Blog Tour: The Undoing of Arlo Knott by Heather Child Ellen’s Review

Hey guys,

Today, its Ellen’s turn to take part in the blog tour for The Undoing of Arlo Knott by Heather Child, and I’ll be sharing her review with you all a little further down.

About the author:

Heather Child

Heather Child’s experience in digital marketing has brought her into close contact with the automation and personalisation technologies that herald the ‘big data’ age. She lives in Bristol and Everything About You is her debut novel. Find her on twitter at @Heatherika1

About the book:

What if your life had an ‘undo’ button?

Arlo Knott discovers he can rewind time – just by a minute or two – enough to undo any mistake, say the right thing or impress his friends with his uncanny predictions…

But second chances aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. As wonderful as his new life is, a mistake in Arlo’s traumatic childhood still haunts him and the temptation to undo, undo and keep undoing is too much to resist.

The Undoing of Arlo Knott by Heather Child

Ellen’s Review:

Where to start with reviewing this mind bending, time twisting gem of a book!? I was immediately drawn to the beautiful cover, the twisted snake reminding me of the Ouroboros which is a symbol of eternity and renewal of life. Renewal is definitely the hot topic in Arlo; at a young age he discovers he can reverse time. Only by seconds at first but this gradually increases as the story progresses. Of course Arlo initially uses his secret talent to benefit himself, after discovering he cannot retain specifics (lottery numbers) as he “undoes” time he turns to easier ways of raising funds with scratch cards and casinos. Arlo does come across as quite a greedy, unlikeable person but given the skill to always be able to say the right thing, take back a hurtful word or action it is understandable that he appears aloof. He does redeem himself, after dabbling in the magic business, by focussing on a career where he can save people. It was difficult to read some parts where Arlo desperately tries multiple times to “correct” mistakes and it’s a miracle that he continues to try especially when fate is determined to have its way.

The Undoing of Arlo Knott definitely gives you a lot to think about; if you could rewind time would you? It’s a tricky one, I can see the benefits but I doubt I would be as brave (foolish) as Arlo, the temptation to push your luck knowing you have a rewind option might prove too much. With great power comes great responsibility and all that!  At the heart of the story is a loss Arlo suffered as a child and it is obvious that this steers a lot of his later life choices. His inability to take back a mistake in his childhood appears to be the push behind his decision making process on where to concentrate his power.

An intriguing and emotional read and one that I highly recommend!

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Blog Tour: Wanderers by Chuck Wendig Ellen’s Review

Hey everyone,

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

About the author:

Chuck Wendig is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Star Wars: Aftermath, as well as the Miriam Black thrillers, the Atlanta Burns books, Zer0es/Invasive, and his upcoming modern epic, Wanderers (Del Rey, 2019). He’s also worked in a variety of other formats, including comics, games, film, and television. A finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and the cowriter of the Emmy-nominated digital narrative Collapsus, he is also known for his books about writing. He lives in Pennsyltucky with his family. His agent is Stacia Decker, with Dunow, Carlson and Lerner.

Terribleminds is his blog. Here he rambles on about writing, parenthood, food, pop culture, and other such shenanigans. It is NSFW. Because fuck yeah, that’s why.

About the book:

The story is an epic tapestry of humanity, told in a chorus of disparate voices, including Shana, a young girl who wakes up one morning to discover her sister in the grip of a strange malady. She appears to be sleepwalking. She cannot talk and cannot be woken up. And she is heading with inexorable determination to a destination that only she knows. But Shana and are sister are not alone. Soon they are joined by a flock of sleepwalkers from across America, on the same mysterious journey. And like Shana, there are other “shepherds” who follow the flock to protect their friends and family on the long dark road ahead. For on their journey, they will discover an America convulsed with terror and violence, where this apocalyptic epidemic proves less dangerous than the fear of it.

Wanderers by Chuck Wendig

Ellen’s Review:

Where to start with a review for this EPIC book? I’ll start there, it’s epic – 800 pages of awesomeness and I was absorbed from first page to last, in fact I could have happily read another few hundred or more. Apocalyptic madness, a big bad virus on the loose, white supremacists, religious lunatics…you’ll find all that and more in this behemoth of a read.

