Thursday, 31 January 2019


Intention by C.S. Barnes - Crime
Gillian was not like other children. She knew she was different. She knew how to
do things that would make the other children squirm. For years she has heard her father
beating her mother, and her mother covering up her bruises with makeup and making
excuses about being clumsy. When her father is no longer around things change between
them. She meets Daniel by chance and they get on well. He looks after his elderly Aunt
who has terminal cancer. Gillian begins to see things differently and suddenly realises
that she is in a relationship and has feeling for someone- something she hasn’t
experienced beforehand ever.  she also meets Paul and his dog and somehow take to
him but she can’t figure out why. I quite liked Gillian (although perhaps wouldn’t want
her as a friend) as she stood up for herself in difficult situations. Maybe I felt for her
rather than liked her. Her upbringing hadn’t been easy and being in the big wide
world to her was rather like being in a different land where she didn’t know the
language. A crime book of sorts but more about someone’s feelings and thoughts
and how life changes us through experience. A book I would find difficult to put
in a genre. Contemporary fiction perhaps? That matters not, what does is that
this is an excellent story, very well told. I really enjoyed it hence the 5 stars and it
held me to the end and left me with a smile. A different read and one to
remember in a very good way.
For more reviews please see my blog
or follow me on Twitter @nickijmurphy1

Amazon Top 1000 reviewer.

Book Blurb:
When twenty-two year old Gillian Thompson returns from university for the summer, it is apparent there is tension at home. An irritant to her father and a concern to her mother, Gillian’s home life is less than ideal.
Geraldine, Gillian’s mother, has suffered abuse from Joe for years. However, it is not until Joe dies that the family dynamic shifts and Gillian starts out on her own dark journey…
When Gillian meets Paul and Daniel she starts to become the person she always knew she was. And as people around her start dying Gillian faces scrutiny from her mother.

But are the deaths accidents or is something more sinister at work?

About the Author:
C.S. Barnes (Charley to her long-time pals) is a Worcestershire-based writer and poet who has recently achieved her Doctorate degree in Creative Writing, and now spends a lot of her time wondering what to do with it. She is a lecturer, content writer, tea-drinker and book-reader with a passion for psychological thrillers that shines through her own work.

Barnes is the Managing Director of Sabotage Reviews and she also runs her own monthly open mic/spoken word event in Worcester City Centre, titled Dear Listener.

She published her debut short story collection in May 2017, titled The Women You Were Warned About (Black Pear Press), and her debut poetry pamphlet, A Z-hearted Guide to Heartache, was published be in July 2018 (V. Press). Intention is Barnes' debut novel.

Social Media Links:
Twitter: @charleyblogs
Instagram: @charleyblogs

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Cull- Tanvir Bush-Political Satire
Think the future. Think a state where you pretty much have to work whatever your situation.
If not you have to apply for 50 jobs a week otherwise no benefits. Where vulnerable and
elderly are taken away so that their carers can work and add to the efficiency of the
country. Alex is visually impaired and has her guide dog Chris. She stumbles across
something that leads her on an interesting path , one that could put her in danger
and where no one would care. There is truth (albeit it controversial- which is
probably why it is there) amongst the pages “ A patient still staggering, still smoking
still obese, moaning about the medication making them queasy when they were
eating a ghastly diet and drinking litres of cheap vodka”. Think dystopian, think
extremes. A woman journalist wanting to know what is going on in a world where
everything is extreme. I enjoyed this although in parts I felt for the "crips” and
what was being done to them. Not a genre I would usually go for but something
piqued my interest and I am very glad it did. There is the serious side but there
is also a type of humour, one you have to work out for yourself. Perhaps perfectly
timed for the current issues surrounding Britain. If you fancy a different read
then this could well be the one.
For more reviews please see my blog
or follow me on Twitter @nickijmurphy1
Amazon Top 1000 reviewer

K E Y N O T E A dystopian satire for our times about the deadly dark side of privatisation P R A I S E 'Where is the satirist we need now, with the welfare state in chaos and politics a TV reality show? With a dauntless but sympathetic heroine, one of the best dog characters in literature and a disabled escort service called the Ladies’ Defective Agency, this witty and all too believable novel is an inheritor of the satirical genius of Lindsay Anderson’s Britannia Hospital and Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange ' Maggie Gee 'Laugh and weep! With wit, flair and imagination, Tanvir Bush unfolds the secret life of a nation on benefits. Our nation…' Fay Weldon D E S C R I P T I O N In a near-future Britain, the furore over the welfare state has reached fever pitch. A combination of state propaganda and aggressive austerity has divided the nation along poisonous lines: on one side, so-called freeloaders, crips and fakes; on the other, The Hard Working British Taxpayer. The government has introduced the Care and Protect Bill, ostensibly to to relieve the economic burden of the disabled, elderly and vulnerable on society by opening residential care homes where they will be looked after by medical professionals. But Alex – visually impaired and categorised as one of the dole-scrounging underclass – has stumbled across a troubling link between the disappearance of several homeless people and the extension of Grassybanks, her local care home… Helped by her guide dog, Chris, this discovery sets her on a path that leads all the way to the corrupt heart of government. The novel’s dystopia is striking because it seems frighteningly possible, just a few steps removed from the bureaucracy depicted in Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake . It is playful and gripping, comic and biting all at once: Black Mirror meets Leni Zumas’ Red Clocks . The author herself suffers from a degenerative eye condition and is severely sight impaired: she has first-hand experience of the system’s shortcomings.


