Title: The Good Neighbour (Available on Amazon)

Author: R. J. Parker

Leah is driving home alone at night and gets into a crash on a lonely stretch of road. She sees a light on, and knocks on the door looking for help. She finds a charming man, friendly, polite, willing to welcome her in and offer her help, even though she interrupted his evening meal, is babbling and is covered in blood. His name is Martin Tate, and he is a perfect gentleman. He invites her in, tells her to get herself cleaned up, calls the police for her, catches her when she faints from shock, and calls roadside recovery for her. The perfect charmer, right? A building sense of unease and tension starts to urge Leah from the house, willing to wait in the rain for the recovery truck. 

Despite this, she finds herself drawn back the next day, gift in hand, to say thank you. Unsure of quite what she was feeling the previous night, but wanting to find out more. However, when she arrives at the house she finds a crime scene and police swarming the area. Someone has been horrifically murdered. Mutilated. Graphically, brutally. The homeowner. But Martin Tate is not the homeowner….

This discovery sends Leah spiraling into a frantic race, with horror after horror unfolding, and a scramble against the clock to save all she loves. Or thinks she loves.

A fast paced read, the story doesn’t let up, with momentum continually gathering, and the story gripping you from the start. Highly recommend you read – and then think twice about EVER knocking on a stranger’s door!!

*I received this book from NetGalley for review but all opinions are my own.

This review is also listed on Goodreads & NetGalley.

*No affiliate links, I am just linking to make your life easier!

Book Review: The Good Neighbour – R.J. Parker

Book: The Disappearing Act (Available on Amazon*)

Author: Florence de Changy

On the 8th of March 2014 Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared, and to this day, has never been found. It was carrying 239 passengers at the time. Their families and friends have never had closure. 

Touted as aviation’s greatest mystery, what happened to the flight? How could an aircraft completely vanish? de Chagny’s book is a fantastic piece of investigation, taking you from the early days of the incident, and spanning across years. She delves deep into all evidence, reports, expert opinions, eyewitness testimonies, and more. She has gathered together a plethora of information, catagorised it, sorted into a timeline, and presented it in a manner easy to follow, yet makes your head reel – making you deeply unsettled at the ‘truth’ we were told about the incident, particularly so, when you see how much more there was that was left unreported, obfuscated or straight out buried.

I don’t often read books in this genre, but this was an absolutely gripping read. I bookmarked pages. I took notes. I reread chapters. I sent excerpts to friends, and had them as invested in the book as I became! I found I needed to talk about what I was reading, I had to internalise it, then discuss it with others. It was a gripping read, an exhausting read, but one that I would highly recommend. de Chagney has done an incredible job of pulling together the story, presenting it to us, but all throughout, reminding us, at the heart of it all, there are 239 people who never made it home. 

*I received this book from NetGalley for review but all opinions are my own.

This review is also listed on Amazon.co.uk and Goodreads & NetGalley.

*No affiliate links, I am just linking to make your life easier!

Book Review: The Disappearing Act – The Impossible Case of MH370

Book: Elsewhere (Available on Amazon*)

Author: Dean Koontz

The key to everything is a lot of temptation to hand someone then tell them to not use it. When a seemingly harmless vagrant called Ed hands said key to single parent Jeff, with the warning that the key is dangerous, should never be used, people are after him for it, that it is worth billions, and if Ed doesn’t return, that Jeff should bury it in a barrel of concrete and dump it in the ocean, Jeff is bemused to say the least. 

But when Jeff and his daughter Amity, and her pet rat Snowball accidentally use the key, bemusement turns to confusion, panic, and soon flat out terror. They find themselves on the run from the same people Ed was fleeing from. The only difference is, they don’t know the full story. Who are the bad guys? Why do they want them dead? As they try desperately to keep one step ahead, things get more and more twisted. Alternative dimensions. Security monkeys that talk and attack. Robots. Worlds where books are banned. Worlds where Hitler is revered. Wolds in which the worst horrors imaginable exist. But in all of this Jeff and Amity both have the same hope – what if they can reunite their family? Michelle – mom and wife. Who walked out on them all those years ago. In one of these worlds, what if she is there. A Michelle who wants to be with them?

