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Archive for the tag “secrets”

Book Review – ‘The Last Night Out’ by Catherine O’Connell ~ @blackthornbks @OConnellauthor

Yesterday was a very special day indeed.  Black Thorn, a brand new imprint publishing exciting crime fiction officially launched.  I can tell you readers now you are in for some real treats.  So congratulations to Black Thorn and lets hope they have a long and fruitful number of years ahead of them.

I was given the opportunity to review one of their brand new titles, ‘The Last Night Out’ by Catherine O’Connell, which has been published in paperback and as an eBook.  It is also available in hardback and audiobook.

 

Book Blurb

Six friends. Three secrets. One murder.

Maggie is destined to marry the perfect man in two weeks. Desperate for a last wild night on the town before the big day, she gathers six friends for a night to remember.

Only things go wrong, horribly wrong.

Angie’s body is found in the park the following morning and the night to remember quickly becomes a nightmare they wish they could forget. Under police scrutiny, how far will Maggie and her friends go to keep their secrets – far enough to protect a killer?

‘Few pages are turned without revealing new, surprising twists . . . a clever, enjoyable read’ Times

‘O’Connell’s wry observations on the rich are hugely entertaining’ Chicago Sun Times

 

My Review

Wow! What a mind blowing story this was. I feel like I have just got out of a fast driving car. I absolutely loved this book and was totally hooked and when I wasn’t reading it I found myself longing to get back to it. I really liked the author’s style of writing and the way the story was clearly set out. The shorter chapters meant I could have a quick read when time was limited, although sticking to one chapter wasn’t always easy.

I found myself being taken on an exciting journey. There were so many twists and turns throughout the story. I had a few questions going through my mind and as I got further into the book more kept coming.

The story of what happened is told years later and narrated by the various characters as imagined by Maggie. There were some real shockers and it really was a case of how the other half live. But as we all know money doesn’t necessarily mean happiness. In fact, it can complicate life even more. I felt that Maggie was just getting herself into a bigger hole, one she would find it hard to get out of.

Out of all of Maggie’s friends I would say my favourite was Kelly. I was so very happy at how things worked out for her and would say she deserved it.

I loved the ending and the way the reader is left to make up their own mind about what really happened.

‘The Last Night Out’ looks at a number of issues including drugs and alcohol. It will literally get hold of you and not let you go until you have read the very last page. I recommend this book to all crime thriller lovers.

I look forward to much more from this author.

~~~~~

‘The Last Night Out’ can be purchased from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Last-Night-Out-Catherine-OConnell-ebook/dp/B07K36G36J/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_1?keywords=the+last+night+out+by+catherine+o%27connell&qid=1556822892&s=gateway&sr=8-1-fkmrnull

 

About Catherine O’Connell

Catherine O’Connell divides her time between Chicago and Aspen, and sits on the board of Aspen Words, a literary centre whose aim is to support writers and reach out to readers. She is also a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. Catherine has appeared on ABC, NBC, CBS, the Cox network and numerous radio shows including WGN Radio’s Sunday Papers with Rick Kogan.

Foreign rights for The Last Night Out have already been sold in France, Italy, Germany, Brazil, Portugal and Spain.

 

Links

Author

Website – https://thelastnightoutbook.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/OConnellAuthor

Publisher

Website – http://blackthornbooks.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/blackthornbks

 

‘The Girl Across the Street’ by Vikki Patis ~ @bookouture @PatisVikki

‘The Girl Across the Street’ was published as an eBook on the 8th March 2019 by Bookouture and is also available in paperback and audiobook.  I received my review copy of this book via NetGalley and would like to thank the publisher for approving my request.

I cannot wait to tell you exactly what I thought about this book.  First though here’s the blurb.

 

Book Blurb

You’re hiding a secret that only she can see.

Her name is Beth. She came into my life when I needed her the most. We lead very different lives, but she’s the only person who understands me.

She was the only other witness to the terrible accident on the street between our homes. The only person who saw the cracks in my perfect life before I had the chance to cover them up.

It’s been so long since I’ve had a friend. Someone to talk to, to listen to, to laugh and dream with.

Beth would never do anything to hurt me.

She only wants what’s best for me, for my marriage.

Doesn’t she?

An unputdownable psychological suspense thriller that will grip you until the very last page. Perfect for fans of Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train and The Couple Next Door.

 

My Review

Having read the description of this book and really liking the sound of it, I was thrilled when my request to read it was approved. The prologue was just so intriguing and I soon found myself totally absorbed. I loved the author’s style of writing and the way the story was set out.

The chapters were narrated by two of the main characters, Isla and Beth, which I thought worked really well. Beth didn’t have a very easy life at all. She slogged away trying to make ends meet whilst her lazy boyfriend didn’t work or even help out around the home. I did feel for her and thought it was a shame that she was trapped in this situation. Isla on the other hand seemed to have it all, but first appearances can be deceptive as I was about to find out.

The accident seemed to bring Isla and Beth together and an unlikely friendship developed. They got on so well and it was nice to see them happy. Isla hadn’t had a friend in a long time and it was good that she was going out a bit more. All appeared to be well. Or was it? By this point my intuition was telling me that something wasn’t quite right and I really couldn’t wait to see how the story developed.

Beth seemed to genuinely care about Isla and wanted to help her, but things were never going to be that easy were they. Oh no, not with Jake around. He acted like he owned Isla and he wasn’t going to let her go anywhere.

‘The Girl Across the Street’ is a dark and gripping psychological thriller which will keep you reading. I personally didn’t want it to end.

I cannot wait to read more by this author and I will definitely be buying myself a copy of ‘The Diary’.

