Search

Go Buy The Book

Month

December 2019

My Books of 2019

2019 has seen some amazing books being published and it has been hard to find my favourite ten out of all of the great books that I have read. Yesterday, I finished an amazing book, Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton, but I’ve decided that, as it isn’t published until January 9th, I will save it for next year’s list!  After much deliberation, this is my list, in no particular order.

First Blood by Angela Marsons

Bookouture published a surprise sequel to the Kim Stone series and what an absolute corker is is! Great for existing fans of this series but, also, a great introduction for anyone who hasn’t yet read any of the previous books.

 

All His Pretty Girls by Charly Cox

As someone who isn’t a huge fan of police procedurals set in the USA, this debut completely blew me away. With a breathtaking, fast-paced serial killer plot, I really hope this isn’t the last we see of Detective Alyssa Wyatt.

 

Sleep by C L Taylor

With a claustrophobic plot reminiscent of a modern-day Agatha Christie novel, Sleep was one of those books that definitely lived up to the online hype. A tense thriller with some great twists.

 

Avaline Saddlebags by Netta Newbound & Marcus Brown

This graphic serial killer novel was like a breath of fresh air with its gritty plot and light-hearted moments. I am sincerely hoping that we see more of the likeable DI Dylan Monroe.

 

The Guilty Mother by Diane Jeffrey

This twisty tale of a potential miscarriage of justice is one of those books where no matter how hard you try to figure it out, there is always a nagging doubt at the back of your mind. The ending genuinely made me gasp!

 

On My Life by Angela Clarke

This well-researched novel about a possible miscarriage of justice and life inside a women’s prison is one of those plots that will stay with me for a long time to come. I’ve loved all of this author’s books but this one is special.

 

Twisted by Steve Cavanagh

If awards were being given out for the most apt title, then this would definitely win! Just when you think you have it all worked out, Steve Cavanagh hits you with yet another twist and makes you rethink everything once again!

 

Their Little Secret by Mark Billingham

This, the sixteenth book in the DI Thorne series, is probably one of my favourites. Do we always know the people closest to us?

 

The Body in the Mist by Nick Louth

This is the third book in the DCI Craig Gillard series but, if you haven’t read the previous books, it can be read as a standalone. This story of a hit and run and the exposure of decades-old family secrets is one that you can immediately visualise on the small screen.

 

Your Deepest Fear by David Jackson

The one that all fans of the Nathan Cody series had been waiting for – we found out more about the clowns! If you haven’t read any of this series, I cannot recommend it highly enough!

 

I’d love to know your thoughts. Are any of these books on your ‘best of…’ list?

First Blood by Angela Marsons

When the body of a man is found, brutally mutilated and beheaded, the police are disturbed to find a young girl’s bedroom and a concealed laptop at his home. With his sister seemingly overjoyed at the demise of her brother, it is apparent that there are hidden secrets in this house. When Detective Kim Stone makes a connection to another case, it is up to her and her newly-gathered team to prove that there is a serial killer in operation. Will they be able to apprehend the murderer before more blood is spilt?

Well, this was definitely a surprise! As a huge fan of Angela Marsons’ Kim Stone series, I wasn’t expecting another book this year and I certainly wasn’t expecting a prequel! First Blood is the book we didn’t know we needed, but now it is apparent that we obviously did!

In Kim and her team, we already have a good understanding of what makes each of her characters tick, but now, we have had the opportunity to see how they got to where they are. Kim, we discover, has worked her way around numerous police stations, her attitude preventing her from being able to call any of them her own. Her new team are a real mish-mash of officers: Bryant is good at his job but unwilling to climb any further up the promotion ladder whereas Dawson is full of ambition and keen to take any glory. The final member of the team, Stacey is a new detective, eager to impress. I loved finding out more about these characters, and was especially delighted to see one that I didn’t think we’d meet again!

Perhaps the biggest revelation to me was the backstory of Kim’s boss, Woody. Although he has featured prominently in the series, I developed a new-found respect for him in this book and will certainly view him more favourably in subsequent books!

