Delighted to be on the #BlogTour today for #TheSevenDoors by Agnes Ravatn @OrendaBooks #NordicNoir #readers #bookreview #newbook

‘Unfolds in an austere style that perfectly captures the bleakly beautiful landscape of Norway’s far
north’
Irish Times

University professor Nina is at a turning point. Her work seems increasingly irrelevant, her doctor husband is never home, relations with her adult daughter Ingeborg are strained, and their beautiful house is scheduled for demolition.
When Ingeborg decides to move into another house they own, things take a very dark turn. The young woman who rents it disappears, leaving behind her son, the day after Nina and Ingeborg pay her a visit.
With few clues, the police enquiry soon grinds to a halt, but Nina has an inexplicable sense of guilt. Unable to rest, she begins her own investigation, but as she pulls on the threads of the case, it seems her discoveries may have very grave consequences for her and her family.

My thoughts…

This was one of those books that once you start reading, you keep going until the end, despite the late hour. It’s not action packed or fast paced, it’s a very steady read, but completely absorbing. I have to admit there were some inferences that starting raising my curiosity fairly early on, and the ending proved that my ‘spidery’ senses were correct, so the outcome was not a surprise for me, but I loved watching the interactions of all the characters throughout: the network of lies, suspicions, greed, power-play, and manipulation provides great reading.

This is a layered psychological thriller with plenty of underlying drama. At the core is Nina, who is being displaced from her roots, and having to relocate as her house is going to be demolished. I really enjoyed her character, in particular her tenacity and drive to not give in. With themes of connection, roots and uprooting wrapped around the central mystery, there’s certainly a decent amount of background and depth to the narrative.

I loved the references to art, literature, and fairy-tales. The Bluebeard underscore was woven darkly and beautifully; the threaded allusion addition was very welcome, and I really enjoyed the insights it offers for readers, with the seven doors parallel.

Overall, a dark, layered allusion themed Nordic Noir that hooks you in until the closing lines.

The Author – Agnes Ravatn

Agnes Ravatn

Agnes Ravatn (b. 1983) is a Norwegian author and columnist. She made her
literary début with the novel Week 53 (Veke 53) in 2007. Since then she
has written three critically acclaimed and award-winning essay collections:
Standing still (Stillstand), 2011, Popular Reading (Folkelesnad), 2011, and
Operation self-discipline (Operasjon sjøldisiplin), 2014. In these works,
Ravatn revealed a unique, witty voice and sharp eye for human fallibility.
Her second novel, The Bird Tribunal (Fugletribuanlet), was an international
bestseller translated into fifteen languages, winning an English PEN Award,
shortlisting for the Dublin Literary Award, a WHSmith Fresh Talent pick and a BBC Book at Bedtime. It was also made into a successful play, which premiered in Oslo in 2015. Agnes lives with her family in the Norwegian countryside.

Thanks to Anne for the tour invite and to Orenda Books for the review copy – wishing this book every success it deserves.

Please buy from independents if you can XX

An intriguing, magical fantasy debut #BlogTour #TheBoneShardDaughter by @AndreaGStewart with thanks to @orbitbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #readers #newbook #bookchat

It’s lovely to be chatting about THE BONE SHARD DAUGHTER today for the Blog Tour – many thanks to Tracy for the invite, and Orbit for the review copy. I enjoy reading fantasy, so this appealed to me straight away, and I wasn’t disappointed…

The Blurb…

The Sukai Dynasty has ruled the Phoenix Empire for over a century, their mastery of bone shard magic powering the monstrous constructs that maintain law and order. But now the emperor’s rule is failing, and revolution is sweeping across the Empire’s many islands.

Lin is the Emperor’s daughter, but a mysterious illness has stolen her childhood memories and her status as heir to the empire. Trapped in a palace of locked doors and old secrets, Lin vows to reclaim her birthright by mastering the forbidden art of bone shard magic.

But the mysteries behind such power are dark and deep, and wielding her family’s magic carries a great cost. When the revolution reaches the gates of the palace itself, Lin must decide how far she is willing to go to claim her throne – and save her people.

