Recent Reads Rapid Reviews

Hi guys,

I’ve got another batch of reviews for you all today. I counted how many reviews behind I am, and my current tally is 29… TWENTY NINE. I have four of these posts to do though, so that will clear 16 books from my “to review” list!

Unnatural Causes

Unnatural Causes: 'An absolutely brilliant book. I really recommend it, I don't often say that'  Jeremy Vine, BBC Radio 2

Meet the forensic pathologist, Dr Richard Shepherd.

He solves the mysteries of unexplained or sudden death.

He’s a detective in his own right.

And he has one, ultimate and pressing question to answer:

How did this person die?

Unnatural Causes by Richard Shepherd

I love a good medical memoir, so when I spotted Unnatural Causes I was definitely interested to read it. Richard Shepherd is a forensic pathologist who has dealt with some of the UK’s biggest tragedies and this is his story.
At times it is a difficult read due to the fact that it deals with “mans inhumanity to man” as he says himself, and it is not nice to read about. His own personal journey and emotions were well written, and it is definitely an emotive read. Recommended for sure if you like medical non-fiction.

That’s Not What Happened

That's Not What Happened

It’s been three years since the Virgil County High School Massacre. Three years since my best friend, Sarah, was killed in a bathroom stall during the mass shooting. Everyone knows Sarah’s story – that she died proclaiming her faith.

But it’s not true.

I know because I was with her when she died. I didn’t say anything then, and people got hurt because of it. Now Sarah’s parents are publishing a book about her, so this might be my last chance to set the record straight . . . but I’m not the only survivor with a story to tell about what did – and didn’t – happen that day.

Except Sarah’s martyrdom is important to a lot of people, people who don’t take kindly to what I’m trying to do. And the more I learn, the less certain I am about what’s right. I don’t know what will be worse: the guilt of staying silent or the consequences of speaking up . . .

That’s Not What Happened by Kody Keplinger

This book deals with the aftermath of a school shooting and how it has affected the survivors. It is also one girl’s quest to tell the truth about that day. It is a raw and dark look at what can happen to those affected by grief and survivors guilt. It wasn’t what I was expecting but it was still an interesting read.

The Last

The Last

BREAKING: Nuclear weapon detonates over Washington

Historian Jon Keller is on a trip to Switzerland when the world ends. As the lights go out on civilisation, he wishes he had a way of knowing whether his wife, Nadia, and their two daughters are still alive. More than anything, Jon wishes he hadn’t ignored Nadia’s last message.

Twenty people remain in Jon’s hotel. Far from the nearest city and walled in by towering trees, they wait, they survive.

Then one day, the body of a young girl is found. It’s clear she has been murdered. Which means that someone in the hotel is a killer.

As paranoia descends, Jon decides to investigate. But how far is he willing to go in pursuit of justice? And what kind of justice can he hope for, when society as he knows it no longer exists?

The Last by Hanna Jameson

The Last isn’t released until early next year, but I was lucky enough to get a proof at Harrogate in July so I picked it up a couple of months ago. I ended up reading it in a couple of sittings. Dystopian fiction made even scarier by the fact that the events in this are plausible given the current political climate made this a dark and disturbing read. There are also nods to the crime/psych thriller elements that sure to please avid readers of the genres!

Ink

INK

Picture a world where every significant moment is tattooed on your skin for ever. When Leora’s father dies, she knows he deserves to have all his tattoos removed and made into a Skin Book to record his good life. But when she discovers that his ink has been edited and his book is incomplete, she wonders whether knew him at all.

Ink by Alice Broadway

In need of a change of genre, Ink seemed like a good place to start. I loved the premise and I was eager to see what the author would do. There is a lot of scene-setting/world-building as it is the start of the series. I found it a little slow to get going due to this, but I would definitely read the next books in the series for sure!


