Hands Up by Stephen Clark# Book Review




Officer Ryan Quinn, a rookie raised in a family of cops, is on the fast track to detective until he shoots an unarmed black male. Now, with his career, reputation and freedom on the line, he embarks on a quest for redemption that forces him to confront his fears and biases and choose between conscience or silence.

Jade Wakefield is an emotionally damaged college student living in one of Philadelphia’s worst neighborhoods. She knows the chances of getting an indictment against the cop who killed her brother are slim. When she learns there’s more to the story than the official police account, Jade is determined, even desperate, to find out what really happened. She plans to get revenge by any means necessary.

Kelly Randolph, who returns to Philadelphia broke and broken after abandoning his family ten years earlier, seeks forgiveness while mourning the death of his son. But after he’s thrust into the spotlight as the face of the protest movement, his disavowed criminal past resurfaces and threatens to derail the family’s pursuit of justice.

Ryan, Jade, and Kelly–three people from different worlds—are on a collision course after the shooting, as their lives interconnect and then spiral into chaos.


This was a hard book to put into anyone category.  Was it a crime thriller, police procedural or a political commentary? Could have been any of them or a mashup of all three. But I think you are better just saying it is a bloody great read!

Told in the first person from three different perspectives.

Ryan a rookie cop who finds himself caught in the fallout from a fatal shooting.

Jade a college student struggling to finish her degree and living in in one of Philadelphia’s worst neighbour hoods.

Kelly an estranged father who reaches out to his family under tragic circumstances.

What follows is an amazing  tale full of twist and turns. Full of surprises and red herrings that astound the reader. Also an investigation into institutional racism within Philladelphia’s  police force and also throws up the question of reverse racism as black militants seek justice for the killing of a young black man.

The characters are all well rounded and vital to the storyline. The quality of the prose and writing is of a high standard without a wasted word. Also the short chapters, whilst maybe not to everyone’s taste certainly keep the narrative flowing and the reader turning the pages furiously.

A complicated plot is told in a simple manner that grips the reader and doesn’t let go!

I wish to thank Stephen Clark for the ARC in return for an unbiased review. These thoughts and review are all my own.

I would give this book 5 stars.

The Base of Reflections by A. E. Warren# @Rachel’sRandomResources# Blog Tour# Dystopian Fiction#

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The Base of Reflections
What happens when the future abandons the past?

Elise and her companions have made it to the safety of Uracil but at a price. Desperate to secure her family’s passage, she makes a deal with Uracil’s Tri-Council. She’ll become their spy, jeopardising her own freedom in the process, in exchange for her family’s safe transfer. But first she has to help rescue the next Neanderthal, Twenty-Two.

Twenty-Two has never left the confines of the steel walls that keep her separated from the other exhibits. She has no contact with the outside world and no way of knowing why she has been abandoned. With diminishing deliveries of food and water, she has to start breaking the museum’s rules if she wants a second chance at living.

One belongs to the future and the other to the past, but both have to adapt—or neither will survive…

Purchase Link – http://mybook.to/TBOR


In THE BASE OF REFLECTIONS, by A.E. Warren, Elise and her companions have escaped the confines of the museum and made it to Uracil, a place where much of the societal structures in their world are ignored, particularly the class system. Elise has agreed to become a spy for Uracil and her first assignment is part of the team heading out to rescue Twenty-Two, another Neanderthal. When the escape plan breaks down and Elise is captured, secrets are revealed and true motives are uncovered which all lead to an exciting climax.

A.E. Warren has created a dystopian world unlike any other I have read before. Maybe it is because the idea of cloning is within our grasp; also for every upside there must be a downside. Be careful what you wish for!

Warren has created a unique dystopian future like none I have read before. There are three classes, as well and the artificially recreated Neanderthals, which all bring their own perspective to each situation.

The climax of this book is outstanding and you will find yourself punching the air! But despair not A.E. Warren is hard a work on book 3.

