Tag Archives: Gold Star Award

**Blog Tour** Maria In The Moon by Louise Beech @OrendaBooks @LouiseWriter

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Today I’m absolutely thrilled to be one of the stops on the Maria In The Moon by Louise Beech blog tour. This really is a fabulous book and if you haven’t read it yet, it’s definitely one I would highly recommend, and it’s made it’s way to my top reads of 2017 list, yes it’s really that good.

Maria In The Moon is published by the simply awesome Orenda Books and you can buy a kindle copy right now, but this one has such a beautiful cover, it’s a book you will want to keep you can buy a physical copy on publication day the 30th September 2017

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Book description

‘Long ago my beloved Nanny Eve chose my name. Then one day she stopped calling me it. I try now to remember why, but I just can’t.’

Thirty-two-year-old Catherine Hope has a great memory. But she can’t remember everything. She can’t remember her ninth year. She can’t remember when her insomnia started. And she can’t remember why everyone stopped calling her Catherine-Maria. With a promiscuous past, and licking her wounds after a painful breakup, Catherine wonders why she resists anything approaching real love.

But when she loses her home to the devastating deluge of 2007 and volunteers at Flood Crisis, a devastating memory emerges … and changes everything. Dark, poignant and deeply moving, Maria in the Moon is an examination of the nature of memory and truth, and the defences we build to protect ourselves, when we can no longer hide…

My review

Every once in a blue moon (excuse the pun) a book comes along that blows me away, Marie In The Moon has left me with a serious book hangover not a common occurrence might I add. Marie In The Moon is without doubt Louise Beech best book yet I never thought I would say that, as I adored The Mountain In My Shoe, but oh my Maria In The Moon is something else, beautifully written, it’s a powerful and a emotive novel that will pull at the most hardened heartstrings. I seen a book quote which pretty much sums up my feelings for this novel ” some books you read. Some books you enjoy. But some books just swallow you up heart and soul”. 

Set in Hull, just after the floods of 2007, the book focuses on Catherine Hope, who had no memories of her ninth year. All she can remember is that this was when her beloved father died. She’s a volunteer at Flood Crisis, happy to help other people if it means she doesn’t have to deal with her own problems. When a long buried memories begin to surface, Catherine tries to ignore them, but as they become more vivid Catherine has to face her past and deal with the devastating events that she choose to forget, for it’s only then she will be free. Although this novel draws on some  difficult subjects Louise Beech deals with them with great sensitivity and empathy.

What a complicated but throughly intriguing character Catherine turned out to be, Louise Beech has an incredible talent that enables her to create such complex and flawed characters, she manages to get into the heads of ordinary people and makes them extraordinary, making the reader care about the characters she’s created. When the reader first meets Catherine she seems surly, antagonistic and defensive, she also appears to be in self destruct mode, but it’s not long before you become enchanted by this unbelievable character, she’s sensitive, passionate and caring and her story will break your heart.

Marie In The Moon is one of the most haunting and compelling books I’ve read in a long time, it’s full of dark humour but also filled with warmth, this novel evoked so many emotion I laughed, I cried and then I cried some more, this is a huge testament to the author’s powerful writing. Dark and deeply moving this novel is one book that’s going to stay with me for a long time, and I’m sure I will often think of Catherine’s journey and the horrors she endured.

I’m sure it will come as no surprise to hear I’m giving Marie In The Moon 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.

imagePrint Length: 276 pages

Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS (15 Aug. 2017)

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧     Amazon US 🇺🇸

IMG_2187Louise Beech remembers sitting in her father’s cross-legged lap while he tried to show her his guitar’s chords. He’s a musician. Her small fingers stumbled and gave up. She was three. His music sheets fascinated her – such strange language that translated into music. Her mother teaches languages, French and English, so her fluency with words fired Louise’s interest. She knew from being small that she wanted to write, to create, to make magic.

She loves all forms of writing. Her short stories have won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting twice for the Bridport Prize and being published in a variety of UK magazines. Her first play, Afloat, was performed at Hull Truck Theatre in 2012. She also wrote a ten-year newspaper column for the Hull Daily Mail about being a parent, garnering love/hate criticism. Her debut novel was a Guardian Readers’ pick for 2015.

She is inspired by life, history, survival and love, and always has a story in her head. Her debut novel, How to be Brave, came from truth – when Louise’s daughter got Type 1 Diabetes she helped her cope by sharing her grandad’s real life sea survival story. Her second novel, The Mountain in my Shoe, was released in September 2016 and was inspired by her time working with children in the care system.

