Category Archives: Blog Tours

Blog Tour – The Black Hornet by Rob Sinclair – Review

BlackHornet FINAL

Title – The Black Hornet (James Ryker Book 2)
Author – Rob Sinclair
Genre – Thriller
Length – 350 Pages
Publication – 12th June 2017
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

The Black Hornet: an action packed and utterly gripping thriller from the best-selling James Ryker series

What do you do when the love of your life vanishes without a trace? If you’re ex-intelligence agent James Ryker you search for the answers whatever the cost, however much blood and sacrifice it takes…

Six months ago Lisa was taken from Ryker, and he’ll stop at nothing to find out who is responsible and why. Following a trail to Mexico, the ex-Joint Intelligence Agency asset soon finds himself in the firing line of enemies he long thought he’d left behind. Set-up for the murder of a former informant, Ryker is thrown into a crumbling jail run by The Black Hornet, the notorious leader of a Mexican drug cartel. But what connects the cartel to the informant’s murder, and to Lisa’s disappearance? And just who is the mystery American claiming he can help Ryker in his hour of need?

The Black Hornet is the second book in the bestselling James Ryker series. Part Bourne, part Reacher, it’s an explosive and action-packed thriller to rival any other.

Review

The Black Hornet is the second book in the James Ryker series. Ryker has a past.. a past he’s trying to escape from but six months ago his life was turned upside down again..Lisa.. the woman Ryker loves was taken.

Ryker is hell-bent on finding Lisa and those behind her kidnapping..he heads to Mexico as his search continues and finds himself in deep trouble when he’s thrown in prison.

We get introduced to a couple of new characters both play their cards close to their chest so it’s hard for Ryker to figure out who to trust.

A mysterious man claims he can get Ryker out in exchanged for is assistance. He knows all about his particular skill set and he needs his talents. At first Ryker refuses but when things start to get brutal and violent he’s left with no choice. To make things even harder for Ryker this man says he has information on Lisa!

Ryker follows his gut and ends up working on a job for the JIA again. Ryker is happy to do this for two reasons. One he know the mysterious man who helped him get out of prison will show he face again.. he’s got his own agenda that collides with Ryker’s mission and two..he knows deep down he misses it. He may be getting older and he hasn’t used his talents for a while but he’s not over the hill yet.

Ryker has some great development during book, you can see he’s torn. He wants the quiet life but at the same time he knows he couldn’t escape his that life for long. He loves Lisa but he’s struggling with guilt..If he had just been home he could have stopped it all happening.

This book is a little more brutal than the last but it’s exactly what the story needed, prison isn’t going to be a nice place is it?

I loved The Red Cobra, book 1 in the series.. I LOVE this one more if that’s possible. In this book Ryker is much more the focus of the tale and I couldn’t fault it one bit.

Douglas Ashford had to be my favourite character in this tale, some lovely twists thrown in from the author to give you the “Oh my!” moments.

I’m certainly hooked in for more from the author!

My thank to Bloodhound Books and Rob for having me on the blog tour

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon


 

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Author Bio:

Rob is the author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling Enemy series of espionage thrillers featuring embattled agent Carl Logan, with over 250,000 copies sold to date. The Enemy series has received widespread critical acclaim with many reviewers and readers having likened Rob’s work to authors at the very top of the genre, including Lee Child and Vince Flynn.

Rob’s fourth book, the pulsating psychological thriller Dark Fragments, released by Bloodhound Books in November 2016, has been described as ‘clever’ and ‘chilling’ and an ‘expertly crafted’ story, and became an Amazon UK top 50 bestseller soon after its release.

Rob’s James Ryker series follows on from the Enemy books, with the first novel, The Red Cobra, being released in April 2017 and quickly becoming an Amazon bestseller in the UK, US and Canada. The second book in the series, The Black Hornet will be released June 12th.

Rob began writing in 2009 following a promise to his wife, an avid reader, that he could pen a ‘can’t put down’ thriller. He worked for nearly 13 years for a global accounting firm after graduating from The University of Nottingham in 2002, specialising in forensic fraud investigations at both national and international levels. Rob now writes full time.

Originally from the North East of England, Rob has lived and worked in a number of fast paced cities, including New York, and is now settled in the West Midlands with his wife and young sons.

Links:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rob-Sinclair/e/B00LFXNU76/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1488963366&sr=8-1

https://www.facebook.com/robsinclairauthor/?fref=ts

https://twitter.com/RSinclairAuthor

http://www.robsinclairauthor.com/

Killer of Kings Blog Tour!

Today it’s my turn on the blog tour for Killer of Kings by Matthew Harffy, book 4 in the Bernicia Chronicles series.

If you’ve not read me reviews for the rest of the series and the standalone novella click the images below to find out more!

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Want to know more about book 4? Well here’s the blurb followed by an extract to hook you in.


Synopsis :-

AD 636. Anglo-Saxon Britain. A gripping, action-packed historical thriller and the fourth instalment in The Bernicia Chronicles. Perfect for fans of Bernard Cornwell.

