Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee

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*Many thanks to Hideaway Fall for my review copy!*

About the book:

Family curses don’t exist. Sure, some families seem to suffer more pain than others, but a curse? An actual curse? I don’t think so.’

A family tragedy was the catalyst for Ian Perkins to return to the isolated cottage with his wife and young son. But now they are back, it seems yet more grief might befall the family.

There is still time to act, but that means Ian must face the uncomfortable truth about his past. And in doing so, he must uncover the truth behind the supposed family curse.

Pre-order your copy from Hideaway Fall by clicking HERE.

My thoughts:

I had eagerly awaited the arrival of Broken Branches from new publishers, Hideaway Fall, so I was looking forward to getting stuck into this book.

Centered around a family curse, Broken Branches is told in alternating past and present chapters. The reader meets Ian and his young family but we also meet Ian when he was a boy living with his parents and brother in the house that he now lives in years later with his family.

The family have always seemed to be unlucky, with accidents and death befalling them down through the generations. Ian sets out to prove that this curse really does exist, but at what cost?

Broken Branches has a menacing feel to it, with elements of the supernatural that lend itself well to the overall story. I found the past and present chapters to be a little confusing at times, but it made sense to the way that book was written as a whole.

I managed to read Broken Branches pretty much in one day. It is a relatively short book, at less than 300 pages, so it was easy enough to plough through it. Ultimately, although it was a page-turner, I found it to be a little flat at times. Still though, it was the kind of book that kept the intrigue up enough to keep me interested in the outcome.

Recommended!

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough~ Mini Review


About the book:

I was dead for 13 minutes.

I don’t remember how I ended up in the icy water but I do know this – it wasn’t an accident and I wasn’t suicidal.

They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but when you’re a teenage girl, it’s hard to tell them apart. My friends love me, I’m sure of it. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t try to kill me. Does it?

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

My thoughts:

13 Minutes had been on my kindle for way too long so I figured it was high time I read it, especially considering I had read Behind Her Eyes by the same author.

While reading the book, I think definitely as a YA psych thriller, with elements of crime and mystery interspersed throughout the narrative. 13 Minutes is the story of Natasha and how she came to be dead for that length of time. There is also a heavy weight placed on secrets and lies between the characters and how they can slowly chip away at solid foundations.

13 Minutes is a compulsive read. I found myself flying through it trying to fit the pieces of the puzzle together along with Natasha. The minds of teenage girls are scary places to be, and the author has done a good job of capturing the devious and underhanded behaviour that some kids partake in.

13 Minutes is a fast paced book, with plenty of different threads that are all woven together towards the end relatively well. I enjoyed it even though it wouldn’t be my usual kind of read.

Recommended.

 

Stone Groove by Erik Carter ~ Ellen’s Review ~

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About the book:

An empty crime scene. A blood-spattered stone. And a 400-year-old mystery.

An entire colony disappeared off the face of the earth. It’s America’s greatest mystery, and it happened centuries ago. Now it’s happened again.

Federal Agent Dale Conley specializes in the unusual, and he’s seen it all. Except for this. An entire community has vanished overnight. One hundred forty-seven people. The only clue is the word ROANOKE chiseled into a blood-spattered stone.

Dale knows that in the 1930s a series of stones was discovered—stones with carved messages that allegedly told the fate of the Roanoke Colony. When Dale finds more stones with cryptic messages, it’s clear he has a copycat criminal on his hands. Each of the stones lead Dale to a few more of the missing people, and he must solve the stones’ riddles correctly—or the hostages are killed.

Dale soon realizes that the kidnapper knows the details of his past. Including his dark secrets. Now, as Dale races to find the stones, he must come head-on with his own demons to have a chance at saving the missing people.

