Tag Archives: #MustReads

#BehindTheBooks with Karen Sullivan @OrendaBooks #BookPublisher #TeamOrenda.

Today I’m thrilled to have the fabulous Karen Sullivan pop by the book review café and take part in my latest feature #BehindTheBooks. Karen is the owner of Orenda Books and I’m sure most book bloggers would agree Karen publishes some of the most compelling books I’ve had the pleasure to read. I hope you enjoy this feature as much as I did putting it together……

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Good morning Karen I’m so excited to have you finally visit the book review café, first thing first tea or coffee? 

Coffee all the way. I don’t speak to anyone in the morning until my Nespresso machine has done its business! Being Canadian, I never really ‘got’ the tea thing, and shhhhhhh don’t really like it!

What made you decide to set up a publication business?

I was an author for years (non-fiction), and got a bit bored writing about the same things (raising children, emotional health, discipline, nutrition, etc.), particularly as my boys got older. I took what was ostensibly a one-day-a-week job in a little independent, writing jacket copy and advance information sheets/press releases, etc. It soon turned into more than full time, and when my boss was sacked and a new group of shareholders brought in, who clearly didn’t understand the ethos of the list or the company, I decided it was the to leave. It took me 24 hours to decide to start Orenda Books, and I haven’t looked back!

What genre of books do Orenda Books publish?

We publish literary fiction, with a heavy emphasis on crime thrillers, about half in translation. What defines the list is the superb writing!

What makes Orenda Books unique from other publishers?

That’s a good question. It’s a small list, and our authors come from 14 countries around the world, so there is immediately a big international element to Orenda. We work hard together, as Team Orenda, and all of my authors are as approachable and engaged as they are talented. My goal was to publish beautiful, unforgettable books … and create a brand identity that would mean readers picking up the next Orenda book, regardless of its provenance or genre, on the basis that they KNOW it will be good. We work super hard at all stages of editing to make sure that happens! We really believe that if someone wants to buy a physical book, they want something gorgeous. So we have great covers, and use excellent-quality paper, with neat little design touches; for example, a little ornament or illustration in the runnings heads.

 

 

What would you say has been your biggest success so far?

I think getting this far is probably my biggest success! It’s a crowded, noisy market, and it’s not easy being a little guy! In terms of books, Ragnar Jonasson’s Dark Iceland series has been far and away our bestselling titles, with over a million copies sold in various territories around the world. Amanda Jennings, Matt Wesolowski, Louise Voss, Michael J. Malone, Kjell Ola Dahl, Lilja Sigurdardottir, Thomas Enger and Antti Tuomainen have also been strong sellers. All of them have done well, really!
We publish a lot of debut authors, and it can take some time to get them established, but sales are up across the board for everyone! One of the nice things about being small and working so closely with authors is that we build very strong relationships. We are completely committed to all of our authors, and growing them with the company, regardless of how long that might take.

Which brings me to my next question, What has been the biggest challenge?

 The biggest challenge will always be trying to compete with the big players. We don’t have the marketing budgets that they do, or teams of creatives, and can’t generate the same type of hype for books. Sometimes I want weep when I see heavily hyped books getting all the attention (and publicity and sales) when I know that ours are much, much better! I also struggle with the growth of the 99p digital publishers, who are doing great damage to the industry as a whole … the value that books are perceived to have, an author’s ability to earn a living. As a matter of principle, we refuse to discount without a retailer-supported promotion, but it is very hard to compete against publishers offering books so cheaply. But we chose to play with the big boys, so we have to get on and do it. I give a lot of books away, but I do get frustrated when people are always want everything free or cheaply. I feel a huge weight of responsibility for my authors, and they have to be able to eat! I wish sometimes book buyers would understand how hard it is to do this. If they don’t support independent publishers, buy their books, and actively choose them over some of the over-hyped big-company titles, a lot of fabulous books will never be published and we will lose the vibrancy of the community, the variety of literature available. This has become one long rant!

You must get hundreds of submissions from authors, how do you choose which books you will publish? 

