesolowski-bookreview-orendabooks-concretekraken-

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

43DC3294-1AEE-4920-B4C0-71207463874F

The Silent Patient is an assured debut from Alex Michaelides, he’s definitely an author to watch out for. Highly recommend if you enjoy a dark, shocking psychological thriller that will leave you speechless (excuse the pun!) 

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2019/02/05/thesilentpatient-by-alex-michaelides-alexmichaelides-orionbooks-2019mustreads-benwillisuk-bookhangoveraward/

Breakers by Doug Johnstone

ED80E56A-7203-4DA9-B7AE-EEAA105B3EF4

Breakers is a searing and heartbreaking portrayal of modern day Britain, the author takes the reader on an emotional journey, one that at times feels uncomfortable, it packs a hell of a punch, you will find yourself questioning your own assumptions, it’s a book whose characters will remain with you long after you reach the last page

Breakers by Doug Johnstone #BookReview @doug_johnstone @OrendaBooks #Breakers #BookHangoverAward

The Whisper Man by Alex North

6A9261F6-81A3-4891-822B-62423DFB380D

There is nothing more terrifying than a child being murdered, and the author expertly plays on these fears, creating a dark, creepy, and haunting read. Be prepared for a few sleepless nights, it takes a lot to unnerve me, but this book actually scared me silly in parts! (In the best possible way)

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2019/06/05/the-whisper-man-by-alex-north-writer_north-michaeljbooks-bookreview-thewhisperman-mustreads-bookhangoveraward/

Black Summer by M W Craven

24B8B0E4-9F42-4D05-A958-B9CF974D512A

I loved how the author brought all the threads together culminating in a jaw dropping, but very satisfying and clever conclusion. Black Summer isn’t as dark or gory as The Puppet Show, but OMG if anything I probably enjoyed this book more, there’s so many questions, intrigue, and mystery, my perfect kind of crime read.

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2019/06/17/black-summer-by-m-w-craven-bookreview-mwcravenuk-littlebrownuk-thecrimevault-washingtonpoe-blacksummer-bookhangoveraward/

In The Absence Of Miracles by Michael J Malone

DC89C30B-1086-4041-AA2A-14E0295FFD16

Michael Malone is one of those rare author who appears to be able to write in any genre and turn what could be an interesting read, into something extra special, definitely a book that will stay with me for a long time to come.

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2019/08/19/in-the-absence-of-miracles-by-michael-j-malone-michaeljmalone-orendabooks-bookreview-mustreads-bookhangoveraward/

Blood song by Johana Gustawsson

2191D8E4-84C2-43C2-B7F3-5B04BCC59656

The thing I admire about this author’s novels is the fact she can take a period in history, in this case Spain 1938 and the brutalities of Spain’s dictatorship, and incorporate them with crimes set in 2016, how can someone combine such distant periods into a credible story and intertwine them? and yet Gustawsson accomplishes both producing a story that’s harrowing, disturbing, but such a compelling and intensely heart wrenching read.    

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2019/08/23/blood-song-by-johana-gustawsson-bookreview-jogustawsson-orendabooks-mustreads/

Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza

AE140676-9DB3-436F-BAE0-369995187FF5

Dark Elms takes the authors writing to a whole new level of amazing. Dark Elms ticks all the boxes for me it’s dark, gory (I grimaced at more than a couple of the authors descriptive crime scenes) and features a serial killer who will send shivers down your spine, if Hannibal Lecter gave you nightmares, be prepared for a few disturbed nights! 

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2019/11/01/nine-elms-by-robertbryndza-littlebrownuk-bookssphere-nineelms-mustreads-bookhangoveraward/

Dead Memories by Angela Marsons

9090E10F-8005-46E8-919F-0717E1E4DCCD

As a huge crime thriller reader I can sometimes find a long-running series has lost its lustre, they can feel repetitive and lacking the suspense I look forward too, but “hell” no Angela Marsons makes sure each book has a unique plot, that are packed to the brim with suspense, with characters whom you genuinely care about. 