Beobrand has land, men and riches. He should be content. And yet he cannot find peace until his enemies are food for the ravens. But before Beobrand can embark on his bloodfeud, King Oswald orders him southward, to escort holy men bearing sacred relics.

When Penda of Mercia marches a warhost into the southern kingdoms, Beobrand and his men are thrown into the midst of the conflict. Beobrand soon finds himself fighting for his life and his honour.

In the chaos that grips the south, dark secrets are exposed, bringing into question much that Beobrand had believed true. Can he unearth the answers and exact the vengeance he craves? Or will the blood-price prove too high, even for a warrior of his battle-fame and skill?


Extract –

FRANKIA, ad 635

“Be careful there, you two!”

The cry came from old Halig. He worried like a maid.

Wuscfrea ignored him, leaping up to the next branch of the gnarled oak. The bark was damp and cold, but the sun was warm on his face as he looked for the next handhold. They had been enclosed in the hall for endless days of storms. Great gusts of wind had made the hall creak and moan as if it would collapse and when they had peered through the windows, the world had been hidden beneath the sheeting rain.

After so long inside it felt wonderful to be able to run free in the open air.

A crow cawed angrily at Wuscfrea from a perch high in the canopy of the trees. The boy laughed, echoing the bird’s call.

“Away with you,” Wuscfrea shouted at the creature. “You have wings, so use them. The sun is shining and the world is warm.” The crow gazed at him with its beady eyes, but did not leave its branch. Wuscfrea looked down. Fair-haired Yffi was some way below, but was grinning up at him.

“Wait for me,” Yffi shouted, his voice high and excited.

“Wait for me, uncle,” Wuscfrea corrected him, smiling. He knew how it angered Yffi to be reminded that Wuscfrea was the son of Edwin, the king, while he was only the son of the atheling, Osfrid. The son of the king’s son.

“I’ll get you,” yelled Yffi and renewed his exertions, reaching for a thick branch and pulling himself up.

Wuscfrea saw a perfect path between the next few branches that would take him to the uppermost limbs of the oak. Beyond that he was not sure the branches would hold his weight. He scrambled up, his seven-year-old muscles strong and his body lithe.

The crow croaked again and lazily flapped into the sky. It seemed to observe him with a cold fury at being disturbed, but Wuscfrea merely spat at the bird. Today was a day to enjoy the fresh air and the warmth of the sun, not to worry about silly birds. For a moment, he frowned. He hoped Yffi had not seen the crow. Crows were the birds of war. Whenever he saw them Yffi recalled the tales of the battle of Elmet, and how the corpse-strewn bog had been covered by great clouds of the birds. The boys had frightened themselves by imagining how the birds had eaten so much man-flesh that they could barely fly. It was a black thought. As black as the wings of the crows. To think of the death of their fathers brought them nothing but grief. Wuscfrea shook the thoughts away. He would not allow himself to be made sad on such a bright day.

Glancing down, he saw that Yffi was struggling to reach a branch. He was a year younger than Wuscfrea, and shorter.

“Come on, nephew,” Wuscfrea goaded him. “Are you too small to join me up here? The views are fit for a king.” Wuscfrea laughed at the frustrated roar that came from Yffi. Yet there was no malice in his words. Despite being uncle and nephew, the two boys were more like brothers, and the best of friends. Still, it was good to be the superior climber. Yffi, even though younger, was better at most things. The long storm-riven days had seen the younger boy beat Wuscfrea ceaselessly at tafl and Yffi had joked that someone with turnips for brains would only be good to rule over pigs. The words had stung and Wuscfrea had sulked for a while until Yffi had brought him some of Berit’s cheese as an offering of truce. Wuscfrea loved the salty tang of the cheese and the insult was quickly put aside.

Now, as he pulled his head and shoulders above the thick leaves of the oak, Wuscfrea wondered whether he would ever be king of anything. Certainly not of this land, rich and lush as it was. This was Uncle Dagobert’s kingdom. Far to the south of Bernicia and Deira, the kingdoms his father had forged into the single realm of Northumbria. Far away and over the sea. A safe distance from the new king.

Wuscfrea breathed in deeply of the cool, crisp air. The treetops on the rolling hills all around swayed in the gentle breeze. The leaves sparkled and glistened in the sunlight. High in the sky to the north, wisps of white clouds floated like half-remembered dreams.

One day, he would travel north with a great warband, with Yffi at his side. They would have ships built from the wood of this great forest and they would ride the Whale Road to Northumbria. They would avenge their fathers’ slaying and take back the kingdom that should have been theirs. Wuscfrea’s chest swelled at the thought.

“Vengeance is a potent brew,” Halig had said to him when they had spoken of the battle of Elmet one night over a year before. “Drink of it and let it ferment in your belly. And one day you will wreak your revenge on the usurper, Oswald,” the old warrior had touched the iron cross at his neck. Wuscfrea had thought of how Jesu told his followers to turn the other cheek when struck and wondered what the Christ would think of the lust for revenge that burnt and bubbled inside him. But then Wuscfrea was the son of a great king, descended from the old gods themselves so they said, so why should he care what one god thought?


Tempted yet?