The plot is a very emotive one dealing with abuse, both domestic and child abuse. In some chapters, we hear from an unknown person, who is seemingly on some sort of vigilante mission. Although the murders are quite barbaric, Angela Marsons has succeeded in making you feel some sympathy towards the killer as it is apparent that they have, themselves, suffered in the past. There are a few twists along the way and I was genuinely surprised when the killer was revealed, even if there were some clues along the way!

Each time I read the next Kim Stone book, I wonder how Angela Marsons manages to keep up the quality and she has done it yet again with First Blood. This was a great pre-Christmas present to all of her fans, and I can’t wait for the next one!

Read my reviews of the rest of the series:

Silent Scream

Evil Games

Lost Girls

Play Dead

Blood Lines

Dead Souls

Broken Bones

Dying Truth

Fatal Promise

Dead Memories

Child’s Play

 

 

The Merchant’s Daughter by M J Lee

When a DNA test reveals that the famous actress Rachel Marlowe has African ancestry, she calls upon genealogist Jayne Sinclair to try to discover more about this mysterious antecedent. With a family line that dates back to William the Conqueror, Rachel’s family are reluctant to believe the science, convinced that there must be some error. With a short timescale in which to solve the mystery, Jayne’s research is made even more difficult with the realisation that someone will stop at nothing, even serious injury, to prevent her from discovering the truth.

The Merchant’s Daughter is the seventh of the Jayne Sinclair series and is probably one of my favourites to date. With more and more people having their DNA analysed on sites such as Ancestry, this is a very topical plot and one that all people (like me) who have done such a test will find fascinating.

Like in previous books in the series, the story is told in two time frames, in this case Jayne’s present-day investigations and the sugar plantations of the Caribbean. One of the things I like most about this series is the historical aspect, and the author’s willingness to write about what could be termed a controversial subject. As someone with a connection to the slave trade in their family, I found the plot a fascinating one and am glad that books like this are being written so that we never forget the barbaric treatment of these people.

The main historical protagonist is Emily Roylance, a character whom I immediately warmed to. I thought it was a clever idea to have Emily tell her story via her memoirs as this helped the plot to move on quickly and made me desperate to know the circumstances behind her being where she was. In a book full of unpleasant characters, Emily’s strength and courage shone through.

The most pleasant surprise for me was how much of the story was set in my home city of Liverpool. M J Lee has certainly created an accurate picture of the life of the wealthy and I could visualise Hope Street at the time when Liverpool was profiting from the slave trade. Similarly, I was pleased to see Jayne visiting the International Slavery Museum, somewhere I have been several times and a place which definitely opens a person’s eyes with regard to the treatment of such people.

I really did enjoy The Merchant’s Daughter as not only does it discuss an important aspect of British history, but it is a fast-paced read with a great mystery. I can’t wait to see what era the author decides to tackle next!

Take a look at my reviews of the rest of the series:

The Irish Inheritance

The Somme Legacy

The American Candidate

The Vanished Child

The Silent Christmas

The Sinclair Betrayal

Gone by Leona Deakin

When a woman goes missing, the police are reluctant to investigate, especially as she has a history of leaving the family home. This seems different, though, and psychologist Dr. Augusta Bloom and her partner, Marcus, begin an investigation. When they discover that other people have vanished in similar circumstances, each of them receiving a birthday card with an invitation to play an unknown game, Bloom begins to realise that there is something larger at play. Who is behind the cards and what is their motive? When she makes a connection between the ‘victims’, her fears become real – they aren’t the ones who are in danger, they are the ones we should be scared of…

This is one of those books which, after reading the blurb, piqued my interest straight away as, although it was about missing people, there was definitely a huge twist. Just what would make these people voluntarily leave their lives behind them, as there seemed no evidence that they had been coerced in any way. I liked how we were kept waiting for quite a while before the connection between the missing people was revealed as this really kept my brain ticking over as I tried to work out what was going on! When the truth was revealed, this definitely ramped up the tension as I began to understand the twisted nature of what was happening.

