Dot Scribbles

24.6.16

BOOK REVIEW: The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

NOT EVERY GIFT IS A BLESSING.
Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite. But they don't laugh. Melanie is a very special girl. 

Publisher: Orbit
Pages: 512

This book caught my eye while in Waterstones and as I was was walking round with it, two people stopped me and told me it was brilliant (this I why I love bookshops) the bookseller at the till then told me it was excellent plus a few more people on social media told me that I was in for a treat. And how right they were, it is an excellent book and so deserving of the hype.
Melanie is collected from her cell five mornings a week by Sergeant Parks. She is made to sit in a wheelchair (even though she can walk) and has her hands and feet restrained and finally a restraint around her neck. She cannot move and can only look directly ahead of her. She is then taken to a classroom with the other children where she hopes the teacher will be Miss Justineau as she is her favourite. This is all Melanie has ever known; she has no idea why she must be restrained; why she is kept in a cell and why most of the adults around her are clearly terrified to be in her presence.
The Girl With All the Gifts is a dystopian tale; I'm not a huge fan usually but I very much enjoyed this book. The world has been taken over by Hungries (think The Walking Dead) and there are not many humans left. Melanie and the other children at the b
ase have been infected and would devour humans if given the chance yet they are also different. They are not 'zombies', they still think and feel but the humans have no idea what to do with them other than lock them up in order to observe their behaviour.
M.R. Carey has created a group of fantastic characters with so many layers to unravel. As you get into the book, there is so much to think about, some of the characters who I initially thought of as villains are seen in a different light or act in an extraordinary way. I was pleased with how many surprises there were in this book.
There is a strong thriller element to this story too. Some of the scenes were terrifying and there is plenty of gore. This all added to the tension and the desperate situation that the author is exposing you to.
I adored the relationship between Melanie and Miss Justineau, it is the main driving force to show the humanity still within Melanie. Her relationship with Miss Justineau represents hope an the possibility of a future for those left in the world.
I highly recommend The Girl With All the Gifts; it was so different from what I normally read but I was completely taken with it. Since finishing the book, I have found myself thinking about it many times; the questions it raised are not easily put to bed.

15.6.16

BOOK REVIEW: Play Dead by Angela Marsons

The dead don't tell secrets...
Unless you listen.
The girls smashed-in face stared unseeing up to the blue sky, soil spilling out of her mouth. A hundred flies hovered above the bloodied mess.
Westerley Research Facility is not for the faint-hearted, A 'body farm' investigating human decomposition, it's inhabitants are corpses in various states of decay. But when Detective Kim Stone and her team discover the fresh body of a young woman, it seems a killer has discovered the perfect cover to bury their crime.
Then a second girl is attacked and left for dead, her body drugged and mouth filled with soil. It's clear to Stone and the team that a serial killer is at work- but just how many bodies will they uncover? And who is next?
As local reporter, Tracy Frost, disappears the stakes are raised. The past seems to hold the key to the killer's secrets but can Kim uncover the truth before a twisted, damaged mind claims another victim?

Publisher: Bookouture

This is one of my favourite series of books, Angela Marsons is fantastic. I say it each time I review this author's books so I apologise but I think this latest book is her best yet. Play Dead showcases this author's talents, the story is gripping; the characters are well-crafted and believable and she packs so much emotion into this instalment.
Kim Stone does not want to pay a visit to Westerley Research Facility as she thinks it will be a waste of her time. But the body of a woman is discovered while she is there; her face beaten and her mouth filled with soil. The killer now has Kim's full attention. Why such a brutal murder and why leave the body at Westerley?
I really was hooked from the beginni
ng; I felt as though Angela Marsons does not waste your time in any way. I constantly wanted more as she expertly built up the suspense and tension.
We see a lot more of Kim's human side in this story, especially towards Tracy Frost. Kim detests the reporter but when she goes missing, Kim does everything she can to bring her to safety whilst discovering that she may have misjudged this woman.
If you have not read any of Angela Marson's books yet then you are missing out. I look forward to each new book in the series and I can't recommend then enough.

Many thanks to Bookouture for allowing me to review this book via Netgalley. 

6.6.16

BOOK REVIEW: The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows by Marnie Riches

Apologies for this late review, I took part in the blog tour for this book and in my head I thought that I had included my review in that post but I hadn't, so here it is! Better late than never! 

The third edge-of-your-seat thriller in the Georgina MacKenzie series. Fans of Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo won’t be able to put it down!Europe is in the grip of an extreme Arctic blast and at the mercy of a killer, who leaves no trace. His weapons of choice are razor-sharp icicles. This is Jack Frost.Now a fully qualified criminologist, Georgina McKenzie is called upon by the Dutch police to profile this cunning and brutal murderer. Are they looking for a hit man or a frenzied serial-killer? Could there be a link to a cold missing persons’ case that George had worked with Chief Inspector Paul van den Bergen – two abducted toddlers he could never quite give up on?The hunt for Jack Frost sparks a dangerous, heart-rending journey through the toughest neighbourhoods in Europe, where refugees and Roma gypsies scratch a living on the edge of society. Walking into the dark, violent world of a trans-national trafficking ring, can George outrun death to shed light on two terrible mysteries?

