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Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Snare @lilja1972 @OrendaBooks #BlogTour


About Snare

A stunning thriller the first in the Reykjavik Noir series - by bestselling Icelandic crime writer, with an unforgettable lesbian protagonist.

After a messy divorce, attractive young mother Sonia is struggling to provide for herself and keep custody of her son. With her back to the wall, she resorts to smuggling cocaine into Iceland, and finds herself caught up in a ruthless criminal world. As she desperately looks for a way out of trouble, she must pit her wits against her nemesis, Bragi, a customs officer, whose years of experience frustrate her new and evermore daring strategies. Things become even more complicated when Sonia embarks on a relationship with a woman, Agla. Once a high-level bank executive, Agla is currently being prosecuted in the aftermath the Icelandic financial crash. Set in a Reykjavik still covered in the dust of the Eyjafjallajokull volcanic eruption, and with a dark, fast-paced and chilling plot and intriguing characters, Snare is an outstandingly original and sexy Nordic crime thriller, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.


My review of Snare


Snare is the first book in the Reykjavik Noir trilogy and what a brilliantly fantastic book it is. This book is like no other I have ever read. It's a dark thriller but with a deeply human element that both fascinated me and touched my soul. It's that type of book. The characters stay with you long after you turn the final page, in particular those of Sonia and Bragi.

The book is told from several viewpoints, that help to shed light on the darker and more murky side of life. All chapters are short, which help to increase tension and quicken the pace. I honestly couldn't put this book down. 

We read Sonia's point of view. A recently divorced and single mother who finds herself trapped in the snare, frantically trying to provide for her young son. She will do anything to keep her son. Sonia is truly unique and utterly likeable. She is a strong willed, smart and sexy woman, who will do anything for her son. I completely understood this character and empathised with her plight. 

On the other side of the fence we have Bragi, the ageing customs official, who, with a keen eye and years of experience, becomes Sonia's worst nightmare. He too has his own struggles and I loved his backstory, that of a family man, a working man, who thrives on routine and the need to care for his wife. He too is likeable and complex, just as Sonia is, and I instantly warmed to him. 

We also meet Agla, Sonia's on and off lover, who works in finance and, who finds herself having to deal with the aftermath of the financial crash in Iceland. Here we have a woman who is confident, bold and straight taking when it comes to her working life, but who is the complete opposite in her private life. For example she refuses to acknowledge the fact that she is a lesbian.

The novel is set within the heart of Iceland and after the  Eyjafjallajokull volcanic eruption. I really felt as if I was living there, I got a real sense of the environment and the locals who lived there.

This is a book that is so much more than a dark thriller. Yes it is utterly brilliant plot wise, full of twists, but it is also the story about a mother who wants to provide for, and keep, her son. That's what is at the heart of this story, that much needed personal and emotional element, and that is what I feel makes this book so very special. It really is unlike anything I have ever read before, and I feel that the literary world will happily embrace this new female protagonist. 

With thanks to Anne Cater and the publisher for a paperback copy and invitation to the Blog Tour

Snare was published by Orenda on 1 Oct. 2017 and can be found on Amazon here.




About the author

Lilja Sigurðardóttir is an Icelandic crime-writer and playwright, born in 1972. She is the author of four crime novels, Steps (Spor), 2009, Forgiveness (Fyrirgefning), 2010, Snare (Gildran) 2015, Tangle (Netið) 2016 and Cage (Búrið) 2017.

Her debut stage-play Big Babies (Stóru Börnin) was staged in the winter of 2013-2014, became critically acclaimed and won the Icelandic Theatre Prize Gríman as “Best play of the year.”

Lilja´s latest book, Tangle, (Netið) was published in Iceland in October 2016 by Forlagid publishing. The rights to the novel have already been sold to France/Switzerland/Luxembourg/Canada (Éditions Métailié); World English (Orenda Books)


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Friday, 27 October 2017

Mother @SELynesAuthor @Bookouture



 
About Mother


How far would you go for the perfect family?
Every mother loves their child. Every child deserves to be loved. But Christopher grows up so lonely it hurts. Until the day he climbs into his family’s dusty attic, and finds a battered old suitcase.

Inside the suitcase is a letter. Inside the letter is a secret; a secret about his mother that changes everything.

Christopher finally has the chance of happiness. A happiness he will do anything to protect…

An unputdownable thriller about the lies we tell and the secrets we keep, Mother will hold you breathless until the very last page and leave you reeling. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train, The Sister and Apple Tree Yard.


My review of Mother
 
 

Oh this book! What an emotional rollercoaster ride it is. It's a book about what it means to be a mother, what we want a mother to be, and that mothers are so much more than flesh and bone. It's an exquisite read.

From the very beginning the tone is set, as that of a deeply dark, psychological thriller. It's in the choice of words, pace and the grim depictions of the area in which Christopher lives. We are also introduced to an unknown narrator, who has their own story to tell about Christopher, and this helps to create an extra layer of mystery. We actually read Christopher's story through the words of this unknown narrator, and this helps to create distance between the reader and this young man who is haunted by his past and his need for the perfect mother. It's not until the end of the novel that this narrator is revealed to us.

Christopher's life changes when he finds an old battered suitcase in the attic, in the family home. His whole existence shifts, this life changing event is very emotional to read. His identity, his past and future all hinge on what he finds in this suitcase. I felt great empathy towards Christopher, although not a likeable man, I did feel that I understood him and the journey that he was on.

Mother is set in the north of England, in Morecambe, and then later on in Leeds when Christopher starts at the University to read history. He is there during the time of the Yorkshire Ripper, which helps to create a great sense of unease and displacement during this time. It was also vey obvious that the author had done much background research about the Ripper.

Mother is a deeply disturbing read that questions what it is to be a mother, while exploring what  a young man is prepared to do in order to get his version of that perfect mother. It's a clever read, full of twists, but ultimately it is a sensitive read that makes us question our own morals and what we believe are right and wrong actions. It really is a deliciously dark, unsettling and clever read.

