Review: Zodiac – Sam Wilson

How do I describe this book?

When I selected this book as my first audio book to listen to it, I knew that it was going to be a thriller, about death and murder. I first thought, with the title Zodiac, that this book was going to be about the infamous Zodiac murders, which was kind of my hope, but boy was I wrong. This book was about murder and the Zodiac star signs in another way.

The Zodiac system plays a key and an important role with the society within the structure and story of this book. People are divided up and slotted into the sign that they were born into, and that sign plays an important role in defining who they are and how society sees them. It plays such an important role, that people are planning the conception of their children to ensure the birth of their child falls into their desired zodiac sign, or if they happen to mess up, they are even willing to go into and have a premature baby to ensure that child’s place in society and to ensure their future is set. 

Throughout listening to this book, the whole time I felt like the author was using the Zodiac system as a massive metaphor for how society is today. How people in this book are divided up into their signs and are believed to be this way because that’s how that sign is meant to be and act, therefore judging and discriminating everyone else because of that. Now change zodiac signs to people discriminating other people because of their race, their ethnicity, their sexuality, beliefs and so on. You can divided the world up, or even just a small town up, and you will never have an identical group of people who believe or are the same, as everyone will have some differences. Maybe this wasn’t even the intention of the author, but this was a massive message that I definitely took away from this book and really hit me when I was listening to this audio book. Maybe more so with the immigration problems that are occurring, it just made me connect the two. 

Right from the beginning of the story, this book had me gripped, to the extent that I would listen to the audio book at any given time possible. I even swapped listening to music when doing certain tasks as I wanted to know what happened next, which is something I thought wouldn’t happen with an audio book. The story started off so perfectly, with a scene that can only be described as brutal, with the imagery that just makes every word so clear. My only problem, which may be because I was listen to it and not reading it, is that even though I could picture all of the scenes and the kills so vividly, I had a problem when it came to the characters. 

I couldn’t remember who certain characters were, especially if they were secondary characters. I think I only remembered who a few of the characters names were at the time, that’s if I was lucky, and kept having to pause it to think back, or carry on listening to hopefully get a clue from what was said. I don’t know if this was from the writing, or if it was because I wasn’t reading it, I therfore wasn’t able to get a better connection to the characters. I also wasnt able to get a better picture of the characters in my head, so chose my own when listening to the story, for some at least. But this is my first for both this author and an audio book, so I will have to actually read another book by this author and listen to another audio book to see which is which. 

I liked how the story worked out and how the structure all worked together, which was really unexpected at first. The more I was listening, the more I started to suspect and thought, “Oo, I wonder”, but it was a really good idea. From what I gathered from listening to this book, this book contains small chapters, which when reading a book, I must admit is something I definitely prefer.

I would highly recommend this book and I will gladly admit that I really enjoyed the audio book version of this book, including the voice narrative. I am giving this book 4 out of 5 stars!

Here is the Goodreads description:

“In a corrupt and volatile society where people are divided and defined by zodiac signs, status is cast at birth and binding forever. The line between a life of luxury and an existence of poverty can be determined by the stroke of midnight.
When a series of uniquely brutal murders targets victims of totally different signs, is it a misguided revolution or the work of a serial killer?
All eyes are on Detective Jerome Burton and Profiler Lindi Childs. They may disagree over whether the answers are written in the stars, but they are united by their belief that a grand plan is being executed…”

Review: All These Perfect Strangers – Aoife Clifford

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I received this free ARC from the author and publisher as a win from a Goodreads Giveaway, which will not be release until August this year, so a big massive thank you for selecting me as one of the winners to receive this book.

Penelope Sheppard has a past, which she is desperate to get away from. To get to a place where nobody knows her and she can start a fresh. Nobody staring at her everyday and knowing and judging her. So starting university, in a new place, where nobody knows her or her past, sounds incredible and is a blessing. But within six months of Pen starting university, three of her new friends are dead and only Pen knows the reason why.

This book is told completely from Penelope Sheppards perspective, or Pen as she prefers. There is so much mystery surrounding this character, with her past, the people she surrounds herself with and even the town and university that she is then situated in. Her character was unreliable as the main narrative of the story, as it was explained that she has an habit of creating and adjusting the story and her past for her own benefit, to tell people, such as Frank. This needed to be told from one persons point of view in order to create the mystery that this book just oozes out. And maybe by using the unreliability of Penelopes character, plus then with the history that she has, it adds to the mystery and it just creates so much more tension, which is so great and builds so much more.