Shana wakes up one morning to discover her little sister Nessie missing from the family home and finds her outside apparently sleepwalking. She cannot be woken up or stopped from walking forever forwards to a destination that only she knows. Nessie is not the only one, soon she is joined by a flock of sleepwalkers from across America whose numbers grow daily that are on the same mysterious journey. Shana and the relatives of the other Walkers are soon known as shepherds and they protect their flock from whatever danger they encounter along the way. The walkers don’t eat or sleep, needles cannot penetrate their skin and you REALLY don’t want to try and make them stand still, things are likely to get…messy!

There are a lot of people interested in the Walkers; the CDC and the government being two of the major players. It becomes apparent that the fear of the Walkers will lead to more destructive behaviour than anyone anticipated. A lot of people seize upon them as being an embodiment of evil and are determined that they won’t reach their destination.

We also have Black Swan – a piece of AI that claims to have knowledge about why the Walkers exist and where they are going. Can this information be trusted and who will gain from it in the end?

I loved the whole mystery of Wanderers and was not prepared for the revelations as they occurred. A huge cast of characters but there was enough time to get to know them which inevitably led to upset as you realize not everyone is going to survive this event. My first book from Chuck Wendig but I’ll definitely be looking into his previous books.

Highly recommend!!

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Blog Tour: Fear in the Lakes by Graham Smith~Ellen’s Review

Hey everyone,

Today, Ellen in taking part in the blog tour for Fear in the Lakes by Graham Smith, and I’ll be sharing her review with you all just a little further down this post.

About the author:

Graham Smith is the bestselling author of four explosive crime thrillers in the Jake Boulder series, Watching the Bodies, The Kindred Killers, Past Echoes and Die Cold. Watching the Bodies spent over two weeks at number one in the Amazon UK chart and Amazon CA charts. Graham is also the author of the popular DI Harry Evans series and has collections of short stories and novellas. His latest novels with Bookouture are set in Cumbria and the Lake District, featuring DC Beth Young.

He is the proud father of a young son. As a time-served joiner he has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. Since 2000 he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland. 

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 for the well-respected review site Crimesquad.com since 2010.

When not working, his time is spent reading, writing and playing games with his son. He enjoys socialising and spending time with friends and family.

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

TWITTER:  https://twitter.com/GrahamSmith1972

WEBSITE: https://grahamsmithauthor.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5446655.Graham_Smith?from_search=true

About the book:

A case with no leads.
A victim with no enemies.
A killer with no conscience…

When Detective Beth Young is called to investigate a victim with multiple broken bones, nothing prepares her for what she finds. James Sinclair is fighting for his life, and Beth can’t shake the idea that the nature of his injuries suggest someone with a personal grudge against him.

But James’s devastated wife Laura insists that her kind, softly-spoken husband is a man with no enemies. She was the one with the fiery temper, but James was so calm, she’d never once managed to provoke even a cross word from him in their eight year marriage. And he was the same with everyone – she can’t name one person who might want to hurt him.

But she knows virtually no details about her husband’s childhood or his life before he moved to the Lake District as a young man, and Beth feels sure that the key to finding James’s attacker is hidden in the secrets of his past. Who was he really? And what is the significance of the coded messages that Beth finds hidden on his laptop?

Then two more bodies are found in one of the deep, picturesque lakes that the area is so famous for, exhibiting similar injuries to the ones James Sinclair suffered. How are they connected? And how many more people are at risk?

Beth knows she is in a race against time to hunt a vicious killer who is both elusive and incredibly dangerous. A killer who knows what James did in the past. Who likes to be one step ahead. But who – if they realise they’re being hunted – might come for Beth next…

Fear in the Lakes by Graham Smith

Ellen’s Review:

Oh myyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!! I have loved the past two books in the DC Beth Young series (Death in the Lakes and Body in the Lakes) but this one…this one is a proper belter. Sick and twisted murders are my favourite (don’t judge me), the more blood, guts and broken bones the better and the number of bones broken in Fear in the Lakes must be a record!!

