Contact Me...

Thursday, 25 July 2019

#TheHoliday @TMLoganAuthor @ZaffreBooks

About The Holiday 

Seven days. Three families. One killer.

It was supposed to be the perfect holiday, dreamed up by Kate as the ideal way to turn 40: four best friends and their husbands and children in a luxurious villa under the blazing sunshine of Provence. 

But there is trouble in paradise. Kate suspects that her husband is having an affair, and that the other woman is one of her best friends. 

One of these women is willing to sacrifice years of friendship and destroy her family. But which one? As Kate closes in on the truth in the stifling Mediterranean heat, she realises too late that the stakes are far higher than she ever imagined. 

Because someone in the villa is prepared to kill to keep their secret hidden.

My review of The Holiday

The Holiday is an absolutely brilliant read. That tagline of 'Seven days. Three families. One killer' reeled me right in and I quickly became immersed in the world of these four women and their families. It's a wonderful 'catch your breath'  kind of a read, with you never quite knowing who you can trust. Not even until the final few chapters. 

It's a fast paced read with short chapters that I just loved, as it pushed me forwards though the story, I had to keep reading. There are so many twists and turns, so many red herrings that I thought I had it all sussed out, only to find that I was competent wrong.

This is a domestic family thriller set in a villa in France. Four women who have been friends since university decide to holiday together to celebrate their upcoming fortieth birthdays. But what unfolds is a tale that is dark, murky and full of secrets. 

The story is told mainly from Kate's point of view, but we also get insight into the other characters point of view in the form of chapters that are dedicated to them. Kate suspects from the very first day of the holiday that her husband, Sean; is having an affair. The trouble is that the other woman is one of the three women, and so she keeps quiet and tries to unearth the truth herself. It is the fact that they are all together in this villa in France that gives the story it's undercurrent of foreboading. It is tense and claustrophobic as Kate cannot escape.  

Who on earth is the other woman? That's at the heart of this story. But we also have storylines involving the older children, that show that they too are harbouring secrets of their own.

The Holiday is so cleverly written. It pulls you in one direction and then another so that you get whiplash in wondering what on earth is going on. And as for the ending, well, it's both perfect and surprising at the same time.  

The Holiday really is a fabulous summer read and you'll never look at your friends in quite the same way again.  

With thanks to Readers First for the advanced  paperback copy. 

The Holiday is published by Zaffre on July 25th.

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

#TheGirlIUsedToKnow @GerHogan @Aria_Fiction

About The Girl I Used to Know

Two women. Two very different lives. One unexpected friendship.

Amanda King and Tess Cuffe are strangers who share the same Georgian house, but their lives couldn't be more different.

Amanda seems to have the perfect life. But the reality is a soulless home, an unfaithful husband and a very lonely heart.

While Tess has spent a lifetime hiding and shutting her heart to love.

But if they can open up to one another, these two women may just learn that sometimes letting go is the first step to moving forward and new friendships can come from the most unlikely situations.

My review of The Woman I Used To Know 

The Girl I Used to Know is a warm hearted, emotional and thoroughly engaging read. It's a story that spans a lifetime and is one about the friendship of women, the strength of women and that we are all deserving of love. I absolutely loved it! 

The book revolves around Amanda and Tess, two women who have known each other for decades, but who barely talk, or acknowledge each other, even though they live under the same roof.  Amanda has been married for twenty years and has two teenage children. Her life has revolved around her husband and his needs, but things are about to change when she learns of his infidelity. Tess lives in the basement flat, just as she has done for decades. She is known as a recluse, a not very friendly sort, but why is this? What is her back story? We learn all about Tess and her past, just as we do Amanda's, as we progress through the book. 

Both women are lonely. Tess through her own choosing and Amanda because of a marriage that looks good on the outside but which has very little depth or feeling. 

Both women are very much the opposite of each other. One a mother and a wife, an upper class lady with money and contacts. Tess lives in her tiny basement flat, works as an office temp and has no friends. But, as we read this delightful story, these two women realise that they have more in common than they first thought  

The Girl I Used to Know is a heart-warming and emotional read. It restores your faith in the human race. It is a book about the bonds that women share and that we all deserve to be happy and connected to others. It's a refreshing and delightful read. I look forward to reading more books by this author. 

The Girl I Used to Know is published by Aria. 

With thanks to the publisher and Victoria Joss for the paperback copy and inviting me on the blog tour. 

