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The Silent Wife (Will Trent Book 10) by Karin Slaughter

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Published: June 23rd, 2020
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Police Procedural

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this electrifying thriller. This was one of Emma’s Anticipated Treasures for June and exceeded expectations. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and HarperCollins UK for the eBook ARC.

SYNOPSIS:

He watches.

A woman runs alone in the woods. She convinces herself she has no reason to be afraid, but she’s wrong. A predator is stalking the women of Grant County. He lingers in the shadows, until the time is just right to snatch his victim.

He waits.

A decade later, the case has been closed. The killer is behind bars. But then another young woman is brutally attacked and left for dead, and the MO is identical.

He takes.

Although the original trail has gone cold – memories have faded, witnesses have disappeared – agent Will Trent and forensic pathologist Sara Linton must re-open the cold case. But the clock is ticking, and the killer is determined to find his perfect silent wife….

MY REVIEW:

“Witnessing an unnatural death came with the job, but something about this particular victim, this particular case, sent dread into every fiber of his being.

He has hunted his share of murderers and rapists.

He had never before hunted a predator.”

A sly and sadistic killer is brutally raping and murdering women and then managing to make it look like an accident while another man sits behind bars for his earlier crimes. But was it a set up like he claims or a mistake? In this sizzling new installment of the Will Trent series, agent Will Trent and pathologist Sara Linton are not only hunting a predator but trying to determine if there is evidence of police corruption in the first investigation. But it’s been a decade since the murders started, memories have faded and not all those involved are still alive to tell their side of the story. Can they find the truth and their killer before he strikes again?

Dark, sinister, gritty and compelling, The Silent Wife is the twentieth book in twenty years from the thriller queen. When you read a Karin Slaughter novel you know you’re getting a first-class thriller. The writing is sharp, intelligent, bold and filled with dark humour. The Silent Wife is all this and more as creeping menace, dread and tension drip from every page, creating a heart-pounding, atmospheric read.

“She had seen first-hand evidence of his madness. He hadn’t been content to rape the women. He had destroyed them.”

Ms. Slaughter’s novels aren’t for the faint hearted, and this one was certainly no exception, with some gruesome, stomach-churning descriptions that made even this seasoned thriller reader have to pause to collect myself at times. But it never feels gratuitous. The villain in this book is also without a doubt one of the most cruel, cunning and sadistic predators I’ve read. A number of times there are comparisons between the man they are hunting and Ted Bundy and reading this certainly gave me the same chills that I got from reading about Bundy and his crimes. This is a villain who will stay with me for a long time. The author uses this character’s crimes to highlight the sickening ways women are sometimes brutalised and the long term physical and psychological effects that it can have on the victim. She discusses her decision to do cults in a letter to the reader at the end of the book.

When you reach the tenth book in a series you get to know the characters pretty well so reading them feels a little like meeting up with old friends. I will confess that I haven’t read all the books in this series; but I was an avid reader of the author’s earlier Grant County series and read the last book in this series. So while part of me felt like I was among friends, it was also like being with a new crowd where you don’t know all the in-jokes. But Ms. Slaughter has a way of catching you up in a concise manner so you can read it with or without having read the rest of the series. 

The Silent Wife is a wonderfully dark and twisted thriller that will leave you breathless.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Published in 37 languages, with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her nineteen novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated Cop Town and the instant New York Times bestselling novels Pretty Girls and The Good Daughter. Her most recent novel, The Last Widow, features Sara Linton and Will Trent. A native of Georgia, Karin currently lives in Atlanta. Her novels Cop Town, The Good Daughterand Pieces of Her are all in development for film and television.

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

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Published: June 25th, 2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Fantasy

I read this book as part of a readalong with Tandem Collective. Thank you to them for the invitation to take part and Bloomsbury for the gifted copy of the novel.

SYNOPSIS:

Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

The start of a sensational romantic fantasy trilogy by the bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series.

MY REVIEW:

 “Long ago, the High Fae had been our overlords – not gods. And they certainly hadn’t been kind.”

Fayre is a mortal who lives with her family in a cabin near the woods. Each day is forced to brave the forest so she can feed her starving family. But after killing a faerie a beast turns up at their door demanding justice and drags her back to Prythian, the faerie realm, to live out the rest of her days. At the opulent house she discovers that her captor, Tamlin, is a High-Fae, one of the Lords of the realm, and that there is much more to him, and the other faeries than the murderous creatures she’s been led to believe they are. When he tells her of a magical curse on Prythian that is spreading evil throughout the lands and taking away their magic, Faeyre finds herself fighting beside him as they battle for the survival of both faerie and mortal  against creatures darker than she has ever imagined.

