Brief blogs for busy bees

Tag: four star review

Review: Happy Girl Lucky by Holly Smale

Review: Happy Girl Lucky by Holly Smale

“I’m not just happy, Eff, I’m Happy Girl Lucky. People have always said that’s what I am, but I’ve never really understood the expression before… because why can’t boys be it too? But now it truly capsules me perfectly.” Happy Girl Lucky introduces us to […]

Review: Proud anthology

Review: Proud anthology

I was lucky to be invited to Stripes YA Afternoon Equali-tea back in January, where I picked up an early copy of Proud. Since Proud was announced last February, it’s been my most anticipated release of 2019, so I’m so excited to be able to […]

Blog tour: Trapped by Nick Louth

Blog tour: Trapped by Nick Louth

Hi there! Last week I took part in the blog blitz for Vivian Conroy’s A Testament to Murder and I told you that I had another exciting Canelo blog tour coming up, and today’s the day.

As always, I’m going to give you a bit more information about the book before I share my thoughts on it. Hold onto your seatbelts, because this is going to be a bumpy ride.

The cover of Nick Louth’s Trapped

Two desperate criminals. Something she never saw coming. A searing suspense thriller from bestselling author Nick Louth.

In Manchester, two hardened gang members on the run take Catherine Blake and her one-year-old son hostage at gunpoint. She is in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Held in a Transit van, Catherine needs a plan fast. But it means diving into her captors’ risk-drenched world, and playing them at their own game.

Catherine has been through cancer, miscarriages and five draining years of IVF in order to have her son Ethan. He is the most precious thing in the world. She may be terrified out of her wits, but she’d do anything to protect him. Anything, no matter the cost…

Brace yourself.

A nerve-shredding suspense thriller you won’t believe until you have experienced it yourself, Trapped is perfect for fans of Cara Hunter, J.P. Delaney and Rachel Abbott.

Trapped is a standalone, following Nick Louth’s highly successful releases The Body in the Marsh, The Body on the Shore and Heartbreaker. If you’re interested in ordering a copy, you can get it on Amazon for only £1.99!

It’s difficult to write a review of a book like Trapped without giving away any spoilers, but I’m going to try my hardest.

The majority of Trapped is narrated by Catherine’s husband, Geoffrey. I was hooked by the writing style instantly because it’s very similar to The Innocent’s Story by Nicky Singer, which is one of my favourite books.

Geoffrey is fatally struck by the kidnappers’ vehicle as they take his wife and child, giving him the ability to move freely between the minds of each of the characters. This allows the audience to have a behind the scenes look at the thoughts and motivations of each of the kidnappers and Catherine herself, but also lets us look into the minds of the hardworking police officers and siege negotiators who strive for a peaceful end to the confrontation.

Nick Louth has obviously researched the subject extremely thoroughly, with the attention to detail completely absorbing you into the story and making you feel as though you’re watching the events play out on a live news broadcast.

However, a twist towards the end of the story dampened my satisfaction of the book. It felt like a neat and well-crafted thriller, but the second half of the story causes the events to unravel slightly, and no matter how much explanation is weaved through the book it still feels as though there are a few holes in the story. That’s the only reason I didn’t give Trapped five stars, deciding instead to give it four. I can’t go into my specific reasons for that without giving everything away, so I’d recommend you pick up a copy and find out for yourself what I mean!

About the author:

Nick Louth is a best-selling thriller writer, award-winning financial journalist and an investment commentator. A 1979 graduate of the London School of Economics, he went on to become a Reuters foreign correspondent in 1987. It was an experience at a medical conference in Amsterdam in 1992, while working for Reuters, that give him the inspiration for Bite, which was self-published in 2007 and went on to become the UK No. 1 Kindle best-seller for several weeks in 2014 before being snapped up by Sphere. It has sold a third of a million copies, and been translated into six languages.

The terrorism thriller Heartbreaker was published in June 2014 and received critical acclaim from Amazon readers, with a 4.6 out of 5 stars on over 100 reviews. Mirror, Mirror, subtitled ‘When evil and beauty collide’, was published in June 2016. The Body in the Marsh, a crime thriller, was published by Canelo in September 2017.

Freelance since 1998, he has been a regular contributor to the Financial Times, Investors Chronicle and Money Observer, and has published seven other books. Nick Louth is married and lives in Lincolnshire.

I hope you enjoyed my stop on the Trapped blog tour! If you’ve read any of Nick Louth’s other novels, please let me know which one you’d recommend I read next. I’m certainly intending to read more of his work after enjoying this one so much.

Alyce

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Review: Whiteout by Gabriel Dylan

Review: Whiteout by Gabriel Dylan

A school ski trip turns deadly when a storm springs up out of nowhere, cutting the town where the group are staying off from the rest of the world. The ski lifts are out of action, the townsfolk seem to have evacuated and the teachers […]

Review: Mossbelly MacFearsome and the Dwarves of Doom by Alex Gardiner

Review: Mossbelly MacFearsome and the Dwarves of Doom by Alex Gardiner

Mossbelly MacFearsome is a dwarf warrior on a mission. His nemesis, Leatherhead Barnstorm, has stolen the Doomstone Sword and is planning to use it to bring about the end of the human race. It’s up to Moss and his recently elected Destroyer, Roger – an […]

Review: The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts

Review: The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts

‘Is this what marriage is like? she wonders. A constant balancing act between infatuation and impatience.’

At first glance, it appears as though The Flower Girls is going to be a pretty cut and dry thriller. A girl disappears from a hotel on New Year’s Eve, and when a terrible storms starts raging outside it’s a race against time to try to find her – and the person responsible for abducting her.

