Publication Day Review: Perfect Death by Helen Fields

Publication Day Review


Perfect Death by Helen Fields
Series: D.I Callanach Book 3

Published: 25th January 2018
Publisher: Avon Books UK
Format: Ebook
Pages: 448
ISBN13: 9780008181628
ASIN: B073YKBTYD

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Description

There’s no easy way to die…

Unknown to DI Luc Callanach and the newly promoted DCI Ava Turner, a serial killer has Edinburgh firmly in his grip. The killer is taking his victims in the coldest, most calculating way possible – engineering slow and painful deaths by poison, with his victims entirely unaware of the drugs flooding their bloodstream until it’s too late.

But how do you catch a killer who hides in the shadows? A killer whose pleasure comes from watching pain from afar? Faced with their most difficult case yet, Callanach and Turner soon realise they face a seemingly impossible task…

My Review

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher, Avon, for my copy of the book in exchange for my review.

First impressions of this book is that it is very different to the other 2 in the series.  You don’t think that any crime is being committed to begin with. It lures you in with false pretences, and then you begin to doubt it all. You begin to notice coincidences, then a certain character, then something shocking happens and it all clicks in to place.

Normally, crime books leave me a little unsatisfied but the DI Callanach books do not.  This book particularly has renewed my love for crime books, it’s reminded me what can be great about them.  It’s reminded me that sometimes, just sometimes, there is an author out there who can leave a chill in your bones.

This book was fast-paced, clever, and a little untrustworthy.  The characters all work well together, with the perfect balance of witty comments, insults, and just good humour. The crimes within the book could have been perfect, if there wasn’t the little details that would normally get left behind.  This book has it all, a near perfect crime, a horrendous villain, some gangsters and underground crimes.

Callanach and Turner have incredible chemistry, they play off the page perfectly and it balances the good people and the bad people in the book.  Their relationship, the non-professional relationship, it still at an almost stage and it’s full of suspense and a very likeable will they/won’t they situation.  I’m rooting for them, but there are many things that could potential ruin everything for them. It’s all about their timing and it’s usually one of them that is a little off.

Helen Fields, for me, writes perfect books.  This one has shocked me, left me a little wary, and wanting more and more from her! I loved this book, along with the first two.

For me, a big fat gruesome 5/5!!!!

 

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Christmas Book Week #2: The Christmas Promise by Sue Moorcroft

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The Christmas Promise by Sue Moorcroft

Publisher: Avon
Published: 6th October 2016
Format: Ebook
Pages: 353
ASIN: B01D4WO2OU
ISBN13: 9780008175535

Description

For Ava Bliss, it’s going to be a Christmas to remember …

On a snowy December evening, Sam Jermyn steps into the life of bespoke hat maker Ava. Sparks fly, and not necessarily the good ones.

Times are tough for Ava – she’s struggling to make ends meet, her ex-boyfriend is a bully, and worst of all, it’s nearly Christmas.

So when Sam commissions Ava to make a hat for someone special, she makes a promise that will change her life. She just doesn’t know it yet…

Curl up with this gorgeous, festive read – the perfect treat for fans of Katie Fforde, Carole Matthews and Trisha Ashley.

My Review

Firstly, Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for my copy of this book in exchange for my review. It’s one I’ve had my Netgalley shelf for a while and this Christmas seemed the perfect time to read it.

I love the cover for this book.  It immediately makes me think of this different mish mash of houses in London.  I guess that’s the aim though as it is set in Camden… Hmm… Pretty though, and a big sense of wintery feelings.

While a good storyline, I didn’t really like the characters the way I thought I would,  except for Sam anyway. He seemed to be the only one with any real depth or sense of reality. Ava came across as a little naive but also independent, strong willed and determined at the same time. I can’t pinpoint what it was I didn’t like, but she slightly irritated me. Maybe it was the fact that she just wouldn’t accept help without an argument? Izz was a bit of a hard one to figure out as well. On one page she was awkward, the next she was this overly confident sassy woman. Tod wasn’t involved enough for me to even form an opinion of and I sensed he had his own story to be told.  I loved Sam’s Mum and his Aunt, they oozed fun and with, sarcasm and a real family feeling which this book slightly lacked.

The writing style was quick and easy to read. Nice, short chapters and a sense of where things were going. While touching on a theme that is very relevant in today’s world, it handles it brilliantly. It even gives advice in its own little way. It makes if clear that it could happen to anyone and that it isn’t their fault. You feel the sympathy for Ava over it all and you really feel that she thinks its her fault and that she will be judged in an awful way. Lucky for her, her friends understand and support her through everything.

What I did really like about this book is that it gives you an update on Sam’s mum and where Ava and Sam ended up in their love story. It really was a happy ever after ending.  I wish more books had this little update page, especially when you don’t know what has happened to some of the characters.

