Category Archives: Book Reviews

Blood Moon by John David Bethel – Review

Title – Blood Moon
Author – John David Bethel
Genre – Crime Thriller
Length – 451 Pages
Publication – December 2016
My Rating – 4/5 Stars

Synopsis

On a hot, steamy afternoon in Miami, Cuban-American businessman Recidio Suarez is brutally beaten and abducted. Handcuffed, shackled and blindfolded, he has no idea why he has been targeted. What he discovers is heart-stopping. What he endures during almost a month of captivity compares only to the most horrendous stories of prisoners of war. He is tortured, and under the threat of death, and worse – the rape of his wife and torture of his children – Suarez is forced to hand over his multi-million dollar holdings to his captors.

Suarez survives and then spends the next few months staying one step ahead of the murderous pack. During this time, he and his lawyer, Nolan Stevens – a former Special Agent in Charge of the Miami Office of the FBI – are having difficulties convincing the Miami-Dade Police Department that a crime has been committed. Their efforts are complicated by Steven’s difficult history with the head of the MDPD Special Investigations Division, who is not interested in pursuing the case.

Review

Blood Moon is an intense thriller. Although the tale is a work of fiction it’s based on real events which made for a gripping tale as you didn’t really know which aspects were fact and which fiction.. it didn’t bother me not knowing..it just had the cogs in my mind ticking trying to imagine what it must have been like living any of the events portrayed in the book.

So the story follows Suarez who is kidnapped and forced to give everything up..his money, his house, his entire life basically. Suarez quickly works out there’s going to be no way they will let him leave alive..they want to get every last penny out of him they can and they will do anything for it.

What we get is a rather engrossing read but at times disturbing with its gruesomeness. What I really enjoyed was the reality hit you get.. the descriptiveness  of the mental and physical torture and also the lasting effects this has on Suarez, mind and body.. this really did make the story real to me.

As a reader I did feel frustrated at how no one put the pieces together, banks, friends and family etc but I think it shows the personal touch to life I feel we’ve lost over the years.. as long as something doesn’t affect them they continue along the same path. Suarez’s wife does believe her husband is in trouble but she just doesn’t know how bad things are and with her trust issues regarding the police I understood why she didn’t raise the alarm.

I must admit by the end of the book I really enjoyed the character of his wife she develops an exciting edge to her in the later stages of the tale.

There’s some really good twists in this tale that kept me hooked, after Suarez narrowly escapes death you’re invested in his recovery and you’ll find yourself exasperated with the lack of support he gets from those who should be helping him.. luckily his family and a close friend Nolan Stevens know he wouldn’t lie and help him come to terms a little with what has happened and set him on the path to get justice.

Before reading the book I sort of had ideas on how the plot would progress.. the end result was nothing like my thoughts, the events are so unexpected and dark but so riveting.  It’s that reality check moment again.. since the story is based on a real crime you sort of don’t want to love/enjoy the story as you feel a little bad but you do.. it’s certainly got some wow moments that stick with you.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

Scent of Death by Jonathan Ross – Review 

Title – Scent of Death
Author – Jonathan Ross
Genre – Thriller
Length – 310 Pages
Publication – 15th June 2017
My Rating – 4/5 Stars

Synopsis

James Goodwin uses his olfactory equivalent of perfect pitch to sniff out people’s emotions, from love to malice. He earns a handy living by uncovering corporate cheats, but he’s growing bored. When billionaire Garth Cotton asks him to cook up the world’s first love potion, James first smells a grand challenge, and accepts. But once on the high seas in Cotton’s mega-yacht, James smells treachery. He sniffs out secrets that land him and Cotton’s dazzling assistant, Samantha Heartgrave, on a timeline to death. To save himself and Samantha, James must exercise his gift of smell in ways he never dreamed possible.

Review

Scent of Death was a rather riveting read. I really enjoyed the plot and that the main character uses his gift of smell to earn a living.

James is bored of the same old work and is looking to challenge himself. When he’s offered the chance to help create the first true love potion he jumps at the chance without any thought.

What happens next is that impulsive decision comes back to haunt him. Garth Cotton isn’t all he seems.

James has been brought in solely to help make the love potion that has already been created smell appealing, in its current form no one would buy it, so from the off he clashes with the scientist who created the scent who resents James’s presence and involvement.

We also meet Samantha who James can’t figure out.. she’s a tough cookie to crack even for James.