Mother is published by Bookouture on 22 Nov. 2017 and can be found on Amazon here.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

The Man Who Died @antti_tuomainen @OrendaBooks






About The Man Who Died

A successful entrepreneur in the mushroom industry, Jaakko Kaunismaa is a man in his prime. At just 37 years of age, he is shocked when his doctor tells him that he's dying. What is more, the cause is discovered to be prolonged exposure to toxins; in other words, someone has slowly but surely been poisoning him. Determined to find out who wants him dead, Jaakko embarks on a suspenseful rollercoaster journey full of unusual characters, bizarre situations and unexpected twists. With a nod to Fargo and the best elements of the Scandinavian noir tradition, The Man Who Died is a page-turning thriller brimming with the blackest comedy surrounding life and death, and love and betrayal, marking a stunning new departure for the King of Helsinki Noir.

My review of The Man Who Died

I absolutely adored this book! It's dark, quirky and very funny, which is surprising given the fact that this is a book about a man who has just found out that he is dying. I love black humour and Scandinavia noir, so this really was the perfect book for me

The Man who Died focuses upon Jaakko Kaunismaa,  a 37 year old man who runs a mushroom company with his wife. I now know a lot about mushrooms thanks to this book. At the very beginning he is told quite bluntly by his doctor that he is dying, as he has been slowly subjected to toxins, which in turn have managed to cause damage to every organ in his body. What a brilliant way to begin a story. I was hooked. 

What you would assume to be a rather pessimistic and sad story about a man coming to terms with his own mortality, is instead turned into a  story of revenge and self discovery as Jaakko launches into a personal investigation to find out for himself who wants him dead. Along the way he also learns a lot about the people who work for him, including his wife.

This is a story about trust, loyalty and friendship, all told with delicious twists and lashings of black humour. It is refreshingly different. It's also worth noting that the translation is flowing, with no awkward phrasing. It was only the pronunciation of the characters names that I struggled with. I really did get a sense of what it was like to live in this sleepy Finnish village near the sea and the mushroom woods.

I really liked Jaakko, to me he was a sort of anti hero who I just couldn't help but love. A man who believes that he has lost everything, and so has nothing else to lose but to solve his final mystery. It's a fascinating concept, and one that makes an equally fascinating and brilliant story.   

The Man Who Died is an absolute treat of a book. From the stunning cover through to the final sentence. If you love a good old 'who done it', black humour and a thoroughly absorbing plot with interesting characters who you'll remember long after you close the book,  then you'll love this story.

With thanks to the publisher and Anne Cater for the paperback copy and the invitation to be part of the Blog Tour.

The Man Who Died was published by Orenda Books on 10 Oct. 2017. It can be found on Amazon here.



About the author



Finnish author Antti Tuomainen was an award-winning copywriter when he made his literary debut in 2007 as a suspense author. The critically acclaimed My Brother's Keeper was published two years later. In 2011 Tuomainen's third novel, The Healer, was awarded the Clue Award for 'Best Finnish Crime Novel of 2011' and was shortlisted for the Glass Key Award. The Finnish press labelled The Healer - the story of a writer desperately searching for his missing wife in a post-apocalyptic Helsinki - 'unputdownable.' Two years later in 2013 they crowned Tuomainen 'The King of Helsinki Noir' when Dark as My Heart was published. With a piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen is one of the first to challenge the Scandinavian crime genre formula.

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Monday, 23 October 2017

The Future Can't Wait @AngelenaBoden @Urbanebooks


About The Future Can't Wait

A gripping story of a mother's love for her daughter.

The Future Can't Wait is a contemporary novel set in multi-cultural Birmingham against a background of growing radicalisation of young people sympathetic to Islamic State.

Kendra Blackmore's half-Iranian daughter Ariana (Rani) undergoes an identity crisis which results in her cutting off all contact with her family. Sick with worry and desperate to understand why her home-loving daughter would do this, Kendra becomes increasingly desperate for answers - and to bring her estranged daughter home...


My review of The Future Can't Wait

The Future Can't Wait is a contemporary novel that is very relevant to modern day Britain. Set in Birmingham, the story evokes beautifully what it is like to live and work in Birmingham, a multi cultural city that is often misrepresented by the media and society. I found it most refreshing and an addictive read that I could not put down.

The story is told mainly from Kendra's viewpoint, as we follow her in her daily life of teaching psychology part time at the local Academy. She is an intelligent, articulate and strong willed woman who slowly changes throughout the story due to the fact that her daughter, Rami, has decided to cut off all ties with her mother and stepfather, David. Wracked with guilty, Kendra worries that her half Iranian daughter has been radicalised, but is powerless to do anything about it, as she has no idea where her adult daughter is, or who she is with.

As well as highlighting the issues of radicalisation in a sensitive manner, this book is really an exploration nto the bond between mothers and daughters, and I found the character of Kendra utterly captivating. Her grief and slow unravelling are difficult to read as I felt very close to her. I felt as if I was Kendra, and I couldn't imagine how it must feel to not know where your daughter is and the possibility that she could be in danger.

I found myself completely immersed in this fascinating story, and its equally fascinating characters. David, Kendra's husband, is a man who obviously prefers his own company, and is happiest when working with circuit boards in the garage. I liked him, and although not stated, I knew that he had Asperger's syndrome. Equally as likeable and intriguing was Kendra's son, Adam, a doctor who now lives in America with his girlfriend. Here is a man who is intelligent and who tries to be the voice of reason, in that Rami is a grown woman and that she needs to find her own path n life. But as a mother, I completely understood Kendra's anxieties and I understood that as a psychologist, she had the knowledge to back up her very real concerns.

Tins is a really fascinating read. The pace is just right, in that we follow Kendra at her own natural pace from the moment that Rami leaves. We are with her as she tries to communicate her worries to David, and how she seeks friendship from a man whom she meets dog walking. It's a gentle read that tackles the very serious issue of radicalisation, and racism within Britain today. It also helps to shed light on the true Birmingham and that it is a truly vibrant and interesting city in which to live.

At the very heart of The Future Can't Wait is the story about a mother and a daughter, and of how they both need to examine their relationship with each other. It is a beautiful book.

With thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an Advanced Reader Copy.

The Future Can't Wait is published by Urbane Publications on 2 Nov. 2017 and can be found pn Amazon here.











