Love You Dead by Peter James – Book Review

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Here is my no-spoiler review of: Love You Dead by Peter James. (5/5 star rating)

I don’t know why I’ve read so many detective books lately but this one didn’t disappoint!

Click the picture to purchase your copy! (Affiliate)

Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is back chasing another suspect down. Jodie Bentley, a serial black widow, who is trying to marry and murder her way up the social hierarchy. Roy Grace is struggling with his own personal life and the past that he thought he had laid to rest. Jodie is trying to make a life for herself in the only way she thinks possible, she is manipulative and smart, she uses this to her advantage.

Detective Grace’s late wife Sandy has been missing for over ten years, presumed dead when suddenly she arises from the surface in France. Grace is struggling to deal with this new information, and how to explain it to his new wife Cleo. He’s trying hard to not let his personal life take his mind off his duties to the citizens of Brighton.

The first thing I noticed about this book and loved was the fact it had a map at the beginning. I’ve never been to Brighton and I felt it helped me visualize the city better in my head.Β  I also noted that the novel is written in short chapters making the reading easier as you are flipping from character to character and each chapter is titled with a date in chronological order.

I started this book at the beginning of February and I’m slightly irritated that it took me so long to finish it considering I read half of the book in one day. I felt like I didn’t know how this novel was going to turn out because I didn’t know certain things from previous books, but James has written this novel in a way that without any back story (from previous books) you are still kept in the loop, therefore, he is attracting new readers and still giving his old readers what they want.

I really like Detective Grace, I feel like this novel really did focus on his personal emotional turmoil, whilst still having a mystery in need of solving by Grace and his team. He is a relatable character trying to deal with a lot of personal problems as well as do his job of protecting people. I loved his sense of humour and how he tries to remain positive even though his superiors are hanging on their seats waiting for him to slip up.

At times, I found myself feeling sorry for Jodie after finding out what she’s been through, that made her the way she is. Jodie’s family made her an outcast, she felt unloved and constantly compared to her sister which drove her to jealousy and wanting to prove to her family that she was worthy. With most of the character’s I felt like there was enough background to feel an emotional attachment too. I usually dislike novel’s written from character to character but this was a great exception.

When I reached the final quarter of the book, I had no idea how Peter James was going to catch Jodie out. She truly is a devilish character who is cunning and murderous! Every piece of information in this novel, worked hand in hand with creating the ending of this book. Each character had a part to play to help bring Jodie down, and put an end to her murderous streak.

I honestly was so overwhelmed in the last few chapters that I had to re-read them!

I like that despite the fact the Ray Grace books are a series, you can also read them as stand-alone novels. I am wanting to read the next novel within the series. I felt like I was left with a lot of unanswered questions after I finished reading like what happened after Jodie has been caught which I hope will be answered in the next novel.Β  I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good detective novel, I am definitely going to read some more Peter James in the future and review for you all. I have Billionaire at the ready and I will probably read that around Easter.

I liked that any technical police work is explained in the back in a glossary it really helped me as someone who has no idea about detective work. I can appreciate the amount of research put into this book and I was overall blown away by this novel which is why I would rate it 5/5 stars.

I’ve been featured on Golden Bloggers talking about how to stay motivated whilst blogging. You can read my advice among other bloggers here.

I also had a guest post over at LeaBellaBlogs taking about what books I recommend to take on holiday with you. You can read that here.

 

 

Yoga Benefits – How Yoga changed my life.

Since it’s World Yoga Day, I thought I would share with you all some of the benefits of doing yoga. I’ve been practising Yoga for nearly 8 months now and it has transformed my life in many ways. The past 8 months have been tough and very challenging but also some of the most rewarding. It’s been a very solo mission so far, I use Youtube and apps to help me learn and find a workout. Of course, it’s been tricky to adapt to adding another activity into my lifestyle but I think this is one of the best things I have done. I have grown in confidence, including body confidence. I wouldn’t dream of posting a picture with my stomach out due to surgical scars but now I am confident, in my progress and how much I can push myself to the limit.