There is a second story running alongside this one, as we meet Seraphine, a schoolgirl who has been been involved in an incident at school which has left a man fighting for his life. Throughout these chapters, I felt as though I developed a better understanding of Dr. Bloom’s professional life as she worked with Seraphine to find out the truth about what really happened that day. Seraphine was a fascinating character and I enjoyed the insight into her world as she shared her asides.

If you are one of these people that completes quizzes on Facebook, (you know the ones – What is your spirit animal? What song are you?…) then this book will seriously make you think about doing one of them ever again! I have always been wary of things like this due to data mining, but Gone takes this to another level! Very scary!

Gone is a genuinely thrilling book with a novel plot. I liked how the threads all tied together nicely and I raced through the book, desperate to see how it would end. I really enjoyed this introduction to Augusta Bloom and Marcus Jameson and will be definitely be looking forward to any further books by Leona Deakin.

With thanks to Hayley Barnes for my copy of Gone.

 

 

What She Saw Last Night by Mason Cross

Heading to Scotland on the Caledonian Sleeper, Jenny Bowen encounters a stressed woman and a girl she assumes is her daughter. Not giving them a second thought, she locates her compartment only to wake during the night and find the body of the woman, seemingly the victim of an overdose. After speaking to the police, Jenny realises that there is a bigger mystery – where is the young girl? With no CCTV footage of her entering the train, she finds the authorities reluctant to believe her story. Jenny knows, though, what she saw and she will not rest until she knows exactly what happened on the train.

What She Saw Last Night has been on my radar ever since hearing the author mention it on the Two Crimewriters and a Microphone podcast. As a huge fan of Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes, which tells the story of a woman who seemingly goes missing on a train, my interest was definitely piqued and I could not wait to read it.

The book starts off with a great mystery that really gets you thinking. We know that Jenny has seen the woman and the child on the train, but why is there no CCTV footage showing them either entering or exiting the train? I really felt for Jenny as she knows exactly what she saw, but with no one to believe her, you could forgive her for beginning to doubt herself. I was pleased that she found an ally in Mike, one of the detectives on the case, who realised that there may be something to her story, despite his superiors being keen to draw a line under it.

Once Jenny starts her own investigation, we see the story take a dramatic turn as she finds herself in grave danger due to what she uncovers. There were times when I wanted to shake her due to the reckless nature of some of her actions, but, conversely, times when I applauded her bravery and determination to find out what had happened to the little girl. We find the plot becoming like a cat and mouse chase as Jenny soon finds herself fleeing from someone she has met previously. There were several heart in mouth moments as we see her racing through the streets and Underground of London, desperately trying to evade a particularly nasty killer.

One event in particular made me gasp, and I had to put the book down for a while while I came to terms with what I had just read. Although shocking, this was a great twist, and something that I definitely did not see coming.

What She Saw Last Night is a fast-paced, exciting read with numerous twists and turns to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

With thanks to Orion and Net Galley for my copy.

**BLOG TOUR** First in the Fight by Helen Antrobus and Andrew Simcock

In 2018, a statue of Emmeline Pankhurst was unveiled in St. Peter’s Square, Manchester, 100 years after some women first received the right to vote. Prior to this, a list of 20 pioneering women of Manchester had been drawn up, the aim being to commemorate the role women have played in the city. First in the Fight tells the story of these women, some of them well-known, others virtually unheard of, each of them powerhouses in their field.

Being from Liverpool, if I were asked to think of pioneering women from the north-west of England, my initial response would be the likes of Bessie Braddock, Kitty Wilkinson and Eleanor Rathbone, all known for their work in my home city. As someone interested in social history, I was pleased, therefore, to be given the opportunity to expand my horizons and discover more about the women that made Manchester.

I really like how this book is organised as this made it very easy to read. Each woman had a chapter devoted to her, written in an informative and stirring way with wonderful colour illustrations that really brought each subject to life. I also enjoyed reading about how the project came into being, each step being documented with photographs to show the journey from beginning to end.

Of course, no book on this subject would be worth its weight in salt if it did not discuss the lives of, arguably, the most influential women in Britain’s recent history – the Suffragettes. The Pankhursts, Emmeline, Christabel and Sylvia, are all covered, but it was, perhaps, the likes of Margaret Ashton that interested me the most. The lives of the Pankhursts have been well-documented, but I found it fascinating to read about those women who very few of us will have heard of.

