My Favourite Books of 2018…

Hi everyone,

I’m sure you’ve all seen plenty of these posts in recent weeks, but I figure I may as well add my own favourites post to the list!

2018 has been a funny old year for me in terms of reading. In June I started experiencing anxiety and panic (more on that here), which meant I had to drastically change my reading and blogging habits in order to find something that worked for me. This involved changing up my genres, so while most of my previous Top Reads posts are predominantly crime/thriller books, this one has some non-crime 🙂

I found it hard to try to pick my favourite reads of the year this year if I’m honest. Not because I didn’t have a year of great books, moreso because I had a year of dodgy headspace and it changed my perspective a little. In saying that, I am pretty happy with my choices. The books on this list are books that I still think about and recommend on a regular basis, or books I get all shouty about on Twitter 🙂

As always, these are books that were my favourites, but reading is so subjective, so I wouldn’t expect anyone to agree with all of my picks. I’m also popping in a couple of books that are not out yet as 2019 recommendations, and an eBook that will be released in paperback in 2019 too. Hopefully you’ll discover a book here that you may not have heard about and decide to read!

So, without further ado, here are the books that I loved in 2018….

Don’t Make A Sound by David Jackson

Don't Make A Sound

You guys! YOU GUYS!!! THIS BOOK!!!! It definitely nearly broke me. I have such a grá (love in Irish in case you want to know!) for Nathan Cody. I never want to stop reading when I pick up any of David’s Cody series, and Don’t Make A Sound was no exception.

But I had to put it down… to catch my breath, because THINGS HAPPEN! And I wasn’t prepared for how it made me feel!!! I picked the book up again after a few deep breaths, but I was super tense until I turned those last pages.

What a bloody thrill ride!!!

There is no doubt that David Jackson is an awesome writer, but he is also a master manipulator after this one (Love you really, Dave!) because it really messed with my head, heart and emotions. I am NOT complaining though, because this knack that Dave has means that his books will keep me gripped from start to finish.

EVERY. DAMN. TIME.

Don’t Make A Sound, for me, is the best book in the series so far.  Without a shadow of a doubt. The plot is pitch perfect. The atmosphere is dark and nervy. The characters are so well-drawn (goodies and baddies) that the reader becomes immersed almost immediately and that denouement, perfection.

I can’t praise Dave or his books highly enough. Firmly on my favourites list for life, this series just keeps getting better and better.

Raw, dark and with an emotional gut-punch, Don’t Make A Sound is one thriller you DO NOT want to miss.

Highly recommended.

Always.

Don’t Make A Sound by David Jackson

Previous reviews for the series:

A Tapping at my Door by David Jackson

Hope To Die by David Jackson

The Darkness by Ragnar Jónasson

The Darkness

Regular readers of my blog will know that I am a huge fan of Ragnar Jónasson’s writing, so when I heard we were finally going to meet Hulda Hermansdottir in The Darkness, I jumped at the chance to read it, and I was definitely not disappointed.

Hulda is a Detective in the Reykjavik Police, and at sixty-four, is almost ready to retire. When she takes on the last case of her career, Hulda finds out that all is not what it seems. The case, a cold case, involved a young woman seeking asylum from Russia, who was found murdered on an isolated beach in Vatnsleysuströnd. Hulda thinks that if she can solve this one last case, she’ll go out on a high as she finishes her career, but life is never really that easy.

The Darkness is another fine example of Ragnar Jónasson’s ability to transfer the chilling Icelandic landscape into a character in the book. Unforgiving, dark and more than a little unsettling, I found myself thinking it sounds like a very harsh place to live. But I could easily conjure up the images he created.

Speaking of character, I really enjoyed reading about Hulda. It seems she is a little misunderstood by her colleagues, but when you get a glimpse into her thought processes you see she is lovely, just a bit standoffish. Her gruff demeanour does little to endear her to many of the people around her, but I warmed to her immediately.

