Rewind, Recap: weekly update w/e 01/04/18

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I’m beginning to think I should rename this feature – Rewind, Recap: fortnightly update … as I am being very remiss in terms of updating it lately. In my defence (should I need it) I have been a tad busy, both at work and in private. I am also absolutely cream crackered and struggling to stay awake. I can’t believe it’s actually April already and have literally no idea what has happened to the first three months of the year. They did actually happen, didn’t they? Anyone else feel like this? You do? Not just me then. Phew …So then guys and gals, what have we all been up to since we last spoke? Me? I’ve been working of course, doing a couple of bookish type things, a touch of travel (what’s new?) and a small amount of reading. And I do mean a small amount. By my standards at least. With one thing or another I have struggled to find either the mo or the jo of reading and reviewing and reading each book has been a struggle, even though they were all really good. I’m just tired.

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If I remember rightly, and please bear with me as memory also fades with both age and tiredness, then my last post was inundated with information on research books and I was about to make a long trip to France. Well, I went to France – long old day not helped by the cancellation of my train on the way home and the sprint from St Pancras to Euston for my connecting train. I should have had two hours, in the end I made the train and my seat with two minutes to spare. Not fun – I’m too old for all that you know.

That week, possibly insanely, I started an online course in Forensic Psychology – Witness Investigation with Future Learn. Really interesting and I am fitting it in around work and lunch hours, but my current state of Zzzzzzzz is not helping with the concentration much. I’ve just completed week two – only six more to go. Which doesn’t sound a lot until you factor in I have another course starting on the 9th and one on the 16th … Going to be a little busy then.

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I made it to Derby, a little dazed but determined to enjoy the day. And enjoy the day I did – you can find out how much right here. A small group of authors and audience at the Derby Quad but a brilliant day overall with some really great panel discussions. How can it fail?

Also, during the past fortnight I received an e-mail from the Bloggers Bash Awards. I am extremely grateful to confirm that I was nominated again this year in three categories – Hidden Gem, Funniest Blogger and Best Pal. My sincere thanks to those who nominated me, it is always a surprise as I don’t really understand why people follow my blog. It’s just me and it’s just books. Nothing more nor less than any other blogger out there, but I really do appreciate the support. I must be doing something right, huh? Well I can only choose one category to enter and after a brief poll on Twitter I have gone for Funniest Blogger.

I don’t think I’m funny – my posts certainly aren’t – but I guess I entertain folk (on Twitter mainly) so hey ho. I guess voting opens soon so if you feel you want to vote for me, that is fine, if you don’t then that is also fine. Every blogger out there has been nominated for a reason and all would be worthy winners. That someone feels I do something that makes me stand out is humbling, but I’m not sure I should be recognised any more than any other. Do as you choose. This is probably the last time I shall mention it as I don’t feel comfortable begging for votes. If I am as good as at least three people seem to feel I am then I don’t need to. If I’m not I won’t lose sleep over it. It is as it is right?

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Now, you may or may not recall, but a few weeks back I took part in a writing challenge as part of the blog tour for Rachel Abbott’s latest Tom Douglas book, Come a Little Closer. The challenge was to take a paragraph written by Rachel and to continue the story, making sure to use four key writing prompts – a single lightbulb, a facebook post, a glass of sweet sherry and a bathtub. Not as easy as it first appears, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Or so I thought …

The entries were all judged by a panel of three people, including Rachel, and from them they chose a winner – and I only went and won didn’t I!!! Me!!! Still in shock but the feedback was brilliant:

Yours is such a well-paced story, and it successfully fulfils the most important element of a thriller – I wanted to read on. The creepy and unnerving cliff-hanger is just so good…

I am a happy bunny over that, I don’t mind admitting. As someone still playing at starting my writing journey it has given me a little bit of a confidence boost and no mistake. I’ve a long way to go, this was just 800 words after all, but It’s a start and I’m clearly not completely hopeless. Well mostly not … If you want to read my ramblings, they can be found here.

I don’t want you to all think I have been slacking – I’ve been very busy this past fortnight, including attending a book launch for Leigh Russell’s Class Murder last Thursday. I’ll be posting a few pictures alongside my review soon but it was a wonderful night and so perfectly themed and organised by No Exit – the team there should definitely take a bow. Queen of the night though was definitely Leigh herself celebrating her 10th Geraldine Steel novel. What an achievement – well done and congratulations.

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Book wise, it’s been a bit slow. For me anyway. More book post in the form of my long awaited signed first edition of Hangman by Daniel Cole.

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Book post wise I received a couple of nice packages plus some special deliveries via ebook. Guilt by Amanda Robson from Avon; Maestra, Domina and Ultima by LS Hilton courtesy of Bonnier Zaffre; Got Ghosts and Raise the Blade from Tess Makovesky/Fiona Glass and Behind the Smile by Mary Grand.

