Blog Tour: Violet by S.J.I. Holliday Ellen’s Review

Hi all,

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…

Click the link below to order your copy:

Violet by S. J. I. Holliday

Ellen’s Review:

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!

Check out the blog tour:

Blog Tour: Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver Ellen’s Review

Hey everyone,

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:

Nothing Important Happened Today by [Carver, Will]

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?

Click the link below to get your copy:

Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver

Ellen’s Review:

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!

Personally I loved it!!

Highly recommend!

Check out the blog tour:

Blog Tour: Cage by Lilja Sigurdardottir Ellen’s Review

Hi everyone,

Today, Ellen is taking part in the blog tour for Cage by Lilja Sigurdardottir and I’ll be sharing her review with you all.

About the author:

Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, with Snare, the first in the Reykjavik Noir series, hitting bestseller lists worldwide. Trap was published in 2018, and a Book of the Year in Guardian. The film rights for the series have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. Lilja lives in Reykjavík with her partner. Follow Lilja on Twitter @lilja1972 and on her website liljawriter.com

About the book:

The prison doors slam shut behind Agla, when her sentence ends, but her lover Sonja is not there to meet her.

As a group of foreign businessmen tries to draw Agla into an ingenious fraud that stretches from Iceland around the world, Agla and her former nemesis, María find the stakes being raised at a terrifying speed.
Ruthless drug baron Ingimar will stop at nothing to protect his empire, but he has no idea about the powder keg he is sitting on in his own home.
At the same time, a deadly threat to Sonya and her family brings her from London back to Iceland, where she needs to settle scores with longstanding adversaries if she wants to stay alive.

Click the link below to order your copy:

Cage by Lilja Sigurdardottir

Ellen’s Review:

Cage is the explosive finale to the Reykjavik Noir trilogy by Lilja Sigurdottir (Snare and Trap being the first two) and what a finale it is! I would definitely recommend reading the previous novels as there is a lot of information that is relevant and all the loose threads are finally tied up. Also, it’s a cracking trilogy!!

Cage is set six years after the events of Trap so as you can imagine a lot of things have changed in this time. Agla has served her sentence and is being released from prison but her former love Sonja is not there to meet her. I have to admit to warming more to Agla in this book as I’d previously found her to be very needy and manipulative; it was great to see this different side to her personality. She has had plenty of time to think while she was incarcerated and comes out more determined than ever to make a difference and do the right thing…in her own way of course!  After her release she is hired to look into what appears to be some dodgy dealings in in the aluminium sector. She brings in María for help, a former banking prosecutor and enemy, who is now an investigative journalist with The Squirrel (awesome name!).

Ingimar is another familiar character from the previous two books; still riding high on his success and wealth but his marriage is suffering and his son Anton is a hormonal ticking time bomb of emotions. All these storylines are brought together cleverly and there is a definite sense of an ending to the trilogy.

An intricate but fast paced and dramatic conclusion!

Check out the blog tour:

Cover Reveal: Beast (Six Stories #4) by Matt Wesolowski

Hello loves,

Are you sitting comfortably? Because I have an absolute beaut of a cover to show you all today…

Regular readers of my blog, or basically any of my social media pages, will know of my love for a certain series. Well today, I get to share the cover for BEAST, the newest offering from my fave black heart buddy, Matt Wesolowski.

I’ve long been a champion of this series, and Orenda Books, so I am delighted that I get to post this awesome cover.

First though, in case you don’t already know, here’s some info about Matt and his books, along with links to my reviews if you want to see why this series is consistently in my Top Reads of the Year posts.

About the author:

Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor for young people in care. Matt started his writing career in horror, and his short horror fiction has been published in numerous UK- an US-based anthologies such as Midnight Movie Creature, Selfies from the End of the World, Cold Iron and many more.

His novella, The Black Land, a horror set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013. Matt was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in 2015.