By the end of the book, I genuinely didn’t want to have to turn that last page, so I’m really glad this is only the beginning. Or the end, because the books are going in reverse order.

To sum up, for me, The Darkness was a haunting portrait of the Icelandic landscape, with brilliantly drawn characters and a thoroughly chilling plot. It takes the reader on an unexpected journey, and I loved every minute of it.

Highly recommended, as always!

The Darkness by Ragnar Jónasson

To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

To Kill a Kingdom

Buy the damn book.

Can I just leave it at that?! Because I can’t seem to find the words to describe how much I enjoyed To Kill A Kingdom…

I’ve been switching genres lately because I find I get sick of the same kind of stuff if I read a load of similar books, so when I saw To Kill A Kingdom on my kindle I figured I would give it a go. It is a YA fantasy with sirens, mermaids and pirates. It sounded like it would be a fun read, and its safe to say it was that and more!

To Kill A Kingdom kept me company on a flight to Prague recently. I spent the entire plane journey reading it, and found myself over halfway through by the time we landed, I just couldn’t stop reading.

Princess Lira is a siren. She collects the hearts of princes by ripping them from their chests. When Lira has to kill one of her own, her sea queen mother punishes her by making her into something that her kind hate. A human. Enter Prince Elian. A siren hunter, heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Lira must kill Prince Elian in order to be returned to the sea. And there begins the real story.

I don’t want to go into too much detail. Partly because I don’t want to spoil the story for you guys, but also because I’m still struggling to find all of the good words to explain how much I loved this book.

To Kill A Kingdom hooked me from the beginning. It has a great cast of characters, way more action than I was expecting, and Alexandra Christo has created a truly wonderful world for this book. I loved the story, how it all played out, how beautifully drawn the book is as a whole.

Captivating, magical and haunting, To Kill A Kingdom is definitely one of my favourite books that I’ve read recently. So much so, that I am actively looking for books that even come marginally close to this engaging gem, so if you know of any, shout at me in the comments!

Also, I raved about it so much that my husband (who isn’t actually a big reader) read it and he really liked it too! 🙂

I’ll end this review the same way I started it…

Buy the damn book!

🙂 🙂 🙂

To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Furyborn by Claire Legrand

Furyborn

I’m months out from reading Furyborn and I’m STILL having trouble trying to formulate a review decent enough to convey just how much I loved this book. It has got everything I look for in a book. Strong main characters, a truly epic story line and excellent world-building. Once I picked it up, I knew I was on to a winner, and I could not stop reading!

Rielle and Eliana are two of the best female characters I’ve read in a fantasy book this year, and I found myself thoroughly invested in their fates throughout the course of the book. I am still thinking about them and its been two months since I read Furyborn!

I am reminded of the addictiveness of Sarah J. Maas’s Court books when I think of Furyborn. It evoked much the same feelings as I had when I picked those up, and its safe to say that I NEED MORE from Claire Legrand. More Eliana, more Rielle, more Corien, who reminds me of both Rhysand AND the Darkling (Leigh Bardugo’s creation).

I don’t know what else to say. No amount of raving can convey how I actually feel about this book. It left me breathless. Gasping for more. Bereft when I finished it. Lots of feelings, basically!

I absolutely loved Furyborn. Right from the beginning I knew it was going to be a great read. Excellent characterisation, clever magical-type aspects, great world building, I just loved it all. The power struggles, the action, the dual timeline narrative, it all worked really well for me. A perfect foundation for a trilogy. It left me with questions, and wanting more to read, but that’s the beauty of the first book in a series. I can’t wait for the next!

Highly recommended!

Furyborn by Claire Legrand

Aftershock by Adam Hamdy

Aftershock

If you follow my blog, you’ll know I’ve read and loved the previous books in the trilogy (review links are left below) so I had been eagerly awaiting Aftershock since I finished Freefall last summer. Which feels like a lifetime ago! So you can imagine my delight to find a copy waiting for me after I got home from Harrogate. I literally turned the last page of Aftershock a half hour ago, and I am shook, in the best possible way of course.

