Dwelling by Thomas Flowers! Fresh off the press!

Helllo readers, some of you will have seen that I reviewed this wonderful book on Christmas Eve and as of yesterday Dwelling is available as a FREE download on Amazon Kindle. So let me leave a couple of words from the wonderful author.

“This will be the first promotional for either of the books in the Subdue Series and I couldn’t be more excited.”

But the promotion is free, why get excited about giving away your book?” And to this, I’d say, “Above all else, I want nothing more than to have people read, and if their reading my books, well…than that will be my bonus. I would rather people read my book for free than not to have Dwelling read at all.”

If you like horror tales, super-natural, or just a really well written book this is definitely one to get your hands on. As a book blogger I get the chance to read so many brilliant books and to be able to download this one for free is an opportunity not to miss. I mean I said this about the book –

“Every single paragraph, every sentence has been written with thought. You can tell that it’s all been utterly thought through and created to create this atmosphere that’s slightly uneasy and tense. I don’t know many authors that can do this. (Lizzy stop gushing) but honestly – bloody spot on.”

If you want to read more of my review you can here but what you should really do is download a copy – available here! Then you can thank me later (wink face.)

The Highway by C.J. Box

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Helllllo readers, it’s time for another book review. I’m sorry for the lack of Christmas tales but I don’t tend to buy/get requests/have time around this time of year. It’s one of the wobbles with scheduling posts in the future and it’s something I want to get better at – but having to shut my review requests inbox I’ve been battling through the books and festive tales have just been disregarded this year *sobs.* I must just say before we start this is the second in the Cody Hoyt series by C.J Box and I haven’t read the first because I’m silly and didn’t realise! Without delay le review.

It was Danielle and Gracie’s secret. A teenage adventure. A 1,000 mile drive along the spine of the Rocky Mountains to visit Danielle’s boyfriend in Montana. Their parents were never to know. But now the girls have simply vanished.

The only person who knows they’re missing is Danielle’s boyfriend. He persuades his father – a disgraced, suspended cop – to search for them. But he too simply disappears.

Now it’s up to rookie cop, war widow and single mother Cassie Dewell to find them. Her investigation will introduce her to FBI’s Highway Serial Killer Task Force, compel her to confront a spate of roadside sexual mutilations and murders, and lure her towards a darkness greater than anything she could ever have imagined.

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As the blurb states the book follows two sister Gracie and Danielle Sullivan who set out from their mother’s home in Denver to celebrate Thanksgiving with their father. However Danielle has a secret; they’re going to visit her old boyfriend Justin but neither her sister nor Justin know until they’re on the road. Justin’s father Cody Hoyt is an  ex-law enforcement officer fired for planting evidence and once he learns from Justin that the two girls have gone off the grid after failing to arrive, he goes out to search for them despite being fired for planting evidence in a previous murder trial. Cody aware that many young women have been vanishing in the region enlists Cassie to help him find the girls and the man he believes to be the kidnapper. Can they find the girls in time?

I’m going to try really hard to not give away any spoilers and yet still let you know how brilliant this book is. In terms of the writing the characters are wonderfully deep and full of character profiling. They spring from the page with realistic dialogue and believable actions.  The build up of the characters Danielle and Gracie is skillfully done and seeing one play the hero or survivor and one more of a victim was a good contrast. The author also really plays with the different personalities of Cassie and Cody. We see Cassie come into her own as the good cop who though having to deal with the stresses of being a female officer in terms of sexism and the like – although not from Cody, grows strongly in confidence.

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The action with the girls is continually intermixed with the life of a long-distance trucker who calls himself the Lizard King. Here we get insights into the life on the road and the traffic laws and the continuing hierarchy of the different truckers at the gas stations and the rules they live by. The writing has lots of different sub-plots that are intermixed well and flow well together. The descriptions are heady and the swapping between the girls, the Lizard king and the detectives story lines works well despite there being a lot to keep an eye out for.

I guess the only negative I can really come up with was there is definitely an unsavory tone to the book as a whole. The use of the truckers and girls they pick up and what happens next is disturbing and dark. There were quite a few horrific moments and this book definitely stayed with me and made an impact. For me, it’s a work of fiction and it’s important to remember that but there definitely was a very dark side to this book that surprised me a little. The only other complaint was some bits were overly repeated as if we couldn’t keep an eye on the plot twists which over time became tedious.

Overall though I thought this was a well crafted and created book. I thought the storyline was quite original (for me.) I know numerous readers would disagree with that looking at Goodreads and Amazon but I am yet to encounter a book that looks at this type of thriller plot. It also seems that those have read the first book in the series were a little angry. For me, reading the second only it didn’t affect me as much. Overall I solid although a little bit of a terrifying read.

