My favourite novels of 2017! Best 26 out of 230 books, read this year! by @annebonnybook

In no particular order, a list of my absolute favourite novels of 2017!
This only includes novels I read within 2017.

seas of snow
Seas Of Snow by Kerensa Jennings
1950s England. Five-year-old Gracie Scott lives with her Mam and next door to her best friend Billy. An only child, she has never known her Da. When her Uncle Joe moves in, his physical abuse of Gracie’s mother starts almost immediately. But when his attentions wander to Gracie, an even more sinister pattern of behaviour begins.

As Gracie grows older, she finds solace and liberation in books, poetry and her enduring friendship with Billy. Together they escape into the poetic fairy-tale worlds of their imaginations.

But will fairy tales be enough to save Gracie from Uncle Joe’s psychopathic behaviour – and how far will it go?

Seas of Snow is a haunting, psychological domestic drama that probes the nature and the origins of evil.
#LiteraryFiction Beautifully written & an AMAZING debut novel! 
See review here
Q&A with Kerensa Jennings here

Ararat by Christopher Golden
Meryam and Adam take risks for a living. But neither is prepared for what lies in the legendary heights of Mount Ararat, Turkey.

First to reach a massive cave revealed by an avalanche, they discover the hole in the mountain’s heart is really an ancient ship, buried in time. A relic that some fervently believe is Noah’s Ark.

Deep in its recesses stands a coffin inscribed with mysterious symbols that no one in their team of scholars, archaeologists and filmmakers can identify. Inside is a twisted, horned cadaver. Outside a storm threatens to break.

As terror begins to infiltrate their every thought, is it the raging blizzard that chases them down the mountain – or something far worse?
#Thriller set in the mountains! Couldn’t read it alone, in the dark!
See review here

Q&A with Christopher Golden Here

devils peak
Devil’s Peak by Deon Meyer
Soldiers never find it easy returning from war. So it is with Thobela Mpayipheli, former freedom fighter, trying to settle back into the new South Africa. But at least he has his boy, an adored companion who is a link to a happier past. Then the boy is taken from Thobela, one of a staggering number of children murdered or abused in South Africa, and Thobela knows only despair…and a cold desire for revenge. Thus is born the vigilante killer known as ‘Artemis’. The police respond by putting on the case a man who can’t afford to fail. Benny Griessel is on the brink of losing everything — his job, his family, his self-respect — and this could be his last chance to drag his life back out of the gutter. And then Benny meets Christine, a young mother working as a prostitute in Cape Town. And something happens that is so frightening, the world can never be the same again, for Benny, for Christine, or for Thobela.
#SouthAfricanNoir at its finest!
See review here

why did you lie
Why Did You Lie? by Yrsa Sigurdardottir
A journalist on the track of an old case attempts suicide.
An ordinary couple return from a house swap in the states to find their home in disarray and their guests seemingly missing.
Four strangers struggle to find shelter on a windswept spike of rock in the middle of a raging sea.
They have one thing in common: they all lied.
And someone is determined to punish them…
WHY DID YOU LIE is a terrifying tale of long-delayed retribution from Iceland’s Queen of Suspense.
#ScandiNoir A deep layered crime fiction feast!
See review here

maria in the moon
Maria In The Moon by Louise Beech

Thirty-two-year-old Catherine Hope has a great memory. But she can’t remember everything. She can’t remember her ninth year. She can’t remember when her insomnia started. And she can’t remember why everyone stopped calling her Catherine-Maria.

With a promiscuous past, and licking her wounds after a painful breakup, Catherine wonders why she resists anything approaching real love. But when she loses her home to the devastating deluge of 2007 and volunteers at Flood Crisis, a devastating memory emerges… and changes everything.

Dark, poignant and deeply moving, Maria in the Moon is an examination of the nature of memory and truth, and the defenses we build to protect ourselves, when we can no longer hide…
My Favourite #BlogTour of the year! It was great to read the other reviews for this emotional novel. I loved the united team work of bloggers on this tour. As we all wanted to read how the novel impacted each and everyone of us!
*Credit to Anne Cater for such a fantastic, well run #BlogTour

See review here

A rising man
A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee


India, 1919. Desperate for a fresh start, Captain Sam Wyndham arrives to take up an important post in Calcutta’s police force.

He is soon called to the scene of a horrifying murder. The victim was a senior official, and a note in his mouth warns the British to leave India – or else.

