4.5*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour #BookReview Overkill by Vanda Symon. #overkill @OrendaBooks @vandasymon #NewZealandNoir

Overkill Blog Tour Poster

Ok, so when I was asked to be on the blog tour for Overkill I pretty much bit Anne Cater’s arm off because when I heard that Orenda Books had signed Vanda Symon I was desperate to read it. Why you wonder? Well, I used to live in New Zealand and I miss the place a lot, a big part of me would love to move back, but for now I make do with being slightly obsessed with all things New Zealandy so the chance to read one of NZ’s top crime authors was something that I wasn’t going to miss! But with such high hopes did the book disappoint?

My Review:

I was so excited to read Overkill by Vanda Symon’s one of New Zealand’s top crime authors, although slightly concerned that my insanely high hopes would mean that I would hate it.

Thankfully I didn’t need to worry about that as from the first to the last page I enjoyed reading Overkill. I loved the small town setting, where everyone knows everyone and how claustrophobic it can feel.

I was surprised to learn how long ago Overkill was written, but it has been updated and so it feels very current, you really wouldn’t know that it was written more than a year or so ago.

The main character, Sam, is a really normal person which made her easy to relate to. The crime that Sam is trying to solve is clever, I love how we know more than she does about it, apart from who had actually done it, but it made reading how she worked it all out enjoyable and somehow satisfying. I was definitely routing for Sam.

There is much to like about Overkill, the pacy read that keeps the reader hooked from the start, the varied characters, Sam’s great relationship with her flatmate and the desire to see justice for the poor woman killed in the most awful way at the start of the book.

I liked the ending too, we know that there is more to come from Sam but we also know that things will be changing. I, for one, am very excited to see what’s next.

Thank you to Orenda Books for a copy of Overkill by Vanda Symon, I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

Overkill Cover

Sam Shephard, a young sole-charge police constable in Mataura, is the main character in a new series of crime novels set in New Zealand. When a young mother in the town is brutally murdered (it seems to be a professional job), Sam is at the heart of the police hunt to find the killer. But then Sam’s past relationship with the dead woman’s husband is revealed. Sam is stood down from the case and is now a prime murder suspect. Frustrated, Sam loses her cool. She can’t stop herself making murder inquiries and gets into serious trouble with her police superiors. But then the young constable stumbles onto something. The murdered woman was working as a journalist and had uncovered a local scandal. She’d been killed to keep her quiet. When Sam enters this world she’s in real physical danger, until at last a conspiracy is uncovered and the killer revealed. Disillusioned, Sam prepares to leave town. What will she do next?

About the Author:

vandasymon
Vanda Symon, taken from her website.

Vanda’s first novel Overkill, was written while juggling the demands of a 6 month old baby and a two year old. She suspects the prologue to Overkill was written in a state of sleep deprivation induced paranoia brought about by middle of the night feeds and imagining every awful thing that could possibly happen to her family. None of them ever did. Reading that prologue still makes her cry.

A little time has elapsed and the six-month old and two-year old are now teenagers. As well as trying to raise two wonderful human beings, she has added three more Detective Sam Shephard novels to the series and written the stand alone psychological thriller The Faceless.

As well as being a crime writer, she hosts a monthly radio show on Dunedin’s Otago Access Radio called Write On, where she interviews local writers, and catches the odd international super-star if they’re in town.

And just to prove that she is a tiger for punishment, she has recently completed a PhD at the University of Otago looking at the communication of science through crime fiction – the perfect subject for a science loving crime writer. She has an undergraduate degree in Pharmacy and enjoyed a career as a community pharmacist and palliative care pharmacist before concentrating on her writing career.

Vanda has been involved with the New Zealand Society of Authors for many years, having been chair of the Otago Southland Branch. She is currently the Otago Southland regional delegate on the NZSA Board. Vanda was also the Chair of Copyright Licensing New Zealand.

When she isn’t writing, Vanda can be found digging around in her garden in Dunedin, or on the business end of a fencing foil. She has fenced since high school and still competes in national and international competitions. As well as competing she coaches, and because she likes to get involved, boots and all, is the president of Fencing South and on the board of Fencing New Zealand.

Vanda is a founding member of the Dunedin Crime Writers Association, whose raison d’etre is for its members to drink beer or wine and talk crime writing at their favourite pub.

Overkill by Vanda Symon is out now in ebook and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US. It will be released in paperback on 6th September 2018.

