Category Archives: Shannon O’Leary

**Blog Tour** Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough #AuthorInterview & #Review @sarahpinborough #WTFthatending

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Today to say I’m excited is an understatement, It’s finally my stop on the blog tour for Behind Her Eyes by the awesome Sarah Pinborough not only do I get to share my review with you,  (mark my words this book has “BEST SELLER” written all over it), but I also have a very intriguing interview with the author herself.

This has to be one of the hardest books I’ve ever had to review, I hope I do the book justice and definitely hope it contains **No Spoilers** So without further ado here’s the interview with the one and only Sarah Pinborough and you can read my review further down the post.

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For those readers who haven’t yet heard of you or your book Behind Her Eyes can you provide us with an introduction?

I’m a thriller and YA novelist and screenwriter who’s written about 20 books thus far across a variety of genres. At the moment I’m all about crime and thrillers though!

Where did the idea for Behind Her Eyes come from?

I wanted to write about an affair because they’re so much a part of modern life and we find them fascinating as much as terrifying. They’re the ultimate betrayal from those we love, and they’re messy and never as clean cut in terms of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ as we try and frame them. So that was my starting point – to look at the three parts of an affair and what happens if the girlfriend becomes the wife’s friend, and they keep that secret from the husband.

What was the hardest part of writing Behind Her Eyes?

Ha, that’s hard to say without giving too much away. I guess what was hardest was wanting people to get to the end and think ‘Oh, of course!’ but to have not seen the ‘Oh, of course!’ moment coming. So laying out clues in plain sight while also keeping them hidden was pretty difficult! But that’s part of the fun.

Do you have any strange writing habits or rituals?

No, not really! I like to write in the mornings best but that’s about it. Oh, and when making notes and planning I can only use Uniball Fine gel pens.

Have you always wanted to be an author, and when did you first realise you wanted to write?

It was either an author or an actress, but I have been writing stories and making stuff up as long as I can remember. I think that’s how most people who end up doing this for a living are. Also I like food too much to be an actress and writers don’t have to get up at 5am;-)

Do you write an outline before you start writing?

Yes, I always outline – not massively but as I sell on pitch I have to do a three page summary/pitch document for that so I tend to have my beginning and ending sorted, and then as I go a plan out in more detail, adding stuff and taking stuff out.

How long did it take to get your Behind Your Eyes published?

Well, HarperFiction had bought it before I started writing it because I’ve been doing this long enough that I don’t have to write a book on spec at the moment, but we did delay it a while. I had 13 Minutes coming out from Orion in 2016 and we wanted a gap after that. Also, that meant that by the time the deal was announced, I’d already written the book and so my agent could then sell it worldwide, which has gone well. Very much looking forward to seeing the final book!

The hashtag #Wtfthatending is all over social media, did you expect it to take off like it did?

I absolutely love the hashtag, but I was also worried that it was setting me up to fail and people would be a bit, ‘Meh, the end was good but it wasn’t THAT good.. BUT thus far thankfully there haven’t been many of those! It’s great that the US publisher, Flatiron, are also using it, and it seems to be working as well there as it is here!

Have you seen any reviews that give away the ending? And if so how does this make you feel?

I’ve seen a couple that come close to giving it away – definitely they spoil the book – but one has been hidden by Goodreads (yay goodreads!) and another I hope will be buried by less spoilery ones. It’s irritating because it’s quite selfish to want to spoil the enjoyment of a book for others just because it may not have been your cup of tea, but to be honest, I’ve been overwhelmingly grateful that thus far most people are giving nothing away!

My favourite character in Behind Her Eyes has to be Adele she is one complex piece of work, which character is your favourite? and which one was the hardest to write about?

Adele is my favourite too. I think we all want to be Adele but we’re pretty much all Louise;-) She was also the hardest character to write because she’s so different to me. I’m definitely more of a Louise.

Are you able to tell me anything about your next book?

The next book is another domestic thriller but quite different to Behind Her Eyes in subject matter. HOWEVER, I’ve realised my new genre is ‘writing books where you can’t actually talk about what it’s about without giving the twist away’. Which is not great for marketing! It’s female main characters again and a similar structure. And it has a great twist 😉

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Sarah Pinborough is an award-winning YA and adult thriller, fantasy and horror novelist and screenwriter. She has published more than 20 novels and has written for the BBC and is currently working with several television companies on original projects. Her recent novels include the dystopian love story, The Death House, and a teenage thriller, 13 Minutes which has been bought by Netflix with Josh Schwartz adapting.

