Thursday, 25 August 2016

Play Dead by Angela Marsons

Bookouture (14 May 2016)

The Blurb . . .

The dead don’t tell secrets… unless you listen.

The girl’s smashed-in face stared unseeing up to the blue sky, soil spilling out of her mouth. A hundred flies hovered above the bloodied mess.

Westerley research facility is not for the faint-hearted. A ‘body farm’ investigating human decomposition, its inhabitants are corpses in various states of decay. But when Detective Kim Stone and her team discover the fresh body of a young woman, it seems a killer has discovered the perfect cover to bury their crime.

Then a second girl is attacked and left for dead, her body drugged and mouth filled with soil. It’s clear to Stone and the team that a serial killer is at work – but just how many bodies will they uncover? And who is next?

As local reporter, Tracy Frost, disappears, the stakes are raised. The past seems to hold the key to the killer’s secrets – but can Kim uncover the truth before a twisted, damaged mind claims another victim …?

My thoughts . . .

Play Dead sees the return of D.I. Kim Stone in this superbly written, fourth instalment of the series, in which Stone and her team are sent to visit the local 'body farm' where they discover the body of a recently murdered young woman. As the investigation continues and the body count grows, Kim must uncover the past to determine the future and stop one of her personal nemesis' becoming a victim.

As always, told in the third person, the chapters are well thought out and detailed enough to make the book work as a stand alone novel, but not overly repetitive with details from previous books that serial readers are bored. In fact, Marsons manages to add something new to the back stories in all her books, building on the depth of the characters and making you fall in love with them a little more with each book you read.

I quite simply adore Marsons writing, she makes me laugh, cry, gasp out loud in surprise and leaves me breathless with her plot twists and turns.

Her books are phenomenal and Play Dead is no exception, it is an utterly awesome read with shockingly brilliant, stomach churning twists and heart-breaking revelations, you are in for an absolute treat with this one.

I could write pages and pages about Angela's books (just look at my other reviews!), I really could, but the fact is, they are brilliant, in every way, shape and form, so just go and buy them, read them and I promise you will not be sorry!

I would like to thank the publishers Bookouture and Net Galley for providing with a copy in exchange for my honest review.

About the author . . .

Angela Marsons is the author of Amazon #1 Bestseller SILENT SCREAM.

She lives in the Black Country with her partner, their bouncy Labrador and a swearing parrot.

She first discovered her love of writing at Junior School when actual lessons came second to watching other people and quietly making up her own stories about them. Her report card invariably read "Angela would do well if she minded her own business as well as she minds other people's".

After years of writing relationship based stories (My Name Is and The Middle Child) Angela turned to Crime, fictionally speaking of course, and developed a character that refused to go away.

She is signed to for a total of 8 books. The second, third and fourth books in the Kim Stone series, EVIL GAMES, LOST GIRLS and PLAY DEAD are also now available.

The Taken by Casey Kelleher

Bookouture (5 Oct. 2016)

The Blurb . . .

When you’ve lost everything, you’ll do anything to survive.

Saskia Frost’s world is blown apart when her dad dies. Without any family, she’s on her own now and up to her eyeballs in her father’s debts. He owed a lot of money to some very dangerous men – Joshua and Vincent Harper. Before long, aspiring ballerina Saskia finds herself lap-dancing in a London club to survive. A club run by the infamous Harper brothers. Saskia is now their property and they’re going to make her pay every penny back.

Teenager Lena Cona has fled a cruel and controlling marriage. She arrives in England with her newborn daughter, desperately relying on strangers for help. But she soon learns that not everyone can be trusted as she finds herself caught in the clutches of Colin Jefferies, a twisted individual obsessed by his own sinister secrets. As the sickening truth is revealed, Lena is forced to fight for her life - and her baby’s.

When their worlds collide, Lena and Saskia form an unlikely friendship. But with the terrifying Harper brothers on their tail, as well as Lena’s vengeful and violent husband, can they escape with their lives?

My thoughts . . .

The Taken gives us three very different and separate stories which apparently have no connections, however Kelleher delicately and cleverly intertwines them as the story progresses.

Told in the third person, the chapters switch from storyline to storyline smoothly, with the plots being so different that it is easy to distinguish which is which.

The female characters are really well written and I found myself really drawn to Saskia, alone in the world and trying to keep hold of the things she holds dear. A bit of a paradox, she is strong and feisty one minute then shy and scared the next. I loved the gentle similarities between her and Lena and the way in which they eventually bonded through their need to survive.

I personally would have preferred one less storyline to allow for more depth on the other two, however I really did enjoy this book and will be looking for other work from Kelleher in the future.