After reading about these amazing Mancunian women and the significant roles they played in society, I’d love this to be part of a series with women from other cities highlighted as there are lots of untold stories out there. This is a superb book and one that I know I will be returning to in the future.

To buy your own copy of First in the Fight, visit https://inostalgia.co.uk/product/first-in-the-fight/ 

With thanks to iNostalgia and to Kelly from Love Books Group for organising the blog tour.

 

**BLOG TOUR** Death at Eden’s End by Jo Allen

When 100-year-old nursing home resident, Violet Ross, is found dead, it seems like, although a tragedy, it is just a case of demise due to old age. One member of staff, however, is concerned by the haste to draw a line under the incident, feeling that a post mortem should be carried out on the old, but otherwise healthy, woman. In an environment where everyone seems to be hiding something, DCI Jude Satterthwaite and DS Ashleigh O’Halloran must uncover an age-old secret before another person is found dead.

Death at Eden’s End is the second in the Jude Satterthwaite series, the first being Death by Dark Waters. I felt that the previous book served as a good introduction to the series, introducing the characters but leaving us wanting more. I was pleased that in this book, we get to find out more about Jude, and feel that he became much more of a rounded character. Similarly, we previously found out some of Ashleigh’s backstory and this was expanded upon here with the introduction of a character from her past. As a result, I definitely developed more of a connection to Jude and Ashleigh than I did in the previous book.

I really enjoyed the setting for the murder, especially as the victim seemed an unlikely one. It was apparent from the start that all was not well at Eden’s End, the Lake District nursing home, with an abundance of characters who seemed to be hiding something and had the opportunity to carry out the murder. This is definitely a book about secrets and we soon realise that Violet was hiding some major ones of her own. With a plot that takes us right back to World War Two, and the subsequent consequences of a person’s actions, there were plenty of twists and turns to hold my attention and make me desperate to find out the culprit and discover what their motive was. Although I deduced part of the plot, I didn’t work out who the killer was and was shocked when all was revealed.

I really enjoyed Death at Eden’s End, and feel that this was even better than the previous book. I’m already looking forward to the next one!

With thanks to Aria Fiction and Net Galley for my copy and to Vicky Joss for organising the blog tour.

Buy links:

 Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Q67Knr

Google Play: https://bit.ly/2LrQJ2P

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2Loiucm

iBooks: https://apple.co/35LzYqq

 

**BLOG TOUR** Ruby by Heather Burnside

I’m really pleased to be one of the blogs on the tour for Ruby, the latest book from Heather Burnside, and I’m thrilled to be able to share an extract with you.  Heather spent her teenage years on one of the toughest estates in Manchester and she draws heavily on this background as the setting for many of her novels. If you are a fan of Martina Cole or Kimberley Chambers, then Ruby could just be the book for you!

Follow Heather:

Facebook: @HeatherBurnsideAuthor

Twitter: @heatherbwriter

Website: https://heatherburnside.com/

The Blurb

The stronger sex.

Ruby has always been strong. Growing up with a feeble mother and an absent father, she is forced to fight the battles of her younger siblings. And when a childhood experience leaves her traumatised, her distrust of men turns to hatred.

On the streets.

With no safe place to call home, Ruby is desperate to fit in with the tough crowd. She spends her teenage years sleeping around and drinking in the park, and by the time she is sixteen, prostitution has become a way of life. But Ruby has ambitions, and she soon moves up the ladder to become the madam of her own brothel.

The brothel.

But being in charge of a brothel has its down sides, Ruby faces her worst nightmare when an enemy from the past comes back into her life, and gang intimidation threatens to ruin everything. Can she find a way to beat her tormentors? And will she be strong enough to see it through?

The Extract

 

August 1991

Nine-year-old Trina was helping her mother, Daisy, with the housework. As they worked, they both sang along to Tracy Chapman while two of Trina’s younger brothers were playing noisily, drowning out the sound of the stereo.

‘Shut up your noise!’ shouted Daisy, her Jamaican accent still pronounced after more than twenty years in the UK. ‘I can’t hear meself think.’

