My Top 10 Books of 2015

Thursday, 24 December 2015 0 comments
Is it really that time of the year again? I can't believe that in March 2016 my blog will be two years old. 2015 was a brilliant year for reading, and I hit 200k page views on the blog just a couple of months ago. Unlike the majority of other bloggers I found it relatively easy to choose my Top 10, just not so easy to rank them! Oddly, with the exception of my Book of the Year for 2015 which I have known since I first read it in March. Until then though I have nine other books to reveal! I hope you enjoy reading my Top 10 Books of 2015.

10. The Doris Day Vintage Film Club - Fiona Harper

It was only when I started reading some of my 2015 reviews to remind myself of the 200 books I had read this year that I surprised myself with the books that I didn't choose to include in this list. The Doris Day Vintage Film Club jumped out at me as a memorable read with a perfect ending, and so I simply had to include it in my Top 10. I am unashamedly a huge Doris Day fan and whilst Doris and her films are used mostly as a backdrop for the story of Claire Bixby, I loved reliving some of her most famous films and songs, and particularly enjoyed how Fiona Harper used not only the films of Doris Day but also Doris's real life story to really help the reader relate to, understand and ultimately fall in love with Claire and her story.






9. Scandalous Lies - Nigel May

Nigel May has been on my radar for a couple of years but it wasn't until he signed with Bookouture that I finally picked up one of his books. I was only a few pages in before I was kicking myself for not having read his books sooner. Nigel writes the type of books that I just love, and the ones I wish I could write myself. He's been called the male Jackie Collins and really, I can't think of a greater accolade. In my review I described the book as wall to wall filth but with a truly engrossing and multi-layered story within and I think the bonkbuster genre has long been seen (by those that have never read it) as just sex but Nigel has completely revitalised this genre for me and I can't wait for his next book, Deadly Obsession.






8. Pleasure Island - Anna-Lou Weatherley

Anna-Lou Weatherley is another author I had heard of but was yet to read before she signed with Bookouture. Bookouture have become my go-to publisher in 2015 and are yet to let me down with one of their releases, which is why I didn't hesitate to pick up Pleasure Island. At times it was reminiscent of various films and books but overall was one of the most addictive and enjoyable books I read in 2015. I called it in my review 'a faultless novel' which for me is often one of those heat of the moment comments I write when I finish a book but thinking back, I totally stand by that comment. There wasn't a single thing (certain characters aside) that I disliked about it. Pleasure Island is pure, unadulterated excitement from start to finish and I cannot recommend it enough.





7. What Remains - Tim Weaver

Tim Weaver is one of my favourite authors and the latest David Raker thriller is always near the top of my most wanted books of the year. I literally set one day aside for doing nothing but reading Tim's latest book. What Remains was another brilliantly addictive mystery but this time around, a really emotional story too which left me feeling an even greater connection with his characters than I have in the past. The book also had a couple of incredible twists that meant this book was always going to make my Top 10. I called What Remains one of Tim's best books yet (something I find myself saying with each one) and I think that's testament to his talent as a writer. I highly recommend this brilliant series and I can't wait to read what Tim writes next.




6. Tennison - Lynda La Plante

Lynda La Plante is, in my opinion, one of the greatest crime writers ever. I just love her books and when I found out she was writing a Prime Suspect prequel, I couldn't wait to read it. Set in the East End of London in the 1970's Lynda captured the time period perfectly, completely transporting me back to that era. I felt like I was walking the streets with Jane Tennison herself. It was refreshing to read a crime story featuring a female officer which was nothing like the crime fiction set in the present day where female police officers are commonplace. We get a real insight into the policing of the 1970's, particularly the sexism that female officers faced. Prime Suspect fans will pick this up already knowing Jane Tennison but will finish it knowing a whole lot more about her.

Tennison will shortly become a TV series to celebrate 25 years of Prime Suspect and I for one cannot wait and think it will be one of the standout dramas of 2016.

5. Evil Games - Angela Marsons

I could easily have included all three (yes, three!) of Angela Marsons' 2015 releases in this Top 10, but decided that I would have to man up and choose just one out of three of the year's best crime novels. In the end I chose Evil Games and the reason for that lies in the villain that Angela Marsons created for this story. A sociopath like no other, it was a total thrill to read a book like this and it certainly stood out amongst her other two books. I described Evil Games in my review as crime fiction with some truly realistic psychological elements to it and that is so true. It is so real and believable at times that I felt genuine fear for Detective Kim Stone, a character I just fell in love with when I read Angela's first novel, Silent Scream. With sales of 1 million and counting and the ink on a print deal just about dry, you are going to be hearing a lot more from Angela Marsons in 2016.



4. The Wronged - Kimberley Chambers 

Anyone who follows my blog will know how much I love Kimberley Chambers and her books. The excitement of receiving books pre-publication is never greater than when it is one of your most anticipated books of the year and I also shared a video interview with Kimberley on my blog to celebrate publication of the book. The Wronged continues the story of the Butler family, and much like The Trap and Payback before it, was one hell of a read (and then some). Kimberley Chambers is currently at the top of her game, and has completely revitalised this genre of books and made it her own. 2016 sees the conclusion of the Butler saga and I simply cannot wait to see how she is going to end it all. If you haven't read a book by Kim before, then it definitely needs to be one of your resolutions for the New Year. Kimberley is one of those authors who gets even better with each book she releases and I recommend that readers pick up every single book she has written, they do not disappoint.


