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The Diseased By S.M. Thomas

The Diseased‘The Diseased’ is the latest book in the ‘Paige Hanson’ series by S.M. Thomas.

Paige Hanson wakes up to a question that turns her stomach; “Where is your husband?” As she struggles to grasp the wisps of memory returning to her she begins to realise that there’s more at stake than Leo’s whereabouts. With no other leads in their investigation the State turns on Paige, painting her as the number one suspect in her husbands disappearance. She’s left with no choice but to turn towards the teachings of the one person she swore never to become in order to prove her innocence and, along the way, begins to realise that some questions are best left unanswered.

The story is seen primarily through the eyes of Paige, who’s husband has disappeared and she has no idea where is he or what has happened to him. Set in a dystopian time where where there is Earth 1 and Earth 2, there is little freedom and strict rules. Paige has to live under surveillance from the government as they believe she’s behind Leo’s disappearance but she’s also a key part in finding a cure for the virus that has the world in lockdown.

The story is a bleak and dismal one, that’s not far from ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. In a world, where there’s little hope but is plagued by lies and betrayal. Paige is under extreme pressure, under the watchful eye of her mother-in-law Regina who never approved of her and her own vigilante mother who never lived by the new world rules, preferring to do her own thing.

The story flows in a fast pace and with it being the first book in a series, it really sets the scene and atmosphere of the story.

The characters are an interesting mix of personalities, from the loyal committed residents to those who live their lives in secret, hidden from laws and judgment.

An interesting story that unsettlingly isn’t too far from real life with viruses and lockdowns, ‘The Diseased’ is a tense story about trying to live freely in a controlled world.

You can buy ‘The Diseased’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Blame Game By Sandie Jones

The Blame Game By‘The Blame Game’ is the latest book by Sandie Jones.

What the back cover says –

There are two sides to every story.
He came to me for help with his marriage.
I was alone and afraid. She was there when I needed to talk.
I needed to make him understand that he had to get away.
I knew what I needed to do. I just couldn’t do it on my own. I trusted her.
Now it has gone too far. And I can’t tell anyone what I have done.
Now I have nowhere to turn and I just pray they find me before she does.

You can buy ‘The Blame Game’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Velocity Of Blood By MJ Williams

The Velocity Of Blood‘The Velocity Of Blood’ is the debut novel by MJ Williams.

Jack Tolleson has done nothing wrong. Absolutely nothing. But that doesn’t stop him being viciously bullied. Online and offline. Twenty-four hours a day. Every day. Every. Single. Day. One day in October, dehumanised and stripped of his very identity, he breaks. Jack wants revenge. Carefully calculated revenge. Justice. Jack is willing to do whatever it takes to get even. He’s going to do something that’s never been done before. And when he’s done, you’ll remember his name. You’ll remember his name for the rest of your life…

This book is a stark and dark look into bullying and what drives a quiet and sociable person to suddenly purchase a gun and kill his fellow classmates.

Jack is like any other teenage boy, he enjoys sports, does well at school but he’s overweight and one day when he buys diet soda instead of regular soda, he becomes the subject of bullying in such a horrendous way. He becomes nicknamed Shamu, the famous whale who killed an instructor at Seaworld and his classmates even go as far as wearing pin badges that say ‘Save the World’. He’s bullied online and in the classroom and it genuinely makes for torturous reading, the extent his classmates go to, to make him feel like social outcast and a pariah.

The story flows between the past tense, the moments leading up to Jack’s decision to seek his revenge, his mother’s narrative living with the aftermath and a podcast called ‘Killing Time’ which discusses his actions.

This book is not for the faint hearted, it’s dark, gritty and really explores gun crime, school massacres and just what it takes to push a person to their limit. My heart went out to Jack, he’s kindhearted and even though his classmates torture him, he still reaches out to help. His mother is oblivious to his pain as he hides it is so well. I was disgusted with the behaviour of his classmates and I’m just thankful that I’ve grown up in a time, when social media and mobile phones weren’t so prevalent.

