Tag Archives: Mystery

My TBR pile for January & February 2020 (so far) #BookBlogger #PartOne

Today I thought I would share something a little bit different with you all. I was checking on my TBR pile and realised that despite it only being October I have some amazing ARC’s sat waiting to be read.

So I thought I would give you a glimpse of what sound like some amazing books being published in January and February 2020……….my dilemma now is which one to read first? 

Who Did You Tell? by Lesley Kara

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Every town has its secrets. Lesley Kara knows them all .

From the author of 2019’s biggest crime thriller debut, The Rumour, comes an addictive new novel . . .

It’s been 192 days, seven hours and fifteen minutes since her last drink. Now Astrid is trying to turn her life around.

Having reluctantly moved back in with her mother, in a quiet seaside town away from the temptations and painful memories of her life before, Astrid is focusing on her recovery. She’s going to meetings. Confessing her misdeeds. Making amends to those she’s wronged.

But someone knows exactly what Astrid is running from. And they won’t stop until she learns that some mistakes can’t be corrected.

Some mistakes, you have to pay for . . .

Pub Date 9 Jan 2020

Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey

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Inspired by a terrifying true story, a heart-pounding novel of suspense about a small Minnesota town where nothing is as quiet—or as safe—as it seems.

Cassie McDowell’s life in 1980s Minnesota seems perfectly wholesome. She lives on a farm, loves school, and has a crush on the nicest boy in class. Yes, there are her parents’ strange parties and their parade of deviant guests, but she’s grown accustomed to them.

All that changes when someone comes hunting in Lilydale.

One by one, local boys go missing. One by one, they return changed—violent, moody, and withdrawn. What happened to them becomes the stuff of shocking rumors. The accusations of who’s responsible grow just as wild, and dangerous town secrets start to surface. Then Cassie’s own sister undergoes the dark change. If she is to survive, Cassie must find her way in an adult world where every sin is justified, and only the truth is unforgivable.

Pub Date 1 Jan 2020

The Perfect Mother by Caroline Mitchell

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She thought they wanted her baby. But they won’t stop there.

Roz is young, penniless and pregnant. All she wants is to be the perfect mother to her child, but the more she thinks about her own chaotic upbringing, the more certain she is that the best life for her baby is as far away as possible from her hometown in Ireland.

Determined to do the right thing, Roz joins an elite adoption service and can’t believe her luck. Within days she is jetting to New York to meet a celebrity power couple desperate for a child of their own. Sheridan and Daniel are wealthy and glamorous—everything Roz isn’t. Her baby will never go hungry, and will have every opportunity for the perfect life. But soon after Roz moves into their plush basement suite, she starts to suspect that something darker lurks beneath the glossy surface of their home.

When Roz discovers she isn’t the first person to move in with the couple, and that the previous woman has never been seen since, alarm bells start ringing. As the clock ticks down to her due date, Roz realises her unborn baby may be the only thing keeping her alive, and that despite her best intentions, she has walked them both into the perfect nightmare…

Pub Date 14 Jan 2020

The Murder House by Michael Wood

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They were the perfect family. It was the perfect crime.

The new gripping DCI Matilda Darke crime thriller about the dark secrets that lie within a perfect family. For fans of Patricia Gibney and Angela Marsons.

It’s the most disturbing crime scene DCI Matilda Darke has ever seen…

The morning after a wedding reception at a beautiful suburban home in Sheffield, the bride’s entire family are stabbed to death – in a frenzied attack more violent than anything DCI Matilda Darke could have imagined.

Forensics point to a burglar on the run across the country. But cracks are starting to appear in Matilda’s team, someone is playing games with the evidence – and the killer might be closer to home than they thought…

The Knock by Jessie Keane

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For some, being on the wrong side of the law is the safest place to be . . .

Dora O’Brien had a good start in life, but things went bad when she began to mix with the wrong company. When her daughter Angel is born, Dora is already under the influence of drink and drugs.

Growing up in the shadow of her mother’s abusive relationship, Angel is nothing like her mother, but when matters turn murderous, Angel is forced to grow up fast and survival becomes the name of the game.