My thoughts…

THE BONE SHARD DAUGHTER is certainly an eye-catching book, and the title an intriguing one. I enjoy reading fantasy novels, so was delighted to read this one as part of its Blog Tour.

Firstly, I’m not usually a fan of too many narrative perspectives, in this book we see the story through several eyes, written either in the first or third person. Lin and Jovis are connected via their first-person narratives, and I personally enjoyed the immediacy and drive of these sections. I really liked both Lin and Jovis. Jovis in particular is very endearing as he copes with what life throws at him, but also the thought and dedication to maintain the search for his missing wife is very emotive; I loved the snatches of memory built into the story as we piece together the past. Ah, and then there’s the adorable evolving relationship with Mephi – a magical horned cat/otter type creature. Loved every moment with Mephi! I also enjoyed the third person narrative pulling into the story the lives of Ranami and Phalue that explores the relationship between two social classes and pulls in the revolution theme.

Overall, meticulous planning and structural format creates a multi-layered perspective fantasy set in a creative island-based world ruled by a failing Emperor. There’re all the elements fantasy readers expect, and importantly the world is carefully crafted in detail, so the transference from reality is seamless. This is a book of layers with a thought out embedded magical system – I found Pullman’s Dark Material vibes made creepy with the creature constructs lurking and spying. The idea is menacing, and Frankenstein vibes underscore the reanimated creatures. It’s really creative and explores more modern themes of experimentation and exploitation.

With themes of identity, control, loss, the past, memory, and connection this is an impressive debut; I’m be looking forward to the second book in the Drowning Empire Trilogy.

The Blog Tour

Please buy from independents if you can XX

#BlogTour for #TheHeights by @Parker_Bilal @blackthornbks @RandomTTours

THE HEIGHTS is the second book in the Crane and Drake series from Parker Bilal. The first book in the series ‘The Divinities’ received great feedback, such as ‘terrific crime fiction rooted in geopolitics’ from the Sunday Times, and ‘told with a delicate elegance . . . it promises to be a fine series’ from the Daily Mail. For book chat about the newly published, THE HEIGHTS, please do keep scrolling. With thanks to the publisher for the review copy, and Anne for the tour invite.

The Blurb:

What starts with the gruesome discovery of a severed head on the Tube soon becomes personal for former DI Cal Drake. After one betrayal too many, Drake has abandoned the police force to become a private detective. He’s teamed up with enigmatic forensic pathologist Dr Rayhana Crane and it’s not long before the case leads them to the darkest corners of the nation’s capital and in dangerously close contact with an international crime circuit, a brutal local rivalry and a very personal quest for retribution. With the murder victim tied to Drake’s past, his new future is about to come under threat.

My thoughts…

This book begins after Cal Drake, a former Met DI, has left the police force, and begun work as a private detective, partnering with Dr. Rayhana Crane, a forensic psychologist. The story begins as this partnership starts to work together, and coinciding with the disturbing discovery of a severed head of a woman on a tube train. The plot develops and draws in Drake’s past during an undercover drugs operation, and a complex web of gangs, drugs, suspicion and plotting develops.

I really enjoyed the plot layers, and you have to keep focused as past and present collide in this well written crime thriller. Added into the mix is a seemingly Middle East connected abduction, that spirals into another connection, bringing both investigations on a similar tangent. The relationship between Drake and Crane adds a further dimension, and although suffers from mistrust, they make an interesting team. Both have layers, and I may have some missing gaps from not reading ‘The Divinities’, the first book in the series, but it didn’t seem to matter. There’s a lot of depth and complex detail in the book, which can slow the pace, but when it picks up it hurtles along!

It’s dark, intense, disturbing and complex. A decent crime thriller read.

The Author

Parker Bilal

Parker Bilal is the pseudonym of Jamal Mahjoub, the critically acclaimed literary novelist. He is the author of the Makana Investigations series, the third of which, The Ghost Runner, was longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year Award. The Divinities, the first in his Crane and Drake London crime series, was published in 2019. Born in London, he has lived in a number of places, including the UK, Denmark, Spain and, currently, the Netherlands.


