Thursday, September 29, 2016

Audio Book Review ~ White is the Coldest Colour by John Nicholl, Narrated by Jake Urry

White is the Coldest Colour
By John Nicholl
Narrator: Jake Urry
Publisher: John NichollMay 26, 2016
Length: 9 hours 10 minutes
Series: Dr. David Galbraith (Book 1)
Genre: Psychological Thriller

Be careful who you trust.

The Mailer family are oblivious to the terrible danger that enters their lives when seven-year-old Anthony is referred to the child guidance service by the family GP following the breakdown of his parents' marriage.

Fifty-eight year old Dr. David Galbraith, a sadistic, predatory pedophile employed as a consultant child psychiatrist, has already murdered one child in the soundproofed cellar below the South Wales Georgian townhouse he shares with his wife and two young daughters.

Anthony becomes Galbraith's latest obsession and he will stop at nothing to make his grotesque fantasies reality.

The novel is entirely fictional, but draws on John Nicholl's experiences as a police officer, child protection social worker, manager and trainer. During his career the author was faced with case after case that left him incredulous as to the harm sexual predators chose to inflict on their victims. The book reflects that reality.

The story is set in 1992, a more naive time when many found it extremely difficult to believe that a significant number of adults posed a serious risk to children. The book contains material some may find upsetting from the start.

It is dedicated to survivors everywhere.

Click here to listen to an Audible sample

White is the Coldest Colour written by John Nicholl is a psychological thriller that takes place in Wales and during the course of the book we get inside the head of an extremely sick and perverted individual that preys on little boys all in the disguise of being a well renown child psychiatrist who is supposed to be helping his patients.

This is a dark story with some horrific scenes that will make you cringe.  Knowing that the author draws from the knowledge and experiences he gained while on the job makes this story even more cringe worthy.  That there are even beings such as Galbraith walking around this world is a sick feeling that will leave you with a sense of pure disgust.  Galbraith’s character is a disturbing one as not only is he a pedophile who preys on young boys; he honestly thinks he is doing nothing wrong.  He obtains great pleasure from his ‘work’ and thinks he is above the law and perhaps the greatest person on Earth.  He is manipulative and enjoys ‘breaking’ people down.  Galbraith is a monster through and through.  There are absolutely no redeeming qualities to be found in his character.  You will be cheering at the end - because spoiler alert – he dies.  YAY for happy endings!

The foul language was abundant for most of the book, and I really feel as though most of it was not needed in order for the plot to flow.  There is a lot of ‘the little bastard’, ‘piss’ this and ‘piss’ that, and ‘fu*k’ this and ‘fu*k’ that, with a little bit of the C word that all women despise.  If you can’t get past foul language, then this book is not for you.  I would suggest though trying to get past the language because this story is an eye opening experience.

Overall, despite the language, this was a decent read that will take you to a dark place that will disturb you to the point that you might want to stop reading, but I promise that you will not be able to put the book down.  I for one could not stop until the very end.

The narration of this book was performed by Jake Urry.  This is the second book I have listened to performed by Mr. Urry, and I must admit, although I enjoyed the first book for the most part, I had a difficult time listening to this particular story.  There was little to no emotion portrayed with each character, and I had a hard time figuring out which character was actually doing the ‘talking’.  For most of the performance, I felt as though I was just being read to and was unable to visualize the story and characters in my head.  Paragraph breaks were hard to distinguish as the narrator hardly seemed to pause long enough – it just seemed rushed at times.  I believe the performance could be improved by giving each character a defining voice and more emotion.

For this particular book, I would have to say skip the audible and just read the book for yourself and create your own voices for the characters.  This is a dark book with events that unfortunately happen in today’s world and is definitely worth the time reading.

Overall rating - 3.5 stars
Story - 4 stars
Performance - 3 stars

The audio book was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review.  Kindle edition purchased by the reader in order to read separately to gain more insight on the writing.

