Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Come A Little Closer – Rachel Abbott #BlogTour #GuestPost #BookReview

The publication of another DCI Tom Douglas always provokes excitement and so I was thrilled to take part on the BlogTour to promote its publication on 15 February 2018.

Before we get to my review of the latest thrilling episode Rachel Abbott kindly agreed to tell me about her last five reads – spookily so many of these, well all in fact, also sit on my own bookshelf. How many are on yours?

My Last Five Reads by Rachel Abbott

I have just finished a book called Hell Bay by the wonderful Kate Rhodes. I have been a fan of her books for a number of years, and nobody gives a better sense of place or character than this author. The body of a teenage girl is washed up on the shore of a small island in the Scilly Isles and a new detective – DI Ben Kitto – is asked to investigate. I suspect this is not the last we will see of Kitto – I certainly hope not.

 

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell is another of my recent reads. Such a clever plot, and the strands slowly come together to a dramatic conclusion. It’s another story about a teenage girl who goes missing, but ten years later, when her mother has given up all hope of finding Ellie, she meets a new man and her heart almost stops when she meets his daughter. She is the image of Ellie. It is rare when a thriller also breaks your heart, but this one does just that.

This book isn’t out until April, but it’s available for pre-order now. I was lucky enough to be able to get a pre-release copy. As with all books by Sharon Bolton, one of my favourite authors, The Craftsman delivers compulsive reading. Dark and disturbing, it is the story of a Larry Glassbrook who confesses to a series of child murders. But now he is dead, and the young policewoman who originally arrested him returns to the scene. Did she get it wrong all those years ago, or is history about to repeat itself?

Although there is nothing current about this book, I recently reread Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. I was asked to run a workshop on How to Write Suspense, and I wanted to use examples from a single book. Rebecca was the first novel to come to mind, and reading it with the specific purpose of focusing on the language was a wonderful experience. I have always loved the story – which I suspect needs no introduction to readers of this blog – but this time I enjoyed it for du Maurier’s amazing choice of words.

One of the books I have been looking forward to since I first heard of it is Anatomy of a Scandal (and what a brilliant title!). It is the story of a junior Home Office minister, James, who is accused of rape by one of this colleagues. The point of view shifts between James, his wife and the prosecuting barrister, and author Sarah Vaughan manages to combine all the elements of a psychological thriller with a tense and exciting court room drama. It was certainly worth waiting for; the plot twists and turns to the very end.

 

All I can say is that Rachel Abbott has very good taste in books!

My Review

Crime Fiction
5*s

Well we are already up to number seven in the DCI Tom Douglas and all I can say is Rachel Abbott keeps coming up with original ideas for our dear detective to solve. This book is dark and yet delicious.

I’ll admit I was a tad confused at the beginning. First there is a dead body in a twitcher’s hide with no clue how she got there, next there a young woman is jetting away from her awful boyfriend to visit Myanmar in memory of her dearly missed grandfather and lastly and most confusingly there are some women, who don’t talk and listen for footsteps. All very weird and if I didn’t trust Rachel Abbott as much as I do, I’d swear she’d lost the plot so to speak. Fortunately she hasn’t, it’s all under control, careful control with more than a dash of inspirational writing.

As always I was drawn into the story, ok I might not have had a clue what was unfolding but that doesn’t mean that each separate strand wasn’t compelling in its own right and I was more than happy to follow wherever it took me. Well that was a mistake, this book freaked me out! This author knows how to pull the spook out of the bag without any warning. Give me blood and gore any day to something that is completely crazy on one level, but absolutely believable on another. This is all the harder because the book is jam-packed full of action and so you barely have time to catch your breath following revelations in one strand when you are hit with something big in another strand.