About the author 

Faith lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children and two very fussy cats. She has an Hons Degree in English Literature and Psychology, has worked as a fashion model and in the intellectual disability and mental health sector. 

Follow the blog tour... 

Monday, 22 July 2019

#Trance @adamsouthward @AmazonPub

About Trance 

His victims are powerless. He is in control. This is his revenge—and he’s only just begun.

Three university scientists are found dead in a gruesome murder-suicide, and the only suspect in the case, Victor Lazar, is quickly captured. When the spate of violent suicides follows him to prison he is moved to solitary confinement, reserved for the highest-risk inmates. And then his assigned psychologist inexplicably takes his own life.

Alex Madison, a former forensic psychologist turned private therapist, is brought in to interview Victor. He suspects that Victor is controlling his victims, somehow coaxing them into a suggestive trance. It seems like science fiction, but as Alex digs deeper he uncovers a frightening reality of secret research and cruel experimentation—and the perpetrators are closer to home than he could ever have imagined.

Too late, Alex learns the true extent of what Victor is capable of—and who he’s after. With everything he holds dear at risk, can Alex take control of a dangerous mind—before it takes control of him?

My review of Trance 

Trance is a compulsive thriller that grips you from the very first page. It's highly original, addictive and I was drawn into the murky world of Victor Lazar. I couldn't put this book down. 

The story begins with a gruesome murder of a university professor and within these first few pages there is a subtle twist that sets the tone and expectations of this dark and unsettling thriller. 

Alex Madison, a forensic psychologist, who now has his own private practice, is brought in to assess Victor, the major suspect, and now a prison inmate. What follows is a story that is rooted in past trauma and medical experiments. Victor's past truly is the stuff of science fiction, but it happened and is happening and Alex  finds himself drawn deeper and deeper into the mysterious world of Victor Lazar.

I loved this book. I loved the fact that it takes the theme of deep hypnotic trance and combines it with a cracking thriller of a read. It's dark, it's unsettling and it bubbles with tension. As I made my way through this book, I honestly didn't know who I could trust, and more importantly who Alex could trust. I raced through the pages, wanting Alex to find out the truth and to keep safe. 

Trance is a thoroughly enjoyable read. This book revolves around Victor Lazar, but Alex's story is equally interesting. He fascinated me, just as Victor did, and there was such pure excitement to be had when these two men met. 

I can't praise Trance highly enough. An original thriller that tackles some serious issues. It's menacing, it's unsettling and one addictive read.  

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

Trance was published by Thomas and Mercer on 1st July 

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

#Others @cfernyhough @unbounders

Others: Writers on the power of words to help us see beyond ourselves by Charles Fernyhough (Author, Editor)

It doesn’t take much familiarity with the news to see that the world has become a more hate-filled place. In Others, a group of writers explore the power of words to help us to see the world as others see it, and to reveal some of the strangeness of our own selves.

Through stories, poems, memoirs and essays, we look at otherness in a variety of its forms, from the dividing lines of politics and the anonymising forces of city life, through the disputed identities of disability, gender and neurodiversity, to the catastrophic imbalances of power that stands in the way of social equality.

Whether the theme is a casual act of racism or an everyday interaction with someone whose experience seems impossible to imagine, the collection challenges us to recognise our own otherness to those we would set apart as different.

Profits from this book will be donated to Stop Hate UK, which works to raise awareness of hate crime and encourage its reporting, and Refugee Action, which provides advice and support to refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. 

Contributors include: Leila Aboulela, Gillian Allnutt, Damian Barr, Noam Chomsky, Rishi Dastidar, Peter Ho Davies, Louise Doughty, Salena Godden, Colin Grant, Sam Guglani, Matt Haig, Aamer Hussein, Anjali Joseph, A. L. Kennedy, Joanne Limburg, Rachel Mann, Tiffany Murray, Sara Nović, Edward Platt, Alex Preston, Tom Shakespeare, Kamila Shamsie, Will Storr, Preti Taneja and Marina Warner.

My review of Others 

Others is an insightful, inspiring and thought provoking collection of short stories, poems and real life accounts. The central theme is that of 'other'.  Those we perceive to be different to us and how this difference can shed insight on our own prejudices and truths. We read about the 'other' who doesn't conform to our rules, our culture, and as a result we learn  how we perceive ourselves to be different. We also learn how reading can shed insight into other, as we immerse ourselves in their point of view. 