 

 

We get so many submissions, it’s almost terrifying! We have a reader who has worked with from the very beginning, and she knows exactly what will excite me! So she acts as a filter, and gives me a yes, no, maybe response, and a full report for every book. She has NEVER been wrong yet! Sometimes I may revisit a ‘no’, but I haven’t ever seen anything that she has missed. Then it comes to me and my editor, and we both read it. So the process is long … particularly because we are so busy with the day-to-day running of the company and keeping books going through. If I absolutely LOVE a book, I might offer for it. But the list is tiny, though, and we can’t publish that many new titles a year … having made a commitment to existing authors to grow them! I sometimes read fantastic submissions that are just a little to close in style or plot to something we already publish. One thing I definitely want to do is make sure that every single book/author is completely different. So we might have several police procedurals or psychological thrillers, but they share nothing apart from their genre or sub genre.

If I sent a book I wrote to you how long would it take you to review and respond?

I’m almost embarrassed to say that it could take six to eight months … just because of the sheer volume!! And we do like to read everything!

What would put you off reading my book I sent to you?

Poor spelling, a cliched plot or characters. Weak writing. A submission letter that isn’t personalised (i.e., Dear Sirs).
Lots of things can be fixed in books (and are) but an author needs to be a great writer to be published here and bring something fresh and distinctive.

If you accepted my book how long is the process from accepting a manuscript to final publication? And what does the process involve? 

 

 

Usually about a year, but it depends upon what time of year it’s signed. What we do first is a structural edit … loads of editorial notes that send the author back to his/her writing desk to get the bones of the book … the plot, characters, timeline, continuity, atmosphere, setting. It might go back and forth several (or even dozens of) times before it’s ready for copyediting. This is the line edit, and the copyeditor always finds more things that need addressing, and the prose is polished at this stage. The author then answers queries and checks the edits to make sure he/she is happy. During the process, we write a blurb, commission a jacket, get it up for pre-order, pitch to the sales teams around the world, discuss marketing and publicity approaches, etc. Once the book is in good shape, it is typeset. We usually print uncorrected proofs at this stage (about five/six months before publication), and these go out to the press, booksellers, other authors for jacket quotes, the sales teams, and some of the bloggers. The book is then proofread by author and an outside proofreader. Then a couple of months before publication, we print the final book! It takes a while…

You have some fantastic covers for your books, how do you choose a cover?

We have the MOST AMAZING jacket designer – Mark Swan. I give him a detailed brief … basically what the book is about, the kind of images we might be looking for, or the approach … and he delivers a series of roughs. It’s honestly VERY hard to choose. He is a genius! Sometimes the jacket we choose doesn’t meet with the approval of the retailers, so we go back to the drawing board. Usually there is another rough in the bunch that fits the bill. Jackets DO have to stand out, and we spend a lot of time getting them right.

Are there any books you are publishing this year you are really excited about?

Hand on heart, I am absolutely thrilled to be publishing every single book on the list. Quite a few authors are on their third or fourth books, and they just get better and better. It’s such a delight … a source of huge excitement … to get this list of books out there to readers. I am probably as nervous and excited as the authors themselves. In terms of new authors, however, we have a WONDERFUL book from Norway, A Modern Family, by Helga Flatland, who we are calling the Norwegian Anne Tyler. It’s so exquisitely written and moving … and it will resonate with anyone who has EVER had a sibling! It’s out in June. We’ve also got Paul Burston’s new psychological thriller, The Closer I Get, which revolves around the world of social media, where a follower becomes a little obsessive. These are authors who are new to Orenda. Others are making their return with books that quite simply smash it out of the park!

 

 

As for the marketing of your books, what have you found works best for Orenda Books?

A combination of things! We do a lot of giveaways, and Anne Cater organises the most incredible blog tours (sometimes with over 80 bloggers involved in each), which really give a book a nice headstart with some fabulous reviews and a great buzz. We do promotions with retailers, and place ads in online sites and in some print media (a lot more in the USA/Can than here). We are very active on social media, and have just started our ‘Orenda Books at Bedtime’, which is a series that goes out every Sunday night at 8pm. An author reads from his/her book from the comfort of their own home, and it’s really taking off. I absolutely think that the best marketing imaginable is to get authors in front of readers, so the ‘online’ intimate bedtime story is definitely a good way to do that. Our authors did over 300 events last year between them, including loads of festivals, and most also took part in our Orenda Roadshow, where we visit four bookshops across the country in four days. We have big launches, and parties, and try to make readers and anyone who reviews our books or shares the book love feel like part of the team. Our book trailers have been a surprising success. We also have a newsletter that goes out via the Crime Lounge every couple of weeks!

Can you tell us a little about a typical day at Orenda?