Hazel is terrified that the finger of blame will be pointed her way, because she has a secret. Her real name is Rosie, and she’s one of the infamous Flower Girls: the moniker given to her and her sister, Laurel, who was convicted of the brutal murder of a toddler when she was just 10 years old.

Rosie was unable to be tried – as a 6-year-old she was too young to face trial – but even the trauma of seeing what Laurel did to the poor girl caused her to wipe it from her memory, the entire day a completely blank space in her mind.

Hazel’s life is good now. She’s in a long-term relationship with a man called Jonny, who she thinks is preparing to propose. She gets on with his teenage daughter, despite the fact that she’s definitely not old enough to be her mother. She doesn’t want all of that to be ruined.

But when an author staying in the hotel recognises her and forces her to come clean to the investigating officer about her identity, Hazel is catapulted back into the spotlight – and back into Laurel’s life, too.

The Flower Girls is more than just a mystery novel, it’s an exploration of the meaning of family. Laurel is abandoned by her parents and her sister, but their uncle Toby supports her throughout the years, representing her over and over again as he regularly tries – and fails – to get her released from prison. Meanwhile, Hazel finds herself a new family in the form of Jonny and Evie, telling Jonny the truth about her past and feeling pleasantly surprised when he accepts her anyway.

It’s also the perfect starting point for many different moral discussions. Can a child truly be evil? Or held accountable for their actions in a legal sense? Is it more important to examine biological or sociological in these kinds of cases? What exactly constitutes a life sentence? My mind was racing at multiple points while reading The Flower Girls, and I found myself needing to put it down to gather my thoughts into some kind of order. These were topics I’d thought about before but was examining in a completely new light, and I loved the fact that Alice Clark-Platts took a basic idea and elevated it to such heights.

The way the story is told is genius, too. The first half of the book is propelled along at a breakneck speed, as the search for Georgie is extremely time-sensitive. Meanwhile, flashbacks are laced throughout the unfolding events, throwing us back in time to when Hazel was Rosie and the original crime was committed. I was eager to know what happened in both aspects of the plot, and I found myself racing through the present day chapters to dive back into the past, then wanting to get back to the present as quickly as I possibly could.

It’s been a while since I’ve been this captivated by a thriller, as they seem to have become so repetitive and predictable in recent years. Although there were some twists I saw coming throughout The Flower Girls, the ways that they were revealed were fresh and interesting, and there was a big twist that had my jaw dropping open and made me want to reread the entire book with this information in mind (something I’m still considering doing).

I requested The Flower Girls from NetGalley on a whim, because it seemed like the kind of book I’d probably enjoy, but I didn’t have my expectations too high because I was sure it wasn’t going to impress me. I’m pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this story, and I’m planning on going back and exploring some of Alice Clark-Platts previous releases to see if they’re as good as this one.

The Flower Girls is going to be one of the biggest releases of 2019, I can feel it.

Alyce

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Review: Odd One Out by Nic Stone

Review: Odd One Out by Nic Stone

Courtney Aloysius Cooper IV is in love with his best friend, Jupiter, but there’s not likely to be a Jupe-and-Coop romance anytime soon, because Jupiter is gay. He’s always struggled to accept this fact, but his girlfriends have found their closeness even harder to accept, […]

Blogtober Day 17: Review: Rosie Loves Jack by Mel Darbon

Blogtober Day 17: Review: Rosie Loves Jack by Mel Darbon

Rosie Loves Jack begins with a newspaper article detailing the story of a teenager with Down’s syndrome who has gone missing after running away from home to be reunited with her boyfriend. When we join Rose, it’s before she embarks on her cross-country adventure to Jack, […]

Blogtober Day 6: Review: The Invasion by Peadar O’Guilin

Blogtober Day 6: Review: The Invasion by Peadar O’Guilin

Continuing the events from The Call, you might expect The Invasion to be brighter than it’s predecessor, but that is not the case. While it seemed that things were looking up for Anto and Nessa, they’re torn away from each other and plunged back into the world of the Sidhe and the Grey Lands, and this time it there’s even less chance of escape.

In case you don’t remember, I disliked The Call. The only reason I decided to pick up this sequel was because I thought there was potential in the world (that and I really hate leaving things unfinished) and I’m happy to be able to say that I enjoyed The Invasion more than the first book in the Grey Lands series. I decided to give it four stars, because it was a vast improvement upon The Call – which I rated three stars – although I still feel as though the characters were underdeveloped.

There’s a lot of death and destruction caused by the Sidhe, and this would have more of an impact if the characters were three-dimensional, but they’re just there to bulk up the cast and build a high death toll. This was proven by an error in the copy I read (which was a finished copy, not an ARC) in which one of the background characters was killed… And then appeared in a scene a few pages later. If the character was fully-fleshed out and contributed anything to the story, a mistake like this wouldn’t have made it through the copyediting process.

Overall, the Grey Lands series is creepy, and I’m pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed it more after having read the second book despite the fact that The Call feels like a standalone. There’s not much to say about it, because it is rather bland (despite the monstrous Sidhe creations and stream of ceaseless death), but I still found it capturing my imagination and I will be thinking about The Call and The Invasion for a long time to come.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about The Invasion, check it out on Goodreads. If you decide to buy a copy, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link: I’ll earn a few pennies from your purchase. Thank you!

 

I know I didn’t have much to say about The Invasion, but if you’ve read the Grey Lands duology, what were your thoughts on the second installment?

Alyce

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Review: My Box-Shaped Heart by Rachael Lucas

Review: My Box-Shaped Heart by Rachael Lucas

“I don’t really know what sort of person I am,” I say. “But I think it’s time to find out.”  Holly and Ed both use their local swimming pool as a way to escape from the things that are troubling them. Holly’s mum started hoarding […]