Friday 28 July 2023

13 Doors - G J Phelps


                    BOOK DESCRIPTION

Thirteen doors, thirteen hauntings. News reporter Joe Baxter has a plan.

His idea is simple – to use his newsroom contacts across England to find thirteen haunted places to stay, and then record his experiences in a book. From an abandoned cinema to a dank pub cellar, from a World War Two airfield to a lonely, landlocked cruise liner, Joe is prepared to spend long nights in the cold and dark, but has no idea what he is about to unleash.

For, as he endures increasingly dangerous vigils, meeting a succession of gruesome, tragic and terrifying spectres, a terrible truth begins to emerge.

Something – or someone – is reaching out to Joe, awakening long-buried memories of his father’s death, a dark family secret and his teenage brush with madness. And then there is Wilko, the imaginary friend who haunted his childhood. After decades of silence, Wilko has found his voice again…

                             MY THOUGHTS

 I've been a reader of creepy tales for as long as I can remember but I can't recall the last time a book made me feel quite as unsettled as 13 Tales has (and, trust me, I'm not complaining). 

 Joe is a reporter who sets out with a plan to visit 13 haunted sights and spend a night at each then writing a book to record his experiences. The way the book is set out the 13 visits are interspersed with chapters that cover Joe's early life and it soon becomes apparent that the 2 timelines may be linked.

 I think what has made this book feel creepier is that with each of the haunting sights visited you are never quite sure what is going to happen, when are the jump scares going to come, will it be subtle or ghastly. All through 13 Doors I felt I was looking over my shoulder. Yeah, this book creeped me out a bit . . .     AND I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT!!


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

Thursday 27 July 2023

Karakorum - Don McVey


                     BOOK DESCRIPTION

Ok, first things first, I am about three quarters of the way done with Karakorum so this post is more of a 'my thoughts so far' than a full review (I'll aim to post a full review at a later date).

If you like your Fantasy/Sci-Fi dystopian with strong hints of Ready Player One meets the Matrix you are in for a treat. Karakorum is told from several different viewpoints but our main protagonist is Sorcha, an outcast who makes money playing a game called Scratch on what I can only think of as a massive internet. While playing the game she sees something she shouldn't . . . and things really kick off.

I'm not wanting to give spoilers so trust me when all I say is that things are really full on from here. What really stands out is the world building. McVey is a debut author and really knocks it out of the park. Believable characters (although not many which keeps the writing tight) in an almost tactile world - what's not to love?

If there is a downside (and it's not a bad thing really) it's that I seem to have spent the early parts of the book trying to work out what the heck was going on but once I got into the flow all started to make sense. I will be going back to the book a few weeks after I finish it for a re-read where I guess an already amazing book will be even better.

As I mentioned earlier this is a debut novel and I look forward to reading more from this author in the future (and hopefully more from the Karakorum.

4.5/5* so far

Oh, and I have to mention the cover art  - HOW COOL IS THAT!?!?😁

Many thanks to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for inviting me onto the tour and supplying a review copy (all thoughts and opinions are my own)

Please have a look at the posts from the other bloggers on the tour, below.

Monday 24 July 2023

The Genius Killer - Mark Robson


                   BOOK DESCRIPTION 

'The dark heart of a brilliant and ruthless psychopath A celebrated but haunted detective A determined young reporter hunting for justice - and the big story.

 Karl Jackson is a particularly vengeful sociopath with his unique way of 'problem-solving’. 

DCI Tex Deacon suffers from the trauma of his beloved wife's death and finds it immensely difficult to come to terms with it.'

Ah, The Lake District, scene of many a holiday as a youngster, what memories . . . but maybe I'll look at those hills in a slightly different light after reading this cracking debut.

What we have here is a serial killer who could quite easily be up there with Hannibal Lecter as one of the top fictional psychopaths and a DCI who is really struggling to cope with the death of his wife. The author delves deep into both characters so both come out quite well rounded - which doesn't always happen with first novels (or even second, fifth, ninth etc in some cases). Jackson the serial killer in particular is an enthralling character. As the title suggests, a genius, his varying methods of dispatching people keeps the reader hooked and putting him up against a detective so close to the edge of a complete mental breakdown - well, it's an old adage I guess but the pages just kept on turning.

I'm going to give this a 4.5/5* rating just because I cannot wait to see where this author goes from here and if he gets even better I need that extra 1/2* to show that. I eagerly await his next book.

Many thanks to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for inviting me onto this tour (and apologies for the late posting) and to Orla Kelly Publishing for the review copy (which did not affect my opinions in any way - all thoughts and comments are mine and mine alone).