3. I Am Death - Chris Carter

There is one man who very near ruined the crime genre for me and he goes by the name of Chris Carter. He writes crime fiction that is so good, very little else compares to it. I Am Death was a standout read of 2015 for me and so I had no hesitation in making it my third top read of the year. Chris is in a league of his own when it comes to crime fiction and his Robert Hunter series should be looked at as a true masterclass in how to write in this genre, how to truly enthrall a reader and leave them desperate for more. Crime fiction is one of the busiest and biggest genres and I like to think that my list of favourites are amongst the best, and sitting pretty at number one is Chris Carter and Robert Hunter.

I am also part of Simon and Schuster's #TaskForceCarter and one of my tasks was to introduce Chris's books to some new readers and so I picked three of my favourite bloggers; Vicki, Christine and Gordon, and all three of them fell in love with his books too. Everyone I have recommended Chris Carter's books to have all came back with glowing reviews, and so if you haven't read them yet yourself, what are you waiting for?

2. The Santangelos - Jackie Collins

One of my blogging highlights is something that didn't even occur on the blog, it was the Tweets sent back and forth between me and Jackie Collins about her latest novel, The Santangelos, back when she was still writing it in 2014. I couldn't believe actual Jackie Collins (my favourite author!) replied to and favourited my Tweets. I pre-ordered the US hardback copy and got it sent over from America because the UK release wasn't until September 2015. Then, an early copy from Simon and Schuster arrived before the US one! The Santangelos continues the saga of the Santangelo family and it was everything I wanted and more. I can still remember the first time I picked up Chances, I completely lost myself in the world that Jackie had created. Chances is the book that started the whole Santangelo saga off, and introduced readers to the incomparable Lucky Santangelo, my favourite fictional character ever. When reading The Santangelos I did not want it to end and it could easily have been my top read of the year if it wasn't for a certain other book!

As most readers will know Jackie Collins sadly passed away earlier this year. As my favourite author I was devastated by the news, and wrote a tribute to Jackie and her books which you can read here.

And so to my Book of the Year for 2015!























1. The Spice Box Letters - Eve Makis


When I read the Tweets from my fellow bloggers about their difficulties in choosing their Number One read of the year, some even choosing not to rank them such was the difficulty, I thankfully couldn't relate to that because I have known what my Top Read of 2015 would be since March of this year. Only a very special book could have changed my mind, and some one hundred and odd books later and my choice hasn't changed. That book is The Spice Box Letters by Eve Makis.

Eve Makis wrote a book that drew genuine and real emotion from me as a reader. She wrote a story that has remained with me since I turned the very last page and it is a book I recommend that everybody pick up and it is one that I will be rereading in the New Year. Published to mark the centenary year of the Armenian genocide, it tells the story of Katerina who travels to Cyprus after her grandmother dies and leaves behind a wooden spice box containing letters and a diary written in Armenian. In Cyprus she meets Ara, who translates the diary for Katerina, revealing Mariam's long-buried secrets, and revealing to Katerina and the reader a life that started with her grandmother being exiled from her home in Turkey and separated from her brother Gabriel, her life then marred by grief and the loss of her first love.

The Spice Box Letters was difficult reading in places but the writing and storytelling was absolutely necessary to highlight the pain and suffering these people went through, and made the emotional connection that I felt as a reader to these characters all the more powerful. The characters in this book are fictional, but the basis for the story lies in fact and the story has so much more of an impact because of that. Eve Makis is a truly wonderful writer, and the book is beautifully descriptive when Eve is talking about Cyprus, which is my favourite place in the whole world. She really captures the setting, and I loved her descriptions of the food consumed by her characters. I was practically salivating reading about all the foods that I love so much. On the other hand her harrowing descriptions of the genocide, the horrible deaths of the characters, and the emotional turmoil those who survived went through left a lump in my throat, and towards the end of the book tears streamed down my face I'm not ashamed to admit. The book is an emotional read, but there's also positives to be taken from it as well.

Below is how Eve Makis describes The Spice Box Letters:

I would like to think of the book as a spice box, not only peppered by tragedy, but also evoking a distinct sense of culture through food, folklore and customs, an attempt to balance a dark, turbulent past with a lighter, more hopeful present. It is essentially a story about intimate family secrets, slowly unraveled and the enduring quality of love.

I was lucky enough to be able to share an exclusive guest post from Eve Makis to celebrate publication of The Spice Box Letters back in March and you can read that here. Given just how much I loved this book it was a real honour to be able to share the story behind it.

And that's my Top 10! For personal and family reasons I have had to take a longer break than I originally planned towards the end of 2015 but I hope to return with some reviews and posts in 2016 and hope that those that visit my blog and keep in touch with me on Twitter bear with me and hopefully normal service will resume sometime in the New Year! Until then, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and I hope that you will take a chance on some of the books in my Top 10 if you haven't already. 

Guest Post: Angela Clarke's Writing Process

Thursday, 3 December 2015 0 comments
Today I am kicking off the blog tour for Angela Clarke's Follow Me. Sadly due to personal circumstances I have been unable to write my review and for the foreseeable future will be taking another step back from blogging. For now though I hope you enjoy reading this guest post where Angela talks about developing that first idea into an entire novel. Also, be sure to keep following the blog tour for more guest posts and reviews!

LIKE. SHARE. FOLLOW . . . DIE

The ‘Hashtag Murderer’ posts chilling cryptic clues online, pointing to their next target. Taunting the police. Enthralling the press. Capturing the public’s imagination.

But this is no virtual threat.

As the number of his followers rises, so does the body count.

Eight years ago two young girls did something unforgivable. Now ambitious police officer Nasreen and investigative journalist Freddie are thrown together again in a desperate struggle to catch this cunning, fame-crazed killer. But can they stay one step ahead of him? And can they escape their own past?

