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The Favourite

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The Favourite by SV Berlin

Welcome to the dark heart of the family – the secrets we keep, the memories we treasure and the relationships we feel bound to, but long to escape. Edward and Isobel haven’t spoken for years and live on opposite sides of the Atlantic. When their mother, Mary, dies unexpectedly, they are thrown together to sort through the family home. With Julie, Edward’s diffident but devoted girlfriend, making an awkward third, each stumbles through the practicalities and funeral preparations, trying to make sense of their emotions and their feelings towards one another. Then Isobel makes a disturbing discovery and her fateful decision has consequences for them all, challenging their beliefs about the past, hopes for the future, and understanding of Mary’s role in keeping them at once apart and together. This utterly immersive novel is rich with insightful and wickedly comic observations of family members behaving badly in stressful situations – of sibling rivalries, a parent torn between the two, and a grieving process that takes time to unfold. Beginning in a small coastal town during the Spring Bank Holiday, the novel moves forward through the point of view of each of the characters in turn, and culminates on Christmas Eve.

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 Author’s Bio

S.V. Berlin was born and raised in London. Her blog, Britical, was one of the earliest and offered a British view of the pleasures and pitfalls of social politics in and around Manhattan. As a regular guest commentator on New York’s Sirius XM radio, she delivered her own script for such culturally relevant topics as James Bond, the etiquette of texting, and the curious science and evolution of marriage. Since then she has advised readers on how to swear with confidence, dogsledded through the freezing badlands of Northern Minnesota, and camped alone with wolves, equipped with only a pot noodle and eight waterproof matches. In her spare time, Berlin has worked as a copywriter, wilderness search-and-rescue professional, facilitator, and speechwriter to the self-styled ‘titans’ of Wall Street.

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My Review

3 stars

Siblings Edward and Isobel has become estranged and live on opposite sides of the Atlantic. Isobel wanted more from life than what she had in England and moved to New York City. There she has everything she wants yet is not becoming successful like her family and friends think she would so she stands out. Edward has his own challenges and blames himself for the way things have gone wrong. But he mainly is irritated that he is going to have to see his sister after fifteen years apart.

Then there is Julie, Edward’s girlfriend. She seems like a mouse of a woman yet has her own secrets. All three are going to have their moments as the three people learn more about themselves and how their mother affected them and may have intentionally caused the estrangement.

What is it about a funeral to bring out the worst in family? It’s clear that Edward and Isobel have some issues, but where do they come from? Is one unhappy for the other’s success? Of course why be happy for someone when you can be miserable and nasty to them.

This story meanders around the death of Mary and her children coming together to deal with their separation and loss. I really thought there was going to be a big surprise ending or something that really struck out and would make this a thriller or something like that but it just was family drama.

This is not a bad book, I’m sure if this is your style you would love the book. For me it didn’t have enough thrilling reveals to keep me interested.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

I would like to thank MZPR for the opportunity to read and share this book.

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Home Is Where the Bark Is

Paws Fur Play Mysteries – 1

By Stella St. Claire

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Willow Wells is officially an entrepreneur. With the first phase of her dog gym’s renovation complete, and a success, Willow is ready for more. A doggie spa to be exact. The plan is to win an upcoming dog show, not only giving her the funds for the expansion but a national advertising campaign with the winning dog, Lady Valkyrie. Everything is going according to plan—and Willow can see the future in all its gold medal and dog grooming glory—until Terry Gib, Lady Valkyrie’s owner, is accused of murder.

Willow thought that Terry had come to Pineview just for training, but it turns out Terry has ties to the town; a painful past that links her to a local bed and breakfast owner. And now that owner is dead. As Willow races to clear Terry and save their chance at victory with Lady Valkyrie, the rest of her life begins to fall apart too. Wednesday is distracted, her father is anxious, and Griffin, the man she’s coming to depend on, is threatening to leave her—so he can woo her.

Now Willow is forced to make some big decisions: about who she trusts, who she should believe, and who she should date, before she loses it all forever.

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About the Author

Stella lives and breathes cozy mysteries! With her head always buried inside these books, it’s no wonder that she would put pen to paper to bring her own cozy mysteries to life. The words flew onto the page, and she’s already teeming with ideas for the next cozy mystery series.

