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Nia Ireland

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I think I need a hug...

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-01-20

This time, DI Natalie Ward is on the trail of a serial killer who preys on twin teenage girls. The killer is extra devious and covers their tracks well, though I was a bit smug that I had correct suspicions about whodunnit about halfway through.

While working on this case, she is also trying to manage her disastrous personal life which is taking it toll on her. Things come to a head when the killer’s identity is uncovered and it becomes clear that he has his sights set on Ward’s daughter.

As with all other books in this series, this title is exceptionally well written and full of detailed and well researched police procedure which I feel would keep even the pickiest pedant happy. There’s no jumping to conclusions and DI Ward’s team follow everything by the book to make sure they do the job right.

All of the audiobooks of this series are narrated by the amazingly talented Diana Croft, I have awarded all of them 5 stars for both story and narration but now I wish there was a bonus star because this book blew the rest of the series out of the water for both story and heart. I didn't think it was possible for me to be any more impressed with this narrator's work but I stand corrected, my jaw was hitting the ground by the end of this book.

You should definitely read the other books in this series first to get the full impact of the story, though it would still work as a standalone as some of the backstory is helpfully reiterated throughout so you’re not lost if this is your first read.

1 person found this helpful

A real heartbreaker

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 31-12-19

This isn't my usual type of read, mainly because war stories make me ugly cry.

Sure, there were moments that I teared up (a few of them, tbh) but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the story. It did cover some of the horrors of the second world war and also a pretty graphic sexual assault, so be warned, but there was also a lot of kindness, mischief and overwhelming goodness to be found in the actions of some of the characters.

Evelyn is now elderly and living in a care home, mugging off her uncaring and harsh niece at every available opportunity. While she's there, she reflects on her past and her work during and after the war - she has plenty of secrets that she hasn't shared with anyone and it's only through her letters to her deceased husband that we get a clear picture of what happened.

She's a formidably strong character, growing from a naive and sweetly silly young woman to something of a badass, before time takes hold of her and she becomes frail and needs medical care. I love that she never once gives up on her integrity, she never once gives up on her love for her husband who was killed during the war and almost every step she takes in life is taken to honour his memory in some way.

The ending was incredibly satisfying and remained true to the character, I couldn't have asked for anything better!

The audiobook version of this book really is the only way to go if you have a choice, Croft nails all the voices and manages to represent Evelyn perfectly through all the different stages of her life as well as all the other characters. A story with this much heart needs a talented narrator and it definitely got it.

The writing style is elegant and enrapturing, I loved every single second of the book and genuinely wished that Eva was someone I could meet in real life - someone bold, clever, mischevous and above all... not afraid to drink a shot of moonshine when the situation calls for it.

2 people found this helpful

This series gets better and better

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-09-19

With every new instalment of the DI Natalie Ward series, I become more and more addicted.

Not once have I figured out whodunnit before this author has felt good and ready to reveal the conclusion, which is very gratifying when you’re having the clues revealed to you at the same time DI Ward learns them.

The character development across this series is unreal, in both the work and domestic lives of every member of DI Ward’s team – the focus has shifted a little this time, more on the characters that took a back seat in the last book. I find myself being genuinely excited for the character who is waiting for the birth of her first child, and WANTING NATALIE TO MURDER HER HUSBAND IN COLD BLOOD AND GET AWAY WITH IT BECAUSE SHE’S A DETECTIVE. I have an ongoing hatred of that man, it’s only getting worse…

The other thing that sets this story apart from the earlier instalments in the series is that the characters are from a poor background and people seem to care considerably less when locals turn up dead, even when they’re teenage girls. It adds a new dimension and makes it all sadder, despite the reactions of some of the characters.

There’s something special about these murder investigations because everything sounds very realistic, not least because the audiobook is narrated by Diana magic-jukebox Croft. Her accents and voices are amazing, it really is hard to believe that there’s only one voice at work here.

So yeah – in conclusion: this book is amazing, listen to the audiobook and thank me later.

