Audiobook Reviews · Book Reviews

Book Review – The Girl in the Ice (Detective Erika Foster #1) by Robert Bryndza

 

Her eyes are wide open. Her lips parted as if to speak. Her dead body frozen in the ice…She is not the only one.

When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation.

The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound and dumped in water around London.

What dark secrets is the girl in the ice hiding?

As Erika inches closer to uncovering the truth, the killer is closing in on Erika.

The last investigation Erika led went badly wrong… resulting in the death of her husband. With her career hanging by a thread, Erika must now battle her own personal demons as well as a killer more deadly than any she’s faced before. But will she get to him before he strikes again?

I started reading this in print form but then swapped to listening to it on audiobook, and I have to say this book really lends itself to that format really well. I love that the main character in this book is a flawed female, she is not ‘strong’ she is human, she can be strong but she also is broken and vulnerable, that makes her more relatable than some of the strong female characters you often find in police procedurals.

The overall story line is good, and plays with the idea that if you have enough money you can get away with anything, the characters are well written, as are the descriptive passages, you can visualise the scenes set for you.

Because I did listen to it on audio book I do have to also comment on the fact that the narrator nailed it, I completely loved her voice and the way she told the story.

I am so far behind and writing these reviews he has written a full series and is onto a second crime thriller series, and I am going to be honest I was unsure what to expect from this book when I first read it when it came out. I have read and loved Robert’s Romcom series following the exploits Coco Pinchard but I think it may be fair to say that he has now found his true genre.

I give this an outstanding 5 out of five stars and highly recommend checking this series out.

3d rendering of 5 gold stars
Book Reviews · Monday Musings

Book Review – The Plan By Whitney Dineen

Bead shop owner Amelia Frothingham has been keeping a secret from everyone she knows.

She pretends to be the ultimate care-free bohemian chick, but the truth is, she’s the world’s biggest control freak. Much to the delight of her Southern family, Amelia’s life appears to be smooth sailing. That is, until bad boy rockstar Huck Wiley mysteriously blows into town like a spring tornado.

Like every other woman under eighty with a pulse, Amelia’s intrigued. So when Huck starts showing up in her shop with flirtation in mind, she finds herself getting sucked into the rock god vortex. But her previous attempts at long-distance love have always ended on a sour note, so Amelia has vowed never to repeat the experience.

What Amelia doesn’t know is that Huck has a secret of his own, and he has no intention of returning to Los Angeles before he’s good and ready.

Will Huck stay in town, scattering the beads Amelia has finally gotten sorted? Or will he head back to his glamorous life and take her last chance at spontaneity and love along with him?

Find out in this deliciously funny romcom about love and life in Creek Water, Missouri!

I grabbed this book as a freebie via bookbub and I sort of wish I had come across it another way. The book is the third in the series and, although it can be read as a standalone, the fact is, once you have read it there is not a lot of point in going back to read the others. As they are all interconnected around one family so by starting at book three you know the outcomes of book one and two, but I will confess to going on and reading book four, and I will be reviewing that at a later date.

I loved the characters and even though it is set in a small town the author manages to ensure there is a real diversity both amongst the local and those who are introduced in this story. This is a clean romance so for those who like things dark and steamy, you should probably give it a miss. but overall an enjoyable story.

I give this four out of five stars, partly for annoying me by giving book three away free instead of book one but also I would have just liked a little bit more interaction between some of the characters.

Book Reviews

Book Review – Hunter’s Claim (The Alliance Book 1) By S.E. Smith

Jesse Sampson and her two younger sisters have lived a hard life on the streets of Seattle, Washington for the past several years.

Four years before, the Earth received its first visitors from space causing mass fear.

Alone in a world gone mad with just her sisters, she has learned to use the darkness and the remains of the city to survive and keep what was left of her family alive. She has seen the savage side of human nature and finds they are not much different from the aliens who conquered Earth.

The Trivators have taken control of Earth to prevent the humans from destroying it in their fear.

A world of warriors, they are sent out by the Alliance of Star Systems to seek out new worlds. Their mission is first contact. They are to establish communications with the leaders of the new worlds they find and bring them into the Alliance.

Any resistance is to be quickly subdued to prevent unnecessary death of the inhabitants of the new worlds they find. Their payment comes from the success of their mission.

Hunter is what he is called. A hunter, one of the elite clans of the Trivators who seek out those who resist. His abilities to track, capture and eliminate those who try to harm any warrior is renowned.

