#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

 

 

#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.

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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.

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#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.

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#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.

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#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.

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