Today is Ellen’s stop on the blog tour for Violet by SJI Holliday, and I’ll be sharing her review with you all!
About the author:
S.J.I. (Susi) Holliday is a scientist, writing coach and the bestselling author of five crime novels, including the Banktoun Trilogy (Black Wood, Willow Walk and The Damselfly), the festive chiller The Deaths of December and her creepy Gothic psychological thriller The Lingering. Her short story ‘Home From Home’ was published in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and shortlisted for the CWA Margery Allingham Prize. Encapsulating her love of travel and claustrophobic settings, her latest novel, Violet, explores toxic friendships and the perils of talking to strangers, as well as drawing on her own journey on the Trans-Siberian Express over 10 years ago. All of her novels have been UK ebook number-one bestsellers. Susi was born and raised in Scotland and now divides her time between Edinburgh, London and as many other exciting places that she can fit in.
About the book:
Carrie’s best friend has an accident and can no longer make the round-the-world trip they’d planned together, so Carrie decides to go it alone. Violet is also travelling alone, after splitting up with her boyfriend in Thailand. She is desperate for a ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express, but there is nothing available. When the two women meet in a Beijing Hotel, Carrie makes the impulsive decision to invite Violet to take her best friend’s place. Thrown together in a strange country, and the cramped cabin of the train, the women soon form a bond. But as the journey continues, through Mongolia and into Russia, things start to unravel – because one of these women is not who she claims to be…
You really don’t want to meet anyone like Violet if you are ever on a backpacking trip far from home, in fact you probably wouldn’t want to meet her on home ground either! This book was a compelling read; life was totally put on hold while I accompanied Violet and her new BFF Carrie on the Trans Siberian Express. These girls know how to party but their friendship feels very claustrophobic and drug and alcohol induced paranoia does not help! I’m glad I’m past the age where this type of “adventure” is an option but thanks to the author for filling me with dread that my daughters will ever leave the country!
There weren’t many like-able characters at all in this book; each have their secrets and lies and could be dangerous to know. Even the “good” girl has darkness glimmering through the cracks in her public persona. The scariest part about Violet is just how plausible it is and that the most horrifying thing in the world can be human rather than anything paranormal.
I look forward to more chilling psychological thrillers from SJI Holliday!
Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for The Stone Song by Tom Bale and I’ll be sharing my review with you all!
About the author:
Tom Bale was born in Sussex in 1966. While pursuing his lifelong ambition to be a writer, he worked in a variety of jobs, but none was as exhausting – or as rewarding – as the several years he spent as a househusband with two pre-school children.
His first novel, Sins of the Father, was published in 2006 under his real name, David Harrison. With his next book, Skin and Bones, he acquired an agent, a pseudonym and a publishing deal that enabled him to write full-time.
His latest three novels See How They Run, All Fall Down and Each Little Lie have been published by Bookouture.
A keen cyclist and sea swimmer, he lives in Brighton with his family.
For more information, please click here or follow him on Twitter @t0mbale
On a sweltering summer’s night, teenage siblings Jack and Lily witness a helicopter crash on the main road between Brighton and London. The next morning they wake to find their village has been sealed off from the entire world. A terrorist cell is holed up in Stenhurst – or at least that’s the official story, put out by sinister government agent Wynter and his vicious sidekick, Major Kellett.
But later that day, Lily and Jack stumble on the truth: the authorities are hunting for a mysterious creature, labelled CatX, who escaped during the crash. Together with their friends, Erin and Oliver, Lily and Jack take it upon themselves to defy the lockdown and protect the creature, no matter what the risks.
The stakes are raised still further when a team of American agents arrive with their own unique technologies. Nobody who sees the CatX must be allowed to survive, and yet it soon becomes clear that there is a much bigger secret here…one that threatens the entire world.
With four teenagers pitted against deadly opposition, this is a story of supernatural menace that will appeal to fans of Stephen King and Stranger Things.
I’m a huge fan of Tom Bale’s thrillers, so I was delighted to see he had a new book coming out! Thanks to Midas PR for allowing me to take part in the tour for the audiobook of The Stone Song.