John Nicholl, an ex police officer, child protection social worker, manager and lecturer, has written three dark psychological suspense thrillers, each of which are Amazon international bestsellers, reaching # 1 in various categories in the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Austrailia, Canada and the USA. John is always happy to hear from readers, bloggers or anyone interested in proposing a joint creative project. He can be contacted via his author website at:

Jake Urry is a British actor and audiobook narrator, and also co-founder of Just Some Theatre. Since graduating from an Acting degree course in 2012 he’s toured with Just Some Theatre as an actor and producer, worked on a number of commercial voice over projects and most recently started producing Audiobooks. Jake has produced over 10 titles since March 2016 and has rapidly found himself at home narrating Thriller, Horror, Mystery and Suspense titles. His audiobook work includes dark psychological thrillers White is the Coldest Colourand Portraits of the Dead by John Nicholl, occult mystery seriesThe Ulrich Files by Ambrose Ibsen, and gritty Sci-Fi novelShadows of Tomorrow by Jessica Meats. 

Book Tour & Giveaway ~ THE PERKS OF LOVING A SCOUNDREL by Jennifer McQuiston

By Jennifer McQuiston
Avon Books
September 27, 2016
ISBN: 9780062335142; $$7.99
E-ISBN 9780062335159; $5.99

New York Times bestselling author Jennifer McQuiston continues her enchanting Seduction Diaries series as a bookish spinster and an unrepentant rogue unite to unmask a traitor.

Every girl dreams of a hero….

No one loves books more than Miss Mary Channing. Perhaps that’s why she’s reached the ripe old age of six-and-twenty without ever being kissed. Her future may be as bland as milk toast, but Mary is content to simply dream about the heroes and adventures she reads about in her books. That way she won’t end up with a villain instead.

But sometimes only a scoundrel will do.

When she unexpectedly finds herself in the arms of Geoffrey Westmore, London’s most notorious scoundrel, it feels a bit like a plot from one of her favorite novels. Suddenly, Mary understands why even the smartest heroines can fall prey to a handsome face. And Westmore’s is more handsome than most. But far worse than the damage to her reputation, the moment’s indiscretion uncovers an assassination plot that reaches to the highest levels of society and threatens the course of the entire country.

When a tight-laced miss and a scoundrel of epic proportions put their minds together, nothing can stand in their way. But unless they put their hearts together as well, a happy ending is anything but assured.

Praise for Jennifer McQuiston and THE PERKS OF LOVING A SCOUNDREL:

“McQuiston’s third Seduction Diaries novel is to be commended for its complex and unusual plot and for featuring characters the reader comes to care for. A surprising, readable story about healing, forgiveness, and trust.”   — Kirkus

“The story is equal parts mystery and romance, and just when readers begin to feel cheated, the twists and turns navigate to a stunning ending.”— Publishers Weekly

“Pure Escapism. Ms. Mcquiston created a romance as epic as the characters who lived it. [...] With easily identifiable main characters and a thrilling story, it was a no brainer for me to gift this book with 5 stars and a Top Pick.” — Night Owl Reviews

”McQuiston’s Seduction Diaries series captivates readers with clever plots and engaging characters. Incorporating plenty of sexual tension, bantering dialogue and a mystery into this installment delivers everything fans expect from McQuiston. This is truly a delightful addition to a reader’s library.”— RT Book Reviews

“THE PERKS OF LOVING A SCOUNDREL is full of interesting characters and their interactions, especially those between West and Mary. There is also plenty of suspense concerning the assassination. The era is also a change from the Regency that so Dominates British historical romances.”— Romance Reviews Today

“Regency romance fans will adore this addition to McQuiston’s Seduction Diaries series”— Booklist

From the Diary of Miss Mary Channing
May 24, 1858

            Eleanor wrote today. I should have been glad to hear from her, given that she is my twin sister and I love her dearly, but it would be untruthful to say the contents of her letter pleased me. Her new husband, Lord Ashington, has been called away on business and she’s asked me to come to London to keep her company during the last two months of her confinement.
            Can you imagine? Me, in London?
            My family says I must get my nose out of my books and begin to live in the world around me. It is true I’ve never been further afield than a day trip from home, and that I have never slept a night outside my own bed. But why would I ever want to leave, when I have my books to keep me company? And a trip to London is not without its perils. I could very well end up like one of the characters in my beloved stories, snubbed by the popular crowd. Whispered about behind lace fans. Or worse . . . led astray by a handsome villain and then abandoned to my fate.
            Yet, how could I not go? Eleanor is my sister, and she needs me. So I shall put on a brave face. Pack a trunk. Smile, if I must. But I can’t help but wonder . . . which worries me more?
            The many things that could happen in London?
            Or the thought of seeing Eleanor, with her handsome new husband, and her shining, lovely life, and everything I am afraid of wanting?