~~~~~

‘The Girl Across the Street’ is available to purchase from:-

Amazon UK – https://amzn.to/2Wn1JkK

Amazon US – https://amzn.to/2JDA3q3

About Vikki Patis

Vikki Patis is the author of psychological thrillers THE DIARY and THE GIRL ACROSS THE STREET, published by Bookouture. She is also the author of WELTANSCHAUUNG, a self-published short story collection, and her BSc dissertation, I INK, THEREFORE I AM, was published by Lambert Publishing in 2016.

When she isn’t writing or working as a Regulatory & Compliance Manager, she can usually be found drinking tea, baking cakes, or taking walks in the Hertfordshire countryside. She lives with her partner and two cats.

 

Links

Website – http://www.vikkipatis.com

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/PatisVikki

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15340101.Vikki_Patis

 

Blog Tour – ‘Fifty Years of Fear’ by Ross Greenwood

‘Fifty Years of Fear’ is Ross Greenwood’s third novel. It was published on the 1st October 2017 and is available both in paperback and as an eBook. I felt honoured when Ross Greenwood asked me if I would like to take part in his blog tour, especially as I haven’t read his previous books. My thanks go to Ross for providing me with an ARC of ‘Fifty Years of Fear’ and to Caroline Vincent for organising the tour. Read on to find out what I thought about this book.

After a childhood accident, Vincent loses his memory. This causes him to become sensitive and anxious around others. At school Vincent is bullied because of his differences and this is when his family come to his aid.

Soon after the devastating loss of his parents, Vincent meets a woman and a remarkable one at that. She teaches him to embrace life and bit by bit he begins to realise that the world is far more forgiving then he ever imagined. Maybe things aren’t so bad for him after all. Then Vincent starts getting flashbacks and he slowly begins to unravel his past.

Who was his mother? What kind of man was his brother, Frank? And why does death surround him?  As Vincent is about to discover, fate is cruel, the past is dark and things are not as they seem.

As mentioned above, this is the first book by Ross Greenwood that I have read and I’m so very glad that I did. ‘Fifty Years of Fear’ is quality at its very best. Beautifully written, this story takes a hold of you and keeps you reading.

The story is narrated by Vincent (known as Vinnie to many) and starts off from when he was fourteen years old, seven years after his accident. As a teenager Vincent seeked solace in books, reading practically everything he could lay his hands on and travelling many worlds. We get to learn about his life over the next thirty-six years and what he went through. I felt really sorry for Vincent as he did appear to be the victim. At one point he seemed to be getting his life together and then everything changed just like that. He did achieve quite a lot in a way though.

The majority of the characters in this story were flawed. As Vincent was later to discover, his mum wasn’t who he thought she was. She had done some shocking things. Frank, his brother, had reason to behave the way he did. He came across as a bully but was he really?

‘Fifty Years of Fear’ is an outstanding and thought-provoking read and it will stay with you long after you finish the last page. I look forward to reading more books by Ross Greenwood.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

Giveaway

I hope my review has left you dying to read this book.  If so, you’re in luck as there is a chance to win a signed copy of ‘Fifty Years of Fear’.  Just click on this link Raflecopter Giveaway.

