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Archive for the tag “psychological thriller”

Blog Tour – ‘The Old You’ by Louise Voss

‘The Old You’ was published in paperback on the 15th May 2018 by Orenda Books.  It is also available as an eBook.  I would like to thank Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in this blog tour.  Thank you also for my review copy of this book.

You will find out exactly what I thought about ‘The Old You’ in a minute. First though, here’s what its about.

 

Book Blurb

Nail-bitingly modern domestic noir
A tense, Hitchcockian psychological thriller
Louise Voss returns with her darkest, most chilling, novel yet…

Lynn Naismith gave up the job she loved when she married Ed, the love of her life, but it was worth it for the happy years they enjoyed together. Now, ten years on, Ed has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia, and things start to happen; things more sinister than missing keys and lost words. As some memories are forgotten, others, long buried, begin to surface… and Lynn’s perfect world begins to crumble.

But is it Ed s mind playing tricks, or hers…?

 

My Review

I read and reviewed one of Louise Voss’s novels a while and knew what a good writer she was. I was delighted when I found out that Karen Sullivan of Orenda Books was going to publish her next book. That was like the best news ever.

Oh My God! ‘The Old You’ literally took me for a long ride and it was absolutely fantastic. I loved the style of writing and the way the story flashed back to Lynn’s past. I found myself lulled into a sense of security only for it to be cruelly shattered in the space of a few minutes. All that I believed to be true wasn’t. It seemed that I couldn’t trust the majority of the characters. Even at the end of the story I was fooled.

I didn’t really warm to any of the characters apart from Lynn. I felt bad for her and Ed. It seemed to me that his dementia was deteriorating quickly and I couldn’t even begin to imagine what was in store for them. But as I was about to find out, something just didn’t add up.

‘The Old You’ is a gripping story full of twists and turns. It will grab you by the neck and won’t let you go until the very end. This book should hopefully appeal to all fans of psychological thrillers.

I really can’t wait to read this author’s next book.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

~~~~~

‘The Old You’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Old-You-Louise-Voss-ebook/dp/B078GZQH56/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1526726826&sr=1-1

 

About Louise Voss

 

Louise Voss has been writing for the past eighteen years, with many twists and turns in her career. She started her publishing life with four novels for Transworld/Black Swan, the first of which, To Be Someone, was published in 2001 with its own CD soundtrack. This was followed by three more contemporary women’s fiction novels, Are You My Mother? Lifesaver, and Games People Play, until she switched to publishing thrillers with Mark Edwards.

She and Mark were the first British indie authors to reach No.1 on the Amazon charts with Catch Your Death, where they stayed for the month of June 2011, with their novel Killing Cupid also at No. 2. This led to a four-book deal with Harper Collins; then two books in the DI Lennon series, From the Cradle and The Blissfully Dead (Thomas & Mercer).

Her first solo thriller was The Venus Trap in 2015 and her second, a twisty tale of domestic noir, is out in May 2018: The Old You, published by @OrendaBooks.

 

Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/LouiseVoss1

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/louisevossauthor/

 

 

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Blog Blitz – ‘Don’t You Dare’ by A.J. Waines

‘Don’t You Dare’ was published as an eBook on the 8th May 2018 by Bloodhound Books and is also available in paperback.  Having read a couple of A.J. Waines previous books which were self-published, I was totally made up for her when I saw that she had signed a book deal with a publisher.  I would like to thank A.J. Waines for mentioning me to Sarah Hardy and Bloodhound Books for my review copy.  I wouldn’t have missed taking part in this blog blitz for the world.

I’ll tell you exactly what I thought of ‘Don’t You Dare’ in a minute, but first here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

What if your daughter becomes your enemy?

When barmaid, Rachel, discovers her soon-to-be-married daughter, Beth,​ pinned down by a stranger in the pub cellar, Rachel lashes out in panic and the intruder ends up dead. In desperation, Rachel convinces Beth they should cover up the crime and go ahead with the planned wedding in one month’s time.

Rachel, however, has her own reasons for not involving the police.

Hiding their dreadful secret is harder than they both imagined and as the big day approaches and the lies multiply, Beth becomes a liability. Rachel looks on in dismay at the hen party​ ​when, after too many drinks, Beth declares she’s about to make a special announcement. But before Beth can say a word, she disappears…

When two people share a chilling secret, can both hold their nerve?

This book explores the dark side of a mother-daughter relationship when pushed to the limit.

It will appeal to fans of authors like Ruth Ware, Clare Mackintosh and C.L. Taylor.

 

My Review

The first thing I want to say is that A.J. Waines books just keep getting better and better. I feel as if I have been on a ride whilst reading ‘Don’t You Dare’, and I really didn’t want to come off it. It was so gripping and exciting and I found myself totally hooked.

The story is narrated by Rachel and Beth. I could see exactly why Rachel reacted the way she did when she found her daughter with a man in the cellar who appeared to be raping her. It’s not like she meant to kill him. But from then on things got tricky and her attempts to protect both herself and Beth got rather out of hand. At times I thought that Rachel went over the top and I really wasn’t sure that I liked her. She was becoming a bit of a control freak and the things she did behind Beth’s back were just shocking, even if all she was doing was looking out for her.

There were so many questions going through my head whilst I was reading this book. What if this or that happens? Will Beth and Peter get married in the end? It really had me thinking.

‘Don’t You Dare’ is an absolute corker of a read. I recommend it to all fans of psychological thrillers. I can’t wait to read A.J. Waines next book.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

~~~~~

‘Don’t You Dare’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dont-You-Dare-heart-stopping-psychological-ebook/dp/B07CLKBQQ9/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1525888061&sr=1-1

 

About A.J. Waines

AJ Waines has sold over 450,000 books worldwide and topped the UK and Australian Kindle Charts in 2015 & 2016 with her number one bestseller, Girl on a Train. Following fifteen years as a psychotherapist, she is now a full-time novelist with publishing deals in UK, France, Germany, Norway, Hungary and USA (audiobooks).

Her fourth psychological thriller, No Longer Safe, sold over 30,000 copies in the first month, in thirteen countries. AJ Waines has been featured in The Wall Street Journal and The Times and has been ranked a Top 10 UK author on Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). She lives in Hampshire, UK, with her husband.

Find AJ Waines’ books here, visit her website and blog, or join her on TwitterFacebook or get her Newsletter.

 

Social Media Links

Website           www.ajwaines.co.uk

Newsletter       http://eepurl.com/bamGuL

Blog:               www.awaines.blogspot.co.uk

Facebook:       www.facebook.com/AJWaines

Twitter:           www.twitter.com/AJWaines

Goodreads:     www.goodreads.com/AJWaines

Instagram:       www.instagram.com/ajwaines

Bookbub:        www.bookbub.com/authors/a-j-waines

 

‘Forget Her Name’ by Jane Holland

Last month I took part in the blog tour for ‘Forget Her Name’, which was published on the 25th January 2018 in paperback and as an eBook by Thomas & Mercer. I am now back with my review. I would like to thank the lovely Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources and Jane Holland for my copy of this book.

Rachel’s dead and she’s never coming back. Or is she?

Preparing for her wedding to Dominic, Catherine has never been happier or more excited about her future. That is until she receives an anonymous package, a familiar looking snow globe containing an extremely grisly addition.

Her older sister, Rachel, died on a skiing holiday as a child. Vicious and highly disturbed, Rachel made Catherine’s life an absolute misery. Since then, Catherine has spent her life trying to forget her. Now someone has sent her Rachel’s snow globe, the first in a series of messages.

While Catherine struggles to focus on her new life with Dominic, someone out there seems intent on tormenting her. Who would do this to her and why now? Is Rachel still alive?

This is the first book I have read by Jane Holland and I am so glad that I did. I loved this author’s style of writing and how she keeps you guessing.

The grisly object which Catherine found in the snow globe literally freaked me out. My thoughts kept going back to that one particular scene and I just couldn’t get it out of my head. It was a complete mystery as to who could have been doing all those nasty things to Catherine. I too couldn’t help but wonder if Rachel was still alive.

Things started to become clear later on in the story and at one point I couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed. Luckily though that feeling didn’t last for long. There was still so much more to things and I was left absolutely shocked. It then became apparent who could be playing the nasty tricks on Catherine.

Out of all of the characters I only really liked Catherine. I ended up suspecting a number of them and wasn’t sure who I could really trust.

This was a fantastic read which had me trying to fit all the pieces of the puzzle together. Jane Holland really knows how to play with your mind. Just when you think nothing else can possibly happen, it does.

