Death Deserved by Thomas Enger and JornLier #DeathDeserved #Thriller #OrendaBooks #BlixAndRamm #NordicNoir #DeadFamous

Death Deserved final jacket

Police officer Alexander Blix and celebrity blogger Emma Ramm join forces to track down a serial killer with a thirst for attention and high-profile murders, in the first episode of a gripping new Nordic Noir series…

Oslo, 2018. Former long-distance runner Sonja Nordstrøm never shows at the launch of her controversial autobiography, Always Number One. When celebrity blogger Emma Ramm visits Nordstrøm’s home later that day, she finds the door unlocked and signs of a struggle inside. A bib with the number ‘one’ has been pinned to the TV.

Police officer Alexander Blix is appointed to head up the missing-persons investigation, but he still bears the emotional scars of a hostage situation nineteen years earlier, when he killed the father of a five-year-old girl. Traces of Nordstrøm soon show up at different locations, but the appearance of the clues appear to be carefully calculated … evidence of a bigger picture that he’s just not seeing…

Blix and Ramm soon join forces, determined to find and stop a merciless killer with a flare for the dramatic, and thirst for attention.

Trouble is, he’s just got his first taste of it…


Sometimes when you read a novel that has been written by two authors, it can feel a little disjointed, with each author’s style and influence working against each other, thankfully in Death Deserved that is not the case. In fact, the writing feels flawless and harmonious, the creation of two incredibly talented writers, who together have shaped a story full of an abundance of tension. It is a character rich narrative, with a story that builds slowly into a crescendo of terror. With a killer, who twisted sense of righteousness, leads to a disturbing series of killings!

I have always loved fascinating thrillers, but I do love them to be more than a series of explosive events, with lead characters you want to spend endless amounts of time with and a killer, who leaves me shivering with fear, so twisted and clever, that he is a match for the hero of the story. Well the killer in Death Deserved is deliciously malevolent, he revels in the manner of the drama he creates and wants to be remembered for not only the act of killing, but also the vision behind his carefully laid out murders. Now, it would take an intelligent hero to stand up and be noticed against such a wonderful villain, well this novel has two, Police Officer Alexander Blix and blogger Emma Ramm. Blix is both intelligent and resourceful, but what makes him so utterly fascinating is the emotional scars that created the man he is now. Having once killed a man in the line of duty, he lives with the memories of that time, but rather than crushing him, it has created an investigator with an endless well of determination to create a safer place in his community and protect himself and any potential victims. He has a keen mind that revels in solving riddles, especially when he and Ramm work together. Putting them in the same story as the killer, there is a balance, a Yin and Yang, between the shadows the killer lives and the light, passion and brightness of the investigating team.

Add this into a story I felt immersed in to such an extent that normal life faded into the horizon, you have a superb read.

The genius lies in way as a reader your fooled into thinking you have sussed out the story, but I had not, I’d been hoodwinked. The teasing out the story around the disappearance of Sonja Nordstrøm, is gradual and It felt good to allow Blix and Ramm to fit the pieces of the puzzle together, while I went on the journey with them.

I do hope this is not the end of this writing partnership or these superb characters, because I really want to spend more time with them.

Many thanks to the authors, publisher and blog tour organiser for the ARC in return for an honest review.

You can purchase this novel from Amazon and Waterstones

About the author’s

Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger are the internationally bestselling Norwegian authors of the William Wisting and Henning Juul series respectively. Jørn Lier Horst first rose to literary fame with his No. 1 internationally bestselling William Wisting series. A former investigator in the Norwegian police, Horst imbues all his works with an unparalleled realism and suspense. Thomas Enger is the journalist-turned-author behind the internationally acclaimed and bestselling Henning Juul series. Enger’s trademark has become a darkly gritty voice paired with key social messages and tight plotting. Besides writing fiction for both adults and young adults, Enger also works as a music composer. Death Deserved is Jørn Lier Horst & Thomas Enger’s first co-written thriller.

About the translator

Anne Bruce has degrees in Norwegian and English from Glasgow University covering both Nynorsk and Bokmål, classic and modern texts, written and spoken Norwegian, as well as Old Norse, Icelandic, Swedish, and Danish. She has traveled extensively throughout Scandinavia on lecture and study visits, and undertaken translation and interpretation for visiting groups from Norway. She has translated Wencke Mühleisen’s I Should Have Lifted You Carefully Over, Jørn Lier Horst’s Dregs, and Anne Holt’s Blessed Are Those Who Thirst.

