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Black Summer – M.W.Craven – Blog Tour.

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Back of the book :

Jared Keaton, chef to the stars. Charming. Charismatic. Psychopath . . . He’s currently serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of his daughter, Elizabeth. Her body was never found and Keaton was convicted largely on the testimony of Detective Sergeant Washington Poe.

So when a young woman staggers into a remote police station with irrefutable evidence that she is Elizabeth Keaton, Poe finds himself on the wrong end of an investigation, one that could cost him much more than his career.

Helped by the only person he trusts, the brilliant but socially awkward Tilly Bradshaw, Poe races to answer the only question that matters: how can someone be both dead and alive at the same time?

And then Elizabeth goes missing again – and all paths of investigation lead back to Poe.

 

What I think : 

Now : 

D.S Washington Poe has just been arrested.

What is his crime … ?

Has Poe been set up or is he guilty  … ?

Two weeks earlier : 

When the girl walks into a library in a small village in Cumbria, where the local four-weekly police desk is held, no-one bats an eyelid. Constable Alsop certainly didn’t. He was actually thinking about the souffle he was going to make his wife in a bid to butter her up so he could go on a golfing holiday. But when the girl approaches the desk, he immediately knows that something is wrong, very wrong.

She claims to be Elizabeth Keaton.

The thing is Elizabeth Keaton’s father Jared Keaton, chef to the stars, was jailed for her abduction and murder six years ago.

Could this girl really be Elizabeth ? Her body was never found.

D.S. Washington Poe lead the Elizabeth Keaton Murder inquiry at the time and it was mostly his testimony that put Jarod away.

Elizabeth claims that she was abducted from the family restaurant, ‘The Bullace & Sloe’ by a local and was repeatedly raped. But before he took her he cut her arm and sprayed her blood all around the kitchen to make it look like she’d been murdered.

Does this mean that her father is innocent and has been wrongly imprisoned … ?

So Poe goes back to Cumbria to see if six years ago he was wrong and he missed something vital to prove that Jarod didn’t actually kill his daughter.

Then when the news comes in that after blood tests, it proved that the alleged Elizabeth is actually Elizabeth. Poe knows that he’s in trouble. How can that be ? How can someone be dead but alive ?

Jarod’s legal team have started legally to challenge his conviction and Poe’s boss D.S Gamble is put on ‘Gardening leave’ so Poe knows that he’s running out of time.

Poe knows if he’s got any chance of getting out of this mess he needs to call in his best friend Matilda ‘Tilly’ Bradshaw. She a whizz on a computer and if anyone can help him its her.

Will they be able to solve this impossible case in time … ?

I really enjoyed this book, its the first I’ve read from this author. I’d heard so many good things about his first book ‘The Puppet Show’ that I was intrigued to find if it was true. Let me tell you that I wasn’t disappointed. It starts off quite slow then it really sped up and I couldn’t put it down.

It has quite small chapters so it becomes quite a page turner, I was really interested to find out how it ended and how it was done !

I found it quite dark in places with loads going on, there are plenty of twists and turns and some red herrings too that take you down the completely wrong road. The ending was pretty explosive and I must admit I did find out some pretty cool tech stuff about blood too !!

I will definitely be buying the authors first book, if only to get the full picture about D.S Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw’s friendship if nothing else. Their characters were wonderfully drawn and I felt really knew them.

All in all I really loved this book and give it my highest award 10/10 (5 stars )

5 gold stars

Published on 12//12/19 by Constable (Little Brown)

The biggest Thank you to Beth Wright from publishers Little brown for the review copy of the book in return for an honest review.

 

 

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Messy, Wonderful Us – Catherine Issac.

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Back of the book :

One morning in early summer, a man and woman wait to board a flight to Italy. 

Allie has lived a careful, focused existence. But now she has unexpectedly taken leave from her job as an academic research scientist to fly to a place she only recently heard about in a letter. Her father, Joe, doesn’t know the reason for her trip, and Allie can’t bring herself to tell him that she’s flying to Italy to unpick the truth about what her mother did all those years ago.

Beside her is her best friend since schooldays, Ed. He has just shocked everyone with a sudden separation from his wife, Julia. Allie hopes that a break will help him open up.

But the secrets that emerge as the sun beats down on Lake Garda and Liguria don’t merely concern her family’s tangled past. And the two friends are forced to confront questions about their own life-long relationship that are impossible to resolve.

 

What I think : 

When Allie accidentally finds a letter hidden away in her grandmothers things she wonders what exactly she has found. I mean, this letter turns her life upside down, and all the things she thought about her family seem to be not quite true.