Chapter 1

London, May 29, 1858

The smell should have been worse.
            She’d expected something foul, air made surly by the summer heat. Just last week she’d read about the Thames, that great, roiling river that carried with it the filth of the entire city and choked its inhabitants to tears. Her rampant imagination, spurred on by countless books and newspaper articles, had conjured a city of fetid smells, each more terrible than the last. But as Miss Mary Channing opened her bedroom window and breathed in her first London morning, her nose filled with nothing more offensive than the fragrance of . . .
            Disconcerted, she peeked out over the sill. Dawn was just breaking over the back of Grosvenor Square. The gaslights were still burning and the windows of the other houses were dark. By eight o’clock, she imagined industrious housemaids would be down on their knees, whiting their masters’ stoops. The central garden would fill with nurses and their charges, heading west toward Hyde Park.
            But for now the city—and its smells—belonged solely to her.
            She breathed in againWas she dreaming? Imagining things, as she was often wont to do? She was well over two hundred miles from home, but it smelled very much like her family’s ornamental garden in Yorkshire. She didn’t remember seeing a garden last night, but then, she had arrived quite late, the gaslight shadows obscuring all but the front steps. She’d been too weary to think, so sickened by the ceaseless motion of the train that she’d not even been able to read a book, much less ponder the underpinnings of the air she breathed.
            She supposed she might have missed a garden. Good heavens, she probably would have missed a funeral parade, complete with an eight-horse coach and a brass band.
            After the long, tiresome journey, she’d only wanted to find a bed.
            And yet now . . . at five o’clock in the morning . . . she couldn’t sleep.
            Not on a mattress that felt so strange, and not in a bedroom that wasn’t her own.
            Pulling her head back inside, she eyed the four-poster bed, with its rumpled covers and profusion of pretty pillows. It was a perfectly nice bed. Her sister, Eleanor, had clearly put some thought into the choice of fabrics and furniture. Most women would love such a room. And most women would love such an opportunity—two whole months in London, with shops and shows and distractions of every flavor at their fingertips.
            But Mary wasn’t most women. She preferred her distractions in the form of a good book, not shopping on Regent Street. And these two looming months felt like prison, not paradise.
            The scent of roses lingered in the air, and as she breathed in, her mind settled on a new hope. If there was a flower garden she might escape to—a place where she might read her books and write in her journal—perhaps it would not be so terrible?
            Picking up the novel she had not been able to read on the train, Mary slipped out of the strange bedroom, her bare feet silent on the stairs. She had always been an early riser, waking before even the most industrious servants back home in Yorkshire. At home, the cook knew to leave her out a bit of breakfast—bread and cheese wrapped in a napkin—but no one here would know to do that for her yet.
            Ever since she’d been a young girl, morning had been her own time, quiet hours spent curled up on a garden bench with a book in her lap, nibbling on her pocket repast, the day lightening around her. The notion that she might still keep to such a routine in a place like London gave her hope for the coming two months.
            She drifted down the hallway until she found a doorway that looked promising, solid oak, with a key still in the lock. With a deep breath, she turned the key and pulled it open. She braced herself for knife-wielding brigands. Herds of ragged street urchins, hands rifling through her pockets. The sort of London dangers she’d always read about.
            Instead, the scent of flowers washed over her like a lovely, welcome tide.
            Oh, thank goodness.
            She hadn’t been imagining things after all.
            Something hopeful nudged her over the threshold of the door, then bade her to take one step, then another. In the thin light of dawn, she saw flowers in every color and fashion: bloodred rose blooms, a cascade of yellow flowers dripping down the wrought iron fence. Her fingers loosened over the cover of her book. Oh, but it would be lovely to read here. She could even hear the light patter of a fountain, beckoning her deeper.
            But then she heard something else above those pleasant, tinkling notes.
            An almost inhuman groan of pleasure.
            With a startled gasp, she spun around. Her eyes swam through the early morning light to settle on a gentleman on the street, some ten feet or so away on the other side of the wrought iron fence. But the fact of their separation did little to relieve her anxiety, because the street light illuminated him in unfortunate, horrific clarity.
            He was urinating.
            Through the fence.
            Onto one of her sister’s rosebushes.
            The book fell from Mary’s hand. In all her imaginings of what dreadful things she might encounter on the streets of London, she’d never envisioned anything like this. She ought to bolt. She ought to scream. She ought to . . . well . . . she ought to at least look away.
            But as if he was made of words on a page, her eyes insisted on staying for a proper read. His eyes were closed, his mouth open in a grimace of relief. Objectively, he was a handsome mess, lean and long-limbed, a shock of disheveled blond hair peeking out from his top hat. But handsome was always matter of opinion, and this one had “villain” stamped on his skin.
            As if he could hear her flailing thoughts, one eye cracked open, then the other. “Oh, ho, would you look at that, Grant? I’ve an audience, it seems.”
            Somewhere down the street, another voice rang out. “Piss off!” A snigger followed. “Oh, wait, you already are.”
            “Cork it, you sodding fool!” the blond villain shouted back. “Can’t you see we’re in the presence of a lady?” He grinned. “Apologies for such language, luv. Though . . . given the way you are staring, perhaps you don’t mind?” He rocked back on his heels, striking a jaunty pose even as the urine rained down. “If you come a little closer, I’d be happy to give you a better peek.”
            Mary’s heart scrambled against her ribs. She might be a naive thing, fresh from the country, and she might now be regretting her presumption that it was permissible to read a book in a London garden in her bare feet, but she wasn’t so unworldly that she didn’t know this one pertinent fact: she was not—under any circumstances—coming a little closer.
            Or getting a better peek.
            Mortified, she wrapped her arms about her middle. “I . . .that is . . . couldn’t you manage to hold it?” she somehow choked out. There. She’d managed a phrase, and it was a properly scathing one, too. As good as any of her books’ heroines might have done.
            A grin spread across his face. Much like the puddle at the base of the rosebush. “Well, luv, the thing is, I’m thinking I’d rather let you hold it.” The stream trickled to a stop, though he added a few more drips for good measure. He shook himself off and began to button his trousers. “But alas, it seems you’ve waited too long for the pleasure.” He tipped a finger to the brim of his top hat in a sort of salute. “My friend awaits. Perhaps another time?”
            Mary gasped. Or rather, she squeaked.
            She could manage little else.
            He chuckled. “It seems I’ve got a shy little mouse on my hands. Well, squeak squeak, run along then.” He set off down the street, swaying a bit. “But I’ll leave you with a word of advice, Miss Mouse,” he tossed back over one shoulder. “You’re a right tempting sight, standing there in your unutterables. But you might want to wear shoes the next time you ogle a gentleman’s prick. Never know when you’ll need to run.” 