No one uncovers the underworld like Jessie Keane.

The Other People by C.J. Tudor

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She sleeps, a pale girl in a white room . . .

Driving home one night, stuck behind a rusty old car, Gabe sees a little girl’s face appear in the rear window.

She mouths one word: ‘Daddy.’

It’s his five-year-old daughter, Izzy.

He never sees her again.

Three years later, Gabe spends his days and nights travelling up and down the motorway, searching for the car that took his daughter, refusing to give up hope, even though most people believe that Izzy is dead.

Fran and her daughter, Alice, also put in a lot of miles on the motorway. Not searching. But running. Trying to keep one step ahead of the people who want to hurt them.

Because Fran knows the truth. She knows what really happened to Gabe’s daughter. She knows who is responsible. And she knows what they will do if they ever catch up with her and Alice . . .

Pub Date 23 Jan 2020

The Dilemma by B A Paris

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The million-copy bestselling author returns with another breath-taking book …

It’s Livia’s 40th birthday and she’s having the party of a lifetime to make up for the wedding she never had. Everyone she loves will be there except her daughter Marnie, who’s studying abroad. But although Livia loves Marnie, she’s secretly glad she won’t be at the party. She needs to tell Adam something about their daughter but she’s waiting until the party is over so they can have this last happy time together.

Adam wants everything to be perfect for Livia so he’s secretly arranged for Marnie to come home and surprise her on her birthday. During the day, he hears some terrible news. He needs to tell Livia, because how can the party go on? But she’s so happy, so excited – and the guests are about to arrive.

The Dilemma – how far would you go to give someone you love a last few hours of happiness?

One day that will change a family forever, The Dilemma is the breath-taking, heart-breaking new novel from the million-copy-selling, Sunday Times bestseller, BA Paris

Pub Date 9 Jan 2020

The Temple House Vanishing by Rachel Donahue

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Twenty-five years ago, a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl and her charismatic teacher disappeared without trace…

In an elite Catholic girls’ boarding-school the pupils live under the repressive, watchful gaze of the nuns. Seeking to break from the cloistered atmosphere two of the students – Louisa and Victoria – quickly become infatuated with their young, bohemian art teacher, and act out passionately as a result. That is, until he and Louisa suddenly disappear.

Years later, a journalist uncovers the troubled past of the school and determines to resolve the mystery of the missing pair. The search for the truth will uncover a tragic, mercurial tale of suppressed desire and long-buried secrets. It will shatter lives and lay a lost soul to rest.

The Temple House Vanishing is a stunning, intensely atmospheric novel of unrequited longing, dark obsession and uneasy consequences.

Pub Date 20 Feb 2020

The House On The Lake by Nuala Ellwood

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No matter how far you run . . .
He’s never far behind

Lisa needs to disappear. And her friend’s rambling old home in the wilds of Yorkshire seems like the perfect place. It’s miles away from the closest town, and no one there knows her or her little boy, Joe.

But when a woman from the local village comes to visit them, Lisa realizes that she and Joe aren’t as safe as she thought.

What secret has Rowan Isle House – and her friend – kept hidden all these years?

And what will Lisa have to do to survive, when her past finally catches up with her?

Pub Date 20 Feb 2020

The Perfect Kill by Helen Fields

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He had never heard himself scream before. It was terrifying.

Alone, trapped in the darkness and with no way out, Bart Campbell knows that his chances of being found alive are slim.

Drugged and kidnapped, the realisation soon dawns that he’s been locked inside a shipping container far from his Edinburgh home. But what Bart doesn’t yet know is that he’s now heading for France where his unspeakable fate is already sealed…

DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach are working on separate cases that soon collide as it becomes clear that the men and women being shipped to France are being traded for women trafficked into Scotland.

With so many lives at stake, they face an impossible task – but there’s no option of failure when Bart and so many others will soon be dead…

Pub Date 6 Feb 2020

Are You Watching? by Vincent Ralph

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Ten years ago, Jess’s mother was the first victim of the now notorious Magpie Man. 13 murders later and this serial killer is still at large with no clue as to his identity. He kills every 9 months. It’s almost time for his fourteenth victim.

