#TopFive with the book review café #crimethrillers #standalones


Today on the book review cafe I’m sharing my top five crime books that are stand-alones, yet again there are so many brilliant books that could fit this category , but after much pondering these are the books I came up with.


Rattle by Fiona Cummings

I actually loved this book and it’s a MUST READ for fans of crime thrillers and if you like them Dark then you are going to love it too. Rattle is a chilling and inventive debut from a very talented author, and with a serial killer (the bone collector) that made my blood run cold.


Bloq by Alan Jones

Bloq at times is a very disturbing read, it’s also dark and full of suspense, well plotted with characters who were so realistic I shed a tear for them,I totally bought into their story.
a highly entertaining novel, that has plenty of nail biting moments to keep me captivated until the last page.


My Girl by Jack Jordan

I found My Girl to be a chilling and captivating read. Yes it was shocking and very disturbing in parts but it did add to the plot making for a riveting read.


 Untouchable by Sibel Hodge

Inspired by real UK police investigations this book unfortunately makes for a very credible and heart breaking read as it explores the issues of abuse and the high end of society having the money and power to cover up their atrocities. Dark and disturbing this book gripped me from the first page.

Flowers For The Dead by Barbara Copperthwaite


Flowers For the Dead is very different to most of the crime thrillers I have read, mainly because the reader takes a terrifying and Spine-chilling look into the dark and deviant mind of a serial killer.

 You can see my reviews for these superb books here……







**Rapid Fire BookTag**


Thank you to Nat at https://theowlonthebookshelf.wordpress.com for nominating me for the Rapid Fire Book Tag! Here are my answers…

eBooks or physical books?

Both, I like to try and alternate between the two. You can’t  beat the feel or the look of a physical book but I like ebooks for convenience especially when I go on holiday.

Paperback or hardback?

Again both! I find paperbacks easier to hold but there are a few authors whose books I can’t wait for the paperback to come out as I’m that desperate to read them so I always buy the hardback.

Online or in-store shopping?

I buy most of my books online for convenience but you can’t beat a good old nose around a book shop, I could spend hours browsing all those book shelves.


Trilogies or series?

There are lots of crime books that I read that are part of a series, I like the way the characters develop throughout the series and that on the whole as the series develops the plots get darker and more complex

Heroes or villains?

You can’t beat a villain, the more complex the better.

A book you want everyone to read.

A Suitable Lie by Michael J Malone, superbly written with fascinating characters, and a plot that was both dark and disturbing.


Recommend an underrated book.

Hmmm that’s a hard one there are so many books that I feel deserve more recognition than they actually get. I guess I would say My Girl by Jack Jordan as a crime thriller lover I would highly recommend My Girl it’s dark, and genuinely disturbing! and one of my favourite books of 2016.

The last book you finished.

I can’t say as it was a top secret ARC but what I can say, it was a fabulous and gripping read

Weirdest thing you used as a book mark.

Hmmmm I’m not sure I have as I’ve always got plenty of book marks to hand, in fact I could probably set up a business selling them I have so many😂

Used books, yes or no?

I prefer new books as I like to keep them pristine you won’t find any cracked spines or creased pages in my books. I do buy second hand books occasionally though.

Top three favourite genres?

Crime, psychological thrillers and thrillers


Borrow or buy?

Buy, I rarely I borrow a book these days there are far too many sat on my TBR pile

Characters or plot?

Both, the plot has to grab me in the first few chapters and I have to be able to relate to the characters on some level or I struggle with a book.

Short or long book?

Shorter books are better for me, it means I’m able to get through more books 😂

Long or short chapters?

Short, it drives me mad when the chapters go on and on and I can’t put the book down until I’ve reached the end of the chapter even if it makes me late for something 🙈

Name the first three books you think of?

The Mountain In My Shoe by Louise Beech

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

A Room Full Of Killers by Michael Wood

Books that make you laugh or cry?

Cry! I enjoy a book that I become so involved in that it stirs up my emotions and leaves me a blubbing wreck.

Our world or fictional worlds?

I prefer books set in our world I’m a huge crime fan so that’s where all the books I tend to read are based.

Do you ever judge a book by its cover?

I’ve never bought a book solely based on its cover, I always read the book description first and if that tempts me I would buy the book even if it had a terrible cover.

Book to movie or book to TV adaptation?

I much prefer to read a book than watch the TV or movie adaption as I’m usually left feeling disappointed when they don’t live up to the book

Series or standalone?