I really enjoyed The Stone Song. It’s got a lot going on, but it’s quite easy to follow. Lily and Jack essentially see something they shouldn’t one summer night, and what follows a game of cat and mouse between these kids and the authorities who have decided to seal off their sleepy village from the rest of the world.
The characters in this book are well-drawn, and I found myself rooting for Lily and Jack the whole way through. Especially when they discover the truth about the cover up, and the existence of CatX. I love how they took it upon themselves, along with their friends, to try and protect CatX from the agents who show up.
I don’t want to go into too much detail for fear of spoilers, but The Stone Song is a really engaging book. I liked the small village setting, the characters are great, and the villains are almost cinematic in their badness.
The Stone Song is a departure from the norm for Mr. Bale, but it doesn’t disappoint. Intriguing premise, empathetic and interesting characters and a great adventure.
Today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan. I’ll be sharing my review for this beauty a little further down!
About the author:
Natasha Ngan is a writer and yoga teacher. She grew up between Malaysia, where the Chinese side of her family is from, and the UK. This multicultural upbringing continues to influence her writing, and she is passionate about bringing diverse stories to teens. Natasha studied Geography at the University of Cambridge before working as a social media consultant and fashion blogger.
She recently moved to Paris, where she likes to imagine she drifts stylishly from brasserie to brasserie, notepad in one hand, wineglass in the other. In reality, she spends most of her time getting lost on the metro and confusing locals with her French.
She is represented by Taylor Haggerty at Root Literary. Her YA novels THE ELITES and THE MEMORY KEEPERS are out now from Hot Key Books, and GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE was published in November 2018 by Little Brown, with GIRLS OF STORM AND SHADOW RELEASING THIS NOVEMBER.
The Girls of Paper and Fire did the impossible. They escaped. But out in the unforgiving wild, hunted like prey, Lei and Wren learn that the most terrifying prisons have no walls.
‘Beautiful and heart-breaking and meaningful . . . Ngan’s writing is stunning’ Young Adult Reads
Lei, the naive country girl who became a royal courtesan, is now known as the Moonchosen, the commoner who managed to do what no one else could. But slaying the cruel Demon King wasn’t the end of the plan – it’s just the beginning. Now Lei and her warrior love Wren must travel the kingdom to gain support from the far-flung rebel clans. The journey is made even more treacherous thanks to a heavy bounty on Lei’s head, as well as insidious doubts that threaten to tear Lei and Wren apart from within.
Meanwhile, an evil plot to eliminate the rebel uprising is taking shape, fueled by dark magic and vengeance. Will Lei succeed in her quest to overthrow the monarchy and protect her love for Wren, or will she fall victim to the sinister magic that seeks to destroy her?
I loved the first book in this series, so I was delighted to be able to read Girls of Storm and Shadow for the blog tour.
Girls of Storm and Shadow is unrelenting in its plot. It deals perfectly with the aftermath of the events in Girls of Paper and Fire, without shying away from the horrific things Lei and Wren have seen and experienced.
The action in this book seems more heart-wrenching than Girls of Paper and Fire if that makes sense? Probably because you, as a reader, become so invested in these characters and have followed their stories so much that you’re willing them on to better things.
Girls of Storm and Shadow is richly imagined and beautifully written. Captivating, raw, dark and intricate, it is such a compelling series. My only issue is that the author has finished this one with the dreaded cliffhanger. And now I have to wait for ages to find out what happens next!
Brutal, engaging, visceral yet tender, Girls of Storm and Shadow is a must read.
Today, Ellen is taking part in the blog tour for Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver, and I’ll be sharing her review with you all a litte further down.
About the author:
Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children. Good Samaritans was book of the year in Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Express, and hit number one on the ebook charts.
About the book:
Nine suicides One Cult No leader
Nine people arrive one night on Chelsea Bridge. They’ve never met. But at the same time, they run, and leap to their deaths. Each of them received a letter in the post that morning, a pre-written suicide note, and a page containing only four words: Nothing important happened today.
