Thursday, 5 May 2016

Murder Month - 15th Affair

Let's start this month with a bit of a bang, shall we?

15th Affair is the fifteen volume in the Women's Murder Club series and it follows Detective Lindsay Boxer who is now juggling married life, being a mother and her career within Homicide within San Francisco Police Department. But life can change in an instant, as Lindsey knows.

When she is called to the Four Seasons Hotel, Lindsey is shocked at what she sees. A man in one hotel room, shot at close range with no form of ID on him. In the next room, a young man and woman are shot as well, but they are surrounded by high tech surveillance equipment. Who were they spying on? And with a house maid dead down the hall, the murders are connected. But how?

But before long, the case takes two shocking twists. How far will Lindsey and her fellow Women's Murder Club members will to go to the truth?

As you guys know if you follow my blog for a while, I have a weird love/hate relationship with James Patterson. I think this is because I read quite a bit of him when I was a teenager and after a while, I just had my fill and it's taken me quite a while to return to him, and even then, it's seems to be the Women's Murder Club that I'm happy to return to.

Which is nice as 3rd Degree, the third book in the Women's Murder Club series, was my first James Patterson novel.

As someone who is rediscovering this series, I enjoyed myself with this story. I was on the edge of my seat while listening and I sped through this. It was a fun thriller, a story I could have read while on the beach one summer's day.

But if you are a James Patterson fan, you might not be blown away with this plot. It's very much sticks to the James Patterson's brand with short, punchy chapters and a plot that will feel the same as other plots within this series or in any of his others. Plus, there is one tiny plot twist that might make readers go "That's one step too far..." It's like a repeat of the Yuki plot within Unlucky 13 (oh, that plot was a jump the shark moment, wasn't it?)

Another thing is that this story very much stays with Lindsey. This is Lindsey's story and the other members of the Women's Murder Club are very much supporting characters. With the story and the direction it takes, it makes sense to focus on Lindsey but I like the other characters and feel that a little more screen time wouldn't have hurt that much.

If you want a fun, fluffy thriller, this series is the place to go. Just don't expect it to get heavy and intense. That's not the James Patterson way.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Swan Boy Extract!

WHOOPS!!! I forgot I was taking part in this tour when I started planning my Murder Month! For that, sorry everyone! But a change is a good as a rest! Will return to schedule plan tomorrow! But today, I have a tiny sneak peek in Swan Boy by Nikki Sheehan. 

Swan Boy follows the story of Johnny. When a bully won't leave him alone, Johnny gets aid from an unlikely source: a swan. Events take a turn when, somehow, Johnny becomes lead in the school's ballet production. Not only has Johnny now got to deal with bullies, looking after his little brother and his mother, his teacher wants him to live the role - which shouldn't be too difficult as feathers are now sprouting on his chest...

Hopefully, I shall be reading this in the coming few months (you guys know me by now - I don't plan my reads and I really should!) but to give you guys a tiny taste, Nikki Sheehan is here to give us a tiny introduction to the extract.

But before she does, I would like to thank Nikki for taking time out for writing this and Cailin at Rock the Boat for inviting me to take part in this.

Now, without any more delay, over to Nikki we go!

I’m so happy to see my second book finally launched this week. It’s been a long road and it went through many edits, but I think the essential story about a boy brave enough to start being himself, and the unlikely role models who gave him that courage, still shines through. 
So, this is the story about Johnny, a boy whose dad has recently and suddenly died, and who has had to move away from his friends to a block of flats in North London. In the first few pages we encountered a swan who, out of the blue, defended Johnny from the school bullies. And in this scene the swan appears once again in a very unexpected place. But what could it all mean?