The book doesn’t have a straight continued time line and in does jump back and forth between three specific times in Pens life. There’s now, the present time after everything has happened. After the very first event with Tracey, after the events that occurred at university, where we see Penelope trying to work through everything that has happened. Talking to her therapist Frank, her lawyer Bob and struggling to deal with her mum and her mum new boyfriend Terry has she’s had to move back home. It’s through her sessions with Frank that we discover more about what happens, as he suggests that she that she writes things down to help her to deal with things. But here is where things get tricky for us as readers. Penelope Sheppard has an habit of adjusting the truth of her past, so we don’t really know if what she is saying, and if what we are reading is actually reliable. We then get to see the events that occurred at university and the events that occurred before then, all of which are intertwined, so we have to wait and read until the end to discover what happens. To discover the mystery and truth behind it all.

There is so much mystery in this book, as I would say, it is a murder mystery. You have people at the university who are getting murdered by somebody known solely as the ‘Screwdriver Killer’ and there are so many choices of characters that that could be. I found myself trying to guess throughout it all, constantly changing my mind as new information was provided. Even though the time line kept jumping back and fore to the present time, the mystery was still there, which shows how great the writing was to still be able to do that! It was great as I didn’t genuinely didn’t know who I could trust, if anyone, and that even including the main character herself because again, her whole narrative could have been a lie, plus I hadn’t discovered the truth about the first event, at the time. I questioned ever character! I believed every character could be the killer at one point, even the nicest of people, that’s how paranoid I had become while reading it. It was brilliant.

I didn’t know how to feel about the ending because I didn’t know how I finally felt towards Penelope. There were questions left unanswered and inconclusive, some of which I believe we’re left unanswered because I genuinely believe that she refused to let herself answer them for herself. This then adds to her Pens unreliability as a narrator, which is then also a clever character development which the author has stuck to throughout, but it just sucks when reading. I loved that there was something mentioned at the end about another character, Michael, who wrote everything down, which may be an hint of this book being told or written from Michaels perspective, which would be very interesting to read. But it could be nothing and was just the part that was needed for the conclusion towards the end for this book.

I did enjoy this book and I loved the mystery that I experience throughout it all, and it’s for that, that I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars! I defiantly recommend this book, especially if you like a good murder mystery. Add it to your wishlist because it doesn’t come out until August 2016. Brilliant.

Review: Dear Amy – Helen Callaghan

Dear Amy - Helen Callaghan
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I received this eARC thanks to Netgalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review of this book.

I have to include the books actual description, instead of creating my own version as this is the reason for me requesting to read this book from Netgalley. When you read it, you will see it. So here is the description taken directly from Goodreads:

“Margot Lewis is the agony aunt for The Cambridge Examiner. Her advice column, Dear Amy, gets all kinds of letters – but none like the one she’s just received:

Dear Amy,
I don’t know where I am. I’ve been kidnapped and am being held prisoner by a strange man. I’m afraid he’ll kill me.
Please help me soon,
Bethan Avery

Bethan Avery has been missing for years. This is surely some cruel hoax. But, as more letters arrive, they contain information that was never made public. How is this happening? Answering this question will cost Margot everything . . .”

What would you do if you received a letter like that? I just had to request to read it and was soooo happy when I had an email saying that my request was successful. YAY!! I just needed to read this book and discover everything. So where to start without giving away any spoilers…

You get told this book from several different characters perspectives, which I always really enjoy and love reading in a book. It’s the best way to really get to know each of the individual characters the best way possible, in my opinion that is. You get to hear the story told from their own point of view, discovering multiple stories for the same exact scene and different views. You get to see the truth. Especially if the main character wasn’t present at the crucial time, you have another view into the story. Of course you have Margot Lewis, who is the main narrative and whose perspective you see used the most throughout of this story, as it is she who starts receiving these letters and believes them to be more than just a hoax. We also get to see part of the story told from Katie’s point of view, but only small glimpses. I will admit that throughout the whole of the book, it was these few and short chapters in Katie’s perspective, that were my favourite chapters to read. They were suspenseful and psychologically thrilling, which is what the book had promised and it honestly had me worried about her. Even though I wanted sooo much more of these and so much more from Katie because of this, I think that if I did, I wouldn’t have liked it has that may have been too much and maybe this is the perfect example of what you don’t see or read.

This book is promised and advertised to be a big psychological suspense, but I personally didn’t find it that thrilling or unnerving. In the beginning of the book however, I did start off doubting all of the characters, feeling like I couldn’t trust any of them and that they weren’t who they said they were and therefore couldn’t be trusted, as though I was Margot herself. So in that sense, there was some kind of unknowing and unreliability in this book. This theme did carry on throughout the book as I did have very strong doubts about a good chunk of the characters, not knowing who could be trusted and if anyone had other motives.