I’m mindful of the fact that I don’t want to go into too much detail in this review, so I will try to keep it relatively short because if I start rambling about the book, I probably won’t stop too easily!

Aftershock starts with a bang, and I swear the pace doesn’t let up for the entirety of the 500+ pages. If you’ve read the first two books, you’ll recognise Adam Hamdy’s innate talent for writing extremely cinematic thrillers, and this one is no exception!

We are back with the usual suspects, Wallace, Ash, Bailey as they try to deal with the fallout from the events that took place in Freefall. Each is trying to battle their own demons, and the internal guilt/struggles they are experiencing make for tough and emotive reading at times. The journeys that each one goes on, and the arc of their respective characters is so well plotted, and I found myself really rooting for them at various points in the book.

The Foundation has claimed so much of these people’s lives, and in Aftershock they try to claw back something for themselves. Destruction and force are The Foundation’s weapons of choice, but murder seems to be the order of the day and its up to Wallace, Ash and the rest to try to finally put a stop to this wide-reaching organisation.

I swear the tension and pacing in these books is designed to get your adrenaline pumping, but not in a bad way. I kept my reading of this one to daylight hours, but even then I was on tenterhooks while the action was unfolding. Lets not even mention the bits that made me tearful!!!

Aftershock is a pitch perfect ending to what has been one of the best action series I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Cleverly plotted, excellent characters and a truly terrifying reality made Aftershock a truly gripping read. 

If you like your thrillers with real heart, then I highly recommend you pick up Aftershock, and its equally impressive predecessors.

You will not be disappointed.

All the stars for this one!

Previous reviews:

Pendulum by Adam Hamdy

Run by Adam Hamdy

Freefall (Pendulum Trilogy #2) by Adam Hamdy

 

Skin Deep by Liz Nugent

Skin Deep

I love a bookish baddie. You know the kind. Self-centered, narcissistic, just hateful in general. Well, yet again, Liz Nugent has created a truly terrible fictional human being in Cordelia Russell. Right from the beginning of Skin Deep I found myself disliking her as a character.

But. And there is definitely a but. When we are taken through Cordelia’s early life, the reader learns why she is the way she is. No excuse, I know, but it is a very insightful and eye-opening character development that left me wondering how many more layers Liz Nugent could possibly add to her character.

Skin Deep is a masterful exploration of character and circumstance. It is graphic, raw and unashamedly honest in its portrayal of the lengths to which someone will go to get what they need from others. Selfishness and greed are front and centre in this book, and as we learn more about Cordelia, it is difficult to not have some very real and often angry feelings towards her.

I had been eagerly awaiting this book, and it was most definitely worth the wait. A savage look at the depravity of the human condition, the lengths to which people will go for their own gain, it is a triumph.

Highly recommended!

Skin Deep by Liz Nugent

The Caged Queen by Kristen Ciccarelli

The Caged Queen

The Caged Queen is one of the books I read during my hiatus from reviewing, so I don’t have an actual review to share for this one. What I will say is that I LOVED it. It’s the second book in the Iskari series, book one being The Last Namsara, and even though I hadn’t read the first book  I became completely immersed in it. So much so that I immediately went and bought The Last Namsara so I could read it.

Superb characters, a great plot and excellent world-building made this one a firm favourite. If you like fantasy, dragons and Young Adult fiction then I would highly recommend adding The Caged Queen to your TBR.

The Caged Queen by Kristen Ciccarelli

 

Next up, a book that is already available on Kindle, it will be released in paperback in January 2019. To be fair, Matt has featured on all of my Top Reads posts since he released Six Stories, so a list isn’t a list without my fave goth 🙂

And I’m going to get real here, nestled in the list, this book is the one.

My favorite.

