A day with author James Carol #GuestPost @JamesCarolBooks

IMG_3758

Today I’m thrilled to have author James Carol share a guest post about his day as a writer. I’m a huge fan of this author and I especially love his FBI profiler Jefferson Winter series, it’s one of my favourite crime series. The author has also just published a psychological thriller as J. S. Carol it’s called Kiss Me Kill Me, and another read I would highly recommend

So without further ado here’s……………..

A Day In The Life Of James Carol

A typical day starts with getting the kids to school. One of the big advantages of working from home is that I get to do things like that. If there’s a school play or sports day, I can get there. My best memories of the past year are hearing my daughter sing like an angel at the Christmas concert, and watching my son running his heart out to win his race.

IMG_3759

Once the kids are in school then it’s time to put on a CD and get to work. Writing in silence is a kind of torture for me. Music helps to block out all the other distractions so I can focus on the words. I listen to everything and anything. For example, right now I’ve got a Police compilation playing. That said, it could just as easily have been The Beatles or Lorde or even Taylor Swift.

IMG_3750

If I’m working on a first draft, my aim is to get at least 1,500 words written. Do that for a week and I’m 7,500 words further on; do it for fourteen weeks and I’ve got a novel. Like Stephen King said, a novel gets written one word at a time. Think about it. Writing one word is achievable, however, if you’re sat there at the start of a novel and you’ve somehow got to find at least 100,000 words, that’s just too daunting. Where the hell do you start? So I write one word at a time, and it’s amazing how quickly those words turn into sentences, then paragraphs, and whole chapters.

IMG_3760

I tend to clock off around one. By that point my brain is fried. Of course, writing is one of those occupations that you never totally switch off from. I’ll often find myself falling back into the novel at various points during the day, working through things in my head. Then there are those times when I end up doing the dreaded night shift. This usually happens when I’ve got a particularly gnarly plot problem to work out. For some reason, my brain decides that two o’clock in the morning is the best time to do this. And, no, I don’t get out of bed to write things down. If the idea is good enough then I’ll remember it. Lennon and McCartney did a similar thing in their early days, and it seemed to work out okay for them.

About the author

IMG_3761

James Carol is the bestselling author of BROKEN DOLLS, the first in a series featuring former FBI profiler Jefferson Winter. The novel was released in the UK in January 2014 to rave reviews and reached number 1 on the Amazon fiction and thriller charts. In addition James is writing a series of eBooks set during Winter’s FBI days. PRESUMED GUILTY is the first of these. Under the pseudonym J.S. Carol, he has also written a number of standalones. KISS ME KILL ME is the latest.

James was born in Scotland and moved to England in the early-eighties. At various times he has worked as a guitarist, sound engineer, guitar tutor, journalist, and a horse riding instructor. When he’s not writing, James can usually be found in a pair of headphones writing and recording music. He lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and two children.

For more information go to: www.james-carol.com

To learn more about James Carol’s book click here….James Carol Books

My thanks to James Carol for taking time out of his busy schedule to write this post for my blog.

Tell Me I’m Wrong by Adam Croft #BookReview @adamcroft

IMG_3600

Book description

What if you discovered your husband was a serial killer?

Megan Miller is an ordinary woman with a young family — until a shocking discovery shatters her perfect world.

When two young boys are brutally murdered in their tight-knit village community, Megan slowly begins to realise the signs all point to the lovable local primary school teacher — her husband.

But when she begins to delve deeper into her husband’s secret life, she makes discoveries that will make her question everything she knows — and make her fear for her young daughter’s life.

Facing an impossible decision, she is desperate to uncover the truth. But once you know something, it can’t be unknown. And the more she learns, the more she wishes she never knew anything at all…

IMG_3605

There is nothing more satisfying than picking up a book that misleads the reader, one that constantly has you questioning each characters narrative, and Tell Me I’m Wrong by Adam Croft does exactly that! With an array of psychological thrillers on the market and one of my most read genres I find it difficult to find a book that stands out from the crowd. For me a psychological thriller has to mess with my head, keep me gripped and most importantly hit me with that “OMG I never saw that coming” moment and yes this book managed to do just that!

