Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Deep Blue Trouble by Steph Broadribb - Blog Tour Review

I'm so excited to be on the blog tour for Steph Broadribb's newest book, Deep Blue Trouble, I've been waiting for this sequel ever since the minute I finished Deep Down Dead! 

Deep Blue Trouble

Single-mother Florida bounty hunter Lori Anderson’s got an ocean of trouble on her hands. Her daughter Dakota is safe, but her cancer is threatening a comeback, and Lori needs JT—Dakota’s daddy and the man who taught Lori everything—alive and kicking. Problem is, he’s behind bars, and heading for death row. Desperate to save him, Lori does a deal, taking on off-the-books job from shady FBI agent Alex Monroe. Bring back on-the-run felon, Gibson "The Fish" Fletcher, and JT walks free. Following Fletcher from Florida to California, Lori teams up with local bounty hunter Dez McGregor and his team. But Dez works very differently to Lori, and the tension between them threatens to put the whole job in danger. With Monroe pressuring Lori for results, the clock ticking on JT’s life, and nothing about the Fletcher case adding up, Lori’s hitting walls at every turn. But this is one job she’s got to get right, or she’ll lose everything.

My Review

LORI IS BACK! I was so excited to get my hands on Deep Blue Trouble after enjoying Deep Down Dead so much. I would 100% recommend reading Deep Down Dead before reading Deep Blue Trouble, not only because it's awesome and you don't want to miss out on it, you'll be on the back foot with the story that is continuing from the first book. 

I absolutely love Lori, she's a badass, she's a great mum, she's strong and brave and intelligent (well she sometimes makes silly decisions, but don't we all!) She also have a softer side, in particular over her daughter. Her character is incredibly well rounded and you I think of her as a real person. I'm really invested in what happens to both her and her daughter and I was on the edge of my seat for most of the book just waiting to see what happened to her next. 

Deep Blue Trouble is extremely fast paced and I have to admit that I read it in one sitting, because I just didn't want to put my book down and not know what was happening in the world of Lori. I really enjoyed the story, though I was sad that Lori and JT were separated at the beginning as I really love their chemistry and their relationship. 

I really enjoyed the flashbacks used in Deep Blue Trouble, they were used wisely and really added depth and understanding to Lori and JT. I really think they added to the overall story. 

Deep Blue Trouble is just as amazing as Steph Broadribb's first book and I absolutely loved it. You really need to go out and get engrossed in this series. 

I gave this book 5 stars!

About The Author

Steph Broadribb was born in Birmingham and grew up in Buckinghamshire. Most of her working life has been spent between the UK and USA. As her alter ego - Crime Thriller Girl - she indulges her love of all things crime fiction by blogging at www.crimethrillergirl.com where she interviews authors and reviews the latest releases.

Steph is an alumni of the MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) at City University London, and she trained as a bounty hunter in California. She lives in Buckinghamshire surrounded by horses, cows and chickens. Her debut thriller Deep Down Dead, was shortlisted for the Dead Good Reader Awards in two categories, and hit number one on the UK and AU kindle charts. 

Don't Forget To Check Out The Rest Of The Tour

Fruit Woman by Kate Rigby - Blog Tour Review

Today I'm extremely happy to be part of the blog tour for the fabulous book Fruit Woman by Kate Rigby.

Fruit Woman

Fruit Woman is narrated by Helen Scutt, a quirky and naïve twenty-seven-year-old. The image of the Fruit Woman has appeared to Helen at important times in her life, particularly in relation to her own sexual and spiritual awakening. But only now, while on holiday with her extended family, does she get her first warning message from the Fruit Woman.

Set in the l980s, Helen returns with her extended family, after a twelve year break, to spend a fortnight at their favourite holiday destination in Devon: Myrtle Cottages. Due to join them for the second week of the holiday are: Helen's old friend, Bella, Bella's brother, Dominic, and Helen's cousin, Les.

But shortly after the family have arrived on holiday, Helen's mother announces that she has also invited along someone from church for the second week of their holiday: Christine Wigg, a friend of the family, and victim of a rape several years before.