@Parker_Bilal | jamalmahjoub.com

Please buy from independents if you can XX

Very pleased to be on the #BlogTour for #TheQuickening by @sarahrward1 #Bookreview with thanks to @TrapezeBooks and @alexxlayt

A huge thanks to Alex for sending me a copy of The Quickening , it’s a gorgeous looking book, and seemed a perfect genre match for me, and I was right; I had such an enjoyable ride reading this one.

Keep scrolling for more bookish chat…

A séance recreated. A secret revealed.

Blurb

An infamous séance. A house burdened by grief. A secret that can no longer stay buried.

England, 1925. Louisa Drew lost her husband in the First World War and her six-year-old twin sons in the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918. Newly re-married and seven months pregnant, Louisa is asked by her employer to travel to Clewer Hall in Sussex to photograph the contents of the house for auction. Desperate for money after falling on hard times, she accepts the commission.

On arrival, she learns Clewer Hall was host to an infamous séance in 1896, the consequences of which still haunt the family. Before the Clewer’s leave England for good, the lady of the house has asked those who attended the original séance to recreate the evening. Louisa soon becomes embroiled in the strange happenings of the house, unravelling the longheld secrets of what happened that night thirty years before… and discovers her own fate is entwined with Clewer Hall’s.

My thoughts…

I love gothic fiction, so jumped at the chance to read Rhiannon Ward’s The Quickening, described as a supernatural, chilling historical mystery; centering around a séance at a crumbling, isolated hall in Sussex. With that introduction, there’s no way I’m not in!

We begin with two quotes, a definition of quickening, which is a time in pregnancy where the female can feel dizzy, nervous or experience hysteria. The other from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, from his collection of essays, The History of Spiritualism, that explores the question of life after death, and seeking to know if communication is possible with passed loved ones to seek ‘the touch of a vanished hand, and the sound of a voice that is still.’ This sets up the tone of the narrative, that is split over two time periods.

Our story begins in 1925, where the central protagonist wakes from a dream, filled with memories of the past and those she has lost. This is Louisa Drew, and she is a woman ahead of her time, with a strong determination to achieve and contribute to her life and wider world. She’s a photographer, and despite being heavily pregnant takes on a job at Clewer Hall, to photograph household items for a auction. She knows her second husband will object, so she arranges to leave before he gets home and finds out. I liked Louisa from the start, and soon we begin to realise that Clewer Hall and its inhabitants are hiding many secrets, and that Louisa’s new commission will not be straightforward.

I love crumbling expansive mansions in isolated settings, adding a heavy dose of gothic atmosphere and I’m hooked. This is my kind of book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved the merging of mystery thriller, gothic deliciousness, supernatural events and murder. However, it’s the additional depth that really resonated with me, from the devastation of World War One, to female empowerment, photography methods of the time, grief and finding the strength to change your life, even in difficult circumstances.

Added to all this, there’s the intrigue of the recreated séance, the mysterious behaviour of the characters, and Louisa’s increasingly dangerous position that racks up the tension. The séance adds an intensely creepy tone that adds malevolence with increasingly odd, and unexplainable events to add turmoil to Louisa’s commission. There’s a darkness lurking in the shadows of the house, and this drives the narrative; the reader begins to piece together the clues, that reveal the truth of the house. Along the way, Louisa makes both enemies and friends, but she remains determined. There’s a little of a romance sub-plot which is nicely handled, and adds to Louisa’s spirit and determination to live her life, and build her future in her own terms.

Overall, I highly recommend this book to people who enjoy historical gothic fiction, and enjoy some supernatural thrills.

I struggled to put it down, a goose-bump inducing supernatural ride! Read it!

