The Night Visitor by Lucy Atkins #BookReview @lucyatkins @quercusbooks

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Book description

Professor Olivia Sweetman has worked hard to achieve the life she loves, with a high-flying career as a TV presenter and historian, three children and a talented husband. But as she stands before a crowd at the launch of her new bestseller she can barely pretend to smile. Her life has spiralled into deceit and if the truth comes out, she will lose everything.

Only one person knows what Olivia has done. Vivian Tester is the socially awkward sixty-year-old housekeeper of a Sussex manor who found the Victorian diary on which Olivia’s book is based. She has now become Olivia’s unofficial research assistant. And Vivian has secrets of her own.

As events move between London, Sussex and the idyllic South of France, the relationship between these two women grows more entangled and complex. Then a bizarre act of violence changes everything.

The Night Visitor is a compelling exploration of ambition, morality and deception that asks the question: how far would you go to save your reputation?

img_1258The Night Visitor by Lucy Atkins is one of those books, where you come to the end and feel a sense of loss, I loved every page, every chapter of this intricately plotted novel. Taut with tension from the off this is definitely one book that’s begs to be read in one sitting. The story centres around Olivia a high-flying TV presenter and historian, and the rather creepy Vivian Tester a socially awkward sixty-year-old housekeeper who becomes Olivia’s unofficial research assistant. what follows is a tale of deception, ambition and manipulation.

This book captivated me from the very first chapter and I found myself immersed in the complex tale of two very different women. Olivia and Vivian are far from likeable, they are as different as chalk and cheese, but scratch the surface and there are similarities between the pair, it’s these similarities which make them such unlikeable characters. Vivian is definitely the most despicable out of the two, she literally made my skin crawl, her obsessive, deluded and manipulative traits make her very difficult to like, but still what an intriguing character she made. 

The authors writing is beautifully descriptive and almost from the start of The Night Visitor you get a sense of foreboding, as she describes settings and the characters so convincingly. The attention to detail is impeccable whether it be the characters, setting or the description of beetles, which for me made this a hugely compelling read. As animosity between the two women bubbles away the plot began to feel very sinister, malice radiated from every page, and yet I found myself desperate to find out more about the toxic relationship between Olivia and Vivian.

The Night Visitor is very much a character led psychological thriller, it isn’t an edge-of-your-seat hardcore thriller. If you read it with that expectation, you just might be slightly disappointed. For me personally The Night Visitor made a refreshing change from the usual crime read, I found it to be a riveting and unnerving read, beautifully written with characters you won’t forget about in a hurry. I would highly recommend The Night Visitor if you are looking for a book that offers something different from the norm.

Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 368 pages

Publisher: Quercus (4 May 2017)

My thanks to Linda Hill over at http://www.lindasbookbag.com for sending me her spare copy of The Night Visitor

**Weekly Wrap Up**

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I’ve only managed to read one book this week, I haven’t lost my reading mojo thankfully. I’ve had a week off and been far to busy to read. I might have only read one book, but it was a gripping one and very different to my normal reads, part history and part thriller.

I will be taking a regular social media free break one day every week as it certainly helps me to concentrate on my reading, and  I’m so easily distracted once I start trawling through Facebook and Twitter 🙈

 The One Man by Andrew Gross

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Books I bought this week

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Book description

They thought that they had all the power, until she took it from them.

A killer hunts abusive spouses, blogging about their sins post-kill. Soon the murders and the brazen journaling draws the attention of Police Scotland’s CID. This killer works with surgical preparation, precision and skill, using a unique weapon of her own and never leaves a trace of evidence behind.

Edinburgh’s DI Kathy McGuire, nearing the end of her career, begins the hunt for the murderer as a media frenzy erupts.

But McGuire might have met her match…What has led this killer to take the law into her own hands? Is the woman accountable really a cold-hearted killer or a desperate vigilante?

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Book description

Tom Cheever is an IT specialist, a recovering alcoholic, and a single dad. Molly, his ten-year-old daughter is his whole life. But one ordinary morning, Tom discovers that Molly’s not in her room.
Gone. Vanished.