With the stability of the Empire under threat, Wyndham and Sergeant ‘Surrender-not’ Banerjee must solve the case quickly. But there are some who will do anything to stop them…
#Calcutta #India Historical crime fiction! This novel is an amazing debut novel!
I read it before it won the Dagger and was very pleased when it won. I immediately ordered the next in the series…….
See review and Q&A here

a necessary evil
A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee
India, 1920. Captain Wyndham and Sergeant Banerjee of the Calcutta Police Force investigate the dramatic assassination of a Maharajah’s son.

The fabulously wealthy kingdom of Sambalpore is home to tigers, elephants, diamond mines and the beautiful Palace of the Sun. But when the heir to the throne is assassinated in the presence of Captain Sam Wyndham and Sergeant ‘Surrender-Not’ Banerjee, they discover a kingdom riven with suppressed conflict. Prince Adhir was a moderniser whose attitudes – and romantic relationship – may have upset the more religious elements of his country, while his brother – now in line to the throne – appears to be a feckless playboy.

As Wyndham and Banerjee desperately try to unravel the mystery behind the assassination, they become entangled in a dangerous world where those in power live by their own rules and those who cross their paths pay with their lives. They must find a murderer, before the murderer finds them…
Perfect follow up to the award winning debut novel! Abir Mukherjee is getting better and better. I can not wait, to read the third novel in this phenomenal NOVEL!
See review and Q&A here

The Three by Sarah Lotz

*****Coming soon to your screen as a major BBC adaptation by Golden Globe winner Peter Straughan*****

They’re here … The boy. The boy watch the boy watch the dead people oh Lordy there’s so many … They’re coming for me now. We’re all going soon. All of us. Pastor Len warn them that the boy he’s not to­­–
The last words of Pamela May Donald (1961 – 2012)

Black Thursday. The day that will never be forgotten. The day that four passenger planes crash, at almost exactly the same moment, at four different points around the globe.

There are only four survivors. Three are children, who emerge from the wreckage seemingly unhurt. But they are not unchanged. And the fourth is Pamela May Donald, who lives just long enough to record a voice message on her phone. A message that will change the world.

The message is a warning
Another novel that sits outside my usual comfort zone! But I completely and utterly LOVED every page!
see review here

my mothers shadow
My Mother’s Shadow by Nikola Scott

Hartland House has always been a faithful keeper of secrets…

1958. Sent to beautiful Hartland to be sheltered from her mother’s illness, Liz spends the summer with the wealthy Shaw family. They treat Liz as one of their own, but their influence could be dangerous…

Now. Addie believes she knows everything about her mother Elizabeth and their difficult relationship until her recent death. When a stranger appears claiming to be Addie’s sister, she is stunned. Is everything she’s been told about her early life a lie?

How can you find the truth about the past if the one person who could tell you is gone? Addie must go back to that golden summer her mother never spoke of…and the one night that changed a young girl’s life for ever.
I cried buckets during reading this novel and it remains one of my favourite novels EVER! An outstanding debut novel!
See review and Q&A here

Th1rtt3en by Steve Cavanagh

‘To your knowledge, is there anything that would preclude you from serving on this jury?’

Murder wasn’t the hard part. It was just the start of the game.
Joshua Kane has been preparing for this moment his whole life. He’s done it before. But this is the big one.
This is the murder trial of the century. And Kane has killed to get the best seat in the house.
But there’s someone on his tail. Someone who suspects that the killer isn’t the man on trial.
Kane knows time is running out – he just needs to get to the conviction without being discovered.
*Review scheduled for 25th January 2018* Sneak peak, it is pure GENIUS!

bluebird bluebird
Bluebird Bluebird by Attica Locke
Southern fables usually go the other way around. A white woman is killed or harmed in some way, real or imagined, and then, like the moon follows the sun, a black man ends up dead.

But when it comes to law and order, East Texas plays by its own rules – a fact that Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger working the backwoods towns of Highway 59, knows all too well. Deeply ambivalent about his home state, he was the first in his family to get as far away from Texas as he could. Until duty called him home.

