Killing Pretties by Rob Ashman

4 Stars from me

Killing Pretties does exactly what it says on the tin but with an unhealthy mix of swinging, torture, lies and corruption thrown in!

I would have loved to have seen the faces of the author’s friends and family when they first read this book…

Khenan Malice is a superb character, flawed as hell and happy to operate by fair means or foul.

I have to confess that my favourite characters, however, were actually the Kaplans. They were so incredibly messed up and yet somehow managed to find each other – as an aside, that is something I’ve always found fascinating in general, how do the likes Brady/Hindley, the Wests etc find their ‘kindred spirits’?

Kelly Pietersen’s character was a good one, I look forward to reading more about her in future stories – she was a slower burn for me than Malice but I liked her by the end and thought they made a good pairing.

Elsa was fabulously awful throughout the story. She oozes sexuality and knows it and uses it, is obsessed with power and appears utterly devoid of any empathy for others. Why she was this way never really came to light. Damian, however, was a sad and broken individual who at times was almost likeable and certainly the more relatable of the two. It felt as though with a different upbringing – and had he never have met Elsa – he could potentially have led a normal life.

The pottery was a wonderful touch.

Are we all just two steps from madness?

My thanks to BOTBSPublicity and Rob Ashman for letting me take part in this blog tour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blurb: Detective Sergeant Khenan Malice is a rubbish ex-husband, a crap father but a damned good detective. It’s a shame he spoils his only redeeming quality by being a bent copper.

Detective Kelly Pietersen joins the team to help find a missing woman. But she has a secret…

Damien Kaplan is a leading criminal barrister and a keen amateur potter. He also happens to be a serial killer with a chilling approach to creating his art. He’s married to Elsa, though she considers him more of a possession than a husband. She controls those around her using sex and procures men and women for her husband to play with but only after she’s finished with them first.

Killing Pretties is his passion, having sex with them is hers. It is difficult to say which one is worse.

The missing woman brings all four crashing together – an incendiary mix that doesn’t end well.

Rage and Retribution by Lorraine Mace

4 Stars from me

There is a lovely little moral dilemma running through the core of Rage and Retribution – the question of whether two wrongs make a right.

In the story, we soon learn that there is a person ‘Nemesis’ who is enacting revenge upon rapists, so far so good right… However, Nemesis has taken the act of retribution to its darkest edge and, much like in Retriever of Souls, Lorraine Mace leads us into some very uncomfortable, brutal and graphic scenes.

I’m a bit on the fence regarding my opinion of DI Paolo Sterling – most of the time I like him but there isn’t just something about him that rankles a little. Dave however seems like a top guy whereas the rest of the team seem 50/50.

There are some interesting little subplots throughout the story which add depth to the lead characters making them more real.

Overall a very interesting take on ‘can two wrongs make a right’ within a fast paced race to unearth the culprit.

My thanks to Lorraine Mace and Damp Pebbles for letting me be a part of this blog tour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blurb: Can two wrongs ever make a right?

A man is found by the side of a canal, comatose and brutally attacked.

It quickly becomes clear that someone is abducting men and subjecting them to horrific acts of torture. After three days they’re released, fighting for their lives and refusing to speak.

A councillor is accused of fraud.

Montague Mason is an upstanding member of the community. That is until he’s publicly accused of stealing the youth centre’s funds – an accusation that threatens to rip through the very heart of the community and expose his best-kept secret. But how far would he go to protect himself?

Two cases. One deadly answer.

As the two cases collide, D.I. Paolo Sterling finds he has more questions than answers. And, when torture escalates to murder, he suddenly finds himself in a race against time to find the killer and put an end to the depravity – once and for all.

The Resident by David Jackson

5 Stars from me!

Oh I absolutely loved The Resident! David Jackson somehow manages to elevate what should be a really creepy and disturbing book into a pure genius black comedy.

Thomas Brogan – depraved serial killer – is bizarrely likeable and by far my favourite character (except maybe the little old lady). I really found myself rooting for him and at times was almost willing him to do bad things – David Jackson, what have you done to my mind?

Not your traditional crime thriller by any means but absolutely readable, absolutely brilliant and highly recommended by me!

