Friday, March 31, 2017

Relics - Tim Lebbon ~ Extract ~

Welcome to another exciting Always Trust In Books extract post.

Today's post is part of a Titan Books blog tour for Tim Lebbon's Relics which was released on 21/03/17. 

You can purchase a copy by clicking >Here< or add it to your Goodreads list >Here<.

I have read and reviewed Relics and I thought it was a brilliant piece of horror/fantasy fiction. The idea that some of the world's oldest and most feared mythological beings may still be among us is a chilling vision. I have high hopes for the whole trilogy and I can't wait to see where Tim Lebbon is going to take the series.

Relics - Tim Lebbon

Sent to me by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 21/03/17

Publisher: Titan Books

ISBN: 978-1785650307

Format: Paperback, 382pp

Genre: Horror/Fantasy

Rating: 4/5

Summed up in one word

First Impressions
Relics did not turn out how I imagined it would at all. I am not entirely sure what I had in mind, but this definitely surpassed my expectations. This book is made up of distinctive layers, each layers takes you deeper into a new world and further from the one we currently occupy. Horror and fantasy elements are in good supply here, as well as thrills, mythology and a slight tinge of comedy at times. Tim Lebbon has made it clear this will be a series of books and I am excited to read on in the upcoming instalments. Check out more of what Titan Books has to offer in 2017 here:

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Follow Me Down - Sherri Smith ~Guest Post~

Sent to me by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 21/03/17

Publisher: Titan Books

ISBN: 978-1785654046

Format: Paperback, 447pp

Genre: Thriller/Drama

Rating: 4.5/5

Summed up in one word:

Buy/Read: Titan Books/Amazon UK/Goodreads

Book Synopsis:  Mia Haas has built a life for herself far from the small town where she grew up, but when she receives word that her twin brother is missing, she’s forced to return home. Once hailed as the golden boy of their community, Lucas Haas disappeared the same day the body of one of his teenage students is pulled from the river. Trying to wrap her head around the rumors of Lucas’s affair with the teen, and unable to reconcile the media’s portrayal of Lucas as a murderer with her own memories of him, Mia is desperate to find another suspect. 

All the while, she wonders, if he’s innocent, why did he run?

As Mia re-evaluates their difficult, shared history and launches her own investigation into the grisly murder, she uncovers secrets that could exonerate Lucas—or seal his fate. In a small town where everyone’s history is intertwined, Mia will be forced to confront her own demons, placing her right in the killer’s crosshairs.

Blog Tour Guest Post:
Welcome to today's stop on the Follow Me Down blog tour hosted by Titan Books. Follow Me Down is an intense, hostile and thrilling small town mystery. I usually can't stand small town plots because they are so one-sided and unpleasant to the point of cringe-worthy. Sherri Smith manages to evade the stomach-turning feeling by giving us a strong, persistent and capable lead character, Mia Haas. I really enjoyed FMD, it has so much going on and the plot is twisted up so tightly you barely get a chance to digest each part before another reveal is thrown into the mix.

I am here to share a guest post with you today. Follow Me Down is Sherri Smith's first venture into crime-thrillers and keeping with the theme of her own work, Sherri has written about her top-ten favourite crime novels. Unfortunately I haven't read any on the list, but I now have ten more books to add to my TBR! If you have read any of the books then please leave a comment with what you thought about it. Thank you for coming to learn more about Sherri Smith's inspiration and I hope you enjoy her post.


1. Every Secret Thing by Laura Lippman.

This was my first Lippman novel and I was hooked from the opening line, “They were barefoot when they were sent home, their dripping feet leaving prints that evaporated almost instantly, as if they’d never been there at all.” Two young girls commit an unspeakable act on the first page and while it’s not a typical whodunit, it’s still riveting, as you try to figure out what exactly happened and which of the two girls did what. I am always captivated by stories that unfold from a single bad decision, and this one follows those ripples with chilling authenticity. I recommend Lippman’s novels to everyone I know. 