‘Forget Her Name’ is a gripping and heart-stopping read. If you’re a fan of psychological thrillers then I really recommend giving this book a go. I will definitely be reading more books by this author.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

~~~~~

‘Forget Her Name’ is available to purchase from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Forget-Her-Name-Jane-Holland-ebook/dp/B073TTLYQV

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Forget-Her-Name-Jane-Holland-ebook/dp/B073TTLYQV

 

Blog Tour – ‘Forget Her Name’ by Jane Holland

Congratulations to Jane Holland whose new book, ‘Forget Her Name’ is out today in paperback and as an eBook, published by Thomas & Mercer.  I was invited to take part in this blog tour by the lovely Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources.  Read on to find out what the book is about and look out for my review in the next week or so.

 

Book Blurb

Rachel’s dead and she’s never coming back. Or is she?

As she prepares for her wedding to Dominic, Catherine has never been happier or more excited about her future. But when she receives an anonymous package—a familiar snow globe with a very grisly addition—that happiness is abruptly threatened by secrets from her past.

Her older sister, Rachel, died on a skiing holiday as a child. But Rachel was no angel: she was vicious and highly disturbed, and she made Catherine’s life a misery. Catherine has spent years trying to forget her dead sister’s cruel tricks. Now someone has sent her Rachel’s snow globe—the first in a series of ominous messages…

While Catherine struggles to focus on her new life with Dominic, someone out there seems intent on tormenting her. But who? And why now? The only alternative is what she fears most.

Is Rachel still alive?

~~~~~

‘Forget Her Name’ is available to purchase from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Forget-Her-Name-Jane-Holland-ebook/dp/B073TTLYQV

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Forget-Her-Name-Jane-Holland-ebook/dp/B073TTLYQV

 

About Jane Holland

Jane Holland is a Gregory Award–winning poet and novelist who also writes commercial fiction under the pseudonyms Victoria Lamb, Elizabeth Moss, Beth Good and Hannah Coates. Her debut thriller, Girl Number One, hit #1 in the UK Kindle Store in December 2015. Jane lives with her husband and young family near the North Cornwall/Devon border. A homeschooler, her hobbies include photography and growing her own vegetables.

 

Links

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/jane.holland.1253

Facebook Author Page – https://www.facebook.com/JaneHollandAuthor/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/janeholland1

Blog Tour – ‘The Confession’ by Jo Spain

‘The Confession’ is Jo Spain’s brand new book. Already out as an eBook, it is being published in hardback on the 25th January 2018 by Quercus. The wonderful Anne Cater of Random Things Through My Letterbox invited me to take part in this blog tour and today along with several other bloggers I am closing the tour. I would like to thank Hannah Robinson at Quercus for my review copy.

Late one night a man walks into a luxurious house and launches a brutal attack on disgraced banker Harry McNamara. His wife, Julie is horror-struck and is unable to move, totally frozen by fear. It looks like Harry’s sins have finally caught up with him.

An hour later the intruder, JP Carney, hands himself into the police, confessing to the assault. The police have a victim, a suspect in custody and an eye-witness account of exactly what happened, but Julie remains troubled.

Did Carney surrender because of a guilty conscience or is there more to his confession?

I have just one word for this book. Wow!

I am so glad I said yes to taking part in this blog tour, for if I hadn’t I might never have thought to get myself a copy of ‘The Confession’ and I would really have missed out on something great. There has been a lot of hype about this book and I know that can sometimes put people off, but in this case I think it was well deserved.

I loved the author’s style of writing and the way the story was set out. The prologue left me absolutely stunned and needing to know more. What an opening that was. It was so very descriptive but necessary. I really couldn’t wait to get back to the story and found this book virtually unputdownable.

Split into four parts the story is narrated by three characters; Julie, Alice and JP. Through Julie we learn about how she met Harry, eventually married him and the events that followed. Harry McNamara really wasn’t a very nice man at all. He was a good businessman but his hunger for money led to corruption, betrayal and greed. Although it appeared that he really loved Julie he just couldn’t help himself and had to have other women too. Yet she still stuck with him when she could have left him. I felt sorry for Julie and what she was put through which led to her drinking, but at the same time I didn’t have much sympathy for her. She was in some ways just as guilty as her husband. JP Carney’s brutal attack on Harry was truly shocking and had me asking questions. There surely had to be more to it.

There were a number of other characters too, many of them not particularly likeable.  I liked Julie’s family and DS Alice Moody who was investigating the case.  She was really smart and quick thinking and had an inkling that there was much more to the attack than was being let on.  She didn’t trust JP Carney one little bit even though he had handed himself in.

I can’t wait to read more by this author. This book is definitely going to be on this year’s favourites list. ‘The Confession’ is a gripping, exciting and shocking read. If you’re a fan of psychological thrillers then I recommend that you give this book a go.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

~~~~~

‘The Confession’ can be pre-ordered in hardback from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Confession-Jo-Spain/dp/1786488361/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1516467002&sr=1-1

Amazon US (out on the 13th March 2018) – https://www.amazon.com/Confession-Novel-Jo-Spain/dp/1683316207/ref=sr_1_1_twi_har_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1516535647&sr=1-1&keywords=the+confession+by+jo+spain

It is available to buy as an eBook:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Confession-most-addictive-psychological-thriller-ebook/dp/B06XRL3N98/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1516467002&sr=1-1

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Confession-most-addictive-psychological-thriller-ebook/dp/B06XRL3N98/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1516535647&sr=1-1&keywords=the+confession+by+jo+spain

 

About Jo Spain

Jo Spain’s first novel, top ten bestseller With our Blessing, was one of seven finalists in the Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller Competition 2015. It was named as an Irish Times crime fiction book of the year by Declan Burke. Beneath the Surface (2016) and Sleeping Beauties (2017), the second and third in the DI Tom Reynolds series followed, to further critical acclaim. Her standalone thriller, The Confession, will be released January 2018.

Jo is currently writing for TV.

A graduate of Trinity College Dublin, Jo lives in Dublin with her husband and their four young children. Jo previously worked as a policy advisor in the Irish parliament and as vice-chair of the business body InterTrade Ireland.

Jo’s debut novel is set against a background of the infamous Irish Magdalene Laundries and Mother and Baby homes. The author’s own father was born in one such home in Dublin and the novel’s backdrop was constructed based on the in-depth research she undertook while attempting to trace her family roots.

Her favourite writers include Pierre LeMaitre, Fred Vargas, Louise Penny, Jo Nesbo, Ann Cleeves, B.A. Paris, Elizabeth Haynes and Agatha Christie.

 

Links

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/JoSpainAuthor/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/SpainJoanne

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14190033.Jo_Spain

 

Extract from ‘The Secret Mother’ by Shalini Boland

‘The Secret Mother’ is being published as an eBook on the 9th November 2017 by Bookouture.  As a special treat they are giving readers the chance to read an exclusive extract from the book.  Isn’t that just lovely of them?

I am just one of a number of bloggers who is hosting this extract.  First though here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

Tessa Markham comes home to find a child in her kitchen calling her ‘mummy’. But Tessa doesn’t have any children.

Not anymore.

She doesn’t know who the little boy is or how he got there.

After contacting the police, Tessa comes under suspicion for snatching the child. She must fight to prove her innocence. But how can she convince everyone she’s not guilty when even those closest to her are questioning the truth? And when Tessa doesn’t even trust herself…

A chilling, unputdownable thriller with a dark twist that will take your breath away and make you wonder if you can ever trust anyone again. Perfect for fans of Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train and The Sister.

~~~~~

What readers are saying about Shalini Boland:

‘Read in one sitting from 9pm last night until 2:15 am.  I literally could not put it down!!!!  The story line and the twists and the way it’s written just draws you in completely and you have to know where it’s going  I couldn’t read fast enough… absolutely addictive and brilliant  and an end I didn’t see coming.  This is one book you have to read and it gets 5 huge stars from me!!!! ’  Goodreads reviewer , 5 stars

‘What can I say? Just wow. I’m usually never surprised by an ending, but  this one blew me away. I am totally in shock  and think I’ll have a hangover from this book for a while.  A great read that keeps you on your toes until the very last word .’  Stacey Harrell, Goodreads

‘If anyone can have me reading until 2am and finishing a book in less than 48hrs in the school holidays it’s this author…  massive five stars  from me.’  Sarah Mackins, UK Crime Book Club , 5 stars

‘The  ending of this book blew me out of the water, you won’t be able to put this down .’  For the Love of Books , 5 stars

‘The plot is  gripping  and once you’ve started reading,  you have to keep on reading, you need to know how the story will end .’  Bits About Books , 5 Stars

… one of the most chilling reads of the year for me .’ Ajoobacats Blog , 5 Stars

‘This book should come with a warning… make sure you have enough time to read it in one-sitting because as soon as you’ll pick it up,  you won’t be able to put it down! ’  Bookishly Ever After , 5 stars

‘This is a brilliant psychological thriller. In fact, it’s one of the best I’ve read. It is full of suspense and has  more twists and turns than a fairground ride .’  Jackie Roche, UK Crime Book Club , 5 Stars

‘I thought I knew the direction this story was going go. Then the  jaw dropping  moment happened!…  unputdownable! ’  Goodreads Reviewer , 5 Stars

‘Once again, Boland has managed to blow my mind with all the  twists and turns … an outstanding  explosive  read!’  Mello and June , 5 Stars

‘Great book. I read it in less than 24 hours. I was unable to put it down. The story was  fast paced and intriguing .’  Goodreads reviewer , 5 stars

 

Extract

Chapter One

The street lamps flicker, illuminating the grey pavement mottled with patches of dirty snow and slick black ice. Slushy puddles hug the kerb, cringing away from the hissing, splashing car tyres. It takes all my concentration to keep my balance. My hands would be warmer if I jammed them into my coat pockets, but I need them free to steady myself on walls, fences, tree trunks, lamp posts. I don’t want to fall. And yet would it really be so terrible if I slipped on the ice? Wet jeans, a bruised bum. Not the end of the world. There are worse things. Far worse things.