Like most psychological thriller Tell Me I’m wrong could not be considered to be fast paced, but like any really good psychological thriller the author builds on the suspense and mystery the whole time leading the “reader down the rabbit hole” into the world of Megan and Chris, where nothing is as it seems. On the surface Megan and Chris seem to be a “perfectly normal couple”, when two young boys are brutally murdered in their tight-knit village community, Megan slowly begins to realise the signs all point to the lovable local primary school teacher, her husband, Chris.

Fuelled by lies and mistrust the story is told in alternating chapters from the POV of Megan and Chris. As I got to the 60% I can honestly say I had no idea where this book was heading, yes I had numerous theories but I found myself so caught up in where the author was leading me I really couldn’t turn the pages of my kindle fast enough. The sense of foreboding radiates from the pages of this well told tale, at times I find myself holding my breath as the tension and mistrust between Megan and Chris grew.

Adam Croft certainly surprised me with a couple of those “OMG I never saw that coming” moments, so I applaud the author for being so devious. Well written, this is a book that I will definitely be recommending to anyone who loves a gripping psychological thriller with some very devious plot twists. Tell Me I’m Wrong is the first book I’ve read by Adam Croft but it certainly won’t be my last!

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧         Amazon US 🇺🇸

Paperback: 274 pages

Publisher: Circlehouse (18 Jan. 2018)

My thanks to author Adam Croft for my ARC in exchanged for an unbiased review.

About the author

IMG_3800

With more than one million books sold to date, Adam Croft is one of the best-selling crime and thriller authors in the world.

His 2015 worldwide bestselling psychological thriller HER LAST TOMORROW became one of the biggest selling books of the year with over 150,000 copies sold in the first five months, and has since been in development for television.

In 2016 he was featured by The Guardian as one of the biggest selling authors of the year, and regularly takes part in discussions and panels on publishing and the future of books.

In February 2017, ONLY THE TRUTH became a worldwide bestseller, reaching storewide number 1 at both Amazon US and Amazon UK, making it the bestselling book in the world at that moment in time. The same day, Amazon’s overall Author Rankings placed Adam as the mostly widely read author in the world, with J.K. Rowling in second place.

Adam has been featured on BBC television, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 5 Live, the BBC World Service, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, The Bookseller and a number of other news and media outlets.

Author Links:

Twitter: @adamcroft       Facebook      Website

**Blog tour**Little Liar by Clare Boyd #BookReview @Bookouture @ClaireBoydClark

IMG_3599

Today I’m thrilled to be one of two stops on the Little Liar by Clare Boyd blog tour, you can catch my partner in crime (pun intended😂) Neats review over at The Haphazardous Hippo

Little Liar was published on the 1st February by one of my very favourite publishers Bookouture, so you don’t even have to wait to get a copy, pop over to Amazon and “click”. Before I share my review, what’s the book about? Read it on…….

Book description

The perfect family… or the perfect lie?

To the outside world, Gemma Bradley has it all – a doting husband, high-flying career and two delightful kids – but inside the four walls of her tastefully renovated home, she is a mother at her wits end who has given too many last warnings and counted to ten too many times.

When a child’s scream pierces the night, Gemma’s neighbour does what anyone would do: she calls the police. She wants to make sure that Rosie, the little girl next door, is safe.

Gemma knows she hasn’t done anything wrong, but the more she fights to defend the family she loves, the more her flawless life begins to crumble around her. Is the carefully guarded secret she’s been keeping suddenly in danger of breaking free?

When Rosie disappears, Gemma thinks she only has herself to blame. That is, until she discovers that Rosie has been keeping dark secrets of her own in a pink plastic diary.

Distraught and terrified, Gemma doesn’t know where to turn. The only thing she knows is that her daughter’s life is in danger…

IMG_3781.GIF

IMG_3605

If you are thinking about becoming a parent anytime soon a word of warning you may want to give Little Liar a wide berth! Motherhood is often portrayed unrealistically in fiction, full time working mum, always manages to balance work V  home life perfectly, the children are the perfect “little cherubs”, but not in this book! Clare Boyd writes a very different and troubling tale of the challenges and the stormy side of being a mother.

