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Her Perfect Lies by Lana Newton

Blog tour: 8 to 12 November 2019

Synopsis

Claire is beautiful.
Claire is famous.
Claire has a handsome husband and a house to die for.

But Claire doesn’t know any of that. Claire isn’t even sure who she is …

When Claire Wright wakes in hospital, she sees a stranger staring back at her in the mirror. With no memories from before the devastating car accident that left her and her father with life-changing injuries, she must navigate the life of a stranger along with all the mistakes her former self left behind.

As Claire discovers the person she used to be she must also unravel the mystery that surrounds the accident. But the more Claire uncovers, the more she will be forced to face up to the dark secrets from her life before …

My review

Her Perfect Lies tells the story of Claire, a famous professional ballerina, who is leaving hospital and going home two weeks after she was involved in a car accident with her father, Tony. She has lost her memory and remembers nothing of the crash, which caused Tony serious injuries (his spine was severely damaged) and he’s rather confused about exactly what happened too, denying Claire was in the car at first.

When Claire looks in the mirror, she sees a stranger. She remembers nothing about anything. Things even taste different and there are hints that her personality changes. Such a frightening position to be in! I’d be terrified.

Claire’s husband, Paul, a doctor, seems rather controlling: he wants to watch her take medication, won’t eat with her, won’t let her go to her ballet studio and invites their friends over for a dinner party without even asking her. And he’s not very affectionate or caring – he only visits her twice in the two weeks she’s in hospital and they don’t even share a bedroom at home.

Claire’s mother, Angela, is absent, supposedly away looking after an elderly relative, Aunt Judy, but it seems rather bizarre that she hasn’t rushed back, with both her daughter and husband in a serious condition in hospital!

Everything is so unsettling for Claire; she’s disconnected from her past, present and future but trapped in the house as being outside is so frightening and overwhelming. She feels fragile and out of control as her mind struggles to make sense of everything and she begins to suffer from bad nightmares that never have a resolution – someone close is threatening and chasing her; an ominous presence but one which disappears before she can see the person’s face. Claire struggles to get any memories back and ends up going to a hypnotherapist, Dr Matilda Brown, to try and free her locked-up mind.

As she starts to discover more about her past and uncovers traumatic events, Claire feels even more lost and alone. She is being accused of awful things but can’t even defend herself as she doesn’t know what has happened.

This was a tense, uneasy read and I could really feel Claire’s fear. She didn’t know who she was, she’s learning about everything for the first time and she doesn’t know or trust her husband, Paul, her father, Tony, her best friend, Gaby, or even the housekeeper, Nina. Everyone seems to have ulterior motives and be hiding secrets and not telling Claire the truth about her life, whether to protect her or themselves is unclear. The only one she can trust is their labrador, Molokai!

Claire is such an unreliable narrator, understandably, that I really didn’t know which direction this one was going to go in. There were a few twists and turns, as well as red herrings, and my guesses of how it was all going to be resolved were a bit wide of the mark!

Overall, I enjoyed this one, it was such a intense and claustrophobic read and I finished it after a couple of days. I think I need something a bit lighter now to recover!

Buy the book

Her Perfect Lies by Lana Newton can be purchased from Amazon on Kindle now and in paperback on 23 January 2020, and as an eBook from Kobo and iBooks.

About the author

Lana Newton grew up in two opposite corners of the Soviet Union: the snow-white Siberian town of Tomsk and the golden-domed Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. At the age of 16, she moved to Australia with her mother. Lana and her family live on the Central Coast of New South Wales, where it never snows and is always summer warm.

Lana studied IT at university and, as a student, wrote poetry in Russian that she hid from everyone. For over a decade after graduating, she worked as a computer programmer. When she returned to university to complete her history degree, her favourite lecturer encouraged her to write fiction. She hasn’t looked back, and never goes anywhere without her favourite pen because you never know when the inspiration might strike.

Lana’s short stories appeared in many magazines and anthologies, and she was the winner of the Historical Novel Society Autumn 2012 Short Fiction competition. Her novels are published by HQ Digital, an imprint of Harper Collins UK.

Lana also writes historical fiction under the pen name of Lana Kortchik.

Find out more about Lana on her website or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

Blog tour

Thanks to Jessica Lee at HQ Stories for my digital copy of Her Perfect Lies and for my place on the blog tour.

See the banner below for more stops on the #blogtour.

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See Them Run by Marion Todd

Blog tour: 31 October to 7 November 2019

Synopsis

In a famous Scottish town, someone is bent on murder – but why?

On the night of a wedding celebration, one guest meets a grisly end when he’s killed in a hit-and-run. A card bearing the number ‘5’ has been placed on the victim’s chest. DI Clare Mackay, who recently moved from Glasgow to join the St Andrews force, leads the investigation. The following night, another victim is struck down and a number ‘4’ card is at the scene. Clare and her team realise they’re against the clock to find a killer stalking the streets of the picturesque Scottish town and bent on carrying out three more murders.

To prevent further deaths, the police have to uncover the link between the victims. But those involved have a lot more at stake than first meets the eye. If Clare wants to solve the case, she must face her own past and discover the deepest secrets of the victims – and the killer.

Don’t miss the page-turning first novel in a gripping series featuring DI Clare Mackay, perfect for fans of Alex Gray, D. S. Butler and Rachel Amphlett.

My review

A guest at a wedding at a Scottish country house is killed by a hit-and-run driver when he is lured out to a deserted road by suggestive messages on his phone. Another victim is killed while walking the dog and a third person is seriously injured while returning home from a shift at work. A card with a number on it been left at each crime scene: the first body has ‘5’, the next ‘4’ and then a ‘3’. What connects the three victims? What secrets are they hiding? Who is going to be next? Is a serial killer in town?

DI Clare Mackay and her team must investigate the murders, and quickly, before anyone else is harmed. DI Mackay has only recently moved from Glasgow to St Andrews, leaving behind her life and an unsupportive boyfriend, and is finding her feet in the small seaside town. She has her own demons to overcome and her past is slowly and cleverly revealed as the story progresses.

DI Mackay competently takes control of the investigation, despite interference from DCI Alastair Gibson who doesn’t seem to be the most supportive senior officer, and her team systematically works its way through the evidence to uncover the victims’ secrets and she instructs them to thoroughly explore every angle to solve the case before the killer strikes again.

DCI Gibson knows one of the victims and his wife and this conflict of interest rather hampers his thinking at times and blinkers his opinions. I really liked DI Mackay – she’s strong in the face of adversity and admirably stands up for herself when DCI Gibson is threatening to take the case off her. This all happens at a time when past events from Glasgow rear their ugly head.

