Genre: Thriller

BOOK TOUR: Double or Nothing

Posted September 16, 2022 by louisesr in Review, Tour / 1 Comment

BOOK TOUR: Double or Nothing

BOOK TOUR: Double or NothingDouble or Nothing by Kim Sherwood
Published by HarperCollins on September 1, 2022
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 432
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
four-stars

James Bond is missing. 007 has been captured, perhaps even killed, by a sinister private military company. His whereabouts are unknown. Meet the new generation of spies...

Johanna Harwood, 003. Joseph Dryden, 004. Sid Bashir, 009. Together, they represent the very best and brightest of MI6. Skilled, determined and with a licence to kill, they will do anything to protect their country.

The fate of the world rests in their hands...

Tech billionaire Sir Bertram Paradise claims he can reverse the climate crisis and save the planet. But can he really? The new spies must uncover the truth, because the future of humanity hangs in the balance.

Time is running out. The start of a brand new trilogy following MI6’s agents with a licence to kill, that blows the world of James Bond wide open!

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This is the start of a new trilogy based on the James Bond novels. Unlike the Anthony Horowitz novel which I read earlier this year, this is more of a spin off series, rather than a continuation of the Bond novels. , Bond isn’t actually present in this novel but, he is constantly referenced. He has gone missing and the focus is now on 3 newer MI6 agents Johanna Harwood 003, Joseph Dryden 004 and Sid Bashir 009. I can’t help thinking about the film franchise and how there’s constant speculation about who should play Bond next – should they be a POC, should they be female etc. They’d do well to learn from this and have Bond being Bond and introducing new characters which break from the white male stereotype.

Some of the characters – M, Q, Moneypenny and Felix, who we’ve come to know and love over the years are still around, although, not in exactly the same format as in previous years/books.

The opening of this book got straight into the action, introducing new characters and setting us up for the rest of the novel. There are times when it isn’t as fast paced as I’d have liked but we have twists and turns throughout and the focus on climate change makes this a very modern version of a classic series.

four-stars
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Review: A Faint Cold Fear by Karin Slaughter

Posted September 15, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

A Faint Cold Fear by Karin Slaughter
Published by Random House on September 13, 2022
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 464
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Goodreads
four-stars

Unnerving, unrelenting, unputdownable.

Sara Linton, medical examiner in the small town of Heartsdale, is called out to an apparent suicide on the local college campus. The mutilated body provides little in the way of clues - and the college authorities are keen to avoid a scandal - but for Sara and police chief Jeffrey Tolliver, things don't add up.

Two more suspicious suicides follow, and a young woman is brutally attacked. For Sara, the violence strikes far too close to home. And as Jeffrey pursues the sadistic killer, he discovers that ex-police detective Lena Adams, now a security guard on campus, may be in possession of crucial information. But, bruised and angered by her expulsion from the force, Lena seems to be barely capable of protecting herself, let alone saving the next victim...

You can’t go wrong with a Karin Slaughter book!

As ever, you’re not eased into the storyline slowly, it comes flying at you at 100mph right from page 1. I was sat opened mouthed, texting my reading buddies “why didn’t you warn me!!!”

Lena played a huge role in this book and I loved getting to see how she was (or wasn’t) dealing with the aftermath of her earlier attack.

I felt Sara was relegated to more of a side character in this novel than in previous books, I’d have liked to have seen more of her.

There was a lot of misdirection as to who the perpetrator was, this was a bit heavy handed for my liking. When all signs point to a certain person, you know it can’t be them!

four-stars

About Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 120 countries with more than 40 million copies sold across the globe, her 22 novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated COP TOWN and the instant NYT bestselling stand-alone novels PRETTY GIRLS, THE GOOD DAUGHTER, PIECES OF HER, and FALSE WITNESS. Slaughter is the founder of the Save the Libraries project—a nonprofit organization established to support libraries and library programming. A native of Georgia, she lives in Atlanta. Her stand-alone novel PIECES OF HER is now streaming on Netflix, starring Toni Collette, and the Will Trent series are in development for television.

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September 2022 – My most anticipated releases

Posted September 2, 2022 by louisesr in Book List / 0 Comments

September 2022 – My most anticipated releasesDouble or Nothing by Kim Sherwood
Published by HarperCollins on September 1, 2022
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 432
Buy on Amazon

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Goodreads

James Bond is missing. 007 has been captured, perhaps even killed, by a sinister private military company. His whereabouts are unknown. Meet the new generation of spies...

Johanna Harwood, 003. Joseph Dryden, 004. Sid Bashir, 009. Together, they represent the very best and brightest of MI6. Skilled, determined and with a licence to kill, they will do anything to protect their country.

The fate of the world rests in their hands...

Tech billionaire Sir Bertram Paradise claims he can reverse the climate crisis and save the planet. But can he really? The new spies must uncover the truth, because the future of humanity hangs in the balance.

Time is running out. The start of a brand new trilogy following MI6’s agents with a licence to kill, that blows the world of James Bond wide open!