2. The Cement Garden by Ian McEwan

This one is chock-full of psychological unease. You have a ramshackle house, four parentless kids fending for themselves while trying to keep their orphan-status hidden, what could go wrong? There is something almost apocalyptic about this one, as claustrophobia settles in and boundaries break down. It’s warped and disturbing in all the right ways.

3. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

This is a dark and twisted novel with characters so real I could reach out and touch them. I love all of Flynn’s novels, and would list them all here, but if I had to choose (and I wouldn’t want to) I’d say this was my favourite. I started reading it one afternoon and it set in like a bad fever. I couldn’t get up until I was finished. I am not even sure I took another breath until I turned that last page. It’s grim and haunting and it’s still all there coiled in my brain. It’s everything you want a novel to be.

4. The Trespasser by Tana French

Tana French is such a consistent, brilliant writer. From pitch-perfect dialogue to evocative descriptive writing to twisty plots, there’s nothing not to love in her novels. This one hits all the right notes yet again and I especially loved going along for the twisty ride with the very sharp and tough Antoinette Conway. An excellent book. Tana French does that thing few writers can, she makes it look easy. 

5. While They Slept by Kathryn Harrison

I just finished this one and it’s still rattling around in my head. While technically this isn’t fiction, it does read like a novel and a very smart, heart-wrenching one at that. It chronicles what exactly led an eighteen-year old to murder his parents and younger sister with a baseball bat. The author struck up a relationship with the surviving older sister, and together they excavate their respective childhood dramas, trying to unpack what or how this kind of tragedy happens. There was something in this, that’s eerily familiar, it closes the gap on a far-flung crime by pushing you to glance over the landscape of your own childhood. I loved this and highly recommend it. 

6. Dare Me by Megan Abbott

What is there not to love about mixing murder and cheer squad? Abbot’s prose is mesmerizing and it captures that raw adolescent emotion and blistering girl-politics so effectively, you feel like you’re tumbling around with them, the hard gym floor fast approaching. But Abbott doesn’t let you flinch, and you find yourself turning the pages, navigating the darker side of those all-consuming teen friendships until you get to the disturbing ending. This novel had me transfixed.  

7. Confessions by Kanae Minato

I always love a good revenge tale and this is an excellent one! There’s something deeply unnerving about a teacher exacting vengeance on her own students. The pieces of this bleak puzzle are doled out slowly, but paired with a certain urgency that makes your muscles stiffen and your skin pucker. To say too much would give it away, but it’s dark and unsettling in the best way possible. 

8. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

Based on the notorious Grace Marks, an Irish immigrant convicted of her role in the murder of her employer and his pregnant housekeeper, this novel mulls female villainy. Set in the 19th century, Grace’s infamy and claims of having visions draws the interest of a doctor who can’t decide if Grave is a victim or willing participant in the murders. This novel has all the right spooky, hair-raising elements and though I read it quite a while ago, I still remember going to sleep with the light on once I finished it. 

9. Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson

I just finished this last night and I think Peter Swanson is one of my new favourites. I can’t wait to go back and read his other novels. This is a great voyeuristic thriller, told in a few different viewpoints. It’s infused with a kind of propulsive anxiety that keeps you up late. Not to mention, I obviously love an eerie apartment block setting.  It’s a really gripping read.

10. Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

This is an outstanding, nerve-fraying thriller. It’s all cat and mouse and the pace barrels along like a freight train coming straight for you. It had my gut in knots, my entire reading. The characters are so well-drawn, the plot so taut; you just have to read it. 

Thank you to Sherri Smith for sharing her favourite crime pieces with us. Thank you for reading this post and please share your thoughts in the comments. This is a big blog tour and there is so much great content being posted this week, so see below for additional blogs to check out for more information on Follow Me Down.