When she was fifteen Louise bet her mother ten pounds she’d be published by the time she was thirty. She missed this self-set deadline by two months. Her mother is still waiting for the money.

Link to website – http://louisebeech.co.uk/

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My thanks to Karen over at Orenda Books and Anne Cater for my ARC of this simply fabulous book, and also for allowing me to be part of the Maria In The Moon blog tour it’s been an honour to take part. 

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**My Book Of The Month** June 2017

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Now we’re in July (OMG where have those six months gone?) it’s time for me to look back at June’s reads and choose my Book Of The Month.

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.

I read some outstanding books in June in fact I really struggled to choose just one book, this month so I’m going for two books! I absolutely loved these books and although very different in subject and writing they had all the elements I look for when reading a book, well developed characters, a strong plot and bucketfuls of suspense. So without further ado the books I have choosen are………

The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne

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Each chapter starts with a part of the The Marsh King’s Daughter fairytale by Hans Christian Anderson, as we all know some of the best fairy tales are also the scariest and as the story relates to Helena’s own life it adds to the overwhelming sense of foreboding that radiates from the pages of this novel.
Expertly plotted and wonderfully written this novel made for haunting and compelling read, it’s one of those books that just begs to be read in one satisfying sitting. This is one book I will be recommending to anyone and everybody.

You can read my review here……The Marsh King’s Daughter

The Fourth Monkey by J. D. Barker

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Oh my god I absolutely loved The Fourth Monkey by J. D. Barker, what a deliciously dark and utterly gripping novel this one turned out to be. I’m the first to admit you can’t beat a good serial killer in a crime thriller (hmmm I’m not sure what a psychologist would make of that) but believe me when I say they don’t come more twisted than the The Fourth Money (or 4MK as they are known) but it certainly made for a brilliant read. Masterfully written, fast-paced thriller this novel made for a rivetting read. You can read my full review here…….The Fourth Monkey

As I mentioned earlier in my post  I have read some exceptional  books this month,  and if you are looking for your next read I would highly recommend all the books listed below
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Exquisite by Sarah Stovell you can find my review here…. Exquisite

The Detriment by David Videcette you can read my review here….The Detriment

Each Little Lie by Tom Bale you can find my review here…..Each Little Lie

The Betrayed by Casey Kelleher you can read my review here….The Betrayed

Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips you can find my review here….Fierce Kingdom

The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne #BookReview @KarenDionne

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Book description

‘I was born two years into my mother’s captivity. She was three weeks shy of seventeen. If I had known then what I do now, things would have been a lot different. I wouldn’t have adored my father.’

When notorious child abductor – known as the Marsh King – escapes from a maximum security prison, Helena immediately suspects that she and her two young daughters are in danger.

No one, not even her husband, knows the truth about Helena’s past: they don’t know that she was born into captivity, that she had no contact with the outside world before the age of twelve – or that her father raised her to be a killer.

And they don’t know that the Marsh King can survive and hunt in the wilderness better than anyone… except, perhaps his own daughter.

img_1258What a year 2017 is turning out to be, there have been some truly outstanding thrillers published this year and I was convinced I had read the best in this genre and then along came The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne. Oh my oh my what a book, this one is definitely going to be one of the top books of summer 2017 and it’s one that’s immediately gone on my top reads of 2017.

Helena had the best time and the most horrifying time growing up, daughter of a child abductor she spent the first twelve years of her life in captivity, raised to be a hunter everything her father teaches her has a disturbing purpose. Fast forward a few years and Helena is married with children living a fairly normal life, that is until her father the aptly named Marsh King escapes from prison and what follows is a heart pounding and throughly compelling read.

From the opening chapter the author grabbed my attention, this novel is beautifully written with breath taking descriptions of the marsh lands, a place that despite the wilderness felt claustrophobic. Poor Helena what a wonderful and complex character she is, The Marsh King is not purely a figure of evil, to Helene he’s a father, the man who taught her to fish and to hunt, but there is always an undertone of darkness and something very sinister about The Marsh King’s parental skills. The story alternates between the present as Helena hunts for her escaped father, and the past when they lived alone in the marshlands. The author moves deftly between the two time lines and I found myself equally fascinated by both.