4*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour #BookReview One Little Lie by Sam Carrington. @Sabah_K @AvonBooksUK @sam_carrington1 #OneLittleLie #book

One Little Lie Blog Tour

My Review:

One Little Lie is told to us by a number of characters, quite a few characters, with different chapters told by different characters. I like this method of storytelling but sometimes it makes the book a bit disjointed and confusing.

I’m not great with names and so sometimes I struggle when there are too many character names as I can’t remember who they all are and so it takes the first part of each chapter to remind me who is talking and what they’re doing.

One Little Lie has many narrators, I would say too many but each of them play an important part to the story and I couldn’t imagine any of them being left out. Some have more to say than others, but all are part of the puzzle.

I have to admit that I have never really given much thought to what the parents of a murderer must feel, I’ve fleetingly thought of it, especially when there have been mass school shootings in America, but it isn’t something that I tend to dwell on. But this book made me think about it.

I know when there are murders many people say that we should talk about the victim and not the murderer, and I definitely agree with that, but how would it feel to be the victims mother, your son murdered in a brutal and painful way, but all the focus is on the boy who did it and his parents? Your son seems to be forgotten but then that mother wants to make amends for what her son did and asks for forgiveness.

One Little Lie is a twisty read, what you think is happening might not be what is really happening, and are people who they seem? I think that the story is a clever one, there’s lots to like and the pace is fast with short chapters, but something was missing with it, somehow it all didn’t quite fit. I enjoyed reading, I wanted to finish it so that I could find out how it was all going to end and that is a sure sign of a decent read. But this book was so very nearly brilliant, and it’s a shame that it didn’t quite get there. But it so nearly did.

Thank you to Avon Books for a copy of One Little Lie by Sam Carrington. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

onelittlelie‘My name is Alice. And my son is a murderer.’

Deborah’s son was killed four years ago. Alice’s son is in prison for committing that crime.

Deborah would give anything to have her boy back, and Alice would do anything to right her son’s wrongs.

Driven by guilt and the need for redemption, Alice has started a support group for parents with troubled children. But as the network begins to grow, she soon finds out just how easy it is for one little lie to spiral out of control…

They call it mother’s intuition, but can you ever really know your own child?

A twisty and unnerving story about the price of motherhood and the unthinkable things we do to protect our children. Perfect for fans of Cara Hunter and Laura Marshall.

‘Sam Carrington has done it again. One Little Lie is a twisty, gripping read that deserves to fly. I loved it.’ Cass Green, bestselling author of In a Cottage In a Wood

About The Author:

samcarringtonSam Carrington lives in Devon with her husband and three children. She worked for the NHS for 15 years, during which time she qualified as a nurse. Following the completion of a Psychology degree she went to work for the prison service as an Offending Behaviour Programme Facilitator. Her experiences within this field inspired her writing. She left the service to spend time with her family and to follow her dream of being a novelist. SAVING SOPHIE was her debut psychological thriller novel and became a #1 ebook bestseller, her second, BAD SISTER is out now. ONE LITTLE LIE follows in July 2018 (ebook) September (paperback).

One Little Lie by Sam Carrington is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

4.5*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour #BookReview Do No Harm by LV Hay. @LucyVHayAuthor @OrendaBooks #DoNoHarm #TillDeathDoUsPart

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My Review:

Do No Harm by LV Hay tells the story of Lily and her husband Sebastian. But Sebastian is not Lily’s first husband, that was Maxwell, a controlling doctor who does not want Lily to be with anyone other than him. Preventing Lily from cutting all ties with her ex is their son, Denny who is six.

Maxwell causes a lot of stress for Lily and Sebastian but can they find a way to stop Maxwell from sabotaging everything? It doesn’t take long before the marriage is being pushed to its limits, between Lily’s ex and Sebastian’s poorly mother life is anything but simple for the newlyweds.

The story is told to us by Sebastian and Lily in alternating chapters. This works well as we get to know what each of them in thinking and how they are reacting to the events happening around them.

I really don’t want to give too much away but this book kept me holding my breath wondering what was going to happen and when Lily and Sebastian would finally realise what was going on. I did get a bit frustrated at them, they made some silly decisions and between them failed to work out what was going on and how to deal with it together.

The characters were definitely flawed but they felt pretty real too, and although I had worked out who was doing it all I still enjoyed reading the book and thought that the ending was great. LV Hay doesn’t take the obvious path with her stories, something that I really admire, and this makes her books interesting and thought provoking.