Stone Groove (Dale Conley Historical Action Thrillers Series Book 1)

About the author:

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

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

Ellen’s review:

As soon as I read the blurb for Stone Groove my interest was piqued; described as a historical action thriller it didn’t sound like anything I had read before. I wasn’t wrong!!
Four hundred years ago in Roanoke 117 people simply disappeared without a trace and became known as the Lost Colony. In present day America the same thing has happened to a colony called The Marshallites, 147 people are missing and it is up to Dale Conley to solve the riddles left carved into stones before time runs out.
Dale works for the Bureau of Esoteric Investigations (BEI), a kind of X Files of the Department of Justice. He is often given copycat cases and ends up with the task of solving this mystery.
I really liked Dale; he is methodical but a rule breaker, a charmer with moral values and an all round nice guy.
The tension is really high and my nerves were wrecked following Dale trying to find the Man in Black who is pulling the strings and battling with ghosts from his past which threaten to unbalance him.
I enjoyed Stone Groove and hope there will be more books featuring Dale Conley. Four stars.

Be My Killer by Richard Parker 

Hi all,

Delighted to be one of two stops on the blog tour for Be My Killer by Richard Parker. Touted as being one of Bookouture’s darkest books yet, it is definitely worth checking out if you love a good serial killer thriller!

About the book:

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You set the trap. Now you can’t escape.

When an online prank goes viral and triggers a spate of gruesome murders, documentary maker Hazel Salter watches in horror. But then Hazel’s childhood friend, Meredith Hickman, is the next victim and Hazel knows she has to find out what happened to her.

Is it one killer or more? Random acts of violence, or part of a bigger, twisted plan?

The police have no leads, but Hazel has a theory – one she’ll stop at nothing to prove – and she also has a film crew. She’ll make a documentary, catch the killer, and give Meredith justice.

Her stage is the abandoned amusement park where Meredith was found.

Her cast are the family and friends the killer left behind.

And her crew? They keep disappearing, one by one…

A shocking, ‘just-one-more-page’ thriller with the most twisted killer you’ll ever meet. This book will hook you from the first page and keep you guessing long into the night. PERFECT for fans of James Patterson, Mo Hayder, and Chris Carter.

Buy the book:

UK http://amzn.to/2pkYw80
US http://amzn.to/2ovDYKu

About the author:

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Parker is an ex TV script writer, script editor and producer who now writes dark, stand alone thrillers. His first novel, Stop Me, was nominated for a Dagger Award.  The movie rights to his second, Scare Me, have been bought by Hollywood studio Relativity Media with screenplay completed by Wentworth ‘PRISON BREAK’ Miller and his third, Stalk Me, rode high in the US and UK Amazon charts.

www.richardjayparker.com

https://www.facebook.com/richard.jayparker.9

https://twitter.com/Bookwalter

My thoughts:

Be My Killer is definitely one of the darkest books in Bookouture’s repertoire. Following documentary maker Hazel and her team as they investigate the @BeMyKiller murders, they descend into their own living hell.

Richard Parker has a seriously twisted imagination. Some of the killing methods in this book were insane, gruesome and yet so clever. There is more to this book than murder though. Each of the characters have their own issues, and I really liked how the author managed to connect them together even though he was splitting them up at the same time. I found myself rooting for them all, at various points in the book, and other times I just wanted to shout at them for being stupid! But that’s the beauty of books like this, they evoke instant reaction from the readers.

Short and punchy chapters really add to the pace and momentum of the story too. Just when you think everything is ok, boom, no its not! And it happens often in Be My Killer. This constant action and mystery factor lend itself well to this kind of book. It actually reads like a movie at times, especially with the location. Being set in an abandoned play centre, it’s got plenty of creep-factor. You can almost hear the echoes of children’s laughter in the midst of the tension within the compound.

Be My Killer is definitely a book with a novel concept. It’s very current, in that it uses social media for more than just idle scrolling. It becomes a way to nominate people for death by using the Be My Killer hashtag. Twitter is such an instant form of communication, and it just goes to show how crowd mentality works in terms of a wide-reaching hashtag.

This was a fun read for me. Not fun because of the subject matter obviously, but fun in the cat and mouse chase kind of way. There are more twists and turns than a winding road, and I didn’t see any of them coming. I like it when a book surprises me like that!

