#BlogTour #BookReview – The Whisper Man by Alex North @writer_north @MichaelJBooks #TheWhisperMan

Some of my favourite authors and people in publishing have raved about this book, so I was mega excited to be invited to read an early copy to see what all the excitement was about.

5120sgUOiwL‘If you leave a door half-open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken…

Still devastated after the loss of his wife, Tom Kennedy and his young son Jake move to the sleepy village of Featherbank, looking for a much-needed fresh start.  But Featherbank has a dark past. Fifteen years ago, a twisted serial killer abducted and murdered five young boys.

Until he was finally caught, the killer was known as ‘The Whisper Man’.

Of course, an old crime need not trouble Tom and Jake as they try to settle in to their new home.  Except that now another boy has gone missing. And then Jake begins acting strangely.  He says he hears a whispering at his window…’

The Whisper Man is terrifyingly beautiful.  If you like your books blood-curdlingly chilling with writing that has you clenching your jaw, and fingers clambering the pages, then this is the book for you this summer.  It is a thriller of the tremendous kind and Alex North has really blown it out the ballpark with this whopper of a story.  I seriously can’t get over how amazing it is.  It is like all the best thriller writers combined into a beautifully explosive firework (in the form of a book, of course!).  Bravo!

This isn’t just your ordinary crime / whodunnit.  It is also about love and loss, which weaves in and out of the tale beautifully.  The combination of different emotions, from sadness to unsettling, leaves you in a state of semi-shock when you turn the final page.  Alex North has created something so mesmerising that it feels effortlessly good and a book that I will recommend over and over again.

Tom and Jake Kennedy are two characters I won’t be forgetting in a rush.  Tom was so honestly open in parts, and Jake so frightened at times, that I just wanted to take them into my arms and look after them.  The emotions I felt for them was unreal.  As for some of the other characters, they made my blood boil, but I won’t go into detail in fear of giving too much away.

The Whisper Man is a tale to be read in daylight, although I did at times read in the dead of night to add to the atmosphere of it.  Thank you so much to Michael Joseph for my proof copy.  It is always appreciated the support you show to us bloggers.

F x





#BlogTour #BookReview – Somewhere Close to Happy by Lia Louis @LisforLia @orionbooks @alexxlayt

I could write all day about what a joy #SomewhereCloseToHappy was to read, but here instead is a snapshot of what was going through my mind when I read this stunning debut.

41EQRCcBVPL._SX339_BO1,204,203,200_‘Lizzie James is happy.

She has a steady office job (with a steady stream of snacks), has had the same best friend since school, and she sees her family every Thursday night for take-away and trashy TV. Lizzie likes her uncomplicated life.

Then a letter arrives one day from her first love, Roman. A letter dated the day he disappeared, 12 years before. As Lizzie uncovers the secrets of the letter, she discovers what really happened the year her life fell apart – and all avenues lead back to Roman.

Lizzie James thought she was happy, or somewhere close to happy, anyway.  Now she’s not so sure.’

Lia’s talent for storytelling is so fresh and attractive.  She really draws you right into the centre of the tale, and her knack for creating a variety of characters that entrance you into a state of mind that makes you just want to keep on reading, is brilliant.  Bravo Lia, bravo.

I loved Lizzie.  There really is a part of her in all of us.  She is so memorable, and I adored her outlook on life and her need to follow both her gut and her heart to find closure for the past.  The to-ing and fro-ing of Lizzie’s life from then to now, added a  structure to the story that was perfect, as it gave you a sense of who she is as a person and how Roman inevitably shaped her life, even if she didn’t realise it at the time.

This is a tale that is packed to the brim with humour, but not so much that it takes away the importance of issues raised within the novel, as there are some tender moments too.  Following Lizzie on her quest to uncover what really did happen to her first love was exhilarating and I found myself cheering her on, albeit quietly in the background sometimes as I was a little concerned about what she just might discover.

I quite simply devoured Somewhere Close to Happy, and for me there are some hidden gems in it that really helped me fall in love with it.  Even just the simple moments of watching Lizzie and Roman imagining what there future will be when they were young, was beautiful – just the two of them and their beloved ‘Sea-Fog’.  Those times made me desperate to understand why Roman disappeared and where he is now.  I needed closure myself.