In the context of the family holiday, where games of cards, scatological worries, and deep discussions abound, the story centres on Helen's anxieties over the second week's 'guest list'. She's not seen Bella for years, she’s attracted to Dominic in spite of his religious beliefs, and she thinks it a bad idea for her mother to have invited Les, who was originally accused of Christine's rape by her in-laws. Helen's concerns trigger off all sorts of childhood and adolescent memories, but as her anxieties mount, can she make sense at last of what happened years before?

My Review

Fruit Woman is a very interesting coming of age story done extremely well and written beautifully. 

I really enjoyed the quirkiness and the time of Fruit Woman, the 80's are a favourite time of mine so it was nice to be immersed with some of the references from the time. 

Considering the book is relatively short (under 200 pages) I thought the characters were extremely well rounded and full of complexities, especially the main character Helen. I also really enjoyed the Grandma, she came across exactly how you'd imagine a grandma (or great grandma would act and talk. I could really picture her. 

Some of the topics covered in Fruit Woman are actually quite dark and deep and I thought they were dealt with in an intelligent and sympathetic manner. It was interesting to see how certain issues and occurrences had shaped Helen and affected how her life was turning out. 

There was religion throughout the book, I've mentioned before I'm not particularly religious, but I found it fascinating how much it can affect someones feeling towards someone if they are from a different religion. It's also quite relevant with today's atmosphere.

The ending came at me from out of nowhere and I felt so many different emotions! For such a short story, it certainly packed a punch. I won't discuss what happens as I would have to take away the enjoyment of someone reading this for the first time, but certainly expect drama. 

Overall a really enjoyable read and one I will be recommending to people. 

I gave this book 4 stars. 

About The Author

"I am a hybrid writer, which means I have been published in a variety of different ways; traditionally, by small press and now independently, or self-published.
I've been writing novels for over thirty years.  Some of my book are available in paperback and all are available as e-books.
Social networking sites and writing sites have opened up a whole new world to me and introduced me to some great new writers and books I wouldn't otherwise have discovered.
I love cats, singing, photography, music and LFC.
I'm also an avid keyboard warrior, campaigning against social injustice"

Subscribe here for news about my books and writing.

Don't Forget To Check Out The Rest Of The Tour

Cover Reveal - The Best Boomerville Hotel by Caroline James

I'm super excited to be taking part in the cover reveal day for Caroline James' newest book - The Best Boomerville Hotel. I love all of Caroline's books and I can't wait to read The Best Boomerville Hotel and share my review. In the mean time though... the cover.

How beautiful is that!

The Best Boomerville Hotel

Let the shenanigans begin at the Boomerville hotel …

Jo Docherty and Hattie Contaldo have a vision – a holiday retreat in the heart of the Lake District exclusively for guests of ‘a certain age’ wishing to stimulate both mind and body with new creative experiences. One hotel refurbishment later and the Best Boomerville Hotel is open for business!
Perhaps not surprisingly Boomerville attracts more than it’s fair share of eccentric clientele: there’s fun loving Sir Henry Mulberry and his brother Hugo; Lucinda Brown, an impoverished artist with more ego than talent; Andy Mack, a charming Porsche-driving James Bond lookalike, as well as Kate Simmons, a woman who made her fortune from an internet dating agency but still hasn’t found ‘the One’ herself.

With such an array of colourful individuals there’s bound to be laughs aplenty, but could there be tears and heartbreak too and will the residents get more than they bargained for at Boomerville?

About The Author 

Caroline James has owned and run businesses encompassing all aspects of the hospitality industry, a subject that features in her novels. She is based in the UK but has a great fondness for travel and escapes whenever she can. A public speaker, consultant and food writer, Caroline is a member of the Romantic Novelist’s Association and writes articles and short stories and contributes to many publications.

Her debut novel, Coffee, Tea, The Gypsy & Me is set in North West England, at the time of a famous gypsy horse fair.  The book went straight to number three on Amazon and was E-book of the Week in The Sun.