Wondering what to add to your TBR in September? Here are my top 5 books I’m looking forward to getting my hand on

September 2022 – My most anticipated releasesStone Blind by Natalie Haynes
Published by Pan Macmillan on September 15, 2022
Genres: Historical
Pages: 384
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Goodreads

'So to mortal men, we are monsters. Because of our flight, our strength. They fear us, so they call us monsters.’

Medusa is the sole mortal in a family of gods. Growing up with her Gorgon sisters, she begins to realize that she is the only one who experiences change, the only one who can be hurt. And her mortal lifespan gives her an urgency that her family will never know.

When the sea god Poseidon commits an unforgivable act in the temple of Athene, the goddess takes her revenge where she can – and Medusa is changed forever. Writhing snakes replace her hair, and her gaze now turns any living creature to stone. The power cannot be controlled: Medusa can look at nothing without destroying it. She is condemned to a life of shadows and darkness.

Until Perseus embarks upon a quest to fetch the head of a Gorgon . . .

September 2022 – My most anticipated releasesA Sliver of Darkness by C. J. Tudor
Published by Random House Publishing Group on November 8, 2022
Pages: 256
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The debut short-story collection from the acclaimed author of The Chalk Man, hailed as “Britain’s female Stephen King” (Daily Mail), featuring eleven bone-chilling and mind-bending tales

Time slips. Doomsday scenarios. Killer butterflies. C. J. Tudor’s novels are widely acclaimed for their dark, twisty suspense plots, but with A Sliver of Darkness, she pulls us even further into her dizzying imagination.

In “The Lion at the Gate,” a strange piece of graffiti leads to a terrifying encounter for four school friends. In “Final Course,” the world has descended into darkness, but a group of old friends make time for one last dinner party. In “Runaway Blues,” thwarted love, revenge, and something very nasty stowed in a hat box converge. In “Gloria,” a strange girl at a service station endears herself to a coldhearted killer, but can a leopard really change its spots? And in “I’m Not Ted,” a case of mistaken identity has unforeseen fatal consequences.

Riveting, macabre, and explosively original, A Sliver of Darkness is C. J. Tudor at her most wicked and uninhibited.

September 2022 – My most anticipated releasesThe Winners by Fredrik Backman
Series: Bear Town #3
Published by Atria Books on 27 September 2022
Pages: 688
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Goodreads

wo years have passed since the events that no one wants to think about. Everyone has tried to move on, but there’s something about this place that prevents it. The residents continue to grapple with life’s big questions: What is a family? What is a community? And what, if anything, are we willing to sacrifice in order to protect them?

As the locals of Beartown struggle to overcome the past, great change is on the horizon. Someone is coming home after a long time away. Someone will be laid to rest. Someone will fall in love, someone will try to fix their marriage, and someone will do anything to save their children. Someone will submit to hate, someone will fight, and someone will grab a gun and walk towards the ice rink.

So what are the residents of Beartown willing to sacrifice for their home?

Everything.

September 2022 – My most anticipated releasesFairy Tale by Stephen King
Published by Hodder and Stoughton on 6 September 2022
Genres: Horror
Pages: 592
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Goodreads

Charlie Reade looks like a regular high school kid, great at baseball and football, a decent student. But he carries a heavy load. His mom was killed in a hit-and-run accident when he was ten, and grief drove his dad to drink. Charlie learned how to take care of himself—and his dad. Then, when Charlie is seventeen, he meets Howard Bowditch, a recluse with a big dog in a big house at the top of a big hill. In the backyard is a locked shed from which strange sounds emerge, as if some creature is trying to escape. When Mr. Bowditch dies, he leaves Charlie the house, a massive amount of gold, a cassette tape telling a story that is impossible to believe, and a responsibility far too massive for a boy to shoulder.

Because within the shed is a portal to another world—one whose denizens are in peril and whose monstrous leaders may destroy their own world, and ours. In this parallel universe, where two moons race across the sky, and the grand towers of a sprawling palace pierce the clouds, there are exiled princesses and princes who suffer horrific punishments; there are dungeons; there are games in which men and women must fight each other to the death for the amusement of the “Fair One.” And there is a magic sundial that can turn back time.

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Book Tour: The Beach Party by Amy Sheppard

Posted September 1, 2022 by louisesr in Review, Tour / 0 Comments

Book Tour: The Beach Party by Amy Sheppard

Book Tour: The Beach Party by Amy SheppardThe Beach Party by Amy Sheppard
Published by Bookouture on 30/08/22
Narrator: Amalia Vitale
Length: 9 hrs 12 mins
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 301
Buy on Amazon

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

We were all at the party. Which of us wanted her dead?

As the smoke from the bonfire spirals into the night sky and the cool drinks slip down our throats, none of us can take our eyes off Lacey. She dances in the dunes, her long golden hair damp from her late-night swim, her smile dazzling, her blue eyes closed.

Everyone who is close to Lacey sits by the smoky fire. Her adoring boyfriend, who holds onto her, perhaps a little too tightly. Her little sister, always in Lacey's shadow, sifting fine soft sand through her fingers, never taking her eyes off Lacey. And me. Sad and full of rage, after an argument forced the man I love to leave the party early.

When the fire burns out, we stumble away from the beach, along the cliff path - faces burned by the wind, hearts full of secrets. But Lacey never makes it home. The next morning, her body is found in the sand dunes, a heart-shaped locket missing from around her neck.

