Adult Fiction, Crime, Debut, Liz Robinson Reviews, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

The Devil’s Dice by Roz Watkins – a guest review by Liz Robinson


Here Liz gives us the heads up on the start of a fantastic, thrilling new Crime series…

Devil's DiceThe first in the ‘DI Meg Dalton Thriller’ series is an addictive, absolute treat of a read. Meg recently moved forces and is now based in Derbyshire, she is thrown in the deep end when a lawyer is found dead in a cave and a sinister game of cat and mouse is initiated. ‘The Devil’s Dice’ was shortlisted for the 2016 Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger Award (for unpublished writers), so my expectations were high, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. The first few pages set my thoughts fluttering, and throughout this tale a ghostly shadow hovers over the pages. Roz Watkins allows humour to enter at just the right moments, and has created a fabulous main lead. While Meg does have her fair share of problems, and a certain vulnerability too, she really grew on me. As I read, I set my mind free, to delve into the pages, to ponder, to speculate. The Devil’s Dice’ is just so readable, this is a thoroughly modern tale with a teasing strange connection to the past, and a towering cliff hanger of an ending… hopefully there will be many more stories to come.



A lawyer is found dead in a Peak District cave, his face ribboned with scratches.


Amidst rumours of a local curse, DI Meg Dalton is convinced this is cold-blooded murder. There’s just one catch chiselled into the cave wall above the body is an image of the grim reaper and the dead man’s initials, and it’s been there for over a century.


As Meg battles to solve the increasingly disturbing case, it’s clear someone knows her secrets. The murderer is playing games with Meg and the dice are loaded

A white-knuckle crime debut introducing DI Meg Dalton, perfect for fans of Broadchurch and Happy Valley

The Devil’s Dice was pubished by HQ an imprint of HarperCollins on the 8th of March 2018


Adult Fiction, Crime, Debut, Family Drama, Liz Robinson Reviews

Sal by Mick Kitson – a guest review by Liz Robinson

There’s nothing quite like discovering a new author.  Here’s Liz’s review for this wonderful debut by Mick Kitson.

SALJust gorgeous… this is an emotional and quite, quite beautiful read. After a particularly traumatic time at home, 13 year old Sal and her younger sister Peppa escape into the wilds of Scotland. Sal has spent a long time preparing, the wilderness beckons them, can they survive on their own? Sal tells their story, the first chapter is so clever, I started to realise what had been happening, and then a few carefully chosen, yet almost casually thrown away words, sent a shockwave running through me. I could clearly hear Sal’s voice, she is so individual and distinctive, her words entered my mind and expanded, filling my heart. Mick Kitson encourages the Scottish countryside to sing with intensity, while you can hear Sal, you can see and feel the clean and natural space she and Peppa find themselves in. Kindness flows from unexpected places, and love is behind every word shared by Sal, even in the darkness. Simple, beautiful, provocative yet touching, this is an outstanding debut, and a read I will return to again and again. Highly recommended.


This is a story of something like survival.

Sal planned it for almost a year before they ran. She nicked an Ordnance Survey map from the school library. She bought a compass, a Bear Grylls knife, waterproofs and a first aid kit from Amazon using stolen credit cards. She read the SAS Survival Handbook and watched loads of YouTube videos.

And now Sal knows a lot of stuff. Like how to build a shelter and start a fire. How to estimate distances, snare rabbits and shoot an airgun. And how to protect her sister, Peppa. Because Peppa is ten, which is how old Sal was when Robert started on her.

Told in Sal’s distinctive voice, and filled with the silent, dizzying beauty of rural Scotland, Sal is a disturbing, uplifting story of survival, of the kindness of strangers, and the irrepressible power of sisterly love; a love that can lead us to do extraordinary and unimaginable things.

Sal was published by Canongate on the 1st of March 2018

Adult Fiction, Crime, Liz Robinson Reviews, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

Blue Night by Simone Buchholz – a guest review by Liz Robinson

I have this on my tbr pile and I’m so excited to get to it – as you can see Liz absolutely loved it – here’s her review…

Blue NightThis was a dream of a read for me, relatively short, different, beautifully written, and full of jarring, jolting impact. ‘Blue Night’ is the first in the Chastity Riley series, was a number one bestseller in Germany, and has been fabulously translated by Rachel Ward. After a particularly difficult case (which involved in-house corruption) Chastity Riley, state prosecutor in Hamburg, has been transferred to witness protection. Chastity’s next case propels her straight back into the main ring, she has to throw her guard up and come out fighting. The introduction surprised me, raw and gritty, yet written with a lyrical beauty, it really sets the tone. Simone Buchholz shoots abrupt, short sentences across the page, her writing is sparse and to the point, yet connected deeply within my heart and mind. I adored the sections which freeze-framed the characters in time, they burst with energy and information, almost popping with intensity. It feels as though you are on a collision course with the ending, which exploded in dramatic style. Constantly surprising, ‘Blue Night’ is an original, firecracker of a read, it will undoubtedly be one of my books of the year, I absolutely loved it.


After convicting a superior for corruption and shooting off a gangster’s crown jewels, the career of Hamburg’s most hard-bitten state prosecutor, Chastity Riley, has taken a nose dive: she has been transferred to the tedium of witness protection to prevent her making any more trouble. However, when she is assigned to the case of an anonymous man lying under police guard in hospital – almost every bone in his body broken, a finger cut off, and refusing to speak in anything other than riddles – Chastity’s instinct for the big, exciting case kicks in. Using all her powers of persuasion, she soon gains her charge’s confidence, and finds herself on the trail to Leipzig, a new ally, and a whole heap of lethal synthetic drugs.

