Death on the River by Clare Chase #BookReview #BlogBlitz (@ClareChase) @bookouture #DeathOnTheRiver #NetGalley

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“Meet Tara Thorpe – she’s Cambridge Police’s newest recruit… but her dark past is never far behind her. 

When a body is pulled from the dank and dangerous fens on the outskirts of town, everybody assumes it was a tragic accident. But Detective Tara Thorpe, newly joined and determined to prove herself, suspects there’s more to the story.

Tara is desperate to investigate further, but her supervisor Patrick Wilkins has other ideas. He would rather die than let this ambitious upstart show him up – even if it means some digging in Tara’s secret past to keep her under his thumb. After all, it’s not like he can report her – everyone knows that his boss Detective Garstin Blake and Tara have a history…

When another body is found, it becomes clear that there’s a killer on the loose. Could the murders be linked to the secrets that Tara has been keeping from her team… and can she solve the case before another innocent dies?”

Given how much I loved Clare’s first book featuring Tara Thorpe, Murder on the Marshes (read my review of that book here), I am thrilled to be taking part today in the blog tour for the next in the series, Death on the River. My huge thanks to Noelle Holten, of publishers Bookouture, for inviting me on to the tour and for my copy of the book via NetGalley, which I have reviewed honestly.

I just want to pass comment and give my congratulations on another stonking cover which really evokes the spirit of the Cambridgeshire fens and the setting of the book. People say, you should never judge a book by its cover, but I am afraid I often do and this is another one I would love to have on my shelves. I love Bookouture books, they always feel lovely and solid in your hand – you know you are holding a piece of quality, nothing something flimsy. Mad, I know, but these things matter to a book lover!

Although this is the second book in the Tara Thorpe series, it could easily be read as a standalone without losing anything of the plot. Clare gives you enough of the back story for you to understand what you need to without it feeling like an information dump. However, I would highly recommend you read the first book to get deeper background on the characters and also because it is just so damn good, you will be missing out if you don’t!

The second book starts four years after the end of the first. In the interim, Tara has left her journalism career behind and has retrained as a police officer, newly joining the CID unit who investigated the crimes in book one, which brings her back into the orbit of DI Blake and other characters from the first book. I’ll admit, I was a little disappointed to hear that Tara was no longer a journalist, as I thought that brought a unique perspective to the investigation in book one. However, I need not have worried as Tara has brought all her journalistic skills to her new role in the police and this gives rise to an interesting aspect of the book where her old skills both compliment and clash with her new job. Her insatiable curiosity and dogged determination to get to the bottom of events being both  help and a hindrance.

There are so many different aspects of this book that I really enjoyed, the criminal investigation being only one of them. The mystery is very well-crafted from the dramatic opening scene to the eventual denouement, it is sufficiently tricky to keep the reader guessing and hold our attention throughout. The pace of the story is not frantic but even and compelling and I was totally engrossed in the investigation, even though the first victim is not a particularly likeable character. There were lots of interesting details to the crime – I was left wondering where the author gets her ideas from!

An equally riveting aspect of the book was the relationships between Tara and her fellow officers, particularly Blake and Wilkins. Anyone who has read the first book will recall that it appeared there was a possible relationship developing between Tara and DI Blake, and I was pleased to note that vestiges of this had carried through to this book, leaving a residual tension between the two. The author cleverly uses this as a plot device to influence the professional relationship between the two, as we wonder whether Blake’s decisions to back Tara are due to his professional respect for her, or his personal feelings. I love the fact that there is an open will they, won’t they question left hanging.

Wilkins is a different kettle of fish altogether and the man becomes more and more unpleasant as the book progresses. His dislike and, possible jealousy and resentment towards Tara grows and grows to the point where it is impacting on his objectivity and decision-making and he is in danger of putting his own career at risk. It is always good to have a character you love to hate in a book!

The book is written largely from Tara’s perspective and, as a protagonist, she continues to grow on me as she remains independent, determined and feisty and true to her own values, no matter what is thrown at her. I love a strong, female role model in a book, and this one certainly knows who she is and what she stands for.

