Cover Reveal! Watching You by J.A. Schneider

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A serial killer texts his victims first. A detective vows revenge. He comes after her.

 

This beauty is now available for Pre-Order, ready for its release date on the 25th of April.

I’ll be hosting a book tour post on the 26th of April, where the wonderful J.A. Schneider (seriously, she really is a lovely lady. I have no idea why she keeps brutally murdering women in her books) will be sharing a post entitled “A writer is always terrified” I haven’t read it yet either so I’m as intrigued as you are.

J.A. (Joyce Anne) Schneider is a former staffer at Newsweek Magazine, a wife, mom, and reading addict. She loves thrillers…which may seem odd, since she was once a major in French Literature – wonderful but sometimes heavy stuff. Now, for years, she has become increasingly fascinated with medicine, forensic science, and police procedure. She lives with her family in Connecticut, USA.

 

I’ve reviewed her two previous books on the Whispering Stories blog, which is a book reviewing website that offers all of the professional mod cons that I’m too lazy to learn and too cheap to pay for. I can’t recommend the site enough, not just because I contribute to it of course, but because there’s so much varied content to enjoy and more author interviews and guests posts than I could ever hope to wrangle. Incidentally, if you’d like to contribute to the Whispering Stories website, feel free to join the fun! (Stacey is also a lovely lady, and I have no knowledge of her brutally murdering women in books!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What stands out the most for me about this series of book is the intelligence of the writing and the fact that the main character, Kerri Blasco, is a female detective who uses her professional training and natural intuition to solve cases, while still being very much a woman. She doesn’t become genderless in her role as a detective and, in fact, her intuitive nature is an asset to her work.

I can’t wait to share with you my thoughts on the latest book in the series but I’m not going to tease you any more – I’ll let you know what it’s like on the release date!


A serial killer texts his victims first. A detective vows revenge. He comes after her.
In the chill of an October night, Detective Kerri Blasco is called to a bizarre murder scene. Leda Winfield, a young volunteer for the homeless, has been shot. Her cell phone displays the frightening text, WATCHING YOU, and into her back, hideously pushed with a hat pin, is a note with the same awful message. Leda’s socialite family and friends insist that no one would have wanted to harm her, but Kerri isn’t convinced.
Until another random young woman is killed in the same way. Kerri and her team profile a monstrous killer who enjoys terrifying his victims before stalking and killing them. But how does he get their phone numbers?
Kerri soon finds that the killer is after her, too, and that the key to finding him may just be in the homeless shelter. When the body count rises, she vows to stop the madman – even if it means battling her own personal trauma, risking her job, her love relationship with her boss Alex Brand, and her life. 

Review: Sins of the Soul by Eve Silver (Sins Series #2)

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Published by Eve Silver

4 stars

Synopsis:

Alastor Krayl’s world shattered when he learned that his father was the Underworld god of chaos and evil. All that saved him from self-destruction were his newfound brothers and the bond they shared as soul reapers. So when one of his brothers is murdered, vengeance becomes Alastor’s obsession. And the enigmatic Naphré Kurata, a witness—or is she the killer?—has the answers he seeks.

A reluctant Underworld enforcer, Naphré trusts no one, especially not a seductive soul reaper who makes her burn with lust. Torn between duty and desire, she fights to keep her secrets safe from Alastor, even as she longs to surrender.

For fans of J R Ward, Kim Harrison and Kelley Armstrong!

The books in the Sins Series are mature, gritty, dark, violent, sexy and straddle the line between Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance.


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Firstly – the 4 stars to this book are entirely subjective. I had to find some way of expressing that I didn’t like it quite as much as Sins of the Heart, but I feel like it doesn’t do justice to quite how much I enjoyed it.

This book follows on from the cliffhanger ending of the first book, we’re hot on the trail of the people responsible for the death of Lokan Krayl. His brothers are devastated by his loss and will do anything to find his soul and body, in the hope to reunite them and bring him back.

Alastor is following up some leads when he meets Naphre Kurata. Given that the formula is similar to the first installment of the series, Krayl brother meets hot warrior woman, I was delighted to see some pretty significant differences in the protagonists this time round.

One difference that I particularly appreciated was that both characters have some neurotic quirks, like germ phobia and control issues, caused by their pretty messed up histories. This contrasts nicely with the ‘we’re badass and can take on anything’ couple of Dae and Roxy. Naphre and Alastor are both scared of what they feel for each other but come together anyway, which is a winning formula for me.

