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Sonya Alford (London, United Kingdom)

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Trinity
Trinity
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars It's a thrill a minute!, 30 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Trinity (Kindle Edition)
Nigel May asked me if I would like to review his book. 'Trinity' is his debut novel and it is a right sizzler.

Regan Phoenix, Anoushka Silvers and Evie Merchant are the very best of friends. They call themselves the Trinity and are certain that they will always stick together and that nothing will spoil their friendship no matter what life throws at them.

Regan's mother Montana is a rich and famous actress who has never cared much about her daughter, preferring instead to put her career and men first. As a result Regan has become something of a wild child, drinking and sleeping around. Anoushka or Nush as she is called is a gossip columnist for her father's newspaper. She knows that her dad doesn't really want her. Evie has always dreamt of being a famous actress and she manages to achieve her dream, even though she has a lot of heartache along the way.

In the world of glitz and glamour things are about to change big time for the three friends and certain events will test their friendship.

I wasn't really sure if I would like this novel, but I actually loved it. The writing style was great and there was a lot more to the story than I thought there would be. Quite a few of the chapters ended at really interesting points which left me totally intrigued. I wanted to know what was going to happen to each of the three main characters straightaway.

Full of twists and turns this story has it all; scandal, stalkers, blackmail, money and lots of sex. It's a thrill a minute and is guaranteed to give the reader hours of pure pleasure and entertainment. I can't wait to read Nigel May's next book.


The Christmas List (Kindle Single)
The Christmas List (Kindle Single)
Price: £1.15

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A magical little read, 25 Nov. 2013
I loved the sound of 'The Christmas List' and was really interested in reviewing it. Chrissie Manby kindly sent me a copy of her new novella when it was ready.

As children, Milly Arnold and her sisters always made a Christmas list on the 1st of December which was then sent off to Santa via the chimney, a family tradition continued by her married sister. Milly who has always loved Christmas is especially looking forward to it this year, but things change within minutes when she unexpectedly gets dumped.

The last thing Milly wants to do on the 1st of December is go to her elder sister's house for lunch, but she doesn't really have a choice. When her nephews sit down to write out their Christmas lists they insist that she also does one. Milly doesn't really expect to get any of her requests, but just goes along with it. However, things can work in mysterious ways. Will Milly find the happiness she truly deserves?

I really enjoyed 'The Christmas List'. Though predictable in places this was a magical little read. I recommend getting a copy of this novella. It's bound to get you in the mood for Christmas.

I hope Chrissie Manby writes more novellas like this.


Dangerous Waters (The Guernsey Novels Book 1)
Dangerous Waters (The Guernsey Novels Book 1)
Price: £2.32

4.0 out of 5 stars A story of mystery, loss and love., 10 Nov. 2013
'Dangerous Waters' is Anne Allen's first novel. I was asked by Anne if I would review her book and as it appealed to me I was more than happy to. This is a story of mystery, loss and love.

Fifteen years ago, Jeanne Le Page was involved in an awful boating accident in which she lost both her mother and father. Unable to cope and suffering from traumatic amnesia she fled from the island of Guernsey. Now after learning of her grandmother's death, Jeanne has to return there to sort out her affairs including the cottage which she has inherited. Deeply unhappy after the recent end of a long-term relationship, Jeanne has no desire to pick up her life on the island and does not really know what she is going to do.

Having suffered from nightmares for years following the accident, Jeanne finds that her return to Guernsey triggers flashbacks which become extremely frightening. Over the coming months Jeanne makes a very disturbing discovery.

I found 'Dangerous Waters' to be an enjoyable read. The two genres romance and mystery worked well together. I really liked Jeanne as a character and enjoyed getting to know her. You get a good feel for her including what types of books she likes to read and what music she listens to. I also found it admirable how she got on with things despite what she had been through, thus achieving a lot. I loved the descriptions of the cottage and the garden too.

You also get to learn quite a bit about Guernsey, both in the present and the past during WWII when it was occupied. Food certainly played a very big part in this story too. There is a handy map of Guernsey at the front of the book, a glossary at the back and even some recipes.


Blackheath Seance Parlour
Blackheath Seance Parlour
by Alan Williams
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.29

5.0 out of 5 stars I'll never look at Blackheath in the same way again, 7 Nov. 2013
Cutting Edge Press very kindly sent me a copy of 'The Blackheath Séance Parlour' when I expressed my interest in it. I was immediately drawn both to the cover and the title.

It is 1842 in Blackheath and Judy and Maggie Cloak's family chocolate shop is doing badly. Whilst drunk the sisters decide on their future together. They hardly have any money to buy food with and they know drastic action has to be taken before they starve to death. Judy has come up with what she considers to be a very good idea, but Maggie isn't so keen on it and puts her foot down immediately. Judy doesn't give up though and is determined to get her way.

A month later and with the help of a medium called Netta Walters, a séance parlour comes to Blackheath Village much to the shock and dismay of the locals. Curiosity soon gets the better of people though who want to be able to contact their loved ones and the shop starts doing really well. However, a rift starts to develop between the sisters. Judy writes a novel and gets it published, meets a lovely man and seems to have more of a gift for contacting the dead. This creates jealousy with Maggie deciding something more needs to be done.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book especially as it's a subject I am interested in. I really liked Alan Williams' writing style throughout. I found him to be very descriptive right from the first chapter where he described the storm over the heath. I am not far from Blackheath and know the area quite well so I recognised a lot of the places mentioned in the book which to me made it even more interesting to read.

Judy was my favourite character in the story and I so wanted her to be happy. Maggie with lots of practice developed the ability to be able to contact the dead which did actually help, but things went too far and I couldn't help feeling bad for her. This story seemed so real to me at times and I don't think I will ever look at Blackheath in the same way again.


A Tap on the Window
A Tap on the Window
by Linwood Barclay
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A real page turner full of twists, 10 Oct. 2013
This review is from: A Tap on the Window (Hardcover)
'A Tap on the Window' is Linwood Barclay's brand new novel, published today by Orion Books. I was sent a proof copy of this book to review for which I am very grateful.

It's a rainy night in Griffon, New York. Cal Weaver, a private investigator, is on his way home. Whilst sitting at a red light he notices a bedraggled looking teenage girl trying to hitch a ride. He ignores her even when she taps on his window as he knows it wouldn't be wise to pick her up. However, the girl recognises Cal. It turns out his son went to the same school as her. For this reason alone he feels he can't just leave her there and ends up giving her a lift. Surely it can't do any harm!

On the way home the girl, Claire, complains she is feeling sick and asks Cal if he can stop at a restaurant so that she can use the restroom. He obliges and waits in his car for her, but she takes too long and Cal out of concern goes in search for her. When he returns to his car he finds Claire sitting in the passenger seat. Only she is different. She seems nervous for a start off. Then he notices something else and when he realises that the girl in the car isn't Claire, he confronts her. She demands to be let out of the car and then tries to get out whilst he is still driving.

The next day the police pay Cal a visit at his house wanting to know if he gave a teenage girl a lift the previous night. Things aren't looking good for him, especially when a girl is found brutally murdered. He has unwittingly ended up getting involved in something dodgy and is about to make some shocking discoveries over the next few days.

Until now I hadn't read any of Linwood Barclay's books so I didn't know what to expect. As it turns out, I totally loved 'A Tap on the Window' and I got through it quickly. From the start I found it so exciting. A real page turner full of twists, it kept me guessing and the end result wasn't what I expected. Linwood has a way of making you hungry for more with his writing. Absolutely fantastic!

I'm going to have to read some of Linwood Barclay's previous novels at some stage and I already can't wait for his next one to come out. For all you crime fans out there I recommend you grab yourself a copy of this book as fast as you can.


Sin
Sin
Price: £2.14

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't pick up any two pence coins! :-), 3 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Sin (Kindle Edition)
Shaun Allan asked me a while back if I would like to review 'Sin'. Being that I read a variety of books I thought I would give his novel a go, especially as I'm always eager to discover new authors. Shaun has also written a number of prize winning short stories and poems.

Sin Matthews has gone missing from the mental asylum and Dr Connors is not happy. He hasn't got his lab rat to experiment on anymore. Somehow Sin has managed to teleport himself out of the hospital with the aim of committing suicide. But he wakes up on a beach instead.

You see, it all started when Sin picked up a two pence coin thinking it would bring him good luck. The only thing is it didn't, quite the opposite in fact. The first time he flipped and caught the coin something awful took place and people died. Flip, Catch; every time Sin did this more tragedies occurred. There was only one thing for it, he would have to dispose of the coin. Yes, that was the answer. The problem? The coin kept coming back.

Sin began doubting himself and ended up admitting himself into a mental asylum. In order to forget things, he would sometimes become violent so that he was drugged up to his eyeballs. But is Sin actually insane? That's for you to work out!

This story has been told from Sin's viewpoint and it's certainly different to any other book I've ever read. I really like Shaun's writing style, the wonderful wittiness and word play throughout shows Sin as having a good sense of humour.

'Sin' is an intriguing read which keeps you guessing to the end. It's a dark and quite often disturbing read, but that's what makes it so great.

Whatever you do, don't pick up any two pence coins off the pavement!


Longbourn
Longbourn
by Jo Baker
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I wasn't let down, 18 Aug. 2013
This review is from: Longbourn (Hardcover)
I was thrilled when I won a limited edition proof copy of 'Longbourn'. Published by Doubleday on 15th August 2013 in hardback, ebook and audio this book coincides with the 200th anniversary of the first publication of 'Pride and Prejudice'. It follows the lives of the servants and is a really fascinating read.

Life is very busy at Longbourn House below stairs. Mrs Hill the housekeeper is in charge of Sarah and Polly, the two housemaids who came there as young children. Though forceful, Mrs Hill is kind and caring. Little do they know however that everyday life at Longbourn is about to be disrupted. James Smith arrives and is employed by Mr Bennet as a footman. But all doesn't seem right to Sarah, things just don't add up. She is sure James is hiding something.

When I received 'Longbourn' I had the feeling that I would really enjoy this novel. I'm pleased to say that I wasn't let down. This was one of those books that I just couldn't wait to get back to and I wish it could have carried on. It has been beautifully written and Jo Baker has described everything so well, from the clothes that were worn in those days to the different places. 'Longbourn' has been split into three volumes. Volume Three is where all becomes clear and it contains a few shocks and surprises.

My favourite character was Sarah. She worked so very hard and you couldn't help but feel sorry for her, especially when her hands were all sore and bleeding. I just wanted her to find happiness.

I think this book will appeal to lots of people, whether fans of Jane Austen or not. For those of you who read 'Longbourn' and like it there is more good news. It is due to be made into a film produced by Focus Features. I am keen to see this when it is released to see how it compares to the book.


The Unquiet Grave (DI Damen Brook 4)
The Unquiet Grave (DI Damen Brook 4)
by Steven Dunne
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.94

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for all fans of crime!, 11 Aug. 2013
I was lucky enough to win a proof copy of this book. Until recently I had never even heard of Steven Dunne. 'The Unquiet Grave' was published by Headline on the 4th July 2013 and it is Steven's fourth novel. Based in Derby this really is crime fiction at its very best.

DI Damen Brook has recently been on suspension. On returning back to work he is assigned to work in the Cold Case Unit of Derby Constabulary. To Brook it feels like a morgue but he decides to just get on with it. His task is to look through old files, cases which haven't ever been solved to see if he can shed any light on them. Whilst reading through the files and making notes Brook uncovers a series of murders, the first of which happened in 1963. He feels that he has no choice but to dig deeper. For one thing, he doesn't understand how the killer has managed to get away with it for so long. Using his razor sharp intelligence and excellent instincts, Brook delves deep into both suspects and colleagues pasts not knowing where his investigations will lead him. He hasn't got much time though as a significant date is approaching fast. Will Brook discover who the killer is and save the day?