Here’s my thoughts –

Beo’s back and this one is just as brutal as it’s predecessors. Beobrand is older but still as sharp and hot-headed as always.

Old enemies show their faces again but this time Beobrand might actually be able to rid himself  of them..that ever present shadow looming over him.

War is coming and while on a mission for Oswald Beo is sucked in and the bloodlust takes holds..it’s time for a blood feud to be settled.

We get a great mix of action and suspense as the focus switches from Brobrand to Reaghan back home struggling to figure out her place in Beobrand’s absence.  She’s resented by others because of her past but she’s powerless to change it.. While the action is non-stop this switch of focus really gave it a suspenseful build up.

Chapter 15 was my favourite chapter of the story, real white knuckle moment. Scary and exciting at the same time.

Harffy once again holds no favouritism with his characters..not all Beo’s gesithas will make it home… but neither will Beobrand’s enemies.

The character I most enjoyed was Wynhelm. I didn’t like him at first but as he developed throughout the tale I warmed to him like I felt Beo did to. Although he may rub Beo up the wrong way he’s loyal and is faultless in his logic.

The one difference I felt this book had over the rest in the series is that Beobrand gets some closure, so it does leave me wondering what could possibly happen next.

Harffy is one of my top authors who never disappoints and he has my thanks for having me on the blog tour. I would also like to thank Yasemin at Head of Zeus who organised everything. While I’m always grateful for the ARC of the book it was my pleasure to purchase the book on release.

Killer of Kings is a strong book that solidifies this series as being one of the best to be published in recent years.

My verdict – 5* all the way!

Keep an eye on my blog tomorrow for a Q&A with the author himself who kindly answered some of my burning questions.

If you’d like to know more head to Amazon or Goodreads.


Other stops on the tour –

History.. The Interesting Bits – 5th June

Love Books Group – 7th June 

Breakaway Reviewers – 8th June

Stephanie Churchill – 9th June

What Cathy Read Next – 10th June

Lives and Loves of a Book Nerd – 11th June

Parmenion Books – 12th June


 

Author info:

 

Matthew grew up in Northumberland where the rugged terrain, ruined castles and rocky coastline had a huge impact on him He now lives in Wiltshire, England, with his wife and their two daughters.

Buy links

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2nNItf2

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2nNEyPz

iBooks: http://apple.co/2ocWWEi

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2ocS2Y7

 

Follow Matthew

Website: www.matthewharffy.com

Twitter: @MatthewHarffy

Facebook: MatthewHarffyAuthor

 

Follow Aria

Website: www.ariafiction.com

Facebook: @ariafiction

Twitter: @aria_fiction

Instagram: @ariafiction

NetGalley: http://bit.ly/2lkKB0e

Sign up to the Aria newsletter: http://bit.ly/2jQxVtV

 

Blog Tour – Brick by Conrad Jones

Today I’m taking part in the blog tor for Brick bu Conrad Jones. Bloodhound Books kindly supplied a copy of the book for review but after reading this I bought a copy myself as it’s just that good!

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Here’s the blurb –

Title – Brick
Author – Conrad Jones
Genre – Crime Thriller
Length – 314 Pages
Publication – 23rd May 2017
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

A hard-boiled and utterly gripping crime thriller from a best-selling author

When a teenager is the victim of an unprovoked attack while walking his dog, a murder investigation begins. A cruel twist of fate makes his innocent family the targets of a vicious campaign of terror.

As the detectives of Liverpool’s Major Investigation Team try to contain the violence, several key members of an organised crime family begin to topple, causing shockwaves across the world.

Why was the teenager attacked?

And will the villains be brought to justice?

Review

Brick is an action packed tale of gangsters, drugs and murder.

We get two stories playing out. The first following Bryn, a local teenager, who rubs someone up the wrong way ends up in a shed load of danger..and it’s not just him.. these men mean business and It could mean the end to his whole family.  The man he pissed off has ties to some very dangerous men.

The second story is a full on tale of drugs and betrayal.. There’s no loyalty among thieves they say. Brick explores this and what we get is one hell of a book! Gripped would be an understatement.

I was instantly hooked by the prologue and I had high expectations for the story which I’m glad to say the author exceeded!

It’s a tale of the dark underbelly of society and you felt for Bryn and his family.. it really does look like there’s no where they can hide.

You really will get sucked into this one quickly.

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

 

Blog Tour – The Red Cobra by Rob Sinclair – Review

Title – The Red Cobra
Author – Rob Sinclair
Genre – Thriller
Length – 374 Pages
Publication – 4th April 2017
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Carl Logan dedicated nearly twenty years of his life to the Joint Intelligence Agency. Now living in a secret location, under the new identify of James Ryker, he wants nothing more than to be left alone, the chance to start a new life away from chaos, violence, destruction and deceit.

It’s not long, however, before Ryker’s short-lived idyll is destroyed when he is tracked down by Peter Winter, his ex-boss at the JIA. Winter brings with him news of the murder of a woman in Spain, Kim Walker, whose fingerprints match those of one of Ryker’s former adversaries who’s been missing presumed dead for years – an infamous female assassin known as the Red Cobra.