So when allegiance to his roots puts his job in jeopardy, he is drawn to a case in the small town of Lark, where two dead bodies washed up in the bayou. First a black lawyer from Chicago and then, three days later, a local white woman, and it’s stirred up a hornet’s nest of resentment. Darren must solve the crimes – and save himself in the process – before Lark’s long-simmering racial fault lines erupt.
#AmericanNoir The novel deals with some tough issues in society. In the past and current political climate. It is an OUTSTANDING read!
See review and Q&A here

a patient fury
A Patient Fury by Sarah ward
When Detective Constable Connie Childs is dragged from her bed to the fire-wrecked property on Cross Farm Lane she knows as she steps from the car that this house contains death.

Three bodies discovered – a family obliterated – their deaths all seem to point to one conclusion: One mother, one murderer.

But D.C. Childs, determined as ever to discover the truth behind the tragedy, realises it is the fourth body – the one they cannot find – that holds the key to the mystery at Cross Farm Lane.

What Connie Childs fails to spot is that her determination to unmask the real murderer might cost her more than her health – this time she could lose the thing she cares about most: her career.
#DerbyshireNoir Brilliant crime fiction, with a cracking ending!
See review here
Q&A with Sarah ward here

IQ by Joe Ide

East Long Beach. The LAPD is barely keeping up with the high crime rate. Murders go unsolved, the elderly are being mugged, children go missing. But word has spread: if you’ve got a case the police can’t – or won’t – touch, Isaiah Quintabe will help you out.

They call him IQ. He’s a loner and a high school dropout, his unassuming nature disguising a relentless determination and a fierce intelligence. His clients pay him whatever they can afford, a new set of tyres or some homemade muffins. But now he needs a client who can pay. And the only way to that client is through a jive-talking, low-life drug dealer he thought he’d left behind. Then there’s the case itself. A drug-addled rap star surrounded by a crew of flunkies who believes his life is in danger; and a hit man who even other hit men say is a lunatic. If he solves this case, IQ can put right a mistake he made long ago. If not it won’t just be the hit man coming after him …
I think the WHOLE WORLD must know how much I LOVE this series!
IQ has won multiple awards and truly is deserving of all its praise and accolades!
Here is my review from 12th February 2017 here
Q&A with Joe Ide here

Righteous by Joe Ide
In a way, the hate felt good. You were righteous, godlike, the dispenser of justice . .
Super-smart sleuth Isaiah Quintabe – IQ to his friends – has built a mostly respectable life for himself, helping out friends and neighbours when he can and taking the occasional case to make ends meet. But there is one mystery that still haunts him almost ten years later – did his brother really die in a hit-and-run or was there more to the story behind his death?

IQ has been approached by his brother’s former girlfriend Sarita, whose younger sister, an erratic DJ and gambling addict, has gone missing in Las Vegas – with a frightening loan shark, Chinese Triad gangsters, and her own deadbeat boyfriend hot on her tail. Accompanied once more by his fast-talking, don’t-call-me-a-sidekick partner Dodson, IQ heads off for the casinos and massage parlours of Las Vegas. His quest takes an unexpected turn when he meets a criminal mastermind who knows something about the murky circumstances that surrounded his brother’s death. But when Isaiah learns the truth, what will he do with it?
For me, this novel made IQ one of my ALL TIME favourite protagonists! A great follow-up to debut novel IQ and I look forward to the release of IQ 3!
See review here

the mountain between us
The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin
Now a film starring Idris Elba and Kate Winslet

What if your life depended on a stranger?

On a stormy winter night, two strangers wait for a flight at the Salt Lake City airport. Ashley Knox is an attractive, successful writer, who is flying East for her wedding. Dr Ben Payne has just wrapped up a medical conference and is also eager to return home. When the last outgoing flight is cancelled because of a storm, Ben charters a small plane that can fly around the weather front. And when the pilot says the single engine prop plane can fit one more passenger, Ben offers the seat to Ashley.

Then the unthinkable happens and the plane crashes into the High Uintas Wilderness. Ben, who has broken ribs, and Ashley, who suffers a terrible leg fracture, along with the pilot’s dog, are faced with a battle to survive. How will they make it out of the wilderness and if they do, will they ever be the same again?
Originally picked this novel, as it had Idris Elba on the cover (won’t even lie!).
The novel has exceptional emotional depth!
*Review scheduled for 4th January 2018*

The Last Time We Spoke
The Last Time We Spoke by Fiona Sussman

Winner of the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel

‘A gripping story about grief and redemption’ Sunday Mirror

Carla and Kevin Reid are celebrating their wedding anniversary with their son Jack. The family together, some good food, a perfect night.

