The Seville Secret by Melati Lum

Today it’s my great good fortune to be on the blog tour for the second in the Ayesha Dean series by Melati Lum. The Seville secret feature the ongoing adventures of Ayesha and friends in the town of Seville in Spain.

The Plot:

New Friends, New Adventure, New Mystery!

Ayesha, Sara & Jess are back in an exciting new adventure, and this time they’re off to Spain! When a fellow passenger’s beloved grandpa strangely disappears, Ayesha and her friends gladly join in the search for the missing person. But as Ayesha delves further into the mystery, the more sinister the stakes become! Ayesha finds a link between the missing person and a seventeenth-century diary that contains clues to an ancient mystery. However, each step closer to discovery seems to pose greater chances of peril. Can Ayesha uncover the truth without putting herself and her friends in mortal danger?

My thoughts:

A new addition to the Ayesha Dean series. I think this is a fabulous series with an amazing protagonist, in Ayesha Dean, a young muslim girl who wants to be an investigator. She is kick ass and a strong young woman with an eclectic band of friends. Whilst this follows the same formula as the istanbul intrigue it moves to a different city (Seville). I found this book fascinating in its look at the moorish history of the andalusian region of spain. This a great crime series for Young adult readers and whilst its part of a series this book could be read as a standalone. In my opinion we need more people like Melati, writing novels like this as our literature especially for young people should have likeable characters of all races and beliefs and this novel really delivers on that. A massive 5 star read for me.

Ayesha Dean is more than just an amazing YA character, By creating this series of novels Melati Lum is creating a great personable young muslim character who is a great role model. I think this is of great importance not just for young muslim girls and boys to see but for all young people to see a diverse range of strong young female characters of all races. Tied with this is Melati’s great ability to reflect on islamic history throughout which always leaves me wanting to go away and do more research on the topics she discusses. If you have kids or can contribute to a school library please please source some copies of this book it’s amazing.

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Whatever happened to Betsy Blake? A review

First book review posted to my blog in quite a while, but what a book to start off with. I received an ARC of this in exchange for an honest review. David Lyons is a new author to me, but one that I will definitely be reading more from. David is signed to Bloodhound books and Whatever happened to Betsy Blake is his second novel.

Synopsis:

If your daughter went missing, how many years would it take for you to admit she’s never coming home?

Betsy Blake was only four years old when she vanished outside her family home in Dublin.

Her father – wracked with guilt for the past seventeen years – still can’t bring himself to admit the search is over, despite the fact his wife has moved on and police have closed off the investigation.

When he is informed he must undergo major heart surgery that he only has a fifty percent chance of surviving, Gordon Blake hires a local PI to give the investigation one last try.

But surely rookie PI Lenny Moon – who has little or no experience in such high-profile investigating – doesn’t have what it takes to make a breakthrough in this case before Gordon is put to sleep.

…or does he?

 

My review:

I don’t really know what I expected from this novel but this really engulfed me in the story and shocked me with some of its twists and turns. I did not expect the ending that occurred. Well written with fascinating characters and some fantastic chapters written from the child’s point of view. This novel is really atmospheric it reads like an action movie and I would genuinely pay to go and see this at the movies.

I really enjoyed the fact that apart from the child in the story none of the characters were likeable people especially our protagonist Gordon. This I think is a truer reflection of real life, people are complex and not necessarily likeable and you see this really reflected in the story.

As I said in the opening to this blog this author is new to me and i’m upset that I have only just discovered him now, this may be one of my crime reads of the year and will certainly be bidding to be in my top 10 reads of the year. I heartily recommend this if you like a clever well written but unusual thriller, this one is smart, dark and fascinating in all the right amounts, a read in one go type of novel. A solid 5* from me

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Cover reveal – The Foundling by Angie Smith

I’ve long been a fan of Angie Smith’s writing, She is a master at weaving intricate plots together and writes a fantastic high octane thriller, So i was really excited when she revealed that she was writing a new book. Even more excited when she let me reveal the cover

 

 

The foundling features

Abduction, torture, murder. Sex, lies and swimming naked

By agreeing to work for a new client, who claims she’s a police detective, Jonathan Miller sets in motion a sequence of catastrophic events which result in devastating consequences, both for himself and his family.

He joins forces with an old adversary. A man he’s terrified of, yet, when you’re backed in to a corner, this man can always find a way to get you out alive. Together they attempt to solve the brutal assassination of a young woman. In doing so they uncover secrets which have been hidden away for decades. Secrets involving some of the most powerful people in the world.