If you like your thrillers pacy, gripping and more than a little gory, then Be My Killer is one for you!

Make sure to follow the blog tour:

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~Blog Tour Review~ Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson

Hi everyone,

Today I’ll be reviewing Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson as part of the blog tour, with many thanks as always to Orenda Books for the opportunity.

About the author:

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Born in 1978 in Marseille and with a degree in political science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French press and television. She married a Swede and now lives in London. She was the co-author of a bestseller, On se retrouvera, published by Fayard Noir in France, whose television adaptation drew over 7 million viewers in June 2015. She is working on the next book in the Roy & Castells series.

About the translator:

Maxim Jakubowski is a crime, erotic, and science fiction writer and critic.

Jakubowski was born in England by Russian-British and Polish parents, but raised in France. Jakubowski has also lived in Italy and has travelled extensively. Jakubowski edited the science fiction anthology Twenty Houses of the Zodiac in 1979 for the 37th World Science Fiction Convention (Seacon ’79) in Brighton. He also contributed a short story to that anthology. He has now published almost 100 books in a variety of areas.

He has worked in book publishing for many years, which he left to open the Murder One bookshop[1], the UK’s first specialist crime and mystery bookstore. He contributes to a variety of newspapers and magazines, and was for eight years the crime columnist for Time Out and, presently, since 2000, the crime reviewer for The Guardian. He is also the literary director of London’s Crime Scene Festival and a consultant for the International Mystery Film Festival, Noir in Fest, held annually in Courmayeur, Italy. He is one the leading editors in the crime and mystery and erotica field, in which he has published many major anthologies.

About the book:

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Falkenberg, Sweden. The mutilated body of talented young jewellery designer, Linnea Blix, is found in a snow-swept marina. Hampstead Heath, London. The body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea’s. Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as a human again. Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald? Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea’s friend, French true-crime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light.

Buy the book:

Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson

My thoughts:

I genuinely don’t know how to describe Block 46 without giving anything away. It is an absolutely stellar addition to the Orenda Books catalogue. Gripping, haunting and so completely evocative, it is a superb read.

Following the discovery of Linnea Blix, who was found mutilated and murdered, a body of a young boy is also found in London. The reader is then taken on a journey along with those tasked with finding out the truth. This investigation takes place over many locations, with many different characters taking part, and all of these different threads are woven together brilliantly by the author. 

This is the second book I’ve read recently to have been set in Buchenwald. These parts are not easy to read. The author has done a great job of writing sensitively around an extremely harrowing subject though. Capturing the atmosphere can’t be easy, but I felt the most emotion while reading the chapters set there.

Block 46 is a murder/mystery in theory. But it is honestly so much more. It delves deep into people’s character, how they behave and react in certain situations and this is expertly written by the author. It’s not often I find myself struggling to find the words for a review. But I am with this one. Block 46 is brutal, honest and emotionally harrowing but it’s so worth reading! 

Highly recommended!

Follow the blog tour:

 

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The Mayfly by James Hazel~ Mini Review

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*Many thanks to the publishers for my Netgalley review copy*

About the book:

A mutilated body discovered in the woods.
A murderous plan conceived in the past.
A reckoning seventy years in the making . . .

When lawyer Charlie Priest is attacked in his own home by a man searching for information he claims Priest has, he is drawn into a web of corruption that has its roots in the last desperate days of World War Two.

When his attacker is found murdered the next day, Priest becomes a suspect and the only way to clear his name is to find out about the mysterious House of Mayfly – a secret society that people will kill for.

As Priest races to uncover the truth, can he prevent history from repeating itself?

The Mayfly by James Hazel

My thoughts:

The Mayfly opens with a pretty grizzly murder and this sets the tone for the rest of the book. It then follows Charlie Priest in the aftermath of an attack in his home, an attack that comes completely out of the blue. When his attacker is found dead the next day, Priest becomes entangled in a web with so many threads that it is hard to see where they begin and end.