So, You Think You're A Celebrity...Chef? was runner up the Winchester Writers festival for best TV Drama and takes a light-hearted look at the world of celebrity chefs as they battle it out for fame and fortune. Coffee, Tea, The Caribbean & Me was runner up at The Write Stuff, LBF, 2015 and is an Amazon best-seller and top recommended read by Thomson Holidays. Jungle Rock, a romcom novella set in Australia, revolves around a TV game show.

In her spare time, Caroline can be found trekking up a mountain or relaxing with her head in a book and hand in a box of chocolates.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Scorched Shadows by Steve McHugh - Blog Tour Review

Life Of A Nerdish Mum today is taking part in the blog tour for Scorched Shadows, by Steve McHugh. Scorched Shadows is the seventh and final chapter in The Hellequin Chronicles, so be wary of reading the synopsis if you're not up to book seven yet. My review however has no spoilers so read away!

Scorched Shadows

In the final chapter of the Hellequin Chronicles, secrets will be revealed, friendships will be tested, and destinies will be fulfilled.

Avalon is under siege. A shadowy cabal, headed by a mysterious figure known only as “My Liege”, has launched a series of deadly attacks across the globe, catching innocent human bystanders in the crossfire.

Emerging from the debris of battle, Nate Garrett, the sixteen-hundred-year-old sorcerer also called Hellequin, and his friends must stop My Liege once and for all. But powerful forces stand in their way. To save Avalon, they will need to enlist the help of Mordred, once Nate’s greatest nemesis, now his most formidable ally. But Mordred is grappling with a dark prophecy that could spell Nate’s doom…

The fate of the world hangs in the balance. Even if Nate can halt the war, will there be anything left worth saving?

My Review

Being the last book in a series, Scorched Shadows was pretty fast paced right from page one, which I really enjoyed. It gets you right into the thick of it and I was instantly wrapped up in the story and found myself fully engrossed.

A minor disclaimer before I continue, I haven't read the previous books in the series and I hadn't originally realised that it was supposed to be the last book (my bad for not checking) but I decided to read it anyway because I loved the synopsis and between that, the title and the cover it had sucked me in!

I found the characters extremely strong and even though I didn't know their full back story, there was enough to fill me in and I still became attached to certain people and I really cared what was going to happen to Nate and the whole of Avalon.

I very much liked the combination of mythological creatures mixed with current day world. I enjoy things being seemingly out of place as it gives them a greater focus. That and I love mythological creatures!

I feel the ending will be extremely polarising with people loving it or hating it, with very little in-between. I really enjoyed it and thought it was a pretty ingenuitive way to end the Hellequin Chronicles.

I thoroughly enjoyed Scorched Shadows and I am now looking forward to returning to the beginning of the series and reading it as a whole, so this is a definite recommendation from me.

I gave this book 4 stars.

About The Author

Steve's been writing from an early age, his first completed story was done in an English lesson. Unfortunately, after the teacher read it, he had to have a chat with the head of the year about the violent content and bad language. The follow up 'One boy and his frog' was less concerning to his teachers and got him an A.

It wasn't for another decade that he would start work on a full length novel, the result of which; Crimes Against Magic is now available from Amazon.

He was born in a small village called Mexborough, South Yorkshire, but now lives with his wife and three young daughters in Southampton.

Don't Forget To Check Out The Rest Of The Tour

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Front Page Murder by Peter Bartram - Blog Tour Review

I'm very honoured today to be kicking off the blog tour for the latest novel in the Crampton of the Chronicle series. Front Page Murder, by Peter Bartram. I also have an exciting extract, so stick around after my review to check that out!

Front Page Murder - A Crampton of the Chronicle mystery

It's December 1963 and Archie Flowerdew is sitting in a cell at Wandsworth Prison waiting to be hanged. On Christmas Eve. It's not exactly how he planned to spend the festive season. But, then, Archie was found guilty of murdering fellow comic postcard artist Percy Despart.

It seems there's nothing that can stop Archie's neck being wrung like a turkey's. Except that his niece Tammy is convinced Archie is innocent. She's determined he will sit down on Christmas Day to tuck into the plum pudding. She persuades Brighton Evening Chronicle crime reporter Colin Crampton to take up the case.

