Bad Press: Maureen Carter 5 Stars

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Written by: Maureen Carter
Narrated by: Clare Corbett
Length: 9 hrs and 44 mins 
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:03/05/2016
Publisher: Creative Content
5 Stars
Source: Own Copy purchased from Audible

Publishers Summary
A Bev Morriss crime novel
A serial killer is targeting paedophiles in Birmingham, and crime reporter Matt Snow always gets there first - ahead of the pack and the police. Is the murderer tipping him off?
Snow isn't revealing his source - not when it's a story to die for. But is the reporter breaking the news - or making it? Through it all, Bev has an exclusive of her own...a news item she'd rather didn't get round the nick. The guv knows, but he's on sick leave. Should she let DC Mac Tyler in on the secret - or keep mum?
©2008 Maureen Carter (P)2016 Creative Content
Review
I'm not quite sure of the reason why I like the Bev Morriss series so much. I don't usually enjoy the "feisty but foolhardy" type of female protagonist so popular in crime fiction, but there is something appealing about Bev. Maybe it's all in the writing.

The opening chapter describes a man carefully performing his morning grooming ritual, he is a handsome man, always carefully dressed, yet on this morning he is taking extra care with his appearance, he has something of great importance to do today. He kisses his wife goodbye and leaves their beautiful home. 
Be careful, all is not what it seems!

When ambitious crime reporter Matt Snow took a call from the office to attend a crime scene he was so hung over that he almost refused. Only the thought that it might be the "Big Story" that would propel him to fame and fortune got him out of bed.
Little did Matt know what he was in for.
Matt was first at the scene, there were none of the blue lights or any of the police activity he had expected to see, just him and the dead man who, it transpired, was a paedophile. Two patrolling police constables spotted Matt with the body.

More paedophiles were murdered and Matt was always first on the scene, yet he insisted his information came from an anonymous caller. Despite his protestations the police believe he is involved. 
Yet much as she herself dislikes Matt she can't see him as a serial killer and so does a little more poking around on the side. She makes friends with another reporter at Matts newspaper, this reporter is happy to give Bev as much information on Matt as she can find. Information that leads to a very strange world.

Bev has her own private worries to deal with, confiding only in her friend Frankie and "the Guv" D.S. Byford who is on sick leave. Both are, in their own ways, trying to help Bev who,  living up to her reputation, is being as difficult as ever. 
I thoroughly enjoyed this story, it has a fast moving plot, interestingly drawn characters and a great ending.
Narrator
Narrated by Clare Corbett, a noted actress of screen stage and radio. Clare is a very polished narrator with a lovely, easy to listen to voice. however, in my opinion Clares' weakness is the male voice, they aren't believable and I found it difficult to differentiate between some of them, particularly the ones with the Birmingham accent.

visit the authors website

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Author: Bethany Kehdy
Publisher: Nourish
Pub. Date:  23rd August 2016
ISBN 9781848992894
Source: NetGalley/Nourish
4 Stars

Publishers Summary
A Stunning Collection of Lebanese, Moroccan, and Persian Recipes
Kehdy's cookbook is an inspired collection of classics and innovative dishes from a part of the world which, at the moment, is enjoying its overdue place in the sun. Her contribution and original, thoughtful and delicious. Go get it! --Yottam Ottolenghi Bethany Kehdy is renowned for the contemporary Middle Eastern and North African recipes that she publishes on her blog (dirtykitchensecrets.com). A Lebanese-American born in Houston, Texas and brought up in Lebanon, she spent countless hours learning to cook with her perfectionist teta (grandmother), her vivacious dad and her spirited aunts. Her recipes are a harmonious balance of classic and contemporary, as she draws upon her childhood roots while adding her own personal twist to these iconic recipes

The cuisines from the Middle East and North Africa share many diverse influences and gorgeous key ingredients and spices, such as pomegranates, figs, pine nuts, saffron and sumac. Passionate about food and her heritage, this former Miss Lebanon showcases the sheer brilliance of the dishes of the Levant. Try a fragrant Fish Tagine with Preserved Lemons from the Moroccan chapter; fiery Lamb Shanks with Butterbeans and Tomatoes from the Lebanese; or delicately spiced Chicken, Walnuts and Pomegranate Stew from the Persian. All the cuisines of the regions are covered, including Egyptian, Palestinian, Syrian, Turkish, Iraqi and Jordanian, and all the recipes are easy to make. You'll find yourself drawn into a whole new world and a whole new way of cooking.