A cyberattack at the JIA led to the Red Cobra’s profile being compromised, and Winter believes JIA agents may now be at risk too, Ryker included. But Ryker knew the elusive Red Cobra better than anyone, and when he sees the grisly pictures of Kim Walker’s corpse, he has news for Winter – she isn’t the assassin at all …

So just who is the mystery dead woman? And where is the real Red Cobra?

Review

So we are back with Carl Logan..or James Ryker as he’s now called. If you’ve not read The Enemy Series yet there’s no need to worry, a fan of the series will love this but it’s written in such a way that it works perfect as a standalone novel.

Ryker has tried to distance himself from his previous employers but how long did he really think it would be before someone tracked him down…not long enough and he’s soon sucked back into the world he tried so hard to forget.

The Red Cobra surfaces..Ryker never believed she was dead and this is his chance to finish what he started years before.

What we get is a very clever tale and it took a while to put all the pieces together, especially as we learn quickly not everyone is out to help Ryker. It’s one hell of an exciting tale and that ending left me in no doubt there’s more to come.

We get a brilliant backstory to the Red Cobra that shows how proficient a killer she is but has she met her match this time? And why has her finger prints suddenly resurfaced after so many years?

Engrossed would be an understatement. I loved this one and found myself totally fixated with finding out the truth much like Ryker.

The past has caught up to Ryker and as much as he wants to forget Logan, as he’s not that man anymore it’s easier said than done.

Brilliant from start to finish and the asking price of 99p on kindle is nothing so I happily snapped up a copy!

This is the best yet from Rob Sinclair.

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

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Other stops on the tour –

Bits About Books
Baatty About Books
Chelles Book Reviews
Shelley Wilson Author
Ali The Dragon Slayer
Anne Bonny Book Reviews
The Great British Book Off
Relax And Read Book Reviews
By The Letter Book Reviews
Bibliophile Book Club
Segnalibro
Chat About Books
My Chestnut Reading Tree
Crime Book Junkie
Bookstormer

Blog Tour! – Kin of Cain by Matthew Harffy

Today I’m very glad to be the next stop on the Kin of Cain blog tour. First let me tell you I jumped at the chance and did receive a copy of the book in advance but as always with Harffy’s work it was already on my pre-order list so I’ve paid for my copy too 🙂

Other stops on the tour

1st March – Hoover Book Reviews
2nd March – Speesh Reads
4th March – Parmenion Books
5th March – For Winter Nights
6th March – History…The Interesting Bits!
7th March – Lives and Loves of a Book Nerd

Matthew has kindly wrote a post about what the future holds which will follow on from my review so sit back and enjoy! My thanks go to the author and Yasemin at Head of Zeus for making this blog tour happen!

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Title – Kin of Cain
Author – Matthew Harffy
Genre –  Historical Fiction
Length – 86 Pages
Publication –1st March 2017
My Rating –5/5 Stars

Synopsis

AD 630. Anglo-Saxon Britain. A gripping, action-packed historical tale set in the world of The Bernicia Chronicles. Perfect for fans of Bernard Cornwell.

Winter grips the land in its icy fist. Terror stalks the hills, moors and marshes of Bernicia. Livestock and men have been found ripped asunder, their bones gnawed, flesh gorged upon. People cower in their halls in fear of the monster that prowls the night.

King Edwin sends his champions, Bassus, Octa and band of trusted thegns, to hunt down the beast and to rid his people of this evil.

Bassus leads the warriors into the chill wastes of the northern winter, and they soon question whether they are the hunters or the prey. Death follows them as they head deeper into the ice-rimed marshes, and there is ever only one ending for the mission: a welter of blood that will sow the seeds of a tale that will echo down through the ages.

Review

When I first read The Serpent Sword I was shocked at how quickly Octa disappeared from the tale, it’s this murder that sets Beobrand on his journey but I was  left wondering who Octa really was.. was he anything like his brother?

Well now we have the chance to see a little of the man himself in a short story set before the events The Serpent Sword.

86 pages is a decent amount of pages for a short tale in my opinion and Harffy doesn’t hold back. For me what I really enjoyed was this tale has a bit of fantasy and mystery to it. The unknown force that is attacking people..is it human or beast.. either way the King wants it dead!

Octa sets out with a band of men to prove himself to his King and one of my favorite characters is included in this group, Bassus! oh how I love that man.

Harffy weaves a tale which includes the death and gore we are used to but it also manages to give some depth to Octa that wasn’t possible before.

The tale is full of suspense, it’s dark, gritty and gruesome..what more could you possibly want?

When I was reading the tale I couldn’t help but see Octa as Beowulf and reading the author note it was really great to see the Harffy’s thought process on this. It really made the tale stand out.

Personally I feel Harffy has loads to offer and I hope to see  more shorts in the future as I feel they bring depth to the authors world and allow them the chance to share some great stories with us the readers. When I commit to an authors work I want to feel like they are committing to me also..to give me their best and Harffy never disappoints.

