Review: I Came To Find A Girl by Jaq Hazell

I Came to Find a Girl

Blurb: “I was happy to hear Flood was dead. I wasn’t as happy as I thought I’d be, but I was happy all the same.”

A complex game of cat and mouse in the seedy streets of Nottingham ends in death. Young artist Mia Jackson is compelled to watch the posthumous video diaries of Jack Flood – controversial bad boy of the London art world and convicted serial killer. Can Mia allow Drake Gallery to show Aftermath, in their retrospective of his work? Muse or victim, why was she allowed to survive?

My rating: 4/5

Review:   I loved the sound of the blurb for this book but when I started reading it I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it though that soon changed. The first person perspective is unusual, most of the books I read are written in the third person but here the first person works brilliantly. The book slowly draws you in, you see everything through the eyes of Mia Jackson, an art student in Nottingham, all of her highs and lows, good and bad decisions and everything else, nothing is hidden and this is both brilliant and a little unnerving. When I was reading I felt like I was in her head, watching everything she did and feeling everything she felt, the writing is really that excellent. Finishing the book was a slightly surreal experience because once I’d reached the end and closed the cover on my kindle I felt like I had re-emerged into my world from Mia’s, almost like Alice coming back out of the rabbit hole. There are scenes involving footage which has been or is being filmed (depending on the point in the story you are at) and although these could be awkward they actually work really well, they give a perspective and an insight into Jack Flood which would be missing if these scenes were not written in this way.

I realise what I have said may make this book sound odd but it isn’t, this is a really well written story that shows you how the everyday decisions we make can have unpredictable and far reaching consequences for ourselves and for others. We see the decisions Mia makes and how the results affect her as well as how the environment she lives in also affects her and those around her. Mia changes throughout the book and a lot of that change is shown through the changes in her art work which is beautifully described. All of the major characters are well written and realistic in their behaviours, and you also get a sense of the minor characters even though they may only appear in one or two pages in the whole book. I liked Mia, she tries to be tough but is clearly quite vulnerable and it’s obvious she cares about her friends and her art. Although I’m not sure a sequel to this is possible given the ending it would be lovely to find out what happens to Mia or where she is in say, 5 years from the end of the book.

I really enjoyed this book and once I got used to the pace and feel of it I read it quite quickly, time just disappeared while I was in Mia’s world. I would definitely recommend this if you enjoy psychological thrillers and/or crime novels but want something a little different. This is a fresh perspective on a genre I love and I will be looking forward to the authors next work.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

What Are You Reading Wednesdays #WAYRW

what are you reading

What are you reading Wednesdays #WAYRW are a weekly feature on It’s A Reading Thing

Everyone is welcome to participate and it only requires you to do the following:

How to participate:
Grab the book you are currently reading and answer three questions:
1. What’s the name of your current read?
2. Go to page 34 in your book or 34% in your eBook and share a couple of sentences.
3. Would you like to live in the world that exists within your book? Why or why not?

So here goes,

My current read is One Wish in Manhattan by Mandy Baggot.

One Wish in Manhattan

 

Go to 34% in your ebook and share a couple of sentences.

Her mouth sprung open in shocked surprise.  Now her fight and flight responses were well and truly triggered.  Who did he think he was analysing the timing of her daughter’s request? He knew nothing about the situation.

Would you like to live in the world that exists within your book? Why or why not?

Absolutely!  This is set in present day New York over the Christmas period and I would love to be there.  There’s such a sense of possibility emanating from the book that it seems all you have to do is go there and your wishes could come true.

If you look at my Goodreads books on the right you’ll notice that I’m reading a few books at the moment but I chose this one for today because it’s the one I’ve looked at most recently.

 

Blog Tour & Giveaway – Killer Pursuit by Jeff Gunhus

KillerPursuitTourBanner

Synopsis:

When a high-society call girl is murdered in her Georgetown home, investigators find two cameras hidden in the walls of her bedroom. One has its memory erased, presumably by the murderer. The second is connected to the Internet through an encrypted connection…and no-one knows who’s on the other end.

Special Agent Allison McNeil is asked by beleaguered FBI Director Clarence Mason to run an off-the-record investigation of the murder. The most direct path to apprehending the killer is to find the videos, but with rumors that the victim’s client list may have included Mason’s political enemies, Allison worries about the director’s motives. As she starts her investigation, she quickly discovers that she’s not the only one pursuing the videos. In fact, the most aggressive person racing against her might be the murderer himself.

Purchase:
Click for Options

My Rating: 5/5

Review:   I really enjoyed this book and found it to be really well-written and gripping. The story doesn’t let up for a moment but it isn’t rushed in any way, the pacing and level of tension are perfect. The characters were all realistic, even though some of them were less than nice and I liked the fact that Allison’s story wasn’t just that of FBI Agent, it had background to it and made her more rounded as a character because of that and I’d love to see more of her in the future. I also enjoyed the details in the story, from the information about tattoos to the tracing of the encrypted Internet connection they were all explained really well but not too much, although I want to learn new things I find too much information off-putting but this was just right. The reveal near the end was brilliantly done, I had begun to suspect but wasn’t 100% sure until just before it happened which is always a sign of a good story for me. I had no idea that this was the second book in the series but despite that it worked brilliantly as a stand-alone. There were a few references to Allison’s recent past which is covered in the first book, but the references were done in such a way that they added to the story and didn’t make you feel as if you were missing something. I have now got the first book on my to-read list and will be looking out for more Allison McNeil stories, there aren’t many make authors who can write good female characters but Jeff Gunhus is definitely one of the few who can.

If you like well-paced, tension filled crime fiction or psychological thrillers then I would definitely recommend this book. This was a bit of a gamble for me since the author was unknown to me when I signed up for this tour but it was definitely a gamble worth taking as it paid off beautifully. More please!!!

 

Click for Options    AUTHOR BIO:
Jeff Gunhus is the author of thriller and horror novels for adults and the middle grade/YA series, The Templar Chronicles. The first book, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. His books for adults have reached the Top 100 on Amazon and have been Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Finalists.

After his experience with his son, he is passionate about helping parents reach young reluctant readers and is active in child literacy issues. As a father of five, he leads an active lifestyle in Maryland with his wife Nicole by trying to constantly keep up with their kids. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of the City Dock Cafe in Annapolis working on his next novel.

Author links:
Giveaway:
Tour-wide giveaway (INTL) closes 4th February
  • $50 Amazon Gift Card

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Blog Tour – The Pestilence by Faisal Ansari

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Blurb:The little girl cupped her hands and whispered almost inaudibly into her father’s ear. “The Pestilence is coming. Everybody here is going to die.”

A mysterious electrical phenomenon rolls above the cities of the world. The lightning which comes from the east, shines as far as the west, turning night into day.

Two brothers of the lightning, Samuel Srour and Victor Pierre Chaput are gifted powers by the storm. Their paths intertwined, with enemies on all sides.

Samuel Srour has unwittingly started a revolution. His Healed walk the Earth. Free of injury, sickness and disease, but powerful forces stand in his way and the Pestilence is drawing ever closer.

Links: Goodreads | Amazon UK

 

My Rating: 4.5/5

Review:  I have to start this by saying two things, one is that this is the first book I have read set in this part of the world and the second is that although I have read the book I’m still not sure what genre I would put it in if I were forced to choose one.  From the blurb this sounds a bit like a sci-fi or fantasy book and in some respects that is accurate but it is so much more than that.  There is a strong, but not overpowering religious background to a lot of the story but as I read I found this unsurprising given the fact that Samuel is suddenly able to heal everyone and is seen as a miracle worker.  Also given the story is set in and around Jerusalem there has to be at least a passing reference to the religious significance of that area.  In case this does not appeal to you let me say this, I am not at all religious and found those references used in the right amount for this story, they were used in just the right amount to inform and set the story and explain people’s reactions to Samuel’s new powers but not in a way that was forcing anyone to suddenly find religion for themselves.

From my rating it’ll be obvious that I enjoyed this book, so much so that I read it in less than a day.  It’s not excessively long but the author has managed to pack a lot into those pages without making it feel heavy, this is quite a skill and something not all authors can achieve.  There is a lot of description and it is excellently done although I felt there was a little too much information in one or two areas, such as the guns chosen by Samuel’s security, it was informative but, in my opinion, a little too much information and this is why I haven’t rated it as 5 stars.  The descriptions of the locations and the people are done so beautifully and definitely make you feel as if you are there, in fact I spent most of the book feeling as if I was next to Samuel, almost inside his head because his decisions and reasoning behind them are explained so well that you almost feel as if you are being consulted in the decision making process.  While there is a lot of focus on Samuel from the media and the sick and dying there is another person affected by the lightning, Victor, and I spent quite a lot of the story trying to figure out if he was what he seemed and what he was up to.  Thankfully my feelings towards him turned out to be accurate and his true nature is revealed in spectacular fashion.

