Book Review: Calamity in Camberwell – @DDsDiary @CrookedCatBooks @rararesources #review #giveaway

Book Review: Calamity in Camberwell – @DDsDiary  @CrookedCatBooks @rararesources #review #giveaway

Calamity in Camberwell

Calamity in Camberwell

Beth Haldane, SE21’s answer to Miss Marple, worries she is losing a kindred spirit when her friend Jen, the only other single mum in the playground, suddenly gets married and moves to Camberwell.

Soon Beth has to face much more pressing fears. Has something gone horribly wrong with Jen’s marriage? What is her husband really up to? Why is her daughter leading Beth’s son astray? And where on earth IS Jen anyway?

As Beth’s friends push her to start dating again, Beth turns to Met Police DI Harry York for help. But will they solve the mystery in time, or will it turn out that in south east London, not everyone gets to live happily ever after?

My Thoughts:

Oh what a palaver!

I wasn’t sure what I was taking on when I read the blurb for this book, I realised hadn’t read the two books before hand so I was intrigued.

It turns out that not all Crime novels are the same they just vary in the amount of gore. I have landed upon what they call Cozy crime, that at times made my journey to work a whole different experience! I became lost in a novel that at times I wondered if we were ever going to make it to the point but did that matter because I was enclosed in loveliness of it all! Like a big quilt on a winter evening!

Yes Beth’s best friend Jen is not returning her calls or answering the door, and Beth’s son might not get into the “best” school in the town as there is little chance he will pass the entrance exams. Beth’s friends think it’s time for her to start dating again,  while she is trying to keep a lid on feelings for a certain DI that at times makes her so mad! But oh what a lovely story I am reading.

The author cleverly sprinkles domestic violence into the story, but she does it in such a way that it leaves our imaginations minds to fear the worse! But oh what a lovely story. I felt the sorriest for Jessica the daughter of Beth’s missing best friend, no body seemed interested in her wellbeing or how she felt about the whole situation! Though the characters never found out about the violence, I am sure Jessica would have been very aware of what was going on with her mum? But this after all is a lovely story and we are not delving into those depths.

Yes I enjoyed the book, and how the author made me dislike some of the characters without going into paragraphs of detail about their characteristics and I wasn’t contently checking how much more of the story I had left to read.

If I was more experienced in this type of crime novel I might of enjoyed it more. But I did feel at the end of every journey to and from work and the snatched moments on the sofa.  Oh what a lovely story I was reading and but isn’t that the aim of Cozy crime?

A big thank you to Rachael at Random Resources and Alice Castle for my advance copy of Calamity in Camberwell.

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Before turning to crime, Alice Castle was a UK newspaper journalist for The Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph. Her first book, Hot Chocolate, set in Brussels and London, was a European hit and sold out in two weeks.

Death in Dulwich was published in September 2017 and has been a number one best-seller in the UK, US, Canada, France, Spain and Germany. A sequel, The Girl in the Gallery was published in December 2017 to critical acclaim. Calamity in Camberwell, the third book in the London Murder Mystery series, will be published this summer, with Homicide in Herne Hill due to follow in early 2019.  Alice is currently working on the fifth London Murder Mystery adventure. Once again, it will feature Beth Haldane and DI Harry York.

She lives in south London and is married with two children, two step-children and two cats.

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fotoAlice is also a mummy blogger and book reviewer via her website

By Alice’s novels by clicking on the links below:

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Girl in the Gallery               Hot Chocolate

Death in Dulwich                Calamity in Camberwell

 

To win a signed copy of Calamity in Camberwell (Opened internationally)

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Book Review: Friends Request by @laurajm8

Friends Request

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Maria Weston wants to be friends. But Maria Weston is dead. Isn’t she?

1989. When Louise first notices the new girl who has mysteriously transferred late into their senior year, Maria seems to be everything the girls Louise hangs out with aren’t. Authentic. Funny. Brash. Within just a few days, Maria and Louise are on their way to becoming fast friends.

 

 

2016. Louise receives a heart-stopping email: Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook. Long-buried memories quickly rise to the surface: those first days of their budding friendship; cruel decisions made and dark secrets kept; the night that would change all their lives forever.

Louise has always known that if the truth ever came out, she could stand to lose everything. Her job. Her son. Her freedom. Maria’s sudden reappearance threatens it all, and forces Louise to reconnect with everyone she’d severed ties with to escape the past. But as she tries to piece together exactly what happened that night, Louise discovers there’s more to the story than she ever knew. To keep her secret, Louise must first uncover the whole truth, before what’s known to Maria–or whoever’s pretending to be her–is known to all.

My Thoughts:

This book needs to be read by everyone as it has such a big message in it, that everyone needs to hear and believe in. This book tells us what we have already known for years but that have it printed in front of us is a different matter.