Thank you to Orenda Books for a copy of Do No Harm by LV Hay. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

D0_NO_HARM_COVER (1)Till death do us part…

After leaving her marriage to jealous, possessive oncologist Maxwell, Lily and her six-year-old son have a second chance at happiness with headteacher Sebastian. Kind but vulnerable, Sebastian is the polar opposite of Maxwell, and the perfect match for Lily. After a whirlwind romance, they marry, and that’s when things start to go wrong…
Maxwell returns to the scene, determined to win back his family, and events soon spiral out of control. Lily and Sebastian find themselves not only fighting for their relationship, but also their lives…
Chilling, dark and terrifying, Do No Harm is a taut psychological thriller and a study of obsession, from one of the most exciting new voices in crime fiction.

About The Author:

Lucy Hay author photoLucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. She is the associate producer of Brit Thrillers Deviation (2012) and Assassin(2015), both starring Danny Dyer. Lucy is also head reader for the London Screenwriters’ Festival and has written two non-fiction books, Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays, plus its follow-up Drama Screenplays. Her critically acclaimed debut thriller The Other Twin was published in 2017.

 

Do No Harm by LV Hay is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

4*, blog tours, book review, psychological thriller

#BlogTour #BookReview Her Name Was Rose by Claire Allan. @Sabah_k @AvonBooksUK #HerNameWasRose @ClaireAllan #book

3

My Review:

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this book, I like reading books without reading the blurb, or when I read the blurb so long ago that I’ve forgotten it and just know that I want to read the book.

The book starts off brilliantly with an intense scene where Emily sees a woman hit by a car and killed instantly. It sucked me right into the story and I was excited about where the story was going to go next.

Seeing something so horrific will mess anyone up right? But as the book progresses I became unsure of Emily and quite how stable she was. Her way of thinking about things and events seemed so unlike that of people around her so it wasn’t clear who was telling us an accurate account, if anyone was.

When Emily steps into the life of Rose, the woman that she had seen killed, we know that it can’t be a good thing. She’s so desperate for friendship and love, but will that make her blind to what is really going on?

At times I felt frustrated with Emily, she really was incredibly naive, but had she finally found people that cared about her for who she was? People that would finally help her move on with her survivors guilt and the mess that she got herself into?

I really liked how some of the characters in Her Name Was Rose developed, small characters became big characters, nice characters became bad and bad became good. It was cleverly written and played out.

I didn’t really like Emily and I felt that the ending was just a tad too obvious, but I really enjoyed reading My Name Is Rose and I know that this book will appeal to many readers. It certainly appealed to me.

Thank you to Netgalley and Avon Books for a copy of Her Name was Rose by Claire Allan. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

hernamewasrose

This new Irish voice is bursting onto the scene with her first foray into the thriller genre. This promises to be one of the most exciting debuts of 2018. Perfect for fans of Lianne Moriarty, B. A. Paris, Gillian Flynn and Marian Keyes.

 Her name was Rose. You watched her die. And her death has created a vacancy.

When Emily lets a stranger step out in front of her, she never imagines that split second will change her life. But after Emily watches a car plough into the young mother – killing her instantly – she finds herself unable to move on.

And then she makes a decision she can never take back.

Because Rose had everything Emily had ever dreamed of. A beautiful, loving family, a great job and a stunning home. And now Rose’s husband misses his wife, and their son needs a mother. Why couldn’t Emily fill that space?

But as Emily is about to discover, no one’s life is perfect … and not everything is as it seems.

About the author: 

claireallan

A former journalist and columnist, Claire Allan has been writing fiction since 2006.

An Irish Times bestseller, she has tackled issues from post-natal depression, infertility, and dementia through to writing a based-on-a-true-story book about a couple reunited after 50 years apart. She has now decided to unleash her dark side!

Married with two children, two cats and a mad puppy she is happiest lost in a good book. She has kissed Michael Buble.

Her Name Was Rose by Claire Allan is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

blog tours, book review

#BlogTour #BookReview The New Girl by Ingrid Alexandra. @ingridwrites @sabah_k @AvonBooksUK #bookblogger #book

The New Girl Blog Tour Banner

My Review:

The New Girl is one of those books where the blurb doesn’t really fit the book, actually remove the word really from that sentence as it doesn’t fit at all.

But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, unless you loved the sound of the blurb I suppose. There is no mention of the book being set in Sydney, something that I really liked and from reading other reviews I am not alone with that. The setting doesn’t have a big role, but I still enjoyed the walks on the beach.

The main character, Mary, is an interesting character. If you like your characters to be unreliable witnesses then Mary is for you. She is so very unreliable and as a reader I was never quite sure whether she was completely insane, mentally ill or a pathological liar. I also spent the whole of the book thinking that the name Mary just didn’t fit the character.

Mary’s relationship with her oldest friend Cat was complex and at times confusing, was she good or bad? Did she really have Mary’s interests at heart?

And then there’s Rachel, a character that comes in late but quickly becomes an important character, but is she who she seems?

So you might be getting the fact that the reader doesn’t really know what is going on and who is who for a good chunk of the book, it is full of unreliable characters and slow reveals. The start of The New Girl grabbed me, I was sucked right in and desperate to find out more, I did feel that the book lost its way a bit in the middle and was trying to juggle too many things, but I still wanted to keep reading so that I could find out what was really going on.

There’s a big twist at the end, one that you might have worked out already, or partly so, but that isn’t always a bad thing. There are, however, quite a few plot holes and loose ends that aren’t tied up or explained. I think that the book would have benefited from a shorter middle and a longer, less rushed, end.

The New Girl by Ingrid Alexandra is an interesting read, it is a shame that the blurb isn’t truer to the actual book but it is a quick and easy read and one that I’m pleased that I read.

Thank you to Netgalley and Avon Books for a copy of The New Girl by Ingrid Alexandra, I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

thenewgirlYou’ve only just met.

But she already knows you so well.

When Rachel moves into the spare room in Mary’s flat, everyone is quick to jump to the conclusion that there’s something strange about her. Everyone apart from Mary.

And when Rachel starts sleepwalking, everyone’s fears grow. But there’s something about the new girl that Mary can’t help but trust, and having recently escaped a toxic relationship, she needs the support.

Rachel becomes a friend and an ally, and Mary soon discovers that they have more in common than she ever could have imagined.

In fact, Rachel seems to know more about Mary than she knows about herself…

About The Author:

ingridalexandra2Ingrid Alexandra is based in Sydney. Her work has previously been long-listed for The Ampersand Prize and while living in London, Ingrid had the privilege of being mentored by the Guardian First Novel Award shortlisted and Nestle Prize winning author Daren King. THE NEW GIRL is her first psychological thriller novel.

 

The New Girl by Ingrid Alexandra is out now on ebook and is available from Amazon UK. It will be released in paperback in October 2018.

blog tours, guest post

#BlogTour #GuestPost Now You See Her by Heidi Perks @arrowpublishing @HeidiPerksBooks #NowYouSeeHer #booksuggestions

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I’m delighted to be part of the blog tour for Now You See Her by Heidi Perks. I really, really want to read this book but I just couldn’t squeeze it in in time for this post, so instead Heidi Perks has written a fabulous guest post about inspiring books that she’s read lately. I’ve read some of them and have to agree that they’re great books so I’m going to add the others to my tbr pile!

Five Books That Have Recently Inspired Me

I’ve always been a prolific reader, something I believe has undoubtedly helped me develop my own writing. I like to know what’s current in my genre – who the bestselling authors are and what topics they are writing about – but I also learn a lot from their style and characterisation.

As a child I devoured Enid Blyton and fell in love with the book, The Last Of The Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Edwards. Having recently read this and The Castle of Adventure to my children I’m certain my love of writing is rooted in my eight-year-old self. In my twenties I was blown away by Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper. This was the type of book I wanted to write too, I realised, though it wouldn’t be for another ten years that I finally started writing seriously.

Since then I read differently. I can still fall deeply into a story but often I find myself wondering about why the author chose certain techniques. Then sometimes I’ll take away something that helps me develop my own writing. Here are five books that have shaped the way I write:

The Dry by Jane Harper. I read this while I was well into round three of edits with my agent, Nelle Andrew. I could see straight away Jane Harper has an incredible skill for writing but what hit me most was her frugality with words. Her story was concise, there were no unnecessary sentences and as soon as I put the book down I went back to the start of mine and began the round of edits again, this time peeling back until I was happy that I was only saying what needed to be said.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. Moriarty has a magical way of making her characters leap off the page in all her books. I read Big Little Lies at the point when I started writing Now You See Her and it taught me how effective a well-drawn character can be. Getting to know your own – their reactions and what makes them tick – is paramount. You might want your characters to surprise your reader but it shouldn’t be because they’re inconsistent.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman. If you want to cast one hundred characters in your book and you need each of them to earn their place on the page then this is a book you should read. I have nowhere near as many characters as there are residents of Beartown and I’m pretty sure if I did I wouldn’t be able to write them half as effectively as Backman. But what I took from this book was that you can create an effective picture of every secondary character in as a little as a couple of lines.