Now Jess is the star of a YouTube reality series and she’s using it to warm up the case that has turned cold.  The world is watching her every move. And so is the Magpie Man.

Pub Date 6 Feb 2020

 

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The brand new thriller from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Hunting Party.

It starts with a party.

On a remote island, guests gather for the wedding of the year – the marriage of Jules Keegan and Will Slater.Old friends. Past grudges.Happy families. Hidden jealousies. Thirteen guests.One body.

The wedding cake has barely been cut when one of the guests is found dead. And as a storm unleashes its fury on the island, everyone is trapped.

All have a secret. All have a motive.

It’ll end in murder.

Pub Date 20 Feb 2020

Well what do you think? Have any of these books caught your eye? Is there a book you are desperate to read in 2020? Please feel free to leave me a comment.

My Chronicle Book Box #BookSubscription #Monthly @MyChronicleBB #Review #DiscountCode #CrimeMysteryBox #Mychroniclebookbox #NovemberBox

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Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my thoughts on The Crime & Mystery monthly book subscription box for November from https://mychroniclebookbox.com/ not only that but followers of my blog can get a 10% discount on their first box (details can be found further down this post). The Crime & Mystery monthly book subscription box, has everything you love about a quarterly book subscription box, but monthly!

**Please note I have not received payment for reviewing this book subscription, but I did receive a box in return for a honest and unbiased review**

I must admit I have been eagerly awaiting this box, I couldn’t wait to see what founder Louise of My Chronicle Book Box  had come up with. When it arrived it felt like Christmas, as you are never sure what lies inside these beautifully packed parcels.

Once again I was amazed at the amount of thought that had gone into this box, each gift has been carefully selected and fits the theme of the book. I’m sure you are eager to see what lies inside so without further ado, here we go……..E007457E-B714-4995-B395-00056F3C3EC0

First up……..

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As with the previous box, it comes with a welcome letter and this month’s theme is Cheating. Lying. Murder?  I loved the print with the book quote, which I’m going to frame and put on my bookshelves. There’s a Q&A with author Nicci French. There’s also a sample of Tidelands by Philippa Gregory.

 

Then there were the bookish themed gifts……

  • A handmade Liquid soap called partners in crime, which smells Devine, it’s a blend of  pink grapefruit and Neroli.
  • A cruelty free bath soufflé scented with lavender and fennel seed, I love a soak in the bath so this product is perfect.
  • A decorative key which I’m going to use as a book mark as it’s got a lovely little tag with a quote on it.

And if that wasn’t enough you also get a hardback signed copy of The Lying Room by Nicci French. I have never read a book by this author (I know it’s shocking!), but this books been on my ‘wishlist’ ever since I read the book description so I can’t wait to read this one.

 

I think these boxes are worth every penny, when you consider you get a signed book and other book related gifts. The books are beautifully wrapped,  there’s so much thought put into these boxes, I really am impressed. Not only do you get fantastic value for a monthly subscription fee of £25, UK delivery is also now FREE!

I’m not sure I could justify buying them every month  though, as I buy a lot and I mean a LOT of books each month, but I would definitely buy the odd one and if I was looking for a book related gift for a bookworm this would definitely be my first choice. These are the perfect gift for me (hint! hint! family and friends 😂🙈) and anyone who enjoys reading crime and mystery books.

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For more information and how you can subscribe, please visit https://mychroniclebookbox.com/ 

If I have tempted you to buy a box here’s a bonus, courtesy of My Book Box Chronicles….if you include the discount code CAFE10 it will give you 10% off your first box.

@MyChronicleBB

https://www.facebook.com/mychroniclebookbox/

https://www.instagram.com/mychroniclebookbox/

A Dark matter by Doug Johnstone (Skelfs #1) #BookReview @doug_johnstone @OrendaBooks #TartanNoir

Today I am sharing my review for A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone if you are looking for a different type of thriller, one that stands out from the crowd I may just have the book for you, but first the book description……

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Three generations of women from the Skelfs family take over the family funeral-home and PI businesses in the first book of a taut, page-turning and darkly funny new series.