Tuesday, 29 January 2019


Forgotten Children -Isabella Muir- family life/historical
Emily is having a miscarriage. She hasn’t told her live in boyfriend that she is even
pregnant. This stirs memories for her. When he does his best to cheer her up taking
her out to dinner and proposing, she knows she has to leave. Twenty years ago aged
just sixteen she gave birth to a child she never held and now wonders what his life
has been like. She drives to Anglesey, far away from where she was in Hastings.
This is set in the late 1980’s  and Emily frequently uses a phone box. This rather adds
to its charm and the simplicity of the life she is leading when she leaves Mark. She
spends some time in Anglesey, almost a holiday from life before setting out on her
quest to find out about her son and tackling her estranged mother which in itself
is another mountain to climb. I felt for Emily. Her mother like many others is cold
hearted and callous, thinking only of what others think. I won’t spoil the story line
but this one track develops into something Emily could never have imagined and
kept me turning the pages time and again. This is a very well written book and I
could easily see this as a TV drama. This is based on real events, ones I was
unaware of. How children were sent to Australia, New Zealand and Canada rather
than be kept in children’s homes here, however not all of them were looked after
and many were abused and put to work as the story tells its history.
An interesting read and one to learn that little bit more of history that we may
not know.
For more reviews please see my blog
or follow me on Twitter @nickijmurphy1

Amazon Top 1000 reviewer.

Monday, 28 January 2019


Out of The silence- Owen Mullen
Afra and Jamal have been in each others lives as long as they can remember. When
Afra is taken away promised to a stranger as a bride, Jamal is downhearted but tell
her that he realises that he is not good enough for her and that she should go to the
family of a rich man. Once she has left he travels to Lahore to find his Uncle and
never having been out of his village before finds this both daunting and exciting in
equal measure. Wise words” If we allow the opinion of other to matter we’re in
their power. What they think of us becomes what we think of ourselves. The only
opinion of you that matters is your own”. Jamal works hard and rises through the
ranks in his uncle’s business. Afra meanwhile is not so fortunate. Years later when
there are some murders, the bangles that they gave each other are at the side of
the victims. What is going on? I really enjoyed this and liked and felt for both
Jamal and Afra. Women in Pakistan having to endure inequality for so long and
laws being very much against them. I learnt something from this book. For
example if a woman is raped- she has to get the word of four male witnesses
other wise she , the victim, is charged with adultery. What? OMG. (ref: Her
Honor: An Islamic Critique of the Rape Laws of Pakistan from a Woman-
Sensitive Perspective). Times have fortunately changed- the above paper
was written only in 1997, in real terms very recently.
A brave subject dealt with very well.
For more reviews please see my blog
or follow me on Twitter @nickijmurphy1

Amazon Top 1000 reviewer.
You, Me & Mr. Blue Sky

You , Me and Mr Blue Sky- Craig Lancaster & Elisa Lorello-

Jo-Jo has split from her fiancee shortly before their wedding when she finds via a friend
his very active Tinder account. Linus is at a new year party at his friends house and at
midnight Jo-Jo walks by and randomly kisses him. She is trying to open a gym but has
been let down by contractors and so Linus contacts her to try and help as this is what
he does. She then thinks he is being weird and can’t away from him fast enough.
Mr Blue Sky- remember the song?- is a higher greater being who is watching over
them and having his occasional say in the process. This is one of those wonderful
easy reads that gives you a warm feeling inside ((without being at all slushy).
There is life with its ups and downs, pasts and hopes for the future, all done with
a brilliant turn of phrase and word that lulls you into turning again and again and
again. I have read several of Craig’s books but not come across Elisa’s. I will shortly be
looking into this. They clearly have not only a wonderful relationship but an ease of
co-writing to bring together this book. There is romance, there is so very much more.
A book of life, of feeling, of that certain Je ne sais quoi. If you read just one book
this year this might be the one. Loved this just doesn’t cover it.
For more reviews please see my blog
or follow me on Twitter @nickijmurphy1

Amazon Top 1000 reviewer.

