Tag Archives: New Author To Me

Brotherhood by David Beckler #BlogTour @DavidBeckler1 #Extract @SapereBooks

Today I’m thrilled to be taking part in the Brotherhood by David Beckler blog tour. Brotherhood is an urban thriller packed full of suspense, it’s the first book in the Mason & Sterling series. I have a very intriguing extract to share with you all, but first the book description……

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A crime thriller, in which two ex-Royal Marines are pitted against a former child soldier, and one of the most brutal gangs in Manchester.

When Byron Mason’s seventeen year-old nephew, Philip, becomes embroiled in a murder, he calls his uncle for help. Byron returns to the city of his birth and, having been thrown back together with his estranged family, he finds his nephew is being hunted not only by the police, but also by a vicious gangster, Ritchie McLaughlin, the uncle of the murdered boy, both of whom believe Philip to be guilty of the crime. Shortly after Byron’s arrival, Philip disappears, leaving Byron and his firefighter friend, Adam Sterling, to track him down before time runs out.

As part of her investigation into Philip’s role in the murder, newly appointed Detective Chief Inspector Siobhan Fahey also uncovers the brutal past of Philip’s friend, Mugisa, whose very survival has depended on burying his own emotions and controlling the people around him. She quickly realises that Mugisa is a very dangerous young man.

The search for Philip is made all the more perilous when Ritchie McLaughlin decides he has unfinished business with Byron, and is bent on exacting revenge. Byron and Adam are faced with tough decisions as they fight to keep Philip and his family safe; legal and moral boundaries are crossed in their battle against ruthless adversaries. In the end, though, the greatest peril comes from an unexpected quarter……

  • Print Length: 311 pages
  • Publisher: Sapere Books (7 Feb. 2019)

Buying link:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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Detective Chief Inspector Siobhan Quinn finished the can of Red Bull and wrinkled her nose. She’d have much preferred a coffee, but even if she’d found the espresso machine amongst the boxes in her new flat, it would have taken too long. She shivered, coveting the warmth of her bed as the wind hurled rain at her kitchen window. The smell of fresh paint from the work she’d done last night mingled with the pungent odour of the drink.

She read the address again and located it in her new street atlas. She’d spent her first few days driving around Manchester getting to know her new patch and had a rough idea of the way. Satisfied she could find it, she put the empty can in the bin and strode into the hallway. At the cheap mirror hanging behind the front door, she checked her reflection and, satisfied she’d pass muster, set off.

Twenty minutes later she drove down yet another narrow terraced street. She’d already pulled over once to get her bearings but could see nobody around to ask. A blue light flickered in the gloom and giving thanks, she accelerated towards it. Two fire engines took up half the street and beyond them several police vehicles and a car she recognised as Eddy Arkwright’s from the three child seats crammed into the rear. She’d only met him twice, but the sergeant seemed competent.

She parked past his car, grateful the rain had eased, and put on her ‘incident kit’: disposable overalls, waterproof boots and nitrile gloves. The firefighters moved around their fire engines, stowing their gear, and a couple paused to study her. A constable with a clipboard guarded a house with smoke-stained brickwork above the openings.

“DCI Quinn,” she said, flashing her ID card and stepped in through the gaping doorframe. A wave of humid heat hit her. Metal plates on the floor denoted the path, keeping feet out of the charred slurry and preserving evidence. A string of lights illuminated the corridor.

Siobhan paused in the doorway leading to the fire-blackened room. The smell reminded her of the peat fires at her grandmother’s. Overlaying this, the sweet acrid stench of burnt plastic and something else she didn’t want to think about. Powerful floodlights filled the centre of the space with harsh light, leaving the sides in shadow. Wisps of steam rose from the charred floor timbers.

The lighting focussed on the bin and the body spilling out of it. Besides anger that someone had done this to a fellow human, she felt the stirrings of the excitement she always experienced at the start of a big case.

A detailed video and many photos would preserve images of the scene, but she wanted to see the victim in situ. A figure on the other side of the room, like her dressed in disposable coveralls, switched off his torch and straightened. She recognised the distinctive outline of her sergeant.

“Morning, ma’am.” His voice, gruff and low, matched his appearance.

“Morning, Eddy, and as I told you on Friday, I’m not the Queen.” She smiled at him. “Boss or Guv will do.”

“Yes, Boss.”

