Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee #BookReview #JulyReleases

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brokenbranches

Title: Broken Branches
Author: M. Jonathan Lee
Series: n/a
Format: Paperback ARC, 294 pages
Publication Details: July 27th 2017 by Hideaway Fall
Genre(s): Thriller/Mystery; Horror
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free advance copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads 

bookdepo

‘Family curses don’t exist. Sure, some families seem to suffer more pain than others, but a curse? An actual curse? I don’t think so.’

A family tragedy was the catalyst for Ian Perkins to return to the isolated cottage with his wife and young son. But now they are back, it seems yet more grief might befall the family.

There is still time to act, but that means Ian must face the uncomfortable truth about his past. And in doing so, he must uncover the truth behind the supposed family curse.

Review

The cover of this book is so perfect it’s hard to put into words. It’s dark, beautiful and mysterious, which is exactly how I’d describe the story within.

Broken Branches is about the Perkins family, in particular Ian and his wife Rachel, who move into the cottage where Ian grew up. The cottage with the huge, ominous looking tree outside; the cottage where bad things happen.

I found the book a little slow to start with but before I knew it couldn’t put it down. It’s one of those stories that never quite gives you the answers you want. You know the type; the type of story that drives you mad in the best possible way.

There had been talk of ‘the curse’ since Ian’s childhood when his uncle died, but he never truly believed it until he inherited the cottage himself. This threw up many questions in itself – why would he move into a house with such a bad history? Other curiosities in the story (and believe me when I say it’s full of them), surrounded Rachel who is extremely distant and aloof from the start – was she depressed? Mentally ill? We’re not quite sure.

Ian delves deeper into his family history, and that of the cottage, in order to learn more about the curse, thinking that proving the existence of it will solve everything including whatever it is that’s wrong with Rachel and his marriage. But of course it only drives them further apart as Ian get more and more obsessed. He loses his job and sinks into a frenzied, isolated existence where the tree is always lurking in the background, and someone keeps moving his research around.

I think Broken Branches’ success comes from the masterfully layered atmosphere that just gets creepier and creepier as the story goes on. M. Jonathan Lee has done a wonderful job in creating suspense and intrigue, and there are some great horror elements in it too. I’m not sure I’d even want to read this on a stormy night…

unicorn rating 4

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The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne #BookReview #Thriller #AlltheUnicorns

marshkingTitle: The Marsh King’s Daughter
Author: Karen Dionne
Series: n/a
Format: Digital ARC, 320 pages
Publication Details: 
June 13th 2017 by Sphere
Genre(s): Thriller
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free advance copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Goodreads 

bookdepo

The suspense thriller of the year – The Marsh King’s Daughter will captivate you from the start and chill you to the bone.

‘I was born two years into my mother’s captivity. She was three weeks shy of seventeen. If I had known then what I do now, things would have been a lot different. I wouldn’t have adored my father.’

When notorious child abductor – known as the Marsh King – escapes from a maximum security prison, Helena immediately suspects that she and her two young daughters are in danger.

No one, not even her husband, knows the truth about Helena’s past: they don’t know that she was born into captivity, that she had no contact with the outside world before the age of twelve – or that her father raised her to be a killer.

And they don’t know that the Marsh King can survive and hunt in the wilderness better than anyone… except, perhaps his own daughter.

Review

Yes. Just all the yes! It’s been a really long time since I stayed up wayyyy too late because I couldn’t put a book down, but this one forced me too.

The Marsh King’s Daughter is a fast-paced, thrilling, creepy, empowering, brilliant story about a girl who was brought up in the wilderness, taught to hunt and track by her unpredictable father (at a very young age), and who never met another single person other than her father and her parents until she was 12 years old.

She didn’t know it, but Helena was her father’s prisoner, just like her mother was.

Helena, now happily married with two little girls, has made a nice life for herself, but it came at a price. She became a new person and never told anyone who her father is. She wasn’t able to visit him in prison even though sometimes she wanted to.

When she hears on the news that he has escaped from the maximum security prison he was being held, killing two men, Helena is in no doubt that he’ll come for her and her girls, but luckily for her The Marsh King taught her everything he knew.

I loved so much about this story. Helena took to the wild life from an early age. She loved hunting, tracking, shooting, killing. She was a prisoner but she didn’t know it, and ironically the marsh offered her a freedom normal children will never experience. She had many happy times and she often idolised her Native American father. But she also feared him, and knew that his relationship with her mother was strange.

I found it really interesting how Helena viewed her mother. They hadn’t bonded and she wondered if she loved her. She didn’t understand why her mum was so weak and not present. The thought of staying in the cabin and making jam with her mum made her skin crawl. Her mum’s story is the truly harrowing element of this novel.

The whole way through I wondered if Helena’s mum had made the decision to not tell her about the situation out of fear, or because she wanted her to have some normality in her childhood. I wanted to know if she’d ever tried to escape, and if not, why not, but I think it was a much better story not knowing that as we only see through the eyes of Helena – which I thought was really powerful.

The Marsh King’s Daughter was great from the beginning but the second half of the book was outstanding, I really could not put it down. I needed to know if Helena and her lovely family would be OK; what she would say to her father when she saw him; If she could survive once more? I think she has to be one of my favourite protagonists of recent years, and I know her story will stay with me for a long, long time.

unicorn rating

 

This Year in Horror (thus far): Part 1 #HorrorOctober #BookReviews

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I’ve enjoyed some great books that fall under the vast umbrella that is horror this year. Here are some of my ‘horror tag’ reviews. 