Each chapter starts with a part of the The Marsh King’s Daughter fairytale by Hans Christian Anderson, as we all know some of the best fairy tales are also the scariest and as the story relates to Helena’s own life it adds to the overwhelming sense of foreboding that radiates from the pages of this novel.
Expertly plotted and wonderfully written this novel made for haunting and compelling read, it’s one of those books that just begs to be read in one satisfying sitting. This is one book I will be recommending to anyone and everybody.

I’m sure it will come as no surprise to hear I’m giving The Marsh King’s Daughter 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 good 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.

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Buying links: Amazon UK 🇬🇧       Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 322 pages

Publisher: Sphere (13 Jun. 2017)

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The Fourth Monkey by J.D.Barker @jdbarker #Bookreview #4MK

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Book description

For over five years, the Four Monkey Killer has terrorised the residents of Chicago. When his body is found, the police quickly realise he was on his way to deliver one final message, one which proves he has taken another victim who may still be alive.

As the lead investigator on the 4MK task force, Detective Sam Porter knows even in death, the killer is far from finished. When he discovers a personal diary in the jacket pocket of the body, Porter finds himself caught up in the mind of a psychopath, unraveling a twisted history in hopes of finding one last girl, all while struggling with personal demons of his own.

With only a handful of clues, the elusive killer’s identity remains a mystery. Time is running out and the Four Monkey Killer taunts from beyond the grave in this masterfully written fast-paced thriller.

img_1258Oh my god I absolutely loved The Fourth Monkey by J. D. Barker, what a deliciously dark and utterly gripping novel this one turned out to be. I’m the first to admit you can’t beat a good serial killer in a crime thriller (hmmm I’m not sure what a psychologist would make of that) but believe me when I say they don’t come more twisted than the  The Fourth Money (or 4MK as they are known) but it certainly made for a brilliant read. Masterfully written,  fast-paced thriller this novel made for a rivetting read.  I’m not going to go into plot details as I would hate to spoil the read for others and it’s definitely one of those “the less you know, the more thrilling the read”

The novel is told mainly from Detective Sam Porter POV and from 4MK’s diary. This diary tells the story of a serial killer, beginning with their childhood you learn of the events that shaped them into the evil and depraved monster they became. It was these chapters that I found the most unsettling they are seriously twisted and imaginative, to read how a small child turns into a psychopath serial killer made for a very disturbing and chilling read, but I found myself compelled to learn more about this sick individual. Yes it is pretty graphic in parts, but very much in keeping with the plot and characters.

Deviously plotted with twists galore this J.D. Barker has written a story that challenges and shock, he certainly  isn’t afraid to push the boundaries of what we expect. He writes with grit, enthusiasm and passion and manages to deliver on all fronts. The Fourth Monkey has been compared to 7even and Silence Of The Lambs, and I can see why, thanks to the plot, an unforgettable serial killer and scenes that would unsettle the most hardened crime thriller reader it really does have the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster. Highly recommended and I can definitely see why this novel is being billed as one of the most anticipated releases of 2017. 

Hardcover: 416 pages

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (27 Jun. 2017)

Links to pre-order:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧       Amazon US 🇺🇸

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I will be giving The Fourth Monkey 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 good 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.

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**Blog Tour** Block 46 by Johana Gustawasson #BookReview @OrendaBooks @JoGustawasson  

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Book description

Falkenberg, Sweden. The mutilated body of talented young jewellery designer, Linnea Blix, is found in a snow-swept marina. Hampstead Heath, London. The body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea’s. Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as a human again. Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald?

Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea’s friend, French true-crime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light. Plumbing the darkness and the horrific evidence of the nature of evil, Block 46 is a multi-layered, sweeping and evocative thriller that heralds a stunning new voice in French Noir.

img_1258Nothing, and I mean nothing could have prepared me for Block 46 by Johana Gustawasson, if you are looking for a unique, nail biting and gripping tale look no further than this book, it’s going to sound cliched but it literally left me speechless (not an easy task let me tell you!). Block 46 has been translated seamlessly from the original French by Maxim Jakubowski, and it’s so well translated you don’t think for one minute it’s been written in anything but English. 
Block 46 begins with the death of a young jewellery designer. When a young boy’s body is discovered with similar wounds, it seems that there is a deviant serial killer on the loose, but how do the murders link to the 1940s Buchenwald Concentration Camp in Germany? From the outset Block 46 is a dark and disconcerting tale that begs to be read in one sitting. The narrative moves effortlessly between the present day investigation and 1944. The chapters told from Buchenwald Concentration Camp bring the sheer barbarity of what happened there to life, heartbreakingly realistic the author describes the scenes vividly but with great empathy. It was impossible to work out how the author could possibly bring the two timelines together, but she does in the most spectacular of fashions.

