Dream On by Erik Carter~ Ellen’s Review @EllenDevonport @ErikCarterBooks

Hi everyone,

Today is publication day for Erik Carter’s Dream On, and Ellen has a fab review for you all to check out! First though, the all-important bookish info!

About the book:

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A brutal killer. A shocking theory. And a growing death count.

Special Agent Dale Conley is going out of his mind. He wants to catch this murderer so bad it hurts—because he’s never seen such gruesome crime scenes …

As a serial killer continues his vicious slayings, Dale scrambles to uncover the connection between the victims. Dale discovers that the deaths are related to a controversial theory, one so astonishing that it threatens to undermine the foundations of society. If Dale is going to stop the bloodshed, he’ll have to confront not only a ruthless enemy but also explosive ideas that could tear the world apart.

Amazon US

Amazon UK

About the author:

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Erik Carter writes thrillers and mysteries. A trained public historian and design professional, his adventures have led him across America, where he has done everything from hosting a television show to shooting documentaries in the desert to teaching college. These experiences gave the background he needs for his greatest adventure—writing fiction.

ErikCarterBooks.com
facebook.com/ErikCarterBooks
twitter.com/ErikCarterBooks

Ellen’s Review:

I was thrilled to be asked to review the next book in the Dale Conley series as I had enjoyed Stone Groove earlier in the year. It was great to be back in Dale’s world of the Bureau of Esoteric Investigations (BEI), the part of the FBI reserved for the weird and wonderful. Dale is a cross between Indiana Jones and Fox Mulder; a pretty good mix if you ask me!

This thriller is based around a controversial religious theory – one which someone is desperate to keep under wraps and will go to any lengths to do so. The first two victims are well known atheists but as they die they quote the bible and one has a picture of Jesus in his wallet; this religious link to the crimes is why Dale Conley is involved.

Dale normally works with a liaison agent who then takes the credit for Dale’s work due to the secretive nature of the BEI but is paired this time with a civilian; forensic psychologist Gillian Spiro.

Now, Dale is a ladies man and well known for it which immediately puts Spiro on the back foot. She is a very prickly, defensive character and appears to be out to prove herself. I enjoyed the interaction between them both and it was interesting to see how Dale dealt with her obvious dislike of him.

Being a good Catholic girl I was absolutely fascinated by the actual theory in Dream On but there is far much more to this story than religion. Conspiracy theories, brain washing and government interference. A cracking thriller which I raced through and am once more left wanting more in this series!

Save Me by Mandasue Heller~Ellen’s Review @EllenDevonport @rosiewilsreads

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About the book:

When Ellie Fisher misses her train home one night, she has no idea that being in the right place at the wrong time will change her life forever.

That night she comes across Gareth, a young man about to take his own life, because as far as he’s concerned there is nothing left to live for. Putting her own life in danger Ellie convinces Gareth that there is always something left. Her own life is no bed of roses, she explains, but she always pushes on.

However, good deeds aren’t always repaid the way we want. Has Ellie unwittingly put her life in danger, or is the real danger a lot closer to home?

Out on December 28th and published by Macmillan, click HERE to order your copy!

About the author:

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Mandasue Heller was born in Cheshire and moved to Manchester in 1982. She spent ten years living in the notorious Hulme Crescents which have since become the background to her novels. Not only is she a talented writer, but she has also sung in cabaret and rock groups, seventies soul cover bands and blues jam bands. She still writes and records with her musician partner between books, and their music can be found in Amazon’s music store.
You can also connect with Mandasue on facebook and twitter

Ellen’s Review:

I was thrilled to be asked to review Save Me by Mandasue Heller having being introduced to her books earlier in the year with Run. Save Me is one of those books that I could not put down and I was drawn in from the first few paragraphs with the discovery of a body in an abandoned house. We are then introduced to the main player in the story Ellie Fisher as she saves a young man (Gareth) from throwing himself off a bridge into the path of a train.

This book was unusual in that I really didn’t like a lot of the characters, I mainly wanted to give them a really good shake or slap them around the chops! Ellie is married to the controlling Matt and is oblivious (brain washed) to his flaws and stuck in a dead end job. Her sister Holly is a little free with her affections to put it nicely and always putting Ellie down. Gareth appears to be Ellie’s knight in shining armour but as we know these guys sometimes end up being an asshole wrapped in tinfoil!

