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Review: ‘Symbiosis’ by Guy Portman

Genre: Thriller, psychological
Length: 244 pages (approx.)
Symbiosis
I have awarded this book 5 stars.

Synopsis: Identical twins Talulah and Taliah have never been apart. Viewed as curiosities by children and adults alike, they coexist in an insular world with their own secret language. But being identical doesn’t necessarily mean being equal… Soon a series of momentous events will send Talulah and Taliah spiralling out of control, setting them on a collision course with a society that views them as two parts of a whole. Will their symbiotic relationship survive?

Review: This is the first book that I have read by Guy Portman, but it definitely won’t be the last!

I’ll admit that when I started this book, I was a little reluctant to get through it. The start was a little confusing and when the twins started talking in a different language, I thought that this book wasn’t for me. However, as the story continued, I really got to know the characters and the story grabbed me. I finished this book in 3 hours, while on the train. It was impossible to put down!

I really liked that as the story progressed, the idea of individuality was brought into question. I really started to feel sorry for the twins and how they are not seen as two people, especially by their mother. We really see the twins grow up through the book, which was a lovely way of getting to know them.

★★★★★- Overall, a wonderful read. Very thought provoking and nicely paced. Highly recommended!

Where to buy:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

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Review: ‘A Gangster’s Grip’ by Heather Burnside

Genre: Crime / Thriller
Length: 266 pages (approx.)

This is book 2 in the Riverhill Trilogy

I have awarded this book 5 stars.

Synopsis: When Rita returns to Manchester after a few years away, she doesn’t expect to find a spliff smoking, beer swilling thug called Leroy firmly ensconced on her parents’ sofa. Rita is horrified to discover he is her sister Jenny’s new boyfriend, and she senses trouble. The more Rita finds out about Leroy, the more she mistrusts him. As she uncovers the truth about his shady dealings, she becomes anxious about Jenny’s safety and is desperate to lure her away from him. Rita’s mettle is tested as she tries to protect her sister while battling with personal health concerns. But it’s worse than Rita could ever have suspected. Through her association with Leroy, Jenny is about to become embroiled in the most dangerous phase in Manchester’s recent history.

Review: To begin with, I’ll admit that I wasn’t sure about this book. I had given Slur, the first book in this series, a four star review, so I knew that this book had a lot to live up to. I’m incredibly glad that I read this book as I enjoyed it immensely – even more than the first book!

I loved the characters and how much they had grown and matured from the first book, which I felt made the story a lot more engaging. They were believable and interesting, and it was impossible not to care about them. I even found myself tearing up at times due to the situations that they had got themselves in!

This book was fast-paced and full of action, and there was plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader engaged (I don’t want to give anything away, but I definitely didn’t see the ending coming!). I felt that there was just the right amount of description to make it effective and without detracting from the pace of the story. I was also glad that the descriptions weren’t too gore-y, which allowed me to create a vivid picture in my mind.

Some very clever writing and I eagerly await the next instalment in the trilogy.

★★★★★ – Fast-paced and full of action, with plenty of twists and turns. Believable characters and an effective use of description. Very cleverly written and highly recommended!

Where to buy:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

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Review: ‘Calculated Justice’ by M.A Comley

Genre: Crime / Thriller
Length: 164 pages (Approx.)

This is book 12 in the Lorne Simpkins series.

I have awarded this book 4 stars.

Synopsis: Let the chase begin… Lorne Warner, newly reinstated as Inspector again, is confronted with one of her worst cases to date. She knows who kidnapped the Warburton family–their kidnapper contacted her himself. But he forces Lorne and her team into a game of cat and mouse that leads them on a chase across London. As each clue brings Lorne closer to finding the family, she realises that saving the lives of the Warburtons might mean sacrificing her own.

Review: Fast paced, interesting and with plenty of our favourite characters, Calculated Justice is certainly a great read! How Comley can get to book twelve in the series and still come up with different cases and keep the books exciting and unpredictable is beyond me!

It was great to see Lorne back in the role of Inspector; a role that she is clearly built for! I was also happy to see lots of Lorne’s husband, Tony, and Lorne’s boss, Sean. I was sad to see Katy step down, especially under the circumstances, and hope that this doesn’t mean she’ll leave the force for good! I loved the case that Lorne was working on in this book! I found myself laughing out loud at some of the things she had to do! I loved all the references to London in this book and found it all to be exceptionally accurate.

Once again, we are reminded of some familiar ‘friends’ of Lorne’s and previous cases that she has worked on. For this reason, I wouldn’t recommend reading this as a stand alone book. While it would work as a stand alone book, I think readers would get more out of it if they read previous books in the series so that they can fully understand the references.

I gave this book 4 stars for two reasons really. The first being that I didn’t feel the author gave enough explanation into the motives of the criminal. The second was that I wasn’t always completely satisfied with Charlie’s actions in the circumstances (I don’t want to give too much away). Regardless of these, I would still highly recommend this book as I found it a very gripping read!

★★★★ – A fast paced, gripping read! This case has a dizzying affect on Lorne! Highly recommended! 

Where to buy:
Amazon UK (Kindle)
Amazon US (Kindle)

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Review: ‘What We Left Behind’ by Peter Cawdron

Genre: Thriller / Sci-fi / Dystopian / YA (Young Adult)
Length: 192 pages (approx.)

I have awarded this book 5 stars.

Synopsis: Hazel is a regular teenager growing up in an irregular world overrun with zombies. She likes music, perfume, freshly baked muffins, and playing her Xbox—everything that no longer exists in the apocalypse. Raised in the safety of a commune, Hazel rarely sees Zee anymore, except on those occasions when the soldiers demonstrate the importance of a headshot to the kids. To her horror, circumstances beyond her control lead her outside the barbed wire fence and into a zombie-infested town

Review: This was such a breath of fresh air from previous zombie apocalypse novels that I have read!

I will admit that when I began this book, I wasn’t sure if it was for me or not. There was nothing that stood out about the characters (except their age) and I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy it (or finish it!). However, I had to keep reading due to the authors new theory about zombies! Plus, the character’s analysis of their actions and situations were great – “Sunsets are cruel, I think. They’re just as beautiful as they’ve always been. It’s as though nature didn’t get the memo. The apocalypse has come, but the natural world hasn’t noticed”.

As the story progressed, I really got drawn in. The characters became interesting and believable and aware of their flaws; they all had roles in the commune that played to their strength, and Hazel and her friends are more than aware of who should be in charge when they leave the commune! Hazel was a great character, as were her friends, and the way that the author crafted them made it impossible not to like them. Cawdron really captured the shyness, awkwardness and vulnerability of the teenagers.

So much happens in this book! I spent a lot of this book thinking ‘No way did that just happen!’ and devoured this book in an evening. Not only was this more focussed on the characters and their survival than the blood and gore of the zombies (though there are plenty of action scenes and zombies to keep the story moving at an interesting pace), but an explanation was offered for all the aspects that are usually overlooked in films which was an excellent touch! It was obvious that a lot of thought had gone into crafting and creating this book. I will be starting the second book tonight!

★★★★★ – A fresh take on the zombie origins story. Character driven but fast-paced and interesting with plenty of action and gore! 

Where to buy:
Amazon UK (Kindle)
Amazon US (Kindle)

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Review: ‘The Child Taker’ by Conrad Jones

Genre: Crime / Thriller
Length: 389 pages (approx.)

I have awarded this book 5 stars.

Synopsis: A stand alone novel based on high profile child abductions, which have been followed by millions of concerned parents on the news. 5 year old twins are abducted from a tent in the Lake District and the hunt for a dangerous paedophile ring begins. Police procedure follows the premise that 60% of abducted children are murdered within the first four hours of being taken. The first hour is called “The golden hour” and the longer a child is missing, the less chance there is of them being recovered unharmed. The Child Taker follows the desperate search for the missing twins.

Review: This is the first book that I have read by this author, but it definitely wont be the last! I found this book impossible to put down, though it was very difficult to read at times due to the subject matter and the gruesome descriptions. I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to give anything away.

This book was very fast paced and kept me guessing throughout. When I thought I knew what was going to happen, the author proved me wrong! I really liked the characters, particularly John ‘Tank’ Tankersley, and found them to be believable and interesting. I will admit to being a little confused during the first few chapters, but things very quickly started to tie together and I was hooked! This is some very clever writing that I would very highly recommend!