From start to finish this book brings you on a literal journey, of personal growth, hope and emotion. With all the drama and twists that you would imagine from a multiverse filled read. The pace never lets up, even at the end as you turn pages, you dare not hope, not even for a moment… Another excellent read from Mr. Koontz!

*I received this book from NetGalley for review but all opinions are my own.

This review is also listed on Amazon.co.uk and Goodreads & NetGalley.

*No affiliate links, I am just linking to make your life easier!

Book Review – Elsewhere by Dean Koontz

Book: Hyde (Available on Amazon*)

Author: Craig Russell

Brooding, dark, full of twists, and multiple clever references to historical and fictional characters. A well written, gripping read, that starts out a little slow, but once it has you hooked, really brings you along for the ride.

Set in the atmospheric 19th Century Edinburgh, the book opens with Captain Edward Hyde, Superintendent in Edinburgh City Police, speaking with his friend, Robert L. Stevenson. He tells him of a tale that, he says, Stevenson won’t believe. At first I thought this was going to be a mundane retelling of the Jekyll and Hyde story. But Hyde is full of excellent characters, plot twists, a mounting gruesome body count, occult happenings, and Celtic folklore. Pulling all of this together seamlessly to bring you along on a terrifying race through the city to try save lives before it is too late, to battle the monster – but who is the real monster? Hyde must save the girl, and keep his mind in the process, but has he already lost it?

This book is a disturbing read, scary, unsettling, full of terror, darkness and drama. A diabolical jaunt through Edinburgh, through the human mind, and to the darkness of the human soul. Kudos to Craig Russell for an ability to blend so much into a book, history, the references to historic characters, a weaving storyline. One to read on a dark evening by candlelight! 

*I received this book from NetGalley for review but all opinions are my own.

This review is also listed on Amazon.co.uk and Goodreads & NetGalley.

*No affiliate links, I am just linking to make your life easier!

Book Review – Hyde by Craig Russell

Silent Night by Nell Pattison

Book: Silent Night (Available on Amazon*)

Author: Nell Pattison

A school for the deaf takes a weekend trip to the woods. It is snowing heavily. A student goes missing, and a teacher sets out to find him. The teacher is found dead, but the student is nowhere to be found. The police get involved, but due to the complex nature of the school, bring in sign language interpreter, Paige Northwood. When she arrives, it becomes much more of a job than she expected. Her connections to the school, to the staff, to the police all become an entanglement that draws her deeper into the mystery of what has taken place. It seems like there are many with motives for murder, and some that even want to harm Paige. When more deaths occur, it becomes a race against the clock. The suspense builds really well, with the weather adding to the mix of the urgency, the desperation and the drama. Can Paige and the police act in time to save more lives? And find the real killer? 

I have not read the first book in this series, but I was gripped from the start by this one. I felt I was missing some back story, but it was well written enough to keep me intrigued, rather than put me off. I shall be adding the first book to my reading list! The mix of the sign language with the police crime drama made for a very interesting read. It is always enjoyable to learn while you are reading, and this book certainly opened my eyes more to a community I had not been exposed to before, so double kudos for that. An excellent read, gripping from start to finish, and leaving you wanting more of Paige and the drama that surrounds her life.

*I received this book from NetGalley for review but all opinions are my own.

This review is also listed on Amazon.co.uk and Goodreads & NetGalley

*No affiliate links, I am just linking to make your life easier!

Book Review – Silent Night by Nell Pattison

Book: Darke Awakening: Embrace The True Darkness (Available on Amazon)*

Author: Lee Hall

Darke Blood is back and throws in your face all manner of things that go bump in the night.

