I am so excited to share my first #JudgeABookByItsCover post! Each week I will share a cover of a book with you, it will be a book I want to read or have read because of the cover. A simple post with no fuss, just a picture and a short explanation.
So here it is, my first #JudgeABookByItsCover book…
Why I chose this cover?
I haven’t read anything by this author yet but I will most certainly be adding this book to my TBR list. I was drawn to the cover because of the woman at the bottom left who stands out as being different from the others, I’m not sure if it is the way she is holding her mug or because her nails aren’t painted or manicured. Either way, I’m intrigued!
Want to know more about the book? Take a look here…
Deadly Vengeance is my first book by OMJ Ryan but it most certainly will not be my last! Full of twists and turns, it kept me guessing throughout.
Some people can never escape their past.
When the fifteen-year-old daughter of UK munitions dealer, Sir Richard Hawkins vanishes without a trace – the race is on to find her. But Sir Richard and his wife’s worst fears are realised when they receive a video of Hollie, tied to a chair, with a masked man holding a gun to her head.
The ransom demands are simple, pay four million pounds in cash – or they’ll never see their daughter again. DCI Jane Phillips is assigned to the case, and has no idea of who, or what she’s up against. But as the investigation unfolds, it becomes clear Hollie’s kidnapping was the work of a formidable gang – who operate in the shadows and will stop at nothing to get what they want.
As the pressure mounts, can Phillips and the team find Hollie before it’s too late? Or will this investigation signal not only the death of the Major Crimes Unit, but one of her beloved team, as well?
Deadly Vengeance is a real page turner! For me, the first page of a book is crucial as I want to be instantly gripped and this is exactly what Deadly Vengeance does. From the outset, Ryan gets right into the action and you just have to keep reading to find out what happens next. I couldn’t put this book down!
The plot is exciting and there are very strong and likeable characters. I particularly enjoyed that some chapters were told from Hollie’s perspective, so you gained further insight into the whole story and could relate more to her as a character. DCI Phillips and her team felt like a family, it was evident that they knew one another well and there was real chemistry between them, making it an enjoyable read.
I read Deadly Vengeance as a stand alone book however it is the third book in the Detective Jane Phillips series. Some aspects of the story referred to events that had taken place in the previous books, but overall it was easy to read as a stand alone although I will warn you that, like me, you will most definitely be adding the previous two to your ‘To Be Read’ list.
The only part of the story that I felt let it down slightly was the amount of characters we are introduced to, some of whom we are only introduced to very briefly. This made it quite difficult to follow, particularly when one of the kidnappers is revealed as I recognised the name but could not remember who they were and how they had previously slotted into the story. Therefore, I didn’t have that usual ‘gasp’ moment when they were identified.
Ryan concludes the story well without answering all of my questions, an aspect of the book I found both frustrating and refreshing but most of all it left me excited to read the next instalment.
OMJ Ryan is an author I am going to be following very closely and I will most certainly be reading the previous two books in the series. A great book that I would highly recommend!
About the Author
Hailing from Yorkshire, OMJ Ryan worked in radio and entertainment for over twenty years, collaborating with household names and accumulating a host of international writing and radio awards. In 2018 he followed his passion to become a full-time novelist, writing stories for people who devour exciting, fast-paced thrillers by the pool, on their commute – or those rare moments of downtime before bed. Owen’s mission is to entertain from the first page to the last.
Deadly Vengeance is the third Detective Jane Phillips book in the series and OMJ’s fourth book with Inkubator Books.
‘Under Your Skin‘ really captures the strength of abuse victims, demonstrating how they can regain control and power.
When Kyle’s wife Hannah goes missing, the whole town is out in force to try to find her. One person knows where she is. One person is keeping a secret. Detective Inspector Simon Peters and Detective Kerry Lawlor have been brought in to investigate the case, but Hannah has left no traces and Kyle has no clues. Local Belfast resident, Julia Matthews, joins the #FindHannah campaign and becomes friendly with Kyle, sympathising with his tragedy. As Julia becomes more involved in the case than she bargained for, she begins to uncover more secrets than the Police ever could. Julia was only trying to help but has she become drawn into a web of mystery that she can’t escape?