With her trusted canine by her side, it seemed only natural to be inspired by her beautiful beagle Doogle and the many hours they spent walking through scenic New England villages. When Stella’s not reading books, she’s off on road trips, exploring every nook and cranny in neighboring towns, seeking inspiration for her next book. She’s keen to see what her fellow cozy critics think of “Happy Tails Dog  Walking Mysteries,” so please leave a review and share your thoughts on Stella’s Website, Facebook, Bookbub or Goodreads!

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This Little Piggy

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This Little Piggy (DI Rosalind Kray – 2) by Rob Ashman

Kevin Palmer is a regular sort of guy, or he was until his life fell apart. His wife, his money, his business and his reputation are all taken away from him. He tries to fight back and ends up in prison.

There he concocts elaborate fantasies to wreak vengeance. He is sent to work in an abattoir and the final piece of the jigsaw falls into place with chilling consequences. Then a cruel twist of fate changes everything.

DI Rosalind Kray is battling her own demons having returned to work following a brutal attack. She finds herself on the trail of a sick and twisted killer and cracks the macabre pattern of murders. But her boss is unconvinced.

Kray has Palmer squarely in her sights. But he has other ideas …

Can Kray break him in time to save the final victim?

Time is running out.

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Author’s Bio

My name is Rob Ashman I’m 55 years of age, married to Karen with two grown up daughters. I am originally from South Wales and after moving around with work we settled in North Lincolnshire where we’ve spent the last twenty-one years.

Like all good welsh valley boys I worked for the National Coal Board when I left school at sixteen and went to University at the tender age of twenty-three when the pit closures began to bite. Since then I’ve worked in a variety of manufacturing and consulting roles, that was until I had the bonkers idea to publish a book.

I’ve always had Those That Remain stuck in my head. It took me twenty-four years to write – and yes, I know after all that time you’d expect it to be better! I played around with it for years and only got serious about writing when my dad got cancer. It was an aggressive illness and I gave up work for three months to look after him and my mum. Writing Those That Remain was my coping mechanism. After I wrote the book my family read it and said ‘You have to do something with this, and besides its not finished.’ So not being one for half measures I got myself made redundant, went self-employed so I could devote more time to writing and four years later the Mechanic Trilogy is the result. I never set out to write a trilogy it just happened that way – probably down to a complete lack of planning.

It’s probably not the best thing to admit but the inspiration to write comes from the voices in my head. I can just picture my friends exchanging knowing glances at this point. My characters talk to me incessantly. They compete for my attention – they row, they laugh, they fight, and of course try to murder each other. When I woke the morning after I finished writing the final book in the series the voices were gone. It was as though the story had been told and they were silent. It’s a very strange sensation not having them there anymore.

Whenever I write I find all of my characters are damaged in some way. There is a dark thread running through the books which comes from them. They are all deeply flawed, each one capable of doing bad things and making the wrong choices. But sometimes they surprise me by having flashes of doing the right things as well. We met a woman on holiday who was interested in the books and Karen what they were about. After Karen finished describing them the woman screwed her face up and Karen said ‘I know, it’s worrying to think that goes on in his head.’

My immediate plans are to publish the next two more books in the series which will keep me busy. I am fortunate to have a fantastically talented editor, Helen Fazal, and we recently finished editing the second book called In Your Name. The next step is to send it to my beta-readers, to get their opinions and feedback. They are very blunt, which is great, and I trust them implicitly, but it is a scary process.

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My Review

5 stars

Kevin Palmer is a regular guy that loses everything. When he tries to fight back he ends up in prison. The thing that gets him through is his revenge. He knows how has screwed him over and he has a plan.

Detective Rosalind Kray is still recovering from a brutal attack that took her husband’s life. She has her own dark corners that she is fighting but when bodies start appearing, she has something to focus on. She just knows that Kevin Palmer is the killer, everything points to him except that he seems to have an air tight alibi for each murder. Of course her superiors don’t think Rosalind is ready to return to work. Rosalind is determined to catch Kevin before the last person on his list ends up dead.

When I read the name Rob Ashman I just know that I need to get my hands on his books. Reading his books is true art. You have a broken/damaged investigator that makes human mistakes but is determined to stop the killer. You know who the killer is but this doesn’t keep you from being on the edge of your seat as they brutally kill their victims and make you almost feel sorry for them. And then you have the dance as the killer and detective go round and round, faster and faster to a conclusion that you will never expect.