2 people found this helpful

Slow burn RH

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-09-19

I’m not going to lie. I wanted to listen to this audiobook because the main character was called Nia – I have NEVER come across a book with my name in it out in the wild .

I’m a fan of reverse harem in general, so this book was right up my street. Seriously, what’s not to love? There’s far less angst than in standard romance novels because the heroine doesn’t have to choose which man she wants to keep, she can have them all.

This book is a slow burn, so there’s a lot of furtive glancing and general longing rather than intense sexytimes which I can say makes it much less of an awkward listening experience!

Nia (great name!) travels to the land of the dead to go and retrieve her betrothed, who had the bad luck to go and get himself killed in battle, but on her journey she ends up falling for the four fae princes of death who have sworn to help her finish her quest.
The story is enjoyable but I did find the pacing quite slow, it took quite a while for the characters to get much done and I’m more of a fan of medium-quick burn reverse harems, truth be told.

I enjoyed the narrator’s work overall as her tone, pacing and sound quality were brilliant, but I did find that about half the characters names were mispronounced (Rhys should be Reece / Cadfael should be Cad-vile / Celyn – Kellin) which did drive me to distraction. I imagine listeners who aren’t Welsh/from the UK wouldn’t know the difference, but it did make me wince. The important thing is that Nia was pronounces more or less correctly or I would have noped out entirely!

For readers looking for an intro to reverse harem, this book would be an excellent starting point.

*I received a complimentary review copy of the audiobook. All opinions are unbiased and my own*

Sweet slow-burn fantasy romance

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-02-19

This was a brilliant story from start to finish, I only wish there’d been more of it!

I loved Evie as a main character, she was the perfect blend of naïve and cynical – she’s obviously and understandably distressed when her world is turned upside down but she adapts to her situation at a convincing pace.

Lachlann is one of my all time favourite heroes. He’s kind, persistent without being icky and doesn’t take himself too seriously. There were some scenes with him that made me genuinely laugh out loud.

Though this book has romantic elements, this book is 100% clean and suitable for children. Obviously, I was a little bit disappointed by this! The elements that were missing in order to make this book suitable for younger readers are the elements that would have been the icing on the cake for me.

I would have liked Evie to have spent some more time being angry about her situation and then more focus on her near the end.
I listened to the audiobook version of this title, as narrated by Diana Croft, who can honestly do no wrong. She’s the most versatile narrator in terms of accents that I’ve ever listened too. She brings the characters to life and nails the Scottish accent!

If you’re looking for a satisfying and romantic story, with dragons and magic, then this is the book for you.

Chilling detective thriller

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-12-18

This is the second book in the Detective Natalie Ward series and again I've been shocked (in a good way) by how unflinching the author is when it comes to writing brutal and realistic crimes. She avoids all of the coy euphemisms that normally irritate me in crime thrillers and doesn't shy away from the violent reality of murder.


Wyer's writing style really appeals to me - most of our time is spent in the mind of Detective Natalie Ward (which is only fair, given that this is her series!). She's a very likable main character - practically minded, intelligent, good at her job and trying her best to maintain a work-life balance when it's impossible to do so with an emotionally difficult job and a family with their own needs at home. I found myself becoming increasingly attached to her in this book, she's the perfect character to carry this series forward.

The crimes in this book are well written and investigated, the pacing is perfect and it really feels like you're part of the investigation and learning the facts as the police do - letting you come to your own conclusions throughout. That's the fun of a police procedural, as far as I'm concerned!

All of the characters in this book are complex and well written. For me, having Diana Croft as the narrator for the book was the icing on the cake. This book contains a lot of dialogue between characters and she manages to give each one their own distinctive voice in both tone and accent, with no confusion between characters - it really is impressive.

I'm now going to have to hold my breath until the third book is released in audio, the audiobook has set my expectations too high to enjoy it any other way!