Over time James comes to the conclusion he’s not going to get out of this alive but he doesn’t get much chance to get away.

It’s a fast paced tale which has an exciting, action packed ending.

What this author certainly does well is write the high octane story. It’s the spy action thriller without the spy.. you get average Joe Bloggs..well average as in not trained with weapons etc.

Overall its well written easy read, nice characters with fast but decent development with an unexpected but really enjoyable plot that is very intriguing indeed.

Here’s the blog exclusive, I reviewed for this author last year – The Jumbee’s Daughter. Now I enjoyed the tale but I thought things progressed a little fast at times. This story just felt better, the plot tighter. Yes there’s still a couple of times I felt things moved a bit fast for my taste but this book was much more my cup of tea, the development was just better. There was nothing wrong with the previous book but overall this book just ticked more boxes for me.

One thing I always try to do is support authors. While I received a free copy of the book for review I really enjoyed what to me is development from the author so I was very happy to purchase a copy myself today to celebrate the release.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

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/

The House at Divoro by Charlotte E. English – Review

Title – The House at Divoro (The Malykant Mysteries Book 7)
Author – Charlotte E. English
Genre – Fantasy
Length – 155 Pages
Publication – May 2017
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Konrad Savast is the Malykant: foremost and most secret servant of the God of Death. His job? To track down the foulest of murderers and bring them to The Malykt’s Justice. No mercy. No quarter.

When Nanda shows up with a pressing invitation to a post-Solstice house party, Konrad is unenthusiastic. Eino Holt, their host, might have a taste for theatricals, but Konrad emphatically does not.

But then a corpse turns up, mutilated and hidden in a pantry cupboard. Konrad soon learns that the house at Divoro harbours many a dark secret…

Dark fantasy meets classic murder mystery in this seventh installment of Charlotte E. English’s Malykant Mysteries.

Review

Oh how I love Konrad.. I’m so glad we have another story to read. First off I must say the covers for the series keep getting better and for me fit the tale perfectly.

Followers of my reviews will know I’m a big fan of Charlotte’s work. She has to be my favourite writer so the bar is always set high.

Well once again she’s leapt over the bar set by the previous tale and has given me the best one yet.

What English always seems to get spot on for me is the balance between story and character development. In a short tale it’s not easy to make you enjoy the characters but English does just that, building on previous tales but at the same time a reader could easily pick the series up from here as we are given just the right amount of background info when setting up the scenes that it’s easy to understand the relationships between the main characters.

My favourite line of the book has to be “it was bad because he felt as fresh as an aged pair of socks, and approximately as lively” – Sounds like me most days ha

As I’ve said this is the best tale yet, English easily keeps the series fresh and interesting and I love the continuing development of Konrad. He doesn’t like to give much away but he’s a loveable character.

In this tale, as usual a body is found..but there’s a few strange twists that leave you thinking “What?” or “How?”. It’s these twists and turns that keep you hooked.

Again what I’ve always loved about the authors work is  the writing itself.. Never dumbed down but never overly complex, it might be a dark tale but the writing is suitable for young and old alike.

The suspense was killing me with this one right till the end and the page count means you can easily get sucked in and read this in one sitting or over two.

Konrad struggles  in the tale more than the last to keep his secret life just that..a secret so it was a great chance to see him put his different personas to use.

I can’t write a review on this book without mentioning Optapi and Eetapi, Konrad’s serpents who help him in his role as the Malykant, their dark humour makes them quirky and fun and I love when they show up. It’s a strange relationship between them and Konrad and for me it’s the best thing about the series..after the plot of course 🙂

The Malykant series is rather unique in my opinion. I’ve read nothing like it before and I just can’t get enough.

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

Catherine of Braganza: Charles II’s Restoration Queen by Sarah-Beth Watkins – Review

Title – Catherine of Braganza: Charles II’s Restoration Queen
Author – Sarah-Beth Watkins
Genre – Historical
Length – 168 Pages
Publication – April 2017
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Catherine of Braganza, a Portuguese princess, married Charles II in 1662 and became the merry monarch’s Restoration queen. Yet life for her was not so merry – she put up with the king’s many mistresses and continuous plots to remove her from the throne. She lived through times of war, plague and fire. Catherine’s marriage saw many trials and tribulations including her inability to produce an heir. Yet Charles supported his queen throughout the Restoration, remaining devoted to her no matter what. Outliving her husband, she ended up back in her home country and spent her final days as queen-regent of Portugal.

