Review: The Darkest Lies by Barbara Copperthwaite @BCopperthwait @Bookouture

 

thedarkestlies

The Darkest Lies by Barbara Copperthwaite

 

My Review:

I wasn’t sure what to expect from The Darkest Lies by Barbara Copperthwaite as I hadn’t read the blurb before I started to read it. I got it on the because of the author and her reputation for writing great books. Although I have a couple of her books on my Kindle I have yet to read them, but I was keen to read this one.

The storyline is a good one, Melanie’s much-loved daughter goes missing and is soon found beaten and left for dead in the marsh that is close to the village that they live in. Frustrated that the police seem to be getting nowhere, Melanie decides to start investigating what happened herself, aided by an old friend from school who has recently returned to the area. It soon becomes clear that people in the village are hiding things and know more than they will tell, but also that there is someone in the village who is dangerous and it seems that Melanie’s life might be at risk.

The story is cleverly woven and you can’t help but feel compassion for Melanie, even though many of her actions are questionable and she upsets many of the people living around her.

There are plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing and the marsh setting becomes so real it is like a character in itself. I will definitely be reading more from Barbara Copperthwaite.

Thank you to the author and publisher, Bookouture, for a copy of The Darkest Lies via Netgalley.

Blurb:

A mother desperate for the truth. A daughter hiding a terrible secret.
Melanie Oak appeared to have the perfect life. Married to her childhood sweetheart, Jacob, the couple live with their beautiful, loving, teenage daughter, Beth, in a pretty village.

Nothing can shake her happiness – until the day that Beth goes missing and is discovered beaten almost to the point of death, her broken body lying in a freezing creek on the marshes near their home.

Consumed with grief, Melanie is determined to find her daughter’s attacker. Someone in the village must have seen something. Why won’t they talk?

As Melanie tries to piece together what happened to Beth, she discovers that her innocent teenager has been harbouring some dark secrets of her own. The truth may lie closer to home and put Melanie’s life in terrible danger…

A completely gripping psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming.

About the author:

barbaracopperthwaite

Barbara Copperthwaite is an Amazon UK best-selling psychological crime author.
Barbara’s writing career began over 20 years ago when she became a journalist. She has written and edited for a number of national magazines and newspapers.
At the start of her working career she also worked in a men’s maximum security prison. It was there that her fascination with crime began, as she realised that bad guys don’t always seem that bad – and are often charming.
Interviewing real people who have been victims of crime, either directly or through the loss of loved ones, consolidated Barbara’s interest in crime. As a result, she knows a lot about the emotional impact of violence and wrongdoing. That’s why her novels are not simply about the criminal act, but the repercussions they have. People are always at the heart of her thrillers, along with a genuine ability to get under the skin of even the most evil of characters.
This insight is what has propelled both of her novels, INVISIBLE and FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD onto Amazon’s bestsellers charts, and led to rave reviews.
To find out more go to:
www.barbaracopperthwaite.com
or
www.facebook.com/AuthorBarbaraCoppert…
or @BCopperthwait on Twitter.

The Darkest Lies by Barbara Copperthwaite is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Review: Love Me Not by M.J. Arlidge.

 

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Love Me Not by M.J. Arlidge

 

My review:

I am a huge fan of DI Helen Grace and have read all of the series, if you haven’t read any then I’d really recommend that you start at the beginning with Eeeny Meeny and go from there as I am sure that you would enjoy the books more in order.

Following the shocking storyline in Hide and Seek I was looking forward to reading what MJ Arlidge would do next with Helen Grace. Love Me Not is a little bit different in that it takes place over 24 hours and is told in real time, this makes for a really fast pace with short chapters increasing the tension and keeping the reader hanging. I read it in two days which is really quick for me, it was one of those books where you ignore the pile of dirty washing and the million and one other things that you have to do, just so that you can keep reading.