I gave this book 4/5. It honestly would have been a big fat 5 if I connected with all the characters like I did immediately with Sam.

Book Review: Mistletoe on 34th Street by Lisa Dickenson


Mistletoe on 34th Street by Lisa Dickenson

Publication: 3rd October 2016
Publisher: Sphere
Format: Ebook
Pages: 432
ISBN: 9780751563092

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Description

Olivia has never experienced a snow-covered, ‘traditional’ Christmas before. Having grown up in a family that chose winter sun over decking the halls, she’s not sure what all the fuss is about. So when she and her co-workers are stranded in New York after a work trip, Olivia is perfectly happy spending the holiday season in The Big Apple.

John, Olivia’s friend, on the other hand is so upset and is desperate to get home in time for his big family get-together. Nevertheless, determined to make the best out of the situation he sets out to show Olivia how enchanting Christmas in New York can be. And when she adds handsome New Yorker Elijah into the mix, could the magic of the season finally be working its charm on Olivia? As December 25th draws closer, Olivia suddenly finds herself with a decision to make: who does she really want to kiss under the mistletoe this Christmas?

Full of romance and festive magic, Mistletoe on 34th Street is the funniest and most charming love story you will read this Christmas!

My Review

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for my copy – I apologise it’s taken me so long to get to it but here it is!!!!

I’ve had this book on my shelf since last year, and I fancied some romance, Christmas, and a feel-good read. I’ve had Christmas on my brain since reading The Christmas Holiday and this book was everything I needed!

A bit slow to get going but when it did, I loved every moment of it.  I’m a huge sucker for Christmas books, set in New York.  This book was written well, it was funny, witty, and a has a fantastic plot.  Every Chapter is a step closer to Christmas and it works really well.  It made it feel like that it was building up to something amazing, magical, and a sense of purpose.

All of the characters were great.  Olivia was a brilliant leading lady.  She is definitely my sort of character.  She’s practical, independent, strong-willed and sure of what she wants. Or is she? John, Olivia’s friend, comes across as charming, a good man and is again, a great character. All of the secondary characters are fantastic, all with their own little stories.  They could all easily be someone you know. Or be you. They all work well together, except for the addition of Elijah but let’s not go there.  Excuse the language, but he was a Dick.

Any book set in the build up, or at actual Christmas time works wonderfully for me.  Everything always seems right within the world at Christmas and this book has that feeling.  It made everything seem right when everything was feeling wrong.  Everyone needs to believe in magic at Christmas time and I think this is the book to help people see that. Just brilliant – I know I’ve said that word a lot within this review but hey, I don’t see the problem!!!! 5/5 for me!!

 

Blog Tour: It Was Only Ever You by Kate Kerrigan

It Was Only Ever You

It Was Only Ever You by Kate Kerrigan
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Published: 13th July 2017
Format: Paperback & Ebook
Pages: 448
ISBN13: 9781784082420
ASIN: B01AATYCBS

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Head of Zeus Link

Description
Set in late 1950s Ireland and New York, the story of three women and the charismatic man with whom their lives are interwoven.
Set, like Maeve Binchy’s early bestsellers, in late 1950s Ireland and New York, this is the story of three women and the charismatic man with whom their lives are interwoven.
Patrick Murphy has charm to burn and a singing voice to die for. Many people will recognise his talent. Many women will love him. Rose, the sweetheart he leaves behind in Ireland, can never forget him and will move heaven and earth to find him again, long after he has married another woman. Ava, the heiress with no self-confidence except on the dance floor, falls under his spell. And tough Sheila Klein, orphaned by the Holocaust and hungry for success as a music manager, she will be ruthless in her determination to unlock his extraordinary star quality.

But in the end, Patrick Murphy’s heart belongs to only one of them. Which one will it be?

My Review

Thank you to the publishers and Kate Kerrigan for the chance to read this book and to be involved in the blog tour.

This book started slow to begin with, and it does jump around a bit between the women and with time, but it all slowly comes together in the end.  The way it is all done works well, there is a lot of path crossing and potentially big what ifs, but it does work.  It did get confusing with how quickly the time did move, and it made me question whether things were all moving at the same pace with all the people when it came to their chapters, or paragraphs.

The one person everyone has in common is Patrick, and it works perfectly.  All the women add something to the book, and all have their own parts to play when it came to him.  Of the 3 women, I felt more of a connection with Ava or Sheila.  I wasn’t really keen on Rose though, whether that was her naivety or her innocence, she just didn’t click with me.  Ava knew exactly what was expected of her, but she still bit the bullet and went for what she truly wanted.  Girl after my own heart.  Sheila had a sense of purpose, maturity, and a feeling of toughness that the other girls lacked.  I would say that Patrick is full of regrets, but does what is right and does what is for the best.  He loves Rose, and he does love Ava.  But his heart will always go to his music first, but he does finally realise who is love is.