The closing date is 12:00 pm. on the 10th October 2017 (the last day of the blog tour).  It is open to UK residents only.

 

Links

‘Fifty Years of Fear’ is available to buy from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/FIFTY-YEARS-FEAR-Ross-Greenwood-ebook/dp/B075FFQVK9/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Website – http://www.rossgreenwoodauthor.com

Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/RossGreenwoodAuthor/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/greenwoodross

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Silent Girls’ by Ann Troup

Blog Tour Banner

‘The Silent Girls’ was published by Carina on the 18th February 2016.  I really liked the sound of this book and was interested in taking part in the blog tour for it.  Today it is my turn and below is my review.

Returning to Number 17, Coronation Square in Winfield after a very long time, Edie is shocked to find that the place she remembers from her childhood reeks of mould and decay.  But she has a task to do, a big one at that.  Edie is there to clear out her recently deceased Aunt Dolly’s house.  It sounds simple enough but it isn’t.  Coronation Square, where five vicious murders took place many years ago has changed a lot and not for the best either.

At Number 17 there is misery, sin and dark secrets that can no longer stay hidden.  The truth has to come out at some stage.  Finding herself dragged into the horrific murders of the past, Edie must find out what happened all those years ago.  But as she uncovers the history of her family she had all but forgotten, she begins to wonder if perhaps it would have been best to leave things as they were.

I thought ‘The Silent Girls’ was a cracking read, absolutely fantastic.  The prologue had me totally intrigued and I couldn’t wait to get into the story.  There were some shocking revelations and secrets and it was just so hard to trust the majority of the characters.

I really liked Ann Troup’s style of writing.  There were so many twists and turns throughout this story and I found myself trying to piece everything together and work out what actually happened all those years ago.  I have to say I would never have guessed in a million years who was actually responsible for the murders.

One of the characters, Sophie is actually named after a book blogger I know.  In the story she was down on her luck, but Edie being the kind person she was took her in and looked out for her.  The real Sophie is lovely and I soon found myself warming to her as a fictional character as well.  I thought she was really gutsy and that she deserved a break.

‘The Silent Girls’ will have you sitting on the edge of your seat and it will leave you wanting more.  This isn’t a story you’ll forget in a hurry.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

About Ann Troup

Author Picture

Ann Troup tells tales and can always make something out of nothing (which means she writes books and can create unique things from stuff other people might not glance twice at). She was once awarded 11 out of 10 for a piece of poetry at school – she now holds that teacher entirely responsible for her inclination to write.

Her writing space is known as ‘the empty nest’, having formerly been her daughters bedroom. She shares this space with ten tons of junk and an elderly Westie, named Rooney, who is her constant companion whether she likes it or not. He likes to contribute to the creative process by going to sleep on top of her paperwork and running away with crucial post-it notes, which have inadvertently become stuck to his fur. She is thinking of renaming him Gremlin.

She lives by the sea in Devon with her husband and said dog. Two children have been known to remember the place that they call home, but mainly when they are in need of a decent roast dinner, it’s Christmas or when only Mum will do. She also has extremely decent stepchildren.

In a former incarnation she was psychiatric nurse, an experience which frequently informs her writing. She has also owned a cafe and an art/craft gallery. Now she only makes bacon sandwiches as a sideline, but does continue to dabble with clay, paint, paper, textiles, glue…you name it. Occasionally she may decide to give away some of these creations (you have been warned!).

 

Links

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B015QM8AP8/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/28441057-the-silent-girls?ac=1&from_search=1

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/TroupAnn

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anntroupauthor/

Website: https://anntroup.wordpress.com/

 

 

Blog Tour – ‘Redemption Song’ by Laura Wilkinson

Blog Tour Poster

‘Redemption Song’ was published on the 28th January by Accent Press.  Having read and enjoyed Laura Wilkinson’s previous two novels I was honoured to be invited to take part in this blog tour.

Just imagine this.  You’re getting on with your life, studying hard so that you can hopefully have a good career.  Things are going reasonably well and then just like that everything changes.  Unthinkable isn’t it?  Sadly though that’s exactly what happened to Saffron.