Trigger warning: domestic violence, some sexual scenes and swear words
When we are first introduced to Julia it is clear that she is going through a difficult time in her life. For this reason I automatically assumed she could potentially fall victim of abuse. I don’t want to give anything away but what I will say is that I enjoyed her journey.
Detective Inspector Simon Peters and Detective Kerry Lawlor’s relationship is flirtatious and this did anger me at times due to Simon being a married man. McClelland deliberately highlights the chemistry between the characters to keep you guessing whether their relationship is platonic or not. Rest assured, all does become clear – no spoilers here!
The domestic violence within ‘Under Your Skin‘ definitely means it is not for everyone as some people may find it a difficult read. I found myself getting very frustrated with Hannah and willing her to be stronger but the story very much captures what is going through her mind and you do begin to fully appreciate how abuse victims are made to feel. McClelland has clearly done her research!
As much as I enjoyed McClelland’s debut psychological thriller, I do have to admit that I found it quite predictable, something that is very unusual for me. That being said, it did not take away from my overall enjoyment of the book. I look forward to reading what McClelland writes next!
About the Author
“Under your skin” is Rose’s fourth novel. Her previous three novels were romantic fiction published by Crooked Cat. She has made the genre jump from “chick lit” to psychological thriller and is enjoying delving into a darker corner of her mind! Rose has also written two short plays which were performed in the Black Box theatre in Belfast.
She discusses book reviews on her You Tube channel and writes theatre reviews for her blog. She loves nothing more than curling up with her cats and a good book. She has two rescue cats – Toots, who is ginger with an inquisitive face and Soots, who is black and hops along on his 3 legs looking ever so cute.
Being a new #BookBlogger, I decided that I would try different genres instead of always reading crime and thriller novels, which led me to taking part in this Blog Tour -something I do not regret!
The northern grammar school pals Bob Swarbrick and Richard Shackleton are back, now facing the era of Brexit, Momentum, Coronavirus and Donald Trump. For the first time in their lives, Bob and Richard struggle to see the meaning of it all.
The trials and renewals of Where’s Sailor Jack? (John Uttley’s debut novel released in 2015) behind them, they find themselves in a world whose faith and politics have moved beyond their sphere of influence and feel increasingly cut off from their roots.
Bob, now settled with Wendy, must reconcile old memories and new children while Richard must save his family from themselves. Along the way, they are adopted by the lascivious Lucy Fishwick and her predatory daughter Maddie, whose lives are as mad and chaotic as the radio play Lucy is trying to write and, indeed, the world itself.
But despite the coming plague, it doesn’t look like Armageddon. There is to be an apocalypse, but one of personal dimensions. We don’t all go together when we go!
I have to be honest and say that I really wasn’t sure what to expect from ‘No Precedent’ having never read any of Uttley’s previous work and knowing that there would be a lot of reference to religion and politics. However, I very much enjoyed this book and I am so glad that I decided to open my mind to new genres.
The characters are all very different having evidently been exposed to a variety of upbringings and there are many unlikely friendships within this book. For me, this is what makes their relationships interesting and engaging. Maddie was my favourite character, although I did not agree with her life choices and often found her decisions hard to accept. I was remarkably surprised at her relationship with Bob who, considering he is from a different era, appeared to be non-judgemental and tried to understand her which I found quite refreshing.
Politics does feature very heavily in this book, perhaps much more than I anticipated. At times I have to admit that I found it quite overwhelming and did skip over some sections near the end. That being said, it was interesting to read Uttley’s views on some of the political matters of today.
Uttley has a very unique style of writing and one which may take you a few chapters to get into, but my advice would be to stick with it and have your tissues ready at the end!