Time's running out. Everyone is following the #Murderer. But what if he is following you?

ONLINE, NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM …

Review: Addicted to Sin by Monica James

Saturday, 14 November 2015 0 comments
Title: Addicted to Sin
Author: Monica James
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: 8th October 2015
Pages: 360
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5
Purchase: Amazon
My name is Dixon Mathews, and I take great pleasure in listening to people unload their dirty little secrets because, let’s face facts, the best secrets are the ones best left untold.

My own addiction? Sex. It really is the best medicine. I’m smart, cocky and easy on the eyes, but I’m also a major bastard. I know I’m a lost cause. I don’t do relationships. I don’t even do the same woman twice. But that’s all about to change, thanks to two entirely different women – Juliet and Madison – who both awaken my deepest desires.

Who will I choose? I know who I should choose, but I never said I was the hero of this story, or even the good guy. And besides, who wants to be good, when it feels so good being bad? My tale isn’t for the faint-hearted. If you’re game, strap yourself in and expect the unexpected. But don’t say I didn’t warn you…

Hall of Fame Review: A Girl's Best Friend by Lindsey Kelk

Friday, 13 November 2015 0 comments
Title: A Girl's Best Friend
Author: Lindsey Kelk
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: 5th November 2015
Pages: 400
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 5/5
Purchase: Amazon
After the crazy six months she’s had, if there was a ‘clear history’ button for your life, Tess Brookes would be the first in line to press it.

When the opportunity arises to join her best friend, Amy, in New York for Christmas, Tess jumps at the chance. The only slight hitch is that Nick, the man who broke her heart, lives there. And Charlie, the man she turned down, has just started talking to her again. And she has just four days to take a photo for a competition that could save her career.

But aside from that, everything is going to be great: it’ll be the best Christmas ever. Won’t it?

6 Thriller Series Everybody Should Read

Friday, 6 November 2015 0 comments
1. Sean Black's Ryan Lock series



This series is my absolute favourite when it comes to thrillers. I still remember the day I read Sean's first book, Lockdown. I wasn't that far into it when I realised it was a series I would love. Each book offers something different and takes the reader to a place so far removed from their own world (or in my case it did!) and also continues the story of an intriguing and very likeable character, Ryan Lock. There are currently six novels in the series all of which can be read standalone. I highly recommend Deadlock, The Devil's Bounty and The Innocent.

Sean Black is also one of the reasons you are reading this post in the first place as he inspired me to start a blog when he contacted me via Goodreads to thank me for my review of his then latest book, The Devil's Bounty. I couldn't believe an author had taken the time out of their day just to thank me for a review and it came on a pretty rubbish day so it cheered me up no end!

Guest Post: Lindsey Kelk's Top 5 Writing Tips

Thursday, 5 November 2015 0 comments
Today I am so excited to be part of another Lindsey Kelk blog tour. It's always one of my favourite times of the year, because it's always accompanied by another amazing book, this time it's the third Tess Brookes novel, A Girl's Best Friend which is released TODAY! Lindsey is sharing her Top 5 Writing Tips which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. The idea of attempting to write something myself has always lingered at the back of my mind, perhaps one day I will take the plunge. I hope you enjoy reading the guest post!


Hall of Fame Review: Lost Girls by Angela Marsons

Tuesday, 3 November 2015 3 comments
Title: Lost Girls (DI Kim Stone, #3)
Author: Angela Marsons
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: 6th November 2015
Pages: 425
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 5/5
Purchase: Amazon
The couple that offers the highest amount will see their daughter again. The losing couple will not. Make no mistake. One child will die.

When nine-year-old best friends Charlie and Amy disappear, two families are plunged into a living nightmare. A text message confirms the unthinkable; that the girls are the victims of a terrifying kidnapping.

And when a second text message pits the two families against each other for the life of their children, the clock starts ticking for D.I. Kim Stone and the squad.

Seemingly outwitted at every turn, as they uncover a trail of bodies, Stone realises that these ruthless killers might be the most deadly she has ever faced. And that their chances of bringing the girls home alive, are getting smaller by the hour…

Untangling a dark web of secrets from the families’ past might hold the key to solving this case. But can Kim stay alive long enough to do so? Or will someone’s child pay the ultimate price?

Review: Bloodstream by Luca Veste

Monday, 2 November 2015 0 comments
Title: Bloodstream
Author: Luca Veste
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Publication Date: 22nd October 2015
Pages: 480
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5
Purchase: Amazon
Social media stars Chloe Morrison and Joe Hooper seem to have it all - until their bodies are found following an anonymous phone call to their high-profile agent. Tied and bound to chairs facing each other, their violent deaths cause a media scrum to descend on Liverpool, with DI David Murphy and DS Laura Rossi assigned to the case.

Murphy is dismissive, but the media pressure intensifies when another couple is found in the same manner as the first. Only this time the killer has left a message. A link to a private video on the internet, and the words 'Nothing stays secret'. It quickly becomes clear that more people will die; that the killer believes secrets and lies within relationships should have deadly consequences...

Review: Liar Liar by M.J. Arlidge

Wednesday, 28 October 2015 0 comments
Title: Liar Liar
Author: M.J. Arlidge
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 10th September 2015
Pages: 440
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 5/5
Purchase: Amazon
In the dead of night, three raging fires light up the city skies. It's more than a tragic coincidence. For DI Helen Grace the flames announce the arrival of an evil she has never encountered before.

Because this is no firestarter seeking sick thrills, but something more chilling: a series of careful, calculating acts of murder.

But why were the victims chosen? What's driving the killer? And who will be next?