Both, a lot of the crime books I read are series and I do enjoy seeing how characters develop over the series. I also love a standalone you don’t have to remember what happened to whom in previous books

I nominate –

Danielle at http://booksvertigoandtea.com

Renee at http://itsbooktalk.com

Jen at https://jenmedsbookreviews.com/

and anyone else who has the time to take part 😘



**Blogger Recognition Award**


I am feeling very honoured and excited to have been nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award by fellow book bloggers, so thank you to everyone who nominated me. The first person who nominated me was Shanannigans at https://readsandreels.com/ so a special mention to this awesome blogger

So this is what is required of me.


1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

2. Write a post to show your award.

3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.

4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.

*5. Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.

*6. Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.

I started my blog in late August 2015 when I was off work after suffering an injury at work, I was bored one day and decided to start up a book blog and created The Book Review Cafe. I never really thought about where my blog would lead, and never in a million years did I think any one would end up reading my reviews or follow it.

My two pieces of advice to bloggers

It’s ok to say “no” to a publisher or author. Don’t feel you have to accept every book you are offered, believe me if you do this from the start you won’t find yourself drowning in books. I hold my hands up here and admit this was the biggest mistake I made when I first started blogging.

Get involved in the blogging community. The book blogging community is extremely welcoming and offers support and advice. Join the fabulous group Book Connectors at https://m.facebook.com/groups/1466353170351020/ it’s a place for authors and bloggers, it was one of the first groups I joined and everyone’s so friendly and helpful.

Personally I would like to nominate everyone who runs a book blog as there really are some fantastic ones out there, but as I have to choose 15 I’m going to tag bloggers who I think haven’t been nominated yet and they all work really hard to run their awesome blogs.

Danielle at http://booksvertigoandtea.com

Jen at https://jenmedsbookreviews.com/

Kerry at http://chataboutbooks.wordpress.com

Janel at http://keeperofpages.wordpress.com

Megan at http://bookslayerreads.com

Emma at http://www.emmathelittlebookworm.wordpress.com

Anne at http://www.beinganne.com

Linda at http://www.lindasbookbag.com

Joanne at https://portobellobookblog.com/

Hayley at https://rathertoofondofbooks.com/

Cleo at http://cleopatralovesbooks.wordpress.com

Susan at http://booksfromdusktilldawn.wordpress.com

Sam at https://cluesandreviews.wordpress.com/

Claire guest blogger at https://www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk

Alison at http://www.alithedragonslayer.co.uk



**New Beginnings**


Today as you read this post I will be starting my new job eeeek. I’m doing something completely different and truly stepping out of my comfort zone. As many of you may know I’ve spent 33 years looking after people with mental health problems. I loved my job and the people I looked after, but when I got made redundant in January 2017 I realised it was time for a change, to try something new before it’s too late. After a few ups and downs I’m hoping today will be the start of a brighter future.

In case you were wondering I’m going to be working in an office as a “girl Friday” and although I’m terrified I’m looking forward to a new challenge and here’s hoping you really can “teach an old dog new tricks”😂

I will no longer be working weekends, bank holidays or Christmas which is amazing after doing so for many years. The downside being I will be working Monday to Friday office hours so I may not be as quick to share posts, but hopefully I will continue to do what I can to help my fellow bloggers as and when time permits.

Lorraine 😘😘

**End Of The Year Wrap Up **


Well I for one will be glad to see the back of 2016, for many reasons this hasn’t been the best year I’ve ever had. I’m going to embrace 2017 though and make it my year to take on new challenges.

Now I’m not one for New Years resolutions I always fail at the first hurdle (usually the 2nd of January 😂), but I am hoping to do a couple of things regarding my reading and my blog

  • Read some books from my TBR pile, which I’m desperate to get through
  • cut down on blog tours, as there’s too much pressure to read a book in a limited time
  • Only request one book at a time on NetGalley (this ones going to be hard)
  • if I’m not enjoying a book, I DON’T have to finish it, after all there are far too many amazing books out there to waste time on a duff one!
  • learn to say “no” it’s ok NOT to agree to read and review every book that comes my way (my new mantra😂)
  • Read more books by authors that are new to me, I’ve already got a couple lined up…..so watch this space!

Although I haven’t compiled a list of my top reads, here are just some of the books I really enjoyed this year and would highly recommend.

My top five most read posts

You can read the reviews here……






My First read of 2017

My first read of 2017 is Snatched From Home by Graham Smith, this is a book that has been sat on my TBR pile for a while, it’s also by an author I haven’t read yet which means I’ve already started on my goals for 2017


Books I’ve read to watch out for in 2017
As the end of the year approaches I would like to say a huge thank you to each and everyone of you who follows my blog and wish you all a fabulous New Year and hope all your dreams come true.
Lorraine x x x



🍂🎃🍁Fall Activities Book Tag🍂🎃🍁



Its not often these days I get the time to take part in book tags, but after I was tagged by the fabulous Sharon over at ChapterInMyLife I thought it would definitely be a fun tag to take part in.

