Review of ‘Dead Lez Walking’ by G Benson

‘Dead Lez Walking’ is exciting, tense, funny and touching. When an outbreak of a mysterious virus hits Perth, the hospital Taren works in takes the brunt. As a lockdown is enforced, she and her colleagues must find a way to survive – or become victims themselves. This is no ordinary virus. As zombies wander the corridors looking for their next meal, surgeon Joy wakes to find her world turned upside down. One by one, the survivors find each other and with the help of some medical knowledge, sheer determination and more than a hint of gallows humour, they battle against the odds.

G Benson’s books are normally funny, romantic and exciting. And ‘Dead Lez Walking’ is all of those things – but with gore and light horror too. It was so well written that she had me believing this could really happen. She made it seem so real. That was down to great characters, snappy, witty dialogue and a story with pace. All throughout I could not help but think it would make a terrific film. 

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘The Others’ by Annette Mori

‘The Others’ is a thought-provoking dystopian story, full of tension and adventure. Em is a scientist, and along with her wife Lise, has been hiding in a bomb shelter for ten months. The world, and specifically the United States, went crazy after the last election, and the other superpowers took advantage. Now that the cities are presumably destroyed, groups of survivors try their best to live with what is left. Once on the outside again Em and Lise become aware of other people who managed to keep going. But who can they trust? And what will life mean after the war?

Annette Mori uses truth and imagination and mixes them to make a compelling story that kept me up into the wee hours reading. There are some tense and disturbing moments – some of them not too far off the mark from our reality. And that makes the story all the more powerful. The main characters were appealing, strong women, and it is through their interactions with the people they meet, that we see just what it takes to survive. I was hooked from page one and couldn’t put it down.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Ignis’ by KJ

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I love KJ’s writing. But this one surprised even me. It’s absolutely wonderful. Completely different from anything I’ve read from her before. It’s a gripping, chilling, and at times scary, mystery. 

Felicity is the headmistress of Rawson Girls Grammar school, and lives a controlled life, where she calls the shots. But she’s no Ice Queen. She’s kind and charitable, but just doesn’t shout about it. When disturbing events begin to happen in her vicinity, Inspector Tal Diamandis is assigned to the case. As they work together to find out why, secrets from the past threaten to surface. And an attraction between them flares, forcing  Felcity to rethink her self-imposed rules. 

I love mysteries, so was thrilled that KJ has decided to dip her pen in this genre. Is there anything this woman does not excel at? She blended a brilliant story with romance and passion perfectly.

‘Ignis’ is compelling reading and I couldn’t put it down. It’s an excellent story, full of heart. It has pain, hope, love and power. The best KJ book so far. 

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘While Justice Sleeps’ by Stacey Abrams

While Justice Sleeps is utterly compelling and brilliantly plotted, with legal and political intrigue to keep the reader up all night. You will not want to put this one down! 

Avery works as a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Howard Wynn. When he ends up in a coma, she finds herself unexpectedly in charge of his affairs. But why? He has entrusted her with a puzzle, one that she alone is capable of solving. The story is brilliantly conceived, with mysteries and secrets she must uncover before it’s too late. It didn’t let up for a second. I loved Avery. She was smart, resourceful and loyal. But she also knew how to get the most out of people, how to encourage their talents. The world of Washington politics was fascinating and all the more so because it felt as if the author knew exactly what she was writing about. It felt real. This book would make an amazing film. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘The Girl Who Died’ by Ragnar Jonasson

‘The Girl Who Died’ is a creepy, atmospheric tale set in a tiny, isolated hamlet in Iceland. Una is tired of her monotonous life teaching in Rekyavic, for little money. When the chance of moving to somewhere new comes up, she decides to take a leap into the unknown. But moving to a community filled with secrets and odd characters is not what she expected. Far from it.

There’s a darkness and heaviness hanging over the whole story. A feeling that no one is telling the truth. The atmosphere was scary and stifling and, like Una, I didn’t know who to trust. The tension was ramped up and the creepiness quotient was amplified to an almost unbearable level. I couldn’t get enough. The story kept me gripped and surprised me. It’s one I won’t forget.