I don’t want to give too much away but of course, the 24 hours during which the book is set are a very crazy, with lots happening and DI Helen Grace and her team struggling to keep up with it all. It’s a fast-paced and fun read and I look forward to the next book!

Thank you to the publishers, Michael Joseph, for the opportunity to read Love Me Not. I was under no obligation to review and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

She Loves Me
A woman’s body lies in the road. At first it looks like a tragic accident. But when Helen Grace arrives on the scene it’s clear she’s looking at a coldblooded killing. But why would anyone target a much loved wife and mother?

She Loves Me Not
Across town, a shopkeeper is killed while his customers are left unharmed. But what lies behind the killer’s choices?

She Loves Me
Who lives? Who dies? Who’s next? The clock is ticking.

She Loves Me Not
If Helen can’t solve this deadly puzzle then more blood will be shed. But any mistake and it might be her own …

About the author:

MJarlidge

M.J. Arlidge has worked in television for the last 15 years, specialising in high end drama production. Arlidge has produced a number of prime-time crime serials for ITV In the last five years, and is currently working on a major adaptation of The Last of the Mohicans for the BBC.

 

Love Me Not by M.J. Arlidge is released on 18th May 2017 and is available to pre-order from Amazon UK. It will be released on audiobook in America and can be pre-ordered now from Amazon US.

You can read my reviews for other DI Helen Grace books; The Doll’s HouseLiar LiarLittle Boy BlueNo Way Back and Hide and Seek on this blog. I read the previous books in the series before starting the blog

Review: Behind the Lie by Amanda James @akjames61 @HQDigitalUK

 

behindthelie

Behind the Lie by Amanda James

 

My Review:

I wasn’t totally sure what to expect from Behind the Lie. I haven’t read any of Amanda James’ books before and most of her books seem to be romance books, which is not a genre that I read. This book, however, is not a romance!

Holly has had a troubled past but she’s happily married to the man that saved her and she’s pregnant with twins she’s excited about her future. But when her obstetrician husband tells her that one twin is small and may not survive her seemingly perfect life starts to come apart at the seams.

I have to say that Behind The Lie is fairly predictable, something that I normally hate in a book, but for some reason, this book pulled me in and even though I was sure that I knew where the book was going from very early on, I still really enjoyed reading it and wanted to find out what was going to happen.

I grew to like Holly, and I was definitely rooting for her by the end. Perhaps, as a mother of twins, I felt a stronger connection with the book and character than others, but I do think that Behind the Lie is a good, solid, psychological thriller that many will enjoy reading. I also loved the description of Holly’s beach house in Cornwall, it made me want to escape London!

Overall, Behind The Lie is a solid psychological thriller, the storyline is interesting and engaging and it is well written, I hope that Amanda James writes more psychological thrillers in the future.

Thank you to the author and publishers, HQDigital, for a copy of Behind The Lie via Netgalley.

Blurb:

Who can you trust, when you can’t trust yourself?

Holly West has turned her life around. She’s found a successful and loving husband in Simon and is expecting twins. She is definitely a woman who has taken back control of her future.

Until she gives birth, only for one twin to survive. Holly can’t let it go.

Holly’s world is in a tailspin and suddenly she can’t trust herself or anyone else. No one believes her, not her husband or her best friend. Because she thinks she knows the truth…her son is still alive and she won’t stop until she finds him.

About the Author:

amandajames

Amanda James (aka Mandy) was born in Sheffield and now lives in Bristol with her husband and two cats. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, singing, and spending lots of time with her grandson. She also admits to spending far too much time chatting on Twitter and Facebook! Amanda recently left her teaching role to follow her ambition to live her life doing what she most enjoys—writing.

 

Blog Tour & Review: Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson @JoGustawsson @OrendaBooks

block 46 blog tour poster

I’m delighted to be part of today’s blog tour for Block 46. Not only is it an excellent book but it is also my first blog tour for the publisher, Orenda Books. Every book of theirs that I have read have been special in some way, and they are definitely a publisher worth watching.