“The few stories I’d heard had been wrong – or five hundred years of separation had muddled them. Yes, I was still prey, still born weak and useless compared to them, but this place was… peaceful. Calm.” 

What. A. Book. I admit that prior to reading I had judged the book by its cover and the genre by my preconceptions and for a long time hadn’t even considered reading it. But when the Tandem Collective announced their readalong and I read the synopsis I decided to take the plunge and read something way out of my comfort zone. I am so glad that I did. This is Fantasy at it’s finest: cheesy romance that you can’t help but love, mythical creatures, magic and heart-stopping tension. And I loved every minute.

“Once it had been second nature to savour the contrast of new grass against dark, tilled soil, or an amethyst brooch nestled in folds of emerald silk; I’d once dreamed and breathed in colour and light and shape.”

The imagery in this book is spectacular. Sarah J. Mass has created a world so vivid and evocative that it brings her fictional worlds to life and makes the real world disappear.  I  felt like I was surrounded by what Faeyre was describing and could picture it all as clearly as if it were on a movie screen. Her characters are memorable and compelling. Fayre is a fantastic protagonist; she is feisty, strong, independent and loyal but also acerbic and spiky. She could be unlikeable but I had a real soft spot for her. I loved her blossoming romance and am excited to see what is next for them as well as to see more of Prythian and the other courts in book two.

Atmospheric, enchanting and addictive, this is the perfect novel to lose yourself in and forget the real world. I am now a total Fantasy convert and can’t wait to not only read the rest of this series, but more of the genre too.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

Sarah J. Maas by Beowulf Sheehan

MEET THE AUTHOR:

Sarah J. Maas is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series, as well as the A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Sarah lives in Bucks County, PA, and over the years, she has developed an unhealthy appreciation for Disney movies and bad pop music. She adores fairy tales and ballet, drinks too much tea, and watches an ungodly amount of TV. When she’s not busy writing, she can be found exploring the historic and beautiful Pennsylvania countryside with her husband and canine companion.

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The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith

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Published: July 9th, 2020
Publisher: Orenda
Format: Paperback, Kindle
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Adventure Fiction, Science Fiction, Urban Fiction, Dystopian Fiction

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this outstanding and timely thriller. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and Orenda for the gifted copy of the book.

SYNOPSIS:

Decades of spiralling drug resistance have unleashed a global antibiotic crisis. Ordinary infections are untreatable, and a scratch from a pet can kill. A sacrifice is required to keep the majority safe: no one over seventy is allowed new antibiotics. The elderly are sent to hospitals nicknamed ‘The Waiting Rooms’ … hospitals where no one ever gets well.

Twenty years after the crisis takes hold, Kate begins a search for her birth mother, armed only with her name and her age. As Kate unearths disturbing facts about her mother’s past, she puts her family in danger and risks losing everything. Because Kate is not the only secret that her mother is hiding. Someone else is looking for her, too.

Sweeping from an all-too-real modern Britain to a pre-crisis South Africa, The Waiting Rooms is epic in scope, richly populated with unforgettable characters, and a tense, haunting vision of a future that is only a few mutations away.

MY REVIEW:

“No one touches each other’s hands anymore. Not unless they’re intimate.” 

When I first heard about this book at the beginning of the year it sounded like a Sci-Fi movie; something that felt both imaginable and unimaginable. Wearing masks and gloves and being unable to touch. Illness that is untreatable and deadly. That sounded like something from the Victorian era or a third world country where they can’t afford the medicine we have.  Fast forward a few months and reading it during the current pandemic felt like getting a glimpse into our future. This book was suddenly a lot scarier and incredibly timely. 

“Do you have any idea what it’s like growing up in this ‘safe world’ of yours? How fucking suffocating it is? Nothing left to chance, endless checks and scans?

… I’ve seen the films: people rolled into bed with complete strangers! No body scans. No STD checks. No profile searches. I can’t even hug a friend without asking!”