Who would have thought our beach party could end the way it did? Close friends gathered on the last night of a long hot summer - which one of us could have killed the girl everybody loved?

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Having grown up in a small seaside town in NW England I can see the parallels between my home town and Pengully. Small towns can feel claustrophobic when you’re a teenager and as Sheppard described the different residents I could easily match them to people that I knew.

I really liked the idea of using a podcast as the reason for looking into the case again. I’ve seen this done a few times now but I like the idea that people will talk more to others who they know than to the police.

Usually with these types of books I find it quite easy to figure out who was responsible, that didn’t happen here, I was led on a few wild goose chases and only actually figured it out a couple of pages before it was announced. I’m not sure I could have taken the same actions as Katie did at the end though – could you? I’m really interested for people’s feedback on this after reading it!!

My only niggle about this book was there was a lot of obsessing over relationships and sex and a lot of drinking. It was like they couldn’t go a day without opening a bottle of wine. Now, in fairness, at their age I was exactly the same so I think this will appeal more to people in their late teens and early twenties, which in itself is a bonus as I don’t seem to have seen a lot of NA thrillers out there.

If you’ve read A Good Girls Guide to Murder then this is very similar. We have the podcast, the murder of a teenager, the suicide of her boyfriend causing the case to be closed.

About Amy Sheppard

Amy Sheppard is a busy mum of two boys, living in Cornwall. Her obsession with making budget friendly family dinners, led her to writing two cookbooks. Amy creates recipes for her followers and for brands @amysheppardfood
Her debut novel is out in August 2022. A psychological thriller set in Cornwall called ‘The Beach Party’

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Book Review: Triptych by Karin Slaughter

Posted August 29, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 2 Comments

Book Review: Triptych by Karin SlaughterTriptych by Karin Slaughter
Series: Will Trent #1
Published by Random House on August 15th 2006
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 514
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Goodreads
four-half-stars

When Atlanta police detective Michael Ormewood is called out to a murder scene at the notorious Grady Homes, he finds himself faced with one of the most brutal killings of his career: Aleesha Monroe is found in the stairwell in a pool of her own blood, her body horribly mutilated.

As a one-off killing it's shocking, but when it becomes clear that it's just the latest in a series of similar attacks, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is called in, and Michael is forced into working with Special Agent Will Trent of the Criminal Apprehension Team - a man he instinctively dislikes.

Twenty-four hours later, the violence Michael sees around him every day explodes in his own back yard. And it seems the mystery behind Monroe's death is inextricably entangled with a past that refuses to stay buried ...

This is the first book in the Will Trent series, I’ve just finished Slaughter’s Grant County series (I recommend you read those books first as this follows on from them) so I was excited to meet a new cast of characters. I went in to this with a vague idea of what I expected, obviously I knew we had a male lead, the entire series is named after him so I went in expecting a bit of a Jack Reacher type character – the all action hero. That is most definitely not what I got!

Will Trent is damaged, not through being ex military or anything like that but from his childhood neglect and being severely dyslexic. I found it really interesting to see the number of little things he does to help him through the day and to be able to do his job. What I also liked was that he’s not like Robert Hunter in the Chris Carter books where he’s just got a brilliant mind. Trent is someone who knows he has limitations and works bloody hard to ensure that they’re not actually limiting. He gets his answers through sheer determination.

While reading this there were a number of assumptions that I made, now granted, Slaughter deliberately led me towards these assumptions and then BAM she ripped them to shreds and I had a Holy Moly moment when I realised what had actually happened – and my stomach churned. I started this book almost feeling sorry for certain characters, believing that they had been badly treated and misunderstood. Then as the book progressed and you learnt more about them, those feelings disappeared. They weren’t misunderstood, they were trying to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes and they deserved all they got.

I’m intrigued to see where this series goes. Here we were introduced to Will and also to Angie, who works in Vice and grew up with Will. They’ve been supportive to each other throughout their lives and have previously had a relationship. I get a feeling we’ll have a will-they-won’t-they, they-do-then-regret-it type of relationship throughout the series.

Although dark and twisted, I didn’t think this was as dark as some other of Slaughter’s books and most definitely wasn’t on the scale of the Chris Carter that I reviewed last week! However, it’s not for the faint of heart.

four-half-stars

About Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 120 countries with more than 40 million copies sold across the globe, her 22 novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated COP TOWN and the instant NYT bestselling stand-alone novels PRETTY GIRLS, THE GOOD DAUGHTER, PIECES OF HER, and FALSE WITNESS. Slaughter is the founder of the Save the Libraries project—a nonprofit organization established to support libraries and library programming. A native of Georgia, she lives in Atlanta. Her stand-alone novel PIECES OF HER is now streaming on Netflix, starring Toni Collette, and the Will Trent series are in development for television.

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Book Review: The Night Stalker by Chris Carter

Posted August 26, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 3 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Book Review: The Night Stalker by Chris CarterThe Night Stalker by Chris Carter
Series: Robert Hunter #3
Published by Simon and Schuster on August 18, 2011
Narrator: Thomas Judd
Length: 10 hours and 37 minutes
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 464
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Buy on Amazon

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

four-half-stars

When an unidentified female body is discovered laid out on a slab in an abandoned butcher's shop, the cause of death is unclear. Her body bares no marks; except for the fact that her lips have been carefully stitched shut.