 

That’s it for this batch of reviews, and I will hopefully have the next few up next week so make sure to look out for those! 🙂

 

October 2018 Book Haul

Hi guys,

I sat down at my desk this morning and realised I never did up my book haul for last month, but better late than never, right?! 🙂

*For any of you who don’t know, this is where I list the books that have made Bibliophile Book Club their new home in the previous month. The books are usually bought books, ARC’s sent from publishers, Netgalley review books and just basically any books I get go on here.

Let’s see what I got last month, shall we?

  1. The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli
  2. The Orchid and The Wasp by Caoilinn Hughes
  3. The Book of Love by Fionnuala Kearney
  4. Red Moon by Kim Stanley Robinson
  5. Codex by Lev Grossman
  6. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
  7. The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay
  8. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  9. The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
  10. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Attwood
  11. Wake by Elizabeth Knox
  12. Cogheart by Peter Bunzl
  13. Stasi Child by David Young
  14. Tender by Belinda McKeown
  15. Furyborn by Claire Legrand
  16. To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
  17. Halcyon by Rio Youers
  18. Fear by Dirk Kubjuweit
  19. Gemsigns by Stephanie Saulter
  20. The Killer You Know by S. R. Masters
  21. Before Sunrise by Rick Mofina
  22. Otherworld by Jason Segel & Kirsten Miller
  23. Lie To Me by JT Ellison
  24. The Hermitage by LJ Ross
  25. The Lost Man by Jane Harper
  26. Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce
  27. Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa
  28. The Darling Dead by Graham Smith
  29. Vicious by V. E. Schwab
  30. Coldmarch by Daniel A. Cohen
  31. Red Snow by Will Dean
  32. The Dark Vault by V. E. Schwab
  33. Someone Like Me by M R. Carey
  34. Die Cold by Graham Smith
  35. Louis and Louise by Julie Cohen
  36. Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris
  37. Day Shift by Charlaine Harris
  38. Kill The Angel by Sandrone Dazieri
  39. The Winter Road by Adrian Selby
  40. Wolf Speaker by Tamora Pierce

 

Just a brief snapshot of what I’ve added to my shelves, I don’t have photos of them all!

I also managed to get through all of these books in October as well, bringing me way above my Goodreads reading challenge. Including what I have read so far in November, I’m currently at 171/113 books!

O10

Have you read any of the books on my list? Or any from my October reads? Do let me know in the comments below! 🙂

Until next time, happy reading!

Blog Tour~Someone Like Me by M. R. Carey Ellen’s Review

Hey everyone,

Today is Ellen’s stop on the blog tour for Someone Like Me by M. R. Carey and I’ll be sharing her review with you all a little further down!

About the author:

M. R. Carey

M. R. Carey has been making up stories for most of his life. His novel The Girl With All the Gifts was a word-of-mouth bestseller and is now a major motion picture based on his own screenplay. Under the name Mike Carey he has written for both DC and Marvel, including critically acclaimed runs on Lucifer, Hellblazer and X-Men. His creator-owned series The Unwritten appeared regularly in the New York Times graphic fiction bestseller list. He also has several previous novels, games, radio plays, and TV and movie screenplays to his credit.

About the book:

MRC.jpg

THERE ARE TWO SIDES TO EVERY STORY. 

Liz Kendall wouldn’t hurt a fly. Even when times get tough, she’s devoted to bringing up her kids in a loving home.

But there’s another side to Liz, one that’s dark and malicious. She will do anything to get her way – no matter how extreme.

And when her alter-ego takes control, the consequences are devastating.

Someone Like Me by M. R. Carey

Ellen’s Review:

Where to start with the review for Someone Like Me? How about… I’ve found one of my favourite books this year!? I’ve loved all MR Carey’s previous books but this one has stormed it’s way to the top. A mix of thriller/horror and supernatural I was hooked from the first few pages and Liz’s attack from her abusive ex-husband Marc had me gasping for breath. It’s during this attack that another side of Liz comes to the surface and finds the strength to fight back to save her life. Where is this alter ego from; is it simply Liz’s natural instinct for survival and her kids protection or something much darker? If you’ve read anything from MR Carey before you can guess what the answer to this will be.