It was one of my most anticipated books, and it didn’t disappoint, so it’s only right that it’s my top read…

 

Changeling by Matt Wesolowski

Changeling

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

 

Another 2019 release coming up next, I managed to read this one way back in February:

 

The Nowhere Child by Christian White

The Nowhere Child is simply unputdownable. I absolutely devoured this exquisitely written thriller in a couple of sittings. This is the kind of book that makes me want to shout about it from the rooftops.

It all started with the disappearance of 2-year-old Sammy Went in the 90’s. Gone without a trace, Sammy has never been found. Fast forward twenty eight years to where we meet Kim Leamy, who is approached by a man investigating little Sammy’s disappearance all those years ago. This meeting leaves Kim with enough questions to make her travel to Sammy’s hometown of Manson, Kentucky in the United States.

What follows is by far one of the best stories I’ve had the pleasure of reading in a long time. Packed with tension that winds its way towards an unexpected conclusion, The Nowhere Child is a triumph. A riveting tale of secrets and lies, and the lengths to which people will go to keep them hidden. Thoroughly engaging, you won’t be able to put it down until the bitter end.

The Nowhere Child by Christian White

 

And last, but by no meas least, a 2019 YA release that I may have been shouting about a little on Twitter…

 

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

A Curse So Dark and Lonely

This book had been languishing on my kindle for a while so I picked it up a month or two ago to read and I ended up absolutely loving it. It is billed as a retelling of Beauty and the Beast and I AM HERE FOR THAT! It was such a great read. I loved the characters, the whole idea, the premise, everything! I love anything to do with BATB so this book was everything for me. I can’t wait to get myself a hardcover for my shelves because I plan on reading it again in 2019. Can’t recommend it highly enough!

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

 

And that’s it. Just like that,  I’m done.

 

Have you read any of my 2018 faves? Would you? Do let me know in the comments!

Thanks for taking the time to read this post, and my blog over the past year!

Until 2019, happy reading!

Kate x

Blog Tour~Good Samaritans by Will Carver Ellen’s Review

Hey all,

Today Ellen is taking part in the blog tour for Good Samaritans by Will Carver and I’ll be sharing her review with you all!

About the author:

View More: http://razialife.pass.us/vanessa-and-brendans-wedding

Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series (Arrow). He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age 11, 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, while working on his next thriller. He lives in Reading with his two children.

About the book:

GOOD SAMARITANS AW PR1.indd

One crossed wire, three dead bodies and six bottles of bleach

Seth Beauman can’t sleep. He stays up late, calling strangers from his phonebook, hoping to make a connection, while his wife, Maeve, sleeps upstairs. A crossed wire finds a suicidal Hadley Serf on the phone to Seth, thinking she is talking to The Samaritans. But a seemingly harmless, late-night hobby turns into something more for Seth and for Hadley, and soon their late-night talks are turning into day-time meet-ups. And then this dysfunctional love story turns into something altogether darker, when Seth brings Hadley home… And someone is watching… Dark, sexy, dangerous and wildly readable, Good Samaritans marks the scorching return of one of crime fiction’s most exceptional voices.

Good Samaritans by Will Carver

Ellen’s review:

Instructions on how to read Good Samaritans:

1. Buy the book 

2. Read the book as quickly as possible while pausing to pick dropped jaw from the floor repeatedly.

3. Finish and question what a dark genius Will Carver is.

4. Spread the word – seriously shout about it from the rooftops!

5. Glance around furtively when buying bleach…..

Seth Beauman is an insomniac. He stays up late into the night, calling strangers from his phonebook, desperate to make a connection, while his wife, Maeve, sleeps upstairs. A troubled, suicidal Hadley Serf thinks she is speaking to The Samaritans but a crossed wire means she ends up pouring her troubles out to Seth. This seemingly harmless, late-night hobby turns into something more for Seth and for Hadley and soon their late-night talks are turning into day-time meet-ups. Soon this dysfunctional love story evolves into something altogether darker when Seth brings Hadley home. Add into this volatile mix actual Samaritan call handler Ant searching for lost souls to save and you have a deeply tangled web of troubled relationships and dark secrets.