Meet the Skelfs: well-known Edinburgh family, proprietors of a long-established funeral-home business, and private investigators…

When patriarch Jim dies, it’s left to his wife Dorothy, daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah to take charge of both businesses, kicking off an unexpected series of events.

Dorothy discovers mysterious payments to another woman, suggesting that Jim wasn’t the husband she thought he was. Hannah’s best friend Mel has vanished from university, and the simple adultery case that Jenny takes on leads to something stranger and far darker than any of them could have imagined.

As the women struggle to come to terms with their grief, and the demands of the business threaten to overwhelm them, secrets from the past emerge, which change everything…

A compelling, tense and shocking thriller and a darkly funny and warm portrait of a family in turmoil, A Dark Matter introduces a cast of unforgettable characters, marking the start of an addictive new series.

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When I picked up A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone, I felt a frisson of excitement, (Breakers one of his previous book is sitting solidly on my list of top reads of 2019) as you are never sure what road the author will take you down, but once again the author has written an impressive book, with remarkable characters. A Dark Matter is certainly different to Breakers but how I loved this book, it’s the first in a series following three generations of Skelf Woman. This is a book that doesn’t fit neatly into one genre, it’s a kind of family saga, thriller, crime thriller all rolled into one, making for an unusual but compelling read. 

When the head of the family, Jim Skelf passes away, it’s left to his wife Dorothy, daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah to take charge of the family businesses, a funeral-home, and private investigators.Two very different businesses, that are polar opposites, but the two blend perfectly, creating a plot that’s teeming with mystery, dark humour and tension. The story is narrated in alternating chapters by the three women, normally this can cause me issues with the flow of a story, but that’s not the case with A Dark Matter the author moves fluidly between the three POV creating a read that’s seamless.

Doug Johnstone has a knack for creating well-rounded characters, they are characters who get under your skin; you find your thoughts continually returning to them. I admire the fact the author isn’t afraid to create characters who aren’t without flaws, after all none of us are perfect! Neither are they stereotypes, they are likeable, credible, and relatable. The women face overwhelming challenges; we feel their grief, anger, turmoil, and anxiety as they become overwhelmed by hidden secrets, strange disappearances, and adultery. As the three main characters are not bound by rules or regulations, they aren’t afraid to push the boundaries, their techniques aren’t always professional, their unpredictable, rash, led by their emotions, which means you are never sure what they are going to do next, for me personally I thought this made the read even more unpredictable. 

As the location for A Dark Matter is a funeral directors, there is some talk of death, and references to what happens to people after death. In the wrong hands this could have made A Dark Matter a gloomy read, but not the author he deals with the subject with a delicate hand, injecting just the correct amount of ‘dark humour’ to lighten the mood, without appearing insensitive. Doug Johnstone captures the reader’s attention from the original opening, tension mounts as each chapter ends, and with a winning combination of diverse  characters A Dark Matter is a thriller that begs to be read in one sitting. Highly recommend

  • Print Length: 300 pages
  • Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS; None edition (23 Nov. 2019)

Buying link:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧    Amazon US 🇺🇸

My thanks as always to Karen Sullivan for my ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

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First Blood by Angela Marsons #BookReview @WriteAngie @Bookouture #BreakingNews #TeamKimStone #FirstBlood #Surprise

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Today I’m over the moon to be sharing my review for a very special book…….First Blood by Angela Marsons, it’s the PREQUEL to the Kim Stone crime series!!!!!! “What? How did I not know about this book”? I can hear Angela Marsons fans shouting. Bookouture decided to do something very unusual and keep this book top secret until publication day, (naughty Bookouture, but what a brilliant idea) which means you can grab a copy of this fabulous book right now, but before you head off to get your copy, here’s my review, along with the book description………

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In the darkness of a cold December morning, Detective Kim Stone steps through the doors of Halesowen Police Station.  She’s about to meet her team for the first time.  The victim of her next case is about to meet his killer…

When the body of a young man is found beheaded and staked to the ground in a secluded area of the Clent Hills, Kim and her new squad rush to the crime scene.