I loved all the characters in this novel and the fact that even the “bad” guys have their redeeming features and reasons for their actions. Apart from Marc. We do not like Marc! Although separated from Liz he co-parents and is always pushing boundaries, playing the power game. Liz has cowed down to him in the past out of self salvation and to stop the violence escalating onto the children, Zac (16) and Molly (6). You can forgive her for finally snapping and her subsequent behaviour. There is also Picota who kidnapped Zac’s friend Fran when she was young causing serious mental issues as she grew up; is he really the shadowy monster to be frightened of?

When talking about Fran we must mention Lady Jinx, Fran’s imaginary friend who happens to be a fox that can also transform into a knight when she feels her friend needs protection or comfort. Fran is well aware of her own battles with mental illness and although at first wanting to up her medication to stop the terrifying hallucinations she suffers she becomes curious about her past and with help from Zac becomes brave enough to tackle her demons.

It is so difficult to say much more without being spoilery and I don’t want to do that. All the stars (and a den full of fox knights) for Someone Like Me!!

Check out the tour:

SOMEONE LIKE ME BLOG TOUR (2).jpg

Changeling (Six Stories #3) by Matt Wesolowski

Hi,

So you guys know I loved Six Stories and Hydra by Matt Wesolowski, right?! Well, he has a new book coming out in ebook (November ’18) and paperback (January ’19) called Changeling, and I read the whole thing today. It arrived in the post this morning, so how could I not read it immediately?! Before I go into that though, here’s the usual author and book info!

About the author:

Matt Wesolowski.jpeg

Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is
an English tutor for young people in care. Matt started his writing career in
horror, and his short horror fiction has been published in numerous UK- an
US-based anthologies such as Midnight Movie Creature, Selfies from the End
of the World, Cold Iron and many more. His novella, The Black Land, a horror
story set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013. Matt was a
winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing
Festival in 2015. His debut thriller, Six Stories, was an Amazon bestseller in the
USA, Canada, the UK and Australia, and a WH Smith Fresh Talent pick, and TV
rights were sold to a major Hollywood studio. A prequel, Hydra, was published
in 2018 and became an international bestseller.

About the book:

Changeling.jpg

On Christmas Eve in 1988, seven-year-old Alfie Marsden vanished
in the dark Wentshire Forest Pass, when his father, Sorrel, stopped
the car to investigate a mysterious knocking sound. No trace of
the child, nor his remains, have ever been found. Alfie Marsden
was declared officially dead in 1995.
Elusive online journalist, Scott King, whose ‘Six Stories’ podcasts
have become an internet sensation, investigates the disappearance,
interviewing six witnesses, including Sorrel and his ex-partner, to try to find out what really happened
that fateful night. Journeying through the trees of the Wentshire Forest – a place synonymous with
strange sightings, and tales of hidden folk who dwell there, he talks to a company that tried and failed
to build a development in the forest, and a psychic who claims to know what happened to the little
boy…

Published by Orenda Books, click the link below to pre-order your copy:

Changeling (Six Stories #3) by Matt Wesolowski

Review:

We’re beneath different trees this series, but our feet are sounding against the same darkness and once again we’re facing our fears head-on.

If ever a quote summed up the experience of reading Matt Wesolowski’s books, this chiller from Changeling is perfect.

I had been dying to read Changeling ever since I saw the beautiful cover on Twitter a few months back, and let’s face it, being a superfan means I have literally NO PATIENCE when it comes to waiting for these things. So huge thanks to both Karen and Matt for letting me read an early copy.

Reader, it does not disappoint.

In Changeling, Scott King is back investigating again. This time it is the disappearance of Alfie Marsden from his father’s car in the Wentshire Forest Pass on Christmas Eve 1988. Alfie disappeared without a trace and was officially declared dead seven years and three months after he disappeared. Scott sets out with his usual investigative zeal in search of answers.