Sanctuary Bay

Original review posted: Jan 18th 2016

sanctuarybay

5/5

Title: Sanctuary Bay
Author: Laura J. Burns & Melinda Metz
Series: N/A
Format: Digital ARC, 320 pages
Publication Details: January 19th 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin (USA) // February 13th (UK)
Genre(s): YA; Thriller; Mystery
Disclosure? Yep! I received an advance copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads // Purchase

When Sarah Merson receives the opportunity of a lifetime to attend the most elite prep school in the country-Sanctuary Bay Academy-it seems almost too good to be true. But, after years of bouncing from foster home to foster home, escaping to its tranquil setting, nestled deep in Swans Island, couldn’t sound more appealing.

Swiftly thrown into a world of privilege and secrets, Sarah quickly realizes finding herself noticed by class charmer, Nate, as well as her roommate’s dangerously attentive boyfriend, Ethan, are the least of her worries. When her roommate suddenly goes missing, she finds herself in a race against time, not only to find her, but to save herself and discover the dark truth behind Sanctuary Bay’s glossy reputation.

Review

I fell in love with the cover of this book instantly, and when I read that co-author Melinda Metz was one of the writers of Roswell (one of my favourite TV shows of all time – no shame!), I knew I had to read it.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the premise though. The elite prep school part appealed to me, and I assumed the story would follow the mystery of the missing room-mate, but Sanctuary Bay was SO much more than that.

Protagonist Sarah is really interesting character. She witnessed her parents getting killed when she was just three, and she remembers it vividly. Everyone tells her that it’s impossible to remember at such an early age, but Sarah knows that her brain works differently to other people’s.

Sarah has grown-up in foster homes, some good, some terrible. She considers herself pretty poor, and she’s determined to make something of herself. When she’s offered a scholarship out of the blue to the most elite prep school in the country, it’s practically a miracle. But Sarah wants to believe her luck has changed, and feels that she deserves this great opportunity, so she’s determined not to mess it up.

But of course, if something’s too good to be true, there’s usually a reason. And Sanctuary Bay is definitely not your average school.

Marketed as a ‘full-immersion’ school, in which pupils can never leave (it’s on an island so they really, really, can’t), or have any contact with the outside world including family, apart from being allowed monthly care packages to arrive through the post.

The students are therefore quick to form bonds. At first Sarah is blindsided by how friendly everyone is, and she soon feels like part a family – something she has longed for her whole life. But it’s not long until things start getting weird. She’s initiated into a secret society whose ‘missions’ get weirder and weirder. And then her room-mate goes missing and Sarah is stuck between loyalty to her brothers and sisters, her own sanity, and the truth.

There is so much more to this story as well. I absolutely loved Sanctuary Bay and couldn’t put it down! I liked the contrast between the futuristic-type technology at the school and that part of it was built on a POW camp, and how all of this is woven into a great mystery.

The setting was awesome, I couldn’t fault the writing, and it was a fast-paced, thrill-ride.

I’m extremely happy and impressed at how the YA genre has evolved over the last ten years, and it’s all down to diverse, unique, and exciting books like this one. Success all round.

If Sanctuary Bay is anything to go by, 2016 is going to be another great year for YA…have ALL the unicorns!  Witches Hats!

horroctrating-5

 

Angel of Vengeance

Original review posted: Feb 8th 2016

angelTitle: Angel of Vengeance
Author: Trevor Munson
Series: N/a
Format: paperback, 239 pages
Publication Details: February 1st 2011 by Titan Books
Genre(s): Fantasy; Crime; Vampires
Disclosure? Nope, it was a gift.

Goodreads // Purchase

“NO WOMEN.  NO CHILDREN. NO INNOCENTS. THOSE ARE THE RULES…IT’S HOW I LIVE WITH MYSELF, SO TO SPEAK”

L.A.-based Private Eye and vampire Mick Angel has been hired by a beautiful red-headed burlesque dancer to find her missing sister. But the apparently simple case of a teenage runaway is soon complicated by drug dealers, persistent cops, murder, and Mick’s own past.

Mick must learn the hard way what every vampire should know – nothing stays buried forever. Especially not the past.


THE NOVEL THAT INSPIRED THE TV SERIES MOONLIGHT.

Review

I didn’t even know this novel existed until I received it as a gift. I fell in love with the TV show Moonlight the moment I saw it, I mean Alex O’Loughlin…hello! I was so sad that they cancelled it after the first season. 😦

This book was published after the series, but was the inspiration behind it. There are a lot of differences of course, but it has the same dark humour and noir, old school detective vibe, which I loved.

The main difference however, was the lack of the Beth character. I really enjoyed the author’s notes (who also penned the series) in which he explained the changes they made for the screen and I totally agree with them. This book did need a romantic element. And it did need a female lead in Beth that the protagonist’s evil ex-wife just couldn’t fill.

Without this, what we’re left with is an interesting vampire story mixed with an average crime story. I enjoyed it, but I wanted more. So much more! It definitely felt like the introduction to something bigger…it was all a bit brief.

I’m really glad this book exists though, if not just to remind me how much I loved the series. It’s made me want to watch it again RIGHT NOW. Well, it has been a while….

horroctrating-3

 

The Merciless

Original review posted: Feb 15th 2016

themerciless

4/5

Title: The Merciless
Author: Danielle Vega
Series: The Merciless #1
Format: hardback, 279 pages
Publication Details: June 12th 2014 by Razorbill
Genre(s): YA; Horror
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it.