Police are called, a search party goes out, and Tom, already struggling with staying sober, finds himself coming undone. As hours become days without any sign of Molly, everyone she knows is called into question, including Tom himself.

As he tries to desperately piece together what could’ve happened, Tom realizes that nothing is quite as it seems. Will Molly be found in time? Or will Tom have to face the rest of his life not knowing what happened to his little girl?

ARC’s I received this week

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Book description

Roy Grace, creation of the CWA Diamond Dagger award winning author Peter James, faces his most mysterious case yet in Need You Dead.

Lorna Belling, desperate to escape the marriage from hell, falls for the charms of another man who promises her the earth. But, as Lorna finds, life seldom follows the plans you’ve made. A chance photograph on a client’s mobile phone changes everything for her.

When the body of a woman is found in a bath in Brighton, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is called to the scene. At first it looks an open and shut case with a clear prime suspect. Then other scenarios begin to present themselves, each of them tantalizingly plausible, until, in a sudden turn of events, and to his utter disbelief, the case turns more sinister than Grace could ever have imagined.

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Book description

Eleanor, Richard and their two young daughters recently stretched themselves to the limit to buy their dream home, a four-bedroom Victorian townhouse in East London. But the cracks are already starting to show. Eleanor is unnerved by the eerie atmosphere in the house and becomes convinced it is making her ill. Whilst Richard remains preoccupied with Zoe, their mercurial twenty-seven-year-old lodger, Eleanor becomes determined to unravel the mystery of the house’s previous owners – including Emily, whose name is written hundreds of times on the walls of the upstairs room.

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Book description

Robin and Sarah weren’t the closest of twins. They weren’t even that similar. But they loved each other dearly. Until, in the cruellest of domestic twists, they were taken from one another. Now, in her early 30s, Robin lives alone. Agoraphobic and suffering from panic attacks, she spends her days pacing the rooms of her house. The rest of the time she watches – watches the street, the houses, the neighbours. Until one day, she sees something she shouldn’t…

And Sarah? Sarah got what she wanted – the good-looking man, the beautiful baby, the perfect home. But she’s just been accused of the most terrible thing of all. She can’t be around her new family until she has come to terms with something that happened a long time ago. And to do that, she needs to track down her twin sister.

But Sarah isn’t the only person looking for Robin. As their paths intersect, something dangerous is set in motion, leading Robin and Sarah to fight for much more than their relationship…

I also got sent two “Top Secret” Arc’s…….my lips are sealed for now 🤐

Last week on the book review café

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/04/16/blog-tour-last-breath-by-robert-bryndza-bookreview-bookouture-robertbryndza/

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

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

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

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/04/20/cover-reveal-the-art-of-fear-by-pamela-crane-giveaway-nholten/

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

Next week on the book review café

After The Affair by Jonathan Kaye **Blog tour**

The Quiet Man by James Carol #Review

Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens #Review

Love Me Not by M J Arlidge #Review

**Blog Tour** The Escape by C.L. Taylor #Review #AuthorInterview @callytaylor @HelenaSheffield

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Today I’m thrilled to be the next stop on The Escape by C.L. Taylor blog tour, and my god I absolutely loved this psychological thriller, I’ve always enjoyed this authors books, but without doubt this is definitely her best book yet. The Escape was published by Avon in March so you don’t even have to wait to get yourselves a copy of this gripping book.

You can read my review further down this post, but first I have an exclusive Q & A with C.L. Taylor which I’m so excited to share with you all.

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Hi Cally I’m so excited to have you on my blog so welcome to The Book Review Café Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Thank you for having me! My name is Cally Taylor and I live in Bristol with my partner and son. I started my writing career writing romantic comedies as Cally Taylor then, when I was on maternity leave with my son I had an idea for a psychological thriller. That book was The Accident and I have now written four psychological thrillers for Avon HarperCollins and I’m contracted to write three more. My second psychological thriller The Lie has been optioned for TV by The Forge who produced National Treasure featuring Robbie Coltrane. In addition to The Escape which was published in March I also have a young adult thriller The Treatment which will be published by HarperCollins HQ in September.