Hold tight for a fast paced, edge-of-your-seat thriller. Captivating, unpredictable and shocking

 

even better news you can buy this on amazon now and Angie Smith is offering free bookmarks to the first 50 readers who PM her on Facebook with their address. I Have had the privilege of reading an advanced copy of this novel and its another 5* read for me as its full of fascinating characters, intricate twists and turns and a really intelligent plot.

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Top 10 worst reads of 2018

 

My final blog of 2018 is my worst reads of the year, although for once only 2 of them incite any strong feelings in me the rest are just kind of meh books, that dont really say anything. These are the books that elicit the teacher response of not being angry just slightly disappointed,  but they’ve made the list anyway so in no particular order except for the top 2 worst , here we go.

10) Wotakoi – A book about falling in love as otaku (geeks) that just makes zero point and isn’t that well written and when it falls into a similar category as my girlfriends a geek and himoutu umaru chan both of which are stellar reads you realise why it makes a list like this. Full of promise but a massive miss for me

9) an abundance of Katherines by John Green – I really like john green and several of his books could make some of my top lists, he’s a great YA read. But this book is kind of mediocre and disappointing, a boy has a mathematical formula for why he never falls in love and then discovers that life doesnt match his formula, I finished this book because it was a short read not because it was amazing.

8) Freedom by Margaret atwood – this is meant to be a collection of essays but turned out to be one essay and a lot of chapters from her other works, not worth the purchase price for me.

7) The Hellbound heart by clive barker – I read cabal this year and really enjoyed it and found it super scary, so  i thought the hellbound heart would be a great read but again it didn’t really take off as a read for me. Maybe works better as a movie than a novel

6) As miss Beelzebub likes – another manga that really doesnt go anywhere with an interesting concept, if you want a fun manga from this year i would recommend sleepy princess in the demon castle.

5) Women and power a manifesto by Mary Beard – Another quick read that makes several points im not sure i overly agree with. I don’t overly like Mary beard as a presenter and this applies to her writing style too, this is a matter of personal politics though so other people would probably like it more.

4) A golden thread an unofficial critical history of wonder woman by philip sandifer – I love wonder woman and had high hopes for this, but it is very much a biased opinion on the part of the author and whilst it gives a comprehensive history of the comics and tv shows it very clearly tries to influence you to follow the authors own opinions. This really biased approach grates on you after a while.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Golden-Thread-Unofficial-Critical-History/dp/1493566725/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1546198299&sr=1-1&keywords=a+golden+thread+wonder+woman

3) Nier Automata (long story short) – This is a book based on a video game. The hubster plays the video game and it looks amazing but the book is quite incomprehensible and doesn’t match the clever twists and turns that the game has to offer. Its another one of those quick reads that you finish because its short rather than its interesting.

2) Max einstein by James Patterson – This sounds amazing as a premise its about a kick ass girl scientist trying to make the world a better place with science. This is great especially as we have a shortage of people and women especially studying science. However that makes it even worse that it is just a dialled in attempt at a kids novel that doesn’t have anything really to say. James patterson seems to have lost the boil slightly as an author and this novel could do more harm than good when it comes to convincing people to study the sciences. Also second kick ass teenage girl called max in a james patterson YA book so he’s even out of ideas for names.

  1. and finally the worst read of 2018 and this is truly terrible. The poison belt by arthur conan doyle – this is a radium age sci fi novel, these can usually be pretty interesting reads but this one is definitely of its time and made me genuinely angry as i read it. Based on a cloud that covers the world and sends people unconscious or  as theorised in the novel to their deaths. It is one short casually racist read. The main character has a servant that he went to war with that he just casually lets die even though he describes him as one of the family at the start and conan doyle in the novel brushes off the death of the servant with a sort of its ok hes of the lower classes mentality. I find it hard to believe that this wasnt offensive when it was published and found it so morally reprehensible now that I couldnt even pass it on to a second hand store becuase i wouldnt want anyone else to have to read it. Combined with a less than stellar plot this is by far my worst read of the year and would probably hit a worse of all time list. I’m not adding the amazon link for this one because i genuinely dont think anyone should read it
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My top 10 reads of 2018

I don’t often blog any more but i’m reviving it to discuss my 10 best and worst reads of 2018. I found it really difficult to compile this list the top 2 books were easy they might even be on a top 10 of all time. But I’ve read a lot of amazing books this year and narrowing down the 10 best was really difficult, but I have managed it and here it is in order from 10 – 1.