Multilayered, exquisitely told and tightly plotted, the novel weaves through different timelines to tell the story of the Crisis and our three narrators. As long-buried secrets are slowly unearthed, the full picture emerges to a shocking conclusion. The characters are richly drawn and I have to say that I had a soft spot for Lily. I can’t imagine how awful it must be to approach an age knowing that something treatable will likely kill you as you are deemed disposable and unworthy of treatment. My own grandmother has recently beat Covid-19 at the age of 93 thanks in part to antibiotics and all I kept thinking how awful it would have been knowing she simply wasn’t getting that help because of her age. 

It is clear that the author has done a lot of research on antibiotic resistance from how intelligently written this novel is.  Even without the current pandemic this would read as something that could actually happen and it certainly made me think about things such as how we farm out animals. At the end of the book she writes about how she got her inspiration for the novel after reading frightening data about antibiotic resistance and has posted more information for readers on her website. 

The Waiting Rooms is a captivating and thrilling debut that is both topical and timely. I highly recommend this thriller and can’t wait to read more from this author.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

Eve Smith Author pic

MEET THE AUTHOR:

Eve Smith’s debut novel The Waiting Rooms was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize First Novel Award. Eve writes speculative fiction, mainly about the things that scare her. She attributes her love of all things dark and dystopian to a childhood watching Tales of the Unexpected and black-and-white Edgar Allen Poe double bills.

Eve’s flash fiction has been shortlisted for the Bath Flash Fiction Award and highly commended for The Brighton Prize. In this world of questionable facts, stats and news, she believes storytelling is more important than ever to engage people in real life issues.
Eve’s previous job as COO of an environmental charity took her to research projects across Asia, Africa and the Americas, and she has an ongoing passion for wild creatures, wild science and far-flung places. A Modern Languages graduate from Oxford, she returned to Oxfordshire fifteen years ago to set up home with her husband.
When she’s not writing, she’s chasing across fields after her dog, attempting to organise herself and her family or off exploring somewhere new.

WebsiteInstagram |Twitter

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The Split by Sharon Bolton

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Published: May 28th, 2020
Publisher: Orion
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Mystery, Suspense

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this riveting thriller. Thank you to Alex at Orion for the invitation to take part and the gifted eBooks ARC.

SYNOPSIS:

SHE’S GOT NOWHERE LEFT TO HIDE.

A year ago, in desperation, Felicity Lloyd signed up for a lengthy research trip to the remote island of South Georgia.

It was her only way to escape.

AND NOW HE’S COMING FOR HER.

Freddie Lloyd has served time for murder. Out at last, he’s on her trail.

And this time, he won’t stop until he finds her.

BECAUSE NO MATTER HOW FAR YOU RUN, SOME SECRETS WILL ALWAYS CATCH UP WITH YOU…

Tense, gripping and with a twist you won’t see coming, Sharon Bolton is back in an explosive new thriller about a woman on the run…

MY REVIEW:

“The ends of the Earth. That’s how far she ran this time.

Not far enough.”

Felicity Lloyd is a Glaciologist taking part in the research trip of a lifetime in South Georgia. But her career isn’t the only reason she signed up for the two-year expedition. She is also a woman on the run. But even running to the ends of the Earth wasn’t enough to stop the man she lives in fear of from finding her. He is on the island and won’t stop until he finds her.

Wow! I am still trying to catch my breath after reading this exciting and twisty thriller. A rip-roaring and wild ride that had me holding on for dear life, this was as impossible to predict as it was to put down. Packed with heart-stopping tension and gripping cliffhangers, there is much more to this layered thriller, and its characters, than first meets the eye.

“The last ship of the season. One more and she’s safe. She thinks of the fear inside her like cancer, eating away at muscles, organs, bone, growing all the time, until there is nothing left of her but a rotten, stinking mass in skin stretched like an overfilled balloon. How will the terror burst out, she wonders, when it inevitably does. A scream? A petrified wimper?“

Sharon Bolton is the Queen of the complex and chilling thriller. I’ve been a fan ever since reading Blood Harvest two years ago but was unprepared for the twisted web she would weave on these pages. The story is cleverly written and plotted, taking me in unexpected directions every time I thought I had it figured out. And even though one wild theory of mine was ultimately proven true, her clever red herrings had me convinced I was wrong right until the reveal.

One of the things I loved most about this book is its setting in the beautiful, bleak and icy Antarctic. The author breathes life into the surroundings with evocative imagery that is so transportive that I almost forgot I was sitting in the summer sun whilst reading. The author had clearly done her research and I found myself getting an education about glaciers and the Antarctic whilst reading.