About the Author
John Uttley was born in Lancashire just as the war was ending. Grammar school educated there, he read Physics at Oxford before embarking on a long career with the CEGB and National Grid Group. He was Finance Director at the time of the miners’ strike, the Sizewell Inquiry and privatisation, receiving on OBE in 1991. Shortly afterwards, he suffered his fifteen minutes of fame when he publicly gave a dividend to charity in the middle of the fat cat furore. Following this, he took an external London degree in Divinity while acting as chairman of numerous smaller companies, both UK and US based. He is married to Janet, living just north of London. This is his second novel, based on the characters of his first, the much-loved and critically acclaimed Where’s Sailor Jack?
Not tonight, Olivia. Olivia’s ex-husband shut her down so many times before the cheating bastard left her that Olivia lost count. She didn’t realise she’d also lost the ability to banter, interpret body language, or accept that a man could find her desirable. None of that should matter when she leaves for a two-week training for her new job with the Ranchers, an outdoorsy nonprofit, but when her co-worker adds ‘halter top’ and ‘bikini’ to the official pack list, she has no idea what to expect on this trip. It certainly wasn’t a perky blonde roommate who thinks their training is like spring break, but with a paycheck. It wasn’t the after-hours hot tub. It absolutely wasn’t the man with a rumble for a laugh who shows up on her flight and introduces himself as the colleague she didn’t know would be her companion for the next two weeks. When blondie calls dibs on that same colleague, Olivia just wants to stay out of her way, but her colleague has ideas of his own. Ideas which involve Olivia, the hot tub, and shared sips of bourbon.
‘Dibs’ is the perfect summer holiday read! It is Martine’s debut romance novel but I am hoping that it isn’t the last as I would really like to find out what happens next for these characters.
It is a simple plot that you can’t help but get drawn into although I did find it a little slow at times. The characters were very relatable, Lorrie and Dolores were my favourites as both made me laugh out loud on several occasions despite being complete polar opposites.
For me, the book ended as I would have wanted it to so I finished it with a very big smile on my face. That being said, there would most certainly be room for Martine to write a sequel so we can continue to follow these characters in the next chapter of their lives.
If you are looking for a book to read by the pool, in the garden or on the beach this summer then ‘Dibs’ is the book for you. Not too serious, extremely heart-warming and enjoyable from start to finish.
About the Author
Allison Martine is nearly a native Californian and lives with her husband and three children in Orange County. Allison can be found on the hiking trails through the canyons or over-caffeinating in her favourite local coffee shops. DIBS is her debut novel.
The Collector had me hooked from the moment I read the first page, so much so that I read the book in a matter of days, which is no mean feat whilst also working from home with a one year old.
They say human life is the most precious thing. The Collector doesn’t agree.
When world renowned archaeologist Philip Carlton suddenly and unexpectedly commits suicide, the police are called to investigate. Heading up the investigation is Detective Lucy O’Hara, a Forensic Linguist – and she immediately sees something is wrong with the suicide note. In her gut, she knows this was cold-blooded murder.
Battling sceptical superiors and the Irish establishment, Lucy digs for the truth and begins to uncover a shadowy trade in ancient artifacts led by a mysterious figure known only as ‘The Collector’.
As Lucy works to uncover his identity, she soon realises she is up against a ruthless mastermind who is systematically eliminating anyone who might lead her to him. But Lucy won’t give up and soon The Collector turns his attention to her…
The Collector – the first in a gripping new series featuring Detective Lucy O’Hara.
I could not put this book down, I was so engaged in the story that it took over my life for a couple of days. I just couldn’t get enough of it!
Rather unusually, Maher introduces us to the murderer from the beginning.This very much drew me into the book as it was intriguing to hear his side of the story as opposed to just the perspective of the detectives. That being said, it does not take away the air of mystery as we strive to uncover the identity of ‘The Collector‘ himself.