There were parts in this book that just took me by surprise and knocked me off guard completely. I genuinely, still not knowing if I could trust certain characters at this time, didn’t even know if I could suddenly trust this new and shocking information that was being provided to me! That is something that was great about this book, that even when I was provided with everything, I was still questioning it.

The whole idea behind this book is something different and exciting, both of the concepts. The first one is the whole idea of writing to an agony aunt for help and trying to find a missing girl who has been missing for so many years, is amazing. And using that old case to hopefully find a new girl who has recently gone missing.  It was that aspect that drew me into this book. Again, what would you do if you received a letter like that? The second aspect, I’m not going to share as you will have to read the book to discover it. I’m pretty you’ll know what concept I mean if you read this book. If you have read this book, no spoilers please, but did you expect that twist or see it coming, because I defiantly did not?

Overall, I did enjoy this book and I would recommend it. Be warned for it to not live up to the psychological suspense thriller hype, but that could just be me. But you are warned and please don’t let that stop you. For that reason I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars.

Review: The Shepherd (The Shepherd Series: Book 1) – Ethan Cross

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*****
Now this is a review that I have been wanted to do for a while, but I have been putting it off because I have feared I wouldn’t have been able to do the book justice. Plus I read it a while ago so I wanted to re read it so that I could ensure that my review was more accurate and wasn’t based on my over hyped memory of what I could remember.

I don’t want to give away too many spoilers with this book, or the series, and yes this series is still on going *school girl squirmy giggles* so I am going to put in the Goodreads description of this book for you all to read.

TO STOP A MONSTER…

Marcus Williams and Francis Ackerman Jr. both have a talent for hurting people. Marcus, a former New York City homicide detective, uses his abilities to protect others while Ackerman uses his gifts to inflict pain and suffering.

HE MUST EMBRACE THE MONSTER WITHIN HIMSELF

When both men become unwilling pawns in a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of our government, Marcus finds himself in a deadly game of cat and mouse trapped between a twisted psychopath and a vigilante with seemingly unlimited resources. Aided by a rogue FBI agent and the vigilante’s beautiful daughter – a woman with whom he’s quickly falling in love – Marcus must expose the deadly political conspiracy and confront his past while hunting down one of the must cunning and ruthless killers in the world.”

Honestly, I didn’t read any of this when I decided to buy this book. I was doing a food shop in Asda, a supermarket in the UK that just happens to sell books (in case you didn’t know), and they were having a massive sale on books that day. A massive selection for only £1 each :o. I had been looking for new authors to try and get into and wanted a change, so how can you say no at that price. So that’s when I came across this book..

Oh. My. God!! On the front it had dice with “DIE” and “LIVE” and another with options such as “CUT” and “BURN” written on them in red, with what looks like drops of blood surrounding them. It also has a the question, which is what grabbed my attention, more than anything else, “do YOU wanna PLAY a game?”. So it already looked like a book that I wanted and it was only £1, ONE POUND! So the description that I read on the back of the book and finally sold this book to me was:
Meet Francis Ackerman, America’s most terrifying serial killer.
What excites him most is the game of chance.
He likes to play with ordinary people. Innocent people.
Someone just like you.
If you take part in Ackerman’s game, he’ll stalk you, then take you prisoner.
Will he let you live? Or will you die?
There are so many different ways to die, and Ackerman knows them all. It’s part of his game.

Do YOU wanna play?
Francis Ackerman does.
And he’s found you….”

Such a better description don’t you think? It entices you. Brings you in and makes you apart of the story. Makes you afraid before you’ve even opened the book. Now I want to read it all over again. What made me want to buy it and read it, was because it sounded so realistic and so scary! Its scary enough when someone breaks into your house and you know you’re going to die. Now imagine being sat down and told you have a chance. You could live. That he could walk out of your house and leave you unharmed and alive. But you could also die. Whats worse than that build up of hope, when you originally thought that there was none and that you were going to die anyways, to then lose it all when you then get told you lose. Something like that could happen in everyday life, which should have made me put it back down, but I love stuff like that. Movies, Books, etc. This sounded like a really good horror, thriller movie. What I mean is that I could picture everything so easily and if I could do that, then I would have no problem getting into this book. Now, after reading it, this should definitely be a movie franchise!