Atmospheric, unexpected and riveting, The Split has ticks every box needed for a sensational thriller. Sharon Bolton is definitely on my list of auto-buy authors after this novel and I can’t recommend it highly enough to anyone who enjoys a well-written thriller that keeps you on your toes.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

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MEETTHE AUTHOR:

Sharon J Bolton was born and brought up in Lancashire, the eldest of three daughters. As a child, she dreamed of becoming an actress and a dancer, studying ballet, tap and jazz from a young age and reading drama at Loughborough University.

She spent her early career in marketing and PR before returning to full-time education to study for a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) at Warwick University, where she met her husband, Andrew. They moved to London and Sharon held a number of PR posts in the City. She left the City to work freelance, to start a family and to write.

She and Andrew now live in a village in the Chiltern Hills, not far from Oxford, with their son and the latest addition to the family: Lupe, the lop-eared lurcher. Her daily life revolves around the school run, walking the dog and those ever-looming publishing deadlines.

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The Glass House by Eve Chase

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Published: May 14th, 2020
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Mystery, Gothic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Suspense, Domestic Fiction

Today is my stop on the blog tour for this captivating mystery. Thank you to Gaby at Michael Joseph for the invitation to take part and the eBook ARC.

SYNOPSIS:

Outside a remote manor house in an idyllic wood, a baby girl is found.

The Harrington family takes her in and disbelief quickly turns to joy. They’re grieving a terrible tragedy of their own and the beautiful baby fills them with hope, lighting up the house’s dark, dusty corners.

Desperate not to lose her to the authorities, they keep her secret, suspended in a blissful summer world where normal rules of behaviour – and the law – don’t seem to apply.

But within days a body will lie dead in the grounds.

And their dreams of a perfect family will shatter like glass.

Years later, the truth will need to be put back together again, piece by piece . . .

From the author of Black Rabbit Hall, The Glass House is an emotional, thrilling book about family secrets and belonging – and how we find ourselves when we are most lost.

MY REVIEW:

“Only the trees know what happened in the woods that night.” 

August 1971. The Harrington family are spending their summer at Foxcote Manor in the Forest of Dean in the hope that the idyllic setting will help them recover after a family tragedy. But it doesn’t seem to be working and they feel more fractured than ever. 

But then a baby girl is found on a tree stump in the woods by their house. The family decide to keep her secret and take her in rather than alerting the authorities and it seems like their answer to their healing has arrived.

But then a few days later a body is found in the woods and their idyll is shattered. None of their lives will be the same again. 

The Glass House is an atmospheric, mysterious, compelling and riveting story about deep, dark family secrets that hold the key to the truth of a mystery that has lingered for almost fifty years. It is one of the most beautifully written mysteries that I’ve read and each word has been perfectly polished so that not one is wasted. The author has created a memorable cast of characters and a richly drawn sense of place that gave the novel a mysterious, eerie and haunting ambience. 

Told in dual timelines by multiple narrators, the complex and layered story is tightly plotted and I loved how the author slowly wove together the mysterious and tragic events of 1971 with those in the present day. I was utterly immersed in its pages and inhabited the world inside this book along with the characters. 

The Glass House is an enthralling, dark, and twisting mystery. It was one of my most anticipated books this year and did not disappoint. I highly recommend this exquisitely written book. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

From Amazon:

I’m an author who writes rich and suspenseful novels about families – dysfunctional, passionate – and the sort of explosive secrets that can rip them apart. I write stories I’d love to read. Mysteries. Page-turners. Worlds you can lose yourself in. Reading time is so precious: I try to make my books worth of that sweet spot.

My office is a garden studio/shed. There are roses outside. I live in Oxford with my three children, husband, and a ridiculously hairy golden retriever, Harry.

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Tsarina by Ellen Alpsten ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Published: May 14th, 2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Historical Fiction, Biographical Fiction

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this magnificent  debut. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and Bloomsbury for the gifted copy.

SYNOPSIS:

Lover. Murderer. Mother. Meet TSARINA, the most powerful woman history ever forgot.

Spring 1699: Illegitimate, destitute and strikingly beautiful, Marta has survived the brutal Russian winter in her remote Baltic village. Sold by her family into household labour at the age of fifteen, Marta survives by committing a crime that will force her to go on the run.