I'd like to thank the publishers and Net Galley for providing me with a copy in exchange for my honest review.  

About the author . . .

Born in Cuckfield, West Sussex, Casey Kelleher grew up as an avid reader and a huge fan of author Martina Cole.

Whilst working as a beauty therapist and bringing up her three children together with her husband, Casey penned her debut novel Rotten to the Core. Its success meant that she could give up her day job and concentrate on writing full time.

She has since published Rise and Fall, Heartless and her latest release, Bad Blood.

For all news and updates:

Twitter: @caseykelleher

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

The Devil's Work by Mark Edwards

Thomas & Mercer (13 Sept. 2016)

The Blurb . . .

It was the job she had dreamed of since childhood. But on her very first day, when an unnerving encounter drags up memories Sophie Greenwood would rather forget, she wonders if she has made a mistake. A fatal mistake.
What is her ambitious young assistant really up to? And what exactly happened to Sophie’s predecessor? When her husband and daughter are pulled into the nightmare, Sophie is forced to confront the darkest secrets she has carried for years.
As her life begins to fall apart at work and at home, Sophie must race to uncover the truth about her new job…before it kills her.

My thoughts . . .

When Sophie decides to go back to work 4 years after her daughter is born, she can't help but wonder if the work/life balancing act is worth it. Strange things are going on the office, her predecessor with no real explanation, her team are fractured almost immediately and her husband isn't all that keen on the extra hours she is having to put in, nor is her daughter.

I really enjoyed this book, having read some of Edwards' work in the past I was certain this would be a corker, and it didn't let me down. Written in really easy to follow now and then chapters, the pace of this book is fast from the start and doesn't let up until the very last page.

I loved how Edwards' described working in a publishing house! It gives the reader a bit of an insider view as to how this wonderful industry works, although I am certain from his note at the end that your typical publishing house doesn't harbour murderous psychopaths (I hope!).

I found that Sophie was really easy to relate to, especially as a working mother myself, her struggles are so real; the want and need to gain your independence back, to spend the day talking to adults and using your brain again is a situation I too found myself in. Sophie has a real vulnerability about her, she wants the job to work, she's so desperate to succeed and not allow "things" to happen, that at some points she almost comes across as weak and I found myself mentally screaming at her to man up!

But then thinking back to those days of feeling inadequate, of having to continually justify being at work in my head instead of at home I can see exactly why she is like she is - team that with her big secret and well, once that is revealed, you'll understand her a lot better.

The Devil's Work is one of those books I struggle to discuss without giving away the plot twists, but rest assured, Edwards' builds up an intense tale which is very slick and brilliantly written, a total edge of your seat of thriller which will keep you guessing until the very end.

I'd like to thank the author, publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.

About the author . . .

I write psychological thrillers. My influences include writers such as Stephen King, Ira Levin, Ruth Rendell, Ian McEwan, Val McDermid and Donna Tartt and movies like Rosemary's Baby, Single White Female, Fatal Attraction and anything in which scary things happen to ordinary people.

I love hearing from readers and always respond. I can be contacted in the following ways:
Twitter @mredwards

You can download a free box set of 'Short Sharp Shockers' by visiting

THE MAGPIES (2013) and BECAUSE SHE LOVES ME (2014) topped the Kindle chart in the UK, as did FOLLOW YOU HOME (2015) which also was a top five bestseller in the US. My other solo novel is WHAT YOU WISH FOR (2014) and I have one short story, KISSING GAMES, available on Amazon. My next psychological thriller, THE DEVIL'S WORK will be published on 13/9/16.

I have co-written six novels with Louise Voss: CATCH YOUR DEATH (2012; a #1 bestseller), KILLING CUPID (2012), ALL FALL DOWN (2013) and FORWARD SLASH (2013). We are now writing a series featuring DI Patrick Lennon. The first two books are FROM THE CRADLE (2014) and THE BLISSFULLY DEAD (2015). In total, I have sold over 1.5 million copies of my books.

After a career that has taken in everything from answering complaint calls for a rail company to teaching English in Japan and being a marketing director, I now write full-time.

I live in the West Midlands, England, with my wife, our three children and a ginger cat.

Please note: there is another author called Mark Edwards. If a title is not listed on my author page, it's not by me.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Weekly Round Up

Good afternoon lovelies! 

Well what a week I have had, thrown in the deep end with the new job as the lady who is soon to be going on maternity leave is now poorly and has started 6 weeks early! I am enjoying it though and I now know more about CPC training than I knew before! (To be fair I didn't even know it was thing 3 weeks ago!) This job is a means to an end though and will allow me to save towards my proofreading qualifications so I can't grumble about it too much! 