The two boys stopped their play-fighting, looked at each other and giggled.

‘Get up the stairs,’ said Daisy, clicking her tongue in annoyance.

‘No, we want to play out,’ said Ellis, the older of the two boys.

‘Go on, and take Tyler with you,’ said Daisy.

Trina looked across at her youngest brother, Tyler, quietly playing with his battered toy cars in a corner of the room. He was so different from the other two, Ellis and Jarell, who could be such a handful.

‘Go on, hurry up,’ said Daisy. ‘Let me get me work done.’

Trina put down the duster she was using and walked over to Tyler, ready to take him by the hand.

‘No! Not you, Trina,’ said her mother. ‘I need your help.’

‘But who’s gonna look after him?’ asked Trina.

‘Them two can,’ said Daisy.

Catching the expression on her mother’s face, Trina knew she wasn’t in the mood for arguments. She picked her duster back up and carried on with what she was doing, despite her qualms about the ability of Ellis and Jarell to look after Tyler, who was only three.

Usually the responsibility fell on Trina to look out for her three younger brothers – Ellis, aged seven, six-year-old Jarell, and Tyler – when her mother was busy cooking, shopping or washing. But today was cleaning day and Daisy often asked Trina for help. It seemed to Trina that her mother was overwhelmed with the amount of work involved in looking after a three-bedroomed house and four children. Nevertheless, she undertook her tasks every Saturday without failure, not happy till every surface was dusted, hoovered and cleaned.

Daisy was a respectable woman who took pride in having a clean home. Despite her status as a single parent on benefits, she did her best to maintain her high standards and set a good example to her children. She was an attractive woman in her thirties, of average height and with a womanly figure. Trina took after her mother in looks, but not in height for she was very tall for her age, something she had gained from her absent father.

Trina looked up from her dusting as the boys dashed excitedly to the front door. She was envious of them. It didn’t seem fair that she should have to stay and help her mother while the boys got to play outside. But that’s the way it was and she had long ago come to accept her status as the oldest child. Not only was she the oldest but she was also a girl, which made a difference as far as her mother was concerned. Girls helped with the housework; boys did not.

‘And keep a tight hold on him!’ Daisy shouted to her two eldest boys as they fled out through the front door.

They were no sooner outside than there was a knock on the door. Daisy clicked her tongue again.

‘What on earth’s the matter!’ she called, trying to ignore it.

There was a second knock. Trina said, ‘I’ll get it, Mam,’ happy to put down her duster again.

But before she got the chance, they heard a man’s voice outside. ‘Daisy! I know you’re in there so answer the door,’ he shouted.

Trina continued making her way towards the front door till she felt her mother’s sharp pull on her shoulder.

‘No,’ she whispered. ‘Get behind the curtain. Don’t let him see you or there’ll be hell to pay.’

Alarmed, Trina quickly took her place with her mother, standing to one side of the open curtains so they couldn’t be seen through the window. Daisy was busy peering through a gap at the edge of the curtains. A shadow fell across the window and the man’s voice came closer.

‘Open the door, Daisy! I know you’re in there. I’ve just seen the children leave,’ shouted the man.

A look of concern flashed across Trina’s face as she picked up on the grave tone of the man’s voice.

‘I think it’s Mr Dodds. Shouldn’t we let him in, Mam?’ she whispered.

 

Pre-order  links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Nd4O3g

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2Sgd6sg

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2T65ahm

iBooks: https://apple.co/2pMSz6b

 

With thanks to Vicky Joss for organising the blog tour.

 

 

Monthly Round Up – November 2019

Well this year has definitely flown and I’m starting to think about the books that are going to make my ‘favourites of 2019’ list. There’s definitely at least one of the books I’ve read this month that will make the list!

Books I’ve Read

Blood Rites by Rachel Lynch

The sixth book in the series sees DI Kelly Porter investigating the discovery of a naked young woman on an ancient stone circle and the frenzied murder of another woman. With a plot taking in pagan worship, this was a great addition to this series, building upon plots from previous books.