For those readers who haven’t yet heard of you or your book The Escape can you provide us with an introduction?
The Escape is about a woman called Jo Blackmore who lives in Bristol with her partner Max and their two year old daughter Elise. Jo suffers from agoraphobia and her life is filled with anxiety and fear. One day, when she’s about to get into her car, a stranger asks her for a lift. The stranger knows Jo’s name, she knows her husband and she got a glove belonging to Elise. Feeling threatened Jo turns to her husband for support but Max is dismissive. He’s seen Jo overreact to situations before. Jo tries to forget about what happened but the stranger has other ideas. She thinks that Max has something that belongs to her and she won’t stop hounding the Blackmore’s until she gets it back…

Where did the idea for The Escape come from?
I got the idea for The Escape from a local news story. I follow Avon and Somerset Constabulary on Facebook and noticed an update asking for help finding a woman who’d gone on the run with her young son instead of turning up at court to hand over residency of him. As members of the public commented that they’d look out for her the woman’s family told them not to. They said she wasn’t a danger to her son, she was actually protecting him by running away. That made me wonder how I’d feel if I had to go on the run to keep my child safe.

What made you decide to have all the titles of your book begin with “The”?

I didn’t! My title for my first psychological thriller was An End to Silence but my publisher felt that The Accident would be more impactful. The book sold so well that, when it came time to name my second book, my publisher suggested we stick with ‘The…’ title and that book became The Lie. Now all of my books have ‘The…’ titles!

How did you research material for The Escape?

The Escape is my most heavily researched book to date. It took me three months of research before I wrote a word. I talked to a GP, a social worker, a family lawyer, an IT specialist, a journalist and an expert in Irish policing. I also travelled across to Ireland to research locations for the second part of the book and went to dinner with two Irish blogger who answered my questions about life in Ireland now and in the 1980s.

Do you have any strange writing habits or rituals?

I have to have warm feet when I’m writing so I keep a pair of skiing socks close by. I also have a soundtrack to each novel I write. I can’t write to lyrics so will pick an instrumental or film soundtrack album that matches the mood of the novel then I’ll play it on a loop each time I sit down to write. I sometimes have a scented candle burning too (different for each book).

My favourite character in The Escape has to be Jo, Who was your favourite character to write about?

I loved Jo but she was exhausting to write because she’s so anxious all the time and you have to channel the emotions that your character is feeling. I really enjoyed writing Max as I wrote him in the third person and that’s the first time I’ve used that point of view in one of my novels.

What is the most rewarding aspect of being an author?

The emails from authors telling me that one of my novels made them fall in love with reading again, or even that one of my books has ignited a love of reading. When people tell me that they’ve never finished a book before or they normally struggle to read but they sped through one of my books it’s the biggest compliment I could ever be given. Reading those emails always makes me feel very emotional.

On the other side, what would you say is the most challenging part of writing?

Sitting down to write when you’re not in the mood or when you know you’ve got a difficult scene to tackle. At times like those I wish I could magic the words out of my head and onto the screen.

Who is/are your favourite author/authors? What is it that draws you, as a reader, to certain books?
My favourite author as a child was Enid Blyton. Her Magic Faraway Tree series so was so magical it fired my imagination. As an adult I’m a big fan of George Orwell, Margaret Atwood, Maggie O’Farrell, Belinda Bauer, Mark Edwards and Tammy Cohen. I’m not sure what it is that draws me to certain books – it’s normally a writer’s style or voice that draws me in first, then it’s their storytelling ability (they have to write a page turner) and then there’s the subject matter. I’ve always been drawn to dystopian novels which explains George Orwell and Margaret Atwood and I enjoyed the Hunger Games series too.

Are you able to tell me anything about your next book?

My next book is actually my debut YA thriller THE TREATMENT. I recently completed the edits and it’s due to be published by HarperCollins HQ in September 2017. It’s about a young woman called Drew who tries to rescue her younger brother from being brainwashed at a remote residential reform school in Northumberland. In April I’m due to start my fifth psychological thriller for Avon but, as I haven’t written a word, I can’t tell you about that yet!

And lastly can you describe yourself in five words?
Tall, tired, creative, determined, introvert.