Monday, March 27, 2017

An Account of the Decline of the Great Auk, According to One Who Saw It - Jessie Greengrass

Sent to me by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 23/03/17

Publisher: John Murray

ISBN: 978-1473652040

Format: Paperback, 181pp

Genre: Short Stories

Rating: 4.5/5

Summed up in a word:

First Impressions: I am a huge fan of short stories. I find the intimacy and varied perspectives so interesting. I love it when authors leave the story in a place where you can continue it in your own personal way. Jessie Greengrass is an award -winning author, her debut makes us face the past and acknowledge an uncertain future. To see plenty more exciting 2017 releases please visit John Murray's website:

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Summary Justice - John Fairfax

Sent to me by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 02/03/17

Publisher: Little, Brown

ISBN: 978-1408708729

Format: Hardback, 295pp

Genre: Law/Crime/Courtroom Drama

Rating: 4.5/5

Summed up in one word:

First Impressions
Thank you for visiting me for another 2017 fiction book review. I have an addiction to American courtroom dramas so I was thrilled to be asked to review Summary Justice. I have never read a British law novel so I was definitely intrigued to see how I would enjoy it compared to American law authors like Grisham and Baldacci. John Fairfax (real name William Brodrick) did an exceptional job with Summary Justice and I recommend it to all crime/drama/law readers. Thank you to Little, Brown for sending me a copy to review here on Always Trust In Books. To see more books that Little, Brown have to offer in 2017 then check out their website here:

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Confidence Game - Maria Konnikova

Sent to me by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 19/01/17

Publisher: Canongate Books

ISBN: 978-1782113911

Format: Paperback, 340pp

Genre: Non-Fiction

Rating: 3.5/5

Summed up in one word

First Impressions
Thank you to Becca at Canongate for this review copy. Non-fiction is my favourite genre because the content has real world applications. Maria Konnikova has written The Confidence Game not only to entertain and inform, but to also teach us to defend ourselves against the fraudsters that target us day-to-day. It is easier than you think to fall into a trap, I myself have been conned out of money, and it is more difficult to get yourself out of that web once you are in. TCG is an informative and interesting piece of non-fiction that also acts as a guide to watch your back when the next to-good-to-be-true opportunity arrives at your door. Check out more of what Canongate Books has to offer in 2017 here:

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Parallel Lines - Steven Savile

Sent to me by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 14/03/17

Publisher: Titan Books

ISBN:  978-1783297917

Format: Paperback, 393pp

Genre: Crime/Thriller

Rating: 4.5/5

Summed up in a word:

First Impressions: I can consistently rely on Titan Books for brilliant and diverse fiction. They cover such an array of genres and the authors they bring to us are top quality. Parallel Lines is by no means a ground breaking outing. But it is enjoyable, thought provoking, exciting and at times chilling too. Steven Savile is a celebrated author and TV writer. He work really shines in this novel, making us question what we would do if we were in the characters shoes. Check out all the excellent books Titan are bringing us in 2017 at:

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Moonstone Curse - Sam Siciliano

Sent to me by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 14.02.17

Publisher: Titan Books

ISBN: 978-1785652523

Format: Paperback, 320pp

Genre: Crime/Detective Fiction

Rating: 2.5/5

Summed up in a word:

First Impressions: I have really been enjoying reading these Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes books from Titan Books. They each offer a new perspective on a familiar character, though not all these versions are winners. The Moonstone's Curse is an enjoyable mystery novel, but the drastic changes to the continuity in Sherlock Holmes' universe were far to much for me. The absence of Watson, a kinder more emotionally open Sherlock and focus on sex and romance didn't sit right with myself. Thank you to Titan for sending me this review copy. Please check out their other releases here

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Blog Tour ~ Guest Post ~ Steven Savile


Good morning and welcome to my stop on the Parallel Lines Blog Tour! This tour is being hosted by Titan Books. Today is the release date for Parallel Lines by Steven Savile (pick up a copy here) and this week there is a series of blog posts, each connected to one of the eight central characters. 

This post is centred around the main villain: Archer. Villains can make or break a great book and Steven Savile has written a short piece about some of his favourite villains. Archer is a stand-out villain in Parallel Lines, managing to unite many strangers via their intense loathing of him. Thank you to Titan and Steven Savile for including me on this blog tour. I thought Parallel Lines was a brilliant crime/thriller piece with an intriguing cast of characters. I will share a few details about Parallel Lines and Steven himself, then onto the guest post!