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Dark Side Of The Mind by Kerry Daynes. #DarkSideOfTheMind #RandomThingsTours. #Review

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Welcome to the world of the forensic psychologist, where the people you meet are wildly unpredictable and often frightening. The job: to delve into the psyche of convicted men and women to try to understand what lies behind their often brutal actions. Follow in the footsteps of Kerry Daynes, one of the most sought-after forensic psychologists in the business and consultant on major police investigations. Kerry’s job has taken her to the cells of maximum-security prisons, police interview rooms, the wards of secure hospitals and the witness box of the court room. Her work has helped solve a cold case, convict the guilty and prevent a vicious attack. Spending every moment of your life staring into the darker side of life comes with a price. Kerry’s frank memoir gives an unforgettable insight into the personal and professional dangers in store for a female psychologist working with some of the most disturbing men and women.

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I jumped at the chance review this book, having worked within the settings that she discusses in her book for 18 years. I was prepared to love it, yet at the same time, felt some unease at how she would portray the patients and the prison secure environment. I am glad to say I loved it, it is funny, wise and brutally honest. It doesn’t always make for easy reading, but it does challenge the reader to confront the reality of life for both patients and staff within secure mental health units or the prison setting. It also challenges us to delve into the minds of convicted men and women, because despite what many people think, the reasons people commit crimes are not always straightforward. Punishment and treatment cannot be separated and a better understanding of The Dark Side of the Mind is vital if the revolving cycle of crime and punishment is ever to be resolved. For as she says, square peg prisoners and criminal justice, and for that matter, treatment with a secure setting, rarely end well. They can, I’ve seen it, but that is only ever due to staff, doing their very best in an environment that is misunderstand and ignored by the majority of the public. For this to change, people of all walks of life, need to read books such as this, if we are to have a chance of an intelligent discussion, before both services, suffer further damage in years to come.


The story I found most moving is that of Gary, whose actions on a bus, found him in in Prison, serving a jail sentence with no fixed end date, an act intended to protect the public from further harm. Poorly applied, it caught many offenders in never ending prison sentences, when applied to those it had not been intended to affect. Given recent events in London, and the government reaction to it, we need to ensure that any changes in sentence release dates are properly thought through and Gary’s story is an example of why. We all have some responsibility for our actions, but sometimes, there are reasons for behaviour that we need to understand. So patients/criminals receive the treatment in the right setting, or we risk a never ending cycle of suffering, with politicians placing political point scoring before public safety and appropriate patient care.

This books importance and value is in highlighting the fact that poorly funded systems, ill-informed sentence decisions and a lack of funding for forward thinking assessment and treatment, will continue to have catastrophic effects on patients and staff. You can’t shore up a system with a sticking plaster, when it needs a radical overhall.
Gary’s story is fascinating and it was only Kerry Daynes intelligence and care that gave him any chance. You might think it all sounds dramatic and I suppose it can be, but I can promise you Gary’s story is not an isolated case and there is no point ignoring it, better to open an enquiring mind and read this book.

Now I admit the humour is dark. For some readers this will offend, please don’t let it. Her depiction and style of writing, the humour is one of the best parts of this book, because it reflects life in a setting most will thankfully never have to experience, be grateful for that. Dark humour is a commonly used coping mechanism in all emergency services. When you see things everyday that others would find impossible to cope with, you learn to use humour to preserve your sanity. It has its place though and within this book, it is used wisely and with understanding. I’m not asking you to understand if that is a step to far, I’m asking that you accept the setting.

Kerry Daynes has delivered a book in which humour reflects the often chaotic, mind bending reality of life behind the walls/doors of the units she worked in.

It doesn’t paint a rosy picture of either service and that was not always easy to read, but having worked within it for a large number of years, I promise staff are at breaking point and if readers gain a better understanding of the reality of criminal justice and mental health provision within this, it will have been the best £7.99 you have ever spent.

You can purchase this book from Amazon

About the author 

Kerry Daynes Author Pic

Kerry Daynes is a Consultant and Forensic Psychologist, speaker and media commentator. For over twenty years her average week has involved working with everything from stressed-out parents to serial killers and she is a sought-after court-appointed expert witness. Kerry regularly appears on international television networks and in the media; she was ‘The Profiler’ over three series of Discovery’s top-rated ‘Faking It’ documentaries. Kerry is Patron of the National Centre for Domestic Violence and Talking2Minds. She is an advocate for better conversations about mental distress and alternatives to the culture of psychological ‘disorder’. Kerry lives in Cheshire with two huge dogs and yes, she is a proud natural ginger.

Twitter @KerryDaynes

Author Page on Facebook

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Wild Spinning Girls by Carol Lovekin #Review #BlogTour #Honno #WildSpinningGirls #Contemporary Fiction.

Wild Spinning Girls Cover

If it wasn’t haunted before she came to live there, after she died, Ty’r Cwmwl made room for her ghost. She brought magic with her.