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Author Goodreads

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Blog Tour: The Vault by Karen Long

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Good afternoon readers, after finishing the ten day review challenge I’m adding another to the list with the kick off review of the blog tour for Karen Long and her book ‘The Vault.’ Recently I’ve become a little more twitter obsessed and was tweeting away when I got a lovely message from @crimebookclub who asked whether I would like to take part in the tour. I readily said yes and settled down to read. It’s always a great privilege for me to be included in a blog tour because they are so wonderful at creating a buzz around a book and one as good as this thriller needs to be read. This one is dark, gritty and gory and I couldn’t get enough of; let’s hope I do it justice.

VAULT: A large room or chamber used for storage of valuables, especially an underground one…

In the unrelenting heat of the Toronto summer, a fire at a land-fill site uncovers the remains of a local prostitute. But the post-mortem reveals disturbing details – the body has been preserved and is not who or what it seems. DI Eleanor Raven is back on duty six months after barely surviving being kidnapped and tortured by a depraved serial killer. Work is her sanctuary but she’s carrying deep scars – mental as well as physical. Where do you go when the place you feel safest is also the place where you are most at risk? As Eleanor battles her own demons, it looks as though a killer in the city is making a gruesome human collection. And Eleanor’s fight to save the last victim of the Collector becomes a battle to save herself.

When I started this review I tried to think of word to sum up the book as a whole, maybe shocking or terrifying, or perhaps taboo or intense. As I rifled through the words I couldn’t think of one that could sum up this book on the whole it is all of those words and so much more. The book follows Eleanor Raven who a number of months before was terrifyingly kidnapped and tortured by a serial killer; however after a number of months away from the force she takes her rightful place back on the job just in time for a new case. A body is found in a local tip, thought to be a mannequin by a local worker; it has been almost perfectly preserved but why and by who? As the team work through the case methodically a new victim is revealed and the case must be solved quickly to stop this inhumane killer. As the case continues new clues, evidence and suspects are thrown up but will it all be too much for Eleanor who is fighting her own personal daemons? You’ll have to find yourself a copy, snuggle down and read to find out!

A couple of years ago I read a book that stopped me sleeping for a number of days and this could definitely do the same. First things first the premise of the book is incredibly strong but awfully horrifying. Someone is ‘plasticising’ victims and it’s not pretty. The idea of this was enough to make me shudder and as the author took me on this tale of horror and taboo I found myself feeling both sickened and also desperate to continue. There are so many themes throughout that are woven in, sexual tension, taboo, and also a transgender victim which is managed very well there’s not much the book doesn’t include. In terms of characterisation Eleanor is a wonderful character both determined and steadfast and also harbouring strains from past experiences that are running incredibly close to the surface. She is an exceptionally intricate character and that allows the author to play with her so much more. Although the story mainly follows her, because she is the main protagonist the supporting characters are equally well thought out and described.

In terms of writing style it was perfect for me, just enough detail and gore without giving too much away. I was surprised at how much information has been gathered and woven into the book because it felt so real and authentic. The research into the process of this type of crime is both fascinating and stomach turning. I loved the way the novel dipped and bobbed between different alternative sub-plots. The obvious one would be Eleanor’s past experiences but the author takes it further than that experimenting with sexual frustration and release and also starvation and malnutrition of the main character. It is both heart wrenching and utterly compelling. This matched with other subplots such as the distance from her partner and his request to join another force and also parts of the story told from the POV of the killer made for a complex but utterly compelling read. The pace to get everything in is snappy and rapid but matched with the strong writing style you don’t feel like anything has been missed out.

I think the author really went to town on the details, there is some much to go through and keep up with you do feel a little overwhelmed at points; the skulls, the wooden animals, the additional suspects, witnesses and the continuous and relentless pace would make you think this would eventually get muddled but the author manages (somehow) to create an incredibly coherent novel that just keeps giving you more and more. Continually throughout I found myself so engrossed and then utterly confounded and disturbed. Overall this is an incredibly detailed and exciting book that will be perfect for all you thriller readers out there, a wonderful protagonist, a sickening plot and a brilliant read.

As part of this blog tour we have a little competition for you wonderful readers; Karen is offering one of you a personalised signed copy of The Vault valid today only! All you have to do is suggest a name for a character in Karen’s next book and email mylittlebookblog2014@gmail.com The competition ends at midnight on the dot. I will pick my favourite and let you know by email tomorrow! Good Luck!