Her next adult novel, a psychological thriller, Behind Her Eyes, Is published  in January 2017 from HarperFiction in the UK. The book has sold to nearly twenty territories so far and was sold at auction to the US in a significant deal to Flatiron, Macmillan. There are discussions on going with several movies studios about the film adaptation.

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Links:     Website       Twitter:@sarahpinborough.

Book description

Why is everyone talking about the ending of Sarah Pinborough’s Behind Her Eyes?

Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone.

When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake, but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.

And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend. But she also just happens to be married to David. And if you think you know where this story is going, think again, because Behind Her Eyes is like no other book you’ve read before.

David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife. But then why is David so controlling? And why is Adele so scared of him?

As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong. But Louise can’t guess how wrong―and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.

In Behind Her Eyes, Sarah Pinborough has written a novel that takes the modern day love triangle and not only turns it on its head, but completely reinvents it in a way that will leave readers reeling.

img_1258Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough is all over social media with the hashtag #WTFthatending, So I read this book “waiting” for that WTF moment, now normally the alarm bells start ringing when I see “Shock”endings attached to any novel, I’m the one normally left thinking “is that it, really?” But OMG I never saw it coming until it hit me slap bang in the face. At the heart of the story is a love triangle between David a married man, Adele his beautiful wife and Louise his mistress. Ok this may sound like your average domestic noir thriller with the usual stereotypes, but that’s where you would be completely wrong, It’s anything but. As the two women become friends they realise they have more in common than they think, both suffer from sleep disturbance and night fears and it’s this that forges their friendship.

The author has created well developed characters, some more likeable than others. Each have their flaws, but the most intriguing character for me was Adele she’s complex, she’s beautiful and very wealthy, but she is also devious and manipulative, a combination that makes her a character you want to learn more about. Louise on the other hand is her polar opposite, a single mother, lacks confidence and leads a mundane life, when David comes into her life what starts out as something exciting soon turns into her worse nightmare. As Louise becomes more embroiled in her lovers toxic and disturbing marriage it’s difficult for the reader to know who to trust, deception plays a big part in this deliciously dark and twisted tale, and it’s a difficult to work out who is the more reliable narrator. The novel is told from Louise and Adele’s POV, past and present and as the author spun an intricate and devious web I became so engrossed in this menacing tale I really couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.

This is a story of lies, secrets, deception and mental illness, it’s dark and gripping and compulsive. It has all the ingredients and more that I expect from a psychological thriller, intriguing characters, well plotted and it certainly messed with my head! In fact when I finished this novel I had to go back at read the first couple of chapters again, as I couldn’t believe what I had read. One thing I will say and it’s not a criticism by any means I did have to suspend belief as Behind Her Eyes reached its dramatic and shocking conclusion now this usually leaves me feeling short changed, but my god Sarah Pinborough has written such a unique story I was happy to fall for it hook, line and sinker, and yes I did think “WTF” just happened?

This book certainly deserves all the hype and I have to agree with the book quote on the jacket…Don’t trust the story don’t trust the ending and don’t trust yourself. This book is going to be HUGE in 2017 and it certainly deserves to be, it’s got all the hallmarks of a gripping psychological thriller, but it’s also got an extra something which makes it stand out from other books in this genre. I must applaud Sarah Pinborough for writing not only a dark and twisted tale but also an ingenious one. Would I recommend this book? Hell yes I certainly would!

I’m sure it won’t come as much of a shock but I will be giving Behind Her Eyes the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating, the second book of 2017 to get this award. It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a good read, fantastic plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page.

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Hardcover: 384 pages

Publisher: HarperCollins (26 Jan. 2017)

Amazon UK 🇬🇧       Amazon US 🇺🇸

Don’t forget to follow the rest of the blog tour……..dates and bloggers participating listed below

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**Guest Post** The Blood On My Hands by Shannon O’Leary

 

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Today I have a guest post for The Blood on My Hands an autobiography by Shannon O’Leary. It was published in Feburary 2016 and is available for sale on Amazon. This book is on my TBR pile but unfortunately I haven’t got to it yet, but I will certainly be reading it in the not to distant future. 

Book Description

Set in 1960s and ‘70s Australia, The Blood on My Hands is the dramatic tale of Shannon O’Leary’s childhood years, growing up with an abusive father, who was also a serial killer. No one, not even the authorities, would help O’Leary and her family. The responses of those whom O’Leary and her immediate family reached out to for help are almost as disturbing as the crimes of her violent father. Relatives were afraid to bring disgrace to the family’s good name, nuns condemned the child’s objections as disobedience and noncompliance, and laws at the time prevented the police from interfering unless someone was killed.