I have to admit I wasn’t quite sure if Good Samaritans was going to be my kind of book with all the talk about it being sexy/steamy, I have an issue with “sexy tension” in books and sex scenes in general. I’m no prude I’m just not a fan of those lingering, when-will-it-end paragraphs! Thankfully Good Samaritans contains more wham bam thank you ma’am/sir scenarios and I’m cool with that…take from this insight into me what you will!

I tore through this book in two sittings, loving the shocks, thrills , spills and revelations. I don’t like to compare books to others but I was reminded of American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis and You by Caroline Kepnes (two books I am a massive fan of). So if obsession, attention to detail and stalking are your bag you’ll love this book. Yes there are shocking scenes and heinous acts committed but Carver draws you in making you an observer to these depraved things and desperate to know where the games will end.

It is difficult to reveal much about Good Samaritans you really need to experience it for yourself. So, follow the rules I’ve set out and enjoy!

Five stars and #sixbottlesofbleach from me.

Check out the tour:

Final Good Samaritans BT Poster

Blog Tour~Die Cold (Jake Boulder #4) by Graham Smith Ellen’s Review

Hey guys,

Today Ellen is one of the stops on the blog tour for Die Cold, the latest Jake Boulder novel, by Graham Smith and I’ll be sharing her review with you all a little further down!

About the author:

Graham Smith Author Pic

Graham Smith is a time-served joiner who has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. Since Christmas 2000, he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland.

He is an internationally best-selling Kindle author and has six books featuring DI Harry Evans and the Cumbrian Major Crimes Team, and four novels, featuring Utah doorman, Jake Boulder.

An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer and interviewer for the well-respected website Crimesquad.com since 2009

Graham is the founder of Crime and Publishment, a weekend of crime-writing classes which includes the chance for attendees to pitch their novels to agents and publishers. Since the first weekend in 2013, ten attendees have gone on to sign publishing contracts.

Social Media Links:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/grahamnsmithauthor

Twitter https://twitter.com/GrahamSmith1972 @GrahamSmith1972

Website www.grahamsmithauthor.com

About the book:

Die Cold (Jake Boulder Book 4) by [Smith, Graham]

Boulder is back.

Jake Boulder is working as a bartender, at an exclusive Vermont ski resort on New  Year’s Eve, when armed terrorists hold up the lodge and take the guests hostage.

Trapped with the other hostages, Boulder watches in horror as the female terrorist leader disfigures a singer to make her point. He wants to fight back, but is unarmed and being held at gunpoint.

When Boulder finds a way to escape from the terrorists he searches for a way to raise the alarm. After he discovers the terrorists plan to leave no witnesses to their crime, he knows he has a race against time to save as many innocent people as he can…

But will Boulder be the reluctant hero and save the day?

Die Cold (Jake Boulder #4) by Graham Smith

Ellen’s review:

Die Cold is a high octane thriller from first shot fired to the final punch thrown! Book four in the Jake Boulder series – a series that just keeps getting better and better.

After being concerned about how Jake would recover from the events of Past Echoes (book 3) it was fantastic to see him back on form and then some!

Jake is working as a barman for an exclusive ski resort favoured by the uber rich when a group of terrorists descend and take everyone hostage. This gang are obviously professionals and it is clear to Jake that no one is going to get out of this situation to tell the tale unless he takes action.

An absolutely gripping read that I could not put down, this book would make an amazing film although I’m not quite sure who would star as Jake, I’ll leave that to your own sordid imagination….

If I had to say there was anything missing from this book it would be a white vest for Mr Boulder.

Yippee Ki-Yay Boulder lovers!! Bring on book five!