This is a book that is very much time sensitive. In our current refugee crisis and the rise of the far right, this book makes you question what it actually means to be other, while making us delve deep into our own belief systems and prejudices. 

All of these stories have something important to say. They each have their own distinctive voice. But, one story in particular stood out for personal reasons  ‘We Are the Champions’ by Salena Godden  explores the relationship with the author's sister who has Williams Syndrome. I found this to be emotional, empowering and a wonderful and honest insight into how others perceive disability. It's beautifully written. 

Others showcases the power of words and stories in uniting  us all. Fundamentally, what we learn is that we aren't that different after all, and that difference should be celebrated, not something to be feared. 

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

The Others: Writers on the power of words to help us see beyond ourselves was published on 11th July by Unbound. 

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

#DeathAtIvyHouse #BettyRowlands @Bookouture

About Death at Ivy House 

A quaint cottage in a pretty Victorian terrace with a neatly tended garden stands quiet and still… but inside the bedroom a woman lies dead upon the floor.

Sukey Reynolds is enjoying a quiet period at work, taking time to get her garden in hand, catch up on some cooking and spend time with her son. Murder is the last thing on her mind…

But when she is called to the charming Ivy House to photograph the dead body of a young woman, Sukey feels compelled to drop everything and do all she can to shed light on this baffling mystery. And whilst collecting evidence at a nearby hotel which had a break-in around the same time as the murder, she starts to wonder if the two cases might be linked.

The manager just happened to let slip that one of her guests went white as a sheet after reading about the death and disappeared shortly afterwards. The very same guest whose room was broken into… Sukey has a shrewd suspicion about who this man might be, and she fears he too could be in danger.

Although she voices her theories, her detective colleagues are in no mood for any more of her amateur sleuthing. Sukey realises that if she wants to pursue her lead, she’ll have to do it alone. When Sukey agrees to a secret meeting by a remote river, has she made a terrible mistake? Has the killer lured her into the woods and into a trap?

My review of Death at Ivy House 

Death at Ivy House is such a lovely treat of a book to read. This is the first book I have read by the author and I now need to go back and read the rest of the books in this fabulous cozy mystery series. It's a story full of drama, gritty characters and light hearted humour.

Sukey Reynolds is a seasoned Scene of Crime Officer with a desire to become a police detective one day. She's a woman who is incredibly good at her job, and who cares deeply for the victims she meets. But this professional does stray from her own role in the team, as she begins her own investigation into the murder of a woman in the village. What follows is a murder mystery with many twists and turns and many surprises. 

Set in the time before smartphones and laptops, this cozy mystery has the distinct feeling of an Agatha Christie novel, and Sukey most definitely has the same determination and drive as Miss Marple. This novel is such a treat  because of this character. You can't help but like her. A mum who is juggling it all, trying to do the best for her teenage son and her community.

This book, although a crime mystery, is also full of humour and the blossoming relationship between herself and detective Jim Castle is fun to read.  But it was the relationship  between Sukey and her son,.Gus, that I found more illuminating. I loved their conversations and easy way they had with each other. Such a joy.

Death at Ivy House is a thoroughly enjoyable read. It has a plot that holds your attention throughout, a cast of colourful characters and a great sense of community and justice.  I loved it. 

With thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the digital copy.

Death at Ivy House is published by Bookouture and is available to buy now. 

Saturday, 6 July 2019

#SomethingToLiveFor @richardroper @orionbooks

About Something to Live For

Sometimes you have to risk everything to find your something...

All Andrew wants is to be normal. He has the perfect wife and 2.4 children waiting at home for him after a long day. At least, that's what he's told people.

The truth is, his life isn't exactly as people think and his little white lie is about to catch up with him.

Because in all Andrew's efforts to fit in, he's forgotten one important thing: how to really live. And maybe, it's about time for him to start.

My review of Something to Live For 

Something to Live For is such a beautiful bittersweet feel good read that I absolutely adored. It's such a poignant story about love and belonging and it made my heart ache. Andrew's story is  a tale of a man who is lost in life, who is simply treading water and that it it is now time for him to start living life. 

Andrew works for the council, tracking down long lost relatives of the recently deceased. This involves going to their home and finding evidence in the form of letters and photographs. He usually does this job alone, but when Peggy joins the team  she takes on the workload with him, and from this stems understanding and  blossoming friendship.