Goodreads // Purchase

Forgive us, Father, for we have sinned…

Brooklyn Stevens sits in a pool of her own blood, tied up and gagged. No one outside of these dank basement walls knows she’s here. No one can hear her scream.
 
Sofia Flores knows she shouldn’t have gotten involved. When she befriended Riley, Grace, and Alexis on her first day at school, she admired them, with their perfect hair and their good-girl ways. They said they wanted to save Brooklyn. They wanted to help her. Sofia didn’t realize they believed Brooklyn was possessed.
 
Now, Riley and the girls are performing an exorcism on Brooklyn—but their idea of an exorcism is closer to torture than salvation. All Sofia wants is to get out of this house. But there is no way out. Sofia can’t go against the other girls . . . unless she wants to be next. . . .
 
In this chilling debut, Danielle Vega delivers blood-curdling suspense and terror on every page. By the shockingly twisted end, readers will be faced with the most haunting question of all: Is there evil in all of us?

Review

As a huge fan of YA (obvs) and horror I’m always excited to see YA horror books (Yorror as I’m now calling it) published, as they’re few and far between. It took me a while but I’m so glad I eventually got round to buying a copy of this- especially the awesome pink leather hardback version, which is pretty epic!

The Merciless isn’t a case of your old-school Goosebumps or Point Horror. It’s actual horror, that I imagine some parents wouldn’t be too happy about their teens (and certainly pre-teens reading. I kind of wish this book existed when I was 15 because man, I would have lapped it up then.

The Merciless is about a group of ‘good’ girls who take it upon themselves to exorcise the demon out of bully Brooklyn. A prank gone wrong? Revenge gone too far? There’s a whole lot of blood, torment and, well, torture, and the whole way through you’re left thinking ‘are they really doing this?’ 

I can definitely see where they got the whole ‘Mean Girls meets Stephen King’ tagline from. Unlike Stephen King however, this book is severely lacking in the character development department. But you know what? I kind of didn’t care. It would have perhaps made it easier to believe if we knew more about protagonist Sofia before she became friends with the ‘mean girls’ and got involved in the whole Satanic mess, but it wouldn’t make much difference, and it didn’t affect my enjoyment overall.

Like Mean Girls, this book is pretty shallow. But what it lacks in depth it makes up with in relentless action and chaos. It’s also mightily swift in pace. I definitely struggled to put it down, in fact I’m pretty sure I only put it down once. 

I also really enjoyed the sort-of-twist, and although most of the book felt predictable, it was quite easy to second guess yourself and end up with a genuine surprise on your hands. 

I’m already looking forward to the second book. I just hope Vega can develop the characters a bit more. 

horroctrating-4

 

The Crow Girl

Original review posted: April 7th 2016

crowgirlTitle: The Crow Girl
Author: Erik Axl Sund
Series: N/A
Format: Digital ARC, 784 pages
Publication Details: April 7th 2016 by Harvill Secker
Genre(s): Crime Fiction; Thriller
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Goodreads 

bookdepo

It starts with just one body – tortured, mummified and then discarded.

Its discovery reveals a nightmare world of hidden lives. Of lost identities, secret rituals and brutal exploitation, where nobody can be trusted.

This is the darkest, most complex case the police have ever seen.

This is the world of the Crow Girl.

Review

Everything about this book drew me in until I realised that it’s almost 800 pages long! I probably would have been put off if I’d realised that before I requested a copy (because as a ‘in spare-time blogger’, I aint got time for that), but I’m so glad I started reading first. It was totally worth the investment of time. 

The Crow Girl is one of the darkest, twisted, deviously woven crime books I’ve ever read. As the synopsis suggests it starts with one dead body, and mannnn does it escalate from there. 

We follow protagonist Jeanette Kihlberg, a respected detective who is assigned the case when a mummified boy is discovered. Jeanette is a strong protagonist. She’s clearly dedicated to her work but is also consumed by it, which takes its toll on her private life. As more bodies show up, and the search for a killer intensifies, Jeanette’s life starts to unfurl. 

The Crow Girl isn’t a simple whodunnit tale. It’s a complex saga of child abuse, paedophile circles, corrupt officials, false identities, human trafficking and psychological battles. It took me a few chapters to get hooked and adapt to the dark and twisted tone of the story but once I did, it was impossible to not get completely invested the story.

Originally written as a trilogy, and published here as one volume, The Crow Girl has been painstakingly translated from Swedish. Despite the length, I’m really glad I read this all in one go as I think it would have been too confusing in three separate books and I’m not sure I would have appreciated the first part enough to read the second; it’s all about the bigger picture and the pay off at the end! I was also extremely thankful for the short chapters – they really helped in making the book less of a chore. 

This is one of those books where I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, but what I will say is that The Crow Road is a book that sheds light on child abuse and the damage it can cause. The effects of which ripple throughout all 700+ pages of this disturbing Swedish triumph.

It actually reminded me a lot of the Hannibal TV show with similarities in both content and style/tone, so if you enjoyed that I’d highly recommend giving this one a try.

horroctrating-4

 

Did you read any of these this year?

NEXT ON HORROR OCTOBER: Top Ten Highly Recommended Horror Reads

 

 

 

Book Blitz & Giveaway: Pretty Wicked #HorrorOctober #BlogTour

horroroctofficial2016

Welcome to another book promo on Lipsyy Lost & Found where I’m always thrilled to support indie authors & publishers. Thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for arranging the blitz and giveaway for this brand new YA horror novel by Kelly Charron.