My Thanks to Cally Taylor for taking time out of her hectic schedule to answer my questions.

img_1639C.L. Taylor is the Sunday Times bestselling author of four gripping psychological thrillers: THE ACCIDENT, THE LIE, THE MISSING and THE ESCAPE. Her books have sold in excess of a million copies, been translated into over 20 languages and have been shortlisted for three Dead Good Books awards. THE LIE has been optioned for TV by The Forge who produced National Treasure featuring Robbie Coltrane.

Cally Taylor was born in Worcester and spent her early years living in various army camps in the UK and Germany. She studied Psychology at the University of Northumbria and went on forge a career in instructional design and e-Learning before leaving to write full time in 2014.

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Links:

http://www.callytaylor.co.uk
http://writing-about-writing.blogspot.com
http://www.facebook.com/CallyTaylorAuthor

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Book description

“Look after your daughter’s things. And your daughter…”

When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn’t. The stranger knows Jo’s name, she knows her husband Max and she’s got a glove belonging to Jo’s two year old daughter Elise.

What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo’s own husband turn against her. No one believes that Elise is in danger.

img_1258It’s not very often it happens but The Escape by C L Taylor left me with a serious book hangover, I picked up this book thinking I would just read the first couple of chapters, BIG MISTAKE as three hours later I reached the final page in this addictive psychological thriller. There are a huge number of books in this genre so for me the difference between a good psychological thriller and an outstanding one is the authors ability to mess with my head, a plot that contains suspense and “edge of your seat moments” and C L Taylor manages this and so much more with this addictive novel.

The author presents the reader with an unreliable narrator in the shape of Jo Blackmore, a young mother whose behaviour becomes increasingly erratic, she’s neurotic, has panic attacks and she’s paranoid. Unreliable narrators are one of my favourite types of characters and so I was immediately drawn to her tale, unpredictable she also appears to be losing her grip on reality so you are never quite sure what to believe. When she is threatened by a young woman Jo’s life begins to unravel in the most spectacular fashion. You cannot help questioning is what Jo going through real?, is she really in danger? Or is she misinterpreting events? I found I became totally immersed in Jo’s tale, her sense of fear is palatable from the first chapter and this grows as the plot progresses. It’s a disturbing yet believable study of family, lies, and deception and the overwhelming need to “Escape” from the harsh realities of life.

The chapters told in the voice of an unknown narrator add a sense of malice and danger to the tale, and it was these chapters that completely threw me. In fact when I finished reading The Escape I went back and re-read them, a very clever and deceiving ploy by the author I have to say. Wickedly told and fast paced this is definitely one of the best psychological thrillers I’ve read this year. C L Taylor delivers the most deliciously devious plot that will throw the reader at every twisted turn, even the most hardened psychological thrillers readers will struggle to put this one down. In my opinion C L Taylor’s writing goes from strength to strength, each of her books is worthy of high praise but The Escape is definitely my favourite so far and I’m already excited to see if her next book can beat this truly gripping read.

Print Length: 433 pages

Publisher: Avon (23 Mar. 2017)

Amazon UK 🇬🇧         Amazon US 🇺🇸

If you want to read further reviews on this gripping book, you may want to check out some of my fellow bloggers posts…..
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**Blog Tour** The Day That Never Comes by CaimhMcDonnell @camih @McFori_Ink

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Today I’m thrilled to be taking part in The Day That Never Comes blog tour, the latest in The Dublin Trilogy by Caimh McDonnell. If you fancy a bit of humour with your crime thriller then this might be just the book for you. The Day That Never Comes was published on 23 January 2017 by McFori Ink, so you don’t even have to wait to get your hands on a copy. I have a fabulous guest post on researching crime from Caimh McDonell it certainly made me chuckle.

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Knowing the Unknowable by Caimh McDonnell

Research is a bit like driving; when it is done well, you don’t really notice it but done badly, and you have to resist the urge to open the window and scream “what the hell are you doing?!”

The internet is very much a mixed blessing for authors – we can find out almost anything if we look in the right places, but so too can the curious reader. It has never been easier to get something right or to be proven wrong. Back in the old days, Charles Dickens could get away with ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times’ because nobody was able to tweet him back with statistics that proved it was in fact neither.