I would recommend you read this book. I’m sure you wont be disappointed!



Author Photo

Author Bio – AE Warren lives in the UK. A not-so-covert nerd with mildly obsessive tendencies, she has happily wiled away an inordinate amount of time reading and watching sci-fi/ fantasy and gaming. She is interested in the ‘what ifs’.

The Museum of Second Chances is her first novel and she is currently writing the third book in the ‘Tomorrow’s Ancestors’ series.

Social Media Links –
Instagram – @amauthoring

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The Black Ditch by Simon J Lancaster @Rachel’sRandomResources/BlogTour

The Black Ditch Cover

The Black Ditch
LAURIE STERNE feels like he’s been cut adrift in space. His father has been shot dead, caught in the crossfire of a gangland war that has also claimed his boss’s life. Laurie is a refugee who lost his adoptive mum years before and doesn’t know where he was born, let alone who his birth parents were. But he’s not alone in the world: someone is trying to kill him.

This is London, 2050, a dumping ground for climate refugees and dissidents. Gangs rule, murder goes unpunished and the police make sure you can’t escape.

In his struggle to stay alive, he finds an ally: his former boss’s secret daughter.
But with the killer predicting his every move, is the man without a past being betrayed by the woman who seems to offer him a future?
Purchase Links:
UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07V1HHTJK/
US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07V1HHTJK/

Global warming is not just theory but is now a fact! London is not now the capital of Great Britain but is basically a prison city. A place to dump climate refugees, fleeing the effect of global warming. Add to this dissidents and gang leaders controlling their own patches with violence, Knowing they wont be punished, after all the police are just another gang. Not there to control and punish the violence but to make sure you cannot escape it.

Laurie, after the murder of his boss, finds himself struggling to stay alive and his only ally is his ex boss’s daughter. But is she the ally Laurie is looking for as trouble seems to dog his every footstep.

This is a fast paced read that keeps you in a state of excitement and turning the pages furiously. When Laurie again finds himself in trouble, you find yourself saying not again. But this is what would happen in a place where anarchy rules.

The author paints a good picture of a city and society in decay. A city where violence and corruption rule and anarchy is the only rule.

If you like your thrillers fast paced and with plenty of violence then this could be the book for you.

If I had one complaint I would’ve liked more about climate change, but as this book one of trilogy this may come in further books

The Black Ditch Author Photo

Author Bio – Simon J Lancaster is the author of The Black Ditch, the first in the Laurie Sterne trilogy of dystopian future thrillers. Prior to writing novels he was a national newspaper journalist in London, as well as a music critic and private pilot. He has written short stories and plays and, after reading extensively about climate change, concluded that the fantasy gun-play of contemporary-set action novels would be the lived experience of our coming world.

Social Media Links – Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/simon.lancaster.75457

Giveaway to Win a signed copy of The Black Ditch, and for your name to be used for a character in the sequel (Open Int)
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The Home by Sarah Stovell# BookBlog @OrendaBooks@AnneCater @Randomthingstours

Firstly my thanks to Anne Carter and Orenda Books for the ARC and the opportunity to read it. Also Sarah Stovell for the superb novel she has written.

The Home Cover
THE HOME by Sarah Stovell
A dark and emotive thriller which shines a light on the troubling issue of children in care, The Home marks the return of Sarah Stovell, author of the 2017 international bestseller Exquisite.
When the body of pregnant, fifteen-year-old Hope Lacey is discovered in a churchyard on Christmas morning, the community is shocked, but unsurprised. For Hope lived in The Home, the residence of three young girls, whose violent and disturbing pasts have seen them cloistered away.
As a police investigation gets underway, the lives of Hope, Lara and Annie are examined, and the staff who work at the home are interviewed, leading to shocking and distressing revelations … and clear evidence that someone is seeking revenge.
A dark and devastating psychological thriller, The Home is also a heartbreaking and insightful portrayal of the underbelly of society, where children learn what they live … if they are allowed to live at


This was my first read by Sarah and what a read it was! On the face of it a crime novel, but it is much, much more! It has the crime at the start but it has social commentary, the underfunding of the care sector and the insight into dysfunctional families.