Pretty Wicked ~ Kelly Charron


prettywickedcoverPublication date:
  September 30th 2016

Genres: YA, Horror/ Thriller

The daughter of a local police detective, fifteen-year-old Ryann has spent most of her life studying how to pull off the most gruesome murders her small Colorado town has ever seen.

But killing is only part of it. Ryann enjoys being the reason the cops are frenzied. The one who makes the neighbors lock their doors and windows on a hot summer’s day. The one everyone fears but no one suspects.

Carving out her own murderous legacy proves harder than she predicted. Mistakes start adding up. And with the police getting closer, and her own father becoming suspicious, Ryann has to prove once and for all that she’s smarter than anyone else—or she’ll pay the ultimate price.

Written in a mature YA voice. Some graphic content.

Goodreads // Amazon

Meet the Author

prettywickedauthor

Kelly Charron is the author of YA and adult horror, psychological thrillers and urban fantasy novels. All with gritty, murderous inclinations and some moderate amounts of humor.

She spends far too much time consuming true crime television (and chocolate) while trying to decide if yes, it was the husband, with the wrench, in the library. She lives with her husband and cat, Moo Moo, in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Website // Facebook // Twitter

GIVEAWAY

For a chance to win a $50 Amazon voucher enter the rafflecopter Blitz-wide giveaway here. Open internationally. 

Sneak Peak

Chapter One.

Some people are called to certain things in their life. That’s what hunting is for me. An urge. A desire. The closest thing I have to a calling.

My name is Ryann Wilkanson. I’m fifteen years old.

And I’m a killer.

It was hard to pick my first.

Call me sentimental, but it had to be just right.

I knew what I wanted. What I needed. Someone worth the risk, the challenge. Somebody who deserved it. Now, I’m not talking about the horrible, abusive assholes you see on TV. I wanted someone who I thought deserved it…

And to be honest, that could’ve been just about anybody.

Some people might think it’s odd to contemplate killing someone, but it was the most natural thing in the world to me. I didn’t dare talk about it—I somehow knew that much—but my thoughts raced with vivid, red-tinted images.

While my fantasies were fun, I had to wait. I still lacked the skill and organization to actually go through with it.

And, as I matured, I realized part of me was still hesitant. A piece of the puzzle was missing. It was as though I was waiting for permission. Something to give me the final push into action.

Funnily enough, I got that that clarity six years ago, when I was nine. My dad thought he was simply giving me a ride to school, but he initiated the defining moment of my life.

I remember it like it was yesterday. He’d just come off nights and wasn’t in the best of moods when my mom asked him to drive me and Bri. I’d raced to the car first, winning shotgun, leaving Brianna to storm behind me. She was a sore loser, and it only made my grin bigger.

We were just a few blocks from the house when Dad started with one of his commentaries on all that was wrong with society.

Jesus. People like that make me sick.”

We had stopped at a red light, and I spotted a guy standing on the corner with a sign that read Please Help.

At first I felt kind of bad for him, and I didn’t understand why Dad was upset. “At least he’s not dealing drugs,” I suggested.

Brilliant observation. Maybe we could put that on a T-shirt for him,” Bri said. My father laughed and my stomach dropped. She never wasted an opportunity to make me look stupid.

Dad grunted. “Don’t be naïve, Ry. He’s probably scraping enough together to get his fix. People like that are after one thing—and it’s not a job.” He rolled his eyes, disgusted. Not a minute later, while we were still waiting at the light, a kid in a fancy sports car passed us. “See, look at that. Punk probably had it handed to him from Mommy and Daddy. He’s what—seventeen? Probably hasn’t worked a day in his whole goddamn life. Entitled brat. This is the problem with the world. You got two lazy bums on opposite ends of the spectrum, and neither are worth their salt.”

My father didn’t have a whole lot of empathy for anybody, and he certainly didn’t entertain excuses. I had to be the best if I wanted him to love me. “People need to either lead, follow—”

Or get out of the way,” I finished. He patted me on the head. I knew this rant well and kind of understood my father’s reasoning. The homeless guy couldn’t even be bothered to walk up and down the rows of stopped cars to beg. He just stood there with an empty cup. He really was a waste.

I fought the urge to point out to my dad that I was nothing like those people—and never would be—but I knew he wouldn’t care. He loved me, but nothing I did seemed to impress him, especially since my older sister Brianna, the golden child, had perfected every- thing before I even had a chance to try.

I had to do something really big to make an impression.

I had to be a leader.

In the car, all those years ago, I realized that my desires could turn into something much more. Those entitled, useless people my dad despised were taking our hard-earned money, space, and air. And I was someone with deadly urges who wasn’t afraid to do something about it. Not everyone could say that.

But unfortunately, I would have to wait. I was much too young to execute my plans in the way I wanted.

My thoughts, however, were uninhibited, and I became enamored with the power and control that selecting the right kill could bring. The foreplay was intoxicating. I daydreamed about the countless ways I could do it. About all the places I could sneak up and strike. About the legacy I would leave behind.

For years I researched and studied serial killers— or as I liked to call them, The Greats. Most of The Greats hadn’t started until well into their adulthood. Call me an overachiever, but I wanted more kills in less time. I had all the qualities required: above-average intelligence, inside information (Dad was a cop), and a sweet cherub face.

But I also had something more. Tenacity. I knew what I wanted, and come hell or high water, I was going to get it. By fifteen, the thirst inside me could finally be quenched.

Cue my first planned victim—a snotty little brat who lived only a few streets away from me. Olivia McMann. Ugh. She was exhausting. Spoiled. Whiny. Brianna used to babysit her. I’d be dragged along because my parents usually worked overtime at their respective jobs. I was twelve and old enough to stay home alone, but they insisted. Like I had nothing better to do.

