All about Books, Book review

Book Review: The Silent Child by M J White

After loving The Secret Voices and newcomer to the crime solving genre, Dr Cora Lael, I was counting down the days for the next instalment to be released. When Rachel’s Random Resources invited me to the tour for The Silent Child by MJ White, I jumped at the chance to be involved.

Scroll down to see if this was all I wanted it to be.

Book Review: The Silent Child by M J White

Book cover for The Silent Child by M J White. A bleak landscape with small building in distance. Woman in green coat and yellow hat walking into the distance
The Silent Child by M J White

Title: The Silent Child

Author: M J White

Publisher: Hera

Genre: Crime, psychological thriller

Release Date: 3rd November 2022

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3yiWXZT

Blurb

When a body is discovered at an abandoned Suffolk farm, DS Rob Minshull and the squad believes it’s the latest casualty of the drugs war terrorising rural communities. But when the victim is identified as a well-respected local teacher, the case is thrown wide open.

While they hunt the murderer, the South Suffolk CID team face a new threat. A brutal vigilante group dispensing their own twisted justice puts the investigation in grave danger, as well as the detectives.

Educational psychologist, Dr Cora Lael, is called in to work with Lottie Arundel, a troubled teen who stopped speaking a year ago.

As Cora enters Lottie’s world, it seems that the teen’s silence might hold the key to the case. But as Cora and Rob work together to find a vicious killer, it’s clear that uncovering Lottie’s secrets will take Cora and Rob into the most dangerous of places – where the price to pay for the truth might be death…

My Thoughts

The Secret Voices was one of those books which not only gave me a book hangover, but the voice of Hannah and Cora remained with me. I desperately wanted to read The Silent Child but after such a strong beginning would this one live up to my high expectations? I needn’t have worried, MJ White’s writing and strength of characterisation shone. Her style lends itself to a series because the extended time frame allows the relationships between the CID team and Cora seen in The Secret Voices to slowly evolve. The strong connections I already felt for them were built on and cemented, engaging me in not only the case but there personal lives. These added layers give a fuller and deeper experience so while this book can be read as a standalone, I’d recommend reading The Secret Voices first. You won’t be disappointed.

Meeting the CID team again was like switching on the tv series, Vera and seeing how her life and the others had developed. This may only be book 2 but already I felt an attachment for them especially Anderson and Ellis. Like good detective series, there is much story potential in each member and it will be fun witnessing them develop in the future.

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The story jumped into the action with the discovery of a dead body and I was hooked. A year had passed since Cora was involved in a police case and she was now working as an educational psychologist. Her talent for hearing voices from objects were being used in different ways. It was lovely to catch up with her and DS Rob Minshull as their cases collide and see how their relationship has deepened. The ‘maybe more than good friends’ chemistry between them along with the gallows banter in the team gave some welcome relief against the traumatic case.

Told in several points of view, the reader sees an overview of the case adding to the fear and tension as the story unfolded. This book delved deep into the dark places of society so it’s not for the faint hearted but it is told with care and sensitivity despite being a tense, gripping read. With unexpected twists and revelations, I couldn’t put this down leading to another sleepless night but it was so worth it.

Would I recommend?

Oh yes. The cases of Dr Cora Lael and the Suffolk CID under DS Minshull are ones to follow and read. It’s perfect for these darker nights and for fans of crime procedural books and tv shows like Vera. Once you’ve met Cora and Rob Minshull you’ll never forget them and like me will be counting down the days until the next case.

Author Biography

Black and white photo of MJ White
White woman smiling, long dark hair wearing a baker boy hat
MJ White

MJ White is the pseudonym of bestselling author Miranda Dickinson, author of twelve books, including six Sunday Times bestsellers. Her books have been translated into ten languages, selling over a million copies worldwide. A long time lover of crime fiction, The Secret Voices is her debut crime series. She is a singer-songwriter, host of weekly Facebook Live show, Fab Night In Chatty Thing..

