Tag Archives: Must reads 2018

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain #BookReview @D_Chamberlain

Today I’m sharing my review for the latest novel by Diane Chamberlain, The Dream Daughter. As a huge crime thriller reader, there are just a handful of authors outside this genre that I turn to when I need a “non crime fiction fix” and this author is one of them.

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When Caroline Sears receives the news that her unborn baby girl has a heart defect, she is devastated. It is 1970 and there seems to be little that can be done. But her brother-in-law, a physicist, tells her that perhaps there is. Hunter appeared in their lives just a few years before—and his appearance was as mysterious as his past. With no family, no friends, and a background shrouded in secrets, Hunter embraced the Sears family and never looked back. 

Now, Hunter is telling her that something can be done about her baby’s heart. Something that will shatter every preconceived notion that Caroline has. Something that will require a kind of strength and courage that Caroline never knew existed. Something that will mean a mind-bending leap of faith on Caroline’s part.

And all for the love of her unborn child.

A rich, genre-spanning, breathtaking novel about one mother’s quest to save her child, unite her family, and believe in the unbelievable. Diane Chamberlain pushes the boundaries of faith and science to deliver a novel that you will never forget. 

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I have long been a fan of Diane Chamberlain I just adore her books, now if I’m honest I had reservations about reading The Dream Daughter as I read on line that the author’s latest book is part science fiction, don’t get me wrong I’m not adverse to reading this genre I just couldn’t work out how a authors whose novels normally focus on very human story’s  could possibly incorporate science fiction into one of her story’s. After finishing this novel I have to admit the author has done a fabulous job, and the mix of genres exactly made The Dream Daughter a unique read which captured my imagination.

The Dream Daughter is a novel about one mother’s quest to save her child. Carly finds out that her unborn baby has a heart defect. There’s no treatment available in 1970, and the baby will likely not survive after birth. Her enigmatic brother in law Hunter has knowledge of treatment that could help Caroline’s unborn baby, but first he needs to convince her to take a mind-bending leap of faith. This description may seem vague but I’m desperate not to give away the heart of this novel and spoil the read for others. The way Diane Chamberlain has crafted a story of a mother’s love, risking everything she knows and believes, all for the love for her daughter was incredibly moving at times. If I’m giving you the impression The Dream Daughter makes for a depressing read I apologise, this novel also has uplifting and heartwarming moments that warm the heart.  

Diane Chamberlain has a knack of creating characters that are not only multi dimensional but she also draws on the raw emotions the characters are feeling. You feel Carly’s despair, you understand her need to do everything in her power to save her daughter, you empathise when Carly has to make heart breaking choices, you feel like your alongside Carly on her journey. I’m really pleased the author decided not to give The Dream Daughter the ending  I envisaged, personally I found the authors conclusion to be a more satisfactory one (that’s why I’m not an author) it was definitely more fitting to the overall story.  Diane Chamberlain has written a multi-layered, genre crossing, complex novel that is both emotive and compelling, and a novel that I found a joy to read. 

  • Print Length: 380 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; Main Market edition (18 Oct. 2018)

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧    Amazon US 🇺🇸

 

#AndSoItBegins by Rachel Abbott #BlogTour @RachelAbbott @annecater

Today I’m over the moon  to be opening the blog tour for Rachel Abbott and her latest book And So It Begins. If you love a twisted psychological thriller then you need to buy this one immediately. Before I share my review here’s the book description……..

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Cleo knows she should be happy for her brother Mark. He’s managed to find someone new after the sudden death of his first wife – but something about Evie just doesn’t feel right…

When Evie starts having accidents at home, her friends grow concerned. Could Mark be causing her injuries? Called out to their cliff-top house one night, Sergeant Stephanie King finds two bodies entangled on blood-drenched sheets.

Where does murder begin? When the knife is raised to strike, or before, at the first thought of violence? As the accused stands trial, the jury is forced to consider – is there ever a proper defence for murder?

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There’s nothing more thrilling than reading a psychological thriller that is deliciously twisted, one that literally leaves your head in a spin, and a plot that’s big on the unpredictable And So It Begins by Rachel Abbott fits the bill perfectly. Evie Clarke meets Mark, a reclusive widower, and they soon become a couple. Mark starts to feel he has a future after the accidental death of his first wife. There’s only one fly in the ointment, and comes in the shape of Cleo, Mark’s overprotective sister, who is is mistrustful of Evie from the start. What first appears to be a fairly straightforward story of a marriage gone wrong soon ascends into something darker and far more disturbing. 

As the reader you are privy to details of the couples personal struggles, at times this made for a disquieting read, but you can’t help but read on in fascinated horror as Rachel Abbot reveals more details about the couple and Cleo’s past. Now normally I have to feel some connection to the characters to invest in their story, both Evie and Cleo had qualities that made them impossible to like, but if anything it actually made the story far more interesting as I only took them at face value. I do love an unreliable narrator and in this book you don’t get one but two! and so I  found myself constantly questioning their involvement and motives. There is an undercurrent of lies and deception throughout the book and it is not clear until the very end where the deceit lies.

I was surprised when I realised this novel was Part court room drama, but if anything this was the part of the book I enjoyed the most, as the author deftly reveals more details about the damaged characters within the book.  And So It Begins Is a book that is guaranteed to keep you guessing it’s not about the “who” as that’s revealed early on in the book it’s the complexities of the “why” that make this book such an exciting read. With themes of jealousy, violence, toxic family relationships, and damaged characters, it’s one of those books that holds surprises at every deviously twisted turn. I must mention I love the fact that author Rachel Abbott manages to maintain the element of surprise right up to the last page, making this novel a thrill a minute read. Highly recommended 

  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Wildfire (11 Oct. 2018)

Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧       Amazon US 🇺🇸

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Rachel Abbott’s debut thriller, Only the Innocent, was an international bestseller, reaching the number one position in the Amazon charts both in the UK and US. This was followed by the number one bestselling novels The Back Road, Sleep Tight, Stranger Child, Nowhere Child (a short novel based on the characters from Stranger Child), Kill Me Again and The Sixth Window. Her most recent novel, Come a Little Closer, is available from February 2018.

Rachel’s novels have now been translated into over 20 languages and her books have sold over 3 million copies in the English language. 

In 2015 Amazon celebrated the first five years of the Kindle in the UK, and announced that Rachel was the #1 bestselling independent author over the five-year period. She was also placed #14 in the chart of all authors. Stranger Child was the most borrowed novel for the Kindle in the first half of 2015.

Rachel splits her time between Alderney – a beautiful island off the coast of France – and the Le Marche region of Italy, where she is able to devote all her time to writing fiction. For more information, see Rachel’s website, or follow her on Twitter.

Rachel’s website can be found at 

Website : http://www.rachel-abbott.com 

Blog : http://rachelabbottwriter.com/

Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/RachelAbbott1Writer

Twitter: @RachelAbbott

Follow the blog tour…… 

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#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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