A veterinarian and infectious disease researcher by training, Jennifer McQuiston has always preferred reading romance to scientific textbooks. She resides in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, their two girls, and an odd assortment of pets, including the pony she promised her children if mommy ever got a book deal.

Cover Reveal & Giveaway ~ The Fighter and the Baroness by Sunniva Dee

The Fighter and the Baroness 
Sunniva Dee
Publication date: November 29th 2016
Genres: New Adult, Romance

Victor Arquette knows the meaning of sacrifice. Destined to legendary status in mixed martial arts, his life is founded on it. Dedication equals sacrifice, and sacrifice means around-the-clock training, no partying, no junk food, no alcohol—and no women. 
Helena von Isenlohe is the heiress to Kyria Castle. Due to her father’s lack of financial prowess, the restoration of the ancient German estate rests on Helena’s shoulders. A failed attempt leaves a wealthy man alone at the altar—and the fleeing bride on a plane to the United States. 
A chance meeting, and Victor and Helena’s chemistry is undeniable. Except, her presence clutters his focus. Victor shouldn’t crave their nights, shouldn’t be concerned where she is or with whom. And meanwhile in Germany, Kyria Castle deteriorates at a suspicious speed, indebting Helena further to the man she left behind. 
Victor and Helena believe in duty. They embrace sacrifice. But when love strikes, it strikes hard, and sometimes you have to choose where your heart is truly at home.