As you can probably tell, I’m not able to give much away of what the plot consists of as that would entirely spoil the surprise for you. What I can say is we have the same characters in the Manchester CID. Becky is pregnant and not willing to sit back and watch Tom have all the excitement, the junior officer is a clever cookie and will clearly go far sitting back and putting the clues together to move the investigation forward and the chief is still urging Tom to attend meetings about crime figures. The other characters are brilliantly drawn with Ian the awful boyfriend being a composition of men you will have met in your lifetime however lucky you’ve been. Callie his girlfriend is far too nice but just finding the guts to do what she wants, hence the solo trip to Myanmar. The women in the shadows are also real women, once they speak, underlining one of the trademarks of these books that even the minor characters are not skimped. The look and behave as people you meet do. Ok so hopefully the people you meet aren’t in quite so much danger, but you know what I mean.

If you’re reading this series you really don’t want to miss out on this episode, it starts well and builds into such a crescendo it had me gasping for breath. If you aren’t reading this series and you enjoy brilliant crime fiction, why not?

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Rachel for providing me with an advance review copy of Come A Little Closer and for agreeing to provide an insight into her own reading habits. This unbiased review is my thank you to her.

First Published UK: 15 February 2018
Publisher: Black Dot Publishing Ltd
No of Pages: 406
Genre: Crime Fiction – Series
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Discover Rachel Abbott here

Web : http://www.rachel-abbott.com
Blog: rachelabbottwriter.com
Twitter: @RachelAbbott
Facebook: RachelAbbott1Writer
Video: https://vimeo.com/253996703

 

The Rachel Abbott DCI Tom Douglas Books in order:

Only The Innocent
The Back Road
Sleep Tight
Stranger Child
Nowhere Child (Novella)
Kill Me Again
The Sixth Window

Posted in Weekly Posts

WWW Wednesday (September 25)

WWW Wednesday green

Hosted by  Miz B at Should be Reading

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading Equilibrium by Evie Woolmore

I am about half-way through this book and despite my fear that this wouldn’t be for me. I am really enjoying it. The stage act of the mediums in the early twentieth century is fascinating and I have got caught up in trying to work out what happened to Dacre, Lady Amelia’s brother. This is a fantastic bargain at 99p on Amazon.co.uk

Equilibrium

Epiphany and Martha are sisters with a stage mediumship act in Edwardian London. When they are asked to give a private spiritualist reading at the home of Lady Adelia Lyward to find out the truth about her brother’s death, Martha must face up to her past. For two years ago, her affair with Lord Rafe Lyward ended in pregnant disgrace, and her attempted suicide in the River Thames. But there is more at stake than Martha’s anonymous return, for Epiphany bears the burden of restoring the equilibrium, not just to the Lywards but to her sister and ultimately to herself.

The Historical Novel Society review “recommends “Equilibrium” to readers who enjoy historical fiction with spiritualist influences.” Amazon

Find more about the other books Evie Woolmore has written here

I have just finished The Bridesmaid by Jenny Scotti which features the murder of a 16 girl in an English village populated by the worst kind of villagers

The Bridesmaid

Click on the cover to read my review

Next I plan to read The Last Boat by John F. Hanley. This book is based in Jersey at the time of the German Occupation and follows on from his first book Against the Tide.

The Last Boat
Read a little bit more about these books and the author by clicking on the book cover

Posted in Weekly Posts

Musing Mondays (September 23)

musingmondays51 Hosted by Should Be Reading

Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…

• Describe one of your reading habits. • Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s). • What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!  • Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it. • Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us! • Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

 

Earlier this week I read a great post from Musings From A Book Mammal which I am now going to shamelessly borrow as the basis of my Musing Mondays.

Which Reading Species Are YOU?

This chart was originally and creatively produced by  Laura E. Kelly with this graphic. (Click to view at original large size.)

What Species of Reader Are You?--Infographic

Visit Laura-e-Kelly.com for more about books, reading, and authors.

Here is where I come on the chart, what about you?

Domain: Readers
Class: Book Lover
Family: Compulsive
Genus: Book Cherisher (Books as love objects cherished)

  • The Book Worshiper – if I lend you a book, don’t return it to me with the spine creased, pages turned down or bits of unidentifiable food trapped between the pages.  I only lend books to those I trust ever since one of my much loved books had clearly been treated to an unwanted bath!
  • The Hoarder – I have way too many books to read (especially since I got a kindle 3 years ago!)
  • The Chronological Reader – I don’t understand how anyone can skip to the end.  I rarely DNR a book and that is usually because I have picked something with a subject I don’t like.  I prefer to read a series of books in order but have become a little more relaxed around this recently but once I find one I like it is back to the beginning and keep going until they have all been read!