There was a lot of tension throughout the story and I kept waiting for Ellie to open her eyes and realise what was happening around her. Save Me is a story about obsessional love, lies and secrets – all of which build up to an explosive conclusion. I enjoyed this gritty thriller and would definitely recommend to fans of this genre and will be buying a copy for my mum who loves Mandasue!

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy of this book.

Previous Reviews:

Run by Mandasue Heller

 

Brain Damage by J. A. St. Thomas @jas0603

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About the book:

I open my eyes and I’m close enough to kiss a dead girl.

Three years ago, sixteen year old Desmond Linc almost died in the car accident that killed his brother. Now he’s all but forgotten the damage, a dead space in his brain physicians swore would never awaken.

But it has.

Terrified he’s losing his mind, Des comes face to face with the tortured ghosts of his hometown. The black hole in his head is a doorway to the afterlife and the dead come telling secrets and lies and wielding accusations like scythes.

They tell the truth about one thing though, a killer has come to Northwood

Buy the book:

Brain Damage by J. A. St. Thomas

My thoughts:

I hadn’t heard of Brain Damage until fellow book raver Liz B over at Liz Loves Books reviewed it, and subsequently sang its praises. Naturally, my ears pricked up because Liz and I share quite similar tastes most of the time, so I was intrigued enough to hop over to Netgalley to request a copy to read.

I am SO GLAD, because Brain Damage is one of those hidden gem kinda books. You know the sort, it just slips out under the radar, but if you don’t read it you are missing out! Well that definitely applies to Brain Damage. A genre mash-up, and one that works brilliantly in and outside of the usual parameters expected.

We meet Des, a teen who survived an accident that killed his older brother, Donovan. He is living in the shadow of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and following a party and another knock to his head, he starts to see dead people. It sounds crazy, and he thinks he’s crazy. Not least because TBI can cause hallucinations as one of its after-effects.

This paves the way for the story to become almost like a ghost story, but other things are going on in the plot that also weave in the murder/ mystery element. And the author does this beautifully. I found the writing to be so engaging, and I became a little attached to Des to be honest. I couldn’t stop reading. I wanted to know why Des was seeing these horrific things, and what their purpose was in his life!

Brain Damage was a really compelling novel. There are a number of YA themes running through this one too. Friendships, cliques, sexuality, relationships, things we all go through in one for or another, and the author tackled them really well.

The visions/ hallucinations are frightening in their description. Creepy and vivid they made me shudder more than once. But its in these moments that we see the strength in Des’s character. The determination to find out whats going on, not just to him, but to those he is seeing. And to take care of those around him.

I raced through Brain Damage in a handful of sittings. I became invested in Des’s character, and I found myself staring at the end of the book wishing it wasn’t over. I want more. I would love to catch up with Des in the aftermath of the events in Brain Damage, even though the ending was nicely done, I think he has more to do!

Clever, emotional, creepy, yet tender at some points, I really enjoyed this one! Thanks to Liz for bringing it to my attention.

Highly recommended!

 

 

The Last Dog on Earth by Adrian J Walker~ Ellen’s Review @EllenDevonport @adrianwalker

Hi all,

Today Ellen has reviewed The Last Dog on Earth and we also have a q&a with Adrian J Walker for you too! First though, here’s the all-important bookish information!

About the book:

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Every dog has its day…

And for Lineker, a happy go lucky mongrel from Peckham, the day the world ends is his: finally a chance to prove to his owner just how loyal he can be.

Reg, an agoraphobic writer with an obsession for nineties football, plans to wait out the impending doom in his second floor flat, hiding himself away from the riots outside.

But when an abandoned orphan shows up in the stairwell of their building, Reg and Lineker must brave the outside in order to save not only the child, but themselves…

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the author:

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Adrian J Walker was born in the bush suburbs of Sydney, Australia in the mid ’70s. After his father found a camper van in a ditch, he moved his family back to the UK, where Adrian was raised.

His second novel, The End of the World Running Club, is a post-apocalyptic running fable about hope, love and endurance. It was published by Del Rey UK, in May 2016.

Ellen’s mini review:

I loved The End of the World Running Club by Adrian Walker and couldn’t wait to read his latest. I was not disappointed!! A fantastic story told from the viewpoint of Lineker (a very sweary, loveable mongrel) and his owner Reginald. Lineker was a joy to read; his commentary on life and the “two plates” was hilarious yet insightful. Reginald also amused me and broke my heart a little every time something else was revealed about his past.
Set in the not too distant future we see what can happen when political influence goes too far and how quickly the world could fall apart in the wrong hands.