On a murderous collision course with this joyous yet fragile gathering, is Ben Toroa, an unexpected and unwanted visitor.

As Carla struggles to come to terms with the aftermath of the appalling events of the night, and Ben faces the consequences in prison, their stories will be for ever entwined.
*Review scheduled for 3rd January 2018*

The Unquiet Dead
The Unquiet Dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan
One man is dead.

But thousands were his victims.

Can a single murder avenge that of many?

Scarborough Bluffs, Toronto: the body of Christopher Drayton is found at the foot of the cliffs. Muslim Detective Esa Khattak, head of the Community Policing Unit, and his partner Rachel Getty are called in to investigate. As the secrets of Drayton’s role in the 1995 Srebrenica genocide of Bosnian Muslims surface, the harrowing significance of his death makes it difficult to remain objective. In a community haunted by the atrocities of war, anyone could be a suspect. And when the victim is a man with so many deaths to his name, could it be that justice has at long last been served?

In this important debut novel, Ausma Zehanat Khan has written a compelling and provocative mystery exploring the complexities of identity, loss, and redemption.

Winner of the Barry Award, Arthur Ellis Award, and Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best First Novel
An incredibly thought provoking novel. A brutally honest depiction of the Bosnian war, with a narrative that reflects deep into the past and the modern day.
See review and Q&A here

the year of the gun lottie armstrong
The Year Of The Gun by Chris Nickson

1944: Twenty years after WPC Lottie Armstrong was dismissed from the Leeds police force, she’s back, now a member of the Women’s Auxiliary Police Corps.

Detective Chief Superintendent McMillan is now head of CID, trying to keep order with a depleted force as many of the male officers have enlisted. This hasn’t stopped the criminals, however, and as the Second World War rages around them, can they stop a blackout killer with a taste for murder?
HUGE fan of ALL this author’s various series! Especially Tom Harper and Lottie Armstrong! Chris Nickson writes female characters incredibly well and I look forward to his next release in March 2018!
See review and Q&A here

little boy lost
Little Boy Lost by J.D. Trafford
An Amazon Charts bestseller.

A broken city, a missing young man, and a lawyer searching for truth when nobody else cares.

Attorney Justin Glass’s practice, housed in a shabby office on the north side of Saint Louis, isn’t doing so well that he can afford to work for free. But when eight-year-old Tanisha Walker offers him a jar full of change to find her missing brother, he doesn’t have the heart to turn her away.

Justin had hoped to find the boy alive and well. But all that was found of Devon Walker was his brutally murdered body—and the bodies of twelve other African American teenagers, all discarded like trash in a mass grave. Each had been reported missing. And none had been investigated.

As simmering racial tensions explode into violence, Justin finds himself caught in the tide. And as he gives voice to the discontent plaguing the city’s forgotten and ignored, he vows to search for the killer who preys upon them.
This novel takes you on a journey across the US, its legal systems and modern racial tensions. OUTSTANDING!
See review and Q&A here 

vaseem khan #1
The Unexpected Inheritance Of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem Khan
Mumbai, murder and a baby elephant combine in a charming, joyful mystery for fans of Alexander McCall Smith and Rachel Joyce.

On the day he retires, Inspector Ashwin Chopra discovers that he has inherited an elephant: an unlikely gift that could not be more inconvenient. For Chopra has one last case to solve…
But as his murder investigation leads him across Mumbai – from its richest mansions to its murky underworld – he quickly discovers that a baby elephant may be exactly what an honest man needs.
So begins the start of a quite unexpected partnership, and an utterly delightful new series.
#Mumbai #India Modern day crime fiction, with a baby elephant! LOVE this series!
Rich in culture, diversity and very well written!
See review and Q&A here

vaseem khan #2
The Perplexing Theft Of The Jewel In The Crown by Vaseem Khan
The second book in the heartwarming and charming Baby Ganesh series.

For centuries the Koh-i-Noor diamond has set man against man and king against king.

Now part of the British Crown Jewels, the priceless gem is a prize that many have killed to possess.

So when the Crown Jewels go on display in Mumbai, security is everyone’s principal concern. And yet, on the very day Inspector Chopra visits the exhibition, the diamond is stolen from under his nose.