That is how they knew they had been chosen to become a part of the People Of Choice: A mysterious suicide cult whose members have no knowledge of one another.
Thirty-two people on that train witness the event. Two of them will be next. By the morning, People Of Choice are appearing around the globe; it becomes a movement. A social media page that has lain dormant for four years suddenly has thousands of followers. The police are under pressure to find a link between the cult members, to locate a leader that does not seem to exist.
How do you stop a cult when nobody knows they are a member?
After reading Good Samaritans I announced that Will Carver was a dark genius, on finishing Nothing Important Happened Today this thought was increased tenfold along with WHAT THE ACTUAL HECK HAVE I JUST READ AND HOW DO I REVIEW IT!!??
Nine people arrive one night on Chelsea Bridge all carrying matching backpacks with specific matching ropes inside. They’ve never met but they run and leap to their deaths. Every one of them received a letter in the post that morning, a pre-written suicide note, and a page containing only four words: nothing important happened today. That is how they knew they had been chosen to become a part of the People Of Choice: a mysterious suicide cult whose members have no knowledge of one another.
Thirty two train passengers witness this mass suicide and two of them will be the next to kill themselves. By the morning the People of Choice has become a movement and social media is awash with theories and wannabe’s. The police are under immense pressure to find a link between the cult members and to locate a leader that does not seem to exist. How on Earth do you stop a cult when nobody knows they are a member?!
Now let’s get one thing clear – this is a dark, dark book, with the blackest of black centres. The story is told using different perspectives; the victims/nobodies (reduced to numbers so meaningless are they), the detective and an unknown person giving us the rundown on how to run a successful cult. The descriptions of the suicides are quite intense and not for the delicate but the genius when it all comes together…perfection!
The first of two blog tours for Ellen today, and its her review for Safe House by Jo Jakeman up first!
About the author:
Jo was the winner of the prestigious Friday Night Live competition at York Festival of Writing. Her debut Psychological Thriller was published in the UK as Sticks and Stones by Harvill Secker (Penguin Random House) and as The Exes’ Revenge in the USA and Canada. It was shortlisted for the Best Revenge thriller of the year at the Dead Good Reader Awards. Her second thriller SAFE HOUSE is due October 31, 2019 in the UK and Spring 2020 in America and Canada.
About the book:
The morning after a terrible storm, a woman turns up in a remote Cornish village. She calls herself Charlie, but it’s a name she’s only had for a few days. She keeps herself to herself, reluctant to integrate with the locals. Because Charlie has a secret.
Charlie was in prison for providing a false alibi for a murderer. But Lee Fisher wasn’t a murderer to her; he was the man she loved. Convinced of his innocence, Charlie said she was with him the night a young woman was killed. This sacrifice cost her everything.
And now she has a chance to start again. But someone is watching her, waiting for her, wondering if she’s really paid the price for what she did.
Click the link below to get your copy of Safe House, which will be 99p for November:
This is the first book that I have read by Jo Jakeman and I will definitely be buying her debut Sticks and Stones after enjoying Safe House so much. The main character Charlie Miller moves into a small Cornish village Penderrion; it is obvious from the beginning that she has something to hide and is not prepared for the warm (and somewhat overbearing) welcome she receives from her neighbours. Charlie is very guarded and must be careful not to trip over the lies she has created around this new life she has created. Whatever she is running from must be bad as she has moved into a crumbling cottage which is barely suitable to live in.
The reasons behind the secrecy are soon revealed. Charlie has recently been released from prison after serving a sentence for providing a false alibi for her partner Lee. She was previously known as Steffi Finn and Lee was obviously a very controlling partner, so much so that she is gas-lighted into believing everything she is told. She changes her behaviour, drinking habits and is gradually cut off from her friends. Obviously as a reader my hackles were up; how could Steffi let this man control her so much!? Sadly this is something which does happen and Safe House gives an insight into how easily it can be to fall prey to such a partner.