Research is of course vital but it is a real ‘how long is a piece of string’ type deal and if you’re not careful, you’ll end up tied in knots. You’ve got to set yourself a time limit otherwise you can disappear down an internet rabbit-hole and not be seen for days. I lost a large chunk of a week watching videos of numerous guys from America’s Deep South, who in my memory were all called Bubba, doing video reviews of guns on YouTube. There is something hypnotically disturbing about a big bearded mountain man who looks like he washes himself in the creek once a month, lovingly stroking a handgun while describing it as ‘the gun God would use.’

Then of course there is the issue of internet search history paranoia. Ask any crime author and they’ll tell you; we have to google a lot of weird stuff. Not that long ago, I spent quite a while trying to figure out what it would be like if, in the course of a fight, you had to bite someone. It is a creepy thing to google and asking questions on Facebook got very mixed results. Using social media as a source probably does work well for most people, but when 90% of your Facebook friends are professional stand-up comedians, you have to be very wary of the attempt to try and make you look silly in print.

My paranoia regarding my digital footprint is considerably greater than most authors and I think with some justification. I’m an Irishman living in England; certain things are red flags. I’ve had to do research on explosives for my books, that is not something you want sitting in your favorites when you’ve got my passport. I did consider going to an internet café – yes, in the age of everyone having internet on their phone, those places inexplicably still exist – but I rejected the idea. Going to an internet café to research explosives is exactly what a terrorist would do. Come to think of it, it is hard to think of anything legal that people need to go to an internet café to research. If MI5 haven’t done so already, they should set up their own chain of internet cafés.

My solution to my explosive problem was to text a friend of mine, let’s call him A. A is still technically a British policeman, although he’s on sabbatical doing comedy for the last few years. Here is a dramatic recreation of our text conversation:

C: “Hi fella, I hope you’re well. Just wanted to let you know that I’m googling stuff about bombs as research for my book.”
A: “OK. Why are you telling me this?”
C: “I don’t want to get arrested.”
A: “Relax. We don’t arrest people for just reading about stuff like that.”
C: “Anymore – you forgot to say ‘anymore’ there.”
A: “Touché.”

Next day.

C: “How long does it take a body to smell?”
A: “Shower once a day and you’ll be alright.”

C: “From how far away could you shoot somebody in the head?”
A: “Don’t tempt me.”

He’s actually has been very useful, I just hope I haven’t annoyed him enough that he’ll refuse to appear as a character witness. Regardless, you’ve read this. Remember this post if you see my face on the Six O’Clock News. I don’t want to end up sharing a cell with one of the Bubbas, lovesick for his gun collection.

Book description

Remember those people that destroyed the economy and then cruised off on their yachts? Well guess what – someone is killing them.

Dublin is in the middle of a heat wave and tempers are running high. The Celtic Tiger is well and truly dead, activists have taken over the headquarters of a failed bank, the trial of three unscrupulous property developers teeters on the brink of collapse, and in the midst of all this, along comes a mysterious organisation hell-bent on exacting bloody vengeance in the name of the little guy.

Paul Mulchrone doesn’t care about any of this; he has problems of his own. His newly established detective agency is about to be DOA. One of his partners won’t talk to him for very good reasons and the other has seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth for no reason at all. Can he hold it together long enough to figure out what Bunny McGarry’s colourful past has to do with his present absence?

When the law and justice no longer mean the same thing, on which side will you stand?

The Day That Never Comes is the second book in Caimh McDonnell’s Dublin trilogy, which melds fast-paced action with a distinctly Irish acerbic wit.

Published 23 January 2017

McFori Ink

340 pages

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Amazon UK 🇬🇧         Amazon US 🇺🇸

If you haven’t read the A Man with One of Those Faces what are you waiting for?

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Amazon UK 🇬🇧         Amazon US 🇺🇸

img_1259Caimh McDonnell is an award-winning stand-up comedian, author and writer of televisual treats. Born in Limerick and raised in Dublin, he has taken the hop across the water and now calls Manchester his home.

His writing credits include The Sarah Millican Television Programme, A League of Their Own, Mock the Week and Have I Got News for You. He also works as a children’s TV writer and was BAFTA nominated for the animated series ‘Pet Squad’ which he created. He was also a winner in the BBC’s Northern Laffs sitcom writing competition.