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It keeps you active.

Yoga is a form of exercise among other things. It helps to build muscle strength as well as flexibility. It can also improve your respiration and cardio health. Yoga lowers your blood pressure and makes you sleep better. After a long day, it can be beneficial to blow off a lot of the steam by having a small practice before bed. It is also good to have a session in the morning to set the day off to a great start.

Yoga is calming.

Yoga is also known for having a mental and spiritual impact on a being. It has been known to help reduce stress and anxiety. From personal experience, I would say it has made me feel so much better about myself every time I practice. I feel a calm nature take over my body and I’m most smitten with my mind, body and soul.

 

 

Β I feel accomplished.

There is nothing better than setting out to do something and actually doing it! Sometimes it is hard to stick things out but when you do it can be something to celebrate. Yoga is a very manageable exercise as you can do as much or as little as you want. Meaning you are completely in control of your experience.

 

Β There is a style for you.

There are so many different types of yoga so you are guaranteed to be able to find a style that is right for you. Yoga covers everything from learning simple breathing techniques to stretches and meditation.

Did you know there are 8 different types of Yoga? But each of these can be broken down into more types. Their names are Vinyasa Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Bikram Yoga, Jivamukti Yoga, Power Yoga, Sivananda Yoga and Yin Yoga.

You can make new friends.

There are a lot of people who practice Yoga who like to interact with other Yogi’s. There are groups situated everywhere have a look in your local area for a studio and see what classes they have. Whether you join a public group or not, there are a lot of people on Social Media who like to post encouragement, motivation and yoga tips/tricks so make sure you get in touch with some of them. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram.

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Wearing Primark Active Collection and my ZOX band. (Affiliate)

I’ve also managed to encourage my almost 4-year-old to join in. She loves doing some exercise with mum and we are trying to make it a regular thing in our daily routine. My favourite Youtuber I have found so far is ‘Yoga with Adriene’. She has so many videos which are easy to follow and for all levels! You can check out her Youtube below.

There’s an app I would recommend aswell called YogaDaily you can download from the Appstore (iPhone) and the Play Store (Android). YogaDaily helps you interact with out Yogi’s and take part in challenges, courses and classes.

 

 

 

I hope that I have inspired anyone to take up Yoga as a hobby, or even start up again after a break.

Do you practise Yoga? If so let me know in the comments. If your thinking about starting Yoga comment too! I’d love to here about some of your Yoga Journeys!

 

Lee Weeks – Author Interview

Since my last book review on Cold Justice, I have had to opportunity to interview Lee Weeks herself.

Lee Weeks is a Sunday Times Bestselling Author, born in Devon, she writes crime novels and has 2 series of detective books, Johnny Mann and Carter/Willis. First published in 2008 her books rose to critical acclaim. She has spent 7 years travelling and worked as an English teacher and a fitness instructor. Visit Lee Week’s website here.

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Outside of writing, you are an abstract and landscape painter and an experienced copywriter, is there anything else that you dabble in?

A few years ago I went into business with my son and two others to open a bar and restaurant in Exeter – I now find myself the petit fours and ice-cream maker!

 

When did you realize that you wanted to become an author?

I always wrote poetry and stories as a kid and through my travelling years. I never dreamt that I could make a living as a writer, or rather that people would want to read what I had written. Only when my marriage was ending did I think that it might be time to give it a shot.

What made you specifically want to write crime novels over other genres?

I did not specifically want to write crime; I first wrote about one of my experiences when I was travelling and living in Hong Kong, and I added a few fight scenes here and there and a detective and, when I sent it off to a company to appraise it, they replied that I had written a thriller and that they really liked my detective in chapter three. When my marriage ended I decided to rejig my book, put the detective in the lead, and send it to an agent and he took me on.

I know it must be difficult choosing out of your own characters, but who is your favourite out of Johnny Man, Ebony Willis or Dan Carter? Mine is defiantly Ebony she is very determined and always has Carter’s back and she follows her initiative.

