Wednesday 24 February 2021

Dead Moon by Keith Crawford


Welcome to the end of the world. This Sci-fi novel is set in a future where aliens have done what they always do in these situations (invade Earth) and now their craft, the Dead Moon of the title, is falling apart and will crash to Earth wiping out humanity as it does so. 

 Humanity is to be kept in the dark though as two of the heroes of the war, Jude and Hamid are sent of on a massive media tour to convince people that all is well, "as you were, carry on regardless" etc. 

 Watching the characters develop as the world crumbles around them made them feel more alive. Plenty of action and a sense of impending doom made for a fast paced final two thirds of the book after a slow but steady start. 

 I'll certainly be looking out for more from this author. 

Trigger warning for PTSD and Alcoholism. 

For the duration of this tour the ebook version of Dead Moon is 99p

Thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto this tour and please have a look at the posts by the other bloggers on the tour (below) 

The Searching Dead by Ramsey Campbell


"Dominic Sheldrake has never forgotten his childhood in fifties Liverpool or the talk an old boy of his grammar school gave about the First World War. When his history teacher took the class on a field trip to France it promised to be an adventure, not the first of a series of glimpses of what lay in wait for the world. Soon Dominic would learn that a neighbour was involved in practices far older and darker than spiritualism, and stumble on a secret journal that hinted at the occult nature of the universe. How could he and his friends Roberta and Jim stop what was growing under a church in the midst of the results of the blitz? Dominic used to write tales of their exploits, but what they face now could reduce any adult to less than a child..."

 I'll be honest, I've always thought of  Ramsey Campbell as one of the best writers of this kind of horror fiction and this didn't disappoint at all. Although the start was a little slow the knowing that RC was going to be ramping up the scares in his own good time kept me turning the pages. 

 As for the characters, Dominic and his friends were enjoyable enough but the real interesting one was Mr Noble. It's the knowing something is off with him and trying to guess where the author is going with him. Very reminiscent of Stephen King when he was at his best where the horrors start small but quickly head towards being potentially cataclysmic. 

Set in 1950s Liverpool Campbell really catches the era with this, his latest horror novel (1st of a trilogy). The shadow of WW2 still hangs over the city with it's bomb sites and the feeling of the wartime community spirit still strong. 

 This review is from the Netgalley version of the book, the physical version only arrived this morning 


Thanks to Flame Tree Press for providing the copy, Anne Cater for inviting me onto the tour and please have a look at the posts by the other bloggers on the tour

Monday 22 February 2021

Smoke Screen by Horst and Enger


 It is New Year's Eve in Oslo and both Alexander Blixx (police) and Emma Ramm (online journalist) are, separately, attending the annual firework display. It doesn't take long before things go awry and an explosion, thought to be terrorism related, rips through the night causing death and injury amongst the revellers. One of the injured happens to be the mother of a two year old who hasn't been seen for ten years, a cold case that still haunts Blixx to this day. Is it a terrorist attack as all are led to believe or is it something more personal? 

 I must say I really enjoyed this mystery. With two different authors, one (I believe) ex police and one ex journalist it seems each take one of the lead characters and transfer their skills to them making two distinct individuals but still making a story that flows well and feels more of a whole than two separate parts bashed together. 

 The mystery kept me gripped and guessing all the way and I enjoyed seeing the dynamic between Blixx and Ramm playing out. 

 Very Good 4/5*

 Thanks, as always to Anne Cater for inviting me onto this tour and please check out the posts by the other Bloggers on the tour (below) 

The Mind's Eye by Miles M Hudson


Today sees the launch of the Blogtour for Miles M Hudson's sequel to 2089, The Mind's Eye 

 In Hudson's climate changed future everything you see, say, do, think is recorded and available for all to see but what if the tech that gave us this was hacked? What if you were seen to be doing things, committing crimes against the state say, but there was no way it could be you? Who can you trust in this distopian future? 

 Those are the questions facing Vicky as she sees her old friend Jack committing crimes she would not have thought him capable of. At the end of the previous book Jack was exiled to an island in the Bristol Channel so Vicky sets out to bring him back and together they are once again on the run, trying to prove Jack's innocence and find out who or what is really behind it all. 

 What really interested me with this book and 2089 before it was the author's vision of how climate change has altered our landscape. This is not a Britain that you instantly recognise from how it is today but still leaves you 'aware' of where you are. When you overlay this with the way tech has evolved it makes for a scary but believable future (especially when you consider that, in the scheme of things, 2089 isn't that far away). 