During his time on the British stand-up circuit, Caimh has firmly established himself as the white-haired Irishman whose name nobody can pronounce. He has brought the funny worldwide, doing stand-up tours of the Far East, the Middle East and Near East (Norwich).

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Links: Website        Facebook        Twitter: @caimh

If you’ve missed posts from this blog tour and would like to read reviews, extracts of the book I’ve included the blog tour banner below.

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Miss Wrong And Mr Right by Robert Bryndza @RobertBryndza @Bookouture

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Book description

Natalie Love has worked hard to have it all. She runs a successful London theatre that’s about to host one of Hollywood’s leading stars, Ryan Harrison. She’s pretty sure she’s found her man in yoga boyfriend Benjamin, despite his annoying habit of saying Namaste! every time he speaks. And her eccentric, glamorous Hungarian Gran is always on hand to offer sage advice and steaming bowls of goulash.

Life in the bright lights of London has always been Natalie’s escape from her chaotic country family in rural Devon and Jamie, the childhood sweetheart she left at the altar fifteen years ago. Until he turns up at her theatre door…

Jamie is in town producing a West End show and with rivalry suddenly clouding old feelings, this isn’t quite the reunion Natalie was expecting.

Will Benjamin prove to be Natalie’s perfect match? With Ryan turning her head, Natalie is more confused than ever. And what about Jamie – could he be her second chance at first love?

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Now anyone who follows my blog will know I mostly read crime or psychological thrillers, once in a blue moon I turn to the dark side and read something that’s completely out my comfort zone. Now I could tell you a whopping big fib here and say I felt like reading a Romantic comedy but that’s wasn’t the case! The only reason I choose to read Miss Wrong And Mr Right is because it’s written by the very talented and one of my very favourite authors Robert Bryndza, if you follow my blog you will know I’m a huge fan of his crime series and have been known to be rather enthusiastic with my reviews, I wasn’t convinced this would be a book I would enjoy as there was no serial killer or bad ass Detectives in sight so with trepidation and a crime book at the ready just in case I hated it (Apologies Robert Bryndza if you just happen to come across this review for doubting you) I began to read Miss Wrong And Mr Right……..

The first thing I should state is this novel should come with a safety warning “do not read whilst drinking coffee and holding your kindle” I literally laughed so much I choked on my coffee and covered my kindle in the stuff! The story opens up with Natalie Love jolting her boyfriend Jamie at the alter, and deciding life has much more to offer moves to London. Fast forward 15 years and Natalie is now a very successful theatre manager, has a yoga-loving boyfriend and life is great or is it? When Natalie’s ex Jamie shows up to open a burlesque venue with his new girlfriend Tuppence Halfpenny, life is never going to be the same for Natalie.

Robert Bryndza has created an array of characters that are larger than life, I especially loved Natalie’s gran and with the Hungarian accent thrown in there are some very funny moments involving her. I loved Natalie with her frizzy hair and far from perfect figure, in fact all the characters were very likeable. The author certainly has away of describing and making his characters come to life, and some of the dialogue between the characters certainly made me laugh out loud.

This is certainly one of the better RomComs I’ve read, yes it maybe a bit predictable and corny at times, but I have to say I really enjoyed it. If you are looking for a novel to lift your mood and forget your woes look no further, Miss Wrong And Mr Right is the perfect read to do just that, it’s light hearted and entertaining and not a serial killer in sight!

5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Out of 5

Print Length: 339 pages

Publisher: Bookouture (8 Dec. 2016)

Amazon UK

Ragdoll by Daniel Cole #Review @trapezeBooks @SamEades #MustReads2017

 

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Book description

A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together like a puppet, nicknamed by the press as the ‘ragdoll’.

Assigned to the shocking case are Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes, recently reinstated to the London Met, and his former partner Detective Emily Baxter.

The ‘RagDoll Killer’ taunts the police by releasing a list of names to the media, and the dates on which he intends to murder them.

With six people to save, can Fawkes and Baxter catch a killer when the world is watching their every move?