But Colin has problems of his own. First, that good turn he did to help out Chronicle sub-editor Barry Hobhouse has come back to bite him on the bum. Then Beatrice "the Widow" Gribble, Colin's trouble-prone landlady, needs him to sort out her latest faux pas - she's accidentally sent a Christmas card to her local butcher suggesting she's available for hot sex. And that's before Brighton cops clap Colin and girlfriend Shirley Goldsmith in jail on the charge of harbouring a fugitive from justice.

And, anyway, the more Colin investigates Archie's case, the more it looks like he is guilty… Pick up the third full-length novel in the Crampton of the Chronicle mystery series to get you in the mood for a murderous Christmas!

My Review

Front Page Murder is another book by Peter Bartram that's kept me up at night just wanting to read the next page and see what happens next! 

Colin Crampton is a fantastic character, I love his sarcasm and sass and I love that he's always getting himself into scrapes just for the sake of a byline. Though he has a jack the lad attitude, he's a softy on the inside and that's the reason he gets in to trouble half of the time. 

The story of Front Page Murder follows the story of Archie Flowerdew in the days before his hanging and his niece who is trying to prove his innocence of the murder of fellow local post card artist Percy Despart. Colin has to think outside the box as to how to prove his innocence as all of Archie's clemency hearings have failed. As usual he does things that are borderline illegal (only just) but anything to provide justice.....and a good story! 

One of my favourite things about Front Page Murder was the description of all the different scathing post cards that Percy Despart had drawn before his untimely death. They were hilariously described and I could really picture all of them. I just wish there has been sketches of them scattered throughout the book. 

Being a crime novel, I can't discuss the story without spoilers, but I can say that it is incredibly well written and plotted out. 

Overall an excellent read and I'm already looking forward to the next in the series. 

I gave this book 5 stars. 

An Extract From Front Page Murder

By Peter Bartram

Colin Crampton crime correspondent on the Brighton Evening Chronicle is investigating a case of murder. Colin has discovered that the victim had a book which included a photograph of a painting called the Avenging Angel. The painting hangs in St Rita's church. But the vicar, Canon Gideon Burke, has a reputation as a randy old goat. Colin visits St Rita's for morning service and afterwards decides to investigate further. He takes up the story…