The way Laura writes the character’s you believe that you know them and you either fall into one group or the other. The popular kids who had it all and those who were struggling to get by day by day and I know where I fell.

Louise is carrying around the guilt of what she did when she was back at school in 1989 to Maria Weston. The story is told from present day 2016 and back in 1989 and the main star of the show is of cause Facebook. I am so glad I didn’t grow up in an age when everyone used social media and I worry for my children’s future. The worst I got was when someone used to phone me up and ask them why I kept phoning them (wtf!)

Since leaving school Louise has got married, had children, split from her husband and started her own business. Things are going great until she gets the friends request from Maria Weston, but she’s dead isn’t she. Louise decides the best thing to do would be to contact her past friends to see if they’ve had the same request thus starting a chain of events that unravels everything that went on before. Who those people are now, that she knew in her school days and what they have achieved and are still hiding in some cases. I love that during this novel that somewhere inside of her Louise believes that maybe Maria is still alive and over analysis everything Maria’s brother says to her.

At times in the story you want to scream and shake Louise, but then it wouldn’t make sure a good story would it?

A book about social media has been along time coming since Angela Clarke’s social media series, I am yet to read a book like this that deals with what went on at school and who we are now.

I can not recommend this book highly enough, though at points you need to suspend your beliefs but all the same if you didn’t it wouldn’t make such a good read would it?

Blog Tour – Chilling Tales of the Unexpected – @GirdharryAnn @rararesources

Blog Tour – Chilling Tales of the Unexpected – @GirdharryAnn @rararesources

Chilling Tales of the UnexpectedBox Set Cover

Four twisty, short reads.
Addictive works of suspense,
That will leave you breathless and give you goose bumps…

Trading with Death
What sacrifice might we make for those we love? In the face of death, will we be selfish or selfless?

Tell Me a Secret
Deceit, lies and secrets – how well do we know those close to us?

Sweet Justice 
We follow Tess as she confronts the dark side…

Written on the Apple Tree 
A moment from a past life, a possession, or a simple meeting between strangers?

My Thoughts:

This box set comprises of four different short stories all exploring different emotions and subjects

I enjoyed these stories as I travelled to and from work they made a nice change from death and police procedurals they were short and sweet and left me thinking about them long after I finished them.

One thing I did feel is that all these short stories had something missing, I often felt that I was being dropped into the middle of something, which may have been the author’s intentions. I felt each story was either missing a beginning or they were the start of something bigger a taster of what was to come.

If you are looking for short and easy to read these stories definitely do deliver and stay with you long after you’ve finished them. But you won’t find yourself eager to read on because once the stories gets going it then ends and your left wondering what more there could have been and you’re on to the next story.

All the characters were believable and reading it I felt that I knew them, the delivery of the characters was spot on and the details and descriptions within the stories, such as the scary woods and the apple tree with the familiar markings make you feel like you’re there witnessing everything progressing.

I guess my favourite story which I particularly enjoyed was “Written on the Apple Tree”  this story very much reminded me of a wartime film with a split narrative of then and now.

One thing this box-set has done, has left me keen to read some of Ann’s full length novels

I would like to thank Ann and Rachel from Random Resources for giving me the chance to read and review this box-sets.

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Born and educated in the UK, Ann Girdharry is a trained psychotherapist and has worked a

s a manager in the not-for-profit sector for many years.
Today she lives

in Montpellier, France with her husband and two children.

She writes suspense and thrillers, is a book reviewer and occasionally blogs for the Huffington Post UK. Her crime thriller novel, GOOD GIRL BAD GIRL, was an Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist 2017. Two of her thrillers are READERS’ FAVOURITE Five Star Books.

logo_thumb800@GirdharryAnn   Facebook-Xperia Ann Girdharry Author

1454549184-1454549184_goodreads_misc Ann Gridharry & Chilling Tales of The Unexpected

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Buy her box-set here

Book Review – The Things We Need to Say – @bookish_yogi @rararesources

Book Review – The Things We Need to Say – @bookish_yogi @rararesources

The Things We Need to Say

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Sometimes the things we never say are the most important.

Fran loves Will with all her heart. They had a whirlwind romance, a perfect marriage and a wonderful life. Until everything changed. Now Fran needs to find her way again and teaching a yoga retreat in Spain offers her just that. Leaving behind a broken marriage she has some very important decisions to make.

Will needs his wife, he needs her to open up to him if they’re to ever return to the ways things once were. But he may have damaged any possibility he had of mending their relationship and now Fran is in Spain and Will is alone.

As both Fran and Will begin to let go of a life that could have been, fate may just find a way of bringing them back together.

Perfect for fans of Katie Marsh, Amanda Prowse and Sheila O’Flanagan

My Thoughts:

I consider Rachel Burton to be an online friend and mentor, so when the opportunity arose for me get an advance copy of “The Things We Needs To Say” I jumped at the chance and I was blown away. I also cried lots and lots at the story of Fran, Will and the minor characters who pop up in order to carry to story forward, so be warned you will need tissues and lots of them and maybe hugs to.