Beth Young is called to investigate a victim with multiple broken bones; not just broken but shattered to tiny pieces and beyond salvation. This attack on local man James Sinclair looks like a professional hit job but his wife is adamant that her husband is not mixed up in anything dodgy, she can’t think of anyone that would want to hurt this calm tempered, quiet man. It’s obvious that there must be something in James’ past that she does not know about; he has never told her much about his childhood or his life before he moved to The Lake District. Beth’s dogged determination and unusual thought processes lead to the discovery of secret coded messages on James’ laptop and she becomes convinced the secret to his brutal attack is hidden in his past.

After two more bodies emerge with similar injuries to the ones James suffered it appears there is a ruthless and vicious killer on the loose in the picturesque surroundings of The Lakes. The skill and precision that the murderer exhibits are exceptional; to be able to take a person to the brink of death but leave them with life changing injuries or simply cut their life short…impressive! Can Beth find the killer while putting herself in their sights as another victim?

As well as this case, Beth is wrangling with the knowledge of discovering more about the man that was involved in the bar fight which left her scarred for life; can she trust herself to delve further into without getting distracted from the investigation?

For such a dark read there is some light relief in O’Dowd (my second favourite character after Beth) and heartfelt emotion with the repercussions of bereavement within the team.

My absolute favourite in the series so far – more please Mr Smith!!

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Blog Tour: The Girl in the Woods by Patricia MacDonald~Ellen’s Review

Hi everyone,

Today on the blog, Ellen is reviewing The Girl in the Woods by Patricia MacDonald and I’ll be sharing her review with you all a little further down!

About the author:

Patricia MacDonald is the author of several psychological suspense novels set in small towns. MacDonald grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut and has a master’s degree from Boston College. Before writing her own novels she was a book editor and was once an editor for a soap opera magazine in New York. She is married to writer Art Bourgeau. They live in Cape May, New Jersey and have one daughter.

Her first novel, The Unforgiven, published in 1981, received an Edgar Award nomination from the Mystery Writers of America. Secret Admirer (1995) won the literary prize at the 1997 Deauville Film Festival in France, where MacDonald is consistently a number one bestseller. She’s also been awarded the prize for literature at the International Forum of Cinema and Literature in Monaco.

About the book:

Fifteen years ago, Blair’s best friend Molly was murdered. Fifteen years ago, Adrian Jones went to prison for it. Fifteen years ago, the real killer got away with it.

And now, Blair’s terminally ill sister has made a devastating deathbed confession, which could prove that the wrong man has been imprisoned for years – and that Molly’s killer is still out there. Blair’s determined to find him, but the story behind Molly’s death is more twisted than she could imagine. If she isn’t careful, the killer will ensnare her and bury Blair with his secret.

The Girl in the Woods by Patricia MacDonald

Ellen’s Review:

Fifteen years ago Molly Sinclair was murdered after leaving her best friend Blair Butler’s house. Now Blair is forced to return to see her terminally ill sister one last time – only for Celeste to make a shocking deathbed confession. At the time of the investigation she denied being in the company of a young, black man (Adrian Jones) due to the attitude of her bigoted Uncle and an innocent man was sent to the jail. Blair promises her sister she will try to solve this injustice and begins her own investigations into the shocking events of the past. Things are not made easy for her along the way; as far as the police are concerned they have the right man and Celeste’s confession does not hold much power. They are loathe to admit any wrong doing was done by them in the first place. Blair also faces the fact that the murderer is still out there and does not want to be discovered.

It was interesting to see how Blair had to readjust to the small town mentality and fight to have the truth heard and her ability to now tell her Uncle Ellis a few home truths that were long overdue. In my opinion there were a few threads within the story that seemed to peter out with no explanation but if you’re looking for a quick read you’d do no wrong with this one.

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Blog Tour: Now You See Me by Chris McGeorge ~ Ellen’s Review

Hi all,

Today, Ellen is taking part in the blog tour for Now You See Me by Chris McGeorge and I’ll be sharing her review with you all a little further down!