I laughed and cried in equal measures reading this book and look forward to the next!


 

Dark Skies: A DCI Ryan Mystery (The DCI Ryan Mysteries Book 7) by LJ Ross @LJRoss_author

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*Many thanks to the author for my review copy!

About the author:

Louise was born in Northumberland, England.  She studied undergraduate and postgraduate Law at King’s College, University of London and studied abroad in Paris and Florence. She spent much of her working life in London, where she was a regulatory lawyer for a number of years until taking the decision to change career and pursue her dream to write.

Now, she writes full time and lives with her husband and son in Bath. She enjoys reading all manner of books, travelling and spending time with family and friends.

LJ Ross is the author of the international #1 bestselling series of  DCI Ryan mystery novels. Her debut, Holy Island, was released in January 2015 and reached number one in the Amazon Kindle UK bestsellers chart.

Its sequels, Sycamore Gap,  Heavenfield, Angel and High Force were all top five UK bestsellers and she recently hit the top of the charts again with her sixth book, Cragside, which was number one in the UK on pre-orders alone.

The novels are all available to purchase in e-book, paperback and audiobook formats on the Amazon store, as well as in selected independent bookshops. Holy Island is also available in German translation.

About the book:

Beware what lies beneath…

One fateful, starry night, three friends embark on a secret camping trip but only two return home. Thirty years later, the body of a teenage boy rises from the depths of England’s biggest reservoir and threatens to expose a killer who has lain dormant…until now.

Detective Chief Inspector Ryan returns from honeymoon to face danger from all sides. In the depths of Kielder Forest, a murderer has escaped justice before and will do anything to protect the secrets of the past. Meanwhile, back at Northumbria CID, an old foe has taken the helm as Superintendent and is determined to destroy Ryan at any cost.

Who will prevail in Ryan’s most dangerous case yet?

Click the link below to order your copy:

Dark Skies: A DCI Ryan Mystery (The DCI Ryan Mysteries Book 7) by LJ Ross

My thoughts:

Having read and loved the previous six (SIX!!! I can’t believe there’s been that many already!) books in this series, I was thrilled to be able to read Dark Skies just before publication. I had been waiting for this one since I finished Cragside so needless to say I started this one as soon as I could and it was definitely worth the wait!

In Dark Skies, Ryan and his team are tasked with investigating the discovery of a decades-old body found in a reservoir. While they think they are investigating an old case, it seems that the killer has been in hiding all these years, and they’re not done yet.

What follows is a really great, pacy story. I found myself flying through the book and before I knew it I was at the end! Packed full of secrets and little moments that make you go “huh?!”, it was so great to get back into the world of Ryan and his team!

I don’t want to go into the plot, because spoilers! BUT, there are some interesting moments between Ryan and his new superior that ramp up the tension of the narrative. She’s a bad penny, that one, and I’m intrigued yet scared to see what’s going to happen in the future. Think Wicked Queen from the fairytales, but possibly with a much darker side, time will tell on that front…

Brilliant story. I was gripped. I love how the author makes the characters relatable. And don’t even get me started on her amazing eye for locational descriptions. I’ve never been to any of the places in this series, but thanks to the descriptive language LJ Ross uses, it feels like if I close my eyes I can totally see it!

Another cracking book in the DCI Max Ryan series. If you haven’t yet picked up a book by LJ Ross, I suggest you do. The characters, settings and plots are so expertly crafted that you’ll get lost between the pages faster than you realise!

As always, highly recommended!

Previous reviews:

Holy Island by LJ Ross

Sycamore Gap by LJ Ross

Heavenfield by LJ Ross

High Force (DCI Ryan 5) by L. J. Ross

Cragside: A DCI Ryan Mystery (The DCI Ryan Mysteries Book 6)

Angel (DCI Ryan 4) by LJ Ross

(Apologies for Angel being at the end in terms of chronological review order, I can’t change it 😭)

Briefly Maiden by Jacqueline Chadwick @jackiechaddy @fahrenheitpress

Hi everyone,

Firstly, happiest of publication days to Jackie 🙂

Today I am thrilled to be sharing my review for one of my most anticipated books, Briefly Maiden, by Jacqueline Chadwick. I’ve been waiting to read Briefly Maiden since I finished the first book in the series, In The Still (read that review HERE), so getting to read an early copy of this was an absolute privilege.