Kin of Cain is thriller/mystery/fantasy/myth/folklore and so much more wrapped in to 86 glorious pages and it’s well worth the asking price.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon


What the future holds for me and my writing – Matthew Harffy

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If you’d asked me four years ago what the future held for me and my writing I would have said I hope to find an agent and then get published. In February 2013 I was close to finishing the first draft of my debut novel, The Serpent Sword. I’d never written anything longer than a few hundred words before and I could see no further than completing the book and somehow getting it out in front of readers who hopefully would like it. That was it. I really had no ambition beyond that, apart, of course, from the secret dream of selling millions of books and becoming rich enough to retire to a tropical island somewhere. But we won’t talk about that.

So much has changed in the last four years. I finished The Serpent Sword and found an agent. I then wrote the sequel, The Cross and the Curse, while my newly-acquired agent tried to sell the first book, and, unfortunately, failed. This failure pushed me to self-publish both books, whilst pressing on with the writing that had somehow become part of my life by this point. Both books were doing well and garnered many positive reviews. This finally piqued the interest of a publisher, so I signed a contract with Aria, a new imprint of publisher, Head of Zeus. Aria re-published the first two books and then published book three of the Bernicia Chronicles, Blood and Blade. They also managed to sell the rights for the three novels to Audible, who have now released the audio books for them, narrated by a great actor called Barnaby Edwards.

I have also written a prequel novella, Kin of Cain, which is out now, and completed book four in the Bernicia Chronicles, Killer of Kings, which is due out in June.

I am now well into the first draft of book five in the series, which will also be published by Aria, who have plans to release all the books in hardcover and mass market paperback in the coming months and years. I am even hearing talk of possible translations of the books in the works!

The point of this rambling on about the past and all the great things that have happened in the last four years is that I had no idea what would happen then, and I don’t really know what the future will bring in the next four years. But what I do know is that there will be more novels in the Bernicia Chronicles. Beobrand’s tale marches on into the seventh century and he will see more kings come and go. He will face his foes in the clash of shieldwalls in battles throughout the island of Albion and, who knows, perhaps even beyond its shores.

And when I decide to move on from Beobrand? When I am done with the mead hall and the shieldwall? What then? Well, I would love to write a western, but I am told there is no money in them. If I am ever close to living in my dream where I have enough money to write what I want and not care about how many people will read it, I will probably turn my hand to the American West. I can almost smell the rotgut whiskey and the pungent stench of gunpowder in the air of a rowdy cattle town when the ranchers and their cowhands have rolled in from the dusty trail. If you look carefully, you will see much of the so-called Wild West in the Bernicia Chronicles, but I would relish the chance to write at least one book set on the Frontier of civilization in the 19th century.

If, as is much more likely, I will have to write books that might sell and which appeal to readers of my books, I have an idea for a Viking saga, which actually has elements of a western in it. But I can say no more now, as it is just a twinkle in this author’s eye! It’s either that or romance, which my wife assures me sells better than the violent books I write. I’m not sure I would do very well at that, but I might have to think of pen name if I want to find out!

I am sometimes tempted to write a fantasy. I am a huge fan of writers like J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert E. Howard and David Gemmell, so I have a firm understanding of the genre. And the thing that I like most about it, is that I would not have to stick to historical facts! In many ways, the stories I tell could easily be transposed into a word of epic fantasy. But as I am writing historical fiction, I am constrained by what is known to have happened, the technology available, and when things occurred. Oh, and no dragons or magic!

I would love the chance to be able to just create a plot and write whatever I wanted because I would be in total control and nobody could tell me I had got something wrong, as it would be my creation!

So, what of the future? I think we’ll have to wait and see. But if people keep buying my books, I think I can safely say I’ll continue to write them.

Hopefully others will enjoy whatever directions in which the muse takes me.

Author info:

Matthew Harffy is the author of the Bernicia Chronicles, a series of novels set in seventh century Britain. The first three books in the series, The Serpent Sword, The Cross and the Curse and Blood and Blade are available on Amazon, Kobo, Google Play, and all good online bookstores.

Kin of Cain, a standalone prequel novella set in the same world as the Bernicia Chronicles was published on Amazon and all good online bookstores on March 1st 2017.

Killer of Kings , the fourth of the Bernicia Chronicles, is available for pre-order now on Amazon and all good online bookstores.

Website: www.matthewharffy.com

Twitter: @MatthewHarffy

Facebook: MatthewHarffyAuthor

Blog Tour – Porcelain: Flesh of Innocents by Lee Cockburn (@lee_leecockburn)

Today I’m very glad to be the next stop on the Porcelain – Flesh of Innocents blog tour.

About Lee Cockburn

Lee Cockburn has worked for Police Scotland for sixteen years including as a police sergeant in Edinburgh for seven years and also as a public order officer. Before joining the force, she played for Scotland Women’s rugby team for fifteen years, earning over eighty caps for the Scottish ladies and British Lionesses teams. She also swam competitively for twelve years, successfully representing Edinburgh at the age of fifteen in the youth Olympics in Denmark in 1984. Lee lives in Edinburgh with her civil partner Emily and their two young sons Jamie and Harry. Her first book Devil’s Demise was published by Clink Street Publishing November 2014.