With her best friend Ed, who has been her friend since forever , well childhood anyway! They embark on a trip to Italy so see if she can make sense out of what she’s just found out. Allie’s grandmother is less than forthcoming about it and she’s ordered Allie not to ask her grandfather and dad, and of course her mum’s not around anyone as she died when Allie was a child. She feels that this is the best course of action. Ed could do with getting away because he’s got marriage troubles so off they both go to see if they can find out the truth.

However, when they get to Italy things don’t go quite to plan, will Ed ever be able to make his decision and will Allie ever find out the truth … ?

OMG !!! what a book !

I have had a copy of this brilliant book on my TBR since the start of February, when I went to the Simon & Schuster Spring Bloggers meet and was given it in my goody bag. I have been eyeing up ever since, wanting to read it. I loved Catherine’s first book ‘You Me Everything’ and couldn’t wait to get reading. Let me tell you it was well worth the wait !!

It takes you on such a roller coaster ride of emotion, with some really sad scenes and then some quite humorous ones, which makes it into a read that you really can’t put down right until the end. and of course it high-lights a really worthy and interesting subject Cystic Fibrosis research as well.

All of Catherine’s characters are always really well written and you can really relate to them all. I also like the way that she has the ability to describe the immediate surroundings and you feel like you’re really there.

All in all I loved this book and can wait for the next one !

I give this lovely book 10/10 (5 stars )

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Published by Simon & Schuster on 28/11/19.

The biggest Thank you to Sara-Jade from Simon & Schuster for the review copy of the book in return for a honest review.

Magpie – Sophie Draper – Blog Tour.

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Back of the book : 

She’s married to him. But does she know him at all?

Claire lives with her family in a beautiful house overlooking the water. But she feels as if she’s married to a stranger – one who is leading a double life. As soon as she can get their son Joe away from him, she’s determined to leave Duncan.

But finding out the truth about Duncan’s secret life leads to consequences Claire never planned for. Now Joe is missing, and she’s struggling to piece together the events of the night that tore them all apart.

Alone in an isolated cottage, hiding from Duncan, Claire tries to unravel the lies they’ve told each other, and themselves. Something happened to her family … But can she face the truth?

 

What I think : 

After reading this authors first book ‘Cuckoo’ and really enjoying it, I was really pleased to be asked to be on the blog tour for her new one. I have got to say that I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the before mentioned first one. Having said that though please don’t think that it isn’t as good or anything like that, it’s just different from the first one. I really enjoy crime/ thriller books and I would say that this book isn’t that, what I would say is, that its more suspenseful than a thriller, which isn’t a bad thing as its good to diversify.

This is the story of Clare, her husband Duncan and their eighteen year old son Joe. Its not a happy marriage and Clare believes that maybe Duncan has been having an affair, not only once but a few times. He’s really not nice to her at all. Clare is seriously thinking of leaving Duncan.

But then Joe goes missing….

Its told in the ‘Before’ and ‘After’ from the main characters perspectives, so we know what each character is thinking.

I must admit it did take me while to get into this book, its quite confusing because it keeps on jumping from ‘Before’ to ‘After’ and vice versa. But after getting used to that it was quite an interesting story, that works its way up to a pretty explosive ending.

Yes, all in all, I quite enjoyed this book and give it 8/10. ( 4 Stars )

four-stars

Published on 28/11/19 by Avon Books.

The biggest Thank you to Sabah Khan & Sanjana Cunniah at Avon Books for the review copy of the book in return for an honest review.

 

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Country Lovers – Fiona Walker – Blog Tour.

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Back of the book : 

Glamorous Ronnie Percy has been back home in the Cotswolds for a year. But not everyone has forgiven her for abandoning her family twenty-five years ago.

Ronnie’s daughter Pax is fighting for custody of her small son as her own marriage disintegrates. Now she is furious to have to spend New Year’s Eve waiting to meet some stranger, invited by her mother to help run the family stud farm. The staunchly loyal head groom, Lester, is even more annoyed. Does Ronnie think he’s lost his touch?

Luca O’Brien, Irish charmer and reputed heart-breaker, is known throughout the countryside as the Horsemaker. But what happened to Luca’s beautiful stallion, Beck, now broken and unrideable in the Compton Magna stables? And what is Luca running away from?

What I think : 

Wow !

What a corker !

I absolutely adore Fiona’s books, I have read all of her previous ones probably three times over, and this series is probably shaping up to be her best yet !

This second book in the new series is packed full of brilliant characters, like old friends, but always well written. It was lovely going back in being re-introduced to the already mentioned old favourites.

I also really love the maps at the start of the books, you know you’re onto a winner when the book has a map ! The cast of characters (including all the animals too of course !) is most helpful too 🙂

I would love to be able to go visit the setting of Compton Magna and just watch and listen to all that is going on around me. People, horses and dogs, what else would you need ?

Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, with plenty of twists and turns to keep your attention, I would highly recommend this brilliantly witty book.