 Due to the tension and the chase this was a book I got through fairly quickly but thoroughly enjoyed. Reading 2089 before this isn't essential but is recommended (if only because that too is a cracking read). The ending left me hoping for more in the story of Vicky and Jack so fingers crossed 

Highly Recommended 4.3/5*

 Thanks, as always, to Anne Cater for inviting me onto this tour and please check out the posts by the other bloggers (below) 

Sunday 21 February 2021

Yearn To Fear by Chas Murrell


Welcome to the final day of the Blogtour for Chas Murrell's thriller Yearn To Fear.


 In the story two science geek types are working on something called The Lammar Chip which is all to do with 5g, download speeds, that kind of thing. When they decide to mess around with it they find other 'uses' for it and then it all gets a bit dangerous. There are others that want the chip, there are shady characters and motives. There are questions of who is on what side. . . you get my drift, it's basically everything you would want or expect from a thriller. 

 The only real downside for me was the tech stuff. I'm not even going to try and pretend I understood half of it but that doesn't detract from the fact that this is a fast paced tale. And it's only part one of a trilogy so plenty more story to come. 
 What particularly worked for me was the Australian setting - it's just nice for a story to be somewhere different for a change. 

Thanks as always to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the tour and please check out the reviews by the bloggers that went before me (below) 


Friday 12 February 2021

Alter Ego by K A Masson


 'Pounding on the door. My seven-year-old son shaking me awake. My head fuzzy with sleeping pills. The hallway flashing with blue light. This morning my life will change forever.

Alex Kendrew is juggling single parenthood, work and dating; with a wild, impetuous streak that’s hard to keep in check, she struggles to find a balance and feels perpetually guilty for the choices she makes.

In K.A. Masson’s domestic noir thriller, Alex begins a passionate affair when an old flame gets in touch. But one morning, the police arrest her for his attempted murder. Someone is framing her; can she prove her innocence as the evidence mounts against her?'

Welcome to Day 2 of the Blogtour for K A Mason's Alter Ego. 

 This book doesn't wait around. Right from the off the protagonist, Alex, is arrested for the attempted murder of the man she was seeing and locked in a police cell. From there we step back 4 years and follow Alex's at times complicated and always busy life juggling Internet dating, work and bringing up a child as a single parent. Thankfully Alex is an interesting character and certainly not whiter than white so it makes for an entertaining read while trying to work out who is trying to frame her (or is she guilty?). I flip-flopped enough times on this that I decided to stop trying to guess and enjoy the journey. 

 A fast paced read and a story just made for the 9pm Sunday night slot on BBC1. 



Thanks, as always, to Anne Cater for inviting me onto this tour and please have a look at the posts by the other bloggers on the tour (below) 

Thursday 11 February 2021

What Will Burn by James Oswald


What Will Burn is the latest (book 11) in the Edinburgh based Inspector McLean series. I started reading these last March when Lockdown kicked in and it's fair to say they were a big part of what got me through it. When I was asked if I would like to review an early copy of the new one it was a bit of a no-brainer really. So here we are. . . 

 WWB begins with an old woman burned to death in an old Game Keeper's cottage in the woods. As McLean is suspended after his last case it is left to DC Janie Harrison to investigate but the crime scene is already a week old. 

 By the time McLean is back on the job, busted back down to Di there is already plenty of other stuff going on, not least of which is a women's protest at a conference for men's rights in the city being run by the repugnant lawyer Tommy Fielding. 

 As is often the case in this series there are supernatural overtones and with links to historical witchcraft cases and more weird and mysterious deaths that soon comes to the forefront. 

 What I like about this series is that McLean is not your regular 'troubled maverick' copper. Yes, he's got issues with some of the staff but then, who hasn't. He does seem happier having been demoted and if I'm being honest I'm kinda glad he has been too - it's more chance for him to get into the nuts and bolts of the case without having to make excuses to do so. 

 As always there are the occasional characters that pop up (I'm looking at you Madame Rose, psychic and cat collector) and there is a crossover from Oswald's other crime series as well (I guess paying back the favour from when Madame Rose popped up in that one). McLean's partner Emma is away with work which probably gives them both a bit of much needed space but he has Mrs McCutcheon's Cat for company (one of my favourite characters)   

 The supernatural element doesn't make this veer away from what it is at heart - a good solid piece of Crime Fiction in a series I would say is one of the best out there today 

Very Highly Recommended 


Thanks to Antonia Whitton at Headline books for inviting me onto the tour and providing the review copy.