Social Media Links

https://twitter.com/wurdsmyth

https://www.instagram.com/wurdsmyth/

Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

Other blogs on the tour

3rd November
Jane Hunt Writer (Joliffe01)
A Little Book Problem
Baker's Not so secret blog

4th November
BookMadJo
Varietats
Bookish Jottings

5th November
The Book Decoder
PuzzlePaws Blog

6th November
Ramblingmads.com
Chez Maximka
The Comfy Chair

7th November
@WhatJaneyReads
Sibzzreads
Ginger Book Geek

8th November
Stardust Book Reviews
Kate Kenzie Writes
Christian Bookaholic

9th November
Inspiredbypmdd
ANlcraigwrites
Other blogs on the tour
All about Books, Book review, The Enchanted Emporium's Bookshelf

Book Review: Demon by Matt Wesolowski

From a delightful romance yesterday, I am excited to share a review for a horror novel, Demon by Matt Wesolowski. I love the paranormal and crime thrillers so when I saw the blurb for Demon, I needed to know more. Scroll down to see if this excitement was justified.

Book Review: Demon by Matt Wesolowski

Book cover Demon by Matt Wesolowski
Demon by Matt Wesolowski

Title: Demon

Author: Matt Wesolowski

Publisher: Orenda books

Genre: Horror/Crime

Release Date: 20th Jan 2022

Blurb

Scott King’s podcast investigates the 1995 cold case of a demon possession in a rural Yorkshire village, where a 12-year-old boy was murdered in cold blood by two children. Book six in the chilling, award-winning Six Stories series.

In 1995, the picture-perfect village of Ussalthwaite was the site of one of the most heinous crimes imaginable, in a case that shocked the world.

Twelve-year-old Sidney Parsons was savagely murdered by two boys his own age. No reason was ever given for this terrible crime, and the ‘Demonic Duo’ who killed him were imprisoned until their release in 2002, when they were given new identities and lifetime anonymity.

Elusive online journalist Scott King investigates the lead-up and aftermath of the killing, uncovering dark and fanciful stories of demonic possession, and encountering a village torn apart by this unspeakable act. And, as episodes of his Six Stories podcast begin to air, King himself becomes a target, with dreadful secrets from his own past dredged up and threats escalating to a terrifying level. It becomes clear that whatever drove those two boys to kill is still there, lurking, and the campaign of horror has just begun…

My Thoughts

I’m a lover of podcasts so this unique format suited me and this creepy tale well. Based in the depths of the Yorkshire Moors, the descriptions captured the brooding atmospheric location and added to the eeriness of the crime. This novel has a great sense of place. Setting plays a huge part in the narrative; the old kilns left over from when the village relied on the mining industry are the forbidden playground for the village children lured there by the warnings of danger and whispering of the presence of the devil. The murder of Sidney Parsons by the Demonic Duo adds to this lore.

Scott King’s podcast focuses on this horrific crime but the true horror is revealed when listening to the six people’s versions of the events. The deeper Scott digs the more immersive it becomes and creepier truths are revealed. The spotlight on the village inevitably has consequences and tensions rise when one of the murderers new names is set to be leaked. With twists I wasn’t expecting and superb storytelling, this was a chilling read where less is more and the reader is allowed to use their own imagination to terrify themselves. While some of the threads told can be explained with logic and other versions with supernatural leanings remain unexplained and it’s only when seen as a whole the true story is told.

Not only is this a fantastic horror/crime novel, it has a deeper message about society, prejudice and the increased influence of social media.

Would I recommend?

Yes, Demon is a well-crafted story in a clever format that adds to the atmospheric terror of the tale. This is the sixth novel in the Six Stories series so I’m happy to have more books to add to my TBR. With its supernatural leanings, Demon is a horrifying addition to The Enchanted Emporium Bookshelf that will give some nightmares.

