Tag Archives: Must reads 2018

#TheKey by Katherine Hughes#BookReview @headlinepg


Today I’m sharing my review for The Key by Katherine Hughes, a book that’s very different to my usual reads, but one I found to a be a breath of fresh air, you can read on for my thoughts, but first the book description….

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1956 

It’s Ellen Crosby’s first day as a student nurse at Ambergate Hospital. When she meets a young woman admitted by her father, little does Ellen know that a choice she will make is to change both their lives for ever…

2006

Sarah is drawn to the now abandoned Ambergate. Whilst exploring the old corridors she discovers a suitcase belonging to a female patient who entered Ambergate fifty years earlier. The shocking contents, untouched for half a century, will lead Sarah to unravel a forgotten story of tragedy and lost love, and the chance to make an old wrong right . . .

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Every once in a while I like to pick up a book thats outside my comfort zone, a book that takes me away from serial killers, murders and mayhem, and when I read the book description for The Key I knew it was one I had to read. I’ve always been intrigued by asylums, I put that down to spending so many years working as a psychiatric nurse. When I think of asylums I conjure up images of wrong doings, barbaric treatments and an environment that was definitely not therapeutic to those living within the walls of such a place. Despite this Katherine Hughes has written a book that’s beautifully told, with a moving and thought provoking storyline, it’s one that pulls at the most hardened heart strings.  

The Key has a dual timeline, alternating between the 1950s and present day. Sarah, historian, finds a stash of old suitcases whilst going through the ruins of the old asylum. She is drawn to one suitcase in particular that contains a 50-year-old secret about the tragic life of Amy, a former patient. Katherine Hughes  manages to convey the attitudes of the staff and the treatment of patients in Ambergate County Lunatic Asylum with such conviction that some readers may find this book an uncomfortable and upsetting read at times. There is no doubt  The Key makes for a heartbreaking read, and more so because of the cruelty of such asylums, the author also highlights  the shocking and unbelievable reasons patients found themselves incarcerated.

The author has done a magnificent job in creating characters that are so well drawn that you can’t help but invest in their story, especially Amy’s it’s a tragic one and all the more upsetting because it’s a very believable one. It’s easy to imagine Amy’s confusion, her feeling of helplessness, but mostly you can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of injustice at the way Amy was treated in Ambergate. This could have been a depressing read, but  the author manages to add some heartwarming moments of friendship, hope and love within its pages. 

Katherine Hughes has written a novel that made for a   enthralling read, at times I found myself quite emotional which is a testament to the author’s writing skills, by the time I reached the last page I felt like I had been alongside Amy in her life journey, a path filled with heartbreak, fear and rejection. The Key is a wonderful told story of  pain, loss,  truth, and redemption. A disturbing yet captivating read that I would highly recommend to readers of historical fiction.  

  •  Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Review (6 Sept. 2018)

Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧         Amazon US 🇺🇸

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Footnote: 

The Key was inspired by the real-life discovery of a room filled with suitcases in a derelict asylum in Willard, New York. I visited the Willard Suitcases website to read more, it’s a fascinating website but also extremely sad, but it does make you realise that The Key although a work of fiction is inspired by real people placed in the most awful situations. 

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**Blog tour** Lies Between Us by Ronnie Turner #MustReads @Ronnie_Turner @HQDigitalUK

Today I’m over the moon to be on the blog tour for Lies Between Us by Ronnie Turner, a fabulous book blogger turned author. Before you read my review here’s the book description……

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Will they ever learn the truth?

Three people, leading very different lives, are about to be brought together – with devastating consequences . . .

John has a perfect life, until the day his daughter goes missing.

Maisie cares for her patients, but hides her own traumatic past.

Miller should be an innocent child, but is obsessed with something he can’t have.

They all have something in common, though none of them know it – and the truth won’t stay hidden for long . .

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Every parents worse fear becomes a reality for John when his daughter goes missing. “Not another child missing book” I can here you muttering, but wait Lies Between Us the debut novel by Ronnie Turner takes a familiar subject used in psychological thrillers and then turns it on its head. What makes it stand out? Firstly the characters, best of luck trying to work out their connection, it’s intricately plotted, and the writing is superb, best of all I loved the way the author keeps the reader guessing throughout. If you are looking for a read that’s taut with tension and rife with suspense then look no further Lies Between Us contains bucketfuls of both.      