I really liked Charlie Priest as a character. As with many main characters, Priest has his own demons and they follow him throughout The Mayfly. I really liked how he was developed during the course of the book and I would be interested to read more about him.

I enjoyed The Mayfly! It was a compulsive and engaging read. I liked the characters, and the plot was interesting. This is the second book I’ve read recently to feature Buchenwald which is an odd coincidence. The dual timeline works well, but I found the jumping between characters to be a bit confusing at times. However, it’s a good read. A little gory, and with plenty to keep the reader guessing!

Recommended! 

~Blog Tour Review~Reconciliation for the Dead by Paul Hardisty

Hi everyone,

Today I’m going to be reviewing Reconciliation for the Dead by Paul Hardisty as part of the blog tour, with thanks to Orenda Books. I read and loved The Evolution Of Fear by Paul E. Hardisty so I was thrilled to be able to read the follow up.

About the author:

Paul Hardisty

Canadian by birth, Paul Hardisty has spent 25 years working all over the world as an engineer, hydrologist and environmental scientist. He has roughnecked on oil rigs in Texas, explored for gold in the Arctic, mapped geology in Eastern Turkey (where he was befriended by PKK rebels), and rehabilitated water wells in the wilds of Africa. He was in Ethiopia in 1991 as the Mengistu regime fell, and was bumped from one of the last flights out of Addis Ababa by bureaucrats and their families fleeing the rebels. In 1993 he survived a bomb blast in a café in Sana’a, and was one of the last Westerners out of Yemen before the outbreak of the 1994 civil war. Paul is a university professor and Director of Australia’s national land, water, ecosystems and climate adaptation research programmes. He is a sailor, a private pilot, keen outdoorsman, conservation volunteer, and lives in Western Australia with his family.

About the book:

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Fresh from events in Yemen and Cyprus, vigilante justice-seeker Claymore Straker returns to South Africa, seeking absolution for the sins of his past. Over four days, he testifies to Desmond Tutu’s newly established Truth and Reconciliation Commission, recounting the shattering events that led to his dishonourable discharge and exile, fifteen years earlier. It was 1980. The height of the Cold War. Clay is a young paratrooper in the South African Army, fighting in Angola against the Communist insurgency that threatens to topple the White Apartheid regime. On a patrol deep inside Angola, Clay, and his best friend, Eben Barstow, find themselves enmeshed in a tangled conspiracy that threatens everything they have been taught to believe about war, and the sacrifices that they, and their brothers in arms, are expected to make. Witness and unwitting accomplice to an act of shocking brutality, Clay changes allegiance and finds himself labelled a deserter and accused of high treason, setting him on a journey into the dark, twisted heart of institutionalised hatred, from which no one will emerge unscathed.

Buy the book:

Out now in ebook, and out in paperback on May 30th, you can pre-order your copy by clicking HERE.

My thoughts:

Reconciliation For The Dead is the latest instalment in the Claymore Straker series and I swear these books keep getting better and better. Filled with hard-hitting and emotive subject matter, they evoke such a wide range of emotions in the reader from beginning to end.

In Reconciliation, Straker is in the midst of Apartheid Africa where he has to testify to the Truth and Reconciliation Comission. During his testimony, he recounts what happened in the lead up to his dishonourable discharge. What follows is an often harrowing and unflinching recollection of one of the toughest times Clay has experienced .

There is something a bit special about these books. Paul Hardisty has the ability to make the reader connect with his characters, and none more than Clay. The reader is inserted into the story right alongside him, feeling both fearful and hopeful at the same time. In the middle of war-torn Africa, we are brought right into the heart of it, through the superbly constructed and wonderfully evocative prose. Every puff of stifling heat, every step in the arid and harsh climate is almost tangible to the reader thanks to the author’s writing.

I don’t want to give the game away on this one. There are so many subtle nuances and vignettes that the joy of this book is discovering them as you read it. Paul Hardisty has written a tense and haunting book, showing the depths of human depravity and the lengths at which people to go to protect what they believe in.

I cannot recommend it highly enough. 
Follow the blog tour:

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