This is such a beautiful novel about loneliness and that sometimes we just need a helping hand and a  listening ear to get us out of the rut we find ourselves stuck in. Andrew's story is so authentically real, in that it can't help but touch your soul with its warmth and honesty.

What this book conveys is that we all need someone. That we cannot live in isolation and that life is all about taking risks and that sometimes it s okay to be frightened about what lies ahead and that we need to explore our feelings about what happened in the past. It's a story about the need to belong and of being loved. I thoroughly enjoyed Something to Live For and whole heartedly recommend it. 

Something to Live For is published by Orion on 27 June.

With thanks to NetGalley for the Advanced Reader Copy. 

Follow the blog tour 

Thursday, 4 July 2019

#AGraveForTwo @annekristinholt @CorvusBooks

About A Grave for Two 

Selma Falck has hit rock bottom. Having lost everything - her husband, her children and her high-flying job as a lawyer - in quick succession, she is holed up alone in a dingy apartment. That is until Jan Morell - the man who is to blame for her downfall - rings her doorbell, desperate to overturn a doping accusation against his daughter, Hege - Norway's best female skier. He'll drop his investigation into Selma, but only if she'll help... With just weeks until the Olympic qualifying rounds, clearing Hege's name, and getting Selma's own life back on track, seems impossible.

But when an elite male skier is found dead in suspicious circumstances, the post-mortem showing a link to Hege's case, it becomes clear to Selma that there is a sinister web of lies, corruption and scandals lurking in this highly competitive sport. As time starts to runs out, another person is found dead, and Selma realizes that her own life is at risk...

My review of A Grave For Two 

I love reading Norwegian crime and am a huge fan of Jo Nesbo. When I read the book info for A Grave for Two I knew I had to read it, and what an absolutely dark, absorbing and unsettling treat of a story. I loved it.

We meet Selma Falck, a successful lawyer who is slowly trying to rebuild her life after a catastrophic life changing event. I felt great empathy towards Selma, as we all make mistakes, but some of us seem to pay a greater price than others. 

We are then introduced to Hege, a professional skier who is accused of drug doping, and her father, Jan Morell who is fighting to prove her Innocence,. It is Jan who hires Selma to get to the truth of what happened. What happens next is a story of secrets, conspiracies, deception and murder. 

This is a story that hooks you in. Not only do you care for the characters, and in particular Selma, but there is that thirst for wanting to know the truth. The writing flows, and although a hefty read I flew through the pages as I was fully engrossed and committed to these characters. 

A Grave For Two is Norwegian crime at its very best. It's an intelligent read with a strong plot, a stunning Oslo backdrop and characters who get deep  into your soul. A wonderful read. 

With thanks to Readers First for the hardback copy. 

A Grave for Two is published by Corvus on 4 July 2019. 

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

The First Time Lauren Pailing Died #AlysonRudd

About The First Time Lauren Pailing Died 

Lauren Pailing is born in the sixties, and a child of the seventies. She is thirteen years old the first time she dies.

Lauren Pailing is a teenager in the eighties, becomes a Londoner in the nineties. And each time she dies, new lives begin for the people who loved her – while Lauren enters a brand new life, too.

But in each of Lauren’s lives, a man called Peter Stanning disappears. And, in each of her lives, Lauren sets out to find him.

And so it is that every ending is also a beginning. And so it is that, with each new beginning, Peter Stanning inches closer to finally being found…

My review of The First Time Lauren Pailing Died 

The First Time Lauren Pailing Died is a highly original, thought provoking and emotional roller coaster of a read. Many people have stated that this book is similar to The Time Traveler's Wife (one of my all time favourite books) but I actually believe that this book stands in a league of its own. It's a book about parallel lives, about chance encounters and the choices that we make that shape our lives.

Lauren is able to see different versions of herself in prisms of time. Snapshots that show her living a different life. Although one thing remains the same, that of Peter Stanning who is missing. We read about all of these fractured lives that Lauren lives thriugh, and follow her in her search for Peter.

This is such a thought provoking read. It questions the fragility of life. That one wrong decision could change everything. It also highlights the fact that we are all connected and that our actions impact others and what happens in their lives.

I raced through the pages of this book. Lauren, her mother and father are all engaging characters, each with their own unique story to tell. It touched upon death and change, but also the joy that is to be had from living life, and that we should seize every moment. A unique and enjoyable read.

The First Time Lauren Pailing Died is published by HQ on 11th July. 

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