Thursday, 21 March 2019

BLOG TOUR ~ A Gift For Dying by M.J. Arlidge

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for A Gift For Dying by M.J. Arlidge where I have a review of M.J.'s latest novel. I was thrilled to be asked by Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers who organised this tour in conjunction with Angela McMahon, Penguin UK and Michael Joseph to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of this review so without further ado, here it is:

A Gift For Dying is set in Chicago (where I'd love to visit one day), we are introduced to Adam Brandt, a forensic psychologist who is well used to dealing with the most damaged members of society. Adam seems to have it all, a beautiful home, a wife and a baby on the way, he has the perfect life, that is until he meets Kassie and he's never met anyone like her before in his line of work.

Kassie is a troubled teenager who claims to have a terrible gift - with one look into your eyes, she can see when and how you will die. Adam knows Kassie must be insane. But then a serial killer hits the city and only Kassie seems to know where he'll strike next, against all his suspicions Adam starts to believe her but he just doesn't realise how deadly his faith might prove. Then when Kassie accidentally bumps into someone on the street and “sees” their fast approaching murder she tries to intervene but this only brings her to the attention and under suspicion with the police.

I'm a huge fan of MJ Arlidge's writing when I was recommended to read his first novel in the DI Helen Grace series, Eeny Meeny which I absolutely adored and from there I quickly started to love the books I've read so far in the series (I've a few more to read) but besides that I was delighted to hear the there was another new novel coming out and that it was a stand alone novel too. The serial killer/sociopath character was absolutely brilliant, very well written and cleverly constructed. They were everything you'd expect with a sociopath - cold, calculating, manipulating and has no regard for anyone's feelings or who they hurt on their path of destruction.

I enjoyed this novel immensely, it was absolutely brilliant, very gorey in parts so you may need a strong stomach and remember to breathe also but this is what makes the novel. At times, I could feel I was right there with the victims and I will admit that I found parts of the story hard to read and in places it made my skin crawl but it definitely didn't disappoint. It was a spine-chilling , pulse pounding, heart thumping rollercoaster ride. I know that his book will stick in my memory longer than most because of the subject matter that was involved and especially that ending which I definitely wasn't expecting either. I am really looking forward to MJ's next book already where I'm hoping it won't be too long until another novel regardless of whether it's the next DI Grace in the series or another stand-alone is upon us.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.




Thursday, 14 March 2019

BLOG TOUR ~ Keep Her Close by M.J. Ford

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Keep Her Close by M.J. Ford where I've an exclusive extract from his latest novel. I was thrilled to be asked by Sabah Khan from Avon Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the review so without further ado, here it is:

‘It’s a beautiful house,’ said the young woman.
‘Oh – it’s not mine,’ said Jo quickly, as they walked inside. ‘My brother’s on holiday.’ She let the estate agent past as well, then turned to go. ‘I’ll leave you to it?’
‘Do you have to rush off?’ he said. ‘I’m sure Mr and Mrs Daley might have some questions.’
‘Oh . . . sure,’ said Jo, with little enthusiasm. She followed them in. The house was immaculate inside – Amelia had hired professional cleaners to keep on top of things while they rented in central Oxford. Most of the furniture had been moved out already. There’d never really been any question of them staying here, not after what had happened just a stone’s throw from the end of the back garden. The heating was on, but Jo resisted taking off her coat. The sooner she could be on her way again, the better.
‘I’ll take you upstairs first,’ said the estate agent. ‘Save the best parts until the end!’
Jo waited in the entrance hall while the estate agent led the Daleys to the first floor. She heard various exclamations of surprise and delight as they inspected the bedrooms, the family bathroom, and as they came downstairs, both were smiling. They checked the living room, the study, and the under-stairs cupboard before going to the kitchen.
‘Oh wow!’ said the woman. 

Jo drifted in behind them. From the slight tension in the estate agent’s face, Jo guessed he’d been fully briefed on the background to the marketing of The Rookery. The brutal murder of Detective Ben Coombs, not ten feet from where they all stood. The kidnapping of William Masters, her six-year-old nephew, from the upstairs bedroom by a psychopath. With a vague smile pasted across her features, Jo found her eyes drifting to the island, wondering if the cleaners had missed even the tiniest spot of blood. 



Friday, 8 March 2019

BLOG TOUR ~ If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman where I have a review of Hannah's latest novel. I was thrilled to be asked by Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers who organised this tour in conjunction with Orion Publishing to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of this review so without further ado, here it is:

Well, where do I start with this review? I finished this book about 4 days ago and I'm still unsure if I've got my words right to do this review but here goes....