Friday, 20 October 2017

Behind Her Eyes @SarahPinborough @HarperCollins



 
About Behind Her Eyes

Don’t Trust This Book

Don’t Trust These People

Don’t Trust Yourself

And whatever you do, DON’T give away that ending…

‘Sarah Pinborough is about to become your new obsession’ Harlan Coben

Louise

Since her husband walked out, Louise has made her son her world, supporting them both with her part-time job. But all that changes when she meets…

David

Young, successful and charming – Louise cannot believe a man like him would look at her twice let alone be attracted to her. But that all comes to a grinding halt when she meets his wife…

Adele

Beautiful, elegant and sweet – Louise's new friend seems perfect in every way. As she becomes obsessed by this flawless couple, entangled in the intricate web of their marriage, they each, in turn, reach out to her.

But only when she gets to know them both does she begin to see the cracks… Is David really is the man she thought she knew and is Adele as vulnerable as she appears?
Just what terrible secrets are they both hiding and how far will they go to keep them?


My review of Behind Her Eyes

 

Well I finally got around to reading Behind Her Eyes and what a fantastic book it is. I really enjoyed this domestic psychological thriller with THAT much talked about ending, and yes, I never saw it coming. It's a brilliant read. The book revolves around the issues of trust, infidelity and relationships and has two unreliable narrators, Louise and Adele, both of whom tell their own story, and I honestly didn't  know who to believe. This is a compulsive read, I honestly couldn't put it down.

This story really is a tangled web of secrets, lies and deceit and its brilliant. The words flow and the chapters just flew by on my need to find out how things would end between these three central characters. We also read about Adele's past that helps to shed light on the present day events.

Although this book has been rightly adorned with the hashtag #WTFthatending it is so much more than that ending. This is a psychological thriller that delves into what makes a relationship work, the power between a couple, about who has power and who has a more prominent voice. It is a story that explores the friendship between women, and of how women support and care for each other. It is also an exploration into loneliness and how you can feel alone, even in a marriage.

The three central characters in this book are simply captivating, and I will admit to only liking Louise, as I completely 'got' her. The single mum, trying to make ends meet, trying to survive and who is just trying to do her best. But what really intrigued me was the relationship between Adele and David. Whose version of events was true? I honestly didn't know who to believe, not until the very end.

Behind Her Eyes is a book about obsession, love, lust and plenty of secrets. I'll be honest and say that this book really messed with my head, but what a journey. Just brilliant!

With thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an Advanced Reader Copy

Behind Her Eyes was published in paperback by Harper Collins on 7 Sept. 2017 and can be found on Amazon here.





Thursday, 19 October 2017

Sleeping Beauties @SpainJoanne @QuercusBooks




About Sleeping Beauties

The inspector frowned and examined the earth under the trees. As he scanned the glade, his stomach lurched. One, two, three, four. Five, counting the mound of earth disturbed under the tent. Somebody had cleared the earth of its natural layer and sown their own flowers

In five places

Five graves

A young woman, Fiona Holland, has gone missing from a small Irish village. A search is mounted, but there are whispers. Fiona had a wild reputation. Was she abducted, or has she run away?

A week later, a gruesome discovery is made in the woods at Ireland's most scenic beauty spot - the valley of Glendalough. The bodies are all young women who disappeared in recent years. D.I. Tom Reynolds and his team are faced with the toughest case of their careers - a serial killer, who hunts vulnerable women, and holds his victims captive before he ends their lives.

Soon the race is on to find Fiona Holland before it's too late. . .


My review of Sleeping Beauties

Sleeping Beauties was an absolute joy to read. This book simply has it all - murder, mystery, suspense, wonderful characters and a dash of romance. The book had me hooked from the very first chapter. Although this is the third book in the Inspector Tom Reynolds books, this works very well as a stand alone novel.

The novel begins in the heart of the Irish countryside when five shallow graves are discovered, all of which are young women. When Fiona Holland goes missing, the race is on to find out who the murderer is and if Fiona is the next victim.

The team is headed by Inspector Tom Reynolds and his tight knit team including DS Ray Lennon and DS Laura Brennan.  The banter is fast, witty, the action quick and methodical. There is enough attention to police procedures but without being weighed down in all of the technicalities, instead the focus is upon the people who are leading the investigation and those who are involved. It is very much a character driven narrative with an engaging serial killer plot.

The story is interspersed with first person accounts from the five women who were killed, that helps to shed light upon the human and emotional angle about what happened to these women. As well as helping us, the reader, to establish what happened to them, it also helps us to realise that the bodies that are found had a life, a story,  and that they mattered.  The novel deals with issues of sexual abuse and violence towards women, and the author manages to create a sensitive read with the women's voices being powerful and of importance. It is a novel that explores the power of women, and of women's sexuality, and of how this is perceived by society. This is reinforced with the character of DS Laura, she is no shrinking violet and is treated as an equal by her peers.

As well as the main plot being that of catching a serial killer,  we also gain insight into the private lives of the detectives in the story. We read about DI Tom and his lovely family, and his friendship with his former chief and his wife June who is suffering from Alzheimer's. Here we meet a man who is refreshingly different from the stereotypical drinking, grumpy and lone detective, as he is happily married and generally happy. I also loved the dynamics between Ray and Laura, they made me smile and my heart skip a beat.

Sleeping Beauties really does have it all. It is a thought provoking and entertaining read and I can't wait to read the next story in the series.

With thanks to the publisher and Bookbridgr for the paperback copy for review purposes.

Sleeping Beauties was published by Quercus on 21 Sept. 2017 and can  be found on Amazon here


Tuesday, 17 October 2017

The Winter's Child @cassandrajaneuk @Legend_Press Blog Tour





About The Winter's Child


Five years ago, Susannah Harper's son Joel went missing without trace. Bereft of her son and then of her husband, Susannah tries to accept that she may never know for certain what has happened to her lost loved ones. She has rebuilt her life around a simple selfless mission: to help others who, like her, must learn to live without hope.

But then, on the last night of Hull Fair, a fortune-teller makes an eerie prediction. She tells her that this Christmas Eve, Joel will finally come back to her.

As her carefully-constructed life begins to unravel, Susannah is drawn into a world of psychics and charlatans, half-truths and hauntings, friendships and betrayals, forcing her to confront the buried truths of her family's past, where nothing and no one are quite as they seem.

A ghostly winter read with a modern gothic flavour. A tale of twisted love, family secrets and hauntings.


