4.5*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour #BookReview The River by Peter Heller. @wnbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #TheRiver

Today it is my pleasure to kick off the blog tour for The River by Peter Heller. I read the blurb for this book and really wanted to read it, and then I saw the amazing cover and knew that I had to read it. So thank you to Tracy Fenton for inviting me to be part of the blog tour. I received a copy of The River by Peter Heller from the publisher via Netgalley, I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

My Review:

First I have to say how much I love the cover for the UK version of this book, it’s stunning and really drew me to wanting to read this book.

I love books like this, a fight for survival when you’re in the middle of nowhere with nobody other than yourself and your travel companions to get you out of there. And I love books set in the wilderness where I’m taken to a whole other world that I will likely never go to myself. So this book was already winning in my eyes.

Wynn and Jack are best friends who love spending time in the outdoors together, they have done so many times over the years they have been friends and so they know each other so well they barely need to speak as they navigate a dangerous river.

They had expected the rapids to be the risky part of their trip, but they were wrong and it quickly becomes clear that this trip will be one where they will have to fight to survive.

One thing that struck me as I read The River was how it read differently to many books, I kept thinking that I was reading a book written many years ago and then Wynn and Jack would suddenly talk about satellite phones and I was reminded that this book is set in the present and not the past.

The writing is very descriptive, I really felt as though I could see the river, hear the birds and smell the smoke as I read. The pace is slow at first and then suddenly, BAM, you’re sucked in and desperately reading to find out what was going to happen. The chapters are very long but I quite liked that and found that it fitted well with the story.

There were many things to like about The River by Peter Heller, it was a different read but one that felt so real and made so much sense. The author clearly has a vast amount of knowledge about rivers, camping and surviving in the wild and this enhances the readers experience when reading the book.

I really enjoyed this book and will definitely read more from the author.

Blurb:

TWO FRIENDS
Wynn and Jack have been best friends since their first day of college, brought together by their shared love of books and the great outdoors.


THE ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME 
When they decide to take time off university and canoe down the Maskwa River in northern Canada, they anticipate the ultimate wilderness experience. 


No phones. No fellow travellers. No going back. 


A HELLISH RIDE
But as a raging wildfire starts to make its way towards them, their expedition becomes a desperate race for survival. And when a man suddenly appears, claiming his wife has vanished, the fight against nature’s destructive power becomes a much deadlier game of cat and mouse.

THE RIVER by bestselling author Peter Heller is a gripping thriller about the beauty of the great outdoors and the dangers of the wild with a page-turning story that builds up to a shocking finale and keeps the reader guessing until the very end.

About The Author:

Peter Heller is an award-winning adventure writer and the author of four bestselling novels, including the New York Times bestseller THE DOG STARS, a Guardian, San Francisco Chronicle andAtlantic Book of the Year. Born and raised in New York, he attended Dartmouth College in New Hampshire where he became an outdoorsman and white-water kayaker. He has travelled the world as an expedition kayaker, writing about challenging descents in the Pamirs, the Tien Shan mountains, the Caucuses, Central America and Peru. A keen adventurer, he has navigated some of the most dangerous rivers in the world, including the Muk Su River in the High Pamirs of Tadjikistan. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he received an MFA in fiction and poetry, and won a Michener fellowship for his epic poem ‘The Psalms of Malvine’.

The River by Peter Heller is out now and is available from Amazon UK

5*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour #BookReview The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor @deboc77 @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #TheDangerousKind #1in100People

I was on the blog tour for Deborah O’Connor’s first book, My Husband’s Son quite early on in my blogging life and it was one of the best tours that I’ve done and it turned out that the author was absolutely lovely and very grateful for the blogger support. So when she had book number two out I really wanted to read it and jumped at the chance to be part of the blog tour. I received a copy of The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor from the publisher, I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

My Review:

Wow. Having read the author’s first book, My Husband’s Son, and thoroughly enjoying it I was very keen to read her second book. While I enjoyed book one it didn’t blow me away but it was good and I was excited to see what the author was going to do next.