The heist was daring and seemingly impossible. The hunt is on for the culprits. But it soon becomes clear that only one man – and his elephant – can possibly crack this case…
Rather embarrassingly this is the only one of my favourite reads; that I do not have a review for, or a pending blog post.
So let me explain, I read this novel whilst in hospital in October 2017. I was admitted with severe DVT from the heart to the right knee. I was in complete AGONY! Then I noticed my husband had packed Vaseem Khan’s second novel into my hospital bag.
For a few hours in a noisy hospital ward. I was able to escape to Mumbai India and it was pure HEAVEN! I can not thank the author enough for that small piece of respite from the pain. It is without a doubt, a novel I will not forget!

dead lands
Dead Lands by Lloyd Otis

The stunning debut from thriller writer Lloyd Otis.

When a woman’s body is found a special team is called in to investigate and prime suspect Alex Troy is arrested for the murder. Desperate to remain a free man, Troy protests his innocence, but refuses to use his alibi. Trying to protect the woman he loves becomes a dangerous game – questions are asked and suspicions deepen.

When the prime suspect completes a daring escape from custody, DI Breck and DS Kearns begin the hunt. Breck wants out of the force while Kearns has her own agenda and seeks revenge – and a right-wing march provides an explosive backdrop to their hunt for Troy.
A multifaceted complex novel, with themes of violence, past secrets, lies, police corruption, betrayals, racial tension and civil unrest. 5* Genius
See review here

streets of darkness
Streets Of Darkness by A.A. Dhand
The sky over Bradford is heavy with foreboding. It always is. But this morning it has reason to be – this morning a body has been found. And it’s not just any body.

Detective Harry Virdee should be at home with his wife. Impending fatherhood should be all he can think about but he’s been suspended from work just as the biggest case of the year lands on what would have been his desk. He can’t keep himself away.

Determined to restore his reputation, Harry is obliged to take to the shadows in search of notorious ex-convict and prime suspect, Lucas Dwight. But as the motivations of the murder threaten to tip an already unstable city into riotous anarchy, Harry finds his preconceptions turned on their head as he discovers what it’s like to be on the other side of the law…
This novel has themes of corruption, politics, racial tension, Bradford villains, grudges, BNP politics, dirty cops, revenge and redemption. All rolled into one hell of a read! It is most definitely one not to be missed.
See review and Q&A here

dear martin
Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League–but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates.

Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up–way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack.
A compelling read by a very talented writer, who has a bright future ahead of her!
See review here
Q&A with Nic Stone here

you don't know me
You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood
In London a young man stands accused of murder. All the evidence points to him; the police see an open and shut case.

But at his trial, this man, who has tried to stay out of trouble all his life, tells an extraordinary story. It is about a young woman who tried to protect her brother and got into terrible trouble. It’s about a young man who, in order to save her, entered a dark, violent world he’d avoided for so long.

He now stands in the dock and wants to tell you the truth. He needs you to believe him. Will you?
I absolutely loved this novel. I found it to be raw, urban and edgy! Like nothing on the UK book market currently. It depicts life lessons and a different perspective. Essentially you can engage with a novel where people may not look like you or live like you, yet you fully embrace their character.
See review and Q&A here

lightening men
Lightning Men by Thomas Mullen

Lightning Men follows the multi-award-nominated, highly acclaimed crime debut Darktown into a city on the brink of huge and violent change – and full of secrets.

Atlanta, 1950. In a divided city, crime comes home.

White officer Denny Rakestraw joins Lucius Boggs and Tommy Smith from Atlanta’s Negro Officer precinct to face the Klan, gangs and family warfare in their rapidly changing city.

Black families – including Smith’s sister and brother-in-law – are moving into Rake’s formerly all-white neighbourhood, leading Rake’s brother-in-law, a proud Klansman, to launch a scheme to ‘save’ their streets. When those efforts leave a man dead, Rake is forced to choose between loyalty to family or the law.

Meanwhile, Boggs has outraged his preacher father by courting a domestic, whose dangerous ex-boyfriend is then released from prison. As Boggs, Smith, and their all-black precinct contend with violent drug dealers fighting for turf in new territory, their personal dramas draw them closer to the fires that threaten to consume Atlanta once again.
Boggs and Smith make for perfect reading and their bond is firmly cemented in this case. Fantastic historical crime fiction!
See review here

That’s it folks! Time to get started on a list for 2018!
As January is my blogs first anniversary. I will be running various #Giveaways in relation to the novel’s on this list throughout the month!
So keep your eyes peeled for chances to WIN copies!

