Blog Tour Review: Bad Seed by Jessica Eames ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Today is my stop on the blog tour for this compelling page-turner. Thank you to Tracey at Compulsive Readers Blog Tours for the invitation to take part, and to Trapeze books and NetGalley for my e-book ARC.

SYNOPSIS:

Nicola is going to die. Just like her husband did.

Nicola thought she’d gotten away with it. 

Since her husband’s death, life has been getting back on track. She has a new boyfriend, Phil. A new home, living next door to her brother-in-law, his wife and their children. She is closer than ever with her daughter, Sarah. She even likes her job at the local shop, though she’s had some time off recently with illness. The Doctor says it’s menopause, that it’s nothing to worry about. As if he could know how she’s feeling.

Nicola is finally moving on with her life.

But then she receives the note. Someone knows what she did. They know the secret she doesn’t even think about when she’s alone.

And they want revenge.

A gripping domestic thriller told from the points of view of three women from the same family, each with their own heart-wrenching revelation. 

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MY REVIEW:

Clever, twisty and surprising, I devoured this gripping novel in under twenty-four hours. Told in three parts, a different woman from the Gregory family narrates each one, offering us a glimpse behind the curtain of this seemingly ordinary family as secrets are revealed and lives are shattered irreparably. Opening with an intriguing prologue that left me on tenterhooks, this was a rollercoaster ride that didn’t end until we reached the jaw-dropping final page that sent a shiver down my spine. 

This sinister and unputdownable domestic thriller will have you questioning just how well you know your family and wonder what secrets they might be hiding. Behind the warm smiles of this family is an undercurrent of obsession, lies, betrayal and distrust. Someone is out for vengeance. But who? Everyone was a suspect and my mind was in overdrive trying to untangle the clues. But this book was hard to predict and I was repeatedly blindsided by bombshells as they were unveiled, making me question everything I thought I knew and having to try and figure things out all over again.

One of the things I loved was the author’s use of different narrators for the three parts of the book. It gave the characters a greater depth and illuminated parts of the story that a single narrator couldn’t have. I enjoyed getting to know each of the women and found myself connecting to each of them as I read their part. The plot was pacy and the tension increased with every section, keeping me on the edge of my seat from start to finish.

If you love page-turning thrillers full of twists then you need to read this book. Bad Seed is a brilliant and addictive story that you won’t be able to put down.

Out now.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jessica Eames is the pseudonym of a UK publishing industry insider, based in London Twitter- @JessicaEames2

Review: ‘Seven Days’ by Alex Lake ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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SYNOPSIS:

The addictive new psychological thriller from the Sunday Times bestselling author of After Anna and Copycat.

SEVEN DAYS UNTIL HER CHILD IS TAKEN.

SEVEN DAYS TO SAVE HIM.

In seven days, Maggie’s son, Max, turns three. But she’s not planning a party or buying presents or updating his baby book. She’s dreading it. Because in her world, third birthdays are the days on which the unthinkable happens…she loses her child.

For the last twelve years Maggie has been imprisoned in a basement. Abducted aged fifteen, she gave birth to two sons before Max, and on their third birthdays her captor came and took them from her.

She cannot let it happen again. But she has no idea how to stop it. And the clock is ticking…

MY REVIEW:

WHAT. A. RIDE. The adrenaline raced through me as I read this jaw-dropping thriller. This is a book that grabs you by the throat and throws you to the ground speechless when it’s finished with you. Fast-paced and expertly plotted, I tore through this book; I would have read it in one sitting if not for that pesky thing called human interaction with my family. But I knew I’d not be able to sleep without knowing what happened so I stayed up until the early hours to finish. Boy was it worth it for that ending!

Maggie has been held prisoner in the basement for twelve years. In seven days her son Max will turn three and her captor will take him from her, just like her two other sons. She has to save him but has no idea how. We then follow the story in dual timelines and from multiple points of view, with flashbacks that start the day Maggie is kidnapped slowly unveiling the story of the past twelve years. In the present day she is desperately trying to find a way out and save her son, the seven day countdown adding tension and urgency to the subdued atmosphere.