And the house, having held its breath for years, knew it. Ida Llewellyn loses her job and her parents in the space of a few weeks and, thrown completely off course, she sets out for the Welsh house her father has left her. Ty’r Cwmwl is not at all welcoming despite the fact it looks inhabited, as if someone just left…

It is being cared for as a shrine by the daughter of the last tenant. Determined to scare off her old home’s new landlord, Heather Esyllt Morgan sides with the birds who terrify Ida and plots to evict her. The two girls battle with suspicion and fear before discovering that the secrets harboured by their thoughtless parents have grown rotten with time. Their broken hearts will only mend once they cast off the house and its history, and let go of the keepsakes that they treasure like childhood dreams.


I was chatting to a friend on Twitter about wanting to read books originally written in a different language and translated into English and she raised a very interesting point, that a countries literature often reflects that nations cultural vibe! I agree with her! For me Welsh novels can be lyrical and full of poetic images that reflect the nations love of literature, music and performance as celebrated in the National Eisteddfod.

So I started reading Wild Spinning Girls hoping it would be all these things and more, happily I can say it is!

In telling this story about loss, identity and family, it does so using language that is magical and full of images that capture the best elements of Welsh literature.

We have in Heather, a child brought up in the folklore of Wales, who has a connection to the land of her birth that feels intrinsic, she encapsulates that mythical repository of cultural wisdom of the natural world that flows through Celtic literature.  Then in Ida, we have a young women who love of literature connects her to power of the written word, so important to Welsh identity, yet disconnection from the land she was born into, leaves her searching for a place she truly belongs, hiraeth, a home that maybe never was, hopefully into a land that welcomes her for who she is now.

The story is moving and is pervaded by the importance of the narrative and the characters within it. Told with a quiet self assurance, that celebrates the power of imagery and story telling, over the need for ‘drama’. In going on the journey with both Heather and Ida as they seek to free themselves from the past mistakes of their parents, you are part of a story about growing into the real you, removing the barriers that have held them back, freeing themselves from the constraints of secrets that are rotten at their core.

It is a novel that takes that connection to Welsh folklore and gives it a modern twist, in Heather, who has been taught the power of healing with herbs and plants by her mother, we have a character that refuses to let the pressure of the modern world crush her beliefs, but must find a way to use them to help, not exile herself from others. She is keeping those beliefs alive and as the novel progresses, must seek a path that connects the old ways, into our current search for more sustainable lifestyles. Ida’s journey is different, in that it seems set to go the other way, to discount from the modern world and embrace a life in which she can accept her sexuality and her love of art and culture.

It really is a joyful read and one full of the elements that makes literature and story telling so important to us all. It celebrates Welsh identity and weaves it into a story about the freedom to be who you are, while celebrating all the things that make you special. Ida and Heather’s story takes place in a small Welsh community, but the themes that make up their stories, affect us all.

You can purchase this book from Amazon

About the author 

Carol Lovekin Author PIc

Carol Lovekin is a writer of stories, a feminist, published by Honno, the Welsh Women’s Press.

Her stories touch on the Welsh Gothic & its most powerful motif: the ghost. They concern the nature of magic & how it threads through the fabric of our lives. She explores possibilities: the fine line between the everyday & the time-shifting world of enchantment. Her books are also firmly rooted in reality. She writes about family relationships: how people, women in particular, respond to loss & how they survive. Her stories are set in Wales, where she has lived for several decades: a place whose legends & landscapes inform her writing.

Carol Lovekin Author pic 2

You can follow the author on her website and on Twitter.

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Rules Of The Road by Ciara Gerahty. #TenThingsAboutCiaraGeraghty. #BlogTour #WomensFiction

Rules of the Road Cover

Gripping, emotional and uplifting – a novel about the true power of friendship.

‘Tender, emotional and uplifting … I loved it’ Lucy Diamond

’A superb writer – the Irish Jojo Moyes’ Irish Examiner

The simple fact of the matter is that Iris loves life. Maybe she’s forgotten that. Sometimes that happens, doesn’t it? To the best of us? All I have to do is remind her of that one simple fact.

Tuesday morning starts like any other – until Terry discovers her best friend Iris has gone missing. Finding her takes Terry, Iris and Terry’s confused father Eugene, into an extraordinary journey – one that will change all of their lives. And, along the way, what should be the worst six days of Terry’s life turn into the best.

Because friendship teaches us all to be brave. And, sometimes, the rules are made to be broken.

I’m delighted to be joined on booksaremycwtches today by author Ciara Geraghty.

Ten Things About Me – Ciara Geraghty

1. I was 34 when I started writing. I wrote at the kitchen table in the dead of night when my tribe went to bed. Then, in the morning, I donned my suit and went to work. It was like I had a secret life and writing was my ‘super-power’. I was just short of fastening a cape around my shoulders and pulling a pair of underpants over my trousers. It was one of the most exciting times of my life. A real turning point.