Situational

  • Omnireader – I do find myself reading all sorts of things if I don’t have a book to hand, including the backs of packets of food.
  • The Book Swagger – this has developed more recently where older books that I wanted to read, get pushed down the list as the real prize is reading those that only a few other people have read. Even more so if they are free leaving me more money to fill my kindle with books I don’t have time to read!!
  • The Kindle Convert – I still love physical books, I love the crispness of a brand new book, I like lending my books (as long as they go to people who will care for them) and I like having them on my shelf but…. for reading everywhere and anywhere the kindle is just so handy and I would be so sad if anything ever happened to it.

Social

  • The Sharer Screamer -I have been known to leave books in places where others can pick them up to read but again this has lessened with the advent of the kindle.  I share good books with those friends I have who love reading and of course on my blog!

Prestige

  • None of the suggested I guess I love a good story and really don’t care what it says about  me.

So which type of reader are YOU?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Teaser Tuesday (September 17)

Teasing Tuesday CB

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My current read is Teatime for the Firefly by Shona Patel

Teatime for the Firefly

Blurb

My name is Layla and I was born under an unlucky star. For a young girl growing up in India, this is bad news. But everything began to change for me one spring day in 1943, when three unconnected incidents, like tiny droplets on a lily leaf, tipped and rolled into one. It was that tiny shift in the cosmos, I believe, that tipped us together-me and Manik Deb.

Layla Roy has defied the fates. Despite being born under an inauspicious horoscope, she is raised to be educated and independent minded by her eccentric Anglophile grandfather, Dadamoshai. And, by cleverly manipulating the hand fortune has dealt her, she has even found love with Manik Deb-a man betrothed to another. All were minor miracles in India that spring of 1943, when young women’s lives were predetermined-if not by the stars, then by centuries of family tradition and social order.

My quotes

The question choked in my throat but I had to ask. “Do you…? Have you…?” Words failed me.

Besides, he had lived on his own for a long time in England, and I doubt whether he spent all that time drinking tea and playing croquet. I still found it unbearable to imagine him with another woman. Let alone a whore.

Due to be published 24 September 2013 this book has surprised me, it is so much more than I was expecting.

Posted in My book problem, Weekly Posts

Musing Monday (September 16)

musingmondays51

Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week… It is hosted by shouldbereading.wordpress.com

• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

My Monday ramble is about the number of books I own and haven’t read. My thoughts turned to organising my bookshelves when I saw that there was a book challenge from love2readalways.blogspot.com. to clean out your e-reader.

I have spent a good portion of my weekend feeling organising, feeling guilty and so here is a post part confession and part dealing with my problem!

confessions

I have lots of books on my kindle that haven’t been read and sorted by genre only
I have no idea how much I paid or what they cost now
I also have books on my bookshelves, in cupboards, bags and other hidey holes that remain unread
I keep buying more kindle books
I keep buying more physical books
Until today I couldn’t face up to the size of my problem

Starting on Saturday I loaded an excel spread sheet and set to work to find out the magnitude of books to be read.

The verdict I have 48 unread kindle books dating back to October 2010
I have 32 unread physical books dating back to I really don’t know
The kindle books would cost £149.22 at today’s prices (good news is I got them for £67.33)

Realistically these 80 books will take me until the end of July 2014 if I don’t read anything else. That would mean no ARC’s and no author reviews; too sad to contemplate. Instead I have taken a few measures to tackle the problem as a compromise.

I have signed up to clean out your e-reader challenge and identified 9 books to be read in November

Clean out your e-reader Challenge
Click here to join up too

I have also sorted out 11 of the physical books and put them on one shelf in the bedroom. These I will read before the end of the year.

Pictures books to read

The next step is to exercise some willpower. I am not going to stop reading blogs and coming across books I want to read but I can’t buy every book.