The final thing which really makes this book stand out in the genre for me is the setting. It is as much a character in the book as any of the people and plays a big part in the stories. The plot simply would not work as well anywhere else and, just as in book one, the suppressing, empty isolation and loneliness of the Fens adds so much to the atmosphere of the story, and is brilliantly and vividly brought to life by the writing.

For some reason, this series has really grabbed me and I really look forward to reading more. Another paperback is on its way to add to the shelf for repeat enjoyment.

Death on the River is out now and you can buy your copy here.

Please do support the rest of the blog blitz for this book by following it over to the other blogs listed below:

Death on the River - Blog Tour

About the Author

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Clare Chase writes mysteries set in her home city of Cambridge and is fascinated by the location’s contrasts and contradictions. She’s worked in diverse settings – from the 800-year-old University to one of the local prisons – and lived everywhere from the house of a Lord to a slug-infested flat. The terrace she now occupies presents a good happy medium.

As well as writing, Clare loves family time, art and architecture, cooking, and of course, reading other people’s books. She lives with her husband and teenage children, and currently works at the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Connect with Clare:

Website: https://clarechase.com

Facebook: Clare Chase Author

Twitter: @ClareChase_

Instagram: Clare Chase Author

Goodreads: Clare Chase

Lies Between Us by Ronnie Turner #BookReview #BlogTour (@Ronnie__Turner) @HQDigitalUK #NetGalley #LiesBetweenUs

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“The past is always watching . . .

Three people, leading very different lives, are about to be brought together – with devastating consequences . . .

John has a perfect life, until the day his daughter goes missing.

Maisie cares for her patients, but hides her own traumatic past.

Miller should be an innocent child, but is obsessed with something he can’t have.

They all have something in common, though none of them know it – and the truth won’t stay hidden for long . . .”

It is my long-awaited turn on the blog tour for Lies Between Us by my fellow book blogger, Ronnie Turner. I am so excited to be taking part, so huge thanks to Ronnie and to the team at HQDigital for inviting me to take part, and for my copy of the book via NetGalley, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

Aargh! This book has totally messed with me, head, heart and soul! I read it in a single day and barely took a breath from beginning to end. There, Ronnie Turner, you literally took my breath away with your writing. I cannot believe this is your debut novel, it is astounding.

This is a psychological thriller with a difference, and the difference is the standard of the writing. Really, I am kind of at a loss for words and, for anyone who reads my ramblings with any regularity, you will know this is a rarity. Just hold on a minute while I try and find some that adequately describe this book..

Okay, I’m going to have a go at summing up why this book is such a stand out read. Firstly, the plotting is so clever. I honestly had absolutely no idea how the thing slotted together until probably the final 20% of the book where I felt like I might have an inkling. It is really cleverly done. The story is told through three voices – John, Miller and Maisie. Miller’s voice is speaking from 24 years ago, John’s from the end of 2015 and Maisie’s from six months later. Each voice is individual and distinct and perfectly pitched for the character. The connection between the three time lines is not evident at all, so you have to hunt for clues to work it out and it turns out I was totally rubbish at this. I thought I had it sussed early on, then I totally changed my mind, then I turned out to be completely wrong anyway. The plot and writing were so convoluted, it was like being in one of those Hall of Mirrors at the fun fair – everything is twisted and distorted so much that you can’t work out what goes where and which way is up.

The characterisations are brilliant. Ronnie takes us right inside the minds and hearts of the characters so completely that we can FEEL what it is like to be them at each point. When one of these characters is a very twisted individual, this is quite disturbing and made me a little concerned as to what goes on in the dark recesses of Ronnie’s mind when she is not being utterly delightful on Twitter! People have hidden depths, I tell you. I was blown away by the range and understanding of emotion that she imbues the characters with, and how vividly these are brought to life in the book. I was living this story with them, tense stomach, heart in my mouth, pulse pounding at times. I could not put this book down.

On top of this, and what makes this book stand out for me from the herd, is the beauty of the prose. Really, some of the language and imagery used in the book is like poetry, and really quite unexpected in a book of this genre. It is really obvious that this is an author who loves to read and has absorbed and incorporated the best of the writing she has read over the years into her own work. This book is really accomplished – as an aspiring writer I am in awe and ever-so-slightly jealous of the talent on display here.