When I was last immersed in the world of Dark Heath, the vampiric threat had been mostly eliminated, Blake Malone had gotten the girl (or had the girl gotten him?) and things seemed to be coming to, dare one say it, a happy ending? But there was a hint of more to come. A town called Dark Heath can never be happy for long – can it? Darke Blood is back and throws in your face all manner of things that go bump in the night. That scream. That rip you to pieces. They don’t leave you with nightmares, they just leave you dead.

This time the danger is worse than anything faced before. Just when our band of misfit heroes think they have confronted the worst of it, another horror surges up and pulls the world out from under them. Dramatic much? Try reading the book! Blake, Caitlyn, and her sister are up for the challenge along with some mysterious help from the forest. There is also a familiar face that arrives in a yellow taxi….

If you read Darke Blood, you need to read this follow up. If you have not read Darke Blood yet, well, as I write this there is a global pandemic. No better time to expand your horizons, and start reading a series that will engage you, chill you, terrify you and yet make you laugh and smile at the same time. My only question is, when is the next book?

This review is also listed on Amazon.co.uk and Goodreads.

*No affiliate links, I am just linking to make your life easier!

Book Review – Darke Awakening

As the title of this blog post says – hello there! It has been a while since I posted on my own blog. I am still posting a lot over on the Papermilldirect blog, and managing my Mullen Makes Instagram alongside my regular Instagram. Life just got a bit hectic and I needed to simplify, take a moment, step back and take a break. But now, we all seem to have a lot of spare time on our hands, don’t we?

But I saw that I got mentioned in a blog post today, so it inspired me to pick up the digital pen, and write a quick post, by way of thank you. Lee Hall, the brilliant indie writer whose books I have reviewed on here a few times is celebrating a blogging milestone of 500 followers and is doing it by giving others a shout out – how decent a human being is he, eh? He not only writes great books, but he also does very good blog posts too, so head over and check his blog out, and maybe give him a follow while you are there!

In the meantime, I shall endeavor to post with more frequency than Halley’s Comet! I will leave you with an image of a project I completed with some tester pots of paint and a cheap Ikea dresser. This is how I pass time when bored – even before lockdown!

Well Hello There!

Book: The Ghost Beside Me (Available on Amazon*)
Author: Lee Hall

The Ghost Beside Me by [Hall, Lee]
Neville has carefully crafted his life to keep social interactions to a minimum. He works as an accounts clerk, leads an introverted life, boards in lodgings where he can very much keep to himself as he desires. His only friend Humphry Hardwick, is very much the opposite. Loud, brash, jolly, outgoing, and always asking if Neville has met that special lady yet. Hardwick is convinced a lady in his life is all Neville needs to turn from solitary loner who hides among numbers, into a social butterfly.

Neville keeps a diary of his wearisome and dreary life. Particularly as his new lodgings seem to become that little bit less wearisome, and certainly a little less dreary. He begins to question if his self enforced life of solitude has sent him on a downward spiral of insanity. Or is something more at play? Surely as a rational, sensible, by the books (literally) man he has to be imagining the odd occurrences, disruptions, and flitting sensations while he tries to sleep. As the disturbances begin to increase and his sanity is pushed to the brink, he has a glorious revelation. 

The Ghost Beside Me is a story that will resonate with most. At its forefront it is a ghost story and a love story. However, deeper than that, it is an examination of self, and how we see ourselves, and portray ourselves to others. How we choose to live in this world. How we choose to live our life, or merely be a passenger to it. The power of love, of connections with others and how self worth determines the life you live. A short read, but deep and powerful.

*I received a beta version of this book for review but all opinions are my own.

This review is also listed on Amazon.co.uk and Goodreads.

*No affiliate links, I am just linking to make your life easier!

Book Review – The Ghost Beside Me by Lee Hall

Book: Open Evening (Available on Amazon*)
Author: Lee Hall

Open Evening (The Order of the Following Series) by [Hall, Lee]

You find yourself enthralled by the story before you even realise it, sucked right into crazy escapades, drama and suspense – a sure sign of a gripping read!