Review
A lovely book that brought back memories of a Lebanese friend I met when were both working in Wales in the 1980s. He would phone home to his mother and his first question was to ask her what she was cooking for dinner, he missed the food and her cooking so much, particularly dolmas. He would tell me all about the food and now, here they all are!Nicely laid out with chapters according to food type. Some of the ingredients sound so very exotic, yet I am familiar with some but mostly because of food programmes on the television. 

I was pleased to see a lovely recipe authentic recipe for tabhouli which calls for masses of parsley and just a small amount of bulgur wheat, so different to our Australian version.

There' is a very useful Pantry section with a very good description of all the ingredients. The author has gone to much trouble to make these recipes as easy as possible for Western cooks to follow, as she explains, she never was taught precise measurements, that cooking for her is more of a  sensory experience.

I loved reading her bio, what an interesting life she has so far lived. In fact the only thing I didn't like was the font used for the headers
Copy kindly provided by NetGalley and Nourish in return for an unbiased review 

We Are Holding the President Hostage: Warren Adler 4 Stars

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Written by: Warren Adler
Narrated by: Eric Bryan Moore
Length: 8 hrs and 44 mins 
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:05-18-16
Publisher: Stonehouse Productions
4 STARS

Publisher's Summary
Ageing mafia Don Salvatore Padronelli, a.k.a. the Padre, is furious when fanatical terrorists capture his beloved daughter and grandson on a trip to Egypt. Fed up with diplomatic caution that prolongs their captivity, the Padre and his loyal henchman cleverly insinuate themselves into the White House and hold the President and his wife hostage. Now the Padre calls the shots on getting the President to take steps to release his family. This classic confrontation between two men on utterly opposite sides of the law is laced with humor and illustrates how fierce paternal love can motivate even the most ruthless of gangsters into reckless acts of courage and bravery.
©1986 Warren Adler (P)2016 Warren Adler

Review          
We Are Holding the President Hostage was first published in 1986, now, 30 years later it is available as an ebook and audiobook. 

The story opens in Egypt with the attempted kidnapping of an American Assistant Secretary of State, when this went awry, the terrorists immediately changed plans and kidnapped Maria Michaels and her five year old son Joey who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The  kidnapper, Ahmed, has no idea that Maria is the daughter of the very powerful Mafia leader, Salvatore Padronelli “The Padre”. 

The Presidents attempts to negotiate freedom for Maria and Joey are failing and the Padre is becoming very impatient.
The Padre holds a meeting and tells his men of his audacious plan.

Meanwhile, at The White House, first lady Amy Bernard is finalising plans for a grand State Dinner.
The evening of the dinner is when the Padre strikes, some of his men, dressed as waiters, snatch the President and hold him hostage in the presidential quarters.
However, things do not proceed as smoothly or as quickly as the Padre had expected.

Meanwhile, Maria and Joey are in captivity with only their basic needs being met, it is quite touching, the way Maria attempts to comfort her son. 
Back at the White House it’s interesting to hear of some of the less ethical plans that some of the Presidents men come up with.
The final plan causes the First Lady to doubt her husbands integrity and the tension is building.
Though a little slow to start, this was an exciting read, I couldn’t wait to find out how they would resolve the situation, and there is a little twist in the tail.
 I would also recommend it even if the reader has no interest in politics.

Narrator
Eric Bryan Moore has a versatile voice ranging from the trusting to the menacing. His good pace and rhythm carries the story well and makes it an easy listen. He gave a distinct voice to each character of which there were many, the accents, again, quite a few, sounded natural and authentic.
I hope we will be hearing more of him in the future

Audiobook provided by the producer, author or narrator in return for an unbiased review


I See You: Clare Mackintosh 4 STARS

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Author: Clare Mackintosh
ISBN: 9780751554120
Publication date: 26 Jul 2016
Page count: 368
Imprint: Sphere 
Source: Hachette Australia

Publishers Summary

When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it's there. There's no explanation: just a grainy image, a website address and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it's just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that. 
Review
Zoe Walker, on the train travelling home after a hard day at work is jolted out of her tiredness by the sight of her own face staring back at her from the newspaper. At least, she thinks it’s her face, the photo is a little indistinct. It is in the classified section, the chat lines, and it advertises her as being a “married woman looking for casual action”.