Saffron wants to become a doctor and is studying medicine.  But a tragic accident changes her life forever.  Unable to cope anymore and needing a break she leaves London and moves to Coed Mawr, a small coastal town in Wales to stay with her mother.  Saffron starts feeling trapped until she meets Joe, another outsider and they soon realise that they have a lot in common.  But there is something about Joe which Saffron just can’t figure out.  He has a complicated past which is in danger of catching up with him.  Will Saffron and Joe be able to help each other?

Every now and then I see a book cover I really like and in this case it was love at first sight for me.  It is just absolutely gorgeous.

I so enjoyed reading ‘Redemption Song’.  This story has been beautifully told, but then to be honest I wouldn’t have expected anything less from Laura Wilkinson who is a wonderful writer.  I thought this book was so different from her last two though.  It was nice learning a bit about bats throughout the story.  For anyone who wants to know more about them there is a link to a website about bats in the acknowledgements.

I loved meeting all the characters.  Rain, Saffron’s mum, who had also been through a very hard time moved from London to Coed Mawr to try and make a life for herself there.  A female minister, Rain never lost her faith in God despite what she had been through, though I’m sure it was tested.

I spent ages trying to work out what the mystery surrounding Joe was.  It was obvious that something was up.  Even Saffron’s mum couldn’t quite put a finger on it.  I thought Joe was such a nice man.  He brought out the best in Saffron, and feeling that she could confide in him, she was able to talk about the night of the accident and all that was going through her head.

‘Redemption Song’ is a wonderful story that you really won’t want to put down.  Laura Wilkinson’s books just keep getting better and better.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

‘Redemption Song’ is available to buy from Amazon:-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Redemption-Song-Laura-Wilkinson/dp/1783758694/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1454910802&sr=1-1&keywords=redemption+song+laura+wilkinson

 

‘The Good Girl’ by Fiona Neill

The Good Girl

‘The Good Girl’ is Fiona Neill’s latest novel and it is out today, published by Michael Joseph.  I was very kindly sent a proof copy to review.

The Fields decide to leave busy London behind and relocate to Norfolk.  Ailsa has managed to get herself a new job as a headmistress in the local school and Harry who is a neuroscientist has taken time off to work on his book.  Teenagers Luke, Romy and nine-year-old Ben find life a bit boring at first and nothing much changes for them until two months later when the Fairports move next door.

When Romy and Jay meet properly for the first time they find that there is an instant attraction between them.  But Jay has a dark and shameful secret, one he thinks will put Romy off.  He eventually confides in her and to his surprise she promises to do what she can for him which is when the problems really start.  In her mission to help him Romy unravels some secrets from the past to do with her parents.

‘The Good Girl’ has been narrated by Ailsa and Romy giving the reader the views of both the mother and daughter as events unfold.  I thought this was a good idea and that it worked well.

This was a good story but I found it quite hard to get into it at first.  I felt that it was dragged out in places and that though interesting and informative there were just too many references to neuroscience and the brain.

There were a variety of characters in this story but out of all of them I really liked Ben.  For a nine-year-old he was very intuitive.  No-one could pull the wool over his eyes.  I felt bad for Romy even though what she did wasn’t particularly smart.  Always a hardworking student I don’t think she ever thought about what the consequences could be.

‘The Good Girl’ really does make you think.  Fiona Neill has covered a number of topics including one which is extremely controversial and shocking.

I give this book 3 out of 5.

‘Finding Mother’ by Anne Allen

finding_mother_front

Last year I interviewed Anne Allen and asked her about ‘Finding Mother’, the second of her Guernsey novels.  You can read my interview with her here:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2013/10/29/anne-allen/

Having previously reviewed Anne’s first novel I was very interested in reading ‘Finding Mother’ and recently got round to doing so.

Nicole was just three days old when Mary and Ian Le Clerq adopted her.  Now at 35 years old Nicole’s marriage is over and she feels the need to reassess her life and find out who she really is.  So she decides to search for her natural mother.  It doesn’t take Nicole very long to find her and she is soon on her way to Guernsey.

‘Finding Mother’ is a wonderful story which follows three generations of women.  It is a tale about family relationships, secrets, second chances, love and death.

I really enjoyed Anne Allen’s first novel ‘Dangerous Waters’ and I thought it was very good, but in my opinion I would say that this book is even better.  In fact it is excellent.  I liked Anne’s writing style throughout, the way she takes the reader to many different locations and her descriptions and I thought it clever how she included a couple of the characters from her first novel in this story too.  Absolutely superb!