A powder keg of fear, suspicion and dread has been laid. Now all it needs is a spark to set it off...

Bloodstream Blog Tour with Luca Veste

Monday, 26 October 2015 0 comments
Anyone who reads my blog might know that I am a huge Luca Veste fan and so I am incredibly excited to be kicking off the blog tour for his latest Murphy and Rossi novel, and first with his new publishers Simon & Schuster, Bloodstream. Bloodstream is available to buy right now and you can see my review on the blog later this week! Today Luca is talking all about his first day of writing a new book...



Review: A Christmas Kiss by Vicky Pattison

Wednesday, 21 October 2015 0 comments
Title: A Christmas Kiss
Author: Vicky Pattison
Publisher: Sphere
Publication Date: 22nd October 2015
Pages: 352
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 5/5
Purchase: Amazon
Amber Raey is working all the hours God sends as assistant to one of the country's top fashion designers, and her boss is a complete nightmare. Amber's dream is to launch her own fashion line one day so, for the time being, she just has to grin and bear it. And then opportunity comes knocking and Amber's suddenly on the fast track to the top.

The parties, the glamour, a whirlwind romance - Amber loves every second of her new life. But there's more to this world than its glossy exterior suggests, and when a face from Amber's past reappears, she finds herself in real trouble. With Christmas fast approaching, Amber is drifting further and further away from her family and friends. Can she get her life back on track before it's too late for a merry Christmas?

Review: Tennison by Lynda La Plante

Tuesday, 20 October 2015 1 comments
Title: Tennison
Author: Lynda La Plante
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Publication Date: 24th September 2015
Pages: 400
Source: Purchased
Rating: 5/5
Purchase: Amazon
From the creator of the award-winning ITV series Prime Suspect, starring Helen Mirren, comes the fascinating back story of the iconic DCI Jane Tennison. 

In 1973 Jane Tennison, aged 22, leaves the Metropolitan Police Training Academy to be placed on probationary exercise in Hackney where criminality thrives. We witness her struggle to cope in a male-dominated, chauvinistic environment, learning fast to deal with shocking situations with no help or sympathy from her superiors. Then comes her involvement in her first murder case.

Review: After You by Jojo Moyes

Saturday, 10 October 2015 1 comments
Title: After You
Author: Jojo Moyes
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 24th September 2015
Pages: 411
Source: Purchased
Rating: 4.5/5
Purchase: Amazon
Lou Clark has lots of questions.
Like how it is she's ended up working in an airport bar, spending every shift watching other people jet off to new places.
Or why the flat she's owned for a year still doesn't feel like home.
Whether her close-knit family can forgive her for what she did eighteen months ago.
And will she ever get over the love of her life.
What Lou does know for certain is that something has to change.
Then, one night, it does.
But does the stranger on her doorstep hold the answers Lou is searching for - or just more questions?
Close the door and life continues: simple, ordered, safe.
Open it and she risks everything.
But Lou once made a promise to live. And if she's going to keep it, she has to invite them in...

Review: Christmas at Lilac Cottage by Holly Martin

Friday, 9 October 2015 2 comments
Title: Christmas at Lilac Cottage
Author: Holly Martin
Publication Date: 25th September 2015
Publisher: Bookouture
Pages: 350
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5
Purchase: Amazon
Penny Meadows loves her home – a cosy cottage decorated with pretty twinkling fairy lights and stunning views over the town of White Cliff Bay. She also loves her job as an ice-carver, creating breathtaking sculptures. Yet her personal life seems frozen.

When Henry and daughter Daisy arrive at the cottage to rent the annex, Penny is determined to make them feel welcome. But while Daisy is friendly, Henry seems guarded.

As Penny gets to know Henry, she realises there is more to him than meets the eye. And the connection between them is too strong to ignore …

While the spirit of the season sprinkles its magic over the seaside town and preparations for the ice sculpting competition and Christmas eve ball are in full swing, can Penny melt the ice and allow love in her heart? And will this finally be the perfect Christmas she’s been dreaming of?

My Tribute to Jackie Collins (1937-2015)

Monday, 21 September 2015 5 comments

I never imagined that my first blog post after a short blog break would be something like this but just a few days ago I checked Twitter before bed and read the heartbreaking news about Jackie Collins passing away. Anybody who has read my blog regularly will know that Jackie was my favourite author, and when I read the news I just sat there in shock for a while, unable to believe it. Obviously, I didn't know Jackie personally but when you have spent so many years reading an author's books and watching their interviews, it's a huge shock to think that they are no longer there. I think it's only fellow book lovers who can truly understand how it feels, which is why I wanted to write a blog post about this.

Jackie Collins definitely kick-started my love for all things glamour, sex and celebrities. Her books took me right into a world that was so far removed from my own, and my Jackie Collins journey, like a lot of people my age, began in secret with borrowed copies or copies 'acquired' from various places. I very quickly became addicted to them, and eventually started to buy my own copies when I was a little older. Jackie's books became somewhat of a comfort blanket to me; in those dark times or just on those rubbish days we all have, I knew that I could pick up one of her books and for a short while, take my mind off what was happening in my own world and live in a glamorous one instead. To be transported into one of Jackie's worlds is just one of the greatest pleasures I have had in reading and will continue to have. My favourite book of hers, as I've always said, is Chances. That book just blew me away the first time I read it and even now, many rereads later it continues to shock and thrill in equal measure. I also have a huge soft spot for American Star, another huge favourite of mine.

Some of the first Jackie Collins' books that I bought (in an actual shop!) and that weren't borrowed or 'acquired' from various places...
I really fall in love with my characters, even the bad ones. I love getting together with them. They tell me what to do; they take me on a wild and wonderful trip.