Author Biography

Photo of author Matt Wesolowski
Matt Wesolowski

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 story 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 a bestseller in the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia, and a WH Smith Fresh Talent pick, and TV rights were sold to a major Hollywood studio. A prequel, Hydra, was published in 2018 and became an international bestseller, Changeling (2019), Beast (2020) And Deity (2021) soon followed suit.

Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

Book review, The Enchanted Emporium's Bookshelf

Book Review: The Wildest Hunt by Jo Zebedee

I have already read a few festive novels but they are primarily romances. This review is for a completely different seasonal read for those who love spookier and creepier novels on these cold and dark evenings – The Wildest Hunt by Jo Zebedee.

Book Review: The Wildest Hunt by Jo Zebedee

Book cover for The Wildest Hunt by Jo Zebedee
The Wildest Hunt by Jo Zebedee

Title: The Wildest Hunt

Author: Jo Zebedee

Publisher:  Inspired Quill 

Genre: Fantasy, thriller

Release Date: 27th November 2021

Blurb

A long-dead child.

An artist who paints the fae.

An ancient estate on a blood-filled land.

The commission was close to Amelia’s dream: a cosy cottage in Donegal over Christmas and the chance to paint the beautiful Glenveagh estate. But when the weather closes in and the country shuts down, a ritual begins – one that traps Amelia in its circles of magic. Stranded in a place where iron is power, her heart can no longer be trusted and the land itself is a weapon, Amelia’s survival depends on unravelling the truth of a decades-old death. Even if it draws the same ancient danger to herself.

My Thoughts

I knew I was in for a treat when the supernatural spookiness began in the first chapter with the arrival of the grey lady and the highly visual descriptions sent shivers down my spine. It lured me into Amelia’s life and set up the tension and malevolence for the rest of the story.

The tension and impending danger for Amelia doesn’t let up until the conclusion, making it a thrilling if very dark read. The Irish countryside and the Glenveagh estate are ideal locations for the sinister fae hunt and it reminded me of the menacing Overlook hotel grounds in The Shining. There are plenty of nooks and places for danger to lurk, and it has a character of its own.  

There are two points of view: Amelia, an artist who has the ability to draw the supernatural and Jean who longs to discover the truth about the death of her childhood friend. Both are intriguing and make you want to turn the page and, as the secrets were revealed, knowing both sides ramped up the fear factor and made me suspicious of everyone. It’s definitely a book that kept me reading long past bedtime.

Would I recommend?

Yes, if you fancy a sinister, highly imaginative festive read. This blend of Irish folklore and a supernatural mystery set over the Christmas period is one that draws you in for an unnerving and thrilling journey and makes a refreshing change from the cinnamon and mistletoe laced romances that normally fill bookshelves in December.

With magic, supernatural abilities and fae, this will be a popular read with those witches who enjoy a darker novels from the Enchanted Emporium Bookshelf.

Author Biography

Author Jo Zebedee

Listed as one of The Guardian’s Top 10 Irish Sci-Fi authors, Jo writes stories based both in her native Northern Ireland and her fictional world of Abendau.

Social media:

Twitter

Website

Instagram

Facebook

Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

All about Books, Book review

Book Review: The Coven by Lizzie Fry

I am thrilled to share my review for this wonderful book that is one of Amber’s favourites on the Enchanted Emporium’s bookshelf, The Coven by Lizzie Fry. Scroll down to found out why.

Book Review: The Coven by Lizzie Fry

The Coven by Lizzie Fry

Title: The Coven

Author: Lizzie Fry

Publisher: Little Brown Books

Genre: Fantasy, witchlit and thrillers

Release date: 25th Feb 2021

Blurb

‘A compelling, prescient tale of an alternate world with far too many scary similarities to our own.’ Angela Clarke

Let me repeat myself, so we can be very clear. Women are not the enemy. We must protect them from themselves, just as much as we must protect ourselves.

Imagine a world in which witchcraft is real. In which mothers hand down power to their daughters, power that is used harmlessly and peacefully.