2. I’m turning 50 this year. I thought I’d be more grown-up by now. While I have succumbed to eating porridge every morning, I would still demolish a bowl of Coco Pops, were one to become available. It’s the way they turn the milk chocolatey. Something so optimistic about it.

3. At my 11yo’s insistence, I am writing a book called ‘My Mother Is A Witch.’ 11yo has appointed herself Editor-In-Chief. She puts the ‘tough’ into ‘tough love’. I’ve never worked harder.

4. They say you should never meet your heroes but I met Maeve Binchy once. She was in a wheelchair by then. I crouched beside her for a photograph and accidentally pressed a button on the arm of the chair, nearly tipping her out. She smiled in the photograph all the same. I still miss her.

5. Once I open a ‘sharing’ packet of fizzy jellies, I cannot stop until they are all gone. I feel sick afterwards but it’s good sick, you know? With that sugar-laced edge of anything-can-happen crazy.

6. Pet Hate: Being added to random WhatsApp groups. It’s like being abducted by aliens and then having to make nice in the hope that you might, someday, escape. (#Ciarahasleftthegroup).

7. I sometimes wear my husband’s underpants. Not in a sexy, fetish kind of way. More in a ‘laundry crisis’ type situation.

8. The thing I like about swimming in the Irish sea in, say, February, is that, if I’ve done nothing else that day, I still feel like I’ve achieved something.

9. I play the violin, albeit with more enthusiasm than flair. It’s my grandfather’s violin, he was a brilliant musician and, when I’m wishing for impossible things which I sometimes do to distract myself from reality, I wish that he was still in the world so he could teach me everything he knows before we head off on a world tour.

10. I am adopting a puppy called Gary. I haven’t met him yet but Andy from Dog’s Trust described him as a ‘character’. Which I imagine is shorthand for ‘bold as brass’. Gary is mostly black with white socks and half a white patch on his nose, like he was in the middle of getting it done and then got distracted. I am in actual love.

You can purchase this book from Amazon

About the author

Ciara Geraghty Author Pic

Ciara Geraghty is an Irish bestselling author. She lives in Dublin with her family.

You can find out more at, visit her Facebook page at, or follow her on Twitter @ciarageraghty.

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Killing Them With Kindness by Andy Paulcroft.

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Deirdre Cossette is the self appointed carer for the elderly on The Avenue and all of her friends have stories to tell. Margery, whose comfortable life was destroyed by a knock on the door. Stan, who made a mistake as a young footballer which cost him his friends and his self-respect. Marina, whose slim and stylish figure hides a terrible secret from the summer of Live Aid. And, Oliver and Archie, who have survived everything from post war homophobia to a family tragedy – and they have done it together. Deirdre believes that everyone should have a choice. If they want to live on a diet of cakes, drink the alcoholic equivalent of a small hydrotherapy pool, or take on a toy boy lover in spite of a dodgy heart, Deirdre believes it is their right to do so. If they remember her in their wills afterwards, that’s not her fault, is it? However, not everyone agrees with her. When disgruntled relatives from the present meet up with disgruntled ghosts from her past, Deirdre discovers the cost of being kind.I

Killing Them With Kindness

I’m delighted to welcome author Andy Paulcroft to booksaremycwtches today with an extract from his novel.

Thank you so much for inviting me to post an extract from my latest novel Killing Them With Kindness. The story tells the tale of Deirdre Cossette a woman who believes that everyone has the right to live, and die, in the manner of their own choosing. This passage from the novel describes what happens when Deirdre takes her friend Stan, out on a pub-crawl in the town of Mapley.