Jackie Collins taught me that you can be whoever you want to be. That you should never apologise for who you are, nor should you be ashamed of who you are. She was an inspiration to women around the world, but she was also a little bit of an inspiration to me too. I have never been ashamed to call Jackie my favourite author when asked, and I have never been embarrassed about discussing the books that I love to read, and I like to think that's because of Jackie. She was one of those celebrities who you never heard or read anybody making a bad comment about. Her books, yes, but never Jackie herself. In fact, as she once said, the biggest critics of her books are those who have never read them, and just how true that is. Watching Jackie being interviewed is evidence of just how much she loved writing, and we now know that she kept writing up until the very end, revealing in a recent interview that she was working on a sequel to The Power Trip and, her very own autobiography. I always used to say that a Jackie Collins autobiography would be one of the best ever written.

If you want to achieve your dreams, you must follow them, and the best way to follow them is not to think about wanting to be very rich, but to think about doing something that you really want to do.

I used to love watching Jackie being interviewed. What was always clear was how much she loved life. It's often something that is said when a person passes away, but with Jackie I really understand just what the statement really means. I now have a huge regret that I was unable to attend her last event in London in September, sadly time constraints and life itself got in the way but still, she was a true star and a truly hardworking author who always had time for her fans and what I've always loved is the passion for which she spoke about her books, and how she promoted them so well. I also love how active she was on Twitter and, despite some of the brilliant things that have happened to me since I started the blog in 2014, Jackie Collins showing up in my notifications whether replying, retweeting or with a favourite remains a real highlight. I think I hyperventilated when it first happened! And don't even get me started about when she wished me Happy Birthday! I really am filled with great sadness at the thought of the world losing such a wonderful and much-loved lady. I guess some might find it strange, but I really am heartbroken and hopefully fellow book lovers will understand that. And there's one thing that I know for sure, there will never ever be another author that does it as well as Jackie Collins did. There's some good imitators out there, but nothing is ever better than the original.


I have this theory that people in Hollywood don't read. They read 'Vanity Fair' and then consider themselves terribly well read. I think I can basically write about anybody without getting caught.

This is one of my favourite Jackie Collins interviews, and is really worth watching...

 

(UPDATED 11/09) My Week in Books #36 (Month #8) and A Blog Break

Sunday, 30 August 2015 2 comments
A Blog Break

It is with some regret that I edit this post to update people on my blog break. Originally the break was meant to be for a month with the idea of returning with some reviews in October. I have spent the past few months reading books that have been on my TBR for ages and, despite enjoying them, I found it a chore to review them when really, I just wanted to read. The blog took up a lot of hours and if I'm honest, it probably started to take over my life a little bit too much.

With most of my solicited review books reviewed, I think it's time for me to take a longer than planned break (I am not quitting blogging forever, and you can keep up with my reading progress on Goodreads) to remember why I fell in love with reading in the first place. I will still be around on Twitter occasionally and hope to keep the blogging friends I have made over the past year! Any emails about the blog will not be replied to.

Review: The Girl Who Broke the Rules by Marnie Riches

Saturday, 29 August 2015 0 comments
Title: The Girl Who Broke the Rules
Author: Marnie Riches
Publisher: Maze
Publication Date: 20th August 2015
Pages: 391
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4.5/5
Purchase: Amazon
When the mutilated bodies of two sex-workers are found in Amsterdam, Chief Inspector van den Bergen must find a brutal murderer before the red-light-district erupts into panic.

Georgina McKenzie is conducting research into pornography among the UK’s most violent sex-offenders but once van den Bergen calls on her criminology expertise, she is only too happy to come running.

The rising death toll forces George and van den Bergen to navigate the labyrinthine worlds of Soho strip-club sleaze and trans-national human trafficking. And with the case growing ever more complicated, George must walk the halls of Broadmoor psychiatric hospital, seeking advice from the brilliant serial murderer, Dr. Silas Holm…

Review: Frantic by Katherine Howell

Wednesday, 26 August 2015 0 comments
Title: Frantic
Author: Katherine Howell
Publisher: Pan
Publication Date: 23rd November 2010
Pages: 372
Source: Purchased
Rating: 3.5/5
Purchase: Amazon
There are worse things than death, though Paramedic Sophie Phillips doesn't think so. She and her work partner constantly revise a list of the worst ways to die, holding the number 1 spot vacant for the death so terrible even they can't imagine it. But Sophie is sure it will cross her path on the streets of Sydney one day.

When Sophie's police officer husband Chris is shot and their baby is kidnapped, Detective Ella Marconi has to fight to get to the truth. Is it revenge by a bereaved father for Sophie's recent failure to save his wife and newborn baby? Or was Chris somehow involved in the police corruption that appears rife in the city?

When the police fail to trace Sophie's son, she takes matters into her own hands and now that she's realised there are worse things than death, nothing will stop her from finding him.

Review: The Twelfth Card by Jeffery Deaver

Tuesday, 25 August 2015 0 comments
Title: The Twelfth Card (Lincoln Rhyme, #6)
Author: Jeffery Deaver
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication Date: 18th September 2008 (Kindle) / 1st August 2005 (HB)
Pages: 548
Source: Purchased
Rating: 3.5/5
Purchase: Amazon
Sixteen-year-old Geneva Settle is running from death. She's just a bright high school student researching a paper on one of her ancestors, but someone sees her as a threat. Someone who will stop at nothing to prevent her from digging up the past. Someone on a mission to kill.