Review

I’m no historian I’ll admit but I’ve really wanted to learn more over the last few years. What Watkins gets perfect for a reader like me is she manages to make a historical character come to life. There’s lots of facts to take in but you don’t feel bogged down or bored at any point, it’s all relevant and interesting.

Once again Watkins manages to introduce me to someone I’ve heard of but knew very little..and it’s a very compelling tale indeed.. Catherine didn’t have things easy in her life.

The years with Charles were tough..he wanted an heir that she just couldn’t provide and the author manged to convey the struggle she must have been going through. Charles’s treatment of Catherine at times was harsh and scandalous but at others he showed his loyalty to her.

Catherine does her best to fit in at the English court despite the obvious hatred some held for her, she must have been a very strong woman indeed.

Overall it’s a very captivating tale. There’s plots galore and mistresses as you’d expect from the time but the tale really does open your eyes to someone we should really know more about..too many people in history are overshadowed..Catherine should not be one of them.

If you enjoy fact more than fiction give this book a go and if indeed you prefer fiction I still suggest you read the book. I never would have thought I would enjoy a tale such as this, a biography, “where’s the action” I always thought..but how wrong I was. It’s full of excitement and so much more.

Sarah-Beth Watkins definitely makes me want to read/learn more history.. there’s so much out there to explore.

My thanks go to Chronos Books for providing a copy of the book for review.

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

Insurrectio by Alison Morton – Review

Title – Insurrectio (Roma Nova #5)
Author – Alison Morton
Genre – Historical Thriller
Length – 276 Pages
Publication – April 2016
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

‘The second fall of Rome?’

Aurelia Mitela, ex-Praetorian and imperial councillor in Roma Nova, scoffs at her intelligence chief when he throws a red file on her desk. But 1980s Roma Nova, the last province of the Roman Empire that has survived into the twentieth century, has problems – a ruler frightened of governing, a centuries-old bureaucracy creaking for reform and, worst of all, a rising nationalist movement with a charismatic leader.

Horrified when her daughter is brutally attacked in a demonstration turned riot, Aurelia tries to rally resistance to the growing fear and instability. But it may already be too late to save Roma Nova from meltdown and herself from entrapment and destruction by her lifelong enemy…

Review

Have you read Aurelia yet? The previous book in the series. If not click here to read my review – Aurelia (Roma Nova #4)

When we left Aurelia a lot had happened to her and I wondered how easy it would be for her to pick up the pieces.. well now we know. Some time has passed since the events with Caius Tellus and Aurelia has settled down to her role in Roma Nova well. She’s enjoying life albeit a stressful one, a daughter who is coming of age and a partner who yearns to be free of life’s constraints. She juggles this life and work balance well until she finds out Caius is due to be released!

Caius quickly worms his way into Aurelia’s life again by using his charm on the ruler of Roma Nova..Aurelia does everything in her power to rid herself of this man but he’s as slippery as they come.

There’s the added stress of the rising nationalist movement who believe men are being oppressed. I particularly loved this role reversal from what we see reported in the news today.

What I really enjoy about the authors work is that even though the story has a strong female lead and is very focused on how capable women are in general at no point do I feel it’s a dig at men at all, more a celebration of women.

This is a more brutal tale than the last, more death and at times the pain is very close to home for Aurelia. I wasn’t sure how she could continue..but push on she does.

There’s some great scenes in this book between Caius and Aurelia which leave others to wonder who’s side is Aurelia really on, but we know..she would never side with the likes of him..but she needs to earn the trust of individuals in this book which gave her some vulnerability which suited the tale perfectly and it was a joy to read.

The book definitely picks the pace up as events don’t just affect Aurelia now.. they threaten Roma Nova itself and some very powerful people have been removed..what can Aurelia do??

It’s a historical fiction/political thriller, lots of twists with brilliant development of the characters. Some of which we may not see again..or will we?? I hope so.

Morton ticks all the boxes for me, suspense, action, love, death, pain and anguish and one hell of a lead character who is very likeable.

Looking at the book in general one for the other things I love is it’s neither too short or too long for my tastes and the pacing of the tale means it develops quickly but with what feels a natural progression rather than forced.

Super tale to read. Have a look!

My thanks go to th author for the chance to read/review her work. Certainly an author I’ll keep an eye on.

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

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.