Tuesday, 17 October 2017

#BlogTour The Fallen Agent by Oliver Tidy (@olivertidy) @CarolineBookBit

The Fallen Agent by Oliver Tidy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jess Albion has recently started a new life on the other side of the world with a new identity. She used to be MI5. Then a job went bad, someone died and she was made an example of in the British courts. But MI5 look after their own. Or they did until rumours of a planned Al Qaeda biological terror attack on London started circulating. Now someone in the British security services is giving agents up in return for information. No price, it seems, is too high to save London from the ultimate threat.

When Jess’s fresh start is compromised she has a choice to make: run and hide and spend the rest of her life looking over her shoulder or go looking for the threat and snuff it out. On her own, she’d run, but she has Nick on her side.

The Fallen Agent is a story of love and hate, of loyalty and betrayal, of revenge and callous disregard for human life in the pursuit of satisfaction.


BUY THE BOOK


BOOK REVIEW

The Fallen Agent is inspired by an episode of the British TV series Spooks. I haven't seen the TV series, but you really don't need to have done that to appreciate this story. Since it's inspired by the TV series isn't it like you need to know a lot of stuff before you read the book. I liked that, it made it so much easier to read the book. The past events that happened before the story in this book are explained and the characters are easy to get to know.

I actually read this book during one day, or rather half a day thanks to a short memory and the realization that it was my turn to host the blog tour the day after. But, if there is something I like is it to be challenged so I decided to do what I do best, and that's to read!

The story starts off strong with a wtf moment. I swear to you I was like "huh?" and then I realized that the surprising start made sense. I love starts like that, the ones that right from the first page has you on the edge of the chair and then keeps going strong. This was not the only surprise moment, which btw is another thing that I loved about this book. One can't take this story for granted, this is not a story that playing it safe, instead, things happened that will really surprise you. One thing for sure, Oliver Tidy isn't afraid to twist the story in a way to will take you by surprise.

I love the whole spy business, with Jess Albion being dragged back into her old life when an old enemy decided to have here killed and also treated to cause a terror attack if she isn't killed. However, Jess may be an ex-spy, but that doesn't mean that she will have a hard time getting back into the game nor is she friendless. The question is, will she be able to both stay alive, capture the man that wants her dead and stop terrorists from attacking London?

The Fallen Agent is the first book in the Jess Albion series. It's a fast-paced story with the short chapters. Just the way I want my thrillers to be. I enjoyed reading this book and look forward to reading the sequel when it's published!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Crime writing author Oliver Tidy has had a life-long love affair with books. He dreams of one day writing something that he could find in a beautifully-jacketed hard-cover or paperback copy on a shelf in a book shop. He’d even be happy with something taking up space in the remainder bin, on a pavement, in the rain, outside The Works.

He found the time and opportunity to finally indulge his writing ambition after moving abroad to teach English as a foreign language to young learners eight years ago.

Impatient for success and an income that would enable him to stay at home all day in his pyjamas he discovered self-publishing. He gave it go. By and large readers have been kind to him. Very kind. Kind enough that two years ago he was able to give up the day job and write full-time. Mostly in his pyjamas.

Oliver Tidy has fourteen books in three series, a couple of stand-alone novels and a couple of short story collections. All available through Amazon (clickable link to Am Author Page). Among his books are The Romney and Marsh Files (British police procedurals set in Dover) and the Booker & Cash novels, a series of private detective tales set in the south of England and published by Bloodhound Books.

Oliver is back living on Romney Marsh in the UK. His home. He still wakes in the night from time to time shouting about seeing his books on a shelf in Waterstones.