As soon as he stepped into the foyer at Burnham Tower, Johnny noticed that something was different. 
For the first time ever the lift wasn’t wearing its DANGER – OUT OF ORDER sign. 
He looked towards the stairs as they faded into blackness. 
He hated those stairs. He wasn’t as fit as he used to be and the first few flights were OK, but by the third or fourth his legs felt tired, and by the sixth he was breathing hard. By the time he reached the eighth he was sweating like a pig. 
Johnny scanned the floor to see if the sign had just fallen off. 
It hadn’t. 
He still hesitated for a moment, then he pushed the button and the doors swept open. 
Inside the lift was a huge white swan. 
It looked up, turning its head to one side as if consider- ing him. 
He knew he should have shut the door quickly and phoned the RSPCA. Or at least shouted, ‘There’s a *&$@-ing swan in the lift!’ Especially after reading about the arm-breaking thing. 
That’s what the old Johnny would have done. 
But he didn’t, because everything was different now, and what did he have to lose? 
He took a step forward. 
The swan ruffled its feathers, but Johnny thought it looked sort of friendly. For a swan. 
He took another step. 
The swan moved its head again, slowly, considering him through the other eye. 
‘Is it you?’ Johnny whispered, feeling that it had to be the same swan, the one that had attacked Liam Clark. 
The swan shuffled its feet, then sat down. Johnny took it as an invitation and he stepped inside. The lift doors immediately closed and he was hit by the rich dark smell that he remembered from Regent’s Park. It made him think of conkers and stock cubes and life. 
Johnny hardly dared to breathe. The swan took up most of the space in the hot little metal box, and he didn’t want to touch it, so he pushed his back hard against the wall. 
Meanwhile the swan held his gaze, showing no fear or aggression, and Johnny became more convinced that it was the same swan, the one who had attacked his enemy. 
Then the old electric motor began to whirr, the lights dimmed then flickered, and the lift jolted upwards. 
Johnny didn’t want to keep staring into those small black eyes, so he stared at the panel instead, watching the numbers slowly go from 1 to 2 to 3, and wondering where the swan was going. 
Was it someone’s pet? It didn’t look like a pet. 
Was there a swan sanctuary on the fifth floor? Johnny wasn’t sure the council would allow that. 
Was it going to his flat?

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Murder Month - Why Is The Crime Genre So Popular...?

I have to ask this question, seeing as this is a themed month where I read a lot of crime/thriller books. So, why is the crime/thriller genre so popular?

It's everywhere you look. Go into your local supermarket and look at the book charts. You will see that, barring a few books from other genres, crime and thriller books dominate. At the moment, James Patterson's latest rules. If you watch/listen to soap operas, nothing get the ratings up and viewers jaws hitting the floor than a good murder mystery. Eastenders and Hollyoaks is still running their most talked about storylines (Bobby Beale killing his sister, Lucy, and his family hushing it up in Eastenders and the Lindsey being the Gloved Hand Killer with former serial killer terror, Silas, returning to Hollyoaks) with Neighbours and Home and Away both have whodunnit plots running with no end in sight. If you read/listen/watch the news, shocking and unexplained deaths/murders/crime is usually given top billing. There are TV channels that solely show crime/thriller programmes (Alibi, 5USA and, up to a point, Universal Channel and Sky Living) and TV shows that have a crime/thriller/mystery element to them always get high ratings (Poirot, Marple, Shetland, Vera, Lewis, How To Get Away With Murder, CSI, Broadchurch, Elementary, Scandal, Bones, Rizzoli and Isles, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries to name a few). 

So, why is this genre so popular? 

I'm not going to come out and say "I know why!" and explain. I can guess, and with this, I have two possible ideas. Maybe more as I type but let's start with these two. 

The first is because we, as humans, are fascinated by the evil that is to take a life. I believe, no matter how good we say we are, we all have the potential to commit a murder or any form of evil. We watch/read/listen to the stories and wonder to ourselves how someone "normal" could do that. How could they kill someone or a group of people and then carry on as if nothing has happened? And how far do we need to be pushed before we do that? What would cause us to harm another? We watch TV shows or read crime books and examine characters and watch them unravel as they are confronted by the police or someone who is investigating the crime. Did they do it to protect someone they loved? To keep a secret hidden? Or for a reason we just can't understand? Or do they just enjoy the power of taking another's life? Authors such as Ruth Rendell, PD James and Kathy Reichs look at what makes us human and push us to ask us how far would we go? We are fascinated with the darkness that lives inside each and every one of us. 

The second is, I think, a bit of a selfish reason. We want to be smarter than the person trying to solve the crime. Ok, bear with me on this one. When you watch TV crime show, where the crime is solved within that hour long episode, how many of us watch the first ten to fifteen minutes? Usually within hour long crime dramas, the first ten to fifteen minutes usually introduce viewers to the killer and viewers are waiting for the detective to clock on that it's them. This rule isn't a steadfast rule. In TV shows such as Rizzoli and Isles, this rule isn't usually introduced in more recent episodes/seasons. It's our vanity. We want to solve the crime faster and smarter than the people on the TV. 

