Wednesday, 22 February 2017

The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle

The Marriage LieThe Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A chillingly unsettling psychological thriller, perfect for fans of Paula Hawkins, Liane Moriarty , Shari Lapena and Clare Macintosh. Are you ready to question if everything in your life is really as it seems…
She thought they had a perfect marriage….
When a plane crashes, Iris Griffiths watches the news unfold with horror…and then relief. Her beloved husband Will had just flown out from the same airport, but he was on a different flight.
So why is his name on the list of victims? 
Surely there’s some mistake – her husband would never lie to her. Would he? But wading deeper into the truth of her husband’s deception, Iris begins to think the unthinkable.
Maybe she’s glad that he’s dead…


I enjoyed this evenly spaced thriller; unusual start that someone takes a flight they are not meant to and the plane crashes killing everyone on board including Iris' husband Will. At first Iris refuses to believe Will is dead, after all he was meant to be flying to Florida not Seattle and she is convinced that the airline must have got it wrong. The main reason she believes it can't be true is that she would have to believe that he lied to her and she can't come to terms with this. She sets about finding out what really happened and comes to realise that the man she married and thought she knew is not the man she thinks he was.

As Kimberley Belle builds momentum she succeeds in keeping the reader in suspense and not knowing who to trust. The character of Iris is believable and she does what you'd expect her to do in trying to piece together this mystery and when she uncovers truths about her husband its possible to feel her frustration and pain. Good solid characters but for me the ending was not the best. Well executed piece of writing, good steady suspense building enabled this book to climb to its climax but as I said the climax left a little to be desired.

It was great for 3/4 of the book then fell a little bit flat, the ending was disappointing however at least it was not 100% predictable which is why I have given this a 4 star rating. Enjoyable novel but just lacked the killer punch to make it truly memorable.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Lost for Words Cover Reveal!


Lost for words is due out 6th April and today I am able to share the cover with you. I have also included some early quotes below.

What an absolute stunner of a bookI  LOVED it and cried like a motherf***er. If you care about books (or humans) read it!’ Shelley Harris

Burns fiercely with love and hurt. A quirky, rare and beautiful novelone you’d be delighted to unearth in any book shop. And Loveday Cardew is a character who leaps from the pages into our hearts.’ Linda Green

'This book will warm and break your heart in equal measure. This is a must-read novel.'
Claire Dyer


Friday, 17 February 2017

Finally it is half term!!!!

Image result for half term

Finally, I have made it half term. It has been a long 7 1/2 weeks and I feel like I am completely ready for a break. While I am off I do have a lot I need to do, although I am hoping to spend one or 2 days solidly on work and then I will be able to use the rest of the time for reading. 

Over Christmas I felt like I had made a big dent in reading after a long reading block I had. Since the beginning of the year, I have only managed to read 11 books. Now this does sound like a lot, I don't feel this is really. During a good week I can normally manage 4 or 5 if I am off work. So far this year I have found it difficult to be able to read while I am at work during the week. I think the job is just so demanding that when I get home I am shattered. 

I would be really pleased if I managed to read 4 long books this week, I do have some things planned but hopefully I can fit them in. I am currently over half way though Behind her eyes and I will be really pleased if I manage to finish this over this weekend, then it gives me a whole week. 

I won't be too hard on myself if I don't manage to complete my target this week as I have got 30 reports to write, on top of planning, marking and assessing! 

Whatever you are doing next week, whether you are off or at work, I hope it is enjoyable and you get to read what you want. 


Dead Simple by Harry Bingham

Dead Simple (Quick Reads 2017)Dead Simple by Harry Bingham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A woman reports a crime to the police, with unexpected results
The grieving widow who finds that she's about to lose more than just her husband
When a man attempts the perfect murder, it's not quite as easy as he thinks
Two men in prison play a deadly game of Scrabble
A young woman tries to trick an old man and gets more than she bargained for
Sometimes crimes are solved in ways you can't explain
A murderer about to be hanged finds that's not the worst thing that can happen
You never know who's going to turn up at your door

Original stories from Mark Billingham, Clare Mackintosh, James Oswald, Jane Casey, Angela Marsons, Harry Bingham, Antonia Hodgson and CL Taylor - specially written for Quick Reads.



By now you know that I love short stories as I can finish something during week after a busy day. It really makes me feel like I have accomplished something.

This is a collection of eight short stories from best selling crime authors. This is where I have a confession, I have never actually actually read any of these authors, so I was excited to get started to see if I will discover a new favourite. I do have quite a few novels by these authors though on my shelf to read soon!