It’s Sunday: the last exhale of the week. That uncomfortable pause before Monday, when it all starts up again – this lonely pretence at life. Sunday has become a black dot on the horizon for me, growing larger each day. I’m relieved now it’s almost over and yet I’m already anticipating the next one. The day when I visit the cemetery and stand above their graves, staring at the grass and stone, talking to them both, wondering if they hear my inane chatter or if I’m simply talking into the empty wind. In burning sunlight, pouring rain, sub-zero temperatures or thick fog I stand there. Every week. I’ve never missed a Sunday yet.

Sleet spatters my face. Icy needles that make me blink and gasp. Finally, I turn off the high street into my narrow road, where it’s more sheltered and the wind less violent. A rainbow assortment of overflowing bins lines my route, waiting for collection tomorrow at some ungodly pre-dawn hour. I turn my face away from the windows where Christmas tree lights wink and blink, reminding me of happier Christmases. Before.

Almost home.

My little north London terraced house sits halfway along the road. Pushing open the rusted gate, I turn my face away from the neglected front garden with its discarded sweet wrappers and crisp packets blown in from the street, now wedged among long tussocks of grass and overgrown bushes. I thrust my frozen fingers into my bag until they finally close around a jagged set of keys. I’m glad to be home, to get out of the cold, and yet my body sags when I open the door and step into the dark silence of the hall, feeling the hollow of their absence.

At least it’s warm in here. I shrug off my coat, kick off my boots, dump my bag on the hall table and switch on the light, avoiding my sad reflection in the hall mirror. A glass of wine would be welcome about now. I glance at my watch – only 5.20. No. I’ll be good and make a hot chocolate instead.

Strangely, the door to the kitchen is closed. This strikes me as odd, as I always leave it open. Perhaps a gust of wind slammed it shut when I came in. I trudge to the end of the hall and stop. Through a gap in the bottom of the door I see that the light is on. Someone’s in there. I catch my breath, feel the world slow down for a moment before it speeds back up. Could I have a burglar in my house?

I cock my ear. A sound filters through. Humming. A child is humming a tune in my kitchen. But I don’t have a child. Not any more.

Slowly I pull down the handle and push the door, my body tensing. I hardly dare breathe.

Here before me sits a little boy with dark hair, wearing pale blue jeans and a green cable-knit jumper. A little boy aged about five or six, perched on a chair at my kitchen counter, humming a familiar tune. Head down, he is intent on his drawing, colouring pencils spread out around an A4 sheet of paper. A navy raincoat hangs neatly over the back of the chair.

He looks up as I enter the room, his chocolate-brown eyes wide. We stare at one another for a moment.

‘Are you my mummy?’ the little boy asks.

I bite my bottom lip, feel the ground shift. I grasp the counter top to steady myself. ‘Hello,’ I say, my heart suddenly swelling. ‘Hello. And who might you be?’

‘You know. I’m Harry,’ he replies. ‘Do you like my picture?’ He holds the sheet out in front of him, showing me his drawing of a little boy and a woman standing next to a train. ‘It’s not finished. I haven’t had time to colour it in properly,’ he explains.

‘It’s lovely, Harry. Is that you standing next to the train?’

‘Yes.’ He nods. ‘It’s you and me. I drew it for you because you’re my mummy.’

Am I hallucinating? Have I finally gone crazy? This beautiful little boy is calling me his mummy. And yet I don’t know him. I’ve never seen him before in my life. I close my eyes tight and then open them again. He’s still there, looking less confident now. His hopeful smile has faltered, slipping into a frown. His eyes are now a little too bright. I know that look – it’s the one that precedes tears.

‘Hey, Harry,’ I say with false jollity. ‘So you like trains, huh?’

His smile returns. ‘Steam trains are the best. Better than diesels.’ He scrunches up his face in disgust and blinks.

‘Did you come here on the train? To my house?’

‘No. We came on the bus. I wish we did come on the train, the bus was really slow. And it made me feel a bit sick.’ He lays the sheet of paper back on the counter.

‘And who did you come with?’ I ask.

‘The angel.’

I think I must have misheard him. ‘Who?’

‘The angel brought me here. She told me that you’re my mummy.’

‘The angel?’

He nods.

I glance around, suddenly aware that Harry might not be the only stranger in my house. ‘Is she here now?’ I ask in a whisper. ‘Is there someone else here with you?’

‘No, she’s gone. She told me to do some drawing and you’d be here soon.’

I relax my shoulders, relieved that there’s no one else in my home. But it still doesn’t help me solve the problem of who this little boy is. ‘How did you get into the house?’ I ask, nervously wondering if I might find a smashed window somewhere.

‘Through the front door, silly,’ he replies with a smile, rolling his eyes.

Through the front door? Did I leave it open somehow? I’m sure I would never have done that. What’s going on here? I should call someone. The authorities. The police. Somebody will be looking for this child. They will be frantic with worry. ‘Would you like a hot chocolate, Harry?’ I ask, keeping my voice as calm as possible. ‘I was going to make one for myself, so—’

‘Do you make it with milk?’ he interrupts. ‘Or with hot water? It’s definitely nicer with milk.’

I suppress a smile. ‘I agree, Harry. I always make it with milk.’

‘Okay. Yes, please,’ he replies. ‘Hot chocolate would be lovely.’

My heart squeezes at his politeness.

‘Shall I carry on colouring in my picture,’ he says, ‘or shall I help you? Because I’m really good at stirring in the chocolate.’

‘Well, that’s lucky,’ I reply, ‘because I’m terrible at stirring in the chocolate, so it’s a good thing you’re here to help me.’

He grins and slides off the stool.

What am I doing? I need to call the police right now. This child is missing from somewhere. But, oh God, just give me ten minutes with this sweet little boy who believes I’m his mother. Just a few moments of make-believe and then I’ll do the right thing. I reach out to touch his head and immediately snatch my hand back. What am I thinking? This boy has to go back to his real mother; she must be paralysed with worry.

He smiles up at me again and my chest constricts.

‘Okay,’ I say, taking a breath and blinking back any threat of tears. ‘We’ll do the chocolate in a minute. I’m just going to make a quick phone call in the hall, okay?’

‘Oh, okay.’

‘Carry on with your drawing for a little while. I won’t be long.’

He climbs back up onto the stool and selects a dark green pencil before resuming his colouring with a look of serious concentration. I turn away and pad out to the hall, where I retrieve my phone from my bag. But instead of dialling the police, I call another number. It rings twice.

‘Tess.’ The voice at the other end of the line is clipped, wary.

‘Hi, Scott. I need you to come over.’

‘What? Now?’

‘Yes. Please, it’s important.’

‘Tessa, I’m knackered, and it’s hideous out there. I’ve just sat down with a cup of tea. Can’t it wait till tomorrow?’

‘No.’ Standing by the hall table, I glimpse Harry through the doorway, the curls of his fringe flopping over one eye. Am I dreaming him?

‘What’s the matter?’ Scott says this the way he always says it. What he really means is, What’s the matter now? Because there’s always something the matter. I’m his damaged wife, who’s always having some new drama or make-believe crisis. Only this time he’ll see it’s something real, it’s something not of my making.

‘I can’t tell you over the phone, it’s too weird. You have to come over, see for yourself.’

His sigh comes long and hard down the phone. ‘Give me twenty minutes, okay?’

‘Okay. Thanks, Scott. Get here as soon as you can.’