I read Changeling over the course of today, making notes as I went, which I never do. And even with these notes, I still feel like I can’t do this book the justice it deserves.

Changeling is by far, my most favourite of the Six Stories books, and I love them all, I mean I REALLY love them. So just know I am not saying that lightly. Changeling got under my skin in a way the others didn’t.

The tension and sense of menace is there from the outset. It builds steadily, rolling like waves in a storm, until it crashes around your consciousness and leaves you almost breathless. Hidden and implied horror help to make Changeling a thoroughly bracing read, leaving the reader more than a little unsettled in its wake.

Much like the Changeling in old folklore, this book itself goes through a metamorphosis. But the author does this slowly, almost imperceptibly, and it creeps up on you gradually that what you are reading is a little different to what you started reading.

I PROMISE I will do a more in-depth review, but for now, know this;

Changeling is an intense, dark and utterly absorbing book. The pages crackle with tension, the characters have real depth and the writing is truly stunning.

Matt Wesolowski has to be one of the most imaginiative and talented young writers out there at the moment. His ability to make his writing current in terms of style, while still managing to write the perfect kind of crime/horror/psychological thriller mash-up, astounds me more with every book of his I read.

Highly, highly recommended.

Always.

Previous Matt-related posts:

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

*Blog Tour* Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

~COVER REVEAL~ Hydra by Matt Wesolowski

Hydra by Matt Wesolowski

Blog Tour Extract~Halcyon by Rio Youers

Hi guys,

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Halcyon by Rio Youers and I’ll be sharing an extract with you all in just a little bit!

About the author:

Rio Youers
Rio Youers is the British Fantasy Award–nominated author of Old Man Scratch and Point Hollow. His short fiction has been published in many notable anthologies, and his novel, Westlake Soul, was nominated for Canada’s prestigious Sunburst Award. He has been favorably reviewed in such venues as Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and The National Post. His latest novel, The Forgotten Girl, was released by Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press in June 2017.
Rio lives in southwestern Ontario with his wife, Emily, and their children, Lily and Charlie.

About the book:

Halcyon.jpg

Halcyon is the answer for anyone who wants to escape, but paradise isn’t what it seems.

A self-sustaining community on a breathtakingly beautiful island, Halcyon is run for people who want to live without fear, crime or greed. Its leader has dedicated her life to the pursuit of Glam Moon, a place of eternal beauty and healing, and believes the pathway there can only be found at the end of pleasure.

On the heels of tragedy, Martin Lovegrove moves his family to Halcyon. A couple of months, he tells himself, to retreat from the chaos and grind. Yet he soon begins to suspect there is something beneath Halcyon’s perfect veneer. As the founder captivates his young family, Martin sets out to discover the truth of the island, however terrible it might be, where something so perfect hides unimaginable darkness beneath…

Halcyon by Rio Youers

Extract:

Laura muttered, “He does Dylan better than Dylan,” and Martin snapped out of his show. That was when he noticed the clicking. It wasn’t the rhythmic clicking he associated with Shirley’s texting. This was constant. A purr. He looked up, expecting to see her zoned out. And she was, but not in the usual way. Her head was angled awkwardly and her eyelids uttered. Her thumbs blurred on the screen.

“Shirley?”

She was having some kind of seizure. Martin drew his leg off the arm and sprang from his chair. He got Laura’s attention by waving a hand in front of her eyes, then crossed the room to where Shirley reclined in the other armchair.

 

He cradled the back of her head in one hand and gently tilted her jaw to keep her airway open. She garbled something. The veins across her throat bulged.

“What’s happening to her?” Laura asked, crouching beside the armchair. She tried removing the cell phone from Shirley’s hands but Shirley held tight, her thumbs still working.

“Seizure, I think,” Martin said. “Maybe she was looking at flashing images.”

“Should I call nine-one-one?”