Searching the victim’s home, Kim discovers a little girl’s bedroom and a hidden laptop.  Why is his sister relieved to hear he’s dead – and where is the rest of his family?  

As Kim begins to unearth the dark secrets at the heart of the case, D.C. Stacey Wood finds a disturbing resemblance to the recent murder of Lester Jackson.  But that’s not all Stacey finds …

She’s convinced there is a link between the victims and a women’s shelter run by Marianne Forbes, Lester’s niece. A child of the care system herself, Kim knows all too well what it means to be vulnerable. Could Marianne be the key to cracking this case?

With the killer about to strike again, Kim is in deep water with a rookie squad.  Inexperienced Stacey is showing signs of brilliance but struggling to hold her nerve and, while D.S. Bryant is reliable and calm, D.S. Dawson is a liability. With his home life in pieces, his volatile behaviour is already fracturing her fragile new team.

Can Kim bring Dawson in line and pull her crew together in time to catch the killer before another life is taken? This time, one of her own could be in terrible danger…

Discover where it all began for Kim and her team. An absolutely heart-stopping mystery thriller that will keep you glued to the pages, reading late into the night.  Perfect for Kim Stone fans and new readers to the million-copy bestselling series.

A detective hiding dark secrets, Kim Stone will stop at nothing to protect the innocent.

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Oh, my giddy aunt I can’t believe that Angela Marsons has finally written the VERY book I’ve been fantasying about,  First Blood a PREQUEL to the Kim Stone books, yes you read that right!!!!!! Anyone who follows this series will love this book. As a huge fan I’ve watched Kim and her team (and surrogate family) evolve and grow into living, breathing characters. I’ve always wondered about the previous years, and what forces bought  Kim, Bryant, Stacey, and Dawson together, well here Lie all the answers in First Blood the exciting and riveting prequel. **a word of warning** you will struggle to put this book down, forget about eating, drinking, sleeping, and work, this book will consume your every waking moment.

As per Angela Marsons she doesn’t hang about in drawing the reader in, from the promising and shocking prologue to the very last page the author keeps you firmly in her clutches. We first meet Kim as she’s seconded to Halesowen, or rather she’s forced upon them after being transferred from West Bromwich, after a communication issue with a chauvinistic senior officer! Kim’s newly gained  team are full of reservations, about working with her, sadly for Kim her reputation proceeds her, she’s known for being difficult, lacks social skills, and is considered  bloody-minded. 

Their first case together sees them hunting a serial killer, that kills their victims in the most savage way, besides finding a killer, they also have the added challenge of being a new team. It was interesting to see how the dynamics between the team shifted as their strengths  and weaknesses became clear. Bryant is solid and dependable, Stacey is keen and passionate about her work, Dawson ambitious, lazy and rebellious. As for Kim she has to learn to work as part of a team, rather than being a ‘one-man band’, which takes some doing especially when you don’t trust or like people! 

As the plot develops and the team close in on the killer, the book takes a dark turn, one that’s horrifying, and unsettling, and yet you have to read on, racing on to the dramatic conclusion. First Blood is peppered with chapters narrated by an unknown voice, the fury that radiates from these chapters is palatable, It’s seldom I feel any sympathy towards a serial killer in a crime thriller, but Angela Marsons has managed to do just that, I found myself questioning my own moral compass. A small part of me had a small amount of  respect for this killer, even though it conflicts with my own thoughts on murder, at the same time I struggled to summon up any sympathy for the victims. 

As you would expect with any good crime thriller,  it’s very well written (but we’re talking Angela Marsons here, so I expected nothing less, she sure knows how to draw the reader in.  There are more twists and turns than a rollercoaster, the tension ramps out with every turn of the page, there are gory crime scenes (not for the fainthearted), brilliant characters that immediately draw you in, misdirection at every turn. In fact, it’s the perfect crime thriller read. Without a shadow of a doubt Angela Marsons has written another best seller, highly, highly recommended.