This book grabs the reader before he/she has opened a page. I don’t know who designed the cover , but all the tens and a superb job it is!

This is the story of home where Hope and Annie, both fifteen year olds and also Lara a mute twelve year old live. On Christmas morning a body of a young girl is found, the first thoughts are it is Annie but it is later found to be Hope.

What follows is not just the investigation into Hope’s death but an investigation into their dark and often violent past that has them cloistered in the home.

But is The Home the best place for these troubled girls. Has this Home the facilities to help the girls see a light at the end of their respective tunnels.

This is a novel that is much more than a crime, an investigation, but also a beacon that shines on the dark underbelly of the underfunding of the care sector but also of society in general.. Dysfunction, bad parenting etc. Do these girls have a future or were they dammed at birth!

As said before. Much, much more than a crime novel but a commentary on parts of our current society. A read that will not only having you guessing who is behind the death but questioning our society. A must read. Not only a top quality story, with superb prose but a writer at the top her form. Please read this book. It will not disappoint! All the stars from me!


Sarah Author Picture

Sarah Stovell was born in 1977 and spent most of her life in the Home Counties before a season working in a remote North Yorkshire youth hostel made her realise she was a northerner at heart. She now lives in Northumberland with her partner and two children and is a lecturer in Creative Writing at Lincoln University. Her debut psychological thriller, Exquisite, was called ‘the book of the summer’ by Sunday Times.
‘The characters are so untrustworthy you wont know what to believe, but you won’t put it down till you’ve found out. A superb debut’ Sunday Mirror
‘Cunningly constructed and gorgeously written, this is outstanding’ Sunday Express
‘Slickly claustrophobic, this arch story of obsessive, forbidden love taken to the extreme will have you squirming in your seat’ Sarah PinboroughThe Home BT Poster

good’ Julie Burchill

The Museum of Second Chances by A. E. Warren#Blog Tour. @RachelsRandomResources#Dystopian


About The Book:

The Museum of Second Chances
What happens when the future recaptures the past?

In a post-apocalyptic world the human race has evolved beyond us through genetic engineering – and we’ve been left behind to make amends for the damage inflicted on the earth.

The reversal of the extinction of long lost animals is key to our reparations and all of these are housed in the Museum of Evolution – along with another species of human that hasn’t existed for 30,000 years.

Elise belongs to the lowest order of humans, the Sapiens. She lives in an ostracised community of ecological houses, built to blend with an idyllic landscape. Deciding to widen her stagnating life in the manufacturing base, she takes a chance opportunity to become a Companion to a previously extinct species of human.

But Elise has secrets of her own that threaten to be exposed now that she is away from the safety of her home. And while living in the museum, Elise realises that little separates her from the other exhibits…

Purchase Link – http://mybook.to/TMOSC

My Thoughts:

What happens when we wish for the past?; do we get what we wish for? This is a tale of three groups of humans, Sapiens, you and me?  They’re also the Medius and Potior, Genetically enhanced and  superior to the Sapiens; the group Elise belongs to.

These enhanced beings are responsible for setting up the Museum. Bringing back extinct species, including  early humans, The Neanderthals .


Elise lands herself at the museum as a companion to a Neanderthal. She finds more questions than answers as she lives away from home and wonders why Sapiens seem content with their lives.

This book opened up for thoughts for me. Why three types of human. Does genetically enhanced mean able to exert control over others.  In being a companion are you a member of staff or another exhibit? All the creators of the museum seem to want is a collection of moving exhibits, no thoughts given for the physical or mental wellbeing of the exhibits. The more you read the more you Question the whole set up. As does Elise.