These stories range from a couple of pages to 20-30. I didn't enjoy all of the stories, however my favourite three were: The Funeral by Clare Mackintosh, Old Tricks by Jane Casey and The Perfect Murder by Harry Bingham. I really managed to get into these and I would have enjoyed fuller length novels featuring these I think.

Overall this is a good Quick Read, it allows you to try authors work perhaps you haven't before and You can finish a story in around 15 minutes. Some of the stories I felt did need to be longer as it didn't give the reader long enough to get into it, however I think this is a brilliant book to release fo the Quick Reads program this year and recommend you to pick this up. Like me, you may discover some brand new authors.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

A Very Distant Shore: Quick Reads by Jenny Colgan

A Very Distant Shore: Quick Reads (Quick Reads 2017)A Very Distant Shore: Quick Reads by Jenny Colgan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wanted: doctor for small island. Must like boats, the seaside and having no hope of keeping a secret...

Lorna lives on the tiny Scottish island of Mure, a peaceful place where everyone helps their neighbour. But the local GP is retiring, and nobody wants his job. Mure is too small and too remote.

Far away, in a crowded camp, Saif is treating a little boy with a badly-cut hand. Saif is a refugee, but he's also a doctor: exactly what Mure needs.

Saif is welcome in Mure, but can he forget his past? Over one summer, Saif will find a place to call home, and Lorna's life will change forever.



I haven't had much time to read lately and was feeling like I was in a little reading slump. When I saw that 'Quick Reads' had released their new books for the year, I couldn't wait to get my hands on them. I decided to pick up this one by Jenny Colgan.

I have read a few Jenny Colgan books and I have always really enjoyed them. This is a short story (145 pages) and I managed to read this in a few hours. I really enjoyed this story, it was different to others I have previously read, focusing on a Syrian refugee and a small town in Scotland.

I really got into this and couldn't believe how quick I was whizzing through it. I don't want to mention the story line as it is so short and would be worried about giving it away. Although I did really enjoy it and felt like I was in Lorna's world, I also did find that at the end of the book I had many unanswered questions and the book did feel very unfinished. I do believe that these characters will be featuring in Jenny Colgan's new book which is of full length, we get a sample of this at the end of story. I believe this though follows Lorna's best friend Flora, who we do meet in this book.

Personally I would have preferred to have this a little longer as I was enjoying it so much and felt it came to an abrupt ending. I also was a little shocked by the book as I didn't expect it to pan out in the way it did, I am hoping that in the full length novel Lorna is a prominent character as I am hoping to discover some of the answers to my questions. This short story is completely heartbreaking and it felt a lot longer than it actually was due to everything that happens in it.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Duractron Stereo Headphones, High Definition, in-ear, Noise Isolating, Powerful Bass, Pure Sound Compatible with iPhone, iPod, iPad, MP3 Players, Samsung Galaxy, Nokia, HTC, Nexus, BlackBerry etc With Microphone (Silver)



    Duractron Stereo Headphones, High Definition, in-ear, Noise Isolating, Powerful Bass, Pure Sound Compatible with iPhone, iPod, iPad, MP3 Players, Samsung Galaxy, Nokia, HTC, Nexus, BlackBerry etc With Microphone (Silver)



    Description:

    • Impressive Stereo Sound: With supreme sound technology, Earbuds deliver powerful, deep and rich sound across a wide frequency range while blocking distractive outside noise.
    • Comfort Wear: In ear and secure fit design make it doesn't fall out. Silicone sweat proof earbuds make it comfortable to wear.
    • Easy Control: The built in microphone allows you to easily enjoy talking on phone everywhere. The multifunction button will control play/pause music; answer/ end calls.
    • Compatibility: Ideal for Apple Devices; Android Smartphones; Windows Phones; Portable Music Players with 3.5 mm port.
    • Warranty: 1 Year free Warranty and full support from Duractron, so you could purchase with confidence.

    My thoughts:

    These came well packaged in a brown box. Inside they were in a clear bag, this was O.K, I have bought earphones before for a similar price and they offer a little 'extra' they have come in a nice bag to keep them in. In my opinion if these were to come in a travel type bag I could keep in my handbag this would change these from being 4* to a 5*. To be honest that is only nit picking as the actually headphones were very good. It states they fit with iphone and android. As I have an iphone 7 they do not fit due to headphones needing to be bluetooth... (Which I must admit is the most annoying thing ever!)