If she had known that the Mapley Arms was having a yard of ale competition, Deirdre might well have decided against it – or, she might have decided it was a great way for Stan to go.
There were only two other people hoping to challenge Stan. One of his competitors was a weaselly looking man who looked as if he would have had trouble downing a Campari and soda, let alone two and a half pints of ale from an overgrown pipette.
The other man looked more of a serious challenger. He was younger, tall, and tattooed, with a belly that gave an indication that beer and he were not strangers to each other.
He opened the proceedings, but, completely misjudged the pent-up beer in the bulbous bottom and was practically drowned in ale when the air did finally get in.
He trudged sodden and dejectedly back to his table to the sound of catcalls and laughter and then received patronising pats on the back from his mates.
Weasel was more successful but took his time. He lifted the glass steadily to avoid the sudden rush of air and finished, dry and triumphant. However, ‘Stairway to Heaven’ had played in its entirety during the time it took him, and several customers had glazed over with boredom.
‘It’s in the bag, girl!’ Stan whispered as he staggered towards the stage. And it was. The whole bar, except Deirdre, was probably dubious that the wobbly old duffer could complete the task and looked forward to seeing him receive a soaking. Contrarily, the moment he got the glass receptacle in his hand, Stan was a changed man. Steady hands held the glass to his lips and they lifted it gradually, but steadily. In the same motion of lifting, he twirled the glass around his fingers, releasing the air pressure. He had downed the whole yard in thirty-seven seconds, which was the fastest Mapley had seen for a long time.
Deirdre stood first and gave him a standing ovation. Suddenly, spurred on by the mad woman in the maroon cords, nearly everyone in the bar was standing and cheering. Stan was holding the yard glass in his hands as if it was the FA Cup itself. The more he strutted, the more the crowd cheered.
For the first time in over forty years, he felt once again like the young lad who had just scored a hat-trick in the third round of the cup. He was being held high on the shoulders of his team mates, holding the match ball aloft in his hands, pointing it at every small corner of the town football ground. He could see Jane in her duffel coat; green, gold, and white scarf with matching bobble hat, cheering until her voice box could barely squeak. He could feel Harry’s hand underneath his leg, holding him up on high. As he looked down at his best friend, Harry looked up and gave him his trademark quirky grin.
‘We did it, kiddo! We did it!’
For the first time in over forty years he felt invincible again.
And Jane and Harry were there with him.
Suddenly, back in the twenty-first century, Stan lurched and stumbled from the stage. As he fell like a boulder being blasted from a quarry, he hit his head on the corner of the nearest table and came to rest in a heap on the floor. His body landed next to a woman’s Burberry handbag and his head nestled against her silk-stockinged legs.
She had been too busy talking about her new three-seater Chesterfield and had totally missed Stan’s demise. Suddenly, as she was describing the leatherette beading, she felt the table move and was conscious of a pair of nostrils sniffing her ankles.
Her scream joined others who had seen the man fall, and they watched in horror as the yard glass smashed into a hundred shards and scattered as if it were grain from a farmer’s hand.
Deirdre crunched her way to where Stan lay and knelt down in the splinters. She could tell that he was trying to say something, so she moved her ears towards his lips.
‘What a way to go, eh, girl?’ He half nodded his head towards the disappearing ankles. The woman had recovered well enough from the shock to edge her legs away from him.
‘You’re not going anywhere, Stan, I keep telling you,’ Deirdre replied urgently, but Stan tried as well as he could in his stunned state to shake his head.
‘I’m fucked, girl.’
He stared at her, his faded grey-blue eyes demanding her attention. Once again, she bent her head to his mouth and with failing breath, he whispered, ‘Tell Jane and Harry that I love them and I’m so sorry …’
Deirdre nodded, her eyes welling up. She feared that the bump on his head was going to be one mistreatment too many for his poor abused body.
She reached for his hand and massaged the top of it gently with her thumb.
He breathed again, fainter now.
‘And you, you daft, ridiculous, old bird …’
Despite herself, Deirdre smiled and moved herself closer in order to hear his dying words.
‘I love you.’

You can purchase this novel from Amazon


Giveaway – Win a signed copy of Killing Them With Kindness (Open INT)

Enter by following this LINK
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

About the author

Killing Andy Paulcroft

Andy Paulcroft grew up in Weston-super-Mare, and his love of books started when he borrowed his sister’s copy of Five Run Away Together and exaggerated a minor illness in order to finish reading it. He has since worked as a chef in France, Switzerland, Corsica and the North Highlands of Scotland before settling as a catering manager at a boarding school in Dorset. After many years of writing two to three chapters of a book before discarding it, he finally published his first novel Postcards From Another Life – in December 2017. The wonderful feeling of completing a novel was only surpassed by receiving a positive reaction from people who had read it. He retired from catering and recently published his second novel Killing Them With Kindness. He is now working on his third book.
Follow Andy on Twitter

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Beast by Matt Wesolowski #Thriller #Review

Beast Final jacket-2

Elusive online journalist Scott King examines the chilling case of a young vlogger found frozen to death in the legendary local ‘vampire tower’, in another explosive episode of Six Stories…

In the wake of the ‘Beast from the East’ cold snap that ravaged the UK in 2018, a grisly discovery was made in a ruin on the Northumbrian coast. Twenty-four-year-old Vlogger, Elizabeth Barton, had been barricaded inside what locals refer to as ‘The Vampire Tower’, where she was later found frozen to death.

Three young men, part of an alleged ‘cult’, were convicted of this terrible crime, which they described as a ‘prank gone wrong’
However, in the small town of Ergarth, questions have been raised about the nature of Elizabeth Barton’s death and whether the three convicted youths were even responsible.