★★★★★ – Fast paced with interesting and believable characters. Warning: Very disturbing and gruesome descriptions and deals with the subject of kidnap and child abuse!

Where to buy:
Amazon UK  (Kindle)
Amazon US (Kindle)

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Review: ‘Wrong Place’ by M.A Comley

Genre: Crime / Thriller
Length: 205 pages (approx.)

This is book 1 in the DI Sally Parker series.
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I have awarded this book 5 stars.

Synopsis: DI Sally Parker has a serial killer on her patch. One thing that sets this killer apart from the others she’s hunted before: his willingness to leave DNA at each of the crime scenes. It’s up to Sally and her partner DS Jack Blackman to find out why before the body count rises to double figures. While Sally is engrossed in the investigation, her ex-husband, Darryl, pays a surprise visit to her new home. His actions not only threaten Sally’s new-found confidence, but they also force the DCI to give Sally an ultimatum concerning the case.

Can Sally overcome all the obstacles fate has placed in her path and arrest the brazen killer?

Review: I will happily admit that part of me didnt want to start reading this book. Comley’s Justice series is great and I was worried that this book would be more of the same, just with different names. However, I should never have had those thoughts as it simply wasnt true. There were parallels in parts, but this is definitely it’s own story. In fact, I’m even tempted to say that it is my new favourite book written by Comley!

I greatly enjoyed reading this book. It was fast paced and unpredictable and the characters were well developed and believable.

From the very beginning of this book, I was hooked. The story opens with an encounter that goes very differently to what I had imagined! Comley left me guessing throughout as to who the killer was and how he would be caught. There were plenty of twists and turns to keep me guessing, too!

I really liked the character of Sally and found her to be very realistic. She is a strong woman in a strong role at work, but still capable of showing her vulnerabilities at home and still finds herself in difficult situations. I also greatly enjoyed the storyline of Sally’s work partner, Jack. I found myself cringing at the situation he was in! I feel it is important to note that I did not find this information about the characters personal lives to distracting or overpowering, but rather felt that it added depth to the characters.

I also loved the references to the star of Comley’s Justice series, Lorne Simpkins, and the references to other works in this genre (such as Linda S. Prather’s ‘Beyond a Reasonable Doubt). Very clever!

All in all, a superb start to the series and I can’t wait to read the next book in this series!

★★★★★ – Fast paced and unpredictable with believable characters. Plenty of twists and turns to keep you interested! A great start to the series! Very highly recommended.

Where to buy:
Amazon UK (Kindle)
Amazon US (Kindle)

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Review: ‘Grave Intention’ by M.A Comley

Genre: Crime / Thriller / Psychological 
Length: 260 pages (approx.)

This is Book 2 in the Intention Series.

I have awarded this book 5 stars.

Synopsis: Private investigator Ellen Brazil is hired to find ex-banker Charles Dugan, who disappeared after his mansion burned to the ground. Ellen quickly discovers that Dugan’s new profession–playing poker full time–has earned him a circle of very dangerous “friends.” Ellen’s investigation is disrupted when her mother is injured, leaving Ellen to wonder why her mother’s abusive husband has gone missing when he should be at the hospital. Ellen finds herself trying to solve two cases at once while smoothing over her own personal issues. When she learns Dugan has plans to flee the country, Ellen knows it’s imperative to find him before the gang he owes money to discover his whereabouts and carry out their grave intentions.

Review: This book isn’t as fast-paced as the first in the series, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t enjoyable. In fact, I would say that I enjoyed this book more. Grave Intention really added depth to the characters and showed what made them the way that they are. We also learn more about the relationship between Ellen’s mother and stepfather, and why Ellen and her step-father have such a bad relationship – though I suspect that there is more to uncover here!

Like the first book in the series, the dialogue, characters and situations in this book are believable. The crime in this book is also based on a true British news story. I really enjoyed the elements of humour injected into the dialogue. Ellen and Brian’s banter was great, a continuation from the first book, and strengthened by the inclusion of a new employee. It was also nice to see more of Ellen’s brother, Jim, and his family.

★★★★★ – Based on a true story, this book has believable and well developed characters, dialogue and situations. The banter is great! Very highly recommended!

Where to buy:
Amazon UK (Kindle)
Amazon US (Kindle)