My review of The Winter's Child




The Winter's Child is a dark, spellbinding read full of twists that hooked me in. The novel has such a beautiful haunting quality about what it means to be a mother. I found it deeply moving. 

The story focuses on Susannah Harper, now a single mum whose young teenage son, Joel, disappeared five years ago. Slowly Susannah begins to rebuild her life, with the help of her sister, but she is always hoping that Joel will return, that he is still alive. A part of this coping mechanism is her blog, in which she documents her life and feelings, in the hope of helping others who are in a similar situation. 

At the beginning of the book Susannah is at a Christmas Fair with her sister, and her young niece and nephew, and it is here that she meets a fortune teller who is about to radically change he life path. She is told that Joel will return to her at Christmas. It is this fortune telling aspect that helps to create an almost gothic taste to this book. Nothing is quite as it seems. Will Jake return? Who can she trust? Should she believe in psychics? 

The writing is simply beautiful and as the story is told from Susannah's point of view, you are drawn into her world. I felt so sorry for her, her emotions so evident on the page, all mixed up, anger, worry, frustration, sorrow and a huge sense of unease that she would never see her son again. This is a book about a mother's love, and the relationship between mothers and sons.

What should be a deeply difficult book to read, because of the subject matter, is made manageable because of the way in which the author writes. She writes in no nonsense language, stating those feelings and facts so that as a reader, you understand completely what the characters are going through. 

This book a deeply moving story and one that sent a constant shiver down my spine, in the never knowing what happened to Joel and then the slow unraveling of what did happen. The Winter's Child is a breathtaking winter read, so, curl up on the sofa with a warm drink and enjoy!

The Winter's Child was published  on 15 September by Legend Press and can be found on Amazon here.

With thanks to Imogen Harris from Legend Press who provided an Advanced Reader Copy and for inviting me on the Blog Tour.


About the author

Cassandra Parkin grew up in Hull, and now lives in East Yorkshire. Her short story collection, New World Fairy Tales (Salt Publishing, 2011), won the 2011 Scott Prize for Short Stories. Her work has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies. Author of The Summer We All Ran Away (2013) and The Beach Hut (2015) and Lily's House (2016).

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Monday, 16 October 2017

The Wrong Child by Barry Gornell @orionbooks


About The Wrong Child

What if your child committed the ultimate crime?

****************
When a rural village school building collapses, only one child survives: Dog Evans.

To his own mother and father, Dog becomes a daily reminder of their survivor's guilt.

To the other parents he is a hated and feared emblem of their unbearable loss.

Now, seven years after the tragedy, Dog's parents have abandoned him.
And with no one to protect him, the broken community's desire for justice soon becomes unstoppable...
My review of The Wrong Child

The Wrong Child is a book that challenged me. It is fairly dark and brooding, and looks at the not so  bright side of life. But I found it most illuminating, in its depictions of childhood, friendships and the tightly knit community of a Welsh rural village. It would be wrong to say that I 'enjoyed' reading this book, as it is not that type of book. As I say, it challenged me, it made me think. We read books for many different reasons, and so this book for me really was an exploration into what makes an entire community turn its back on a child.

The book revolves around Dog Evans, past and present, the only survivor out of a group of 22 children, when the local village school was destroyed. For this very reason, even seven years later, Dog is a hated member of the community, because he survived - the wrong child, when his classmates did not. Dog lives his life as best he can nearby the ruined school, a daily reminder of what happened and who he became as a result. He reeks of survivor's guilt and my heart went out to him. Throughout the novel he is still trying to come to turns with what happened, he wants justice and he wants the truth.

The novel deals with the issue of abandonment and grief. The fact that Dog's parents abandoned him due to their own consumed grief. This I found very difficult to read. The fact that a mother could abandon her own child.

This novel asks many questions about what it means to be a mother and the definition of the mother and son bond. What causes an entire community to turn their back on a child? How can a mother becomes hateful toward her own flesh and blood? What is interesting is that although the novel asks many questions, there are many questions still left unanswered as you turn the final page. If you like to read books with neat and tidy endings, then this may not be the right book for you. However, if you like a book that challenges your notions and ideals of morality, and is unsettling, then this book ticks all the right boxes.

The Wrong Child is published by Orion on 2 Nov. It can be found on Amazon here.

With thanks o the publisher and NetGalley for an Advanced Reader Copy.

Friday, 13 October 2017

All the Colours in Between @EvaJordanWriter



About All the Colours in Between

Lizzie is fast approaching 50. Her once angst ridden teenage daughters, now grown and in their twenties, have flown the nest, Cassie to London and Maisy to Australia. And, although Connor, Lizzie's sulky, surly teenage son, is now on his own tormented passage to adulthood, his quest to get there, for the most part, is a far quieter journey than that of his sisters. The hard years, Lizzie believes, are behind her. Only, things are never quite as black and white as they seem... A visit to her daughter in London leaves Lizzie troubled. And that is just the start. Add to that an unexpected visitor, a disturbing phone call, a son acting suspiciously, a run in with her ex husband plus a new man in her life who quite simply takes her breath away; Lizzie quickly realises life is something that happens while plans are being made. Gritty but tender, thought provoking but light-hearted, dark but brilliantly funny, this is a story of contemporary family life in all its 21st century glory. A story of mothers and sons, of fathers and daughters, of brothers and sisters, and friends. A tale of love and loss, of friendships and betrayals, and coming of age. Nobody said it would be easy and as Lizzie knows only too well, life is never straightforward when you see all the colours in between.



My review of All the Colours in Between

Wow, well what a breath of fresh air this novel is. It's a book that deals with what life throws at you. As the book states, 'it's not a life, it's an adventure.' I laughed, I cried, and raced through the pages, savouring every word. It's an honest read about family life, and I loved it for its rawness. I'll just mention here that All the Colours in Between is the follow up novel to 183 Times a Year, which I haven't read, but that this book worked very well for me as a stand alone novel.

So, where do I begin? This book is told from first person multiple points of view. with each chapter stating who is talking, so it's very easy to follow the story. Having said this, each character has their own particular voice, and some use more colourful language than others, so if you are easily offended by swear words, then this may not be the book for you. The language used is current, especially the dialogue from the younger members of the family, but the language is needed to make these characters real. I'll admit that I had to google the word 'peng.'