Martin looked from Shirley to Laura, then down at the cell phone’s screen as Laura tried to free it from their daughter’s clasp. He glimpsed what she’d typed: a string of random letters, symbols, and emojis, but with several full words interspersed in all the nonsense. Martin barely logged them before Laura pried the phone away. He definitely saw SCARED and CHIPPEWA and perhaps BOTTLECAP, or maybe it was BOTTLETOP.

“Martin?” Laura snapped. She threw the cell phone on the floor and clutched Shirley’s hands. “Nine-one-one?”

“Wait,” he said. He eased Shirley onto her side and peeled damp strands of hair from her brow. “It’s okay, baby. Mom and Dad are here.” Her eyes flashed open and closed. Her mouth moved silently. Martin pressed the cool back of his hand to her cheek and she whimpered. A moment later, she screwed her face up and started to cry. It was like a pressure release. The tightness left her body at once. Her trembling first lessened, then stopped altogether.

“Mom . . . ?”

“Okay, sweetie,” Laura said. “It’s okay.”

 

Martin wiped her tears away. She blinked, took deep breaths, and looked into her empty hands for her phone. Her expression switched from confusion to fear.

“Edith,” she said.

“What about Edith?” Martin asked.

Shirley shook her head and groaned. More tears spilled from her eyes. “She’s screaming inside,” she said.

 

Check out the tour:

Halcyon blog tour banner.jpg

The Boy Who Stole Time by Mark Bowsher Ellen’s Review

Hi all,

Today is Ellen’s stop on the blog tour for The Boy Who Stole Time by Mark Bowsher and I’ll be sharing her review with you all a little further down!

About the author:

Image result for mark bowsher author bio

Mark is a proudly dyspraxic writer and filmmaker who has made over 100 book promos for a certain publisher named Unbound. He wrote and directed his first full-length play, Not the Story of Me, at 20 and went on to make three shorts which won Best Short awards (plus one Best Screenplay award) at festivals in the UK and the US. The last of these, Only One Person Will Like This Film, was picked by the BFI as one of their ’10 to try’ out of over 300 films at LSFF 2013. He has written short fiction (The Pitch and I Killed Tristan Metcalf and Here’s How I Did It… ) for Lionsgate’s Fright Club ezine as well as articles for Den of Geek and Cult TV Times. Since going freelance in 2013 he has created video content for Santander, Pearson, Choice Support, The Big Issue and MyLex as well as music videos (all based on concepts he pitched to the artists) for Nisha Chand, Ekkoes, Good Work Watson, Morgan Crowley and Go-Zilla. He recently wrote and directed the pilot episode for a sitcom based on his previous career in film marketing entitled It’s All Lies. He isn’t married and doesn’t live in Surrey but he did once climb a mountain dressed as Peter Pan.

About the book:

MB BC.jpg

When 12-year-old Krish finds out his mum is dying, he is desperate to give her more time to live. This leads to a deal with a devil-like creature to travel to another realm, Ilir, and collect the Myrthali – the essence of time itself.
Ilir is a tiny desert world where the days are a handful of hours long and there is magic and treachery on every corner. Here Krish is set three impossible challenges by the brutal King Obsendei to win from him the Myrthali. He joins forces with the razor-tongued, young girl-wizard Balthrir, who hopes to free her parents from the Black Palace; a living, breathing structure built entirely out of those subjects who have incurred the wrath of the King.

But as Krish battles these impossible tasks he may be about to learn that there is more than his mother’s life at stake as he gets embroiled in a blood-thirsty fight for power in Ilir that will push his friendship with Balthrir to its limits.

The Boy Who Stole Time by Mark Bowsher

Ellen’s Review:

The Boy Who Stole Time may be aimed at younger readers but I really enjoyed it. Fantastic characters, world building and depth of story were spot on also the cover is so beautiful! It’s definitely an eye catcher which I find an important aspect when my daughters are choosing their next read in the book shop.