Elusive online journalist Scott King speaks to six witnesses – people who knew both the victim and the three killers – to peer beneath the surface of the case. He uncovers whispers of a shocking online craze that held the young of Ergarth in its thrall and drove them to escalate a series of pranks in the name of internet fame. He hears of an abattoir on the edge of town, which held more than simple slaughter behind its walls, the tragic and chilling legend of the ‘Ergarth Vampire…

Both a compulsive, taut and terrifying thriller, and a bleak and distressing look at modern society’s desperation for attention, Beast will unveil a darkness from which you may never return…


When I heard that the amazing Matt Wesolowski had written another book set in the world of online journalist Scott King,  I was overjoyed, because all the previous books in the series had been extraordinarily thrilling and superbly written.

Having just finished Beast I am remain a devoted and very happy reader of the writer and the explosive theme of the Six Stories format.

It is a tale about of the death of a young vlogger taking part in a creepy on-line craze and leads Scott King into an investigation about who was really responsible for her death, was it the boys now in jail, or where they just as much victims as Elizabeth.  It is not until you turn the last few pages, do you really find out, your held in thrall by the way the writer manipulates both the threads of the story, but also the minds of the reader.  It grips you in a relentless tale of secrets and lies, of smoke and mirrors, where your perceptions of the truth require constant revaluation as layer by layer, the truth is revealed.

The atmosphere often felt as if it was seeping off the page and whirling around in my mind, especially those scenes set in and around the vampire tower and the village of Ergarth. The Beast of the East maybe long gone, but Matt Wesolowski had me wrapping myself up against the chill that ravaged the UK and his story, as if I was there with Scott King on the Northumbrian coast, held in thrall by a darkness it might never escape from.

Now some might worry, that in following the same pattern, the series might become too formulaic, but Beast blows those worries out of the water and into the stratosphere, it is scary, thrilling and oh so creepy.

Here in Beast we have a modern retelling of the story of vampires, interwoven into our modern obsession with social media and the abandonment of smaller communities that are no longer culturally relevant, in a media obsessed world. He takes a small community that feels abandoned and isolated and uses it to generate a tale that feels claustrophobic. He delivers a story of a people who seem to be sliding into a collective madness, then blows it wide open and exposes the consequences of a lack of investment in these communities.

He also gives us characters that feel so real, that you can see elements of them in people you know and ‘influencers’ you see on Ytube, whose obsessions with ‘likes’ and subscription numbers seem unhealthy and obsessive. Then there are the deeply troubled adults who are stuck in worlds framed by delusional thoughts, that see them left open to manipulation, because their decent into delusional disorder, means they are vulnerable in a society that has cast them adrift. Put all this together and you have a novel that is as unique, clever and as relevant to our modern society as Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice was to the Regency era’s obsession with manners, marriage and money.

Beast truly is a novel for our modern era! It ‘s themes giving it a must read vibe, that will leave you questioning our obsession with the cult of personality, societies failure to protect the most vulnerable and the consequences of ignoring those communities who feel betrayed and abandoned. It thrilled me, scared me and the power and tension, hit me like a blow to the chest.


I look forward to the next one with delight and delicious trepidation.

You can purchase this novel from Amazon and Waterstones.

About the author

Matt Author Pic-2

Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor for young people in care. Matt started his writing career in horror, and his short horror fiction has been published in numerous UK- an US-based anthologies such as Midnight Movie Creature, Selfies from the End of the World, Cold Iron and many more. His novella, The Black Land, a horror set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013. Matt was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in 2015. His debut thriller, Six Stories, was an Amazon bestseller in the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia, and a WHSmith Fresh Talent pick, and film rights were sold to a major Hollywood studio. A prequel, Hydra, was published in 2018 and became an international bestseller. Changeling, book three in the series, was published in 2019 and was longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year and shortlisted for Capital Crime’s Amazon Publishing Reader Awards in two categories: Best Thriller and Best Independent Voice.

Follow Matt on Twitter @ConcreteKraken and on his website:

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Reading The 21st Century. The books that made the last twenty years. Waterstones bookshop. #BooksThatMadeTheLastTwentyYears. #Waterstones

On browsing Waterstones online site while in work, forgive me, but I was in a phone queue, in which I was number 20 in the list and I needed some distraction. I saw their latest promotion, Reading The 21st Century – Discover two decades; books that have made the last twenty years and decided to see how many I had read!

Here are the ones I have read, why not take a look at the Waterstones site and see how many you have?

I compiled a list of the ones I have read, thought some weren’t read in the year they were published!


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J K Rowling

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman.


Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix by J K Rowling

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

The Magicians Guild by Trudi Canavan

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand


Eragon by Christopher Paolini

The Crimson Petal and the White by Michael Faber


Dissolution by C J Sansom

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

The Time Travellers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger



Small Island by Andrea Levy


The Island by Victoria Hislop

Marley and Me by John Grogan



The Road by Cormac McCarth


This year’s books must have passed me by!