Thank you for reading & happy new year!



#NewRelease 4* #Review #LookForHer by @emilycwinslow @AllisonandBusby

*I received an arc via the publisher in return for an honest review*

Look For Her by Emily Winslow

Annalise Wood has haunted the town of Lilling near Cambridge for decades. She went missing in 1976 and although her body was later found, the investigation went cold with no one held responsible. The memory of her and the grief and speculation surrounding her disappearance are engrained in the community.

Forty years on, another young woman stokes her obsession with Annalise, believing that sharing a name with the dead girl has forged a bond between them. When DNA evidence linked to the Annalise Wood murder comes to light, detectives Morris Keene and Chloe Frohmann re-examine the case, picking apart previous assumptions and finding sinister connections to a recent drowning.

With her trademark skill in weaving together multiple perspectives and voices, Emily Winslow paints a complex and compelling portrait of a cold case that is far from dead and buried.

My review:

This novel is very complex with many twists and revelations. I did at times, find the narratives confusing and the assumed names hard to keep track of. But this novel offers an insight into the murky world of cold cases and how secrets stay buried in the past.

The novel opens with Annalise Williams attending a counselling session with Dr Ambrose. Annalise is manipulative and scheming character that I took an instant dislike to. But I wanted to know what she is constantly trying to manipulate those around her. In the session she relates the story of missing teen Annalise Woods. Who having gone missing in 1976, is cause for much gossip and speculation. The body was later recovered in 1992, but this only added to the mystery. The case was never solved and Annalise informs her therapist she was in-fact named after the missing young girl. I found these extremely creepy and morbid. But to be completely honest, so is Annalise herself, so it is in fitting, with her storyline.

When new DNA evidence is discovered, Morris Keene and Chloe Frohmann are called in to re-investigate. The case is largely based on rumours and with it being 40yrs old, it leads to dead end after dead end. But Morris and Chloe, refuse to give up! The police officers are likeable but I longed for more detail about them and there was merely snippets of information of the past. We learn there is a rift between the two, due to Morris’s daughter Dora. However, this is never fully revealed.
Which leads the readers to conjure their own opinions on what happened.

The case develops at a slower pace with it being a cold case investigation. With people having passed away or moved on etc. Then a woman appears claiming to be Annalise Wood’s daughter and we discover this case is much trickier than we the reader predicted.
When the truth is finally revealed, it was not what I imagined and I was genuinely surprised with the ending!

This novel would appeal to fans of mystery novels and those whom enjoy novels set around cold case investigations.
The one piece of advice I can give you, if you read this is trust no one! 4*

Emily Winslow
Authors Links:
Twitter: @emilycwinslow

*Look For Her is released today! Happy publication day to the author and I wish her much success with her novels release!*

#BlogTour #Review #RaceToTheKill by Helen Cadbury @AllisonandBusby

Race to the Kill BANNER
Race To The Kill by Helen Cadbury

It is the middle of a long night shift for PC Sean Denton and his partner PC Gavin Wentworth when they are approached by a dishevelled-looking woman desperate that they follow her. She leads them to the old Chasebridge High School where they find the dead body of a Syrian refugee. The investigation which points to the neighbouring greyhound stadium finds Denton caught up in a world of immigration, drugs and sexual abuse, and one in which his private life becomes increasingly entwined.

My review:

I am honoured to be part of this blog tour, in tribute to an author that has touched so many lives. I truly hope my review does the novel justice and inspires readers to check out the series.

The prologue opens with a female victim, but we are unclear on what is happening to her, only that she is in great fear and wants to be rescued. I love these eerie prologues, that set the pace of a novel and this one, is perfectly done. Vague and mysterious, yet intentionally done. PC Sean Denton and PC Gav Wentworth, on a routine stop for fuel. When they are met with a rather strange woman in the petrol station. She desperately tries to accosts them for help, but she is vague and has the appearance of a homeless person. When she grabs onto Sean, he starts to take her seriously and agrees to follow her, with Gav following closely by in the police car. They follow her to a boarded up old school, used locally as a squat. On their way there the woman (Mary) is spooked by dog and flees. Sean and Gaz decide to investigate further regardless. What they find is a dead body and a prime suspect……..