A well written book that throws up more questions than answers and makes you feel for the characters you meet and wish for them to escape the false and claustrophobic world they live in. Not my usual genre, but I enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to book two. Give it a shot.


Author Photo

Author Bio – AE Warren lives in the UK. A not-so-covert nerd with mildly obsessive tendencies, she has happily wiled away an inordinate amount of time reading and watching sci-fi/ fantasy and gaming. She is interested in the ‘what ifs’.

The Museum of Second Chances is her first novel and she is currently writing the third book in the ‘Tomorrow’s Ancestors’ series.

Social Media Links –
Instagram – @amauthoring
Facebook – @amauthoring
Twitter – @amauthoring

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Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone/Blogtour @ Orenda Books@Anne Carter

Dark Matter Cover


After an unexpected death, three generations of women take over the family funeral-home and PI businesses in the first book of a brilliant, page-turning and darkly funny new series
The Skelfs are a well-known Edinburgh family, proprietors of a long-established funeral-home business, and private investigators. When patriarch Jim dies, it’s left to his wife Dorothy, daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah to take charge of both businesses, kicking off an unexpected series of events.

Dorothy discovers mysterious payments to another women, suggesting that Jim wasn’t the husband she thought he was. Hannah’s best friend Mel has vanished from university, and the simple adultery case that Jenny takes on leads to something stranger and far darker than any of them could have imagined.

As the women struggle to come to terms with their grief, and the demands of the business threaten to overwhelm them, secrets from the past emerge, which change everything… It’s a compelling and tense thriller and a darkly funny, warm portrait of a family in turmoil.


I have been a fan of Doug Johnstone’s writing since I first encountered him with Tombstoning. I think his writing has improved with every book and also the reader’s enjoyment.

The story opens with the death and cremation of the family patriarch Jim.

His widow Dorothy , along with daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah, is left to run the family funeral business; which also has a side-line in private investigations.

This leaves them juggling the bereavement business and getting more involved in the investigations. Willingly or not.

Dorothy in going through Jim’s accounts finds mysterious payments to another woman. So was he the loving husband everyone thought? Hannah finds herself investigating the disappearance of her friend Mel; and Jenny has the darkest investigation of all. Fighting to contain their grief and the demands of the business which at times threatens to overwhelm them.

Doug has painted a portrait of the Skelf women which is at times dysfunctional, humorous  but mostly warm. All other characters in this are well drawn and the narrative and quality of Doug’s writing makes this book an exceptional read. For me one of the best characters is the city of Edinburgh itself. Not the usual tourist spots but the lesser known and darker districts of the city which adds depth to the story.

A dark, comedic and warm tale with surprises round the corner. I urge you to read it!

Thanks to Doug Johnstone, Orenda Books and Anne Carter for the opportunity to read this book.


Doug Johnstone is the author of ten novels, most recently Breakers (2018), which has been shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year. Several of his books have been bestsellers and award winners, and his work has been praised by the likes of Val McDermid, Irvine Welsh and Ian Rankin. He’s taught creative writing and been writer in residence at various institutions – including a funeral home – and has been an arts journalist for twenty years. Doug is a songwriter and musician with five albums and three EPs released, and he plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He’s also player-manager of the Scotland Writers Football Club. He lives in EdinburghDoug Author Picture

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Blood Family by Graeme Hampton# Blog Tour# Thanks to Sarah Hardy#

Book Description:

All families have secrets… some are deadly.
When D.I. Matthew Denning is called in to investigate a house fire in a North London street, he never anticipated the horrors that awaited him. As Denning and D.S. Molly Fisher search the wreckage, the bodies of the Galloway family – Brian and Ellie, son Simon, daughter Amber and 9-year-old grandson Caleb – are discovered in the smouldering house.
All evidence points to a tragic accident… until Matthew and Molly discover that the family was dead before the fire, murdered in their home by a faceless psychopath. What started as a routine investigation swiftly turns into a murder investigation, with Denning and Fisher hunting a killer who has wiped out three generations with a shotgun.
But as the case deepens, Denning and Fisher discover that the Galloways were no ordinary family. Like all families, they harbour secrets – but unlike others, their secrets were so deadly, someone is willing to spill blood to keep them hidden…
An utterly gripping detective novel set in London, Blood Family will thrill fans of Angela Marsons, Mark Billingham and Robert Bryndza.