He finds the tables turned when he becomes the one captured by a group of ruthless humans. Hunter is shocked when a strange human female risks her life to help him escape only to disappear into the ruins of the city.

He now has a new mission, finding the female who saved his life. He is determined to find her before she is damaged by others of her kind.

What he finds is a reward beyond comprehension to a Trivator warrior, a family.

Can he convince Jesse that he can give her and her younger sisters a better life on his world? Or will fear keep her from accepting what he has to offer?

I have really mixed feeling on this book, on the one hand the writing is brilliant and the characters the author has created are engaging and you do find your self pulling for them but, on the other hand I do have a couple of issues with this.

I think the biggest problem I have is the time line of the story, it seems to be that Jesse and her sisters decide to completely trust these aliens far too quickly, I would like to have seem some sort of allusion to a passing of time where they had resisted and protested a little bit more. I do understand wanting to keep the book to a reasonable length but I would have much preferred it to have been split into two books, on the voyage to a new land where the relationship’s between Earthlings and aliens is built up over more time with greater mental and physical conflict, and the second bit starting with their arrival at the new world and a lot more description of the adjustments to arriving in this incredible new place.

However, I have to judge it based on how it is, so I am going to give it a four out of 5 stars, I did enjoy it I just wanted more.

You can get the book here…

Hunter’s Claim: Science Fiction Romance (The Alliance Book 1) eBook: Smith, S.E.: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

And find out more about the author here…

SE Smith | Facebook

1. Monday · Book Reviews · Monday Musings

Book Review – Living a lie, Part One By M.L. Kacy

Because I have so many book reviews to get done I am going to do a second one on a Tuesday until I catch up…

 

In your early adult years, you think that you know it all. Well that’s how I was looking back on my life. Nearly nineteen-years later, it’s true what they say, you always learn by your mistakes, mistakes make you into a stronger person. Boy, did I make a hell of a lot of mistakes. I never thought that my life would turn out the way that it did. There are only four things that I would never regret, my four beautiful children. They were, and still are, my saving grace, my redemption of sorts. When the darkness became too much, thoughts of them would pull me into the light.

This is my story, it’s not a story that is all sweetness and light. It’s a story of love, regret, devastation, darkness and maybe a little redemption.

So here we are, I shall start from the beginning.
Part One

***Disclaimer- Some of the content in this book can cause triggers for some. Also, contains profanity, erotic scenes and only suitable for readers 18+***

This book is biographical of an extraordinary woman who has overcome so much in her life. Reading this as just a reader you cannot help but fell so much empathy for the main ‘character’ Rhea, I don’t want to say too much but she goes through events which are so traumatic and it is so well written that you do feel her pain and empathise with her.

For me reading this as someone who actually knows the author it adds another level of heartbreak and you want to run over to her and give her a big hug. The only issue I have is that I only bought part one, I strongly recommend buying the newer versions with part one and two together.

I give this a heart wrenching five out of 5 stars.

3d rendering of 5 gold stars
1. Monday · Monday Musings

Book Review – The Runaway In Love, the Runaway Trilogy: Book 2 By Helen Bright

With police interviews and an ongoing threat to contend with, Kolya has to work harder than ever to keep his young wife safe. His vow to respect her innocence becomes harder with each passing day, so when an opportunity to create distance presents itself, he doesn’t hesitate to take it.
Tess is in love, though she’s finding it difficult to deal with her husband’s high-handed behaviour. Due to her background and fiery temper, she has little respect for authority, which often leads to potentially volatile situations.
If they want their marriage to survive, both will have to compromise, and give in to the soul-deep feelings which have gripped them since the day they met.

The story continues and if you want to read my review about the first story you can find it here, I love this series, the whole premise of the series fascinates me, I know some people may find it hard to believe what Kolya would take Tess under his wing but the whole thing of being responsible for a person who saves your life and vice versa intrigues me . It also helps that the characters are so well written, there are such a variety and each has been given the same attention even if they are a secondary character or only appear for a brief period in the story.

I confess to being friends with the author but the only way this influences me is in that I can nag her to get the final part of the trilogy out and then move on to telling us more about the other characters.

For me the score on this is so easy, five out of 5 stars.