I made my way to the back of the church and hung around for a bit. I wanted to have a nose about. I fancied a quick look-see at the painting of the Avenging Angel by a pupil of Raphael. During Burke's sermon I'd been looking around. Each of the church's transepts held a small chapel. Most of the artworks seemed to be hung in these chapels. The chapel off the right-hand side of the nave looked the most ornate. I guessed that's where the Avenging Angel would be slinging her thunderbolts.
  I threaded my way through the pews and entered the chapel. I was right. The Angel hung on the end wall above a small altar. After viewing the colour plate in The Art of Sussex Churches, I'd been expecting a large canvas. But this was strangely unimpressive. An ornate, portrait-shaped frame about twenty inches high by fifteen across held a picture that lacked the vibrant colours I'd seen in the book. Old paintings, I knew, gathered dirt over the years and were cleaned by specialists. The Avenging Angel looked as though she were long overdue a spruce up.
  I was mulling this over when a voice behind me said: "Just because she's small, don't underestimate her power."
  I turned. Burke was standing there in his canonical gear. He had the kind of grin gangsters use when they're collecting protection money but want to keep it friendly.
  I said: "Size isn't everything - for women or men."
  Burke took that in his stride. "I haven't seen you at divine service before."
  "It's my first time. I just felt it might help me think out a worry on my mind."
  I'd had an idea which might help me discover whether the rumours about Burke and the virgins were true.
  "Would you like to talk about it, my son?"
  "It's difficult. Very personal. And a bit embarrassing."
  "Embarrassment is only your conscience talking to you. Listen to it."
  "The thing is it involves a girl."
  "Really?" Burke flicked a lizard-like tongue over his lips. He moved closer.
  "Yes, it's my girlfriend Shirley."
  "Does it involve your feelings for Shirley?"
  "In a way, but it's more her feelings for me."
  "You are both wondering whether you should consummate your love, perhaps? I have to tell you I do not believe in sex before marriage."
  I grinned. "Especially if it delays the ceremony, vicar."
  "This is not a matter for misplaced levity."
  "I'm sorry. To come to the point, Shirley wants me to make love to her - and I'm not sure it's right for me to do what she wants."
  A fleck of spittle had appeared at the side of Burke's mouth. "And what does she want?"
  "She wants me to dress as a vicar while I'm giving her the benefit. Well, actually, not the full gear. She wants me to skip the robes and all that and just wear the main item."
  "The main item? I don't understand."
  "The dog collar."
  Burke's Adam's apple bobbed as he swallowed hard. "Let me get this right. Your girlfriend wants you to make love to her wearing only a dog collar."
  "That's about the size of it. Of what she wants. Not the size of the dog collar. I expect they come in different sizes. Do they?"
  Burke's jowly cheeks had become red. A bead of sweat trickled down his brow. "Yes, they do come. I mean in different sizes. But that is not the point."
  "What is the point, vicar? That's what I want to know."
  Burke took a guilty glance at the Avenging Angel.
  "I think you should bring your girlfriend Shirley to see me. It's clear the girl needs divine guidance."
  "You really think that's the answer?"
  Burke harrumphed. For the first time, he looked embarrassed. Perhaps his conscience was talking to him. Or, more likely, he'd just told it to shut up.
  "I could manage a short interview with her at about half past seven this evening," he said. "After the evening service."
  "That would be very helpful, vicar."
  "I shall call upon the spirit of St Rita to guide me."
  "I'll let Shirley know. I think she knew a Rita as well. I believe she was a hostess in a nightclub. More of a sinner than a saint."
  I turned to leave. Looked back over my shoulder. Burke had taken a handkerchief from somewhere in his vestments and was wiping sweat from his brow.

About The Author

I was lucky enough to interview Peter Bartram when I reviewed his previous full length novel, Stop Press Murder, which you can check out here

Peter Bartram brings years of experience as a journalist to his Crampton of the Chronicle crime mystery series, which features Colin Crampton, crime correspondent of the 1960s fictional newspaper the Brighton Evening Chronicle. Peter began his career as a reporter on a real-life local newspaper not far from Brighton. Then he worked as a journalist and newspaper editor in London before becoming freelance. He has done most things in journalism from door-stepping for quotes to writing serious editorials. He’s pursued stories in locations as diverse as 700 feet down a coal mine and Buckingham Palace. Peter's "Swinging Sixties" murder mysteries combine clue-solving with comedy - the laughs are never far from the action. Other books in the series, which has already logged more than 100 5-star reviews on Amazon, include Headline Murder and Stop Press Murder.

Front Page Murder e-book is on special offer until the end of December for 99p/99c

For readers who want to start the series at the beginning, there's a deal which includes Headline Murder, Stop Press Murder and Front Page Murder in e-book formats for £4.97/$4.97. This offer also closes on 31 December.

Don't Forget The Rest Of The Tour

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

The Niggle by Peta Rainford - Review

I'm very happy to be able to share my review of The Niggle, written and illustrated by the ever lovely Peta Rainford on the day of its release. 

The Niggle

Joe Jackson is a little boy who has never felt fear... until the day a miniature monster swims in his ear! The monster is the Niggle, who whispers worries in Joe's head and makes him afraid.

Will Joe Jackson let the Niggle win? Or will he learn to overcome his fears? Read this rhyming picture book to find out. And remember: you can't be brave if you don't feel fear!

My Review

I absolutely loved The Niggle, it is so well thought out and so well written. The rhyming really flows as you are reading and it makes everything sound good whether you're reading it out loud or in your head.

Joe is a great character and reflects so well what children are like before their fears (or Niggles) creep in and make them more cautious. I enjoyed watching his fearless journey up until his accident. I then thought it was powerful how he slowly over time learnt how to deal with his Niggle and how to still do everything he wanted to safely.