Told from three POV this book is very much character driven, the BIG question is what connects the three? As a parent my heart went out to John whose daughter has been taken, his emotions and fears were very credible. My favourite character was definitely Miller, oh dearie me what a disturbed and creepy child he turned out to be, the chapters told from his POV add an overwhelming sense of menace to the overall story. Maisie a nurse was a character who puzzled me  I knew her POV must have some relevance to the story, but as to the “how” I just couldn’t fathom it out, but once I reached the big reveal and so superbly executed might I add, I realised just how devious the author had been. Lies Between Us does require the reader’s full attention due to the complexity of the plot, there were a couple of times where I did find myself confused, my advice would be to pay particular attention to the chapters time stamps it definitely helps.

There’s nothing more satisfying than reading a psychological thriller that takes me by surprise, and Lies Between Us not only surprised me it left me sat there flabbergasted. I did manage to work out the “who” after numerous false starts, but by the time I did I had nearly reached the end of the novel, so my “detective radar” was definitely scuppered by the author. Ronnie Turner deftly explores obsession and the lengths people go to in the name of “love” it’s deliciously dark and definitely very twisted but I loved every page of this novel. I must admit as I reached the conclusion I was left wondering about a few things, but that’s the beauty of this book as the author lets the reader come to their own conclusion.

should mention the author has the most twisted mind (I mean that as a compliment) Ronnie Turner teases and taunts the reader at every possible turn. Lies Between Us is my perfect kind of psychology thriller, it’s  one that kept me constantly guessing with enough “OMFG” moments to make Lies Between Us a superbly compelling read. A promising debut from Ronnie Turner and I will certainly be reading her next book without a shadow of a doubt.

  •  Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HQ Digital (1st Oct. 2018)

Buying link:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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Ronnie Turner grew up in Cornwall, the youngest in a large family. At an early age, she discovered a love of literature and dreamed of being a published author. Ronnie now lives in Dorset with her family and three dogs. In her spare time, she reviews books on her blog and enjoys long walks on the coast. She is currently working on her second novel.

Find her on:

Twitter: @Ronnie_ _Turner

Facebook: @RonnieTurnerAuthor

Instagram: @ronnieturner8702

Website: www.ronnieturner.wordpress.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40169201-lies-between-us

This Is a huge blog tour and if my review for Lies Between You hasn’t tempted you, perhaps one of my fellow 71 awesome book bloggers reviews will……

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#BlogBlitz One Dark Night by Tom Bale @t0mbale @Bookouture #BookReview

Today I’m thrilled to be one of the bloggers taking part in the #BlogBlitz for Tom Bale’s new thriller One Dark Night, but before I share my review here’s the book description…..

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He see his wife’s eyes watching him in the rear-view mirror, the kids up on their knees to get a better look. That’s when he hears the scream…

You’re driving home from a family outing one afternoon, when a speeding car cuts you up, nearly causing you to crash. Like anyone would, you pull over to confront the driver.

But a glance into the backseat of the speeding car reveals a woman fighting to escape. She is terrified and she’s screaming for your help: these men have murdered her husband…

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Welcome back Tom Bale, oh how I’ve missed you, just in case you haven’t already guessed I love this author’s books and his style of writing. One Dark Night the latest offering from the author is the definition of a “thriller” it’s fast paced, a plot fuelled by tension, with plenty of action. Adam, Katy and their children, Freya and Dylan have spent and enjoyable and perfectly normal day out, but on the journey home they are involved in a car accident which sparks a train of events that place the family’s life’s in jeopardy.

The authors trade mark of putting ordinary folk into extraordinary situations, works really well, as you can’t help thinking “what would I do in a similar situation?” Some readers may consider the plot to be far fetched, but at the end of the day it is a work of fiction and personally I was happy to buckle up and enjoy a very bumpy ride. You can’t help feeling  some sympathy for the families terrifying ordeal but there was a small part of me that struggled to connect with any of the characters, and I’m not really sure why, although I did think some of Adam’s and Katy’s decisions were reckless to say the least, 

The pace slows about mid way but this time is used to explore the motivation behind the situation the family find themselves in, I know this sounds very vague but I really don’t want to enter spoiler territory. There are some unsavoury characters in this thriller that certainly don’t get the reader’s sympathy, but they do add a dark and dangerous tone to the overall plot. Tom Bale manages to throw in a few surprises along the way which leads to a constant niggling feeing of unease.  One Dark Night is a tale with a dark heart, with plenty of suspense and mystery and heart stopping moments, theres plenty to keep thriller lovers reading into the small hours. In my humble opinion this thriller is a very worthy addition to the author’s ever growing list of books.   