I love a good police procedural and this was a really well written and cleverly plotted and layered story with excellent attention to detail. It flowed well and things were revealed at a great pace, which kept me interested and desperate to find out more. There were lots of compelling and tense moments, with several twists and turns and red herrings, and I was frantically turning the pages as the action unfolded and the motives for the killings were revealed.

This was an impressive debut and I’m look forward to reading another story in the series and learning more about DI Clare Mackay’s life and personality. I see that Marion Todd’s next book, In Plain Sight, is out on 20 February 2020 and I’ve already preordered. I can’t wait!

Buy the book

See Them Run by Marion Todd can be purchased from Amazon on Kindle, and as an eBook from Kobo and iBooks.

About the author

Marion Todd is a debut author who has worked as a college lecturer, plantswoman and candle-maker. Early success saw her winning first prize in the Family Circle magazine short story for children national competition and she followed this up by writing short stories and articles for her local newspaper. As a keen reader of crime fiction, the lure of the genre was strong, and she began writing her debut crime novel. Now a full-time writer, Marion lives in North-east Fife, overlooking the River Tay.

Twitter: @MarionETodd
Website: https://mariontodd.com

Blog tour

Thanks to Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for my digital copy of See Them Run and for my place on the blog tour.

See the banner below for earlier stops on the #blogtour.

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The Roommates by Rachel Sargeant

Blog tour: 24 October to 7 November 2019

Synopsis

Do you really know the people you live with?

THEY LIVE IN YOUR HOUSE
University is supposed to be the best time of your life. But Imo’s first week is quickly going from bad to worse.

YOU SHARE EVERYTHING
A stalker is watching her flat, following her every move, and Imo suspects that her new roommates are hiding dark secrets …

BUT DO YOU TRUST THEM?
When one of them suddenly disappears, the trauma of Imo’s recent past comes hurtling back to haunt her. And she begins to realise just how little she knows about the people she lives with …

FOUR STUDENTS. FOUR SECRETS. ONE DEVASTATING CRIME.

My review

The Roommates tells the story of students Imogen (Imo), Amber, Phoenix and Teagan, who are all starting at the University of Abbeythorpe (or the Abbey as it’s known). It’s freshers week and the girls are moving into their rooms. There are five of them in the flat, including one male student, Riku, who is a man of few words, rather secretive and keeps himself to himself. Not surprising really, being surrounded by all these girls!

The girls don’t have much in common: they’re from different social backgrounds, have different family circumstances, and are doing different courses. Imo is doing German and business, Amber is a theatre studies student, Phoenix is studying mechanical engineering and Tegan’s degree is in business.

Though it was over 20 years ago, I remember well arriving at university and moving into my small room, with the help of my parents, and meeting new people, chatting and trying to suss them out, just as the girls are doing in this story. It’s a time when you can reinvent yourself, forget about past events and try and leave bad memories behind. No one knows who you are or were and they know nothing about your past or your family.

Each of the girls seems to be hiding something and wanting to leave their pasts behind, looking to start afresh. As Imo says: ‘University is supposed to be a new start, without the nightmares.’ Is it going to be that easy though? Surely not! The story is told from multiple perspectives so we learn more about the girls as the story progresses. Imo is struggling to move on after an unresolved traumatic event, which is slowly revealed in the book, Phoenix and Tegan both have unusual backgrounds, Amber has a difficult past and all the girls seem to have problems with their families.

When Amber disappears after the Freshers’ Fair, just days after they all arrive, it’s assumed she’s quit university and her mum seems to confirm this when she comes to collect Amber’s belongings and says she’s gone travelling. Imogen, especially, isn’t so sure and becomes rather obsessed. Eventually, the girls are drawn together to investigate what has happened to her.

Suspicions fall on their flatmate, Riku, who regularly receives strange parcels and doesn’t talk to anyone, as well as a tall, mysterious, brooding man wearing a black hoodie who seems to be following all the girls around and spying on them at various times, often while just standing there smoking. What is going on?

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I really liked the descriptions of university life, rather reminiscent of my time at uni, and was intrigued by how the story developed – it went in a direction I wasn’t expecting and I hadn’t really guessed how it would all be resolved!

There were several twists and turns and some interesting revelations about all the characters. The girls were all quite different and it was fun to see them clash as they learnt more about each other.

I’ve got Rachel’s other two books, The Perfect Neighbours and The Good Teacher, on my Kindle so I’ll definitely be bumping these up my pile now!

Buy the book

The Roommates by Rachel Sargeant can be purchased from Amazon on Kindle now and in paperback on 28 November, and as an eBook from Kobo and iBooks.

About the author

Rachel Sargeant grew up in Lincolnshire. She is the author of Kindle Top Ten bestseller The Perfect Neighbours, a psychological thriller set in Germany. Her second novel with HarperCollins, The Good Teacher, is a detective mystery, featuring DC Pippa ‘Agatha’ Adams. Her new psychological thriller, The Roommates, takes place during a university freshers’ week. She also wrote Gallipoli: Year of Love and Duty, a novel featuring Great War nurses on a hospital ship. This is loosely based on the 1915 diary of her husband’s grandmother, a nurse at Gallipoli.

Rachel has a degree in German and Librarianship from Aberystwyth University, and Creative Writing MA from Lancaster University. She spent several years living in Germany, where she taught English, and she now lives in Gloucestershire with her husband and children. Her hobbies are swimming, visiting country houses and coffee shops, and going to the theatre to watch quality amateur productions.

Find out more about her writing and reading on her website or follow her on Twitter, BookBub or Facebook.

Blog tour

Thanks to Jen Harlow at HarperCollins for my digital copy of The Roommates and for my place on the blog tour.

See the banner below for more stops on the #blogtour.

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Haverscroft by S.A. Harris

Halloween blog tour: 22 October to 1 November 2019

Synopsis

Kate Keeling leaves all she knows and moves to Haverscroft House in an attempt to salvage her marriage. Little does she realise, Haverscroft’s dark secrets will drive her to question her sanity, her husband and fatally engulf her family unless she can stop the past repeating itself. Can Kate keep her children safe and escape Haverscroft in time, even if it will end her marriage?

Haverscroft is a gripping and chilling dark tale, a modern ghost story that will keep you turning its pages late into the night.

My review

I started reading this on Halloween; a perfect day for such a creepy, chilling read!

The story begins with a couple, Kate and Mark Keeling, and their nine-year-old twins, Tom and Sophie, moving into the rather sinister Haverscroft House. Mark seems to be the driving force behind their move from London, whereas Kate is more reticent and seems to have her reservations but has obviously been swept along by his enthusiasm.

We get the impression that something has happened to Kate to force the move but it’s not clear what at this stage. She seems rather unhappy and dwelling on the past; she mentions her mum several times. Mark is also grieving after the fairly recent death of his father.