Scroll down to the bottom to see who I’m tagging – and if your name is mentioned, please comment below and send me a link to your post (no pressure to take part, I know how busy everyone is).To take part then simply have a look at the books I have chosen for each title; then you chose your book – I can’t wait to see what you all come up with!

APPLE PICKING (A book on your TBR pile that looks so good you can’t wait to take a bite out of it!)


RagDoll by Daniel Cole 

I’m desperate to read this one and I love the cover, it’s near the The top of my TBR and I can’t wait to read it

CORN MAZE (A book that is fun to get lost in)

Lizzie’s Christmas Escape by Christie Barlow


I mostly read crime and psychological thrillers but every now and then I like to pick up a book that helps me to escape for a couple of hours and Christie Barlow is the author I always turn to when I’m looking for a fun read

HAUNTED HOUSE (A Book that scares you silly)


It by Stephen King

I read this book years ago and I’m sure this book is where my fear of clowns originated from basically  there’s this murderous monster clown invisible to adults who feeds on children in a small Maine town.. I couldn’t read this book now it would seriously scare me! and how can anyone think clowns are funny, I think there anything but! A certain author mentioning no names (Caroline Mitchel) seems to have great delight in sending me clown GIF I can’t think why!

PUMPKIN PATCH (last book you picked up/purchased)

Snatched From Home and I Know Your Secret by Graham Smith

I bought two books at the same time after I read Noelle’s rave reviews for them over at CrimeBookJunkie

SCENIC DRIVES (a book that is lyrically beautiful)

Cartes Postales from Greece by Victoria Hislop

This one is on my TBR pile and just looking at the cover, the beautiful photographs and the descriptive writing it conjures up images of Greece

PUMPKIN CARVING (A book you didn’t enjoy so much and you wouldn’t mind carving up!)


Baby Doll by Hollie Overton some bloggers raved over this book, but I really struggled with this one and found it a mediocre read and the characters just grated on me

DRINKING APPLE CIDER (A book to curl up under the covers with)

Robert Bryndza 

Any of the of the books in the Erika Foster series by Robert Bryndza, I love his books he’s probably my favourite author at the moment and I totally loose myself once I start reading one his books.

JUMPING IN A PILE OF LEAVES (A book that reminds you of your childhood)


Any book by Enid Blyton reminds me of my childhood I use to save up my pocket money to buy them, I loved all her books. Whilst looking for a photo to add to this post I was shocked…. WHAT have they done to the covers? the new updated covers are hideous! I loved the retro look of the original ones

SCARY MOVIE NIGHT (favourite spooky read)

Time To Die by Caroline Mitchell 


This is the second book in the Jennifer Knight series which has a paranormal element to it, add to the mix ravens (which terrify me!) and it made for a very spooky read.

I tag………

Emma  at http://damppebbles.com

Emma at http://www.emmathelittlebookworm.wordpress.com

Janel at http://keeperofpages.wordpress.com

kaisha at https://thewritinggarnet.wordpress.com

Jo at https://mychestnutreadingtree.wordpress.com

and anyone else who is reading this and wants to take part



**Publisher In The Spotlight** #Moth

Moth red

Good morning everyone I’m going to be running an occasional new feature, called Publishers In The Spotlight (ok it’s not very original, but it’s the best I come up with!). First up its Moth, New Writing North’s Chief Executive Claire Malcolm explains how the arts organisation founded Mayfly Press and the Moth imprint.

The decision to found a new publishing house for writers in the north came about in a roundabout way for New Writing North. We’re first and foremost the writing development agency for writers in the north and in this role we manage and produce an array of opportunities for writers and work in partnership with broadcasters, publishers and producers to make good things happen for writers. As part of our programme we also produce Crime Story, the innovative conference for crime writers and readers with Northumbria University.

For many years we’ve run the Northern Writers’ Awards, a funding programme that supports new and established writers to pursue and complete new work. For a while the awards were sponsored by Paul Callaghan, a local digital entrepreneur and philanthropist. As the sponsorship drew to a close I took a number of our winning writers to lunch with Paul so that he could catch up with what they were doing and hear more about the work that his sponsorship had supported. It was a lovely lunch but during it a number of the writers told Paul how frustrating they were finding it trying to place their work. As we were leaving Paul said to me ‘we should publish some of this work’. Roll forward a year or so and we had created the idea of founding a joint publishing operation with Business Educational Publishers a trade-publishing house that Paul owned. New Writing North invested a little money into the start up and Business Educational Publishers invested a little more to help the venture get off the ground and we founded a partnership.