Lincoln Rhyme and his partner Amelia Sachs are called to the case. They've tracked down some of the world's most brilliant criminals, but this particular hunt is posing more questions than answers. Where will their prey strike next? What is the historic secret he's so desperate to protect? And how can anyone catch a killer who leaves no trace?

Review: The Murder Wall by Mari Hannah

Monday, 24 August 2015 0 comments
Title: The Murder Wall
Author: Mari Hannah
Publisher: Pan
Publication Date: 12th April 2012
Pages: 464
ISBN: 9780330539937
Source: Purchased
Rating: 3.5/5
Purchase: Amazon
Eleven months after discovering a brutal double murder in a sleepy Northumbrian town, Detective Chief Inspector Kate Daniels is still haunted by her failure to solve the case. Then the brutal killing of a man on Newcastle’s Quayside gives Daniels another chance to get it right, and her first case as Senior Investigating Officer.

When Daniels recognises the corpse, but fails to disclose the fact, her personal life swerves dangerously into her professional life. But much worse, she is now being watched.

As Daniels steps closer to finding a killer, a killer is only a breath away from claiming his next victim...

My Week in Books #35

Sunday, 23 August 2015 3 comments
Goodreads Target


I haven't read much this week and what I am reading is my own books. Books I've owned for ages, or that I've just wanted to read for ages. Not sure what this means for the blog going forward. I am still reviewing them, but probably less in-depth than I do books sent for review. I do have a couple of blog tours coming up and do receive the odd unsolicited review book but for the moment I'm concentrating on reading solely for enjoyment.

From the Archive Review: The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

Friday, 21 August 2015 0 comments
Title: The One Plus One
Author: Jojo Moyes
Publisher: Penguin
Reviewed on Goodreads: 19th August 2013
Publication Date: 27th February 2014
Pages: 544
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 5/5
Purchase: Amazon
One single mum: With two jobs and two children, Jess Thomas does her best day after day. But it's hard on your own. And sometimes you take risks you shouldn't. Because you have to...

One chaotic family: Jess's gifted, quirky daughter Tanzie is brilliant with numbers, but without a helping hand she'll never get the chance to shine. And Nicky, Jess's teenage stepson, can't fight the bullies alone. Sometimes Jess feels like they're sinking...

One handsome stranger: Into their lives comes Ed Nicholls, a man whose life is in chaos, and who is running from a deeply uncertain future. But he has time on his hands. He knows what it's like to be lonely. And he wants to help...

One unexpected love story: The One Plus One is a captivating and unconventional romance from Jojo Moyes about two lost souls meeting in the most unlikely circumstances.

Review: Danny Dyer: East End Boy: The Unauthorized Biography by Joe Allan

Thursday, 20 August 2015 0 comments
Title: Danny Dyer: East End Boy
Author: Joe Allan
Publisher: Michael O'Mara
Publication Date: 25th September 2014
Pages: 224
Source: Purchased
Rating: 3.5/5
Purchase: Amazon
Danny Dyer is one of the most recognizable names in British film and television. Best known for hard-man roles in Mean Machine and The Football Factory, Danny is now making headlines as Mick Carter, the landlord of the iconic Queen Victoria pub in EastEnders.

Yet, as his new soap role shows, there is a softer side to the stereotype many have of him. These days a committed family man and hard-working chairman of Greenwich Borough Football Club, Danny had to overcome a lot of obstacles on his way - some provided by growing up in the tough environment of East London in the eighties, some he put in his own way as early successes went to his head. Drink, drugs and scandal were never far away, but such fast-living had its price. With his career flagging and his relationships with his family in jeopardy, it was time for him to turn himself around.

Danny Dyer: The Unauthorized Biography tells the full up-to-date story of TV's tough guy. From his early years in London's Canning Town to his first breaks as a teen actor to his fascinating new role on EastEnders, this book will examine the real man under the hard-man mask, going behind the scenes of his film, television and theatre work, not to mention the bar of the Queen Vic.

Review: Private Sydney by James Patterson

Wednesday, 19 August 2015 0 comments
Title: Private Sydney
Author: James Patterson & Kathryn Fox
Publisher: Cornerstone Digital
Publication Date: 13th August 2015
Pages: 352
Source: Purchased
Rating: 3/5
Purchase: Amazon
Even for Private Investigations, the world’s top detective agency, it’s tough to find a man who doesn’t exist...

Craig Gisto has promised Eliza Moss that his elite team at Private Sydney will investigate the disappearance of her father. After all, as CEO of a high-profile research company, Eric Moss shouldn’t be difficult to find.

Except it’s not just the man who’s gone missing. Despite the most advanced technology at their disposal, they find every trace of him has vanished too.

And they aren’t the only ones on the hunt. Powerful figures want Moss to stay ‘lost’, while others just as ruthlessly want him found.

Meanwhile, a routine background check becomes a frantic race to find a stolen baby and catch a brutal killer – a killer Private may well have sent straight to the victim’s door...

Review: Untouchable by Ava Marsh

Tuesday, 18 August 2015 0 comments
Title: Untouchable
Author: Ava Marsh
Publisher: Transworld
Publication Date: 7th May 2015
Pages: 384
Source: Purchased
Rating: 4/5
Purchase: Amazon
Stella is an escort, immersed in a world of desire, betrayal and secrets. It’s exactly where she wants to be. Stella used to be someone else: respectable, loved, safe. But one mistake changed all that.

When a fellow call girl is murdered, Stella has a choice: forget what she’s seen, or risk everything to get justice for her friend. In her line of work, she’s never far from the edge, but pursuing the truth could take her past the point of no return.

Nothing is off limits. Not for her – and not for them.