Follow Lee Cockburn on Twitter: https://twitter.com/lee_leecockburn

Title – Porcelain: Flesh of Innocents
Author – Lee Cockburn
Genre –  Police Procedural
Length – 266 Pages
Publication – 21st Feb 2017
My Rating –3/5 Stars

Synopsis

Detective Sergeant Taylor Nicks is back and in charge of tracking down a sadistic vigilante, with a penchant for torturing paedophiles, in this unsettling crime thriller by a real-life police sergeant.

High-powered businessmen are turning up tortured around the city of Edinburgh with one specific thing in common — a sinister double life involving pedophilia. Leaving his ‘victims’ in a disturbing state, the individual responsible calls the police and lays bare the evidence of their targets’ twisted misdemeanours to discover, along with a special memento of their own troubled past — a chilling calling card. Once again heading the investigation team is Detective Sergeant Taylor Nicks, along with her partner Detective Constable Marcus Black, who are tasked not only with tracking the perpetrator down but also dealing with the unusual scenario of having to arrest the victims for their own barbarous crimes. But with the wounded piling up the predator’s thirst for revenge intensifies and soon Nicks discovers that she is no longer chasing down a sinister attacker but a deadly serial killer.

Vivid, dark and deeply unsettling Porcelain: Flesh of Innocents is the perfect next read for serious crime and police thriller fans.

Review

I must forewarn readers that this book won’t be for everybody.. it’s dark and tackles such issues as child kidnapping and paedophilia.

It’s an engrossing and downright scary read and as a new parent it had my pulse racing at times.

Throughout this book we learn about a brother and sister who’ve suffered abuse at the hand of those they should be able to trust during their childhood.

While that tale unfolds we also learn of a present day vigilante who is standing up for those who need protection..this vigilante soon gets wrapped up in an active police kidnapping case when a child goes missing!

This book does really make you think.. these are bad people who get what they deserve but at the same time we have laws and the vigilante is breaking them too.

There’s a team of detectives on the case to hunt down this vigilante and for some there’s a very full on complicated love relationships going on and there is a load of sex scenes. For me this is the only bit I didn’t enjoy about the book. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no prude and it did add to the sexual nature of the book and explores the emotional needs of sex but it took my focus away from the main plot which I was fully committed to. By the third major sex scene I ended up just flicking past the pages as I just wanted to get back to the main focus of the tale..the vigilante.. that storyline had me hooked.

Did the sex ruin the book? No..it’s just not for me..It’s just not what I expected to happen.

It’s a dark and gritty book that really makes you think.. these things can and do go on in the world around us.. this is a subject most of us wouldn’t even want to think about.

As the pressure mounts the vigilante makes a mistake and the police are closing in..I kept going back and forward between characters trying to decide the identity of the vigilante until the big reveal and I wasn’t disappointed.

The ending left me wondering what’s next… either more is planned or more likely left up to your imagination and I loved it.

It’s a tough subject so by its nature some people may not like the book but it’s definitely worth the read. I can honestly say I would have rated it 5* if the book had stayed on the case and had a little less sex..but that’s my taste.. I know many of you will love the book.

A disturbingly good story..take a look

I’ve read the other reviews so far during the blog tour and the book is receiving a very positive response!

My thanks go to Authoright and the author for the chance to read and review their work in exchange for an honest review.

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.


Author spotlight

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About me, I love my family more than life itself, my boys make my heart beat, I have a beautiful wife, a lovely kind supportive mum, and my late dad was a kind and remarkable man, someone you could rely on, someone who said I should write poetry, which I did do a year after his death, and unfortunately through dementia never got the chance to read my book.  My wider family are also very supportive and believe in me, and listen to me when I‘m letting it all out.

I have always been sporty, swimming for 12 years, training 5 hours a day when I became quite good at it, swimming in the youth Olympics when I was 15, representing Edinburgh.  I then started playing rugby at 22 and represented Scotland for 15 years and the British Lionesses earning 81 caps in total.  We won the first ever 5 nations tournament, we also won the European championships in 2001 and won 70% of our games always in the top 2 or three in the 6 nations, very proud to play and represent this proud nation, appearing in 3 world cups and 4 European championships.  My last game I was punched in the face, breaking m cheek bone, nose and damaging my eye, very sore, but played on for 40 minutes. I still play the occasional game now and then and I am 48, 6’1” and 15 plus stone, a big strong lass and not over the hill yet.

 

I used to work in the Commonwealth Pool for 13 years, lifeguard/duty manager, I loved that job, very entertaining time, a really good bunch of people.

I joined the police at 32, came second in the fitness, just because my sprint wasn’t good enough, I was gutted, 10.15 for my mile and a half, never to be repeated.  I have been in response policing (front line) for most of my service, other than three years in the public order unit, which is helmets and shields and crashing down doors and that type of thing.  I was promoted at nine years service and left the public order unit and went back to response once again and I am still there.  I have been pushed and shoved around a bit, but only assaulted once when I was knocked out in my first 6 months of service, a big black eye and I didn’t see who did it, so she got off with it, but did ask at court how my face was.