Book Synopsis: 
How far would you go to provide for your child?

Adam Shaw is dying, and knows he’ll leave his disabled son with nothing. His solution? Rob a bank. It’s no surprise that things go wrong. What is surprising is that when another customer is accidentally shot, no one in the bank is in a hurry to hand Adam over to the police. There’s the manager who’s desperate to avoid an audit, the security guard with a serious grudge against the dead man, and the woman who knows exactly how bad the victim really was...

Eight people, twelve hours, one chance to cover up a murder. But it’s not just the police they have to fool. When many lives intersect, the results can be explosive. (Official Titan Books Synopsis)

About the Author (Official Bio + Picture from twitter):  Steven Savile has written for Doctor Who, Torchwood, Primeval, Stargate, Warhammer, Slaine, Fireborn, Pathfinder, Arkham Horror, Risen, and other popular game and comic worlds.  His novels have been published in eight languages to date, including the Italian bestseller L'eridita. He won the International Media Association of Tie-In Writers award for his Primeval novel, SHADOW OF THE JAGUAR, published by Titan, in 2010, and The inaugural Lifeboat to the Stars award for TAU CETI (co-authored with Kevin J. Anderson). 

SILVER, his debut thriller reached #2 in the Amazon UK e-charts in the summer of 2011. It was among the UK's top 30 bestselling novels of 2011 according to The Bookseller.  The series continues in Solomon's Seal, WarGod, and Lucifer's Machine, and is available in a variety of languages. His latest books include HNIC (along with the legendary Hip Hop artist Prodigy, of Mobb Deep) which was Library Journal's Pick of the Month, the Lovecraftian horror, The Sign of Glaaki, co-written with Steve Lockley, and has recently started writing the popular Rogue Angel novels as Alex Archer. The first of which, Grendel's Curse, is out in May.

 He has lived in Sweden for the last 17 years. For more information visit:

Guest Post - Villains by Steven Savile

Samuel Archer has spent most of his adult life making enemies. Most of them were in that bank that morning.

Everybody loves a good villain. They’re fundamental to the jeopardy that drives a plot. They’re the source of all things fun. Take the villain of the piece out of the equation and our hero is left contemplating his navel, heroically, sure, but it’s still basically picking the lint out of his innie. So, the last thing you want is a vanilla villain who’s basically doing bad for the sake of doing Bad Things. 

I mean, what’s House of Cards without the machinations of Francis (be it Urquhart or Underwood)? What’s Road Runner without Wyle E. Coyote? Star Wars without Vader? In terms of great stories, I’d even argue that the villain is more important than the hero in terms of making something truly memorable, but then, I did start out writing horror stories and have a habit of going ‘dark’ in my writing.

So, rather than say here’s a definitive list of the best, what I’ll say is these five bad guys stayed with me long after I read their stories, and in each case they’re a lot more than just a foil for the good guys to go up against. 

My first pick goes back to the idea of behind every great man there’s an even greater woman, because as far as templates for memorable villains go there’s none better than the bloody hand washing Lady Macbeth who by day drives the ambitions of her husband, and by night sleepwalks through the corridors of their castle. His story wouldn’t be anything without her. Quite literally. He’s the weapon she wields, and she knows exactly what to say to bend him, to break him, and eventually reshape him in the image of the destiny she believes is his due. 