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://geni.us/ODNCover

iBookstore: https://tinyurl.com/y8lt6a89

Kobo: https://tinyurl.com/y82k6jnt

Googleplay: https://tinyurl.com/yautyxz3

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Tom Bale is the author of nine books, including the bestsellers SEE HOW THEY RUN and ALL FALL DOWN. His latest book, ONE DARK NIGHT, is due out in October 2018.

Follow the blog tour……

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#BookReview: After He Died by Michael J. Malone (@michaelJmalone1) @OrendaBooks #AfterHeDied

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for After He Died by Michael J. Malone, but first the book description

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You need to know who your husband really was…

When Paula Gadd’s husband of almost thirty years dies, just days away from the seventh anniversary of their son, Christopher’s death, her world falls apart. Grieving and bereft, she is stunned when a young woman approaches her at the funeral service, and slips something into her pocket. A note 

suggesting that Paula’s husband was not all that he seemed…

When the two women eventually meet, a series of revelations challenges everything Paula thought they knew, and it becomes immediately clear that both women’s lives are in very real danger.

Both a dark, twisty slice of domestic noir and taut, explosive psychological thriller, After He Died is also a chilling reminder that the people we trust the most can harbour the deadliest secrets…

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Michael J Malone never fails to surprise me, he is such a versatile author, Crime, Gothic mystery, domestic noir, psychological thriller, which every genre he chooses to write about, its obvious he puts his heart and soul into his writing. When I read the book description for After He Died I convinced myself this novel was going to be purely domestic noir, along the lines of one of his previous books A Suitable Lie (which is one of my favourite books EVER by the way) but  apologises to the author as I should have known better, this novel doesn’t fit into one particular  genre, it has mystery, crime and Psychological aspects which made this novel an unique and extraordinary read. 

After He Died is the story of Paula Gadd, newly widowed. We first meet Paula at her husband’s funeral where she is approached by Cara a strange young woman  who mutters one heart stopping sentence “your husband is not the man you thought he was”. Of course once said Paula’s imagination goes into over drive, what secrets as her husband been hiding? How can the man she trusted the most harbour secrets from her? As she tries to unravel the truth with only her husband’s family to turn to, events take a very dangerous and sinister turn. I really thought this novel would take the familiar route in domestic noir, but Michael J Malone does the exact opposite and takes the reader on a unique ride, one full of surprises, mystery and copious amounts of  suspense.  

The author captures Paula’s grief perfectly as the reader you feel her pain, bewilderment and overwhelming sense of loss. Cara’s character is the complete opposite of Paula’s she hasn’t had an easy life but she’s determined and resourceful. Paula despite her grief is determined to find the truth about her husband however painful that might be, and Cara needs answers to her own personal tragedy. What I particularly enjoyed about this book was the way in which the author places Paula in a world she has never had to really think about, living a very comfortable and charmed life (to a point) she is shown through Cara’s work, that not everyone has the comfortable lifestyle she has very much taken for granted.   

Throughout After He Died I find myself completely immersed in Paula’s and Cara’s story, it’s gripping and not without surprises. The tension slowly simmers, as the author deftly reveals hidden secrets, lies and the worse kind of betrayal, exploding in a shocking conclusion which also felt to be a very fitting one. Once again Michael J Malone has written  an intensely gripping tale, it’s one that reminds the reader what an exceptional and talented writer the author is.  Highly recommended.  

  •  Print Length: 276 pages
  • Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS; None edition (30 July 2018)

Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧       Amazon US 🇺🇸

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#Resin by Ane Riel @AuthorAneRiel @alisonbarrow @TransworldBooks #MustReads

Today I am sharing my review for Resin by Ane Riel what a book this turned out to be, read on for my thoughts but first the book description….

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Liv died when she was just six years old. At least, that’s what the authorities think.

Her father knew he was the only one who could keep her safe in this world. So one evening he left the isolated house his little family called home, he pushed their boat out to sea and watched it ruin on the rocks. Then he walked the long way into town to report his only child missing.