Both wore coveralls but the similarities ended there. At six foot three, Eddy Arkwright towered over her. His build attested to his former pastime as a rugby league prop forward. She’d heard how a serious knee injury had ended his playing days and almost cost him his police career. At thirty-two, he’d filled out, and the coverall strained to contain him. A broken nose and cropped brown hair gave him an intimidating air.

In contrast, she stood at five foot four and a bit, and doubted she weighed half what he did. The coverall she wore bulged with excess material. Eddy switched his torch back on and she leant forward to examine the body. Even though she expected it, the sight made her throat burn. He looked the same age Declan would have been. Come on Siobhan, this is not your brother. To catch the perpetrator, she needed to stay detached. She must see the ruined flesh as evidence, a means of trapping the killer, not the remains of a young man.

She swallowed before asking, “Do we know what happened?”

“Fire brigade found him; I think it’s a him, unless it’s a very ugly woman.” Eddy’s grin died under the withering look she gave him and his cheeks reddened as he continued. “They got the call at 04.17 from a taxi driver. One of the lads is getting his statement. They got here at 04.21 and broke in through the front door.”

“What about the back?”

“That had a security grille on it.” He flashed the torch beam at it. “The firemen ripped it off afterwards, to let the smoke out.”

“Has anyone taken prints off it?”

“No, Boss.”

“Get it done please, both sides,” she said.

“They found the body at 04.43 and—”

“How come they took twenty minutes to find him? It’s not a big house.”

“I’m not sure, Boss.” She signalled for him to continue. “Like I said, they found the body and let our guys know. A patrol car was already here. The station officer assures me, apart from moving the bin when they discovered the body, everything else is as they found it.”

She looked around the walls, noting many black scuff marks at floor level, and sooty glove-prints higher up.

“I’m sure,” she murmured.

He ignored her comment and continued, “They found the two upstairs earlier, at 04.41.”

She straightened and flexed her knees.

“They can take him away once SOCO are happy. I’ll speak to the fire officer.”

She left Eddy to carry out her instructions and returned to the front door, her mind racing through the steps needed to get the investigation up to speed. This was her first working day in a new force, and she knew she would have to rely on Eddy’s local knowledge in the early stages. She dismissed the churning in her stomach. One of her reasons for transferring was to work cases like this.

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David writes crime thrillers full of fast-paced action.

Born in Addis Ababa in 1960, he spent his first eight years living on an agricultural college in rural Ethiopia where his love of reading developed. After dropping out of university he became a firefighter and served 19 years before leaving to start his own business. 

He began writing in 2010 and uses his work experiences to add realism to his fiction.

The Mason and Sterling series centre on two ex-Royal Marines, Byron who now runs a security company and Adam who is a firefighter. A strong cast of supporting characters support his protagonists. Sapere Books are publishing Brotherhood, the first novel in the series, in late 2018.

David lives in Manchester, his adopted home since 1984. In his spare time he tries to keep fit—an increasingly difficult undertaking—listens to music, socialises and feeds his voracious book habit.

Follow the blog tour…….

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#FourFeetUnder By Tamsen Courtenay @TamsenC_writer @unbounders #Recommended #TrueStory #Homeless

Today I’m sharing my review for a very different book from my usual reads, Four Feet Under by Tamsen Courtenay. It’s the untold stories of the homeless living in London, this has to be one of the most powerful and poignant books I’ve ever read.

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Tamsen Courtenay spent two months speaking to people who live on London’s streets, the homeless and the destitute – people who feel they are invisible. With a camera and a cheap audio recorder, she listened as they chronicled their extraordinary lives, now being lived four feet below most Londoners, and she set about documenting their stories, which are transcribed in this book along with intimate photographic portraits.

A builder, a soldier, a transgender woman, a child and an elderly couple are among those who describe the events that brought them to the lives they lead now. They speak of childhoods, careers and relationships; their strengths and weaknesses, dreams and regrets; all with humour and a startling honesty.

Tamsen’s observations and remarkable experiences are threaded throughout. The astonishing people she met changed her for ever, as they became her heroes, people she grew to respect. You don’t have to go far to find these homegrown exiles: they’re at the bottom of your road. Have you ever wondered how they got there? 