The artwork is absolutely lovely and really matches the tone of the story. I have watched Peta Rainford share snippets of her drawings on her Facebook page as she planned out The Niggle, so it was really good to see it all put together and in context.

At the end, after Joe deals with his Niggle, there is a page aimed at the reader, which I thought was a really nice touch. It makes the child (or reader) relate the story to themselves and realise that they too can overcome their fears. Also that being afraid isn't a bad thing, you just need to know how to use it.

The Niggle is a very enjoyable read and both me and mini Nerdling will be reading this many more times in the future.

About The Author

Peta Rainford was lovely enough to appear on my feature, Getting To Know... so you can find out even more about her here.

Peta grew up on the Isle of Wight so long ago she can remember buying crisps from the school tuck shop for 21⁄2p. As a child she loved words, and loved drawing too, but she had no idea what she wanted to do when she grew up. She studied English at York University and then worked in London as a business journalist and editor for 14 years. She went to art classes and even studied fine art at St Martins, but she still had no idea what she wanted to do when she grew up. She moved back to the Isle of Wight in 2006, and it was here that Peta, now balancing the roles of freelance writer and mum, decided to write and illustrate her first book for children. It was a revelation: a way of combining picture making with her love of words – not to mention an outlet for her awful jokes. It may have taken more than four decades, but finally, Peta knows what she wants to do when she grows up.

The Puppet Master by Abigail Osborne - Blog Blitz Review

I bought The Puppet Master months ago and have been wanting to read it, but have just not had the time. When I saw Bloodhound Books were going to be running a blog blitz for the book, I immediately volunteered to be part as it gave me the perfect reason to have time to read a book I've wanted to read for so long! I'm so glad I did as it was well worth the wait to read. 

The Puppet Master 

Billie is hiding from the world in fear of a man who nearly destroyed her. But a chance meeting with budding journalist, Adam, sparks a relationship that could free her from her life of isolation and fear.
Unbeknown to Billie, Adam knows exactly who Billie is and is determined to expose her and get justice for the lives he believes she has ruined. But first, he needs to convince her to open up to him. As an unwanted attraction blossoms between them, Adam comes to realise that all is not as it seems.
Who is really pulling the strings? And are Adam and Billie both being played?
One thing is for sure, The Master wants his puppets back – and he’ll do anything to keep them.
My Review

The Puppet Master certainly fits the bill perfectly for being a psychological thriller, its dark, chilling and the tension builds to a crescendo. I absolutely loved it.

The story alternates between the two main characters, Adam and Billie and I really enjoyed the multiple perspectives that gave me as the reader. It's always good to get inside the head of more than one character in a story. I also thinks it makes the book even harder to put down as I always tell myself I need to find out what the other person thought about what just happened!

The story also shifts between present day and when all of Billie's problems started. That was a really clever way of giving us readers information without info dumping and I really enjoyed going through things as they happened with the character.

I was fascinated to find out exactly what Billie had been through and just what Adam knew about her as he seems to know so much. The relationship that's built between them is very tentative and fraught with indecision and mixed feelings. It really showed just how much they had been messed up by things that had been controlled by someone else.

I really wanted to see how someone could really control two peoples lives so minutely and without spoiling anything I can say it was pretty darn genius! I was taken aback a few times through the book by things that I was not expecting.

Overall an absolutely excellent debut novel from Abigail Osborne and I can't wait for more from her. I just won't leave as long to read this time.

About The Author

I was lucky enough to have Abigail appear on my Getting To Know... feature which you can check out here if you'd like to know more about her. 

Abigail is originally from the Lake District but moved to the West Midlands for University where she completed an English Literature & History degree and also met her husband. She is a passionate reader and has an unsustainable collection of books. This obsession with books has led to her creating her own Dewey decimal system and she has been known to issue fines to family and friends if her book is not returned on time. 'The Puppet Master' is Abigail's debut novel and has unleashed a passion for writing. When not writing or reading Abigail is usually playing her violin or hiding from her much too energetic cats. She also works as a Needs Assessor for disabled university students in the West Midlands.


Don't Forget About The Rest Of The Blitz