Oh how I love it when I discover a new crime author and what I love even more is when you read their book and it exceeds all your expectations. I would be lying if I said I haven’t read all the hype surrounding RagDoll on social media because I have, sometimes I find the hype is just that and there’s no substance to the actual book, but I’m thrilled to report RagDoll deserves all the hype and much more, it’s a thrilling read that is definitely going to be a big hit on its release in February 2017. 

img_1258RagDoll has a gruesome and highly original plot which immediately drew me in (I’m all for a bit of gore and the more original the crime the better). A body is found, but this is a body with a difference as it’s made up of dismembered parts of six victims, which have been stitched together to make a “RagDoll”, a nickname thought up by the media by the way. Enter Detective Fawkes and his partner Emily Baxter who find themselves caught up in a complex case that will test their detective skills to the limit, and that’s all I’m saying about the plot because this is definitely one book you will enjoy more for not knowing too much.

Daniel Cole has created an array of superb characters, some are more likeable than others, but they all have a story to tell. Wolf was the character I found the most intriguing, this is a man who has a tormented past, he’s damaged and unpredictable and so complex, I’m not even sure a psychiatrist could work him out! I also found Baxter and her sidekick Edmunds to be intriguing characters, again they are complex characters with real depth. Like many teams there working relationship has its highs and lows, but it made them all the more intriguing. Despite this being a dark and disturbing crime thriller, surprisingly there is also plenty of genuine humour which mostly comes from the dialogue between the three characters I mentioned, the humour helps to counteract the dark side of this book without going over board.

Well what can I say about the plot? It’s gripping and it certainly had enough twists and turns to keep me on my toes. I was convinced I had worked out who the killer was half way through but then “bang” the author would take me in a different direction completely throwing me. From the gory beginning to the nail biting conclusion, I found RagDoll to be a thrilling ride and one that I was reluctant to end. With a highly original plot and characters this book certainly doesn’t read like a debut it’s very well executed and superbly written, I’m certain this author will be a powerful new voice in crime fiction, and if he isn’t I will eat my copy of RagDoll cover and all!

5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️out of 5

Hardcover: 304 pages

Publisher: Trapeze (23 Feb. 2017)

Amazon UK 🇬🇧

**The Lad Lit Blog Tour** Guest Post by Steven Scaffardi

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Today I am hosting The Lad Lit Blog Tour  which is a 39-day blog tour to promote author Steven Scaffardi’s Sex, Love and Dating Disaster series as well as lad lit as a genre. Follow the journey at #LadLitBlogTour.

Author Steven Scaffardi is promoting not one but two of his books which fall into The Lad Lit Genre, you can read more about Lad Lit and what it is in my guest post further down this post. 

Steven Scaffardi is the Author of The Drought which will be available for free on Amazon (you will have to be quick it’s only available for a limited time April 28th- May 2nd) The Drought. Steven’s latest book The Flood is out on the Kindle on April 30 but is available to pre-order for just 99p now The Flood

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About Steven Scaffardi

Lad Lit, Steven Scaffardi, The Drought, Comedian, Stand-Up Comedy, Funny books, Funny books for men,”But a man wouldn’t do or say that!”

This was a common rant that could often be heard coming from the lips of Steven Scaffardi over the last couple of years after he was forced to endure yet another rom-com movie at the hands of his girlfriend.

“And he definitely wouldn’t turn into a vampire or a werewolf! That is just plain ridiculous!”

So after suffering yet another Matthew McConaughey chick-flick, Steven decided enough was enough and it was time to stand up for men the world over and write a book that spoke about the male perspective on relationships, and The Drought was born…

Published in September 2011, Steven’s debut novel The Drought received fantastic praise for its hilarious take on how the male mind works when it comes to the opposite sex, being labelled chick-lit for men.

To help promote the book, Steven took to the open mic stand-up comedy scene in and around London in 2011, sharing his funny observations and self-deprecating humour about life as a 30-something man.

He is hoping to emulate the success of fellow lad-lit writers such as Mike Gayle, Danny Wallace, Nick Spalding, and the undisputed king of lad-lit, Nick Hornby.

Steven Scaffardi was born in Tooting, south London. A former journalist, The Drought was his first novel and has already received praise from television personalities and journalists alike, as well as being shortlisted for the Shirley You Jest Book Awards.