Brianna would be online with her friends or texting her boyfriend, and she’d stick Livy with me. Olivia wouldn’t leave me alone. One night she pestered me for hours on end until I lost it on her. Then she got the quivering lip and teary eyes and went crying to Bri.

Bri’s voice ripped across the room. “Ryann, what did you do now?”

Nothing! Why do you always assume it was me? Maybe Livy is being a little crybaby over absolutely nothing,” I said, arms crossed tightly across my chest.

The brat came running up behind me. “You’re mean, Ryann. I hate you!”

I swept my hair into a ponytail and turned my back to her.

Death glare in full force, Brianna dug into me. “Why are you being such a pest? Leave Olivia alone already. Go find something to do, and don’t think for one second I’m giving you any of the money.”

She proceeded to get Olivia some licorice. A reward for her evilness. Maybe they were in on it together and shared private laughs while discussing different ways to torture me.

Brianna was seventeen at the time, and she hated me. No matter how hard I tried, she always dismissed me like I was an annoying pain in her ass.

Not everything is my fault, you know,” I said, determined to stand my ground.

Well, she’s not the one in my face right now. Go play with her for an hour until her bedtime, and maybe I won’t tell Mom.” Smiling smugly, Bri tilted her head. I wanted to punch her. As soon as we were out of her sight, Olivia stuck her tongue out at me and danced around, joyous in her victory.

See, I told you I’d get you in trouble. I always get my way. You have to do what I say.” She laughed.

I promised myself I’d never forget.

Back then, I’d imagined choking her or holding one of her mom’s embroidered pillows over her face until her squirming stopped. I knew her parents were well-off. Only the best for their princess. Olivia was the type of kid who tantrumed, tattled, and fake-cried to get what she wanted, no matter the cost to anyone who got in her way.

Olivia was going to turn into the same kind of spoiled, manipulative bitch I’d seen time and again at school.

I knew how to deal with someone like her. After all, I had killed.

Once.

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If you like the sound of this go forth and buy a copy #SupportingIndyAuthors

NEXT UP ON HORROR OCTOBER: This Week in Books

Cut to the Bone by Alex Caan #BookReview #Thriller

cuttotheboneTitle: Cut to the Bone
Author: Alex Caan
Series: N/a
Format: Digital ARC, 320 pages
Publication Details: November 3rd 2016 by Bonnier Publishing
Genre(s): Thriller; Crime Fiction
Disclosure? Yep, I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Goodreads 

bookdepo

One Missing Girl. Two Million Suspects.

Ruby is a vlogger, a rising star of YouTube and a heroine to millions of teenage girls.

And she’s missing . . .

But she’s an adult – nothing to worry about, surely?

Until the video’s uploaded . . .

Ruby, in the dirt, pleading for her life.

Enter Detective Inspector Kate Riley; the Met’s rising star and the head of a new team of investigators with the best resources money can buy. Among them, Detective Sergeant Zain Harris, the poster boy for multiracial policing. But can Kate wholly trust him – and more importantly, can she trust herself around him?

As hysteria builds amongst the press and Ruby’s millions of fans, Kate and her team are under pressure to get results, and fast, but as they soon discover, the world of YouTube vloggers and social media is much darker than anyone could have imagined.

And the videos keep coming…

Review

I was in the mood for a dark, crime thriller so I picked this book up slightly ahead of schedule and I enjoyed it a lot.

Cut to the Bone opens with a girl being kidnapped. I instantly found the writing-style exciting and intriguing. It’s sharp and very matter-of-fact which I’m sure some people with have an issue with but I lapped it up. 

We soon discover that the girl being kidnapped was Ruby, a YouTube star. Ruby does beauty tutorials and talks about her life, depression and other things on her Vlog, to a huge teen audience. She’s a good role model, she tries to use her experiences to help others. So when she goes missing there’s instant interest in it. But it doesn’t explain why commissioner Justin Hope seems to know about it before she’s even classified as a missing person- only hours after her disappearance. 

Like all good crime thrillers, Cut to the Bone is complex, with many strands weaving through it at once. There’s the unreliable cops, the exploitative media agents, ex-boyfriends, stalker-fans and a strange family, (amongst others) all thrown into the mix. Any one of them could be the culprit. 

Caan does a good job of throwing in some red herrings and keeping you guessing, and I couldn’t stop digitally turning those pages, although to be fair, I was never that invested it finding out who the killer is, because we don’t actually know if she’s dead.

I feel like I can’t really give Cut to the Bone more than 3/5, mainly because it wasn’t anything special. I enjoyed it and all, but it didn’t blow me away. It hasn’t stayed with me, you know!? Maybe I’m just in a harsh mood…

I also got pretty bored with all the drawn-out explanations about what Vloggers do and how they make money. I’m sure it’s just a case of timing, and that probably when the story was actually written Vloggers weren’t very well known, but it felt quite dated and well, out of touch. Like it was written by someone who has only just discovered the internet or something.

Anyhoo, for a debut novel, Cut to the Bone is a winner. The writing is quite different than your run-of-the-mill thrillers and that’s what really impressed me. 

Definitely worth a read – and I’ll be looking out for more from Caan in the future. 

unicorn rating 3

Cut to the Bone is out now on Kindle, but not due in paperback until November 2016

This Week in Books 21.09.16 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

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Welcome to my weekly post, where I sum-up what I’ve been up to in bookland the past week. 