The main character in the book is Krish, a 12 year old boy who is confronted with every child’s worst nightmare of their parent being ill and the fear that they may not recover. Krish has always been told how precious time is and becomes more aware with his mum’s sickness; what if he could buy (or steal) her a little more? His desires to have more time appear to summon a devil type creature who tells Krish an ancient tale of a magic powder called Myrthali which is the essence of time itself. The devil persuades Krish to enter into a deal – he will travel to another realm, Ilir, and retrieve the powder from the clutches of the brutal King Obsendei. Of course this was never going to be an easy task and Krish is sent on a magical, terrifying adventure from then on and must complete three seemingly impossible tasks before the King will hand over his treasured Myrthali.

The Black Palace of King Obsendei really grabbed my imagination; a living, breathing structure built entirely out of those subjects who have incurred the wrath of the King. These poor people are forced to clamber and stand on each other to construct the walls and floors of this awful “building”.

Along the way Krish teams up with the awesome Balthrir – a young girl-wizard with a cutting sense of humour and heart of gold. I think that Balthrir was one of my favourite characters. She is seemingly pretty hardcore but carries secrets and heartache of her own. Krish and Balthrir’s worlds collide and they must learn to work together to complete the tasks and survive the cut throat, power-hungry island of Ilir.

This story reminded me of the stories of Arabian Nights/One Thousand and One Nights that I loved to read as a child. There are elements of The Boy Who Stole Time that will appeal to everyone. This book is the first in the series and I can’t wait to see what is going to happen next!!

Check out the tour:

MB BT

 

One Dark Night by Tom Bale

Hi all,

Today I’ll be reviewing One Dark Night by Tom Bale, which is published by Bookouture, and is available to buy from today!

About the author:

Tom-Bale-500px

Tom Bale decided that he wanted to be an author from the age of seven but, after another career got in the way, it wasn’t until much later that his dream was fulfilled. After several books with Random House, Bookouture published two stunning ‘everyman’ thrillers by Tom See How They Run and All Fall Down.

About the book:

One Dark Night.jpg

He sees his wife’s eyes watching him in the rear-view mirror, the kids up on their knees to get a better look. That’s when he hears the scream…

You’re driving home from a family outing one afternoon, when a speeding car cuts you up, nearly causing you to crash. Like anyone would, you pull over to confront the driver.

But a glance into the backseat of the speeding car reveals a woman fighting to escape. She is terrified and she’s screaming for your help: these men have murdered her husband…

What would you do?

Out today, you can order your copy by clicking the link below:

One Dark Night by Tom Bale

 

My thoughts:

I’ve been waiting for a new Tom Bale book for what seems like ages, but it’s only really since his last one! And it’s safe to say he’s returned on form with One Dark Night.
As with his other books, Bale has a knack for putting ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, and that’s no different in this book.
One Dark Night focuses on Adam, Katy and their two children as they deal with the fallout from a split decision. What follows is an adrenaline-pumping thriller with plenty of action to keep the reader turning the pages.
I always find that I end up wondering if I would have done the same if I was in the situations that Bale puts his characters, but to be honest, I don’t think I’d want to as they always get tangled up in something far bigger than the reader expects.
One Dark Night is a really enjoyable book. It’s got plenty of action, some seriously shady characters and lots of shocking moments. These are really what drive the plot forward, and even in the quieter moments, there is an underlying sense of urgency that is woven through the plot that ramps up the tension.
These quieter moments are where you learn the motivations behind the characters decisions, and though it slows the pace, it really is the only way to explain why things are happening the way they are. Without them, the story would not be as believable. And even though these kinds of plot lines can be a little far-fetched, I think that Tom Bale has pulled it off with One Dark Night. It all lies with that split second decision.
I really felt for the family in this one. They are put through an absolute wringer, and just when you think they’re out the other side, the author pulls the rug out from under them again and the tension is back with a bang.
One Dark Night is a gripping thriller, Tom Bale is on top form with this one!


 

Previous reviews:

See How They Run by Tom Bale

All Fall Down by Tom Bale

Each Little Lie by Tom Bale