Friday 24 May 2024


Secrets In Blood by Jack Cartwright
Book 1 in the Wild Fens series
Narrated by Graham Mack
Genre: crime fiction
Format: ebook & audiobookAudiobook

If you can't live with the truth, bury it...

Following a devastating encounter with a serial killer, Detective Inspector Freya Bloom is left mentally scarred. After a six-month sabbatical, and no desire to return to the bustling London streets, she accepts a position in rural Lincolnshire in search of a slower pace of life.

But with London behind her, and a new life in the wild fens of Lincolnshire before her, she finds only endless drama in her new team, a tortured romance in her only ally, and crimes so deadly even the steely determination that drove her to success is tested.

From the moment Freya’s expensive heels hit Lincolnshire soil, the push-pull relationship with her Sergeant begins. Noses are put out of joint, tempers are frayed, and more importantly, a body is discovered on a wild beach. There’s no time to make friends. If Freya is to make her mark in this remote county, she must work with the team she’s been given, and untangle the web of lies surrounding the death of teenager, Jessica Hudson.

Can Freya ditch her designer heels for wellington boots, and adapt to the country life? Can she shape her new team into something workable? And can she put her past behind her long enough to prevent a second murder?
Source: Info in the "About Secrets In Blood" was taken from GoodReads at on 25/08/2023.

Buy Link(s):
  Audible Books

My Thoughts:
The book starts with Freya Bloom's travel to the countryside from busy London and it was boring as h***. I persevered and got to Chapter 9 where Freya was being an ass of a new DI to hardworking Ben. That is seriously putting me off this series and this author. At this point I honestly could not see all the hub bub about this series is all about!

Love the convolutedness of the plot! What I didn't like is the story building. So the police and the ARU (armed response unit) cannot coordinate effectively!?! So how do they carry out successful operations?? Specially take down operations? Without effective coordination, that would be a disaster! That one took the believability factor down to the boots. And that wasn't the only unbelievable scene in the book.

The book is not that bad. It is just not great.

Graham Mack's voice is not grating to the ears and he does not read with a sing-song. Would listen to audiobooks by him again.

Quantitative Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 3
Character development = 3
Story itself = 3
Writing Style = 3.5
Ending = 3
World building = 4
Cover art = 3.5
Pace = (10 hrs and 22 mins listening time)
Plot = 4
Narration = 4

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 cherries

Books In The Wild Fens Series:

Meet The Author

About Jack Cartwright:
Jack Cartwright is a USA Today bestselling author, based in Lincolnshire, UK.

Born in Essex, Jack lived and worked in Dubai for much of his adult life, as an IT professional, and as an international photographer.

Under various pen names, Jack has written and published more than thirty novels, won awards, and achieved the USA Today bestseller status in early 2021.

The Wild Fens Murder Mysteries, his latest series, has been written for TV adaptation.

After a life of travel and adventure, he has put down his roots with his wife, daughter, and dog in one of the many beautiful Lincolnshire villages, and plans to stay for good.

The Narrator

About Graham Mack:
Graham Mack is a multi-award-winning, British voice actor, producer and broadcaster. He’s worked in radio and TV all over the UK and Australia and is the voice of commercials and corporate videos. He has narrated more than 150 audiobooks.

FTC Disclosure:
The ebook and audiobook were bought with private funds.
No money received for this review.

Sunday 19 May 2024


Little Witness by S.A. Dunphy
Book 1 in the DI Tessa Burns series
Narrated by Melanie MacHugh
Genre: crime fiction
Format: ebook & audiobookAudiobook

They took her parents.

When Detective Tessa Burns was a little girl, she hid, terrified, as her father was murdered. The face of the man who killed him is lost in her memory — but from that moment she vowed to protect the innocent, just like her father had done. Now, when she hears that seven-year-old Aisling Connolly has been found hiding all alone on an isolated farm, she’s determined to help her.

They came in the dark.

Tessa and her child-centred team are the best in Ireland. It’s not long before red-haired Aisling trusts them enough to reveal the terrifying truth: two days ago, the men came. Aisling’s mammy told her to run like she’d never run before, to not look back. Alone and petrified, she hasn’t seen her parents since.

And now she is the only one who can save them.

As Tessa uncovers more about Aisling’s parents, she realises details of the case mirror her own father’s death. Desperate that Aisling won’t end up orphaned like her, Tessa throws everything at the investigation. But just as she thinks she’s cracked it wide open, Aisling’s neighbours — a young family — are murdered, in a horrific warning to Aisling not to speak. And to Tessa, to let the case go.

But time is running out, and any hope of finding Aisling’s parents alive is rapidly fading. Tessa must do everything in her power to ensure the little girl isn’t next…
Source: Info in the "About Little Witness" was taken from amazon on 08/05/2024.