For more on Oliver Tidy and his books, check out his website: https://olivertidy.com/

Or follow him on:


Twitter: https://twitter.com/olivertidy

FB Author Page: 
https://www.facebook.com/Oliver-Tidy-467297426793288/


Sunday, 15 October 2017

#BookReview De förjagade (The Banished) by Mikael Strömberg

De förjagade by Mikael Strömberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

SWEDISH REVIEW

I december 1917 skickas en grupp svenska soldater till en utpost i Norrbotten, där en hemlig transaktion med Ryssland ska äga rum nära gränsen till Finland. Vid ankomsten upptäcker de dessvärre att uppdraget inte tycks vara av fredlig karaktär. Någonting allvarligt har hänt i lägret. De finner spår som visar tecken på strid. Isolerade och ansatta av meterdjup snö, sträng kyla och evigt nattmörker, står de nu inför ett okänt hot.

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De förjagade är den första boken av Mikael Strömberg jag har läst men jag måste helt klart läsa hans tidigare publicerade böcker för om det är något jag älskar så är det rysare. Speciellt rysare där handlingen tar vid i ödsliga ogästvänliga platser. Vad kan då vara bättre än att läsa en bok vars handling utspelas under första världskriget, lång upp i Sverige i en tid på året när snön ligger djupt och det råder mörker och kyla? 

Vad är det egentligen som har hänt i lägret, var är alla människor som borde ha varit där? Redan innan soldaterna har anlänt på plats är det oro i gruppen och den isolerad miljön och den obehagliga upptäckten att något inte står rätt till ökar den paranoida känslan i gruppen. De förjagade är en bok som jag läste klart på en dag, den är välskriven och spännande och jag njöt verkligen av att få läsa en svensk rysare. Jag är inte lättskrämd av mig och tyckte inte boken var otäck, men spänningsnivån och ovissheten gör boken verkligen läsvärd. 

Tack till Lind & Co för recensionexemplaret!

ENGLISH REVIEW

December 1917 and a group of Swedish soldiers are sent to an outpost in Norrbotten, where a secret transaction with Russia should take place near the border with Finland. On arrival, they, unfortunately, discover that the assignment does not appear to be of a peaceful nature. Something serious has happened in the camp. They find traces that show signs of battle. Isolated and beset by snow, severe cold, and everlasting nightmares, are they now facing an unknown threat.

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De förjagade (roughly translated into The Banished) is the first book by Mikael Strömberg I have read, but I must definitely read his previously published books because if that's something I love, it's horror books. Especially books where the story takes place in desolate and unwelcome places. What could then be better than reading a book where the story is set during World War One, far up in Sweden and at the time of year when the snow is deep and it's cold and dark.

What is really happening in the camp, where are all the people who should have been there? Even before the soldiers have arrived in place, is the group troubled and the isolated environment and the unpleasant discovery that something is not right increases the paranoid feeling in the group. The Banished is a book that I read straight through during one day, it is well-written and compelling and I really enjoyed reading a Swedish horror. I'm not easily scared and did not think the book was scary, but the tension and the uncertainty make the book really readable.

Thanks to Lind & Co for the review copy!

Saturday, 14 October 2017

#BookReview Sargad (Under the Harrow) by Flynn Berry (SWE/ENG)

Under the Harrow by Flynn Berry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

SWEDISH REVIEW

Nora tar tåget från London till sin syster på den engelska landsbygden. Men den mysiga helgen som hon förväntat sig förvandlas till en mardröm när hon hittar Rachel brutalt knivmördad i sitt hus. Polisens frågor väcker minnen av den okände man som attackerade Rachel för femton år sedan. Är han tillbaka?

Nora tror att hon vet allt om sin syster, men när hon börjar göra egna efterforskningar visar det sig att Rachel har många hemligheter.


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Jag kände mig väldigt kluven under tiden jag läste boken. En del av mig ville verkligen få reda på sanningen om Rachels död, men samtidigt så hade jag svårt för själva berättarstilen. Första persons perspektiv kan vara lurigt. Ibland funkar det, ibland funkar det inte lika bra. Med Sargad måste jag erkänna att jag kämpade med det.

