Changeling by Matt Wesolowski | @ConcreteKraken @OrendaBooks @annecater | #blogtour #Changeling #RandomThingsTours #recommended

Thrilled to bits to join the blog tour for Changeling by Matt Wesolowski today! My thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda for the review copy and to Anne Cater for the invitation to join the tour!

Author : Matt Wesolowski
Title : Changeling
Series : Six Stories #3
Pages : 194
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : January 15, 2019 (paperback)

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

On Christmas Eve in 1988, seven-year-old Alfie Marsden vanished in the Wentshire Forest Pass, when a burst tyre forced his father, Sorrel, to stop the car. Leaving the car to summon the emergency services, Sorrel returned to find his son gone. No trace of the child, nor his remains, have ever been found. Alfie Marsden was declared officially dead in 1995.

Elusive online journalist Scott King, whose ‘Six Stories’ podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the disappearance, interviewing six witnesses, including Sorrel, his son and his ex-partner, to try to find out what really happened that fateful night. He takes a journey through the trees of the Wentshire Forest – a place synonymous with strange sightings, and tales of hidden folk who dwell there. He talks to a company that tried and failed to build a development in the forest, and a psychic who claims to know where Alfie is…

| MY THOUGHTS |

If you go out in the woods today …

Bloody hell! Like, seriously! WHAT?! I said it last time and I’ll say it again, Matt Wesolowski’s books are just impossible to review! My vocabulary doesn’t stretch far enough to find the words to describe the sheer level of awesomeness this author comes up with time and time again.

If you’re not familiar with the Six Stories series (OMG WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH YOU?!), it’s centred around a true crime podcast in which Scott King investigates cold cases. This time around, the focus is on seven year old Alfie Marsden who disappeared thirty years ago and was never found. Alfie was officially declared dead in 1995 but questions remain. Now, via six stories from six different sources, will the answers surrounding Alfie’s disappearance finally be found and will we learn what happened to this little boy all those years ago?

This is one of those stories that worms its way under your skin, one that will just not let you go. Dark, disturbing and chilling, Changeling had my heartbeat racing throughout and I was gripping the pages so tightly that my knuckles turned white! This tremendously addictive page-turner is insanely thought-provoking and also absolutely terrifying, though possibly not in the way you might expect. Monsters are real. Also, I’m never stepping foot into a forest ever again!

With a fantastic plot that kept me on tenterhooks and even managed to leave me with a lump in my throat, Changeling is without a doubt fiction from the top shelf and worthy of all the stars and praise I can possibly shower it with. Matt Wesolowski deftly guides the reader through a realistic and, sadly, believable scenario and if that wasn’t marvellous enough, ends up sucker punching you in the final pages, leaving your head utterly spinning. You, sir, are a genius!

Changeling was one of my most anticipated releases this year. Thank goodness it was published this month or I may have just spontaneously combusted. Matt Wesolowski has most definitely done it again and Changeling is the best one in the series yet. Considering the brilliance of its two predecessors, that’s really saying something. I would undoubtedly like some more, please! In the meantime, you can be sure you’ll be seeing this book again when I compile my list of top books of the year in December.

Changeling is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor for children in care and leads creative writing workshops for young people in association with New Writing North. 

Wesolowski started his writing career in horror and was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at ‘Bloody Scotland’; Crime Writing Festival 2015. His subsequent debut crime novel ‘Six Stories’ was published by Orenda Books in the spring of 2016 with follow-up ‘Hydra’ published in the winter of 2017.

‘Six Stories’ has been optioned by a major Hollywood studio.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter

Some of my most anticipated books of 2019

At the end of last year, I mentioned doing a post focusing on some of my most anticipated releases for the new year. Since then, it seems everyone and their dog has done a post like that so obviously my idea wasn’t as original as I thought it was. Anyway, I decided to share this list regardless and hopefully you’ll find something that will pique your interest.

Listed by publication date for digital and hardcover copies.

| JANUARY |

Steve Cavanagh – Twisted
Matt Wesolowski – Changeling
Will Dean – Red Snow
Steph Broadribb – Deep Dirty Truth
Diane Setterfield – Once Upon A River

| FEBRUARY |

Angela Marsons – Dead Memories
Jo Spain – Dirty Little Secrets
Stacey Halls – The Familiars
Louise Beech – Call Me Star Girl
C.J. Tudor – The Taking of Annie Thorne
Alex Michaelides – The Silent Patient

| APRIL |

Gillian McAllister – The Evidence Against You

| MAY |

Stuart MacBride – All That’s Dead
Alison Weir – Anna of Kleve : Queen of Secrets
Sarah Hilary – Never Be Broken
Melanie Golding – Little Darlings

| JUNE |

Karin Slaughter – The Last Widow
Alex North – The Whisper Man

| JULY |

Riley Sager – Lock Every Door

| UNKNOWN |

Sharon Bolton – The Poisoner

This is a weird one but I’ve included it anyway. I could have sworn the original publication date was May but Amazon now lists it as December 2020, which quite frankly I refuse to believe because I WANT IT NOW!

