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review 2015-02-21 21:50
The Venus Trap - Louise Voss
The Venus Trap - Louise Voss

Published 24 February 2015 by Thomas & Mercer

Number of pages: 305

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★  I really liked it


"Jo Atkins’ sixteenth year was disastrous: she lost her dad, was assaulted by a stranger, and then had her heart broken. For the last twenty-five years, she’s believed that nothing could ever be as bad again.

She was wrong.

Now, still smarting from her recent divorce, pretty, self-effacing Jo finally gathers the courage to enter the dating scene. She meets Claudio, whom she vaguely remembers from her youth, but after a few dates decides he’s creepy and politely tells him ‘thanks but no thanks’.

But Claudio has no intention of letting her go.

Instead of never seeing him again, Jo wakes up sick and terrified, handcuffed to her own bed. She is given a week to prove her love for Claudio—or he will kill her.

Claudio, it turns out, is a man with nothing left to lose.

The Venus Trap tackles the emotional impact of divorce, the perils of modern dating and the age-old powers of lust and obsession."


"The Venus Trap" is a tense psychological thriller by Louise Voss, and the blurb for this title says it all very accurately.


I utterly enjoyed this book and the tension and retrospective analysis the main character, Jo, goes through during her captivity.


The story is narrated through the point of view of Jo, in the present, and further explored through one of her old diaries and her recollections - all of the complex events that have led to her current situation, with Claudio.


It was very easy to identify with Jo; a flawed human being who is forced to evaluate her life, the mistakes she made and what she lost - hindsight is definitely 20/20!


Louise Voss's writing is impeccable and thoroughly engaging.


About the Author


Louise VossLouise Voss was born and raised in Salisbury, England.


She began her writing career in the mid-1990s when, while living in New York, she enrolled in a creative writing course. Her first novel, "To Be Someone", was published in 2001 by Transworld, and was the first book to come with its own CD soundtrack. This was followed by three more contemporary women’s fiction novels until she switched to writing thrillers with Mark Edwards in 2011.


She and Mark were the first UK self-published authors to reach #1 on the Amazon charts with "Catch Your Death". Their fifth co-written novel, "From the Cradle", was published last year (2014) by Thomas & Mercer.


Louise currently lives and writes near Hampton Court, UK.

She is an avid tennis player, knitter, singer, upcycler and jewellery-maker, and adds that she can stand on her head and write backwards. Although not at the same time.


She can be reached at @LouiseVoss1 on Twitter or on Facebook 

Her website is www.vossandedwards.com

Source: bookschatter.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-venus-trap.html
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review 2015-02-18 20:59
Suckers - Z. Rider
Suckers: A Horror Novel - Z. Rider

Published 17 February 2015 by Dark Ride Publishing

Number of pages: 330

My rating: ★ ★  It was OK


"WHEN WORN-OUT MUSICIAN DAN FERRY decides to take a shortcut back to the band's hotel, he picks the wrong dark alley to go down. Within days of being attacked by a bat-like creature, he becomes consumed with the need to drink human blood. Terrified of what will happen if he doesn't get his fix--and terrified of what he'll do to get it--he turns to his best friend and bandmate, Ray Ford, for help. But what the two don't know as they try to keep Dan's situation quiet is that the parasite driving Dan's addiction has the potential to wipe out humankind.

Poignant and terrifying, heartfelt and ingenious, Suckers is a story of sacrifice and friendship in the face of an alien contagion that threatens to destroy humanity."


Suckers is the first novel by Zoe Rider - a horror tale.

I liked Zoe's writing style, and I thought the story had a lot of potential.

I felt that the first third of the book was far too slow, with far too detailed descriptions of every action made by the protagonists.

The second third was more interesting, with better pace.

Unfortunately the final third took a funny turn which led to an abrupt ending for the the main characters and a resolution for the main story line totally rushed and squashed into an epilogue.

I have read that the author felt the book was about the two main characters, and not actually about the wider issues surrounding them, hence she had envisaged the ending as it played out.
Unfortunately that simply did not work for me, and this work felt overall unsatisfying for me, hence the "It was OK" final verdict.
I felt that, if the story was just about the two main characters, at least the title of the book should have been different. But there is more than that to it... it felt as if, after the slow start, things would unfold to epic proportions or to earth shattering truths... unfortunately they didn't, and the story just ended.

I look forward to read further works from this author, I just hope they are going to be better paced and constructed, as I truly see a real sparkle within Z. Rider.


[ARC received via Netgalley]

Source: bookschatter.blogspot.com/2015/02/suckers.html
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review 2015-02-01 05:44
Masters of Blood and Bone
Masters of Bone and Blood - Craig Saunders

Published 3 February 2015 by DarkFuse

Number of pages: 235

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★  I really liked it


Holland's a man who's good with death. Good at death.

When his daughter goes missing, he finds himself pitted in a deadly game against the Gods themselves. Powerful enemies surround him—a changeling, a mage, and a god who wants to destroy the world. 