His debut thriller, Six Stories, was an Amazon bestseller in the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia, and a WHSmith Fresh Talent pick, and film rights were sold to a major Hollywood studio. A prequel, Hydra, was published in 2018 and became an international bestseller.

Changeling, book three in the series, was published in 2019 and was longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year and shortlisted for Capital Crime’s Amazon Publishing Reader Awards in two categories: Best Thriller and Best Independent Voice.

Wanna read my reviews for these awesome books???

Six Stories

Hydra

Changeling

How about some info on Beast???

Elusive online journalist Scott King examines the chilling case of a young vlogger found frozen to death in the legendary local ‘vampire tower’, in another explosive episode of Six Stories…

In the wake of the ‘Beast from the East’ cold snap that ravaged the UK in 2018, a grisly discovery was made in a ruin on the Northumbrian coast. Twenty-four-year-old Vlogger, Elizabeth Barton, had been barricaded inside what locals refer to as ‘The Vampire Tower’, where she was later found frozen to death.

Three young men, part of an alleged ‘cult’, were convicted of this terrible crime, which they described as a ‘prank gone wrong’. However, in the small town of Ergarth, questions have been raised about the nature of Elizabeth Barton’s death and whether the three convicted youths were even responsible.

Elusive online journalist Scott King speaks to six witnesses – people who knew both the victim and the three killers – to peer beneath the surface of the case. He uncovers whispers of a shocking online craze that held the young of Ergarth in its thrall and drove them to escalate a series of pranks in the name of internet fame. He hears of an abattoir on the edge of town, which held more than simple slaughter behind its walls, the tragic and chilling legend of the ‘Ergarth Vampire…

Both a compulsive, taut and terrifying thriller, and a bleak and distressing look at modern society’s desperation for attention, Beast will unveil a darkness from which you may never return…

Does this not just sound AMAZING?!

Do you want to see the cover???

Ready?

Set?

Here you go…

I don’t know about y’all, but I love love LOVE this cover!!!!!

BEAST (Feb 2020 from Orenda Books) is available to preorder now, and you can do just that by clickety-clicking the link below:

Beast (Six Stories #4) by Matt Wesolowski

I CAN’T WAIT TO READ THIS ONE!!!!

Blog Tour~Changeling (Six Stories #3) by Matt Wesolowski~Ellen’s Review

Hi everyone,

So, today is Ellen’s stop on the blog tour for Changeling by Matt Wesolowski and I’ll be sharing her review with you all just a little further down this post!

About the author:

Matt Wesolowski.jpeg

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

About the book:

Changeling.jpg

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

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

Changeling (Six Stories #3) by Matt Wesolowski

Ellen’s Review:

Matt Wesolowski is a genius. End of.

That’s how I suggested a blogger wrote their review of Changeling because it’s true and the simplest way of reviewing such a book full of complex ideas and feelings! Obviously that wouldn’t be fair to the author, his books deserve all the praise they get so I’ll try to sum up how much I loved it.

Changeling is book three in the Six Stories series and having loved the previous two (Six Stories and Hydra) I couldn’t wait to get stuck in. Always with a sense of trepidation though as the author has a way of tapping into your deepest darkest fears and dialling the tension to the maximum. Had anyone knocked at my door at certain points in this book I would have filled my pants!

As a child one of my favourite books was a huge tome of folklore, myths & legends. A beautiful cloth bound book with an image of The Green Man on the front; I was obsessed (as only a child can be) with fairies, witches, wood sprites, nymphs and curses and convinced myself I was a changeling. Hey, I grew up into a (reasonably) well adjusted individual so all’s well considering! The story in Changeling revolves around the paranormal happenings in Wentshire Forest and the disappearance of Alfie Marsden. Alfie is travelling with his father Sorrel when he vanishes into thin air, he is never seen again and no body has ever been found. Scott King (presenter of the Six Stories podcast) receives a mysterious note regarding the case thirty years later and cannot resist investigating.

