Tag Archive | Review

Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

Blinded by the Light by Joe Kipling

(The Union Trilogy Book 1)

Blinded by the light

In the near future, when the world’s population has been decimated by disease, the fortunate few live inside the Boundary, while the unlucky ones are left to die on the Outside. MaryAnn is one of the privileged. It doesn’t matter that her friends can sometimes be cruel or that the boy she likes just threw up on her shoes, it’s all about being noticed at the right parties.

But it takes a single event to rip her life apart.

Struggling with physical and psychological scars, MaryAnn must face up to the truth about the foundations of the Neighbourhood and the legacy of her family. Once she learns the truth she can never go back, but can she really put her faith in the Union?

Blinded by the Light is about death and coming to terms with loss, the abuse of power, discrimination and the fear of the unknown. It is the first book in The Union Trilogy.

This dystopian young adult fiction book set in the near future critiques aspects of society such as a preoccupation with celebrity, materialism and privilege. It Shows that in real life good and evil are never clear cut and we all have to decide what it means to ‘do the right thing’.

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My Review:

Set in a future where the population has been decimated by the Sandman Virus and the elite live in Neighbourhoods run by The Light Foundation. This was an enjoyable read, told from MaryAnn’s point of view.

MaryAnn’s father is an important man in The Light Foundation and at the start of the book MaryAnn has a perfect life, she’s a spoilt rich kid who has everything she wants.

After meeting her estranged brother, Daryl, at a party, disaster strikes and MaryAnn has to live with the Director of the Foundation. Although still rich and spoilt, she becomes isolated with only the Director’s daughter, Maud, for company.

When her brother contacts her again, she discovers he is a Unionist. The Unionists live outside of Neighbourhoods and know the truth behind The Light Foundation. As MaryAnn is introduced to other Unionist members, including her Uncle Patrick and Daryl’s friend, Peter, her beliefs are challenged, and her world changes from the ‘them and us’ attitude that she was brought up with.

The characters were well written and multi-dimensional, my favourites being MaryAnn and Peter. I loved seeing MaryAnn adapt and mature as the story went on, and the developing friendship between her and Peter, though it was heartbreaking watching the life she knew collapse around her.

The Author has done an amazing job of world building and how her society is structured, and it’s easy to imagine living there, either as one the elite or one of ‘outsiders’

Overall, a topnotch and imaginative start to a trilogy for young adults, and older adults also. I’ve already started Book 2, Light the Way.

About The Author:

Joe KiplingJoe Kipling is a West Yorkshire based young adult fiction writer with a lifelong passion for Sci-Fi, particularly the post-apocalyptic variety.

She currently lives in Holmfirth with her dog Kenny and is a full-time consultant and part-time writer.

A lifetime of travelling and avoiding near catastrophe has provided endless inspiration for The Union Trilogy.

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Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

Retriever of Souls by Lorraine Mace

(D.I. Sterling Book 1)

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The first title in a dark and gritty crime series.
Brought up believing that sex is the devil’s work, a killer only finds release once he has saved his victim’s souls. Abiding by his vision, he marks them as his. A gift to guide his chosen ones on the rightful path to redemption.

Detective Inspector Paolo Sterling is out to stop him, but Paolo has problems of his own. Hunting down the killer as the death toll rises, the lines soon blur between Paolo’s personal and professional lives.

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My Review:

I really enjoyed this great British crime drama. It’s the first of a series and I’m already looking forward to reading the next.

Detective Inspector Paolo Sterling’s personal life is a mess. He’s separated from his wife and has high hopes of getting back with her, and his teenage daughter, Katy, is going off the rails. His professional life isn’t faring any better. His new partner, Detective Sergeant Dave Johnson,  is obnoxious and has no respect for women.  Add to that, the fact that someone is murdering prostitutes and dumping their bodies in rubbish dumps and there aren’t any leads.

While we follow Paolo as he deals with his complicated relationships and tries to solve the case, we also get a close look at the murderer. The villain was brought up by a religious zealot who taught him that sex was a sin, and he believes that by killing the women he is saving their souls.

There is much more to this book than the crime and solving of it. It’s a character-driven book and they are well written and relatable… easy to like, or hate. It was interesting to watch them and their various relationships evolve and grow.

This was a gripping, gritty, and, at times, gruesome thriller, with interesting characters, a number of suspects, and plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing.