My heart pounds, trying to make sense of what’s happening. That little boy in there says an angel brought him. He says I’m his mummy. But he’s not mine. So where on earth did he come from?

I take a breath and go back into the kitchen. The air is warm, welcoming, cosy. Nothing like the usual sterile atmosphere in here.

‘Can we make hot chocolate now?’ Harry looks up with shining eyes.

‘Of course. I’ll get the mugs and the chocolate. You open that drawer over there and pass me the smallest pan you can find.’

He eagerly does as I ask.

‘Harry,’ I say. ‘Where are your parents, your mummy and daddy?’

He stares at the pans in the drawer.

‘Harry?’ I prompt.

‘They’re not here,’ he replies. ‘Is this one small enough?’ He lifts out a stainless-steel milk pan and waves it in my direction.

‘Perfect.’ I nod and take it from him. ‘Can you tell me where you live?’

No reply.

‘Did you run away from home? Are you lost?’

‘No.’

‘But where’s your house or flat? The place you live? Is it here in Friern Barnet? In London? Close to my house?’

He scowls and looks down at the flagstone floor.

‘Do you have a last name?’ I ask as gently as I can.

He looks up at me, his chin jutting out. ‘No.’

I try again, crouching down so I’m on his level. ‘Harry, darling, what’s your mummy’s name?’

‘You’re my new mummy. I have to stay here now.’ His bottom lip quivers.

‘Okay, sweetie. Don’t worry. Let’s just make our drinks, shall we?’

He nods vigorously and sniffs.

I give his hand a squeeze and straighten up. I wish I hadn’t had to call Scott. And yet I need him to be here when I ring the police. I can’t deal with them on my own, not after what happened before. I’m dreading their arrival – the questions, the sideways glances, the implication that I might have done something wrong. I haven’t done anything wrong, though. Have I?

And Harry… he’ll be taken away. What if his parents have been abusive? What if he has to go into foster care? A thousand thoughts run through my mind, each worse than the one before. But it’s not my place to decide what happens to him. There’s nothing I can do about any of it, because he’s not mine.

I don’t have a child. Not any more.

~~~~~

Did the extract leave you wanting to read more?  ‘The Secret Mother’ can be pre-ordered from:-

Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2xrkDu4

Amazon US – http://amzn.to/2vXeg3W

 

About Shalini Boland

Shalini Boland lives in Dorset, England with her husband, two children and their cheeky terrier cross. Before kids, she was signed to Universal Music Publishing as a singer/songwriter, but now she spends her days writing psychological thrillers (in between school runs and hanging out endless baskets of laundry).

THE SECRET MOTHER (published by Bookouture) is now available to pre-order!

Shalini’s debut psychological thriller THE GIRL FROM THE SEA reached No 1 in the US Audible charts and No 7 in the UK Kindle charts. Her second thriller THE BEST FRIEND reached no 2 in the US Audible charts and No 10 in the Amazon UK Kindle charts. It also achieved number 1 in all its categories and was a Kindle All Star title for several months in a row. Shalini’s recent release THE MILLIONAIRE’S WIFE reached No 9 in the Kindle UK charts.

Follow Shalini Boland on:-

Twitter – https://twitter.com/ShaliniBoland

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ShaliniBolandAuthor/

Guest Post by Alex Day

I am pleased to welcome Alex Day to my blog.  ‘The Missing Twin’ was published as an eBook by Killer Reads in August of this year and has had a lot of good feedback so far.  It is out in paperback tomorrow, the 5th October 2017.  Alex has written a guest post which I hope you all enjoy.

~~~~~

Psychological thrillers are such big news in the book world at the moment that most people will have read one or two or ten. I love to read this genre so it seemed a logical step to write my own and, amazingly, as soon as I’d had this thought the plot for The Missing Twin appeared before me like a mirage. I know, that sort of thing doesn’t happen often – even in a psychological thriller!

The great thing about the genre is that it’s very broad so as a writer, I didn’t feel limited about what I could or couldn’t write, or that I had to include certain things in order for it to be ‘accepted’ into the fold. I’m not a fan of graphic violence in books of any type, and I simply couldn’t go into the gory details of a bloody murder or gruesome torture or anything like that. That’s not to say that there’s no violence at all in The Missing Twin. Sadly, there is – but I hope that readers will understand how and why it happens and will appreciate how and why sexual violence is so often used as a weapon of power and control over women.

It’s interesting to be writing this guest post now, after the first reviews for The Missing Twin have come in. The level of engagement with the story is fantastic, with Fatima fast becoming a firm favourite. The most gratifying thing is that many readers have said how her experiences have made them stop and think about how lucky they are in their cosy lives, and made them more aware of, and sympathetic towards, the refugee situation in the world today.

Poor Edie, bless her, is often misunderstood. I hope that readers will understand, as they progress through the book, why she is the way she is and why she does the things she does. Her character arc – what she experiences, and how she deals with it, and how she comes out the other end – is hugely important to the narrative. I really love Edie, who has so many demons to overcome, and I was rooting for her just as much as for Fatima as I was writing the tale.

I always love to hear how other authors research their work, and I have to confess to being overcome by jealousy when I hear of those who can spend six months living in a refugee camp so that they can better write the character of an asylum seeker or whatever. It would be great to have the opportunity to do this but unfortunately it simply isn’t possible for me or for the vast majority of writers. I have a home and three children to support and to do this, I must work full time as a teacher in an inner London secondary school. My writing is something I shoehorn into whatever time is left after the commitments of ten to twelve hour working days and my own kids’ needs.

As with many authors, my dream is to make enough from my writing to give up the day job – but that dream is still a long, long way off. Most ebooks sell for just £1 or £2, on which 20% VAT is payable, unlike print books. So if you buy a book for £1, 20p of what you’ve paid goes immediately to the Exchequer. The publisher takes the bulk of what’s left, with the writer getting only a small percentage, some of which goes to their agent and some to the tax man when they do their own tax return. You can do the maths and work out that it’s hard to make serious money. Writers rich as Croesus in the JK Rowling model are rare indeed.

So, to get back to the research, for a story like Fatima’s it involved hours on the internet, studying news reports and blogs and videos and photographs. I also drew on my own experience of teaching the children of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in London schools. Many of them have horrendous, and desperately sad, stories but what is amazing is their tremendous resilience and their ability to keep going. Having said that, the Syrian children I’ve met have clearly been deeply traumatised and I simply cannot imagine how that country is ever going to recover and rebuild after everything its citizens have been through.

All the research in the world, however, does not make a fiction book and the icing on the cake is one’s own imagination. How does it feel to be sure that someone’s out to get you, to know that you’re being lied to but not to know by whom? What is it like to be fleeing for your life, with no idea what new dangers lie around every corner, always fearing that you, or your children, won’t make it?

If you can imagine those scenarios, and write about them, then you can write a psychological thriller – or any kind of book, for that matter. I’m hugely excited about The Missing Twin and I hope that you will be, too, and will enjoy the experience of reading. You can follow me on Twitter at @alexdaywriter.

 

About Alex Day

Alex Day is a writer, teacher, parent and dreamer who has been putting pen to paper to weave stories for as long as she can remember. The Missing Twin is her first psychological thriller but she is a bestselling author of fiction under the name Rose Alexander.

Inspired by a real pair of identical twin girls, The Missing Twin also draws on Alex’s experience of teaching newly arrived refugees, migrants and asylum seekers in a London comprehensive school.

 

‘The Missing Twin’ is available to buy as an eBook on Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Missing-Twin-gripping-psychological-thriller-ebook/dp/B072TYXKLB/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1507053705&sr=1-1

It can be pre-ordered in paperback here – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Missing-Twin-Alex-Day/dp/0008271291/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1507053705&sr=1-1

 

Blog Tour – ‘Lost in the Lake’ by A.J. Waines

‘Lost in the Lake’ is the second book in the Dr Samantha Willerby series. It was published on the 7th September 2017, both in paperback and as an eBook. Having read and enjoyed one of A.J. Waines previous books I was delighted to be asked if I would like to take part in this blog tour. It’s a real pleasure to be the final stop on the tour and today I not only have my review, but there is also an extract from the book and a competition.

When a crash sends members of a string quartet plunging into a lake, it seems that Rosie Chandler, an amateur viola player is the only survivor. It looks like it was just a tragic accident but Rosie isn’t convinced. However, she is unable to recall exactly what happened. Rosie decides that she needs help recovering her lost memories and seeks out clinical psychologist, Dr Samantha Willerby.

Sam finds herself drawn to Rosie and does her best to help her put the missing pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together. In the meantime the police find some disturbing new evidence which raises further questions. Why is Rosie so desperate to recover her worthless viola? What happened to the violin which was lost in the crash and was worth a lot of money?