This book had me sighing with pleasure at the end, even as I let out the tense breath I had been holding for the previous four hours. What a treat.

The Lies Between Us is out now and you can order your copy here.

To follow the rest of the epic blog tour of this book, check out the tour poster(s) below:

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About the Author

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Ronnie Turner grew up in Cornwall, the youngest in a large family. At an early age, she discovered a love of literature and dreamed of being a published author. Ronnie now lives in Dorset with her family and three dogs. In her spare time, she reviews books on her blog and enjoys long walks on the coast. She is currently working on her second novel.

Ronnie’s debut novel, Lies Between Us, will be published by HQ Digital in October 2018.

Connect with Ronnie:

Website: https://ronnieturner.wordpress.com

Facebook: Ronnie Turner

Twitter: @Ronnie__Turner

Instagram: @ronnieturner8702

The Warning by Kathryn Croft #BookReview #BlogBlitz (@KatCroft) @Bookouture #NetGalley #TheWarning

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“My little boy’s room was empty, his bed neatly made. Alarm bells should have rung immediately. Then the knock on the door came. All I remember is a thick fog wrapping itself tightly around me. This couldn’t be happening to us.

Three years ago, nurse Zoe’s son Ethan was found drowned in a muddy river by their home, along with his best friend Josh. With no witnesses, their deaths were ruled a tragic accident.

Heartbroken, Zoe and her family, move away from her home. They’re just beginning to get back to some kind of normality, when, out of the blue, Zoe receives an anonymous email: 

You need to find out the truth about what happened to your son. Don’t let this rest. Don’t believe the lie.

Shaken, Zoe starts an obsessive hunt for the truth. But why is her husband so reluctant to help? And why is Josh’s mother so determined not to believe her?”

Delighted to be taking my turn on the blog blitz today for The Warning by Kathryn Croft. My thanks to Kim Nash at Bookouture for my place on the tour and my copy of the book via NetGalley which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

I absolutely loved this book. There has been the odd occasion recently where I have wondered whether the psychological thriller/domestic noir trend is on the way out and whether there is anything new to be done in this vein. Then a book like this comes my way and I realise there is life in the old genre dog yet. This book really had me hooked from beginning to end.

We begin three years after the tragic accidental drowning of Zoe and Jake’s son, Ethan and his best friend, Josh. The family are trying and appearing to be getting their life back on some sort of track, having moved house and cities. However, appearances can be deceptive and when Zoe gets an email suggesting that the drowning may not have been an accident at all, it quickly becomes obvious that none of them have put the tragedy behind them and they have all been covering their grief in different ways.

Zoe is unable to let the suggestion go, and we are quickly drawn in to her quest for the truth. The author very cleverly writes the plot in short, sharp chapters from multiple viewpoints – Zoe, Jake, their other son and, Roberta, Josh’s mother – so we get an insight into the story from lots of different perspectives, but Zoe’s is the only one written in the first person, so we get very up close and personal with her reactions and emotions towards the events.

As the book unfolds, it becomes more and more clear that each character is hiding something, and the tension builds as we are forced to wonder, in the same way Zoe does, who we can trust and who is being dishonest. The plot is clever and labyrinthine and, just when you think you might have figured things out, you realised you haven’t at all and you are forced to start your investigations all over again. The ending came as a total shock, although the clues were there all along and I was left very satisfied by the whole reading experience.

The characters are all beautifully drawn and very realistic. Some really empathetic, some eminently dislikable, but all compelling, and this is the great strength of the book. I really cared about what happened to these people, I was desperate to know what happened. I was emotionally invested in the characters and the story, and they took me with them from beginning to end.

Accomplished writing.

The Warning is out now and you can purchase your copy here.

There are lots of other fabulous bloggers reviewing this book, so make sure you check out their reviews too:

The Warning - Blog Blitz

About the Author

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Kathryn Croft is the bestselling author of six psychological thrillers, and to date has sold over one million copies of her books. The Girl With No Past spent over four weeks at number one in the Amazon UK chart and her other novels, Behind Closed Doors, The Stranger Within and The Girl You Lost all reached number one in the psychological thriller charts.