Honourable mention to Johana Gustawsson and the third book in the Roy & Castells series.

I have a feeling it’s going to be a great bookish year once again! Which book(s) are you looking forward to the most? Do let me know and I hope you’ve found something in this list that caught your eye. Happy reading! xx

My Top 20 Favourite Series of 2018 (part two)

Welcome to part two of my favourite series of 2018. If you missed part one yesterday, you can find it here.

Let’s get to it. Once again, these are in random order. Except for the last one which is most definitely my favourite this year. 

| Stuart MacBride – Logan McRae |

No list is complete without the inimitable Stuart MacBride. This one is incredibly dark, disturbing and harrowing. Yet true to form, MacBride manages to infuse a healthy dose of humour that had me chuckling at the most inappropriate moments and that’s exactly what makes him stand out from the crowd. [my review]

| Fredrik Backman – Beartown |

Sheer magic. The Scandal was my favourite book last year and my expectations for this follow-up were insanely high but boy, did Backman deliver. [my review]

| Carol Wyer – DI Robyn Carter |

I’m not sure what I can say about Carol Wyer that I haven’t said before. I’m just such a fan of her writing and her dark side and this series will always remain a firm favourite. [my review]

| Matt Wesolowski – Six Stories |

Without a doubt, one of my most anticipated books of the past year, which was luckily published back in January because the wait would have been excruciating. Fiction with such a creepily delicious true crime feel to it, it left me reeling for days! [my review]

| Joseph Knox –  Aidan Waits |

Joseph Knox’s debut told me he was an author to watch and with this second book, he firmly cemented my belief and put himself out there as one of the best crime writers of today. [my review]

| Steve Cavanagh – Eddie Flynn |

This book probably deserves the award for best tagline of the year. It’s also the reason I grabbed this one as soon as it was available, not realising at the time it was part of a series. Thankfully, it read perfectly well as a stand-alone and I had no doubt it would end up on my list at the end of the year. [my review]

| Rachel Amphlett – Detective Kay Hunter |

No list is complete without the fantastic Rachel Amphlett and her brilliant Kay Hunter series! [my reviews here and here]

| Steph Broadribb – Lori Anderson |

Hard-hitting action from beginning to end with a kick-ass female protagonist! What more could you possibly want? [my review]

| Thomas Enger – Henning Juul |

The final instalment in the fantastic Henning Juul series can’t be missing from this list. Such a bittersweet moment, seeing everything coming together masterfully but also realising I was at the end of the line with this series! Thomas Enger was my first introduction to the Scandi-Noir genre and for that reason alone, the Henning Juul series will always hold a special place in my heart.  [my review]

| Sharon Bolton – The Craftsman |

This one was initially way up on my other list of favourite books until I realised it is the first one in a trilogy so it made its way onto this list instead.  The Craftsman is without a doubt my most favourite book from a series this year and Sharon Bolton firmly holds on to her spot on my list of go-to authors. Needless to say the follow-up, The Poisoner, is one of my most anticipated books of next year. [my review]

And there you have it. My favourite series of the year. 

Now is your chance to kick my bum (virtually, thank you) and tell me which series I’ve left out. Are there some you don’t agree with? Are there any you can’t wait to read? 

Hope you find something you like here and I’ve given you some ideas. Next week, I’ll hopefully be sharing my list of favourite stand-alones of 2018. That one is still a work in progress.

Until next time! Happy reading! xx

Hydra by Matt Wesolowski @ConcreteKracken @OrendaBooks @annecater #blogtour

I am thrilled to bits to be able to share my thoughts with you on Hydra by Matt Wesolowski on my stop for the blog tour. Many thanks to Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater for the opportunity to join the tour and my review copy!

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Author : Matt Wesolowski
Title : Hydra
Pages : 320
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : January 15, 2018

aboutthebook

One cold November night in 2014, in a small town in the north west of England, 26-year-old Arla Macleod bludgeoned her mother, father and younger sister to death with a hammer, in an unprovoked attack known as the “Macleod Massacre.” Now incarcerated at a medium-security mental-health institution, Arla will speak to no one but Scott King, an investigative journalist, whose Six Stories podcasts have become an internet sensation.

King finds himself immersed in an increasingly complex case, interviewing five witnesses and Arla herself, as he questions whether Arla’s responsibility for the massacre was as diminished as her legal team made out. As he unpicks the stories, he finds himself thrust into a world of deadly forbidden “games,” online trolls, and the mysterious Black-eyed Children, whose presence extends far beyond the delusions of a murderess.

mythoughts

Oh … my … word! My brain can’t compute this level of awesomeness! How do you even review something like this?!

When I started reading Six Stories last year, it only took a few pages to make me realise I had something rather extraordinary in my hands and I had no doubt the book would end up in my Top 5 list of the year. So Hydra was one of my most anticipated books of this year and, rather unfairly perhaps to the author, my expectations were somewhere near the end of our solar system. However, I’m guessing you can already tell I absolutely loved it and I am utterly convinced this book too will be in my list of books of the year by December.