The writing was done so clearly and vividly, that everything was so easy to picture and to visualise. Even though at times there were multiple things happening at once, I had no problem whatsoever being able to see everything and imagine what was happening. It was so well written that while reading it it was playing out in my head as a movie. The writing was also so clear with the way he wrote certain things, enough to hint at, but not to give things away, to get you to come back for the next book. The way the storyline all lined up and worked together, to create the ending that it did. To be completely honest, for me the last few chapters and the way this book ended, almost ruined this amazing book for me, but I see what they were trying to do. My first impression was of the author not knowing how to make an ending after creating an awesome book. But, after reading the rest of the series, I can easily forgive the ending because it links in and makes the rest of the series. Without that ending, we wouldn’t get the next books.

The two main characters we get Marcus Williams and Francis Ackerman Jr are really well done. You’ve got Marcus, you’re good guy, the hero of the story, who tries to do anything he can to help and protect people, but feels the weight of the people he loses and can’t save. You can see that he is fighting with himself, afraid that he may be like the monsters that he used to lock away, because he knows that he is definitely capable of it. And then we have Ackerman. Ackerman is the villain, who has been killing people for so long, and escaping capture, and genuinely has no fear whatsoever. There is so more depth to his character and so much back story behind him. Weirdly, Ackerman is beyond a shadow of a doubt, my favourite character and for me, it is his character that makes this book and this series so amazing and so engrossing to read. You never know what you’re going to get with him and I love his character so much more than I hate him, even with everything he’s done. So much so, I am honestly going to say, that Francis Ackerman Jr is my favourite character ever written, well so far that I’ve read, so thank you Ethan Cross. I really hope that a book is done about his childhood, because that would be fantastic! But maybe he needs that bit of mystery.

So for £1, I fell in love with a brand new author and series, which turned out to both be my new favourites, yay! Believe me when I say that the three more books I purchased after this book, were not as cheap but were equally as great.

This books gets one of my highest recommendations ever! With a massive 5 out of 5 stars! Have you read this book? What did you think? Comment below 😀

Review: From A Poison Pen – B.P. Smythe

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I was sent a free copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review of this book.

“From A Poison Pen” is a book consisting of multiple short mystery stories, all of which are written by the author, B.P. Smythe. I didn’t know what to expect when I got sent this book from the author, asking for me to review his book, all I knew was that it contained short stories, and that they were mystery thriller based stories. There are ten stories, to be exact, each with their own unique plots, storylines and characters for you to love and very easily hate, in some stories and circumstances.

I am usually a reader who is not easily surprised when it comes to plot twists. This doesn’t only come with reading, but with movies, games and so many other things. So when I read a book and I am taken aback and do get genuinely shocked about the sudden twist that’s just occurred before my eyes, I love it!! This didn’t happen just once, but this occurred quite a few times when reading these stories. There was times and stories which were predictable, but then you would get these parts that you wouldn’t have expected, that were just thrown straight in your face, in the best possible way.

There were some of the stories that I obviously enjoyed more than the others and for their own specific reasons. For pure shock value, I loved “The White Room”. That was the first story in this book that took me by complete surprise and therefore truly made me want to keep reading this book, to discover what more was within. “Girls of the BDM” was a story that I really enjoyed reading. It was longer than some of his other stories and you could really see the amount of research and effort was put into it. I found myself fully engrossed and saddened when the story ended, as I wanted more, forgetting that they were short stories. The last story in this book has to be my favourite, entitled “We’ll Meet Again”. Again, just like “Girls of the BDM”, this story was based around the war, was one of the longest of all the stories and would’ve required research. But the way this story was written, the story itself and the way it ended, just created so many emotions and was the story that will stay with me the most out of them all. It gripped me from the moment they split the cufflinks, right up until the end, making me feel just how Karl is feeling.

Each of these stories are quick and easy to read, and will make you want to keep reading the next story, until you’ve read them all, at least that’s what happened with me. Some of the stories are shorter longer than others, there are some you may prefer more than others. There are some editing and spelling mistakes throughout all of these stories, which can be distracting at times when reading.

The ten stories in this book, in the order they appear in the book, are:
1. Constricted Love
2. The White Room
3. Mint Imperials
4. The Letter
5. Abigail’s Closet
6. Girls of the BDM
7. Love Me Do
8. Bath Night
9. Lovers Leap
10. We’ll Meet Again

Each of the ten stories have their own little plots and storieslines, from war, concentration camps, betrayal, murder, love, a snake, and so much more, in ways you can’t think of. Definitely a 4 out of 5 stars and a recommendation to those who like mysteries and thrilling stories.

Do you have Amazon Kindle Unlimited? Then you can read this book for free on Amazon, yay!!! 😀

Read and discover your favourite story, then come back and share which one was your favourite.

Review: Baby Doll – Hollie Overton

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*****
I would like to thank NetGalley, the author and publisher for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review of this book.