But no one is truly untouchable.

Review: City of Fire by Robert Ellis

Monday, 17 August 2015 0 comments
Title: City of Fire
Author: Robert Ellis
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publication Date: 23rd November 2010
Pages: 380
Source: Purchased
Rating: 4/5
Purchase: Amazon
When a businessman arrives home to find his wife in bed, carved from belly to throat with a very sharp knife, the elite Robbery-Homicide division of the L.A.P.D responds in full force and Detective Lena Gamble prepares for her first major case.

At first all fingers point towards the victim’s husband, but best-case scenarios only happen in films and it soon transpires that this murder is one of a series of brutal crimes against women and the work of a killer dubbed ‘Romeo’ by the ravenous Hollywood media.

Lena is all too aware of the peril of the public eye - she has found herself in it before, on the night of her rock-star brother’s unsolved murder five years ago. And now she risks a far more dangerous fame as a cloud of conspiracy descends on her investigation and she edges towards Romeo’s deadly line of sight . . .Lena must catch this psychopath before she becomes his next glamorous victim...

Review: The Good Life by Martina Cole

Friday, 14 August 2015 3 comments
Title: The Good Life
Author: Martina Cole
Publisher: Headline
Publication Date: 9th October 2014
Pages: 450
Source: Purchased
Rating: 1/5
Purchase: Amazon
Jenny is not just any girl. She cares nothing for Cain's hard-man reputation - she just wants to be with him.

But Cain is not a free man. And he's about to find out that when his wife Caroline said 'til death us do part, she meant it.

When Cain is sentenced to life in prison it seems that Caroline might have got her wish. All Cain and Jenny know is that if their love can survive such separation, then one day they will have a chance at the Good Life together again.

But there are greater trials ahead than either can foresee. They're about to learn the hardest lesson of all:

LIVE THE GOOD LIFE. PAY THE PRICE.

Review: Malicious Intent by Kathryn Fox

Thursday, 13 August 2015 0 comments
Title: Malicious Intent
Author: Kathryn Fox
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication Date: 7th November 2005
Pages: 484
Source: Purchased
Rating: 3.5/5
Purchase: Amazon
Dr Anya Crichton, a pathologist and forensic physician, finds that work is sparse for the only female freelancer in the field. Between paying child support, a mortgage and struggling to get her business off the ground, Anya can't yet afford to fight her ex-husband for custody of their three-year-old son, Ben. When Anya is asked to look into the seemingly innocent suicide of a teenager, Anya notices similarities between the girl's death and several other cases she is working on with her friend and colleague, Detective Sergeant Kate Farrer. All the victims went missing for a period of time, only to be found dead of apparent suicide in most unusual circumstances. As Anya delves deeper, the pathological findings point to the frightening possibility that the deaths are not only linked, but part of a sinister plot. Nothing can prepare her for the terrifying truth...

Review: Striker by Michelle Betham

Wednesday, 12 August 2015 0 comments
Title: Striker
Author: Michelle Betham
Publisher: HarperImpulse
Publication Date: 5th June 2014
Pages: 639
Source: Purchased
Rating: 3.5/5
Purchase: Amazon
Amber Sullivan is an ambitious, beautiful and feisty Sports reporter for a local TV news programme. With an ex-professional soccer player for a father, she’s grown up in and around the world of premiership football, and boy does she know better than to get mixed up with the men who play the game. As rich and charming as they are, Amber has a strict no player rule.

One of the biggest names in football, Ryan Fisher is young, hot, and talented. He has it all – looks, fame, money; not to mention women falling at his over-insured feet and a lifestyle he’s in no hurry to give up.

At the centre of a multi-million-pound transfer deal back to his home club, Ryan’s a big scoop for a local sports journalist and Amber can’t afford to miss this career-making opportunity – even if that means having to interview the cocky sports star.

But once the tape starts rolling it’s clear Ryan’s got more than just an exclusive on his mind… and he’s used to getting exactly what he wants.

Review: The Wrong Man by Jason Dean

Tuesday, 11 August 2015 0 comments
Title: The Wrong Man (James Bishop, #1)
Author: Jason Dean
Publisher: Headline
Publication Date: 10th May 2012
Pages: 350
Source: Purchased
Rating: 3.5/5
Purchase: Amazon
Thinking. Planning. Waiting for the perfect moment. Former Marine James Bishop will only have one opportunity to make his prison break. And one chance to prove that he isn't responsible for the murders that put him inside.

Three years ago Bishop was the leader of an elite close protection team hired to protect a millionaire and his daughter. After being attacked, Bishop regained consciousness to find seven bodies strewn throughout the millionaire's Long Island mansion - including those of his two charges - and a mountain of evidence guaranteed to send him down for murder.

But to find out who set him up and why, Bishop needs to be free. And now the time has come to make his move. Prepare yourself for the most exciting debut thriller of the year...

Review: Mile High by Rebecca Chance

Monday, 10 August 2015 0 comments
Title: Mile High
Author: Rebecca Chance
Publisher: Pan
Publication Date: 13th August 2015
Pages: 400
ISBN: 9781447282846
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3.5/5
Purchase: Amazon
First class is about to get dangerous...

Pure Air's new LuxeLiner is flying from London to LA - its inaugural journey - with a first-class cabin packed with A List celebrities. As the feuding crew compete to impress their famous passengers, the handsome pilot tries to win the attention of a pretty young stewardess.

But one VIP singer is battling something seriously sinister: watching her every step is a very determined stalker, someone who will go to any lengths to get the star to satisfy their desires. At thirty thousand feet there is nowhere to run, and nowhere to hide...

