Monday, 16 July 2018

Portraits of the Dead by author John Nicholl

Portraits of the Dead by author John Nicholl

Portraits of the Dead blurb

Emma didn’t know how long he hid in the large Victorian wardrobe to the side of her single bed. She didn’t know how long he peered between the two heavy oak doors, and watched, as she slowly drifted into fitful sleep. She didn’t know what time he pushed the doors open and crept towards her in the darkness of the night.

Detective Inspector Gravel finds himself faced with a difficult case when a local nineteen-year-old university student is abducted and imprisoned by a sadistic serial killer, who has already tortured and killed at least five young women. 

Can Gravel find the girl and stop the murderer?
He will learn that the greater the evil, the deadlier the game… 

What attracted me to this authors first book when I came in contact with him via a group on Facebook was first the cover. I am a sucker for a good cover especially that relates to what is inside the book. 
Then the blurb, then his background in real life.

Just look closely at this cover. Never ignore the front cover from this author. It tells a story.

I saw that White is the Coldest colour was his debut book. To have such a high regard for presentation was great to see. We are human and we 'eat' with our eyes, hence, I was hungry to read it.

From then, he has gone on to write the secound book in that series. 

This book however is a stand alone, it does have a small mention to one of the main characters in his first book. But nothing major.

Based around the city of Cardiff in Wales was good. I remember getting my first parking ticket there!! I love Cardiff and surrounding areas. 

Portraits of the dead is a book that you need to set aside time for. Once you start reading it then you are hooked. The author has a very professional way as only recognized by top best sellers to have the ability to sustain a readers hunger for more. Top crime and psychological crime best sellers that you may know and love to read have a 'signature' its like a personality that shines. Its like an antique that you recognize belongs to a certain type of creator and this is something that John Nicholls has. His signature [or way of writing] comes through in his first book, and now it comes through in this one. I LOVE it.

What I love in his books so far is the ability to bring to a person the inside workings of an evil mind, a corrupt and distorted mind. It makes you wonder. These type of perpetrators have a conscience, but its a conscience that only they can excuse. Maybe others can excuse it too. Who knows.
We see this within the realms of each book that this author writes.

This takes a different kind of subject matter into a depth that you, the reader will find fascinating.
To put yourself in the shoes of the victim in this will relay how a person can gain some strength when undergoing duress.

I am aware not to give too much away, but the author has written this in such a way that you get a shock. A really wake up call to a twist that is so profound. An unexpectedness you would feel your mouth dropping to the floor and you having to lean down and pick it up again.


There one character that is mentioned stood out to me. This was apart from the two main ones and the Detective.
Let me know when you have read it, who you think I mean.

There are not heaps and heaps of characters to get your confused and a reader trying to keep up, no, not in this authors books. The simplicity that this author makes it this way makes it even more paramount in your head because you feel the characters, you get to know them, you get to imagine them inside your minds eye. They take on forms of a human shape as you read.

I feel honored to read for this author. I am no expert, I am 'just a reader who loves a good story' and its not difficult to give this book 5. I would give it much more. 
He has written three books now and each one different but with his 'stamp' on it. 

I can certainly see how he draws on his life experience and career he had. Although all of his books are fiction, they could be true. 

This is an author within my top 4 that I so look forward to grabbing his next book hot off the press. I drop everything and read it because I know I am going to be well entertained, I am going to have my mind so solid in the story that nothing else matters until its finished. 

This is also an author that I can remember where I was when I asked to read his very first book. 
I remember his first book, his secound book and now I will remember this one. They are 'stand out from the crowd' books for sure.

If you've not read any of John Nicholl's books yet, may I encourage you to read this one which will be out soon. 

I hear he is writing his 4th book, and I for one, cannot wait. 
Everything comes to those who wait and the waiting is well worth it.

My thanks to the author for my copy, I will always be your cyber stalker [in a nice way]

Author Bio:

John Nicholl, an ex-police officer, child protection social worker and lecturer, has written six darkly psychological suspense thrillers, each of which has been an Amazon # 1 bestseller. John is happily married, lives in rural west Wales, and has three adult children and one grandchild, with a second expected in August 2018. He began writing after leaving his job heading up child protection services for Carmarthenshire.
John is represented by Toby Mundy - Literary agent at TMA.
You can find out more about John and his books at:



Girls' Night Out by Liz Fenton

Girls' Night Out
by Liz Fenton
Girls' Night OutMy rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a ride. I feel like I’ve been in a maze and just found my way out.

I haven’t had the pleasure of reading The Widow, these duo authors previous book. I need to though going by this fantastic read.