It’s not just me who’ll be sharing a review for Briefly Maiden today, one of my absolute FAVE people, Gordon at Grab This Book , will be posting his so make sure you pop over to his blog to see what he though of Briefly Maiden too!

About the author:


Jacqueline Chadwick is probably best known for her work in British soap operas.

Jackie appeared in ITV soap opera Emmerdale, as Tina Dingle from 1994–1996. For this role she was nominated for Most Popular Actress at the 1996 National Television Awards.

Jackie next appeared in Coronation Street in 1998 as factory machinist Linda Sykes. The storyline involving her character’s relationship with Mike Baldwin won Best Storyline at The British Soap Awards in 2001. She left Coronation Street in 2001.

In 2002 she relocated to Canada with her husband and family.

Briefly Maiden is the hotly anticipated follow up to her thrilling debut novel featuring Ali Dalglish, In The Still.

You can follow her on twitter @JackieChaddy

About the book:

Briefly Maiden

Ali Dalglish is back in the role she loves: working alongside Vancouver Island’s Integrated Major Incident Squad and is once again partnered with Inspector Rey Cuzzocrea.

As the chemistry between Ali and Cuzzocrea intensifies so does the hunt for a twisted killer as they are tasked with solving a series of violent murders with links to a sinister paedophile ring in the idyllic island city of Cedar River.

In the midst of the chaos, Ali is pulled by her desire to find and save the children at the heart of the case but she is thwarted by an evil so cunning and powerful that it threatens to become the nemesis she never imagined possible: one that could bring her to her knees.

Published by Fahrenheit Press TODAY, you can order your copy by clicking the link below:

Briefly Maiden (Ali Dalglish Book 2)

My thoughts:

As I sit here trying to get what’s in my head out into this review, I can’t help but feel it still won’t be enough to convey just how good Briefly Maiden is. In The Still was an astounding crime debut, so naturally I often worry will the next book be as good. Tentatively, I wonder will it be better. Well in this case, I can say for certain that In The Still was not a fluke, Jacqueline Chadwick is supremely talented and Briefly Maiden cemented that for me.

I went into Briefly Maiden blind. I didn’t recheck the blurb, I didn’t do a quick recon of my review for book one because I can still clearly remember the raw, visceral writing and how it left me feeling. I wanted that feeling again, and boy did I get it, in fucking spades!!!!

We’re back with foul-mouthed, sarcastic and all-round awesome Ali Dalglish in Maiden (yes, I’m shortening it because I will be mentioning the name A  LOT!!!) where she is paired up with Inspector Rey Cuzzocrea to investigate some brutal murders in Cedar River. Those who are killed all seem to have links to a paedophile ring operating in this idyllic little town and as Ali and Rey are drawn further into the investigation, it gets more and more disturbing at each turn.

If In The Still was dark, Briefly Maiden is fucking pitch black.

It goes to places that made me flinch, hiss and want to fling the book at the wall. The themes here are not light, there is murder, child abuse, paedophilia, psychopathy and that’s just the ones that spring to mind as I’m writing this. Seriously, in places, it’s a tough read. There is a tendency in fiction to shy away from the heavy stuff, but that’s not Jacqueline’s style. She will give you EVERYTHING you need to know, in great detail, until you feel like you’ve had an emotional gut punch. More than once, I found myself wishing I could stop reading, but such is the addictive quality of her writing, that I couldn’t!

There are brief moments of levity in the narrative though, and they are much-needed at times. Firstly, Ali herself. . Quite honestly, her sarcasm and sharp tongue make her my kind of person. I love that she is normal, she has her quirks, but she is a genuine character, and I reeeeeeeeally wish she was my friend because I reckon coffee/wine chats with her would be hilarious. Her relationship with Rey in this one was lovely to see because it had the time to develop a bit more and the reader got to see them progress in terms of how well they work together!

Marlene, Ali’s neighbour and crime-fighting bestie is also in this one and I swear she gets funnier every time she’s mentioned. I loved her and Ali’s interactions, because you can see the camaraderie and friendship there and it’s a really nice little aside to the dark, sinister tone of the book as a whole.