I was right to be excited! The Dangerous Kind is a very impressive book and I was amazed by the jump from book one to book two, this book would not have been an easy book to write but it is solid in its writing, confident in its storytelling and brilliantly clever.

I loved the idea of the radio programme that the main character, Jessamine, works on where they look at a different crime each week. But when she agrees to look into a missing mother things start to go wrong for Jessamine.

There are a few threads to this story that slowly come together and some are really not easy to read. There is a fair amount about characters who are being sexually exploited as young teenagers, this is hard to think about and could be triggering to some.

It all comes together in the end and is very cleverly done but you can be fairly sure that the road will be bumpy and difficult and at times, heartbreaking.

The book does not make the BBC look good, highlighting their history of covering up for sexual predators who worked for them. It is hard reading and adds a sense of realism to the story.

Although hard to read at times I enjoyed reading The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor and I will definitely be reading her third book!

Blurb:

One in 100 of us is a ‘potentially dangerous person’ – someone likely to commit a violent crime. We all know them: these charmers, liars and manipulators. The ones who send prickles up the back of our neck. These people hide in plain sight, they can be teachers, doctors, holding positions of trust, of power.

Jessamine Gooch makes a living tracking the 1 in 100. Each week she broadcasts a radio show that examines brutal offences, asking if more could have been done to identify and prevent their perpetrators.

But when she agrees to investigate a missing person case involving a young mother, she is drawn into a web of danger that will ultimately lead to the upper echelons of power, and threaten the safety of her own family.

What if the people we trust are the ones we should fear?

About The Author:

Deborah O’Connor is a writer and TV producer. Born and bred in the North-East of England, in 2010 she completed the Faber Academy novel writing course. She lives in London with her husband and her daughter. She has not worked at the BBC.

The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

blog tours, book review

#BlogTour #BookReview Picture of Innocence @Sabah_K @tessjstimson #PictureOfInnocence @AvonBooksUK


Today it is my stop on the blog tour for Picture of Innocence by TJ Stimson and published by Avon Books. I do love a good twisty book that keeps you guessing!

I received a copy of Picture of Innocence by TJ Stimson from the publisher, I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

My Review:

I do love a good psychological thriller, especially when it involves families and children. Picture of Innocence by TJ Stimson isn’t always an easy read as the family the story focuses on suffer the loss of their little baby.

The question is, how did baby Noah die?

It really isn’t all that simple, Mother Maddie is distraught and sure she didn’t hurt her son, but is it possible that she did? The husband wasn’t home when it happened and it seems he is the only one in the family that escapes being questioned and blamed.

And then there is Lydia, a young girl who did something terrible, but how does she fit into the story? And who did Lydia grow up to be?

I didn’t really like Maddie as a character, although I felt sorry for her she just didn’t seem to be that nice. Although then sometimes she was. I don’t know, but perhaps that is the point, given that this book makes us questions everyone and everything as we try and work out what is really going on.

Lydia is an interesting character, the abuse she suffered is not easy to read, but was that why she did what she did? Is evil born or is it made?

Picture of Innocence was nearly a brilliant book, it just didn’t quite get there somehow, which is a real shame. But I enjoyed reading it and I wanted to know what happened and how things were going to work out. Did I guess the ending? Well, kinda. I got some of it right but not all, it was clever and gave me something to think about and I love a book that does that. What would I do in that situation?

This book is well written, has well formed characters who are surprising and unpredictable. And I love how it made me think, are we born evil or does something make us that way?

Blurb:

My name is Lydia. I’m 12 years old. I’m not an evil person, but I did something bad.

My name is Maddie. I’d never hurt my son. But can I be sure if I don’t remember?

With three children under ten, Maddie is struggling. On the outside, she’s a happy young mother, running a charity as well as a household. But inside, she’s exhausted. She knows she’s lucky to have to have a support network around her. Not just her loving husband, but her family and friends too.