In terms of reading I have had a great week, three books polished off, and all three were great, Saving Sophie by Sam Carrington, The Devil's Work by Mark Edwards and The Taken by Casey Kelleher. 

Saving Sophie is Carrington's debut novel and is a really slick and clever thriller, my review is already up for that little beauty and I will be posting the other two tonight. 

As some of you will already know, I am hosting a charity fundraising event for MacMillan Cancer Support at my local pub on the 10th September. I have been absolutely overwhelmed by the response for donations from some wonderful authors already and please, if anyone else is able to offer anything which will be suitable as a raffle prize, please do get in touch. We raised £1300 last year and I am really hoping to smash that this year! 

I am thinking of mixing things up this week by adding a none crime/thriller book to my blog - top of my TBR at the moment are Play Dead by Angela Marsons and All Fall Down by Tom Bale, but I am undecided as to whether to go with The Woman Who Lost Her Mojo by Carol Wyer or with Melody Bittersweet and the Girls' Ghostbusting Agency by Kitty French - what do you think folks? Which do you recommend? 

Well, back to work now, look out for my new reviews tonight. 

Stay happy, keep safe and keep reading! 

Love Emma xx 

Monday, 8 August 2016

Saving Sophie by Sam Carrington

Maze (12 Aug. 2016)

The Blurb . . .

A teenage girl is missing. Is your daughter involved, or is she next?
Your daughter is in danger. But can you trust her?
When Karen Finch’s seventeen-year-old daughter Sophie arrives home after a night out, drunk and accompanied by police officers, no one is smiling the morning after. But Sophie remembers nothing about how she got into such a state.
Twelve hours later, Sophie’s friend Amy has still not returned home. Then the body of a young woman is found.
Karen is sure that Sophie knows more than she is letting on. But Karen has her own demons to fight. She struggles to go beyond her own door without a panic attack.
As she becomes convinced that Sophie is not only involved but also in danger, Karen must confront her own anxieties to stop whoever killed one young girl moving on to another – Sophie.
A taut psychological thriller, perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train and I Let You Go.

My thoughts . . .

THE best thing about being a book reviewer/blogger is getting my hands on one of those books before anyone else (apart from other lovely fellow bloggers) which make me want to scream from the roof top "Thank God for authors and their creative genius!", those rare ones which make you talk about it like you wrote it yourself, and tell everyone within earshot that no matter what else they do, they need to have this pre-ordered or be stood outside Waterstones four days before publication day like a One D fan at a concert venue.

Saving Sophie, the DEBUT novel - yes that wasn't a typo it really is Sam Carrington's first book - is another one of those books (you've all heard me and still do hear me going on about the brilliance of Louise Jensen's The Sister like a stark raving lunatic, well sorry but I'm about to go full maniac on you with this beauty around too!) that once you have read it, you immediately want to start it again. You get that book hangover, that immediate sense of "Now what do I do?" and this is heading to straight to that particular pile.

The ones we NEVER forget and I can't believe I have been lucky enough to have two land in my kindle over the last couple of months.  

We start by meeting a drunken teenage girl, Sophie, who has had to be escorted home by the police who found her wondering the streets at night. Sophie's mum, Karen, immediately knows something isn't right and begins to probe, realising that there is so much more going on than a few too many vinos.

Then, one of Sophie's friend goes missing, Sophie had been rambling some drunken nonsense about said friend to Karen the night before, was she involved? Or is she in danger? Karen doesn't know, but what she does know is that she will do anything to protect her daughter.

This is an unbelievably remarkably written book, it is such a cliché for us reviewers but it genuinely grips you from the start, it takes hold of you and completely draws you in. I connected with every single character in this, Karen is exactly like the mother I'd like to be and Sophie is the daughter I know I was (and no, I'm not looking forward to my own 2 girls turning into stroppy, secretive, drunk teenagers!). Sophie is so torn, between her loyalty to her friends, her own self preservation and her mothers' suffering and all those feelings jump out of the pages and make you love this lost little girl.

This is a psychological crime thriller in every sense of the words, but one thing that really stood out for me was that there is a clear police involvement, but it's not the focus. It was a really refreshing change to have the police playing the parts of "additional" characters for a change, the focus being completely on Sophie and Karen and their friends. That's not to say the police weren't important or didn't play a part, far from it, they were just as terrifically written as everyone else.

The story is told in chapters depicting a different characters situation at the same time as another's, I really loved that Carrington kept us in the loop with what everyone was up to at the same time (yes I know that doesn't make sense but it will WHEN you read it! - it's not always easy to explain things on paper [screen] you know!)

