Thursday, November 13, 2014

Review: Kith and Kill by Thea Hartley

Five Stars

Review of Kith and Kill by Thea Hartley
[I was sent a review copy of this novel]

Resa James, a criminal psychologist and divorced mother of a teenage girl, is brought in for consultation by the police regarding multiple murders that appear to be connected to a local fertility clinic in Cardiff. 

Resa’s life is already complicated by an acquaintance who appears to have a crush on her when she is already on the verge of a relationship with someone new and exciting she’s just met.

The killer in this story is meticulous and cunning.  But what is their motive?  And why are they targeting infertile couples?

Victimology, which is a way of studying the victims’ personal lives [their likes and dislikes etc] appears to be the way forward to catch the killer.   If Resa can discover what the killer has in common with the victims then she might be able to uncover who the serial killer is as they probably move in similar circles.

A poison pen letter out of the blue, puts Resa on her guard as it could threaten both herself and her daughter, Laura.  She is fiercely protective of her home life and there are plenty of people who are suspects in this story, including a husband and wife team who are against forms of IVF.  And what about the person who has a serious crush on Resa?  She’s acting out of character and seemingly dangerous, could she have something to hide?  Also workers at the clinic could any one of those possibly have a motive?  There are lots of characters in this novel who make the reader wonder if they are the killer.

The murdered couples themselves have been secretive about their use of IVF further complicating the issue which makes Resa’s work as a profiler much more difficult to undertake.

This is a great ‘who done it?’ mystery which keeps the reader on the edge of their seat throughout this novel. 

It’s a story that grabs the reader by the throat and doesn’t let them go right from the very first page.   A tale that is interwoven with secrets and intrigue, mystery and emotion.   A first class psychological thriller with a little romance thrown into the mix.

Ms. Hartley has a way of drawing the reader in from the very first paragraph, taking them on a roller coaster of a journey.  This isn’t a tale for the faint heartened, it’s gritty and realistic, a story that wouldn’t be out of place as a television drama.  It could give ‘Cracker’ and ‘Silent Witness’ a run for their money.

The settings take place in South Wales, in and around the Cardiff area, which is a refreshing change to read a crime fiction novel from those areas instead of London or Edinburgh or any other major city in the UK where these stories are often set.  Indeed Cardiff itself becomes a character in its own right in this novel as does the IVF clinic.  Which is part of the art of good writing that draws the reader in and never let’s go.   Thea Hartley is one Welsh crime novelist to watch out for in the future and I’m sure there is lots more intrigue to come from this wonderful writer.

Reviewed by Lynette Rees
Author of Beneath a Sicilian Sun and Watching You

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Thongs for the Memories!


These days ladies’ underwear is skimpier than ever.  I’ve always been of the old adage ‘less is more’ but when it comes to underwear, maybe more is more, if you get my drift.  I’ve always thought that thongs were really unattractive, even if you’ve got a tight, well-toned butt that could crack a walnut!  I’ve never understood the attraction of why someone would wish to have their derriere on show and flossed with something akin to a piece of cheese wire!
In Victorian times pantalettes or pantaloons as they were known, were long undergarments for women which were well over the knee.  I thought they were known of as bloomers, but apparently those are something entirely different.  A sort of short trousers worn under a dress.


I remember my great grandmother who was born in 1891, wearing some sort of pantaloons.  Though not frilly ones.  I only knew of this as my grandmother took care of her until she died aged 87, and as the house was so small, sometimes I’d be there when she was being dressed.  By that time her mind was wandering so she had to be helped to get dressed along with other things.  That generation were very stoic and didn't put the goods on show and rarely told everyone all their business!  You wouldn't have seen them on The Jeremy Kyle Show airing their dirty laundry, pardon the pun!


I’m not a lover of thongs and obviously these days, wouldn’t wear pantaloons unless it was for fancy dress!  What I do think is attractive though is the fifties style of underwear.  I haven’t got any myself, but it looks so glamorous, well the women were back then.  They didn’t let it all hang out, they kept an air of mystery and kept most things well hidden.  Less is more in that case!
Fifties Style

Monday, November 03, 2014

Great Review for Beneath a Sicilian Sun!

I just got a great review for Beneath a Sicilian Sun from Ind'tale Magazine!  So pleased about that!

Beneath a Sicilian Sun

Joanne Smith is a renowned journalist for Life Today magazine. Her latest assignment is to interview Dante Alphonso. He is trying to get positive publicity for his pet charity, an organization that grants wishes to dying children. What he didnt plan on was to be attracted to the beautiful Joanne. He invites her to go to Sicily with him at his expense to visit his vineyards and see the other parts of his life. He even takes along one of the magazines photographers. Things start to get hot and spicy between Dante and Joanne as he shows her the beautiful things the island has to offer. Then Dante is betrayed and he places the blame on Joanne. Can their relationship ever recover?
The scenery is described so well that it feels as though the reader is magically transported to Sicily. One can see the vineyards as they spread out over acres of land and the color changes between the different colors of the five different varieties of grapes that are grown there. The tension between Dante and Joanne can be felt so well that it almost makes the reader feel like an interloper! One is right there with Joanne, experiencing her angst as she questions her relationship with Dante after she returns home. This is a very emotional book that will leave haunting memories well after the story is finished!