Mark doesn’t seem very supportive or kind – no sooner have they moved into the dark, foreboding house than he’s headed back to London for work, leaving Kate and the children to fend for themselves, with the help of the cleaning lady, Shirley Cooper, who used to clean for previous owner, Mrs Alice Havers.

The house itself is rather creepy: lights keeping blowing, doors keep slamming and locking themselves, keys go missing, there are mysterious knocking noises and strange shadows, which all conspire to frighten the life out of Kate, the children and Riley, the dog. There are also strange smells: stale cigarette smoke, sweet, decaying smells and sour odours, as well as hideous stains in various places!

The house sounds rather ghastly – freezing, damp, decaying and smelly – I’m not really sure that the appeal is for Mark and why he was so keen to buy the house!

Mark continues to work away all the time, in London and then in Southampton, and seems to be rather disconnected from what’s going on at Haverscroft. Kate and the twins are experiencing the full force of the house while he’s distracted by work, and Kate also has suspicions about where he is and who he’s with, especially as she can never seem to get hold of him on the phone. This is in part due to the rubbish mobile phone signal and lack of a working telephone at the house.

When Mark is home, he’s rather impatient and dismissive of Kate’s thoughts and feelings and doesn’t help her mental health; he seems to be gaslighting her at times. He keeps asking if she’s taking her pills and making her question herself so she keeps things hidden in order not to worry him. He also implies that she’s not capable of looking after the children. I did wonder how reliable a narrator she was at times though.

The whole story involves the secrets of various people; they all seem to be hiding things, including Mrs Alice Havers, who still wants to have a connection with the house. She communicates with the family via email and Kate visits her several times too.

Haverscroft was a really atmospheric and creepy book, especially at this time of the year! As things progressed in this intriguing and compelling novel and Kate learned more about the previous occupants, I was frantically turning the pages to see how things would be resolved. There were several sinister and disturbing moments and with the lovely, descriptive writing, I really felt like I was immersed in the horrors, and was concerned how it was all going to end!

Overall, I really enjoyed Sally Harris’ debut novel and will definitely be reading her next one!

Buy the book

Haverscroft by S.A. Harris can be purchased from Amazon on Kindle and in paperback, and as an eBook from Kobo and iBooks.

About the author

S. A. Harris won The Retreat West Crime Writer Competition in 2017, and was shortlisted for The Fresher Prize in 2018. Haverscroft is her debut novel and she is now writing her second, a supernatural tale set on the Suffolk coast. She is a family law solicitor and lives in Norwich with her husband and three children.

Twitter: @salharris1
Website: https://www.saharrisauthor.com/

Blog tour

Thanks to Emma Dowson at Salt Publishing for my copy of Haverscroft and for my place on the Halloween blog tour.

See the banner below for more stops on the #HaverscroftHalloween #blogtour.

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The Lost Ones by Anita Frank

Halloween Takeover blog tour: 31 October 2019

Synopsis

Some houses are never at peace.

England, 1917

Reeling from the death of her fiancé, Stella Marcham welcomes the opportunity to stay with her pregnant sister, Madeleine, at her imposing country mansion, Greyswick – but she arrives to discover a house of unease and her sister gripped by fear and suspicion.

Before long, strange incidents begin to trouble Stella – sobbing in the night, little footsteps on the stairs – and as events escalate, she finds herself drawn to the tragic history of the house.

Aided by a wounded war veteran, Stella sets about uncovering Greyswick’s dark and terrible secrets – secrets the dead whisper from the other side …

In the classic tradition of The Woman in Black, Anita Frank weaves a spell-binding debut of family tragedy, loss and redemption.

My review

I haven’t read many Gothic stories before but this one caught my eye several months ago and I was delighted to take part in this Halloween blog tour!

The Lost Ones tells the story of Stella Marcham, who is in mourning after the death of her fiancé, Gerald, during the First World War. She was a nurse with the Voluntary Aid Detachment in France but is sent home to Haverton Hall after Gerald’s death, where her family, including her sister, Madeleine, try to improve her spirits. Stella is, understandably, still very upset and distressed but the rather unsympathetic Dr Mayhew encourages her to take pills to ease her ‘hysteria’ and seems keen to have her sent away to a ‘country retreat’ (asylum for well-to-do women).

Later on, we discover that Madeleine is pregnant and has been sent to stay with her husband, Hector’s mother, Lady Brightwell, at the family country estate, Greyswick, for her own safety while the air raids are ongoing in London. Madeleine is struggling emotionally and physically with pregnancy and Hector visits Stella and suggests that she stays at Greyswick as company and support for her sister.

A few days later, Stella and maid, Annie, catch the train to the village of Wick and, after a chauffeur-driven ride in a Rolls Royce to Greyswick, are greeted happily by Madeleine but rather unenthusiastically by the housekeeper, Mrs Henge, and Lady Brightwell.

Stella is rather concerned by Madeleine’s pale and drawn-looking face and her sister eventually confesses that she’s afraid and not sleeping due to strange goings on at the house – people entering her room despite the door being locked, toy soldiers being left in her bed and drawers, and random crying and creaking noises at night.

Madeleine believes the house is haunted but others are rather dismissive and after Lady Brightwell’s companion, Miss Scott, phones Hector with her concerns, he returns with a man called Tristan Sheers, who was injured during the war and lost a leg. It turns out that Sheers has studied the subconscious and has been enlisted to discredit the sisters and come up with sensible explanations for what has been happening at the house.

Stella, Madeleine and Annie are convinced that the house hides dark secrets and they’re not prepared to accept Sheers’ supposition that they’ve made everything up and it’s all in their minds. What follows is an intriguing, haunting and tense investigation to uncover the truth.

This book is well-written and cleverly layered and the tension grew as the story progressed; various chilling happenings occurred and we learnt more about some shocking and dark secrets from the past.

There was a good mix of characters: the main protagonist, Stella, who was grieving and devastated but also determined to protect her sister and get to the bottom of what was happening at Greyswick. I really liked the maid, Annie, who is thought of as odd and a troublemaker but she actually has a special gift and hidden depths and I was pleased that she grew in confidence as the story progressed. Tristan Sheers was rather sceptical at first and I thought he was going to be a negative influence but then he enthusiastically helped to uncover the truth.

This deliciously spooky and haunting tale was beautifully descriptive and I could really picture the atmospheric, haunting mansion and loved the descriptions of all the characters and the strange happenings. The ending was explosive and dramatic and tied up all the loose ends nicely!

The Lost Ones was an intriguing mix of genres with elements of a ghost story, Gothic fiction, supernatural occurrings, a historical tale, murder mystery and a war story. Something for everyone!

I really enjoyed Anita Frank’s debut novel and will definitely look out for her next book.