Maggie was a great character. We watch as she not only goes from teenager to woman, but also becomes a mother three times. We see that behind her terror is a formidable woman determined to fight and protect her child. Her strength, courage and tenacity are phenomenal and she’s a character I grew to like, admire and care for. I quickly fell in love with little Max and my heart broke at what possibly awaited him. He was both a light relief in the dark basement and a cause of even greater despair for both the reader and Maggie. 

Maggie’s captor was a sinister and terrifying figure, though it’s his delusions that are most frightening. He is so convinced of them and truly believes that imprisoning her in a basement and raping her is saving her and that he had no choice but to do it. His audacity in many of his actions – which I won’t detail because of spoilers- were infuriating, as was his arrogance that he’d never be caught.  

I think what made the book so harrowing for me was it’s believability, part of which is because of the well written characters. Each is brought vividly to life as they share the narration of the story. Reading how Maggie’s disappearance affected her family brought a deeper sense of anguish, longing, heartbreak and terror to the story. I have a son the same age Maggie is when she’s abducted so I inevitably pictured the torment I’d feel if it were my child that was gone, living every emotion alongside her parents. But I think the hardest story to read was that of her younger brother James and how it ravaged not only his present, but also his future. 

This is the first time I’ve read a book by this author but I can guarantee it won’t be the last. He knows how to captivate his audience, not letting go until the last page. I was gasping out loud and my heart was in my throat as I read the electrifying finale. This is a story that is perfect for the movie screen. 

Highly addictive, heart-stopping, dark, disturbing and hopeful,  this book is a masterclass in suspense. It is one of my favourite books this year and one you don’t want to miss.

Thank you to NetGalley, Harper Collins UK and Alex Lake for my copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Out now on Kindle.

Out in paperback November 14th.

Blog Tour Review: I Wanted You To Know by Laura Pearson ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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I’m delighted to share my review for this beautiful story today. Thank you to Peyton at Agora Books for the invitation to take part in the blog tour and the photo, and NetGalley and Agora Books for my copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS:

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

Jess never imagined she’d be navigating single motherhood, let alone whilst facing breast cancer. A life that should be just beginning is interrupted by worried looks, heavy conversations, and the possibility of leaving her daughter alone 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.

I Wanted You to Know is Laura Pearson’s third novel.

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MY REVIEW:

This book broke me. It reached into my heart and soul and took my breath away, making me cry a river of tears along the way. As soon as I read the raw and powerful opening letter from the author to the reader, I was already needing tissues and knew I was in for an emotional ride. 

What would you want your child to know if you found out you weren’t going to be there as they grew up? That is the heartbreaking question addressed in this mesmerising and poignant novel. 

Twenty-one-year-old Jess is getting to grips with being a single mum to baby Edie when the rug is pulled from under her and she’s told she has breast cancer. Never in her wildest dreams did she imagine she’d be facing a fight for her life so young or so soon after becoming a mother. What will happen to Edie? What about all the things she wanted her to know? So, she decides to write to her daughter. Beginning each letter with the words “Dear Edie, I wanted you to know…” she imparts the wisdom she thinks her daughter will need about life and love, while also telling her who her mother was so she will have a chance to know her even after she’s gone. Jess is open and honest in these letters, never shying away from her own flaws and mistakes and sharing her fears about having cancer.

As well as these letters, we follow Jess from the day of her diagnosis, her attempt to come to terms with the awful news, her fight against the disease, and her relationships with those closest to her. I don’t want to say too much about what happens on that journey as part of the beauty of this book was discovering that. 