July reads and… whoopsie also May and Junes! #readingwrapup #bookchat #readers #bookblogger

I’ve just realised I didn’t post about my May and June reads, I think the ‘RONA’ pandemic has taken my focus away! I’ve been shutting down my costume and fancy dress hire shop (it sadly is a victim of RONA) and putting into stasis the Stage School, Touring Theatre, rehearsals rooms and other theatrical work, in the hope that they’ll come back to life in the future. So, like many others, these are tough times. If you’re having a difficult time too, I really wish you well, and keep the faith!

So back to books, I thought I’d tag the May and June reads into my July reads blog post, so if you are interested then do keep scrolling. 🙂

Book totals: July 13, June 5, and May 18

July 2020

Cape May by Chip Cheek – set in the 1950s and explores the loss of innocence; lots of potential, but soon turned into the unexpected, and not in a good way for me. Disappointed.

The Girl from Widow Hills by Megan Miranda – I enjoyed this one, see my blog post for further chat: https://booksteaandme.blog/2020/07/10/blogtour-for-thegirlfromwidowhills-by-meganlmiranda-corvusbooks-randomthingstours-annecater/

Descendent of the Crane by Joan He – I personally found this a little slow going, but a solid fantasy read about an unstable kingdom, power, magic and the fight for justice.

Hinton Hollow Death Trip by Will Carver – not your typical murder mystery thriller; creative, disturbing and addictive. For more chat, check out my earlier blog post: https://booksteaandme.blog/2020/07/21/blogtour-for-hintonhollowdeathtrip-by-will_carver-dspace-orendabooks-annecater/

Written in Blood by Chris Carter – the third Robert Hunter book, and another cracking read. For more chat, check out my blog tour post: https://booksteaandme.blog/2020/07/23/blogtour-writteninblood-by-chris-carter-simonschusteruk-harriett_col-randomthingstours/

Good Samaritans by Will Carver – a writer who doesn’t hold back; it’s dark, sexual and disturbing. Controversial and addictive.

Anna Undreaming by Thomas Welsh – a complex fantasy world, and a decent debut. For more chat: https://booksteaandme.blog/2020/07/18/bookchat-annaundreaming-calmdowntom-owlhollowpress/

The Resident by David Jackson – creepy, full of black comedy and a recommended read.

Wounding PB by Heidi James – not for me, just didn’t hold my attention.

Shed No Tears by Caz Frear – the third book featuring DC Cat Kinsella, and the best to date. Blog chat here: https://booksteaandme.blog/2020/07/23/blogtour-shednotears-cazzif-zaffrebooks-compulsivereaders-tr4cyf3nt0n/

The Cry of the Lake by Charlie Tyler – a solid debut novel about murder, passion and secrets. Blog tour chat: https://booksteaandme.blog/2020/07/31/happy-to-be-on-the-blogtour-today-for-thecryofthelake-by-charlietyler17-randomttours-with-thanks-to-anne-for-the-invite/

The Wind Dancer by Iris Johansen – entertaining historical saga , enjoyable but features a dominating relationship.

Don’t Turn Around by Jessica Barry – really enjoyed this high tension thriller with depth, see blog for further chat. https://booksteaandme.blog/2020/08/03/its-blogtour-day-for-dontturnaround-by-jessbarryauthor-harvillsecker-jazminamarsh-vintagebooks-newbook-readers-bookrecommendations/

June 2020

From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout – I enjoyed this, a fantasy novel about protected maidens waiting for Ascension, until one decides to make a different choice, and with the help of Hawke, changes her course.

The Official Downton Abbey Afternoon Tea Cookbook – delightful cookbook, full of cookery history and delicious recipes.

The First Lie by A.J. Park – entertaining thriller, about a man coming home to find his wife over the body of a dead man.

Daughters of Cornwall by Fern Brittain – an enjoyable family saga from 1914 to 2020.

Very Nearly Normal by Hannah Sunderland – funny rom-com and entertaining escapism, enjoyable.

May 2020

A Murderous Relation (Veronica Speedwell 5) by Deanna Raybourn – the lastest book in the Speedwell and Stoker mysteries, always entertaining!

