Thursday, 29 June 2017

Exquisite by Sarah Stovell blog tour



BLURB

Bo Luxton has it all - a loving family, a beautiful home in the Lake District, and a clutch of bestselling books to her name. Enter Alice Dark, an aspiring writer who is drifting through life, with a series of dead-end jobs and a freeloading boyfriend. When they meet at a writers' retreat, the chemistry is instant, and a sinister relationship develops...

Or does it?

Breathlessly pacey, taut and terrifying, Exquisite is a startlingly original and unbalancing psychological thriller that will keep you guessing until the very last page.


MY THOUGHTS 

Wow, what can I say about Exquisite? Exquisite is Sarah Stovell’s debut novel. It definitely has to be up there among the best books I’ve read this year. Tense, and claustrophobic in places, Exquisite, I’m sure will be one of the biggest hits of the summer, if you’re a fan of psychological thrillers, this one needs to be on your reading list.
Bo Luxton is a famous writer who lives with her husband and two children in the Lake District. She has everything that a lot of people dream of. Enter Alice Dark. When Alice applies to go on a writing course that Bo is teaching she thinks she doesn’t stand a chance of being accepted. But when Bo reads her work she sees huge potential and offers Alice a place on the course free of charge. Alice is ecstatic. Here is someone who sees potential in her. But when she arrives at the course a serious friendship begins to develop between her and Bo which ultimately turns into something more and soon passion overrides friendship.
Exquisite is definitely one of those books that you don’t want to end. When you become so engrossed in the story and the characters you don’t want to turn the final page. The novel is told from the perspective of both women, and it was great to see each character painted in a different light through the different views of both characters. At different points in the novel we know that someone is in prison but we don’t know who. This is one of the main driving forces in the novel that keeps you guessing. What happens to these two women? Who ends up in prison?
Sarah also creates interesting back stories for her characters, particularly Bo. I don’t want to say too much about this as I don’t want to spoil the story for readers. There were times when I thought I knew where the novel was going, but I didn’t get anywhere close. Sarah delivers a really chilling ending.
Exquisite has to be one of the best books I’ve read this year. It has a captivating plot, storyline and characters that will keep you gripped. Five stars from me! Thank you to Anne Cater and Orenda books for sending me a copy to review. 
Publisher: Orenda 
Publication date: 15th June 2017
Print length: 250 pages
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Tuesday, 27 June 2017

The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker blog tour & giveaway



I'm thrilled to be joining The Fourth Monkey blog tour today. As part of the blog tour I am also hosting a giveaway. Check out my Twitter page, where I have three copies of the book to giveaway.

BLURB

Brilliant. Complicated. Psychopath.

That's the Four Monkey Killer or '4MK.' A murderer with a twisted vision and absolutely no mercy.

Detective Sam Porter has hunted him for five long years, the recipient of box after box of grisly trinkets carved from the bodies of 4MK's victims.

But now Porter has learnt the killer's twisted history and is racing to do the seemingly impossible - find 4MK's latest victim before it's too late...


MY THOUGHTS

I was lucky enough to read an early copy of The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker. I tend not to read too much American crime; I do read a lot of British detective series, however. But The Fourth Monkey may have just changed that. The Fourth Monkey is terrifying, creepy and surprisingly funny in places, a real corker of a read and one that I highly recommend to thriller fans.

The police in Chicago are hunting a dangerous criminal who has been killing people for a decade and has so far evaded justice. And now they may have had a breakthrough, I don't want to say too much about what happens from this point as I don't want to spoil it for readers but what follows is a tense, gripping read that will keep you reading well into the night.

The serial killer in this book is very twisted and there are some gruesome scenes, it isn't for the faint hearted, particularly if you don't like rats. I also thought that some of the ideas in this book were very original, I really liked the fact that there was a lot of dialogue, particularly in the scenes featuring the detectives working on the case as this added a lot of insight into their character. I also really liked the diary extracts and the voice the author gave the Four Monkey killer felt very authentic, the author drew me into his murky world.

This is the first novel by J.D. Barker which I have read and I will definitely more from him in the future. The writing is pacy and it didn't take me long to finish. The final scenes in this novel are explosive and I felt that it came to a satisfying conclusion. I'm sure that a lot of people will be talking about this book over the summer. Thank you to Lucy Richardson at Harper Collins and Netgalley for providing me with a copy to read.

Publisher: HQ

Publication date: 27th June 2017

Print length: 480 pages

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Monday, 26 June 2017

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins book review



BLURB

In the last days before her death, Nel called her sister. Jules didn't pick up the phone, ignoring her plea for help.

Now Nel is dead. They say she jumped. And Jules has been dragged back to the one place she hoped she had escaped for good, to care for the teenage girl her sister left behind.

But Jules is afraid. So afraid. Of her long-buried memories, of the old Mill House, of knowing that Nel would never have jumped.

And most of all she's afraid of the water, and the place they call the Drowning Pool . . .


MY THOUGHTS


I finally got round to reading Into the Water by Paula Hawkins at the weekend and I had it finished in just a couple of days. A lot of people will be hoping for another Girl on the Train when they read this, Into the Water isn’t The Girl on the Train but what it does have is that same addictive quality, I have been gripped by both of Paula’s books and I can’t wait to read more from her.