From the beginning we are told that Lucy O’Hara, a Detective in the case, is a Forensic Linguist. This certainly added in a different perspective and made this book different to other thrillers I have read as she provided interesting insights. I particularly liked that we were introduced to both the personal and professional life of Lucy, which became somewhat intertwined, making her more appealing and relatable to the reader.
The identity of ‘The Collector‘ is revealed at the end and I am not ashamed to say that I did gasp. Maher does well to throw you off the scent but I couldn’t help feel that I should have worked it out in advance of the revelation. For me, the only aspect of the book I felt was not made clear was the motive for the murders. Evidently there was a lot of history and it was obvious ‘The Collector‘ wanted to have his identity hidden but it all felt very muddy for me and I would have liked a little more time spent on this aspect of the story. That being said, it did not deter from my enjoyment of the book.
Overall, I loved the pace of the book and it did keep me guessing and on the edge of my seat throughout. I would thoroughly recommend it to all crime, mystery and thriller enthusiasts. I cannot wait for the next one!
About the Author
John Maher has published five novels and a collection of short stories. He has won national awards for radio play and short story with RTE in Ireland. His novel, The Luck Penny, was shortlisted for debut novel on BBC Radio 5.
A former teacher and lecturer, he holds a Phd from the School of Oriental and African Studies (London).
He lives in a small Irish village, between the Atlantic and the Irish Sea, from which he steals away, from time to time, to visit the world outside the island.
THE COLLECTOR will be his first novel published with Inkubator Books.
Wow! I would like to start this review by making the point that Fantasy is not my usual genre, so much so that I didn’t even know what a ‘mage’ was. If you are the same then please don’t let that put you off this amazing book as it has certainly reignited my passion for fantasy. Having not read any fantasy novels for the best part of ten years, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from ‘The End of Magic’ but Mark Stay is such a talented author who had me in suspense throughout.
Two powerful mages. One steeped in privilege, the other bound by a moral code. Their world is thrown into chaos by the end of magic.
‘What will you do when the magic is gone?’
Sander Bree is a royal mage. He lives an easy life advising the king on matters of court and politics, yet he still complains that he’s stuck in a rut.
Rosheen Katell is a wandering mage and, with Anzu her griffin, she’s worked hard to build a reputation as a trustworthy truth seer. She never lies, never kills.
Very soon, their magic will be gone. A cataclysmic event will change their lives and world forever.
Sander must keep a promise that would have been difficult enough with magic, but is a suicide mission without it.
Rosheen is forced to side with a murderous warlord, and her once-solid principles are tested and found wanting. Both will be set against one another in a war unlike anything the world has seen before, in this sweeping fantasy of magic’s ending.
A stand alone fantasy novel for fans of Joe Abercrombie and Scott Lynch
Although the story is about battles between kingdoms, the real story is told through the characters and their relationships. The story encompasses so many relationships which are portrayed well by Stay, my particular favourite being that of Rosheen and Anzu. Anzu is a very wise creature and certainly tried to keep Rosheen in check, it was clear that these two had a lot of history which I would have been keen to learn more about – something for the next novel perhaps?
The main characters, Rosheen and Sander are very different. Rosheen filled me with frustration and anger at times which I feel only further emphasises how much the characters came to life for me. Sander made me laugh throughout the book, he was witty and straight talking, it would be difficult not to warm to him right away.
The book tells the story of a real shift of power and with that comes a lot of death. I was surprised by how many characters are killed in the book, I started to wonder if anyone would still be alive at the end. It was a little off putting at times although it did not deter from my overall enjoyment of the story.
For me, the best part of the book is the story of Oskar. He has a tough journey and I really felt for him and willed him to succeed. However, I am not sure I liked how it ended for him – maybe this wasn’t quite the end?