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2019/02/21/deadmemories-by-angela-marsons-mustreads-writeangie-bookouture-bookhangoveraward/

Non Fiction read of the year 

Four Feet Under by Tamsen Courtenay

3CC35F46-B417-44D4-8614-772288DD156F

Four Feet Under is a powerful and moving insight into the day-to-day lives of some the unfortunate people who through tragedy, misfortune and bad decisions have found themselves living on the streets of Britain, displaced, dispossessed and destitute.

#FourFeetUnder By Tamsen Courtenay @TamsenC_writer @unbounders #Recommended #TrueStory #Homeless

Highly recommended reads for a book hangover

Turn The Other Way by Stuart James

B5C5C478-31A6-4719-B325-97753EB4A599

For me horror is all about my emotional reaction, that feeling of fear and dread as you turn each page, the constant feeling you should be reading a book from behind a cushion (not practical but you get my drift), a book that makes the heart pound and every little noise makes you jump. This is exactly how Turn The Other Way by Stuart James made me feel, it’s a shocker of a horror thriller novel.  

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2019/02/18/turn-the-other-way-by-stuart-james-stuartjames73-mustreads-horror-thriller-crime-mustreads/

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing

843F2787-791D-4868-A52D-D2704A272BCE

My Lovely Wife is a deliciously dark tale of relationships and secrets, not original themes by any means, but it’s so different to any other novel I’ve read, it’s wickedly entertaining, full of black humour, and as for the characters their deeply flawed but fascinating never the less.

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2019/04/30/my-lovely-wife-by-samantha-downing-smariedowning-penguinrandom-mylovelywife-bookhangoveraward-bookreview/

The Passenger by John Marrs

611738AF-55CF-4DAF-9723-0051FB17F244

The Passenger a futuristic novel set in the not to distance future blew me away its original, taut and brilliantly written.  I read this book at every opportunity, irritated by the slightest disturbance, which for me is always a sign of a fantastic read.  

The Passenger by John Marrs @JohnMarrs1 @EdburyPublication #MustReads #SciFi #BookHangoverAward

Night by Jack Jordan

885D9A86-A3E0-48CD-9B2F-9F207F2AA8E5

If there’s one thing I can be sure of it’s that Jack Jordan never fails to amaze me, each book he’s written has been very different in tone, content and plot. But still Night By Night the latest offering from the author took even me by surprise, I wasn’t expecting to have my heart shattered, or to find myself sobbing uncontrollably, at this point I realised I had only read the first four chapters of the novel! Such a brilliant and haunting start to what I consider to be Jack Jordan’s best book yet. 

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2019/05/15/night-by-night-by-jack-jordan-bookreview-jackjordanbooks-corvusbooks-blogtour-jacksback-nightbynight-bookhangoveraward/

The July Girls by Phoebe Locke

866A8E1C-4295-4985-87D0-1DD42A5BCF40

If from the book description you thought this was a run of the mill ‘serial killer thriller’ you couldn’t be more wrong. This book has so much more to offer the crime thriller lover, it’s a book that’s superbly written, an extraordinary and highly original tale, told through the eyes of a brilliantly drawn character, ten-year-old Addie.

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2019/08/06/the-july-girls-by-phoebe-locke-phoebe_locke-wildfirebks-review-thejulygirls-summermustreads/

Violet by SJI Holliday

30EB582C-55A2-4EDC-A4EA-67C14A2E371C

Oh, how I loved Violet by SJI Holliday, what an intense, psychological thriller this novel turned out to be. Exquisitely written, Violet makes for an all-consuming read, one that begs to be read in one hugely satisfying sitting.

Violet by SJI Holliday #BookReview @SJIHolliday @OrendaBooks #Violet #BookHangoverAward

Books I read in 2019

27D6B7D4-EC5B-48A8-BFC4-47E43FC1B6A0D45BC84D-AB98-4E3A-B4A7-4ADAC5EEDBFF8E57317F-1975-4F90-890C-40657F4F0A054CBB9390-57E4-4A75-B4EB-1ACD1062E864E534CFA6-7468-4E91-9B6B-F3F3E5F546901DAFA4BA-FFEC-4714-A9A4-48630ADB5DD5

And that’s it for another year folks. Here’s wishing my followers old and new, fellow book bloggers, authors and publishers a happy new year, and here’s hoping it’s a good one for you all, and happy reading.