The fact is, just like Jensen did with The Sister, Carrington has absolutely nailed it with her debut novel, this is one of the most fast paced, plot twisting, edge of your seat, heart stopping, blood freezing books I have ever had the pleasure of reading, I didn't want it to end - my heart is still pounding!    

If you haven't already, pre-order it or get your sleeping bag ready for a night outside Waterstones (other good book shops are also available) to grab your paperback hot off the press!

This an absolute must buy and I am utterly excited to see what else Carrington has for in the future.

I would like to thank the author (a million times), publishers and Net Galley for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.

About the author . . .

Sam Carrington lives in Devon with her husband and three children. She worked for the NHS for 15 years, during which time she qualified as a nurse. Following the completion of a Psychology degree she went to work for the prison service as an Offending Behaviour Programme Facilitator. Her experiences within this field inspired her writing. She left the service to spend time with her family and to follow her dream of being a novelist. SAVING SOPHIE is her debut psychological thriller novel.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Weekly Round Up

Wow, what a week this Little Book Worm has had!

I was offered a new job on Monday morning, to start on Tuesday! What a rush in every sense of the word, not only did I need to dig out the suits and heels, I needed to learn all the new product ranges and fast! This led to a week of reading things I didn't really want to read, but had to read (if any of you reading have to organise CPC driver training, get in touch!)

Unfortunately, this has meant that my TBR pile has grown a little and I haven't had the chance to review anything, I am on with changing that now!

I have a top secret beta read to complete (I had to sign an NDA and everything!) but on the top of my review list this week are Saving Sophie by the absolutely gorgeous Sam Carrington, and The Devil's Work by the amazing Mark Edwards. I am so excited to have been sent these by the publishers and Net Galley, I hope I manage to get through them both whilst in the second week of my new job!

In July, I took the plunge and contacted Jenny (of JennyInNeverland fame) about her blog tours, and the possibility of becoming a reviewer. She was so lovely. She had me signed up to provide a review and an interview with Helen Phifer about her latest novel, The Girls in the Woods. As you can imagine, I was utterly beyond excited! Even more so when I saw the tour banner which I was actually tagged in on the twitter reveal of it! I am so excited about reviewing the book for you all and to be interviewing Helen, so please keep an eye out on the 16th September.

I have just finished reading Only Daughter by Anna Snoekstra, which was sent to me by the lovely Cara Thompson at the newly re-branded Harper Collins imprint, HQ Story. Again, I'm not giving anything away though, you'll have to wait for my day on the blog tour on the 24th September!

I also signed up as a reviewer with Legends Press and am looking forward to my first ARC book post from them for a blog tour in October, but more on that nearer the time.

Melody Bittersweet and the Ghost Busting Agency by Kitty French and The Woman Who Lost Her Mojo by Carol Wyer are "burning holes" in my kindle (and Net Galley ratios)! But then again, so are many others! I might just stick with what I know and throw another Angie Marsons in the mix (she'll need her own page as I promised her soon!) Why oh why do I have to work?!?!? (Cries you will hear from the homes of every blogger in the world!!)

I have also been really busy helping my lovely friend organise a charity fundraising event for MacMillan Cancer Support, we are holding it at our local pub and I posted over in the Book Connectors on Facebook about any potential donations people could send, my gosh I have been blown away! About 20 lovely authors so far have committed to sending signed books for raffle prizes! How amazing is that?!? I was totally overwhelmed by all the love felt over there, and please, if you can help with anything, feel free to get in touch.

I'd like to thank everyone who has shown me support over the last few weeks since I started blogging, whether retweeting, commenting or sending lovely messages, it's been really wonderful to start getting to know you all and I'm looking forward to getting to know you all more in the future.

Well, the edges of my Battenburg are looking like they need eating now and my brew is getting cold so it's over and out for this week.

Have a great week folks, stay safe, stay loving and keep reading


Emma xx

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Brick by Conrad Jones

The Thriller Factory (25 July 2016)

The Blurb . . .

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 planet.

My thoughts . . .

Brick is story about wrong place, wrong time.

14 year old Bryn Evans takes his dog Alice for a walk and gets into a bit of a silly argument with a random bloke in the street. A run-in which he thinks is immediately over. But this is Liverpool and the random bloke is an instrumental element to parts of the cities criminal underworld, which means he won't take some little twerp giving him lip and just leave it.

The chain of events that follow lead the police on a race against time to try and prevent repercussions, revenge attacks and more blood being spilled.