None of her family or friends believe that the picture is of her. She eventually traces it as being one of her old Facebook profile pictures, it plays on her mind and so she checks the classifieds daily, she is shocked by what she discovers.
Frightened, and with her family and her friend Melissa offering little support Zoe is unable to deal with it alone and so contacts the police. By a stroke of luck she comes in to contact with Kelly Swift, a PC with the British Rail Police, Kelly has a troubled work history but she does take Zoe’s fears very seriously. 

They discover that this is no ordinary chat line, no introductions are made, no meetings are arranged, what then, is its purpose? 
The answer is chilling! 
It becomes evident that Zoe is in grave danger and nobody can be held above suspicion

Zoe becomes suspicious of practically everyone, even her own family, could her second husband Simon be responsible? He has been behaving in a very covert manner recently, or maybe Graham, her boss who, unless she had imagined it, had behaved inappropriately towards her. Ex husband Matt still loved her, resented her new husband, could it be him? What about Justin? Her son, he wasn’t happy about anything. In fact the only one who Zoe held above suspicion was her daughter, Katie.

The case develops and is taken over by another police department, Kelly desperately wants to stay involved and somehow manages to get herself seconded to the murder squad. She puts in her all, but she is haunted by her past experiences. Will her new colleagues trust her in spite of her work reputation?

The creepy thing about this story is that it is quite feasible, the author has certainly come up with a unique and clever plot that kept me turning those pages and, for the most part, I really enjoyed it.
However, I didn’t find any of the characters particularly compelling, the only ones who seemed fully realised to me were Matt, the ex husband and Katie, the daughter. They both had an intrinsic spark that made me want to know more about them.

I was a little disillusioned with the character of Kelly who took the role of (to me) the stereotypical  troubled soul, the one who makes rash choices, makes stupid decisions and always knows best. 

Kelly acted against a direct order, she was told not to pass on certain information to Zoe, but in the belief that she knew better, Kelly ignored the order. This was a predictable move but it did drive the plot, so, if it were not for her insubordination the story would have had to go in a different direction. How Kelly managed to remain in the police force is beyond me.

As said, I enjoyed the story but it did seem to be a little rough around the edges, particularly the ending, as if lacking in a final polish. 

This is my first book by the author but I am very aware of the impact made by her debut novel “I Let You Go.” The pressure to produce an equally bestselling second book must have been immense. 
Review copy kindly provided by Hachette Australia

Biographical Notes 

Clare Mackintosh spent twelve years in the police force, including time on CID, and as a public order commander. She left the police in 2011 to work as a freelance journalist and social media consultant and is the founder of the Chipping Norton Literary Festival. She now writes full time and lives in the Cotswolds with her husband and their three children.

Clare's debut novel, I Let You Go, is a Sunday Times bestseller and was the fastest-selling title by a new crime writer in 2015. It was selected for both the Richard and Judy Book Club, where it was the winning title of the readers' vote for the summer 2015 selection, and ITV's Loose Women's Loose Books. I Let You Go also won the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year in 2016. I See You is Clare's second novel, and is a number one bestseller.
Clare is the patron of the Silver Star Society, an Oxford-based charity which supports the work carried out in the John Radcliffe Hospital's Silver Star unit, providing special care for mothers with medical complications during pregnancy.
For more information visit Clare's website 

Cut To The Bone: Alex Caan 4 Stars

Tuesday, 16 August 2016


Author: Alex Caan
Bonnier Publishing
Edition: Paperback
ISBN 9781785770494
Pub Date 03 Nov 2016   
ebook Pub Date JULY 14 2016
Source: NetGalley/Bonnier Publishing
4 Stars










Publishers Description
Ruby is a vlogger, a rising star of YouTube and a heroine to millions of teenage girls. And she's missing. She's an adult - nothing to worry about, surely? Until the video's uploaded. Ruby, in the dirt and pleading for her life.
Who better to head up the investigation than the Met's rising star, Detective Inspector Kate Riley? She's leading a shiny new team, high-powered, mostly female and with the best resources money can buy. It's time for them to prove what they can do. Alongside her, Detective Superintendent Zain Harris - poster boy for multiracial policing and the team's newest member - has his own unique contribution to make.
But can Kate wholly trust him and when he's around, can she trust herself? Ruby's millions of fans are hysterical about what may have happened to her. The press is having a field day and as the investigation hurtles out of control in the glare of publicity, it becomes clear that the world of YouTube vloggers and social media is much, much darker than anyone could have imagined in their worst nightmares. And the videos keep coming . . .

