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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*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

 

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Dortmund Hibernate by @c_j_sutton @rararesources @crookedcatbooks

Dortmund Hibernate by @c_j_sutton @rararesources @crookedcatbooks

Dortmund Hibernate

Dortmun - Cover

Psychologist Dr Magnus Paul is tasked with the patients of Dortmund Asylum – nine criminally insane souls hidden from the world due to the extremity of their acts.

Magnus has six weeks to prove them sane for transfer to a maximum-security prison, or label them as incurable and recommend a death sentence under a new government act.

As Magnus delves into the darkness of the incarcerated minds, his own sanity is challenged. Secrets squeeze through the cracks of the asylum, blurring the line between reality and nightmare, urging Magnus towards a new life of crime…

The rural western town of Dortmund and its inhabitants are the backdrop to the mayhem on the hill.

It’s Silence of the Lambs meets Shutter Island in this tale of loss, fear and diminishing hope.

As my blog is called Story About A Girl I asked C J Sutton to tell me a story….

So over to C J….

Losing my Mind

Travelling alone through South East Asia in 2013 shaped me as a person and as a writer. As a 25-year-old questioning what was next, I did that typical “stranger in a strange land” trip to see what I was missing out on. I would consider myself as a bit of an introvert (most writers are) but travelling alone means you either eat at the table yourself while everyone looks at you, or you join the table that looks at everyone else. I tried both. You learn a fair amount about a person, watching them eat. While I made new friends, travelling alone lets you see things that you wouldn’t normally see. The reactions of people, their psychology. It was like being a video camera on legs.

There was a day in Cambodia where I was dropped off outside a temple by a driver that couldn’t speak a word of English. As I walked beneath the towering trees, there was not a single soul around me. Usually at these temples there are hundreds of tourists climbing structures and taking photos with their fingers in a peace sign; but on this day, I was alone. It was eerie at first, but after twenty minutes it became soothing. I sat up against a tree, deep within the temple grounds, and just wrote. I probably spent a good three hours in that spot until a kid scared the living shit out of me. We’ve got it all wrong, working in offices from 9-5 expecting the best of ourselves to come out on screen. Sometimes you just need that pure solitude to discover your worth and to validate your ideas.

On a day in Malaysia I ventured to the Batu Caves, a very popular tourist spot littered with thousands of people and monkeys. Groups were taken into the caverns, but I waited until nobody was watching and went alone. I kept about 20 metres away from a leader holding a torch to still have a source of light. I couldn’t hear what he was saying, so when he turned off the torch I was surrounded by complete darkness. Not the darkness of when you hop into bed and turn off the lamp, but pure gut-wrenching darkness for more than ten minutes. My phone had died so I was at the mercy of the man with the powerful torch. I couldn’t walk, as on either side there was a vast drop. It’s funny what the mind does when you’re presented with endless nothing. It’s as though your eyes are closed and you can’t open them. It’s blindness, and it was fear. It assisted in creating the characters in Dortmund Hibernate, to know how a lack of control feels. I would also add the Cu-Chi tunnels in Vietnam to this sensation. That feeling of claustrophobia still haunts me. Being underground at a height that you need to bend at right angles to remain upright, blocked on either side by people, that pure darkness finding a way within once more…

Cambodia hangs heavy with a history of evil dictators. Seeing the skulls of slain Cambodians and the marks on the trees where babies were beaten demonstrates the hatred of man. I craft sick minds in my writing. I need to see the capabilities of evil not just on screen, but in person. This trip provided countless examples of humans doing horrible things to other humans. If you ever want to learn about evil, I suggest you venture to the killing fields.

While my education and love of reading is credited for my life as a writer, this experience as a curious 25-year-old sharpened the edges of my craft. It may not have impacted my words or my stories, but it altered the way I write people and atmosphere. Not all is rosy, not all is sane. This world has dark pockets that are completely accessible to tourists, but it is what they take out of it that matters. This trip will never be forgotten, and I still drift to it in my quieter moments. One day I hope to write a book on some of the crazier parts of those few months, but for now Dortmund Hibernate will serve as a reference for darkness.

***

Dortmund - cjsutton

 

C.J. Sutton is a writer based in Melbourne, Australia. He holds a Master of Communication with majors in journalism and creative writing, and supports the value of study through correspondence. His fictional writing delves into the unpredictability of the human mind and the fears that drive us.

As a professional writer C.J. Sutton has worked within the hustle and bustle of newsrooms, the competitive offices of advertising and the trenches of marketing. But his interest in creating new characters and worlds has seen a move into fiction, which has always pleaded for complete attention. Dortmund Hibernate is his debut novel.

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Blog Tour: Dead in the Water @SimonBowerBooks @MiddleFarmPress @damppebbles

Blog Tour: Dead in the Water @SimonBowerBooks @MiddleFarmPress @damppebbles

Dead in the Water

dead in the water cover

Was it murder, suicide or an accident? Who will be next to die?

