Monthly Archives: August 2016

Review – Keep Quiet by Lisa Scottoline

imageLooking at other reviewers it seems that many who know this author disliked this book and feel it is not up to her usual standard. This is my first book by Scottoline and, with no comparison to make, I enjoyed it.

Jake and his son, Ryan, are driving home. Ryan asks his dad if he can drive part of the way and, even though Ryan’s provisional licence doesn’t allow him to drive at night, Jake agrees. This becomes the worst decision of jake’s life when an accident occurs and a young woman is killed. things go from bad to worse when Ryan then owns up to a further misdemeanour which would make him even more guilty in the eye of the law. It’s a moral dilemma and Jake has to decide if and what to tell the police without ruining his son’s career prospects and life. They can be honest or they can simply drive away.

Of course an attempt to cover things of this nature should never even be considered as an option and so begins a catalogue of lie upon lie to keep up a pretence that even Jake and his son do not know the full truth of.

What I liked was the pace and the skilful build up as one lie led to another. Jake’s business and relationships begin to suffer, and his wife, who is a judge, is not easily fooled. The ending was good for me. I hadn’t seen that way out of things and hadn’t guessed the outcome.

There were some things I didn’t like. Jake’s wife, Pam, is, as previously stated, a well respected judge and, as such, a busy career woman. She seems like a caring mother but very controlling, on the one hand marvelling that their son is planning his first proper date but then checking up on his homework, on his attendance at classes and generally speaking to him and about him as if he were an infant. Jake seems also to buy into this brand of parenting and but I didn’t. It just didn’t seem real to me.

Also, in her effort to properly convey just what a massive shock and after effects this accident caused to both Jake and his son, the author resorted to very repetitive dialogue.


Dad, you have to listen!

You have to listen to me!

No, Dad, I killed her!

There was a LOT of this. Possibly, not more than would happen in real life, but maybe too much for the fictional representation of real life. I understand that the author wouldn’t want us to think that after the initial shock the two were blasé about the whole thing but the repetition could be tedious when, as a reader I already knew what father and son were going through.

Having said that, I was interested and entertained by Keep Quiet and if this really is her worst book I am expecting some very good reading from her other books.

7 Tactics To Grip A Reader At The End Of A Chapter

Seven delightful writing reminders from Sacha Black to help start off Monday writing with some oomph!

Sacha Black

end of a chapterWhen you write the end of a chapter, you want readers to be desperate to turn the page and read on irrespective of the fact its 3:41AM and they have work the next day.

You want your book to be the cause of their bleary eyed appearance as they clutch the work coffee machine and growl at any one who comes near.

But what is it about a chapter ending that makes someone read on, rather than put it down and go to snoozeyland?

Here are nine tactics you can use to grip a reader and tickle their temptation soft spot to read on.

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Review – Stranger Child by Rachel Abbott

imageSix years ago, David lost his first wife in a tragic car accident that left her dead at the scene and their six-year-old daughter, Natasha, also in the car, had vanished. Though the tragedy has left its scars David now has a new wife, Emma, and an adorable baby boy, Ollie. Emma truly believes that at last David can leave the past behind and be happy again.

This is the situation until one morning when Emma, at home with Ollie, is confronted with the sudden appearance of a stranger in her kitchen. It is Natasha, now thirteen years old, sullen unfriendly and unwilling to discuss what has happened to her in the intervening years or how she found her way ‘home’.

This is the second Rachel Abbott book I have read, having started with Only the Innocent and then inadvertently jumping to Stranger Child which is book. 4 of her Tom Douglas series. I enjoyed Only the Innocent but was frankly quite surprised at its success. It was interesting but clumsy and somewhat unbelievable in places. However Stranger Child is in a different league, more polished with a confident storyline.

To use an overused phrase, ‘I was hooked from the start.’ I was! And the reason I was hooked was that I couldn’t think of any possible scenario that would bring Natasha back under the circumstances she had arrived in or that would make her so unresponsive to being reunited with those who would love and care for her.