My Review:

I really wasn’t sure what to expect from Block 46. I know that the publisher has an incredible record of giving us great books but from the blurb, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. Would it be French Noir as the author and the main character are French, or Nordic Noir as most of the book is set in Sweden, or would it be historical fiction as some of the book takes place in Buchenwald Concentration Camp in 1944?

I have to be honest here, I do not read historical fiction, it just doesn’t appeal to me but I do often think that I might be missing out, and this book has confirmed that I probably am. At first, I had absolutely no idea how what happened in Buchenwald could have anything to do with a spate of gruesome murders taking place in the present time but as I got further into the books the chapters that I enjoyed reading the most were those set in the horrors of a German Concentration Camp. Although distressing to read, the story of Erich touched me in a very moving and emotional way, especially when the full story of Erich became clear as the book progressed.

But in the present day, Alexis finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation when a good friend is murdered in Sweden, she begins to work with Emily, a well known profiler who has been working on the murders of little boys in London that somehow seems linked to the murder in Sweden.

How are the murders in London linked to the murder in Sweden? And how does all of it link to one man trying to survive the horrors of the holocaust? Well, of course, I’m not going to tell you that, you will need to read the book and find out for yourself, but do read it. It’s a very well written, with strong and believable characters and plenty of twists and turns. It was definitely not what I had been expecting, but I am delighted that it is book one of a new series featuring Alexis and Emily, I look forward to part two.

Thank you to the publisher, Orenda Books, for a copy of Block 46. All thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

BLOCK 46 COVER AW.indd

Falkenberg, Sweden. The mutilated body of talented young jewellery designer, Linnea Blix, is found in a snow-swept marina. Hampstead Heath, London. The body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea’s. Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as a human again. Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald? Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea’s friend, French true-crime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light. Plumbing the darkness and the horrific evidence of the nature of evil, Block 46 is a multi-layered, sweeping and evocative thriller that heralds a stunning new voice in French Noir. WINNER: Nouvelle Plume D’Argent 2016 For fans of The Missing, Dominique Manotti, Camilla Lackberg, Stieg Larsson

About the Author:

Johana Photo

Born in 1978 in Marseille, France, and a graduate of Political Sciences, Johana Gustawsson was a journalist for television and French press. She now lives in London, England.

Block 46 is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Review: Dead Souls by Angela Marsons @WriteAngie @bookouture

 

deadsouls

Dead Souls by Angela Marsons.

Regular readers of this blog will know how much I love Angela Marsons and her DI Kim Stone novels. I’ve read them from the beginning before they became super popular and earned Marsons’ numerous bestsellers in many languages across the world. All of the books are written so that they can be read as a standalone but I strongly suggest that if you have yet to read any Kim Stone books, that you start with Silent Scream, the first book in the series.

 

My Review:

As a huge fan of Angela Marsons and DI Kim Stone, the bar was set very high for this, the sixth book in the series. I’m always excited to read a new Kim Stone book, but a little bit worried that I might not like it.

I certainly didn’t need to worry about Dead Souls. Right from the start, it sucked me in and I absolutely loved reading it. The book talks a lot about hate crimes, something that is not always easy to read but feels so very topical in a post-Brexit world. Marsons had clearly researched the subject at length and this shone through in the writing and storyline and giving the reader plenty to think about.

I loved how Stone was given new challenges and taken away from the comfort of her team and especially her sidekick Bryant. But we also got to know more about the rest of her team which was great, especially Stacey who until now has been a small but important character in the books, this time she got to do a lot more than sitting at her desk searching the computer, it reminded the rest of the team, and the readers, that she is a police officer and not just a computer geek.

Of course, things for Stone and her team don’t go smoothly and the finale is a tense and shocking read. I really don’t know how Marsons manages to keep the standard of writing so high, so many times you start a new series and love it but as time goes on they start to become a bit old and predictable, not so with this series, each one has been a brilliant read and this one, I think, might just be the best yet.