Her seventh psychological thriller is due to be released in October 2018. 

After six years teaching secondary school English, Kathryn now writes full time and lives in Guildford, Surrey with her husband and young family.  

Having always been an avid reader, Kathryn believes in the power of words to entertain, teach and transform lives. She is also a firm believer in following your dreams and says anything is possible if you work hard enough and never give up!

Connect with Kathryn:

Website: https://www.kathryncroft.com

Facebook: Author Kathryn Croft

Twitter: @KatCroft

Instagram: @authorkatcroft

One Winter’s Day by Laura Briggs #BookReview #BlogBlitz (@PaperDollWrites) @bookouture #PublicationDay #OneWintersDay #NetGalley #Blogtober18

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“If only falling in love was as easy as baking a cake… 

Ama’s loved baking ever since she can remember. Desserts, cakes, cookies – anything sweet, delicious and sinful. The kitchen is the only place where she can be truly herself.

But – as she starts work on the biggest cake she has ever made – for a couple’s magical winter wedding – she realises just how much she secretly dreams of falling in love too.

Then she meets a handsome man on a motorbike who sets her pulse racing. But Ama knows it can never be. Because he’s her very traditional parents’ absolute worst nightmare… And she knows she can never let them down.

Do her family know best? Or can she trust her heart? And, as the snow begins to fall, will she ever find out what really does go into the recipe for true love?”

Happy to be taken my turn on the blog tour today for One Winter’s Day by Laura Briggs, as it is publication day. Happy Publication Day, Laura. My thanks to Noelle Holten at Bookouture for inviting me on to the tour and for my copy of the book, which I received via NetGalley and which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

Before I started reading this, I was unaware that this was a follow up to a previous book featuring these characters, which I had not read and, unfortunately, it felt like a follow up. There was a lot of back story to the characters which I was unfamiliar with, and although the author tries to catch us up, this was done by way of what felt that an information dump at the beginning of the book that stopped me engaging immediately with the plot.

Once I did get in to the book, I really did enjoy the story. The characters were likeable and interesting and they had enough going on to make an interesting tale. I liked the back drop of the one-stop wedding business and there were a lot of lovely details about the wedding planning, cakes and dresses to engage the reader who likes a wedding story line. There was also just the right touch of seasonal cheer to be pleasant but not kitchsy.

I found the story line of Ama and her romantic visions contrasting with the traditional, cultural expectations of her family really enticing, but I was a bit disappointed that the romantic aspect was not better developed or resolved, since this was a romantic book. It left me a little flat.

This was a nice book, but it felt like the middle book in a trilogy – kind of hanging with no real finale. If I had read the first book, this would probably have bothered me less as the writing, setting and characters are lovely, but as it was, I was left with a mild feeling if dissatisfaction. Mea culpa for not realising I had missed the first book.

One Winter’s Day is published today and you can buy your copy here.

Make sure you check out the reviews on the rest of the tour by my fellow bloggers:

One Winter's Day - Blog Tour

About the Author

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Laura Briggs is the author of several lighthearted romance novels and novellas, including the bestselling Amazon UK series A Wedding in Cornwall. She has a fondness for vintage-style dresses (especially ones with polka dots), and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family, caring for her pets, going to movies and plays, and trying new restaurants.

Connect with Laura:

Website: https://paperdollwrites.blogspot.com

Facebook: Laura Briggs

Twitter: @PaperDollWrites

 

Coming Home to Maple Cottage by Holly Martin #BookReview #BlogTour #BlogBlitz (@HollyMAuthor) @bookouture #ComingHomeToMapleCottage

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“Isla Rosewood is creating a new life for herself and her sweet nephew Elliot in their cosy, yellow-brick family cottage, brimming with special memories. Living in Sandcastle Bay was never part of Isla’s plan but, after her brother Matthew’s tragic accident, her whole world changed as she unexpectedly became a mother to the little boy she adores so much.