It is only when the full autopsy gets underway at the Los Angeles County morgue that the pathologist will reveal the true horror of the situation - a discovery so devastating that Detective Robert Hunter of the Los Angeles Homicide Special Section has to be pulled off a different case to take over the investigation

But when his inquiry collides with a missing persons' case being investigated by the razor-sharp Whitney Meyers, Hunter suspects the killer might be keeping several women hostage. Soon Robert finds himself on the hunt for a murderer with a warped obsession, a stalker for whom love has become hate.

Ah Chris Carter, the only author where I feel the need to put a content warning on when I do a review. This book is seriously violent, right from the beginning. If you are the least bit queasy and offended by violence then you do not want to read this. Now I’ve got this over with, lets review – this book is really good! I did a buddy read with a couple of people from my book group and for much of the book our comments consisted of WTF and 🤢🤮 emoji’s.

Detective Robert Hunter & his partner Detective Carlos Garcia are called in to investigate the murder of a woman who has been found in a butchers shop. Her mouth has been stitched shut, as has her genitals. Surprisingly, this isn’t actually the worst of it. The repercussions from the mutilated body lead to further deaths.

Soon, the body count escalates. More women are taken and found mutilated, all of them bear a striking resemblance to each other. Why these particular women and why the extreme violence?

I love the two main characters. They have a great relationship although they are both completely different, Hunter tackling the case from a psychological POV and Garcia putting in the grunt work of searching through databases. Hunter’s brain is very organised and clever, he knows so many things from reading books. He has a past that he keeps to himself but which has implications on his current abilities. He has a keen eye for detail and can reach conclusions long before anyone else. At the same time there is no arrogance to him. Garcia is much more human, he is affected by the murders much more than Hunter, having to walk away from some of the murder scenes in order to empty the contents of his stomach.

This book seriously gave me the chills. There were times when it really scared me, in a similar way to the tv series The Fall. We have a murderer who can break into people’s houses and be feet from them, while they have absolutely zero clue he is there. Even writing about it now sends a shiver down my spine.

four-half-stars

About Chris Carter

Biographies can be an absolute drag, so I won’t bore anyone with a long life story.

I was born in Brasilia, Brazil where I spent my childhood and teenage years. After graduating from high school, I moved to the USA where I studied psychology with specialization in criminal behaviour. During my University years I held a variety of odd jobs, ranging from flipping burgers to being part of an all male exotic dancing group.

I worked as a criminal psychologist for several years before moving to Los Angeles, where I swapped the suits and briefcases for ripped jeans, bandanas and an electric guitar. After a spell playing for several well known glam rock bands, I decided to try my luck in London, where I was fortunate enough to have played for a number of famous artists. I toured the world several times as a professional musician.

A few years ago I gave it all up to become a full time writer.

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Book Tour: The Party House by Lin Anderson

Posted August 17, 2022 by louisesr in Review, Tour / 0 Comments

Book Tour: The Party House by Lin AndersonThe Party House by Lin Anderson
Published by macmillan on 04/08/22
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: Random Things Tours
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-half-stars

The Party House by Lin Anderson is a deeply atmospheric psychological thriller set in the Scottish Highlands, for fans of Lucy Foley, Ruth Ware and Sarah Pearse’s The Sanatorium.

Devastated by a recent pandemic brought in by outsiders, the villagers of Blackrig in the Scottish Highlands are outraged when they find that the nearby estate plans to reopen its luxury ‘party house’ to tourists.

As animosity sparks amongst the locals, part of the property is damaged and, in the ensuing chaos, the body of a young girl is found in the wreck. Seventeen-year-old Ailsa Cummings went missing five years ago, never to be seen again – until now.

The excavation of Ailsa’s remains ignites old suspicions cast on the men of this small community, including Greg, the estate’s gamekeeper. At the beginning of a burgeoning relationship with a new lover, Joanne, Greg is loath to discuss old wounds. Frightened by Greg’s reaction to the missing girl’s discovery, Joanne begins to doubt how well she knows this new man in her life. Then again, he’s not the only one with secrets in their volatile relationship . . .

I received this book for free from Random Things Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The description says it’s for fans of Ruth Ware, Lucy Foley and Sarah Pearse – those are some pretty big names to live up to but I think you can quite comfortably add Lin Anderson to the list.

The party house is about to open its doors again. It broke the rules during lock down and hosted a party (no, it’s not 10 Downing Street), a party that brought a new variant to the isolated community where it is situated. A party that led to the deaths of six locals, mainly children. You can see why the locals are not to keen on any more parties being held there. The day before the party is due to happen a number of locals break in and destroy a hot tub, unearthing a body.

This book has the best setting. I love books set in Scotland, not just those set int he grizzly cities like Glasgow but those in the haunting Highlands. It really does become so atmospheric, almost like a character in itself, I could really imagine being there.

There is a very “them and us” between the owners of the party house and the locals, there’s a lot of mistrust there (understandably) and I thought this was written really well. The arrogance of the owners really came across and got my back up.