It’s Wednesday so you know what that means…time to share how our reading week is shaping up! Don’t forget to leave your link in the comments for everyone to see 🙂 

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Now:  Cut to the Bone ~ Alex Caan // The EnchantedRene Denfeld

Cut to the Bone is a fast-paced police procedural thriller that I’m enjoying a lot. The e-book is out now but the paperback is due in November. I picked The Enchanted up at work and didn’t want to put it down so I’m reading that in my breaks too. 

Then:  Stealing SnowDanielle Paige

This started off well but went downhill 😦 My review went up on Monday. You can read it here

Next: ??? 

Probably Reckless by Cornelia Funke, or Haunt Me by Liz Kessler. Both are  ARCs that I’ll be reading for Horror October. They’re both YA. 

New on the Shelves

For review:

hunterofthedead.jpgSomeone has begun targeting vampires.

Vampire leaders of the thirteen Houses attribute the string of recent losses to over-zealous vampire hunters. Only Cicatrice, the most ancient and powerful vampire in the world, suspects that the semi-legendary Hunter of the Dead may be the real culprit.

Carter Price, a vampire hunter who despises the way his profession is becoming centralized and corporatized, begins to suspect the Hunter of the Dead is back, too – and no longer distinguishing between vampires and mortals. Against his better judgment, Price agrees to work with Cicatrice.

The uneasy allies attempt to uncover the truth about the Hunter, while a vampire civil war brews in the background. But perhaps most difficult of all, they must contend with their new apprentices, who seem to be falling in love with each other against every rule of man and monster…

Waiting on Wednesday

(Linking up with Breaking the Spine

 The Travelling Bag and other stories ~ Susan Hill

 

 I love Susan Hill’s atmospheric ghost stories and these editions are really pretty. I’m looking forward to this arriving in time for Horror October!
 
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 From the foggy streets of Victorian London to the eerie perfection of 1950s suburbia, the everyday is invaded by the evil otherworldly in this unforgettable collection of new ghost stories from the author of The Woman in Black.

In the title story, on a murky evening in a warmly lit club off St James, a bishop listens closely as a paranormal detective recounts his most memorable case, one whose horrifying denouement took place in that very building.

In ‘The Front Room’, a devoutly Christian mother tries to protect her children from the evil influence of their grandmother, both when she is alive and when she is dead.

A lonely boy finds a friend in ‘Boy Number 21’, but years later he is forced to question the nature of that friendship, and to ask whether ghosts can perish in fires.

This is Susan Hill at her best, telling characteristically flesh-creeping and startling tales of thwarted ambition, terrifying revenge and supernatural stirrings that will leave readers wide-awake long into the night.

Expected Publication: September 29th 2016 by Profile Books

 So, that’s my week in books, now how about yours?
 

If you’re joining in leave the link to your answers in the comments so everyone can take a look 🙂

And while I have you here I’m looking for guest posts/features/reviews/spotlights for Horror October. Get in touch if you’ d like to get involved. 

Coming Up! #NewReleases #TBR

It’s been so long since I’ve done one of these posts! This is what you can expect to see on Lipsyy Lost & Found in the next month or so….

Advanced Copies for Review

 

The Hummingbird’s Cage ~ Tamara Dietrich

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A dazzling debut novel about taking chances, finding hope, and learning to stand up for your dreams…

 
Everyone in Wheeler, New Mexico, thinks Joanna leads the perfect life: the quiet, contented housewife of a dashing deputy sheriff, raising a beautiful young daughter, Laurel. But Joanna’s reality is nothing like her facade. Behind closed doors, she lives in constant fear of her husband. She’s been trapped for so long, escape seems impossible—until a stranger offers her the help she needs to flee….
 
On the run, Joanna and Laurel stumble upon the small town of Morro, a charming and magical village that seems to exist out of time and place. There a farmer and his wife offer her sanctuary, and soon, between the comfort of her new home and blossoming friendships, Joanna’s soul begins to heal, easing the wounds of a decade of abuse.
 
But her past—and her husband—aren’t so easy to escape. Unwilling to live in fear any longer, Joanna must summon a strength she never knew she had to fight back and forge a new life for her daughter and herself….

Expected publication: August 25th 2016 by Orion Publishing Group (first published June 2nd 2015)

The Thousandth Floor ~  Katharine McGee

 

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New York City as you’ve never seen it before. A thousand-story tower stretching into the sky. A glittering vision of the future, where anything is possible—if you want it enough.


Welcome to Manhattan, 2118.

A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. But people never change: everyone here wants something…and everyone has something to lose.

Leda Cole’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.

Eris Dodd-Radson’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

Rylin Myers’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will her new life cost Rylin her old one?

Watt Bakradi is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy by an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.

And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is Avery Fuller, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.

Debut author Katharine McGee has created a breathtakingly original series filled with high-tech luxury and futuristic glamour, where the impossible feels just within reach. But in this world, the higher you go, the farther there is to fall…

Expected publication: August 30th 2016 by HarperCollinsChildren’sBooks

Labyrinth Lost ~  Zoraida Córdova

 

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Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.
Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…

Expected publication: September 6th 2016 by Sourcebooks Fire

Top of my TBR pile

 

City of Dark Magic ~ Magnus Flyte

 

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Cosmically fast-paced and wildly imaginative, this debut novel is a perfect potion of magic and suspense

Once a city of enormous wealth and culture, Prague was home to emperors, alchemists, astronomers, and, as it’s whispered, hell portals. When music student Sarah Weston lands a summer job at Prague Castle cataloging Beethoven’s manuscripts, she has no idea how dangerous her life is about to become. Prague is a threshold, Sarah is warned, and it is steeped in blood.
Soon after Sarah arrives, strange things begin to happen. She learns that her mentor, who was working at the castle, may not have committed suicide after all. Could his cryptic notes be warnings? As Sarah parses his clues about Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved,” she manages to get arrested, to have tantric sex in a public fountain, and to discover a time-warping drug. She also catches the attention of a four-hundred-year-old dwarf, the handsome Prince Max, and a powerful U.S. senator with secrets she will do anything to hide.