High school is killer. There are the jocks, the popular pretty girls, the class clown, the bully, the geeks, the total outcasts, where do you fit in? Luke Hartford spends each day skirting the fringes of the high school hierarchy. He just wants to get in, get class done and get by. Odd teachers, jerk classmates, the unattainable girl, and a really weird friend who seems determined to become his best friend, these are all things he can deal with. Then comes the school Open Evening. It sets off a strong sense of deja vu – or is it more than that? The Open Evening swiftly moves from being a regular mundane school event to be endured and suffered through, to a fight for life. We are introduced to a cast of characters, Luke, Buster, Twister. Then come the…..well, what are they exactly? Nothing you want to hang around and say hello to for sure. 

Once the action kicks off it continues until the very end. There are tantalising backstories teased at for some of the characters. There is more going on than we truly understand. But what we do see is our motley crew stepping up to the plate, and shaping up to become just the people needed to try to save the town. The big question is, can they? And can they survive becoming heros??

You find yourself enthralled by the story before you even realise it, sucked right into crazy escapades, into the drama and suspense, and almost casting around for a weapon for self-defense of your own, just in case you need it – a sure sign of a gripping read. Definitely one to add to the ‘to read’ list!

Disclaimer: I purchased this book myself and all opinions are my own.

This review is also listed on Amazon.co.uk and Goodreads.

*No affiliate links, I am just linking to make your life easier!

Book Review – Open Evening by Lee Hall

Book: Nocturnal Blood (Available on Amazon*)
Author: Villimey Mist

Nocturnal Blood takes a common vampire narrative and turns it on its head.

What do you expect when you read a vampire story? Blood, violence, sex, gore, some more blood for good measure? Mainstream film and tv would also lead us to expect dazzlingly attractive vampires, with equally attractive sidekicks. 

Well, Nocturnal Blood takes this common vampire narrative and turns it on its head. It introduces you to Leia. Pleasant, naive, polite, eager to please, and crippled with OCD – a mental health condition that leads to a teenage life of cruel and heartless bullying. We then meet Sophie. One of the more popular kids in school, she takes it upon herself to befriend Leia. Once Leia gets over her trust issues (is this a prank? Another stunt everyone is pulling on her? Another bully waiting for the right moment to pounce?) they become good friends. But then Sophie vanishes – well moves to Canada, so as good as vanishes! They keep writing letters to one another, but eventually, the letters stop. Leia tries to move on with her life, but some part of her always misses Sophie.

Then one evening walking home from the library Leia is attacked. It could have ended badly, very badly. Yet out of the shadows steps the long-missing Sophie – and instead, it ends brutally badly for Leia’s would-be attacker. Horrified at first, Leia soon reaches out to Sophie, and this sets off a chain of events. This results in a human/vampire road trip to find a place of refuge. Along the way, they find themselves, discover their true friendship, and discover more than they ever bargained for.

As a vampire tale goes this was quite a break from the norm. No love triangles, no angst at unrequited love, no dilemma at should the vampire turn the human. Instead, it brought the realness of being a teenager, struggling with mental health, abuse, bullying, and many more issues. A coming of age friendship story, where one of the friends happens to be a vampire. Where two young teenagers are discovering who they really are, and what lengths they will go to in order to protect one another, and what they have. There was plenty of blood and drama but rooted in a pretty solid back story. The writing was at times a little clunky, but one would put this down to the author not being a native English speaker. It didn’t distract from the story too much. Overall a thoroughly enjoyable read and one that left me looking for more!

*I received this book for free as part of the authors’ promotional giveaway, but would happily purchase more from her.

This review is also listed on Amazon.co.uk and Goodreads.

*No affiliate links, I am just linking to make your life easier!

Book Review – Nocturnal Blood by Villimey Mist