 

The Scorched Earth by Rachael Blok

This tale of a miscarriage of justice is a great thriller with some tense moments. After the body of a man is found in a newly-dug grave, police begin to fear that the man imprisoned for the crime is not actually the guilty party. This was the first book I’ve read by this author, but I’ll be looking out for others now.

 

Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza

I’d been looking forward to this one and it definitely did not disappoint. This story about a serial killer and his copycat has one of the best plot twists I’ve read all year, expecially as it came quite early on in the book. This is one of those books that grabs your attention instantly.

 

Woman in the Water by Katerina Diamond

Although this is part of a series, it can be read as a standalone, just as I did. When a woman is found near to death and then subsequently disappears, Detectives Adrian Miles and Imogen Grey find themselves embroiled in a case of abuse with some truly heart-wrenching scenes. This is one of those books that will stay with me for a long time.

 

The Murder Map by Danny Miller

When the body pf an art dealer is found at his home, it is initially thought that there are no suspicious circumstances. DI Frost is not convinced, however, and uncovers a much bigger story of art theft and murder. Not my favourite book in this series, but still a decent read.

 

Books I’ve Acquired

In Victorian England, a mother is on the run from her past—and the truth about what she did.

Birmingham, 1880. Angelica Chastain has fled from London with her young son, William. She promises him a better life, far away from the terrors they left behind.

Securing a job as a governess, Angelica captures the attention of wealthy widower Stanley Hampton. Soon they marry and the successful future Angelica envisaged for William starts to fall into place.

But the past will not let Angelica go. As the people in her husband’s circle, once captivated by her charm, begin to question her motives, it becomes clear that forgetting where she came from—and who she ran from—is impossible.

When tragedy threatens to expose her and destroy everything she’s built for herself and William, how far will she go to keep her secrets safe? And when does the love for one’s child tip over into dangerous obsession?

 

A young detective is out for a jog on a snowy winter morning. Then she sees something terrible: a murder in the park, sudden and inexplicable. A woman has been killed by a passing hooded cyclist.

It’s just DCI Craig Gillard’s luck that he’s on duty. The body is that of Tanvi Roy, one of the richest women in Britain and matriarch of a food empire. With a tangled web of family and business contacts and jealousies, Gillard’s job just got even more complex.

As he delves deeper into the Roy family, it’s clear that everything is not as it seems. As the investigation threatens to unravel, Gillard realises it’s only the beginning of his problems. Trouble of a different sort is brewing close to home…

 

The body of a young migrant is found hanging from a tree.

No signs of struggle. No indication that it is anything other than a tragic suicide.

Except for a note, pinned to his trousers, that reads ‘The dead cannot speak’.

A murder investigation begins with DI Manon Bradshaw at the helm. But with the other migrants unwilling to speak, and protests on the streets, hatred is starting to drown out the facts.

 

Jenny Bowen is going home. Boarding the Caledonian Sleeper, all she wants to do is forget about her upcoming divorce and relax on the ten-hour journey through the night.

In her search for her cabin, Jenny helps a panicked woman with a young girl she assumes to be her daughter. Then she finds her compartment and falls straight to sleep.

Waking in the night, Jenny discovers the woman dead in her cabin … but there’s no sign of the little girl. The train company have no record of a child being booked on the train, and CCTV shows the dead woman boarding alone.

The police don’t believe Jenny, and soon she tries to put the incident out of her head and tells herself that everyone else is right: she must have imagined the little girl.

But deep down, she knows that isn’t the truth.

Can Manon uncover the truth before it happens again?

 

Three years ago, Nikki and Ethan Rhodes suffered a devastating loss when their four-year-old daughter Grace was tragically killed in a road accident. Ethan, a radio personality, escapes into work, leaving Nikki to care for their remaining child, Bella, who hasn’t spoken since that day.

Seeking a fresh start, the family moves into a revolutionary new house designed by renowned architect, Catriona Fisher. The house features a state-of-the-art security system, along with every amenity you could dream of.

For the Rhodes’ this is a chance to finally pick up the pieces and get on with their lives in a place where they feel totally safe.

But what if 17 Church Row isn’t the safe haven that they think it is?

 

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

 

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