Thank you to the publishers, Bookouture, and the author for a copy of Dead Souls.

Blurb:

The truth was dead and buried…until now.
When a collection of human bones is unearthed during a routine archaeological dig, a Black Country field suddenly becomes a complex crime scene for Detective Kim Stone.

As the bones are sorted, it becomes clear that the grave contains more than one victim. The bodies hint at unimaginable horror, bearing the markings of bullet holes and animal traps.

Forced to work alongside Detective Travis, with whom she shares a troubled past, Kim begins to uncover a dark secretive relationship between the families who own the land in which the bodies were found.

But while Kim is immersed in one of the most complicated investigations she’s ever led, her team are caught up in a spate of sickening hate crimes. Kim is close to revealing the truth behind the murders, yet soon finds one of her own is in jeopardy – and the clock is ticking. Can she solve the case and save them from grave danger – before it’s too late?

About the Author:

angiemarsons

Angela is the author of the Kim Stone Crime series. She discovered a love of writing at Primary School when a short piece on the rocks and the sea gained her the only merit point she ever got.
Angela wrote the stories that burned inside and then stored them safely in a desk drawer.
After much urging from her partner she began to enter short story competitions in Writer’s News resulting in a win and three short listed entries.
She used the Amazon KDP program to publish two of her earlier works before concentrating on her true passion – Crime.
Angela is now signed to write a total of 16 Kim Stone books for http://bookouture.com and has secured a print deal with Bonnier Zaffre Publishing.

Dead Souls is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

You can read more of my reviews of Angela Marsons’ Kim Stone books here and here and a review of one of her non-crime books here, I also did a Q&A with the author which you can read here.

Review & Q&A: Differently Normal by Tammy Robinson @TammyRobinson76

 

 

differentlynormal

Differently Normal by Tammy Robinson.

 

My Review:

If you have yet to read any books by Tammy Robinson then you really are missing out. Tammy writes incredibly emotive stories, with great characters that you can’t help but care about.

Differently Normal tells the story of Maddy, a teenager living with her mum and her sister Bee. Bee has autism and requires 24/7 care and it’s down to Maddy and her mum to provide it. For Maddy, juggling working and caring for her much loved sister leaves her little time for much else, she has been forced to grow up too quickly, but she’s happy with her life and knows that Bee needs her.

And then she meets Albert. Albert is instantly attracted to Maddy, and gradually she comes to realise that there’s something very special about Albert and that he respects her responsibilities at home.

I don’t want to give too much away but I just loved reading about Maddy and Albert, it was a heartwarming story that at times was incredibly sad, yet it also managed to make me laugh out loud a number of times.

Tammy Robinson has excelled herself with this book, her portrayal of Bee is just wonderful, the book shows the reader how difficult it can be to love and care for a child with autism, but also how wonderful and rewarding it can be. Bee such a lovely character who brought real love and humour to the story.

I don’t do spoilers in my reviews but I will say that the ending of Different Normal was not what I had been expecting, the author skillfully handled the events in the book and I have to say, it took my heart some time to recover. I suggest that you don’t read the end of this book in public!

An easy 5* read for me, and one that will appeal to a wide range of readers, both young and old.

Q&A with Tammy Robinson.

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hi Rebecca, thank you for this opportunity. I live in Rotorua, New Zealand and I write contemporary books. I just turned 40 (eek!) and I have three children under the age of five, so I’m pretty tired right now! I’m currently a stay at home mum, but in the past I’ve done everything from sell shoes, to work on cruise ships, to HR manager on a tropical island resort.

2. What would your English teacher say if she knew that you were an author now? 

Honestly? I can’t even remember my English teacher! But I can remember my Journalism teacher, and she’d be super proud. An eccentric woman, she’d bring her puppy into class with her and my best friend Brian and I would take it outside to do it’s ‘business’ and spend our lessons lying on the grass in the sun talking about life. But I’d hazard a guess and say any English teacher I ever had wouldn’t be too surprised, given that I’ve always known I’d be an author one day.