Helena enters the room like she expects someone to jump out from dark corner. Neck stretched, she takes in a high quality yet typical hotel room with a king-sized bed and two nightstands. The TV is big and flat, resting on top of a dresser, and then there’s a mirror over a small office desk with a phone and some restaurant flyers on it.
“It’s nice,” she says. “I like that it doesn’t smell like smoke.”
“That would be terrible. Is that what you’re used to? Smoking rooms?”
“We have a cigar room,” she replies, confused, until she breaks in an apologetic laugh. “Oh, as in smoking versus nonsmoking hotel room. I get it.”
“You have a cigar room? Would that be right next to the swan pond?” I tease. It’s cute to see embarrassment flush her cheeks. “Hey,” I continue, mock-petting her cheek, “don’t feel self-conscious about living in a castle. Even though it’s, let’s just say, a hair’s breadth over the top for us commoners.”

“Don’t I know it,” she says. “So which side of the bed is mine?”
I consider, rubbing the light scruff that’s grown on my chin since yesterday. “Well, since you just touched the left corner, it now has cooties. You’ll have to sleep on the cooty-side.”
This girl, she’s been so immediate in her responses. I guess I expected a laugh or some expressed annoyance at my silly comment. Instead, she sinks down against the pillows on her side of the bed and breathes, “Okay,” with the smallest smile raising the corners of her lips.
She uses the arc of one foot to slide her shoe off before she skips off the other. I watch as she wiggles her toes graciously, green nail polish gleaming in the dim shine from the bedside lamp.
Helena is tired. I guess it’s been a long day, the flight being just a small part of her exhaustion. I’m drawn to her eyes, not for the first time. The color of them is almost watery. No, they are watery.
“Who gave you that color?” I blurt out.
“Your eyes. It’s like they’re made of water.”
I’m not the impulsive kind, and yet I’ve already committed strange acts around this girl. Where I come from, women expect smart, premeditated interactions, never initiated by questions like the one I just shot at Helena. This they’d ignore. They’d change the subject into something not insane, or they’d titter and squirm, not knowing how to respond.
She lets her eyes float from her feet to my eyes before they still. “My father. I’ve got his eyes.” She laughs softly, hands around the remote for the TV. “Grandma used to say our eyes were the color of the swan pond because we were both born in rooms with windows overlooking it.”

Between studies, teaching, and advising, Sunniva has spent her entire adult life in a college environment. Most of her novels are new adult romance geared toward smart, passionate readers with a love for eclectic language and engaging their brain as well as their heart while reading.
Born in the Land of the Midnight Sun, the author spent her early twenties making the world her playground. Southern Europe: Spain, Italy, Greece--Argentina: Buenos Aires, in particular. The United States finally kept her interest, and after half a decade in Los Angeles, she now lounges in the beautiful city of Savannah.
Sometimes, Sunniva writes with a paranormal twist (Shattering Halos, Stargazer, and Cat Love). At other times, it's contemporary (Pandora Wild Child, Leon's Way, Adrenaline Crush, Walking Heartbreak, and Dodging Trains, coming in late March 2016).
This author is the happiest when her characters let their emotions run off with them, shaping her stories in ways she never foresaw. She loves bad-boys and good-boys run amok, and like in real life, her goal is to keep the reader on her toes until the end of each story.