The authors write up at the back of the book also impacted on me after I had finished the story then got to read this.
We all have friendships, sometimes we don’t see eye to eye, we fall out. Or harbour resentments towards each other hiding what we really feel because if we voice them we risk falling out or the friendship being so badly broken it never fails to mend.
But this is way way way more than friendships between several women. There are twists and missing persons. There is a company involved, a man involved and the secrets of the women involved.

Have you ever informed a close friend about something you’ve agonised over? Knew she should know but also knew it would break her? Then it’s backfired on you?

Friendships can be a fragile relationship because of the closeness. The intimacy of things you reveal about yourself, your personal life, loves and innermost feelings. Your vulnerability is laid bare.
These friends had a long standing relationship for over twenty years.

So the duo authors revealing what it was like writing this book certainly I could taste a little of what the characters felt within the confines of these pages.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a thriller. Make no mistake about that! The impact left my draw dropping to the floor by the time I finished.

I am so looking forward to more from these two.

My thanks to Lake Union for the chance to read this awesome book.
Straight into my top 2018

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Sunday, 15 July 2018

The story keeper

The Story KeeperThe Story Keeper by Anna Mazzola
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve had this book sat on my bedside for a little while. It was sent to me from the publishers one day as a surprise.
I may not have chosen to read this if I hadn’t been sent it and then I wouldn’t have experienced such a wonderfully written piece of work.
Just goes to show, sometimes we need to explore books more.
Well, I do, certainly

Now that it’s near the release date I read it.
It’s based historically around Scotland, Skye. Which I remember going often when growing up around Scotland on family holidays. Great place for folklore, myths and fae.

Not all fairies are like our children’s fairytale stories and this one certainly is not.

Audrey has left her family and hometown in seeking anadvert of employment to someone who wants to keep the culture of folklore alive.

It’s not about false stories, legends and dragons but culture. The art of passing on numerous stories from generation to generation.

Audrey meets the criteria that the employer is looking for and uses up all her money to travel to her interview.
She needs to stay the night.

The thriller/mystery bit in this plot is awesome.
I really couldn’t put this book down today.
I’ve been unwell so was told to lay down, chill and relax. I didn’t need telling twice.

It’s a page turner for sure and a surprisingly great read.
Like I say, I may have passed this by so I’m indebted to the publishers for my gift.

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Saturday, 14 July 2018

The girl who wanted to be loved by Angela Hart

The Girl Who Wanted to Belong: The Powerful True Story of a Devastated Little Girl and the Foster Carer who Healed her Broken Heart (Angela Hart Book 5)The Girl Who Wanted to Belong: The Powerful True Story of a Devastated Little Girl and the Foster Carer who Healed her Broken Heart by Angela Hart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I admire foster careers and the huge service they do to help a child in their difficult journey in life when things go wrong.
My aunt used to foster for many years so I’ve a little insight of the troubles, the difficulties and rewards. Although, not first hand.

This little girl through no fault of her own finds herself in the care of Social Services. Her Mother went off, her Stepmother isn’t nice to her and that gradually comes to light.

Her Grandmother tried her best to look after her but she’s old, regrettably she had to ask for Social Services help.

Lucy finds herself away from her father who she dotes on. I could feel the love from Lucy coming through the pages. And although In the book he’s discribed in a sort of kind way, I disliked him immensely.

Angela and her husband have been fostering for many years and have a vast amount of experience. It shines through enormously the way the are with Lucy, helping her, bit by bit adjusting her unhappy thoughts, comforting her.

Each time she spoke to her father my heart broke for her. Lucy hides things well and Angela could see the pain and anguish she was going through.

All she wanted was to belong, belong to her Dad.

I couldn’t help but compare this to Cathy Glass so is another foster carers books I read.

Get the tissues because this is well and truly a tearjerker.

I’m not telling you the ending.

I received my copy from the publisher and enjoyed my experience in meeting Angela, Johnathan her husband and Lucy.

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Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Christodora by Tim Murphy

ChristodoraChristodora by Tim Murphy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a book that was recommended to me by a book tuber on You Tube.
It took me ages to get into it but it was worth it.

Christodora turns out to be a home where Jarred and Milly live.

I thought this fitted in well for Gay pride month. Hector next door is gay. He’s an addict and very down on his hunkers.

Milly and Jarred have an adopted son, living in New York he grows to see all that it has to offer and life itself. Plus his personal realisation.

Hector the neighbour and themselves become very intertwined as the story enfolds.

The history around everything was a reminder of struggles in the past too. The world was troubled with the AIDS epidemic and everything that surrounded that. The fear, the unknown and the hate on gays.