Buy the book

The Lost Ones by Anita Frank can be purchased from Amazon on Kindle and in hardback, and as an eBook from Kobo and iBooks.

About the author

A farmer’s daughter from Shropshire, Anita Frank studied English and American History at the University of East Anglia before moving to London to work in media analysis and communications.

She left paid employment to become a stay-at-home mum when she had the first of her three children. Sadly, Anita’s youngest child developed a rare form of epilepsy in infancy, which has left him severely mentally disabled, and she is now his full-time carer. She snatches what time she can to pursue her lifelong ambition of writing historical fiction. The Lost Ones is her debut novel.

Anita now lives in Berkshire with her husband, her two lovely girls and her gorgeous boy, a fluffy cat with an attitude, and a bonkers Welsh Springer Spaniel.

Twitter: @Ajes74

Blog tour

Thanks to Joe Thomas at HQ Stories for my lovely hardback copy of The Lost Ones and for my place on the Halloween Takeover blog tour.

See the banner below for other bloggers taking part in the #HalloweenTakeover #blogtour.

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A Deathly Silence by Jane Isaac

Review for THE Book Club Reviewer Request Group

Synopsis

When the mutilated body of a police officer is found in a derelict factory, Hamptonshire force are shocked to the core.

DCI Helen Lavery returns from injury leave and is immediately plunged into an investigation like no other. Is this a random attack or is someone targeting the force? Organised crime groups or a lone killer?

As the net draws in, Helen finds the truth lies closer than she could have imagined, and trusts no one.

But Helen is facing a twisted killer who will stop at nothing to ensure their secrets remain hidden. And time is running out …

My review

A Deathly Silence is the third book in the DCI Helen Lavery series but works fine as a standalone.

Two schoolboys, Rhys and Connor, are having fun exploring a deserted factory on an industrial estate, until they discover the mutilated body of a woman, propped up against a radiator. The body turns out to be a police officer, PC Sinead O’Donnell from the local Hamptonshire force, and she has been tortured and brutally murdered.

DCI Helen Lavery is assigned the case but she’s only recently returned to work after being injured while on duty. She has to try and work out what’s going on, while trying to protect her officers, battling with her own demons from the past and hoping the killer doesn’t strike again.

In this well-plotted and compelling book, which was intense and action packed, I was drawn into DCI Lavery’s world as she delved into the backgrounds of Sinead and her husband, Blane, and quizzed witnesses and suspects. I became immersed in the case and enjoyed trying to figure out the clues and evidence alongside Lavery and the other detectives.

I love a good police procedural and this was a really well-written one with fine attention to detail, as well as great tension and pace. There were certainly some good shocks and surprises thrown in and the ending left me breathless and anxious as I frantically turned the pages to see how everything would be resolved.

This is the first book of Jane Isaac’s that I’ve read but I’ll definitely be purchasing some of her others, especially the ones in this series. I really enjoyed her writing.

Buy the book

A Deathly Silence by Jane Isaac can be purchased from Amazon on Kindle and in paperback on 15 October, and as an eBook from Kobo.

About the author

Jane Isaac is married to a serving detective and they live in rural Northamptonshire, UK, with their daughter, and dog, Bollo. Jane’s debut novel, An Unfamiliar Murder, introduces DCI Helen Lavery and was nominated as best mystery in the ‘eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook awards 2013.’

The Truth Will Out, the second in the DCI Helen Lavery series, was nominated as ‘Thriller of the Month – April 2014’ by E-thriller.com and winner of ‘Noveltunity book club selection – May 2014’.

Jane’s seventh novel, Presumed Guilty, is the second in the highly acclaimed DC Beth Chamberlain (Family Liaison Officer) series. A Deathly Silence is the third novel in the DCI Helen Lavery series and Jane’s eighth novel.

Twitter: @JaneIsaacAuthor

Thanks

Thanks to THE Book Club Reviewer Request Group on Facebook and Legend Press for my eBook of A Deathly Silence.

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Violet by S.J.I. Holliday

Review for THE Book Club Reviewer Request Group

Synopsis

Carrie’s best friend has an accident and can no longer make the round-the-world trip they’d planned together, so Carrie decides to go it alone.

Violet is also travelling alone, after splitting up with her boyfriend in Thailand. She is desperate for a ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express, but there is nothing available.

When the two women meet in a Beijing Hotel, Carrie makes the impulsive decision to invite Violet to take her best friend’s place.

Thrown together in a strange country, and the cramped cabin of the train, the women soon form a bond. But as the journey continues, through Mongolia and into Russia, things start to unravel – because one of these women is not who she claims to be …

Stranger. Best Friend. Liar.

My review

Violet and Carrie meet in Beijing while they’re both travelling. Violet is alone after splitting up from her boyfriend, Sam, in Bangkok after he decided he just wanted to carry on partying and drinking. Carrie’s friend, Laura, was due to travel with her but had to drop out after breaking her leg.

Carrie has a spare ticket for the Trans-Siberian Express and Violet needs one. It seems like a great coincidence and the women get on really well, at first …

With slightly menacing undertones and hints that all is not as it seems, we’re drawn into the dark and rather reckless side of travelling as Violet and Carrie take risks and drink too much, eat too little, take dodgy drugs, have seedy sexual encounters, and don’t wash enough!

Violet is the main protagonist of the story and we hear her side of the story, interspersed with emails, mainly between Carrie and her friend, Laura.

From the beginning, there are clues that this isn’t your average backpacking story and that both Violet and Carrie are hiding things. Carrie seems to be very trusting and rather gullible. I don’t think I’d trust either of the women – there was something off and dark about both of them!

I really enjoyed this book; the author did an amazing job of making me feel like I was there with Violet and Carrie. It was such a claustrophobic, dangerous, disturbing environment at times and I was caught up with their lies and adventures and felt like I was involved and living everything too! It was also really interesting to find out more about the places they visited and the cultural experiences they had.

It was a very intense and absorbing book and the writing was very descriptive and engaging. I’d definitely recommend this one! I’ve got The Lingering on my Kindle so will be starting that soon, and checking out the rest of Susi’s books too.

Trans-Siberian Railway

Violet’s travels take her from Beijing to Ulaanbaatar then Irkutsk and Moscow and, finally, she flies to Berlin.

Susi provides a fascinating glimpse of the route that Violet and Carrie took with photos in her blog of the actual journey that she made in 2006, as part of a six-month round-the-world trip. See her blog: https://sjihollidayblog.wordpress.com.

Buy the book

Violet by S.J.I. Holliday can be purchased from Amazon on Kindle now and in paperback on 14 November, and as an eBook from Kobo and iBooks.