I also sympathised with Jack’s mother, left behind and having to deal with opinions and threats from the town as well as not knowing until it was too late the terrible suffering her son felt and what forced him to take such extreme actions.

The narrative from the duo presenting the podcast was particularly annoying, but I think this was the author’s intention. They were cocky, arrogant and pretty much just slagged Jack, they weren’t sympathetic to his ordeal and were just two jocks fooling about.

This book is incredibly detailed and researched and the author really gives an insight into the American gun laws and the workings of the dark web, that assisted Jack with his task.

Hard hitting, addictive and incredibly sad, ‘The Velocity of Blood’ is about one boy trying to fit in, only to be turned against with such tragic consequences.

You can buy ‘The Velocity Of Blood’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

All In By Kathia

All In‘All In’ is the first book in the ‘Winners Inc’ series by Kathia.

The goal. Find Erik Nilsen, young star of England’s hottest football club, a nice girl. The coach… International football superstar Jamie MacNiven. Over thirteen years with women using his money and his fame have left him more than jaded—it’s left him numb. But Jamie knows he can train Erik to win in his personal life as much as he wins on the field. The drive… For Jamie it’s simple: Erik still believes in love. Naïve? Maybe, but the thought of the kid losing that faith twists a part of his heart he thought was long dead. The playing field… Well, it certainly isn’t Europe, where everyone knows their faces and the amount of money in their bank accounts. No—there’s one obvious choice where to find a nice girl for the kid: Chicago.

If you like your books packed with sexual tension, then look no further as ‘All In’ is your next read.

The story is seen through the narrative of Chicago native Rachel and Jamie, a footballer from the UK who’s come to Chicago to help his team mate Erik find a woman. But instead of finding a woman for Erik, Jamie finds himself falling for Rachel and the two begin a passionate relationship.

Rachel is a strong woman who probably takes after her outspoken grandmother Lottie. Reeling from a divorce, she’s trying to get her career back on track but working for a younger, moody boss is hard, especially as her new role is a conflict of interest that will affect her childhood area and friends. Jamie is an interesting character, Kathia has created a man that instantly all women will fall for. His looks, his kindness for others and also his charm, it’s evident that there’s a strong chemistry between the two of them and when they do get together, it’s made for racy and romantic reading.

The story is the first in a new series by Kathia and it will be interesting to see where it goes next. A story about new beginnings, discoveries and finding love, ‘All In’ is an intense love story about finding the one and the consequences to be made to making it work.

You can buy ‘All In’ for your Kindle from Amazon.

Good Husbands By Cate Ray

Good Husbands‘Good Husbands’ is the latest book by Cate Ray.

Jess, Priyanka and Stephanie are all happily married to men they think they know inside out. Then each woman receives a letter accusing her husband of involvement in a sexual assault that took place 20 years ago. Who do they believe, what should they do and can they come together as their lives are upended?

I never like giving negative reviews but I did find myself struggling a bit with this book. I found it lengthy with three female characters that I occasionally found it hard to distinguish between.

The story is seen through the narrative of three women who have all been sent a note saying that their husbands raped a woman. Through this note they reach out to each other and set out about finding the truth and whether they really known the men that they have children with.

The three women are Priyanka, Jess and Stephanie and the chapters alternate as the women form a reluctant but necessary bond to find out the truth. The women are quite similar, all married with children with comfortable lives so often I found it hard to distinguish which character I was reading.

This book had the potential to be a gripping story, but sadly it failed to grip my attention. I found the characters lacklustre and their reaction to such earth shattering news as quite tame. The story flowed along at a pace that should have engaged me, but it didn’t hook me in. Granted, there were a few twists that surprised me but not enough and even though the main storyline was about a rape, I just didn’t feel that the book was as hard hitting as it could be.

Regrettably, ‘Good Husbands’ wasn’t quite the book for me, but read it for yourself as not everyone has the same opinion.

You can buy ‘Good Husbands’ from Amazon.