I’ve already said this, but Briefly Maiden is a dark and terrifying book. It has horrendous, graphic and gruesome murders , a vile paedophile ring and some extremely depraved characters. Not for the faint of heart, but it is such a great book. The author has also got some seriously in-depth stuff about deviants and deviant behaviour in here too. It makes for tough reading, but in terms of the relation to the plot is was a really interesting angle!

I loved Briefly Maiden. I was dying to read it from as soon as I finished In The Still, and it was so totally worth the wait. I devoured it. Brilliantly crafted, with a twisted plot, this book has left me wanting more. I NEED TO READ BOOK 3!!!!!!

I can’t say anymore without completely ruining the plot, or the ending. And where’s the fun in that?! I will say this though; if you love your crime fiction sick and twisted, then Jacqueline Chadwick is most definitely an author to add to your list. I mean, she has the face of an angel, but the mind of a killer!

Highly, HIGHLY recommended!!!!!

Dreams of A Broken Man by Roger Bray~Ellen’s Review

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About the book:

On a cold, misty night in Eugene, Oregon Hazel Reed disappears from outside her ex-husband’s home. Hazel is stunningly beautiful, intelligent and unfaithful. So when she vanishes without a trace a jealous ex-husband is the natural suspect. Alex says she came to reconcile but, the DA thinks otherwise and Alex is convicted and imprisoned for Hazel’s murder. His sister, Alice, refuses to believe that he is a capable of such an act.
Three years pass and the last appeal fails. Alex is in jail and Alice is desperate and alone; until a chance meeting gives her hope.
As her new friend, Steve, helps her peel away the hidden truths and fragile lies holding the prosecution case together they realise that they are revealing a deeper and more sinister mystery.
Without them knowing, finding out what happened to Hazel has become a race against time.

Click the link below to get your copy:

Dreams of a Broken Man by Roger Bray

About the author (info from author’s website):

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I have always loved writing; putting words onto a page and bringing characters to life. I can almost feel myself becoming immersed into their lives, living with their fears and triumphs. Thus, my writing process becomes an endless series of questions. What would she or he do, how would they react, is this in keeping with their character? Strange as it sounds, I don’t like leaving characters in cliffhanging situations without giving them an ending, whichever way it develops.

My life to date is what compels me to seek a just outcome, the good will overcome and the bad will be punished. More though, I tend to see my characters as everyday people in extraordinary circumstances, but in which we may all find our selves if the planets align wrongly or for whatever reason you might consider.

Of course, most novels are autobiographical in some way. You must draw on your own experiences of life and from events you have experienced to get the inspiration. My life has been an endless adventure. Serving in the Navy, fighting in wars, serving as a Police officer and the experiences each one of those have brought have all drawn me to this point, but it was a downside to my police service that was the catalyst for my writing.

Medically retired after being seriously injured while protecting a woman in a domestic violence situation I then experienced the other side of life. Depression and rejection. Giving truth to the oft said saying that when one door closes another opens I pulled myself up and enrolled in college gaining bachelor and master degrees, for my own development rather than any professional need. The process of learning, of getting words down onto the page again relit my passion for writing in a way that I hadn’t felt since high school.

So here we are, two books published and another on track.

Where it will take me I have no idea but I am going to enjoy getting there and if my writing can bring some small pleasure into people’s lives along the way, then I consider that I will have succeeded in life.

Personal fun facts:

I am married with three grown children and one grand daughter. I live with the love of my life, my wife of thirty years and her overly cute cat who, maybe unknowingly but I doubt it, saved my life by, for the one and only time, jumping on my lap and purring his head off when I was at my lowest and the depression almost got me.

I do enjoy hearing from my readers so please, drop me an email.

Ellen’s Review:

This book is quite different to anything I have read this year, the story concentrates on the friends and relatives of Alex who has been imprisoned for the murder of his ex wife Hazel and their quest to clear his name. Alice (Alex’s sister) is convinced of her brother’s innocence and after three years and a further appeal fails she enrols the help of a private investigator Steve to try and ascertain what actually happened that night. Hazel’s body was never found and there are a lot of inconsistencies in the investigation.

 

I liked the developing relationship between Alice and Steve and their persistence in clearing Alex’s name. An interesting story which really captured my imagination. It is difficult to say much more about this book without giving anything away, I’ll simply say that nothing is ever as it seems! Dreams of a Broken Man truly is a tale of hidden truths and fragile lies.

4/5