 

About The Author:

Retriever of Souls - Lorraine MaceWhen not working on her crime novels, Lorraine Mace is engaged in many writing-related activities. She is a columnist for both Writing Magazine and Writers’ Forum and is head judge for Writers’ Forum monthly fiction competitions.

A tutor for Writers Bureau, she also runs her own private critique and author mentoring service.

She is co-author, with Maureen Vincent-Northam, of The Writer’s Abc Checklist (Accent Press). Other books include children’s novel Vlad The Inhaler – Hero In The Making, and Notes From The Margin, a compilation of her Writing Magazine humour column.

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Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

In Memory Trilogy by Joshua Sutton

(In Memory, Shadowborn and Shards of Shaz’uul.)

25867415In Memory

Sarah Summers was normal once, but now she spends her nights plagued by dreams of her dead family. When a demon is sent to possess her, can Sarah fight back against it and overcome the evil that not only threatens her sanity, but humanity itself?

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ShadowbornShadowborn

They thought it was over, but Death disagreed. With Sarah gone and Marcus slowly gaining power, can Teo and his friends find Sarah and stop a war before it even starts?

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Shards of Shaz'uulShards of Shaz’uul

It had been many years since the fighting stopped. Humanity had moved underground, in an effort to hide themselves from the demons on the surface. They thought it was all over. For real this time. They were wrong. After ritualistic murders begin happening Teo must find out what has happened all the while hoping Sarah and Cornelius can complete the Shaz’uul Crystal and seal the demon world away for good.

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My Review:

The premise of the trilogy was imaginative and original.

Marcus has lost the love of his life and will do anything to get her back, including driving people insane and having them possessed by demons. Sarah is one of those people, however, having been possed by Cornelius, she teams up with him and fights back.

As the story moves on, the reasons behind Marcus’ actions change, and he sets out to rule the world(s).

There were quite a few characters in the first book, and more introduced in the following one. I would have liked to get to know the characters better, their reasoning or motivation. As it was, I didn’t connect with any of them and apart from Cornelius, none were particularly memorable.

The entire trilogy fills approximately 400 pages and there’s a lot of action packed into those pages. For me, there was too much action at times in book one, and too many interconnecting events, which got a bit confusing and made the book seem rushed.

I was however intrigued enough by the first book to read the rest of the trilogy.

Book 2 continues the story after a 15-year gap, and book 3 many years after that. Both books still had plenty going on but at a less manic pace.

 

About The Author:

Joshua SuttonJoshua Sutton grew up in Kent in the UK. From an early age he wanted to write books and after taking time away to study Music Technology and Production at university, finally came back and released his debut novel In Memory on July 4th 2015. The sequel Shadowborn was released June 2016, and the final book in the trilogy Shards of Shaz’uul was finished on the 18th Feb 2017.

Joshua writes Paranormal Fiction but dabbles in other genres and is working on other projects as well that you will see in the near future. It was his life long dream to write and now he is fulfilling his dream, he hopes you enjoy his work.

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Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

The Case of the Curious Client by T.G. Campbell

(Bow Street Society #1)

 
30828825The Bow Street Society is a fictional group of amateur detectives operating in London in 1896. Each of its civilian members has been enlisted for their unique skill or exceptional knowledge in a particular field. This ensures the Society may work to solve cases on the behalf of their clients regardless of their client’s social class or wealth; cases that the police either can’t or won’t investigate. From an artist to an illusionist, from an architect to a veterinary surgeon, the Bow Street Society is justice by all and for all.

In The Case of The Curious Client, the Bow Street Society are hired by Mr Thaddeus Dorsey to locate a missing friend he knows only as ‘Palmer’ after he fails to keep a late night appointment with him. With their client’s own credibility cast into doubt mere minutes after they meet him though the Society are forced to consider whether they’ve been sent on a wild goose chase. That is, until events take a dark turn and the Society have to race against time not only to solve the case but also save the very life of their client…

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My Review:

*I won a signed copy of this book at the UK Indie Lit Fest last year.

Although I don’t usually read historical books, I do read mysteries and thrillers, so the crime aspect of this one intrigued me and I decided to give it go. I’m glad I did!

The Bow Street Society comprises a mixed bag of members with different skills, from all walks of life and is overseen by Rebecca Trent.

We join some of those members in this book as they search for Thaddeus Dorsey’s missing friend, Palmer, which leads to them investigating a murder and trying to save their client from being convicted of the crime.