But behind the boxes and the baskets crowding her Dad’s workshop, Liv was hiding. This way her Dad had said, she’d never have to go to school; this way, she’d never have to leave her parents.

This way, Liv would be safe.

  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Transworld Digital (9 Aug. 2018)

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The first sentence of this book actually gives a glimpse into how dark and disturbing Resin actually is, it’s definitely not one for the faint hearted as it deals with some rather uncomfortable and horrifying subjects, but in the author’s defence there are only a few vivid scenes, the rest is left to the reader’s imagination. Translated from Danish, Ane Riel’s novel is traumatic, emotional and deeply disturbing but on the plus side it’s beautifully written, rich in atmosphere, haunting  and at times bone chilling creepy.  

Resin is told mostly through the eyes of Liv a six year old girl who lives with her parents Jens and Maria on a tiny peninsula. Liv died when she was just six years old. At least, that’s what the authorities thought. There was something hypnotically memorising about Liv’s story, her innocence and acceptance of events sent a deathly chill down my spine, as did her descriptions of her insular family, living in utter chaos.  As the reader the horror you feel for her increases ten fold as you realise the reality of her situation. 

Liv’s family are the definition of dysfunctional, but amid the chaos and their peculiar ways, are a family that are bound together. This is a story of a father who wants to preserve and keep things as they were, where extremes gradually become the norm, where being treasured and protected can become something far more damaging and harmful. Something I never expected was to feel compassion for everyone of Ane Riel’s  characters at some point however misplaced it felt at the time. 

The author has created a small cast of complex characters, but each one brings something different to the story, my feelings to each character ranged from anger, to pity, to a sadness that hung over me long after I reached the last page. Resin is a story that is very much character driven, at its heart are a family who are different, it’s shocking, haunting and emotive but at the same time Resin made for such a compelling read, Liv’s story is one which will haunt me for a long time to come. Highly recommended. 

 Link:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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#FatalPromise by Angela Marsons #BookReview @WriteAngie @Bookouture #MustReads

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for Fatal Promise by Angela Marsons. I’m a huge fan of this author’s crime series and it’s hard to believe it’s the ninth book in what has turned out to be a gripping series. Read on for my thoughts but first the book description…..

 

 

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Eeeny meeny, miney, moe. Who lives, who dies only I know.

When the body of a doctor is discovered brutally murdered in local woodland, Detective Kim Stone is shocked to discover the victim is Gordon Cordell – a man linked to a previous case she worked on involving the death of a young school girl. Gordon has a chequered past, but who would want him dead?

As the investigation gets underway, Gordon’s son is involved in a horrific car crash which leaves him fighting for his life. Kim’s sure this was no accident.

Then the body of a woman is found dead in suspicious circumstances and Kim makes a disturbing link between the victims and Russells Hall Hospital. The same hospital where Gordon worked.

With Kim and her team still grieving the loss of one of their own, they’re at their weakest and facing one of the most dangerous serial killers they’ve ever encountered. Everything is on the line. Can Kim keep her squad together and find the killer before he claims his next victim?

The killer is picking off his victims at a terrifying pace, and he’s not finished yet

**If you haven’t read Dying Truth the previous book in the series this review may inadvertently contain some spoilers**

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I can not  believe I’m sat here writing a review for the ninth book in the Kim Stone series, when I wrote my review for the first book Silent Scream I know I  was really excited about what was then a new crime procedure series, and yet nine books on and it’s still a series that stimulates me. Angela Marsons writing goes from strength to strength and you can tell she is just as passionate about the series as her readers, each book has been very different, her characters are always ones I look forward to meeting up with again, they feel like life long friends as I’ve shared in their triumphs, despair and loss. One thing  you can guarantee is Angela Marsons writing never disappoints and Fatal Promise is a brilliant addition to this unmissable series.

I’m not going to rehash the plot details as everything you need to know is in the book description, but I will say Kim and her team have their work cut out solving their latest case, and what an intriguing case it turns out to be.  The dynamics within the team have changed due to events from Dying Truth (I still haven’t forgiven the author for that one!), which result in discord amongst the team, even Kim and team mate Bryant’s usual banter seems strained and fraught with tension, it doesn’t help matters when Penn joins the team, (a character we met in previous books in the series).  Personally I feel he’s a worthy addition to the team and I’m hoping he’s going to become a regular fixture. 