City of Dark Magic could be called a rom-com paranormal suspense novel—or it could be called one of the most entertaining novels of the year.

Published November 27th 2012 by Penguin Books

 

Self-Made Man – Poppy Z. Brite

 

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This collection of 12 short stories from Poppy Brite contains collaborations with Christa Faust and David Ferguson and an introduction from Peter Straub. The collection also includes America, which features Steve and Ghost, the central characters in Lost Souls.

Published July 22nd 1999 by Orion

 

 

Reviews Pending

The Song of Achilles ~ Madeline Miller

The Seeing Stone ~ Kevin Crossley-Holland

Shadow & Bone ~ Leigh Bardugo

Are you looking forward to/have you read any of these? 

This Week in Books (17.08.16)

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Welcome to my weekly post, where I sum-up what I’ve been up to in bookland the past week. 

Happy Wednesday to you all. I just got back from a long weekend in Prague which is so beautiful I didn’t want to leave! I may well do a little post on it at some point. Unfortunately, that does mean that once again I haven’t got much reading done.

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Now:  Daughter of Smoke and Bone ~ Laini Taylor // A Million Little Pieces ~ James Frey

I’m enjoying Daughter of Smoke of Bone a lot but I haven’t got through much of it. I’m also still reading A Million Little Pieces in  the few and far between intervals at work

Then:  The Song of Achilles  ~ Madeline Miller

LOVED!!! Review will be up soon. 

Next: ??? 

Probably The Hummingbird’s Cage as it’s my next ARC deadline. 

New on the Shelves

I found a great English bookshop in the backstreets of Prague at the weekend so obviously I had to buy a few mementos…

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City of Dark Magic ~ Magnus Flyte

cityofdarkmagicOnce a city of enormous wealth and culture, Prague was home to emperors, alchemists, astronomers, and, as it’s whispered, hell portals. When music student Sarah Weston lands a summer job at Prague Castle cataloging Beethoven’s manuscripts, she has no idea how dangerous her life is about to become. Prague is a threshold, Sarah is warned, and it is steeped in blood.
Soon after Sarah arrives, strange things begin to happen. She learns that her mentor, who was working at the castle, may not have committed suicide after all. Could his cryptic notes be warnings? As Sarah parses his clues about Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved,” she manages to get arrested, to have tantric sex in a public fountain, and to discover a time-warping drug. She also catches the attention of a four-hundred-year-old dwarf, the handsome Prince Max, and a powerful U.S. senator with secrets she will do anything to hide.

     City of Dark Magic could be called a rom-com paranormal suspense novel—or it could simply be called one of the most entertaining novels of the year.

  So, that’s my week in books, now how about yours?

If you’re joining in leave the link to your answers in the comments so everyone can take a look 🙂

This Week in Books #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

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Welcome to my weekly post, where I sum-up what I’ve been up to in bookland the past week. 

Happy Wednesday book-lovers! Here’s what I’ve been up to this week…

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Now: Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet ~ H.P Wood

This has started off well. I’m very intrigued to see where it goes.

Then: The War Against the Assholes ~ Sam Munson

I had to DNF this which I hate doing, especially for ARCs but I just couldn’t get into it at all. I’ll do a little DNF review soon. 

Next: ??? 

Probably Glove of Satin, Glove of Bone by Rachel White which is my next ARC and then I’m going to concentrate on my TBR shelves.

New on the Shelves

Borrowed: I stole  borrowed the World Book Night edition of this book from work.

Reasons to Stay Alive ~ Matt Haig

reasonsI want life. I want to read it and write it and feel it and live it. I want, for as much of the time as possible in this blink-of-an-eye existence we have, to feel all that can be felt. I hate depression. I am scared of it. Terrified, in fact. But at the same time, it has made me who I am. And if – for me – it is the price of feeling life, it’s a price always worth paying.

Reasons to Stay Alive is about making the most of your time on earth. In the western world the suicide rate is highest amongst men under the age of 35. Matt Haig could have added to that statistic when, aged 24, he found himself staring at a cliff-edge about to jump off. This is the story of why he didn’t, how he recovered and learned to live with anxiety and depression. It’s also an upbeat, joyous and very funny exploration of how live better, love better, read better and feel more.

 

Waiting on Wednesday

(linking up with Breaking the Spine)

I can’t remember where I saw this, but it looks good!

cuttothebone 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 . . .Expected publication: July 14th 2016 by Bonnier Zaffre

  

So, that’s my week in books, now how about yours?

If you’re joining in leave the link to your answers in the comments so everyone can take a look 🙂

Book Blitz: Mirror Image #BookPromo

Welcome to another book promo on Lipsyy Lost & Found. The wonderful Xpresso book tours have arranged the blitz and giveaway for this new chilling thriller. Check them out if you haven’t already, and keep reading to find out how to win a signed book and a $10 Amazon Gift card.