I was a little bit flighty when I was younger, but it wasn’t an easy life for a gay woman coming out 31 years ago in 1986, 6 years after it was against the law to be gay as a male.  I was assaulted at nineteen in Princes Street for being gay, I sometimes had to lie about my life to protect myself.  I have always been lucky enough to have someone special in my life, and now I am married and settled.  I‘m very glad things here in Britain have changed for the better, and I hope it stays that way, for the sake of my family.

Writing, I never though I would ever write, it was all because of a dull book and I wanted to write one the way I’d like to read one, so I did and I am now on book three, I find it a great source of escapism and I do like to entertain people, and this is just a new outlet to do this.

I am a fun loving humorous woman, I love life and thrive on filling it with as much happiness as I can, especially with the children.  One thing I don’t like is unfairness, I hate bigotry, and I am a great believer in live and let live, protect those that need help, I hate a bully, and people should stand up for what is right.

I miss my dad, and I love the isle of Arran.

Purchase from Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Porcelain-Flesh-Innocents-Lee-Cockburn-ebook/dp/B01MR8004F/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1486590103&sr=1-1&keywords=porcelain+flesh+of+innocents

Purchase from Barnes & Noblehttp://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/porcelain-lee-cockburn/1125500067?ean=9781911525318

 

Blood and Blade by Matthew Harffy – The Blog Tour

I’m not quite sure how you could have missed it but the third book in The Bernicia Chronicles was released 1st December and I’m lucky enough to be part of the blog tour.

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Matthew has kindly allowed me to share with you an extract from chapter one of the book to hook you in!

Before you read it here’s the blurb:

635AD. Anglo-Saxon Britain. A gripping, action-packed historical thriller and third instalment in The Bernicia Chronicles. Perfect for fans of Bernard Cornwell.

Oswald is now King of Northumbria. However, his plans for further alliances and conquests are quickly thrown into disarray when his wedding to a princess of Wessex is interrupted by news of a Pictish uprising.

Rushing north, Oswald leaves Beobrand to escort the young queen to her new home. Their path is fraught with danger and uncertainty, Beobrand must try to unravel secrets and lies if they are to survive.

Meanwhile, old enemies are closing in, seeking brutal revenge. Beobrand will give his blood and blade in service to his king, but will that be enough to avert disaster and save his kith and kin from the evil forces that surround them?

And if you’d like to read my reviews on the previous installments click below to open a new window!

Book 1 – The Serpent Sword

Book 2 – The Cross and the Curse


Chapter 1 – Blood and Blade

They attacked at night. Beobrand had known they would. The ragged group of Picts was driven by their desire for blood and death; their hunger for vengeance. And that was something he understood well.

The Picts descended on them in the stillest part of the night, as silent as the wraiths that haunt the burial mounds of ancient kings. Blades glimmered dully in the cool starlight. Approaching from the south, they were hopeful for the element of surprise. They had traipsed far to the west before crossing the river Tuidi and then circling round to move on Ubbanford from the desolate hills where few men lived.

The plan was good, but Beobrand was also cunning. Anticipating such a move from his enemies, he had set his men to watch the hills. At sunset, Attor, the most lithe and soft-footed of Beobrand’s warband, had padded into the newly-finished great hall.

“They are coming,” he’d said, the glint in his eye from the hearth fire speaking of his thirst for battle-fame.

“How many?” Beobrand had asked, setting aside his horn of mead unfinished. He would need his wits about him this night.

“A dozen. Mayhap more.”

Beobrand had scowled. He hoped all the planning was enough. His warband would be outnumbered, it was true, but they would also be prepared, armed and waiting for the attack.

He had stood, pushing his freshly-carved gift-stool back and looking at each of his warriors, his gesithas, in turn. He nodded, his face grim in the flickering flame light.

“We have prepared for this. Each take your position and await the signal. Attor, fetch Elmer from where he wards the river and have him get the women and children to safety.”

Now, in the pre-dawn gloom of the summer night Beobrand watched as the shadows of men flitted between the buildings. They made their way towards the hill where the new hall commanded the valley. He straightened his right leg, tensing his calf muscle, testing it. He cursed silently. The arrow wound was still stiff, not fully healed. He could not run. He would have to spring the ambush sooner than he would have liked, or else he feared he would not be able to close with the enemy. Beobrand felt the throb of the leg wound and wondered whether Torran was amongst the Picts who crept through his settlement. Torran, son of Nathair, had loosed the arrow that had skewered Beobrand’s leg. But not before Beobrand had slain his brother. He flexed his left arm, wincing. The skin pulled at recent scabbing where Broden’s axe had bit deeply into his flesh. He bared his teeth in the blackness. The pain and memories of the battle at Nathair’s hall only weeks before brought whispers of the battle fury into his thoughts. He had felt little these last few weeks. His lack of feelings frightened him more than the thought of bloodshed.

He signalled to Acennan who stood in the star-shadow of the smithy’s forge. He could barely make out his friend’s form in the darkness, but there was the slightest of movements in the gloom and then a piercing blast on a horn, as Acennan announced the moment of the ambush to the defenders who hid in the night.