Please have a look at the reviews by the other bloggers on the tour (below).

Friday 7 July 2023

The Mother's Sun (audio) - Sui Annukka (author) Nimmi Harasgama (narration)

 'Sent on a marketing conference from Sri Lanka to London by her boss, Surya is supposed to be enjoying a change of scene after a tragedy that has left her grief stricken and lost – and compulsively fixated on a long-buried, shameful episode from her past.

Finding herself in the same city as the boy she birthed for an English couple seventeen years ago – in exchange for the money that paid her college tuition – Surya is prepared to risk everything for a glimpse of him.

Surya promises herself that she will be satisfied with just seeing her boy and knowing that he is safe and well. But when she tracks him down and follows him to work at a local café, she is left with more questions than answers. Why has he dropped out of school? Why is he at odds with the world? As they get chatting and he offers to give her a tour of London, she can’t resist the chance to get to know him better.

Forced to confront her past, Surya starts to navigate a way beyond her feelings of guilt, shame, and grief, towards a hopeful future – but what will happen when the boy finds out who she is? Could finding all she ever wanted mean losing everything for a second time?'

                                    - ∆ -

 This is the first time I have reviewed an audio book and with The Mother's Sun coming in at under 7 hours it is probably the best place to start.

 The story was an easy listen and the authentic sound of the narrator's (Nimmi Harasgama) voice worked really well at bringing the characters to life.

  I found it quite obvious early on why Surya wanted to be in London but after that things became a good bit deeper and, at times, a bit uncomfortable but that didn't take away from an interesting and eye opening tale. I hope it will be a physical novel at some time in the future so I can go through the journey in a format I am more used to as I found listening a different experience to reading.

 I am certainly going to be looking at audible versions in the future and found this to be a good start off point.


Wednesday 5 July 2023

All The World's A Stage - Guy Hale



In the final installment of The Comeback Trail trilogy, Jimmy Wayne has set off on his major tour of Europe, selling out the likes of the Royal Albert Hall and Zenith, Paris. While Jimmy's fame is reaching dizzying heights, behind-the-scenes crime bosses, Jack Lantern and George Digbeth, are scheming ways to bring him crashing back down to earth. But it's not just these two he should be worried about. Jimmy's adventures in Europe have drawn the attention of crime families across London, Paris, southern Italy and Madrid and everyone is battling for a piece of the action. From recovering valuable stolen artwork to his mother's romantic escapades, will Jimmy survive the mayhem of this whirlwind tour or will the dubious, murderous circumstances to which he owes all his success, be exposed, for once and for all...?

                                  MY THOUGHTS

So, here we come, as Boys To Men once sang "At the end of the road". All The World's A Stage is the final book in Guy Hale's The Comeback Trail (but don't worry, I've heard there's a new series to come).

Jimmy Wayne's success is continuing it's upward spiral and now he's on a tour of Europe. Yup, Jimmy's really hit the big time now. The problem's still the same though - Jimmy only gets the killer tunes by, well, killing. He's a serial killer you can't help but like though. He found out by accidentally killing his girlfriend Wendy (remember her? Well she's still by Jimmy's side, giving him advice and encouragement from beyond the grave) and waking up with a cracking tune ready written while he slept. On finding out how this worked Jimmy decided he couldn't let this opportunity go to waste so got a whole album's worth of new material by committing serial murder. He could justify this though by only murdering scumbags. So far it's been working out ok (well, there's been scrapes but that's what you would expect.)

But now things are starting to catch up with him. Everyone wants a piece of the action. Now he's out in Europe and the European gangland families are starting to hear his name.

As always with this series there is quite a lot going on in 'Stage'. As well as all the gangster stuff there's the main thing we're here for - the music, the gigs. The dialogue is spot on, especially when Wendy is on the scene. I really think she is one of the best supporting characters of recent time. As it is the last book in the series it's kinda obvious the stakes are going to be raised. Will Jimmy make it to the end in one piece? Will his murderous exploits catch up with him? I'm not going to spoil the fun for you, you'll have to read the story yourself (and you can thank me later, it's a cracking read).

I wasn't sure how I would like The Comeback Trail when I first agreed to review book 1, Killing Me Softly, but I'm glad I gave it a shot. It's turned out to be one of my favourite series. Crime, Music, Mobsters, Murder and Laughs - all you could possibly want all in one three book bundle. Perfection 5/5*

Thanks to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for inviting me onto this blogtour and to White Fox Publishing for providing the review copy (all views and comments are my own). 

Please have a read of the other posts by my fellow bloggers (below) if you get the chance.