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This is probably one of the most difficult books I’ve ever chosen to review, it’s definitely not one I would consider to be an enjoyable read, far from it, in fact It’s heartbreaking, shocking, and disturbing, as I turned each page I found myself grateful for the small things I take for granted, hot water, heating, clean clothes, the love of my family, the list is endless. Four Feet Under is a powerful and moving insight into the day-to-day lives of some the unfortunate people who through tragedy, misfortune and bad decisions have found themselves living on the streets of Britain, displaced, dispossessed and destitute. This book deals with complex issues such as drug use, prostitution, and mental health issues although very upsetting but it also gives an incredible insight into the homeless.

Four Feet Under a collection of stories told by the homeless, Tamsen Courtenay presents them in such a way the voices and personalities of the people she interviews shine through, they answer questions with honestly and despite their desperately sad stories and the circumstances they find themselves in, there are humorous moments amid the heart breaking ones. Some of the  stories challenge our own assumptions, others show how easily homelessness can happen through bad luck, misfortune, or making a wrong decision. Harsh treatment by impoverished authorities is also a common theme, some of the homeless featured aren’t considered not to be “enough of a hardship case” to qualify for help, despite them having serious medical problems.

As I read Four Feet Under there were so many stories that deeply affected me Charisse, who walked out on an abusive relationship, Jane and Kenny, a couple in their 60s who sleep beneath the Waterloo Imax cinema, Jade born to a teenage mother and a father who’s a paedophile and a pimp, were just a few that broke me.   Despite the hardship and the brutality many have suffered on the streets, their resilience is incredible and inspiring.

In the past I have given money to the homeless but is that enough? If anything, this book made me realise “yes” they need money to live day to day, but they also need a smile, a kind word, a cup of coffee, anything to make them feel less invisible than they already are. Tamsen Courtenay writes in a sympathetic and non judgemental way,  she doesn’t sugar the atrocities of the people she has interviewed, it’s the harsh reality for the people who live “Four Feet Under”. Although this book will not bring about big changes, the author has given the homeless a voice, a chance to share their fears, dreams and more importantly their stories, something they miss living on the streets where conversation is limited. This book has left me with a massive book hangover, but for all the wrong reasons, I can’t help wondering what happened to the characters in the book, and I’ve a feeling their stories will stay will haunt me for a long time to come. Highly recommended.

  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Unbound (23 Aug. 2018

Buying link:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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The book review café Book Of The month **February 2019**

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Whohoo It’s the 1st March, hopefully spring is just around the corner, I’m really not a winter person, bring on the lighter nights and lots of sunny days 😎.  Now we’ve got the weather out the way it’s time to choose my book of the month for February 2019, my god this was a hard one I could have chosen at least FOUR books this month but then I remembered the promise  I made last month on my blog, see below ⬇️

As only one who follows my blog will know I’m rubbish at narrowing it down to one book and more often than not I’ve chosen two or in some months three! I have had a srtrict word with myself, and this year I’m going to try and keep to just the one book of the month as the title suggests, let’s see how that goes 😂

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So after a couple of sleepless nights, and much toing and froing I came to my final decision, are you ready? I read some fabulous books in Febuary, but there is one book that really stood out. It’s 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. It’s also one that rekindled my 🖤 Of horror. So without further ado here is my ONE book of the month…….

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Turn The Other Way by Stuart James

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I read so many books that promise that “big twist” and I’m sorry to say but many of them fail to deliver, but not Stuart James, there’s twist upon twist, each one darker and more twisted than the last. It takes a lot to shock or surprise me but OMFG Turn The Other Way surpassed anything I was expecting. You know the saying “revenge is sweet”? This book is more a case of “revenge is dark, disturbing, and extremely painful”. Would I recommend this book? “It’s a hell yes” especially to those who love a horror thriller. See my full review here……..Turn The Other Way by Stuart James @StuartJames73 #MustReads #Horror #Thriller #Crime #MustRead

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After more thought and deliberation there was no way I could much choose one book

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So here is my joint winner for the book of the month

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

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The author sure knows how to weave a tangled web, and then keep the reader in his clutches with a well- plotted story. It’s one that pulls you in from the shocking opening chapter and keeps you captivated all the way to it’s explosive conclusion. I literally read this book in a day, the tension mounted as each chapter ended making this an impossible book to put down. Mark my words this book is going to be a HUGE hit.

You can read my full review here…….

#TheSilentPatient by Alex Michaelides (@AlexMichaelides @OrionBooks) #2019MustReads @BenWillisUK #BookHangoverAward

Highly recommended

Full reviews can be found in the links below……..

Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks #MustReads

The Girl Next Door by Phoebe Morgan @Phoebe_A_Morgan @HQstories #MustReads

#DeadMemories by Angela Marsons #MustReads @WriteAngie @Bookouture #BookHangoverAward

You Belong To Me by Mark Tilbury **BlogBlitz** #BookReview @#MTilburyAuthor @Bloodhoundbook

The Nowhere Child by Christian White #BookReview @CWhiteAuthor @MinotaurBooks

Books I’m hoping to read in March

 

 

 

The Nowhere Child by Christian White #BookReview @CWhiteAuthor @MinotaurBooks

Today I’m sharing my review for The Nowhere Child, the debut thriller from Australian author Christian White. I’m so glad I picked this book up. Read on for my review but first the book description…….

972EFAD3-45B2-4542-96B0-E1E685647C59A child was stolen twenty years agoLittle Sammy Went vanishes from her home in Manson, Kentucky – an event that devastates her family and tears apart the town’s deeply religious community. And somehow that missing girl is you

Kim Leamy, an Australian photographer, is approached by a stranger who turns her world upside down – he claims she is the kidnapped Sammy and that everything she knows about herself is based on a lie.

 How far will you go to uncover the truth? 

In search of answers, Kim returns to the remote town of Sammy’s childhood to face up to the ghosts of her early life. But the deeper she digs into her family background the more secrets she uncovers… And the closer she gets to confronting the trauma of her dark and twisted past.

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One of my favourite things about reading a book is the fact you are never sure what story the pages of a book will hold. Yes, you have the book description to give you a hint, but even so a story can take so many directions. I thought The Nowhere Child would be a straightforward “girl gets taken, and then found years later” but how wrong I was this book has so much more to offer, it’s dark, genuinely twisted, layered in mystery and intrigue. I should mention the book is the debut thriller from Australian author Christian White, and what a debut, it’s superbly plotted, and one of those books that’s a pleasure to read for all its twist and turns.

What would you do if you discovered your entire life was a lie? That’s the question Kim Leamy has to face when she’s approached by a man whose convinced she’s Sammy Went, a little girl who went missing twenty-eight years ago in Manson, Kentucky. In a quest for the truth she travels to Manson where Kim soon learns that some secrets are best left buried. The Nowhere Child alternate between the past and the present chapters, ensuring the reader’s attention never wanes. The chapters narrated in the past explore the impact of Sammy’s disappearance on her family and the small religious community they live in. The present chapters follow Kim’s journey to discover the truth about her past. Although the theme of a child being stolen isn’t entirely new, the authors telling of the story made this book a compelling read. As one chapter ended, and another began I found myself immersed in Amy’s story, rather like Amy I was desperate to get to the truth of her disappearance. 

I found the chapters told in the past to be the most fascinating part of this book, as the author scratches below the surface of Kim’s grieving family, buried secrets bubble to the surface, and relationships already fragile begin to unravel. As to the present chapters as Kim delves deeper into her past what initially presents itself as kidnapping crime mystery novel turns into something darker and far more sinister. Every character from Kim’s past has something to hide, and as each one is revealed the web the author weaves becomes more tangled. 

Although some readers may consider this read a slow builder, I thought the pace was perfect; it allows the reader to get to know the various dysfunctional characters from Kim’s past warts and all. The NoWhere Child is a heart wrenching and somewhat chilling psychological thriller which explores several different themes,  love, loss, scandal, and religious cults. Christian White’s Debut made for a compelling read with fascinating characters, with a mystery containing so many twists and turns it’s one guaranteed to keep even the most ardent psychological thriller readers entertained. Highly recommended 

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (8 Aug. 2019)

Buying Link:     Amazon UK

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Turn The Other Way by Stuart James @StuartJames73 #MustReads #Horror #Thriller #Crime #MustReads #BookHangoverAward

Today I’m thrilled to share my review for one of the best horror thriller crime books I’ve read in a long time Turn The Other Way by Stuart James. Before I share my review here’s the book description

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A derelict farmhouse in the Essex countryside. 

A deranged family. 

Innocent victims being picked at random.

If you’re chosen, Turn The Other Way.

Simon Bairstow is a top London Surgeon. He’s performed dozens of life-saving operations. But something goes horribly wrong. The machine Eve Johnson is attached to flatlines, and suddenly her parent’s world has collapsed.

They’re hell bent on revenge, someone to answer for the horrific error that’s been made.