Review
I was attracted to this book by the publishers description, I thought it would be exciting to read a mystery set in the unfamiliar world of vlogging.
The story is told from two points of view, that of  D.I.Kate Riley and her D.S., Zain Harris, both are part of a new department headed by the high flying Justin Hope. Both Kate and Zane have troubled histories, but details of their past lives are eked out to the reader very slowly. 
Neither seem at ease with each other. Despite the fact that Zain came to work for her with the best of recommendations she seemed reluctant to let him run with anything. Zain doesn't seem too happy with his job, there are hints that he feels it is all beneath him, that he is above the plod work.
They both were agreed about one thing though, how odd and inappropriate it was to be called out in the early hours to investigate a missing person case. Especially when that person was a woman in her twenties and had only been missing for eight hours. Certainly this was not normal procedure.
However, when the first video arrives there is no doubt that Ruby is in terrible danger
Ruby, is a high profile vlogger who, on the face of it blogs on the innocuous topics of clothes and cosmetics, she also tries to inspire her fans to live life to the full. What reason could anyone have to want to harm her?
Well  hold on to your horses because you are in for one heck of a ride to places you would never have expected to be taken!
The plot is clever but complicated, plenty of red herrings, plenty of characters and plenty of "show, don't tell" with an abundance of adjectives and adverbs. Personally it's not my favourite style of writing, but the author does it very well.
For the most part I enjoyed the book, but there was a bit too much going on for my taste, too many other little stories detracting from the main theme. 
I didn't really engage with any of the characters, I thought Kate's affair with a married man was a bit tawdry, it certainly didn't add anything to the story other than a superfluous mini sex scene. Why, too would an American think people will like them better if they adopt a British accent? That seemed such an odd premise, after all, many an American actor can't pull off that one.

Still, despite my gripes, I do think we will be hearing a lot more from this author because he does write well and can come up with a cracking good plot

Copy via NetGalley/Bonnier Publishing in return for an unbiased review

Rain Dogs: Adrian McKinty 5 STARS

Monday, 15 August 2016

Written by: Adrian McKinty
Narrated by: Gerard Doyle
Length: 10 hrs and 22 mins
Series: The Troubles, Book 5
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:08/03/2016
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
5 STARS
Source: Own copy

Publishers Summary
Rain Dogs, a stunning instalment in the Sean Duffy thriller series, following the Edgar Award-nominated Gun Street Girl, is "another standout in a superior series" (Booklist).
It's just the same things over and again for Sean Duffy: riot duty, heartbreak, cases he can solve but never get to court. But what detective gets two locked-room mysteries in one career?
When journalist Lily Bigelow is found dead in the courtyard of Carrickfergus castle, it looks like a suicide. Yet there are a few things that bother Duffy just enough to keep the case file open, which is how he finds out that Bigelow was working on a devastating investigation of corruption and abuse at the highest levels of power in the UK and beyond. And so Duffy has two impossible problems on his desk: Who killed Lily Bigelow? And what were they trying to hide?
©2016 Adrian McKinty (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Review
What a great opening chapter! Yes, Duffy is in his riot gear again, but on this day he and his men are detailed to protect a very special visitor. Muhammad Ali is visiting Belfast on his Peace Initiative tour. Thousands turn out to see him, all the bigwigs are there, even little (elevated) Bono is all excited.
Not all are friendly though, the National Front are there shouting their hateful racist bullshite. Then the unthinkable happens, the protectors nightmare; Ali goes walkabout and heads straight for the heckling skinheads! Fearing the worst, his protectors try to get to him, to take him to safety, but then the strangest thing happens …..

His hero now safe, Duffy goes home to Coronation Road where a nasty shock awaits. His lovely Beth, she of the questionable taste in music, but with the razor sharp wit, tells Duffy she is leaving in the morning. He didn't see that coming!  He had thought that something which had begun as a temporary arrangement had settled nicely into something more permanent.
Work is an immediate distraction though, Duffy is called out to investigate a petty offence, a wallet stolen from an hotel room, it only contained twenty pounds so hardly called for the attention of an inspector. However, the complainant is a foreign business man , the city needs his investment money, Duffy is told sort it. During his investigation at the hotel Duffy meets up with Financial Times reporter Lily Bigelow, she is there to report on the Finnish business dealings. Hearing the activity she turns up, notebook at the ready, hoping for a story.