But is Maddie putting her trust in the right people? Because when tragedy strikes, she is certain someone has hurt her child – and everyone is a suspect, including Maddie herself…

The women in this book are about to discover that looks can be deceiving… because anyone is capable of terrible things. Even the most innocent, even you.

This is the story of every mother’s worst fear. But it’s not a story you know… and nothing is what it seems.

About The Author:

T J Stimson is the pen-name of British author Tess Stimson, who has previously published ten novels, including top-ten bestseller The Adultery Club, and two non-fiction books, which between them have been translated into dozens of languages.

Her first “proper” job after graduating from St Hilda’s College, Oxford (where she read English) was as a news trainee with ITN (Independent Television News).

She reported and produced regional and world stories, travelling to hotspots and war-zones all over the globe.

In 2002, she was appointed Professor of Creative Writing at the University of South Florida and moved to the US. She now teaches Screenwriting and Journalism in Vermont, and lives with her husband, Erik, their three children, and (at the last count) two cats, three fish, one gerbil and a large number of bats in the attic.

Picture of Innocence by TJ Stimson is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

4*, blog tours, book review, psychological thriller

#BlogTour #BookReview Sleep by C.L. Taylor. @callytaylor #Sleep @AvonBooksUK

Today it is my stop on the mammoth blog tour for Sleep by C.L. Taylor. The size of the blog tour is a good indication of how good the authors books are as so many book bloggers want to take part in it.

I received a copy of Sleep by C.L. Taylor from the publisher, Avon. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

My Review:

I have to admit that I would love to escape to a remote Scottish Island, well I think that I would but of course the reality of the escape could be very different to what I imagine it would be like. But I could totally understand why Anna decided to head to the Island of Rum when she becomes convinced that someone is stalking.

She finds a job as receptionist/general dogs body, in the only hotel on Rum, working alongside owner David who she gets on with from the start.

A group of guests arrive, each of them seeking their own escape from various things, and looking forward to hiking and exploring the island. But they all find out how remote they really are when a huge storm descends on Rum and the hotel becomes totally cut off from the outside world.

I love this premise, in many ways it could be a wonderful experience, but given that this is a book by C.L. Taylor we know that all is not going to end well for the residents of the hotel.

When Anna becomes convinced that her stalker is one of the guests in the hotel her paranoia grows and she, along with the readers, begin to question everyone. Are one of them really out to kill Anna?

I loved reading Sleep, it kept me guessing and wondering and thinking. Each of the guests had an interesting back story that added to the book and I could see why Anna was questioning who each of them really were.

I did however, feel that Anna was never really going to die and that meant that the tension wasn’t as strong as it could have been.

I didn’t guess the ending, I kind of had a fleeting guess at one point but dismissed it. It was a clever ending but I would have liked to have know a bit more about what happened after.

Overall, Sleep by C.L. Taylor is a great book. It’s fun to read and keeps you guessing and wondering and not sure who to trust which are all ingredients to make a great read. I am sure that this book would be enjoyed by many fans of psychological thrillers.

Blurb:

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…

About the Author:

C.L. Taylor lives in Bristol with her partner and young son. She is a four times Sunday Times bestseller and her books have hit the number one spots on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks and Google Play. Cally has a degree in Psychology, with particular interest in abnormal and criminal Psychology. She also loves knitting, Dr Who, Sherlock, Great British Bake Off and Margaret Atwood and blames Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected for her love of a dark tale.

Her dark psychological thriller THE ACCIDENT was published in the UK by Avon HarperCollins in April 2014 and as BEFORE I WAKE in the US in June 2014 by Sourcebooks.

Her second psychological thriller THE LIE was published in the UK in April 2015. It became a Sunday Times bestseller and hit the #1 slots on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play and Sainsbury ebooks. THE LIE was published in the U.S. by Sourcebooks.

CL’s third psychological thriller THE MISSING was published in April 2016 and was another Sunday Times and ebook bestseller. THE MISSING was published in the U.S. by William Morrow in 2017.