About the author

S.J.I. (Susi) Holliday is a scientist, writing coach and the bestselling author of five crime novels, including the Banktoun Trilogy (Black Wood, Willow Walk and The Damselfly), the festive chiller, The Deaths of December, and her creepy Gothic psychological thriller, The Lingering. Her short story ‘Home From Home’ was published in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and shortlisted for the CWA Margery Allingham Prize.

Encapsulating her love of travel and claustrophobic settings, her latest novel, Violet, explores toxic friendships and the perils of talking to strangers, as well as drawing on her own journey on the Trans-Siberian Express over 10 years ago.

All of her novels have been UK eBook number-one bestsellers. Susi was born and raised in Scotland and now divides her time between Edinburgh, London and as many other exciting places that she can fit in.

Twitter: @SJIHolliday

Thanks

Thanks to THE Book Club Reviewer Request Group on Facebook and Orenda Books for my eBook of Violet.

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I Wanted You to Know by Laura Pearson

Blog tour: 26 September to 10 October 2019

Synopsis

Dear Edie, I wanted you to know so many things. I wanted to tell you them in person, as you grew. But it wasn’t to be.

Jess never imagined she’d be navigating single motherhood, let alone while facing breast cancer. A life that should be just beginning is interrupted by worried looks, heavy conversations, and the possibility of leaving her daughter to grow up without her.

Propelled by a ticking clock, Jess knows what she has to do: tell her daughter everything. How to love, how to lose, how to forgive, and, most importantly, how to live when you never know how long you have.

From best-selling author Laura Pearson comes her most devastating book yet. Honest, heart-wrenching, and emotionally raw, I Wanted You To Know is a love letter to life: to all its heartache and beauty, to the people we have and lose, to the memories and moments that define us.

My review

After enjoying Laura Pearson’s first two novels, Missing Pieces and Nobody’s Wife, I knew this one was going to be very special too. With warnings from others to have a box of tissues on standby and being a mum of two young boys myself, I tried to prepare myself for a very emotional read.

I Wanted You to Know is a beautiful, poignant, heart-rending book. It tells the story of single mum, Jess, aged 21, who gets a shock diagnosis of terminal breast cancer while her daughter, Edie, is only a few months old. Struggling to come to terms with the news, she leans on her mum, Caroline, and her childhood friend, Gemma, for support in her most difficult of times.

While Gemma rises to the occasion and supports Jess, drives her to the hospital, creates musical playlists and generally knows exactly what to say and how to keep Jess positive, Caroline struggles to say the right thing at times, as she’s obviously hurting and horrified by the news about her daughter’s condition, and her and Jess clash and have arguments.

Jess is so brave and, showing maturity beyond her years, she decides to write a series of letters to her daughter of things that she wants her to know in the awful event that she’s not around to see Edie grow up.

In touching, emotional and tear-jerking notes, we learn about Jess’ past, Edie’s dad, Jake, and her own dad, as well as her hopes and fears for the future. She’s so strong as she calmly writes down important information for Edie, while trying to remain positive for her mum, friend and daughter.

Jake has never known Edie as he chose to tour with his band rather than be with her and Jess. Similarly, Jess has never really known her dad as, sadly, he didn’t really want to be involved and be a father to her either. Jess contacts them both, in the hope that they can be involved in Edie’s future and act as a support network, alongside her Mum and Gemma.

The range of emotions that all the characters experience is immense: anger, frustration, sadness, distress, guilt, resignation, interlaced with moments of humour, hope, happy memories and positivity.

I don’t think anyone is untouched by cancer nowadays, especially as the statistics say one in two of us will suffer from it at some point in our lives. It’s such a cruel disease and doesn’t discriminate by age. It seems particularly harsh for such a young person as Jess to develop it, especially with a baby, and I felt so angry on her behalf at the injustice of it all.

This book is particularly poignant as the author, Laura, herself was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 35 while five months pregnant with her second child and it is certainly written from the heart.

I Wanted You to Know had a profound effect on me and made me think the unthinkable – how would I cope in similar circumstances and what would I tell my two children, aged 5 and 3? It doesn’t bear thinking about, especially as I would miss so much of their lives. A sobering but frighteningly realistic thought for anyone with children.

Despite its sad content, the book isn’t depressing – it’s beautifully and touchingly written and I read it in two sittings, desperately trying not to cry as my emotions were stretched in so many directions. I had to succumb to full blown tears at the end though! Amazing writing and I can’t wait for Laura’s next book!

Buy the book

I Wanted You to Know by Laura Pearson can be purchased from Amazon on Kindle and in paperback.

About the author

Laura Pearson has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Chichester. She spent a decade living in London and working as a copywriter and editor for QVC, Expedia, Net a Porter, EE, and The Ministry of Justice. Now, she lives in Leicestershire, where she writes novels, blogs about her experience of breast cancer (www.breastcancerandbaby.com), runs The Motherload Book Club on Facebook, and tries to work out how to raise her two children.

Twitter: @LauraPAuthor

Blog tour

Thanks to Peyton Stableford at Agora Books for my e-copy of I Wanted You to Know and for my place on the blog tour.

See the banner below for more stops on the #blogtour.

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The Family by Louise Jensen

Blog tour: 5 to 9 October 2019

Synopsis

Laura is grieving after the sudden death of her husband. Struggling to cope emotionally and financially, Laura is grateful when a local community, Oak Leaf Organics, offer her and her seventeen-year-old daughter, Tilly, a home.

But as Laura and Tilly settle into life with their new ‘family’, sinister things begin to happen. When one of the community dies in suspicious circumstances, Laura wants to leave but Tilly, enthralled by the charismatic leader, Alex, refuses to go.

Desperately searching for a way to save her daughter, Laura uncovers a horrifying secret but Alex and his family aren’t the only ones with something to hide. Just as Laura has been digging into their past, they’ve been digging into hers and she discovers the terrifying reason they invited her and Tilly in, and why they they’ll never let them leave …

My review

The Family tells the story of Laura and her 17-year-old daughter, Tilly, whose lives are in turmoil after the sudden death of Laura’s husband and Tilly’s dad, Gavan, who ran a construction firm with his brother, Iwan.

It has been six weeks since Gavan died and as their financial problems worsen with the news that the insurance payout is delayed, possibly permanently, and Laura receives more and more red final demand letters, she’s left facing up to the fact that she’s going to lose their home and her floristry business, Laura’s Flowers.

A lifeline arrives in the form of business acquaintance, Saffron, who appears at the floristry shop while Laura is saying her goodbyes. Laura becomes unwell and Saffron ends up driving her home and Laura eventually confesses the extent of her problems. Saffron lives at Oak Leaf Organics, a small community based on a farm outside of town that grows its own produce, and suggests that Alex, the charismatic leader of the group, may be able to help her communicate with the insurance company about the insurance payout.