The Seduction by Joanna Briscoe – creatively written book of desire, obsession and the female. https://booksteaandme.blog/2020/06/20/blogtour-theseduction-joannabriscoe-bloomsburybooks-randomthingstours-annecater-readers-bookchat-newbook/

Poison Study (Study 1) by Maria V. Snyder – the first book in a fantasy series about a food taster, who risks her life daily keeping the king safe, but soon her world falls apart. Fun.

The Split by Sharon Bolton – this is a layered perspective novel, with unreliable narrators, gives the brain a workout. Enjoyable, Bolton never seems to deliver a bad book. https://booksteaandme.blog/2020/05/26/blogtour-the-split-by-sharon-bolton-and-published-by-orion-books/

The Deck of Omens (The Devouring Grey 2) by Christine Lynn Herman – the second in the series set in Four Paths, and the Beast that threatens the town may once again return, enjoyable.

The Devouring Grey by Christine Lynn Herman – the first book in the duology, set in a town threatened by an ancient curse, and as a new girl arrives in town, she soon notices something is very wrong. Fun,

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren – Perfect summer garden read, lots of laughs and your predictable but necessary happy ever after.

The Truants by Kate Weinberg – a coming of age drama, full of lies, desires, manipulation and murder. Recommended. https://booksteaandme.blog/2020/06/16/blogtour-thetruants-by-kateweinberg-bloomsburybooks-with-thanks-to-annecater-randomthingstours/

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski – the first book in a YA fantasy series. A great start, about power, control, slavery, freedom and corruption.

The Curator by M.W. Craven – Always a fantastic read, this is the third book in the Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw crime series, and there’s an evil mastermind to be defeated, but it’s a challenge. Highly recommended. https://booksteaandme.blog/2020/05/29/blogtour-thecurator-mwcravenuk-littlebrownuk-thecrimevault-bethwright26/

The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman – absolutely loved this book. Read it! https://booksteaandme.blog/2020/05/30/blogtour-thesecretsofstrangers-by-charitynorman1-randomthingstours/

The Sixth Window by Rachel Abbott – book 6 in the DCI Tom Douglas series, a hit and run, dark intentions and a search for the truth.

Kill Me Again by Rachel Abbott – DCI Tom Douglas investigates a missing husband and a murdered wife case, that soon becomes far more complex.

Sleep Tight by Rachel Abbott – after blood is found, and a woman is missing DCI Tom Douglas begins to investigate.

The Glass House by Eve Chase – really enjoyed this story, highly recommended. https://booksteaandme.blog/2020/05/29/blogtour-theglasshouse-evepollychase-michaeljbooks-gabyyoung/

The Back Road by Rachel Abbott – Another DCI Tom Douglas investigation where a tragic hit and run causes strife in a small community.

Only the Innocent by Rachel Abbott – this is the first book in the DCI Tom Douglas series, a crime drama with sordid secrets and murder to the plot, good series start.

It’s #blogtour day for #Don’tTurnAround by @jessbarryauthor @HarvillSecker @JazminaMarsh @vintagebooks #newbook #readers #bookrecommendations

Delighted to be chatting about ‘Don’t Turn Around’ by Jessica Barry today, with thanks to Harvill Secker, and Jasmine at Penguin Random House. Please keep scrolling down for the book blurb, some bookish chat, about the author info, and a letter to the reader from Jessica Barry about ‘Don’t Turn Around’.

Two Strangers. Dangerous Secrets. Their only chance is each other.

The Blurb

Two strangers, Cait and Rebecca, are driving across America. Cait’s job is to transport women to safety. Out of respect, she never asks any questions. Like most of the women, Rebecca is trying to escape something.

But what if Rebecca’s secrets put them both in danger? There’s a reason Cait chooses to keep on the road, helping strangers. She has a past of her own, and knows what it’s like to be followed.

And there is someone right behind them, watching their every move…

My Thoughts…

Okay, when someone has said to me ‘don’t turn around’ it often strikes fear in me… in my world mainly because there’s some spider crawling towards me, or there’s someone I’m avoiding 😉 However, in Jessica Barry’s book, ‘Don’t Turn Around’ has more deadly consequences!