In the beginning we learn that Nel Abbott has died, her body has been found in the river which has defined the village of Beckford over the years; wherever you go in the town you always appear to find yourself close to the waters edge. The river was once used for drowning women accused of witchcraft in the middle ages. But Nel Abbott isn’t the first person who has been found dead in the water in recent years. In the final days prior to her death, Nel has been desperately trying to reach her sister Jules, who has been ignoring her calls. Now Jules feels guilty that she didn't do more to help her sister, what was it that Nel was so desperate to talk to her about? Could Jules have prevented her death?

Into the Water is a novel that you do have to concentrate on when you’re reading it. It can be hard trying to keep up with all the different narratives. But once you get into the story, you soon get to realise who all the characters are and I found every one of them engaging. 

I really liked how Paula keeps you guessing throughout the story and there were some surprising twists and turns, I liked getting to know all the different characters, I think my favourites would have to be Lena and Jules, it was interesting to see how their relationship developed in the wake of Lena’s mother’s death as a lot of tensions in their household ran high.

Outstanding writing from Paula Hawkins and a very enjoyable read.  


Publisher: Doubleday 

Publication date: 2nd May 2017

Print length: 368 pages

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Don't Close Your Eyes by Holly Seddon Book Review



BLURB

Robin and Sarah weren't the closest of twins. They weren't even that similar. But they loved each other dearly. Until, in the cruellest of domestic twists, they were taken from one another.

Now, in her early 30s, Robin lives alone. Agoraphobic and suffering from panic attacks, she spends her days pacing the rooms of her house. The rest of the time she watches - watches the street, the houses, the neighbours. Until one day, she sees something she shouldn't...

And Sarah? Sarah got what she wanted - the good-looking man, the beautiful baby, the perfect home. But she's just been accused of the most terrible thing of all. She can't be around her new family until she has come to terms with something that happened a long time ago. And to do that, she needs to track down her twin sister.

But Sarah isn't the only person looking for Robin. As their paths intersect, something dangerous is set in motion, leading Robin and Sarah to fight for much more than their relationship...

MY THOUGHTS


Don’t Close Your Eyes is the much anticipated second novel by Holly Seddon. If you’re going to start reading this one, you’re going to have to make sure that you don’t have any plans for the rest of the day, it’ll grab you from the first page and you literally won’t be able to put it down until you have finished, prepare to be hooked by Holly.

In Don’t Close Your Eyes we meet Robin and Sarah, twins who are both still reeling from something terrible that happened in their past. Robin never leaves the house. She is suffering from a severe case of agoraphobia and won’t even answer the door when someone has a delivery for her. Sarah is distraught after being separated from her partner Jim and her daughter, Violet, she is determined to do whatever it takes to get them back, but she needs to find her sister to help her. The only problem is she hasn’t seen or spoken to her sister in years. How can she possibly find her?

The novel is told across two timelines, when Robin and Sarah are both younger and living with their parents in the late eighties and early nineties and in the present day. I loved how Holly peeled back their relationship in this book and how she revealed what really happened in their past which made for some shocking revelations. The plotting and writing were exceptional and I really liked how Holly drew everything together in the end, some thrillers can feel a little rushed towards the end but I didn’t get that feeling here, everything fell into place. I think I have discovered a new favourite author.

This book is definitely up there with some of the best books I have read this year. Highly recommended. Thank you to Kate Straker at Corvus books for sending me a copy to review.

Publisher: Corvus

Publication date: 6th July 2017

Print length: 336 pages

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Thursday, 22 June 2017

The Man Who Played Trains Book Review



BLURB

Mining engineer John Spargo is distraught when his mother is attacked in her home and later dies of her injuries. Her home has been ransacked. Determined to track down her killer and discover the truth behind her death, John finds a connection between his late father's wartime mine and the wreck of a U-Boat captain and a wartime mission to spirit Goring to safety along with a fortune of stolen art. When John's daughter Jez is kidnapped, he is contacted by a mysterious consortium her life hangs in the balance unless he can find the stolen art. What is the link with his father's abandoned mine? Who was the U-Boat captain? Did he survive and hide Goring's treasures? John races against time to discover the truth...and in doing so may unearth secrets that were better left buried...

MY THOUGHTS


The Man Who Played Trains is the gripping new novel from Richard Whittle. If you’re a fan of crime and if you’re interested in the Second World War I would definitely recommend this book.

The novel is told across two timelines, in the present day and towards the tail end of World War Two. In the beginning of the novel we meet John Spargo whose mother has just died after a horrific attack leaving Spargo distraught. Whilst searching his mother’s property he uncovers a collection of old journals written in German and he wonders if the journals have a connection to what happened to his mother. We also encounter Theodore Volker in Germany, a German U-boat captain in the Second World War. Theodore is desperately trying to reach his son who is living with his grandparents. On his journey he is reunited with an old friend of his and is soon caught up in a dangerous situation which he has little control of.