The Blood on My Hands is a heartbreaking—yet riveting—narrative of a childhood spent in pain and terror, betrayed by the people who are supposed to provide safety and understanding. The strength and courageous resilience it took for O’Leary to not just survive and escape from her father, but to flourish, thrive, and triumph over the unimaginable trauma she endured as a child is both powerful and moving.

Praise:

“The Blood on My Hands is a powerful, dark memoir… This is a story that is going to remain in my mind for a long time.” – 4 Stars, Readers’ Favorite

“Once I picked this up I could not put it down, I needed to see how they got away from the monster who called himself their father, who called himself a husband.” – Sarah on Goodreads

“I thoroughly enjoyed this book despite the subject matter and hope it manages to help at least one child know that it gets better, life gets better.” – 5 Stars, Sarah Purdy

About the Author:

Shannon O’Leary is a prolific writer and performer. She is the author of several books of poetry and children’s stories, and she has won many awards for song-writing.

Shannon has acted and directed on the stage and on Australian national TV, and she runs her own production company.

She has numerous graduate and post-graduate degrees in education, music, and science. She is a teacher and academic, has five children with her deceased former husband, and lives with her longtime partner in Sydney, Australia.

Her memoir The Blood on My Hands was published in February 2016 and is available for sale on Amazon and Createspace.

Goodreads     Facebook     Twitter

Extract from Blood On My Hands

Prologue

I have felt the cold steel of a gun in my mouth and against my temple.
I have tasted warm blood on my lips and witnessed horrific scenes of mutilation, where nameless people took their last breaths. In my life, I have experienced poverty, met people who had plenty, and lived through fire, floods, and drought. I have befriended the intellectually challenged and physically impaired and have known the mentally ill and misfits who were geniuses. I also assumed anonymity with my mother and brothers without people realizing we had disappeared.

In my youth I was exposed to many facets of raw emotion.

I’ve seen a living heart, beating and pulsating for its last time; seen broken fingers tossed in the wind; and watched a severed head dance. Tormented by recurring memories, I have chosen to write this book and put these ghosts to rest.

I first contemplated suicide at the age of four.

I devised my death plan down to the very last detail but never had the courage to see it through to completion. Instead, my mother’s face would keep interceding, begging me to stay alive. Faced with the fact that I could not inflict my death upon her, I’d pray for miraculous intervention. During hysterical bouts of entreaty, I would beg Jesus to strike us dead at exactly the same moment so that neither of us would feel the pain of enforced separation or the prolonged agony of death.

As a child, I dreamed of better things to come and lived in spiritualistic hope that one day my world would change. I thought my trauma was normal and didn’t know what other families experienced. I thought fear, sad- ness, and horror were just the by-products of a barely tolerable childhood. My self-esteem was nonexistent, and after a while I sought approval through the creative arts. I loved to sing, and as my voice was strong, I sang to cover my feelings of inadequacy and desolation. To me, music represented true happiness, a make-believe world where I could cling to melodious sounds instead of the tortured screaming of my nightmares.

As an adult, I have felt exhilaration when audiences clapped and called my name. At the same time, I have felt myself torn in two, experiencing the immobilizing fear of personal exposure when not protected by the proscenium arch of a stage. When I present myself without camouflage or without a scripted character to protect me, my gut wrenches itself into a catatonic knot, an all-enveloping state of fear. If I feel I am being examined on a personal level, my arms and legs become frozen, and I feel my soul moving toward automatic pilot. I smile and behave in the correct manner, but I’m mentally blank and devoid of all feeling.

I know what it’s like to be branded, to be labeled, and to work within the confines of a title. As a child I was called brilliant, genius, a child prodigy, and a precocious little troublemaker. I was also called an actress, liar, and evil. My teachers admitted they didn’t understand me and often left me to myself. As an adult, I experienced national fame as a children’s TV personality. I have brought joy to thousands of children by teaching them the elements of performance.
It brings me great fulfillment to see children experiencing happiness. It puts my own life in perspective.

I cannot find the words to describe my childhood. Words such as “passionately naive,” “emotionally lacerated,” and “holistically experiential” all pale in significance, in the shadow of living itself. My childhood was so creatively textured that it carried into adulthood without allowing me to become consumed by the insanity playing havoc around me. I am sane and strong, and for that I am eternally grateful. I have felt and seen extreme emotion. I have smelled my own flesh burning. I know what it feels like to have baby snakes wriggle across my body, to smell decay, and to see an eyeball popped between someone’s fingers. Alone, I have spent what seemed like hours in a blackened hole, a makeshift grave with a steel curtain, waiting for death.