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_DSC7396Karen Long was born and raised in the English midlands, educated at Bangor University and taught English and Drama for fifteen years. During her teaching years she studied biology and neurology with the Open University and this interest in medicine, forensics and forensic psychology is reflected in her writing. She is an enthusiastic traveller and has spent time in Toronto, which became the backdrop and inspiration for The Safe Word.

She is a keen amateur naturalist with a deep and abiding love for the crow family. She has dedicated time, love and several fingers in an effort to rehabilitate crows, magpies, rooks and ravens.

Karen is happy to correspond with readers and can be contacted through her website KarenLongWriter.com, where she posts regular blogs.

The Safe Word is Karen’s first novel and was an Amazon bestseller, soon to be joined by the second in the Eleanor Raven series, The Vault

The Cage Legacy: Nicholas Conley (Day 3 of the review challenge)

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So it’s the third day of the ten day review challenge and I’m holding up pretty well. Having a couple of books read or almost read and ready to be reviewed has helped to speed up the process and I’ve found myself worrying less about getting every single detail into the review. I’m focusing on getting more of a feel of the book as a whole and I think it’s working. Today’s review is of a book I started last week; sat in my inbox it had been somewhat overlooked. Whilst sorting through the many emails that flood my inbox I pulled up the first chapter to read and I was on the edge of my seat from the very first couple of chapters. How could I have missed this? Here I bring you a stunning book and a stunning review from mylittlebookblog.

Who is Ethan Cage? Is he just a troubled 17-year-old high school student? A quiet, intelligent kid with a bad home life? Or is he a shattered human being, a boy who lost his faith in the world when he discovered that his loving father was secretly a psychotic serial killer? As Ethan’s world suddenly spirals out of control, he must confront the reality of his dark past and finally make the decision that will either define his life – or cut it short prematurely.

The book follows Ethan Cage an angst ridden character who finds out, at a young age that his darling father is a murderer, a serial killer in fact. Named the Mutilator and known for his brutally violent and distressing kills, with his father locked away and his mother addicted to popping pills Ethan hasn’t had the greatest start in life. But now, aged seventeen his sweet girlfriend Whitney by his side things may be looking up. Until that dreaded phone call explaining Carter Cage has escaped and the killings have begun again. Using a secret code his father is contacting Ethan but why? What is the reason behind the killings? Ethan must stand his ground and decide which side of his father is the real one; friend or foe?

As I’ve said before the book immediately struck a chord with me. The first chapter is set in the past not only helps set the scene but plunges the reader straight into the action and the original relationship between Ethan and his father. Doting father and inspired son; suddenly the rose tinted glass is broken and the satanic murders of Carter are revealed. From this moment the story darts into action, moving with pace interweaving a number of different story lines; the relationship between Whitney and Ethan, the abusive relationship between his mother and Mary his little sister, the interweaving relationships of his friends as they learn more about Ethan and of course the grizzly murders. At first I thought it might get messy but each is handled carefully and they interweave perfectly so you’re constantly slamming through the pages desperate to find out more.

The character profiles are built up brilliantly and developed consistently throughout. Ethan displays a split personality; both desperate to open up but also terrified of giving too much away. Whitney plays a minor role but she is strong willed and determined. Not afraid to say what she thinks and make her own decisions I found her rather endearing. Anthony is a stereotypical lad but underneath he is a loyal friend; I could honestly go through and detail describe each character main and supporting. The author has obviously a lot of skill in writing characters.

The plot moves with pace and creates suspense throughout. The killings are brutal and frequent and the author dodges why they have been killed until right till the end. I thought that the communication between Ethan and his father really helped to add a human side to the story. You are constantly reminded that this is a father and son relationship. Additionally the storyline revolving around his mothers abusive relationship with Mary creating an interesting contrast and at the end created a very personal and emotional ending. I thought the mirroring story line between Whitney’s mother and her boyfriend Ed was also an interesting plot line and added another connection between Ethan and his loving girlfriend.

The only critique I have is difficult to explain without spoiling it but the author constantly plays with the idea the idea that the urge to kill is an illness and Carter Cage is killing to try and cure his son of said illness. For me at the end I thought it could have been better explained how the killings were going to cure Ethan or whether it was a presumed cure. It was difficult to tell and I thought it could have been described a little better. Maybe it is for the reader to decide?

Overall I really really enjoyed this book; the writing is strong and well developed. The character profiles are strong and really help to move the story along. They also helps to make sure each of the plot lines stays defined rather than get messy. I don’t read a lot of thriller/horror books but I would love to read more from this author and his wonderful characters. This is definitely an author to watch!

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