‘Bittersweet’ is the perfect word to describe this mesmerising tale, and when you read it yourself, then you will completely understand.  Somewhere Close to Happy is available to pre-order now, and lands in shops this Thursday, so do yourself a favour and add it to your reading list.

Thank you to Alex at Orion for inviting me onto the Blog Tour.  Lia has reminded me why I love this genre so much and how powerful us women really are.

There are some excellent bloggers on the tour, so why not check them out too?

F x


#BlogTour #BookReview – Sleep by C L Taylor @AvonBooksUK @callytaylor @Sabah_K Do you #daretosleep?

I am a huge fan of CL Taylor’s books, and Sleep was no exception.  I blummin’ well loved it.  I can usually cotton on quite quickly with how a storyline is going to progress, but Cally, in all her glory, put a stop to that for me as my mind was constantly in a whirl trying to second-guess how it was all going to end…

51spgsN1HbL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_‘All Anna wants is to be able to sleep. But crushing insomnia, terrifying night terrors and memories of that terrible night are making it impossible.  If only she didn’t feel so guilty…

To escape her past, Anna takes a job at a hotel on the remote Scottish island of Rum, but when seven guests join her, what started as a retreat from the world turns into a deadly nightmare.

Each of the guests have a secret, but one of them is lying – about who they are and why they’re on the island. There’s a murderer staying in the Bay View hotel. And they’ve set their sights on Anna.

Seven strangers. Seven secrets. One deadly lie.  Someone’s going to sleep and never wake up…’

The story evolves around Anna.  Anna needs to get away from her everyday life which is currently a horror show.  The only problem is that she has the intention of getting her life back together and work out the issues that are going on in her head, but in true Cally style, things are only going to get tougher!

You are drawn in quickly, and the idea that there is a killer on the loose on a remote island reminds me of a 90s slasher flick, which I love.  The characters gel well together, the storyline flows with plenty of oomph, and the dreary setting is the perfect backdrop for Cally’s mesmerising storytelling.  She sure knows how to grab hold of her reader’s attention, to ensure that they never want to put the book down.

If you are a sucker for a psychological thriller, then Sleep will satisfy you immensely.  The end of each chapter leads perfectly onto the next, so you can’t help but carry on reading. The need to want to know more will take hold of you and not let go until the bitter end.

Cally is the Queen of Tension, and owes me a manicure as a result.

Thank you to Sabah at Avon Books for inviting me onto the Blog Tour.  As ever, your support for us book bloggers is really appreciated.

F x



#BlogTour #BookReview – She Lies in Wait by Gytha Lodge @JennyPlatt90 @MichaelJBooks @thegyth

Have you ever read a blurb of a book that you just know you are going to blinkin’ well love?  Well this was one of those books for me.  I was at a point in my life where I had stopped accepting blog tour invites for personal reasons, but as soon as Jenny at Michael Joseph sent through the email invitation, I automatically jumped onto the back of the tour bus (so to speak!) in readiness of, in the words of Marian Keyes, ‘a SUPERIOR crime book’.

51kFG0sRF6L._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_‘Six friends.  One killer.  Who do you trust?

Seven friends went down to the woods, but one of them never came home.  30 years later, a body is discovered.  DCI Sheens already knows what’s waiting for him – Aurora Jackson, found at last.  They all claim to be innocent, but one of them must be lying.  Because she was found somewhere only they knew about.  

Now everyone’s a suspect.’

Gytha is spot on when it comes to building her main characters to match the progress of her plotting, oh, and she is also Queen of the ‘Red Herring’.  So many times I thought I knew what was going on to have been led to a dead end.  I loved the dual timeline, as the whole ‘past’ and ‘present’ element is always a winner with me.  It keeps you on your toes and you remain involved in the story, not wanting to put it down.

The settings are incredibly atmospheric and there is always a creeping sense of anxiety there waiting to tap you on the shoulder and shout ‘BOO’.  Oh, I simply loved it all.  The twists.  The turns.  The plotting.  The characters.  The unknown.  The anticipation of where it all is leading…  I really can’t say much more than that, in fear of giving anything away.  No-one appreciates a spoiler!