Through all this, I stayed courageous and strong.

I treasure the power of love and the absurdity of shock, and I deal with these emotions on a day-to-day basis.

This is the story of my childhood.

Paperback: 258 pages

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (3 Feb. 2016)

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Paperback

 

**Stacking The Shelves**

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Here’s my round up of stacking the Shelves hosted by http://tyngasreviews.com/. Stacking the Shelves highlight books which have been received In a week. Paper books, e-books, ARC’s received, books bought or borrowed, are all included.

ARC

Blue Wicked by Alan Jones

 

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Blue Wicked is Alan Jones’ second gritty Glasgow crime novel. The tortured corpses of young alcoholics and drug addicts are turning up in Glasgow and only unlikely investigator Eddie Henderson seems to know why. When he tries to tell the police, his information is ridiculed and he’s told to stop wasting their time. One officer, junior detective Catherine Douglas, believes him, and together they set out to discover why the dregs of Glasgow’s underbelly are being found, dead and mutilated.

The Cabinet Maker by Alan Jones

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Book description 

The cabinetmaker, Alan Jones’ first novel, tells of one man’s fight for justice when the law fails him. When his only son is brutally murdered, and the thugs who killed him walk free, he devotes his life to bringing the killers to justice. It’s young Glasgow detective John McDaid’s first murder case. He forms an unlikely friendship with the cabinetmaker, founded on their desire to see the killers punished, their love of amateur football, and by John’s introduction by the cabinetmaker to a lifelong passion for fine furniture. This is the story of their relationship, the cabinetmaker’s quest for justice, and the detective’s search for the truth.

Bone By Bone by Sajida Kay

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Book description

Laura loves her daughter more than anything in the world.

But nine-year-old daughter Autumn is being bullied. Laura feels helpless.

When Autumn fails to return home from school one day, Laura goes looking for her. She finds a crowd of older children taunting her little girl.

In the heat of the moment, Laura makes a terrible choice. A choice that will have devastating consequences for her and her daughter…

The Wrong Hand by Jane Jago

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Book description

We all make mistakes. Moments that change us and the path we are on irrevocably. For Rachel Allen it was the moment that she let her son’s hand slip from hers. For Danny Simpson and Graham Harris it was the moment one of them took it. Seven years ago Danny and Graham were just children themselves, angry, marginalized and unguided. That was, until they committed a crime so heinous that three families were left devastated. They were no longer just boys. They were monsters. Released from juvenile detention, it is time for the boys, now men, to start again; new names, new people. But they can never escape who they are or what they did. And their own families, now notorious; the Allens, destroyed with grief; and the country at large have never been able to forget. They will always be running. They will always be hiding. But are some mistakes too large, the ripples to far reaching, to outrun forever?

See How They Run by Tom Bale

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Book description

How far would you go to save your family?

In the dead of night, new parents Alice and Harry French are plunged into their worst nightmare when they wake to find masked men in their bedroom. Men ruthless enough to threaten their baby daughter, Evie.

This is no burglary gone wrong.
The intruders know who they’re looking for – a man called Edward Renshaw.
And they are prepared to kill to get to him.

When the men leave empty handed, little do Alice and Harry realise that their nightmare is just beginning. Is it a case of mistaken identity? Who is Renshaw? And what is he hiding?

In Too Deep by Samantha Hayes

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Book description

The compelling new psychological suspense novel, from the author of Until You’re Mine, Before You Die and You Belong to Me. Perfect for fans of S J Watson and Sophie Hannah.

Your husband goes out to buy a newspaper. He never comes back.

Months later, an unexpected phone call puts you and your daughter in unimaginable danger.

Even if he were still alive, your husband can’t save you now.

He told you way too many lies for that.

The Blood On My Hands by Shannon O’Leary

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Book description

Set in 1960s and ‘70s Australia, The Blood on My Hands is the dramatic tale of Shannon O’Leary’s childhood years. O’Leary grew up under the shadow of horrific domestic violence, sexual and physical abuse, and serial murder. Her story is one of courageous resilience in the face of unimaginable horrors.

The responses of those whom O’Leary and her immediate family reach out to for help are almost as disturbing as the crimes of her violent father. Relatives are afraid to bring disgrace to the family’s good name, nuns condemn the child’s objections as disobedience and noncompliance, and laws at the time prevent the police from interfering unless someone is killed.