Lizzie is a mother, a writer and is fast approaching fifty. She has a busy life and has many a drama in this novel that I can't go into without giving away spoilers, but I can say that I admired her greatly. She is a woman who worries about her children, her elderly father who is ill, all while trying to juggle a writing career. Many of her chapters are poignant, and brought a lump to my throat.

Connor is Lizzie's son and is also a central character. At fifteen his voice is incredibly fresh and utterly believable. Here is a boy on the brink of adulthood and I just wanted to give him a big hug, I really liked Connor. Cassie is Lizzie's daughter, who works in the music industry, a young woman who has to deal with a life changing event, and I found myself utterly gripped by this young woman's story, of which her emotional journey was very well written.

All the Colours in Between is a powerful, emotional, and fast paced story about modern life in a blended family. It was a pure joy to read and I can't wait for the next instalment in this family saga.

With thanks to the publisher for an Advanced Raeder Copy.

All the Colours in Between is published on October 19th by Urbane Publications and can be found on Amazon here.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Mirror Mirror by Cara Delevingne





About Mirror Mirror

FRIEND. LOVER. VICTIM. TRAITOR.
WHEN YOU LOOK IN THE MIRROR, WHAT DO YOU SEE?

Sixteen-year-old friends Red, Leo, Rose, and Naomi are misfits; still figuring out who they are and who they want to be. Life isn't perfect, but music unites them, and they're excited about what the future holds for their band, Mirror, Mirror. That is until Naomi vanishes before being pulled unconscious out of the river.

She's left fighting for her life in a coma. The police claim it was a failed suicide attempt, but her friends aren't convinced. Will Naomi ever wake? What -­ or perhaps who - led her to that hospital bed? How did her friends fail to spot the warning signs?

While Rose turns to wild partying and Leo is shrouded by black moods, Red sets out to uncover the truth. It's a journey that will cause Red's world to crack, exposing the group's darkest secrets. Nothing will ever be the same again, because once a mirror is shattered, it can't be fixed.

Cara Delevingne, the voice of her generation, explores identity, friendship and betrayal in this gripping and powerful coming-of-age story. For fans of WE WERE LIARS, THIRTEEN REASONS WHY and THE GIRLS.


My review of Mirror Mirror

First of all I'll start by saying that I read this book based on the blurb and cover. It looked interesting, the story of a teenage girl who goes missing and who is later found almost dead in a river. I wanted to know why she had gone missing and what had happened to her. I had no idea that the book was written by a celebrity, although I now do so. Sadly this book didn't quite work for me, and I have rather mixed emotions about it, and I'll try to explain why. I'll keep my review short.

As already mentioned the plot really piqued my interest. I wanted to find out more about Naomi and who had left her for dead, but I have to say that I guessed within the first couple of chapters what had happened to her. This in itself is not a bad thing, I have guessed in previous novels about what has happened to a central character, but the storytelling and characters have gripped me, and I wanted to understand more about what had happened. Sadly, this didn't happen with Mirror Mirror. None of the other characters grabbed my interest. I found them all pretty shallow, and because I didn't like thauthenticallyve  in then, the story was somewhat lacking. It's not a bad story, it just wasn't the right one for me.

The only character who I found interesting was Ash, Naomi's older sister, the hacker. But sadly she was only really in the final parts of the book. I would have liked to have leaned more about her, What I will say is that the novel tackles head on serious issues of sexual assault, gender identity and generally how vulnerable teenagers are in this modern world that we live. This was dealt with sensitively and authentically, and will I feel resonate with many teenagers who read this novel, and hopefully will be able to help those who ate struggling with their sexuality and issues surrounding bullying.

This book didn't work for me, but I know that lots of people will love it.

With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an Advanced Reader Copy.

Mirror Mirror was published on 5 October by Trapeze.



Wednesday, 11 October 2017

The Keeper of Lost Things @ruthmariehogan


About The Keeper of Lost Thiings

Meet the 'Keeper of Lost Things'...

Once a celebrated author of short stories now in his twilight years, Anthony Peardew has spent half his life collecting lost objects, trying to atone for a promise broken many years before.

Realising he is running out of time, he leaves his house and all its lost treasures to his assistant Laura, the one person he can trust to fulfil his legacy and reunite the thousands of objects with their rightful owners.

But the final wishes of the 'Keeper of Lost Things' have unforeseen repercussions which trigger a most serendipitous series of encounters...





My review of The Keeper of Lost Things

I absolutely adored this beautiful book. It is simply stunning from beginning to end, a real page turner and a book that I will read again and again. 

Laura is slowly recovering from a disastrous marriage and is eventually getting her life beck on track. She was hired as a housekeeper by Anthony Peardew, a writer, who also keeps a large selection of lost things. He too has suffered sorrow in his life, when his beloved Theresa died at a very young age. His need to collect lost things stems from a broken promise that he made to her all those years ago. Together Laura and Anthony form a quiet yet comfortable working relationship, with both equally fond of the other. 

When Anthony sadly dies, Laura inherits his home, Padua, and the collection of Lost Things. But what entails is the story of how she gains more than bricks and mortar. This is a tale of self discovery, friendship and love. 

We meet many a colourful character along the way. We meet Sunshine, a young woman who has Down's syndrome, and I loved the author's description of her, and the fact that we focussed upon her characteristics  as such, rather then the fact that she was disabled, this I found refreshing. I liked Sunshine and her honesty. I think that if you are lucky enough to have a Sunshine in your life, then you need to hang on to them. We also meet Freddy the gardener, and what can I say other than I fell in love with him instantly. 

Running alongside the main plot featuring Laura and Anthony, we also have the story of Eunice and Bomber, who lived in Brighton. Bomber is a book publisher and slightly eccentric and you can't help but love him. Eunuch is very young when she meets him, and is incredibly naïve and vulnerable, but Bomber soon takes her under his wing and a very different type of love story unfolds spanning many decades. To begin with the two stories seem to be entirely separate, but it soon becomes clear that that the two stories are linked. 

The Keeper of Lost Things is quite simply a lovely read. It features interfering charters who we care about, a plot that keeps us hooked and beautiful storytelling. This book truly deserves all of the wonderful praise it has received. Can't wait to read the next book by this author. 