Audrey's family has fallen apart. She has two grown-up daughters, Lily and Jess but there is one major problem, they are estranged and haven't really seen each other in over three decades. Jess and Lily also have two daughters between them and they have never been allowed to meet either. A huge secret has torn their family in two for over three decades but in another way it's also keeping them together. Audrey's final wish is for both her daughters to reconcile and heal the huge split in the family before it's too late but Audrey has a major secret she's been holding so tight to her chest from everyone including both her daughters for months but will she be able to hold it from them for long??

As tensions reach breaking point, the irrevocable choice that one of them made all those years ago is about to surface. After years of secrets and silence, how can one broken family find their way back to each other?

Well what a beautiful, emotional and thought provoking story, I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it. I went through so many emotions whilst reading it This story had it all from family, love, secrets, lies, guilt, betrayal, friendships and taking risks with more sensitive and hard-hitting issues running through the novel in the background which all intertwine that make this story. They were dealt with perfectly and it was well researched and written in a very sensitive and compassionate manner and by the time I was finished it, I was an emotional wreck, my heart strings were torn apart and I cried for most of the night when I thought about how it all panned out after finishing it.

It is a beautiful story with heart, courage and hope with one of the storylines in it that I do highly agree with and it needs to be talked about more often and hopefully if more people do, maybe things will change?? I don't want to say anymore as I don't want to give anything away by mistake other than go and buy this book and read it, you won't regret it but make sure that you've plenty of tissues.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

If Only I Could Tell You is available in all good bookshops, libraries and on audio and is also available in Kindle where it is currently £7.99 at the time of publication of this review.

Thursday, 28 February 2019

BLOG TOUR ~ Apple of My Eye by Claire Allan

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the final day of the Blog Tour for Apple of My Eye by Claire Allan where I've a review from her latest novel. I was thrilled to be asked by Sabah Khan from Avon Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else has taken part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the review so without further ado, here it is:

Just how far is a mother willing to go?

When a mysterious note arrives for six months pregnant senior staff nurse Eliana Hughes, she begins to doubt every aspect of her life – from her mixed feelings about motherhood to her marriage to Martin, who has become distant in recent months.

As the person behind the note escalates their campaign to out Eli’s husband as a cheat, she finds herself unable to trust even her own instincts, and as pressure builds, she makes a mistake that jeopardises her entire future.

Elsewhere, someone is watching. Someone who desperately wants a baby to call their own and will go to any lengths to become a mother – and stay a mother…

Well, what can I say? I didn't like this, I absolutely LOVED this book. It was fantastic, I gripped from the first few pages and I couldn't read the book fast enough to find out how it all panned out.  Eli is pregnant with her first child but also suffering from hyperemesis, feeling sick all the time and not able to keep much down and as if that's not bad enough she starts to receive notes to her job suggesting that her husband Martin, is cheating on her and that he shouldn't be trusted. Eli is a hospice nurse which is leaving her drained and tired and due to this she makes a mistake which could threaten her career and future.

It is told from three characters perspectives which was brilliant where each chapter alternated between them.  At times, you could feel the tension jumping out at you on every turning page.  It has many themes running through the book including loss, grief and the biggest one been controlling behaviour.

Claire Allan is well known for writing women's fiction for a  long time but with no disrespect to her novels, she has definitely found her calling as a Crime/Thriller writer.  This book theme reminded me of The Hand That Rocks The Cradle with a bit of Single White Female thrown into the mix with the tension that was created on every page.

Apple Of My Eye is Claire's second thriller novel which is available in all good bookshops, libraries, on audio and on Kindle where it is currently £2.99 so grab it while you can as you definitely won't be disappointed.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.



Wednesday, 20 February 2019

BLOG TOUR ~ The Four of Us by Áine Toner

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for The Four of Us by Áine Toner where I have a guest  piece on how Áine writes. I was thrilled to be asked by Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers who organised this tour in conjunction with Manatee Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of this review so without further ado, here it is:

How I Write

‘So you’ve said the end of May?’ my friend asked when I was telling her about the deadline for The Four of Us. It was the beginning of February.
‘I did,’ I said, utterly pleased with myself. May was ages away.
‘And you’ve written ten thousand words?’ she asked.
‘Yep.’ Again, I felt smug. That was also loads of words.
‘So you’ve three months to write about eighty thousand words?’ she said.
Reality set in. ‘Ah, yeah, sure that’s grand.’

I don’t want to repeat what my friend said but it wasn’t ‘That’ll be no bother to you because you are a seriously organised magazine editor and it’ll be wee buns.’
I am a seriously organised magazine editor but had I bitten off more than I could chew? The fact is: my writing schedule isn’t a truly efficient way of doing things. I wouldn’t recommend it but it works for me. 

I had the idea of The Four of Us in my head, and everything – and I do mean everything – hinged on one word that I’d written in my very fancy ‘I’m writing a book’ notebook. Good stationery is hugely important if you write mainly in longhand like I do. I feel comforted when I can see my handwriting/scrawl over lined pages. This one word was how I would develop the second half of the novel and it gave me reassurance whenever I had a slight panic about reaching the self-imposed deadline.