Moth was born and along with it the first Northern Crime Competition. We wanted to open out publishing opportunities to new writers and to use our publishing resources to launch new talent. We had a good response to the first competition and went on to publish four winners – Helen Cadbury, Rebecca Muddiman, Alfie Crow and Michael Donnovan. We were on a really steep learning curve when we published our first four books – we employed editors, developed contracts, learnt about digital publishing and made some headway into distribution. We were lucky to work with some great people along the way who helped us work out what we were doing.

Rebecca’s book took off quickly, closely followed by Helen’s and we were delighted with how our sales went over the first year. We also developed a partnership for selling foreign and audio rights that enhanced what we could offer writers. We helped both Helen and Rebecca find literary agents and through them they both went on to sign good contracts for their work with bigger publishers and have now published many more books and are building good careers for themselves as crime writers. We are realistic about how as a small publisher you often can’t afford to keep some of the writers that you discover in the long term.

To find our next wave of new writers we ran the second Northern Crime Competition and also opened entries for short stories. Entries for the second competition weren’t as strong overall and in the end we found one novel that we wanted to publish by the Leeds based writer Kathleen McKay.

The entries for the short story element of the competition were strong and we enjoyed putting together Northern Crime One our first collection of short stories that we launched in December 2015. We did some great events with the anthology – the sell out crowd for our Newcastle City Library launch was a highlight and it was wonderful to meet lots of the featured writers, especially as many were seeing their work in print for the first time.

Hard Wired, by our competition winner Kathleen McKay was published this August – it’s a gritty contemporary crime novel based around a bail hostel in Newcastle. It’s Kath’s first venture into crime though she has written literary fiction and poetry before. We’re excited to see how it does.

Towards the end of 2015 Moth made our first two-book deal with the author Benjamin Myers. I knew Ben’s literary work and thought that he was an amazing writer. We were working with Ben on a poetic commission tied to Durham Book Festival and during one of our conversations he mentioned that he was writing a crime novel. I was excited by the idea that Ben was turning his hand to this genre and knew that it would be something very special. I asked to read some of the work out of interest and when Ben sent me the first few chapters I was blown away.

Moth made a pre-emptive bid for the novel via his agent and we were delighted to agree a two-book deal. The first novel, Turning Blue was launched this August and brings to readers the unlikely crime solving duo Brindle and Mace – a detective and a local journalist. Turning Blue is dark, deep and beautifully written. I found it compulsive to read and loved the way that Ben has taken on a crime story but placed it so deeply into a specific location and community. Ben talks about his crime writing as being ‘folk crime’ and it rings true to me. The reviews so far have been very appreciative. He’s currently working on the next Brindle and Mace book that we hope to bring to publication in summer 2017.

Alongside Moth we also run the Mayfly Books imprint which so far has concentrated on bringing important northern writer’s work back into print. Again, beginning this imprint was partially accidental and driven by the love of books. We began by republishing Julia Darling’s wonderful novel Crocodile Soup in 2015 to coincide with the anniversary of her death. I’d know Julia and her work for many years and had always loved Crocodile Soup so it was a humbling experience to be able to bring it back for a new generation of readers. It’s a northern classic but also a wonderful comic lesbian love story. The novel was longlisted for the Orange prize and it was shameful that it had fallen out of print.

This September we are publishing Hame, My Durham a collection of work by the acclaimed County Durham writer Sid Chaplin, collated by his son the writer Michael Chaplin who has also written a commentary to accompany the work which gives an overview of Sid’s life and traces the influences of his real life experiences on his writing. Again, this feels like an important book to be bringing to readers and demonstrates our commitment to keeping northern voices alive and accessible.

To find the next wave of books for Moth we’re currently hosting an open submission period where writers and agents can submit work for consideration. We’re primarily interested in supporting northern writers but we are open to other suggestions too as the imprint grows and develops. If you’re a budding writer looking for a publisher the details are included in the links below 

We’re currently looking at how the publishing house can grow and develop in a way that supports New Writing North but also makes sense as a business. So far the partnership is working well for New Writing North. Profits generated from the first few years of the operation have been fed back into supporting our core work supporting writers. At a time when arts organisations need to be innovative and enterprising about how they raise money we have found Moth and Mayfly to be both a great way to do that but also a fantastic way to support writers to develop their work and grow their careers. Publishing isn’t without risk and balancing that can be challenging but it’s an exciting proposition all the same.

Claire Malcolm



New Writing North

Crime Story

Northumbria University

Northern Writers’ Awards

Durham Book Festival

Mayfly Press

Helen Cadbury

Rebecca Muddiman

Alfie Crow
Michael Donovan

Kathleen McKay

Hard Wired
Hard Wired

Northern Crime One

Benjamin Myers

Turning Blue
Turning Blue

Julia Darling

Crocodile Soup

Michael Chaplin

Submission Link