Mirror Image by Michele Pariza Wacek


Publication date: May 27th 2016
Genres: Adult, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

Which would be worse, knowing that your dead sister has come back to life and is now a serial killer or that someone else is the killer….and that person is you?

Six months after Linda’s sister Elizabeth killed herself, Linda has finally gotten her life back to some semblance of normalcy. Until a killer appears who is stalking men … a killer who resembles Elizabeth … a killer who seems somehow familiar to Linda.

And, to make matters worse, Steve, her old high school crush and now a detective, is assigned to this case. He’s asking Linda all sorts of questions, questions Linda couldn’t possibly have an answer to.

There’s no reason for him to be investigating Linda. She couldn’t possibly have anything to do with this.

Could she?

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

hen Elizabeth was born, her mother knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the hospital had made a mistake.

It had been a difficult pregnancy. Marie spent most of it in bed, nauseated, uncomfortable, exhausted. She barely kept anything down, subsisting mostly on tea and saltine crackers. When the time came to deliver, the doctors performed an emergency Caesarean section, so she wasn’t able to actually watch the birth.

She couldn’t explain it, but the first time the nurses presented her with Elizabeth, she refused to even hold the baby. “There must be some mistake,” she insisted.

“There’s no mistake,” the nurses said, their approach firm and no-nonsense.

Blond and pale, Elizabeth looked nothing like the other dark haired members of the family. But it was more than that. Elizabeth felt wrong. Marie sensed it every single time she looked at Elizabeth, touched Elizabeth, smelled Elizabeth. The baby was alien to her. Elizabeth was not her baby.

But she could do nothing about it. Her husband hadn’t seen the birth. He had refused to attend any of his children’s births. The nurses kept assuring her that no one had made, could possibly have made, a mistake. So Marie had little choice but to bring her home.

Elizabeth was different, always — strange. Marie hated to use that word about any of her children, especially her youngest, but she could find no other word to describe her. Elizabeth was strange. Period.

From birth, the baby kept quiet. Rarely fussed. Hardly cried. She started talking at six months, much earlier than the rest of her children, and started forming full sentences at just over a year old.

She spent most of her time alone or, once she learned how, reading. In fact, Elizabeth remained such a quiet child, Marie could easily forget about her. It made her nervous. Elizabeth was too quiet.

Even her scent was all wrong. Babies smelled warm and sweet, of milk and talcum powder. Elizabeth’s scent reminded her of meat just beginning to

spoil: thick and rotten.

But there was something else wrong with Elizabeth, something more serious than her near silence, her behavior, her scent. Even more serious than that alien feeling, which Marie had tried to dismiss as simple post-partum depression, although it never did go away entirely.

When Marie was really being honest with herself, which didn’t happen often, she could admit what really disturbed her most about her daughter.

Her eyes. Elizabeth had silver eyes.

Not always. Most of the time they looked gray. But sometimes, they changed to silver. Occasionally, Marie even thought she could see them glowing, like a cat’s. Especially at night. There Elizabeth would be, lying on her back, perfectly quiet in her crib, her eyes strangely open, shining faintly in the darkness. Marie would tell herself that Elizabeth’s eyes merely reflected the nightlight in a bizarre fashion. After all, none of her other children’s eyes ever glowed. But it still didn’t make her any easier to face, late at night, as silver eyes stared at her from the darkness. They seemed so old, so ancient. Eyes that had seen thousands of years and hundreds of lifetimes. Those eyes peered out from her newborn’s face, watching her every move, strangely calculating, full of adult understanding and knowledge. She felt afraid, if she were being honest … all alone in the room with those peculiar silver eyes watching, watching, always watching.

Nonsense, she reassured herself. Surely, she could not be afraid of her own infant daughter! What would her husband say? Plenty probably, and most of it with his fists.

Still, she found herself checking on Elizabeth less and less. She argued with herself: Elizabeth didn’t fuss much anyway. Marie didn’t need to check on her so often — not like she did with her other, noisy, “normal” babies.

Her other children. Such a joy they were, her four boys and other girl — Peter, Mark, Mike, Chad and Linda. All healthy, regular children, with coarse dark hair, brown eyes and a little bit of baby fat on their bones. They looked the way children should look, the way her children should look, like their parents. But more importantly, they acted the way children should act — loud, boisterous, rough, needy. Marie loved them for it, loved how she couldn’t get a moment’s peace when they played together. Even when their play turned to fighting, she still preferred it to Elizabeth’s silent, eerie presence.

But Marie loved Elizabeth, too. Loved her fiercely, with the same passion she felt for her other children. Marie knew she did. She told herself she did, time and time again. The fact that she felt relief when Elizabeth wasn’t around meant nothing. She just needed time away from her children, after all. Almost all mothers welcomed the time they had away from their constant, children-related responsibilities. It didn’t mean she loved them any less. It didn’t mean anything at all.

Meet the Author

When Michele was 3 years old, she taught herself to read because she wanted to write stories so badly.

As you can imagine, writing has been a driving passion throughout her life. She became a professional copywriter (which is writing promotional materials for businesses), which led to her founding a copywriting and marketing company that serves clients all over the world.

Along with being a copywriter, she also writes novels (in fact, she just published her first novel, a psychological thriller/suspense/mystery called “The Stolen Twin” and her second novel “Mirror Image'” is set to be published in May 2016) plus, she is also the author of the “Love-Based Copy” books, which are a part of the “Love-Based Business” series and cover both business and personal development.

She holds a double major in English and Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Currently she lives in the mountains of Prescott, Arizona with her husband Paul and her border collie Nick and southern squirrel hunter Cassie.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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