Brilliantly written, Jones has a way of writing that is rather unique in that the character dialogue is natural, you get the swearing, the slang and the grit that comes from being involved in this lifestyle, the raw emotions from even the hardest of criminal are so apparent that at some points I actually felt sorry for them!

This is the 3rd book of Jones' I have read and it didn't disappoint.

With plot twists and turns that will leave you breathless and relentless gore and brutality, Brick is not for the feint-hearted!

  This is an absolutely gripping, high-octane gruesome thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

I'd like to thank the author for providing me with an ARC via Facebook in exchange for my honest review.

About the author . . .

Conrad is the author of 14 novels, 8 author guides and 2 biographies. He has three series;
The Detective Alec Ramsay Series; 7 books Gritty Crime Thrillers
The Soft Target Series; Gritty Thrillers 6 books (Reacher Style)
The Hunting Angels Diaries; 3 books Horror Thrillers
You can find out more;  

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Lost Girls by Angela Marsons

Zaffre (22 Jun. 2017)

The Blurb . . .

Two girls go missing. Only one will return.
The couple that offers the highest amount will see their daughter again. The losing couple will not. Make no mistake. One child will die.
When nine-year-old best friends Charlie and Amy disappear, two families are plunged into a living nightmare. A text message confirms the unthinkable; that the girls are the victims of a terrifying kidnapping.
And when a second text message pits the two families against each other for the life of their children, the clock starts ticking for D.I. Kim Stone and the squad.
Seemingly outwitted at every turn, as they uncover a trail of bodies, Stone realises that these ruthless killers might be the most deadly she has ever faced. And that their chances of bringing the girls home alive, are getting smaller by the hour...
Untangling a dark web of secrets from the families' past might hold the key to solving this case. But can Kim stay alive long enough to do so? Or will someone's child pay the ultimate price?

My thoughts . . .

In the third instalment of Marsons D.I Stone series, the team are faced with the agonising task of finding two young girls who have been kidnapped. Stone is requested to lead the investigation by one of the mothers, who, it turns out was in the social care system with Stone when they were younger. The team have to take their investigation to the home of one of the parents due to a media and force blackout. I'm not sure if this procedurally correct in real life however I trust Marsons, and it made for an interesting read in terms of the dynamics between the police and the victims’ parents.
Marsons' really got underneath the skin of the parents. The way she portrayed their anguish and pain was utterly outstanding, the emotions felt at every point of the investigation are written in such a way that you can almost imagine that it is you going through this horrendous event. Marsons really has you questioning yourself, what would you do in this situation? How far would you go for the ones you love? And not just in Lost Girls, she has a real ability with her writing to bring out your deepest fears and face them head on (I typically get to these points when I'm in a public place, ask the people I commute with - tears and gasps of shock on the bus at 7.30 a.m. are quite amusing to my fellow passengers!)
The relationship between Stone and her team is beginning to really develop, The characters are quite stereotypical, the dependable girl, the good looking charmer, the hard-nosed boss and the side-kick who can control her with the team dynamics being clear, Bryant is Stone's one and only friend, Stacey is the dependable one, always there ready to back the team up with any information they need and Kevin is the young womaniser, who so far has been a bit of a liability, not always with his mind on the job and allowing his personal life to interfere with his work. Over the last three books, the team have shone together, really upping the ante as it were in regards to their understanding of each other and, surprisingly Kevin has really come into his own in this one, even changing Stones' opinion of him.
When the investigation starts to heat up, the pace runs at a million miles an hour really getting your blood pumping, heart pounding and tears flowing!
I am glad that we don't have to read all about Stones' past in every book, as a standalone novel you get enough information to know that something terrible happened, but not too much so that people who have read the others get fed up of it.
Once again Marsons has produced an exquisitely captivating story which will leave you breathless, make you dig deep to your inner most fears and wonder in awe at the brilliance Marsons’ continually produces.
I’d like to thank myself again for buying this book!

About the author . . .

Angela Marsons is the author of Amazon #1 Bestseller SILENT SCREAM.
She lives in the Black Country with her partner, their bouncy Labrador and a swearing parrot.
She first discovered her love of writing at Junior School when actual lessons came second to watching other people and quietly making up her own stories about them. Her report card invariably read "Angela would do well if she minded her own business as well as she minds other people's".
After years of writing relationship based stories (My Name Is and The Middle Child) Angela turned to Crime, fictionally speaking of course, and developed a character that refused to go away.
She is signed to for a total of 8 books. The second, third and fourth books in the Kim Stone series, EVIL GAMES, LOST GIRLS and PLAY DEAD are also now available.