If you like dark thrillers, heck any kind of thriller/mystery, you need to check out Ashman’s books. This is one author that will find an permanent place on your shelves.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

I would like to thank Bloodhound Books and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and share this book.

Blog Post

Writing This Little Piggy was a journey of discovery for me. Anyone who has read my previous four books will realise that my villains are psychotic individuals with a pre-disposed urge to kill. But when I wrote about Kevin Palmer, the protagonist in This Little Piggy, he was nothing like that and it threw me completely.

I found when I sat down to write about him I could not find his voice. I had the story that wrapped around his character but not him. So, I did what I normally do when faced with a writing problem, I shared it with my long-suffering wife. Having first poured her a large glass of wine.

I described the situation to Karen and she said, ‘Well, maybe he’s not who you think he is.’ And that was it. That was the sum total of her wisdom. Rubbish advice I thought and took back the wine – joke, that’s a dangerous thing to attempt.

The following week we were out with friends and out of the blue Kevin started talking to me. His first words were, ‘This is not a story about a psycho, Rob, this is a story about revenge.’

As usual my wife was right, Kevin was not the guy I was trying to portray. His motivations were different to anyone I had ever written about before.

Once I had that straight in my head Kevin came to life and did some eye watering things, some of which even made me wince.

Kevin Palmer stretched me as a writer and I hope readers will enjoy his character.

Freefall

Freefall

Freefall (Pendulum Trilogy – 2) by Adam Hamdy

Eight months after confronting Pendulum, John Wallace is losing himself in a dangerous warzone in a misguided attempt at penance for what he has done. But an assassination attempt makes Wallace realise that he has once again been targeted for death. This time, Wallace is prepared and, tracking down his would-be assassin, he discovers a link to his nemesis, Pendulum.

The link is the missing piece of a puzzle that has tormented FBI Agent Christine Ash ever since they confronted Pendulum, but with no Bureau support she has been unable to progress her case. Wallace’s proof breaks it, but also exposes them both to terrible danger.

Confronted by a powerful, hidden enemy, Ash and Wallace must overcome impossible odds if they are to avert a dangerous challenge to the networked world that threatens to destroy our way of life.

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Praise for Freefall

“Wallace returns to England and then sneaks into the U.S. to reconnect with the team that helped him take down Pendulum. FBI agent Christine Ash and London copper Patrick Bailey have become targets themselves, and it’s rescue upon rescue upon rescue until they can square off against their new foe…[A fast-paced, high-octane thriller.”

Booklist

“Corruption, subterfuge, and murder are all present in Freefall. But it’s the little intricacies like levels of trust…and lies that weave this book into the expertly crafted web the reader has to pick through…The tension is ramped up completely! I loved Freefall.”

—Bibliophile Book Club

“I raced through Freefall at top speed. My heart was thumping. Thrill overload…Be in no doubt, this is a full-on action packed, high-octane adventure…it’s a fabulous thriller with a very contemporary spin.”

—Northern Crime

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Author’s Bio

British author and screenwriter Adam Hamdy works with studios and production companies on both sides of the Atlantic.

He is the author of the Pendulum trilogy, an epic series of conspiracy thriller novels.  James Patterson described Pendulum as ‘one of the best thrillers of the year’, and the novel was nominated for the Glass Bell Award for contemporary fiction, and chosen as book of the month by Goldsboro Books and WH Smith Travel.  Pendulum was also selected for the BBC Radio 2 Book Club.  Adam is currently adapting Pendulum into an eight-part series for Hardy, Son & Baker and NBC Universal.

Freefall, the second book in the Pendulum series, will be published by Headline in November 2017.  Freefall has been described as a ‘thrill overload’ with one critic saying, ‘It’s a fabulous thriller, with a very contemporary spin.  Excitement guaranteed.’

Prior to embarking on his writing career, Adam was a strategy consultant and advised global businesses in the medical systems, robotics, technology and financial services sectors, experience that has given him a useful insight into many industries.

Adam has a law degree from Oxford University and a philosophy degree from the University of London.  He is a seasoned rock climber, skier and CPSA marksman.

Adam is a member of the ITW, Crime Writers’ Association, and Society of Authors.  He is the membership coordinator for the ITW Debut Authors Program.

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My Review

5 stars

After tangling with Pendulum, Wallace, Ash, and Bailey are broken. Each has his own issues and is trying to get back to normal life. But each person is going to learn that you can’t hide from the past, especially when there are people out to make sure the three are killed. There is so much more to Pendulum than the three knew and it’s up to them to stop the group before the consequences get too big.