A world away, Russia’s young ruler, Tsar Peter I, passionate and iron-willed, has a vision for transforming the traditionalist Tsardom of Russia into a modern, Western empire. Countless lives will be lost in the process.

Falling prey to the Great Northern War, Marta cheats death at every turn, finding work as a washerwoman at a battle camp. One night at a celebration, she encounters Peter the Great. Relying on her wits and her formidable courage, and fuelled by ambition, desire and the sheer will to live, Marta will become Catherine I of Russia. But her rise to the top is ridden with peril; how long will she survive the machinations of Peter’s court, and more importantly, Peter himself?

MY REVIEW:

“He is dead. My beloved husband, the mighty Tsar of all the Russias, has died – and just in time.”

Tsarina is a story of power, lust, sex, murder and betrayal. Of rags-to-riches. Of Catherine, the first Tsarina of all the Russias. 

It begins in February 1725, on the night that Peter the Great, Tsar of All the Russias, dies. Catherine, her children and his advisors try to conceal his death for as long as possible to delay their fate. It is a matter of life and death. The story then moves between that night and flashbacks to Catherine’s life, beginning when she was just thirteen-years-old, still known as Marta and living with her serf family. We then follow her journey from poor peasant girl to Tsarina; a story that would be deemed too far fetched if you tried to sell it to a publisher. But every word of this novel is based in fact, with just a few liberties taken as the details of Catherine’s early life is shrouded in mystery.

I have always had a love for history and ever since studying the fall of the Tsars for my History A Level I have been fascinated with their story. So when I saw this book advertised I knew from just the title that I HAD to read it and after reading the synopsis it became one of my most anticipated books of the year. Thankfully, this magnificent debut surpassed every one of my high expectations. It was an all-encompassing read. A book that I took my time with, taking time to soak in every word, but also one that I couldn’t put down or stop thinking about when I had to do so. 

Ellen Alpsten is a new talent to watch. Exquisitely written and wonderfully crafted, her meticulous research shines through on every page, bringing back to life those who lived and died three hundred years ago and making you feel like they are right there beside you with her powerful storytelling. I was hooked from the start and became totally lost in Catherine’s story, living every word of this book while reading it. Every moment of love and joy, every piercing pain of heartbreak and every gut-wrenching horror she witnessed and experienced, I felt along with her. 

“Together, we have lived and loved, and together, we ruled.”

After reading this novel it seems unimaginable that Catherine’s story has been forgotten. That such a strong, brave and remarkable woman had been consigned to a footnote in history. At that time life for most of Russia’s people was hard, harsh and bleak. Even those in the upper classes lived in fear of falling out the Tsar’s favour and losing not only their wealth but their lives. Peter had a new vision for Russia and was a ruthless leader who was willing to sacrifice anyone and everything to achieve it. Even as his wife Catherine walked a tightrope knowing she could be stripped of everything and either sent to a convent or killed should the fancy take him. The brutality of life at that time and the lack of rights that were held by even the highest-ranking women is starkly illuminated in Catherine’s story in sobering detail. 

Tsarina is a masterpiece of historical fiction. Atmospheric, intoxicating, unsettling, and compelling, this outstanding novel is one that will linger long after you close it’s pages. This gloriously decadent debut is one you don’t want to miss. 

Ellen Alpsten Author Pic

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Ellen Alpsten was born and raised in the Kenyan highlands. Today, Ellen works as an author and as a journalist for international publications such as Vogue, Standpoint, and CN Traveller. She lives in London with her husband, three sons, and a moody fox red Labrador. Tsarina is her debut novel.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:

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Dear Child by Romy Hausmann ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Published: May 14th, 2020
Publisher: Quercus
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Mystery

Welcome to my spot on the Social Media Blast for this sensational debut. Thank you to Quercus for the invitation to take part and the gifted copy of this book.

SYNOPSIS:

You escaped. But your nightmare has just begun.

The No 1 International Bestseller – 250.000 copies sold in Germany – 5th bestselling paperback in Germany in 2019

A windowless shack in the woods. Lena’s life and that of her two children follows the rules set by their captor, the father: meals, bathroom visits, study time are strictly scheduled and meticulously observed. He protects his family from the dangers lurking in the outside world and makes sure that his children will always have a mother to look after them.

One day Lena manages to flee – but the nightmare continues. It seems as if her tormentor wants to get back what belongs to him. And then there is the question whether she really is the woman called ‘Lena’, who disappeared without a trace over thirteen years ago. The police and Lena’s family are all desperately trying to piece together a puzzle that doesn’t quite seem to fit.

MY REVIEW:

I first heard about this book when I received a sampler of it last summer. I devoured it quickly and was left wanting more. Lucky for me, I received an ARC of the full novel and was excited to finally have the answers to all of my questions. Once again, I devoured this story, only reluctantly putting it down when my eyelids became too heavy to keep reading. I was addicted and completely unprepared for the rollercoaster ride this story took me on. 

Dear Child begins at the point where most novels would end; when Lena and her daughter Hannah escape after years of imprisonment in a cabin in the woods. The police think that they’ve finally found Lena Beck, a woman missing for thirteen years, but when her father Matthias arrives he is adamant the woman lying in the hospital bed is not his daughter. But when he lays eyes on Hannah he sees a clone of his daughter as a child. With Lena injured by a car in the escape she is unable to answer any question and Hannah is reluctant to talk. As snippets of information are slowly revealed, the police begin to piece together the puzzle. But they soon find that things aren’t quite what they first appear to be.

OMG! What a book! Spectacularly written, masterfully plotted, surprising and sizzling with suspense, this complex and layered thriller had me hooked from start to finish.

The author filled the pages with dark, nuanced and compelling characters and unreliable narrators. Of the three narrators Hannah was the one I felt most drawn to. It was heartbreaking to read how normal she thought her world was, especially how she would berate her mother when she was beaten by her father for doing something to deserve it rather than thinking it was him in the wrong.  But while I felt a lot of empathy for her, I also felt there was something not quite right about her. She is a peculiar child and while at first I put that down to her secluded upbringing, after a while I started to wonder if she was all that she seemed. 

The abductor, known only as ‘Papa’, is another character who stood out to me. Papa is an enigma, his identity shrouded in mystery. Even Lena doesn’t ever say his name. He is a loathsome, sadistic, controlling and violent man who strikes fear into Lena and the children. Most of the abuse is inferred but enough detail is included to give the reader an understanding of the complete terror they felt and understand why Lena would acquiesce to his will.

Tense, chilling, twisty and unpredictable, Dear Child is a riveting and spectacular debut that you won’t want to put down. This is one you don’t want to miss!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Romy Hausmann was born in the former GDR in 1981. At the age of twenty-four she became chief editor at a film production company in Munich. Since the birth of her son she has been working as a freelancer in TV. Dear Child is her thriller debut. Romy Hausmann lives with her family in a remote house in the woods near Stuttgart.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:

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What Lies Between Us by John Marrs ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Published: May 15th, 2020
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Suspense, Psychological Fiction

SYNOPSIS:

Nina can never forgive Maggie for what she did. And she can never let her leave.

They say every house has its secrets, and the house that Maggie and Nina have shared for so long is no different. Except that these secrets are not buried in the past.

Every other night, Maggie and Nina have dinner together. When they are finished, Nina helps Maggie back to her room in the attic, and into the heavy chain that keeps her there. Because Maggie has done things to Nina that can’t ever be forgiven, and now she is paying the price.

But there are many things about the past that Nina doesn’t know, and Maggie is going to keep it that way—even if it kills her.

Because in this house, the truth is more dangerous than lies.

MY REVIEW:

“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on shoes.” Charles Spurgeon

It was clear from the prologue that this was going to be another gorgeously written book by John Marrs and an easy five stars. I was so engrossed in reading this crazy, unpredictable thriller that I didn’t notice the time, read through the night, and the birds were singing as I finished. 

Nina and her mother Maggie live together in the house she grew up in. But no one else knows that. Everybody else believes Maggie moved away after getting ill two years ago, which is when Nina attached a chain to her ankle and imprisoned her in her bedroom to punish her for what she did. But nothing is as it seems and Nina has no clue that there are sinister secrets lurking behind her mother’s actions. Maggie would rather die than allow her to find out the truth; which just might happen as their game of cat and mouse gets out of control…

This book is quite simply a masterpiece. I inhaled and inhabited it; the outside world disappearing away around me. Fast-paced, deftly plotted, intricate and layered, this is storytelling at its best. I’ve been a fan of John Marrs since reading his first book, The One, and, to be honest, I didn’t think he could top that for me. But he knocked me for six with this one. I read a lot of thrillers, many of them dark, warped and twisty. But in all my years of reading I think this has to be one of the most dark, warped and twisty of them all. I’m kind of scared of him after reading this. 

Nina and Maggie are memorable, richly drawn, complex and flawed characters. The both play victim and villain and it is never clear who is who in their crazy, twisted games. It is a testament to the author’s talent and nuanced writing that I found myself still having empathy and understanding even when they did the most despicable things. Neither of them is particularly likeable, but they are compelling and I vacillated between compassion and loathing towards them throughout the book. 

Reading this takes you on one hell of a ride. Each time I thought I had it figured out everything I thought I knew would be turned on its head and there were so many twists and turns that I got book whiplash. 

What Lies Between Us has shot to the top spot of my favourite thriller this year and is now my favourite book by this author.  I just hope this is picked up for adaptation like my previous favourite, The One, which I’m excited to see on Netflix soon. 

READ. THIS. BOOK. 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

John Marrs is the author of #1 Best Sellers The One, The Good Samaritan, When You Disappeared, Welcome to Wherever You Are, Her Last Move, The Passengers and What Lies Between Us. The One has been translated into 30 different languages and is to be turned into an eight-part Netflix series in autumn 2020.
After working as a journalist for 25-years interviewing celebrities from the world of television, film and music for national newspapers and magazines, he is now a full-time writer.

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Blog Tours book reviews

The Switch by Beth O’Leary ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Published: April 16th, 2020
Publisher: Quercus
Format: Hardcover, Kindle
Genre:  Fiction, Romance

I’m delighted to share my review for the The Switch, the spectacular new novel by Beth O’Leary, as part of the social media blast. Thank you to Quercus for the invitation to take part and my ARC of the novel.

SYNOPSIS:

Eileen is sick of being 79.
Leena’s tired of life in her twenties.
Maybe it’s time they swapped places…

When overachiever Leena Cotton is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen.

Once Leena learns of Eileen’s romantic predicament, she proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire. But with gossiping neighbours and difficult family dynamics to navigate up north, and trendy London flatmates and online dating to contend with in the city, stepping into one another’s shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected.

Leena learns that a long-distance relationship isn’t as romantic as she hoped it would be, and then there is the annoyingly perfect – and distractingly handsome – school teacher, who keeps showing up to outdo her efforts to impress the local villagers. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, but is her perfect match nearer home than she first thought?

MY REVIEW:

Reading this book was like reading Spring; when the world starts to bloom and become brighter after the bleakness of Winter. It makes you feel like there’s hope and light in the world. Something that is desperately needed in these crazy and uncertain times. Witty, uplifting, warm, tender, joyous and utterly consuming, I flew through it in under a day, staying up into the wee hours, unable to stop reading until I got to the end. 

The Switch was one of my most eagerly-anticipated books of 2020, so when I received an ARC from Quercus I was giddy with excitement. It has sat in my pile of ARCs taunting me and calling my name ever since, so I was bursting with excitement when I finally got the chance to pick it up. Thankfully, it more than lived up to the hype. 

It is a story about self-discovery, adventure, family and the search for love. The Cotton family are still trying to heal from a tragedy that has torn them apart and the life swap proves the perfect opportunity to heal old wounds and face their aching loss. The author expertly and sensitively tapped into the intricacies of grief, loss, family and relationships, not shying away from the raw and angry aspects that are part of the process. 

I fell in love with Beth O’Leary’s marvellous storytelling when I read her debut novel, The Flatshare, last year. With The Switch she has solidified her place as one of my favourite authors. Her writing is exquisite, smooth and affecting, the honeyed words making the world around you vanish so all that exists is the world she’s created. 

Leena and Eillen are fantastic characters. I loved them both but I was smitten with Eileen from the moment she appeared in the book.  Feisty, fearless, kind and hilarious, she’s a force to be reckoned with and is now one of my favourite female characters of all time. I loved her sweet and close relationship with Leena, which reminded me of the relationship I have with my Nan, how she made everyone better versions of themselves and is always thinking of others. As well as fantastic narrators, the author created a rich, varied cast of characters that radiated from the page, bringing the communities she created to life and immersing me in their world. 

The Switch is an absolute gem. A delightful, lingering and enthralling read, I can’t recommend it highly enough. When I turned the final page, there was a sadness that it was over and I wished I could go back and experience it for the first time all over again. Eileen is such a loveable and delightful character that I challenge anyone not to adore her and get ‘Eileened’. I know I did. It is the perfect book to brighten your day during these strange times and will be one of my top books this year for sure. BUY IT NOW. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Beth studied English at university before going into children’s publishing. She lives as close to the countryside as she can get while still being in reach of London, and wrote her first novel, The Flatshare, on her train journey from work.