The body appears to have taken a violent beating to the head, but the team await crime scene manager Lizzie Morrison (Sean’s girlfriend) to confirm their suspicions. Whilst searching the upper areas of the school they discover Elyas Homsi a Syrian refugee. He claims the murder victim to be Abbas, his friend from northern Iraq. The squat has been used locally for junkie and immigrants as a shelter.
A scene is described and the coppers question, what a place this is to live or die?

Upon leaving the crime scene, Sean spots an ambulance outside his own father’s flat. This is where we start to learn more about Sean’s background. Including his upbringing and relationship with his father and half-sister Chloe. We also learn that Sean has applied and interviewed for a promotion. Beginning his CID traineeship during the novel.
PC Sean Denton is now DC Sean Denton and he is about to be part of a huge case……..

The case of the dead refugee is side-lined, when a rapist on bail absconds his bail conditions. But is he missing or has he run? Xavier Velasquez has spent four months on remand for a rape, he claims he never committed. When the rape victim fails to appear at court, he is granted bail. The police politics, of how a refugee’s murder is side-lined, for the rapist son of a ‘well to do’ family, is explored! I found this to be very accurate, often times we see cases in the media dubbed as ‘high profile’. But what makes one victim more/less deserving than the other.
I felt this was a clever subject thrown into a novel, packed with diverse characters.

Throughout the chapters of investigation, we are introduced to a character named Sarah. Sarah is a schemer and always seems to be manipulating those around her. I initially didn’t like her, yet I was dying to know why, she is like she is and what she hopes to achieve. One thing is for certain, she is character you want to keep a close eye on! The investigation intensifies and further locations, characters and cases are drawn into this clever novel.

The novel is so cleverly weaved together. All the characters have exceptional depth. Especially the central characters to the case. DC Sean Denton works well as a detective and his ambition and drive is shown through his work ethic. This novel has layer upon layer of twists and turns, it makes a cracking crime fiction read.
I read the entire novel, on one rainy Sunday afternoon. 4.5*

*****As the author has sadly passed away, before release of the latest novel in her crime fiction series. I will be donating to the friends of Helen Cadbury charity. which hopes to raise enough funds, for a poetry bench in Helen’s memory in Glen gardens. I think this is such a worthy cause, for such an incredibly talented woman.*****

Link to the Facebook page Friends of Helen Cadbury:


#YA #Review #TheMidnightQueen @sylwritesthings @AllisonandBusby #WhatDaisySays

Today I hand over the blog to my 14 year old daughter Daisy. It would appear I have two budding bloggers on my hands. So here it is #WhatDaisySays!

The Midnight Queen by Sylvia Hunter

In the hallowed halls of Oxford’s Merlin College, the most talented – and highest born – sons of the kingdom are taught the intricacies of magickal theory. But what dazzles can also destroy, as Gray Marshall is about to discover . . .

Gray’s Britain is a fragmented kingdom of many tongues, many gods and many magicks. But all that concerns Gray right now is returning as soon as possible to his studies and setting right the nightmare that has seen him disgraced and banished to his tutor’s home – without a trace of his powers. And it is there, toiling away on a summer afternoon, that he meets the professor’s daughter.

Although she has no talent of her own and has been forbidden by her father to pursue it, Sophie Callender longs for a magickal education. But she started a bookish rebellion in her father’s library long ago, and her sheltered upbringing conceals a mysterious past and what may prove a catastrophic future. Her meeting with Gray sets off a series of events that will lead them to uncover a conspiracy at the heart of the kingdom and into the legend of the Midnight Queen, who vanished without a trace years before.


The Midnight Queen by Sylvia Hunter is an intriguingly written fantasy book based around a world of magick. This is due to be a trilogy and I am honestly excited to see where the writer takes the plot. Our two main characters are introduced within the first chapter. Gray (Graham Marshall), has been forced to stay at his professor’s house for the summer for reasons unbeknown to the reader for a while into the book. Gray’s character is a very intelligent, caring, young man. The visible hatred between Gray and the professor is brought to the reader’s attention by our other main character, Sophie. Sophie was by far my favourite character. I think the themes in this book were really relatable and current. For instance, in the setting of the book Sophie is discouraged by her father from reading and learning about magick like the men in story do. I feel this was an exceptionally relevant theme, considering the modern feminist movements. Sophie’s character was also very bubbly and talkative which combats Grays initial moodiness.