This is a new thriller read that jumps between the stories of two women: Cait and Rebecca. The narrative is choppy, and moves from a journey in ‘real time’ to Albuquerque to the months preceding the road trip. I really enjoyed the narrative splits; the reader is filling in the pieces during the higher paced momentum of the road trip. We begin to discover the missing pieces of these women’s lives and how they find themselves in the situation they are currently in. On the surface, Cait has collected Rebecca in secret to drive her to safety, although we soon realise there’s much more to both of their stories. So, what a hook! I was fully engaged right from the start in this tense, scary and layered thriller read. I really enjoyed the drama behind the road trip as the women become hunted by an unknown assailant, who is determine to scare, chase and hunt.

I really enjoyed the strength behind the female protagonists, both women have difficult back-stories but both use this to become braver, and stronger. There’s a lot of tension and drama in this book, and it’s genuinely hard to put it down.

I love books that make you question everything you are reading, and I’m sure, like me, you’ll have a whole page of questions when reading this book. The pacing works really well, holding enough back until the right moments: it’s great fun!

For me, what made this thriller different, was the depth of the backstories, the controversial storyline elements, the emotional and psychological complexities, and the strength of the women that were weaved into an action led chase thriller.

A heart-pounding, hurtling, drama packed ride with heart and empowerment holding it all together. Highly recommended for thriller readers who are looking for additional qualities in their stories.

The Author

Jessica Barry is a pseudonym for an American author who has lived and worked in London for the past fifteen years. Look for Me (previously published as Freefall), her debut thriller, has sold in more than twenty-two territories around the world and has also secured a major Hollywood film deal.

‘Don’t Turn Around’ is available now and please buy from Independents if you can XX

Happy to be on the #BlogTour today for #TheCryoftheLake by @CharlieTyler17 @RandomTTours with thanks to Anne for the invite.

What is hiding in the lake?

Blurb

A gruesome discovery unravels a dark trail of murder and madness.

A six-year-old girl sneaks out of bed to capture a mermaid but instead discovers a dead body. Terrified and unable to make sense of what she sees, she locks the vision deep inside her mind.

Ten years later, Lily is introduced to the charismatic Flo and they become best friends. But Lily is guilt-ridden – she is hiding a terrible secret which has the power to destroy both their lives.

When Flo’s father is accused of killing a schoolgirl, the horrors of Lily’s past come bubbling to the surface. Lily knows that, whatever the consequences, she has to make things right. She must go back to the events of her childhood and face what happened at the boat house all those years ago.

Can Lily and Flo discover what is hiding in the murky waters of the lake before the killer strikes again?

My Thoughts…

‘The Cry of the Dark’ is a debut novel from Charlie Tyler that explores deep manipulation, darkness, abuse and family bonds. And, it all begins with a murder…

The story is told via a mix of multiple first-person narratives, via Lily, Grace and Flo, providing the reader with starkly alternative perspectives. It’s very soon clear that there’s something dark at play as the eerily casual response to a murder victim at a table is dealt with. The story develops into an interplay between two sisters and their lives, and as their memories surface we find out more about the past and why they are behaving as they are. Outside of this is the narrative of Lily’s friend Flo, which is needed to balance the storytelling, and her narrative becomes tragically and disturbingly joined up with the sisters, Lily and Grace, and leads to a heart-pounding climax.

There’s also the gradual uncovering of the past, of the childhood between two girls and fractured home-life around them. There’s an underscore of abuse and forbidden love.

I love the puzzle read structure, slow reveals are made and the pieces start coming together; this keeps you turning the pages. It’s a story wrapped in a psychological plot of manipulation and murder. There’s a study of grief and loss, identity, young love, passion and trauma. A strong character led debut novel.