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Next Victim- Helen Durrant-Crime

A man is found murdered. His throat has been cut and he is also very badly burned.
The only clue to his identity is a small tattoo on his foot. A few years before hand, a
young girl is asking her father not only where her mother went but also her brother.
Now that little bit older she has traced his birth certificate but can’t find out anything
about him. Rachel King is a DCI and has her own issues at home as well as at work.
She has split from her daughters father and he has now moved in next door, which
helps with child care but not her own private life. In the past she had a relationship
that she would rather forget however her heart won’t quite let her. When the case
brings a name to light she begins to wonder if her position in tenable. I love Helen’s
books. It is rather like curling up in front of a roaring fire and know that you are
going to be gripped whilst feeling warm and comfortable at the same time.
Her characters are so well written that they instantly come to life and you can’t
help but take to them (well, the good ones!). I very much look forward to the
next instalment.

Saturday, 26 January 2019


The Woman Inside- EG Scott - 26th Jan
Rebecca arrives at work to be told she should leave or be fired. She has been more than keen
taking samples in recent times and there has been a tip off to HR. She works for a
Pharmaceutical company and hence “samples” are drugs which keep her on balance- in her
own mind. (This is the USA- very different to UK Pharma) Going to take some money out she
notices that the account balance of her and her husband isn't its usual healthy self. Instead of
nearing a million dollars there is a measly $5000. She investigates and finds that Paul, her
husband has been making withdrawals in the last few weeks without her knowledge.
We discover that they have both had affairs, Paul more so and that his last fling isn’t going
to let him go so easily. A mistress who wants her revenge on him Oh boy! This is one of those
reads that lures you in for the first few chapters, then you get a sense of unease without
really knowing why. There is a tension despite not really knowing where it is leading to.
All the signs of a very well written and thought out book. There are twists and turns, as you
would expect, but some you really wouldn’t! A book to keep you on your toes.
One with suspense, drama and eerie going on.
EG Scott is a pseudonym of two writers, one in publishing the other I believe in
screenwriting. A name and a book to remember.
For more reviews please see my blog
or follow me on Twitter @nickijmurphy1

Amazon Top 1000 reviewer.

Friday, 25 January 2019

My Mother the Psychopath- Olivia Rayne-Biography /Crime/ abuse
A brave book, an interesting read. One many people should read to know about others.
When you hear “the truth is stranger than fiction”  read on…..Where do I begin...
This is a difficult one to write. Not because of the book but because there are many
people who perhaps don’t quite realise to what extent that not all mothers are
caring and loving and may not want to know about how others have suffered, not
that they are naive, these things just don’t come to light until something really bad
happens. We hear of “psychopathic” killers, do we ever consider that they are
also perhaps parents? They don’t have to be a murderer to be this way and inflict
torture on others and make their lives a misery, a living nightmare. Oh heck, misery
doesn’t even begin to cover it. Olivia gives her life story. Each chapter is fronted
by a little more about the traits of psychopaths and how her mother demonstrated
this particular trait as Olivia grows up.  Josephine does occasionally show kindness
and shower gifts on Olivia- other psychopaths can be even more narcissistic and
not show kindness at all- other than to the rest of the world who thinks they are
wonderful and entertaining. They only think about how the world sees them and
how others think of them. “They are excellent conversationalists, able to tell the
most plausible stories in a powerful and authentic way” . Olivia realises early on
that there is something not right about Josephine and begins to spot the signs
when she is about “to turn”. Her Father appears powerless and does his best
but is ruled and overruled by a much stronger character. A story of a child who
early on realises something is amiss. For many this may not happen until well
into adulthood with all of the consequences that may entail.
I salute you Olivia not only for writing this, but for being able to let go.
For more reviews please see my blog
or follow me on Twitter @nickijmurphy1

Amazon Top 1000 reviewer.

Thursday, 24 January 2019


We own the Sky- Luke Allnutt 5*
A story that will grip your heart and not let go. This may be an emotional read for some.
Love, loss, hope and the small things that count. Jack is a much longed for child.
Rob and Anna can’t believe their luck when this little bundle finally arrives in their
arms after having previous miscarriages.  When he starts having balance issues his
parents take him for further tests. This is the story of their journey from before he
was born to the aftermath of tragedy. Rob has his own issues about what happened
and struggles to fight the demons he feels inside about how he dealt with things
and if things could have/should have been done differently and how this affected
both him and Anna. We all deal with things in our own way and this tells of his
struggle and emergence to the real world. A book to make you think about life
and your own mortality and that the little things really do mean a lot.
This is beautifully written with feeling and poignancy. A book to remember.
A wonderful title (which does get explained) and a wonderful read.
For more reviews please see my blog
or follow me on Twitter @nickijmurphy1

The Note

The Note- Andrew Barrett- 5* A short story written in the first person by CSI Eddie Collins. Eddie is the sort of bloke who calls a s...