Within the first chapter I noticed that the writing style was very unusual. Whilst reading, the informal, friendly tone made it feel as if it was written in first person by Sophie, when in fact it’s written in the third person. Sylvia Hunter has a very unique writing style that makes the book very easy to read. However, the book was very slow to get to the plot. This was the only downfall I found the book had. On one hand, I can see that because it took a while to get to the plot we got to get to know Gray and Sophie really well but on the other hand it does make the first 100 pages or so hard to power through.

Throughout the book the plot takes lots of unexpected twists and turns that I personally thought were quite clever. I enjoyed learning all about magick which was obviously one of the main themes in the book. Despite knowing magick obviously isn’t real I still find it incredibly interesting to read different authors inventions of magickal worlds. I think Sylvia Hunter’s magickal world went in depth enough to catch your interest but at the same time it doesn’t feel like your reading one of Gray’s study books from Oxford’s Merlin College.

Three other characters that I thought were written very interestingly were: Amelia, Joanna and the professor. Firstly, Amelia was the character I loved to hate. You could tell that she was designed to be written in a very mean girl fashion. She’s one of those girls whose pretty and she knows she can get anything with her looks- very manipulative. Joanna, who is one of the three sisters (Joanna, Amelia and Sophie) born to the professor is very outspoken and sassy. I enjoyed reading her character’s dialogue and I thought it bought a funny, light hearted tone to the book. Joanna was very passionately against her father’s views. Her father, the professor is written in a very old fashioned manner with very controversial and prejudice views against women. You find out early on that the girl’s mother (whom died when they were fairly young) was very upset to find that Joanna (the youngest) was a girl because the professor had wanted at least one boy. You also find out that Amelia believes it’s her father’s job to ‘pick’ her a ‘suitable’ man. This dynamic makes very thought provoking, interesting reading.

What would a book be without romance? Sophie and Gray’s romance develops very slowly from a place of trust, care and friendship. This like the plot develops very slowly but makes for very chilled out reading. There personalities are written to be very compatible and you see throughout the book how much they help each other.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book once the plot got going. The plot is full of very exciting twists and turns that I think almost any reader would enjoy and I personally thoroughly enjoyed the way the characters are written. I did also really enjoy the theme of female empowerment.

Sylvia Hunter
Authors links:
Twitter: @sylwritesthings

#Review – We Were The Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter @Georgia_Hunter @Allisonandbusby

We Were The Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter

The synopsis:

From the jazz clubs of Paris and Kraków’s most brutal prison, to the ports of Northern Africa and the farthest reaches of the Siberian gulag, We Were the Lucky Ones expresses how in the darkest of times the human spirit can find a way to survive, and even triumph.

My review:

This novel centres around the Kurc family and their journey through WW2, focusing specifically on the lives of the 5 siblings. I am one of 8 children, I have 5 brothers and 2 sisters. We are very close and anything emotionally difficult we have had to endure in life, is always made easier via their comfort and words. So for me on a personal level, the bond between the siblings and their love and hope for one another really resonated off the page. I found the characterisation to be very realistic and it did not surprise me to discover the novel is fictionalised on the authors own ancestry, the author has done a phenomenal job, with this debut novel!

The Kurc siblings are made up of Addy, Jakob, Mila, Genek and Halina. They are in various territories in Europe that are occupied by the Nazi’s. The novel is their story of survival under a fascist regime, that has declared them the enemy. The writing of Addy’s last Passover meal, felt extremely moving and symbolic of what he would go onto suffer.

The novel is scattered with facts and I felt this really brought home the authenticity of the history. This really happened, to these people and Nazi Germany and the horrors of fascism should never be forgotten……. The novel is broken into three parts. With part one being set, as war looms, what will happen? What will become of the Kurc family? Part two follows the persecution of the Jewish people and how this was carried out. Finally part three focuses on the individuals in the aftermath of WW2.

The consistent fear, degradation, humiliation and dehumanization is very clear in all of their stories. At one point the families father Sol whispers to the mother Nechuma “do not lose faith” how do you retain faith, when all around you, is death and the destruction of everything you have ever known? The journey from citizen, to enemy and eventually ‘displaced persons’ is thoroughly explored. The title of this novel ‘We Were The Lucky Ones’ is possibly the most significant and poignant title I have ever known a book to have.
A compelling read, 4*