I admit that I have not read Pendulum and I think that would have helped my understanding in what is going on. But having said that I had no problem catching up and being thrown right into the middle of the action.

This is a great story that kept me turning the pages. It sucked me right in and every time I thought I might know where it was going it knocked me off balance. I really loved how all three main characters we broken and had their own problems yet they just kept fighting.

This is a captivating story and one that I recommend for any thriller lover. I do recommend reading the series in order. I will definitely be going back to catch up on what I missed.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

I would like to thank Quercus for the opportunity to read and share this book.

A Demon in Silver

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A Demon in Silver (War of Archons – 1) by RS Ford

In a world where magic has disappeared, rival nations vie for power in a continent devastated by war.

When a young farm girl, Livia, demonstrates magical powers for the first time in a century there are many across the land that will kill to obtain her power. The Duke of Gothelm’s tallymen, the blood-soaked Qeltine Brotherhood, and cynical mercenary Josten Cade: all are searching for Livia and the power she wields.

But Livia finds that guardians can come from the most unlikely places… and that the old gods are returning to a world they abandoned.

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Author’s Bio

R.S. Ford originally hails from Leeds in the heartland of Yorkshire but now resides in the wild fens of Cambridgeshire. His previous works include the raucous steampunk adventure, Kultus, and the grimdark fantasy trilogy, Steelhaven.

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My Review

4 stars

Many years prior the Archons left and took magic with them. People have survived without the gods and magic for about one hundred years. But now things are starting to happen. Livia is a young farm girl that is starting to show magical abilities. Once word gets out everyone is after her so they can use her magic to their own gains. But she is not the only player in this new world. Others have their own roles to play as the magic and the Archons return.

We follow along with four characters as they navigate this world and the changes happening. This world is beautifully crafted and had great characters that made you care for them and hope that they make it through this dark world. I loved following between the four narrators as they circled around and eventually came together.

This is a wonderful start to a new fantasy series. There is a ton of action and some gruesome parts that just amped everything up. I can’t wait to read the next book and recommend this for anyone that loves fantasy.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

I would like to thank Titan Books for the opportunity to read and share this book.

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The Red Hand (Silas Quinn  – 4) of Fury by RN Morris

London, June 1914. A young man is mauled to death at London Zoo after deliberately climbing into the bear pit. Shortly afterwards, another young man leaps to his death from the notorious Suicide Bridge. Two seemingly unconnected deaths – and yet there are similarities.

Following a third attempted suicide, Detective Inspector Silas Quinn knows he must uncover the link between the three men if he is to discover what caused them to take their own lives. The one tangible piece of evidence is a card found in each of the victims’ possession, depicting a crudely-drawn red hand. What does it signify? To find the answers, Quinn must revisit his own dark past. But can he keep his sanity in the process …?

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Author Bio

R. N. Morris is the author of eight historical crime novels. His first, A Gentle Axe, was published by Faber and Faber in 2007. Set in St Petersburg in the nineteenth century, it features Porfiry Petrovich, the investigating magistrate from Dostoevsky’s great novel, Crime and Punishment. The book was published in many countries, including Russia. He followed that up with A Vengeful Longing, which was shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger. A Razor Wrapped in Silk came next, followed by The Cleansing Flames, which was nominated for the Ellis Peters Historical Novel Dagger. The Silas Quinn series of novels, set in London in 1914, began with Summon Up The Blood, followed by The Mannequin HouseThe Dark Palace and now The Red Hand of Fury, published on 31 March, 2018.

Taking Comfort is a standalone contemporary novel, written as Roger Morris. He also wrote the libretto to the opera When The Flame Dies, composed by Ed Hughes.

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My Review

5 stars

Two men have committed suicide by stripping naked and either jumping into the polar bear enclosure or jumping off a bridge. Then there is a third man that doesn’t succeed in his attempt. As Inspector Quinn gets looking into them he notices they all are wearing the same clothes, ones that are very familiar to him. It seems all three men have come from the Colney Hatch Asylum. Quinn also has had personal dealing with the asylum and will be confronting his own past as he looks into the deaths and attempted death of these men.