The Case of the Curious Client was a fascinating read with an intriguing plot and plenty of twists which kept me guessing ’til the end. The characters were well-rounded and I enjoyed getting to know them, their flaws, and their quirks.

The author’s patent love of the Victorian era shines through this book, and she has, without doubt, done an impressive amount of research, as the evocative and authentic descriptions transported me back in time to 1980’s London.

I will definitely be reading more of this series.

 
About The Author:

6af07c396b9dfcfbc82b1406bbcc4cf5Tahnee Georgina (T.G.) Campbell wrote her first crime fiction story at the age of sixteen as a gift for her best friend. At only 40 pages long it fell considerably short of a “novel” but it marked the beginning of a creative journey that would eventually spawn the first of the Bow Street Society mystery novels; The Case of the Curious Client. During that time she attended the University of Winchester where she acquired her Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Studies and wrote a dissertation on the social and cultural importance of the works of Agatha Christie.

She also became a volunteer member of staff on an international text-based gaming website where she was responsible for creating, and facilitating, storyline-games in a Victorian Era setting. The historical content of the reference pages for this setting were therefore researched, collated, and maintained by her.

It was as part of her work for this site that she came up with the idea of The Bow Street Society. Though The Case of the Curious Client is a project independent from the website the time she spent as a member of staff there helped her better understand character formation/evolution, effective use of description, and clue-puzzle mystery plot mechanics.

More recently, she attended her very first book signing event in the form of the UK Indie Lit Fest in Bradford on the 28th July 2018. She’s currently planning a schedule of similar events in 2019, to give her readers even more opportunities to meet her and have their Bow Street Society books signed. The second and third instalments of the Bow Street Society mysteries The Case of The Lonesome Lushington and The Case of The Spectral Shot are on sale now. There are also two published volumes of the Bow Street Society Casebook: The Case of The Shrinking Shopkeeper & Other Stories and The Case of The Peculiar Portrait & Other Stories. T.G. Campbell also writes monthly features for Fresh Lifestyle Magazine and releases new Casebook short stories in the monthly Gaslight Gazette. The fourth Bow Street Society mystery is due to be released in 2019.

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Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

Fog by Michael Wombat

17344256You know how it is. We’ve all experienced it while driving. You suddenly realise that you have no idea where you are, or what your destination is. After a few seconds light dawns and you remember where you are going.

But what if light didn’t dawn? What if you continued to know nothing before that moment? You have no idea where you are, who you are, or why a bunch of nutters is trying to kill you. The only thing you know is that you have to run for your life…

Sexy, funny, violent and thrilling, Fog is not so much a Whodunnit as a Whatthehellsgoingon.

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My Review:

This is the first book I’ve read by Michael Wombat and I will be reading more, I loved his writing style and really enjoyed the fantastic adventure within the pages of this book.

The mystery and excitement begin on page one when we meet the main character driving alone in the fog. He has amnesia and a boot (trunk) full of body parts. The book is written from this character’s point of view and it feels like you are sitting next to him while he regales you with tales of his adventure.

I won’t say anything more about the story… no spoilers… but if you enjoy a rip-roaring thriller with great twists and turns, brilliant characters and some humour thrown into the mix… then read this one.

 

About The Author:

6524212A Yorkshireman living in the rural green hills of Lancashire, Michael Wombat is a man of huge beard. He has a penchant for good single-malts, inept football teams, big daft dogs and the diary of Mr. Samuel Pepys. Abducted by pirates at the age of twelve he quickly rose to captain the feared privateer ‘The Mrs. Nesbitt’ and terrorised the Skull Coast throughout his early twenties. Narrowly escaping the Revenue men by dressing as a burlesque dancer, he went on to work successively and successfully as a burlesque dancer, a forester, a busker, and a magic carpet salesman.

The fact that he was once one of that forgotten company, the bus conductors, will immediately tell you that he is as old as the hills in which he lives. Nowadays he spends his time writing, telling tall tales in his bio, and pretending to take good photographs.

You can have a good laugh at his blog or his photographs, but most of all please go and mock him mercilessly on Twitter or Facebook. Michael Wombat has published over one book. Other authors are available.

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Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

The Basement by Dianne Hartsock

The BasementAlex is haunted by visions of the dying, but now it seems the ghosts he’s seeing are real as well.