Temptation

I will not order anything else from my TBR, not even if they are in the daily deal, identified as a price drop on http://uk.ereaderiq.com/ or for any other reason than I am going to read them within the next couple of days.

I will start sorting out the TBR over the next week or so and removing books I don’t really want to avoid the price drop temptation.
I will make proper notes on why I want a book so that I can review these lists regularly.

As penance I will listen to any other book confessions that need to be made by other’s with a similar affliction.

I have two bags of books to donate to the charity shop so someone else can enjoy them.

bags of books

Posted in Weekly Posts

Musing Monday (September 9)

musingmondays51 Hosted by Should be Reading

Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…

• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

This week I’m musing about the use of Family History as Fiction; This genre combines two of my interests in one:

It I have traced some of my ancestors mainly through tracking them back through the UK Census using birth, marriage and death certificates to add a little flesh to the bones of this 10 year glimpse at their lives. I often wonder what their lives were really like. How did my Great-Grandmother cope at the age of 24 when she realised she was pregnant and unmarried at the turn of the century?  Funnily enough this wasn’t passed down in the oral history I’d been told by my beloved Grandmother. Oh, I knew that Rose, her mother, had married a man who had been widowed and was 20 years older than she was. No-one said that she married him 6 months to the day after his first wife had died and my Great-Aunt was born less than 4 months after that – I did the maths! I’m sure the internet has uncovered many such secrets from the past leaving those of us in the present to imagine the back-story.

I digress; Dan Waddell who wrote the tie-in the to the popular family history program Who Do You Think You Are then wrote his first novel, The Blood Detective, (nominated for he CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger, the Macavity Debut Novel award in the USA and the Cezam Prix Littéraire in France.)

The Blood Detective
Blurb

As dawn breaks over London, the body of a young man is discovered in a windswept Notting Hill churchyard. The killer has left Detective Chief Inspector Grant Foster and his team a grisly, cryptic clue…
However it’s not until the clue is handed to Nigel Barnes, a specialist in compiling family trees, that the full message becomes spine-chillingly clear. For it leads Barnes back more than one hundred years – to the victim of a demented Victorian serial killer…
When a second body is discovered Foster needs Barnes’s skills more than ever. Because the murderer’s clues appear to run along the tangled bloodlines that lie between 1879 and now. And if Barnes is right about his blood-history, the killing spree has only just begun…
From the author of the bestselling Who Do You Think You Are? comes a haunting crime novel of blood-stained family histories and gruesome secrets. . .

He then followed up with Blood Atonement, featuring the same central characters, genealogist Nigel Barnes and DCI Grant Foster.

Blood Atonement

Blurb

Katie Drake was an affluent single mother living in Queen’s Park – until someone cut her throat and tore out her tongue. Worse still, the killer has abducted her fourteen-year-old daughter, Naomi.
Detective Chief Inspector Grant Foster quickly sees chilling parallels with the disappearance of teenager Leonie Stamey three years earlier. With hopes fading of finding Naomi alive, he calls on genealogist Nigel Barnes to piece together the links between the families of the two girls.
The trail leads Nigel back to 1890, when a young couple arrived in the UK. A husband and wife fleeing a terrible crime in their past, and harbouring a secret that’s now having bloody repercussions in the present …

Read more about Dan Waddell on his website http://www.danwaddell.net/

This led me to seek out other books in this genre and I came across Steve Robinson’s first book featuring Jefferson Tate. JT, to his friends is the genealogist who doesn’t know his own past but goes on thrilling adventures to find the truth in the past. His first adventure was within the pages of In the Blood

In the Blood

The story starts with American genealogist Jefferson Tayte, JT, having to board a plane to Heathrow before catching a train to Cornwall in order to complete an assignment for a client’s birthday, only problem is he is scared of flying. It took a while to get into the story as early on we are introduced to the Fairborne family boarding the boat, Betsy Rose, in America to sail to England in 1783. Once the JT had to Cornwall the parts from the past linked well with the many twists and turns happening.

JT is portrayed as a likeable character desperate to do a good job with integrity. There is quite a large cast of characters to get to know both in the past and in the present, and some of those baddies are really bad!!