Blurb: THERE’S A SERIAL KILLER ON THE RUN. AND HE’S HIDING IN YOUR HOUSE…

Thomas Brogan is a serial killer, and he has nowhere left to hide. At least until he finds an abandoned house at the end of a terrace on a quiet street. And when he discovers that he can access three other houses through the attic space, the real fun begins. Because the one thing that Brogan enjoys even more than killing, is playing games with his victims. And his new neighbours have more than enough dark secrets to make this game his best one yet…

Two Years After by Paul J Teague

5 Stars from me

I raced through this nasty little psychological thriller from Paul J Teague! The pages virtually turned themselves while I did my best to hold on and enjoy the ride.

Poor Rosie, what a time of it she has had – how fortunate for her that her job has remained open… What lovely new friends she has made at work – with the exception of deliciously creepy Mr HR Manager of course.

Really can’t praise this enough, fabulous escapism at its finest with a fast pace, intriguing storyline and an unpredictable ending.

Loved it.

My thanks to BOTBSPublicity and Paul Teague for letting me take part in this blog tour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blurb: An unsettling psychological thriller with a chilling twist…

A shattered life. A tortured mind. A return to work that becomes a living hell …

When Rosie Taylor returns to work after a long recovery from a tragic accident, she can’t believe how much things have changed for the worse.

Not only is there a new HR guy in charge, everybody’s fighting to keep their job and there are some new recruits with very unusual habits.

Rosie needs this job.

Social services are threatening to take her child, she’s struggling to recover from mental illness and if she doesn’t bring some money in fast, she’ll lose the house.

But somebody at work has got it in for her and she’s struggling to hang on to what’s left of her shattered life.

Two Years After is an unsettling psychological thriller which will have you looking over your shoulder next time you go to work.

Author Bio:

Paul Teague writes thrillers, sci-fi and non-fiction books.
Writing as Paul J. Teague, he is the author of the Don’t Tell Meg and Morecambe Bay trilogies as well as several standalones such as Dead of Night, Now You See Her (with Adam Nicholls) and So Many Lies.
Paul is a former teacher, DJ, waiter and BBC radio producer, presenter and journalist.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PaulTeagueUK

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

Thriller website: https://paulteague.co.uk/

Ted Bundy: The Only Living Witness by Stephen G Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth

5 Stars from me

Wow, just wow. What a hugely interesting and insightful deep dive into the world of infamous serial killer, Ted Bundy.

I found this book to be truly fascinating. The first section is a horrible glimpse into his victims and the seemingly arbitrary method in which he chose them – or, in some cases, it seemed the virtually chose themselves.

Not a comfortable read that’s for sure – this section of the book had me sleeping with the landing light left on!

To read how close Bundy came to getting away with his crimes is really quite shocking. He was blatant, and acted seemingly with impunity when ‘picking up’ his – often initially willing – victims.

The little touches – like going out to get his hair cut and parting it on the other side when knowing he was to take his place in a police line up – are astonishing. As though he saw the whole thing almost as a game.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in crime, true crime, profiling, psychology, criminology and law, it is absolutely captivating.

Blurb: ‘This is the most complete self-portrait ever painted by a serial killer… as unique a document as Bundy was a killer. There are lessons in this book for everyone’ ROY HAZELWOOD, FORMER FBI PROFILER

Charismatic. Articulate. Evil. Killer.

Two journalists with unprecedented direct access speak to Ted Bundy and those closest to him – friends and family.

What follows is a candid and chilling full account of the life and crimes of the most notorious serial killer in history.

What Bundy had to say in over 150 hours of face-to-face interviews is as relevant today as it was at the time.

 

The Harlech Beach Killings by Simon McCleave

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Stars from me

This was my first introduction to DI Ruth Hunter and I found her to be an easy to engage with lead character.

Having recently holidayed in Wales it was easy for me to conjure up images of the area and found this added to the atmosphere of the book.

I feel the need to go back and read book one to find out more about Hunter’s need to re-integrate with the police and her team – there’s clearly a great back story here.

Her partner Nick is an interesting character, classic alcoholism and a dangerous vendetta – what’s not to love?

All in all a good read with the promise of more to come in the next book it the series!

My thanks to Simon McCleave and Damp Pebbles for letting me take part in this blog tour.