Along with Samuel and Victor there is a host of supporting characters and each one is written so well that you get a good sense of them as a person, even if they only make brief appearances.  There is so much more I could write here but in doing that I would be giving away too much of the story so I will say this; this is essentially a book about humanity and how people deal with great power.  It shows how people can use power for good or bad, how they can heal the sick and dying or choose to take a different path.  This book takes the reader on a journey with a difference, this is easily the farthest I have ever travelled without leaving my home, not only have I travelled to areas of the world I have not visited but the journey that you go on in the book, especially with Samuel and those around him is so great that I felt I was in a different place from the one I started in, this opens your eyes to a slightly different view of the world and then explains that you knew this already, you just didn’t realise it.

This is a stunning debut novel and I am definitely looking forward to book 2.

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About Faisal Ansari: Faisal Ansari has spent the majority of his adult life strapped into a suit writing marketing and stuffy legal documentation for M&A transactions in the City.

Despite growing up in London, Faisal’s overwhelming preference is to be outdoors. When trapped indoors he reads until his eyes bleed.

The Pestilence is his first novel.

Links: Website | Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Destination Thailand by Katy Collins

My rating: 5/5

Review: I really enjoyed this book. The characters were completely believable and realistically written. The story was excellent also, as someone who is now divorced I could empathise quite a lot with Georgia’s situation and feelings and would have done something similar myself if I had had the opportunity to do so. The best part of this book though, was the locations. I’ve never been to Thailand but because of the descriptions I felt like I was there, I could almost hear and smell the water. I especially loved the scene where Georgia was sitting in her bungalow balcony area in the Blue Butterfly, I could honestly see myself doing the same thing and when the storm started I felt like I was right there experiencing it with her. I loved the solution to her unemployment problem though it did seem obvious to me that that was what she should do, but it was an excellent solution nonetheless. This was a brilliant book that I read far too quickly and am definitely looking forward to the next in the series.

Thanks to NetGalley and Carina UK for letting me have a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Sunkissed – Blog Tour

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Blurb: Dawn Summers is dying. It’s 1853 and as the seventeen year old continues to fade away she has visions of the father she never knew, urging her to fight for her life.

In the small village of Fandova the only medical care is in the form of the mysterious Dr. Moralus who has a known penchant for bloodletting. Thomas, Dawn’s fiancé, is warned against inviting his intervention, but feels he has no choice, he pleads with the doctor to save Dawn’s life…whatever it takes.

Links: Goodreads | Amazon UK

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My Rating 3.5/5

Review: This is a story about vampires, which is obvious from quite early on so I’m not really giving anything away in mentioning that. Although I’ve watched Interview with a Vampire and the excellent Being Human (UK) I’ve never read a vampire story so this was a definite leap into the unknown for me. It gets off to a slow start but a lot of that is scene and character setting so it is necessary but once the actual vampire part starts properly the feel and pace of the story changes. Dawn is an interesting character and I found it refreshing to read her perspective on her condition as she is not your conventional blood-sucking vampire. Thomas’s character was also interesting though a bit irritating at times due to his immaturity although that simply adds to the contrast between his character and that of the others, including Dawn. The first part of the story is set in 1853 and the rest in the present day although little is mentioned about the time in between these dates which is an area that I think could be revisited in future stories, if there are any.

Despite my reservations about this story I did enjoy it, it was well told and the characters were interesting although I didn’t feel there was t a lot of character development. The last few chapters were especially good and although I liked the ending as it fitted with the story, it was a shame to not be able to continue Dawn’s story. Hopefully there will be a sequel to this that answers the questions I was left with. I think Sunkissed is a good read if you want to try something out of your usual genre and I believe most fans of this genre would really enjoy it as well. Definitely an interesting twist on the usual vampire story.

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About Carys Jones: Carys Jones loves nothing more than to write and create stories which ignite the reader’s imagination. Based in Shropshire, England, Carys lives with her husband, two guinea pigs and her adored canine companion Rollo.

When she’s not writing, Carys likes to indulge her inner geek by watching science- fiction films or playing video games.She lists John Green, Jodi Picoult and Virginia Andrews as her favorite authors and draws inspiration for her own work from anything and everything.

To Carys, there is no greater feeling then when you lose yourself in a great story and it is that feeling of ultimate escapism which she tries to bring to her books.