Review: Locked In by Kerry Wilkinson

Friday, 7 August 2015 0 comments
Title: Locked In
Author: Kerry Wilkinson
Publisher: Pan
Publication Date: 14th February 2003
Pages: 400
ISBN: 9781447225645
Source: Purchased
Rating: 3.5/5
Purchase: Amazon
The first in the Jessica Daniel series, Locked In is the number one bestselling crime thriller from Kerry Wilkinson.

When a body is found in a locked house, Detective Sergeant Jessica Daniel is left to not only find the killer but discover how they got in and out.

With little in the way of leads and a journalist that seems to know more about the case than she does, Jessica is already feeling the pressure - and that's before a second body shows up in identical circumstances to the first.

How can a murderer get to victims in seemingly impossible situations and what, if anything, links the bodies?

Review: Partners in Crime: Two Logan and Steel Short Stories by Stuart MacBride

Thursday, 6 August 2015 0 comments
Title: Partners in Crime: Two Logan and Steel Short Stories
Author: Stuart MacBride
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: 22nd November 2012
Pages: 81
Source: Purchased
Rating: 3.5/5
Purchase: Amazon
STRAMASH:
Something fishy is happening on the isle of Jura.

DS Logan McRae gets a phone call from DI Steel ordering him to come to the island at once. One freezing night’s sleep in a hatchback and two storm-battered ferries later, Logan arrives – but there’s no sign of Steel.

She's lumped him in the middle of a policing nightmare, with bodies, and bullets, and tiny wee boats. And a dangerous hard man who’s meant to be dead…

DI STEEL’S BAD HEIR DAY:
Why is DI Steel in an even worse mood than usual?

Is it because it’s Christmas? Or maybe it's because the missing persons case she’s just caught looks like a hoax from a mile off? Or is it because she’s just been left a huge amount of money…?

One thing’s for certain: Steel’s having a bad day, and she’s hell bent on making sure Constable Guthrie has one too.

Review: The Cherry Tree Cafe by Heidi Swain

Wednesday, 5 August 2015 0 comments
Title: The Cherry Tree Cafe
Author: Heidi Swain
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Publication Date: 16th July 2015
Source: NetGalley
Rating: 3/5
Purchase: Amazon
Cupcakes, crafting and love at The Cherry Tree Cafe...

Lizzie Dixon's life feels as though it's fallen apart. Instead of the marriage proposal she was hoping for from her boyfriend, she is unceremoniously dumped, and her job is about to go the same way. So, there's only one option: to go back home to the village she grew up in and to try to start again.

Her best friend Jemma is delighted Lizzie has come back home. She has just bought a little cafe and needs help in getting it ready for the grand opening. And Lizzie's sewing skills are just what she needs.

With a new venture and a new home, things are looking much brighter for Lizzie. But can she get over her broken heart, and will an old flame reignite a love from long ago...?

Review: This Time Round by Ray Quinn

Tuesday, 4 August 2015 0 comments
Title: This Time Round
Author: Ray Quinn
Publisher: Percy Publishing
Publication Date: 4th March 2015
Pages: 188
Source: Library
Rating: 5/5
Purchase: Amazon
They say it's all about timing. We,, the time has come for me to stand back and take a look at my life so far - where I've been, what I've achieved, and where I want to go in the future.

I've been blessed with a full and coloruful career so far, covering TV, theatre, dancing, singing and skating. Now 26, I intend to focus on my greatest passion - music. If I've learned anything so far, it's that life doesn't wait for anyone; you have to take control of your own destiny.

This is the story of how I grew up in Liverpool, with my acting and dancing days, and how I coped with the overwhelming demands of the X Factor and Dancing on Ice. Much of that story was ignored by the media: a lot that people don't know.

'This Time Round' is something of a cautionary tale. Maybe reading about my own highs and lows will enlighten some of you who want to become part of the entertainment industry - all those who dare to dream.

Review: Dexter Is Dead by Jeff Lindsay

Monday, 3 August 2015 0 comments
Title: Dexter Is Dead
Author: Jeff Lindsay
Publisher: Orion
Publication Date: 30th July 2015
Pages: 306
Source: Purchased
Rating: 4/5
Purchase: Amazon
Dexter has finally been caught and brought to justice - for three murders he didn't commit. Proving his innocence is made quite difficult by the fact that the true killer, Robert Chase, is one of the 'victims' he's accused of murdering.

To make matters worse, Dexter's once loyal sister Deborah disowns him and adamantly refuses to help with his investigation. Furious but undeterred, Dexter connects Chase to a resort with a dark underbelly. When the resort becomes aware of his discoveries, children of the police force begin disappearing. Deborah is made lead investigating officer and still refuses to return to Dexter.

However, when the kidnappers take both Dexter's and her own children, she has no option but to beg for his help. Dexter triumphantly agrees, and the hunt begins...

Review: The Hiding Place by John Burley

Sunday, 2 August 2015 0 comments
Title: The Hiding Place
Author: John Burley
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: 30th July 2015
Pages: 355
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3.5/5
Purchase: Amazon
Dr Lise Shields works with the most deadly criminals in America. At Menaker psychiatric hospital all are guilty and no one ever leaves. Then she meets Jason Edwards.

Jason is an anomaly. No transfer order, no patient history, no paperwork at all. Is he really guilty of the horrific crimes he’s been sentenced for?

Caught up in a web of unanswered questions and hastily concealed injustices, the spotlight begins to shine on Lise. She’s being watched, and the doors of Menaker psychiatric hospital are closing in.

In Lise’s quest to discover the truth, is there anywhere left to hide?

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