I don’t think there is any typical day! One day I might work from 7am till after midnight on edits, or I might spend a whole day trying to organise events, pitching for festivals. I might have sales meetings, or be on the road with authors for days on end! We could be preparing books for press … chasing up praise and getting the final cover designed. Spending time on social media, checking sales figures, writing a press release or jacket copy, reading submissions, crying at cash flow, rewriting metadata for online retailers (particularly for ebooks), coming up with strategies for marketing or publicity, looking at reviews for blog tours, in the press, on goodreads or Amazon. Talking to the sales team, or Sophie, who helps with PR. Updating the website. Working out why something isn’t selling as well as expected, perhaps, and finding ways to give it a boost. Talking to my editor, West Camel, and Cole, my son, who now works for us as an assistant everything! I’m getting a little better at delegating. There are hundreds of emails every day, too!

I am up at seven, get my youngest off to school, and then work well into the night (stopping to cook dinner!). I go to lots of launches for authors from other publishers, too, and am away a LOT a book fairs, author events, festivals, international sales conferences, etc. Every day brings something new and maybe that’s partly why it is so much fun. Although there are a lot of extremely boring administrative tasks, I can always do something else if I start to lose my mind!

 

 

One final question can you sum up Orenda Books in five words?

Well, our little ‘tag line’, which I thought up in about 20 seconds when I started the company is: Beautiful Readable Unforgettable. I’m not sure I could actually top that! Just Team Orenda?
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About Orenda Books

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Karen with author Thomas Enger

Orenda Books was founded by publisher Karen Sullivan in late 2014 to specialise in literary fiction with a heavy emphasis on crime/thrillers, about half in translation. The company has fast made a name for itself, being shortlisted for the IPG Nick Robinson Newcomer Award, shortlisting for and winning a clutch of awards, including CWA Daggers, Authors’ Club First Novel Award, the Petrona Award, the Glass Key and the Dead Good Reads Awards. Karen was also named as a Bookseller Rising Star for 2016.

My thanks to Karen for taking time out of her hectic schedule to take part in this feature.

 

 

 

 

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

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

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A derelict farmhouse in the Essex countryside. 

A deranged family. 

Innocent victims being picked at random.

If you’re chosen, Turn The Other Way.

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

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

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

The van pulls off, spilling Noah onto the road.

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

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

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

The press have dubbed him The Angel Attacker.

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

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

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

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

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

Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧     Amazon US

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

Post note

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

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

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#InHerShadow by Mark Edwards #BookReview @AmazonPub @Mredwards #MustReads

Today I’m sharing my review for Mark Edwards latest book In Her Shadows, which is published on the Thursday 4th October but firstly here’s the book description…….

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Isabel’s life seemed perfect. Successful business, beautiful house, adoring husband. And then she was dead.

For four years Jessica has never doubted that her sister Isabel’s death was an accident. But when Jessica’s young daughter seems to know long-forgotten details about her aunt’s past, Jessica can’t shake the feeling that there’s a more sinister truth behind the tragedy.

As Jessica unearths disturbing revelations about her sister, and about the people she loved and trusted most, it becomes clear Isabel’s life was less than perfect and that Jessica’s might also be at risk.

Did someone murder Isabel? Are they now after Jessica and her family? The key seems to lie in the hands of a child. Can Isabel reveal the truth from beyond the grave, or is the answer closer to home?

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Mark Edwards books never fit neatly into one particular genre, and In Her Shadow is no different, is it a psychology thriller? Possibly, horror? it definitely has elements of that fit this genre, supernatural? there’s plenty of events that suggest it could be, see what I mean?The reader is never sure what the author has planned, and that’s one of the reasons I’m such a huge fan of  this authors work, he turns the most ordinary events into an extraordinary tale. In Her Shadow is spine-chilling creepy, it’s one of those books where your nerves are frayed, the  slightest noise will make you jump, there’s a sense of impending doom which only intensifies as the plot thickens, it’s  a story that’s brimming with suspense, misdirection and the most delicious twists.   

Jessica is mum to  four year old Olivia who appears to be communicating with Jessica’s sister Isabel, but that’s where things take a creepy and disturbing turn as Isabel died four years ago when she fell from the balcony of her house. At the time the fall was seen to be a tragic accident but Olivia has other ideas and soon Jessica is convinced that there is something far more sinister behind her sisters accident. In Her Shadows reminded me a little of the film The Sixth Sense, it’s the one where a young boy talks to dead people, I got the same sense of unease whilst reading this book. Olivia’s character is definitely the star of In Her Shadows, I had permanent goose bumps as Olivia’s behaviour became more disturbing, especially when she started  sharing memories that only Jessica and Izzy would have known about. 