Violet by SJI Holliday #BookReview @SJIHolliday @OrendaBooks #Violet #BookHangoverAward

Today I’m sharing my review for Violet by SJI Holliday, Violet is published by the fabulous Orenda Books. What I love about this publishers books is the fact no two books are the same or even similar in plot. Read on for my thoughts about Violet but first the book description…….

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When two strangers end up sharing a cabin on the Trans-Siberian Express, an intense friendship develops, one that can only have one ending … a nerve-shattering psychological thriller from bestselling author SJI Holliday

Carrie’s best friend has an accident and can no longer make the round-the-world trip they’d planned together, so Carrie decides to go it alone.

Violet is also travelling alone, after splitting up with her boyfriend in Thailand. She is also desperate for a ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express, but there is nothing available.

When the two women meet in a Beijing Hotel, Carrie makes the impulsive decision to invite Violet to take her best friend’s place.

Thrown together in a strange country, and the cramped cabin of the train, the women soon form a bond. But as the journey continues, through Mongolia and into Russia, things start to unravel – because one of these women is not who she claims to be…

A tense and twisted psychological thriller about obsession, manipulation and toxic friendships, Violet also reminds us that there’s a reason why mother told us not to talk to strangers…

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Oh, how I loved Violet by SJI Holliday, what an intense, psychological thriller this novel turned out to be. Sometimes strangers come into our life’s, and it seems like fate, they become friends, a confidant, someone who we will feel better for knowing,  this appears to be the case for Violet and Carrie when they meet by chance in a Beijing Hotel. On impulse Carrie invites Violet to take the place of her friend and accompany her on the Trans-Siberian Express. The more sensible amongst us would think twice, after all you have to take a stranger at face value, how do we  know they are who they say they are? they could be an axe murderer or drug trafficker, but both girls are young, living for the moment, the worlds their oyster and where we perceive danger they see adventure! So we the reader accompany them on their journey aboard the Trans Siberian Express, a journey that darkens with every country that passes. 

This story tale is narrated from Violets POV, the ‘wary’ part of me immediately went on high alert, there was something about Violets story that set alarm bells ringing, her story seemed to have a lot of holes, she skirts certain subjects, and there was always a niggling feeling that she was keeping something back, she came across as being very intense and a little bit creepy. There are also sporadic emails from Carrie sent to her best friend Laura, she shares her inner thoughts and feelings, these could easily be dismissed as ramblings but it’s only later you realise there importance. SJL Halliday expertly allows each of her characters to raise suspicion in the reader’s head, whose telling the truth? Violet? Carrie? Or neither? 

The parent in me wanted to shake Violet and Carrie so intent are they at ‘having the time of their life’ they take unnecessary risks with their own safety, drugs, drink, talking to strangers, but maybe all the time danger lays much close to home!  To begin with Violet and Carrie’s new found friendship seems to thrive, but as their journey progresses, it turns into something much more intense, it begins to feel uncomfortable, it’s a friendship that’s based on manipulation and obsession, it’s one that’s toxic in its making, this adds a darkness to the story, along with a growing sense of dread. 

The attention to detail in this book is evident, SJI Holliday writes in such a descriptive way, it’s easy to conjure up images of the country’s the two girls visit, the atmosphere, the train journey, and the people they meet along the way. There are so many psychological thrillers on the market, it’s difficult to find one that stands out from the crowd, but Violet does just that, and for all the right reasons it’s deliciously dark, slightly creepy, with unreliable characters. It’s a book that will keep you guessing until the devious author decides to reveal all. Exquisitely written, Violet makes for an all-consuming read, one that begs to be read in one hugely satisfying sitting. Highly recommended 

Yes you’ve guessed it I’m giving Violet my shiny Book hangover award, 

What criteria does a book need to meet to win 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 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 reach the very last page.

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  • Print Length: 276 pages
  • Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS (14 Sept. 2019)

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧    Amazon US 🇺🇸

My thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for my ARC in exchange for an unbiased and honest review. 