Publisher: Maze
Pages: 378

Marnie Riches is back with another fantastic book in the Georgina MacKenzie series. The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows is much darker than the previous two and I think that it may be my favourite so far. Europe is experiencing Arctic weather conditions and someone is using it to their advantage. Bodies are being found with wounds consistent with an icicle being used as a weapon. It's perfect, the icicle melts and no evidence is left behind. 
Georgina MacKenzie is a fully qualified criminologist now, still working on her research and struggling to make ends meet. She more than welcomes the pay cheque when Dutch police ask her to profile the murderer they have nicknamed Jack Frost. George, along with van den Bergen quickly realise that Jack Frost is linked to a case they worked on together before; two missing children who have never been found. What they didn't know at the time was that they had stumbled on a child trafficking ring with connections across Europe and with people in extremely high positions of power pulling all the strings. Will they be able to find Jack Frost and discover the fate of the missing children?
As I said, this book is much darker; I found some of the ideas in it just terrifying. We are aware of child-trafficking rings and Marnie Riches sheds some light on the horrors involved. The people in control seem to be devoid of humanity as they move children about to suffer terrible abuse and pain.
The dynamic between George and Paul van den Bergen is fraught in this book. They love each other but Paul is fighting against his emotions as he feels he is too old etc. George is not having any of that and she sets out to do everything she can to change her mind. 
The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows is an excellent book. I marvelled at the way the author weaved an intricate and gripping plot, kept the pace going and gave the reader a huge selection of believable and realistic characters. 
I can't recommend this series of books enough, Marnie Riches is a huge talent.

17.5.16

BLOG TOUR AND GIVEAWAY: B-Side by Elle Field

I am so excited to be kicking off the blog tour for B-Side by Elle Field. I have read every book by this fabulous author and she never fails to disappoint! Elle writes the brilliant Arielle Lockley series and B-Side sits between Lost which is out now and Found which will be published this Summer! Here's the idea behind the book:

"What do I honestly know about the music industry? I'm just another idiot with a dream who is naive enough to hope that I might be the next big star." Etta Millhouse has always had big musical ambitions to match her big voice, but she's also got three very big problems - the addiction she won't admit to, her godmother's illness that she can no longer ignore, and her godmother's useless business partner (who she wishes she could ignore). Keeping an eye on Arielle's poor business decisions is the last thing Etta wants to do when she's offered the chance to record a demo with a top producer. But, a promise is a promise, even if it has her reaching for another pick-me-up... And then another. And then one more. When the secret she must keep for her godmother, Felicity, sends her drug habit spiralling out of control, can Etta battle her demons in time and make her dream happen? Or, will her music career be over before it's even begun?

B-Side is very much Etta's story and I thought it was excellent. It felt a little darker and more emotional than Elle Field's other books but it was really good and showed a different side to this author's writing. Etta is Felicity's goddaughter and the closest person she has to a mother; Etta is about to get her lucky break in the music industry, she is given an opportunity to make a demo with a top producer and it looks like her hard work may finally pay off. At the same time, Felicity's health starts to go downhill but only Etta knows about this, Felicity has made her promise not to tell anyone, especially her business partner, Arielle who Etta detests. Suddenly she has too much to handle, she needs to be at her best for the record company; look after Felicity whose illness is spiralling out of control and also keep an eye on what Arielle is doing with the business that Felicity is effectively bankrolling. Etta already has a drug problem but this level of emotional stress just highlights it and soon the only way she can get through the day is by taking something or other. Those around her are not stupid, including Felicity, they beg her to get control of herself but is it too late?
Elle Field has created a brilliant character in Etta, she can be quite feisty and prickly but for some reason she is still likeable. She is a little bit lost and has been dealt some very rough cards in life and I just wanted her to do well but it feels like everything is against her. Etta's relationship with Arielle is particularly strained but hints are dropped in this book that it is unlikely they are going to be able to part ways so I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next.Elle Field writes withsuch a good pace, at the end of every chapter you are left feeling that you just want to read a little bit more and before you know it you have read several more chapters. B-Side being set within the world of the music industry was a nice change and I think that Elle did it very well; she explored the murky world of celebrity and how easily it can eat people like Etta up, no matter how strong and independent they are.
If you have not read this series of books then you are missing out, I don't think there is anything quite like them on the market at the moment and I am always so excited when I find out that Elle has written the next instalment!

To coincide with the blog tour Elle Field is also doing an exciting competition that you can enter to win a £20 Amazon voucher:


a Rafflecopter giveaway Many thanks to Elle for inviting me to be part of the blog tour, please check out Elle's blog for details of the others stops!