Själva story funkar tack vare att man inte vet om det förflutna har något med Rachels död att göra samt att Nora faktiskt beter sig konstigt, som om hon har något att dölja. Men i och med att det är Nora som är berättaren, så känns det som om man sitter fast i hennes huvud, och hennes tankegångar är inte alltid så klara. Däremot så fann jag inte tillbakablickarna på det förflutna när Nora och rachel var unga så svåra att hänga med i.

Men vad jag verkligen saknade var beskrivningar. Språket kändes så torftigt och det var svårt att få grepp om de andra karaktärerna i boken eftersom Nora i stort sett bara nämnde dem vid namn med aldrig riktigt gav en målande bild av dem. Vilket gjorde att de var lätt att glömda. Detsamma kan sägas om omgivningar etc.

Det är själva fallet, mordet på Rachel som gav liv till denna bok. Jag ville verkligen får reda på vem som hade mördat henne och varför. Och jag är glad att jag fortsatte läsa boken för trots mina problem med berättarstilen så var boken helt OK med ett slut som inte var tillrättalagt.

Tack till Louise Bäckelin Förlag för recensionsexemplaret!


ENGLISH REVIEW

When Nora takes the train from London to visit her sister in the countryside, she expects to find her waiting at the station, or at home cooking dinner. But when she walks into Rachel’s familiar house, what she finds is entirely different: her sister has been the victim of a brutal murder.

Stunned and adrift, Nora finds she can’t return to her former life. An unsolved assault in the past has shaken her faith in the police, and she can’t trust them to find her sister’s killer. Haunted by the murder and the secrets that surround it, Nora is under the harrow: distressed and in danger. As Nora’s fear turns to obsession, she becomes as unrecognizable as the sister her investigation uncovers.


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I felt that I was on the fence about this book during the time I read it. Part of me really wanted to find out the truth about Rachel's death, but at the same time, was I having trouble with the narrative. First person's perspective can be tricky. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not work as well. In Under the Harrow, do I have to admit that I was struggling with it.

The story itself works because you do not know if the past has anything to do with Rachel's death and that Nora actually behaves strangely as if she has something to hide makes the story more thrilling. But, because Nora is the narrator, it feels like being stuck in her head, and her thoughts are not always so clear. On the other hand, I did not find the flashbacks to the past when Nora and Rachel were young that hard to keep up with.

What I really missed was descriptions. The language felt so meager and it was difficult to grasp the other characters in the book because Nora basically just mentioned them by name with never really giving a good description of them. Which made them easy to forget. The same goes for the landscape, etc. 

It's the case, the murder of Rachel who gave life to this book. I really wanted to find out who had murdered her and why. And I'm glad I continued reading the book, despite the narrative problems, as the book was okay with an ending that I felt worked well thanks to not being too obvious.

Thanks to Louise Bäckelin Förlag for the review copy!

Friday, 13 October 2017

#BookReview The Final Seven by Erica Spindler

The Final Seven by Erica Spindler
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The first Saturday in July. . . A missing coed . . .The number seven carved into her door . . .

The countdown has begun.

New Orleans Detective Micki Dee Dare is a seasoned, no-nonsense cop. She doesn't need a partner, especially not Zach "Hollywood" Harris, an irreverent charmer, fresh out of an experimental FBI program. And her assignment -- keep him alive while he fights crime using the special skills he brings to the table -- is not what she signed up for. But the die has been cast and there's nothing she can do about it.

Micki soon realizes there's more to her partner than meets the eye--and more at stake than catching bad guys and closing cases. There's a new kind of evil at work the Crescent City, more cunning, more powerful than any she's ever encountered. And she and Zach may be the only ones who can stop it.

As another coed goes missing and the darkness closes in, Micki must face a terrifying truth: this time she might not make it. This time the evil they're facing might destroy them all . . .

Full of surprise twists and unexpected turns, The Final Seven is a heart-pounding thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page.

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Sometimes, I just don't understand why a book doesn't work for me. I mean I loved the next book in this series and I like the characters. But, The Final Seven is just one of those books that fail to grab my interest. For one thing, did it take me several days to finish the book and it's not a thick book with small font. I just felt that my heart was not in it. One theory I have is that I knew what would happen since I read the next book in the series. But, I usually don't have any problems with reading books in different order. It could be because it was the first book in the series and it was an introduction to the characters and sometimes the first book is not as good as the next book in the series when you get right to the action. 

As you can see do I not have any good explanations, hell it could be that it was the wrong month to read the book. But, I will say this. It's not a badly written book. I like Erica Spindler's writing style, and I've read other books by her that I love. This is just one of those books that didn't enthrall me. But, I still look forward to reading book three in this series because I really liked book two. 

It was, however, nice to read about how Micki and Zack got to work together and how they met Angel. And, also getting to know Eli from the start was nice since I like him. But, the story in the next book is definitely better!

#CoverReveal Nearly Dead by Conrad Jones (@ConradJones)

Blurb:

The renovation of a remote farmhouse on the outskirts of Liverpool uncovers a chamber of horrors but the crimes are historical. DI Alec Ramsay must sift through the evidence to identify both the victims and the perpetrators, while trying to dismantle the dangerous drug gangs that plague the city. The prequel to The Child Taker, this book is a must for fans of the Alec Ramsay series.

About the author:

Conrad is the author of 18 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; www.conradjonesauthor.com
jonesconrad5@aol.com

I am Conrad Jones a 50-year-old Author, originally from a sleepy green-belt called Tarbock Green, which is situated on the outskirts of Liverpool. I spent a number of years living in Holyhead, Anglesey, which I class as my home, before starting a career as a trainee manger with McDonalds Restaurants in 1989. I worked in management at McDonalds Restaurants Ltd from 1989-2002, working my way up to Business Consultant (area manager) working in the corporate and franchised departments.
On March 20th 1993 I was managing the Restaurant in Warrington`s Bridge St when two Irish Republican Army bombs exploded directly outside the store, resulting in the death of two young boys and many casualties. Along with hundreds of other people there that day I was deeply affected by the attack, which led to a long-term interest in the motivation and mind set of criminal gangs. I began to read anything crime related that I could get my hands on.

I link this experience with the desire to write books on the subject, which came much later on due to an unusual set of circumstances. Because of that experience my early novels follow the adventures of an elite counter terrorist unit, The Terrorist Task Force, and their enigmatic leader, John Tankersley, or `Tank`and they are the Soft Target Series, which have been described by a reviewer as ‘Reacher on steroids’ ; You can see them here;
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Target-Series-Length-Mystery-Thrillers-ebook/dp/B00JEN607Q

I had no intentions of writing until 2007, when I set off on an 11-week tour of the USA. The Day before I boarded the plane, Madeleine Mcann disappeared and all through the holiday I followed the American news reports which had little or no information about her. I didn't realise it at the time, but the terrible kidnap would inspire my book, The Child Taker years later. During that trip, I received news that my house had been burgled and my work van and equipment were stolen. That summer was the year when York and Tewksbury were flooded by a deluge and insurance companies were swamped with claims. They informed me that they couldn't do anything for weeks and that returning home would be a wasted journey. Rendered unemployed on a beach in Clearwater, Florida, I decided to begin my first book, Soft Target. I have never stopped writing since. I have recently completed my 15 novel, ‘Brick’, something that never would have happened but for that burglary and my experiences in Warrington.

The Child Taker was the 6th book in the Soft target Series but it also became the first book in the Detective Alec Ramsay Series when I signed a three book deal with London based publishers, Thames River Press. The series is now 7 books long with an average of 4.8 stars from over 2000 reviews. The first two books are always free with over 1100 5-star reviews. You can see them here;
http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B010DWH57K

As far as my favourite series ever, it has to be James Herbert’s, The Rats trilogy. The first book did for me what school books couldn’t. It fascinated me, triggered my imagination and gave me the hunger to want to read more. I waited years for the second book, The Lair, and Domain, the third book to come out and they were amazing. Domain is one of the best books I have ever read. In later years, Lee Child, especially the early books, has kept me hypnotised on my sunbed on holiday as has Michael Connelley and his Harry Bosch Series.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

#CoverCrush Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

For new visitors do I want to explain that Cover Crush is something that my friend Erin over at Flashlight Commentary came up with and I adopted the idea together with some other friends. And, now we try to put up a Cover Crush every week. You can check below my pick of the week for their choices this week!