Blurb: A murdered millionaire. A brutal drug operation. Can a detective with a haunted past stop the next assassination?

Detective Inspector Ruth Hunter is still struggling to deal with her stress. So when the body of a businessman washes up on a secluded North Wales shore, the former London cop is anxious to prove she can lead the local investigative team and nail the killer. But as she digs into the dead millionaire’s business affairs, DI Hunter discovers a disturbing link to an infamous Merseyside drug lord…

Tracking down clues alongside a hot-headed partner, she worries his private vendetta could seriously jeopardize bringing the gangster to justice. And between botched raids, tight-lipped suspects, and a slew of cold case murders, she’s sure the criminal mastermind must have corrupt police officers in his pocket…

Can Hunter take down the mobster before he orders a highly personal hit?

The Harlech Beach Killings is the second book in the gripping Ruth Hunter Crime Thriller series. If you like chilling police procedurals, true-to-life characters, and psychological twists, then you’ll love Simon McCleave’s page-turning thrill ride.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/author_simon

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

Website: www.simonmccleave.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/simonmccleaveauthor/

Joining Blogging Book Tours – pros and cons

2019 has proved to be a wonderful year for me from a book blogging perspective. I have read some incredible books (I’ve read 72 according to Good Reads but I know it is a few more than that!).

I have always been a keen and regular reader – escapism at it’s finest!

During 2019 I’ve really embraced taking part in blog tours for books and I’ve hugely enjoyed it, it feels really good to be tiny part of the publicity and promotion for an author and to feel like I might in some small way have contributed to their sales 🙂

At this point, I would like to offer very genuine and heartfelt thanks to those who have welcomed me into their reviewers fold:

Damp Pebbles Blog Tours – got to start with Emma and Damp Pebbles as this was the first blog tour I joined and I have read some fabulous books thanks to Emma and the excellent service she offers to authors and reviewers.

Tony Marturano – next I move to Tony who introduced me to the fascinating and hugely exciting world of being invited to join a readers panel with a view to being an early reader to provide honest feedback intended help shape the editing process prior to publication. I was honoured to be able to this for Tony with his own books and also with Eye for Eye by J K Franko.

Book on the Bright Side Publicity – then there is the lovely Sarah from BOTBS who again I have taken part in some brilliant tours with and is super lovely to deal with too.

R&R Book Tours – now the lovely Shannon from R&R tours… Not only do I get to discover new books with her but she sends me MAGIC content that is all whizzy and HTML codey wizardry!

Random Things Tours – the most recent sign up for me is with the lovely Anne from Random Things Tours. Anne is great to deal with and super organised – thanks again for letting me take part.

Last but by no means least, I have also done a couple of reviews with Mirror Books and have a couple more lined up for the New Year. They are also great to work with and have some really exciting publications.

Also a nod to NetGalley, I absolutely love NetGalley!

So again, huge thanks to you all.

Now to Pros and Cons

I’ll start with cons as then they are out of the way. It can, at times, feel pressured. It can, sometimes, feel as though you are reading to meet a deadline rather than reading for enjoyment. There will be times when you don’t like the book. You will need to be clear and strong with your own opinions – without damaging the tour. You will need to be organised and meet the commitments you have made in terms of reviews – people are relying on you to publish on the right date. Never ever do it for the ‘free’ books, they aren’t free, think about the cost of your time!

Phew, now, on to the pros! So many positive aspects here, you get to read some amazing books – for me personally I’ve read books that I would probably not have ever encountered and a lot of them have been brilliant! You get to make connections with other people who love books 🙂 it’s a beautiful thing giving someone a book recommendation and then getting a tweet in a couple of weeks time to say they loved it. Reading an advance copy of a book for a nerd like me is exquisite! And, for me, the best thing is knowing that I’ve helped an author or made them smile when I can honestly say ‘I loved your book’.

So thank you all once again and I look forward to reading and reviewing many more fabulous books in 2020.

Lisa x

Rewind by Catherine Ryan Howard

4 Stars from me

This is one of those ‘clear a day as you ain’t putting this book down‘ type of books!

I was utterly hooked from the beginning and loved the roller coaster of pause / play / rewind as the story jumped around.

The insta famous aspect was really good too, probably a pretty accurate glimpse into the lifestyle of the accidentally famous.

