28 October 2016

Her Last Breath by J.A Schneider ~~~~~Blog Tour~~~~~~

I am super excited to be hosting Her Last Breath by J.A Schneider Blog Tour. Not only have I got a Q&A interview with the author herself, but I also have a 4.5 star review.....so keep readying guys.

Morning thank you for joining me this morning
Hi back, Shell, I’m happy to join you. I think we’re in different time zones, I’m in Connecticut, USA, so I’m waving across the puddle.

Can you tell us a little about yourself and background?
Grew up loving three things: reading (everything!); swimming (on a swimming team from childhood through university); gardening (grew pumpkins for the whole neighborhood; now I love roses & boxwood, will prune anything that can’t run away.)
Would you like more? Ok, I majored in French Literature in college (USA-speak for university), learned Spanish, spent my 3rd university year at the Sorbonne, learned Russian too & got sent to the, ahem, Soviet Union in a US-USSR Student Exchange. Great cultural exchange in which I learned the perils of vodka, fell down a ravine while hiking with Soviet students, wound up in a Sochi hospital (doctors were nice), then with friends got arrested for spreading anti-Soviet propaganda - for wildly giggling about their pea-green-colored water. But our door was locked! How could we know it was bugged? Then came home to work for Newsweek, met tons of writers; then marriage, kids, tried writing when they were little, failed…but NOW things are really interesting since I’ve been writing. After everything you’ve just read above…trust me…the best adventures are in books and in writing.

When did you know that you wanted to become a writer? and how did you go about it?
“Writer” always seemed like such a pretentious word. Still does. I’d never walk into a party & introduce myself as, “I’m a writer.” Don’t know why that is, how odd of me. But I always wrote: poems, short stories, made up ghost stories to entertain other kids around the summer camp campfires, that sort of thing. And at Newsweek…well, everyone was doing it – writing - hoping to create that great bestseller so they could quit working at Newsweek. That was my first taste of how hard writing is, especially fiction.

Can you tell us what genre your books are and the audience you write for?
Suspense and psychological thrillers, for those who love them.

What is your writing process? and how long does it take?
I don’t outline, & hopefully a book should take under six months. Fear Dreams and Her Last Breath both took about 4 ½ months. That sounds crazy, I know. The thing is, I spew, I love the intensity and the action and if I slow down, the story slows down. I start with the idea for the beginning and a rough idea of the end, and I have one or two characters I love, and that’s it. Not that it’s ever easy. Every day begins with terror: what happens next, what happens next? I read once where Stephen King described the Ira Levin thrillers as having the precision of a Swiss clock. And while it’s true that character matters more, the plot should work, too.  

Are your characters based on anyone you know or are they just fictional?
They’re fictional, but then, I am friends with police detectives who have influenced the creation of caring, intense, amazingly intuitive Kerri Blasco. Then there’s Liddy Barron in Fear Dreams…after Newsweek and B.C. (before children), I studied art at NYC’s Art Students League. I have a passion for art, the paintings of Van Gogh, the water colors of Dufy, so that influenced the creation of sensitive artist Liddy. And my husband is a physician (cardiologist), so I hear tons of talk about science, which helped me with Liddy Barron’s scientist husband Peter in Fear Dreams. Last but not least, Mari Gill in Her Last Breath is…a writer! So…from people I know I get what they do; then I create their characters. Oh, one thing about Kerri Blasco that is totally me is her love of chocolate. Her partner and sweetheart, Alex Brand, is constantly pulling candy wrappers and Hershey bars out of her handbag: “You shouldn’t eat this crap!”

Have you written about a personal experience in your novels?
Mmm, no. Nobody getting drunk with a bunch of Bulgarians and Russians and falling down a Soviet ravine.

What research do you do?
I use Google a lot. In olden days writers used to say, “I had to go to x to research it.” That’s no longer necessary. I’ve used Google to research everything from ballistics to street scenes to the price of saffron in Spain. For science stuff, I ask my husband – like, what effect does heroin have on the eyes? Answer: it constricts the pupils. That gave me the scene, in Her Last Breath, where Kerri Blasco asks a suspect if she uses H. “No,” says the suspect – but her pupils are pinpoints. Kerri thus realizes the girl is probably lying about other things.  

Who would you like to co-write with and why?
Ira Levin if he were still alive.

What's your favorite book?
Two: The Boys from Brazil and Rosemary’s Baby, both by Ira Levin

What's your favorite food?
French paninis and Hershey’s chocolate with almonds.

What's your favorite film?

What's your favorite song? “Roll me Away,” Bob Seger Such loving intensity the man has! If you ever feel droopy or your writing batteries need re-charging, click here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEBwq4A1wsU

How can readers find out more information about your and your books?
Email me at joyce@jaschneiderauthor.net, I love to hear from readers, and will always answer.

The book
A chilling psychological thriller about a woman caught between two men...
Mari Gill wakes to horror in a strange apartment next to a murdered man, and can't remember the night before. Accused of murder, she feels torn between her husband, a successful defense attorney, and a mysterious, kind man who wants to help. Can she trust either of them - or even her friends? Detecti...more

My thoughts

Imagine waking up in a strange apartment next to a murdered man Then being accused of murder …..The thought of it is unbearable but this is what happened to Mari Gill. She finds herself torn between two men one being her husband and the other being a mysterious kind man!

This story starts off with one hell of a tense climax where I was literally on the edge of my seat. This is where I knew this was going to be a corker and I wasn't wrong. After this amazing start I was well and truly hooked and devoured this two evenings...just a shame I had to go to work because I would've read this all night.

The tension and climax of a story normally happens at the end but in this story that is not the case. The author has done a brilliant job of grabbing the reader from the start. But the tension doesn't end there, this is certainly one fast paced thriller that kept me guessing until the end.

This is the second novel that I have read by J.A Schneider with Fear Dreams being the first one in the series. And the author has totally upped her game. I found this one more a lot more gritty and exciting.

Detective Kerri Blasco is a series not to be missed. The characters are realistic and believable. And I am looking forward to the third one in the series and getting to know Kerri more.

If you're looking for a page turner this is the book for you which I highly recommend giving it 4.5 stars

Thank you to the author for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

25 October 2016

Holding by Graham Norton

HoldingHolding by Graham Norton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Being a massive fan of Graham Norton fan and having read his autobiography which I loved. Imagine my excitement when I heard he had wrote a crime novel. I was be-hound excited and couldn't wait to get stuck in.

Written in two parts and set in a remote Irish village of Duneen. We meet Sergeant PJ Collins hasn't always been this overweight; mother of­ two Brid Riordan hasn't always been an alcoholic; and elegant Evelyn Ross hasn't always felt that her life was a total waste. Human Suspected of Tommy Burke are discovered on an old farm. A former­ love of both Brid and Evelyn - We follow a story has the village's dark past begins to unravel. And PJ stuggles to solve the case has he he unearths a community's worth of anger and resentments, secrets and regret.

The story draws you in from the start and keeps you guessing until the end. This story is certainly full of mystery and I love how it is written. Graham certainly has a hidden talent for writing that's for sure. I loved the setting and the descriptions in this story making me feel part of the story. Holding is a nice steady pasted story with a story that flowed and pieces together. Not like the normal fast paced gritty crime I normally read. And to be totally honest I found this a very refreshing change.

There is some humor in this story but not has much has I would of expected with Graham having such a wicked sense of humor. But having said that, this is a crime novel not a romantic comedy.

The characters are easy to relate to and realistic and I really hope there is more to come from PJ and get to know his character more.

I highly recommend this giving it 4 stars. Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton and Netgalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

24 October 2016

Lizzie's Christmas Escape by Christie Barlow

Lizzie's Christmas EscapeLizzie's Christmas Escape by Christie Barlow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So here I am again reading another Christmas book.... what on earth is going on?! I hear you all saying. Well after reading Kitty Countryside Dream earlier in the year and absolutely loving it. I couldn't resist reading Lizzie's Christmas Escape.Which I have to say it isn't has Christmasy has I thought it was going to be!

Like Kitty I found this a quick and easy read which I devoured in one afternoon. In this story we meet Lizzie who promises herself thing will change in the new year but with her girls who are grown up and left home and a husband who comes home from work to sit in from of the TV night after night. Which all seems the same old to Lizzie and finds herself taking refuge in cooking and talking to her Gary Barlow calendar which made my giggle. Until she meets Marcus will he help mend her marriage or not is the question?!

So for me I have no idea what what it like to be in that situation being single and never being married. So I couldn't relate to Lizzy and found those parts of the story to serious or maybe I was a bit jealous of her! Anyway using my Miss Marple skills I totally guessed the outcome so the ending was no surprise to me at all.

But what I did love about this story was Lizzie and best friend Anne's friendship. We have all got that one special best friend. Their friendship and story line was the core of the story for me. And shows what best friends really are, with plenty of laugh out loud scenes. Which is what this author is all about.

This story does have something for everyone. Even though I prefer Kitty, I highly recommend giving this giving it 4 stars.

Thank you to Bookouture and Netgalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

Mercy Killing by Lisa Cutts

Mercy KillingMercy Killing by Lisa Cutts
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

This is my first book that I have read by Lisa Cutts and certainly wont be my last. The story starts off with one hell of a start, Where the author grabs your attention and doesn't let you go until the very last page.

The main chunk of the story is set over two weeks. Where the death of a local sex offender Albie Woodville puts pressure on the police officers at East Rise incident room. Has the story unfolds it soon becomes clear this isn't a one off killing and someone is out for revenge.

Lisa certainly know's her stuff, Mercy Killing gets right into the nitty gritty of police procedure giving an insight into this a very uncomfortable story line about child abuse and what goes on with the police side of things. The author has show incredible sensitivity throughout, but at the same time made it one brutal and gripping read. The story takes us on a journey where I could actually feel what the pressure and emotions the characters go through.

DI Harry Powell is a strong realistic likable character who I am looking forward to reading more more about. Lisa Cutts is certainly an author to look out for and this story has plenty of twists and turns that will have you guessing until the end. Which I highly recommend giving it 4.5 stars.

Thank you to Lisa Cutts for a copy of this, in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

20 October 2016

Dark Water by Robert Bryndza

Dark Water (DCI Erika Foster #3)Dark Water by Robert Bryndza
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

WOWZERS.... where do I start. Dark Water is the third novel in the DCI Erika Foster series and I really don't know how Robert does it. Just when I thought this series it at the top and cant get any better, Robert totally excels himself yet again with this corker.

The story starts off in 1990 with a body being dumped at a quarry then we fast forward to the present where Erika and the team are out looking for a container that contains drugs. Which is found and so is the remains of a small skeleton. We soon learn that these are the remains of seven-year-old Jessica Collins. The missing girl who made headline news twenty-six years ago. And Erika must re-open the case and piece the puzzle with the old case. Erika soon realises this is going to be one of the most complex and demanding cases she has ever taken on.

I really feel like I am getting to know Erika more and what makes her tick. In the story we learn more about her past and her feelings. Erika is very head strong and get on and do it person and wont let anything get in her way. And of course you see her sensitive side when it comes to her family. Making Erika someone I can relate to in-fact I could see myself having a night out with her. I really think she is fab.

I loved the police procedure scenes which I personally think are spot on. I was taken back to the days when I used to watch the hit TV show The Bill! Robert has certainly done his research that's for sure.

What more can I say but this book has totally blown me away.This is one amazing, nail biting tense and gritty story that's totally off the Richter scale. I flaming loved it and devoured it in one evening. I was sucked in from the very first page where I found myself saying No way! With plenty of Twists and turns has the case unfolds.

Having ticked all the boxes for me I cannot recommend this enough. This book deserves a trophy never mind 5 stars!

Thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for an advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

16 October 2016

The Killing Game by J.S.Carroll ~~~~~BLOG TOUR~~~~~~

I am delighted it is on my turn on Blog Tour today for The Killing Game by J.S.Carroll after reading it back in June. Now I can finally share my thoughts with you.

The Book
Imagine you are having lunch at an exclusive restaurant, filled with Hollywood’s hottest stars.
And a masked gunman walks in and takes everyone hostage.
You must bargain for your life against a twisted individual who knows everything about you.
He also has a bomb set to detonate if his heart rate changes.
If he dies. You die.
You have four hours to stay alive.
What would you do?

My Thoughts

Can you imagine my excitement when a copy of this book drops in my email inbox with no cover, title or blurb all i know is, it's by J.S Carroll. I couldn't contain my excitement and got stuck in straight away reading it in a matter of hours. I simply couldn't put it down this is one hell of a page turner. I was hooked from the very first page.

A masked gunman walks in a restaurant filled with Hollywood's hottest stars and takes everyone hostage! And the story is written over fours hours. Sounds exciting doesn't it?! Honestly this book is that tense and exciting that my pulse was beating that hard I thought my heart was going to explode!

The Killing Room would make one seriously wicked movie that’s for sure. This is without a doubt one pulse racing read that J.S Carroll has cleverly woven together, taking you on the ride of your life. Which I cannot recommend it enough. If fast paced thrillers are your thing you will totally love this.

It's 5 massive stars from me Thank you to Kim Nash at Bookouture for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

James was born in Scotland and moved to England in the early-eighties. At various times he has worked as a guitarist, sound engineer, guitar tutor, journalist, and a horse riding instructor. When he's not writing, James spends his time training horses and riders. An accomplished guitarist, he relaxes by writing and recording music. He lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and two children.

For more information go to: www.james-carol.com

11 October 2016

The Hangman's Hitch by Donna Maria McCarthy

The Hangman's HitchThe Hangman's Hitch by Donna Maria McCarthy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Having received such amazing support with my blog through twitter and Facebook by the author. I was very intrigued to know who this author was and what she wrote, so off to amazon I went. I am a massive fan or horror/supernatural stories. So can you imagine my surprise to find that this novel comes under the horror genre....Happy days. I was like a kid in a candy shop lol

And I sure has hell wasn't disappointed Donna Maria McCarthy is one dark horse that's for sure. With the shortest blurb I have ever read The Hangman's Hitch… The inn at the end of your world. Where satanic practice is the order and your soul required to pay for your stay … that really doesn't give a lot away I really didn't know what to expect. But I absolutely freaking loved it. And I still cannot believe this is a debut novel.

So in this story we meet two characters Fredrick and Joseph. Fredrick being the weaker character of them where we follow them on a journey of this rather strange friendship.

Now this is what I call Gothic horror with a story full of mystery. The authors writing skills are very well crafted keeping you gripped from the very first page until the end. And I loved how it was written with old dialogue which I found very fitting with the story set in the historical 18th century.

This story not only is fall of mystery and suspense there is some added humor in there to. So if you are looking for something that little bit different and original I highly recommend this giving it 5 unique stars.

View all my reviews