This took a little while for me to get into, but the payback on sticking with it was more than worth it.

There is so many twists and turns and so much tension, that once I got into this I really didn’t want to put it down.

Now, my biggest warning is – this features COVID – if you have an issue with books that have covid in them, don’t read it. You’ll be missing a treat but I really hate it when people mark a book down because they’re not ready to deal with stories featuring the pandemic.

four-half-stars

About Lin Anderson

Lin Anderson was born in Greenock of Scottish and Irish parents. A graduate of both Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities, she has lived in many different parts of Scotland and also spent five years working in the African bush. A teacher of Mathematics and Computing, she began her writing career four years ago. Her first film, Small Love, which was broadcast on STV, was nominated for TAPS writer of the year award 2001. Her African short stories have been published in the 10th Anniversary Macallan collection and broadcast on BBC Radio Four.

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Book Tour: All The Wicked Games by Lauren North

Posted August 17, 2022 by louisesr in Review, Tour / 0 Comments

Book Tour: All The Wicked Games by Lauren NorthAll The Wicked Games by Lauren North
Published by Penguin on 01/09/22
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: Random Things Tours
Buy on Amazon

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Goodreads
four-half-stars

Are you ready to play?

Best friends Cleo and Rachel spend their evenings pretending to be people they're not, inventing elaborate stories to escape the monotony of their real lives. It's all harmless fun - until they play the game on the wrong person...

It's your move now.

Five years later, Cleo is still struggling to come to terms with the night that destroyed her friendship with Rachel and almost cost them their lives. And then she receives a text: Rachel is missing. Have you seen her?

There's only one person to blame.

Wracked with guilt for failing Rachel the last time they were in danger, Cleo races to find her friend. But could the past be repeating itself? Only this time, they're caught up in a far darker game.

The rules don't matter when the goal is revenge.

I received this book for free from Random Things Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Ah, you know me, I love a good dual timeline thriller!

The book starts with Cleo who is on leave from her job on a cruise ship, receiving news that her friend Rachel has disappeared. Rachel was her best friend, but they’ve not been in touch for years. We then cut back to 5 years ago when Cleo and Rachel shared a flat and played an online “game” together – chatting to others and making up elaborate stories. They thought it was harmless fun. Until it wasn’t. Cleo learns that the games have started up again, and heads to London to investigate.

This has such a sinister feel to it and you know that something bad is going to happen, North spends some time building up to let us know what it was, moving backwards and forwards between then and now. We see the friendship between the two but we also see it all fall apart.

This is one of those books where at one point or another I suspected EVERYONE, I had no clue who to trust or who it might be. And some of the characters… there’s a phrase in Northern Ireland which perfectly describes them (and it’s one of my most favourite phrases ever).. they’re a wee bit west of the Woowah! Not entirely sure how I’m supposed to spell that and unsurprisingly spell checker was absolutely zero help. I quite liked Cleo in the now, but the person she was before, yeah, I’m not a fan, however Rachel, I don’t even know where to begin.

Lastly, the end. Wow. Sometimes I felt it was a wee bit slow getting there but it was worth it. I had the dawning as to what was going on right before it was spelt out for me. And WOW. So good.

four-half-stars

About Lauren North

LAUREN NORTH writes psychological suspense novels that delve into the darker side of relationships and families. She has a lifelong passion for writing, reading, and all things books. Lauren’s love of psychological suspense has grown since childhood and from her dark imagination of always wondering what’s the worst thing that could happen in every situation.
Lauren studied psychology before moving to London where she lived and worked for many years. She now lives with her family in the Suffolk countryside.

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Book Tour: From The Ashes

Posted August 2, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 1 Comment

Book Tour: From The AshesFrom the Ashes by Deborah Masson
Series: Eve Hunter #3
Published by Random House on July 21, 2022
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: Random Things Tours
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-half-stars


As the house burns, the hunt for a killer begins...

In the dead of night someone starts a fire in a home for underprivileged children in Aberdeen. The flames spread quickly, and one person doesn't make it out alive.

But the victim wasn't found in their bedroom; they were discovered locked inside a secret basement underground. As DI Eve Hunter and her team search the blackened ruins, the case takes them into even darker territory.

Soon Eve unearths a horrific discovery at the heart of the property - one that turns the whole investigation on its head. Everyone in this home has something to hide, but who has a secret worth killing for?

I received this book for free from Random Things Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Today it’s my stop on the Random Things Tour for From The Ashes by Deborah Masson.

I was discussing with some of the ladies in my book group last week and we were all in agreement that we’ve been introduced to some fantastic new (to us) authors through doing book tours and this is one of them! In fact, after reading this I’ve nominated the first book in the series as the September read for our book club so that we can introduce Deborah Masson to a whole new group of people.

As you can probably guess from the fact I want us to read the rest of the series, I really enjoyed this book.

I seem to have a lot of “tartan noir” on my reading list at the minute and Aberdeen is a brilliant, dark and gritty backdrop to this novel. I don’t know what it is about Scotland, it’s such a picturesque nation but at the same time the cities are always portrayed as grey and brooding. Maybe this is just a reflection of the books that I read.