When Rosie insists that they return to the lake to relive the fatal accident, the truth finally creeps up on Sam.

Well, what can I say? I totally loved ‘Lost in the Lake’. I haven’t read the first book in the series but this didn’t spoil things for me. I love this author’s writing style. I thought the prologue was fantastic, it left me totally intrigued. A number of the chapters were very short which made things all the more exciting. I needed to know what was going to happen next and I didn’t really want to put the book down.

The story is narrated by Dr Sam Willerby and Rosie Chandler. I liked Sam from the very start and I admired how dedicated she was to her job. Rosie had had a tragic childhood which affected her for life. I felt bad for Rosie at first and could see why Sam wanted to do what she could to help her, but I really didn’t like her. Rosie seemed to be totally obsessed with Sam and struck me as a rather dangerous person.

When Sam agreed to go with Rosie to where the ‘accident’ took place I wanted to scream at her not to go there. Rosie was bad news and I didn’t want Sam to be put in danger. I raced through the last few chapters and was left totally shocked by what she was actually capable of. It made for scary reading.

If you like psychological thrillers then you’ll hopefully love ‘Lost in the Lake’. It’s fast-paced, gripping and makes for extremely addictive reading. I know I’ll be following the rest of this series.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

Extract

Prologue

Did I make you jump? Turning up like that in your own kitchen? You have to admit, it must have been a nasty shock.

I bet you thought you’d been ever so smart at covering your tracks. But, be honest, you made a complete hash of things. You made out you were one step ahead of the game all along, but once you scooped the ultimate prize you couldn’t work out what to do next! Face facts, you were too ambitious for your own good and hadn’t thought things through properly.

You took great delight in explaining your cunning scheme to me, even though it was bound to leave you with egg on your face. I could see you thought you’d have the last laugh. I could tell your little brain was ticking over, thinking that once you’d told me the whole story, there was no way I’d be walking out of there. But that’s where you went wrong. You underestimated me. Most people do.

I could feel rage burning up my insides as you brandished that bottle of whisky like we were mates – in it together.

‘Let’s toast our windfall’, you suggested, trying to make me smile. By then, however, my fury with what you’d done had ignited from a niggling spark into a white-hot ball of fire. Every moment I was forced to endure with you, a growing, uncontainable frenzy was building inside me.

You reached over to the draining board to find two glasses and that’s when you made your fatal mistake.

You should never have turned your back.

 

Competition

Now that you’ve read my review and the extract you’ll hopefully be dying to read ‘Lost in the Lake’.  If so, you’re in luck because two very lucky people have the chance to win a paperback copy of this book.  To enter all you have to do is leave a comment telling me why you want to read ‘Lost in the Lake’.

Terms and Conditions

This competition is open to UK residents only.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 25th September 2017.

The winners will be chosen within 7 days of the closing date and their details will be passed to A.J. Waines who will arrange delivery of the books.

 

 

About A.J. Waines

AJ Waines has sold over 400,000 books worldwide and topped the UK and Australian Kindle Charts with her number one bestseller, Girl on a Train. Following fifteen years as a psychotherapist, she is now a full-time novelist with publishing deals in France, Germany, Norway, Hungary and USA (audiobooks).

Her fourth psychological thriller, No Longer Safe, sold over 30,000 copies in the first month, in thirteen countries. AJ Waines has been featured in The Wall Street Journal and The Times and ranked a Top 10 UK author on Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). She lives in Hampshire, UK, with her husband. Visit her website, blog, on Twitter, Facebook or sign up for her Newsletter.

 

‘Lost in the Lake’ is available to buy from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lost-Lake-Samantha-Willerby-Book-ebook/dp/B073W8X17W/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1505673830&sr=1-1&keywords=lost+in+the+lake+by+a.j+waines

 

Cover Reveal – ‘Lost in the Lake’ by A.J. Waines

I am absolutely thrilled to be taking part in the cover reveal for A.J. Waines new book.  Don’t you just love it!  I for one can’t wait to read this book.  ‘Lost in the Lake’ is out on the 7th September 2017 in paperback and as an eBook.  Here’s what it’s all about:-

 

Book Blurb

She came at first for answers…now she’s back for you

Amateur viola player Rosie Chandler is the sole survivor of a crash which sends members of a string quartet plunging into a lake. Convinced the ‘accident’ was deliberate, but unable to recall what happened, she is determined to recover her lost memories and seeks out clinical psychologist, Dr Samantha Willerby.

But Rosie is hiding something…

Sam is immediately drawn to the tragic Rosie and as she helps her piece the fragments together, the police find disturbing new evidence which raises further questions. Why is Rosie so desperate to recover her worthless viola? And what happened to the violin lost in the crash, worth over £2m?

When Rosie insists they return to the lake to relive the fatal incident, the truth about Rosie finally creeps up on Sam – but by now, she’s seriously out of her depth…

The second book in the Dr Samantha Willerby series, Lost in the Lake is a nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat Psychological Thriller that will leave you glancing over your shoulder.

 

About A.J. Waines

AJ Waines has sold over 100,000 books worldwide and topped the UK and Australian Kindle Charts in 2015 with her number one bestseller, Girl on a Train. Following fifteen years as a psychotherapist, she is now a full-time novelist with publishing deals in France, Germany (Penguin Random House) and USA (audiobooks).

In 2015, she was featured in The Wall Street Journal and The Times and was ranked in the Top 20 UK authors on Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). She lives in Southampton, UK, with her husband. Visit her website and blog, or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

 

‘Lost in the Lake’ can be pre-ordered (eBook only) from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B073W8X17W

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073W8X17W

 

Cover Reveal – ‘The Surrogate’ by Louise Jensen

I am thrilled to be taking part in the cover reveal for Louise Jensen’s new book, and boy does it sound good or what!  ‘The Surrogate’ is being published as an eBook on the 27th September 2017 by the wonderful Bookouture.  Here’s what it’s all about.

 

Book Blurb

‘You know that feeling? When you want something so badly, you almost feel you’d kill for it?’

Be careful what you wish for…

Kat and her husband Nick have tried everything to become parents, and are on the point of giving up. Then a chance encounter with Kat’s childhood friend Lisa gives Kat and Nick one last chance to achieve their dream.

But Kat and Lisa’s history hides dark secrets.

And there is more to Lisa than meets the eye.

As dangerous cracks start to appear in Kat’s perfect picture of happily-ever-after, she realises that she must face her fear of the past to save her family…

From the no. 1 bestselling author of The Sister and The Gift, this is an unputdownable psychological thriller which asks how far we will go to create our perfect family.

 

About Louise Jensen

Louise Jensen always wanted to be Enid Blyton when she grew up, and when that didn’t happen she got a ‘proper’ job instead.

Several years ago an accident left Louise with a disability and she began writing once again, to distract her from her pain and compromised mobility. But writing turned out to be more than just a good distraction. Louise loves creating exciting worlds, dark characters, and twisted plots.

Louise lives in Northamptonshire with her husband, sons, a puppy and a rather naughty cat, and also teaches mindfulness.

 

Links

‘The Surrogate’ is available to pre-order from:-

Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2sY4hK1

Amazon US – http://amzn.to/2uqwxmv

Website – www.louisejensen.co.uk

Twitter – https://twitter.com/fab_fiction

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/fabricatingfiction/

 

Blog Tour – ‘Trust Me’ by Gemma Metcalfe


I am absolutely delighted to be taking part in this blog tour celebrating Gemma Metcalfe’s debut novel. ‘Trust Me’ was published as an eBook on the 10th March 2017 by HQ Digital. I got my review copy from NetGalley.

Lana is stuck in a dead-end job working for a callcentre in Tenerife, making the sort of phone calls most people find annoying. Her boss is breathing down her neck as she hasn’t been able to sell even one holiday yet. Time is running out for her. If she doesn’t make a sale she’ll be out of a job. Dialling yet another number Lana hopes that this will be the one. Never in a million years did she expect the response she got.

Hundreds of miles away in Manchester, Liam has decided that life just isn’t worth living anymore. As he contemplates the best way to commit suicide the phone rings. At first he doesn’t intend to answer but then he decides that at least one person should know the truth before he dies, even if it is a complete stranger.

As the clock ticks, Lana and Liam find themselves sharing their deepest secrets. Will Lana be able to help Liam and stop him from committing suicide?

I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘Trust Me’. I have to say there wasn’t much in the way of happiness in this story and I thought it to be a bit too depressing at first, but I soon found myself totally hooked and wanting to learn more about both Lana and Liam. I thought the plot based loosely on Gemma Metcalfe’s experience as a callcentre operative worked really well. Spread out over an afternoon, this story is about two complete strangers opening up to each other.