I felt as though I really connected with the characters in this book. I found Theodore’s story slightly more interesting than John’s at first but towards the end of the book, John’s story picks up pace, especially when his daughter Jez is kidnapped. I really wanted Theodore to be reunited with his son and I liked how Richard built up tension in his story as he made the journey there, particularly when he met up with his old friend. There were some surprising twists in this book which I didn’t see coming.

I really liked how Richard pulled the two timelines together in this very intricate and intelligently plotted plot. A really enjoyable read, thank you to Richard for sending me a copy to review. 

Publisher: Urbane Publications

Print length: 480 pages

Publication date: 25th May 2017

That One May Smile by Valerie Keogh blog tour

That One May Smile: A Garda West Novel (Garda West Crime Novels Book 1) by [Keogh, Valerie]

I'm delighted to be taking part in That One May Smile blog tour today with a review:

BLURB

When Kelly Johnson's husband disappears, her perfect world in the Foxrock suburb of Dublin falls apart. Then she stumbles on a dead body in the graveyard behind her house.

A coincidence? Garda Sergeant Mike West thinks so until he finds a link between the dead body and Kelly's missing husband.

And then to add to the problem, Kelly disappears.


MY THOUGHTS


That One May Smile is the first book in the Garda West Crime Novels by Valerie Keogh. I really enjoyed reading this book, Valerie has created a cast of intriguing characters and a mystery that will keep you guessing until the final page. This series is definitely one to watch.

Kelly Johnson has lived the past three months in limbo. Her husband has disappeared and Kelly is still trying to piece together what happened to him. When she finally finds the courage to leave her home, she stumbles across a dead body in the graveyard at her local church. Shaken by the discovery Kelly now finds herself entangled in a new police investigation and there are plenty of people who don’t trust her side of the story. Is the discovery of the dead body somehow linked to the disappearance of her husband? Does she know more than she is letting on? 

I really liked the characters in this book. Kelly was engaging, especially as she searched for husband and fought to find answers about what had happened to him. She faces a lot of problems in this book and I was rooting for her the whole way. I enjoyed the scenes that featured her and Sergeant Mike West. I felt as though there was a hint that something could happen between them, especially as Mike appeared to be quite struck by Kelly.

What I liked about this book is that it didn’t get over complicated as some crime novels sometime do. It made for a nice, easy read that can definitely be read in one sitting and there weren’t too many characters to keep track of.

That One May Smile was a really enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to reading more from Valerie, thank you to Thick As Thieves Book Publicity & Promo Services for providing me with a copy of the book to read.

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Friday, 16 June 2017

Sweet After Death by Valentina Giambanco blog tour



Today I'm thrilled to be taking part in the Sweet After Death blog tour, the fourth book in the Alice Madison series.

ABOUT THE BOOK 

In the dead of winter Homicide Detective Alice Madison is sent to the remote town of Ludlow, Washington, to investigate an unspeakable crime.

Together with her partner Detective Sergeant Kevin Brown and crime scene investigator Amy Sorensen, Madison must first understand the killer's motives...but the dark mountains that surround Ludlow know how to keep their secrets and that the human heart is wilder than any beasts.

As the killer strikes again Madison and her team are under siege. And as they become targets Madison realises that in the freezing woods around the pretty town a cunning evil has been waiting for her.


MY THOUGHTS


Sweet After Death is the fourth book in the Alice Madison series by Valentina Giambanco. It is a heart stopping crime novel that will have you hooked from the first page. A thoroughly enjoyable read which I highly recommend, I will definitely be going back to read the previous books in the series.

In the latest installment in the series, Madison and her colleagues, Detective Sergeant Kevin Brown and crime scene investigator Amy Sorensen are called to help out in an investigation into a crime which took place in the small town of Ludlow near the Canadian border. Ludlow is a seemingly peaceful town with little more than a few hundred residents. It is a close knit community where everyone knows everyone and everyone knows everything about what people get up to. When the local doctor is found dead in his car, the shocking discovery leaves the town reeling. How could such a thing happen here? Madison would like to think that this is just a one off, isolated incident but soon the town realises that the events which started with the doctor’s death is just the beginning.

I loved the setting of the small town in this book. Valentina creates a mysterious, creepy atmosphere and I could picture the mountains and the forests surrounding the town very clearly. I really engaged with Madison’s character in this book. We learn a lot about Madison in Sweet After Death, particularly about her childhood. I found all of the characters in this book really engaging, one character in particular, Samuel, Valentina made me care about him and I wanted to know what would become of him and his family.

I was intrigued to see how the team dynamics would play out once Madison and her team arrived in Ludlow. I’ve heard it said before that police forces typically like working on their own in an investigation and do not like having to go to outsiders to help. It made me wonder if there would be any animosity between Madison’s team and the police department at Ludlow.

Valentina has created an intriguing mystery in her latest book. The close knit town of Ludlow has to come to terms with what has happened in their supposedly safe neighbourhood. The one fact that is on everyone’s mind is that the killer could be one of them. Who do you know who to trust?

A terrific book, thank you to Alainna Georgiou at Quercus for providing me with a copy to read and for organising the blog tour. 


Publisher: Quercus 

Publication date: 15th June 2017

Print length: 496 pages



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