Familiar themes run through this book, family secrets, lies and obsession but Mark Edwards adds his unique voice making the themes his own. I loved the way the author always manages to make his books multi genre, and even with elements of the supernatural In Her Shadows felt frighteningly credible. Add into the mix unreliable characters that as the reader you find yourself  constantly doubting how trustworthy they actually are. The author also leaves little time to contemplate because as each chapter ends the plot thickens, which certainly added to my enjoyment of this read. I really enjoy the fact you never know what story will be hidden in the pages of a new Mark Edwards books, but one thing you can be guaranteed it will be a highly entertaining read. Definitely one for fans of psychological thrillers. Highly recommended.

  • Paperback: 366 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (4 Oct. 2018)

Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

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In The Dark by Cara Hunter #MustReads @CaraHunterBooks @penguinrandom @PenguinUKBooks

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Today I’m sharing my review for In The Dark by Cara Hunter and what a gripping crime thriller it turned out to be, read on for my thoughts, but first the book description

DO YOU KNOW WHAT THEY’RE HIDING IN THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR?

From the author of the massive bestseller CLOSE TO HOME, comes the second pulse-pounding DI Fawley crime thriller.

A woman and child are found locked in a basement room, barely alive.

No one knows who they are – the woman can’t speak, and there are no missing persons reports that match their profile. The elderly man who owns the house claims he has never seen them before.

The inhabitants of the quiet Oxford street are in shock. How could this happen right under their noses? But DI Adam Fawley knows that nothing is impossible.

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Last year I read Close To Home the debut novel from Cara Hunter which I thought was a pretty amazing crime thriller.  In The Dark the second book in the DI Fawley series has made this an unmissable series. Yes it can easily be read as a standalone but because this is shaping up to be a such a gripping series it’s definitely worth starting at the beginning.  In The Dark opens with a belter of chapter, A young woman and a child are found locked in a cellar, William Harper the owner is an elderly man who  appears to be confused, and is unable to remember how they got there. Neither of the victims can speak due to trauma they suffered. Which means DI Fawley and his team start an investigation where they find themselves literally working “In The Dark” who is the woman?  how did she end up in the cellar of a quiet Oxford street? These are just some of the questions that are at the forefront of this gripping and compelling crime procedure thriller. 

Cara Hunter has a gift for writing crime books centred around police procedures, she not only tells a story in the conventional way, but adds police interviews, forensic reports, social media post and newspaper articles to make the reader feel they are right there amid the investigation sifting through the clues. This way of sharing the information gives the plot a present day feel but it also makes the whole investigation feel very credible. It’s very cleverly done in my opinion as it adds a sense of urgency to the plot, the need for answers to the why and how,  keep the reader fixated.

Creating a character whose confused to say the least, who also happens to be the main suspect was sheer genius on the author’s part. Although there is some character development of Fawley and his team, the investigation is definitely at the forefront of this book, so no time is wasted on unnecessary chapter filling, which made this book even more enjoyable to read. There is nothing more satisfying than being surprised by a book, and boy did Cara Hunter surprise me! At one point I thought the author was rehashing a well used plot in crime thrillers but when I least expected it she threw in the mother of all curve balls, it truly was a “OMFG I never seen that coming” type of moment.  Definitely one of the best crime thrillers I’ve read this year, with a compelling narrative, twists galore and oodles of deceit, I have a feeling In The Dark is going to be a HUGE success and one of this summers MUST reads. Highly recommended.

This is going to come as no surprise but I’m giving  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 read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reached the very last page.

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  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Viking (12 July 2018)

Buying links:     Amazon UK 🇬🇧           Amazon US 🇺🇸

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Our House by Louise Candlish #BookReview @louise_candlish @simonschusterUK #MustReads

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Today I’m thrilled to share my review for Our House by Louise Candlish, and what a fabulous book this one turned out to be, before I share my review here’s the book description to whet your appetite……

On a bright morning in the London suburbs, a family moves into the house they’ve just bought on Trinity Avenue. Nothing strange about that. Except it’s your house. And you didn’t sell it.

FOR BETTER, FOR WORSE.

When Fi Lawson arrives home to find strangers moving into her house, she is plunged into terror and confusion. She and her husband Bram have owned their home on Trinity Avenue for years and have no intention of selling. How can this other family possibly think the house is theirs? And why has Bram disappeared when she needs him most?