Light flared suddenly as men uncovered torches and thrust them into prepared piles of kindling. Beobrand’s gesithas burst from the shadows, their weapons and armour shining red in the sudden firelight. Beobrand too leapt forward, drawing his fine sword, Hrunting, from its fur-lined scabbard. He hurried towards one intruder, whose back was turned to him. He limped forward as quickly as he could, clumsy on the wounded leg. His arm felt naked without a shield, but he had decided before the fight that a linden board would hinder him in his current state. Both his arm and leg would heal, in time, but for now, he would need to fight without a shield, and hope that the Picts did not run away before they could be slaughtered.

The man who was the focus of his attention turned towards him at the last moment. His face was pallid. He was young, probably less than twenty years, perhaps the same age as Beobrand himself. But he was no warrior. He held a long knife, but had barely raised it to defend himself when Hrunting’s blade sliced into his throat, splashing warmth over Beobrand’s forearm and face. The young Pict fell back silently, his eyes wide, mouth opening and closing like a beached salmon.

With the first kill of the night, battle lust descended upon Beobrand. After the weeks of inaction, the numbness after Sunniva’s death and the events at Dor, Beobrand embraced the battle-ire, welcoming the familiar rush of power as a cold man clutches to a warm cloak in a blizzard.


What did i think of the book? Well in case you missed it here’s my review –

I’m so glad to be back in Beobrand’s world..it’s not been that long since the last book but I’ve been chomping at the bits and boy did Harffy use the time well!

Straight from the off the book just felt tighter, more defined. Beobrand has been wonderfully developed over the last two tales in the series that he’s grown and I felt this growth allowed for the plot of this tale to become the best one yet of the series.

Fans of Harffy won’t be disappointed with this one, Beobrand is haunted by his past more than ever and this time things are taking more of a toll on our hero. Beo isn’t fully healed after the injuries he received in the last book..he’s getting older but he’s as sharp and deadly as ever.

Harffy easily brings you back into the world he’s created. The first few chapters are written so well to hook you in but also remind the reader of some of the main characters in the tale. I won’t spoil it for you but these early chapters stood out for me.. it set the tone of the tale and included some very moving moments with Beo’s closest. We really see how much the events in the past have changed Brobrand..he’s one death away from a complete breakdown.

Beo is a man torn. He misses his wife and the events surrounding her death still haunt him, although there’s a potential love on the cards for him in this tale. You can really tell how hard this must be for him.. he loves his wife.. but he yearns for physical love..I feel he’s lost so much he just needs someone by his side, to keep him warm, to make him feel alive..and to give him something to live for.

While performing his duties for King Oswald Beo still has his own issues to deal with.. namely Nelda and Torran who don’t seem to want to give up on the idea of vengeance any time soon.

The plot for this one really was brilliant, there are lots of strands to the tale to make it wonderfully full and complex but so well written it’s effortless to follow and understand.

One of the highlights for me was how well the author dealt with changing attitudes towards religion and medicine. There are some really great scenes with one of my favourites Coenred but if I say any more it will really ruin the enjoyment for you.

The major thing I really like is Harffy’s ability to remind you of the events of the previous books..even just mentioning the name Cathryn brings me back to the first book in the series.. the emotions I felt at the time flowing back.

This is the best yet from Harffy, who has put so much time into crafting and developing such a rich and invigorating tale.. more than once I gritted my teeth and shouted obscenities in my head (I don’t like to swear while on public transport 🙂 ). I’ve really been taken into the series and credit to the author I really care about how things play out.. from the moment I open the book the world around me shuts off and the only thing that exists is this wonderfully brutal and harsh world Beo lives in.

I must admit towards the end of the tale I wasn’t sure if Beo could make it out alive or not..there’s some brilliant twists to this tale and fans of Harffy will know anything is possible…I had my hand over my mouth a number of times thinking it was the end for Beobrand.

I’m excited to see what the author comes up with next but at the same time I’m truly scared. I don’t want this series to end..

Overall this is a whopper of a book, Harffy builds on his well-developed characters and throws in a super plot. It’s the brutal dark gloomy tale we expect for Beo but the author always leaves you with that feeling that Beo can right the wrongs that have been done and that although he can’t change the past there is always hope.. Things can in time.. hopefully..get better..

Let’s wait and see.


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Author info:

Matthew Harffy is the author of the Bernicia Chronicles, a series of novels set in seventh century Britain. The first of the series, The Serpent Sword, was published by Aria/Head of Zeus on 1st June 2016. The sequel, The Cross and The Curse was released on 1st August 2016. Book three, Blood and Blade, was released on 1st December 2016.

Book info and links:

The Serpent Sword, The Cross and the Curse and Blood and Blade are available on Amazon, Kobo, Google Play, and all good online bookstores.

Killer of Kings and Kin of Cain are available for pre-order on Amazon and all good online bookstores.

Contact links:

Website: www.matthewharffy.com

Twitter: @MatthewHarffy

Facebook: MatthewHarffyAuthor