Netgalley wise I have had just the two and both for blog tours: Robert Bryndza’s latest Erika Foster book, Deadly Secrets and Kierney Scott’s Cross Your Heart.

From audible, I’ve been on a bit of a spree: The Foster Child by Jenny Blackhurst; No Other Darkness by Sarah Hilary; The Devil’s Dice by Roz Watkins; The Fear by CL Taylor; and Hold My Hand by MJ Ford.

Book purchase wise I have been very sensible. Well – at least by my standards. A few preorders of The Chosen Ones by Carol Wyer; In a House Of Lies by Ian Rankin (new Rebus – yay); Broken Ground by Val McDermid; Dying Truth by Angela Marsons (new Kim Stone – double yay); No Comment by Graham Smith; Class Murder by Leigh Russell; and Seven Bridges by LJ Ross.

Books I have read

NSPNo Safe Place – Patricia Gibney

There’s nothing more dangerous than a familiar face…

As funeral mourners stand in silence at Ragmullin cemetery, a deafening cry cuts through the air. Lying crumpled at the bottom of an open grave is the bloodied body of a young woman, and Detective Lottie Parker is called in to investigate. 

Knowing the body can’t have been there long, Lottie wonders if it could be Elizabeth Bryne, a young woman who vanished without trace just days earlier. And with a new boss who seems to have it in for her, Lottie is under pressure to solve both cases quickly.

As two more women go missing from Ragmullin, Lottie and her team fear there is a serial killer on the loose. And the disappearances are strikingly similar to a cold case from ten years earlier. Could history be repeating itself? 

As journalists begin to interfere with Lottie’s investigation, she fears the killer is about to strike again. Lottie is in a race against time to find the missing women, but the killer is closer than she thinks. Could Lottie be his next target?

What a read. I have enjoyed the Lottie Parker series more and more with each passing book and Lottie, and her relationship with her family and her partner in crime-fighting, Boyd, is one which I am intrigued to learn more and more about. This story highlights long running prejudice and covers quite a distressing theme, but in a very thoughtful and effective way. You can read my review here. You can buy a copy of the book here.

ARAbel’s Revenge – Ross Greenwood

This is a story about a city. As with all others, it’s a place of violence. There are murderers, and they live among us.

This is also a tale about a couple — sometimes friends, occasionally lovers, but always partners. Dan and Olivia are fighting modern battles; the ones parents have over a lack of money, time or peace.

An escalating serial killer terrifies the streets and homes. The body count rises as their relationship crumbles. Society reveals its dark side, and no one is safe. Dan and Olivia experience this first-hand as danger closes in.

Will Abel’s reign of terror ever end?

Who will live, and who will die?

Part serial killer novel, part instructional manual in how not to have a successful relationship after children this book is as funny as it is dark and I chuckled my way through it. Loved Dan, very curious about Abel, you can find my full review here. You can purchase a copy of the book here.

TPGThe Perfect Girlfriend – Karen Hamilton

Juliette loves Nate. The fact that he’s broken up with her doesn’t change that.

She has a plan to win him back, starting with training as a flight attendant for the airline where he works as a pilot, so she can keep a closer eye on him. Twisting the self-help books she’s read, she takes the mantra ‘in charge of you own destiny’ to new extremes.

She is the perfect girlfriend. And she’ll make sure no one stops her from getting exactly what she wants – the perfect boyfriend, the perfect life, the perfect ending.

This was a masterclass in obsession, uncomfortable reading at times as the full extent of Juliette’s actions became clear. You can read my full review here and purchase a copy of the book here.

GGGot Ghosts – Fiona Glass

Haunted manor house Greystones Hall is filled to the brim with ghosts. It’s also falling to bits, and artist owner Emily doesn’t have the money to refurbish the place. When the makers of hit tv show ‘Got Ghosts?’ offer to pay for a weekend’s filming there she jumps at the chance, even though she and her ghostly grandfather Gramps have reservations.

The reservations seem to be misplaced when the film crew swing into action, and producer Carl turns out to be dark, handsome and very available. But Emily soon starts to have doubts about the methods they use, which Carl won’t discuss. Then the show’s resident medium Stella stirs up a new and malevolent spirit, revealing a dark secret at the heart of the house that has been hidden for centuries. And when Emily’s own safety is threatened, together with that of her ghosts and her beloved Gramps, will it be Carl who comes to the rescue, or someone much more unexpected?