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Hunger games by Suzanne Collins

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows


Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

One Day by David Nicholls

The Help by Kathryn Stockett


Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

The Secret Life of Bletchley Park by Sinclair Mckay

A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen


The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

The Daughter Of Smoke and Bone by Lani Taylor

The Martian by Andy Weir

The Song of Achillies by Madeline Miller

The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

Capital by John Lanchester


The Goldfinch by Donna Tart

Life after Life by Kate Atkinson

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo


All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

H is for Hawk by Helen Mcdonald

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan


Grief is a Thing With Feathers by Max Porter

The Fox and The Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith


The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrove

The Girls by Emma Cline


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This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay


Circe by Madeline Miller

Educated by Tara Westover

Julian Is A Mermaid by Jessica Love


Another year of books that seem to have passed me by, but I own a few and plan on putting that right this year!

Why not take a look at the Waterstones website to see how many you have read?

Sparky The Dragon Bus by Sue Wickstead. #Review #children’sFiction #SparkyTheDragonBus


Sparky the Dragon Bus
Sparky isn’t your typical double-decker bus.
Behind the dragon and magical paintings, she’s full of fun and adventures for all children.
Jump aboard to find out what makes Sparky so special.


Having a friend who is a teacher and a grandmother, I am always on the lockout for books to recommend to her as a teaching aid and also to purchase as presents for her grandchildren.  Since being introduced to Sue Wickstead’s books, they have become a firm favourite, because they are suitable for both these groups and always prove entertaining and informative.

Why? For a teacher they always have a strong theme within them, with Sparky The Dragon Bus, it’s about including disabled children in fun activities on a mobile play unit, adapted from a bus, that can travel to areas that lack a play area of their own. It shows young readers that all children, no matter how physically active they are, or if they are disabled, that there should be no reason why they should not enjoy the same activities of their able bodied friends. Sparky has been adapted for wheelchair use and which allows the little girl in the story, to be included in all the activities her friends enjoy. It has a strong story about inclusivity and if teachers have wheelchair users in their class, it gives that a positive representation in story form, which is rare. Disabled children need strong stories that represent their needs and which they can identify with, while their friends through this story, will learn that disability need not be a reason to exclude their friends from the activities they enjoy. There are always calls for disabled children to be given representation in books and this book does so in such a positive way, children will learn from it and that is to be celebrated. It also has at the back the real story behind the real Sparky The Dragon Bus, which could be used as part of a teaching project around disability and access to provisions for young children, who often are left feeling excluded, by a lack of simple to do adaptions.

The joy of this book is that because of all of the above, because it is such a fun, well written and boldly illustrated story, it can also be used as a guided read for parents and their children, or for as an independent read for young readers. The story matches the illustrations perfectly,  the child having fun and the pictures emphasis the sense of joy and excitement for a young child, finally able to enjoy the same games as her friends. It all makes you smile and the young reader will absorb this theme of equality, while being told a wonderful and informative tale.

It’s rare to find a book that can be both a teaching aid and a fun general reader, but this one fulfils both brilliantly and I can’t recommend it enough.

My thanks to the author for the ARC in return for an honest review.


You can purchase this book from Amazon

Free 3D bus template with book orders from Sue Wickstead’s website or direct message to author –


I would like to thank the author for ARC in return for an honest review 

About the author

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I am an author and a teacher and have written six children’s picture books, all with a bus included somewhere.
Having been able to share my first book, ‘Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus’, it was time to think about writing a book for younger readers.
While visiting a local school the children were writing stories about a journey, we read Jay-Jay’s book and then I remembered a book that I had written some years before and I read this to the class too, and they loved it.
The original story was based on a walk with my class around the neighbourhood of Bewbush, Crawley. The walk had led to map work and sequencing. Then together with the class I wrote an imaginative adventure.
The events we imagined were put into a class book. The book was shared with many classes and it was always a favourite.
Now years later I decided it was time to update, improve and look at publishing the book.
There is indeed a walk around the district of Bewbush. and following the publication of the book I went back to see if and how the neighbourhood had changed.
‘Oh, I see you have written a book without a bus!’ commented a friend.
But, look through the pages and you will see there always has to be a bus!
The neighbourhood of Bewbush was a new estate built in Crawley town in the 1970’s. The area was built without any shops, school or safe places for children to play. It was an area of high need and was supported by a special playbus which offered a much-needed playgroup venue.
I also undertake events and author bookings and love to share my stories. There are also a few more stories in the writing process, with links to real events and buses.

You can follow the author on her author Author Facebook page and book Facebook page.

TwitterInstagram and the authors website.