Little Liar could be based on homes up and down the country, a child has a tantrum, (I’m sure every parent can relate to this at some point) screams the place down and a “kindly” neighbour reports the incident to the police, convinced the child is in danger. Unfortunately for Gemma, Mira a “helpful” neighbour hears Gemma’s daughter Rosie screaming and reports her concerns to the police, and so begins a train of events that will have far reaching and life changing consequences for both Gemma and Mira.

Essentially Little Liar is more Domestic Noir than a psychological thriller but don’t let that put you off, I personally enjoy this type of novel when it’s done well and considering this is the author’s debut novel I think she has done a remarkable job. The tension radiating from her characters is constant, rather like a cauldron you can feel the emotions bubbling away and at some point as the reader you know all these emotions are going to boil over, to the how and the why that’s for you as the reader to find out. At times I felt like like a voyeur watching Gemma’s family in crisis, some of Gemma’s actions towards her daughter made me feel uncomfortable,  but that said it certainly helped to create a disquieting read. Little Liar is one of those books that couldn’t be considered fast paced, it’s more subtle, slowly building on the suspense and tension and drawing the reader in.

As the title suggests most of the characters have something to lie about, and it’s these lies that make the basis of a very intriguing plot. If I’m honest it was difficult to find any empathy for any of the characters including Rosie, but this did not distract from the read. At times I could sense Gemma’s frustration and Rosie like many ten year olds knew exactly how to push her mothers buttons to provoke a reaction. Little Liar explores the sometimes difficult relationship between mother and child, the emotions, the guilt and the constant pressure to be the “best mother”. Well written with drama aplenty Little Liar is a thought provoking read that encompasses moral dilemmas that are relevant to today’s society. I think Little Liar is one of those books that will divide readers, I think some will love it and others not so, but then that’s the beauty of books, no two opinions are the same, personally I enjoyed Little Liar and look forward to seeing what Clare Boyd comes up with next.

Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧     Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 410 pages

Publisher: Bookouture (1 Feb. 2018)

About the author

IMG_3780

Clare lives with her husband and their two daughters in Surrey, where her little green shed at the bottom of the garden provides a haven for her writing life. Before becoming a writer, she enjoyed a career in television, as a researcher in documentaries and then as a script editor in drama at the BBC and Channel Four, where her love of storytelling took hold.
https://twitter.com/ClareBoydClark

My thanks to Kim Nash and Bookouture for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

IMG_3753

**Blog tour** Force Of Nature by Jane Harper #BookReview @Janeharperautho @LittleBrownUK

IMG_3603

Today I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour for the Force Of Nature by Jane Harper. I was a huge fan of the first book in the series THE DRY and it’s a book I would highly recommend. If you are looking for a different type of crime thriller that doesn’t involve a serial killer or gruesome scenes that you are going to love The Force Of Nature, so what’s it about? Read on to find out

Book description

FIVE WENT OUT. FOUR CAME BACK…

Is Alice here? Did she make it? Is she safe? In the chaos, in the night, it was impossible to say which of the four had asked after Alice’s welfare. Later, when everything got worse, each would insist it had been them.
Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along the muddy track. Only four come out the other side.

The hike through the rugged landscape is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and teach resilience and team building. At least that is what the corporate retreat website advertises.
Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a particularly keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing bushwalker. Alice Russell is the whistleblower in his latest case – and Alice knew secrets. About the company she worked for and the people she worked with.

Far from the hike encouraging teamwork, the women tell Falk a tale of suspicion, violence and disintegrating trust. And as he delves into the disappearance, it seems some dangers may run far deeper than anyone knew.

IMG_3785

IMG_3605

Force Of Nature by Jane Harper is the second book in a series featuring Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk, yes it can be read as a standalone but if like me you prefer to start a series at the beginning I would highly recommend you read The Dry first. From the start this book has such a different feel to it, we leave the blistering heat and claustrophobic setting of a small town in the outback and move to the cold, wet and hostile environment of the remote Giralang Range. The author has a flair for describing her settings in great detail, so much so that you feel you are there amid the harsh terrain, the howling winds and the torrential rain, the sense of isolation the author evokes is palatable from the start.