It is quite a convoluted plot and possibly, if anything,  too ‘twisty and turny’ but it kept me really guessing  for a long time and so did an admirable job.

I like DCI Tom Douglas and his sidekick Becky and will go back to fill in the gaps with books 2 & 3,

Review – The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison

imageThe story of a couple who apparently have everything and yet their preened and pampered lifestyle is the papering over the cracks of a disintegrating relationship. Jodi and Todd are not married but they have shared their home and life for many years. We are told at the beginning of the book that Jodi will, in a few, short months, become a killer and so it begins…

Todd is a serial philanderer. Jodi chooses not to think about such things and instead she concentrates on the problems of her clients ( she is a psychologist – seeing her patients at home while Todd is out at work). In many ways I felt that her concerns for her patients were a vehicle for avoidance  of her own issues. Other than these Jodi busies herself with her clothes, her accessories and the food she will expertly prepare when the day is drawing to a close. But as Todd’s next obsession, ( the daughter of a close friend) begins to finally unravel what seems to have been an accepted situation between himself and Jodi we see just how individually self-centred this pair are. ‘You know I love you’, Todd says, all the time indulging in whatever makes him happy.

I admired the style of writing in The Silent Wife but not always the words, as if the author had no choice but to report things as they actually were, shallow and self-serving and, at times, dull. The skill in putting this book together deserves at least 4 stars, but unfortunately, for me it has to be a three on this occasion because in reading a book I need to relate somewhere, to some aspect or opinion if not to a character.  I could not begin to like Jodi or Todd, to root for them in any way, and their friends and acquaintances, for the most part, seemed to be of the same ilk.

Nevertheless this is a worthwhile read, if not only as a reminder of the important things in life.



Let’s Talk About #BookReviews Day 3 #wwwblogs

Another very useful post by Rosie Amber for those who want to ‘Go in deep’ and really improve the quality of their reviews!

Rosie Amber

August is “Write a book review on Amazon” month and I’m helping support this with a series of book reviewing themed posts.

Make an Author's Day

Most author’s understand the value of  book reviews, our real challenge is reaching the average book reader, for whom writing a book review is not a high priority.

Writing that bookreview – Rosie’s own Point of View. **WARNING – we’re going in deep**  Don’t feel shocked, below are lots of points to consider, but only use a selection in a book review. Otherwise you’ll feel out of your depth.
rosie gardening
So when I wrote my very first book reviews they were only about a couple of lines long. (Good news: Amazon now accepts really short reviews) I would finish a book, think about what I’d read but I only remembered bits especially if I’d read the book over a week or two. I might write something like this “I really liked…

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Review – The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood

imageIn the summer of 1986 a four year old child is murdered and the shocking case that follows reveals the  murderers, both girls, are only 11 years old themselves. The names Annabel Oldacre and Jade Walker and their young images become instantly recognisable to the British public as the faces of evil.

The Wicked Girls is set 25 years later when both girls have gone through the ‘system’ and been released with new identities. There are strict terms to their respective freedoms, one of which is that they must never contact one another again. This isn’t hard for them, the two were not friends, they had nothing in common, came from starkly different backgrounds and had never even met before the fateful day when they found themselves alone in charge of little Chloe.

Years later we learn that the two young girls were given very different opportunities whilst in detention and it is the girl from the poor background, Jade, who has ‘done well’, has a career and is married with children. Annabel, on the other hand, is living with a brute of a man and working in a seaside amusement arcade.

When a series of murders occur in the seaside town, Annabel and Jade, now Amber and Kirsty, are brought together in circumstances they could never have envisaged and soon realise that their true identities are in great danger of being revealed.

This story throws out questions in all directions; status and upbringing and what advantages these things may or may not offer, broken families and abuse. And when things do go wrong, the role of the media and the prison service.