OMG!! From the very first page this book had me hooked! Told from different characters perspectives, we discover how Lily, who was kidnapped at aged 16, was beaten, raped, “trained” and manipulated over the course off 8 years, even mothering a child from the man who took her. The story starts eight years later, when her taker, her former beloved English teacher Rick, has too much on his plate or becomes too cocky and too greedy, forgets to put the deadlock back on the door. Lily thinks that she’s just imagined this, or that it’s another test that she will get punished for, but then seeing her daughter curled up sleeping, she risks yet another punishment, for her daughters safety and checks the door. Discovering it’s not a test and he’s finally made a mistake after eight years, Lily wraps her daughter Sky up warm and starts running to safety before Rick remembers his mistake. And that’s where the book gets really really good….

This book is hands down my favourite book that I have read in a while and is definitely my favourite book of 2016! I found this book so captivating and every page just managed to grab me, pull me in and keep me hooked. It was written amazingly, with characters that I cared so much about, each and everyone. With a villain that I simply hated. A normal, every day man to people’s faces, but behind closed doors, sadistic and PURE EVIL!! When you have a book with so many characters, who each have their own problems, and to care and understand each of the characters plus their problems, is, in my opinion, really good writing. There were chapters written from the perspective of individual characters, which was brilliant and something that I loved, because I got to see inside their minds in a deeper way, and creepily loved being able to see inside the mind of Rick. Seeing why he did what he did, in a way that he could never explain to anyone, in a way that he truly believed was right and acceptable.

I would have loved, to have seen just one chapter, maybe at the end of the book, to have had one chapter from the point of view of Sky, Lilys daughter, just to see what she had thought of it all and how she had felt after going though it all and come through everything. It would have added something extra, especially coming from a child’s perspective of it all. Even more considering Sky had been born not knowing anything else and to then discover a new way of living after “leaving” the cabin, thanks to her mum, Lily. It would have made it interesting to have included one chapter at the end to see how Sky had interpreted it all and see it from her point of view. But I understand not having that and I loved how it did end. In fact, when a certain part happened, without giving away spoilers, I was in utter shock!!! I was reading this book and genuinely gasped out loud out with shock, being surprised towards the end, telling everyone around me to be quiet because I had to find out what was about to happen next!! Not caring what people said or how they were looking at me, I just needed to know.

Trying to put myself in Lilys place is a scary thought, which is why I think I got so engrossed in this book. It took something that could really happen, and has been known to happen, and brought it to life. It’s not ghosts or vampires or anything pretend scary, and it didn’t even have a vicious villain, not really. It had a well liked, or really loved man in the society that nobody knew what he was like, really like, deep down, not even his own wife. That’s the scary part! That’s the truth of this story! That you don’t know what people are really like, not really, no matter how well you think you do. Your next door neighbour. Your friends. Your husband. Your cool english teacher who offers you a lift home. It’s realistic and scary.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough!! If I could, I would rate it higher than 5 out of the 5 stars, for the simple fact of how much this book will stay with me and how much I have talked about and recommend this book to people. I will definitely be checking out Hollie Overton and keeping my eye out for more of her books coming out. Massive 5 stars!!!

Review: The Rose Killer – Gary Pearson

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I received this book for free thanks to Story Cartel in exchange for an honest and unbiased review of this book.

This short story or novella, is about a serial killer, was has been strangling blonde women for the past three years, yet he is only known to the police and the public as The Rose Killer, for the single red rose that he leaves on the his victims. He is yet to be caught, there have’t been any leads or clues and there hasn’t been a new body in eight months. Now that’s about to change. The Rose Killer has decided he wants to play a game with Detective Ian Harlow! Can Detective Harlow catch The Rose Killer before it’s too late? And why the sudden interest in Harlow?

This novella wasn’t that long, being only roughly 115 pages, yet I was still able to get fully gripped and emensend into this story. There were some great characters that were developed in such a short space of pages, including a great story and a plot. It was also greatly written and the killer took me by surprise and it all seemed well thought out and developed brilliantly. I was gripped by mystery of it all. Why the sudden change of the murder, by taunting the police? What was his plan? Was he going to get caught? Why his interest in Harlow? Then with me asking myself all of these questions, I never saw the end coming, taking me by shock, which I loved.

The reason I gave it 4 out of 5 stars, instead of 5 stars (which I wanted to), is because this seems like a brilliant outline, and even though this was executed great, I would have loved it if this was longer and was a 300+ page book. It has everything it needs to make it happen and it would have just made it that extra bit perfect.

I would definitely recommend this book!! Especially if you love mystery, thriller and crime books. How you read this book? What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Comment below 😀