Leo Jackson was always known as Matthew’s fun-loving and wild best friend. But now Matthew is gone, it’s time to put his colourful past behind him. His role as Elliot’s godfather is the most important thing to him. And even though Leo and Isla are two very different people, they both want to give Elliot the childhood he deserves.

As the three of them enjoy time together watching fireworks, baking cakes and collecting conkers, Isla begins to see a softer side to charming Leo, with his twinkling eyes and mischievous sense of humour. And, despite herself, she begins to fall for him.

But does Leo feel the same way? Isla knows their situation is complicated but is it too complicated for true love… or will the year end with a happy new beginning for them all?”

So delighted and excited to be taking part in the gorgeous, autumnal treat of a book, Coming Home To Maple Cottage by Holly Martin. My thank to Kim Nash at Bookouture for allowing me on to the tour and for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

Anyone who has read a book by Holly Martin before knows what to expect and the lovely cover of the book gives more clues that this is a warm romantic read, perfect for these lengthening autumn evenings when all you want to do is draw the curtains and hunker down with a mug of hot chocolate and a cosy read.

The book is set in the friendly little seaside town of Sandcastle Bay. However, this idyll has only become home again to Isla Rosewood following the tragic death of her brother, Matthew, which has resulted in Isla being forced to abandon her life in London and being dumped by her long-term boyfriend so she can return home and take up guardianship of her five-year-old nephew, Elliot. She is slowly rebuilding a life for the two of them with the help of the close-knit community in Sandcastle Bay, including her friends and family and, particularly, Matthew’s best friend Leo Jackson. But then all of this is put in jeopardy by an unwelcome arrival in the town…

There is much to love about this book. The characters are all warm and likeable; Holly has a flair for writing people that you are drawn to. Isla’s plight is interesting and compelling enough to have you desperate to find out what is going to happen and invested in the story to the final page. Leo is a suitable attractive but flawed romantic lead in the best traditions of the genre so I was praying for things to work out between him and Isla, essential in a book of this kind. There is also a supporting cast of interesting townsfolk, some of whom bring a welcome comic streak to the story with their small town gossiping and I was cringing along with Isla at times, but it was a very accurate portrayal of how small towns work. My favourite character, though, is Elliot. He is just adorable and Holly does a great job of capturing the speech and obsessions of a five-year-old. The relationships between Elliot and Isla and Leo and Elliot are the beating heart of this book and are a joy to behold.

I did have a couple of problems with this book. A minor one was some of the names – they are way out there on the tweeness scale, even more so than in normal in one of Holly’s book, so sugary they made my teeth hurt. Hot Chocolate Cottage was a step too far for me, I’m afraid.

My main issue was with one of the major plot devices. I don’t want to give too much away but, as a solicitor, I have to say that I could not suspend my disbelief enough to accept the actions of one of the characters. I just don’t believe it would happen like that. Even with all the poetic licence in the world it just did not ring true. Sorry. It did rather spoil the book for me and I wish Holly had found some other way of dealing with that aspect of the story.

On the up side, I really loved all the little autumnal details that were in there with the festivities and activities. And the romance between Isla and Leo was completely authentic and I loved that aspect of the book.

This is a sweet story and I am sure fans of Holly’s will love it, it has all the elements present that make her books os popular. There was a lot in it that I enjoyed and I am not sorry I read it. Even with the drawbacks, I was still eager to read to the end, but I could have enjoyed it more if some of the above issues had been different. Good, but not perfect, but you should read it and make your own judgement.

Coming Home To Maple Cottage is out now and you can buy a copy here.

To follow the rest of the tour, make sure you check out the blogs listed below:

Coming Home to Maple Cottage - Blog Blitz

About the Author

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Holly lives in a little white cottage by the sea. She studied media at university which led to a very glitzy career as a hotel receptionist followed by a even more glamorous two years working in a bank. The moment that one of her colleagues received the much coveted carriage clock for fifteen years’ service was the moment when she knew she had to escape. She quit her job and returned to university to train to be a teacher. Three years later, she emerged wide eyed and terrified that she now had responsibility for the development of thirty young minds. She taught for four years and then escaped the classroom to teach history workshops, dressing up as a Viking one day and an Egyptian High Priestess the next. But the long journeys around the UK and many hours sat on the M25 gave her a lot of time to plan out her stories and she now writes full time, doing what she loves.

Holly has been writing for 8 years. She was shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance. Her short story won the Sunlounger competition and was published in the Sunlounger anthology. She won the Carina Valentine’s competition at the Festival of Romance 2013 with her novel The Guestbook. She was shortlisted for Best Romantic Read, Best eBook and Innovation in Romantic Fiction at the Festival of Romance 2014. She is the bestselling author of 18 books.

Connect with Holly:

Facebook: Holly Martin Author

Twitter: @HollyMAuthor

Instagram: @hollymartin_author

Goodreads: Holly Martin

Perfect Girls by Alison James #BlogTour #BookReview (@AlisonJbooks) @Bookouture #PerfectGirls #NetGalley

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“Phoebe. Tiffany. Melissa. They all made one little mistake…

When twenty-five-year-old Phoebe Stiles opens the door to her perfect apartment she doesn’t realise it’s the mistake that will kill her…

The body of the beautiful English girl is discovered months later – dumped behind the back of a department store. But who was the stranger she let into the safety of her home?

As Detective Rachel Prince pieces together the mystery surrounding Phoebe’s death, another young, blonde girl is found brutally murdered and abandoned in the grounds of an old theatre.

In the most dangerous case of her career, Rachel must track down the faceless individual to stop the body count rising. But to uncover the shocking truth, Rachel has to put herself at risk… can she catch the twisted killer, before they catch her?”

Delighted to be on the blog tour today for Perfect Girls by Alison James. My thanks to Noelle Holton at Bookouture for inviting me on to the tour and for my copy of the book via NetGalley which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

This is the first book I have read by Alison James, so I am coming to the series cold without any preconceptions as to her writing or the characters, although I believe this is the third book featuring Detective Rachel Prince. Having read this book, I will definitely go back and read the first two, as I really enjoyed both the style of writing and the characters in this book, although it was not entirely without fault.

The action in the book starts very quickly as we are drawn in to an ambitious case, where Rachel Prince is charged with representing British interests in a case of a murdered English reality star in Los Angeles. The plot is one it is easy to become embroiled in as we feel Rachel’s frustration and her impotence as a token guest on a case in a foreign country that she does not believe is being handled correctly. The plot moved along smartly and I was very engrossed in the puzzle of the crime and whether it was linked to other similar murders or not.

Rachel Prince is an easy protagonist to relate to. She is the kind of woman a lot of us would aspire to be, intelligent, successful, talented, independent, strong – or that is certainly how she comes across in this book, although it would seem she has a complicated romantic past that is referred back to here. That just serves to make her more human and approachable. I found the romantic tension between her and Rob a compelling and very realistic thread in the book too.

For the first two thirds, the book is an intellectual puzzle as the detective investigates in the usual way, following leads and piecing together clues to try and identify the murderer. She does half of this off the books, having been taken off the case when the British girl’s murder is deemed solved but Rachel disagrees. At this point, I began to query how realistic her behaviour, and the behaviour of other professionals in the book was, as they were doing a lot of things unofficially that made me skeptical. It was still entertaining but your enjoyment from this point forward will depend on how far you are prepared to suspend your disbelief and accept that this is fiction so realism is a flexible thing.

When it came to the denouement, real physical action kicks in which is a welcome change of pace and tone. However, something happens which I really struggled to buy into, given the character and behaviour of DI Prince throughout the rest of the book. I can’t say too much without giving away the plot but I just didn’t believe it, it jarred for me with what had been set out in the first 80% of the story. It was a shame, as I had really enjoyed the rest of it and was very invested in the story and the characters and had been racing through to find out what happened.

This is a great story, fast-paced and intriguing with well-drawn, relatable characters and a fascinating spin in the shape of the foreign setting. I really like the writer’s voice and enjoyed the majority of the book, with just a disappointing mis-step at the end. This will not stop me looking out for more from this author. People less pedantic than me may not have the same issues.

Perfect Girls is out now and you can buy a copy here.

To follow the other blogs on the tour, check out the tour poster below:

Perfect Girls - Blog Tour

About the Author

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Born in the Cotswolds, Alison spent most of her formative years abroad. She studied languages at Oxford, then became a journalist and author, returning to university after her two children to take a law degree. After a three-year stint as a criminal paralegal, Alison worked as a commercial copywriter and then a TV storyliner, before coming full circle to write fiction again.

Connect with Alison:

Facebook: Alison James

Twitter: @AlisonJbooks

Goodreads: Alison James

Battlestar Suburbia by Chris McCrudden #BookReview (@cmccrudden) @farragobooks @NetGalley #BattlestarSuburbia #NetGalley

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“In space, no one can hear you clean…

When Darren’s charge-cart gets knocked off the Earth-to-Mars highway and lost in space forever, he thinks his day can’t get any worse.

When Kelly sees Darren accidentally short-circuit a talking lamppost, and its camera captures her face as it expires, she thinks her day can’t get any worse.

When Pamasonic Teffal, a sentient breadmaker, is sent on a top-secret mission into the depths of the internet and betrayed by her boss, a power-crazed smartphone, she knows this is only the beginning of a day that isn’t going to get any better.

Join Darren, Kelly and Pam in an anarchic comic adventure that takes them from the shining skyscrapers of Singulopolis to the sewers of the Dolestar Discovery, and find out what happens when a person puts down their mop and bucket and says ‘No.’

Battlestar Suburbia will be loved by fans of Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett and Jasper Fforde, as well as anyone who’s ever wondered just how long someone can stay under one of those old-fashioned hairdryers.*

*The answer is: a really very, very long time.”

If I tell you that I spent my teenage years bingeing on the books of Douglas Adams and episodes of Red Dwarf (yes, the first time around when Dave Lister didn’t look mad/sad in his leather jacket and hat) that is really going to age me, isn’t it? However, I think I am exactly the age group that was going to enjoy this book the most because it reminded me of those things I enjoyed in my youth. (Middle-aged people, yes.)

Although I am afraid, for me, that no writer is ever going to be able to reach the genius heights of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, this book comes as close as anyone is likely to get. It manages to attain that perfect level of absurdity and humour balanced with wit and intelligence and a healthy dollop of pop culture references to spot and snigger over as you wend your way through the book, a really delicious mix to relish.

We are set in a dystopian future where machines have got sick of being used as tools by infinitely less intelligent units, namely humans, and have turned the tables so that humans now serve them, mostly in the form of mopping floors. This happens not in a creepy Terminator/Matrix way, but in a humorous way where some machines actually secretly decide that they miss having their touchscreens fondled… that pretty much gives you a taste of what to expect. Throw in a very ‘mobile’ hair salon with the best pun name ever whose clientele are at least several millennia old and you must be totally intrigued by now, surely.

Humans have similarly decided that they aren’t overly happy about cleaning up after toasters and a resistance has formed, while some of the machines in the higher echelons have dreams of taking a form more physical, more squashy, more feeling… Quite what will happen when these two opposing desires clash, well you will have to read the book to find out.

This book is extremely well-written – very clever, very witty, great fun and with plenty of action and absurd plotting to keep you intrigued to the last page and beyond. The jokes appealed completely to my warped sense of humour, even the really, really corny/bad  ones. In fact, especially the really, really corny/bad ones (seriously, the salon name, genius). I have ordered a paperback copy of this book and I am already looking forward to the sequel. In space, no one can hear you…tapping your fingers in impatience to see what happens next. I highly recommend this book to everyone…man, woman, cyborg…of any age or persuasion, but especially ageing Dwarfers like me.

Battlestar Suburbia hot of the press and you can buy a copy here.

My thanks to NetGalley and Farrago for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

About the Author

Chris McCrudden was born in South Shields (no, he doesn’t know Cheryl) and has been, at various points in his life, a butcher’s boy, a burlesque dancer and a hand model for a giant V for Victory sign on Canary Wharf.

He now lives in London and, when not writing books, works in PR, so in many ways you could describe his life as a full-time fiction. If you like science fiction, graphs and gifs from RuPaul’s Drag Race you can follow him on Twitter for all three, sometimes at once @cmccrudden.