Noah and Jess are driving on a busy dual carriageway and get stuck in traffic. They hear thumping coming from the back doors of the transit van in front of them. When Noah steps out onto the road, he hears muffled screams. He opens the back doors and what he sees shocks him to the core. 

The van pulls off, spilling Noah onto the road.

Ignoring his wife’s plea to leave it, he hits the accelerator in pursuit of the van.

Chloe’s parents are missing. She hasn’t seen them since they left the party in Hampstead on Friday night. She needs answers, deciding to take matters into her own hands. 

A serial killer is stalking the streets of Islington in North London late at night leaving his victims in a horrific way.

The press have dubbed him The Angel Attacker.

A terrifying tale of revenge with a twist that will hit you like a sledgehammer. 

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Back in the 1980’s I was a huge fan of horror books, Stephen King, Richard Laymen, Dean Koontz, I devoured them all, but it’s been a long time since I read a book I consider to fit the horror genre. For me horror is all about my emotional reaction, that feeling of fear and dread as you turn each page, the constant feeling you should be reading a book from behind a cushion (not practical but you get my drift), a book that makes the heart pound and every little noise makes you jump. This is exactly how Turn The Other Way by Stuart James made me feel, it’s a shocker of a horror thriller novel.  

Turn The Other Way follows numerous characters and events, a distinguished doctor whose life is changed beyond recognition by an accident. A husband and wife that stumble upon a crime being committed and a daughter looking for her missing parents, a series of macabre murders are central to the plot. How, are what appear to be separate story lines connected? Well, they certainly kept me wondering,  but as the story unfolds through past and present events, the author brings the three together in the most horrifying way.  Meanwhile, Stuart James had my undivided attention, as the plot became more twisted, evil radiated from the pages within this heart thumping novel. As antagonist go the author has created a character from your worse nightmare, a character who is the devil reincarnated, who shows not a glimmer of remorse for his hideous crimes, but their antics and very disturbing games are guaranteed to keep the reader turning those pages. 

Readers who prefer the more sedate crime horror thriller may be put off by all the blood and gore, but personally I feel the scenes are fitting to the storyline, and add a sense of fear and trepidation to the plot. I’m convinced at certain points in this book my blood pressure went through the roof, as the horrors of the plot unfolded. I read so many books that promise that “big twist” and I’m sorry to say but many of them fail to deliver, but not Stuart James, there’s twist upon twist, each one darker and more twisted than the last. It takes a lot to shock or surprise me but OMFG Turn The Other Way surpassed anything I was expecting. You know the saying “revenge is sweet”? This book is more a case of “revenge is dark, disturbing, and extremely painful”. Would I recommend this book? “It’s a hell yes” especially to those who love a horror thriller.

  • Print Length: 361 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.

Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧     Amazon US

My thanks to Stuart James for an ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

Post note

A week later  after posting my review I’m still thinking about how much I enjoyed this book, so much so that I have decided to give it my book hangover award, it’s not normally something I do after I’ve published my review but it’s my blog my rules 😂

My Book hangover award is 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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#TheSilentPatient by Alex Michaelides (@AlexMichaelides @OrionBooks) #2019MustReads @BenWillisUK #BookHangoverAward

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, one of my most anticipated reads of 2019. Read on for my thoughts but first the book description……… 

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Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him…. 

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Now and then a book comes a long that causes a huge stir and unless you’ve been living on a desert island for the last few months, then you will know The Silent Patient, the debut novel from Alex Michaelides is the book everyone is talking about. I must admit I can see why, it’s a unique and a very disturbing character based psychological thriller, but how I loved it. The author sure knows how to weave a tangled web, and then keep the reader in his clutches with a well- plotted story. It’s one that pulls you in from the shocking opening chapter and keeps you captivated all the way to it’s explosive conclusion. I literally read this book in a day, the tension mounted as each chapter ended making this an impossible book to put down. Mark my words this book is going to be a HUGE hit.

Alicia is a Patient in The Grove a secure forensic unit for the murder of her husband, she has not spoken a word since his death and Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who believes he is the one to make her speak of what happened on that fateful night.  The author uses an intriguing concept As Alice refuses to talk after her husband’s murder, the reader is reliant on Theo’s interpretations of her thoughts and emotions, although the reader is privy to Alice’s journal which explores her life before Theo’s Murder. Even without a voice Alice is a strong protagonist, rather like Theo, you the reader are desperate to hear her voice and hear her side of the story. Theo is a man with his own secrets and troubled past, which make him an compelling character. The scenes between Theo and Alice crackle with tension, at times it felt like a battle of wits, as Alice battled to stay silent and Theo’s dogged determination to make her speak, these scenes give a sense of unease which grow as the story unfolds.