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Blog Tour & Giveaway ~ Nine Candles of Deepest Black by Matthew S. Cox


Nine Candles of Deepest Black 

Matthew S. Cox
Published by: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication date: September 15th 2016
Genres: Horror, Paranormal, Young Adult

She saw it coming. She knew it would happen―but no one believed her.
Almost a year after tragedy shattered her family, sixteen-year-old Paige Thomas can’t break free from her guilt. Her mother ignores her, doting on her annoying little sister, while her father is a barely-functioning shell. He hopes a move to the quiet little town of Shadesboro PA will help them heal, but Paige doesn’t believe in happiness anymore.
On her first day at school, a chance encounter with a bullied eighth grader reawakens a gift Paige had forgotten, and ingratiates her into a pack of local outcasts. For weeks, they’ve been trying to cast a ritual to fulfill their innermost desires, but all they’ve done is waste time. After witnessing Paige touch the Ouija board and trigger a paranormal event, the girls are convinced another try with their new fifth member will finally work.
Once the darkness is unleashed, it’s not long before they learn it will give them exactly what they asked for―whether they want it or not.
Goodreads / Amazon

Sorrow weighed down the lifeless morning sky and pressed heavy in the pit of Paige’s stomach. Five dark toenails tipped a porcelain foot at the end of leggings the same shade of black as the polish. She scrunched her fingers into her second grey sock, not quite able to advance putting it on from concept to action. Cloud shadows crept across the wall in front of her, over posters of two bands she’d forgotten why she ever liked. Melissa’s distant laughter at another one of Mom’s lame jokes brought on a wave of blah that made Paige flop back on her bed. She didn’t want to move. She didn’t want to go to a new school. She didn’t even want to leave her bedroom.

“You’re gonna be late for school,” said Amber.
Paige let gravity pull her head to the left and stared up through a tangle of jet hair at the sideways figure of her older sister and her Penn State sweatshirt. “So?”
“So… You’re sixteen. You have to go to school.” Amber walked around the corner of the bed, her jeans swooshing. “Come on. Don’t do this to yourself.”
“I don’t like it here. Why did Dad have to move us to Shadesboro? I miss Ardmore.” Paige let her grip on the sock loosen, and her arms flopped limp at her sides. “It’s not fair.”
“How can you miss Ardmore? I don’t mean to sound harsh, but you didn’t exactly have friends. You hung out with my friends.”
Paige sighed. “Yeah. They didn’t want me around after you left for college.”
“Please. For me?” Amber leaned over the bed, her long brown hair draped free. “I hate seeing you like this.”
“Whatever.” Paige sat up and pulled the sock on before reaching for a pair of gothy black boots with extra buckles.
“Jesus… why did you get those?” Amber blinked.
Paige stuffed her feet into them. “Because Mom wouldn’t let me get the thigh-highs.”
“I mean… what’s with all the”―Amber waved her hand around―“dark eyeliner and morbid stuff lately?”
“I dunno.” Paige zipped the boots and let her head sag into her hands, hiding from the world behind a wall of dense black hair. “Why do they have to start school so damn early?”
From downstairs, Mom yelled, “You need to be out the door by six-thirty.”
“Thank you alarm clock,” muttered Paige. She sighed. “Mom won’t let me dye my hair and I’m whiter than the damn Pepsi bear. Everyone thinks I’m Goth already; why not go all the way.”
“It’s not you.” Amber reached to fuss with Paige’s mane, but pulled back. “You’re not this girl. And isn’t the bear Coke’s thing?”
“I am now.” Paige looked up. “You see how Mom is… it’s like it’s only her and Melissa in the world, and Dad’s a damn zombie. I can’t believe they didn’t take his gun away.”
Amber folded her arms. “Dad’s not the one who wanted to―”
“No!” yelled Paige. “Stop. Fine. Alright, I’ll go.” She covered her mouth with one hand and cried. A few seconds later, she sniffled. “Dump the guilt trip already.”
“I’m sorry.” Amber stared at the beige carpet around her sneakers. “It’s my fault Dad’s being so distant and Mom’s gone off the deep end with Mel. I wish I―”
“Will you stop?” Paige glared up at her. “It’s not your fault. Not like you wanted to die.”

Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey. 
Hobbies and Interests:
Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<- deliberate), and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it.  
He is also fond of cats.  

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Nine Candles of Deepest Black by Matthew S. Cox

Nine Candles of Deepest Black

by Matthew S. Cox

Giveaway ends September 30, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway