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Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures Monthly Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap Up: August 2020

So, the summer is over. September is upon us and, in the UK at least, life is finding a new normal that merges with the life we knew pre-pandemic and the kids are going back to school! In our household this also heralds a change: our eldest got his G.C.S.E results this past month and is going to college and our youngest is our only child in school. It’s also his final year so it feels very strange knowing we’re only a year away from having no children is school! It also means that by the end of the month I’ll be having to get used to an empty house most days a week after six months of everyone, or at least the kids, being here with me. Is anyone else feeling really emotional about this? OK, that’s enough of me talking about my personal life. Lets get to books!

August was a month filled with some fantastic books and the discovery of an author that I am regretting taking so damn long to read! I took part in fourteen blog tours, three readalongs (one of which I’m currently reading), two zoom Q&A’s with authors and one murder mystery evening. I also read fourteen books:

  1.     Inge’s War by Svenja O’Donnell
  2.     The Wish List by Sophia Money-Coutts
  3.     We Are All The Same in the Dark by Julia Heaberlin
  4.     The Big Chill by Doug Johnstone
  5.     My Life For Yours by Vanessa Carnevale
  6.     Hinton Hollow Death Trip by Will Carver
  7.     The Twins of Auschwitz by Eva Mozes Kor
  8.     The Silence by Susan Allott*
  9.     The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
  10.     The Lies You Told by Harriet Tyce  
  11.     All The Lonely People by Mike Gayle  
  12.     Leave Well Alone by A J Campbell 
  13.     You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
  14.     The Heatwave by Kate Riordan 

You can read my review for the books listed by clicking on the title with the exception of All The Lonely People, You Are Not Alone and The Heatwave, which are coming soon. Thank you to the tagged publishers and authors for my gifted copies.

All of the books I read rated at four stars and above this month and are ones I would recommend. With so many amazing books, some that will be favourites of the year, it was hard to choose my book of the month. But, after a lot of deliberation, I have to give the title to The Midnight Library, a phenomenal and throughout-proving book that is just truly special. Coming close were All The Lonely People and Hinton Hollow Death Trip and I would highly recommend adding all three to your tbr.

Did we read any of the same books this month? What was your favourite book you read in August?

Emma xx

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews

Leave Well Alone by AJ Campbell

Published: August 1st, 2020
Publisher: Code Grey Publishing
Format: Paperback, Kindle
Genre: Thriller

Today is my stop on the blog tour of this riveting debut thriller. Thank you to AJ Campbell for the invitation to take part and the finished copy of the book.

SYNOPSIS:

Absorb yourself in the powerful debut novel from AJ Campbell

LEAVE WELL ALONE

How far would you go to protect your family from the truth?

A broken family. Skeletons in the closet. Lives in danger.

When Eva’s brother Ben announces he has found their mother, Eva is determined to have nothing to do with the woman who abandoned them eighteen years ago to a traumatic childhood in foster care. Eva is happy now, in a loving relationship with rich and dependable Jim, and she is pregnant.

Nothing can change Eva’s mind. Her eyes are on the future, not the past. But when her baby is born with a serious hereditary illness, she is forced to confront both her mother and her past. Eva begins to find forgiveness. But as old secrets and layers of deceit emerge, she makes a shocking discovery, leaving her fearing for her baby’s, Jim’s, and her own life.

Great for fans of AJ Finn, Lisa Jewell, Paula Hawkins and K.L Slater.

MY REVIEW:

“That bone-chilling winter’s day when my brother returned home for good was when I first contemplated murdering my mother.”

“That bone-chilling winter’s day when my brother returned home for good was when I first contemplated murdering my mother.”

What an opening line! Full of foreboding, tension, mystery and sinister promise, I was instantly hooked. And from that moment I was immersed in this tense, twisty and compelling debut. I didn’t want to put it down, and the only reason I didn’t read it in one sitting was my body’s pesky need for sleep. 

This is a truly unique psychological thriller. It is so evocative that you feel everything the characters do and are taken on an emotional rollercoaster ride as they navigate trials and conflict in this dramatic story. Told in dual narratives in dual timelines, the author tackles  themes of childhood trauma, mental health issues, physical health issues, family secrets and forgiveness in a well thought out, thorough and realistic manner. The descriptions of Eva’s anxiety, panic attacks and PTSD particularly resonated with me, and I found she was the character I most connected with. What she had gone through as a child and the journey she went on over the course of the book really tugged on my heartstrings, and I could understand her reticence to forgive or reconnect with her mother after all that had happened.  While I wasn’t holding my breath, I did hope that she would find the happy ending she deserved after going through so much. 

I read a lot of thrillers and I will be honest and say I picked up this book for the blog tour at a time I really didn’t think I was in the mood for it. But what I didn’t know is how good this was going to be. Ms Campbell’s riveting and vivid writing had me under her spell from the opening line that packed a punch and dives straight into the anger and emotion of Eva’s story.  She knows exactly how to keep the reader on the edge of their seat, guessing what will happen next.

A gripping, suspenseful and thrilling read, Leave Well Alone is a fantastic debut that I would highly recommend. Just make sure you don’t have any plans, as you’re not going to want to stop reading.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

MEET THE AUTHOR:

Until the birth of her twins in 2005, which radically changed her life, AJ was an accountant for several investment banks in London. One of her twins was born with severe disabilities, as a result of which she had to give up work to care for him. It was during this incredibly challenging (and rewarding) time that AJ began to draw on her love of the written word, partly for day-to-day inspiration and partly for her own mental health. She started writing her debut novel, Leave Well Alone, and then enrolled in several creative writing courses with the Faber Academy where she progressed with her writing career.
AJ lives on the Essex / Hertfordshire border with her husband and three sons and splits her time between caring for her son and family and writing.

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