All my characters are dear to me, they represent qualities I either admire, wish I had, or wish I did not have. Johnny Mann is the most like me.

Your novels are very suspenseful and you keep the reader guessing until the very end, do you struggle with your own suspense when writing? I know that when I’m writing I get a bit overexcited for the action that I find it hard to keep it a secret.

Outlining and plotting is paramount in order to make sure your story develops in the right way and you keep the reader guessing.

I really appreciate the amount of research that must go into your novels, the detail you go into about detective work is just something else. How do you try to keep your novel as factual as you can, whilst it is still a work of fiction?

The Iceberg theory applies here. You have to know an awful lot about your subject but choose just a tiny part to pass on. I choose the detail that I know interests me – that’s all you can go by – what interests me will interest others.

How much of your time is spent researching and how do you go about your research?

Research depends on what I am writing. Most times a book is written in a few months and another couple of months is spent researching and outlining. When I was writing my Johnny Mann books that meant a lot of time going to Asia and hanging about with the police out there. The Willis/Carter books were on more familiar turf and involved spending time with the Murder Squad. I make sure I get the setting right by drawing maps of interiors and areas so that the reader knows where they are all the time.Β 

You’ve been branded in the past as β€˜the female James Patterson’, How do you feel about this? Are you a fan of Patterson? I love his Cross series and Hide and Seek.

I am very flattered. You cannot help but be a fan of the Cross series – very slick but also a little disturbing and thought-provoking, great characters and settings. I’ll take it!

Have your life experiences influenced your writing in any way?

Yes, in every way, my own life gets into my books. Writing is a wonderful way of taking an experience you’ve had and giving it to a character in your story and let them live it, change it, resolve it. But, you don’t need to have had the experiences I have had, you need to be a detective, ask questions, be a therapist, a magpie- collect people’s stories and absorb their feelings and write them as if they are your own, then give them to your characters in your stories.Β 

How do you get into the β€˜zone’ of writing?

When you are a professional writer you are just full at it all the time. If you are experiencing writer’s block it is because there is something wrong, with your story, the outline, the characters? If you plot well enough you should always be in the zone. Just write all the time – diaries, poems, thoughts, six-word stories, anything – keep writing!Β 

In the 11 years since your first published novel, you’ve written a very impressive 9 books that have been published, how long does it usually take you to write a full novel?

I have ten books out – four Johnny Mann and six Willis/Carter. I am contracted to write one a year but that doesn’t mean I get a year to write one because the editors and proofreaders and printers need time, so six-month max.Β 

Your blog is very helpful for people who are wanting to write a thriller novel, is there any other advice that you would give to aspiring authors?

Write a monologue for each of your main characters: their thoughts, their motivations, what has their life been like for them and what brings them to this point? Know what their darkest desire is and that will help you build conflict between characters.

Check out Lee Week’s blog here.

Which authors inspire you?

Authors are good at specific things – some are incredible story-tellers, others are wonderful at characterisation. I cannot pick one. I was inspired by the Enid Blyton book The Faraway tree when I was young. Alexander Trocchi and John Burdett, Garcia-Marquez and DH Lawrence when I was older. Now I Β am continually inspired by writers of all kinds.

What is your utmost favourite book and why?

  1. Fennimore Cooper’s book The Last of the Mohicans – it has everything for me – unrequited love, suspense in bucket loads, tragedy and fight scenes. It is epic!

What is your favourite quote and why?

β€˜A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.’
It’s a quote by Shakespeare and it sums up the way I feel about people who think they are so clever but not clever enough to realise they have so much more to learn.

If you were stranded on a desert island and you could only bring 3 things with you, what would you take and why?

I would take a piano to learn – I have always wanted to. I would take a guide to build funky homes in β€œout of the way” places – a great skill to master.Β  I would take a powerful telescope to make sense of the universe and watch the stars for aliens in case they fancied coming to visit me on my desert island.