Can you imagine trekking through the wilderness with your work colleagues? Putting your trust in them? Reliant on each other to survive? All in the name of “team building” no? well that’s pretty much the premise for this book. Aaron Falk and his partner Carmen are called to the Giralang Range, when Alice one of the team members goes missing. Force Of Nature is told in alternating timelines, you have chapters that take the reader back in time to follow the women on their hike, and then you have chapters featuring Aaron and Carmen in the present assisting the search and slowly revealing the details of Alice’s disappearance.

Force Of Nature reminds me very much of the traditional “whodunnit”, where the focus is more on the characters and guessing whose behind the skullduggery and the why, rather than the fast paced, gruesome crime thrillers many of us are use to reading. Jane Harper focuses her time on building on the tension and suspense, which some readers may find off putting, but personally I enjoyed the more sedate pace.

As Jane Harper reveals more details of the five women life’s I found myself scrutinising everyone of them with suspicion. The author very realistically portrays the woman’s behaviour and emotions set against the backdrop of an isolated environment where their instinct to survive far outweighs their allegiance to their work colleagues. Force Of Nature is a complex tale that explores themes such as grudges, bullying and family ties, shrouded in mystery and secrets, that draw the reader in making for an engrossing read. Force Of Nature is a book I would recommend to those who enjoy a crime thriller with a heart and aren’t a fan of the more gruesome crime thrillers that are on the market.

Buying links: Amazon UK 🇬🇧         Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 400 pages

Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group (26 Sept. 2017)

My thanks to the publishers for an ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

About the author

Jane Harper is the author of The Dry, winner of various awards including the 2015 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript, the 2017 Indie Award Book of the Year, the 2017 Australian Book Industry Awards Book of the Year Award and the CWA Gold Dagger Award for the best crime novel of 2017.

Rights have been sold in 27 territories worldwide, and film rights optioned to Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea. Jane worked as a print journalist for thirteen years both in Australia and the UK and lives in Melbourne.

IMG_3794.JPG

UNSUB by Meg Gardiner #BookReview @DuttonBooks @MegGardiner1 #MustReads

IMG_3732

Book description

A riveting psychological thriller inspired by the never-caught Zodiac Killer, about a young detective determined to apprehend the serial murderer who destroyed her family and terrorized a city twenty years earlier.

Caitlin Hendrix has been a Narcotics detective for six months when the killer at the heart of all her childhood nightmares reemerges: the Prophet. An UNSUB—what the FBI calls an unknown subject—the Prophet terrorized the Bay Area in the 1990s and nearly destroyed her father, the lead investigator on the case.

The Prophet’s cryptic messages and mind games drove Detective Mack Hendrix to the brink of madness, and Mack’s failure to solve the series of ritualized murders—eleven seemingly unconnected victims left with the ancient sign for Mercury etched into their flesh—was the final nail in the coffin for a once promising career.

Twenty years later, two bodies are found bearing the haunting signature of the Prophet. Caitlin Hendrix has never escaped the shadow of her father’s failure to protect their city. But now the ruthless madman is killing again and has set his sights on her, threatening to undermine the fragile barrier she rigidly maintains for her own protection, between relentless pursuit and dangerous obsession.

Determined to decipher his twisted messages and stop the carnage, Caitlin ignores her father’s warnings as she draws closer to the killer with each new gruesome murder. Is it a copycat, or can this really be the same Prophet who haunted her childhood? Will Caitlin avoid repeating her father’s mistakes and redeem her family name, or will chasing the Prophet drag her and everyone she loves into the depths of the abyss?

IMG_3777

IMG_3605

First of a huge thank you to Janel over at Keeperofpages, whose fabulous review convinced me I needed to read UNSUB ASAP!