This story is told from multiple perspectives; Eve who investigating the fire and the body that has been found, DC Scott Ferguson who is hiding a secret and neglecting the investigation while he concentrates on a child who has been run over; and that of the perpetrator

I spent much of the novel not understanding how all of the strands would pull together and be related to each other but they do, they all come together brilliantly, through a series of twists and turns that I didn’t see coming.

four-half-stars

About Deborah Masson

Deborah Masson was born and bred in Aberdeen, Scotland. Always restless and fighting against being a responsible adult, she worked in several jobs including secretarial, marketing, reporting for the city’s freebie newspaper and a stint as a postie – to name but a few.
Through it all, she always read crime fiction and, when motherhood finally settled her into being an adult (maybe even a responsible one) she turned her hand to writing what she loved. Deborah started with short stories and flash fiction whilst her daughter napped and, when she later welcomed her son into the world, she decided to challenge her writing further through online courses with Professional Writing Academy and Faber Academy, where she wrote her
award-winning debut novel Hold Your Tongue, the first in the DI Eve Hunter series. Since then she has published two more books in the series, Out For Blood and From the Ashes.

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Blog Tour – The Choice by Penny Hancock

Posted July 29, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 1 Comment

Blog Tour - The Choice by Penny Hancock

Blog Tour – The Choice by Penny HancockThe Choice by Penny Hancock
Published by Pan Macmillan on July 21, 2022
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Random Things Tours
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

An estranged daughter. A missing grandson. A mother faced with an impossible choice.

Renee Gulliver appears to have it all: a beautiful house overlooking a scenic estuary on England’s East Coast, a successful career as a relationship therapist, three grown-up children, and a beloved grandson, Xavier. But then Xavier vanishes after Renee fails to pick him up from school, and the repercussions are manifold.

Renee is wracked with remorse; the local community question her priorities, clients abandon her; and, as long-held grievances surface, her daughter Mia offers her a heartbreaking ultimatum. Amid recriminations, misunderstandings and lies, can Renee find a way to reunite her family?

Wow, there’s no hanging around with this one. That opening chapter. Wow.

Renee seems to have it all, a fantastic career as a therapist, a loving family and a beautiful house. But she’s part of that generation that are trying to do it all, balancing a successful career, caring for her mother and her husband, looking after her grandson. It’s a balancing act and when Renee forgets to pick up Xavier from school one day, everything comes tumbling down.

‘Xavier isn’t here.’

‘What do you mean he isn’t there? Where is he? You were picking him up from school today.’

‘But it’s Monday.’

It is Monday, not one of my usual Xavier days. But Mia’s away, Mia’s in Amsterdam, on a course. I took Xav to school this morning and was supposed to pick him up this afternoon. The kitchen turns vivid, as if until this moment, I’ve been viewing it through soft focus.

Things aren’t always what they seem.

The truth will always come out.

I know it sounds cliched but these two sentences really are at the heart of this book. This is a beautifully written, character driven story of how secrets and misunderstandings can tear a family apart.

Alongside the story of what has happened to Xavier we also look back at what has happened in the past which has led the family to be where they are now.

Brilliantly constructed, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

four-stars

About Penny Hancock

Penny Hancock is the author of internationally bestselling novels including Tideline a Richard & Judy book club pick, The Darkening Hour and A Trick of the Mind and I Thought I Knew You. She writes articles and short stories on family psychology for the national press. Penny divides her time between a village outside Cambridge and her children and grandchildren in London. The Choice is her fifth novel.

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Book Tour: All I Said Was True

Posted July 28, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 1 Comment

Book Tour: All I Said Was TrueAll I Said Was True by Imran Mahmood
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing on July 1, 2022
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Random Things Tours
Buy on Amazon
four-half-stars

I didn't kill her. Trust me...
When Amy Blahn died on a London rooftop, Layla Mahoney was there. Layla was holding her. But all she can say when she's arrested is that 'It was Michael. Find Michael and you'll find out everything you need to know.'

The problem is, the police can't find him – they aren't even sure he exists.

Layla knows she only has forty-eight hours to convince the police that bringing in the man she knows only as 'Michael' will clear her name and reveal a dangerous game affecting not just Amy and Layla, but her husband Russell and countless others.

But as the detectives begin to uncover the whole truth about what happened to Amy, Layla will soon have to decide: how much of that truth can she really risk being exposed?

Why did no-one tell me about Imran Mahmood before? Seriously, how have I never heard of him! Not only does he write outstanding books (I’m assuming from how great this book is that his others are belters) but one of his books is a tv show that I have also somehow missed (I’ve just added it – You Don’t Know Me – to my Netflix list).

OK, if you like thrillers, unreliable narrators and dual timelines then YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK!!!!!

I didn’t know which way to turn, what to believe from Layla and I had no clue what actually happened.

Amy has died, Layla is found with the body. Layla is holding something back. She’s telling the truth – or at least some of it. Why is she holding things back? Why doesn’t she just tell them what happened? Who is Michael? Does Michael actually exist or is Layla making him up?

SO MANY QUESTIONS!!