We start the story in the Colney Hatch Asylum with dark treatment and cures for patients. That drew me in and had me wondering where the story was going from there. Inspector Quinn clearly has a past that is going to be affected by this investigation. I loved both the mystery of why these men have been killing themselves and what really happened to Quinn.

The Red Hand of Fury is the fourth book in the Silas Quinn series but I had no trouble following along without the other three books. I am curious about Quinn and will be checking out the other three in this series. This is my first book from author RN Morris and I have to say that I’m very curious about his other books.

This is a great, dark mystery. If that is your preferred reads I recommend checking out The Red Hand of Fury.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

I would like to thank Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to read and share this book.

Giveaway

Enter to win a hardback copy of The Red Hand of Fury (Open Internationally)

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 *Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Half the Lies You Tell Are True By CP Wilson

An unsettling, dark psychological thriller from the author of Ice Cold Alice.

In a world where internet rumour becomes real-world fact, do we ever really know anyone?

High school teacher Dougie Black is brutally attacked in school. Stabbed in front of his class by a pupil with no apparent motive, Dougie fights for his life in ICU whilst DS Lewis Gilmour attempts to unravel the events leading up to the attack.

As the doctors struggle to save Dougie’s life, social media is rife with rumours about his private life. Mr Black’s friends and family begin to question everything they thought they knew about him.

Who is Dougie Black? Why did a child attempt to murder him? How did so many years of lies lead to an horrific moment of violence?

Half The Lies You Tell Are True, is a dark glimpse at what social media has done to our integrity and our perception of each other. Perfect for fans of Black Mirror and Gone Girl.

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Praise for CP Wilson

“If you’re looking for something to get your teeth into then this is the book for you which I cannot recommend enough giving 5 big massive stars.” – Shell Baker.

“Sometimes you start reading a book and you stop to check the blurb again because you realise that the book you are reading far outweighs the book you were expecting! And that’s what happened to me here because this book caught me out with a plot and setting that were far superior to anything I could have hoped for.” – Joanne Robertson – Amazon Top 500 reviewer.

“C.P. Wilson kept me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end combining complex emotions with cruelty and gruesome scenes. The story is perfectly balanced and the suspense is skilfully distributed.” – Suze Lavender.

“CP Wilson asks hard questions about society, domestic abuse and shared culpability.” – Rowena, Murder, Mayhem and More.

“Throws you right in with the first harrowing scenes.” – Caroline Vincent, Bits about Books.

“I think the author will certainly wow readers with this book and leave them begging for more.” – Sarah Hardy, By The Letter Book Reviews.

C.P.  Wilson

Author’s Bio

Pseudonym for Amazon best-selling Mark Wilson. C.P. Wilson writes psychological thrillers.

Mark Wilson is the Amazon-bestselling author of ten works of fiction and one non-fiction memoir. He also writes Crime Thrillers under the pseudonym, C.P. Wilson

Mark’s short story ‘Glass Ceiling’ won first prize in May, 2015 on Spinetingler’s Short story competition and will be included in Ryan Bracha’s Twelve Nights at Table Six. dEaDINBURGH reached the quarter finals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award in 2014 and is a finalist in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards, 2015.

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My Review

5 stars

Dougie Black is a High School Biology teacher that is attacked and stabbed by his student Harry Jardine. As Dougie fights for his life in the hospital, rumors start flying on social media about what happened and the supposed “truth” behind the scenes. Then there is Francesca, Frankie, Malone. Frankie is a teacher that was mentored by Dougie when she first started. The rumors can’t be true but the more she looks into them the more she starts questioning herself about Dougie. What is the truth? It’s up to DS Lewis Gilmour to figure this out.

This is a story that could have easily came out of any newspaper today. Everyone relies on social media so much, especially the younger generation that lives are seriously being affected. How many suicides have been caused from social media? Murders? Worse? This story kits right at this topic.

Dougie has had his share of a hard life and is currently trying to deal with his wife’s dementia. Of course there are things in his past that he has done that can affect him today, he is only human. Then you have Harris whose mother could care less if he was even around. His step father abuses him physically and mentally. But he is a victim of bullying from social media too.

It is so sad how much social media affects people. They instantly get riled up and go off to argue or protest and not fact check or really look at the whole situation. This book is a great representation of what is happening in real life and is heartbreaking to read. But it is one that I recommend everyone read, especially today’s kids and young adults.

I received a complimentary copy of this book.  I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

I would like to thank the author for an opportunity to read and share his book.