Hells bells if you consider yourself to be a crime thriller lover then you MUST read Unsub by Meg Gardiner, it’s not just good it’s a flipping fantastic book and I would go as far to say it’s probably one of the best crime books I’ve read EVER. I read so many crime thrillers it takes a lot to scare me but this book unnerved me to the extent I had to keep checking that the doors were locked and the lights were on. Unsub caused my heart to thump and my pulse to race pretty much throughout. Drawing inspiration from the Zodiac Killer, and likened to Se7en, and Silence of the Lambs this is one book you don’t want to miss if you like your crime thrillers graphic and disturbing.

As you can see this book comes with a pretty lengthy book description, so I don’t feel the need to rehash the plot in my review. I do enjoy a crime thriller with an intriguing serial killer at the heart of the plot, and Meg Gardiner has created a fascinating one, the Unsub aka The Prophet taunts law enforcement with his gruesome murders and his cryptic messages, he thrives on mind games and generating fear in a city where people are advised to be vigilant, no one knows who his next victim will be or why. I think The Prophet makes a very credible character I feel this is because as the reader you are aware the author drew inspiration from the very real Zodiac Killer, making him that much more terrifying and convincing.

IMG_3736

Meg Gardiner has done a superb job with character development, building her grisly psychological thriller around detective Caitlin Hendrix, whose father failed to catch the killer decades earlier. Caitlin Hendrix is probably one of the most exciting protagonists I’ve come across in a long time the author has breathed life into her, you feel her frustration, her empathy for the victims and her complex relationship with her father make her someone that I WANT to know so much more about. Unsub is an unforgettable book, fast paced, chilling and downright frightening but I loved every page of this gripping crime thriller. Every scene, every word written is pivotal to the plot and the tension that radiates throughout definitely make this one of my top reads of 2018. Now I really can’t wait to read the sequel Into The Black Nowhere. In case you haven’t already guessed I would highly, highly recommended Unsub.

Buying links:     Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

Paperback: 420 pages

Publisher: Dutton Books; Reprint edition (2 Jan. 2018)

I’m sure it will come as no surprise to see I’m giving UNSUB the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating. It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a fabulous read, fantastic 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 and plus this one gave me a #Major #BookHangover something I don’t suffer with very often!

IMG_3573

The book review café **book of the month** for January 2018

IMG_3228

Eeeek today it’s the 1st of February which means I get to choose my first book of the year for my Book of the month feature. Despite it only being a month into the new year I have already read some amazing books, and there are so many books I’m desperate to read this year, I really do think it’s going to be even harder to choose a book of the month, I struggle as it is!

The Book Of The Month is chosen by myself at the beginning of every month, for the previous month. It goes to the author/book that I found outstanding for that month, and I may have given a higher rating than a 5 star review if I actually star rated books on my blog. As usual I struggled to choose just one book and so I choose TWO (my blog my rules 😂🙈). These books couldn’t be more different “chalk and cheese” spring to mind, but I loved them both for different reasons so without further ad here they are……

Life Of Crime by Kimberley Chambers

Design Life Of Crime is a story of violence, treachery, loyalty and family ties and although these are familiar themes in the authors book, she still manages to write an exciting tale, with surprises galore. Kimberley Chambers has a unique knack of adding her own style of humour to her plot with her “one liners”, which constantly made me chuckle. From the first page of this exceptional crime thriller I was hooked you could not have prised this book away from me for love nor money, in fact I pretty much read it in one hugely satisfying sitting. Fast paced, gripping and with more twist and turns than a roller coaster, it’s a thrill a minute. You can read my full review here…..Life Of Crime by Kimberley Chambers #Bookreview @HarperFiction @FlisssityHydra by Matt Wesolowski

Design

Hydra oh WOW this has to be one of the most original and creepiest books I’ve read EVER! I loved Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski, but I loved Hydra more, it simply oozes menace from the opening chapter. Hydra is part crime thriller with more than a dose of the supernatural thrown in, and it’s a novel that’s guaranteed to capture the reader’s imagination. From the start the reader knows who committed the crime, it’s the “why” that the author explores in his series of six intriguing pod casts. Each one gives the reader a different perspectives of Arla, but which one is true? As Scott King, an investigative journalist slowly unravels a very deeply unsettling and disturbing tale I felt the first stirrings of fear that seeped into my bones and pretty much stayed with me until I reached the ending of this is wickedly creepy book. You can read my full review here……**Blog tour** Hydra by Matt Wesolowski @OrendaBooks @ConcreteKraken