Previous reviews:

Watching The Bodies- Graham Smith Ellen’s Review

The Kindred Killers by Graham Smith Ellen’s Review

Past Echoes by Graham Smith Ellen’s Review

Check out the tour:

DIE COLD BLOG BLITZ banner (5).jpg

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

Blog Tour ~ Hush Hush by Mel Sheratt ~ Ellen’s Review

Hi all,

Today, Ellen is taking part in the blog tour for Hush Hush by Mel Sherratt and I’ll be sharing her review with you all a little further down!

About the author:

Mel Sherratt

Mel Sherratt is the author of ten novels, all of which have become bestsellers. In 2017, she was named as one of her home town of Stoke-on-Trent’s top 100 influential people.

She lives in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, with her husband and terrier, Dexter.

 

About the book:

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A killer is on the loose, attacking people in places they feel most safe: their workplaces, their homes. It’s up to DS Grace Allendale to stop the murders, and prove herself to her new team.

All clues lead to local crime family the Steeles, but that’s where things get complicated. Because the Steeles aren’t just any family, they’re Grace’s family. Two brothers and two sisters, connected by the violent father only Grace and her mother escaped.

To catch the killer, Grace will have to choose between her team and her blood. But who do you trust, when both sides are out to get you?

Hush Hush by Mel Sherratt

Ellen’s review:

I have a confession to make….this is the first thriller type book that I have read by Mel Sherratt! Previously I have been a massive fan of her sparkly alter ego Marcie Steele’s books so I was a little nervous of reading a switch in genre from the same author. Well, there was no need for nerves as Hush Hush blew my little sparkly socks off. I’m not averse to crime/thrillers/grit lit so loved all the elements of this novel which mixed together perfectly.

DS Grace Allendale returns to her home town and is immediately recruited on to a gruesome murder case, the only fly in the ointment is that her estranged family are involved. Is blood thicker than water? Where do Grace’s loyalties lie; with her new team or the family who suffered under the brutality of the same father (George Steele)? As much as Grace has grown up apart from her half-brothers and sister you do wonder if her head will be turned and having an insider on the force certainly appeals to the Steele brothers who have taken over the criminal side of their father’s legacy.

The murders are particularly vicious and the thought that they are committed in places where the victims would consider themselves safe gave me the shivers. I was definitely checking over my shoulder when I was out and about in public! I do love a gruesome death scene and Hush Hush definitely delivered.

There are some characters in Hush Hush from the previous Allie Shenton trilogy  but enough detail was given about them that I could keep up and in fact it made me want to bump up these books on my TBR. Mel Sherratt writes excellent female protagonists and I want to get to know them all! The men aren’t always the driving force and we see this in all the strong women in Hush Hush; Grace, her mother, Allie and her estranged sister. None of them are willing to bow down to the men in their lives and in some cases they have been irrevocably damaged mentally and/or physically.

I loved Hush Hush and can’t wait for Tick Tock the next book in the series which is due April 2019!

Check out the tour:

Hush Hush Blog Tour - October

Blog Tour: The Tattoo Thief by Alison Belsham

Hey guys,

Today its my turn on the blog tour for The Tattoo Thief by Alison Belsham and I’ll be sharing my review with you all!

About the author:

Alison Belsham
Alison Belsham initially started writing with the ambition of becoming a screenwriter — and in 2000 was commended for her visual storytelling in the Orange Prize for Screenwriting. In 2001 she was shortlisted in a BBC Drama Writer competition. Life and children intervened but, switching to fiction, in 2009 her novel Domino was selected for the prestigious Adventures in Fiction mentoring scheme. In 2016 she pitched her first crime novel, The Tattoo Thief, at the Pitch Perfect event at the Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival and was judged the winner.

Twitter:@alisonbelsham

About the book:

The Tattoo Thief

A policeman on his first murder case
A tattoo artist with a deadly secret
And a twisted serial killer sharpening his blades to kill again…

When Brighton tattoo artist Marni Mullins discovers a flayed body, newly-promoted DI Francis Sullivan needs her help. There’s a serial killer at large, slicing tattoos from his victims’ bodies while they’re still alive. Marni knows the tattooing world like the back of her hand, but has her own reasons to distrust the police. So when she identifies the killer’s next target, will she tell Sullivan or go after the Tattoo Thief alone?