I figured if I wrote ten thousand words a week I’d have time to edit before sending in the first draft. Which sounded ok, but I also have a full-time job on a weekly magazine. In thirteen weeks, we’d have sent thirteen magazines to print as well as two events so the only way I could devote adequate time to both was not sleep or be smart about it.

Honestly, I think it was a mixture of both. I started writing during my lunchbreak in the office. We don’t often leave the office so, when possible, I wrote for 40-45 minutes hell for leather. I’d always leave a chapter hanging or a piece of conversation mid-sentence so I’d have something to go back to. Then, in the evening, I would finish up my lunchtime work and see how far I’d get. Some nights I’d write for an hour, some I would only manage 20 minutes. There was no point in beating myself up about it, it was my fault I was in this situation!

For the first draft, it was very much about getting it down on paper. The bonus of writing most of it via longhand was, when it came to collating the various bits of book, I could edit as I went along. I knew what I wanted to change for the most part so it was slightly more reassuring to feel the pressure ease off as I transcribed.

By the beginning of May I had a little over 90,000 words, 80 per cent of which was written in about eight weeks. It doesn’t work for everyone but I loved it, it made it exciting and real in a sense. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the panic style of writing but it did make me very much in the zone. Yes, I did change some plot lines during the edit but the story was there. Though I probably wouldn’t give myself such a tight deadline next time…



Friday, 1 February 2019

BLOG TOUR ~In Safe Hands by J.P. Carter

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for In Safe Hands by J.P. Carter where I've an extract from his latest novel. I was thrilled to be asked by Sabah Khan from Avon Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the review so without further ado, here it is:

They got to Peabody Street just minutes after the armed response team. Two squad cars had also just arrived and were being used to cordon off the road at both ends.
A uniformed officer waved them down and gestured for Walker to park against the kerb behind one of the ARVs.
Anna climbed out and flashed her warrant card, then hurried over to where the armed officers had gathered on the pavement in front of the nursery school. It was sandwiched between a three-storey block of flats and a church community centre. The small, red-brick building was set back behind a five-foot-high wall, and the front door stood half open. There were two cars parked on the forecourt, but no sign of life.
The armed officers – members of Scotland Yard’s specialist firearms command – were waiting behind the wall for the signal to go in. All six were kitted out in black helmets, visors and Kevlar body armour. They carried assault rifles and Glock 17 pistols.
Anna approached the team leader and was pleased to discover that they knew each other. Jason Fuller was a tall, middle-aged guy with craggy features and a strong jawline. Their paths had crossed more than a few times over the years.
‘I heard you were on your way,’ he said. ‘And I’m guessing you know about as much as I do.’
Anna nodded. ‘Four female staff members locked in a storeroom by three men who turned up armed with guns. It happened about forty minutes ago. And there were nine children here at the time who were apparently put into another room.’


Friday, 18 January 2019

BLOG TOUR ~ Only A Mother by Elisabeth Carpenter


Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Only A Mother by Elisabeth Carpenter where I have a review of Elisabeth's latest novel. I was thrilled to be asked by Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers who organised this tour in conjunction with Orion Publishing Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of this review so without further ado, here it is:


ONLY A MOTHER....COULD BELIEVE HIM....COULD BURY THE TRUTH....COULD FORGIVE WHAT HE HAS DONE

Erica Wright hasn't needed to scrub 'MURDERER' off her house in over a year. Life is almost quiet again. Then her son, Craig is released from prison and she know the quiet is going to be broken.

Erica has always believed Craig was innocent - despite the lies she told for him years ago - but when he arrives home, she notices the changes in him. She doesn't recognise her son anymore.

So, when another girl goes missing, she starts to question everything. But how can a mother turn her back on her son? And, if she won't, then how far will she go to protect him?

Well, what do I say only that I didn't like it, I LOVED it. I was gripped from the first few lines of the book right through to the end where I couldn't swipe the pages quick enough. Craig was 17 when he was jailed for the rape and murder of a young girl but Erica has always defended her son and that continued while he was in prison, no matter who it was who said anything, whether it be friends, neighbours or strangers in the street. Twenty years later Craig is released from prison, he is now 37, no longer a boy but a man and Erica still tries to treat him like the 17 year old he was and you can tell that Craig is not too happy about this, it's very hard not to feel sorry for Erica. My heart went out to her and on occasions I would've loved to have given her a hug.

Then when another girl goes missing, people start talking and the whispers start again but will Erica continue to stick by and defend her son or will she turn her back on him?  Well you'll just have to pick up a copy and find out as I don't want to say anymore incase I might unintentionally spoil it.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Only A Mother is available in all good bookshops, in libraries, on audio and on Kindle where it is currently £1.99 at the time of publication of this review.