When she discovers that a friend and former colleague is trying to bring down Hamburg’s Albanian mafia kingpin single-handedly, it looks like Chas Riley’s dull life on witness protection really has been short-lived…

Fresh, fiendishly fast-paced and full of devious twists and all the hardboiled poetry and ascerbic wit of the best noir, Blue Night marks the stunning start of a brilliant new crime series, from one of Germany’s bestselling authors.

Blue Night was published by Orenda on 28 February 2018

I’m really looking forward to reading this title and will post my review at a later date.  Do let us know if you read it too!



Time to talk

International Women’s Day- A celebration of me – a woman. :)

Today is international Women’s Day.  It’s a day to celebrate women.  I am one of those.  I’m not a man. I’m not gender-neutral.  I’m a woman. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.  I am proud, sensitive and caring.  A nest-builder, a loving parent, a go-getter and a dreamer.  I’m ambitious and I want all my dreams to come true.  I work hard yet can be lazy as hell. I love anything that sparkles, brightness,  flowers and the colour purple.

I am strong and brave yet can feel weak and fearful.  I love watching ballet and listening to classical music,  a bit of Ed Sheeran or the Foo Fighters.  I adore chickflicks but also Die Hard,  Lord of the Rings, The Matrix and The Bourne Trilogies to name but a few.  I am independent,  capable of getting the job done but it’s also great to be taken care of once in a while.  I want to be treated with respect and I love it when a guy holds a door open for me or my husband walks on the road side of the pavement.  I love chivalry and am also chivalrous.

I am different and yet have many of the same hopes, dreams and fears as anyone.   Don’t ever tell me ‘I can’t’ because I’m a woman – tell me ‘I can’ because of who I am. I’m blessed to have in my life some truly wonderful inspiring people, male and female but for today to all the ladies out there, young or old – live your life, never stop reaching towards your dreams, you are amazing just the way you are and never, ever let anyone make you believe otherwise or tell you ‘you can’t’.

DSC_0033     pippi


Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

A haunting tale of three sisters on a quest for revenge…

Two centuries ago, in small, isolated Sparrow, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery and drowned in the waters surrounding the town. Now, each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three girls and seeking revenge by dragging boys to their watery deaths.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the town’s fate. Then, on the eve of the sisters’ return, Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into or the fact that his arrival will change everything…

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.

Wowser, I loved this beguiling story full of witchcraft and revenge. Even the cover tempts you to pick it up with smatterings of foil that catch the light, making the book shimmer. It is beautifully designed. This isn’t a book that languishes in a tbr pile, it’s one that calls to you until you pick it up and then it entrances you, pulling you in deeper and deeper until you reach the end. Such is the magic of the Swan sisters and their sinister tale.

Ernshaw spins this tale with expert ease. Spanning two hundred years, the Swan sisters story is one that has had a hold on the people of Sparrow, a town cursed by its treatment of the three sisters, outsiders, who were said to bewitch the men with their beauty and the perfumes they concocted. Every year since they have returned to seek their revenge. And as the deadly Swan Season approaches visitors swarm to the town and the teenagers prepare for the annual beach party that welcomes in the season.
As the Swan song starts a sense of foreboding sweeps over the town as they wait for the eerie silence that means that the sisters have returned and the hunt for the first victim begins.

This story swept me away and I loved inhibiting the town of Sparrow (from a safe distance). Full of atmosphere, I was sad to finish the novel but eager to read it again so I can look for all the clues that brought me to the ending. Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous! Oh and did I mention that it has a shimmery cover?



I wake with the choking sense of seawater in my throat. I sit upright, fisting my white sheet in both hands. The feeling of drowning claws at my lungs, but it was only a nightmare.

My head throbs, temples pulse, the lingering taste of whiskey still on my tongue.

It takes a moment to orient myself, last night still whirling through my head. I push back the sheet and stretch my toes over the hardwood floor, feeling stiff and achy like a hammer is cracking against my skull from the inside. Sunlight peeks through the daffodil-yellow curtains, reflecting off the white walls and the white dresser and the high white ceiling – blinding me.

I press my fingers to my eyes and yawn. In the full-length mirror mounted to the closet door, I catch my reflection. Dark circles rim both eyes, and my ponytail has slid partway free so that strands of coffee-brown hair drift across my face. I look horrible.

The floor is cold, but I plod to one of the massive windows overlooking the choppy sea and slide the window upward in its frame.

In the wind I can still hear it: the faint cry of a song.

Thanks so much to Jo Reid at Simon and Schuster for my copy.

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw is published on the 8th of March 2018.


Introvert Things: Pens

Just loved this article…


Staples for introverts, pens & post-its.

Practically all introverts I know appreciate the gift of a good pen. Most have very specific favorites (having only one is difficult!), & they can tell you how their pen expertise has evolved over the years. From flowing ink to gel & from nib to ball-tip, their pen specifications & preferences widely vary.

Drawing pens.

Since writing, doodling, sketching, printing & script require focus & quiet, introverts often use journaling and/or art as an outlet for stress. A leather-bound journal holds appeal along with the pen, since those in coffee shops or public places can use them as tools for warning off strangers or acquaintances.

Journaling tools.

Tastes differ, of course, depending on the purpose & use of the pen. For me, I find my handwriting changes to a certain extent as a result of the particular pen choice. My favorite samples of my…

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