But first some honourable mentions, these are the books that almost made the top 10 and are still well worth checking out, these go to Anita Wallers, Malignant a beautiful emotional crime story. Little witch academia (manga), a japanese mash up of the worst witch and harry potter that is way better than that description would have you believe). Reprobation by Catherine fearns, a crime novel that features a death metal band, a nun and a rogue geneticist. And the tunnel runner by Cameron Trost, set in the melbourne tunnel system this is a great story about human interactions.

10) Berserk (series) by Kentaro Miura – Not a manga series for the faint hearted, This was initially a book discovery by the Mr. The series is a smart supernatural action story, that defies words to explain. As it is graphic it really does draw you in emotionally but it is a read for over 18’s only.

9) Fingers in the sparkle jar by Chris Packham – Chris packham is a great spokesperson for people with autism, especially those who are diagnosed later in life, this memoir is part natural history and part the story of a young boy growing up who can’t quite fit in and doesn’t quite now what is wrong with him. I found the writing style of this charming and it combines to make a strangely beautiful read.  A good introduction to reading about how people with autism view the world.

8) The vegetarian by Han Kang – This is an intriguing novel about a woman who decides to become vegetarian, a thing that disrupts her less than great relationship with her husband and leads to both their lives unravelling. The writing in this is lyrical and descriptive and the story draws you in. This author was a new discovery for me this year and I will be reading everything she has written.

7)Convenience store woman by Sayaka Murata – This is another strange little story about a woman who has worked in the same convenience store for 18 years. She has no interest in other jobs or relationships with other people beyond her family. Again this is quite a short novel but one that really leaves you thinking about how we view people different to ourselves and should we judge peoples happiness by whether they have a job we consider worthy or whether they are happy in the job they choose. I heartily recommend this book

6) Deception wears many faces by Maggie James – Maggie James is one of my favourite authors, mostly because she writes clever stories with interesting protagonists that differ from your usual crime novels. This one is no different and discusses the impact con artists can have on peoples lives. Also it features a character with a really awesome name as the main characters best friend. Being immortalised in one of your favourite authors books doubly means that it has to make your top 10 list.

5) The puppet show by Mike Craven – Another book that features really well described characters that draw you into the novel. In the characters of Poe and Tilly, Mike has created people that you have a real emotional investment in and that you can see featuring in a series of books. Like Berserk this is not a book for the faint hearted as it features some quite gruesomely described crime scenes but it is a well plotted interesting crime novel with characters that I for one really hope we see more of

4) The Roma Nova Series by Alison Morton – The book group I help admin reached 5’000 members this year and as a celebration of that we held a charity auction for 2 worthy causes where we had a number of signed books and characters in books to be won. Roma Nova 4 (Aurelia) was one of my auction wins and in the short time since we held the auctions in August I’ve read 3 of this series plus a novella and bought all the remaining books for myself for christmas so it had to feature on this list. These books are sort of crime sort of futuristic, set in the present day but in a world where a roman enclave has survived to this day, they make for fabulous reading especially if you like your novels to have strong female characters that are likeable and kick ass. I love this series and long may it continue

3) Hilda (series) by Luke Pearson – This is a lovely series of graphic novels and now a cartoon on netflix by luke pearson. This has a real scandanvian influence the city of Trolberg that is mentioned reminds me of Bergen and it also draws on a lot of scandanavian myths. This is one of those series that is designed for children but has such a simple beauty in its art and narrative that it will appeal to all ages. You can pick  the stories up anywhere but this whole series is a bit like the Moomins for me, stories I will return to time and again when I want to lose myself in that beautiful world that they create. My favourite of these to date is Hilda and the Bird Parade.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hilda-Bird-Parade-Hildafolk-Pearson/dp/191117102X/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1545504370&sr=1-4&keywords=hilda

2) Flesh of the tree’s by Kath Middleton – until recently this was my number one book of the year. It is a beautiful strange story about children, a town that is down on its luck and  a forbidden part of the forest. Again it reminds you of myths of old when you read it and was one of those novels that really resonated with me and I found myself thinking about over and over again after I finished it. I have a signed copy of this that I will treasure and return to in the future. This is a 5* read for me and one that I urge as many people to read as I can

And finally my top read of the year is

  1. The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths – This is one of those perfect storms of a book, like norse mythology by Neil Gaiman. It features all the things I love in a novel, written by one of my favourite authors of all time. This is a smart modern gothic fiction novel that centres around a story called the Stranger that I wholeheartedly believed was a victorian gothic horror story, I even googled the story only to discover it was written by Elly. The novel features a great new character in the police lady Harbinder. This is such a fascinating story well written with great characters and several intertwining threads that you will not be disappointed to have read it. A real tour de force of gothic fiction and deserving of its place in my top reads of 2018 and maybe my top reads of all time