I give it my highest award of 10/10 (5 stars)

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Published by Head of Zeus on 14 /11/19

The biggest Thank you to Victoria Joss from Head of Zeus for the digital copy of the book in return for a honest review.

Also a big Thank you to Netgalley for the copy of the book.

Here for your reading pleasure is a short extract from the book – Enjoy 🙂

Extract :

Fresh from the deep freeze, the vodka bottle opened with a satisfying crack of metal seal and a vaporous curl of condensing air.

If Luca had come to work in the Middle East with the intention of sobering up, he wasn’t doing a very good job. In the eight weeks he’d been here, he’d barely seen the wagon amid all the chauffeur-driven luxury and million-dollar horseflesh, let alone got on it. All the westerners he’d got to know – and there were many on the showjumping circuit – drank like fish behind closed doors. A man with a habit and a broken heart could only swim against the tide for so long in a dry country.

The frozen vodka poured thick as oil, the toxic nectar which had made his host country among the wealthiest horse-loving nations.

‘Skål!’

‘Sláinte.’ Luca tipped his glass against that of his companion, a pretty Swedish event rider called Signe who he knew vaguely from the European circuit, also attracted by the heat and money. Like him she was a work rider, hired to mentor a young member of the extended royal family – in her case their boss’s oldest granddaughter, a teenage princess with her ambitions set on being the first Arab winner of Badminton. Today she’d told Signe that the world’s biggest pop pin-up, a snake-hipped American youth with twenty million Twitter followers, had been booked by her indulgent grandfather to sing at her sixteenth birthday party, his fee big enough to buy a superyacht for every day of the week.

‘It’s so crazy, the money here!’ Signe exclaimed, playing with Luca’s hair. They had slept together the previous week – he’d been very drunk, full of determined charm, and only had partial recall – and now that seemed to give her permission to stroke him all the time, like a pet dog. He couldn’t decide whether it he liked it. ‘If you could have any musician play at your birthday, who would it be?’ she asked.

‘Leonard Cohen.’

‘Depressing dead dude, duh?’ She had a cute huck to her laugh. He missed a lover’s laughter. ‘Shouldn’t you have an Irish singer?’

‘That’s like saying you have to choose Abba because you’re Swedish.’

‘I would choose Abba.’

‘Good on ya.’

‘Only they split up before I was born.’ She pulled a sad face.

‘Too bad.’

‘I bet the boss here could pay enough for Abba to get back together.’ She sighed, eyes sparkling.

Luca doubted that, his own battered heart heavy at being bought. Taking on this contract, he’d imagined that immersing himself in patriarchal, male-dominated isolation would be cathartic, a marche ou crève crusade, far from the woman he loved but could never have. Instead, living in a country so controlling it kept its mothers, wives and daughters behind veils and closed doors, felt like joining a cult of perdition. The expat women like Signe, with their deep tans, white teeth and tight breeches, were a predatory, self-protective tribe, equally bad for his health.

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The Light In The Hallway – Amanda Prowse – Blog Tour.

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Back of the book :

When Nick’s wife Kerry falls ill and dies, he realises for the first time how fragile his happiness has always been, and how much he’s been taking his good life and wonderful family for granted. Now, he suddenly finds himself navigating parenthood alone, unsure how to deal with his own grief, let alone that of his teenage son, Olly.

In the depths of his heartbreak, Nick must find a way to navigate life that pleases his son, his in-laws, his family and his friends—while honouring what Kerry meant to them all. But when it comes to his own emotions, Nick doesn’t know where to begin. Kerry was his childhood sweetheart—but was she really the only one who could ever make him happy?

And in the aftermath of tragedy, can Nick and his son find themselves again?

 

What I think : 

This is the story of Nick and Olly, as the story opens Nick’s wife Kerry dies …

This is quite an emotional story that hits you right in the heart. Its a story about obviously, the death of a loved one and the grief that follows but also of being about to move on after such an awful event in your life and also about the relationships around you and how they are affected by the loss too.

Written from Nicks perspective, we get to know what he’s thinking and feeling. I really liked the glimpses we get of his childhood at the end of the chapters.

My advice is that there is a box of tissues handy at all times, but having said that it has some really happy moments in it too.

This is actually the first of Amanda’s books that I’ve read. I do have a few of them on my TBR, but haven’t got round to reading them, however I think that will change after reading this one.

I really liked this book, (even although my chosen genre is actually crime thillers ! I always think a change is as good as a rest.) and I give this lovely tear-jerker a very well-earned 8/10.

Published on E-Book and in Paperback by Union Lake on 11/11/19.

The biggest Thank you to Megan Denholm from Ed Public Relations for the review copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

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The Ex-Girlfriend – Nicola Moriarty – Blog Tour.

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Back of the book : 

SHE WANTS HIM BACK. SHE WANTS YOU GONE.