The Author

Charlie has been writing for years but it was taking a creative writing course in 2018 which gave her the gentle kick she needed to finish her debut novel. Charlie is very much a morning person and likes nothing more than committing a fictional murder before her first coffee of the day. She studied Theology at Worcester College, Oxford and now lives in a Leicestershire village with her husband, three teenagers and golden retriever.

http://www.charlietyler.com/

Twitter @CharlieTyler17

Blog Tour – for further insights and reviews, so do check out the rest of the blog tour:

Please buy from independents if you can XX

#BlogTour #ShedNoTears @CazziF @ZaffreBooks ~CompulsiveReaders @Tr4cyF3nt0n

It’s lovely to be on the blog tour chatting about the third DC Cat Kinsella book, particularly as I’ve really enjoyed the previous two. With thanks to Tracy at Compulsive Readers. See below for the full blog tour, and for more bookish chat, please keeping scrolling down…

The Blurb

Four victims.
Killer caught.
Case closed . . . Or is it?

Christopher Masters, known as ‘The Roommate Killer’, strangled three women over a two-week period in a London house in November 2012. Holly Kemp, his fourth victim, was never found.

Until now.

Her remains have been unearthed in a field in Cambridgeshire and DC Cat Kinsella and the major investigation team are called in, but immediately there are questions surrounding the manner of her death. And with Masters now dead, no one to answer them.

DCI Tessa Dyer, the lead on the 2012 case, lends the team a hand, as does DCI Steele’s old boss and mentor, the now retired Detective Chief Superintendent Oliver Cairns.

With Masters dead, Cat and the team have to investigate every lead again.

BUT IF YOU’D GOT AWAY WITH MURDER, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WHEN THE CASE IS RE-OPENED?

My thoughts…

What’s really enjoyable about these books is the blending of Cat’s rather challenging personal life and the cases she works on. In this book, Cat’s facing an unusual challenge with a closed case coming into question. I really enjoyed the plotting, and how a previous conviction begins to fall apart; it’s something to get your teeth into and puzzle out.

Frear writes great characters and backstories; the reader is given great depth, which adds to the superb storytelling. In this book, Cat’s personal life is on the up, however, she is still hiding many secrets that could not just damage her new relationship, but also her career. I feel, the crime takes the lead in this book, and it’s a great balance. The interplay with Cat and her colleagues is enjoyable, and she has a great, mixed team of characters around her.

‘Shed no Tears’ comes highly recommended from me, it’s smart, carefully plotted, and at its core is an intelligent, flawed, but likeable protagonist to follow. A crime thriller with heart, drama and camaraderie; there’re twists, turns, red-herrings, all ending with a tense, heart-pounding climax.

My favourite of the DC Cat Kinsella books so far ~ thanks to Caz Frear for the wonderful storytelling, throughly enjoyable.

Previous books:

Please buy from independents if you can XX

#BlogTour #WritteninBlood by Chris Carter @simonschusterUK @harriett_col #RandomThingsTours

So happy to be a part of the Blog Tour for WRITTEN IN BLOOD – if you’re not aware, this is the 11th book in Chris Carter’s Robert Hunter thriller series, and… there’s a serial killer to catch. With huge thanks to Anne for the tour invite, and do keep scrolling for some bookish chat…

The Blurb

A serial killer will stop at nothing…


The Killer
His most valuable possession has been stolen.
Now he must retrieve it, at any cost.
The Girl
Angela Wood wanted to teach the man a lesson. It was a
bag, just like all the others. But when she opens it, the
worst nightmare of her life begins.
The Detective
A journal ends up at Robert Hunter’s desk. It soon
becomes clear that there is a serial killer on the loose.
And if he can’t stop him in time, more people will die.


If you have read it
You must die

My thoughts

I first met Robert Hunter in ‘The Crucifix Killer’ and have really enjoyed this series – if you are a new reader, then don’t worry, each works as a stand-a-lone. In this case, Hunter is pitted against a serial killer, who comes to the attention of the Ultra Violent Crimes Unit, via the theft of a journal. This brings both the thief and Hunter to the attention of the journal’s author and the game begins. It soon becomes clear that there has been a serial killer in circulation for a considerable time, and this person is truly a ‘professional’ and needs to be caught.