I  thought I knew all there was to know about Kim Stone but I was wrong, the author explores Kim’s abusive past in further detail, and despite her pain and guilt which plays out in her behaviour towards others, the author still allows Kim’s sardonic humour to shine through. Kim Stone is definitely one of my favourite fictional Detectives, she’s complex, surly and yet she has hidden qualities that make her a very endearing and intriguing character.  

Fatal Promise was everything I hoped it would be and more, with a cracking storyline that pretty much keeps the reader guessing to the final chapter. Every last page is packed with suspense, mystery and emotion, it’s a cliche but it’s a book I couldn’t bear to put down even for a few minutes. Each book in the series has been very different and I love the fact that Angela Marsons doesn’t always use the same formula so every book feels just as exciting as the first book in the series. Would I recommend this Fatal Promise? It’s a definite and resounding “yes” and if you haven’t read this series yet, why not? Seriously if you are a lover of crime fiction this is a series not to be missed. 

  • Print Length: 385 pages
  • Publisher: Bookouture (19 Oct. 2018)

Buying links:            Amazon UK 🇺🇸            Amazon US 🇺🇸

Books in the Kim Stone series

Silent Scream

Evil Games

Lost Girls

Play Dead

Blood Lines 

Dead Souls 

Broken Bones

Dying Truth 

 

 

 

#TheLingering by SJI Holliday @OrendaBooks @SJIHolliday #MustReads #BookReview

 

Today I’m sharing my review for The Lingering by SJI Holliday, it’s a book that’s full of suprises and a book that’s certainly going to be on my top reads of 2018 list. Read on for my thoughts, but first the book description……  

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Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient commune in the English Fens, desperate for fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history.

When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution…

At once an unnerving locked-room mystery, a chilling thriller and a dark and superbly wrought ghost story, The Lingering is an exceptionally plotted, terrifying and tantalisingly twisted novel by one of the most exciting authors in the genre.

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When I pick up a novel I’m always looking for a read that will captivate my imagination, a novel that leaves me breathless, one that will unnerve me and one where I reach the last page I immediately want to read it again, novels that make me feel like this are a rare breed indeed, well up until now that is. I’m not going to beat about the bush I loved The Lingering by SJI Holliday, it was the perfect read for me, I found it to be creepy, and very, very dark. Part ghost story, part domestic thriller, the author  tantalises the reader with the mystery surrounding Rosalind House and its occupants, when you add to the mix odd occurrences and strange sightings well let’s just say “this novel made for a disquieting, but oh so thrilling read”.

Married couple Jack and Ali Gardner are seeking a fresh start and decide to move to  Rosalind House a self-sufficient commune in the English Fens, but what dark secrets are the couple hiding? Once they arrive it’s not long before the couple experience ghostly happenings, and that’s when this novel gets bone chillingly creepy.  Rosalind House, an abandoned asylum is the perfect setting for this novel, it hides a tragic past, where secrets and passed misdoings are hidden in the very fabric of the building. It’s a building steeped in myths and legends where bad things happened, and as the author slowly reveals its dark and deadly secrets I found myself becoming more fearful at each turn of the page.    

The characters in The Lingering are fabulously depicted, rich in personality, and complex. Jack and Ali Gardner what a couple, their relationship is one based on coercion and control, a relationship that’s shrouded in lies and deceit. You know from the beginning the couple are hiding something BIG, and that alone adds an over whelming sense of uneasiness that intensifies as the Gardner’s dark secrets are slowly revealed.

I guess the spooky supernatural element might not suit all crime fiction fans, but if like me you read The Lingering with an open mind I’m sure you will end up loving it as much as I did. The Lingering explores the nature of true evil, the psychological aspect of this novel is dark in tone as the author delves into the minds of a very disturbed couple. This novel is exceptionally well plotted, original, creepy and very disturbing and yet it is one of the most compelling novels I’ve had the pleasure to read in a long time, and definitely a contender for my “book of the year”. Highly, highly recommended.

This is going to come as no surprise but I’m giving  The Lingering  the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating. It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reached the very last page.

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  • Print Length: 300 pages
  • Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS (30 Sept. 2018)

Buying link: Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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