IMG_2861

 

Links to my reviews for the above books can be found here……

The Dry by Jane Harper #Bookreview @janeharperautho @LittleBrownUKClose To Home by Cara Hunter #BookReview @CaraHunterBooksThe Tattooist Of Auschwitz By Heather Morris #Bookreview @BonnierZaffreLook For Me by Lisa Gardner @LisaGardnerBks #BookReviewBooks I’m looking forward to reading in February

Please note some of the following books aren’t due for publication to March but I’m hoping to get ahead start on my “to review” books 😂

 

**Blog tour** A Cold Cold Heart by John Nicholl @Bloodhoundbook @nicholl06

IMG_3608

Book description

DI Gravel and his daughter Emily are oblivious to the terrible danger she is in when she accepts a job working for the solicitor Charles Turner.

Meanwhile Gravel is on the hunt for a serial killer. And when Emily becomes the killer’s latest obsession, the murderer will stop at nothing to make his grotesque fantasies reality.

But as further bodies are discovered, the killer seeks to befriend DI Gravel and misdirect his investigation.

How can you catch a killer who is hiding in plain sight? Can DI Gravel and Emily come away from this case with both their lives in tact?

Sometimes evil wears a suit…

IMG_3605

I’ve read and reviewed John Nicholl’s books before and to say he has a dark and vivid imagination is an understatement, so I always look forward to a new novel by this author as to be frank I’m never quite sure how dark or disturbing it’s going to be, but one thing I’m guaranteed it’s bound to be a “hell of a read”. Everything you need to know is in the book description, so I’m definitely not going to “rehash” the plot details, suffice to say in A Cold Cold Heart DI Gravel is on the hunt for a serial killer, a killer who is by definition a monster of the worse kind.

A word of warning for the feint hearted A Cold Cold Heart does contain some graphic descriptions which some readers may find distressing. The author has a knack of creating the most despicable characters, he is able to get inside the dark recess of his characters mind, so the reader is very much privy to the Killers thoughts and reasoning which means this book sometimes makes for an uncomfortable and a very chilling read, fortunately for me I do love this type of read.

If you have read some of this authors previous books you may recognise DI Gravel (although fear not this book can be read as a standalone) he isn’t your usual stereotypical detective, he’s overweight, heading for retirement, suffers with arthritis and angina, he’s sarcastic with a jaded opinion of the legal system and the killers he chases, but he’s like a breath of fresh as he tramples through crime scenes and blunders his way through witness interviews! You can help but warm to him.

From the beginning you know who the killer so there’s no mystery there, now sometimes this can spoil my enjoyment of a crime thriller as I do like to try and work out who the killer is and his motives. Fortunately the killer is such a sick individual I found the suspense came from wanting the killer to slip up and see justice served. Although not highly original in plot John Nicholl adds his own unique signature to A Cold Cold Heart by incorporating a character study of a serial killer who will send chills down your spine. All in all A Cold Cold Heart made for a gripping and nail biting read. Highly recommended if you like your crime thrillers on the dark and disturbing side.

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

Author bio:

IMG_3707

John Nicholl, an ex-police officer, child protection social worker and lecturer, writes popular dark psychological suspense thrillers, each of which has been an Amazon international bestseller, reaching # 1 in multiple categories in the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Australia, Canada and the USA.

John is happily married, lives in rural west Wales, and has three adult children and one grandchild. He began writing after leaving his job heading up child protection services for Carmarthenshire.  A Cold Cold Heart, John’s sixth book, is published by Bloodhound Books in January 2018. John is represented by Toby Mundy – Literary agent at TMA.

Links:

Author website

http://www.johnnicholl.com

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/john. nicholl.988

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/auth or/show/13795294.John_Nicholl

Twitter

https://twitter.com/nicholl06

My thanks to the author, Sarah Hardy and Bloodhound Books for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.

If you want to follow the rest of the tour, details  are in the banner below………

IMG_3602.JPG