THE ESCAPE, her fourth psychological thriller, went to number 2 in the Sunday Times paperback chart in 2017 and won the Dead Good Books Most Unreliable Narrator award.

Her fifth psychological thriller THE FEAR was published on 22nd March 2018 in the UK and was another Sunday Times bestseller. It was longlisted in the National Book Awards crime/thriller category, shortlisted in the Dead Good Book Awards for ‘Most Recommended Read’ and in the ‘Page turner’ category in the Hearst Big Book Awards. 

Her sixth psychological SLEEP will be published in ebook and hardback in the UK on 21st March 2019 and in paperback on 5th September 2019. 

THE TREATMENT, her Young Adult thriller, was the fastest selling UK YA debut of 2017. Cally is currently writing her second YA thriller which will be published in the UK in June 2020.

Her international bestselling romantic comedies (written as Cally Taylor), HEAVEN CAN WAIT and HOME FOR CHRISTMAS were both published by Orion in the UK. They have been translated into 14 different languages, and her debut was voted ‘Debut Novel of the Year’ by chicklitreviews.com and chicklitclub.com. 

In 2014 HOME FOR CHRISTMAS was made into a feature film by JumpStart Productions. 

To download a FREE copy of THE LODGER join the CL Taylor Book Club:

http://www.callytaylor.co.uk/cltaylor

www.twitter.com/callytaylor
www.instagram.com/CLTaylorAuthor
www.facebook.com/CallyTaylorAuthor

Sleep by C.L. Taylor is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.


5*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour #BookReview Twisted by Steve Cavanagh. @SSCav @orionbooks #Twisted #ThisBookIsTwisted #thrillerread #whoisjtlebeau @PoppyStimpson @orion_crime


I’m delighted to be part of the blog tour for Twisted by Steve Cavanagh. This is a mammoth five week tour which just shows how many book bloggers love Steve’s writing. I’ve previously reviewed Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh on here and it was one of the cleverest books I’ve read in a long time. But will Twisted meet everyone’s high expectations?

I received a copy of Twisted by Steve Cavanagh from the publisher, Orion Books. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own. Thank you to Tracy Fenton for having me as part of the blog tour.

My Review:

JT LeBleau is the world’s best selling author, their books have been translated into many different languages and fans eagerly await the next book. But everyone has one question, who is JT LeBleau?

I loved this premise, and I loved how Cavanagh approached this story and revealed the truth to the reader. Quite often I thought that I had it all worked out, but then I would doubt myself, and change my mind before going back to what I thought first and then going round it all again. The twists in this book were thrown at the reader thick and fast.

It was hard to know who to like, who to trust and who was what they said they were. This book can be gruesome, but what is fiction and what is real?

I will not spoil it for you, but if you enjoy thrillers and you like lots of twists then this book is for you. If you haven’t read the genre before then this is a great book to start with as it really is well done and I’m sure that it will convince many just how much fun the thriller genre can be.

Blurb:

BEFORE YOU READ THIS BOOK 
I WANT YOU TO KNOW THREE THINGS:

1. The police are looking to charge me with murder.
2. No one knows who I am. Or how I did it.
3. If you think you’ve found me. I’m coming for you next.

After you’ve read this book, you’ll know: the truth is far more twisted…

About The Author:

Steve Cavanagh was born and raised in Belfast before leaving for Dublin at the age of eighteen to study Law. He currently practices civil rights law and has been involved in several high profile cases; in 2010 he represented a factory worker who suffered racial abuse in the workplace and won the largest award of damages for race discrimination in Northern Ireland legal history. He holds a certificate in Advanced Advocacy and lectures on various legal subjects (but really he just likes to tell jokes). He is married with two young children.

Find out more at www.stevecavanaghbooks.com or follow Steve on Twitter @SSCav.