Another woman who won’t take no for an answer is that cockadoodie Annie Wilkes, who quite simply couldn’t accept that her beloved Paul Sheldon had killed off Misery Chastain. I would say but for the grace of… well… social grace go most of us. I mean, we love to read or we wouldn’t be here, right? We get emotionally invested in these make believe lives if it’s done right. And okay, maybe you wouldn’t hobble your favourite writer, but you can bet there’s someone out there who’d lock up George RR Martin and stand over him with an axe and a blow torch at the ready if he doesn’t pick up the pace with A Dream of Spring arguing that in fact he is this particular Annie’s bitch… because, here’s my take on it, Annie is bloody terrifying because she’s so mundane. She’s absolutely ordinary. She’s not wearing a monster’s face. She’s not creepy like Norman Bates, or a sociopath like Hannibal Lecter, she’s your favourite caring grandmother, who dedicated her life to helping others as a nurse.  I should add (because I know she won’t read it and it’s therefore safe to say) I’ve been married to a paediatric nurse for a long time, and if imminent death isn’t on the cards her stock response is ‘Get over it, you’ll be fine.’ Thankfully she doesn’t read my stuff, though we do have an axe and a blow torch in the shed...

There’s a lot of talk in the media these days about 1984, for good reason given the way it seems to have become a handbook for government, but the Orwell villain that captured my imagination growing up wasn’t some faceless big brother, it was the charismatic, even charming pig, Napoleon, who managed to convince the other animals that not only were four legs good and two legs bad, but not all animals were created equally, and therefore he should live in the farmhouse like a king and they should just be happy about it. He’s a practical pig of relatively simple vocabulary who praises the notion of ordinary animals working hard and uses words to manipulate others. But he’s smart, too. He gathers attack dogs to do his bidding, consolidating his power and making sure no one can challenge him. He doesn’t offer much in the way of original ideas, preferring to attack the ideas of his fellow animals to make himself look better. He’s treacherous, devious, and smart enough to come up with a catchy slogan, “Long live Animal Farm!” that can be chanted by the adoring masses, nothing too taxing, or too divisive, it works. It’s all about making the farm great again. I mean what animal wouldn’t want the farm to flourish after the rebellion? He turns ordinary animals into enemies of the farm if they challenge him, and delights in turning the other animals against them with constant slander, and those never-ending catchy phrases about loyalty. If they don’t do as commands they’re branded traitors, and traitors in his world have a habit of dying. But it’s all for the good of the farm, he’s making it great again, even as he goes about changing the seven commandments of animalism and stripping his fellow animals of their basic animal rights whilst he and his fat cat pig friends get fatter and fatter. But at least he doesn’t have a Twitter account...

Thanks again to Steven Savile for taking the time to share his thoughts on some of the best villains of recent fiction. Thank you all for visiting Always Trust In Books on this blog tour. For more posts about Parallel Lines this week see below.

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Impossible Fortress - Jason Rekulak

Sent to me by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 07/02/17

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

ISBN: 978-1501144417

Format: Hardcover, 285pp

Genre: General Fiction (Will appeal to many different readers)

Rating: 4/5

Summed up in a word:

First Impressions: I have to say that NetGalley is a brilliant concept and I have a lot to thank it for. I regularly get to review awesome books from a wide range of authors. Simon & Schuster were very kind to approve my request for The Impossible Fortress and I am glad they did. Jason Rekulak did a great job crafting a nostalgic and charming throwback piece to the 1980's. With a familiar/likeable cast of characters and a plot based around coding, video games and obtaining the unobtainable, I had a great time reading this novel. And though the concept has been done before many times , JR does a excellent job of reigniting the genre, and bringing comedy, charm and immaturity along too. You can actually play The Impossible Fortress on the author's website:

Monday, March 06, 2017

Thunderbird - Chuck Wendig

Sent to me by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 01/03/17

Publisher: Saga Press

ISBN: 978-1481448714

Format: E-book, 400pp

Genre: A whole spectrum, thriller, horror, action, mysticism and much more.

Rating: 5/5

Summed up in a few words
Search for freedom from her curse.

First Impressions
I am a huge fan of the Miriam Black series, so reading the fourth instalment was a huge privilege. Thank you to Julie at Saga Press for my e-book ARC of Thunderbird. If you are unaware of the Miriam Black series and have come across this review by chance then please go and check out the first trilogy. Chuck Wendig is a vivid, intense and talented writer who constantly ups his game with each book. I am glad to see another trilogy based around Miriam; she is one hell of a main character. To see some of the other excellent books Saga Press are releasing in 2017 click > here.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Dare To Remember - Susanna Beard

Sent to me by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 01/02/17

Publisher: Legend Press

ISBN: 978-1785079115

Format: E-book, 288pp

Genre: Psychological Drama

Rating: 4/5

Summed up in a few words
Repression. Grief Management. Recovery. Memory.