About the author:

Picture

Chris McGeorge has an MA in Creative Writing (Crime / Thriller) from City University London where he wrote his first crime novel Dead Room for this thesis. He constantly told stories from a young age, whether they took the form of comics, short stories or scripts.

He is a lover of Golden Age crime, like Christie and Conan Doyle, leading his crime stories to be a mix of the old and the contemporary. He likes weird and wonderful plots, with plenty of intrigue and twists. 

His often coherent ramblings about everything pop culture can be found on his blog Festival of Blood and occasionally he produces the Sarcasmicast podcast with a group of friends.

About the book:

NOW..

My name is Matthew McConnell. You’ve probably heard my story.
I took five of my friends on a boat through the longest canal tunnel in England.

YOU…

It takes two hours and twenty-six minutes to travel through that tunnel.
Six of us entered that tunnel but I was the only one to come out.

DON’T…

It was pitch black in there – I don’t know what happened to them. But I’m the only suspect. 
And if I don’t find out how they disappeared, I’ll be sentenced to murder.

Click the link below to order your copy:

Now You See Me by Chris McGeorge

Ellen’s review:

This is the first book that I have read by Chris McGeorge but it won’t be the last! I absolutely loved this “locked room” thriller. In place of a locked room we have a long, creepy AF, claustrophobic tunnel; Standedge Tunnel in Marsden, West Yorkshire to be precise which is Britain’s longest, deepest, highest canal tunnel and one of the seven wonders of the waterways. Since reading Now You See Me I’ve added this attraction to my list of local places to visit – fingers crossed the rest of my family see it through to the other side!

The novel revolves around the case of The Standedge Six – six students entered the tunnel, two and a half hours later the boat reappeared on the other side with only one of the students on board, unconscious. The remaining student Matthew is immediately under suspicion, the police investigation concludes that he killed his friends, hid their bodies and returned later to move them but Matthew insists he is innocent. In desperation he reaches out to Robert Ferringham, a man who is grieving for his missing wife, Sam. Matthew contacts Robert for help with his case on the promise of revealing information about Sam.

Now You See Me is a book of many layers involving friends, secrets and lies. I was gripped the whole time that I was reading and didn’t predict any of the reveals. The small town mentality of the locals really adds to the tension; they are loathe to rake up the murky events and resent Robert’s appearance. The truth when it is revealed is jaw dropping, to say any more would spoil your enjoyment so just go read it!

Highly recommend!

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Blog Tour: Dead Inside by Noelle Holten~Ellen’s Review

Hi everyone,

Today, Ellen is taking part in the blog tour for Dead Inside by Noelle Holten and I’ll be sharing her review with you all in a little bit!

About the author:

Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and a regular reviewer on the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast. Noelle worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of cases including those involving serious domestic abuse. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, author-stalking and sharing the booklove via her blog. 
Dead Inside is her debut novel with Killer Reads/Harper Collins UK and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.

Links:

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

Twitter: (@nholten40) https://twitter.com/nholten40

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18489795.Noelle_Holten

Blog: https://www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk

Instagram: @crimebookjunkie

About the book:

‘Kept me hooked … excellent pace and a very satisfying ending’ Angela Marsons

‘An excellent read’ Martina Cole

‘A brilliant debut – gritty, dark and chilling. Noelle Holten knows her stuff’ Mel Sherratt

A dark and gripping debut crime novel – the first in a stunning new series – from a huge new talent.

The killer is just getting started…

When three wife beaters are themselves found beaten to death, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she is facing her toughest case yet.

The police suspect that Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood – who is connected to all three victims – is hiding a dark secret. Then a fourth domestic abuser is brutally murdered.

And he is Lucy’s husband.

Now the police are running out of time, but can Maggie really believe her friend Lucy is a cold-blooded killer?

Out now from Killer Reads, you can order your copy by clicking the link below:

Dead Inside by Noelle Holten

Ellen’s Review:

Dead Inside is the debut novel from renowned book blogger Noelle Holten and I have to admit I was a little scared to agree to reading and reviewing it as I have known Noelle for quite a few years now and seen her move from the probation service into publishing and then to writing a novel as well. This lady is living the dream! What if I hated her book!?!