3d rendering of 5 gold stars
#Nano2020

Nano Update 2 – 08/11/20

The week started off so well, I was writing every day and even though I wasn’t quite hitting the targets I wasn’t far off. The life happened, or more specifically  combination of incidents at the day job, I was left emotionally and physically drained and missed several days, In previous years this would be the point I would have just thrown the towel in, life was against me, what was the point.

But this year is different, this year I am not letting others drain my dreams and destroy my future, today I take control of my life again and get back to the writing. Before it all went wrong I did hit another milestone…

Of course most people have hit that by the end of day three and buy day seven should have doubled it and added some, but for me it is a spur to push me to up those stats and get those words down, so let’s see where my restart is beginning…

5309 / 50000 total words
On average, you write  663 words per day!
At this rate you’ll be done on January 14, 2021!
I guarantee this story will be finished long before that but in order to do so I must not let myself be distracted and let other people determine my actions and my life. Hopefully by Wednesday I will have much better numbers to discuss.
My Books

Torture Charity Anthology

 

Time is running out to grab your copy, this book is only available until the end of this month after that it is gone forever, although you may be able to get continued versions of some stories, I confess I am undecided at this point what to do about mine, but it will definitely be the last time you will be able to get all the stories in their original format together,

And if you need another reason to stick your hand in your pocket and buy then remember it is raising money for #AutismUK, as you all know my son is autistic and even though he is high functioning the last six months have been hard. I am lucky that I can manage his issues and we have coping strategies in place, I managed to get help when it was needed but for many others this charity is a lifeline, and we all know that in times where everyone is struggling charities are hit hard as no one has that spare cash to donate.

So don’t just donate, but a book, get it on kindle, read it on Kindle Unlimited and you get a great read and somewhere out there a family gets a helping hand.

mybook.to/Torture

1. Monday · Book Reviews

Book Review – Behind Closed Doors By Karen J. Mossman

For transparency I received this book as a prize for being selected as the best story in the Dandelion Anthology’s Love Ever After which I am part of, it in no way has affected my review or influenced the final rating I give it…

We begin as always with the blurb taken from Goodreads.

Kerry tries to protect her sister but she can’t protect her mum or herself from Bill, her stepfather. He’s mean and volatile and likes to drink.

When she meets Tommy, they fall in love and she finds out his last girlfriend brought trouble to his nice normal family. Not wanting to jeopardise their relationship and do the same, Kerry tries to keep her secrets behind closed doors.

Eventually, the bruises and the lies tell their own story. She can’t hide the fact Bill is wrecking their family and deeper family issues threaten to destroy the best thing that ever happened to her – Tommy.

A coming of age story set to a backdrop of seventies music and fashion.

I was born in 71 so although my teenage years were spent in the 80’s there are many things that were not that different, Although there was no abuse in my house, I can certainly relate to a time where dad held all the family finances and mum received an amount of cash each week to pay the bills and take care of the house. I remember the cheesecloth tops, and my dad telling me I was not leaving the house when he judged a skirt to be too short, the reality for my generation as well as the previous ones was that it was normal for a parent to give you a backhander or a clip round the ear, that parents demanded respect and the phrase ‘living under my roof’ was one every teenager heard at some point,

Luckily Kerry finds a knight in shining armour, not a trope I normally like but I fully appreciate in this time it was almost impossible for a female to escape an abuse patriarchal figure alone. I was fully immersed in this book and read it in one sitting, however there were two small niggles.

First, was Howard, he is introduced as Kerry’s boring boyfriend, a complete contrast to the sexy hero Tommy, but within  few days of their break up he is suddenly at a house party thrown by friends of Tommy, it just jarred slightly because if he had been the party type Kerry might never have looked at Tommy (well okay she might still have had a sneaky peek but she wouldn’t have dumped Howard and flirted). The second was the Irish Issue, it is brought up that they are on opposite sides of the religious divide, yet neither set of parent raises this issue, and as Catholics I would certainly have expected Tommy’s parents to at least talk about it even if the were not practising Catholics, especially when he moves to join her in Ireland and proposes, this is the 70’s after the Bloody Sunday Massacre, so even if neither parent cared about their different religions they would certainly have been scared for them.

All that being said, these were not niggles that I thought about until after I finished the book, and let me say, it should have a warning on the front, telling you to grab the tissues befoer you start reading, because you are going to need them.

So the final rating is a blubbering five out of 5 stars.