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘The Rose Code’ by Kate Quinn

‘The Rose Code’ is a stunning book. A mixture of historical fiction, suspense, mystery and passion. It’s the story of three young women who find themselves working at Bletchley Park, doing top-secret codebreaking – work they will never be allowed to divulge for decades. Osla, the well-connected deb, Mab, an East End girl determined to make something of her life, and Beth, a downtrodden twenty-something with a sharp and amazing mind. We follow their lives as they become vital cogs in the wheel during WW11, saving the Allies in secret, and trying to find some sort of happiness amongst the chaos of war.

The story jumped back and forward between the war years and post-war Britain. Tying it in with real events and with more than a spattering of real-life figures added to the excitement and intensity. I loved finding out about Bletchley Park when it was the secret hub of those trying to crack the Enigma codes. I’ve visited it and found it utterly fascinating – but this book brought it to life for me, with wonderful characters and a top-notch story. It was tense and full of suspense, with a fantastic mystery at its heart. The best book of the year for me.

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘The Wine of Angels’ by Phil Rickman

Merrily Watkins is the new vicar in a small Herefordshire village. Women priests in the Church of England are still fairly unusual in the late 1990s and although some villagers are friendly, others seem resistant. But as time goes on she begins to wonder if the resistance is due to her gender or something rather more disturbing. 

This is a beautifully written and perfectly executed mystery with a decidedly spooky element. Merrily and her teenage daughter Jane try to settle into the vicarage and the community, but they become aware that there is much more going on underneath. Things no one wants to talk about openly. The gradual teasing build up to the reveal is masterfully done and I did not see any of it coming. And the best bit? Finding out that this is only book one in the series, and I have many more hours ahead of me with Merrily Watkins. Highly recommended.

Review of ‘The Castaways’ by Lucy Clarke

‘The Castaways’ by Lucy Clarke is the story of two sisters; one lost after her plane to a small Fijian island disappears, the other on a quest to find her. Erin cannot let it go. When everyone else wants to move on, she becomes obsessed and makes it her goal in life to find out what happened. The chapters move between then and now, between each sister, giving us insight into their relationship as well as how they function as individuals. 

You will not be able to put it down. There’s a sense of foreboding, tension and suspense that never lets up. The writing is wonderfully descriptive, and takes the reader inside the minds of the characters and to far off places. The twists in the tale were astounding and did not come out as I expected. I was gripped from start to finish. 

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘Shiver’ by Allie Reynolds

Ten years after a turbulent snowboarding season in the Alps, Milla Anderson and a group of her old snowboarding friends each receive an invite to a reunion. The invites are not exactly welcome. Who invited them – and more importantly why? It’s not as if they all parted on good terms. As they gather in a deserted ski lodge, miles from anywhere, they begin to worry about what is in store for them all. An icebreaker game turns nasty and fear takes over the group. The disappearance of Saskia a decade before hangs in the air. Secrets and lies abound and Milla doesn’t know who she can trust.

‘Shiver’ is a fantastic mystery, dripping in tension and suspense.  Why they are there is just one part of it, but the gradual unfolding of the story of ten years before makes for a wonderful and addictive novel. Told from the first person pointing of view of Milla, we learn that they all have guilty secrets they would rather didn’t become public. Emotions runs high and there are some surprising revelations that I definitely didn’t see coming. It is so clever. Allie Reynolds brilliantly amps up the tension. I couldn’t put it down. 

I was given this ARC to review.

My Top 12 Books of 2019

I found it so difficult to narrow down my list of favourite books this year. And even more difficult put them in order of preference. I loved them all. So, this is my top twelve,  and in alphabetical order. I highly recommend all of these books and will certainly be re-reading them again in 2020. 

Alone by E.J. Noyes

Blood of the Pack by Jenny Frame

Borage by Gill McKnight

Breathe by Cari Hunter

Coming Home by K.J.

Floodtide by Heather Rose Jones

Galileo by Ann McMan

Legacy by Charlotte Greene

Spinning Tales by Brey Willows

Steel City Confidential by Anne Hagan

The Sovereign of Psiere by K Aten

Uncharted by Robyn Nyx