If you like your books fast paced, involved stories and surprises round every corner, then this is the book for you.

Starts out very simply. D.I. Denning is called out to investigate, what on the face of it is an tragic fire. A whole family die in the fire. But when the bodies are examined they are found to be dead before the fire started. Who is the psychopath? Why kill a whole family including a nine year old boy?

As the investigation deepens a lot of things are thrown up; at first unconnected to the initial crime. If you want to find out what they are you will need to grab a copy and read on!

The author juggles multiple stands in the telling of his tale and all are essential to the plot. His prose is crisp and of a quality that makes the reader turning the pages. The reader will find themselves enjoying the tale but at no time feel them overwhelmed by the amount of information they’re taking on board.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and if you like your thrillers with bite then you will to. Give it a try, I think you will like it!

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Author Bio:

Graeme Hampton was born in Paisley, and grew up in Stirling. After leaving school, he trained as a stage manager and worked in London for a number of years. He returned to Scotland in his late twenties to study for a BA in English Literature at Stirling University. His first novel, Know No Evil, was published in 2019 by Hera Books. His next book, Blood Family, will be published in January 2020.
He lives in Hastings, East Sussex.
Twitter: @GHam001
Instagram: graeme_hampton
Website: http://www.graemehampton.com


Sarah Hardy
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Million Eyes by C.R. Berry/ Blog Tour/ Rachel’sRandomResources/

Million Eyes Cover Large


Million Eyes
How do you fight an enemy who has a million eyes?
What if we’re living in an alternate timeline? What if the car crash that killed Princess Diana, the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower, and the shooting of King William II weren’t supposed to happen?
Ex-history teacher Gregory Ferro finds evidence that a cabal of time travellers is responsible for several key events in our history. These events all seem to hinge on a dry textbook published in 1995, referenced in a history book written in 1977 and mentioned in a letter to Edward III in 1348.
Ferro teams up with down-on-her-luck graduate Jennifer Larson to get to the truth and discover the relevance of a book that seems to defy the arrow of time. But the time travellers are watching closely. Soon the duo are targeted by assassins willing to rewrite history to bury them.
Million Eyes is a fast-paced conspiracy thriller about power, corruption and destiny.
Purchase Links

Million Eyes


This is a great book. Is it a Scifi /conspiracy thriller with time travel thrown in? It is a book that straddles genres and drags the reader through a myriad of adventures. Whilst it is hard to fit into a genre one niche it can fit in is” Superb quality fiction!”
This is the first book in a proposed trilogy and introduces us to the key jargons of the Scify/ conspiracy crossover thriller. It is a fast paced read and invites the reader to suspend their disbelief; and it rewards the reader in doing so. A book that spans 900 years of recorded history and more besides. This first book in the proposed trilogy sets up the premise for a superb series.
The narrative is full of well rounded characters and with not a wasted word in what is a piece of superb fiction. I would urge you to grab a copy and dive into the adventure. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!
C.R. Berry is a writer to watch!