The sexy bits were steamy and exceptionally well written, but the emotional connection between the characters was the best bit. It seems to be a relationship built on respect, which is something you don’t read often enough about – presumably even fiction writers don’t think such a thing is possible!

As Alastor spent the beginning of his life being raised by a noble family in England, his character is British in his mannerisms  – this was great up to a point but I feel that the ‘bloody hells’ and ‘wankers’ was a bit overdone given that we don’t really go around saying those things all that much.

Though the main thread of this story didn’t cover as much ground in the main conspiracy as the first book, there was action aplenty and some bold new characters were introduced. My favourite of which had to be the Japanese death goddess (whose name I have forgotten and I’m too lazy to go back an check.  I’m sat under a blanket right now and my kindle is several feet away), she was the embodiment of all that is creepy but her calm rationality was really interesting to read.

I’m dying to read the next book in this series, presumably the third surviving brother will be finding the woman of his dreams and I am so very, very down for that.

Slenderman (Emma Frost #9) by Willow Rose

237125272 stars

Synopsis:

Ever heard of Slender Man?

They say he is always there. They say he is always watching. A tall guy in a suit and tie, with no face, and arms like tentacles.

Some say he is an online myth; others will go very far to prove he is real, so far that they might even kill for him.

Fanoe Island is busy with the mayoral election coming up, when suddenly, the sitting mayor is found killed. Rumors tell that a faceless man dressed in a suit and tie did it.

In Emma Frost’s house that she inherited from her grandmother, a box of letters is found that tells a story from a long time ago. A terrifying story revealing a painful chapter in the life of her own family half a century ago.


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**Warning:  So. Many. Spoilers.**

I picked this book up because Slenderman fascinates me and I’m ready to learn more about the incredible phenomenon which is the suited monster. Sadly, this book probably wasn’t the best starting point as it isn’t a supernatural thriller at all but a standard murder mystery – even looking at the synopsis after reading this book I think it’s pretty misleading.

This book is a part of the Emma Frost series and does have a character from a previous installment of the series, I’m not sure if the extra context would have helped, but without it the story was ridiculous.

None of the characters in this book are likable, most of them are stereotypes and the rest are just arseholes. The main character has been exposed for hacking into police files and stealing information, and though she whines that she thinks it’s ok because she was doing it to solve crimes – being punished for hacking seems pretty reasonable to me!

What I did enjoy about this book was how it illustrated how little parents know of their children’s online lives and how teenagers can be groomed by strangers who know how to play on their sense of being misunderstood. It’s just a shame that the stranger in question was an entirely unbelievable culprit in both motive and capability.

If the book hadn’t already lost me with it’s stilted dialogue and terrible characters, it was the portrayal of autism that finally pushed me over the edge.
The main character’s son has autism and this apparently automatically gifts him with computer genius despite never having touched a computer before, he is also able to apparently read the dog’s mind. I think this bothers me most because she couldn’t just let him be a little boy with autism, she had to ‘compensate’ him with special abilities.

This wouldn’t have bothered me as much before, but I recently saw these videos on Facebook which got me thinking:

Her second big boo-boo that sealed the deal for me was that she made the main villain autistic following a head injury (statistically VERY unlikely) and also gifted him with amazing computing abilities. Sorry, but that’s just silly.

Some of the ideas in this book were really good, but I think the writing style and dialogue didn’t do it any justice. Then again, maybe I’m just biased because I was hoping for a book with a brutal supernatural killer…

I’m Sorry But I Hate Your Book

I’ve definitely turned a corner over the past few months when it comes to writing up negative reviews.

I read an obscene number of books and gaining perspective on what it is that I do and don’t enjoy –  I’m rapidly gaining confidence in slapping a low star rating on the titles I don’t enjoy reading.

I’ve considered doing ratings for different areas of my reads – storyline, writing style, characters etc. but in all honesty, I can’t be fucked.
I take great enjoyment out of writing my blog and seeing as it’s a labour of love, I see no reason to make it harder on myself.

I’m not obliged to like every book I pick up and given that I read 111 books in 2016, there wasn’t a chance in hell I was going to enjoy all of them. A lot of the books that I read are self published, passed on to me directly from the author and that presents its own problem: the book hasn’t got the endorsement of a known publisher and if you don’t like it, you have the dubious honour of telling the author directly that you think their work is sub-par.

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I’m pretty good at picking books I know I’m going to enjoy, so my reviews are most 4-5 stars but this year I’ve resolved to broaden my horizons and read things I wouldn’t normally pick up but the odds are high that I’ll be finding as many thinks that I dislike as well as like.