I really admired Lana and how she risked her job to try her best to help a stranger in his hour of need. At the same time though Liam was also of some comfort to Lana as she felt able to reveal her past to him. I was just itching to know why Lana had no choice but to up and leave with her daughter and to run away to a different country. Surely things couldn’t have been that bad? But as I read on things became very clear indeed and I was left shocked at what happened to Lana. Equally shocking was Liam’s story and what he had been through. I felt so very bad at the way he had been treated. I couldn’t help but hope that there would be a happy ending for them both. I think that what happens next though is left to the reader’s imagination.

‘Trust Me’ is a gripping read which will leave you absolutely aghast.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

Giveaway

There is a giveaway being run throughout this blog tour.  It is open to UK residents only.  For you chance to win a Boots voucher, a hardcopy of Trust Me and some surprise Boots goodies click on this link Rafflecopter Giveaway.

 

About Gemma Metcalfe


Gemma Metcalfe is a Manchester born author who now lives in sunny Tenerife with her husband Danny and two crazy rescue dogs Dora and Diego. By day, Gemma can be found working as a Primary school teacher, but as the sun sets, she ditches the glitter and glue and becomes a writer of psychological thrillers. An established drama queen, she admits to having a rather warped imagination, and loves writing original plots with shocking twists. The plot for her debut novel ´Trust Me,´ is loosely based on her experiences as a call centre operative, where she was never quite sure who would answer the phone…

 

Links

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01M4KBUBM/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_uk-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=6738

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33853393-trust-me?ac=1&from_search=true

Twitter: @gemmakmetcalfe

 

Interview with Angelena Boden

angelena-boden

It’s time now to meet another Urbane author.  Angelena Boden’s debut novel, ‘The Cruelty of Lambs’ was published last year and is doing very well indeed.  I have interviewed Angelena for this event.

 

Firstly, can you tell me a bit about ‘The Cruelty of Lambs’?

The Cruelty of Lambs is my debut novel which I wrote in my 60th year. It’s a psychological thriller which tracks the insidious emotional abuse by Una Carrington, a ruthless business woman, towards her gentle cellist husband who lost his teaching post due to allegations of sexual harassment in a girls’ school. Iain falls into a dark place and as his mind deteriorates it becomes a challenge to work out who is the abuser and who is the perpetrator. It is when his precious cello goes missing that his fellow string player and best friend get involved knowing that its recovery is Iain’s only hope of redemption.

The book has been described as one of the most challenging books some readers have ever read. Compelling, gripping and a deep insight into the minds of abusers and the impact on their victims.

 

What made you decide to write it?

I am a survivor of coercive control and emotional abuse which lasted for 20 years. At first you don’t realise what’s happening, a bit like Helen in the Archer’s story line, then it becomes your norm. I was going to write my story as a memoir but even after 15 years it is too painful as I have post-traumatic stress disorder. I wanted to show that such abuse is insidious and is not gender specific. I also wanted the police to treat it as seriously as they do domestic violence. This is violence of the mind. I am glad to see that the law changed in 2015/16 to incorporate this type of abuse.

 

Where did you get your ideas from for this book?

All personal experience.

 

Did you have to do any research and if so, what did it entail?

I have spent over 30 years training, advising and counselling people to deal with conflict and difficult behaviours so everything was at my fingertips. The book was written from the heart as much as anything else.

 

How long did it take you to write?

It’s interesting as the first draft just flowed so it took about 3 months to get it down. Then the hard work began. I let it ‘rest’ and came back to it a month later. All in all it took 5 drafts and about a year to complete to my satisfaction. You can always keep fiddling with bits but I think there comes a point when you have to run with it. I was pleased to find Urbane Publications as Matthew is a great supporter of people who want to write their story. He doesn’t want it adapted or changed solely to suit a market place.

 

Is domestic abuse something you wanted to make more people aware of?

I think violence towards women is something we are more aware of but abuse and violence towards men is something that is coming more into the news. Emotional abuse, manipulation, gas lighting (designed to make you think you are the one who’s crazy) and coercive control needs to be taken more seriously by the authorities. I would like to think The Cruelty of Lambs helps people to recognise it and take action. It’s a pity poor Iain hadn’t read it!

 

Can you relate to any of your characters?

I suppose I am a mix of Iain and Una. I ran a successful business and my ex-husband lost his through his bad attitude towards customers. He was what we call passive-aggressive. Blame flew from all sides but it was he who abused me. I must say this though:- it is often very difficult to define cause and effect. The dynamics become so muddled. I found that I had to take harsh measures to protect me and my children as I was losing my sanity towards the end. I no longer knew who I was and that is the aim:- to break your spirit.

 

What are you working on now?

I have just finished the final edit of my new book, The Future Can’t Wait. It’s a mother and daughter drama in a cocktail of addiction, obsession, against a background of extremism.

 

Have you got any pearls of wisdom for anyone wanting to pen their first novel?

Just do it! I am very disciplined as I’ve run my own consultancy so I am motivated by deadlines. I don’t plan any of my books as I allow my characters to take me on their journey and it’s such fun. Some people like to plan it out in detail but I think that can be a bit stifling. Set aside an hour a day if you can’t spare anymore and just write that first chapter. Don’t edit or stress over it. Write the second chapter and when you’ve finished, let it rest. This is not a glamorous career and it might not make you a penny so there needs to be a real impetus to write.

 

How long have you been a professional life coach and training consultant for and is it interesting?

Coming up to 35 years. I have some fantastic contracts. I did all the staff training for Cadbury World in Birmingham which is why Bournville gets a mention in Cruelty. I trained staff to meet and greet Olympic visitors in Atlanta and Sydney and the Welsh Ryder Cup. I worked in Belfast for 3 years on a peace contract post the Good Friday agreement but my claim to fame was the training of night club door staff in Birmingham in the 80’s. The press went crazy for the story and called it Angie’s Charm School. It even got in the Sunday Times colour supplement.

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I’ve started to paint landscapes even though I was a remedial at school and living in Malvern means I do a lot of hill walking. My passion is languages (I speak 4 plus English) and travelling. I’m interested in cultural astrology and astronomy and how they link with the cycles of history.

 

If you were only allowed three books what would they be?

Gosh. I’ve often wondered how I would ask the question on Desert Island discs but at least you are giving me a choice of 3! ‘

• What would Aristotle Say? Self control through the power of reasoning by Dr.Elliot Cohen.
• Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
• A Shropshire Lad, a poetry collection by Alfred Housman.

 

Links

‘The Cruelty of Lambs’ is available to buy from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/the-cruelty-of-lambs/

Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2mnSJNv

Angelena Boden’s website – http://www.angelenaboden.com/

 

‘Someone Is Watching’ by Joy Fielding

someone-is-watching
‘Someone Is Watching’ is out today in paperback and as an eBook, published by Zaffre Publishing. I was very kindly sent a copy to review.

Bailey Carpenter is young, confident and a very savvy private investigator. Or at least she was. A violent attack leaves her living in fear and crippled with paranoia. Bailey is a prisoner in her own home, totally unable to leave her Miami high-rise apartment.

Everywhere Bailey looks she sees her attacker, including in the apartment directly opposite her where she is sure someone is watching. Is her mind playing tricks on her or is something more sinister at play?

I have never read a book by Joy Fielding before. I hadn’t even heard of her! One of the joys of blogging and reviewing is that you get to discover loads of new authors including ones who have written lots of books. I thought ‘Someone Is Watching’ to be a gripping and exciting read. I liked the writing style and I think the author has portrayed what Bailey Carpenter went through after being raped really well. There was much more to this story than I thought there would be which I was pleased about as at first I feared that it would drag on a bit. I have to say I was really quite surprised and shocked by the ending.

I liked Bailey and hoped that she would be able to get on with life eventually. She naturally wanted to find her attacker and took some risks which could have landed her in a lot of trouble. Though I understood why she did what she did, I could have given her a good shake at times. I took an instant liking to her niece, Jade. She was wise beyond her years and was really good for Bailey.

‘Someone Is Watching’ is a psychological thriller which will keep you in suspense.  It will have you turning the pages.

Will I read any more books by Joy Fielding? I certainly hope to.

I give this book 4 out of 5.

 

‘Someone Is Watching’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Someone-Watching-Joy-Fielding/dp/1785762532/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1480545491&sr=1-1

 

Cover Reveal – ‘The Escape’ by C.L. Taylor

book-cover

I am thrilled to be taking part in the cover reveal for C.L. Taylor’s fourth novel, ‘The Escape’, which is being published both as an eBook and in paperback by Avon on the 23rd March 2017.  Don’t you just love this cover?  It’s shouting out “Read Me!”  Here’s what the book is all about.