In this sequel to ALEX and THE SHED, Alex wonders if he’s seeing ghosts. His friend Justin has bought the Fulton place, a beautiful old mansion on the edge of Oakton. But something’s wrong in the house. Alex has visions of a small boy, trapped in the basement, and a man at the top of the stairs who won’t let him leave.

And Logan Fulton has come to town, Helen Kramer’s cousin, a psychic medium who wants something from Helen, whatever the cost. He and Helen had spent time in the Fulton house as children and Alex suspects Logan has something to do with the spirits now awakening in the old mansion. But whether Logan is calling them forth or if something else is controlling them, Alex can’t be sure.

The child’s spirit calls to Alex, as do others trapped in the house. There is a dark entity holding them there, keeping the child forever in the basement, the others for his amusement. But Alex has never believed in ghosts, so what is really going on? As he strives to learn the boy’s secret, his friends are one by one pulled to the Fulton place and put in danger while Logan works against Alex, having an agenda of his own. Will Alex be able to solve the haunting of the old house, or will he and his friends be taken one by one, doomed to walk the dark hallways forever?

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My Review:

An enjoyable read, although I found parts of it, towards the end, a bit confusing. This is the third book featuring Alex, the main character, but it works well as a stand-alone.

Alex is psychic and is learning to control his visions with his therapist’s help. When his friend, Justin buys a new house, it soon turns from a happy future home to a haunted house of horrors. This story follows Alex, Justin and their group of close-knit friends as they investigate the foreboding atmosphere and ghostly sightings in the new house.

The characters, and their love and friendship towards each other are well-written.

About The Author:

me4Dianne grew up in one of the older homes in the middle of Los Angeles, a place of hardwood floors and secret closets and back staircases. A house where ghosts lurk in the basement and the faces in the paintings watch you walk up the front stairs. Rooms where you keep the closet doors closed tight at night. It’s where her love of the mysterious and wonderful came from. Dianne is the author of paranormal/suspense, fantasy adventure, m/m romance, the occasional thriller, and anything else that comes to mind.

She now lives in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with her incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours she spends hunched over the keyboard letting her characters play. Dianne says Oregon’s raindrops are the perfect setting in which to write. There’s something about being cooped up in the house with a fire crackling on the hearth and a cup of hot coffee in her hands, which kindles her imagination.

Currently, Dianne works as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop. Which is the perfect job for her. When not writing, she can express herself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.

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The Sacrifice by Caroline Clark

The Ghosts of RedRise House Book 1

The Sacrifice

 
51f3S8VVgFLDark things happened in RedRise House.

Acts so bad they left a stain on the soul of the building. Now something is lurking there… waiting… dare you enter this most haunted house?

Rosie is running from her past. Looking for peace and a new beginning. House sitting in the luxurious and romantic RedRise House seemed like a perfect plan to rediscover herself and rebuild her life.

It is so far away from the past that she knows she can look to the future and yet something is not quite right. She hears voices, footsteps in the night. She wakes from terrible nightmares. Strange figures stare down at her bed with hidden faces–was it all just a dream?

Then there are the ghostly children. Are they all part of her imagination or did something terrible happen here?

Like animals, the children fight for her blood. Will they get it or is something darker waiting and watching for its chance to escape?

Find out if Rosie will ever leave RedRise house or if she will join the children to stay in this haunted house for all time.

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My Review:

A creepy haunted house tale with an ending that leaves you wanting to read the next book in the series.

Rosie is an author with an abusive ex, who’s friend sets her up with a house-sitting job. From the start, Rosie is unnerved by the ambience of the house, and is quickly immersed in the horror of the haunted house. She tries to leave but finds that she the house, or it’s occupants won’t let her go!”

I enjoyed the atmosphere and tension of this story, and will be reading the second book as soon as time allows.

(As far as I can tell, on Goodreads this book is titled The Haunting of RedRise House – the blurb is the same and it’s listed as The Ghosts of RedRise House Book 1)

 

The Author

26992664_1963864240554058_5584137709554680561_nCaroline Clark is a British author who has always loved the macabre, the spooky, and anything that goes bump in the night.

She was brought up on stories from James Herbert, Shaun Hutson, Darcy Coates, and Ron Ripley. Even at school she was always living in her stories and was often asked to read them out in front of the class, though her teachers did not always appreciate her more sinister tales.

Now she spends her time researching haunted houses or imagining what must go on in them. These tales then get written up and become her books.

Caroline is married and lives in Yorkshire with her husband and their two white boxer dogs. Of course one of them is called Spooky.

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