Sparky The Dragon Bus Full Tour Banner



Blue Skies Over Berlin by John Steinberg #PromotionalPost

Blue Skies Over Berlin Cover

Blue Skies Over Berlin
A young German woman, thinking she can escape her memories of wartime Berlin, moves to London in 1954 under her new name of Charlotte Brown. The offer of a prestigious job at the National Gallery leads her to believe that she can establish a new life in a city itself emerging from the ruins of war.
With her new identity, Charlotte hopes she has left Eva Schlessinger far behind . . . but when her job brings her into contact with a ruthless set of art dealers with dubious wartime connections, she fears they can see behind her facade. Priceless masterpieces start appearing at auction, stolen from murdered Jewish families by the Nazis, and she herself is implicated. At this point, Charlotte makes a solemn promise – one that will take her a lifetime to fulfil.
Blue Skies Over Berlin is a novel about secrets and guilt in an uncertain time, balanced by friendship and enduring love – and ultimately the need to make amends for just standing by.

You can purchase this novel from Amazon UK and US

About the author 


Born and raised in North London in 1952, John still lives in the city with his wife and three children. Privately educated, John left school after ‘A’ levels and completed a business diploma in what is now the University of Westminster, before entering banking.
He started training as an accountant but did not complete the course, choosing a position in his family’s furniture manufacturing business instead. John started his own mergers and acquisitions business in 1987, which he ran for almost 20 years before quitting to become a full time writer in 2007.
John has co-written and produced comedies for t he stage and has created a series of books for children. “Previously, I had only been interested in comedy and finally started to write down the things I said or thought of. That led me to co-write and produce a play, In the Balance, and then W for Banker – which appeared at the New End Theatre, Hampstead. It was then I decided to quit the world of business in favour of writing full-time, and move toward more serious subjects. My first novel has taken two years to write and is the first in a series of books I am calling the ‘Steinberg Stories’.”

You can follow the author on Facebook and Twitter

Blue Skies Over Berlin

A Wash Of Black by Chris McDonald #Review #BlogTour #Thriller #RedDogPress


Clever, chilling and absolutely addictive…” – Noelle Holten, author of Dead Inside

IT’S NOT LIFE THAT IMITATES ART. IT’S DEATH. Anna Symons. Famous. Talented. Dead. The body of a famous actress is found mutilated on an ice rink in Manchester, recreating a scene from a blockbuster film she starred in years ago. DI Erika Piper, having only recently returned to work after suffering a near-fatal attack herself, finds she must once again prove her worth as the hunt for the media-dubbed ‘Blood Ice Killer’ intensifies. But when another body is found and, this time, the killer issues a personal threat, Erika must do more than put aside her demons to crack the case, or suffer the deadly consequences. If you like Ian Rankin, Val McDermid and Cara Hunter, you will love this.


Having read a number of debuts over the few years I have been book blogging, I can say with some confidence that Chris Mcdonald has written an assured and engaging first novel. It is peppered with fascinating characters and a storyline which kept me as a reader glued to the storyline and firmly looking forward to the next in the series.

Many thriller writers allow the story to drown out the characters that the story revolves around, but I very happy to say Chris Macdonald has not fallen into that trap! In DI Erika Piper he has given us a fascinating and engaging lead. It is more common now to have female leads in thrillers, but often they somehow remain subservient to their male colleagues, but not Erika, she is strong, intelligent and very likeable. She is also perfectly flawed. Having just returned to work, her trauma is not forgotten, but woven into the story and we are made to care about her and her fate. I became invested in her and her wanted to overcome the terrible events that haunt her. We also have a killer, who is scarily believable, deranged and dangerous, he lives up to his nickname as the ‘Blood Ice Killer’, leaving me as a reader, equal parts fascinated by his motivations and scared of his tortured frame of mind.

The story is your typical thriller, mad delusional killer is targeting victims all of whom seem connected, but what marks this as special, is the was Chris Mcdonald, gives us multiple possible identities and manages to keep the reveal secret until the last few pages. I think I changed my mind numerous times throughout the story, thinking I had correctly followed the clues and identified the killer. I was wrong. Only when DI Piper figures it all out, did I and I loved that, sitting on edge to the very last pages. I don’t like to guess the killer and I didn’t and that made me a very happy reader. It is a story that keep me gripped, but didn’t insult my intelligence by making it all too obvious. I even sat up a few times, and said “omg, I didn’t see that coming” and genuinely I didn’t. He had me hook line and sinker, snuggled up in bed, reading like a fiend, and wishing I didn’t have to work the next day, so I could finish this book.

I’m most definitely looking forward to book two and spending more time with the intelligent, gutsy and wonderful DI Piper.

You can purchase this novel from Amazon

About the author 


Originally hailing from the north coast of Northern Ireland and now residing in South Manchester, Chris McDonald has always been a reader. At primary school, The Hardy Boys inspired his love of adventure, before his reading world was opened up by Chuck Palahniuk and the gritty world of crime.

He’s a fan of 5-a-side football, has an eclectic taste in music ranging from Damien Rice to Slayer and loves dogs.

You can follow the author on Twitter