The author has created one hell of an antagonist, their the worse kind of monster, and one that will send shivers down your spine, and yet I couldn’t help wanting to learn more about this twisted and depraved soul. Every location is expertly depicted, steeped in atmosphere, horror and suspense, which made for a thrilling read. Despite this book being a dark and disturbing read I was surprised that the writing is both descriptive and beautiful, you really don’t expect that with a crime thriller, but it works, in fact I think it made the book all the more chilling.

Without hesitation this book has already made it to my top reads of 2017. Why? Because it’s a rich and harrowing story of the psychology of evil, good versus bad, death versus life, it’s complex, fast paced, and disturbing, all the elements that make a crime read stand out from the norm. Gripping from the first page, Block 46 will keep you on the edge of your seat all the way to its shocking conclusion, that I can guarantee.

I’m sure it won’t come as much of a shock but I will be giving Block 46 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 good 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. Personally I will be waiting for Johana Gustawasson’s next book with baited breath, I’m just hoping we don’t have to wait to long. 
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My thanks to Karen over at Orenda books for giving me the opportunity to read this superb book.

Print Length: 300 pages

Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS (5 Feb. 2017)

Amazon UK 🇬🇧        Amazon US 🇺🇸

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Born in 1978 in Marseille, France, and a graduate of Political Sciences, Johana Gustawsson was a journalist for television and French press. She now lives in London, England.

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http://johanagustawsson.com/category/johana-gustawsson-en/

you can follow the rest of the tour for reviews, giveaways and guest posts

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The Book Review Café #BookOfTheMonth April 2017

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Now we’re in May it’s time for me to look back at the books I  read and reviewed  in April and choose my Book Of The Month.

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.

I read some outstanding books in April, but there were two books that really stood out for me this month. As I wasn’t able to choose between these two books I’ve decided to share the award.  These books had all the elements I look for when reading, well developed characters, a strong plot and bucketfuls of suspense. So without further ado here are my books of the month and there absolute crackers……………

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The Abattoir Of Dreams by Mark Tilbury

Abattoir Of Dreams by Mark Tilbury Is definitely going to be one of my top reads of 2017, it’s dark and very disturbing due to the difficult subject it covers.  This is certainly a book that packs a punch, its gut wrenching and makes for an uncomfortable read at times but it’s also offers so much more, it’s a bitter sweet story of murder, innocence and abuse. You can read my full review here……..

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/04/17/the-abattoir-of-dreams-by-mark-tilbury-bookreview-bloodhoundbook-mtilburyauthor/

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Last Breath by Robert Bryndza

Last Breath is a truly dark, disturbing and most definitely a gripping read, one that will make your heart pound and the paranoia kick in, but my god it’s definitely worth the ride. What I particularly like about this series is how original each book has been from the last and how each story offers something unique, which is why Robert Bryndza continues to be one of my very favourite authors on the planet.

You can read my full review here……
https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/04/16/blog-tour-last-breath-by-robert-bryndza-bookreview-bookouture-robertbryndza/

As I mentioned earlier I really did read some fantastic books in April, so I’m also including the books I would highly recommend if you are looking for a gripping read………..

 

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Sleep Tight by Caroline Mitchell

Dead Souls by Angela Marsons

Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton 

The Quiet Man by James Carol

You can read my reviews for the above books here………

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/04/21/blog-tour-sleep-tight-by-caroline-mitchell-review-bookouture-caroline_writes/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/04/19/dead-souls-by-angela-marsons-bookreview-bookouture-writeangie/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/04/18/dead-woman-walking-by-sharon-bolton-bookreview-authorsjbolton/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/04/28/the-quiet-man-by-james-carol-bookreview-jamescarolbooks-faberbooks/

**Blog Tour** Sleep Tight by Caroline Mitchell #Review @Bookouture @Caroline_Writes

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Today I’m literally jumping up and down with excitement because it’s my turn on the blog tour for Sleep Tight by the awesome Caroline Mitchell and I can finally share my review for this brilliant and gripping crime thriller.