The voice from the grave of Aurora was refreshing.  It added a child-like tenderness to the story recounting her memories of what happened that night, unfolding things gradually for us.  And DCI Sheen has the pleasure of piecing all these moments together via old witness accounts that nobody has touched in years.  The different elements of the tale really makes this a riveting, fingers in mouth (aka biting my nails), read.

I understand that Gytha is evolving DCI Sheen into a series!? Well, there is plenty of scope for it, and if ‘She Lies in Wait’ is anything to go by, then I am pretty damn sure that Gytha has the creativity and writing ability to really get this going.  She is a lady to watch, and I have no doubt that these books are going to be my new addiction…

Oh, and quite simply, I just cannot get my head around that this is a debut.

Thank you so much to Jenny for my gifted copy in return for a fair review.  It is always greatly appreciated.

F x

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#BlogTour #BookReview – The Lost Man by Jane Harper @LittleBrownUK @caolinndouglas @janeharperautho @GraceEVincent

I was ecstatic when the blog tour email for #TheLostMan popped into my inbox from Caolinn at Little Brown, and I gave a little shriek when the postman finally dropped it through my letterbox.  Thank you so much for my gifted copy!

51bv1p21tSL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_‘Two brothers meet at the remote border of their vast cattle properties under the unrelenting sun of the outback. In an isolated part of Australia, they are each other’s nearest neighbour, their homes hours apart.

They are at the stockman’s grave, a landmark so old that no one can remember who is buried there. But today, the scant shadow it casts was the last hope for their middle brother, Cameron. The Bright family’s quiet existence is thrown into grief and anguish.

Something had been troubling Cameron. Did he choose to walk to his death? Because if he didn’t, the isolation of the outback leaves few suspects…’

Jane sets the scene tremendously well.  She is definitely the kind of writer that draws you into her environment; the dusty outback, and then throws out a corker of a whodunnit  / what happened, using well developed characters that keep you guessing.

The story is mostly told from the point of view of Nathan, one of the ‘three brothers’.  Nathan has had to deal with a lot over the years, so he is the perfect character for us to see what skills and traits you need to be able to live in such an environment, and how lonely it quite possibly is.  Imagine being miles away from your neighbour?  Nathan, being of the strong-minded sort, has his doubts as to what really did happen to his brother, Cam.  But sometimes perhaps things are best left alone… as secrets begin to unearth themselves.

Jane doesn’t do fast-paced, she is the compelling, slow burner type.  The way she gradually reveals her characters, slipping in some eye-opening shockers, makes The Lost Man what it is; a flippin’ good read.   The drastic setting is what is at the core of this novel and the way Jane describes the dustiness and unbearable heat, makes the storyline all the more exhilarating.

The Lost Man is about one family and what measures they go to, to justify or excuse something.  This is a read you won’t want to miss so get adding it to your bedside table and spend a weekend indulging in what is going to be a massive hit.  If you want to feel like you’re inside a book, then Jane’s descriptions makes the visualisation aspect, phenomenal.  I felt like I was right there the whole time.

Everything from plotting down to the characterisation is astounding, so get reading!  The Lost Man is on tour for a few more days yet, so keep an eye on my twitter whilst I share the love for this book.

F x



#BookReview – If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman #IfOnly @PoppyStimpson @orionbooks @hannahbeckerman

I could not wait to start this book, albeit a little hesitant, so I kept putting it off.  The only reason being though, is that once I had started the journey of If Only, I knew I wouldn’t want it to end…

41xS6tpijOL._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_‘Audrey’s family has fallen apart. Her two grown-up daughters, Jess and Lily, are estranged, and her two teenage granddaughters have never been allowed to meet. A secret that echoes back thirty years has splintered the family in two, but is also the one thing keeping them connected.

As tensions reach breaking point, the irrevocable choice that one of them made all those years ago is about to surface. After years of secrets and silence, how can one broken family find their way back to each other?’