There was no need for concern, Dead Inside is certainly an impressive debut, Noelle’s knowledge and personal experience shines through and you can’t help but be pulled into the world of DC Maggie Jamieson. No punches are pulled in this story, it is gritty, realistic and really gives you an appreciation of what domestic abuse victims are put through and how not every case is black and white.

You are also given an insight into the abuser and while I was glad that they met a grisly end I couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for some of them; violence begets violence after all. I’m in no way excusing this behaviour just saying that this book gives you a fuller picture of the development of a person’s behaviours and actions.

As this is the first in a series we are introduced to a large cast of characters which I initially struggled with but soon settled in to. It was interesting to get a behind the scenes look into how a multi-disciplinary team works in this situation and I enjoyed the interaction between the different groups of staff involved.

I really felt for Lucy Sherwood, a probation officer who deals with domestic abuse daily, not only at work as she is a victim at home. Her husband Patrick is possibly one of the most vile characters I have encountered! You really get an insight into how manipulative these people can be and how hard it is to escape that situation. But has Lucy resorted to being a vigilante…Maggie Jamieson certainly begins to suspect as much as men are being murdered and the only link appears to be her! When Patrick is brutally murdered there is even more suspicion, is Lucy capable of such grisly acts?

An enjoyable read and I have already pre-ordered the next in the series!

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Blog Tour: The Whisper Man by Alex North ~ Ellen’s Review

Good morning folks,

After a blip this morning where the draft post and not the full post went out, I’m back again with the proper one!

Today, Ellen is taking part in the blog tour for The Whisper Man by Alex North, and I’ll be sharing her review with you all just a little further down!

About the author:

Alex North was born in Leeds, where he now lives with his wife and son. He studied Philosophy at Leeds University, and prior to becoming a writer he worked there in their sociology department.

About the book:

If you leave a door half-open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken . . .

Still devastated after the loss of his wife, Tom Kennedy and his young son Jake move to the sleepy village of Featherbank, looking for a much-needed fresh start.

But Featherbank has a dark past. Fifteen years ago, a twisted serial killer abducted and murdered five young boys.

Until he was finally caught, the killer was known as ‘The Whisper Man’.

Of course, an old crime need not trouble Tom and Jake as they try to settle in to their new home.

Except that now another boy has gone missing. And then Jake begins acting strangely.

He says he hears a whispering at his window . . .

Click the link below to order your copy:

The Whisper Man by Alex North

Ellen’s Review:

Stop the press! The Whisper Man is going into my top reads of this year! The perfect combination of supernatural and serial killer chills are exactly what I’m looking for in a book and I found it in this outstanding debut novel by Alex North. I devoured it in one sitting; there was no way I could put it down and carry on as usual until I knew what the outcome was going to be!

I loved Tom and Jake Kennedy – after the sudden death of his wife Tom is struggling with his new life as a single parent and Jake is obviously deeply upset at the loss of his mum. His way of coping with this loss appears to be in creating an imaginary friend to talk to but at times this friend tells Jake scary things. Tom hopes that a fresh start in the town of Featherbank is just what they both need to move on and create new memories but is oblivious to the fact that the town has a dark past.

Twenty years ago a serial killer nicknamed The Whisper Man abducted and murdered five young boys, luring them out by whispering at their windows…admit it, you’ve got the shivers right!? The culprit, Frank Carter, was found and imprisoned but now a young boy has gone missing; did Frank always have an accomplice like the rumours suggested or is there a copycat on the loose?

It is up to detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis to find the boy before history repeats itself but this means Pete has to delve into a past he would rather forget and visit The Whisper Man in prison. It all takes a turn for the terrifying when Jake starts hearing a whispering at his window.

This book totally got under my skin and I definitely triple checked all my locks before I went to bed that night. The thought of your child being abducted is nightmarish in itself and there is so much more in this book to give you the creeps.

It is really difficult to review without being spoilery so I’ll end on saying that I am stunned this is a debut and excited to read more from Alex North.

All the stars!!

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