3. Can you tell us something that we, your readers, don’t know about you?

I am a twin. I have a sister, Kerrie, who is six minutes younger than I am. We’re not identical, but when we were little our mother dressed us the same and people thought we were.

Also I had depression from the age of seventeen and battled with it for many years. I went through some very dark times. After a stint in a psychiatric hospital I was treated with ECT (Electric Convulsive therapy) and I have been symptom free for the past decade. With my history, I was worried about developing Post natal depression, but thankfully, apart from the usual parent struggles, that has not been the case.

4. You have a young family, how do you juggle writing and parenting?

At the moment it’s tough. My children are so young they require my attention most of the time, especially Leo who is only eight months and still breastfed. I used to get very frustrated that I couldn’t write during the day, but then I realised I was being a half arsed mother because I was stewing on those feelings of frustration instead of giving them my full attention. I had to let it go and just remind myself that I would get ten or twenty minutes that night between dinner and the bed time routine, and that would be ‘my time’. Fortunately I have a very understanding husband, who takes on the childcare duties most weekends so I can get some serious writing done then.

5. You have a real skill at describing scenery in your books, making it so real that the reader can really picture the settings. And as they’re set in New Zealand you certainly have a lot of stunning scenery to describe. Have you always been really aware of your surroundings or is this something that you have learnt for focus on for your books?

Good question! I wasn’t really aware of doing it until I thought about your question, but yes, I do tend to focus on my surroundings and absorb them. I love nature, especially the ocean (which is why it features in most of my books). When I am writing a scene I picture it in my head and then set about describing that so the reader can see what I’m seeing. I have learnt which details to focus on and which ones to let go. There can be too much description in some books, so I try and only describe what’s necessary.

6. You recently changed the name and covers for some of your books, can you tell us a little bit about why you did that and what impact it has had on your sales?

When I first started writing (and naming my books) I wasn’t really thinking about what worked best commercially. With A Roast on Sunday (now titled The Peculiar Smell of Secrets) I decided the title wasn’t appealing enough, and gave no hints as to the genre. I like to think the new title is more intriguing.

With Pohutukawa Highway (now titled MY SUMMER OF YOU) I asked for feedback and found out that a lot of people were turned off from buying the book because they were unable to pronounce the title. Pohutukawa is a tree native to New Zealand. At Christmas time is comes out in big red bristle flowers, and is known as New Zealand’s native Christmas tree. As sad as I was about doing it, I decided to change the title to something that hopefully would also appeal to more international readers.

7. What tip would you give to someone writing their first book? 

When you sit down and open up your document, DON’T read back over what you’ve already written. You’ll get sucked into editing and changing sentences and won’t get any new writing done. Just scroll straight to the end and keep writing. The time for editing is when the book is finished. Trust me, you’ll get it written a lot faster if you just write it all down first and go back over it later.

8. If you were stuck on a desert island and had three people with you who would you choose? You can have:
a. a character from one of your books

Ooh I’m torn between Charlie (Charlie and Pearl) because he’s such a lovable sweetheart and Hunter (My Summer of You) because he’s more mysterious and sexy.

b. a character from a book that you haven’t written

Erma Bombeck. Not so much a character as a real person, but someone who I think would be handy to have around!

c. someone famous who you don’t know in person or on social media.

I’d need someone who would make me laugh daily, so I’m going to say Sean Condon.
9. You can also take one book to take with you
Benny and Shrimp by Katarina Mazaretti.

And finally
10. Do you have any strange or quirky writing habits?
I’d love to say yes but no, I’m fairly boring in that regard. I am evolving as a writer. When I first started writing I would write with no idea where the story was going or how it would end. Now I like to plan in advance, it’s much easier (and faster) to write that way. I am also starting to challenge myself more and more with subject matter, dealing with subjects that require research.