Sleep Tight was published yesterday by one of my favourite publishers Bookouture so you don’t even have to wait to get your hands on a copy just head over to Amazon and “click”. If you love a gripping crime series then you really don’t want to miss one. So without further ado here’s my review

Book description

Close your eyes … Just pray you don’t wake up.
A killer stalks the streets of East London. All over the area, murdered young women are discovered, their bodies posed into a sickening recreation of fairytale princesses.
Detective Ruby Preston is determined to hunt down a disturbed individual who is using the women to realise their twisted fantasies. But when body parts are found at the home of her lover, Nathan Crosby, Ruby is torn between her job and her heart.

Convinced that he is being framed, Ruby must catch the killer before Nathan becomes the number one suspect. But as more victims are found, it becomes harder to prove his innocence.
Ruby is in too deep, knowing that the cruel individual is getting ever closer, looking for his next beautiful victim. But can she stop a killer hell-bent on fulfilling their horrific desires – before it’s too late? And how well does she really know the man she loves?

img_12581-2-3 and breathe…… OMG Caroline Mitchell’s writing never fails to amaze me. Sleep Tight is the second book in this not to be missed series featuring Detective Ruby Preston. It’s going to sound cliched but it really is the authors best book yet, I kid you not! It’s twisted, menacing and damn right creepy, with an antagonist who makes most fictional serial killers look like choir boys in comparison. When the serial killer is someone who admires Jack the Ripper’s work, and poses his victims as fairytale princesses you just know you are in for a hell of a ride and the author does not disappoint, no sirree she takes the reader on a dark and twisted ride and I loved every minute of it.

Detective Ruby Preston is back and I must admit I’m becoming very fond of her, she’s feisty, funny, and she’s complex, there’s the law abiding Detective who seeks out justice and then there’s Ruby whose involvement with crime lord Nathan forces her to take unnecessary risks and ignore procedures to protect him. Ruby’s relationship with Nathan doesn’t bode well for future books in the series as I’m sure she’s going to find her career in jeopardy, as her work and private life appear to be heading for a spectacular collision.

Sleep Tight feels darker than the first book in the series Love You To Death I think this is due the nature of the crimes, a serial killer whose victims faces are transformed into perverse fairytale heroines, it  doesn’t make for a happy read, but it certainly makes for a spine chilling one. Caroline Mitchell manages to turn the fairytale stories I remember reading into something gruesome and terrifying.

The reasoning behind the killings are multi-layered and complex and just as I thought I had it all worked out Caroline Mitchell threw in some very devious twists. The author takes a bold step in my opinion and reveals the Killers identity fairly early on in the book now I’m not sure about you but that can sometimes spoil a read for me, but did it hell! in fact knowing who the killer was added layer upon layer of tension and suspense.

Sleep Tight is a compelling read and one that begs to be read in one sitting, at times I find my heart pounding as the body count mounted, Caroline Mitchell builds on the suspense until the very last chapter. As Sleep Tight reached it’s dramatic and heart stopping conclusion I found myself completely wrapped up in the story, so much so I find myself holding my breath in anticipation of what was still to come. 

As I’ve said before I’m a huge fan of this authors descriptive style of writing, especially around the crime scenes you feel your right there alongside Ruby, conjuring up images that stayed with me as I read. Sleep Tight has all the ingredients I love in a crime thriller and more thrilling plot, fabulous characters and a serial killer who chills you to the bone. A word of warning once you’ve read Sleep Tight those old familiar fairytales will never seem the same again. It’s going to sound cliched but I can wholeheartedly recommend this book for someone looking for an original crime story but with all the hallmarks of a truly thrilling tale. Personally I can’t wait for the next book in this highly gripping series, so Caroline Mitchell if you happen to read this, is there any chance you could write any faster? 

Print Length: 345 pages

Publisher: Bookouture (20 April 2017)

I’m sure it won’t come as much of a shock but I will be giving Sleep Tight the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating, this is award is given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a good 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.

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About Caroline Mitchell

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.
Sign up to join her Reader’s club for access to news, updates and exclusive newsletter only competitions and giveaways. http://eepurl.com/IxsTj

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Links:

www.caroline-writes.com

https://www.facebook.com/CMitchellAuthor/

https://twitter.com/Caroline_writes

You can get your copy of Sleep Tight here……… Amazon UK 🇬🇧       Amazon US 🇺🇸

There are some awesome book bloggers on the Sleep Tight blog tour so I’ve included the blog tour poster so you can keep track…..

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