The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton. I read this a while ago but it has stayed with me ever since. I have no interest in visiting the Alaskan wilderness in the depths of winter but the book was so atmospheric I felt the icy coldness embedding into my bones even though I was reading it in summer.

Don’t Close Your Eyes by Holly Seddon. I love a book with different time frames or points of voice because I find it gives the story more perspective. This is why I decided to use both in Now You See Her. While I flash forward two weeks, in Seddon’s book she flashes back to years before and what she creates so effectively is two more or less standalone stories that are then entwined to create an enthralling book.

Blurb:

Now You See Her Hi-Res Cover ImageCharlotte is looking after her best friend’s daughter the day she disappears. She thought the little girl was playing with her own children. She swears she only took her eyes off them for a second.

Now, Charlotte must do the unthinkable: tell her best friend Harriet that her only child is missing. The child she was meant to be watching.

Devastated, Harriet can no longer bear to see Charlotte. No one could expect her to trust her friend again.
Only now she needs to. Because two weeks later Harriet and Charlotte are both being questioned separately by the police. And secrets are about to surface.

Someone is hiding the truth about what really happened to Alice.

About The Author:

20151120_Heidi-Perks_015Heidi Perks was born in 1973. She lives by the sea in Bournemouth with her husband and two children.
Heidi graduated from Bournemouth University in 1997 with a BA (Hons) in Retail Management, and then enjoyed a career in Marketing before leaving in 2012 to focus on both bringing up her family and writing.
She successfully applied for a place on the inaugural Curtis Brown Creative online Novel Writing Course and after that dedicated her time to completing this, her first novel.
She has a huge interest in what makes people tick and loves to write about family relationships, especially where some of the characters are slightly dysfunctional.

Now You See Her by Heidi Parks is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

4*, blog tours, book review, psychological thriller

#BlogTour #BookReview The Perfect Friend by Barbara Copperthwaite. @BCopperthwait @bookouture #Bookblogger

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My Review:

Regular readers of my little blog will know how much I like author Barbara Copperthwaite. I love how her books all feature such realistic characters, allowing the reader to get right into the story and feel it along with the characters. It keeps the reader emotionally invested in the story and desperate to find out what will happen.

Alex is a funny character, we know that she has anorexia and she sees a counsellor regularly, as well as having checks and weigh ins. We know that her husband divorced her and that her children barely speak to her, but we don’t know why. And we know that Alex goes to a support group, and that is where she meets Carrie.

Carrie is younger than Alex but they quickly become good friends, although Alex can’t help but feel maternal towards Carrie. When Carrie gets some bad news Alex is determined that she will be there to support Carrie and takes on a real responsibility, but will this prove to be too much for the fragile Alex.

And what is Alex hiding? We know that her counsellor wants her to talk about something, something that Alex refuses to discuss. What is she hiding? And is she the only one hiding something?

The Perfect Friend is a clever novel, even the twists have twists which I love in a book. It’s a clever concept and I really enjoyed reading The perfect Friend by Barbara Copperthwaite. Now I will wait for her to write another book.

Thank you to Bookouture for a copy of The Perfect Friend by Barbara Copperthwaite. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

The-Perfect-Friend-KindleShe’ll do anything for you…

My name is Alex, and my world has been shattered.
My husband has left me.
My children won’t speak to me.
My friend Carrie is the only person I have.
She’s the only one I can trust to keep all my secrets.
She’d never do anything  to let me down.
Would she?

This dark, gripping psychological thriller will have you holding your breath until the very last page. Fans of Behind Closed DoorsSometimes I Lie, and The Girl on the Train will be captivated.

About the Author:

barbaracopperthwaite
Barbara is the Amazon and USA Today bestselling author of psychological thrillers INVISIBLE, FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD, THE DARKEST LIES, and HER LAST SECRET. Her latest book is THE PERFECT FRIEND.

More importantly, she loves cakes, wildlife photography and, last but definitely not least, her two dogs, Scamp and Buddy (who force her to throw tennis balls for them for hours).
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Having spent over twenty years as a national newspaper and magazine journalist, Barbara has interviewed the real victims of crime – and also those who have carried those crimes out. She is fascinated by creating realistic, complex characters, and taking them apart before the readers’ eyes in order to discover just how much it takes to push a person over a line.

When not writing feverishly, she is often found hiding behind a camera, taking wildlife photographs.

Author Social Media Links:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorBarbaraCopperthwaite

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BCopperthwait

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/author_barbara_copperthwaite/

Website: www.barbaracopperthwaite.com

The Perfect Friend by Barbara Copperthwaite is out now and available from Amazon   mybook.to/TPFBCSocial