It was also really interesting how Steffi was practically trialled and judged by the press before she was even sentenced. To be vilified in such a way must be heart breaking but at the end of the day she didn’t commit the murders and was the one to go to the police with further information which led to Lee’s conviction. You don’t blame her for wanting a fresh start but she soon realises that she may never have the anonymity she so desires as someone is out for revenge! How long can Charlie stay safe in this village when there are so many loose tongues and suspicious minds about…
Today, Ellen is taking part in the blog tour for Ghoster by Jason Arnopp, and I’ll be sharing her review with you all!
About the author:
Jason Arnopp is the author of the new Orbit Books novel Ghoster, which Barnes & Noble’s SFF blog has said, “just might qualify as the first true horror novel of the 21st Century.” The Three author Sarah Lotz calls it, “a fiendishly smart exploration of obsession and social media addiction”, while Cross Her Heat author Sarah Pinborough reckons it’s, “twisty, creepy and utterly absorbing.”
Arnopp’s previous novel was The Last Days Of Jack Sparks (2016), which has been described as “a magnificent millennial nightmare” (Alan Moore), “scarier than watching The Exorcist in an abandoned asylum” (Sarah Lotz) and “The Omen for the social media age” (Christopher Brookmyre). Director Ron Howard (Apollo 13, Frost/Nixon, The Da Vinci Code) optioned the film rights shortly after the book’s 2016 release.
Arnopp co-wrote the official behind-the-scenes book Inside Black Mirror with Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones.
Check out his four shorter-form fiction titles: — Beast In The Basement, a suspenseful, mind-blowing thriller novella — A Sincere Warning About The Entity In Your Home, a chilling and groundbreaking short story set in YOUR home — Auto Rewind, a dark, emotionally charged thriller novelette — American Hoarder, a supernatural creep-fest available only when you join the author’s free mailing list at JasonArnopp.com
Arnopp previously wrote and executive-produced the Lionsgate feature film Stormhouse and script-edited the Peter Mullan feature The Man Inside. He has also written for the worlds of Doctor Who (BBC), The Sarah Jane Adventures (BBC) and Friday The 13th (New Line Cinema).
In his past life as a rock journalist, he interviewed the likes of Bon Jovi, Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne and Guns N’ Roses. He was once surrounded by angry guards holding semi-automatic weapons at The Vatican. His Slipknot biography, Slipknot: Inside The Sickness, Behind The Masks, was released in 2001 and is now available as a Kindle Edition. Arnopp has also written a guide to journalistic interviewing, entitled How To Interview Doctor Who, Ozzy Osbourne And Everyone Else, which is also out on Kindle.
Arnopp’s latest non-fiction book is From The Front Lines Of Rock. Available in the Kindle Store now, it gathers 30 of his favourite nterviews he wrote as a rock journalist, with the likes of Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, Iron Maiden, Korn, Kiss, Faith No More, Garbage, Nine Inch Nails and Green Day.
When you sign up for Arnopp’s free newsletter at JasonArnopp.com, you can also download his short story American Hoarder for free. You might also want to check out his YouTube channel by searching for his name there. What a wonderful world.
About the book:
Kate Collins has been ghosted.
She was supposed to be moving in with her new boyfriend Scott, but all she finds after relocating to Brighton is an empty flat. Scott has vanished. His possessions have all disappeared.
Except for his mobile phone.
Kate knows she shouldn’t hack into Scott’s phone. She shouldn’t look at his Tinder, his texts, his social media. But she can’t quite help herself.
That’s when the trouble starts. Strange, whispering phone calls from numbers she doesn’t recognise. Scratch marks on the door that she can’t explain.
And the growing feeling that she’s being watched . . .