Kate Kerrigan has a unique writing style, I enjoyed it, I felt for the characters and their love, their heartache, their losses.  This book was beautifully written, but it took me a long time to get into it.  While I enjoyed it, and did feel for the characters, I felt it was a little rushed and was missing something to make it spectacular.  I can’t pinpoint what I thought it was lacking though.  The ending was a sudden thing, I would have loved to have known if everyone was happy with their choices, and if it worked out well for them. It leftbtoo many what ifs and do they/don’t they for me, I would have liked things to be wrapped up neatly.

I give this book 3/5.  I liked the majority of characters, I liked the romance, loved the setting (who doesn’t love a New York story?!), the music references, it was written beautifully, but as I said, I felt it was missing a spark.  Something to make it so much better and mind-blowing. 

Book Review: Den Of Shadows by Christopher Byford

Den of Shadows: The gripping new fantasy novel for summer 2017 (Gambler's Den series, Book 1) by [Byford, Christopher]

Den of Shadows (Gambler’s Den #1) by Christopher Byford
Publisher: HQ Digital
Published: May 2017
Format: Ebook
Pages: 250 (Or 176 according to Goodreads)
ISBN13: 9780008257484
ASIN: B06XGKQPHK

Amazon UK
Goodreads

Description

The Gambler’s Den weaves its away across the desert… But will it stop at your station?
While fighting off poverty in the blistering desert heat a travelling casino offers one night of solace. One chance to change your fortunes. But once on board there is more to the show than meets the eye: enter Franco, the elaborate ringleader, Wyld the stowaway thief and Misu the fire breathing showgirl.
In a kingdom ruled by the law Franco ensures his den remains in line. But when he’s faced with saving the fate of the train, and those on board, he may be forced to break his own rules. Life on the den isn’t just a job but a way of life and once you’re in you’ll never be able to leave.

My Review
Firstly, let me thank Netgalley and the publisher for my copy in exchange for my honest review.

I feel this needs to be said. That cover is just beautiful. It is definitely one of the most gorgeous covers I’ve seen this year so far.  The colour is just spectacular, it makes you think of magic, of possibilities, of adventure.

This book has been had a lot of confusing thoughts from me.  I loved parts of it and never wanted it to end but then I felt it dragged on for too long on other parts.  The book is beautifully written, don’t get me wrong.  It’s descriptive, it gives you the backstory of characters, it gives you a sense of where they are from, why they wanted to be on The Gambler’s Den, it left nothing unanswered for me.  And yet, I feel a bit puzzled by it all.  There isn’t enough of it but then there’s too much of it as well.

Franco, being the main man, had the most page time.  I was intrigued by his backstory, and while I wanted to know more, I wanted to see more of his present than his past.  A likeable character, he was extravagant, not quite larger than life but very close to it. Flamboyant comes to mind.  He made me think of a Ringmaster at a circus in a way.
I would have liked to have known more about Jacques, Misu, and Wyld.  Maybe even some of the other showgirls that were mentioned. While we do get some backstory, it’s mainly the explanation of how they came to be on the Den.  I feel that we missed out on a lot about them, and had too much in one go about Franco.  All the characters are likeable though, and all add something to the storyline.

As I said, this book was beautifully written, with some glorious descriptive scenes.  The world has a lot of possibility, especially as we are on a train! This series of books has a huge about potential, I think it can only get better with each book.  And I’m very curious as to where it is going in the next.  The pace of the book can only improve for me, I hope anyway.  The only fast paced part of the book is near the end of the book.  Other than that it sort of plods along, taking it’s time with everything.  I’m hoping the next is better.

Overall, I’m giving this book 3/5.  With a huge amount of potential, I can only hope that the next is bigger and better.  I feel like I’m missing something from this review so it’ll probably end up getting edited at some point.

Blog Tour: Summer’s Lease by Carrie Elks

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Summer’s Lease by Carrie Elks.
Publisher: Piatkus
Published: 13th July 2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 368
ISBN13: 9780349415505

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Synopsis
Cesca Shakespeare has hit rock bottom. Six years after the play she wrote bombed at the box office, she’s unable to hold down a job, keep an apartment, and worst of all her family have no idea how far she’s fallen. So when her fairy Godfather offers her the use of his friend’s Italian villa for the summer, she grudgingly agrees to try writing a new play. That’s before she finds out the house belongs to her arch-nemesis, Sam Carlton.

