#BlogTour #BookReview – The Girl at the Window by Rowan Coleman @rowancoleman @EburyPublishing @annecater #RandomThingsTours

A house full of history is bound to have secrets…

The Girl at the Window is exquisite and Rowan Coleman exceeds her story writing abilities yet again with this beautiful tale of love and hope.

51+ZO5t1TSL‘Ponden Hall is a centuries-old house on the Yorkshire moors, a magical place full of stories. It’s also where Trudy Heaton grew up. And where she ran away from…

Now, after the devastating loss of her husband, she is returning home with her young son, Will, who refuses to believe his father is dead.

While Trudy tries to do her best for her son, she must also attempt to build bridges with her eccentric mother. And then there is the Hall itself: fallen into disrepair but generations of lives and loves still echo in its shadows, sometimes even reaching out to the present…’

I find it really difficult sometimes to write a review that truly reflects how I feel about it.   It is like all of the words just go out of my head.  I see this as a good thing though as it shows that I was left speechless with how beautiful this tale is.  I was mesmerised by the storytelling and I couldn’t wait to get up early to sneak a few chapters in, or put the kids to bed so I could pick back up where I left off.

I loved the past and present element as it really pulls the story together.  There are many layers to the tale for you to dig deep into and fall in love with the whole gothic aspect.    Emily Bronte is a prominent figure throughout and Rowan’s blend of both fact and fiction made it all the more compelling.  This is a novel for you to treasure and well worthy of plenty of re-reads.

Rowan has the ability to create vivid characters with complex relationships, and Trudy and ‘Ma’ reflect that wholeheartedly.   Trudy is grieving for her lost husband whilst trying to bring up a son who is distraught for his lost daddy, but she makes the decision to return home to Ponden Hall, where she once fled, and face her past.  It is an incredible journey to follow.

The setting of this picturesque house full of hidden secrets, matched with descriptions and dialogue that hook you into the centre of the plot, makes The Girl at the Window one of my favourite reads of this year.  Special thanks goes to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me onto the Blog Tour.  Your support for us bloggers never goes unnoticed, and thank you to Ebury Publishing for my proof copy to review.

F x

#BlogTour #BookReview – Stop at Nothing by Tammy Cohen @MsTamarCohen @TransworldBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours

What would you do to get justice for your family?

What an intriguing read this was.  A real ‘what if?’ book to reflect on.  It shows how fierce a mother’s love can be and the need to protect our young.  Tammy Cohen has taken an event that no-one would wish for, and turned it into a thrill-seeking read.

41j-Cqi+g4L‘A mother’s job is to keep her children safe.

Tess has always tried to be a good mother. Of course, there are things she wishes she’d done differently, but doesn’t everyone feel that way?

Then Emma, her youngest, is attacked on her way home from a party, plunging them into a living nightmare which only gets worse when the man responsible is set free

But what if she fails?

So when Tess sees the attacker in the street near their home, she is forced to take matters into her own hands. But blinded by her need to protect her daughter at any cost, might she end up putting her family in even greater danger?

There’s nothing she wouldn’t do to make it right…’

Your fingers will be in your mouth from the very first chapter.  You are thrown straight into the story, and can feel the tension right from the beginning.  There are no long, drawn out scenes in this book.  You jump into the action with a ‘oh my goodness, where is this going to go?’.  It is just the ticket when you want to escape the doldrums of every day life, and instead be sucked into a right old riveting read.

Stop at Nothing follows the story of Tess and Amy, mother and daughter.  Amy is confused and hurting following an awful attack, and Tess feels utterly helpless as a result.  How can Tess make things better?  It shows that when we see red, do our better judgements lapse a little leading to some diabolical decision making?  Well it certainly does in the case of Tess.  I felt sorry for her as inevitably all she wanted to be able to do was protect her daughter.

Tammy has fully invested herself into creating these characters and the many emotions that are released from them.  You can feel the energy that has gone into creating such an authentic read.  It couldn’t have been an easy book to write, but I am so glad it has.

Stop at Nothing is up there with the top psychological thrillers, and the creepy smaller chapters really adds a side to the tale that makes it all the more interesting.  It certainly captures your attention in a good way. This is is a book that will keep you on your toes, and is one that is well worthy of your time, especially with how the story plays out.  I don’t want to say too much though, as I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you.

All in all, I highly recommend you adding this to your bookshelf.  And now all I need to do is find the time to read some of Tammy’s back catalogue.  I think I may start with ‘Someone Else’s Wedding’ and ‘Dying for Christmas’… 

Special thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the Blog Tour, and to Transworld for my early proof copy in all its fiery red glory.

F x

#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

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#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