As with Six Stories and Hydra the tale is told as a podcast, this is such an ingenoius method of story telling and it works so well. We are drip fed information from various people that were involved in the case and slowly the picture becomes clearer, I challenge you to predict that ending though. My jaw is still sore from dropping on the floor!

Matt Wesolowski has such a talent for presenting a story as horror/supernatural but then totally flipping the genre as you progress through the tale. It is evident from his writing that Matt works with children in care; all his books provide a social commentary on the current issues our children face on a daily basis. Bullying, peer pressure and parental separation feature in all three and what could be more horrific to any child (and indeed adult) than that…?

It should be no surprise that I’ve given Changeling five stars and I’m really interested to see what is next from Matt.

Check out the blog tour:

Blog Tour~Changeling (Six Stories #3) by Matt Wesolowski

Hi everyone,

So, today is my stop on the blog tour for Changeling by Matt Wesolowski and I’ll be re-sharing my review with you just a little further down this post!

About the author:

Matt Wesolowski.jpeg

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

About the book:

Changeling.jpg

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

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

Changeling (Six Stories #3) by Matt Wesolowski

Review:

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

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

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

Reader, it does not disappoint.

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

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

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

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

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

What you need to know is 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

Check out the blog tour:

Blog Tour~ Attend by West Camel~ Ellen’s Review

Hi everyone,

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

About the author:

Born and bred in south London – and not the Somerset village with which he shares a name – West Camel worked as an editor in higher education and business before turning his attention to the arts and publishing. He has worked as a book and arts journalist, and was editor at Dalkey Archive Press, where he edited the Best European Fiction 2015 anthology, before moving to new press Orenda Books just after its launch. He currently combines his work as editor at Orenda Books with writing and editing a wide range of material for various arts organisations, including ghostwriting a New-Adult novel and editing The Riveter magazine for the European Literature Network. He has also written several short scripts, which have been produced in London’s fringe theatres,
A highly anticipated debut, blending the magical realism of Angela Carter and the gritty authenticity of Eastenders
and was longlisted for the Old Vic’s 12 playwrights project. Attend is his first novel.

About the book:

When Sam falls in love with Deptford thug Derek, and Anne’s best friend Kathleen takes her own life, they discover they are linked not just by a world of drugs and revenge; they also share the friendship of the uncanny and enigmatic Deborah.
Seamstress, sailor, story-teller and self-proclaimed centenarian immortal, Deborah slowly reveals to Anne and Sam her improbable, fantastical life, a history of hidden Deptford and ultimately the solution to their crises.
With echoes of Armistead Maupin, Attend is a beautifully written, darkly funny, mesmerisingly emotive and deliciously told debut novel, rich in finely wrought characters and set against the unmistakable backdrop of Deptford and South London.

Ellen’s Review:

How to review a book like Attend by West Camel?? On first thoughts it seems pretty impossible and I have spent a long time after finishing it wondering about the words I could use that would do this extraordinary piece of writing the justice it deserves. Attend is like nothing I have read before and it is difficult to pin a genre on.

The main characters are Sam, Anne and Deborah – three very different people that are linked together by a familiar thread of loneliness. Sam is a young man looking for love and finding it in all the wrong places, Anne is a former addict struggling after returning to her home town with it’s bad memories and unforgiving family members, and Deborah…? Deborah is the magic thread that links them all together and helps Sam and Anne to see beyond their problems and resolve them. It appears that Deborah has been on her own for a very (very) long time and is surprised that the others can even see her! She is a calming influence in their turbulent times and they soon come to look to her for comfort and a listening ear. As much as Deborah is there to absorb she also imparts her fascinating life story; at times we are left wondering if they are the ramblings of an old lady who has lived on her own for too long but it soon becomes obvious there is far more to Deborah than meets the eye.

A truly magical read that will weave its way into your heart and soul!

Check out the tour: