#BlogTour #Review : Paper Dolls by Emma Pullar. @EmmaStoryteller @Bloodhoundbook

Blurb:

When a bizarre set of murders take place in London, three flatmates become embroiled in the terrifying mystery.

Mike, Beatrice and Kerri all share a flat and a passion to move their careers forward. When Mike, a frustrated mime in Trafalgar Square, lays eyes on performance artist Princess, his world begins to unravel. Meanwhile, Kerri is struggling to hold onto her job as a journalist, when she stumbles across a body, which turns out to be the third victim of the Paper Doll Killer. Beatrice, who was once a bestselling author, looks to the series of murders for inspiration but finds a lot more than she bargained for.
As the three flatmates discover they each have links to the killer they start to turn on one another. Who might be next? Why does the killer paint the victim’s cheeks and lips with blood? What purpose do the paper dolls serve?
As the deranged Paper Doll Killer continues to stalk the streets of London there’s only one question that needs to be answered … is anyone safe?

My Review: The first time I read the blurb for this book it reminded me a little of the film Shallow Grave where three flatmates are affected by the death of a fourth. In reality there isn’t really much in common between the film and the book. However, that initial thought was enough to pique my interest and so I decided to read the book.

This is a dark, disturbing book which is definitely not for the faint-hearted. The descriptions are vivid and fit with the story but not everyone is going to enjoy them. However, if dark and disturbing appeals to you then this is definitely worth a read. It kept me on my toes the whole time, the story moves around through four characters (the three flatmates and the killer) but never gets confusing, it just drags you further into the intrigue and increasing desire to know what happens next and who the killer is. I liked that we got to see the killers perspective, it added an extra layer to the story that made it different from the other psychological thrillers I’ve read.

I don’t have to like a character to enjoy a book but I do have to enjoy the writing and the story which is good as I wasn’t hugely keen on Beatrice and I found Mike really irritating, however that didn’t affect my reading or enjoyment of the story at all as they way they behaved added to the story and the way all the characters interacted.

This was a book that I struggled to put down, I read it in the equivalent of a day because it kept pulling me in and making me want to find out more. I believe the author previous books were a different genre but I sine hope she writes more in this one because this was a cracker!

Highly recommended.

About the author:

Emma Pullar is an award-winning and bestselling writer of dark fiction and children’s books. Her picture book, Curly from Shirley, was a national bestseller and named best opening lines by NZ Post. Her second picture book, Kitty Stuck, was illustrated by her talented daughter who was just twelve-years-old at the time. Four of Emma’s short stories have been published. Her dystopian duology, Skeletal and Avian, are popular with fans of the genre and Emma’s crime debut is out March 2019. She also writes articles for Bang2write and dabbles in screenwriting. Find her on Twitter @EmmaStoryteller or Instagram @emmapullar_storyteller or http://www.emmapullar,com.

Find her on Twitter @EmmaStoryteller or Instagram @emmapullar_storyteller or http://www.emmapullar,com.

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#Review : Red Rising by Pierce Brown @PierceBrown @HodderBooks #RedRising #Netgalley

I know, I know, everyone else on the planet read these books years ago and I’m incredibly late to the party but better late than never surely??  Many, many thanks to Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for making this book available again because of the recent release of Iron Gold (Red Rising book 4).

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Blurb:  Darrow is a helldiver. Born to toil beneath the surface of Mars so that one day future generations might live above it.

 

 

Review:  So, I’ll be upfront here, I loved this book!  In fact I loved it so much that I couldn’t concentrate on anything else once I’d finished it so immediately bought and read book 2 (review coming soon) because it was the only thing I wanted to read.  I’ve also bought book 3 but am holding off on that because I don’t want to get into the position of reading book 4 and then having to wait months to find out what happens next.

As I’ve said in another review, fantasy is not a genre I read much of, sadly neither is sci-fi at the moment, but despite that this book grabbed me from the first page and wouldn’t let me go.  The characters are all richly detailed without extraneous detail used on those who are only in the story for a page or two.   I felt like I was with Darrow every step of his journey, felt every emotion he felt and wanted the same goals as he did because I could understand why they were so important to him.

The locations, while not obviously places we are familiar with, felt alive to me, the descriptions were so clear and well-written.  I read this story on my kindle and have since bought the paperback and therefore seen the map that is in it, something I didn’t have in my ebook.  The descriptions were so clear throughout the story that my imagined layout that I had in my mind was almost identical to the map in the book, that’s how good the writing is.

This isn’t a non-violent book but I felt the violence there was fitted with the story.  It’s also not a book with a complete ending as it is the first in the series, however, the ending does tie things up to an extent so there is a feeling of an ending of sorts which I liked and don’t always get with books that are part of a series.

If you’re one of the few people on the planet who have not yet read this book then I would urge you to give it a go.  It might not be your usual genre but why not step outside of it and try something different.  Life can be boring if we never try new things, at least occasionally.

For anyone who wants a fast paced, well-written read that will keep them glued to the book for hours then I highly recommend this one.  The only regret I have in reading this book is that I didn’t do it sooner.

 

Blog Tour Review: Rupture by Rangar Jonasson.

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Blurb:  1955. Two young couples move to the uninhabited, isolated fjord of Hedinsfjörður. Their stay ends abruptly when one of the women meets her death in mysterious circumstances. The case is never solved. Fifty years later an old photograph comes to light, and it becomes clear that the couples may not have been alone on the fjord after all…

In nearby Siglufjörður, young policeman Ari Thór tries to piece together what really happened that fateful night, in a town where no one wants to know, where secrets are a way of life. He’s assisted by Ísrún, a news reporter in Reykjavik who is investigating an increasingly chilling case of her own. Things take a sinsister turn when a child goes missing in broad daylight. With a stalker on the loose, and the town of Siglufjörður in quarantine, the past might just come back to haunt them.

Haunting, frightening and complex, Rupture is a dark and atmospheric thriller from one of Iceland’s foremost crime writers.

 

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My Rating: 5/5

Review: I don’t know how he does it but Rangar Jonasson has produced another story that gets under your skin. Within the first 5 pages of the book I was hooked, time disappeared as I read and I didn’t even notice, I’m sure this happened when I read Snowblind too. The atmosphere is haunting, I read a lot of this at night with not a sound to be heard outside and I was glad I was tucked up in bed and the doors were locked. I feel perfectly safe at home but reading a story which, among other things, involves the death of a woman in an extremely isolated place made me want to huddle under the duvet with a light on and remind myself that it’s only fiction and set in a different country from the one I live in.

The writing is beautiful. While there are other amazing books out there none of them are written as wonderfully as these ones are, atmosphere, tension, shock and joy are crafted out of nothing but words on a page. Whether it is because it was originally written in a different language and Icelandic books are written differently I don’t know, Ragnar Jonasson’s are the only Icelandic books I have read so I have no basis for comparison, but whatever the reason the writing is perfection. The books may not be as thick as some are but they don’t need to be, the author fits the entire story into fewer pages without losing anything at all.

I know I’m rambling but when I read these books and others that are equally as stunning I come to the end having lost all power of speech and coherent thought.  All I can do is sit there and be amazed and stunned at the journey that I have just been on, one of emotional turmoil, feelings of claustrophobia, fear, tension, shock, joy, awe at the writing, worry for the characters in the book and many other things.

Among many comments I have seen about these books they are referred to as classic crime and I would agree, they aren’t fast-paced joyrides but have their own subtle way of drawing you into the story within pages, keeping you hooked throughout the rest of the book and leaving you both stunned and desperate for more once they are finished.  I never bother with these lists of books you must read in your lifetime but if I were to write one myself Rupture would be at the top of the list because it is perfection and an unmissable read.

 

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 Author bio: Ragnar Jonasson (www.ragnarjonasson.com) is the Icelandic writer of the Dark Iceland crime series set in Northern Iceland. Snowblind (2015) is the first book in the Dark Iceland series. Ragnar was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, and works as a lawyer in Reykjavik. He is also a teacher at Reykjavik University Law School and has previously worked on radio and television, including as a TV news reporter for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service. Before embarking on a writing career, Ragnar translated fourteen of Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic. Ragnar is the co-founder of the Reykjavik international crime writing festival Iceland Noir, and has appeard on panels at Crimefest in Bristol, Left Coast Crime in the USA, Bloody Scotland in Stirling and Iceland Noir in Iceland. Ragnar’s short story Death of a Sunflower was published in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine January 2014 issue, the first story in the magazine by an Icelandic author. His second Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine story, A Letter to Santa, was published in the January 2015 issue. Ragnar’s short story Party of Two was published in the Crime Writers’ Association 2014 anthology Guilty Parties, edited by Martin Edwards. Ragnar lives in Reykjavik with his wife and daughters.

 

Blog Tour Review: Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent.

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Blurb:  The last people who expect to be meeting with a drug-addicted prostitute are a respected judge and his reclusive wife. And they certainly don’t plan to kill her and bury her in their exquisite suburban garden.

Yet Andrew and Lydia Fitzsimons find themselves in this unfortunate situation.

While Lydia does all she can to protect their innocent son Laurence and their social standing, her husband begins to falls apart.

But Laurence is not as naïve as Lydia thinks. And his obsession with the dead girl’s family may be the undoing of his own.

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My Rating: 5/5

Review:  I loved the blurb for this book straight off, it sounded so different from the other books I’d been reading at the time so I was quite intrigued and keen to read it.  I’ve seen comments, there’s one on the book cover itself, about this being ideal for fans of Gone Girl and I will say right now, I’ve no idea if it is or not. I’ve not read Gone Girl, it never appealed to me and this is also the first book I’ve read by this author so it really was a leap in the dark when I started reading it.