With silver bullets in his gun and death on his mind, Holland aims to set things right...or die trying.

 For the captors of Holland’s daughter, death is not only on it’s way, it’s in their very possession as Holland's daughter isn't just a girl...in fact, she's barely mortal at all...

She's Ankou, Death's daughter, and she's not an easy mark.

The battleground has been set, the world’s at stake, and all Hell is about the break loose.

Masters of Blood and Bone is an epic clash between good and evil, life versus death, Gods against mortals, a timeless story of power and corruption and one man’s pursuit to protect what he loves at any cost."


Craig Saunders's "Masters of Blood and Bone" is a dark fantasy mystery thriller, where men, mages and Gods collide, and it had me captivated from the very first chapter:


"It's impossible to fake being a wizard. You can fake many, many things: Tans, orgasms, speeding car and fart noises for small children. 
But true wizards are not prestidigitators, just as books are not lies. They are magic. 

Greed, violence, love, compassion and innocence are weaved masterfully by the author in a gloomy, atmospheric, supernatural, magical and mysterious world.


The writing style is clean and crisp, with enough detail to set your imagination towards the right path, whilst allowing it to roam free and create its own detailed picture - which I find very effective.

No graphic guts and gore, but some strong language.

The chapters are short and snappy.


I found myself laughing out-loud on several occasions, thanks to the regular deadpan humour delivered through the main character, Holland.

An utterly enjoyable and memorable read, and an author to watch out for.


[ARC received via Netgalley]

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review 2014-10-01 23:11
Everybody likes it. But not me. :-|
The Bronze Horseman - Paullina Simons

I've read 140 pages and couldn't stand it anymore. (Spoilers ahead! But only as far as page 140.)

The main character Tatiana annoyed the hell out of me (I could not stand Tatiana sitting there licking ice cream in her summer dress instead of buying food, because Germany had declared war on Russia the same day and her family had sent her to buy food. I really thought she was utterly stupid.). I also could not stand the overly perfectness of the male hero who's an American (!), but is an officer in the Red Army (!) and walks through Leningrad with Tatiana every evening for three weeks and openly talks about surely forbidden topics, like ... ehm ... the Russian Government wasn't really ... ehm 'fair' (remember, the Germans had declared war on Russia and the Russian leader was Stalin).

I also disliked the "Insta-Love". They see, they fall for each other and behave like idiots instead of just talking (i. e. excessive sitting in busses and staring).

And I surely could not tolerate that this guy was dating her sister at the same time. That he visits the family and sees Tatiana and her sister but plays the role of the sisters lover. WTF? Why does her sister never notice the glances, the tension? Because literally Tatiana and Alexander are eying each other all the time. 

And at last I did not like how Tatiana adored him anyway. Adored everything he did! And sacrificed this supercool love because "she had only one sister" and would never hurt her.

Stop - the last wasn't the last. The last annoyance was the writing style. I thought it was cheesy: too many short sentences, too many sentences with a "She, He, It" at the beginning, too many short paragraphs, too many turns in paragraphs. Too dry.

Maybe I just did not get the point (I am not really the regular romance reader ;-) ), maybe I gave up to early. I don't mind. I just didn't like it enough to read further.

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review 2014-03-08 23:43
The Troop - Nick Cutter
The Troop by Cutter, Nick (2014) Paperback - Nick Cutter

Published 25 February 2014 by Headline

Number of pages: 358

My rating: ★ ★ ★   I liked  it


"Lord of the Flies meets The Ruins in this frightening novel written in the bestselling traditions of Stephen King and Scott Smith.

Boy Scouts live by the motto “Be Prepared.” However, nothing can prepare this group of young boys and their scoutmaster for what they encounter on a small, deserted island, as they settle down for a weekend of campfires, merit badges, and survival lessons.

Everything changes when a haggard stranger in tattered clothing appears out of nowhere and collapses on the campers’ doorstep. Before the night is through, this stranger will end up infecting one of the troop’s own with a bioengineered horror that’s straight out of their worst nightmares. Now stranded on the island with no communication to the outside world, the troop learns to battle much more than the elements, as they are pitted against something nature never intended…and eventually each other."


Nick Cutter's The Troop will make you uncomfortable. Then it will disturb you more and more deeply with its vivid and clinical imagery of multifaceted horror.


You will be transported onto the island and you will be made to savour it through the narrator's creative, complex and at times arcane simile and metaphors - which can take a while to get accustomed to.


The present plight of the young scouts is interwoven with flashbacks into their lives back on the mainland, and with flash-forwards into the aftermath providing the reader with a complete and chilling bird's eye view of the events as they unfold.


Although the initial setting of the story is immediately reminiscent of Golding's "Lord of the Flies", this is where the similarities end.


Different audiences will be able to pick up and appreciate different aspects of the story.

Be warned: this book contains graphic cruelty to animals.

Source: bookschatter.blogspot.com/2014/03/the-troop.html
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