9.5.16

BLOG TOUR: While My Eyes Were Closed by Linda Green

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour today for Linda Green's latest book, While My Eyes Were Wide Shut. If you are after a gripping read that may freak you out a little bit then look no further:
 Lisa Dale shuts her eyes and counts to one hundred during a game of hide and seek. When she opens them, her four-year-old daughter Ella is gone. Disappeared without a trace. The police, the media and Lisa's family all think they know who snatched Ella. But what if the person who took her isn't a stranger? What if they are convinced they are doing the right thing? And what if Lisa's little girl is in danger of disappearing forever?

Publisher: Quercus
Pages: 416

This book was excellent but seriously creepy! As a mother of a four-year-old, there were times when this book made me feel sick as the idea of losing my own child was at the forefront of my mind. Lisa Dale is a busy mum, like many, trying to juggle different responsibilities; she closes her eyes when playing hide and seek with her four-year-old daughter in the park, when she opens them Ella is gone. Not hiding but gone. The police descend and a man hunt begins. Lisa and her husband Alex are sure that Ella has been taken as she would not be one to wander off. But who has taken her? She didn't scream as Lisa would have heard her; she who has taken her daughter and turned her world upside down?
While My Eyes Were Closed is more than a missing child story. I
felt like it was a real psychological drama. It's difficult not to give too much away but the character who has taken Ella is very complex. You begin to realise that they think they are in the right by taking the little girl which just adds to the tension as you have no idea just how far they will go.
While My Eyes Were Closed is a gripping read, I flew through it in just over a day, it is an impressive  book which I highly recommend.

Many thanks to Quercus for inviting me to be part of this blog tour, don't forget to check out the other stops.


30.4.16

BOOK REVIEW: The Last Days of Summer by Vanessa Ronan

She's hopes he's done with trouble. But is trouble done with him?
Some crimes can never be forgotten. But when Lizzie's brother comes home after serving his time, she tells herself that folk will turn a blind eye.
Lizzie is wrong. And she and her girls will pay the price.
Ten years to repent.
Ten years to forgive,
Ten days for revenge. 

Publisher: Penguin

The Last Days of Summer by Vanessa Ronan is a stunning debut novel. Set in a small praire town in West Texas, Ronan creates a tale that is terrifying and captivating at the same time.
Lizzie's brother Jasper has spent ten years in prison and he is now returning to the family home that Lizzie shares with her two young daughters Katie and Joanne. Lizzie has no idea what to expect, she just hopes that the people in their small town will see that Jasper has served his time and allows him to move on with his life. That simply does not happen though and soon everything that Lizzie holds dear is put in jeopardy and for what; does she truly know the man she has let into her home?
I've read some reviews of this book that have criticised it as being slow but I can't agree. I think that Vanessa Ronan uses the pace to reflect the atmosphere of the small town setting, she then adds layer upon layer of tension until it almost becomes unbearable.
I loved the relationship between Jasper and Lizzie's youngest daughter Joanne, It very much captured childhood innocence, Joanne doesn't care that Jasper has done, she just wants to be his friend.
I highly recommend The Last Days of Summer, Vanessa Ronan is an exciting new author.

Many thanks to Penguin for sending me a copy of this book to review.

27.4.16

BOOK REVIEW: Making It Up As I Go Along by Marian Keyes

Welcome to the magnificent Making It Up As I Go Along by Marian Keyes- A bold, brilliant book bursting with Marian's hilarious and heartfelt observations on modern life, love and much, much more else besides. Such as? You are determined to ask. Well, how about her guide to breaking up with your hairdresser? Or the warning she has for us all after a particularly traumatic fling with fake tan. There's the pure and bounteous joy of the nail varnish museum. Not to mention the very best lies to tell if you find yourself on an Arctic cruise. She has words of advice for those fast approaching fifty. And she's here to tell you the secret truth about writers- well this one anyway.
You'll be wincing in recognition and scratching your head in incredulity, but like Marian herself you won't be able to stop laughing at the sheer delightful absurdity that is modern life- because each and every one of us is clearly making it up as we go along.

Publisher: Michael Joseph

I cannot fully convey my excitement when I saw that Marian Keyes had a new book out. I have read every single book by this fabulous author and I think that Making It Up As I Go Along is going to make her readers very happy.
The book is a collection of articles written by Marian, some have already been published but others have never been in print before. It is perfect to dip in and out of if you wish or devour entirely. I find Marian's writing so friendly and inviting; it is as though she is sitting across the table from you, having a chat.
There were so many moments when I thought 'I'm so glad it's not just me that has happened to' and that is what Marian does best, her honesty is endearing it makes you want to keep turning the pages.
Serious topics are also covered such as Marian's depression and addictive personality, it's so refreshing to have someone just tell it like it is rather than using fancy jargon or trying to paint the best picture.
This is not  a long review as in reality all I can tell you is that this book is simply wonderful, Making It Up As I Go Along is a breath of fresh air and a book that I will revisit again and again!

Many thanks to Michael Joseph for allowing me to review this book via Netgalley.

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