With thanks to the publisher and Bookbridgr for a paperback copy for review purposes

The Keeper of Lost Things was published by Two Roads in paperback on 10 Aug. 2017. It can be found on Amazon here.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Her Last Secret @BCopperthwait @bookouture


About Her Last Secret


Everyone thinks the Thomases are the perfect family: grand London house, gorgeous kids.

They don’t know wife Dominique is a paranoid wreck.

They don’t know husband Ben is trapped in a web of deceit.

They don’t know daughter Ruby lives in fear of the next abusive text.

But someone knows all their secrets.

Can the lies that bind them destroy them all?

This dark, gripping psychological thriller will have you holding your breath until the very last page. Fans of Behind Closed Doors, Sometimes I Lie, and The Girl on the Train will be captivated.

My review of Her Last Secret


I was so very excited to read this psychological thriller by Barbara Copperthwaite, and as usual, it was a spellbinding read. Her Last Secret is a slow burning psychological thriller, that gradually quickens in pace to a delicious and explosive conclusion.

The novel begins on Christmas Day when the police are called to a house in the early hours of the morning, having been alerted by neighbours who have heard gunshots. We know nothing about the inhabitants, but two bodies are brought out of the house, and then the story slowly begins to unfurl.

We are introduced to four family members. Dom, her husband Ben, and their two children, young Mouse (Amber) and teenager, Ruby. We read all of their personal accounts via   alternating chapters. All have their own motives and all are complex. Nothing is as it seems. Dom is a stay at home mum, who feels that her husband loves his job more than her, and she too has her own secrets to keep. She also feels that she is growing further way from her teenage daughter. In fact, does she know her at all?  Ben has his own worries to deal with when it comes to work issues, and he finds himself getting deeper into trouble. Ruby also has a lot to contend with in her school life, but who will listen to her?

The storytelling is magnificent, the story structured in such a way that you know something bad has really happened but you don't know quite what it is, who is responsible and who the victims are. After we learn that the police have been called to a house on Christmas Day, we then go back just over a week before that day, and the story slowly begins to unravel, interspersed with chapters about the police and their findings on Christmas Day. This builds up the pace beautifully and I honestly didn't want to put this book down.

As the book states, this is a psychological thriller and it tackles some serious issues, none of which I will mention as they will be spoilers, but suffice to say that this is a gut punching book, and as a mother, Dom truly resonated with me.

Her Last Secret is a dark, unsettling and addictive read that will reel you in and keep you hooked from the very first page.

Her Last Secret is published by Bookouture on 13 October.

With thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an Advanced Reader Copy.

Monday, 9 October 2017

The Break @MarianKeyes @MichaelJBooks



About The Break

Amy's husband Hugh has run away to 'find himself'. But will he ever come back?

'Myself and Hugh . . . We're taking a break.'

'A city-with-fancy-food sort of break?'

If only.

Amy's husband Hugh says he isn't leaving her.

He still loves her, he's just taking a break - from their marriage, their children and, most of all, from their life together. Six months to lose himself in South East Asia. And there is nothing Amy can say or do about it.

Yes, it's a mid-life crisis, but let's be clear: a break isn't a break up - yet . . .
However, for Amy it's enough to send her - along with her extended family of gossips, misfits and troublemakers - teetering over the edge.

For a lot can happen in six-months. When Hugh returns, if he returns, will he be the same man she married? Will Amy be the same woman?

Because if Hugh is on a break from their marriage, then so is she . . .

The Break is a story about the choices we make and how those choices help to make us. It is Marian Keyes at her funniest, wisest and brilliant best.



My review of The Break

When you pick up a Marian Keyes book you just know that you're in for a treat, and The Break is no exception. I loved this book from the very beginning. 

The novel revolves around protagonist Amy, and her husband, Hugh, who live in Dublin. Hugh decides that they need to take a break, they have been married for 17 years, and so heads off to Asia for six months on a backpacking adventure, leaving Amy at home who immerses herself in her PR work, while she waits for him to return home. The big questions are, will he return home? Can things ever be the same again? 

Hugh is dealing with his father's death, and although Amy understand his need to grieve, and that he needs time, she does struggle with the fact that he has decided to grieve alone, and on the other side of the world, effectively shunning her. What follows is an emotive story about how Amy deals with this life changing event, and although there are moments of pure anguish and a few tears, there are also many laugh out loud moments,  caused by the many colourful Irish characters that we meet

I loved this book for featuring a female character in her 40s. Amy is 44 and thought her life was pretty sorted. Happily married for seventeen years, a stable marriage, a happy marriage, but suddenly everything is turned on its head.  I read thinking that this could happen to anyone and I think that this is the main strength of this novel. What happened to Amy could happen within your own marriage. The idea , the horror of it hooks you in. It tackles not the falling in love part, but how to stay in love part, and this is what I loved about this book.  Will their love be strong enough?  Can they stay in love?

As ever the writing is witty, fast and engaging. The characters are colourful and the joy really comes from reading their conversations and how they interact with one another. It really is a pure delight.

The Break is anything but a light read. It does tackle serious issues that deal with love in marriage. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it was engaging, current and I completely understood the characters. Loved it! 

With thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader Copy.

The Break was published by Michael Joseph on 7 September. It can be found on Amazon here.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Dead Lands @LloydOtisWriter @urbanebooks



About Dead Lands

Dead Lands is a thrilling crime story set in the 1970s. When a woman's body is found a special team is called in to investigate and prime suspect Alex Troy is arrested for the murder. Desperate to remain a free man, Troy protests his innocence, but refuses to use his alibi. Trying to protect the woman he loves becomes a dangerous game - questions are asked and suspicions deepen. When the prime suspect completes a daring escape from custody, DI Breck and DS Kearns begin the hunt. Breck wants out of the force while Kearns has her own agenda and seeks revenge. Breck has his suspicions and she wants to keep it from him, and a right-wing march provides an explosive backdrop to their hunt for Troy. Lloyd Otis brings a startling account of the past back to life over a burgeoning '70s landscape, and delivers a thrilling piece of crime fiction that will excite any fan of the genre.




My review of Dead Lands

Dead Lands is the debut novel from Lloyd Otis and what a fantastic debut it is. It's gritty, fast paced and an exquisite read about a time before laptops, mobiles and social media. I loved it!