What I really enjoy about Carter’s books, and very much this one, is the ease of the story telling; you know you are in safe hands, as Carter crafts the plots, red-herrings, tensions, characters and reveals with such control and dexterity. I loved the puzzle narrative via the journal, as we slowly learn from the killer’s words about the victims, their lives, and begin to work out what’s behind the inconsistencies in the patterns.

Hunter is smart, and like his name he sets his sights on his prey and is relentless; this also comes with high personal costs. There’s a great balance between Hunter and his partner Garcia, and they make a great team. In addition, we have small-time thief Angela, who becomes caught in the killer’s sights and needs protecting; I really enjoyed her story, and how this added emotional depth to the overall crime thriller.

This is a dark book, that looks into the mind of a controlled and incredibly dangerous psychopath. Thoroughly enjoyable, and it’s a highly recommended read.

The Author

Chris Carter

Born in Brazil of Italian origin, Chris Carter studied psychology and criminal behaviour at the University of Michigan. As a member of the Michigan State District Attorney’s Criminal Psychology team, he interviewed and studied many criminals, including serial and multiple homicide offenders with life imprisonment convictions. He now lives in London.
Visit his website http://www.chriscarterbooks.com

BLOG TOUR DATES

Please buy from INDEPENDENT BOOKSELLERS if you can XX

#BookChat #AnnaUndreaming @CalmDownTom @owlhollowpress

In a world of dwindling light… you’re a bonfire in the night.

‘Anna Undreaming’ is the first book in The Metiks Fade Trilogy by Thomas Welsh, a fantasy author and games writer. Thomas is the winner of the Elbow Room fiction prize and has been published in 404 Ink and Leicester Writes. He received an honourable mention in Glimmer Train’s Very Short Fiction Award, and his story ‘Suicide Vending Machine’ is featured on the Pseudopod Podcast.

His work has qualified him for induction into the Fellowship of BAFTA, and he has been published on major sites like Kotaku, Unwinnable Magazine and Glitch Free Gaming. He loves Neil Gaiman, Ursula K. Le Guin, Roger Zelazny and dark fantasy stories where women save themselves! He lives in Scotland with his wife Nana.

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Anna Undreaming

Anna is a student surviving the city, and she lives by a simple credo, Never play their game; their game is always rigged. For every man she has ever known, it’s a saying that has served her well.Especially when Anna becomes lost to the dark heart of the city. She finds herself hunted by Dreamers–artists, both good and evil, who construct new worlds–within a complex community that threatens to undermine reality itself. When Anna learns that she’s an Undreamer with powers she cannot yet comprehend, she must travel through their strange and treacherous creations to discover that there’s as much beauty in life as there is darkness. As her existence spirals into wonder and danger, Anna must look deep within herself and face the horrors of her own past, to save her old world as well as her new one.

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This book is described as an Urban Fantasy, and Welsh creates a detailed and inventive world where our protagonist, Anna, learns the reality of who she actually is alongside the reader. The world-building is detailed, so it takes time to understand and adjust; it’s all okay, as we are learning and experiencing with Anna, and there’s also a helpful glossary in the back of the book.

Anna is a likeable character, who has both vulnerabilities and strength, she is also an Undreamer, a powerful Metik, a person who can manipulate the Hazes, (a space that changes the rules of reality) that are created by dreamers – these are aesthetics. Anna finds out that the alternate reality is a dangerous place with characters like the Midnight Man, who creates using imagery of macabre poetry about murdering women. There is certainly a darkness here, with suffocating monsters and Anna, with some help, learns control of her abilities and brings in the light. Okay, so this may sound confusing, and at first it is, but as the story develops we learn more about this world, and can begin to concentrate on the characters and their adventure.

It’s a book about understanding who we are, our capabilities, our grief and ability to repair. It’s about faith and trust in others, resilience and survival. If you like films like the Matrix and Inception, when you may enjoy this. Despite being quite heavily layered with new words and worlds, this is an entertaining urban fantasy read with a strong female lead.

Anna and the Moonlight Road (The Metiks Fade Trilogy Book 2) is also out now, so you won’t have to wait to continue the adventure.