Laura has her misgivings about Oak Leaf Farm but feels like it’s the only option left available to her, especially as her brother-in-law, Iwan, and his wife, Anwyn, are reluctant and unable to help her due to past issues involving the construction firm.

When Laura and Tilly arrive at the farm, also known as Gorphwysfa, they find themselves mesmerised by Alex, who has a magnetic attraction, and unable to leave. What have they got themselves in to? As things spiral out of control and secrets are revealed, we’re left wondering if the tagline of the book is true: ‘Once you’re in, they’ll never let you leave …’.

Right from the start, I found this book engaging and well written, and some of the characters are very sinister and menacing. The story is told from the viewpoints of Laura, Tilly and Alex, which makes interesting reading, especially in the case of Laura and Tilly. We see how they’re misinterpreting things the other has said and are not being honest with each other.

The story is intriguing as everyone seems to be hiding secrets and lying about various things. It’s definitely a case of ‘trust no one’, as no one is who they appears. The community claim to be a ‘family’ but they seem to have an ulterior motive for inviting Laura and Tilly into their fold.

As the book comes to an explosive climax, I was frantically turning the pages to see how everything turned out and who came out of the story unscathed!

I really enjoyed this book and will definitely be checking out Louise’s other psychological thrillers. Can’t believe I haven’t read any of them before!

Buy the book

The Family by Louise Jensen can be purchased from Amazon on Kindle and in paperback, and as an eBook from Kobo and iBooks.

About the author

Louise Jensen has sold over a million English-language copies of her international number one psychological thrillers The Sister, The Gift, The Surrogate and The Date. Her novels have also been translated into 25 languages, and featured on the USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestseller’s List. Louise’s fifth thriller, The Family, was published in October 2019 by Harper Collins.

The Sister was nominated for the Goodreads Debut Author of 2016 Award. The Date was nominated for The Guardian’s ‘Not The Booker’ Prize 2018. The Surrogate has been nominated for the best Polish thriller of 2018. The Gift has been optioned for a TV film.

Louise lives with her husband, children, madcap dog and a rather naughty cat in Northamptonshire. She loves to hear from readers and writers.

Twitter: @Fab_fiction

Blog tour

Thanks to Jessica Lee at HQ Stories for my copy of The Family and for my place on the blog tour.

See the banner below for more stops on the #blogtour.

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The Stranger Inside by Lisa Unger

Blog tour: 1 to 5 October 2019

Synopsis

You followed the trial obsessively.
You know he’s guilty and can’t believe he got away with it.
But someone is determined to see justice done.

Rain Winter left journalism behind to focus on her baby daughter. But when a man acquitted for murder is killed, in the same way as his suspected victims, Rain see a pattern emerging between a series of cold cases.

Meticulous and untraceable, this killer strikes in the dead of night, making sure that the guilty are suitably punished for their crimes.

As Rain’s investigation deepens, she must face up to dark secrets in her own past and the realisation that the killer may be closer than she thinks …

My review

The Stranger Inside tells the story of Rain Winter, mum of Lily, wife of Greg and former radio news show producer and investigative journalist, who is taking a break from work to look after her daughter.

After she learns of the murder of a man who was acquitted a year ago of killing his pregnant wife, Rain’s journalistic interest is piqued as it was a case that she reported on and she wonders who could have carried out the vigilante-style execution.

Before long, she finds herself obsessing over the story again as there are links to other cold cases with a similar pattern that the FBI is investigating, including one with which Rain was personally involved.

This well-plotted novel reveals how Lara (Laraine), as she was then, was the victim of a terrible ordeal as a 12 year old with her friends, Tess and Hank, in the woods near their homes. A man called Eugene Kreskey and his scary dog, Wolf, attacked the children and irreparably changed their lives.

Rain and Hank are very damaged by their ordeal and although they both tried to get over it in their own ways – Rain by putting everything in a ‘box’ and trying to forget it happened, and Hank by being a psychiatrist and trying to help save other children – they are still intrinsically connected by the awful events.

Rain becomes obsessed with trying to work out the links between the cases and her husband has to put up with her erratic behaviour as she ends up reliving her own ordeal. Hank, meanwhile, is also deeply disturbed by events and suffers his own inner torment. Both are still suffering from lots of guilt and post-traumatic stress and are trying to balance this with attempting to live a normal life.

Overall, I really enjoyed this absorbing thriller. It was a hard read at times as it was disturbing to hear how the children had suffered and see their subsequent emotional turmoil, which obviously followed them into adulthood. There were lots of tense moments as we followed the thoughts of both characters and learned more about how they were affected by what had happened to them.

The end of the book was gripping and the suspense had me turning the pages quickly, desperate to find out what was going to happen and how everything was going to be resolved!

This is the first book of Lisa Unger’s that I’ve read but I’ll definitely be checking out her others now!

Buy the book

The Stranger Inside by Lisa Unger can be purchased from Amazon on Kindle and in paperback, and as an eBook from Kobo and iBooks.

About the author

© Jay Nolan

Lisa Unger is The New York Times and internationally bestselling author of 17 novels, including The Stranger Inside. With millions of readers worldwide and books published in 26 languages, she is widely regarded as a master of suspense.

In 2019, she received two Edgar Award nominations, an honour held by only a few writers, including Ruth Rendell and Agatha Christie. The Edgar-nominated Under My Skin is also a finalist for the prestigious Hammett Prize and the Macavity Award for Best Novel. And the original short story, The Sleep Tight Motel, is a number one bestselling single.

Unger’s critically acclaimed books have been voted ‘best of the year’ or top picks by the Today show, Good Morning America, Entertainment Weekly, Amazon, IndieBound and many others. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, and Travel+Leisure.

She lives on the west coast of Florida with her family.

Twitter: @LisaUnger

Blog tour

Thanks to Jessica Lee at HQ Stories for my copy of The Stranger Inside and for my place on the blog tour.

See the banner below for more stops on the #blogtour.

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Truth Hurts by Rebecca Reid

Blog tour: 26 August to 8 September 2019

Synopsis

Poppy has a secret.

It was a whirlwind romance. And when Drew, caught up in the moment, suggests that he and Poppy dont tell each other anything about their past lives, that they live only for the here and now, for the future they are building together, Poppy jumps at the chance for a fresh start.

Drew says he has nothing to hide.

But it doesn’t take long for Poppy to see that this is a two-way deal. Drew is hiding
something from her. And Poppy suddenly has no idea who the man she has married really is, what he is hiding from her or what he might be capable of.

Drew is lying.

Which is more dangerous, a secret or a lie?

My review

Truth Hurts tell the story of nanny, Poppy, who is on holiday in Ibiza with the children she looks after and their parents. She has worked for the Henderson family for six years. After Mrs Henderson gets back six hours late from a night out, Poppy dares to speak up and complain. As a result, she is fired and asked to leave immediately and told her belongings will be sent on.