Set in the heart of London during the 1970s, Dead Lands is dark and punchy from the very beginning. A woman is found murdered in her own home, and when DI Breck and DS Kearns are called to the scene we witness their reactions, their horror at what they see, and the hunt for the killer begins. 

This story is full of secrets, twists and characters who you just don't know to trust, both inside and outside of the police. For me, the one stable character was that of DI Breck, I liked him the moment I met him, and I'm not sure why, but there was just something about him, something a little bit addictive, a little bit edgy that made him fascinating to read. He is also disillusioned with the force, wanting a way out, to have a more stable life, and I completely understood this need. Kearns on the other hand is not an open book, and although I didn't like her, I understood her. She is hiding a secret and it is difficult to know what side of the fence she is on, for that reason she made the novel even more gripping and intense.  

The police at first focus upon suspect Alex Troy, whose credit card is found at the scene of the murder. They bring him into custody, but he refuses to give an alibi, as it will compromise the woman who he is in love with. It is while he is in custody, that he manages to escape, and the race to catch him begins. 

As I progressed through the novel, I realised that I had no idea who the killer was, and my views kept changing. I found myself tearing through the pages in my quest to find out who the killer was, and the reasons for Kesrns' secrets. The ending truly surprised me, but made complete sense. I also loved this novel for its depictions of the 70s. It was so refreshing to read a police thriller that had no mobile phones, social media or need for the internet. The policing was all done the 'old fashioned way' and was very much based on a 'gut instinct.' I loved the fact that there was no technology, it made for a very different kind of read. 

Dead Lands was a joy to read from beginning to end. It was different, engaging, clever and full of characters who you yearned to know more about. It's also one hell of a murder mystery. I highly recommend it. 

Dead Lands is published by Urbane Publications on October 12. It can be found on Amazon here.

With thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader Copy.



Thursday, 5 October 2017

The Surrogate @Fab_fiction @bookouture



About The Surrogate



You know that feeling? When you want something so badly, you almost feel you’d kill for it?’

Be careful what you wish for…


Kat and her husband Nick have tried everything to become parents. All they want is a child to love but they are beginning to lose hope. Then a chance encounter with Kat’s childhood friend Lisa gives Kat and Nick one last chance to achieve their dream.

But Kat and Lisa’s history hides dark secrets.

And there is more to Lisa than meets the eye.

As dangerous cracks start to appear in Kat’s perfect picture of happily-ever-after, she realises that she must act quickly. But is she willing to uncover the darkest secrets of her past in order to to save her family?


My review of The Surrogate

The Surrogate is a dark, engaging and a nail biting psychological thriller that sucked me in from the very beginning. This is one creepy, twisted tale that focusses upon buried lies and deceit. It's nothing like the cover would suggest, as initially I thought it would be about two women sharing a bond through pregnancy, and would be a heart warming tale. In that respect, the cover and tithe are very clever. 

We meet married couple, Kat and Nick, who have been trying to get pregnant for several years,  and who have gone down the adoption route, but have been unsuccessful. My heart went out to Kat, a woman who so desperately wants a child, who would do anything to have a child of her own. It is when Kat meets Lisa in a coffee shop, who is an old school friend, that she begins to think that her dream of becoming a mother may actually become a reality. However, what first appears as a dream come true slowly has the seeds of doubt planted. Is Lisa who she seems to be? Does Nick really want a child? There are so many unanswered questions and a real sense of foreboding starts to creep in. 

I really liked Kat. I got who she was and what she was wanted in life. That yearning to be a mother, I undersold that as a mother myself, and I felt as if I understood her motives. Her husband, Nick, on the other hand I just couldn't warm to. He never really warmed to the idea of surrogacy, and I wondered what the reasons were behind these feelings. As for Lisa, well, she truly confused me. From the moment I met her I wondered how she had found Kat, and what her true intentions were. She fascinated me, and I wanted to learn her story. All three of these characters spin a luscious web made from lies and deceit, and as I progressed through the novel, my loyalties shifted, not knowing who to trust or believe. What really happened between Lisa and Kat? That's the big question. 

This book really is full of twists and turns and I honestly didn't know who to believe, or where my sympathies should lie.  The idea of turning the theme of surrogacy into something that is dark and sinister is pure brilliance. I really was hooked on every word, and as for the ending... well I wasn't expecting it at all, but it was brilliantly stunning.

The Surrogate is an engaging, dark, and twisted read that will keep you guessing. I loved it! 

With thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an Advanced Raeder Copy.

The Surrogate was published by Bookouture on 27 Sept and can be found on Amazon here.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Flesh of the Peach @HelenMcClory @FreightBooks




About Flesh of the Peach

An intense journey into and out of rage and grief, via sex and violence, following 27 year-old artist, Sarah Browne and set mostly in the American Southwest. In New York, the ending of Sarah's recent relationship with a married woman has coincided with the death of her estranged, aristocratic mother, leaving her a substantial amount of money and an unrecognised burden of toxic grief. Rather than return home to England, she decides to travel by Greyhound to her mother's cabin in New Mexico. There she's drawn into a passionate relationship with Theo, a man whose quiet stability seems to complement her mercurial character.

But as Sarah's emotional turmoil grows, there are warning signs that tragedy could ensue. In Flesh of the Peach Scottish First Book of the Year winner, Helen McClory, paints a beautiful and painful portrait of a woman's unravelling, combining exquisite, and at times experimental, prose with a powerful understanding of the effects of unresolved loss.

McClory is one of the most exciting literary talents to emerge from Scotland in recent years.





My review of Flesh of the Peach

Flesh of the Peach is the debut novel by Scottish author Helen McClory, and wow, what an intense and consuming read. It is about grief and the need to belong.

The novel revolves around  twenty-seven-year-old Sarah Browne, an artist, whose estranged mother dies from cancer. Sarah is also dealing with the after effects of the end of her affair with a married woman. She suddenly finds herself alone and wealthy, with the burden of grief upon her shoulders that she does not know how to deal with, and this is the premise for the story. She leaves her New York home to travel across America in a Greyhound bus to revisit her mother's remote cabin in New Mexico

The language is poetic at times, and the sentence structure took me a little while to fully 'get into ' but this is Sarah's voice that we hear, her innermost thoughts, and the way that these thoughts are put down on paper are important, as they truly represent how she thinks, her unraveling grief and her search for who she is.