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Links to Steven

Goodreads     Facebook     Twitter     YouTube     Amazon     Google+     Instagram      Blogspot   Stand-Up Comedy Video

Guest Post by Steven Scaffardi

THE LAD LIT FAQ

The most frequently asked question I get these days is “So what is lad lit?” It’s not exactly the thing you want to hear as a lad lit author – one reader after another confessing to not having heard of the genre you have put so much work into. It’s a bit like being Kim Kardashian and someone asking you what a selfie is.

The truth is lad lit has many names – bro lit, dick lit, fratire, bloke lit, chick lit for men. And it could technically fall into a number of different categories such as humour. But whatever name people want to label it, there is no denying that some of the best contemporary fiction in recent times can be classed as lad lit. Take High Fidelity by Nick Hornby for example.

So when I knew I’d be popping into The Book Café for my favourite cup of coffee, I decided to bring along my very own lad lit menu of FAQs to try and answer the questions on everyone’s lips. So…

What is lad lit?

Lad lit is best known as the male equivalent of chick-lit, primarily written by men exploring relationships, emotions and day-to-day life experiences from the perspective of a male protagonist. Often told with humour, charm and wit, lad lit leaves many readers laughing out loud at the scenarios men get into.

Who writes lad lit?

There are a cluster of best-selling authors in the UK writing lad lit including Mike Gayle, Danny Wallace, Nick Spalding, Matt Dunn, Tony Parsons, Jon Rance and the undisputed king of lad lit – Nick Hornby. A Bafta winner and two-time Oscar nominee no less!

So why haven’t I heard of it before?

Lad lit has been living in the shadow of its older and much more successful sibling, chick lit, for quite some time now. Plus there is a common perception that women read more than men, so sometimes it is not obvious where the fan base would come from.

Is lad lit just for men then?

No, not at all. It’s certainly a genre that men can relate to with great hilarity, but at the same time it offers an alternative to chick lit and opens up the door to a man’s mind leaving women to worry if that’s what men really think with a nervous laugh!

What’s the difference between chick lit and lad lit?

Apart from the obvious (one is written from a woman’s point of view and the other is an insight into the male mind), then not too much really. They both tackle the same sort of issues, but of course you’re always going to get different completely different angles, and in that very subtle difference is the major separator. After all, men are from mars and women are from venus.

How will I know if I will like lad lit or not?

The best way to find out is to sample it. You can read chapter one of The Flood HERE

How is the Lad Lit Blog Tour going to help raise the profile of lad lit?

I’m hoping to promote the genre to as many book lovers as possible. A lot of readers would have picked up a lad lit novel before without even realising it is lad lit. I hope as many people as possible follow the #LadLitBlogTour and I’d be happy to answer more questions on Twitter.

If lad lit was a film, what would it be?

It would probably be something like The 40-Year-Old Virgin or Knocked Up. In the case of my Sex, Love and Dating Disaster series, a TV producer actually likened The Drought to hit Channel 4 comedy The Inbetweeners.

Seeing as you have brought it up, what is The Drought about?

The Drought is the laugh-out-loud tale of one man’s quest to overcome the throes of a sexual drought. After the stormy break-up with his girlfriend of three years, Dan Hilles is faced with the daunting task of throwing himself back into the life of a single man. With the help of his three best pals, Dan is desperate and determined to get his leg-over with hilarious consequences!

And you are sure that women are going to enjoy this as much as men?

Oh yes, in fact Chick Lit Plus gave it a four-star review and said: “Steven Scaffardi’s first novel is absolutely hilarious and will leave every reader, male or female, laughing out loud.”

Finally, what is The Flood all about?

Much of the same in terms of the laughs, but this time Dan makes a very silly drunken bet that he can date four women at the same time, and of course, it turns into a total nightmare! Not that he should be surprised when he is dating a stalker, his ex-girlfriend, the office ice queen and the one that got away.

Download Sex, Love & Dating Disasters: The Drought  by Steven Scaffardi for FREE on April 28-May 2 at Amazon and pre-order The Flood for just 99p before it is released on April 30.

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 Trailer for The Flood