Buy Link(s):
  Audible Books

My Thoughts:
You must know that if you go into the kidnapping business, that it is fraught with dangers with people gunning for you from all directions. Least of all, the law enforcement. You gotta have contingency plans, over contingency plans, or you are one heck of an idiot. But your contingency plan is to lead the police to your prisoners and get the hell out of dodge?? What kind of plan is that?? Okey, there might honestly be stupid criminals like that. However, by the way this story was told, it was not very convincing that this particular criminal is that stupid. It feels too orchestrated so that the protagonists can play heroes and save the world. The believability factor is not too high. Not at all!

And what about that number plate? Why didn't they followed up on it? If the vehicle ownership did not point to the Moynihans, then they should at least say so and not just, nothing came of it....

I like the theme. Saving children. I like the bad-ass heroine! I like the world building! But plot-building is not this author's forté.

Melanie MacHugh reads with a slight singsong but I choke it down to as part of her Irish accent.

Quantitative Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 4
Character development = 3
Story itself = 3.5
Writing Style = 4
Ending = 4.5
World building = 4.5
Cover art = 4
Pace = (8 hrs and 20 mins listening time)
Plot = 2.5
Narration = 4

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 cherries

Books In The DI Tessa Burns Series:

Meet The Author

About S.A. Dunphy:
Childcare expert, author, teacher, journalist, broadcaster, musician, nerd, husband, Dad, Grandad. Shane Dunphy (S. A. Dunphy) was born in Brighton in 1973, but grew up in Ireland, where he has spent most of his life. A child protection worker for 15 years, he is the number one bestselling author of 20 books. His first nine titles dealt with his time on the frontline of social care work, and include the number one bestseller Wednesday’s Child. His bestselling series of crime novels (written under the name S. A. Dunphy) feature the emotionally damaged criminologist David Dunnigan. Stories From the Margins, his series of True Crime books written for Audible, has been critically acclaimed as well as being an audio-bestseller. He has also ghost written two biographies. Writing as S. A. Dunphy his exciting new series of crime novels, set in Ireland, feature Criminal Behaviourist Jessie Boyle and detective Seamus Keneally.

The Narrator

About Melanie MacHugh:
Audiobook narrator / voice-over artist

FTC Disclosure:
The ebook and audiobook were bought with private funds.
No money received for this review.

Friday 10 May 2024


Forbidden Magic by Stephanie Foxe
Book 4 in the Witch's Bite series
Narrated by Laurel Schroeder
Genre: urban fantasy
Format: ebook & audiobookAudiobook

About Forbidden Magic:
Join Olivia Carter one last time in the final installment of the Witch’s Bite series.

Loyalties tested. Prophecies fulfilled. And magic’s final price.

After being kidnapped, shot at, blown up, and barely escaping a collapsing building…I'm done following orders; and the threats don’t scare me anymore.

My trust in Reilly has grown since the attack on the Summit and meeting his clan. But when he suggests the unthinkable, I realize I must find my own way to kill this God.
Source: Info in the About Forbidden Magic was taken from GoodReads at on 24/10/2019.

My Thoughts:
Like all the books in this series, this one is also short and sweet with 252 pages long. This is the finale of the series and I liked it! However it was not the big bang that I expected. That may only be because my expectation bar was a little higher than it ought to be. My bad! Furthermore, the ending although not a cliffhanger, but also hints of possibilities that there might be more stories coming of the Olivia Carter world. And like the previous book, I read this ebook more than I listened to it. Still not a fan of Laurel Schroeder's singsong reading. At the end of it, I enjoyed this book very much and would recommend it to all urban fantasy readers! However, to get here, you need to read the previous books in the series!

Empirical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 5
Character development = 4.5
Story itself = 5
Writing Style = 5
Ending = 4.5
World building = 5
Cover art = 5
Pace = 5
Plot = 3.5
Narration = (N/A)

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 cherries

Books In The Witch's Bite Series:
Book 5: (No Title Yet)

Meet The Author

About Stephanie Foxe:
Stephanie Foxe was born and raised near Houston, TX. She grew up playing in the pond and woods in her backyard, and devouring every book she could get her hands on.

Her teen years were spent transitioning slowly from reader, to writer. She spent most evenings on the phone with her cousin writing the first few pages to many books that would never be finished.

Her adult years were spent toiling away at a corporate job until one fateful day when she heard about a little writing project called NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). From there, the idea of writing a book went from a fanciful dream to a finished manuscript. The first book in the Witch’s Bite series was written, and Stephanie was addicted.

Now, she has plans to publish everything from paranormal fantasy to science fiction.

One book at a time.

Join the Newsletter to be kept updated on any new releases. Sign up today to receive Unsteady Magic, the short story prequel to the Witch’s Bite series, for free!

The Narrator

About Laurel Schroeder:
Laurel Schroeder is a classically trained actor who received her MFA in acting from the University of Houston. She's narrated over 100 audiobooks, and although her genres vary widely, she's particularly fond of narrating young adult and mystery novels. When not in the booth working on her latest project, she can sometimes be seen in film or on stage, most recently in the world premiere of Good for Otto, by Tony Award–winning playwright David Rabe. A Colorado native, she now lives in Chicago with her boyfriend and their dog, the cutest little troublemaker you ever did see.

FTC Disclosure:
The different formats of this book were purchased with private funds.
No money received for this review.