 Please have a look at the posts by the other bloggers on this tour (above) 

Close Your Eyes by Rachel Abbott


Don’t let him under your skin. He’ll destroy you.
Don’t fight him. He’ll win.
Run. Never let him find you.

I thought I was safe here, but I’m not. I’ve stayed too long. Now Genevieve is dead, and the police are on their way. It’s time for me to go.

I must stick to the plan – the one I made the day I arrived in this city. My bag is packed. It always is. I will destroy every shred of evidence of my existence. The police must never find me. If they do, so will he. 

I made a mistake, and someone had to die. But I’m the one who has truly lost her life.

I need to make a choice. If I keep running, I’ll never stop. If I go back, he will make me suffer. 

How many lives can one person ruin?

Welcome to the Blogtour for Rachel Abbott's 'Close Your Eyes'. 

Close Your Eyes is the latest in the series of crime thrillers featuring DCI Tom Douglas and his team, able to be read as a stand-alone but better read as part of a series if only because to miss any of these books is to miss out on a cracking read (and yeah, probably a few hours sleep a night as the pages keep turning)

Starting, as these things do, with a murder (Genevieve Strachan in this case) the story soon gets as twisty as you would expect of Abbott when a person of interest/possible suspect (Martha) goes on the run and the case hits an apparent brick wall. Obviously with the right amount of digging and investigation the team soon have things back on track but will they be on time? Is it too late for Martha? 

For the large part of the book Martha is the main protagonist in the story with Douglas and co. more or less bit players but that works well with the mystery. There is a strong thread of coercion and manipulation running through Martha's tale and it is not a comfy read but you don't read novel's like this to be comfy do you? 

As is often the case with books in a series like this part of the enjoyment for me is the developing background story of the main players (Tom, Becky etc) and that can offset the bleakness of Martha's story so giving a good balance. 

Highly recommended 


Thanks as always to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the tour for Close Your Eyes and to the publisher for providing the review copy. 

Please have a look at the posts by the other reviewers on the tour (below) 

Monday 8 February 2021

Deity by Matt Wesolowki


A shamed pop star
A devastating fire
Six witnesses
Six stories
Which one is true?

Welcome to my spot on the Blogtour for the latest in Matt Wesolowki's Six Stories series. The series in itself has online journalist Scott King investigating subjects over the course of six podcasts where a different person tells their side of the story each week. 

Deity, book 5 in the series, investigates the story of the death of rock megastar and recluse Zach Crystal in a fire at his reclusive retreat in the Cairngorms and the controversy that dogged him in later life. 

Some people saw him as a rock legend, some as a predatory paedophile (among other things) and King's podcast is their chance to have their say while he tries to get to the bottom of what is true and what is speculation, was the fire that killed King accidental or murder? 

I'll be honest, this was a very dark and at times uncomfortable read. In an age where several of the 'heroes and icons' of our youth are being torn from their pedestals and exposed for what they really are it hits very close to home. That said, it was a captivating read and I will certainly be picking up the rest of the series (I believe they read as stand-alone, Deity certainly did) 

Recommended 4/5*

Saturday 6 February 2021

Dragon Mage by ML Spencer -early thoughts


 I usually save my thoughts on a book until I have finished but Dragon Mage is soooooo special I feel I have to say something now. 

 What has really got me excited about this book is the author's ability to paint pictures with words. I am lucky (I think) in that my imagination is such that I read in 3D Cinemascope with surround sound (meaning the book comes alive in my mind's eye) but the list of author's who take it to this level is a select one. It's the author's ability to take you into the story to such an extent that you (well, me anyway) feel that you are actually there.

 I have just read a section where the lead character meets a dragon to possibly fly it for the first time and the interaction between the two is so charged with electricity, passion, feeling - call it what you will it is an amazing piece of writing.

 To say Dragon Mage is stunning is no understatement 

 Full review will appear on here when I've finished the book but I already know this is a bookworld I will not want to leave. 

Friday 5 February 2021

The Last Snow by Stina Jackson


 In a semi-derelict hovel in the Swedish woodlands near Ödesmark a woman, Luv, lives with her crochety (and that's being polite) father and her illegitimate son. It's possible that, despite appearances, they are sitting on a fortune and although she could have fled this horrible life she still stays. This is her story. 

 Told in a mix of flashbacks and the present time (and also, quite a lot of 'inner dialogue') it took me a while to get going with this story but when things started to flow it really picked up. 

   The possible fortune, alluded to above, if it exists, belongs to Vidar, the father, which I guess explains why Liv does not leave. The thing with fortunes though is that other people want some too and someone is coming for Vidar and his . . . 

  I must admit I do like Scandi-Noir so this ticked a lot of boxes for me but where it excelled was the description of the scenery - good enough to almost make you think you were there. This more than made up for the early lull in pace. Also, the ending caught me out after I'd been flip flopping between how I thought things would work out (and getting it totally wrong). 

 Recommended 4/5*


Thanks as always to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the tour and please, if you can, have a look at the reviews by the other bloggers on this tour

Wednesday 3 February 2021



The Reading Agency launch new campaign to combat loneliness and promote wellbeing through the proven power of reading


London, 3 February 2021: Leading national charity The Reading Agency is proud to announce their new campaign Read, Talk, Share, an initiative to combat loneliness and promote wellbeing through the proven power of reading during the Covid-19 pandemic this winter.

Enabled by a £3.5 million award by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), Read, Talk, Share will expand The Reading Agency’s already successful 
Reading Well and Reading Friends programmes, with the charity’s work to tackle loneliness and support mental health and wellbeing playing an important part in the nation’s Covid recovery. The two initiatives demonstrate the power of reading to support and connect isolated individuals, and the benefits of bibliotherapy to mental health. The DCMS funding presents an unprecedented level of investment in library services to tackle loneliness and support mental health, and The Reading Agency will work closely with local libraries and organisations to reach communities through reading, talking, and sharing.


Reading Well supports people in their journey towards better mental health by making helpful books recommended by health experts easily accessible to readers of all ages. The Reading Agency is working closely with every library service across England to provide unprecedented access to the carefully designed reading lists: Reading Well for mental healthReading Well for young people; and Reading Well for children. Topics explored include mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapy; coping with grief, anxiety, depression, and stress; understanding bullies, body dysmorphia, ADHD, autism, and OCD; and much more. Books from each list will be available for a mixture of both click-and-collect and e-lending at each English library authority later this month.

        90% of Reading Well users said they found their book helpful for understanding and managing their conditions.

        89% of responding health practitioners agreed that it helped to support people outside of consultation time.


Reading Friends brings people together to read, share stories, meet new friends, and have fun, tackling the big life-challenge of social isolation. Through the funding grant from DCMS, The Reading Agency will be able to provide funding, training and resources for 75 library authorities in England to deliver Reading Friends to a broad range of audiences, using socially distanced and telephone/video call befriending models. The programme is delivered by volunteers and co-produced with its participants to ensure it meets each person’s needs and matches their interests, in groups and one-to-one sessions.

        After taking part, 83% of participants and 95% of volunteers reported feeling more connected to other people.

        An evaluation of a pilot telephone reading befriending service run in Staffordshire during the first lockdown generated similar findings; most participant respondents agreed/strongly agreed that the project had helped them to feel more connected to other people.


Karen Napier, CEO of The Reading Agency, said: “Tackling loneliness and supporting mental health and wellbeing across the country has always been a priority for The Reading Agency. The ongoing Covid-19 crisis' impact on the country’s mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing cannot be underestimated, and our Reading Well and Reading Friends programmes are perfectly placed to assist the nation in recovery. Our mission remains to help people tackle life’s challenges through the proven power of reading, and to bring people together, ease our burdens, and foster wellbeing and understanding. We are immensely grateful to DCMS for their support - this feels like a real

vote of continued confidence in the role of public libraries and their important contribution to



Baroness Barran, Minister for Loneliness said: “The start of this year continues to be as difficult as the last for the whole nation, with many people not being able to see the people who mean the most to them. Tackling loneliness remains a priority for the government and I’m thrilled to see how organisations, like The Reading Agency, have adapted to this new world we’re living in, doing incredible work in their local communities to ensure no one feels isolated.”


Caroline Dinenage, Minister for Libraries said: “Libraries are often the heart and soul of local communities and a real lifeline to so many people who may feel lonely or isolated. With another tough few months ahead of us, I am thrilled that the funding we have allocated will help The Reading Agency continue to deliver its invaluable work - with a particular focus on ensuring that people of all ages are prioritising their mental health.”


Follow the latest developments on social media: @ReadingAgency

#ReadTalkShare #LetsTalkLoneliness