The Blood on My Hands is a heartbreaking—yet riveting—narrative of a childhood spent in pain and terror, betrayed by the people who are supposed to provide safety and understanding, and the strength and courage it takes, not just to survive and escape, but to flourish and thrive.

When I Lost You by Kelly Rimmer

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Book description

Do you ever wish you had the chance to meet someone again for the first time?

When Leo and Molly met and married, they believed they were invincible. Together they could take on the world. But Leo,a war correspondent, lives for life on the edge, and when he takes a step into the unknown, tragedy strikes and he loses his memory. Molly rushes to help him fill in the gaps and soon they start falling in love all over again.

The trouble is, Molly is hiding something. Something big. The devoted wife at Leo’s bedside is a sham; Leo and Molly’s marriage was on the rocks long before Leo’s accident.

The closer Molly gets to her husband the more scared she becomes that he will remember. As Leo’s memory begins to trickle back will Molly lose the man she loves for a second time?

Book Post

The Missing by C.L. Taylor 

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Book description 

You love your family. They make you feel safe. You trust them.

But should you…?

When fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson goes missing in the middle of the night, his mother, Claire, blames herself. She’s not the only one. There isn’t a single member of Billy’s family that doesn’t feel guilty. But the Wilkinson’s are so used to keeping secrets from one another that it isn’t until six months later, after an appeal for information goes horribly wrong, that the truth begins to surface.

Claire is sure of two things – that Billy is still alive and that her friends and family had nothing to do with his disappearance.

A mother’s instinct is never wrong. Or is it?

Sometimes those closest to us are the ones with the most to hide…

Kill Me Again by Rachel Abbott

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Book description 

When Maggie Taylor accepts a new job in Manchester, she is sure it is the right move for her family. The children have settled well although her husband, Duncan, doesn’t appear to be so convinced.

But nothing prepares her for the shock of coming home from work one night to find that Duncan has disappeared, leaving their young children alone. His phone is dead, and she has no idea where he has gone, or why. And then she discovers she’s not the only one looking for him.

When a woman who looks just like Maggie is brutally murdered and DCI Tom Douglas is brought in to investigate, Maggie realises how little she knows about Duncan’s past. Is he the man she loves? Who is he running from?

She doesn’t have long to decide whether to trust him or betray him. Because one thing has been made clear to Maggie – another woman will die soon, and it might be her.

Books I won

Over on Crime Book Club I won not one but two books by L J Ross and lots of other goodies, I just had to include a photo of my prize’s don’t you just love them? Many thanks to Shell Baker and LJ Ross for my fab prize

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These are the two books I won and book descriptions

Holy Island by LJ Ross

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Book description
Detective Chief Inspector Ryan retreats to Holy Island seeking sanctuary when he is forced to take sabbatical leave from his duties as a homicide detective. A few days before Christmas, his peace is shattered and he is thrust back into the murky world of murder when a young woman is found dead amongst the ancient ruins of the nearby Priory.

When former local girl Dr Anna Taylor arrives back on the island as a police consultant, old memories swim to the surface making her confront her difficult past. She and Ryan struggle to work together to hunt a killer who hides in plain sight, while pagan ritual and small-town politics muddy the waters of their investigation.

Murder and mystery are peppered with a sprinkling of romance and humour in this fast-paced crime whodunnit set on the spectacular Northumbrian island of Lindisfarne, cut off from the English mainland by a tidal causeway.

Sycamore Gap by L J Ross

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Book description

Detective Chief Inspector Ryan believes he has put his turbulent history behind him. Then, in the early hours of the summer solstice, the skeleton of a young woman is found inside the Roman Wall at Sycamore Gap. She has lain undiscovered for ten years and it is Ryan’s job to piece together her past.

Enquiry lines cross and merge as Ryan is forced to face his own demons and enter into a deadly game of cat and mouse with a killer who seems unstoppable.

Murder and mystery are peppered with a sprinkling of romance and humour in this fast-paced crime whodunnit set amidst the spectacular scenery of Hadrian’s Wall country in Northumberland.

I have been really good this week and not bought one book, so I have kept to my “not buying any more books until my TBR piles gone down”…. Mind you looking at all the fantastic ARC books I’ve received this week my TBR pile won’t be diminishing anytime soon.

Please feel free to leave a comment, have you read any of the above books? Did you love/hate them? Which ones would you like to read?