This is an ideal book to read with a friend then you can throw about theories and ask each others opinion. Be prepared for your head to be spinning, maybe grab a notepad and pen 😂

You do have to suspend belief at some points, but it’s a work of fiction – you have to suspend belief on a regular basis watching the soaps!

four-half-stars
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Tour: Listen to Me by Tess Gerritsen

Posted July 22, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 2 Comments

Tour: Listen to Me by Tess GerritsenListen To Me by Tess Gerritsen
Series: Rizzoli and Isles #13
Published by Random House on July 7, 2022
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bookshop
Goodreads
four-stars

This time she should have trusted her mother's intuition...

The murder of Sofia Suarez is both gruesome and seemingly senseless. Why would anyone target a respected nurse who was well-liked by her friends and her neighbours? As Detective Jane Rizzoli and Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles investigate the baffling case, they discover that Sofia was guarding a dangerous secret -- a secret that may have led the killer straight to her door.

Meanwhile, Jane's watchful mother Angela Rizzoli is conducting an investigation of her own. She may be a grandmother, not a police detective, but she's savvy enough to know there's something very strange, perhaps even dangerous, about the new neighbours across the street. The problem is, no one believes her, not even her own daughter.

Immersed in the hunt for Sofia's killer, Jane and Maura are too busy to pay attention to Angela's fears. With no one listening to her, and danger mounting in her neighbourhood, Angela just may be forced to take action on her own...

I have a confession to make…

I’ve not read anything by Tess Gerritsen before and I got confused when I chose this as I thought I’d seen the tv series – but I hadn’t (I was thinking of Scott and Bailey 🤣). I was very confused – it happens far more than it should. Anyway, now we’ve established that I’m an idiot who doesn’t know one detective series from another let’s get to the review!

As you’ve probably seen from my previous reviews I’m a big fan of gritty police fiction. I love Karin Slaughter, Chris Carter and Karen Rose. Therefore this seemed like a logical series for me to try.

Obviously having not read the others I can’t compare this to them but to me it didn’t seem like it was Rizolli and Isles, there wasn’t an awful lot of medical examiner Maura Isles in this, the plot focused more on Rizolli and her mum, Angela. Angela was such a mum; comedy gold and interfering, blowing up Jane’s phone with her thoughts, you could imagine her as head of the Neighborhood Watch! I did really enjoy having her in the novel – even if it was at Maura’s expense.

You all should know by now that I love multi-POV and dual timelines, this has them both with chapters being told from the POV of Jane, Maura, Angela or Amy (a girl who was involved in a hit and run a few months previous). I loved getting to see how all of the various threads came together.

This book was enjoyable enough that I’ll be working through the backlist – and hoping for a bit more from Maura in them as I do like a medical examiner’s prespective.

I’ll hopefully get my buddy reader to start this series from the beginning with me (with my memory once we’ve made it to this one I’ll have zero recollections of what happened).

four-stars
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Blog Tour – Deep Water by Emma Bamford

Posted July 19, 2022 by louisesr in Tour / 1 Comment

Blog Tour - Deep Water by Emma Bamford

Blog Tour – Deep Water by Emma BamfordDeep Water by Emma Bamford
Published by Simon and Schuster on July 7, 2022
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source: Random Things Tours
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bookshop

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Goodreads
four-stars

Lies can be buried... Secrets always come to the surface

Amarante is paradise...
An uninhabited, unspoilt island somewhere in the Indian Ocean.
Only those who know it exists can find it.
 
But paradise comes with a price...
Virginie and Jake sail to Amarante for their honeymoon, but they are not alone.
They have to adjust to life on the island with five strangers.
 
And not everyone will live to tell the tale…
Dark secrets surface and their dream abruptly turns into a nightmare.
Removed from society, they find out what they’re truly capable of.

I received this book for free from Random Things Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A slow burn atmospheric mystery, this wasn’t the action packed thriller that I had expected but it had me hooked from first page to last wanting to uncover what had happened.

This is one of those books that begins at the end, a navy vessel in the middle of the Indian Ocean receives a distress call from Virginie’s private yacht as her husband needs urgent medical attention. Virginie then announces that she has “killed them all” and proceeds to tell their story.

Virginie and her husband Jake have escaped the rat race, purchased a luxury yacht and headed off to an isolated island Malaysian paradise that they’ve heard of. Except they get their and it’s already inhabited by a crew of expat soldiers.

four-stars

About Emma Bamford

Emma Bamford, a freelance journalist, is working on an MA in prose fiction at University of East Anglia, UK. She is the author of Deep Water and the memoirs Casting Off and Untie the Lines.

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The Daughter Book Review

Posted July 12, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 2 Comments

The Daughter Book ReviewDaughter by Jane Shemilt
Published by HarperCollins UK on 3 March 2015
Genres: Thriller
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bookshop

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Goodreads
three-half-stars

A mother driven to the brink by uncertainty . . .
A family that was never quite as perfect as it seemed.

Jenny is a successful family doctor, the mother of three great teenagers, married to her loving husband, Ted, a celebrated neurosurgeon.

But when her youngest child, fifteen-year-old Naomi, doesn’t come home after her school play, the seemingly ideal life Jenny has built begins to crumble. The authorities launch a nationwide investigation with no success. Naomi has vanished, and her family is broken.