First Impressions
Legend Press have been releasing plenty of amazing books recently and Dare To Remember is proof of that. It is important to talk openly about grief and how to manage it. Lives are affected by all kinds of tragedy and trauma; but you don't need to let it take your life away. Susanna Beard has written an intense, sharp and disturbing novel about a person backtracking into her own personal hell to get closure on her past. I recommend this book to all those who like a psychological edge to their fiction and those who enjoy a refreshing new perspective on a popular genre. Check out more of Legend Press' 2017 catalogue here:

Mr Jolly (Short Stories) - Michael Stewart

Sent to me by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 25/02/16

Publisher: Valley Press

ISBN: 978-1908853608

Format: Paperback, 156pp

Genre: Short Stories

Rating: 4/5

Summed up in a few words
Nostalgia. Paranoia. Uncertainty. Beauty.

First Impressions
I have to say that the official synopsis for this book is alarmingly bold. Michael Stewart has a lot of faith and confidence in his writing; fortunately it is a rather decent collection of stories. I enjoyed Mr Jolly  a lot as I think it has a lot of character and demands a wide range of emotional responses. From stress, alertness and elation to sadness, happiness and anxiety. MS has a lot to say about the world and uses many different settings to tell his tales. Mr Jolly is bathed in nostalgia, confusion, frustration and debate. Thank you to Jamie from Valley Press for my copy of Mr Jolly.

Raw Material - Sue Wilsea

Sent to me by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 03/11/16

Publisher: Valley Press

ISBN: 978-1908853783

Format: Paperback, 123pp

Genre: Short Stories

Rating: 3/5

Summed up in a few words
Invention. Senses. Culture. Writing.

First Impressions
Raw Material is deeply rooted in the more common, emotional and frustrating scenarios we face as humans everyday. Stories concerning real life pain, loss, invention, culture and truth. After finishing the book I felt that, even though the stories were well written and poignant, they were ultimately rather forgettable. Sue Wilsea has great talent and an impressive knowledge of the human condition, but the stories here are too 'quick-fire' (15 in 126 pages). Personally I look forward to reading some of SW's longer work, where I can settle in and appreciate her compelling and emotional writing for longer periods of time.

The Killing Bay - Chris Ould

Sent to me by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 21/02/17

Publisher: Titan Books

ISBN: 978-1783297061

Format: Paperback, 464pp

Genre: Crime/Thriller

Today we have a book extract from one of Titan Books latest releases The Killing Bay by Chris Ould. This is the much anticipated second instalment of the Faroe Islands series. The extract I am sharing today is from chapter one. Jan Reyna is unfocused and distracted, he needs to clear his head and regain control of himself. The piece both sets the scene for the novel and also gives a good look at Ould's writing style.

Thank you to Philippa from Titan Books for sending me a review copy of the book as well as including me on The Killing Bay blog tour. The Killing Bay was released on 21/2/17 in U.K, you can pick up a copy here and a copy of the first instalment The Blood Strand  here. Titan Books are releasing so many awesome books in 2017, for more details check out their website

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

The Hatching - Ezekiel Boone

Sent to me by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 09/02/17

Publisher: Gollancz

ISBN:  978-1473215184

Format: Paperback, 334pp

Genre: Apocalypse/Horror

Rating: 5/5

Summed up in a word:

First Impressions: I hated spiders before I even picked up The Hatching and now I live in fear of an eight legged apocalypse... so thank you Ezekiel Boone for that... Apart from the phobia inducing graphic imagery, The Hatching was a brilliant novel. It has action, horror, solid development and potential to become an excellent and spine-tingling trilogy. Thank you to Stevie at Gollancz for my review copy. Check out more of what Gollancz has to offer in 2017 at: Orion Books (Gollancz).