The story is told in two main sections, we learn the story of Fran and Will’s relationship and how they have got to the point they are at in their relationship. Rachel uses these revelations help us understand what is going on now in their lives and what has made them live the way they are.

At the beginning of the story we learn that Fran is going to Spain to lead a Yoga retreat for her current students and friends. Fran and Will have planned everything out to the last detail of her stay as she travels abroad alone for the first time. The night before Fran is due to leave we are hit with the first plot twist that leaves Will begging Fran not to go to Spain and for her to stay at home. They are both now alone in two different countries needing each other but at the same time wondering if the love they feel for each other is enough.

Yoga features quite heavily in this story with every character being on a journey and Rachel uses her passion and enthusiasm for yoga to show us that by having the time to reflect and relax almost everything can be worked through and out.

As the story progresses Rachel’s attention to detail makes you wish that you were either there with the characters or remembering the last time you rode down the hill on a bike or past holidays in the area.

As we learn about what Fran and Will’s story, you’ll want to be there to comfort the character’s, I personally cried enough tears for two fictional characters and the circumstances they found themselves in. Though at times I also wanted to be there to smack them round the face and tell them to pull themselves together.

Rachel cleverly puts other characters into the story that makes the decisions that Fran and Will are making even harder. The Ex who appears out of the blue, making you remember how things used to be or the person that stands and listens to you when you thought no one else would.

I can honestly say that I haven’t cried this much at a book since “I Let You Go” by Clare Mackintosh and I having never read in this genre I am glad that I gave it ago.

Go out buy this book, have a good cry and then go back and read more.

I would like to thank Rachel, Netgally and Rachel from random resources for giving me the chance to read and review this book.

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Rachel Burton has been making up stories since she first learned to talk. After many false starts she finally made one up that was worth writing down.

After graduating with a degree in Classics and another in English, she didn’t really know what to do when she grew up. She has worked as a waitress, a paralegal and a yoga teacher.

She has spent most of her life between Cambridge and London but now lives in Leeds with her boyfriend and three cats. The main loves of her life are The Beatles and very tall romantic heroes.

Her debut, The Many Colours of Us, was an Amazon Kindle bestseller. Her second novel, The Things We Need to to Say, is released on 11 May 2018. She is currently working on her third novel in which the heroine follows the love of her life to live in a city in northern England. It has no autobiographical elements at all…..maybe.

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Rachel Burton Author

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Bookish Yogi

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http://rachelburtonwrites.com/

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Rachel is always happy to talk books, writing, music, cats and how the weather in Yorkshire is rubbish. She is mostly dreaming of her next holiday….

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Buy her books HERE

Book Review – Dead Blind @RebeccaJBradley

Dead Blind

One of my most favourite crime writers and fellow Nottingham author is back with her new novel Dead Blind.

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“How do you identify a ruthless killer when you can’t even recognise your own face in a mirror? 

Returning to work following an accident, Detective Inspector Ray Patrick refuses to disclose he now lives with face blindness – an inability to recognise faces.

As Ray deceives his team he is pulled into a police operation that targets an international trade in human organs. And when he attempts to bring the organisation down, Ray is witness to a savage murder. 

But it’s a killer he will never remember.

The pressure mounts as Ray attempts to keep his secret and solve the case alone. With only his ex-wife as a confidant he feels progressively isolated.

Can he escape with his career and his life intact?”

My Thoughts:

What would you do if you work up from a serious accident and couldn’t recognise anybody? Further more desperate to return to a job you love and you witness murder only feet in front of you, but you are unable to identify the killer?

Hot off the tails of “Fighting Monsers” Rebecca Bradley’s latest novel “Face Blind” throws us into a game of cat and mouse, only the other side have an advantage.

The latest outing from Rebecca introduces us to a new characters and moves away from Nottingham and into the capital.

We are dropped straight in the action as DI Ray Patrick and his partner DS Elaine are in hot pursuit through the streets of London which ends in tragedy.

We zip forward six months and DI Patrick is returning to work, though he is physically and mentally fit he is hiding a secret diagnosis that threatens to end his policing career. He is suffering from a condition called Prosopagnosia or Face Blindness which means he doesn’t recognise anybody.

Like a school teacher at the beginning of every year he creates a desk plan of where everyone sits and their identifiable markers, to help him recognise his team. Which works until someone sits in a different place.

While Ray has been away his team have been investigate a case of illegal organ donation. When a young boy approaches them with an offer they can’t refuse, taking them straight to the head guy. The DI has his concerns about the meeting but is carried along by his colleagues with the promise of success and bringing a network down. But tragedy strikes and Ray witnesses it all but is unable to identify the killer.