She is now writing novels full time, and if she’s not at her desk, you’ll usually find her curled up somewhere with a book, a cup of tea, and several woolly jumpers (whatever the weather).

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:

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Me and my lovely Nan, Esme.

 

You can find more reviews of the book on Instagram and Twitter from the bloggers listed below:

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Blog Tours book reviews

I Am Dust by Louise Beech ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Published: April 16th, 2020
Publisher: Orenda Books
Format: Paperback, Kindle
Genre: Mystery, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Horror, Fairy Tale
Trigger Warning: Self Harm

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for this exquisite novel. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part.

SYNOPSIS:

A haunted theatre
A murdered actress
Three cursed teenagers
A secret that devastates them all…

The Dean Wilson Theatre is believed to be haunted by a long-dead actress, singing her last song, waiting for her final cue, looking for her killer…

Now Dust, the iconic musical, is returning after twenty years. But who will be brave enough to take on the role of ghostly goddess Esme Black, last played by Morgan Miller, who was murdered in her dressing room?

Theatre usher Chloe Dee is caught up in the spectacle. As the new actors arrive, including an unexpected face from her past, everything changes. Are the eerie sounds and sightings backstage real or just her imagination? Is someone playing games?

Is the role of Esme Black cursed? Could witchcraft be at the heart of the tragedy? And are dark deeds from Chloe’s past about to catch up with her?
Not all the drama takes place onstage. Sometimes murder, magic, obsession and the biggest of betrayals are real life. When you’re in the theatre shadows, you see everything.

And Chloe has been watching…

MY REVIEW:

“I’m still here; I am dust.
I’m those fragments in the air,
the gold light dancing there,
the breeze from nowhere.” 

– Dust, the Musical 

I’ve been left reeling after devouring this breathtaking novel. Atmospheric, haunting, eerie and completely original, something ghostly and ominous crackles between the pages from the start. I was mesmerised and addicted, unable to tear my eyes away from the pages.

The historic Dust the Musical is returning to the Dean Wilson theatre for its twentieth anniversary. It is a controversial decision, the show having been cancelled four days into its first run after the murder of leading lady Morgan Miller. The killer was never caught and Morgan’s name remains on the door of her dressing room where she took her last breath. Some even say her ghost haunts the theatre. 

Chloe Dee saw Morgan’s astonishing performance on opening night and has been obsessed with the show ever since. Now an usher at the theatre and aspiring writer, she isn’t sure what to think about the show’s return. Strange things have begun happening and Chloe wonders if it’s a bad idea. When a face from her past returns to play the lead role of Esme Black long-buried memories begin to resurface and Chloe is plagued with a growing sense of foreboding. 

As Chloe and her old friend get closer again they learn that their past and present are inextricably entwined with the mystery of who killed Morgan Miller. As the layers are slowly peeled away and the truth about that forgotten summer becomes clearer, can Chloe put the pieces together and solve the twenty-year mystery?

I loved, loved, LOVED this book! I’ve heard a lot of great things about Ms Beech and have wanted to read her work for a while. I had the pleasure of meeting her at the Orenda Roadshow back in February where she also read a little of this book,  so when the opportunity to take part in the blog tour arose I was thrilled. From the first page I was putty in her hands; completely immersed in her exquisite, lyrical, haunting writing. Richly drawn characters and vivid imagery made this a transportive experience and  I felt like I was there beside Chloe, experiencing every single moment. As I approached the big reveal my heart was racing and I was covered in goosebumps, the anticipation soaring. Would my suspicions about Morgan’s killer be right? Or had I fallen for red herrings? 

Deliciously creepy, evocative, dark and unsettling, I Am Dust is one of the most chilling books I’ve ever read. Ms Beech is an exceptional storyteller, filling the pages with something both beautiful and terrifying. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Just make sure you don’t read it in the dark…

Louise Beech Author pic

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. Her second book, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Both of her previous books Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost were widely reviewed, critically acclaimed and number-one bestsellers on Kindle. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award in 2019. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition,
as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice. Louise lives with her husband on the outskirts of Hull, and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:

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BUY THE BOOK:

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I Am Dust BT Poster