3d rendering of 5 gold stars
6. Saturday · So it's Saturday

Saturday Weekly Round-Up – 24th October 2020

A fortnight has passed but I have been busy writing, so let’s see what I have been up to this week…

Podcasts

This week I was really excite by a new podcast! The Minister Of Chance which I invested in as a Kickstarter Audio drama is back digitally remastered as a podcast, the Prologue dropped this week so sign up wherever you get your podcasts or check out this link for more info or follow Dan Freeman on Twitter to keep up with the latest news.

Music

This week I have listened to a little music and have to confess it was an 80’s playlist Spotify put together For me, I have to confess a few of those may have made there way into the playlist for the new book I am writing, mainly happy pop songs at the minute, it is interesting when it is a list someone else puts together how you find yourself listening to songs you had forgotten existed until they are in front of you so here is one…

I find it shocking now to think I could keep up dancing like that all night long lol. If you are on Spotify and want to check out my playlist at the minute it is listed as Christmas love story..

Reading

I have read a couple of books in the past two weeks I wont say too much about them now as I will be reviewing them but I have read the Filthy Trilogy by Lisa Renee Jones,, well the first two parts as I am about to read the third, I have also read Behind Closed Doors By Karen Mossman, one of these resulted in the use of several tissues, guess which one.

Watching – TV

I have actually finally decided to give Great British Bake Off on Channel 4, I watched it religiously what it was on BBC and was not really happy to see it sold off, however, one should not hold grudges and I do like Matt Lucas and Noel Fielding, and have to say four weeks in and I have really enjoyed it so far. And we managed to get through pastry week without a soggy bottom in sight!

Watching – Film

This is an old film, in fact it was an old favourite, however, watching it this time round I am struck that we have a love story that should have actually been a taboo, as it starts with both main characters cheating on their other halves. I know that some people will arguing that if there is nothing physical happening then it’s not cheating but I would argue if you are sneaking around behind your partners back, talking to people you wouldn’t talk to in front of them then you are cheating. I play on computer games and chat to a few people all over the world but there is not a single message that has ever been sent I have needed to hide from my boyfriend, in fact I have shown him quite a few. The thing is this carries on for quite a long way into the film, it’s not as if they just started talking and realised how bad their relationships are. Overall, it is quite a negative film, the big bad megastore does drive the little independent shop out of business, and he never really shows any actual remorse for destroying her business. There were some moments of nostalgia with the dial up modem, the clothes, and the fact you could exist without being connected to social media or be accessible 24/7.  I decided to go with this instead of the tradional trailer as it is closer to my feelings on this film now.

Watching – Netflix

I haven’t really watched Netflix in the last couple of weeks because it won’t work properly via the TV and I am trying to get some writing done on the computer but there are a couple of things coming up I am interested to watch so watch this space…

And that is it for this week, see you all back here next week.

Book Reviews

Book Review – The Vintage Coat By Chris Turnbull

This book has been sitting on my desk waiting to be reviewed for a while but here it finally is…

 

So first up the Goodreads blurb…

Joseph Michaels is 25 and an accidental time traveller.

After losing his job Joe finds himself working at the local second-hand shop. One day whilst unpacking new stock Joe comes across an old military coat that he just can’t resist trying on.

Excited by the powers of the coat, Joe quickly takes it home where he discovers it allows him to travel between present day Alston, Cumbria and the same area during WWII

Joe soon finds himself in the midst of living a double life.

However, one night an unexpected air raid hits town and everybody is thrown into disarray; and Joe is faced with standing up for the ones he loves, even if it could cost him everything.

When I read the blurb for this book I was reminded of the TV programme where Nicholas Lyndhurst finds a way to walk through an alley way to start a second life in war torn London, but this is so much more. While the Tv series does touch on the realities of life it was a sitcom but this book takes you into the real lives of people trying to survive the best they can.

You are automatically invested in these characters and their stories, The plot is a delicately crafted web that draws you in until you cannot put the book down, but be warned there should be a warning on the cover that tissues will be required while reading this book, The dynamics of the time travel are well dealt with, the coat is of course the method of travel but that Joseph quickly gets to grip with how the passing of time in each dimension relates to the other is pleasing and because it is kept simple it does not require the reader to struggle with complex timelines that can take you out of the story.

I could not put this book down when I started it, and even now looking at it, I am tempted to go for a reread, which I must resist as I have so any others to read. So to the mark it’s an easy 5 out of five

3d rendering of 5 gold stars