Reviewer: Belinda Wilson

Purchase book here: [US] [UK]


Sunday, November 02, 2014

Snarky Book Review Comments and Stalking


Have you noticed how so many people are getting offended these days?  Often it's not over big things either but silly little things.

I started rereading a book which is now on Kindle by one of my favourite romance authors.  She'd had 258 Amazon reviews for her book.  Most were 5 star reviews but there was a handful of 1 star reviews which really puzzled me.  Now bearing in mind, I thought this book was great 10 years ago in paperback, so when it was republished by Kindle I jumped at the chance to read it again.

 I looked at the bad reviews which said things like, "Don't Waste Your Time With This Book" and "Not Worth It".  No one had commented on the bad reviews except for one thread  where the author was attacked for her political views.  The author replied that they weren't her views but those of the character, but still the reviewer carried on with comments which went over my head as she mentioned rapists.  I hadn't read anything about rapists in the plot and neither had I noticed any of the many typos she referred to.  The author replied once more saying the character's comments were intended as a joke like something from the Jay Leno Show and weren't intended to offend.  Unfortunately, the reviewer then made an issue about the mention of Jay Leno's name saying she found it insulting his name was mentioned!

 At the end of the day, I don't think you can argue with irrational people like that or even stick up for yourself as they will always turn things around to make you the bad guy.  I looked at all the reviews this woman had given to other books and there were many.  The odd thing about her reviews was that she either gave 5 star reviews to books where she highly praised them or 1 star reviews where she slated books, there was nothing in between.

Only this past week I read of one author who tracked a reviewer down who had slated her books, so far as to discover her real name and where she lived!  This Goodreads reviewer has since closed down her Twitter page and other social media networks either gone or turned to private.  Now that seems to be to be a form of reverse stalking, if that term exists.  It’s usually someone who stalks the author and not the author doing the stalking.  Some people have praised the author for doing this, there was even an article she wrote about it in the Guardian.  Guardian Article:

Lots of bloggers/reviewers have condemned the author for tracking down the reviewer all for the sake of a 1 star review.

 I think the best thing an author can do is not respond to bad comments or reviews.  Just as we meet people who don't like us or anything we do in real life [and those who might be irrational and even nasty], we will encounter them online also.  It's tempting to bite back but simply not worth it.

 I just left a comment underneath the reviewer's telling the author how much I'd enjoyed her book and was even reading it for a second time!  It wasn’t worth angering the reviewer, she’s entitled to her opinion and I suspect she would then have turned her rants on me if I had said anything directly to her.

The amount of 5 star reviews and great comments the author has are testament to how good her writing really is and why the odd bad review really shouldn’t matter.


Saturday, November 01, 2014

Little need for a winter coat?

Yesterday I was having lunch with a friend and we  both remarked on how warm it was for Halloween.  I said it was strange but years ago when I was young I remember how we always had a winter coat of sorts and how these days there seems to be little need for one.  I bought a beautiful cobalt blue one with a fur collar two years ago.  I think I've only worn it less than a handful of times.

Back in the sixties and seventies, the winters got so cold that the miniature milk bottles froze in their crates at school.  Us school children couldn't even pierce the foil tops with our straws.  The teacher used to defrost the bottles near the radiator.

Many a time we were sent home from school when the boiler broke down or it snowed and snowed and snowed as if God was shaking his feather mattress above us.  I loved those times of going home and playing outside in the snow with our sleighs.  It brought a rose bloom to our cheeks and we came home chilled to the bone ready to thaw out by the fireside.  I once built a snowman that lasted almost a whole week in my grandmother's garden until my brother knocked its head off.  I was devastated.  My great grandmother who was in her mid eighties then and slightly senile, was living with my gran and I distinctly remember her shouting about my brother, "Tell him I'll knock his head off for him!"

My brother had a habit of destroying things I made.  I once remember him trampling over a Sindy Kitchen I'd put together following instructions from Lesley Judd on Blue Peter using a cardboard box and sticky back plastic.  But that's another story!

To get back to this one, I think I enjoyed wearing my winter coats and polo neck sweaters.  I loved it when the temperatures were more extreme: warm in summer and cold in winter.  Sometimes it got so cold that there was ice on the inside of the windows, we took water bottles to bed [after all we had no central heating and only one coal fire to heat the whole house], we even had to make do with coats on the bed as extra bedding.  Thank goodness we had those winter coats then.

Today there's an article in the Daily Mail about the fact people aren't buying winter coats this year and they're on sale at great knock down prices.

So bag yourself a bargain if you can...but I can't guarantee you'll get to wear it much this winter!