'The Unquiet Grave' has all the required ingredients of a great crime thriller. It's gritty, exciting, has lots of twists and turns and some very shocking revelations indeed. It really kept me guessing and the result wasn't what I expected. I can tell that Steven Dunne has given lots of thought to this book. I recommend it to fans of crime fiction.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading 'The Unquiet Grave' and I really hope to read Steven Dunne's previous three novels; 'The Reaper', 'The Disciple' and 'Deity' all of which feature DI Damen Brook. I'm also looking forward to his next novel, whenever that may be.


The State We're In
The State We're In
by Adele Parks
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.59

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, loved it, loved it!, 6 July 2013
This review is from: The State We're In (Paperback)
I was very kindly sent a proof copy of this book by Headline Publishing Group. A novel very much talked about, 'The State We're In' was published on 4th July 2013. I really wouldn't be surprised if it becomes a bestseller. This is the first time I have read any of Adele Parks' novels and I am so happy that I was given the opportunity to review this book. I loved it, loved it, loved it!

Two strangers meet on a plane going from London to Chicago. They are the total opposite to each other. For a start off they come from two very different family backgrounds. Jo is a true romantic who remains forever optimistic that she will find true love, whereas Dean due to his childhood finds it very hard to put his trust in people. It's an unlikely association but as they get to know each other on the plane, they discover that there is a connection between them. Dean even finds himself pouring his heart out to Jo, something he has never been able to do preferring instead to keep his past private.

This is a wonderful story which looks at relationships, marriages and broken families. It shows what a small world this actually is and reminds us that no one is perfect, that these things happen. Each chapter has been narrated by the main characters Eddie, Clara, Jo and Dean.

I thoroughly enjoyed 'The State We're In' from the start and I found it so very hard to put down. In fact I was up at 7 a.m. this morning reading it as I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next. I really liked Jo and just wanted her to find happiness.

This novel has been tenderly and beautifully written and will stay with me for quite a while.


What Lot's Wife Saw
What Lot's Wife Saw
by Ioanna Bourazopoulou
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.79

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cleverly written story, 1 July 2013
This review is from: What Lot's Wife Saw (Paperback)
I would like to say thank you to Black & White Publishing for sending me this amazing book to review. 'What Lot's Wife Saw' was published last month in paperback. Winner of the Athens Prize for Literature in 2008, this novel has been translated by Yiannis Panas. A modern day Sodom and Gomorrah, it tells the story of a post-apocalyptic world.

Twenty-five years ago disaster struck when Southern Europe was flooded by the Overflow. Rome, Vienna and Istanbul were lost and loads of people died. Paris became a major port, whilst at the Dead Sea the earth opened up revealing a strange violet salt to which the world became addicted. The salt became big business and in order to manage the supply a colony was setup by the mysterious Consortium of Seventy-Five. Run by all types of people including murderers, forgers and fugitives, the Colony became a sanctuary to those fleeing from Europe, especially the privileged "Purple Stars".

The governor of the Colony dies in rather suspicious circumstances. The six officials panic and turn on each other, which sparks a terrifying chain of events. In Europe, the great crossword compiler Phileas Book who is known for creating the 'Epistleword' is recruited by the Consortium. They are after answers and they want them quickly! Who killed Governor Bera? He was unpopular and a number of people would have had a motive. Phileas is given the huge task of reading the six lengthy confessions which have been sent in and is ordered to sift the truth from the lies.

I wasn't too sure if I would like this novel, but once I started reading it my opinion changed quickly. After the first chapter I just knew this story was going to get really exciting and I wasn't proved wrong. I couldn't wait to read on, it just got more and more intriguing. This cleverly written story has been well thought out and it kept me guessing. The translation throughout is excellent. I also like the way the chapters have been arranged.

None of the six officials were particularly likeable though they were interesting, some more than others. I liked Phileas Book, he was certainly no fool. I felt really sad for him losing his parents, siblings and friends in the Overflow at the age of fifteen.


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