Author Bio –
C.R. Berry caught the writing bug at the tender age of four and has never recovered. His earliest stories were filled with witches, monsters, evil headteachers, Disney characters and the occasional Dalek. He realised pretty quickly that his favourite characters were usually the villains. He wonders if that’s what led him to become a criminal lawyer. It’s certainly why he’s taken to writing conspiracy thrillers, where the baddies are numerous and everywhere.
After a few years getting a more rounded view of human nature’s darker side, he quit lawyering and turned to writing full-time. He now works as a freelance copywriter and novelist and blogs about conspiracy theories, time travel and otherworldly weirdness.
He was shortlisted in the 2018 Grindstone Literary International Novel Competition and has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies, including Storgy, Dark Tales, Theme of Absence and Suspense Magazine. He was also shortlisted in the Aeon Award Contest, highly commended by Writers’ Forum, and won second prize in the inaugural To Hull and Back Humorous Short Story Competition.
He grew up in Farnborough, Hampshire, a town he says has as much character as a broccoli. He’s since moved to the “much more interesting and charming” Haslemere in Surrey.
Social Media Links –
Website: https://crberryauthor.wordpress.com

Technology that learns you



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Someone Close to Home by Alex Craigie/ Blog Tour/ Thanks to Anne Carter

Someone Close to Home Cover

Somewhere Close To Home by Alex Craigie
• Paperback: 252 pages
• Publisher: Ashford Carbonel Publishing (9 Dec. 2016)
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 0995696608
• ISBN-13: 978-0995696600

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Someone-Close-Home-Alex-Craigie/dp/0995696608
Talented pianist Megan Youngblood has it all – fame, fortune and Gideon.
But Gideon isn’t good enough for Megan’s ambitious, manipulative mother, whose meddling has devastating repercussions for Megan and for those close to her.
Now, trapped inside her own body, she is unable to communicate her needs or fears as she faces institutional neglect in an inadequate care home.
And she faces Annie. Sadistic Annie who has reason to hate her. Damaged Annie who shouldn’t work with vulnerable people.
Just how far will Annie go?
‘Someone Close To Home’ is a story of love, malice and deadly menace


This is a very hard book to review without spoilers. But I will try!

It is the story of Megan. Well two stories really. Megan who is in love with Gideon. But her mother for reasons of her own thinks Gideon is not good enough for her. She interferes in Megan’s life with devastating effects,

The other story is of Megan trapped inside her body,  after a devastating stroke,unable to communicate or voice her opinions.

She finds herself at the mercy of her cruel and sadistic mother and a victim of institutional neglect.

Alex as writer has written a book with multiple threads and storylines which enthral and hold the reader gripped! But she never overwhelms the reader and suffocates them with too much info. Her writing is of a standard that grips the reader and makes the pages turn themselves.

My first dance with this author, which I thoroughly enjoyed and look forward to reading more by her. I urge you to read this book.


Alex Craigie Author Pic

Alex Craigie was ten when her first play was performed at school. It was in rhyming couplets and all she can remember about it is that:

• it was written in pencil in a book with weights and measures on the back
• the two heroes were Prince Rupert and his brother (whose name was changed to Sam to facilitate the rhyming process.)
• as writer, producer and director she ‘bagged’ the part of female lead.
When her children were young, she wrote short stories for magazines and since then has fulfilled her ambition to write a novel.

Someone Close to Home has won two ‘Chill with a Book’ awards – The Reader’s Award and the Book of the Month Award.

Alex lives in a small village in Pembrokeshire, Wales, and knows that she and her husband are lucky to have their children and grandchildren living nearby. It’s often chaotic and noisy but these are her most treasured moments and she savours them – even if she’s reduced to an immovable heap after they’ve gone.
As an independent author, without a big publishing machine behind her, she is very grateful to all the people who have found and bought her first book – and a huge thank you to those who’ve gone out of their way to write a review on Amazon or Goodreads. These reviews make a massive difference to ‘Indies’ and the positive ones encourage other readers to risk buying a copy.

What else can she say? Nothing, really. Writing this personal promotion has been very, very hard and she needs to go away now and lie down in a darkened room, preferably with a big bar of chocolate…
She looks forward to any contact from fellow lovers of books and any honest feedback is very welcome.

Someone Close To Home BT Poster