This book was amazing, I finished it one night at 2am and was still awake an hour later because of it!  It starts off quite shockingly with two perfectly respectable people involved in a murder, quite by accident but still involved.  After that the dead girl’s family start to realise something has happened to her and an investigation is launched and then it gets really interesting.  Lydia Fitzsimons is obsessed with her social status even though she rarely leaves the house, to her the right house, right clothes, friends, appearances are everything and she refuses to let that go despite the fact that there is now a dead body buried in her garden.  As the story progresses Lydia’s own story unfolds and we learn more about her past and see how manipulative and cold-hearted she can be.   There was a part in the book where things settled a little and everything was calmer for a while and then BOOM! it wasn’t and I was back on this rollercoaster of a read which had me equal parts horrified and gripped.  I made comments, noises of disbelief and even laughed out loud at one part because I was hoping for some sort of payback but the book just kept on going.

I’m not naive or anything, I know about manipulation and how some people can manipulate others until they feel 2 inches tall or are doing everything they’re told regardless of what it is but this book shows just how far it can go.  This is a masterclass and insight into the world of a  manipulative person. They are so good at what they do that they can deceive so many others and that comes across clearly here, few can see Lydia for what she really is and that includes the reader as what she is capable of becomes clear throughout the book, we get glimpses of it but even with that, somehow it still gets worse.

The descriptions in the book are good, they are more character focused than location but that makes sense given the story and doesn’t detract from it in any way.  I wouldn’t necessarily say I liked the characters, some were impossible to like but I did feel the most connected to Laurence and what he was going through throughout the story.  While I didn’t agree with everything he said and did I did understand his reasons for it all and that, for me, is important.  Even though I disagreed with  almost all of them I could even, up to a point, understand Lydia’s reasons for doing what she did.

I’ve been struggling to finish books recently, novellas have been manageable but full length books were tricky.  Unsurprisingly with this one I had no such trouble, I read it in two sittings and was so hooked during the first one that I nearly stayed up all night to finish it off.  I think this is an excellent read and one I would highly recommend though I would suggest not starting it at night unless you don’t mind still being awake when the sun rises the next morning.

 

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Blog Tour Review for Lost in Static by Christina Philippou

I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for Lost in Static by the lovely Christina Philippou. There was a certain sense of overlap when I was reading this as it follows first year university students and I was in my first weeks of university myself but thankfully it didn’t feel like busman’s holiday.

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Blurb:   Sometimes growing up is seeing someone else’s side of the story.

Four stories. One truth. Whom do you believe?

Callum has a family secret. Yasmine wants to know it. Juliette thinks nobody knows hers. All Ruby wants is to reinvent herself.

They are brought together by circumstance, torn apart by misunderstanding. As new relationships are forged and confidences are broken, each person’s version of events is coloured by their background, beliefs and prejudices. And so the ingredients are in place for a year shaped by lust, betrayal, and violence…

Lost in Static is the gripping debut from author Christina Philippou. Whom will you trust?

Links:

Lost in Static is available from, amongst others, Amazon UK, Amazon US, and direct from the publisher, Urbane Publications.

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My Rating: 5/5

Review: As I’ve said above I read this book while starting my own university course which proved to be interesting timing. As a psychology graduate I’ve always had an interest in the way people think and view their world and this book gives us an insight to exactly that. The story starts immediately after a dramatic event has occurred near the end of the first year at university but doesn’t tell us what that event was. The story then goes back to the first day of people arriving in halls of residence for freshers week and then continues through the three university terms. We follow the thoughts, plans and emotions of the four main characters and get introduced to other relevant characters as they affect the lives of the main ones, namely Ruby, Callum, Juliette and Yasmine.  As the story unfolds we see how different events affect everyone differently and how they all have varying perspectives on what has happened or what someone else has said. Through the course of the three terms we see the characters change and develop and how the slightest misunderstanding can have serious consequences.

It was fascinating to see what the characters said and how it affected the others and what happened in response to that. The four main characters all had their own voices and were quite distinct from each other which is not an easy thing to achieve and is even more impressive when you realise this is a debut novel.

The story switched between each character at various points but because their names were at the start of their section there was no confusion as to who it was.  It was very interesting to see the story develop and although some parts of it were repeated so that we could see the different responses to the same comment or event the repition was never boring or tedious and actually brought more depth and understanding to the story and the characters.

Anything else I say will either repeat what I’ve already said or give away too much of the story so I will finish with this. This is an incredibly well-crafted story which is gripping and enthralling, when I read this I was sucked into it and the time just disappeared. If you are looking for a story that will make you think then this is definitely worth checking out. This is an exceptional story from a debut author and I would highly recommend it.

Many thanks to the author for letting me have a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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Author Bio:

Christina Philippou’s writing career has been a varied one, from populating the short-story notebook that lived under her desk at school to penning reports on corruption and terrorist finance. When not reading or writing, she can be found engaging in sport or undertaking some form of nature appreciation. Christina has three passports to go with her three children, but is not a spy. Lost in Static is her first novel.

Christina is also the founder of the contemporary fiction author initiative, Britfic.

You can connect with Christina on TwitterFacebookInstagram and Google+.