 

 

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Cover Reveal – Unspoken Truths by Liz Mistry

I’ve long been a fan of Liz Mistry’s work, her Gus Maguire novels set in Bradford are some of my favourite crime novels. I particularly enjoy how she reflects the true nature of Bradford as a city in her books, it’s not all dark and gritty there is lots of vibrant culture and interesting places and people too Also she has some amazing characterisation and you find yourself almost feeling like Gus, Mo and the others are your friends. So when I was asked to reveal the cover for the upcoming Gus Maguire novel you can imagine my delight, it was worth blowing the cobwebs off my Blog for. Read on for some information from the author and the Blurb and then the cover will be revealed at the bottom of the blog. Preorders will be up in the next few days, get it ordered it will be a cracker

Note from the author

October is supposed to see temperatures plummet in a sure sign that Summer is well and truly over and Autumn is settling in. So, what better way to herald the start of the darkening nights and colder temperatures than a little reminder of The Beast from the East and Storm Emma that ravaged the UK earlier in the year.

Unspoken Truths is set in the middle of the biggest storm to hit the UK for decades and poses great problems for DI Gus McGuire and his team as, in the midst of these adverse conditions, he tries to investigate a murder and disappearance that are very close to home for him.

So what else is in store for Gus and co? Well, Alice is put through the mill and then some, showing a side of her we’ve never seen before. Geeky Compo, the digital expert, reveals a lot of his backstory and Taffy comes into his own and Mo has personal issues to resolve. As for Gus – he is perhaps the happiest we’ve seen him – yet clouds hover above him as he battles the elements, his family and his ongoing mental health issues. Unspoken Truths can be read as a standalone

As ever, I am grateful to all you readers who take the time to read and review my Gus books. I hope you enjoy this one, too. It will be up for Pre-order soon, so watch this space.

Thanks to Caroline for doing my cover reveal.

If you want to connect with me then here’s how

Facebook: @LizMistrybooks          Email: LizMistryAuthor@yahoo.com

Twitter: @LizCrimeWarp               Blog: https://thecrimewarp.blogspot.co.uk/

Website: https://lizmistrycrimewriter.wordpress.com/

Blurb

In Unspoken Truths, DI Gus McGuire and his team navigate a complex web of intrigue, espionage and murder. Set in Bradford, Manchester and on Saddleworth Moor, Gus is pushed to his physical and psychological limits.

First a rural train between Manchester and Bradford is deliberately derailed by a vehicle with a boot filled with drugs, then a woman’s tortured body is discovered in Keighley. When Gus’ brother-in-law goes missing, the investigation becomes personal. As he battles against the storms of the Beast from the East, Gus must uncover the links between the dead woman, a pharmaceutical company in Manchester and a research facility in Northern Cyprus, as well as the disappearance of his brother in law. With the body count increasing, Gus sets Compo loose on the Dark Web – how will Gus react when he discovers that things are not as they seem?

Meanwhile, DS Alice Cooper faces extreme danger in prison and, as the evidence piles up against her, Gus and his team’s loyalties are pushed to the limit.

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Beneath the Whispers

Im once again out of my blog hibernation to discuss Jim Ody’s Beneath the whispers. Another fab read from mr Ody.

The novella: Beneath The Whispers A Jim Ody novella Genevieve Deboise is too good for Scott Dean. He’s always known that. It isn’t a shock to learn she is cheating on him. What is a surprise is bumping into his childhood sweetheart in the woods where he’d planned to take solace in his heartbreak and bruised ego. But running into Mary-Ann Jennings isn’t exactly the fairy tale it might seem. Instead, his first love needs his help finding a USB stick that has fallen into the wrong hands. Now in the cellar of Genevieve’s new lover, Scotty must confront his feelings for both women in order to retrieve the missing USB stick. On a quest to confront his past and locate Mary-Ann’s property, he journeys through the whispers that have always surrounded him. Love will make you do crazy things. But is it enough to get beneath the whispers?

My thoughts: Again there is a lot in a short story in this, I liked the complex interplay between characters, there is a young teenage lad in this who was my favourite character by far. I enjoyed Jim’s subtle humour throughout, it is one of the best facets of his writing as it makes the story more engaging. This is a fascinating concept and one that Jim explores in an interesting fashion. I’ve been a Jim ody fan since his first novel, but I truly believe that his writing is going from strength to strength, This is a fascinating novella that I read in one sitting and I’m wholeheartedly looking forward to reading whatever Jim write next. A solid 5* from me.Beneath The Whispers Blog Tour Final.jpg

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