This book span some 40 years. It’s a chunkier of a book but it won’t feel that way once you are 1/4 of the way through.

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Before we were yours by Lisa Wingate

Before We Were YoursBefore We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There have been so many reviews written on this fabulous heartbreaking book.
It’s raw, it’s emotional and it’s brilliant.

The characters in this were living, yes, they were living inside my head. I felt them, I could hear them and I wanted to reach out to them.

To the ones in charge I wanted to punch them, I wanted to hurt them.

After reading the back pages of this book from the author realising that although these children were fictional, it very much could have been someone’s reality story because this is based upon a reality, a real life awful existence that many children went through, if they survived at all.

Birthing mothers told that their babies had died at birth or children taken from underprivileged families going through hardship.

These children snatched from their parents and put up for adoption. Making money from the sell of children on the pretence they would have a better life.

The home itself was full of hurt, abuse and totally abhorrent.

The facts of reality I read on the history of this actual event went on for years and years.

It beggars belief.

But it’s true.

These characters were made up, but they could well have been facts.

A highly emotional heart rending book that takes you on a journey of sorrow, pain, resilience of human nature, finding out there are evil people in this world but more kind than evil I’d like to think.

There are two stories running side by side within these chapters, I pretty much got an idea why, but not the intricate details until later.

A truly remarkable book, great writing, great research.

Highly recommend.

Thank you Querus for providing me with a copy

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Sunday, 8 July 2018

Running with the lions by Julian Winters

Running With LionsRunning With Lions by Julian Winters

I struggled like hell with this book.
That doesn’t mean you may not like or or have read it and loved it.

My struggle was that it was written in third person. I’m ok with that if it’s written well. Not a lover of third person writing and definitely wouldn’t be my first choice.

The author didn’t make transition easy either I got lost who was speaking now.

It was rather choppy change, I so struggled that it hindered any enjoyment for me what the story was about as I was getting more frustrated. No book should make you feel like that, it shouldn’t be a chore to read where you have to work so hard to understand it and it’s style.
It should be a pleasure.

I don’t mind putting work into a book when you come out exhilarated and happy but boy oh boy was I happy to make it to the end, give it my whole but feel totally worn out.

This is how I personally thought and felt, but you may feel differently.

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Friday, 6 July 2018

A spark of light preview

A Spark of LightA Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I should have paid attention more fully, I didn’t realise on Net Galley the publishers were only offering an exclusive first chapter, all this has done is frustrate me until I can get my hands on the entire book.

This starts with a hostage situation.

It’s told in only the professional way a talented author can tell for her readers to actually feel scared in amongst all the mayhem.

I can’t wait to read more. Thank you Hodder & Stoughton but I need more!

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my absolute darling

My Absolute DarlingMy Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am aware this book came out last year (2017) it’s one I’ve been meaning to read but dreading.

There are lots that love it, some that don’t.
And it’s been sitting on my kindle taking a back seat.

I wasn’t sure which half I’d fall into. I do now.

Although this book is well written with some great use of scenic events, well written graphic details that will thoroughly make you cringe I was still shocked.

I’m not shocked easily as I have read so many heart rending books true and fiction. From rape, abuse to mind rocketing gasping screams from me when there are such horrid things written in a book.
But this one was darker than dark, in fact, it was pitch black!

An uncomfortable read for sure.

I did find on occasion my mind wandering. I guessed what would happen and how Turtle would learn to survive.

The thing is though, there have been so many similar books written with the same type of plot/subject matter which in my humble opinion has been written much better.
The Marshes daughter similar and much better in its entirety.

Publishing houses compare books when trying to sell another book so why can’t us readers also compare another book to someone else’s?

I love dark books.
But I could have easily have passed this book over for something else. I’m stubborn so I read it until the end.

Great writing but for me, I found a lot of the narration tedious too.

Thank you Harper Collins UK via Net Galley

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Sunday, 1 July 2018

As sick as our secrets by A B Whelan

As Sick as Our SecretsAs Sick as Our Secrets by A.B. Whelan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This certainly was a book and a half for me to read.

I’ve been reading two books side by side, both different genre. But this one has been read more because I found it so terrible but compulsively addictive.

We start out with the killers point of view. Some years earlier.
In some respects he’s the victim. In a warped round about way. After all his girlfriend didn’t want him anymore and he was left heartbroken.

There are multiple POV that take you on such a journey in the minds not only of the women but motr gruellingly the killer itself.
It’s very cleverly written where you find yourself understanding the killer then waking and slapping your face in shock.

A very complex compulsive read that’s highly recommend

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