Anyone who reads psychological thrillers will expect there to be “twist” or two, after all isn’t that part of the reason we read these type of books? It’s the element of “surprise” that I always look forward to, it can turn an “enjoyable” read into a “OMFG I loved this book” type of read, so take a bow Alex Michaelides The Silent Patient definitely took me by surprise in fact I’m sure my jaw hit the floor at some point! I had an inkling where the plot was heading, but I guess I do not have the same twisted imagination as the author, he well and truly hood winked me, but so brilliantly executed. The Silent Patient is an assured debut from Alex Michaelides, he’s definitely an author to watch out for. Highly recommend if you enjoy a dark, shocking psychological thriller that will leave you speechless (excuse the pun!) 

  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (7 Feb. 2019)

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧       Amazon US 🇺🇸

It will come as no surprise but I’m giving The Silent Patient 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.

 

The Girl In The Letter by Emily Gunnis #BookReview @EmilyGunnis @Phoebe_Swinburn @headlinepg

Today I’m sharing my review for The Girl In The Letter by Emily Gunnis. I  took a step away from Serial Killers, Murder and Crime before Christmas! As I wanted to read something slightly different. I read so many lovely reviews of this book I just knew it was one I had to read for myself. **Warning** this book should come with a box of tissues.

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A heartbreaking letter. A girl locked away. A mystery to be solved.1956. When Ivy Jenkins falls pregnant she is sent in disgrace to St Margaret’s, a dark, brooding house for unmarried mothers. Her baby is adopted against her will. Ivy will never leave.

Present day. Samantha Harper is a journalist desperate for a break. When she stumbles on a letter from the past, the contents shock and move her. The letter is from a young mother, begging to be rescued from St Margaret’s. Before it is too late. 

Sam is pulled into the tragic story and discovers a spate of unexplained deaths surrounding the woman and her child. With St Margaret’s set for demolition, Sam has only hours to piece together a sixty-year-old mystery before the truth, which lies disturbingly close to home, is lost for ever…

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After I finished reading The Girl In The Letter by Emily Gunnis I was left with a heavy heart, not because I didn’t enjoy the book, in fact it was quite the opposite, it made for a highly emotional read, it’s a book that is based on disturbing historical facts and for me personally this made the read far more poignant, knowing that the terrible things that happened to unmarried mothers in the book actually occurred. It’s hard to imagine an unmarried mother being sent away by her family to give birth to her baby, a family more concerned about the stigma surrounding illegitimacy, than their own child’s well being.  A woman forced to live in the most awful conditions, abused, and then forced to hand their babies over for adoption. The Girl In The Letter certainly makes for a hard hitting and emotional  read.

Single mother journalist Sam Harper discovers  some heartbreaking letters from a girl called Ivy which are linked to a now derelict mother and baby home, St Margaret’s which was run by nuns. Sam like any good journalist realises there’s a story to be told, as she begins to investigate she doesn’t just see it as a job, she becomes emotionally involved and is determined to share Ivy’s story not only for Ivy and all the other mother condemned to St Margaret’s, but for the baby’s snatched from their mothers.

It’s the letters that make this book such an emotionally charged read,  you get a sense of the stigma surrounding unmarried mothers, you feel Ivy’s pain, fear and her love for a baby she will never be allowed to keep. It’s difficult to believe that the very nuns who were there to support unmarried mothers were beyond cruel,  punishing them for their “sins”, both physically and mentally, but as historical documents show this was very much the case, and makes Ivy’s story all the more credible and one which is unbearably sad.  

Emily Gunnis writes with such conviction and emotion that it’s difficult to separate fact from fiction, the two blend  perfectly together resulting in an emotionally charged read. The letters, the harrowing and heart breaking scenes, and the overwhelming need to find out what happened to Ivy will keep you captivated until the last page. This is Emily Gunnis debut novel which really surprised me, as it’s a very accomplished debut, not only is it beautifully written, but it’s a book that sensitively looks at a subject that’s been buried for far to long. Highly recommended.

  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Review (1 Aug. 2018)

 Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧     Amazon US 🇺🇸

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