The English language debut of the bestselling Dutch novel from a Hugo and World Fantasy award nominated talent to watch


Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay 'til death. Whoever settles, never leaves.

Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a seventeenth-century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. She stands next to children's beds for nights on end. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened or the consequences will be too terrible to bear.

The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated by being kept in lockdown, the town's teenagers decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting. But, in so doing, they send the town spiraling into dark, medieval practices of the distant past.

This chilling novel heralds the arrival of an exciting new voice in mainstream horror and dark fantasy.

Some thoughts about the cover:

I'm a big fan of horror books and this cover has that ominous feeling that I so love when it comes to books in this genre. From the "peaceful" houses to the stitches across the books titles...I want this book!

Check out what my friends have picked for Cover Crush's this week:

Stephanie @ Layered Pages





Tuesday, 10 October 2017

#BookReview The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman (@ahoffmanwriter) @simonbooks

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Find your magic

For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.

Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.

From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.

The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy.

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You may have read Practical Magic, or seen the movie. If you have either (or both), then you know that it's the story about two girls, Sally and Gillian that grows up with their aunts after their parents die. Oh, and they are witches. The Rules of Magic goes back in time, to the 60s and onward and tells the story about Franny, Jet, and Vincent Owens. Franny and Jet happen to be the aunts that Sally and Gillian are staying with. This is their story...

I read Practical Magic for the first time this summer. I've seen the movie several times, but they are really very different. But, I still liked both the movie and the book and I was eager to read this book to get to know the aunts more. The Rules of Magic is just like Practical Magic an engaging and engrossing book to read. I've come to adore Alice Hoffman's way of writing, her descriptions, the flow of her text and above all the wonderful characters she creates. And, still, this is only the second book I have ever read by, her. Guess I have to remedy that...

This book is a must-read for every fan of Practical Magic fans (both movie and book lovers), the story is marvelous and if you like me love coming of age stories will you love this book. I love reading books set in the 60s, the bohemian atmosphere, the political turmoil and not to mention the music from the time like Bob Dylan. And, it's in this time that the Owen siblings are growing up, where they learn that they are different and that there is a curse hanging over their heads.

I finished the book last night and the story is still with me, their childhood and their first step into adulthood. And, the losses they have to face. There came a moment towards the end of the book when I had to put the book away to compose myself so that I wouldn't cry. That's how taken I was with the story. I loved the first book, but to be honest this one is better. I was definitely more taken with Franny, Jet and Vincent experiences than Sally and Gillian's. Not that I didn't find Sally and Gillian's lives in any way boring or so. It's just that that this book, the sibling's endurance, well it got to me.

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!

#BookReview A Long Day in Lychford by Paul Cornell @torbooks

A Long Day in Lychford by Paul Cornell
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A Long Day in Lychford is the third book in Paul Cornell's increasingly popular Witches of Lychford series.

It's a period of turmoil in Britain, with the country's politicians electing to remove the UK from the European Union, despite ever-increasing evidence that the public no longer supports it. And the small town of Lychford is suffering.

But what can three rural witches do to guard against the unknown? And why are unwary hikers being led over the magical borders by their smartphones' mapping software? And is the European question *really* important enough to kill for?


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What happened? This novella has nothing of the charm that the previous novella had. I was looking forward to reading the next installment in this series and it took me several times to finish it because I just couldn't find the storyline remotely interesting. Brexit, people that are disappearing, and three witches that find themselves the only ones that can find and bring everything back to normal. The only plus was that at the end did we get some more answers to what is going on, and that there is someone out there with some devious plan. 

As you probably can tell was this novella not to my liking, and I hope the next one is better!

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!