What a fun little novella. A ghost story but as amusing as it is menacing. I’ll be sharing my thoughts soon but you can order a copy for yourself right here.

fatFriends and Traitors – John Lawton

It is 1958. Chief Superintendent Frederick Troy of Scotland Yard, newly promoted after good service during Nikita Khrushchev’s visit to Britain, is not looking forward to a Continental trip with his older brother, Rod. Rod was too vain to celebrate being fifty so instead takes his entire family on ‘the Grand Tour’ for his fifty-first birthday: Paris, Siena, Florence, Vienna, Amsterdam. Restaurants, galleries and concert halls. But Frederick Troy never gets to Amsterdam.

After a concert in Vienna he is approached by an old friend whom he has not seen for years – Guy Burgess, a spy for the Soviets, who says something extraordinary: ‘I want to come home.’ Troy dumps the problem on MI5 who send an agent to debrief Burgess – but when the man is gunned down only yards from the embassy, the whole plan unravels with alarming speed and Troy finds himself a suspect.

As he fights to prove his innocence, Troy discovers that Burgess is not the only ghost who has returned to haunt him…

This is the first Inspector Troy book that I have read and this one details his friendship, and the trials associated with, journalist Guy Burgess a real life Soviet Spy who defected to Russia in the 1950’s. This was an intriguing tale and you’ll be able to see my full thoughts later this week as part of the blog tour. You can purchase your own copy of the book here.

MLEMy Little Eye – Stephanie Marland

Can a group of true crime addicts take on the police to catch a serial killer?

A young woman is found dead in her bedroom surrounded by rose petals – the latest victim of ‘The Lover’. Struggling under the weight of an internal investigation, DI Dominic Bell is no closer to discovering the identity of the killer and time is running out.

As the murders escalate, Clementine Starke joins an online true crime group determined to take justice in to their own hands – to catch the killer before the police. Hiding a dark secret, she takes greater risks to find new evidence and infiltrate the group.

As Starke and Bell get closer to cracking the case neither of them realise they’re being watched. The killer is closer to them than they think, and he has his next victim – Clementine – firmly in his sights.

Finally – I have had this book on my tbr since my birthday last year. 9 months and I have only just read it but what a treat now that I finally have. love, love, loved Clementine and Dom and I can’t wait to see this series progress. Serial Killers, real-crime enthusiasts and a delectable pairing make this thriller a top read. My review will be up soon as part of the blog tour but you can order your own copy right here.

rtbRaise the Blade – Tess Makovesky

Like a spider wrapping flies…

When psychopath Duncan leaves a trail of duct-tape-wrapped bodies scattered across the suburbs of Birmingham, there’s nothing to link the victims except his own name and address, carefully placed on each new corpse.Six very different people follow his clues, each convinced they can use Duncan to further their own selfish or naïve ends. Is there a reason Duncan’s driven to target these particular individuals, or does their very nature contribute to their fate?Will any of them be strong enough to break the cycle and escape a painful death? Or will Duncan reel them in and rearrange them to his own insane ideal? 

A serial killer who draws his victims into his snare in the simplest of ways, their own curiosity and vanity. Can he be stopped? Another novella but a truly interesting story, I found myself aghast at the level of stupidity on display and yet couldn’t stop reading. My review will be up soon but you can grab a copy here.

So that was it. Not a lot for two weeks worth of reading is it really? Better kick it up a notch as I’ve a few more titles to get through and I promised myself that by early May I would be moving from reading to writing – research permitting of course. Watch this space. If you want to see what I’ve posted – again few posts this past two weeks – they links are below.

We Were The Salt of the Sea by Roxanne Bouchard

Dark Waters by Mary Jane Riley

The Undercover Mother by Emma Robinson

Come and Find Me by Sarah Hilary

End Game by Matt Johnson

Hold My Hand by M.J. Ford

No Safe Place by Patricia Gibney

No Comment by Graham Smith

Abel’s Revenge by Ross Greenwood

#Cover Reveal: #TheDate Louise Jensen & Bookouture

The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton

The Stranger by Kate Riordan

HWA Presents – Partners In Crime @ The Derby Quad

For the week ahead it is not going to be very exciting I’m afraid. Busy, busy, busy but all in the real world. I have today’s blog tour for HA Leuschel’s Manipulated Lives and Friends and Traitors on Saturday and that is it. I know right? Very relaxed. If I can write them up there may be a few other reviews, but that will be time dependent.

Have a brilliantly bookish week. If you want me I will be either buried under research of buried under books. Either way, I’m going to be busy. Wish me luck.

Jen

2 thoughts on “Rewind, Recap: weekly update w/e 01/04/18

  1. What an amazing amount of bookish news in this post! A huge double congrats for the Rachel Abbott writing challenge especially. I would be floating on air for at least a year after winning something like that. Well done you! ❤

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