As she’s barefoot, she borrows Mrs Henderson’s heels and the family car and roars off, wondering what on earth she is going to do. She has hardly any money to her name and nowhere to go.

Poppy ends up drowning her sorrows with a beer in a local bar and this is where she meets a slightly older man, Drew, who charms her and looks after her, and turns out to be very rich! He seems lovely – kind, caring and supportive. Things progress rapidly and, within a month, they’re married and he’s bought her a lovely big house in a village in the English countryside as a wedding present. Both of them have secrets to hide and when Drew suggests they should build a future together without talking about the past, Poppy readily agrees.

When Drew heads back to work and is away lots, Poppy starts to feel isolated and lonely in the house, despite feeling that she should be happy and content. She feels paranoid and begins to wonder about Drew’s past and what he’s hiding, while hoping that her past isn’t revealed.

Told in two timelines, the past and the present, the book progresses well as the two threads gather pace, the tension and suspense builds, things start to unravel and we discover the truth.

I really enjoyed Truth Hurts; it had me frantically turning the pages to see how the story unfolded and I read it in a couple of days, desperate to find out if Poppy and Drew would have a happy ending or if things would fall apart rapidly.

Right from the start, I had an uneasy feeling – if things sound too good to be true, they usually are! Poppy was rather naive to trust a man she met in a bar, let alone get swept up in a whirlwind romance with him.

Overall, a rather exciting read, which kept me entertained, and the plot was well put together with some intriguing twist and turns.

I’m now keen to read Rebecca’s debut novel, Perfect Liars, which also sounds great!

Buy the book

Truth Hurts by Rebecca Reid can be purchased from Amazon on Kindle now and in paperback on 23 January 2020, and as an eBook from Kobo and iBooks.

About the author

Rebecca is a freelance journalist. She is a columnist for The Telegraph Women’s section, works for Metro Online and has written for Marie Claire, The Guardian, The Saturday Telegraph, The Independent, Stylist, Glamour, iPaper, Indy100, LOOK and the New Statesmen amongst others.

Rebecca is a regular contributor to Sky News and ITV’s This Morning as well as appearing on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, LBC , BBC News 24 and the BBC World Service to discuss her work.

She graduated from Royal Holloway’s Creative Writing MA in 2015 and Truth Hurts is her second novel after Perfect Liars (2018).

Rebecca lives in North London with her husband.

Twitter: @RebeccaCNReid

Blog tour

Thanks to Becky Short at Transworld Books for my copy of Truth Hurts and to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to join the blog tour.

See the banner below for more stops on the #blogtour.

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Home Truths by Susan Lewis

Blog tour: 19 August to 2 September 2019

Synopsis

How far would you go to keep your family safe?

Angie Watts used to have everything. A beloved husband. Three adored children. A lovely home.

Angie’s life is shattered when her troubled son, Liam, falls in with a bad crowd. And after her son’s choices lead to the murder of her husband, it’s up to Angie to hold what’s left of her family together.

Her son is missing. Her daughter is looking for help in dangerous places. And Angie is fighting just to keep a roof over their heads.

But Angie is a mother, and a mother does anything to protect her children. Even when her world is falling apart

* * * * *

A mother will protect her family whatever it takes

A missing son. A mother’s secret. A family in trouble.

If home is where the heart is, what happens when it breaks?

My review

Home Truths by Susan Lewis is a thought-provoking read and tells the story of Angie Watts and her husband, Steve, and their children, Liam, Grace and Zac. Steve is a well-known and respected painter and decorator and has a good relationship with many local business people, including his boss, Hari Shalik, who asked them to move to the coastal town of Kesterly so that he could put him in charge of all his development projects.

Nothing seems to go right for the family after Liam’s early descent into drugs when he falls into the wrong crowd at school and joins the biggest gang on the estate, and the subsequent death of Steve sends Angie’s life and her children’s lives spiralling out of control. Liam runs off in despair at his part in Steve’s death and Angie is left to try and pick up the pieces.

Poor Angie is foiled at every turn as she tries her hardest to support her family by taking on extra jobs to make ends meet but it’s never enough and she really struggles. She’s evicted from the lovely family home that Steve helped to build, and her debts continue to mount up. She also still hopes that they will be reunited with Liam but her attempts to find him fail.

Luckily, she has the amazing support of her sister, Emma, who she works alongside at Bridging the Gap, which provides housing and support for vulnerable adults. Emma is there to help her look after the children when times get tough, despite being a single mother of two children herself.

Meanwhile, Angie’s teenage daughter, Grace, is vulnerable and is targeted by an internet predator and in danger of getting tangled up in something which may have awful consequences, and Angie is totally unaware of what’s going on.

Angie has a torrid time and it sounds like she’s really struggling and everything is conspiring against her but she’s embarrassed by her situation and doesn’t like to let on how bad things are. She’s a strong character who fights for her children and, with a little help from her friends, she attempts to regain control of her life.

I really enjoyed this thought-provoking and emotional family drama, which was an interesting insight into current social issues including poverty, debt, homelessness, universal credit and the working poor and really made me thing about how difficult things can be for people, often through no fault of their own when their lives hit a bad patch.

It was a poignant and intense read and I really felt for Angie as she struggled to hold her family together and was hoping that things would work out for her in the end.

Surprisingly, this is the first book by Susan Lewis that I’ve read! Sounds like I’ve got a large backlist to work through now!

Buy the book

Home Truths by Susan Lewis can be purchased from Amazon on Kindle and in hardback, and as an eBook from Kobo and iBooks.

About the author

© Antony Thompson, Thousand Word Media

Susan Lewis is the bestselling author of over 40 books across the genres of family drama, thriller, suspense and crime, including her most recent novel, The Sunday Times best seller, One Minute Later. She is also the author of Just One More Day and One Day at a Time, the moving memoirs of her childhood in Bristol during the 1960s.

Susan has had quite the career. At 18 years old, she got a job at HTV in Bristol and then, four years later, moved to London to work for Thames. She worked as a secretary in news and current affairs before training as a production assistant, working on light entertainment and drama.

Susan has lived in Hollywood, where she was neighbours with George Clooney, and the South of France, before moving to her current home in Gloucestershire, which she shares with her husband, James, stepsons, Michael and Luke, and mischievous dogs, Coco and Lulu.

Twitter: @susanlewisbooks

Blog tour

Thanks to Rebecca Bryant at HarperFiction PR for my lovely hardback copy of Truth Hurts and for inviting me to join the blog tour.

See the banner below for more stops on the #blogtour.

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Dead Guilty by Michelle Davies

Blog tour: 19 to 28 August 2019

Synopsis

Has the killer in DC Maggie Neville’s cold case returned after a decade of silence?