*I received a free copy of this audiobook*

7 people found this helpful

Intense and chilling

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 30-09-18

This is a procedural crime thriller, the first in a new series featuring Detective Natalie Ward.
The detective is a multi-dimensional character and doesn’t fall into the common cliché categories I tend to expect in a police procedural novel – she isn’t a maverick, she isn’t better at her job than everyone else and she isn’t an angsty character with a dark past and a drinking problem.
What she is, is a woman trying her best to balance her incredibly stressful and important job with her home life. It’s hard to imagine what it must be like, trying to find a killer who targets children while making sure your son gets the cool new trainers he really wants in time for his birthday.

The story itself is heart breaking, being about the abduction and murder of little girls, but somehow the procedural side of the writing takes the edge off and stops it getting too dark. There are no graphic details about the crimes, but we do get some insight into the past of the killer and what drives him – eventually tying in with the main storyline and coming to a solid conclusion. The author’s writing style is excellent, making the main character very easy to relate to and the mystery compelling, without dropping deliberate red herrings to put you off.

The narration of this book was out of this world, Croft covers a range of different accents and character voices; from little girls to old men and everything in between. Every single one is distinct, which is ideal because there’s a lot of dialogue in this book and could easily become confusing in audio. I would particularly recommend picking up the audio of this book if you have a chance, it’s hella intense.

18 people found this helpful

A book for book lovers

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 21-07-18

I love a geeky book that's written as a tribute to avid book readers (as long as it's done well, which this was!)

After being dumped by her fiance for another woman just over a week before her wedding, Naia does the only thing she can do - puts on her prettiest dress and demolishes two bottles of wine.

When she wakes up, she's not slumped on a sofa being poked in the face by her cats - she's in the world of Black Moon Draw. A world she's was reading about on Wattpad only last night...

She's immediately claimed as a Battle Witch - which implies that she has woken up with magic and fighting skills. Reading her desperate attempts to live up to everyone's expectations is very entertaining!

The book is a beautiful mix of cliches and cult film references, with a hapless heroine and an alpha male hero who loves her all the same. What is special about this book is that despite all the familiar tropes, the ending still came across as a nice surprise that I hadn't figured out from page one.

The narrator of this book reads with a wonderfully dramatic and campy style which I really enjoyed, it was very reminiscent of the Princess Bride, Labyrinth and Neverending Story styles which are referenced throughout. It makes the whole experience really fun and brings the characters to life.

This is a brilliant book if you're looking for something a bit different, poking fun at the author's typos and continuity errors and breathing new life into the classic trope of someone waking up in a work of fiction.

This series goes from strength to strength

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 14-07-18

Lizzy Ford, author extraordinaire, is an evil mastermind. She knows exactly how to weave a suspenseful tale and how much to give the reader before taking it away, enough to break your heart and enough to make you demand to know how Josie's story ends.

Written in the first person, from the perspective of Josie, we feel everything that this lovable and sensitive (but not too sensitive) characters as she's torn from the world she knows and finds herself lost in time and in Mongolia, on this occasion.

Still reeling from the upheavals that beset her in the first book, she has to find herself a place in this new world. What makes this so engaging to read/listen to is that she's developing as a character and Ford takes a deep dive into her psyche to really explore how being so lost and confused would feel when you're a naturally warm and empathetic person. This is why the author is an evil mastermind.

I'm impressed by the scope of the author's writing, she's successfully gone from the wild West to the Mongolian empire without breaking her stride - writing outside your own culture can be a minefield but in this case, I think it's perfectly done.

The book follows the journey of Josie and Batu to the steppes, their interactions are fascinating as they bond despite being such different people. There's nothing rushed in the writing style and I was hooked.

Not only does every fan of time travel, fantasy and romance needs to listen to this book. I think that Lillian Yves' has outdone herself with this particular title - she turns Josie into a real and breathing person for you, which makes this story all the more breathtaking. As a first person perspective, I think it's essential to pick the right voice artist for the role and this was a match made in heaven.

Brilliant!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 13-05-18

I had to break this audiobook up over several weeks because I enjoyed it so much I didn't want it to end.

The writing is wonderful, with rich world building and characters. The pacing is excellent, given how much action there is I didn't feel overwhelmed with it all.

The narrator outdid herself, she covered so many different character voices and brought every single one to life for me.

Can't recommend this audiobook enough!

1 person found this helpful