FOR RICHER, FOR POORER.

Bram has made a catastrophic mistake and now he is paying. Unable to see his wife, his children or his home, he has nothing left but to settle scores. As the nightmare takes grip, both Bram and Fi try to make sense of the events that led to a devastating crime. What has he hidden from her – and what has she hidden from him? And will either survive the chilling truth – that there are far worse things you can lose than your house?

TILL DEATH US DO PART.

IMG_3605This is the first book I have read by Louise Candlish and although it had a jaw dropping opening, I did have reservations as I found the constant change of narrative in the beginning some what confusing to say the least, but I’m so glad I persevered, what a compelling and twisted tale this turned out to be. We live in a world where our home is often a status symbol, we invest in it both financially and emotionally, we would do anything to protect our “nest egg” but Imagine coming home from work to find your house has been sold and your husband has disappeared? It would be your worse nightmare right? this is pretty much the premise of Our House. You may have misgivings about reading a novel based on a property, but believe me when I say “this book takes domestic noir to a new and exciting level”  

Told from the POV of Fi and Bram their narrative makes for an compelling read, as it explains the six months leading up to the house being sold, it’s a marriage shrouded in lies and deception, and turmoil. The old adage “Oh what a tangled web we weave when at first we start to deceive.” sums this book up perfectly. Once I got used to the narrative I thought the author made a fantastic job in conveying her characters story, Fi’s story is told via a podcast called The Victim, and Bram’s side is told through word documents, as the reader you are privy to both sides of the story, which is more than can be said for poor Fi who is totally in the dark regarding events that led to her husband’s disappearance and her home being sold.

As the plot unfolds Fi and Bram’s story becomes darker and more uncomfortable to read, as a spectator on the side lines you see the characters mental health unravel before your very eyes. You sense Fi’s fear and confusion, Bram’s panic as the lies mount up. Both characters had traits that I found very unlikable, and I certainly wanted to give Bram a good shake every time he made a wrong decision. Fi and Bram make for unreliable narrators and believe me when I say they “bring a whole new meaning to the word dysfunctional” but never the less they are brilliantly depicted and fit the story perfectly.  

When I began reading Our House I did have a couple of moments where I thought “hmmm really?” It did seem a bit far fetched, but the more I read I thought it actually made for a very credible tale, which made this book all the more  disturbing. As each chapter ends the sense of foreboding intensifies, you know something terrible is looming for the couple, but as to the who? why? what? The author manages to keep the reader in suspense to the last few pages. Louise Candlish manages to trick the reader at every deviously plotted turn. Despite guessing a couple of the twists there was one that gave me a “jaw dropping, did I really just read that?” moment which was superbly executed. I’m sure Our House will be one of the most talked about books of the year, and I can see why, it’s highly original, topical, and one that will cause debate,  would I recommend it? Most definitely. 

Print Length: 449 pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (5 April 2018)

Buying links:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B072M5S9XH/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

https://www.amazon.com/Our-House-Louise-Candlish/dp/045148911X

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A day with author Michael Wood @MichaelHWood @KillerReads

Today I’m thrilled to welcome author Michael Wood to the book review café. The author writes the DCI Matilda Darke Crime series. If you follow my blog you will know I read a large amount of crime books and hand on heart Michael Wood’s books are on my top five list of crime series. If you haven’t read them Yet I’ve included a link to the authors books further down this post, they are a MUST read if you love a well written crime thriller.

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I’m a boringly organised person and like to have everything set out before I begin my writing day. Looking at a blank notebook or a blank laptop screen with nothing to do is my idea of hell.

I’m always writing. I’m either working on my current novel or making notes or planning future novels, characters and stories.

When I’m at the early stages of a novel, I like to plan out my characters and plots in pad and pen form. The best place to do that, for me, is in a coffee shop. I have my iPod on to block out background noise and scribble away.

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Once I’m at the laptop stage, I work from home. I’m very structured and like to be at my desk early. I don’t give myself a set number of hours or a word count to write. I treat writing like any other job I’ve had so I write, edit, revise, research throughout the day. Anything above 3,000 words per day is a good day for me.

I break for lunch and I always have a pot of strong black coffee on standby when I feel the need to leave my desk and stretch my legs.