When Hollywood heart-throb Sam Carlton sees his name splashed across a gossip rag, all he wants to do is hide. That’s how he finds himself traveling to Italy, deciding to spend the summer in his family’s empty villa on Lake Como. Except when he arrives it isn’t as empty as he’d hoped.

Over the course of the hot Italian summer, Cesca and Sam have to come to terms with their pasts. What begins as a tentative friendship quickly grows into an intense attraction – and then a scorching fling. But they can’t hide from reality forever . . . as their different worlds collide, Sam and Cesca face a choice: is this just a summer romance, or could their love weather even the coldest winds?

My Review

A delight to read on a horrible wet, windy, typical British summer day.  Thank you to the publishers for the chance to read and review this spectacular book.  Any book set in Italy will always have me in its grips within pages, especially one written by Carrie Elks.  I have only read one  other book by her, but I loved this one just as much as that.  Her writing is wonderful, her characters bounce from the pages and read spectacularly.

Cesca was an amazing leading lady, going from her downward spiral unconfident ways to a confident, young woman who goes for what she wants.  She comes across as a bit of a stray to begin with, forever trying to find her place in the world.  She thought she had her place once, but then it all fell apart.  Since then, Cesca has always blamed one person: Sam Carlton.  I’ll get to him in a minute.  I loved Cesca’s story, her backstory, everything.  Her sense of loyalty to her family is wonderful, especially the bond she shares with her 3 sisters.

Sam, your typical Hollywood actor. Handsome, “chiseled”, charming, what else can you ask for?  Except, with the beginning of the story from Cesca’s view, he only ever thinks of himself.  But he doesn’t, and Cesca realises that.  I loved Sam.  He hides from his mistake, yes to protect himself, but also to limit the damage done to his family.  He cares about what will happens to his mother, and his sisters.  Not so much his father though.  Sam is caring, he comes across as a sensual man, a sexy man.  He definitely knows what he wants.

Chemistry flows from the page the first time they come into contact with each other, and it just gets more intense as the book goes on. With a few hot and steamy parts further on in the book, I was expecting it to be quite cheesy and a bit cringey but I was wrong. It was done in a non-cringe way and didn’t leave anything to the imagination.  They work well together, whether they are arguing, having a normal conversation or having sex.  They work perfectly.

I’m glad things work out well in the end, I don’t think I could have handled it if it didn’t.  I will happily read anything else to do with Cesca.  I wonder if we’ll be getting one for each sister? I’m very intrigued by them.  I would love to know each of their stories.

I happily give this book a huge 5/5.  In fact, I would happily give it 10/10!!!!

About the author

Carrie Elks lives near London, England and writes contemporary romance with a dash of intrigue. She loves to travel and meet new people, and has lived in the USA and Switzerland as well as the UK. An avid social networker, she tries to limit her Facebook and Twitter time to stolen moments between writing chapters. When she isn’t reading or writing, she can usually be found baking, drinking wine or working out how to combine the two.

 

ARC Review: The Summer of Serendipity by Ali McNamara

The Summer of Serendipity by Ali McNamara
Published: July 2017
Publisher: Sphere (Little, Brown Book Group UK)
Format: Ebook
Pages: 368
ISBN13: 9780751566215
ASIN: B01MQJVNBC

Goodreads
Amazon UK

Description

My Review

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for copy, in exchange for my honest review.  I’m so glad I got to read this, I’ve loved other books by Ali McNamara and this one does not disappoint.

I found this to be a magical story, full of folklore, history, mysteries and romance.  It was interesting to read the different legends.  I know it’s a fictional place, but it made me realise that everywhere has these little stories, legends, rumours, whatever you want to call it.  They all stem from somewhere don’t they?

Written well, as always for Ali McNamara. The characters all had feeling, depth, and a likeability that touches you.  There is a lot of eye-rolling though, and winking. What’s that all about? Anyway, I liked all of the characters.  The setting was beautiful, as is all of Ireland.

Ren is determined, stubborn, but a very likeable woman.  Kiki plays well against Ren. For Ren’s matureness, Kiki is the opposite. She’s ditzy, doesn’t get a lot of Ren’s references, but she’s still very likeable.  Finn.  I’ve been trying to find the right words for Finn but I’m struggling.  He’s likeable, you get to see a little of his history, his backstory but on the other hand I don’t know…  I felt like I didn’t get a lot from him.  I don’t know.  All the characters worked well together, there is chemistry between all the characters, a fondness between them.  Kiki and Ren found their home in Ballykiltara and it shows.

It makes a nice change that the loss that a character’s suffers is an animal.  Many stories centre around the loss of a person, not an animal.  People’s lives are affected by the loss of a pet or like Finn, a business.  it shows that it does change the way people are.

This book was just great.  I loved how it was written, I loved the majority of the characters, and I just really enjoyed it.  I give it 4/5.