Shanamore Holiday Cottages… what can I say except that I will now probably never stay in a holiday cottage on my own! Much like the ever present acute awareness I have in public toilets after watching the film Copy Cat!

Rewind contained some really interesting characters – from Andrew the pathetic and creepy weird, to Sean the good guy, slightly spoilt Natalie and slightly desperate reporter Audrey – Catherine Ryan Howard did a fantastic job of making them all seem real and plausible.

Very clever, addictive book which will keep you on your toes!

Synopsis: From the bestselling, multiple prize-shortlisted novelist Catherine Ryan Howard comes an explosive story about a twisted voyeur and a terrible crime…

PLAY
Andrew, the manager of Shanamore Holiday Cottages, watches his only guest via a hidden camera in her room. One night the unthinkable happens: a shadowy figure emerges onscreen, kills her and destroys the camera. But who is the murderer? How did they know about the camera? And how will Andrew live with himself?

PAUSE
Natalie wishes she’d stayed at home as soon as she arrives in the wintry isolation of Shanamore. There’s something creepy about the manager. She wants to leave, but she can’t – not until she’s found what she’s looking for…

REWIND
This is an explosive story about a murder caught on camera. You’ve already missed the start. To get the full picture you must rewind the tape and play it through to the end, no matter how shocking…

‘Catherine Ryan Howard is a gift to crime writing. Her characters are credible, her stories are original and her plotting is ingenious. Every book is a treat to look forward to.’ Liz Nugent

Date Night by Samantha Hayes

5 Stars from me!

This is one head f*** of a book! If you like to not have a clue what is going on then this is the book for you!

Date Night is so clever, the story reveals itself in layers and with each new layer you realise that the the version of events you’ve just read about may not have exactly have been wrong but it might not have contained ALL of the truth.

I was genuinely delighted the first time I realised it and then again and again as the little layers of new information started coming through.

Bloody genius.

 

Synopsis: Returning early from a disastrous date night with my husband, I know something is wrong the moment the wheels crunch the gravel drive of our home. Inside, the TV is on and a half-eaten meal waits on the table. My heart stops when I find our little girl is alone in the house and our babysitter, Sasha, is missing…

Days later, when I’m arrested for Sasha’s murder and torn away from my perfect little family, I’ll wish I had told someone about the threatening note I received that morning.

I’ll hate myself for not finding out who the gift hidden inside my husband’s wardrobe was for.

I’ll scream from the rooftops that I’m innocent – but no one will listen.

I will realise I was completely wrong about everything that happened that night…

But will you believe me? 

Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh

5 Stars from me

Wow, this is a crime thriller, whodunnit, court room drama with a difference!

It’s also Eddie Flynn book 4 which I hadn’t realised but believe me it didn’t read as though you need the backstory this book just sings in its own choir!

I had to concentrate for the first few chapters while the scenes were being set and the characters were building and having absolutely adored Twisted by Steve Cavanagh I did briefly wonder if Thirteen would live up to my oh so high expectations and then, bam, suddenly I found myself being dragged along and racing through the pages at break neck speed.

I loved Eddie Flynn and really enjoyed his way of thinking, the plot/storyline was incredibly inventive – really clever. The characters within the story are flawed and solidly defined, Cavanagh makes each and every one come alive on the page; whether or not they are just in one paragraph or in the whole book.

I hate the idea that there really are cops as bent as the ones I’ve just read about, I guess there probably are – it’s one of those professions that would attract the wrong people as much as it would attract the right ones.

I will now need to read Eddie Flynn books 1-3 and find out his back story, also, Twisted is incredible, you should read that one too 🙂

 

Synopsis: THE SERIAL KILLER ISN’T ON TRIAL.

HE’S ON THE JURY…

They were Hollywood’s hottest power couple. They had the world at their feet. Now one of them is dead and Hollywood star Robert Solomon is charged with the brutal murder of his beautiful wife.

This is the celebrity murder trial of the century and the defence want one man on their team: con artist turned lawyer Eddie Flynn.

All the evidence points to Robert’s guilt, but as the trial begins a series of sinister incidents in the court room start to raise doubts in Eddie’s mind.

What if there’s more than one actor in the courtroom?

What if the killer isn’t on trial? What if the killer is on the jury?