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Nine Elms by @robertbryndza @LittleBrownUK @BooksSphere #NineElms #MustReads #BookHangoverAward

Today I’m over the moon to be sharing my review for one of my most anticipated reads of 2019 Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza. Nine Elms is the first in a brand new crime series and I have a feeling this book is going to be a huge hit with crime thriller lovers. Before I share my review here’s the book description……..

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A DETECTIVE WHO WOULD STOP AT NOTHING

Kate Marshall was a rising star in the London Metropolitan police force. Young, ambitious and with a keen sense of justice, she solved several high-profile murder cases.

UNTIL A KILLER STOPPED HER IN HER TRACKS

But when Kate was tasked with tracking down a vicious serial killer, even her sharp instincts couldn’t help her find him – until he found her.

NOW, HE’S BACK FOR MORE

Sixteen years after her narrow escape, Kate lives a quiet life on the English coast, though her years with the police are still with her. And when one day she receives a letter from someone in her past, she is pulled back into the twisted mind of a murderer she knows only too well – and into a case only she can solve.

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**This review does includes a health warning**

Robert Bryndza is a danger to my health, that’s a fact! I read Nine Elms the first instalment in a brand spanking new crime series, whilst on holiday in Greece. I became so engrossed whilst reading it I forgot to reapply my sun tan lotion and ended up with slightly sunburnt legs! Very painful let me tell you! Was Dark Elms worth a restless and uncomfortable nights sleep because of my burnt legs? You bet it was! I loved the Erika Forster series but Dark Elms takes the authors writing to a whole new level of amazing. Dark Elms ticks all the boxes for me it’s dark, gory (I grimaced at more than a couple of the authors descriptive crime scenes) and features a serial killer who will send shivers down your spine, if Hannibal Lecter gave you nightmares, be prepared for a few disturbed nights! 

I’m sure lovers of the Erika Forster series will be wondering how the author could top this series, rest assured if Nine Elms is anything to go by, this will be a hell of a series. I instantly connected with Kate, the complexity of her characters lies deeply seated in her dreadful past, there’s an air of fragility about her, but at the same time she is determined not to let her past define her, which is easier said than done especially when her past comes back to haunt her in the most horrifying way.

Luckily for Kate she has a cast of supportive and very likeable characters to help her on her journey. As for the serial killer, there perfectly depicted, chilling, cunning and yet you can’t help but become drawn into their backstory story, its one that’s original and disturbing to say the least. As to their killing techniques Robert Bryndaza, has come up with something stomach churning (best read on an empty stomach) Without giving too much away the killer in question is surrounded by evil forces, who tap into their disturbed psyche, urging them on to commit even more horrific crimes. These evil people are in need of serious therapy,  but such a brilliant combination. I won’t deny I found them fascinating, but at the same time I felt sickened by their behaviour. 

I really liked the fact that Nine Elms isn’t a regular police procedural novel, Kate has the skill set of a police detective but isn’t hindered by procedures or led by rules and regulations, so she’s more likely to bend the rules making her unpredictable. At every turn of the page Nine Elms crackles with apprehension and a growing sense of dread, it’s a fast-paced, exhilarating read that I found impossible to put down even for a few minutes. Robert Bryndza can transport the reader to the crime scenes with vivid descriptions, that make you realise just how depraved the killer is, although some scenes are stomach churning, they never felt superfluous. Once again Robert Bryndza has confirmed why he is one of my favourite crime thriller authors EVER, Nine Elms is a cracking book and an exciting start to a compelling new series, I’m definitely looking forward to the next book and the one after that….. Highly recommend to all crime thriller lovers.

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And yes in case you hadn’t already guessed I’m giving Nine Elms my shiny Book hangover 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 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 reach the very last page.

 

  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere (1 Nov. 2019)

Buying links:

The hardback will be released Tuesday 5th November 2019 in the US and on Thursday 16th January in the UK. 