Overall, ‘The End of Magic’ was a very enjoyable read and it kept me in suspense throughout, it is a real page turner! I would recommend it to both fantasy enthusiasts as well as those looking to try something a bit different.
About the Author
Mark Stay co-wrote the screenplay for Robot Overlords which became a movie with Sir Ben Kingsley and Gillian Anderson, and premiered at the 58th London Film Festival. Author of the fantasy novel The End of Magic, he is also co-presenter of the Bestseller Experiment podcast and worked in bookselling and publishing for over twenty-five years. He lives in Kent, England, with his family and a trio of retired chickens. He blogs and humblebrags over at markstaywrites.com
Not my usual genre but I do not regret picking up this book. Fast-paced, witty and very entertaining. Certainly worth a read!
When I received my copy of ‘The Existence of Amy’ I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as the cover is very unusual, but it certainly intrigued me and I couldn’t wait to get started!
Amy has a normal life. That is, if you were to go by a definition of ‘no obvious indicators of peculiarity’, and you didn’t know her very well. She has good friends, a good job, a nice enough home. This normality, however, is precariously plastered on top of a different life. A life that is Amy’s real life. The only one her brain will let her lead.
A fictional story that depicts the reality of mental illness behind a perception of normality.
‘The Existence of Amy‘ is clearly written by someone who has a high level of understanding of mental health, as Lana Grace Riva gives a real insight into what life is like living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (O.C.D). It is interesting that the author didn’t actually use the term O.C.D until near the end of the book, but really there was no need to as it was clear what Amy was struggling with. I hadn’t before appreciated the difficulties that some people face because of their O.C.D, something I feel is quite a taboo subject or one which is often taken lightly and underestimated, so it was quite the eye-opener.
Despite struggling with her own life, Amy is very considerate of others and completely appreciates how her behaviour is making them feel, which I found so profound. It is difficult to comprehend how one person can be experiencing such an arduous journey but is still able to feel compassion for others even when this is not reciprocated. I was rooting for Amy throughout the book, she is such a likeable character and I very much wanted her to find peace within herself.
Amy is so well supported. The relationships she has with her work colleagues is incredible and they go above and beyond to help her without her having to tell them what is wrong. I found it interesting that her male colleagues Ed and Nathan were more supportive than her female colleague Sally who didn’t seem to try to understand, but instead appeared irritated and angry with Amy. It made me wonder if this is the same in real life and how I would react if I were in the same situation.
Overall I would highly recommend, ‘The Existence of Amy’ particularly if you or someone you know has O.C.D. The moral of the story for me was: ‘Be Kind! You don’t know what others are going through’ something we could all do well to live by. Lana Grace Riva is certainly going to be one to watch and I look forward to seeing what she writes next.
About the Author
Lana Grace Riva has written two books, one non-fiction the other fiction, both based on her experiences of mental health. Her first book ‘Happier Thinking’ is a short collection of tips and exercises to maintain a healthy mind. Her second book ‘The Existence Of Amy’ is a fictional story based on a very real depiction of mental illness.
This is my first ever cover reveal and I could not be more excited, particularly as the author is a fellow Scot! Anne Pettigrew’s new novel, ‘Not the Deaths Imagined‘, released on the 1st August 2020, sounds like my kind of book and I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy.
In a leafy Glasgow suburb, Dr Beth Semple is busy juggling motherhood and full-time GP work in the 90s NHS. But her life becomes even more problematic when she notices some odd deaths in her neighbourhood. Though Beth believes the stories don’t add up, the authorities remain stubbornly unconvinced.
Soon, Beth’s professional reputation is challenged. There follows a chilling campaign of harassment and she finds her professional reputation – and family – are put at risk.
Is a charming local GP actually a serial killer? Can Beth piece together the jigsaw of perplexing fatalities and perhaps save lives? And as events accelerate towards a dramatic conclusion, will the police intervene in time?