 

Book Blurb

The Sunday Times bestseller and No.1 Kindle bestseller returns…

“Look after your daughter’s things. And your daughter…”

When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn’t.

The stranger knows Jo’s name, she knows her husband Max and she’s got a glove belonging to Jo’s two year old daughter Elise.

What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo’s own husband turn against her.

No one believes that Elise is in danger. But Jo knows there’s only one way to keep her child safe – RUN.

 

‘The Escape’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Escape-C-L-Taylor/dp/0008118078/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1480360077&sr=1-1

 

‘The Optician’s Wife’ by Betsy Reavley

The Optician's Wife

‘The Optician’s Wife’ is Betsy Reavley’s new book and it is out today published by Bloodhound Books.  I was very kindly sent an eBook copy for my kindle to read and review.  Set in Cambridge, this story is inspired by true events.

Deborah is seventeen years old and very lonely.  She doesn’t have any friends and is unpopular.  Life at home isn’t good either.  One day whilst on her lunch break Deborah meets Larry.  He instantly sweeps her off her feet and they start meeting on a regular basis.  The only problem is that Larry has a secret.

When a number of grisly murders take place a shadow is cast over everything.   As Deborah’s world begins to fall apart she begins to suspect the man she loves of a terrible betrayal.  They need to keep their marriage alive and in order to do this sacrifices must be made.  But just how far will Deborah be willing to go?

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.  It was fantastic with an absolute shocker of an ending.  I really liked Betsy Reavley’s style of writing and the way the story was set out.  She has a way of drawing you right into the plot.  I have to say I definitely did not expect the outcome and would never have guessed it in a million years.  Everything just seemed so straightforward.

There were a number of rather unsavoury characters in the story and it was hard picking out any I really liked.  I wasn’t keen on Larry at all.  He appeared to be nice but in fact he was a total control freak.  He took over Deborah’s life so much that she ended up with little freedom.  Sadly though I don’t think Deborah saw it that way.

‘The Optician’s Wife’ is a psychological thriller which will grab hold of you and play with your mind.  It is quite a scary reminder that you don’t know what could be going on behind closed doors.

This is a story I won’t forget in a hurry.  I can see it being made into a TV drama or film.  I’m looking forward to reading more of Betsy Reavley’s novels.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

Cover Reveal – ‘No Turning Back’ by Tracy Buchanan

Book Cover

I am delighted to be taking part in this cover reveal.  ‘No Turning Back’ is being published on the 28th July 2016 by Avon as an eBook and in paperback.  This book sounds really good and is one I am planning to read.

 

Book Blurb

You’d kill to protect your child – wouldn’t you?

When radio presenter Anna Graves and her baby are attacked on the beach by a crazed teenager, Anna reacts instinctively to protect her daughter.

But her life falls apart when the schoolboy dies from his injuries. The police believe Anna’s story, until the autopsy results reveal something more sinister.

A frenzied media attack sends Anna into a spiral of self-doubt. Her precarious mental state is further threatened when she receives a chilling message from someone claiming to be the ‘Ophelia Killer’, responsible for a series of murders twenty years ago.

Is Anna as innocent as she claims? And is murder forgivable, if committed to save your child’s life…?

 

‘No Turning Back’ is available to pre-order from Amazon UK:-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/No-Turning-Back-Tracy-Buchanan-ebook/dp/B01BB1VMKI?ie=UTF8&keywords=tracy%20buchanan&qid=1461951070&ref_=sr_1_4&s=books&sr=1-4

 

 

Blog Tour – ‘In Her Wake’ by Amanda Jennings

Blog Tour Poster

I am absolutely thrilled to be part of this blog tour.  ‘In Her Wake’ has already been on one hell of a journey this year and it’s only April.  It’s been published as an eBook, limited edition hardback of which I am the proud owner of a copy and now it’s out in paperback as well.  How amazing is that!

Imagine living your life and then one day discovering that it was all a lie and that you are not who you think you are.  Unthinkable isn’t it?  That’s exactly what happened to Bella.  When a tragic family event turns her whole world upside down, Bella makes the decision to find out the truth.  After a bit of digging around she embarks on a trip to Cornwall where past betrayals and 25-year-old mystery threaten not just her identity, but also her life.

You know when you open a book, read the first page and you know straightaway that it’s for you?  Well, I can’t tell you just how much I enjoyed ‘In Her Wake’.  It’s a truly wonderful and beautifully written story which I absolutely loved.  Full of twists and turns and shocking revelations it kept me reading and dying to know what was going to happen next.

There were some interesting characters in this story.  I really wasn’t too keen on Bella’s husband David though.  He was a control freak and that together with the suffocating childhood she had did nothing to really help Bella, though at the time I guess she wouldn’t have seen it that way.  I think she was very brave to go it alone and discover the truth for herself.  It helped her grow as a person.  What Henry and Elaine did was totally wrong and not acceptable at all but as you’ll find out later there was a reason why they did what they did.

I enjoyed reading about Cornwall where the story is mostly set.  It sounds beautiful and is a place I would really like to visit one day.

I have already read a number of great books this year but ‘In Her Wake’ is definitely on my list of favourites.  This is one brilliant psychological thriller which I won’t forget in a hurry.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

About Amanda Jennings

Author Photo

Amanda Jennings made her literary début with the internationally bestselling novel Sworn Secret. Her second book, The Judas Scar, was optioned by a film and television production company shortly after release. She is fascinated by the ways people react to trauma and deal with its long-lasting effects, and also the complex relationships within a family unit. She used to work at the BBC, but now writes full-time and looks after her three daughters and a menagerie of animals. She writes a popular blog and is a regular guest on BBC Berkshire’s Book Club. She enjoys running writing workshops, is a judge for the Henley Youth Festival creative writing competition, and is involved with the Womentoring Project, which offers free mentoring by professional literary women to talented up-and-coming female writers who might otherwise not have access to such an opportunity. She is a regular speaker at festivals and book events, combining her childhood love of the stage with her love of writing. She likes to be active, preferably beside the sea or at the top of a snow-covered mountain, and when she isn’t writing she can usually be found walking her dog and enjoying the peace and solitude of the great outdoors.

 

‘In Her Wake’ is available to buy from Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Her-Wake-Amanda-Jennings-ebook/dp/B016721USK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1460204931&sr=1-1&keywords=in+her+wake

 

 

Blog Tour – ‘No Longer Safe’ by AJ Waines

NLSBlogTourPoster

‘No Longer Safe’ was published on the 4th February 2016.  Today it is my turn on this blog tour.  I have been given an extract but first here’s my review.

When Alice receives a totally unexpected invitation in the post from a friend who she hasn’t heard from in several years, she is keen to accept it.  Karen, who she was friendly with at University has invited her to come and stay with her in a remote cottage in Scotland.  Alice sees this as a chance to rekindle their lost friendship.  What she doesn’t expect though is two former students to also turn up, people she was never exactly friendly with.  This instantly changes everything.

As the snow keeps falling and the atmosphere in the cottage chills, Alice notices that Karen isn’t like how she used to be.  Then someone dies and she finds herself caught up in a tangled web with no way of escaping.  What happens next is for you to find out.

I really enjoyed reading ‘No Longer Safe’.  Well written, this was a very exciting story and one which was hard to put down especially later on.  I could feel the atmosphere and what it must have been like staying in the cottage with no way of getting away with all that snow.  I would have found it very claustrophobic I reckon.

To me it was obvious from the start that things weren’t what they seemed.  Things just didn’t add up.  Personally I think Alice jumped the gun a bit too quickly, but then I guess when you get an invitation out of the blue like that it is hard to resist.

I just knew there was something fishy about Karen and I didn’t trust her at all.  She wasn’t the nice person Alice thought she was.  I would never have guessed in a million years what she was planning though.  I wasn’t particularly keen on the other two people staying in the cottage.  I especially didn’t like Mark.

‘No Longer Safe’ will take you on a rollercoaster of a ride with a very unexpected and shocking end.  This is an ideal book for fans of psychological thrillers.