Amazon UK Kindle Edition

UK Hardback Edition

Amazon USA Kindle Edition

USA Paperback Edition

USA Hardback Edition

Kobo Ebook

iBooks Ebook

Google Play Ebook

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The Family by Louise Jensen @Fab_fiction @HQStories @fictionpubteam @HarperCollinsUK #BookReview #WelcomeToTheFamily

It’s been a while since I’ve read a book by Louise Jensen, not because I haven’t wanted to, but there aren’t enough hours in the day to read all the books I would like to. I have heard great things about the author’s latest book The Family and knew it was one I just had to read. Here’s my review but first the book description…..

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ONCE YOU’RE IN, THEY’LL NEVER LET YOU LEAVE.

Laura is grieving after the sudden death of her husband. Struggling to cope emotionally and financially, Laura is grateful when a local community, Oak Leaf Organics, offer her and her 17-year-old daughter Tilly a home.

But as Laura and Tilly settle into life with their new ‘family’, sinister things begin to happen. When one of the community dies in suspicious circumstances Laura wants to leave but Tilly, enthralled by the charismatic leader, Alex, refuses to go.

Desperately searching for a way to save her daughter, Laura uncovers a horrifying secret but Alex and his family aren’t the only ones with something to hide. Just as Laura has been digging into their past, they’ve been digging into hers and she discovers the terrifying reason they invited her and Tilly in, and why they’ll never let them leave…

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OMG! I actually loved The Family by Louise Jensen, this book is a masterclass in how to write a Psychological thriller, it’s a compelling, allconsuming, chilling tale of secrets, lies, blackmail, and manipulation. It’s definitely one of those books that will shock and surprise you in equal measures. After the sudden death of her husband, Laura is struggling, overwhelmed by grief, she finds her financial problems growing by the day, with no family to speak of, Laura has nowhere to turn. Then a lifeline is thrown to Laura and her 17-yearold daughter, Tilly. Laura is offered a home and work by Alex ‘The Familyleader of Oak Leaf Organics, a ‘retreat’ of sorts for those it need. On the surface It appears to be the answer to Laura’s prayers. It’s always been my motto “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”, if only poor Laura had heeded these words!

I really enjoyed how the author alternated chapters between Laura and Tilly, this gives the reader a fascinating insight into their relationship. The author explores the psychological of her characters with such conviction; she breathes life into her characters, making them very credible. It was interesting to read how they misunderstood each other’s thoughts, actions and feelings, this leads to conflict, anger, and pain. Their relationship isn’t an easy one, that’s for sure, but despite their difficulties Laura is like a fierce lion who will do anything to protect her daughter. There are chapters narrated by the charismatic Alex, these chapters felt much darker, intense and disquieting.

From the first description of Oak Leaf I had a creeping sense of unease, The setting of Oak Leaf farm felt sinister and claustrophobic, the descriptions of the crows and building give this book a gothic feel, it’s a place which feels incredibly dark. As Laura and Tilly become part of ‘The Family’ the plot takes on a sinister tone, each of ‘The Familyhas a secret, and as the story progresses you learn more of their backstories (sometimes it’s shocking other times desperately sad), it’s gives the reader an insight into  how and why the characters are drawn to the sanctuary of Oak Leaf.  Laura and Tilly are at their most vulnerable, and from the off I got the sense Alex would use this to his advantage. As the author weaved her tale, you realise that Oak Leaf might not be the haven it first appeared, manipulation, remoteness from the outside world, all point to it being a ‘cult’ of sorts. The Family frighteningly highlights how people can easily be manipulated and coerced when they are at their most vulnerable.

The Family holds so many secrets, and we all know it doesn’t matter how deep you bury them, they have a way of surfacing when you least expect it, secrets that can be used against you, secrets that hurt, or secrets that have far-reaching consequences, as Laura and Tilly find out. The author drops subtle hints, slowly building on the tension and adding an increasing sense of unease.  Just as I thought I had it all worked out, I realised Louise Jensen had misdirected me at every given opportunity, naughty, naughty! But so cleverly done. I always find a book much more satisfying when I’m taken by surprise. The Family explores what makes a family, and then turns it on its head, making this book a twisted, and shocking read. A must-read book,  that I would highly recommend.

  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HQ (25 Sept. 2019)

Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧        Amazon US 🇺🇸

My thanks to the publishers for my ARC in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.

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