Katy Pope was seventeen when she was brutally murdered on a family holiday in Majorca. Despite her mother’s high rank in the Met and the joint major investigation between the British and Spanish police, Katy’s killer was never caught.

Ten years later, Katy’s family return to the Spanish island to launch a fresh appeal for information, taking with them the now skeletal team of investigating Met detectives, and newly seconded Maggie as the family liaison officer.

But Maggie’s first international investigation quickly goes from being more than just a press conference when another British girl there on holiday goes missing, and Katy’s killer announces that it’s time for an encore

My review

Dead Guilty is the fourth novel in Michelle Davies’ critically acclaimed DC Maggie Neville series. I haven’t read any of the previous books but that didn’t spoil my enjoyment of this one, as some of Maggie’s past history was explained as the story progressed.

Set in Majorca, we meet the Pope family of Patricia, Philip and their son, George, who are returning to the Spanish island 10 years after their daughter, Katy, was abducted and murdered in the town of Saros. Her murderer has never been found and they are hoping that a memorial service, with journalists, Met officers and Majorcan police in attendance, will help to keep the case alive, jog a few memories and maybe provide a breakthrough to bring the killer to justice.

After a few turbulent years in the police force, DC Maggie Neville has been transferred from a criminal investigation department (CID) in rural Buckinghamshire to a murder investigation team in Islington. She is assigned as the family liaison officer (FLO) for the Popes while they are in Majorca.

The story unfolds well as we follow Maggie and the other members of the Operation Pivot case as they speak to past suspects (including Katy’s boyfriend, Declan) and witnesses and go over the statements, alibis and evidence that were collected in 2009.

Katy’s mother, Patricia, is a rather abrasive, domineering lady, who keeps her husband in check, and we discover that she was a chief superintendent in the Met when Katy was murdered on their family holiday, which explains why she offends everyone around her! Maggie performs her FLO role with skill and does well to calm Patricia down, earn her trust and get her on side.

While preparing for the memorial service, we learn that another British woman, Jade Reynolds, has gone missing from near the beach at Saros, leaving her fiancé and parents desperately searching for her. Despite her disappearance being similar to Katy’s and in the same area, the Spanish police are at odds with the British police and deny that there’s a link between the two cases, saying it’s just a coincidence.

From this point on, there are several twists and turns and red herrings as we’re led down one path then another in the hunt for Katy’s killer and Jade’s abductor. I was gripped as the well-structured story unravelled and was willing Maggie and the other officers to solve the case, despite the incompetent investigating of the local police and the Spanish jurisdiction hampering their efforts.

Overall, I really enjoyed this well-written police procedural novel and I was captivated as the investigation unfolded and I hadn’t guessed how it would all resolve. Maggie is an interesting protagonist with a complex private life and I’ll definitely be reading the other three books to see what I’ve been missing out on! I’m curious to see how the series and Maggie’s character develop in the future.

Buy the book

Dead Guilty by Michelle Davies can be purchased from Amazon on Kindle and in paperback, and as an eBook from Kobo and iBooks.

About the author

Michelle Davies spent her formative years as a reporter on a local newspaper in Buckinghamshire and interviewed many relatives of serious victims during that time.

Later, as a freelance journalist for women’s magazines, she secured an interview with Kerry Needham, whose son Ben Needham went missing in Kos in 1991 when he was a toddler. It was hearing her talk about it that gave Michelle the idea for making her central police character a family liaison officer.

Michelle has written three other books in the DC Maggie Neville series: Gone Astray, Wrong Place and False Witness.

Twitter: @M_Davieswrites

Blog tour

Thanks to Grace Harrison from Pan Macmillan for my copy of Dead Guilty and to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to join the blog tour, which is only my third ever one!

See the banner below for more stops on the #blogtour.

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The Night You Left by Emma Curtis

Blog tour: 22 July to 1 August 2019

Synopsis

When Grace’s fiancé vanishes without a trace the night after proposing, her life is turned upside down. But has Nick walked out on her, or is he in danger?

As Grace desperately searches for answers, it soon becomes clear that Nick wasn’t the uncomplicated man she thought she knew. And when she uncovers a hidden tragedy from his childhood, she realizes an awful truth: that you can run from your past – but your secrets will always catch up with you …

My review

Set in 2018, The Night You Left by Emma Curtis tells the story of Grace, her 10-year-old daughter, Lottie, her boyfriend, Nick, and their dog, Toffee. Nick has been acting a bit off recently and seems distracted but he claims it’s due to work stress and office politics. One spring afternoon, on a family walk, he proposes to Grace on Wimbledon Common. Shockingly, the next evening, he goes missing, without warning, before they can share their good news with Lottie or anyone else.

As we learn more about Grace and her past, interspersed with flashbacks from Nick and a girl called Taisie to a fractious holiday in Devon in 2000 involving three families, it seems that no one can be trusted and they all have something to hide.

When we were introduced to the families that were holidaying in Devon – Nick and his parents, Taisie, Izzy, Alex, Rory and their parents, plus twins, Pansy and Freya, and their parents – I was slightly confused by who was who initially. I probably would have done a search if I’d been reading on Kindle to remind myself of the characters!

Nick’s parents, Tim and Cora, are desperate to find out what’s happened to their son and descend on Grace and Lottie and announce that they’ll be staying for three weeks. Nick’s Mum is rather disagreeable and doesn’t hide her hatred of Grace, who she thinks isn’t good enough for her son. She was described well and I found myself really disliking her. Most of the males (Angus, Patrick and Tim) in the story were rather unsavoury in different ways too!

I really enjoyed this book and raced through it in less than two days, desperate to unravel the story and discover the truth about Nick’s disappearance and find out the various secrets that everyone seemed to be hiding. The Night You Left was well written and I liked how the story had different layers with lots of twists and turns. I hadn’t guessed how it was going to turn out and was shocked by the ending. A cleverly woven tale!

This is the first of Emma Curtis’ books I’ve read and I’ll definitely be checking out her others, One Little Mistake and When I Find You.

Buy the book

The Night You Left by Emma Curtis can be purchased from Amazon on Kindle now and in paperback from 5 September and as an eBook from Kobo and iBooks.

About the author

© Liz McAuley

Emma Curtis was born in Brighton and now lives in London with her husband. After raising two children and working various jobs, her fascination with the darker side of domestic life inspired her to write her acclaimed debut novel, One Little Mistake. The Night You Left is Emma’s third novel.

Twitter: @EmmaCurtisBooks

Blog tour

Thanks to Hannah Bright from Transworld (part of Penguin Random House) for my proof copy of The Night You Left (and a sparkly ring, a nice little touch!), and for inviting me to join the blog tour, which is only my second ever one!

See the banner below for more stops on the #blogtour.