While reading I really did feel that Sarah saw herself very much as an outsider, someone who observed rather than living life. This is shown in the recollections of her life growing up in Cornwall, were she felt as if she never really truly fitted in. Her toxic relationship with the married woman, and the affair that she has with Theo once in New Mexico, are all about Sarah's need to find her own identity. To find who she truly is.

Aa already mentioned, the writing is beautiful, it's lyrical and I got a true sense of who Sarah was and who she wanted to be. The language and imagery used also helps to paint an evocative atmosphere of both her childhood home, and its almost cloying atmosphere, to the barrenness of New Mexico and its many opportunities.

Flesh of the Peach is very much a coming of age story. It's a story about how the past shapes you, makes you who you are, and that we can never truly escape our upbringing. This book has a wonderful, fresh and cathartic feel to it, that is snappy and to the point, just like Sarah. I really enjoyed it and look forward to reading future books by the author.

With thanks to the publisher and author who provided a paperback edition for review purposes.

Flesh of the Peach was published by Freight Books on 20th April. It can be found on Amazon here.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Where Dead Men Meet @MarkMillsAuthor



About Where Dead Men Meet

Paris, 1937. Luke Hamilton - a junior air intelligence officer at the British Embassy - finds himself the target of an assassination attempt. A clear case of mistaken identity, or so it first appears. As Luke is hunted across a continent sliding towards war, he comes to learn that the answers lie deep in a past that predates his abandonment as a baby on the steps of an orphanage twenty-five years ago.

From the author of the bestselling THE SAVAGE GARDEN, and set against a terrific backdrop of Europe on the cusp of the Second World War, this is a compelling novel, rich in adventure, espionage, secrets and lies.

My review of Where Dead Men Meet




Where Dead Men Meet is a thoroughly gripping period thriller like no other I have ever read. Mark Mills is a gifted storyteller and I quickly found myself immersed in this unknown world, with this gripping tale of survival. 

Where Dead Men Meet is set in Paris during 1937. Luke Hamilton, the protagonist of the story works at the British Embassy as an intelligence officer. He is young, handsome and has his fair share of the ladies. I loved him instantly. 

The novel opens with the murder of Sister Agnes, who lived at St Theresa’s Orphanage, the same orphanage that Luke grew up in, and the nun who found him abandoned on the doorstep as a baby. I'll admit that this opening hooked me in. We then move on to Luke, as he suddenly finds himself as the target of an assassination attempt, and the novel begins to ask questions about his past and who wants him dead. One of the men who has been assigned to kill Luke, Borodin, has a change of heart, believing him to be someone else, and so decides to protect him and help him escape... and so the real story begins.

The novel beautifully evokes the thoughts and feelings of those living before the beginning of the Second World War. The fear and the uncertainty. Coupled with this is the story of Luke, a story that is rich in lies, deceit and villains. This really is one twisted and complicated plot that I can't even begin to explain, and I don't want to give away any spoilers, but all I will say is that you will be hooked from the moment that you meet Luke. He is a captivating character, a likeable man, and you will want him to find out about his past and why someone wants him dead. Or is it simply mistaken identity? 

We follow Luke in his journey across Europe in his quest for survival and his search to find out who he really is. It's a tale of survival, treachery, with a dash of romance. This novel really does have it all. It's simply a fabulous read and an entertaining story with characters that you ultimately care about. Its a wonderful, evocative read

With thanks to the publisher and Bookbridgr who supplied a paperback for review purposes.

Where Dead Men Meet  was published in paperback by Headline Review on 13 July. It can be fond on Amazon here.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Revolver @swierczy @Mulhollandbooks


About Revolver


Philadelphia 1965: Two street cops - one black, one white - are gunned down in a robbery gone wrong. The killer is never prosecuted. One of the fallen officers, Stanislaw Walczak, leaves behind a twelve-year-old boy, Jimmy...

Philadelphia 1995: Homicide detective Jim Walczak learns that his father's alleged killer, Terrill Lee Stanton, is out of prison. Walczak will be waiting, determined to squeeze the truth out of him - any way he can.

Philadelphia 2015: Jim Walczak's daughter Audrey, studying forensic science in grad school, reinvestigates her grandfather's murder for her dissertation. But the deeper Audrey digs, the more she realises: the man everyone thinks killed Walczak didn't do it...

And when the truth comes out, the danger's only going to grow.



My review of Revolver


Revolver is a dark thriller with a touch of noir that spans three generations, from 1965 through to 2015. I loved it! 

Stanislaw Walczak, a cop working in Philadelphia, is shot dead during a robbery in 1965. His son, Jimmy, decades later becomes a homicide detective and begins to investigate the death of his father, to find his father's murderer. It is during 2015 that Jim's daughter, Audrey, begins to investigate the murder as part of her dissertation studies. These three stories are all told within their own time frame, all are interwoven, and all shed a different light on what happened. Who did kill Stanislaw Walczak? That is at the heart of this story. 

The author writes with such compassion, humanity and understanding of the human condition. It's a crime drama based upon the American dream. One that is always ultimately shattered. The multi layered narrative is fast paced and with well drawn characters that felt like friends by the time I read the final words. Each different generation, the father, the son and the granddaughter, were equally enthralling and offered a valid viewpoint and snapshot in time. 

This is not your average dark thriller, as it is part family drama that explores the differences between the generation gap, and the relationship between father and son, and father and daughter. It does tackle serious issues such as racism, gun crime and sexual assault, but all of these issues are pivotal to the plot and for exploring the time frame in which the characters live. Although the book is primarily three different stories, it really did feel as if I was reading a family saga, and I wanted to know what happened to Stanislaw Walczak, just as much as the characters within this fascinating thriller.

Revolver is a very different type of thriller, and at first it did take me a while to get into, but once I met all three central characters, I was hooked. Revolver is a dark and compulsive read. It's a novel about the complexities of family life, of relationships and of living in America during the 1960s surrounded by racism and intolerance to anyone who appears to be different. It's an illuminating read, full of action and interesting characters. I really enjoyed it. 

With thanks to the publisher and Bookbridgr for an Advanced Reader Copy.

Revolver was published by Mulholland Books on 10th August. It can be found on Amazon here.