This book is well written; it has a lot going for it and I would love to follow JT on his next adventure and maybe find his birth family in the process.

The second episode To the Grave and is set in World War II. This one is my favourite, possibly because of the time period.

To the Grave

Our American Genealogist Jefferson Tayte aka JT has been employed by Eliza Gray who has received a suitcase with some effects telling her that she was in fact adopted. JT travels to Leicestershire to discover who the mysterious Mena Lasseter was. The story of Mena is based towards the end of the war in 1944/45 but the current day story has just as much, if not more to offer.

The characters are well drawn and Mena’s story is an emotional one but at the same time there is a lot of intrigue in the present day. JT finds himself in danger but who wants to cover up what happened all those years ago.

This is a stand-alone story however I would suggest reading Steve Robinson’s previous book first. As before the genealogical angle is covered accurately but not laboriously so it only serves to enhance the story not get in the way of it.

This emotional, thrilling tale thoroughly deserves 5 stars, I can’t wait for the next one.

The latest book is called the Last Queen of England

The Last Queen of England
This time the story revolves around Queen Anne and the Jacobites, a period in history that I didn’t know much about. Jefferson Tayte meets his old mentor, Marcus Brown and soon there is a murder and a puzzle to be solved. This is a fast paced story with JT getting into all sorts of difficult situations as he races to finish what his friend had started.

The beauty of Steve Robinson’s books are they can all be read as stand-alone books as they are all so different. Each one is written in an engaging way with JT being a rounded likable character. In this outing we are introduced to Jean, another strong, well-defined character who adds a different dimension to JT and one that I am hoping stays for the next instalment.

To give the reader a history lesson in a way that enhances and doesn’t interfere with the story indicates what a good writer the author is. A thoroughly good read particularly for anyone interested in genealogy and history.

I love JT and was thrilled that Steve Robinson has got a signed contract with Amazon Publishing even though it may mean a slight delay in the next book. Read more about JT and Steve Robinson on his website http://ancestryauthor.blogspot.co.uk/

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

The House We Grew Up In – Lisa Jewell

Perfect Storytelling 5 *
Women’s Fiction
5*

I switched on my kindle with eager anticipation to read the latest offering from Lisa Jewell; there is a very special feeling when you just know from reading the very first words that what lies ahead is 400 pages of pure enjoyment.

The book tells the story of the Bird family who lived in a beautiful house in a Cotswold village. The family comprised a mother Lorelei, a father Colin and four children; two girls followed by twin boys, and on Easter Sunday they had an Easter Egg Hunt in the garden. In 1981 the eldest daughter Megan is 10 and along with her cousins celebrates one such idyllic day but as the reader already knows that in April 2011 Megan has turned up at the beautiful house with her eldest daughter who declares `This is the worst house I have ever seen’

The reader finds out what happened in the intervening years with flashbacks to Easter’s between 1981 and 2011, as well as being privy to Lorelei’s emails to her friend which started in November 2010. In short a great deal happens to change everyone; there are many issues covered including bereavement, mental illness, suicide, adultery as well as the big one, relationships. All are sensitively handled, cleverly illustrating the different ways the characters deal with events both at the time and how they feel about them years later. All these events meant that the book was a real page turner where I found myself wondering what else could happen to the lovely family I first read about.

I think the reason why I love Lisa Jewell’s books so much is her characters, always real and just like real people my opinion and allegiance can change as you find out more about them. This has to be my favourite of all time, something I believe I stated after reading her last book, Before I Met You! I would suggest this to anyone who loves a good story. This is the type of story which leaves you bereft that it is finished

Other Books by Lisa Jewell
Before I Met You (19 Jul 2012)
The Making of Us (12 May 2011)
After the Party (15 Dec 2010)
The Truth About Melody Browne (15 Dec 2010)
31 Dream Street (3 Apr 2008)
Vince and Joy: The Love Story of a Lifetime (4 Aug 2005)
A Friend of the Family (4 Aug 2005)
One-hit Wonder (25 Apr 2003)
Thirtynothing (7 Sep 2000)
Ralph’s Party (6 May 1999)

The Making of Us

Before I Met You