Elaine realises there is something wrong with Ray but is heartbroken that he won’t share his problems and fears the worst. The only people who know the truth are Ray’s doctor and his Ex-wife Helen who still supports Ray even when he turns up at all hours and had left her because of the job he loves. Ray also has a new girlfriend who still seems to stick by him no matter how badly he treats her.

We meet a whole new range of characters in this book whose lives we get a sneak peek into, leaving me wondering if Rebecca plans to continue this series adding another string to her bow. Or is this the beginning of a new theme in Rebecca’s writing.

A well written book, showing us the lengths people will go to for a job they love when a medical diagnoses threats to end it all. A book whose main character I could relate to as I like anyone else suffering a chronic illness battle through our bad days for a job we love.

 

More on Prosopagnosia

Oliver Sacks explains Face Blindness

The author of “The Colour of Bee Larkins Murder”

Chris Pine’s struggles when people forget his name

Brad Pitt thinks he might be Face Blind

Rebecca can be contacted via

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Facebook-Xperia https://www.facebook.com/RebeccaBradleyCrime/

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https://www.rebeccabradleycrime.com/ – lot of useful blog posts here especially for us Crime writers

Silent Victim – Book Review

Silent Victim by Caroline Mitchell

Silent VictimSilent Victim by Caroline Mitchell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I recently finished Caroline Mitchell’s latest offering, having read The Silent Twin and Witness and having two different reading experiences I was keen to read what was on offer.

This book deals with someone abusing their duty of care for their students. The book doesn’t go into graphic details but you know from the way Caroline describes things and drip feeds you information you know exactly what is going on.

Though you can understand how the victim, Emma in this case feels for her abuser you also kind of feel sorry for her. Though her crush is her teacher we have all been there with boys at school who we used to fancy the following, the getting hold of their timetables etc.

The story is told over three different time periods and three different POVs and I found that unless you read the title of the chapter you could easily become confused as to what was happening.

I agree with some other reviewers who said that this book dragged on a bit and I did feel the same way in parts, but I was still keen for the next instalment on my commute to work.

As always there is the twist at the end, which I kinda felt wasn’t necessary and just added another story line to the book that you hadn’t originally paid any attention to. Did we really need to know this? I did wonder if the author was low on her word count and had to add it in.

At parts in this story I was a bit like FFS support your wife, and in the end Alex does come round but I kinda felt in parts he should of done more to believe and support her.

I didn’t hate that books, but I didn’t love it. Caroline seems to write a mixture of books I love and some that weren’t so great which is what I like about this author as she strives to write books her audience will love but also branches out to bring in new readers.

I am going to give this four stars out of five, following what I previously reviewed The Silent Twin as and I look forward to reading future novels from Caroline and hope she gets a print deal soon! As I would love to have some of her novels as paperback on my shelves.

View all my reviews

Fighting Monsters – Rebecca Bradley

Nottingham’s Favourite DI Is Back!

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24 hours after he walked away from court a free man, cop killer and gang leader Simon Talbot is found murdered. In his possession; the name of a protected witness from his trial.

For DI Hannah Robbins, it’s a race against time to find Talbot’s killer, and locate the bystander before it’s too late.

But as Hannah delves deeper into the past, she begins to question the integrity of the whole operation.

Where do you turn when you can’t trust the police?

Nottingham’s top female DI is back, for the third instalment of the DI Hannah Robbins series. Believe it or not it has been over a year since Rebecca’s last novel “Made To Be Broken” and her Novella “Three Weeks Dead.”

Living in Nottingham myself I am always excited to read Rebecca’s novels as many of the geographical locations are known and loved. Such as the Pitch and Piano and Hannah’s home next to Nottingham castle.

The story is told from three POVs the DI herself, Pasha who is replacing a popular team member and Lee an officer who has recently been through a traumatic ordeal witnessing the death of his partner during a routine house call.

The story begins as Simon Talbot walks away from a court a free man after the jury find him no guilty of the murder of PC Ken Blake.  Simon Talbot is then found murdered in his car the following day and Hannah and her team are called to investigate. But this isn’t an open shut case when the name of a witness in the case against Simon Talbot is found in the car and later found with his tongue cut out.

This isn’t just a procedural crime story; Rebecca adds depth and emotion to the story as Hannah and her team struggle to adjust to their new team members, the new DCI whose ideas differ from his predecessor, the officer from professional standards department and Pasha.

All our favourites are back Hannah’s partner DS Aaron Stone,  DCs Martin Thacker and Ross Leavy and CSI Doug Howell.

Rebecca has previously self-published her novels, having recently secured herself an agent she will certainly be a name to watch.

Thank you to Rebecca Bradley for the ARC of Fighting Monsters

Amazon < buy it here!

Ps: Rebecca’s first novel Shallow Waters is currently free! QUICK