There is a real essence of power in Hannah’s storytelling.  She has you clambering the pages from the beginning desperate to know more on what tore apart this otherwise quintessential family.  The dual timeline of past and present reveals slowly, under the readers ever growing eye, the personalities of Audrey, Jess and Lily, and whether they are truly capable of rekindling their family relationship.

Hannah tells the tale from three separate points of view.  You have a mother and two daughters.  We know something happened all those years ago but we aren’t sure what. And what Hannah is fabulous at, is making you be on the side of the person of whomever is telling their story at the time.  Jess makes you feel that Lily is not a nice person at all, but when you hear from Lily, you see someone that is struggling with life and trying to reach out to her sister.  What could possibly have happened to damage this family?  There are mini teasers in the form of flashbacks, which give you a glimmer and helps you form several ideas on what might just have happened.

There are some heart rending moments that unfortunately some of us are all too familiar with & Hannah writes these in an incredibly touching way.  You sympathise with these characters and it makes this tale all the more beautiful.  At some parts I could feel the tears building up, afraid to take just one blink in fear of them streaming out.  Hannah is an elegant storyteller that connects with her reader in the best possible way.

If you asked me what one thing you would need to do this year, I would say, it was to read this book.  Thank you so much to the beautiful Poppy at Orion for sending me an early proof, I am eternally grateful.

If Only I Could Tell You will be published on the 21st February and is the perfect early Mother’s Day present for the woman we treasure the most.

F x


#BookReview – The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven @BethWright26 @LittleBrownUK @MWCravenUK

Where do I begin?  Perhaps with the captivatingly gruesome opening.  The attention to detail in putting the fear of hell into both me and the ‘old man’, was astounding.  My heart stopped at one point, so the need to see justice served overwhelmed me, which meant there was only one thing I had to do… carry on reading.

619qgbktnfl._sx324_bo1,204,203,200_‘A serial killer is burning people alive in the Lake District’s prehistoric stone circles.  He leaves no clues and the police are helpless.  When his name is found carved into the charred remains of the third victim, disgraced detective Washington Poe is brought back from suspension and into an investigation he wants no part of…

Reluctantly partnered with the brilliant, but socially awkward, civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, the mismatched pair uncover a trail that only he is meant to see.  The elusive killer has a plan and for some reason Poe is part of it.

As the body count rises, Poe discovers he has far more invested in the case than he could have possibly imagined.  And in a shocking finale that will shatter everything he’s ever believed about himself, Poe will learn that there are things far worse than being burned alive…’

Craven is certainly a creative intellect when it comes to storytelling.  You can feel within the words, the research and imagination that has gone into the The Puppet Show; from how an investigation works, through to historical information, right down to the nitty gritty of the actual storyline itself.  It is exciting.  It is traumatising (in a good way!).  But most of all, it is fabulous to see some incredibly unique characters being put to good use.

Washington Poe is the kind of man that will call your bluff.  He knows what he wants, and he knows exactly what he needs to do to get to where he needs to be to solve a crime.  What I do want from Poe though is a novella (or full blown novel!) of his backstory and the full tale of why he is a ‘disgraced detective’.  Craven touches on this subject slightly, but my need to know everything is taking over a little… and I need to know more!

Tilly is a tremendous sidekick.  Way better than what Robin is to Batman.  She is brilliant and Poe couldn’t be without her.  There is no Poe without Tilly, full stop.  Tilly is what you would class as a genius.  She is a data analyst working at the NCA, and sees the world in a different light to what most of us do as she is on the autism spectrum.  She takes things literally, is incredibly gullible sometimes, but she lives in this little bubble that makes you just love her.

These two characters could host a whole range of books, and I just hope that Craven has it in him to see it through, of which I have no doubt of course, otherwise Fiona Sharp at Waterstones Durham will be gunning for him that’s for sure.

The storyline itself is gripping and the addition of ‘the immolation man’ adds fuel to the fire.  So if you like your crime strong with an added squeeze of not knowing where it is leading… then ‘The Puppet Show’ is the book for you, especially if you need warming up during this cold snap.

Thank you to Beth at Little Brown for gifting me a copy in the hope that I will provide my honest opinion.

F x