From the author of Not the Life Imagined, this slow-burning tartan noir novel from a Bloody Scotland Crime Spotlight author follows Beth on another quest for justice. Reflecting Pettigrew’s own medical expertise, Not The Deaths Imagined re-affirms the benefits of growing up in a loving family and the need for friends in hard times, while offering insight into the twisted development of a psychopathic mind.
So, without further ado, here is the cover for ‘Not the Deaths Imagined’ …
About Anne Pettigrew
Glasgow-born, 31 years a Greenock GP, graduate of University of Glasgow (Medicine 1974) and Oxford (MSc Medical Anthropology 2004). Worked also in psychiatry, women’s health, and journalism (Herald, Pulse, Doctor, Channel 4). In retirement took Creative Writing tuition at Glasgow University aiming to pen novels about women doctors (rare in literature except as pathologists or in Mills & Boon). Runner-up in SAW Constable Award 2018, chosen as a 2019 Bloody Scotland Crime Spotlight Author – ‘one to watch.’ Member of several writers’ groups and a short story competition winner, she lives in Ayrshire and enjoys good books, good wine, and good company.
As a book lover myself, it was really important to me that my daughter was introduced to as many books as possible to try to ignite a love for reading at an early age. Now, age 1, she loves nothing more than sitting and listening to a story. So I have compiled a top 10 list of her favourites for all of those parents of toddlers looking to engage their little ones in the world of stories.
1 – Ten Little Dinosaurs by Mike Brownlow and Simon Rickerty
This is by far my daughter’s favourite story. She has actions and sound effects for every page and loves to hear it over and over again. The story tells the adventure of ten little dinosaurs as they leave their sleeping Mum to step foot into the big wide world. A great way to introduce counting backwards from ten to one.
2 – Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
I love this book because it introduces lots of other fairy tale characters such as Cinderella, Bo-Peep and the Three Bears. It is essentially a book of ‘I spy’ with clever illustrations that have characters hidden in them for your little one to find.
3 – That’s Not My Panda by Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells
All of the Usborne touchy-feely books are excellent. They include lots of different textures and are designed to develop sensory awareness. When using these books with my daughter, I try to have the soft toy to go alongside it so she can relate more to the animal.
4 – On the Farm by Axel Scheffler
‘On the Farm’ is an interactive story with sliders which will keep your toddler engaged. I have found it to be a good introduction to animals that live on the farm and the noises they make.
5 – Oi Frog! by Kes Gray and Jim Field
‘Oi Frog!’ is a rhyming story about a cat who tells a frog where all of the animals should sit. What I like about this book is that it introduces more unusual animals such as weasels, gophers, gibbons and newts.
6 – Sleep Tight Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
My daughter loves this book as it has lots of flaps to lift and look under. It is a story about the Hungry Caterpillar making his way home to bed, passing other animals as he does so. A book that your toddler will enjoy before bedtime.
7 – Five Minutes’ Peace by Jill Murphy
This is certainly a story that all parents can relate to, longing for five minutes peace. The thing I like the most about this story is that it is not a rhyming story which is quite a refreshing change. In this story, Mrs Large just wants to have some peace from her children and heads to the bathroom to take a nice hot bath, but the five minutes peace that she hopes for is just not going to happen.
8 – The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
My 7 year old nephew absolutely loved this story when he was a toddler and my daughter is very much following in his footsteps. The story is about a snail who goes on an adventure with a whale and then plays a part in rescuing him. I particularly like the illustrations as they include a lot of different animals to introduce to your child to.
9 – What am I? My Year illustrated by Fiona Powers
This is a great little book. It is a rhyming story that introduces all of the months of the year. A great way to introduce months of the year to your little ones.
10 – Ten Little Pirates by Mike Brownlow and Simon Rickerty
This is another book in the ‘Ten Little’ series, all of which I would recommend. This story tells the tale of ten little pirates who go off on an adventure. The stories are very similar as they follow the same format, something I feel is very positive for younger children as they begin to recognise some of the words.