Lily is found dead, seemingly she jumped from the Carrickfergus castle. Duffy and his surreptitiously irreverent young sidekick, Lawson, attend. Cause of death appears to be suicide but this changes, not only does Duffy have a murder to solve, it is a Locked Room Murder!
When Lily’s missing notebook is found they discover that she was following up on a tip-off about a potential sex scandal, a well known TV celebrity is involved and gets a visit from the RUC. In fact their investigations require a bit of world travel, stretching the budget to its limits, much to the ire of Dalziel the budget man (pronounced differently to the Dalziel of the Dalziel and Pascoe TV series, who likes to be called “Dee-al”).
Young Alexander Lawson gets a well deserved prominence in this book, I love his wit, and please don’t let anything happen to Crabbie, (McCrabben) my favourite character,

This book is a little different to the others in the series, Duffy seems to be less angst ridden, less tortured by his thoughts, he is still drinking, still toking, but maybe not in such a desperate manner. He seems a little calmer, that is until his Beemer gets nicked, then he gets mad “call Interpol!”.
Luckily a good deed is repaid and his beloved Beemer is returned safe and sound.
As usual, Adrian McKinty gives his readers top value for money with a book filled to bursting with sheer good reading.

Narrator

What can I say about Gerard Doyle that I haven’t said before, there comes a point when the use of too many superlatives sounds a bit ridiculous. Suffice to say he is a magnificent narrator; top of the line; best in the biz; storyteller extraordinaire, well, you catch my drift! …..
This audiobook is my own copy.
Authors Website
To read my review of the first in series The Cold Cold Ground click here
To listen to a sample or purchase: Audible Australia
                                                       Audible U.S.
                                                       Audible U.K.

Leo Tolstoys Family Recipe Book: 4 Stars

Monday, 8 August 2016

Author: Sergei Beltyukov
Publisher: Amazon
EDITION: Ebook
ISBN 9781502496386
Source: NetGalley/Amazon
Pub Date: 21 May 2014
4 Stars

Disclaimer for VEGETARIANS: Leo Tolstoy become vegetarian when he was 50 years old. Before that his true passion was hunting. So, do not expect only vegetarian recipes.

Description via NetGalley
This book features recipes from Tolstoy’s wife Sophia. Sophia Tolstoy’s 1874 “Cookery Book”, which was compiled for her by her brother from her diaries, provides a rich tapestry of the Tolstoy family’s dining habits.

Many of the original versions of the recipes lacked exact descriptions of ingredients and cooking times, but the recipes were edited by chef de cuisine at some of Moscow’s best fine-dining restaurants to insert the missing elements to make the meals you prepare as delicious as possible. So whether you’re looking for a modern revision on a classic or the original recipe right from the 1800’s, you’re guaranteed to find a meal you’ll love.

Review
This is a lovely book for anyone at all interested in history, old recipes and methods of preparation. I like the way it is set out, with the recipe and method from the original diary first, followed by a modern interpretation. An example of the huge difference between the two is the recipe for Cold Apple Pudding. The original recipe calls for apple puree, egg yolks and sugar to be whisked together for one hour! The modern version uses an electric mixer and simply whisks until thick and pale. 
Many of the recipes include some unusual ingredients and also some may not suit todays tastes, but there are also quite a few which could easily be made today.
Non-Americans will have to research the equivalent measurements, bearing in mind that a standard American cup holds a different quantity to Australian and British cups. To kick you off, a “stick” of butter weighs 1/4 pound/4 ounces/110g.
Of added interest are the diary entries made by the family and guests giving a little insight into their daily lives.
There is also a short bio on each of those mentioned in the book.
An interesting book but probably more for the curious than the cook.

About the Author (via Publisher)
Sergey Beltyukov was born and grew up in Vladivostok, Russia. He later moved to Toronto, Canada, but now lives in Los Angeles with his better half and their cat. Although Beltyukov graduated with a degree in management, his time in college ignited his true passion: European history and the history of food. Today, he runs an international commerce company, but when he’s not managing his company, he spends his time at UCLA taking courses from their Writers’ program and volunteering as an editing corrector for the “All Tolstoy in one click” project, which is a project that aims to digitize the entire works of Leo Tolstoy. Beltyukov describes himself as an amateur cook and historian as well as a full-time entrepreneur. His family loves to cook and eat at home and frequently entertain friends. For Beltyukov, an ideal dinner party would consist of friends telling stories around a table stacked with unique and new culinary creations. Leo Tolstoy’s Family Recipe Book was born out of many hours of research and Beltyukov’s passion for unique and delicious meals and the stories behind them. In Beltyukov’s book, food isn’t just sustenance: it’s a culturally-important art form to be celebrated.
Copy provided by NetGalley/Amazon 

See the book at AMAZON     Authors Website
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