Lorraine x

93371C6C-AFAD-41BA-87B1-B8B3CA23C4AA

Turn The Other Way by Stuart James @StuartJames73 #MustReads #Horror #Thriller #Crime #MustReads #BookHangoverAward

Today I’m thrilled to share my review for one of the best horror thriller crime books I’ve read in a long time Turn The Other Way by Stuart James. Before I share my review here’s the book description

4A66BA93-0D54-424D-8C7E-EC0B40E029CD

 

A derelict farmhouse in the Essex countryside. 

A deranged family. 

Innocent victims being picked at random.

If you’re chosen, Turn The Other Way.

Simon Bairstow is a top London Surgeon. He’s performed dozens of life-saving operations. But something goes horribly wrong. The machine Eve Johnson is attached to flatlines, and suddenly her parent’s world has collapsed.

They’re hell bent on revenge, someone to answer for the horrific error that’s been made.

Noah and Jess are driving on a busy dual carriageway and get stuck in traffic. They hear thumping coming from the back doors of the transit van in front of them. When Noah steps out onto the road, he hears muffled screams. He opens the back doors and what he sees shocks him to the core. 

The van pulls off, spilling Noah onto the road.

Ignoring his wife’s plea to leave it, he hits the accelerator in pursuit of the van.

Chloe’s parents are missing. She hasn’t seen them since they left the party in Hampstead on Friday night. She needs answers, deciding to take matters into her own hands. 

A serial killer is stalking the streets of Islington in North London late at night leaving his victims in a horrific way.

The press have dubbed him The Angel Attacker.

A terrifying tale of revenge with a twist that will hit you like a sledgehammer. 

d8b18442-e003-4d85-9fb4-f74ccccd8fbc

Back in the 1980’s I was a huge fan of horror books, Stephen King, Richard Laymen, Dean Koontz, I devoured them all, but it’s been a long time since I read a book I consider to fit the horror genre. For me horror is all about my emotional reaction, that feeling of fear and dread as you turn each page, the constant feeling you should be reading a book from behind a cushion (not practical but you get my drift), a book that makes the heart pound and every little noise makes you jump. This is exactly how Turn The Other Way by Stuart James made me feel, it’s a shocker of a horror thriller novel.  

Turn The Other Way follows numerous characters and events, a distinguished doctor whose life is changed beyond recognition by an accident. A husband and wife that stumble upon a crime being committed and a daughter looking for her missing parents, a series of macabre murders are central to the plot. How, are what appear to be separate story lines connected? Well, they certainly kept me wondering,  but as the story unfolds through past and present events, the author brings the three together in the most horrifying way.  Meanwhile, Stuart James had my undivided attention, as the plot became more twisted, evil radiated from the pages within this heart thumping novel. As antagonist go the author has created a character from your worse nightmare, a character who is the devil reincarnated, who shows not a glimmer of remorse for his hideous crimes, but their antics and very disturbing games are guaranteed to keep the reader turning those pages. 

Readers who prefer the more sedate crime horror thriller may be put off by all the blood and gore, but personally I feel the scenes are fitting to the storyline, and add a sense of fear and trepidation to the plot. I’m convinced at certain points in this book my blood pressure went through the roof, as the horrors of the plot unfolded. I read so many books that promise that “big twist” and I’m sorry to say but many of them fail to deliver, but not Stuart James, there’s twist upon twist, each one darker and more twisted than the last. It takes a lot to shock or surprise me but OMFG Turn The Other Way surpassed anything I was expecting. You know the saying “revenge is sweet”? This book is more a case of “revenge is dark, disturbing, and extremely painful”. Would I recommend this book? “It’s a hell yes” especially to those who love a horror thriller.

  • Print Length: 361 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.

Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧     Amazon US

My thanks to Stuart James for an ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

Post note

A week later  after posting my review I’m still thinking about how much I enjoyed this book, so much so that I have decided to give it my book hangover award, it’s not normally something I do after I’ve published my review but it’s my blog my rules 😂

My Book hangover award is given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page.

AB604517-11E1-4046-B56C-90BB6C5E89CC