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I write Monday to Friday. Weekends are for seeing friends, relaxing, catching up with DVD boxsets. Strangely, I write best during the hours of darkness. From midnight to six o’clock I’m very productive. Unfortunately, this isn’t ideal as it hampers the social life. So those kinds of days are very rare.

When I’m not writing I enjoy walking (it’s great for clearing the head, especially in winter), reading (as well as writing crime fiction I love reading it), seeing friends, eating out, and, most importantly, shopping for books. My reading pile is slightly getting out of hand as I currently have 306 books in my spare bedroom to read.

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Writing is a special kind of job and I find that everyone approaches it in their own unique way. I’d never give anyone advice, but I’m happy to share my own ways of doing things if asked. Writing is not something you just do with your fingers, it comes from within. You don’t only need to be creative, you need to put your heart and soul into your work. And that is why I love writing so much.

Now, on with my next novel.

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Michael Wood is a proofreader and former journalist in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. He is the author of the DCI Matilda Darke series set in Sheffield. The third, A ROOM FULL OF KILLERS, was released in February 2017. A short story prequel, THE FALLEN, was published as an ebook in December 2016 by Killer Reads at HarperCollins.

Click on this link to check out Michael Wood books

 

My thanks to Michael Wood for taking time out of his busy schedule to write this post, it’s much appreciated.

The Collector by Fiona Cummins #mustreads @FionaAnnCummins @panmacmillian

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Book description

A taut and terrifying psychological thriller from a the author of Rattle
The Collector by Fiona Cummins is the gripping sequel to Rattle.
Jakey escaped with his life and moved to a new town.

His rescue was a miracle but his parents know that the Collector is still out there, watching, waiting…
Clara, the girl he left behind, is clinging to the hope that someone will come and save her.

Life has fallen apart for Clara’s mother as she starts to lose hope.
The Bone Collector has a new apprentice to take over his family’s legacy. But he can’t forget the boy who got away and the detective who had destroyed his dreams

Detective Etta Fitzroy’s life collapsed when the Collector escaped. With Clara still missing, and a new wave of uncannily similar murders beginning, will she be able to find him again?

The Collector is back and this time he has nothing to lose

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**Warning if you haven’t read Rattle then this review may unintentionally give away spoilers**

Ever since I read RATTLE  The Collector has been one, if not my most anticipated read of 2017. Now sometimes I find when when I finally get to read a sequel I’ve been waiting for what seems like forever it can go one of two ways, I will either love it or I’m left feeling cheated that the book just didn’t make the cut, but OMG I’m thrilled to report The Collector exceeded my expectations and then some, I loved it so much it’s gone straight on my “top reads of 2017” list. Utterly gripping I absolutely loved everything about this book, its dark, packed to the brim with tension and very creepy.

I would urge you to read Rattle first if you haven’t already, as you will gather from the book description it picks up from where Rattle ends. I found from the very first chapter I had an overwhelming sense of foreboding, perhaps because I already knew how incredibly evil The Collector was from the previous book I was immediately on tenterhooks. This novel focuses on the after mass of Rattle, the family who are looking for answers to their daughter Clara’s disappearance, Jakey the victim who escaped, but is convinced The Collector will come for him and Detective Etta Fitzroy’s who lives and breathes the case that haunts her.

Fiona Cummins has a style of writing that’s both atmospheric and compelling, as I was reading The Collector I felt a constant chill deep in my bones that never quite? left me. The chapters are titled with a time frame which the author uses to good effect, there’s a constant sense of urgency as it feels like time is running out for some of the main players in this novel. I do have to mention the characters Fiona Cummins has done a brilliant job yet again of depicting characters that you can’t help feeling a connection to, you feel their pain, the trauma and above all their resilience to survive when The Collector comes calling. As for The Collector what a character, and so well depicted his thoughts and actions will send shivers down your spine and keep you awake at night.

What makes this book stand out from most crime thrillers is the author’s ability to write a book that’s almost poetic in its writing, with more than a touch of the macabre you would expect lots of gruesome or gory scenes, but that isn’t the case. Fiona Cummins describes the setting, atmosphere and characters so vividly I found my own imagination went into overdrive making me feel very “jumpy” I read so many crime thrillers it’s not often an author manages to stir such emotion in me. The Collector never loses momentum, it’s fast paced with a few deviously plotted twists that shocked me to the core, this is definitely one of the most gripping and original crime thrillers I’ve read this year. A MUST READ AND HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Buying links: Amazon UK 🇬🇧Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 432 pages

Publisher: Macmillan; (18 Dec. 2017)