Six international friends all appear to be successful, albeit to different levels. A human rights’ lawyer, an IT geek, a businessman, a waitress, a phone guy and a physiotherapist. None of them are known to the police.

One of them must know what happened that fateful night on the catamaran.

Agent Georges Fournier is assigned the case in the French resort town near Antibes. He’s short on time, with a growing health problem and a District Attorney who just wants the case closed as accidental. But he’s not letting go.

Chrissie is a single mother and respected flight attendant in New York. When she finds out who her father is, she’s ecstatic and wants to meet him.

But within a week she’d wish she’d never known.

My Thoughts

Dead in the water starts with a bang, with a character floating in the Mediterranean and we read her last dying thoughts until she sinks to the bottom. We then zip five months back and we are introduced to the story through the character Charlie who seems to be telling the story. The chapters then go on to introduce the other characters Chrissie, Ana, Scot, Len, Mia and Agent Fournier.

The story jumps around a bit between the characters, locations and where we are in the timeline of the story. I found the beginning of the book a bit confusing as I struggled to grasp what was going on and who was who. Once I worked out what the formula of the book was I began to enjoy it more and tore through the pages.

The story is told in 1st person through Charlie’s eyes and 3rd person for the other character’s. Simon has carefully woven a novel out of seven different strands, seven character’s stories and their views on the what happened and why they did what they did. Simon has more or less written seven different stories and then spent time weaving them into a novel. Simon makes you feel that you were there with the character’s and at every location in the story.

This book involves some time invested in the beginning but once you get used to this unique and different way of story telling you’ll be flying through the book. I am very interested and keen to see what Simon does next.

***

SIMONBOWERSimon Bower is a British and Canadian author born in Berkshire in 1973. Since 1998, he’s adopted a global lifestyle, setting up home at times in Europe, Africa and North America.

In 2016 Simon turned to writing full time, which led to his first published work, Dead in the Water, being released in paperback and eBook by Middle Farm Press in 2018.

Simon currently lives in France, near the Swiss border, where his young family, mountains, acrylic paint and sharpened skis keep him in regular mischief.

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My Thanks to Emma at Damppebbles and Simon Bower for giving me the chance to read Dead in the Water.

Blog Tour – Just – @jmortonpotts @rararesources #giveaway

Blog Tour – Just – @jmortonpotts @rararesources #giveaway

Just

just_ebook_web

How far would you go to save a life?

On golden Mediterranean sands, maverick doctor Scott Langbrook falls recklessly in love with his team leader, Fiyori Maziq. If only that was the extent of his falling, but Scott descends into the hellish clutches of someone much more sinister.

‘Just’ is a story of love and loss, of terror and triumph. Set in idyllic Cambridge and on the shores of the Med and Cornwall, our characters fight for their very lives on land and at sea.

 

An unforgettable novel which goes to the heart of our catastrophic times, and seeks salvation.

My Thoughts

How far would you go to save someone life?

Before starting this novel I pondered the same thing and I guess I would go to the end of the world for my children.

This book is beautifully written and while reading it, I often felt like I was reading poetry. It feels like the author has carefully decided on which words to put on the page to get the maximun effect. The description in some of the scenes such as the boat ride with the traffickers, the dead bodies on the beach made me feel like I was right there and also educated me and made me want to know more.

The different POVs tell the story between Scott, His mother and Dr Fiyori Maziq who Scott fails in love with. At the beginning of this book Scott almost comes across as a stalker and a predator and Fiyori is his prey.

There are many complex relationships in this book that seemed to get very tangled together and at times I wondered how things could ever become untangled.

Life and Death feature very heavily in this book that at times made it a very difficult read. This book at times leaves you to fill in the gaps since you were last reading the character’s POV. Which added to the reasons for me of why you need to be able to invest the time in this story. It is most certainly not a book that can be picked up every now and again, you need to invest time and as a reader when I commute this was often hard to achieve in the time between getting on the bus and arriving at work.

This isn’t the all action book I hoped it would be. Though this might have been due to my expectations when I answered the original tag line question.

I enjoyed this book but I think it should come with the warning that you will need to invest the time to read this book and be completely immersed into the story.

 

Win  5 x e-copies of Just by Jenny Morton Potts (Open Internationally)

GIVEAWAY!

Terms and Conditions

Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Just - jenny

Jenny is a novelist, screenplay writer, and playwright. After a series of ‘proper jobs’, she realized she was living someone else’s life and escaped to Gascony to make gîtes. Knee deep in cement and pregnant, Jenny was happy. Then autism and a distracted spine surgeon wiped out the order. Returned to wonderful England, to write her socks off.

Jenny would like to see the Northern Lights but worries that’s the best bit and should be saved till last. Very happily, and gratefully, settled with the family. She tries not to take herself too seriously.

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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.

biopic2017NovGmotte

 

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.

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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.

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