I loved the author’s decision to blend prose and letters as it made this book all the more moving by helping me connect with Jess’s character on a deeper level. Jess was real to me and I was completely invested in her story.  As a mother, I couldn’t help putting myself in her place and my children in Edie’s, and this was not only devastating, but gave me an admiration for the strength she possesses and dignity with which she carries herself. But I also liked that she had many layers and flaws, which only endeared her to me. I felt quite maternal towards Jess and while writing this I realise I’m probably about the age her mother is in the story, so that makes sense. I wanted to reach through the pages to comfort her and tell her how amazing she is and spent the whole book hoping for a happy ending for this young girl. 

This isn’t a book that shouts from the rooftops and makes your heart race. It is one that has a more soft and subtle allure and draws you in with the feeling that radiates from its pages. I anticipated an emotional novel but I was not expecting to be so moved that I had to read the last part of it with tears streaming down my cheeks or feel so ravaged when the story ended. 

What I want you to know is that I highly recommend this book. Just make sure to have the tissues handy and be prepared for possibly finding a new must read author – just like I have. 

Finally, I want to address the author herself: Laura, I am in awe of your bravery and strength in writing this novel. You are an exceptional writer and inspirational woman. You not only conveyed Jess’s feelings so acutely that they lept off the page, but you did the same with every single character. The pain, grief, anger and regret was palpable and made me a wreck as I read it. I will never forget this story or the way it made me feel. Thank you for writing it and sharing it with the world. 

Publication date October 3rd. 

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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, and tries to work out how to raise her two children.

I Wanted You To Know (Final eBook)

Blog Tour Review: ‘The Woman Upstairs’ by Ruth Heald ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Today is my stop on the blog tour for Ruth Heald’s new thriller and it’s a good one! This was my first read by this author but I can’t wait to read more after this. 

Thank you to Bookoture for my invitation to take part in the blog tour and to NetGalley, Bookoture and Ruth Heald for my eBook ARC in exchange for my honest review. 

SYNOPSIS:

You’d be lost without her..

She’s the shoulder you cry on when the father of your children disappears.

She’s the person you turn to when he comes back, begging for forgiveness.

She’s by your side when you discover his guilty secrets.

She helps you rock your babies to sleep when they cry.

She’s your friend when you have no one else.

She’s the woman upstairs, whose feet you hear treading around as you drift off at night, thankful you aren’t alone.

But what if you’re about to lose everything because of her?

One of the most twisted, heart-stopping psychological thrillers you’ll ever read! Fans of K.L. Slater, The Wife Between Us and The Girl on the Train, prepared to be kept up past your bedtime as you race through this addictive page-turner.

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MY REVIEW:

I devoured this unputdownable novel in under a day. The author had me hooked and I was quickly invested in the lives of Katie and her twins. I was up until the early hours of the morning, unable to stop reading until I knew how things worked out for them.

This is a book full of twists and it seemed every time I caught my breath from one twist another was revealed. There was an undercurrent of danger and foreboding that had me on tenterhooks the whole time, and the unreliable characters meant I couldn’t trust anything I thought I knew. 

Katie is vulnerable, isolated, and her whole world is turning upside down. The upheaval and confusion of new motherhood, sleep deprivation and an unreliable partner mean it’s hard for her to know if she’s really seeing what is happening clearly, therefore making it easy to gaslight or manipulate her. At times I liked her but her dimwittedness did begin to grate after a while. I did find it hard to accept she could be so trusting of someone she didn’t really know even though her past gave clues as to how that could happen. To  me it was so obvious how unstable and shady Paula was that I wanted to scream at her for handing over her defenseless children to her. I would also feel frustrated at how she let everyone walk all over her and I was internally begging her to stand up for herself many times. She needed to find her mama bear and fight.

Paula was a great character. Though she seems kind and like she just wants to help, there is something a bit off about her from the start. She was clearly troubled and I Katie could someone like her so blindly, however desperate she is. It isn’t long before we see the extent of her calculated, controlling, manipulative and nefarious character. I feared for Katie and her children. 

The story is told in dual timelines and the flashbacks to a frightened, unknown child, were heartbreaking and chilling. My ideas about who this child was changed many times over the course of the book but it was written so well that I was always second guessing myself right up until the last moment.  

The Woman Upstairs is a crazy, disturbing and gripping psychological thriller. I was never sure who we could trust and completely unprepared for the shocking finale. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys this genre.

Available now.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Ruth Heald is a psychological thriller writer from a suburban Buckinghamshire town. She studied Economics at Oxford and then worked in an eclectic mics of sections from nuclear decommissioning to management consulting. 

Seeking a more creative environment, she found a role at the BBC and worked there for nine years before leaving to write full time. Ruth is fascinated by psychology and finding out what drives people to violence, destruction and revenge. She’s married with one daughter and her novels explore our greatest fears in otherwise ordinary, domestic lives.

Social Media Links: 

Website:  www.rjheald.com

Twitter:  @RJ_Heald.   https://twitter.com/RJ_Heald

The Woman Upstairs - Blog Tour

Review: ‘The Bad Place’ by M.K. Hill ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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SYNOPSIS:

The newspapers called it The Bad Place. A remote farm out on the Thames estuary, where six children were held captive for two weeks. Five of them got out alive.

That was twenty years ago. Now adults, they meet up annually to hold a vigil for their friend who died. The only rule is that no-one can talk about what happened the night they escaped. But at this year’s event, one of them witnesses a kidnapping. A young girl, Sammi, is bundled into a van in front of their eyes.

DI Sasha Dawson, of Essex Police, is certain that the key to finding Sammi lies in finding out the truth about The Bad Place. But she also knows that with every second she spends trying to unlock the past, the clock ticks down for the missing girl.

Is history repeating itself? Is one of the five responsible? Or is someone sending them a twisted message? 

MY REVIEW :

Anyone who’s been following my reviews for a while knows that I love a good crime series. Well, my friends, it seems I have found another to add to the growing list. This was the first time I’d read a book by this author but the premise gave me chills, and the endorsement from Mark Edwards made me sure I could trust that this would be a great read. I wasn’t wrong.

The book opens on the thirteenth day of an abduction. This is also the day that five of the children held captive escape and there’s a showdown between the police and the kidnapper as they try and prevent a disastrous end. They aren’t successful. We then jump forward to twenty-six years later when the survivors are holding their annual get together to commemorate their lost friend. But when the final member of their party arrives shaken claiming to have witnessed a young girl being snatched on the street, the group are descended into a nightmare that they have tried to put behind them and secrets that have been kept for almost three decades threaten to finally be revealed.

This was a captivating and thrilling read. Like the police investigating, I was met with question upon question, and I was over half way through the book before I could begin to conceive who might have taken the children or what might happen next. The story is told in dual timelines with the flashbacks to The Bad Place all those years ago providing insights. It was clear from early on that one of them hasn’t told the whole story about her time at The Bad Place and would rather try to forget the unspeakable things that happened. All the same, I didn’t initially consider any of the survivors of being involved in the latest abductions, though as the evidence was uncovered there were times I did wonder if one or more of them were involved in some way.

All of the survivors are featured in the story but Karin is the one focused on most, and the one who narrates the flashbacks. It was her best friend Bex who was killed that fateful night and she’s haunted by it to this day. She’s the one who hosts their yearly vigils and seems to have a maternal role towards some of the others. I thought they were all well written and the author found different ways to show the lasting damage they’d all suffered after their abduction, some of which are very subtle. Their bond seems to be kind of toxic but comforting at the same time and as much as they talk about never meeting again none of them seem able to stay away from each other completely.

This introduction to DI Sasha Dawson had me hooked. She is a flawed character who is committed to her job and dealing with a home life that is falling apart. She desperately wants to put her marriage back together and find her closeness with her children again, but that isn’t easy when you have a job that demands so much of your time and energy. All through the book she’s battling this problem and I was rooting for her to find a way to put her family back together as much as I was for her to save the missing kids. Her team members were made up of some interesting characters that I also enjoyed reading and I’m looking forward to reading more about Sasha and her team in future installments of this series.

As I said, I found it very hard to figure out this book and that made me love it all the more. I love when I feel like I’m in the same boat as the police and the pieces very slowly come together. As we got closer to the end of the book it was impossible to stop reading as everything reached a crescendo. When the identity of the kidnapper was revealed I was blindsided. I had the wrong person in my sights and the author did a fantastic job of misdirecting me so I didn’t see it coming at all.

If you’re a fan of brilliantly written, twisty, edge-of-your-seat thrillers, then you will love The Bad Place. I know this author has a new fan and I am eagerly anticipating book two.

Thank you to NetGalley, Head of Zeus and M.K. Hill for my copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Out now from your favourite bookseller.

Blog Tour Review: ‘The Sleepover’ by Carol Wyer ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5

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Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Sleepover, the gripping fourth installment in the Detective Natalie Ward series. Thank you to Bookoture for my invitation to take part in the blog tour, and NetGalley, Bookoture and Carol Wyer for the eBook ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

SYNOPSIS:

Roxy had a secret. Now she’s gone.

When fourteen-year-old Roxy says she’s going for a sleepover at her best friend Ellie’s house, Cathy sees no reason to check her daughter’s story. The two families are neighbours, and the girls  are in and out of each other’s homes every day.

It’s a decision she will regret. A day later, Roxy is found murdered in exclusive Linnet Lane, miles across town, in a house owned by two brothers with no apparent connection to Roxy. Detective Natalie Ward, called to lead the investigation, is determined to get to the bottom of why Roxy was in the basement of this grand Victorian mansion when she should have been eating chocolate in her pyjamas with her best friend. 

As Natalie begins to look closely at Roxy’s stepfather and three brothers, she discovers that Roxy had recently been admitted to hospital with suspicious injuries. Her mother Cathy seems very jumpy, and Ellie refuses to talk. Who are the people that knew Roxy best in the world protecting?

Then Roxy’s mother Cathy disappears.

When Cathy’s body is discovered close to where her daughter was found, Natalie is forced to face the grim fact that the killer is just getting started. She is troubled by the reaction of Roxy’s brother Seth to the tragedies and when his alibi falls through she brings him in for questioning, certain she is making headway.

But while Seth is in custody, one of Roxy’s school friends is found murdered and Natalie knows she must cast her net wider. Things take a more sinister turn when Ellie vanishes, her mobile phone switched off. What is Ellie hiding about the night Roxy died that could put her in terrible danger? And can Natalie figure it out before another innocent life is taken?

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MY REVIEW:

Carol you’ve done it again! The Sleepover is an absorbing, riveting and twisty thriller that had me in it’s grip from the first page, was difficult to predict, and impossible to put down. 

Fourteen-year-old Roxy tells her Mum she’s going to her friend’s house for a sleepover but the next day her body is found in the charred remains of a house fire in an area nowhere near where she was supposed to be and owned by people she didn’t know. Detective Natalie Ward and her team are called to investigate the mystery but her devastated family and friends have no answers, neither do Gavin and Kirk Lang, the owners of the house she was found in. 

As they get deeper into the investigation they seem to find more questions than answers. There are numerous suspects in the arson but there is little in the way of evidence connecting anyone to the crime, or Roxy to the Lang brothers, and Natalie is left feeling angry and frustrated when she’s sure that everyone involved is lying to her and holding back important information. 

When Roxy’s mother Cathy is found murdered the investigation takes on a greater urgency as it seems whoever killed her daughter is targeting those who know about their actions. But everytime the team think they have a clear suspect, something else comes to light that seems to point in another direction. Can Natalie and her team find the killer before they strike again?

There were so many suspects that it was impossible to figure out who the killer was, which is something the author is a master at doing in her books. As soon as I’d made up my mind it was one person, I would change my mind and think someone else! There was one person I didn’t trust from the start and was the person I couldn’t shake my bad feelings about. I don’t want to name them or say if I was right because either one could spoil it for other readers. 

The Sleepover is the fourth book in the fantastic Detective Natalie Ward series and each book feels like connecting again with old friends for me. In this book, Natalie and her husband David are still barely speaking two months after their daughter, Leigh ran away from home. Natalie is increasingly unhappy in her marriage,  David is struggling with his gambling addiction and a lack of self confidence as he still can’t find work, their eldest child Josh is acting strangely and increasingly aloof, and they are still having difficulties with Leigh. All of this is distracting Natalie but at the same time she uses the case to try and take her mind off things and avoid spending time at home with her husband. In this installment we are teased with information as to why Natalie’s relationship with her estranged sister ended and why she finds it so hard to forgive David’s lies. I’m getting desperate to know the full story about Francis though. Please tell me we’ll find out soon Carol! 

This book was full of complex, morally ambiguous characters which I absolutely loved. None of us are one dimensional and finding the humanity and empathy in someone unlikeable or “evil” is fascinating to me. The Curtis family, who are the main focus of this book, were so well written and each of them were a mix of victim and villain in their own way. It is a testament to the author’s talent that despite all of this I never lost any sympathy for them in what they went through, and hoped that the surviving members would be proven blameless. I felt like the kids in particular were trapped in a toxic cycle and if they could just break free of it they’d have a chance to be better people. The Lang brothers were the perfect villains. Despite their house being burned down I never felt any real sympathy for them and actually wanted them to be proven guilty. They were such shady characters and I really liked that we were given these characters to dislike while the evidence didn’t always seem to point in their direction. 

So if you like police procedurals and crime fiction then this book, and series, are for you. The Sleepover is a gripping and readable thriller that keeps you guessing right until the sensational conclusion. Now I’ve just got to not-so-patiently wait for book 5….

Available now from your favourite bookseller.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Carol Wyer is an award-winning author and stand up comedian who writes feel-good comedies and gripping thrillers.

Her book, GRUMPY OLD MENOPAUSE won The People’s Book Prize Award for non-fiction 2015.

Carol moved to the ‘dark side’ in 2017 with as series of thrillers. LITTLE GIRL LOST became the #2 best-selling book on Amazon, #9 best-selling audiobook on Audible and a Top 150 USA Today best-seller.

The DI Robyn Carter and DI Natalie Ward series have sold over half a million copies, earning her acclaim as a crime writer.

2019 sees the release of two romantic comedies and three DI Natalie Ward novels, including the much anticipated THE DARE and THE SLEEPOVER.

Carol has been interviewed on numerous radio shows discussing ‘Irritable Male Syndromeand Ageing Disgracefully and on BBC Breakfast television. She has had articles published in national magazines ‘Woman’s Weekly’ featured in ‘Take A Break’, ‘Choice’, ‘Yours’ and ‘Woman’s Own’ magazines and the Huffington Post.

To learn more about Carol, go to www.carolwyer.co.uk or follow Carol on Twitter: @carolewyer. 

Carol also blogs at www.carolwyer.com

The Sleepover - Blog Tour

Blog Tour Review: ‘Date Night’ by Samantha Hayes ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5

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Today is my stop on the blog tour for this gripping psychological thriller. 

SYNOPSIS:

Returning early from a disastrous date night with my husband, I know something is wrong the moment the wheels crunch the gravel of our home. Inside, the TV is on and a half-eaten meal waits on the table. My heart stops when I find out little girl alone in the house and our babysitter, Sasha, is missing…

Days later, when I’m arrested for Sasha’s murder and torn away from my perfect little family, I’ll wish I had told someone about the threatening note I received that morning.

I’ll hate myself for not finding out who the gift hidden inside my husband’s wardrobe was for.

I’ll scream from the rooftops that I’m innocent – but no one will listen.

I’ll realise I was completely wrong about everything that happened that night…

But will you believe me?

Twisted and absolutely unputdownable, Date Night exposes what goes on behind the closed doors of a happy home and the dangerous truths we ignore to protect the ones we love. Perfect reading for anyone totally gripped by The Wife Between Us, Friend Request or Gone Girl.