The Tattoo Thief by Alison Belsham

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed The Tattoo Thief. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into it, but I found myself getting pulled into the story really quickly. I liked the tattoo angle, not least because I have a few myself, so it was interesting to read about.

Marni Mullins is a tattoo artist, and she stumbles upon a body in a dumpster when taking a break at a tattoo show. Conflicted, she calls it in but then goes back to work at the tattoo show, not expecting anything to come of it. Until the police find her.

What follows is a twisty-turny read with lots of things going on. DI Sullivan is investigating the discovery, but he has a lot more going on than what he’s letting on. I enjoyed reading about him and his thinking processes.

I loved the interactions between Francis and Marni too, especially as the book progresses. Their back and forth banter is good fun to read. There is definitely a connection there, and I liked them both as characters.

The Tattoo Thief is a really interesting crime thriller, told from multiple viewpoints, including the killer. It is graphic, and more than a little tense at times. Hard to believe its a debut!

Recommended for sure!

Check out the tour:

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Blog Tour~The Tattoo Thief by Alison Belsham Ellen’s Review

Hey guys,

Today Ellen is taking part in the blog tour for The Tattoo Thief by Alison Belsham and I’ll be sharing her review with you all further down!

About the author:

Alison Belsham
Alison Belsham initially started writing with the ambition of becoming a screenwriter — and in 2000 was commended for her visual storytelling in the Orange Prize for Screenwriting. In 2001 she was shortlisted in a BBC Drama Writer competition. Life and children intervened but, switching to fiction, in 2009 her novel Domino was selected for the prestigious Adventures in Fiction mentoring scheme. In 2016 she pitched her first crime novel, The Tattoo Thief, at the Pitch Perfect event at the Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival and was judged the winner.

Twitter: www.twitter.com/alisonbelsham

About the book:

The Tattoo Thief

A policeman on his first murder case
A tattoo artist with a deadly secret
And a twisted serial killer sharpening his blades to kill again…

When Brighton tattoo artist Marni Mullins discovers a flayed body, newly-promoted DI Francis Sullivan needs her help. There’s a serial killer at large, slicing tattoos from his victims’ bodies while they’re still alive. Marni knows the tattooing world like the back of her hand, but has her own reasons to distrust the police. So when she identifies the killer’s next target, will she tell Sullivan or go after the Tattoo Thief alone?

The Tattoo Thief by Alison Belsham

Ellen’s Review:

The Tattoo Thief is one of those books that will really get under your skin…sorry I couldn’t resist! It is true though, I really struggled to put this book down and was walking round my house with kindle in hand permanently. It is a really fast paced, intriguing tale and the action kicks off early doors when Marni (tattoo artist) discovers a mutilated body in a dumpster. After phoning this in to the police anonymously she soon becomes deeply involved in the case as it becomes obvious there is a serial killer on the loose with a penchant for tattoos. Not just any old tattoo, this killer desires the best work out there and has a very specific wish list.

The tattoos of the victims are removed while they are still alive so be warned this book is quite graphic and gruesome. As I’ve said before I’m a bloodthirsty soul so I really enjoyed these elements of the story. I also loved the relationship between Marni Mullins and DI Francis Sullivan, never a truer example of chalk and cheese have I seen! Marni is wary of the police due to past life events and Francis is an ardent church loving individual. Their worlds clash and both must bend a little to assist in the case.

Marni Mullins was definitely my favourite character in this book and I’d actually like to know more about her life before her dealings with the tattoo thief. A fiery French ex-husband, time in prison and unresolved issues from her past…there’s another story waiting to be told!

A fantastic debut and I look forward to seeing what is next from Alison Belsham.

Check out the tour:

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