As the months pass, the worst-case scenarios—kidnapping, murder—seem less plausible. The trail has gone cold and the police have more pressing cases to investigate. Yet for a desperate Jenny, the search has barely begun. More than a year after her daughter’s disappearance, she’s still digging for answers—and what she finds disturbs her. Everyone she’s trusted, everyone she thought she knew, has been keeping secrets, especially Naomi. Piecing together the traces her daughter left behind, Jenny discovers a very different Naomi from girl she thought she’d raised.

Jenny knows she’ll never be able to find Naomi unless she uncovers the whole truth about her daughter—a twisting, painful journey into the past that will lead to an almost unthinkable revelation .

I’ve got to say I rather liked this book but it didn’t thrill me the way that I expected it to. It’s one of those books that keeps going at a steady pace giving you plenty of detail about the everyday comings and goings in life without there being anything that was terrifically shocking.

“When you are young you have no idea what you will need as time passes or how strong you might have to be.”

There are two main themes in The Daughter; the deceptiveness of teenagers and the blame game on working mothers. Both are things which people bury their heads in the sand about and pretend don’t exist. Both are things that are happening every day in a variety of families throughout the UK (and the rest of the world). I’ve seen a lot of reviewers mark this book down because they don’t believe that teenagers would lie to their parents like that. They’re wrong. I see a lot of parents who think that their children aren’t keeping things from them when the children are having intimate relations and taking drugs. I’ve also seen a lot of people complain about the way that Jenny is treated in this book because she feels guilty for the hours she works as a GP and is also made to feel guilty by her husband and son while they accept the fact that her husband had to work long hours as a surgeon. I wish we lived in a world where this didn’t happen. I wish we lived in a world where women weren’t made to feel guilty for going to work when they have young children. I wish we lived in a world where a man would be asked how he juggles a demanding career and family life. But we don’t.

“The trick was simply to balance it all. Family. Marriage. Career. Painting. If the balance tipped in one direction and work took up more time, no one complained. It sometimes felt as if I was rehearsing for real life, so if it went wrong it didn’t matter. One day I would have it all organized. I would be the perfect mother, wife, doctor, artist. It was just a question of practice. If I made mistakes, I could simply try again.”

Shemilt has done a very good job or portraying family life, the backdrop to this is the disappearance of a family member. She’s done a no hold barred accurate reflection of what happens in a hell of a lot of homes. I’m not saying it should. But it does. For me though, the book falls short in not being pacey enough. It focuses too much on how a mothers grief can weigh her down and because of that a lot of the story feels like swimming through treacle. I still very much enjoyed it but it could have had a far bigger impact.

three-half-stars

About Jane Shemilt

While working as a GP, Jane Shemilt completed a postgraduate diploma in Creative Writing at Bristol University and went on to study for the MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa, gaining both with distinction. Her first novel, Daughter, was selected for the Richard & Judy Book Club, shortlisted for the Edgar Award and the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize, and went on to become the bestselling debut novel of 2014. Since then Jane has published three more bestselling thrillers: Little Friends, The Drowning Lesson, and How Far We Fall. The Patient is her first novel with HarperCollins, and will be out in April 2022.

She and her husband, a professor of neurosurgery, have five children and live in Bristol.

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Tour: The Dark Remains by Ian Rankin, William McIlvanney

Posted July 7, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 1 Comment

Tour: The Dark Remains by Ian Rankin, William McIlvanneyThe Dark Remains by Ian Rankin, William McIlvanney
Published by Canongate Books on September 2, 2021
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

In this scorching crime hook-up, number one bestseller Ian Rankin and Scottish crime-writing legend William McIlvanney join forces for the first ever case of DI Laidlaw, Glasgow’s original gritty detective 'Fantastic' Lee Child 'Absolutely brilliant' Mick Herron If the truth's in the shadows, get out of the light . . . Lawyer Bobby Carter did a lot of work for the wrong type of people. Now he’s dead and it was no accident. He’s left behind his share of enemies, but who dealt the fatal blow? DC Jack Laidlaw’s reputation precedes him. He’s not a team player, but he’s got a sixth sense for what’s happening on the streets. As two Glasgow gangs go to war, Laidlaw needs to find out who got Carter before the whole city explodes.

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Sometimes you read a book by an author and it makes you feel like a bad book blogger that you’ve never read anything of theirs before. This was me with this book. Unbelievably, I’ve never before read either of these authors. William Mcelveney is the Godfather of Scottish Noir, his Laidlaw trilogy paved the way for the police procedural that we read today. When he dies in 2015 an unfinished manuscript was discovered which was a prequel to the trilogy. Ian Rankin, the author of the Rebus novels, was the obvious choice to pick this up and finish it off.

Rankin has not attempted to modernise this novel but has kept it set in 1972, complete with misogyny, sectarianism, gangs and violence.

Laidlaw is an unconventional police detective who also has the stereotypical traits we’ve come to expect. He drinks too much, smokes too much, neglects his family and travels by bus! I never warned to Laidlaw the way I have to Rebus which makes me wonder whether this is due to the character or whether it’s because I’m a huge fan of Ken Stott who plays him in the tv series.

four-stars
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