Finally, Georgia has found the one. Luke is kind, handsome, and makes her feel safe – which is what she needs after everything she’s been through.

The only problem is his ex-girlfriend.

Luke says Cadence just can’t accept the breakup, and that explains the texts, the emails, the notes . . .

But then things start to go very wrong – will Cadence really do whatever it takes to get what she wants ?

 

What I think : 

Georgia enjoys her job as a nurse, But some day soon as everybody wants, she’d quite like to settle down and have a family.

So when her Tinder date fails to turn up and she meets the lovely Luke, she thinks she’s won the dating lottery. He’s kind and lovely and he makes her feel very safe and secure. After what she has been through in the past she thinks that she deserves it.

However, there is one fly in the ointment, Luke has an ex-girlfriend, it seems she is unable to handle the fact that they have split up. It turns out that he’s still living with his Ex-girlfriend Cadence. He only lives there because he can’t afford to move out. It’s OK though because there is only a few months left on the lease, so it wont be long before he can leave. To be fair though to Luke has told Georgia up front whats happening so she’s fully aware of what she getting into.

At first everything is fine and everything goes really well. but small things start to happen, like nasty notes on her car and horrible text messages to Luke.

But that turns out to be just the beginning.

Things are set to get a whole lot worse ….

Will Luke and Georgia ever get away from Cadence the EX-Girlfriend …. ???

What a brilliantly claustrophobic thriller !!!

I love the way that the story twisted and turned with a few red herrings along the way, to keep you on your toes, that leads you up to a really surprising ending. (in a good way of course !!)

Covering stalking, mental illness and self harm, the book takes you on a journey into the minds of the mentally ill. I felt really sorry for the main character Georgia, because she has a pretty normal life she’s bumbling along with a job that she loves and wanting what normal people want, a home and a family, then she meets Luke and she thinks she finally cracked it, and she’s found her Mr Right. But then it all starts to go wrong and she’s in a world of hell, not knowing really why or how to get out of it.

All I can say is, be really careful who you date, because you never know what sort of baggage they come with !!

This is a brilliant book that I award  a really well-earned 9/10 (5 stars )

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Published by Penguin (Michael Joseph) on 31/10/19.

The biggest Thank you to Sryia Varadharajan at Penguin for the review copy of the book in return for an honest review.

 

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The Lost Ones – Anita Frank. ** Halloween Takeover **

 

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Back of the book :

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…

 

What I think : 

The year is 1917.

Stella has just lost her fiance Gerald to the war. She is devastated.

Unable to settle, (due to her grief) with her parents at Haverton hall, she feels at odds with everything. So when her brother-in-law Hector asks her to go and stay with her sister, Madeleine, who is pregnant, at his mothers home ‘Greyswick’ she reluctantly agrees, taking with her, her rather strange maid, Annie.

When Stella gets to Greyswick, she finds her sister looking very pale and jumpy with no real explanation why. Stella has only been there for one night when strange things start to happen. Someone leaves a toy soldier in her bed on her pillow. Her bedroom door is suddenly wide open when she wakes from a nap, when she knows she locked it before she went to sleep. Then she hears a child crying in the night, there are no children at Greyswick.

When Stella tells her sister about these odd things happening, her sister tells her that she has had the same things happen to her. Madeleine goes on to say that she thinks the house is haunted by the child that once died there, Hector’s half brother, Lucien. Obliviously everybody thinks that the sisters are just making up ghost stories and don’t believe a word they say, especially Lady Brightwell, Hector’s mother, who is a ‘no nonsense’ type of woman.

Hector is worried about his wife so he decides to bring in a supernatural expert, a Mr Tristan Sheers who is just back from the war after being injured, to see, if like the sisters say, there is a ghost at Greyswick. Mr Sheers does an exorcism, and lets just say things don’t go to plan, it ends up with the local vicar getting injured.

Could it be true ?

Is ‘Greyswick’ haunted ?

I enjoyed this book immensely. I really love creepy ghost stories and this debut book is just that ! I love to read in the dark in bed and this book had me peering over the top of my book just to check that I was actually still on my own !!

I thought the characters of Stella and Madeleine were really well formed, they really seemed to love each other as sisters and wanted to lookout for each other. I also liked Madeleine’s Mother-in-law Lady Brightwell with her ‘no nonsense’ way of looking at the world, although I do think she was like that because of the way that her husband Sir Brightwell treated her.

All in all I thought that this is an brilliantly atmospheric, creepy ghost story thats just in time for Halloween.

This is a absolutely gorgeous book and I wish Anita the best of luck with it 🙂

I give this book my highest award of 10/10 ( 5 Stars )

5 gold stars

Published by HQ Stories (Harper Collins) on 31/10/19

The biggest thank you to Joe Thomas at HQ Stories (Harper Collins) for the review copy of the book in return for an honest review.