I give this book 4 out of 5.

~~~~~

It’s time now for an extract from the book.

 

No Longer Safe by AJ Waines
Chapter 1 (part only)

15 November
You were the last person I expected to hear from. After all this time. After all the cards and letters that had come back marked ‘return to sender’.

I drifted from the hall into the sitting room, carrying the envelope on both outstretched palms, like a piece of newly discovered treasure. One slice from Dad’s paper knife and it was open. At first I thought it was an invitation to a wedding, but there was no card; instead it was a letter wrapped around a glossy brochure of a castle nestling amongst snow-capped mountains.

It was your handwriting for certain. I looked straight down to the bottom of the second sheet to confirm it. Karen Morley. That’s when I had to sit down. My head was suddenly too big for my body and I couldn’t trust myself to read without feeling giddy. Was it really you? I checked the address – Brixton – in London-terms that meant you were practically on my doorstep. No distance at all.

I made my brain slow down so I could trail my eyes across the curves of your fountain pen. That was a novelty in itself – the personal touch – when nearly everything that landed on our doormat these days was typed. But that was very much your way of doing things, Karen – making people feel special, making that extra effort to show you cared. Would be wonderful to see you again…remembered your birthday…love to invite you…important time for me…

I read the first part again. It was an invitation, but not to a wedding. You were inviting me to a cottage in the Highlands – on holiday.

I slid from the arm of the sofa into the seat. Nearly six years without a word and now this. I tried to reach you after we finished Uni, of course I did. You were the one who stood out, the friend I thought I’d found for life. Once Uni was over, other associations tailed off and calls were replaced with Facebook updates with the odd round-robin email. But ours was different.

To be honest, I hadn’t expected you to fall away like you did, Karen. We’d established a real bond – or so I thought. Afterwards, you moved to Bristol while I moved back to London, but I was certain we’d visit each other; I’d travel one weekend, you’d travel the next. I had my heart set not only on keeping in touch, but staying best friends.

I did go to stay with you at the start – just once, remember? You replied to my emails for a while, sent a cheery card that first Christmas, but then, like the rest, you drifted away from me and I never heard from you again. Until now.

I held the letter under my nose, stupid I know, just to see if there was a trace of you left on the paper. Then I held it to my chest and allowed your presence to sink into me again. You were my inspiration, the person I wanted to be. I’d never felt that kind of admiration about anyone before. You brought everything alive and coaxed me out of my shell.

With no siblings and a small disjointed family, my only proper relationships were with my parents and I’d always found them impossible to talk to. It had never occurred to me to bare my deepest feelings to them. You were different. I knew straight away the first time I spoke to you. All my doubts and failings came tumbling out, because you made me feel so safe, without any sting of judgement. No one had ever offered that to me before. No one else ever seemed to notice when something was wrong. I’d spent most of my life going it alone, because I was awkward and shy and people didn’t know what to do with me.

I brought my hand to my mouth. It must be a mistake. You must have mixed me up with someone else and posted the invitation to the wrong person. That would explain it. This was too much to expect after almost six years of silence; it was too big a deal. An invitation to spend fourteen days together out of the blue, without any preamble? But then that was you, Karen – always surprising people, keeping us all on our toes.

 

About AJ Waines

Author Picture

AJ Waines has sold over 100,000 books worldwide and topped the UK and Australian Kindle Charts in 2015 with her number one bestseller, Girl on a Train. Following fifteen years as a psychotherapist, she is now a full-time novelist with publishing deals in France, Germany (Penguin Random House) and USA (audiobooks).

In 2015, she was featured in The Wall Street Journal and The Times and was ranked in the Top 20 UK authors on Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). She lives in Southampton, UK, with her husband. Visit her website and blog, or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

 

‘No Longer Safe’ is available to buy on Amazon – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ebooks-No-Longer-Safe-J-Waines-ebook/dp/B018UAAAW4

 

Cover Reveal – ‘No Longer Safe’ by A.J. Waines

Book Cover

I am absolutely delighted to be taking part in this cover reveal and what a gorgeous one it is.  ‘No Longer Safe’ is out on the 4th February 2016.  I for one can’t wait to read it.

 

Book Blurb

She was your best friend. Now she’s your deadliest enemy – and there’s nowhere to run…

When Alice receives an invitation from Karen, her charismatic University friend, to stay in a remote cottage in Scotland, she can’t wait to rekindle their lost friendship. But two more former students arrive – never friends of Alice’s – and as the atmosphere chills, Karen isn’t the warm-hearted soulmate Alice remembers. Barely is the reunion underway before someone is dead and the fragile gathering is pushed to breaking point.

As the snow cuts them off from civilisation and accusations fly, Alice finds herself a pawn, sinking deeper into a deadly game she can’t escape.

NO LONGER SAFE is a chilling Psychological Thriller that delivers a delicious sting in the tail.

 

‘No Longer Safe’ can be pre-ordered now from:-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ebooks-No-Longer-Safe-J-Waines-ebook/dp/B018UAAAW4

 

Blog Tour – ‘Little Girl Gone’ by Alexandra Burt

Blog Tour Banner

‘Little Girl Gone’ is Alexandra Burt’s debut novel, published in both eBook and paperback by Avon on the 24th September 2015. To celebrate its release a number of book bloggers are taking part in a blog tour for which LightBrigade PR did some amazing publicity. Today it is my turn and as well as reviewing this book I also have an extract for you to hopefully whet your appetites.

When a baby goes missing things don’t look too good for the mother. Estelle Paradise wakes up one morning and discovers that her baby daughter has been taken from her crib. She searches the apartment but there is no sign of her anywhere and all her stuff has been taken.  Estelle doesn’t report the incident to the police though.

A few days later Estelle is discovered in a wrecked car miles from home, with a gunshot wound to her head and no memory of what happened. The only thing she can remember is blood, and lots of it. Will Estelle be able to recall what happened and did she have anything to do with her baby’s disappearance?

There has been a lot of hype about this book so I was looking forward to reading it.  I enjoyed this book and liked the author’s writing style. ‘Little Girl Gone’ is divided into four parts. For me the third part was when things really started to hot up and this was when I found the book the hardest to put down.

Estelle had a hard time of things and was judged rather unfairly I thought, just because she had trouble stopping her baby from crying. It was obvious that she needed to get some help and to make matters worse her husband didn’t really want to know. He thought she could snap out of it just like that. So when Mia went missing it was very easy to point the finger at Estelle.

‘Little Girl Gone’ is a psychological thriller which will really get you thinking. Although it was obvious to me who might be responsible for the kidnapping there was still a lot more to the story. I am looking forward to seeing what Alexandra Burt comes up with next.

I give this book 4 out of 5.

 

~~~~~

Extract from ‘Little Girl Gone’

‘Mrs Paradise?’ A voice sounds out of nowhere. My thoughts are sluggish, as if I’m running under water. I try and try but I’m not getting anywhere.

‘Not stable. Eighty over sixty. And falling.’

Oh God, I’m still alive.

I move my legs, they respond, barely, but they respond.

Light prowls its way into my eyes. I hear dogs barking, high pitched. They pant, their tags clatter.

‘You’ve been in a car accident.’

My face is numb, my thoughts vague, like dusty boxes in obscure and dark attic spaces. I know immediately something is amiss.

‘Oh my God, look at her head.’ A siren sounds, it stutters for a second, then turns into a steady torment.

 

I want to tell them . . . I open my mouth, my lips begin to form the words, but the burning sensation in my head becomes unbearable. My chest is on fire, and ringing in my left ear numbs the entire side of my face.

Let me die, I want to tell them. But the only sound I hear is of crude hands tearing fragile fabric.

‘Step back. Clear.’

My body explodes, jerks upward.

This isn’t part of the plan.

 

When I come to, my vision is blurred and hazy. I make out a woman in baby-blue scrubs, a nurse, slipping a plastic tube over my head and immediately two prongs hiss cold air into my nostrils.

She pumps a lever and the bed yanks upward, then another lever triggers a motor raising the headboard until my upper body is resting almost vertically.

My world becomes clearer. The nurse’s hair is in a ponytail and the pockets of her cardigan sag. I watch her dispose of tubing and wrappers and the closing of the trashcan’s metal lid sounds final, evoking a feeling I can’t quite place, a vague sense of loss, like a pickpocket making off with my loose change, disappearing into the crowd that is my strange memory.

A male voice sounds out of nowhere.

‘I need to place a central line.’

The overly gentle voice belongs to a man in a white coat. He talks to me as if I’m a child in need of comfort.

‘Just relax, you won’t feel a thing.’

 

Relax and I won’t feel a thing? Easy for him to say. I feel lost somehow, as if I’m in the middle of a blizzard, unable to decide which direction to turn. I lift my arms and pain shoots from my shoulder into my neck. I tell myself not to do that again anytime soon.

The white coat wipes the back of my hand with an alcohol wipe. It leaves an icy trail and pulls me further from my lulled state. I watch the doctor insert a long needle into my vein. A forgotten cotton wipe rests in the folds of the cotton waffle weave blanket, in its center a bright red bloody mark, like a scarlet letter.

There’s a spark of memory, it ignites but then fizzles, like a wet match. I refuse to be pulled away, I follow the crimson, attach myself to the memory that started out like a creak on the stairs, but then the monsters appear.

First I remember the darkness.

Then I remember the blood.

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