I enjoyed The Wicked girls because, all the way through, it felt very real. There was such a relentless  feeling of impending doom as Kirsty and Amber tried to hang on to some vestige of their new lives. The ending surprised me, ( and although I didn’t find it a bad ending I did wonder how well it sat with the rest of the novel), as did the account of what really happened on the day that Chloe died.

I listened to this one on Audible – the narration by Anna Bentinck was outstanding.




Let’s Talk About #BookReviews Day 2 #TuesdayBookBlog

Lots of encouragement and advice here in support of #AugustReviews. Go on, write a review – you know you want to!

Rosie Amber

This month I’m supporting write a book review on Amazon and I’m helping encourage more reading to post reviews. So this week I’m writing a series of book review themed posts.


With Amazon being a very important online book seller, it is probably the top author hang out and often the first go to place for book buyers. The number of book reviews a book gets are often more important than their star rating in improving a book’s visibility.

Reading Soft edge

So could you write a review for a non-fiction book? Answer yes you can. Ok, Hands up who’s ever read a non-fiction book cover to cover? Hmm not so many of you.

I feel non-fiction needs a slightly different approach.

1) You still need to be armed with a paper and pen to jot down the book title, author, notes, characters and observations.

2) What’s really important is that you get the gist…

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Review – Ludwika by Christoph Fischer

imageSet during WWII, this is the story of Ludwika, a young woman who makes the heartbreaking decision to leave her family, including her daughter, behind  in their small village in Poland and move to Germany where she will work for an SS officer. She goes believing that her friendship with the German will help protect her family through the dark days of war yet to come. Once in Germany however she finds her situation is far from what she had hoped; her position in society is precarious and she must quickly adapt in order to survive and have any chance of being reunited with her family again.

What struck me most about this story was the perspective. It was an interesting insight into the plight of those left behind whilst their loved ones fought for freedom; their struggle to live some kind of normality and survive occupation and all its horrors. It’s hard to imagine in these days of ‘knowing our rights’ that these people, such a short time ago, suddenly found themselves with no rights whatsoever and no one to turn to. It is also very thought provoking, when considering areas of the world in this present day, to remember that liberty and justice are still denied to so many. I very much admire historical writers who are able to bring the past alive and give us a glimpse of how things were.

Ludwika has been long listed for the Summer Indie Book Awards 2016 -see Christoph Fischer’s post and website for more information and to find out how you can vote. There is also a giveaway which includes Ludwika amongst other historical novels!

Should You Buy Your Own ISBN Numbers?

Good-to-know advice for now and future reference.

Lit World Interviews

Your book’s ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is the 10 or 13 digit number assigned to every published book, and identifies things like edition, publisher and physical properties. Each particular edition of any published book has to have its own unique number, so you can’t use the same number if you choose to republish an already published book. The new book must have its own new number. I have seen writers on various forums claim that they’ve used the same ISBN number for both their paperback and their eBook versions, but if they did indeed get away with that they shouldn’t have. A quick squiz at Bowker’s rules (internationally applicable) will show quite clearly that a separate ISBN number is required for each format as well. eBook, audiobook, paperback and hardback. Getting even more picky, you could have MOBI and ePub versions published on different platforms. You could end up…

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Review – Frankly Speaking by Don Massenzio

imageThere are a good deal of series around featuring a disillusioned ex-cop turned private investigator ( and I am a sucker for them anyway!)  but this book, the first in a series about investigator Frank  Rozzani felt fresh and a little different.

A teenager has gone missing and the police department have labelled her a ‘runaway’ but her family are convinced that she would never do such a thing and enlist Rozzani to uncover the truth about her disappearance. As soon as Frank begins to delve there is a nasty attack on him, though his lovely dog, Lucy takes the brunt of it, and it soon becomes clear that his investigation is rustling some feathers!

The case turns out to be far more sinister and far reaching than the story of one youngster and I enjoyed the unfolding process as Frank and his partner, Jonesy work to untangle a quite complex plot. I also loved the character of Anita who is prepared to do whatever it takes to get the job done.

This is a really enjoyable read and I will, no doubt, be going back into the world of Rozzani for more.