I loved reading about Eve’s (the grandmother’s) past.  I found her tale to be very interesting and I couldn’t wait to learn more.  How she kept things to herself for so long I really do not know.

Through book reviewing I have discovered many new authors and read some fantastic books.  I can now say that Anne Allen has been added to my list of favourite authors.  I am looking forward to reading her latest novel ‘Guernsey Retreat’ and I really hope that Anne keeps writing.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

‘A Place for Us – Part One’ by Harriet Evans

A Place for Us - One

Today saw the publication by Headline Review of the first of four instalments of this book.  It is available in ebook with the next part due out on the 28th August 2014.  The complete novel will be published in January 2015.  I was kindly sent a copy to review.

The story starts off with an element of intrigue.  It is August 2012 and Martha Winter’s eightieth birthday is fast approaching.  She had made a huge decision, one which is set to change things for good.  It’s time to tell all.  But how will Martha go about doing this?

The first part of ‘A Place for Us’ gives the reader a good introduction to the Winter family with each chapter being narrated by an individual character.  I felt that this worked well as it told me a lot about their lives.  I also like the way the story has been set in different locations.

A complex family with secrets from the past, I reckon Part Two is when things will really start to hot up.  I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

I give the first part of ‘A Place for Us’ 4 out of 5.

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Piano Player’s Son’

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I am delighted to be taking part in this blog tour.  I chose to review ‘The Piano Player’s Son’ and you can read my thoughts about this novel below.

bookcover

‘The Piano Player’s Son’ was published by Cinnamon Press last year.  This is Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn’s second novel.

To Isabel family life is very important.  Her parents appear to have had a blissful marriage and she has tried very hard to create one for herself.  All pretence is shattered though when her husband leaves her.  On top of that her father dies, which leaves Isabel totally devastated.

Then, a few hours after her father’s death, Isabel’s mother confides in her revealing a secret kept hidden for more than thirty years.  Isabel is shocked by the revelation and feels that her sister, Grace and brothers, Rick and George should be told.  But her mother makes her promise to stay silent.

‘The Piano Player’s Son’ was a really good and worthwhile read.  It is a compelling and very sad story about families where each person is dealing with their own individual tragedies and issues.  I liked the writing style and the way this novel was set out.  I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next and I almost felt as if I was part of the characters’ lives.

Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn has portrayed her characters well.  My favourites were Isabel and Grace.  I wasn’t that keen on Rick but I understand how he must have been feeling about things.

I give this book 4 out of 5.

 

Useful Links

Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn:-

Website: www.lindsaystanberryflynn.co.uk

Blog: http://lindsaystanberryflynn.co.uk/blog/

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/LindsayStanberryFlynn.Author

The Piano Player’s Son on Amazon: www.amazon.co.uk/The-Piano-Players-Lindsay-Stanberry-Flynn/dp/1907090932/

 

Lindsay does not have a Twitter account but Silverwood Books are tweeting throughout this tour.

SilverWood Books: www.silverwoodbooks.co.uk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/silverwoodbooks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SilverWoodBooks

 

‘Secrets of the Tides’ by Hannah Richell

Lovereading.co.uk were looking for people to review this book, which is being published by Orion Books on 12th April 2012.  I was absolutely delighted when I was chosen.  ‘Secrets of the Tides’ is a fantastic debut novel.  It has been beautifully written and this is one of those books that you really do not want to put down.  It is a very gripping family saga.  The characters have been portrayed really well and they seem so real.  The various descriptions of places, flowers and plants are wonderfully described.

The Tide family are haunted by a tragedy which occurred eleven years ago.  They struggle to move forward, each battling with their own feelings of guilt together with some dark secrets which must be hidden away.  When Dora falls pregnant with her first child, she has doubts about becoming a mother as she still feels bad about what took place all those years back and is worried in case it should happen again.  In order to be able to move on she realises that she has to face her past no matter how painful, and so she decides to go back to the place she once considered to be home, Clifftops.

Going backwards and forwards, this story is told by three of the main characters; Dora, her sister and their mother.  It deals with several topics including adultery, betrayal and forgiveness.

I would most definitely recommend this book to others and I am really looking forward to seeing what Hannah Richell writes next.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

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