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MY REVIEW:

Never in a million years did I see the way this fast paced, taut and twisty whodunit would unfold or its shocking conclusion. 

It starts with a note on Libby Randell’s car one icy autumn morning, telling her that her husband Sean is having an affair. She doesn’t want to believe it and tries to put it out of her mind as a malicious note or a sick prank, but she can’t shake the unease and suspicion that’s been unearthed. After weeks of denials, arguments and mistrust the couple decide to have date night as a way to get back on track. But it’s a disaster and after having the same old argument the pair arrive home early finding the TV on and their babysitter, Sasha, missing. Sasha is dependable, she’s Libby’s employee and friend as well as their babysitter, and Libby knows she wouldn’t just up and leave their daughter Alice alone and all her things behind. Something is terribly wrong…

Libby is a mess. She can’t think straight, can’t work and can’t stop worrying about Sasha. She’s also still convinced that Sean is having an affair. Sean tells her she has to get back to normality, not to worry and to trust him like she’s always done and it will be ok. But then Libby is arrested for Sasha’s murder. She vehemently denies any knowledge of her death or whereabouts but the police seem convinced she’s holding something back. Is Libby hiding something? Could Sean be hiding more than another woman? Or could someone else be to blame? 

This addictive mystery kept me guessing from the first page until the last. I could never decide what I thought had happened to Sasha, who was to blame or if I thought Libby or Sean were involved. I had a number of theories and not one of them came close to any of the bombshells the author dropped. 

The story is told in dual timelines, both of which are narrated by Libby. Libby was an unreliable narrator and I often felt like she was leaving things out, though I didn’t think it was deliberate some of the time. These things, alongside opening with her arrest, meant I was never quite sure if I could trust her despite her proclamations of innocence. She is a woman who has everything she’s ever wanted and her world is rocked when she receives the note about Sean. After that she becomes almost obsessed with the idea that he’s cheating, and most of his responses to her are far from helpful or reassuring. I found her easy to empathise with and relate to, particularly as the true nature of Sean’s character became clearer. 

I hated Sean. From the start he seemed unconcerned with allaying Libby’s fears and instead is angry in a way that seems over the top and that’s used to divert from actually talking about the issues.Though initially you don’t imagine it, he does become a great villain as over time his abusive personality and the way he gaslights Libby becomes more apparent. I won’t say more about it as it would mean giving away spoilers, but I will say that I was definitely rooting the Libby to leave him or for him to be guilty and sent to jail. 

One of the best parts about this book was the quality of the writing. Her vivid and imaginative descriptions brought the scenery to life and made me feel like I was seeing and feeling what Libby did. The author created a tense atmosphere full of mystery that made me want to not put this book down. Even when I was near the end I still couldn’t decide what the outcome would be, which is something I love in a book.

 Date Night is a fantastic, tense thriller full of twists and turns and with a jaw-dropping finale that left me reeling. The more I read of Samantha Hayes work, the more I love her and she is definitely a must-read author for me now. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys this genre. 

Thank you to NetGalley, Bookoture and Samantha Hayes for the chance to read this novel in exchange for my honest review and to Noelle Holten for my invitation to take part in the blog tour.

NEW Samantha Hayes author photo

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Samantha Hayes grew up in Warwickshire, left school at sixteen, avoided university and took jobs ranging from private detective to barmaid to fruit picker and factory worker. She lived on a kibbutz, and spent time living in Australia and the USA, before finally becoming a crime-writer. 

Her writing career began when she won a short story competition in 2003. Her novels are family-based psychological thrillers, with the emphasis being on ‘real life fiction’. She focuses on current issues and sets out to make her readers ask, ‘What if this happened to me or my family?’ 

To find out more, visit her website www.samanthahayes.co.uk

Or connect with Samantha on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SamanthaHayesAuthor

And she’s on Twitter @samhayes

Date Night - Blog Tour