(I apologise for the formatting of the questions in that, I’ve no idea what WordPress was doing and despite repeatedly copying and pasting and changing I could not get all the questions to be in the same font size!)

About The Author:

tammyrobinson

Tammy Robinson is writer from New Zealand. She has four books available for purchase on amazon and is currently at work on her fifth.

After years spent working her way round the world on cruise ships and at Club Med resorts (and yes, the rumours are all true) Tammy now lives in the beautiful Bay of Plenty with her husband, their two beautiful girls, a scatty black Labrador and a grumpy black cat who occasionally requires a two week course of anti-anxiety medication to stop him from pulling his own fur out. Seriously.

When not being drooled/vomited/pooped on, Tammy manages to squeeze in some writing, assisted by copious amounts of coffee and chocolate. (Ok and the odd wine)

Find Tammy on Facebook here and Twitter here and more about her and her books here.

Differently Normal by Tammy Robinson is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Review: My Sister and Other Liars by Ruth Dugdall @RuthDugdall

 

mysisterandotherliars

My Sister and Other Liars by Ruth Dugdall.

 

My review:

I am a big Ruth Dugdall fan, not only have I had the pleasure of meeting her, when she was really lovely, but she also happens to be a very good author. Her characters are always interesting and realistic and the plots flow well.

So when I heard about her latest book coming out I really wanted to read it, and thankfully I was lucky enough to get an early copy.

In My Sister and Other Liars, Dugdall tackles a difficult subject and one that is hard to get right. Not only are the main characters teenagers, but they are teenagers with eating disorders. I have worked with teenagers with eating disorders and know how complicated they can be, but Dugdall has once again created great characters who are so accurate that I am sure that some of them must be based on real people.

The story revolves around Sam, she’s 17 and when we meet her she is a long term patient in an NHS unit for teenagers with an eating disorder. She is shut down and we know that she is hiding her story from the other patients, but we don’t know what her story is. As the book progresses Sam starts to tell what happened to one of the staff in the unit and we begin to find out what led to Sam being where she is now.

Not that long ago Sam was a happy teenager, with an older sister that she loved and, although she had some struggles with her parents she was doing ok. Until one day her sister, Jena is brutally attacked. Sam becomes determined to find out who her attacker was and in the process, she uncovers more about her family that she bargained for and her life is changed forever.

I really liked how the story of Sam developed over the book, and how she grew so much as she came to terms with what happened and what she did. I really don’t want to give too much away but if you like your books to have depth and a compelling storyline that keeps you guessing then My Sister and Other Liars is the book for you.

Thank you to Ruth Dugdall and her publishers, Thomas & Mercer, for a copy of My Sister and Other Liars via Netgalley.

Blurb:

Sam is seventeen, starving herself and longing for oblivion. Her sister, Jena, is mentally scarred and desperate to remember. Between them, they share secrets too terrible to recall.

Eighteen months earlier, Sam was still full of hope: hope that she could piece together Jena’s fragmented memory after the vicious attack that changed their family forever. But digging into the past unearthed long-hidden lies and betrayals, and left Sam feeling helpless and alone in a world designed to deceive her.

Now, in a last bid to save her from self-imposed shutdown, Sam’s therapist is helping her confront her memories. But the road to recovery is a dangerous one. Because Sam has not only been lying to her doctors: she’s been hiding dark secrets from herself.

About the author:

ruthdugdall

Ruth Dugdall was born in 1971. She holds a BA honours degree in English Literature (Warwick University) and an MA in Social Work (University of East Anglia). She qualified as a probation officer in 1996 and has worked in prison with offenders guilty of serious crimes, including stalking, rape and murder. This has informed her crime writing. Since she started writing, Ruth has won awards in several writing competitions, and has had short stories published in the Winchester Writers’ Conference and the Eva Wiggins Award anthologies.

 

My Sister and Other Liars by Ruth Dugdall is released on 1st May 2017 and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US. If you are an Amazon Prime member in the UK then it is available for free in April 2017 as part of Kindle First.