 

How to stay Organised – Blogging Edition

I’ve been blogging for over a year now and during that time one of my ‘bad habits’ has become organising.Β  Obviously, I try to be as organised as I can, but of course, sometimes, it just doesn’t work. I have so many notebooks and diaries etc. I feel like it can be hard to find the perfect one that suits you. I just love blog planners and I have tried out 3 different types in my short time blogging, and I’ve realised it’s about finding the one that suits you.

I’m going to start this post by sharing some of the things I use when planning. And then give you some of my best tips on how I stay organised.

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This year I’m using:

The Boss Blog Planner: Β£10.49

I love this blog planner because it is unmarked, meaning it doesn’t matter what time of the year it is, you can adapt it to fit your needs. It has pages at the beginning to help you plan what you want out of the year ahead. There are pages for ideas, calendars, statistics and post plans.

Click on the photo to purchase via Amazon! (Affiliate)

Dot Grid Journal: Β£4.99

I love this bullet journal because it is simple, small and cheap. As my first bullet journal, I didn’t want to spend loads of money on a journal that I may or may not use. I like the size of it, it fits in all of my bags, which means I can take it anywhere with me.

Click on the photo to purchase via Amazon! (Affiliate)

The Mindfulness Colouring Diary by Emma Farrarons: Β£4.49

I absolutely love the illustrations in this diary, because there is only 1 design per week it makes it easy to keep up with it. Every design is different meaning you have a new design to colour each week.

Click on the photo to purchase via Amazon! (Affiliate)

1.Β  Notebooks, Notebooks and more notebooks…

So I’m a strong believer that my notebooks help me stay organised and each one of them has a different purpose. Rather than cram all of my ideas all together in one notebook, I have designated a notebook for each. This helps me separate like-minded ideas and not have to shuffle through pages of uncategorized ideas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.Β  Every day I make a to-do list for the next day.

This may seem like a chore to some of you, but it’s really not. As a blogger, it does take up a lot of your time, even when you are not blogging you are still doing something behind the scenes for your blog. My to-do list isn’t just for my blog, I make a to-do list of everything I’d like to accomplish in that day including housework and my personal life. This way I don’t feel bombarded by my blogging tasks and I can split my day up so I’m not sat in front of my computer for too long. I use the App Wunderlist which is available on the Play Store (Android) and the App Store (iPhone).

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3. Plan in advance.

I mean I know that sounds very vague but what I mean by this is, give yourself an easier time by making sure you have content already made. I have a lot of unpublished posts in my drafts that are ready to publish so if there is ever a point that I need a break or I have to take a break, I can schedule these posts so even when I am not blogging, the rest of you think I am. Most blogging sites will give you this option to schedule and Facebook also has this feature.

 

 

 

 

 

4. Make sure everything has its own home!

This is really important because when you’re working from home, the last thing you want to happen is losing something. Make sure all of the materials you need for blogging are in one place and keep them organised in folders, drawers or files.

I recently finished watching ‘Tidying up with Marie Kondo’ on Netflix and it has changed my life if you haven’t already I recommend you watch it. Now that I am happier with my home I feel like I am happier working from home.

 

 

 

5. Don’t let thing’s pile up.

With a positive mindset, you will be able to change that ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ to ‘I’m going to do it right now’. By far one of the best things I have done is change my mindset on how I look at things. By doing things right away, I limit the number of tasks I have for the next day and maximize my productivity. When an idea strikes I now have the flexibility to act on it straight away.

 

6. Designate a working area.

This is a very important step especially if you are working from home, by designating a work area you will be able to differentiate between work and leisure. I’m very fortunate to have a study in my home but that’s not the case for everyone. When picking a work area it needs to be somewhere where you feel relaxed but also somewhere not piled with distractions. Make sure your area is entirely for you and all of the things you need are there.

I hope these tips can help you all on your blogging journey! I’ll be back soon with another Author Interview and book review for you all. I hope you are having a wonderful February.