As a reviewer, it’s nice to be able to publicly announce ‘I loved this book that an author dedicated years of their life to writing’ and share it with the world but sometimes you just have to be brutal.

Writing  reviews has to be entertaining, you can’t cut out all the fun and somberly pin one star to your review with a ‘better luck next time’ just because a book was embarassingly awful. So, be brutal – just remember to reference at least one positive thing in the book if you can, no matter how small.

In 2016, there were actually two books (one print, one audio) that I actually gave up on halfway through and refused to review on moral grounds. One was so horrendously racist it made me cringe, it was trying to be a satire but failed and the other…. dear god.
The synopsis bragged about how ‘outrageous’ and ‘horrifying’ it was, daring you to listen the whole way through if you dared – obviously that drew me straight in, I love outrageous horror! What made me sick to my stomach though, and I mean physically sick, was that this book was essentially child pornography. Girls under 10 doing unspeakable things to adults, but the author threw in a ‘but they were possessed by the devil’ as if that made the grotesque fantasies he was writing out acceptable.

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I think this is a far cry from last year and my fear of saying anything negative about other people’s work. As long as your review doesn’t get personal, anything you say is golden.

The one thing I have learnt by reading awful books is to be careful of the channels through which I acquire my review copies – don’t accept a book directly from the author unless you think you’re going to like it. They have your contact details now and have every right to have their feelings hurt by criticism, they are real human beings after all.

 

Review: Sins of the Heart by Eve Silver (The Sins Series #1)


343180185 stars

Synopsis:

Dagan Krayl, the Underworld’s most powerful soul reaper, is the demigod son of the evil god Sutekh. He’s on a mission to find his murdered brother’s remains and resurrect him, but resurrection means that the secrets carried into death would be released and, with them, a war that could end gods and mankind alike.

Roxy Tam is searching for the same thing, but for completely different reasons. She means to make certain that the remains don’t fall into Sutekh’s hands, and that the soul reapers do not reanimate their fallen comrade. As a Daughter of Aset, Roxy is tasked with the protection of the human race, and if that means thwarting an all powerful soul reaper and making certain his dead brother stays dead, so be it. But when Roxy sees Dagan face-to-face, she realizes that she has met him once before—a meeting that changed her life forever.

Neither Dagan nor Roxy expects to join forces for the sake of mankind. Or to have their loyalties tested as they struggle against treachery, betrayal and the potent desire that threatens to consume them both.


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Ever read a book that just made you say ‘YES’? This is one of those.

This is the second of Eve Silver’s books that I’ve read, but the first in the Sins series. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have picked up this book just by looking at the cover (we’ve already determined that I’m shallow that way) and I would have missed out massively. Thankfully I already knew that Silver is a genius, so I went ahead and read it anyway.

This book is a fabulous contemporary romance set in a world of ancient Egyptian mythology.

Roxy and Dagan are destined to be enemies but from the moment they meet, they’re drawn to each other. Dagan is a soulreaper and the son of Sutekh, the soul eating god of the underworld.

Roxy is a woman who grew up in the foster system, she wasn’t abused but she suffered the mild emotional neglect being fostered often entails. She’s determined not to put herself into the position to be hurt emotionally again, which means that she wilfully misses out on a lot of experiences in life.

Dagan is a wonderfully complex character too, he has a very unusual family dynamic but his love for his brothers is really moving. Though the brothers have little to no reason to care about each other given how their father has done everything he can to pit them against each other, they seem to have an unbreakable bond.

This book was a very elegant balance between horror, mystery and romance. I was absolutely enraptured by Silver’s writing style and couldn’t bear to miss a single word – the romance between Roxy and Dagan is so intense. I enjoyed knowing that they were certain to get together, it was just a question of when and how hot it was going to be.

The romance isn’t overpowering in this novel, similar to Seduced by a Stranger, the storyline doesn’t unravel once the main characters have seen each other naked. If anything, it ramps it up another notch.

The violence is blood curdling and doesn’t pull a single punch, the darkness is what makes the sex and romance pop. Hearts are torn out, literally and figuratively, and souls fed to demons. This is what I look for in a series and I suspect that soon this series will replace the Anita Blake series in my heart.

I just couldn’t get enough of the political intrigue and conspiracy in this novel, the rest of this series promises so much if the cliff hanger is anything to go by.
This book is the perfect choice for any fans of intense thrillers, mythology and hot and steamy romance.