It's the same with books. We read crime/thriller books and we are trying our damnest to be smarter, not only the detective in the book, but smarter than the author because we figured it out before the grand reveal. Sometimes we get it right. Sometimes we get it wrong. And sometimes, the author pulls the rug from under us so fast, we don't know what happening till our heads hit the floor. Take Agatha Christie, for example. She is called the Queen of Crime, and with good reason. If you have read And Then There Were None, Murder on the Orient Express or The Murder of Roger Ackroyd or see her play, The Mousetrap, how many of you can honestly say you saw those endings coming? 

A third reason for this is that it defines our fairytale-like belief that good triumphs over evil. With all the horror we know happens in our world, we want/need something to prove to us that good will win. When we read a crime book, we know from the off that the murderer will be caught and justice will be served. When we watch a soap opera such as Eastenders or Hollyoaks, we are watching, waiting for the moment when the truth is outed, the villains to be arrested and go the jail and everyone else to live a happy, safe life. 

But that isn't always the case. Sometimes, the villain is unmasked, but they don't get arrested or they hide the secret so well that only the viewers/readers know the truth. This is what happened in Karen Slaughter's Kisscut and Kathy Reichs's Monday Mourning. And how many murderers are they in soaps that we have "forgiven" because of one reason or another. 

My final reason (yes, this is my final reason, otherwise I could just keep going with this) is because it's safe and fun. We know that when we start reading a crime book or a crime TV show that the baddie will be caught in the end, good triumphs over evil and it makes us think "What if...?", but it's a safe way to look into this world. It takes us away from our own lives - where we worry about family, friends, pets, work, bills, etc - and we are thrown into a world that could be either very dark and scary   where someone is, seemingly, murder for no sensible reason and, the more we look into their lives the darker their world becomes. Or we enter a lighter, cozy world where someone dreadful has died and it's that sweet old lady who drinks tea and write murder mystery novels who solves the crime (although, why the police allow her to enter a crime scene is anyone guess?!). 

There are loads of reasons why you love watching a good murder in that awesome TV drama that everyone is talking about. Or maybe that's why you really dislike that thriller book that your grandad gave you. This seems to be question with a lot of answers, some answers meaning more to one person than another. But crime/thriller books/TV shows/movies/podcasts/radio shows are still hugely popular. And they are not going anyway... 

Monday, 2 May 2016

Lying About Last Summer - Swimming Pools

I am thrilled to start this Murder Month with a guest post from Sue Wallman, debut author to thriller Lying About Last Summer. I should be reading this later this month and with praise comparing this book to 13 Reasons Why and We Were Liars, this sounds perfect for this month!

Last summer, Skye's sister died tragically and Skye hasn't been coping. Her parent decide sending her to a camp for troubled teens - it might help with her grief, they think. And for a while, Skye feels like she can move on, begin to come to terms with her lost. Until the text messages start. Texts from someone pretending to be her dead sister... The past has to be confronted, but what about the present danger...?

When Faye from Faye Rogers PR asked if I wanted to be involved in this blog tour (photo on the side if you wanna see who else is taking part!), I jumped at the chance. As soon as I heard of this book, I knew I had to read it! It sounds so dark and twisted, it sounded beyond perfect for me. Before I hand you over to Sue and why swimming pools are so important to herself and her debut, I must thank both Sue (@SWallman) and Faye (@FayeRogersPR) for taking time out for this tour!

Now, over to you, Sue!

Why swimming pools are important in Lying About Last Summer and to Sue

The idea for Lying About Last Summer started with a swimming pool. I’d done a writing workshop on setting/place workshop with author Lucy Christopher and I realised I really liked pools. Not the sort with chipped tiles, floating plasters and kids chucking things at your head. No. Beautiful outdoor ones, where the sun’s bouncing off the water and I’m the only one in it. 
As a starting point for my book, I liked the idea of a lovely pool in an idyllic summer setting where something bad happens. It’s something that will change my protagonist Skye for ever – her sister dies. A year on, Skye goes to a camp for bereaved kids at an activity centre where she tries to pretend she isn’t phobic about being in a swimming pool or lake. 
I love swimming but I wasn’t a good swimmer as a child. When I swam breast-stroke one of my legs had a weird twist. It still does. I was in my 20s when my cousin taught me to swim front crawl and suddenly there was a sport I actually liked. There’s something liberating about swooshing along rhythmically with my head underwater, where sounds are different, and I’m cut off from the real world. A few years back I developed an allergy to chlorine and it felt as if I had a permanent heavy cold, so I started swimming with a nose clip, forcing myself to get used to it even though for ages it felt as if I was drowning. 

