#BlogTour #BookReview – Cuckoo by Sophie Draper @AvonBooksUK @Sabah_K @sophiedraper9

Cuckoo is an incredibly more-ish read.  Full to the brim with haunting moments that consume your mind, play with your nightmares and leave you hanging mid-air until the countdown to the final moments.  This is a well-planned novel involving a family’s history with a good old dollop of horror thrown in for good measure.

51s89PuoyaL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_‘There’s a stranger in your house…

When her stepmother dies unexpectedly, Caro returns to her childhood home in Derbyshire. She hadn’t seen Elizabeth in years, but the remote farmhouse offers refuge from a bad relationship, and a chance to start again.

But going through Elizabeth’s belongings unearths memories Caro would rather stay buried. In particular, the story her stepmother would tell her, about two little girls and the terrible thing they do.

As heavy snow traps Caro in the village, where her neighbours stare and whisper, Caro is forced to question why Elizabeth hated her so much, and what she was hiding. But does she really want to uncover the truth?’

Caro, short for Caroline, returns to her childhood home following the death of her stepmother, Elizabeth.  The timing couldn’t have been more perfect for Caro as her and her boyfriend had recently parted ways, so the last place she wanted to be in is London.  With Derby calling, it seemed to be the right path to take, so she takes the chance, and  need for head space, to sort out her stepmother’s house before it is sold.

Caro is an illustrator for a living, and art really is her passion.  I enjoyed her character, although a little needy at times, but you can clearly see that something (or someone!) has gnawed at her own self worth all these years, and I was keen to find out what.

Caro’s sister, Steph, is very successful and perhaps as a result is now trying to build bridges with Caro, as they haven’t had a relationship for a very long time.  Does Steph feel sorry for Caro?  She generously offers Caro her half of the house, as she doesn’t need the money.  Is this guilt creeping in for not doing more all those years ago?

Caro’s relationship with her stepmother was certainly a strained one.  A single pear-drum dominates what Caro remembers from her past, of which she has now unwillingly found in the attic.  She refuses to go near it, so how does it keep appearing by her side?  Who is playing tricks with her mind.  What sorcery is going on?

Cuckoo is full of mesmerising chapters and scenes that submerge you into a world full of paranoia.  Who can you trust?  The tension and suspense heat up the pages and shock you into a frenzy.  I devoured it and cannot believe that this is a debut, and a stunning one at that.  I loved the fairytale theme throughout the beginning as they added real structure and emphasis to what we were in store for as a reader.  I just can’t believe how disturbing real fairytales actually are.

Thank you to Sabah at Avon for inviting me onto the Blog Tour of which I have joined in with my honest opinions in return for a copy of the book.

Why not follow some of my other friends on the tour?

F x

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#BlogTour #BookReview – Lies Between Us by Ronnie Turner @Ronnie__Turner @HQDigitalUK

This has been such an amazing Blog Tour for Ronnie so far, and the support surrounding this debut from all her followers is astounding.  She has received some pretty top reviews that far outshine those that witter on that this tale was “too complex” for them, and I have to say that I am on “Team Ronnie” when it comes to Lies Between Us.

51ZJAzdewoL‘Will they ever learn the truth?

Three people, leading very different lives, are about to be brought together – with devastating consequences…

John has a perfect life, until the day his daughter goes missing.

Maisie cares for her patients, but hides her own traumatic past.

Miller should be an innocent child, but is obsessed with something he can’t have.

They all have something in common, though none of them know it – and the truth won’t stay hidden for long…’

John, and his wife Jules, have it all, until one day in 2015 their daughter, Bonnie, is taken and their world falls apart.  The investigation is at a standstill and the police don’t know where to look, but it is clear that this family is being targeted by someone rather sinister.

Maisie is a dedicated ICU Nurse, and her current patient Tim was was left for dead on the street.  Tim’s wife Heidi, forms a friendship with Maisie, and they begin to learn a lot about each other.  This leads to a concerned Maisie realising what actually is going on in this family!?  But the question on my lips was; how are all these characters really connected?

Last, but definitely not least, we have Miller.  A young boy growing up in the 1990s.  This is no ordinary boy as Ronnie has created the perfect monster.  I was drawn into this character and the sheer horror of him.  He certainly adds fuel to the fire and excitement of this book.

I always thought I was pretty switched on as a reader, following the breadcrumbs to get to the answer, but Ronnie left me trailing behind when it came to the ending.  I was trying to add 2 + 2 but getting 5.  The conclusion was one I never would have guessed, so hats off to you Ronnie, for fooling me.

Lies Between Us is an intricately woven, compelling tale that is made all the the more interesting through the use of various narratives, both past and present.  Convincing characters, intense storytelling and short, snappy chapters made this my ideal read and my love for twisty, psychological thrillers has grown through Ronnie and I am incredibly excited for her writing future.

I am recommending far and wide.

F x

 

#BlogTour #BookReview – The Anniversary by Hilary Boyd @HilaryBoyd @JennyPlatt90

The Anniversary is a book that will test your emotions.  It is powerfully real, incredibly heartfelt and the storytelling is rather exquisite.

41trINkR6BL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_‘Is the one you tried to forget the one you can’t live without?

Stella once thought that if she never saw Jack again, it would be too soon.  But life has other plans for her and her stubborn, handsome ex-husband.

Looking after their daughter in a time of need, Stella finds herself unwillingly reunited with the man she shared the best years of her life with – followed by the worst.

Where tragedy once tore them apart, now Stella and Jack are being drawn back together. But each of them has a new partner and a new life.

Should they fight temptation?  Should the past remain the past?  Or are some loves simply meant to be?’

Stella and Jack had a happy life together all those years ago.  They didn’t merely co-exist, they were in love and their lives were made even better when their children came along.  Until one day, tragedy struck and everything was thrown into a whirlwind.

Years later, Stella and Jack are no longer together.  Jack has married someone else, and Stella has been in a long term relationship, with whom she is now no longer living with.  Times have moved on and Stella and Jack’s once young daughter, Eve, is now pregnant with her first child.  Could this now be the time to mend broken bridges and tie up all the anger, grief and loose ends of what happened all those years ago!?

The strength of these characters help build a story for the reader that makes you want to bury the grief that is at the core of this family, and follow them as a once husband and wife try to rebuild a relationship for the sake of their daughter that needs them.  Is it too late to love again?

This is a tale full to the brim with tears.  It is a story that shows that no one is perfect, but ultimately asks the question whether love is an emotion that overpowers the rest?!  This is a sensitive read that deserves your attention.  Beautifully written, well crafted and refreshing with the issues it raises.

Thank you to Jenny Platt at Michael Joseph, Penguin for inviting me onto the blog tour. It is incredibly appreciated.

F x

 

#BookReview – An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena @TransworldBooks @ThomasssHill @sharilapena

Unsettling descriptions, a terrifying plot and an array of differing characters is what makes Lapena a bestselling author.  She fails to disappoint and I always look forward to what she has in store.

51Ey4Qk6KfL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg‘We can’t choose the strangers we meet.

As the guests arrive at beautiful, remote Mitchell’s Inn, they’re all looking forward to a relaxing weekend deep in the forest, miles from anywhere. They watch their fellow guests with interest, from a polite distance.

Usually we can avoid the people who make us nervous, make us afraid.

With a violent storm raging, the group finds itself completely cut off from the outside world. Nobody can get in – or out. And then the first body is found . . . and the horrifying truth comes to light. There’s a killer among them – and nowhere to run.

Until we find ourselves in a situation we can’t escape. Trapped.’

Lapena has brought the Agatha Christie style ‘whodunnit’ into the 21st century, adding her own style in the process.  You never quite know where you are going to be taken, nor who to trust, which makes it all the more excitable.

Mitchells Inn is THE perfect location; attractive, idyllic, the ultimate getaway… until of course it all goes wrong.  A horrifying “accident” leads to a killer on the loose and to add to the suspense, plenty of red herrings are thrown in for good measure.

There is an eerie feel to the air as the storm gets worse, and the loss of power means little to no access to the outside world.  Characters begin to get agitated, no doubt down to the inability to get away from the dead body at the bottom of the stairs, and suspicions escalate as a result.

The tale is told from multiple points of view.  They are all at the hotel for their own reasons; some are looking for inspiration, others are escaping their past whilst there are those that are trying to save their future.  I love the way Lapena builds on each character and only gives you slivers of each at a time.  It helps me feel drawn to the storyline rather than being inundated with vital information and clues in one go.

The reveal is powerful as Lapena catches you out.  It never is who you think.  An Unwanted Guest is a book to devour in a day.  Forget the household chores and enjoy a little ‘me-time’.  This is thrilling escapism at its finest.

Thank you to Thomas Hill at Transworld for my copy in return for my opinion, and I always appreciate your support with my blog.

F x

 

#BookReview – Believe Me by J P Delaney @QuercusBooks @Hannah_Robbo

Believe Me has a beginning that pulls you straight into the world of Claire.  A world where you need to have confidence to get by, and luckily for Claire, she is a pretty damn good actress.  She has the ability to become anyone she wants… but is she cunning enough to get herself out of an incredibly sticky situation?

41GCiWhAS5L._AC_US218_‘Claire Wright likes to play other people.

A British drama student, in New York without a green card, Claire takes the only job she can get: working for a firm of divorce lawyers, posing as an easy pick-up in hotel bars to entrap straying husbands.

When one of her targets becomes the subject of a murder investigation, the police ask Claire to use her acting skills to help lure their suspect into a confession. But right from the start, she has doubts about the part she’s being asked to play. Is Patrick Fogler really a killer… Or the only decent husband she’s ever met? And is there more to this set-up than she’s being told?

And that’s when Claire realises she’s playing the deadliest role of her life…’

Delaney writes with mesmerising force and captures tense moments perfectly that leave you lapping up each page vigorously.  This is a book that you will pick up and not want to put back down.  Believe Me has a storyline you will not forget.

Claire has been dealt some bad cards in life which made her all the more likeable to me. She perseveres, she works hard and she just needs that break for it all to be worthwhile.  I was rooting for her, but as Delaney does best, there are twists and turns galore that lead you on a chase of survival of the fittest.

I loved the short chapters, they really grab you and if I hadn’t had things to do, then I could quite have easily finished it in one sitting.  Believe Me is a seductive read that has compassion for issues surrounding mental health.  It is well plotted, gripping and definitely a great addition to any bookshelf.

Thank you to Hannah at Quercus for my copy in return for an honest review.  As always, I truly appreciate it!

F x

#BookReview – Resin by Ane Riel @alisonbarrow @TransworldBooks @AuthorAneRiel #ResinBook

Resin is a book about a young girl.  A book that shows how children are so easily influenced and how us adults can mould their world in a way that they believe whatever we want them to, because all we want to do is protect them.  However, some people show their need to love and protect in different ways to others.

5111nYB7IzL._SX310_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg‘Liv died when she was just six years old. At least, that’s what the authorities think.

Her father knew he was the only one who could keep her safe in this world. So one evening he left the isolated house his little family called home, he pushed their boat out to sea and watched it ruin on the rocks. Then he walked the long way into town to report his only child missing.

But behind the boxes and the baskets crowding her Dad’s workshop, Liv was hiding. This way her Dad had said, she’d never have to go to school; this way, she’d never have to leave her parents.

This way, Liv would be safe.’

A harrowing introduction shows how something so sinister can appear so completely normal for a child, and the different perspectives of this world of theirs is captivating.  We witness Liv’s point of view on life and discover why her father, Jens, is the way he is.  He appears normal to the outside world, however he is anything but.

This tale is not all doom and gloom.  There are snippets of happiness that shine through, with descriptions of a boy and girl falling in love, and dimensions of a mother’s fearsome love for her children.  There are letters that we see from mother to daughter that add depth to a well thought out story.  The warning signs and history hidden by a mother will help a young girl understand the background of her family.

Liv herself is a force to be reckoned with.  A heroine.  A girl that gives me chills with how streetwise and able she is for such a young age.  The isolation and pain she has witnessed has made her who she is, and she is a girl that I just want to wrap up, and show her a different kind of love to what she knows.

Resin is a powerful medium that I urge you to read and experience.  My heart was in my mouth, with the question hanging on my lips throughout; ‘will Jens cocoon come crumbling down around him?’.  Ane writes in a way that helps makes this deeply disturbing read into something kind of beautiful.

Thank you to Alison at Transworld for a copy of this mind-opening read which I devoured in a day.  Resin is available to buy from all good retailers now.

F x

#BlogTour #BookReview #GuestPost – Sky’s The Limit by Janie Millman @ChezCastillon @DomePress

I am so appreciative of being invited to do blog tours, and especially with the case of Sky’s The Limit.  I have been able to submerge myself wholly into climates afar and smell the aromas of differing places with this delicious read; it is one that will take your breath away and is the perfect tonic for a summer’s eve.

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‘Sky is devastated when she finds that her husband is in love with someone else, even more that it is her oldest friend Nick. She has lost the two most important men in her life and can’t ever trust either of them again.

To escape, she goes alone on a dream trip to Marrakesh and meets Gail, on a mission to meet the father of her child, a man she loved but thought did not want her.

In Marrakesh, Sky and Gail both find unexpected joys – and surprises. For Sky these lead to France, to a beautiful chateau and a family whose relationships seem as complicated as her own.’

From the moment I clasped open this book to the second I turned its final page, I cannot help but commend Janie for the way she fabulously pours her soul into each character and helps them creatively be a part of this story.  Sky’s The Limit is about taking chances, reuniting love and finding inner peace.  And the spell-binding locations of Marrakech and South West France really add emphasis to the exoticness and simplicity of this tale.

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