When I read Six Stories, I was completely unfamiliar with the concept of podcasts and I thought it would throw me off. It didn’t but upon reading this one, I felt even more comfortable with the concept and the way the story is presented. You may think, but well, it was original and unique at first but it’s been done now. Believe me, it’s every bit as refreshing and fantastic. Dare I say, it’s even better! This story will hook you from the first page and not let go. By the end, I felt utterly wiped out and unable to string sentences together.

In Hydra, Scott King sets out to investigate the “Macleod Massacre”. Back in 2004, Arla Macleod murdered her stepfather, mother and younger sister. There was never any doubt Arla was the killer but as the murders were completely unprovoked, what lead her to do these atrocious acts? Was her responsibility as diminished as her legal team made it out to be? Should she be held in a mental institution, a place many feel is not the right punishment for her, or should she have been in prison? Scott King is determined to find out the truth behind these acts but when he is targeted by a relentless online troll, will he admit defeat and let the story go?

What I love about these stories, is that I know it’s fiction and yet it feels so incredibly real that I’m left reeling as much as I would be if I’d been watching a true crime documentary. There’s no end to the level of suspense and creepiness. At times I took a little break after a podcast, desperately in need of a little breather while also checking to see my doors and windows were locked. Arla’s story is utterly disturbing and harrowing. Between her interview with Scott and the tapes she records for her psychiatrist, my heart just broke for her.  Throw in the presence of the Black-Eyed Children and I didn’t sleep for days.

I’m still lost for words, to be honest. I could mention things like compelling, addictive, engrossing, gripping and they’re all true but none really accurately convey the sheer brilliance and genius that is Matt Wesolowski and his latest offering. It’s just impeccable, an incredibly crafted masterpiece, a true gem which stands out effortlessly. I feel incredibly proud and honoured to have Hydra sitting comfortably on my bookshelf. While I’m not entirely sure my review does it any justice, I do hope it will convince you to pick up a copy. All that’s left for me to say is, please can I have some more, sir.

Hydra is available in ebook format. The UK paperback release is set for January 15th.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Matt Wesolowski is from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor for young people in care. Matt started his writing career in horror, and his short horror fiction has been published in numerous UK- and US-based anthologies such as Midnight Movie

Creature Feature, Selfies from the End of the World, Cold Iron and many more. His novella, The Black Land, a horror set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013. Matt was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in 2015. His debut thriller, Six Stories, was an Amazon bestseller in the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia, and a WHSmith Fresh Talent pick, and film rights were sold to a major Hollywood studio.

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Hydra blog poster 2018 FINAL

 

 

My Top 20 Favourite Reads of 2017

top20

Around this time last year, I first started to get this wee itch about starting a blog as I desperately tried to get my favourites of 2016 shared via twitter and realised there had to be an easier way to talk about books. I can’t believe a whole year has passed since then and I’m here talking about my favourite books of this year. Crazy!

Last week, I shared my favourite series of the year which I thought would help me narrow down this list. Boy, was I wrong. It’s been an amazing year for books and since I nearly read 300 (there’s still time! 😂), a top 10 was never going to happen.

So I present to you, My Top 20 Favourite Reads of 2017. With apologies to the authors/books I had to drop from the list. I feel bad but I had to narrow it down somehow or I may as well just have listed every book I’ve read.

In no particular order (except for the last one), here we go!

Stuart MacBride – A Dark So Deadly [my review]
Stuart MacBride – Now We Are Dead
Karin Slaughter – The Good Daughter [my review]
Sharon Bolton – Dead Woman Walking [my review]

Louise Beech – Maria in the Moon [my review]
Lesley Allen – The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir [my review]
Michael J. Malone – House of Spines [my review]

Alice Feeney – Sometimes I Lie [my review]
Barbara Copperthwaite – Her Last Secret [my review]
Barbara Copperthwaite – The Darkest Lies [my review]
Paul Cleave – A Killer Harvest [my review]

Thomas Enger – Cursed [my review]
Matt Wesolowski – Six Stories [my review]
Will Dean – Dark Pines [my review]
Johana Gustawsson – Block 46 [my review]

Alison Weir – Anne Boleyn : A King’s Obsession [my review]
Rachel Rhys – A Dangerous Crossing [my review]
Gill Paul – Another Woman’s Husband [my review]
Eve Chase – The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde [my review]

My favourite book of 2017

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Fredrick Backman – The Scandal / Beartown [my review]

I’m sure it comes as no surprise but I knew it the minute I started reading, that this was going to be my top book of the year!

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And there you have it. Mahoosive thank you to all the authors, publishers and Netgalley for making my reading year so phenomenal! And to you, my fellow bloggers and readers of this blog, thank you for your support, for visiting and for commenting! ❤️

I wish you all a wonderful and peaceful Christmas and Happy Holidays! xx