Then imagine that the US President is a populist demagogue who decides that all witches must be imprisoned for their own safety, as well as the safety of those around them – creating a world in which to be female is one step away from being criminal…

As witches across the world are rounded up, one young woman discovers a power she did not know she had. It’s a dangerous force and it puts her top of the list in a global witch hunt.

But she – and the women around her – won’t give in easily. Not while all of women’s power is under threat.

The Coven is a dazzling global thriller that pays homage to the power and potential of women everywhere.

My Thoughts

I consumed this book in a day, but if I hadn’t got other things going on, I would have read it within hours. Full of magical action, fear and twists, I did not want to put it down. This dystopian novel set in our time has the feel of the Handmaid’s Tale but with the added element of witchcraft. Misogyny goes a step further and sees all women as evil, and potentially part of terrorist group if they have dealings with magic, tarot and crystals, etc. There are three types of witches – kitchen witches who can denounce their magic, crystal witches who can only perform magic when boosted by crystals so are contained in specialist camps in caves and the most feared, the Elementals. As someone who is fascinated by magic, owns several packs of tarot cards and is known to casting a good luck spell now and then, this book was disturbing. It made me feel vulnerable reading it.

It follows Chloe, an Elemental who comes into her magic with devastating results and Adalita, a crystal witch who escapes jail with the help of a rogue Sentinel, as they try to evade capture. It is an international thriller but the primary setting is one of my favourite places, Boscastle in Cornwall. It made me long to visit and when I do, knowing the connection to this story will make it more special. It is a story of friendship, and it highlights the power of women when fighting towards a common cause. The chemistry between the characters was a joy to read.

Would I recommend?

Yes! With magical explosions, conspiracy theories, twists and high tension, this highly visual novel is a thrill to read. The recent political events only adds to the tension, and it shows how political spin and control can divide families, communities and countries with horrifying results. It is a must if you love witchy books or a dystopian novel with a twist. I can’t wait to have a physical copy on my own forever shelf. Thank you Little Brown Books for my advanced copy to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

The Coven by Lizzie Fry

Happy reading and take care!

Love

Book review Down in the Woods by MJ Arlidge
All about Books

Book Review Down in the Woods by M.J Arlidge

I returned to the forest this month but it wasn’t for the relaxing stroll of forest bathing but a heart stopping race against time to stop a killer with DI Helen Grace.

Book Review: Down in the Woods by M.J Arlidge

 

Book review Down to the Woods by MJ Arlidge

Down to the Woods by M.J Arlidge

Title: Down in the Woods

Author: M.J Arlidge

Publisher:  Penguin UK – Michael Joseph

Genre: Mystery and suspense, thriller

Release Date: 20th September 2018

Blurb

If you go down to the woods today

The last thing Tom Campbell remembers is camping in the New Forest with his girlfriend, Melissa. Now he is helpless, alone and consumed by fear, hunted through the woods by a sinister, masked figure…

When Tom’s body is found, displayed with grisly relish, Helen Grace takes the case. But before she can catch her breath, a second victim is taken – a serial killer is on the loose.

You better not go alone…

Something dark and deadly stalks the forest. Helen and her team must race against time to catch the perpetrator, before more blood is shed.

But the hunt will take Helen back into the eerie twilit woods – and this time she might not make it out alive.

My Thoughts

I love crime thrillers but M.J Arlidge is one of two writers I eagerly wait for the next instalment.  DI Helen Grace is a complex character and has been through the wars since she first arrived screeching into the fiction world on her motorbike in Eeny Meeny. This novel is menacing, creepy and unnerving with heart-stopping chase scenes deep in depths of New Forest which send shivers down my spine even now.  There is a good balance of the investigation and the familiar characters’ personal lives. As the series continues, DI Helen Grace evolves and it is a joy to read as is catching up with Charlie who is juggling with motherhood and pressure of a violent case. This series has not faltered.

Would I recommend?

If you love gripping suspence and not shy from grusome crime add this to your TBR list now. It is perfect for the run up to Halloween for the setting alone.

Happy reading!

 

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