    I have however used these with my kindle and they work brilliantly. They come finished to a high standard and look a lot more expensive than they actually are. I also love the extra plastic ear pieces, in case they don't fit you have an opportunity to swap them and use the spare. I also like the volume control on the side of the head phones.

    I would recommend these to others and as I said they only reason I have given these 4* and not 5* is down to them not coming in a protective case to stop them getting tangled in my bag, as you can see from the pictures the box they come in wouldn't really be suitable to keep them in indefinitely.



    Thursday, 9 February 2017

    Elisenda Domènech Investigations series Blog Tour



    Summary:

    When a child disappears, the clock starts ticking Detective Elisenda Domènech has had a tough few years. The loss of her daughter and a team member; the constant battles against colleagues and judges; the harrowing murder investigations… But it’s about to get much worse. When the son of a controversial local politician goes missing at election time, Elisenda is put on the case. They simply must solve it. Only the team also have to deal with a spate of horrifically violent break-ins. People are being brutalised in their own homes and the public demands answers. Could there be a connection? Why is nobody giving a straight answer? And where is Elisenda’s key informant, apparently vanished off the face of the earth? With the body count threatening to increase and her place in the force on the line, the waters are rising… Be careful not to drown. The stunning new instalment of the gripping Elisenda Domènech crime thrillers for readers of Ian Rankin, Henning Mankell and Andrea Camilleri.




    Information about the Book


    Title: City of Drowned Sould (Elisenda Domènech Investigations #3)

    Author: Chris Lloyd

    Release Date: 6th February 2017

    Genre: Crime Thriller

    Publisher: Canelo

    Format: ebook Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34106761-city-of-drowned-souls Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01N7Y2NDN





    About the Author:

    Chris was born in an ambulance racing through a town he’s only returned to once and that’s probably what did it. Soon after that, when he was about two months old, he moved with his family to West Africa, which pretty much sealed his expectation that life was one big exotic setting. He later studied Spanish and French at university, and straight after graduating, he hopped on a bus from Cardiff to Catalonia where he stayed for the next twenty-four years, falling in love with the people, the country, the language and Barcelona Football Club, probably in that order. Besides Catalonia, he’s also lived in Grenoble, the Basque Country and Madrid, teaching English, travel writing for Rough Guides and translating. He now lives in South Wales, where he works as a writer and a Catalan and Spanish translator, returning to Catalonia as often as he can.



    He writes the Elisenda Domènech series, featuring a police officer with the newly-devolved Catalan police force in the beautiful city of Girona. The third book in the series, City of Drowned Souls, is published on 6 February 2017.

    Website: http://www.cityofgooddeath.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/chrislloydbcn



    Guest Post:


    5 Top ten fictional inspirations



    1. As I imagine is the case with most writers, my love of reading – and, by extension, writing – began as a kid. I was lucky enough to grow up in a town that had a wonderful public library – you know what I’m going to say now… we have to fight hard to save them (OK, I’ve done banging the drum for the moment). I used to love spending hours after school choosing books – it was a magical, unstoppable realm. The children’s section when I was growing up had a rule where you had to take out one non-fiction book for every fiction book, which I’m certain laid a basis for a lifelong passion for discovering new things and wandering off down paths of learning. It was absolutely wonderful, transporting me not only to imaginary worlds but to real worlds and real stories, engendering in me not just a love for great fiction, but a fascination for discovery. We need to do everything we can to save our libraries. Did I mention that?



    2. If you don’t mind me banging on a bit more about childhood, next in my list of inspirations is children’s authors. They’re wholly to blame, they’re the ones that gave me a love of reading from an early age and who made me want to write. My first love as a child were the Just William books by Richmal Crompton – I loved his well-meaning misunderstandings and the scrapes they got him into. That’s when I began writing my own stories, the Just Chris series – now sadly lost to the world – whose adventures were remarkably similar to William’s. Other books I enjoyed were The Three Investigators series by Robert Arthur about three young teenagers in Hollywood who solved crimes, the Willard Price Adventure series and Emil and the Detectives by Erich Kästner. I think I’m beginning to see a pattern emerge here…



    3. And then I read The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier, a present from my mum, and I saw just what a book could do. The story of children doing what they can to survive in Warsaw in World War Two, it’s a story of despair and hope, friendship and love, searching and survival, and I still remember it as one of the most powerful novels I’ve ever read. It was like the culmination of the fiction and non-fiction books I’d been enjoying for years, and it left a deep and lasting impression on me. That was probably when I knew I wanted to be a writer.