Over the eight years I’ve been writing fiction seriously, I’ve spent hours in the pool fantasising about being published as I’ve swum my lengths. To have finally got there with Lying About Last Summer is an incredible feeling. 

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Murder Month


And I'm back with a themed month! Filled with crime, mystery, chills to thrills and, of course, a murder or two... 

It's going to be a weird month, but it should be fun. Hopefully. We shall see... 

Anyway, I wanted to give you a quick taste of some of the books I will be reviewing this month. It's a bit of a mixed bag, but here's a few titles you will see over the next month... 

So, yes. A little outside of my comfort crime zone (and the blog's), but hopefully, this month will get us to, hopefully, try out new genres. Yes, I know I read crime every now and then but I never sat and read crime so here I am, for the next month... 

Hopefully, I won't be driven off the genre for life but the end of the month. But you never know. Hopefully, this will be fun... right? RIGHT?! 

Hang on to your laptops/smart phone... this month is going to be interesting... And probably end with me saying...

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Tommy Vs Cancer

Yes, I know I am breaking my two week blog break! I KNOW!!! But, I had to break it because of this wonderful tour that is going to happen in July and everyone involved wanted to show our support to this tour!

The Tommy Vs Cancer Blog Tour is to show support to author Tommy Donbavand who was recently diagnosed with cancer (and hopefully help him kick cancer butt!) and raise awareness for this horrible disease that doesn't only affect the person themselves but their family, friends and loved ones.

If you want to know more about Tommy's fight, he is documenting his battle with the Big C. So check out:

This tour is taking place throughout July (starting on the first, of course) and, according to my info, there are still places if you want to get involved - whether you are an author, book blogger/vlogger. Every one involved will review a book written by Tommy (which look like a scream! Can't wait to read one myself... I wonder which one), as well as including money on how they can help Tommy. 

Anyone wishing to be involved should contact Viv (aka the lovely Serendipity Reviews or @Serendipity_Viv) at vivienne_dacosta [at] hotmail [dot] com, who will collate all the requests, working with Faye Rogers to organise a plan for the tour.

Cancer is a terrible and, at times, very lonely disease. If you want to know more about this, you can check out &

Hope you will join us on this special tour. 

Friday, 15 April 2016

Next Month...

This month, am going to try something a little different. I usually try themed month/yea as way to get my NetGalley eARCs or because it's about time to reread THAT series again (because WHY NOT! - And yes, am planning this again later this year... maybe...)

Well, I had this idea for a themed month for the past year now, but I kept putting it off due to one reason or another. But I think this month is the perfect month to do it so, this month is Murder Month May (Or Murder Month... I like this month. Easier to hashtag, no?).

Murder May is going to be (hopefully) a themed month where I am going to read or reread books/ebooks/audiobooks that either fit in the crime/thriller genre or have elements of crime, thriller or mystery.

Next month can go one of a few ways. Either...

... or...


...or even...

It, I hope, won't end like this...

... or this...

(Sorry Not sorry. I HAD to find a way to put them in this post! HAD TO!!!) 

Anyway, let's read murder together next month, hence the next two weeks off. So, my lovely readers, I hope you enjoy these few days of blog quiet, because when I come back... Happy reading. And remember... 

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Books And Their Theme Songs - Volume 33

So, is this post of Books and Their Theme Songs gonna be longer than the last post back in February? Well, scroll down and have a look/listen to find out!

KINDRED SPIRITS by Rainbow Rowell
"I Do What I Like" by The Corrs

"One Strike" by All Saints

"Tidal" by Imogen Heap & "Minds Without Fear" by Imogen Heap & Vishal/Shekhar

HALF LOST by Sally Green
"Scars" by Tove Lo

"The Sky Is Calling" by Kim Boekbinder