The Last Days of Jack Sparks was one of my top reads of 2017 and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Ghoster! From the blurb alone it was obvious this was going to be a spooky read – perfect for October and dark nights when all you have for company is a good book and your mobile phone for the constant scrolling/refreshing/rotating around the same four apps. Yes! My evenings really are THAT exciting…
Ghoster is a thoroughly modern horror story; a smartphone being the centre of the intrigue and chills. Our main protagonist Kate Collins is a paramedic from Leeds who has a serious addiction to her phone and social media. Did you know that you can actually become addicted to your phone!? Apps like Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram use the very same brain circuitry used by slot machines and cocaine to keep us using their products as much as possible…every text, like, swipe or notification gives your brain a little buzz of dopamine. Scary huh! This addiction caused a serious accident in Kate’s past so she now carries the most basic of phones (also known as a dumb phone) to resist the pull of the buzz. She actually meets her soulmate Scott Palmer on a digital detox weekend, how sweet when the stars align eh? And surely it’s just a coincidence that this is the guy she swiped right on a few months ago? Oh and look at that he’s a vegetarian too. I am obviously a MASSIVE cynic (and thank God dating apps weren’t a thing in my youth) because Kate falls for Scott and they are soon a serious item with her agreeing to move from her home in Leeds to his gorgeous flat in Brighton. The day before the move though Scott stops all contact, no response to Kate’s texts which leaves her understandably confused. Her place is all packed up and ready to go with new tenants lined up, she has transferred her job to Brighton what can she do!? Is Scott injured, his phone dead/lost or has he seriously ghosted her (when a person cuts off all contact with their friends or the person they’re dating, without warning or notice beforehand)?
Things get even more confusing when Kate arrives in Brighton, Scott’s flat is totally bare and a weird face has been drawn onto the patio glass. The only thing left behind is his smart phone, which appears to have been dropped in the middle of this moonlight flit. Do you think Kate can resist this glowing mine of information; if only she could access all his apps she might get an idea of what has happened but in fact all she ends up with is more questions, creepy phone calls and the feeling that she is being watched!
I absolutely loved this book, having read Jason’s previous books I knew exactly what I was getting myself into and enjoyed every creepy AF twist and reveal that he threw at me. Arnopp has cemented himself as one of my all time favourite authors and I look forward to whatever comes next. In summary (I know I’ve waffled on) if you’re looking for a thrilling, funny, head f**k of a book go buy Ghoster!!! Maybe avoid looking for it on your smartphone though…..
Ellen is taking part in the blog tour for Effin’ Birds by Aaron Reynolds today, and I’ll be sharing her review with you all!
About the author:
AARON REYNOLDS is a humourist, professional speaker, and the man behind the @EffinBirds and @swear_trek Twitter accounts. When he’s not on Twitter, you can find him producing a series of podcasts and at ComicCons dressed as George Lucas. He has been a baseball writer, a fine art printer, and a mall Santa Claus photographer. Aaron was raised in Mississauga, Canada, a suburb where they cut down all the trees and named the streets after them. He currently splits his time between Toronto and Ottawa.
About the book:
Have you ever looked a bird dead in the eye and wondered what it was thinking?
With Effin Birds, the most eagerly anticipated new volume in the noble avocation of bird identification, you can venture into nature with confidence. This farcical field guide will help you identify over 200 birds, but more importantly, for the first time in history, it will also help you understand what these birds are thinking:
The vainglorious grebe is acutely aware of its own magnificence.
The hipster pelican thinks the world is a sh*tbarge.
The overbearing heron wishes you better luck next time, f*cknuts.
The counsellor swallow wants you to maybe try not being a d*ckhead.
Alongside beautiful, scientifically accurate illustrations and a whole lot of swearing is incisive commentary on modern life and the world we, as humans, must navigate. Or maybe it s just some pictures of effin birds, okay?
I have loved Effin Birds material for quite a while having followed the Twitter account (@EffinBirds) so was delighted that there is now this field guide! As a child I loved illustrated nature guides and this is a delightfully funny (and very sweary) update perfect for the adult audience.
The drawings used are beautiful and the captions that accompany them hilarious, I could really identify with a lot of them and definitely spotted some work acquaintances!
This is a great book to dip into when you need a little chuckle and a cheer up. Obviously this type of humour isn’t for everyone but it really appealed to me and I’ve already eyed up the merchandise available to add to my Christmas list.