    4. There are a couple of Welsh poets I love who I have to mention. One of the powers of poetry for me is the extraordinary ability the best poets have of conveying a whole world in a single line. They open the door and you as the reader walk out into the world. Dylan Thomas should be required reading for his incredible love of the sound of words, the bizarre juxtaposition of them that conjures up the most vivid images and show us it’s all right to play around with language. The other poet is very different. RS Thomas wrote rather sombre poems that trouble the conscience, but it was his way of contrasting the world of the individual with the perception of others that I find fascinating – it has its resonances with what I try to do as a crime writer.



    5. I love old Hollywood films, but they have to be in black and white or they don’t count. Every now and then, I love a weekend kicking back, the lights off in the living room, sharing a bottle or two of red wine with my wife and succumbing to 48 hours of movie greats. Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve loved the Marx Brothers for their completely off-the-wall stories and appalling puns – again it’s that playing around with language that I love. Billy Wilder’s films are object lessons in how to craft dialogue – The Front Page is so sublime, I’ll even forgive it for being in colour. So too is pretty much anything by George Cukor – for quick-witted exchanges between characters, The Philadelphia Story is jaw-dropping. And

    Humphrey Bogart as Philip Marlowe has to be the blueprint for every fictional detective, wisecracking or not.



    6. If you want to write, you read. And if you want to write crime, you read crime. I knew for years that I wanted to write, but I sometimes struggled to know what exactly. I worked as a travel writer for some time and I wrote comedy sketches for radio, but I hadn’t found the genre that suited me. (Which my wife reckons is where I’m a bit thick as it was obvious to her that I should write crime fiction because that made up about two-thirds of what I read!) It was discovering Rebus by Ian Rankin that made me realise that that was the way I wanted to go – his use of crime novels to tell any story he wanted is the best argument for the genre. And then along came the Scandinavian writers and I was completely sold – I wanted to do for my little corner of the Mediterranean what they were doing for their cultures, and that’s when I started writing in earnest.



    7. Which brings me to Catalonia. I lived in Spain for twenty-four years, twenty of them in Catalonia, and I work as a Catalan translator and still have close links with Girona and Barcelona. It’s a part of me. I’ve always been treated well there and I wanted to return the favour by talking about my love for the country. In Girona, I discovered a series of legends relating to more or less every part of the city, and I learned that storytelling was so important that there are even modern-day legends that have already become part of the city’s folklore. They were perfect for a crime novel I wanted to write set in Girona, and they became the basis for the first book in the Elisenda series. But they go deeper than that, as I believe that setting creates character (not just in fiction), and that original idea of the legends underscores a lot of the subsequent books and the people in them.



    8. This may be stretching the notion of fictional inspirations, but there are certain painters who have inspired me a lot. Quite apart from their skill, I’m in awe of their ability to use a static visual medium to create a narrative that can be as vibrant and as powerful as any film or novel. For their paintings overflowing with story, I love the works of Hieronymus Bosch and Breughel – every character in their compositions could be the protagonist of a novel. In terms of Catalonia, there are two painters I draw inspiration from, one famous the world over, the other not so well known outside Spain. Santiago Rusiñol was a Modernist who created beautiful and haunting landscapes, some of early twentieth-century Girona, alongside incredibly acute studies of people. The other is Salvador Dalí, who was from the Girona region, whose surreal paintings have always inspired me to see things differently, to turn what I think I know on its head. He’ll turn up in an Elisenda story one day…



    9. Talking of Elisenda, she’s a rock music fan. She gets it from me. One of my favourite bands is from Girona – Sopa de Cabra, who took their name (Goat Soup) from the title of the Rolling Stones album, so that gives you some idea of their style. Some of their early songs talk of the street people and the characters who are out of step with the rest of the city, and they inspired part of Elisenda’s world view – she identifies with the victims of life, the ones who can’t always cope with the world. To a large extent, her love of rock music from her roots is what defines her.



    10. If I had to say one book that I wish I’d written, it would be Perfume by Patrick Süskind. The use of smells, from the most exquisite scent to the pungent stench of an eighteenth-century city, is a masterclass in using the senses to convey atmosphere and emotion. It’s the aromas that convey the picture of the city, the terror of the victims, the killer. A constant reminder not to forget to bring out all the senses when writing. And to end on a curious note,

    a lot of the film based on the book, especially the scenes set in Grasse, was filmed in Girona.



    Lastly, thank you Sam for hosting me on The Book Corner today.



    Don't forget to check out the other stops on this tour!