Twisted by Steve Cavanagh is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

5*, blog tours, book review

#BookReview #BlogTour Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech. #CallMeStarGirl @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks


I’m so happy to be part of the blog tour for Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech and published by the fabulous Orenda Books. Thank you to Anne Cater for asking me to be part of the tour. I received a copy of Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech, I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

My Review:

I love Louise Beech, she is such a fabulous author who has a real special way of telling a story. Thankfully Call Me Star Girl is another great book. It is a bit of a change for the author, with this book being more of a psychological thriller than any of her previous books.

The story revolves around Stella, a woman who appears to have everything sorted; a good job, boyfriend, home and family around her. But all is most definitely not as it seems and it quickly becomes clear that Stella is keeping secrets from those around her. But are they keeping secrets from her too?

The majority of the book takes place over one night, and what a night it is. As the night progresses it all becomes clear, or does it?

I really liked the characters in the book, while not always likeable they were believable and felt real. Stella’s backstory was particularly good I thought and could have made a whole book on its own.

Once again Louise Beech has woven an interesting tale that I think would be difficult not to get caught up in. I read the book quickly and loved how it kept me guessing. Roll on the author’s next book!

Blurb:

Tonight is the night for secrets…
Pregnant Victoria Valbon was brutally murdered in an alley three weeks ago – and her killer hasn’t been caught.
Tonight is Stella McKeever’s final radio show. The theme is secrets. You tell her yours, and she’ll share some of hers.
Stella might tell you about Tom, a boyfriend who likes to play games, about the
mother who abandoned her, now back after twelve years. She might tell you
about the perfume bottle with the star-shaped stopper, or about her father …
What Stella really wants to know is more about the mysterious man calling the station … who says he knows who killed Victoria, and has proof.
Tonight is the night for secrets, and Stella wants to know everything…
With echoes of the chilling Play Misty for Me, Call Me Star Girl is a taut, emotive and all-consuming psychological thriller that plays on our deepest fears, providing a stark reminder that stirring up dark secrets from the past can be deadly…

About The Author:

Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. The follow-up, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Both of her previous books Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost were widely reviewed, critically acclaimed and number-one bestsellers on Kindle. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award in 2019. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice. Louise lives with her husband on the outskirts of Hull, and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012.

Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

4.5*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour #BookReview The Ringmaster by Vanda Symons. @OrendaBooks @vandasymon #NewZealandNoir #TheRingmaster #SamShepard


I’m delighted to be part of the blog tour for The Ringmaster by Vanda Symon. I reviewed the first book in the Sam Shepard series, Overkill, which I absolutely loved so I was excited to read book two. I received a copy of The Ringmaster by Vanda Symon to read, I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

My Review:

I really, really enjoyed Overkill by Vanda Symon so I was very excited to read book two in the series. I have a big soft spot for books set in New Zealand and this series fits the bill perfectly.

Part of what I loved about Overkill was that it was set in a small NZ town and the book really showed the claustrophobia that goes with living in a small town where everyone knows everyone and all about them.

In The Ringmaster, Sam Shepard, has moved to Dunedin which is a proper town and so doesn’t have that same feel. I have to admit that I really missed the small town atmosphere from the first book. But being set in a larger town means that there is more scope for storylines and characters.

Sam’s flatmate from Overkill returns which I was pleased about, they have good chemistry and she makes me laugh.

I really like Sam Shepard as a character, she is a damn good police officer but somehow manages to annoy a lot of people in the process. I loved her connection with the elephant in the circus that features in the story, along with her horror at the fact that an elephant and lions were being kept by the circus.

New Zealand has one travelling circus with live animals, including lions and an elephant. Hard to believe really and I guess that it is good that the book brings that to light.

Once again Sam manages to save the day, her gut instinct is strong and she has faith enough in it to follow it. I did find the whole who done it slightly surprising, it didn’t seem to really fit somehow. I’m not sure it was really believable that the person who did it, did it. If that makes sense.

But the book was fun to read, I loved getting to know Sam more and her interactions with others, friends, work colleagues and someone who perhaps will be more.

Overall, The Ringmaster by Vanda Symon is a great read, I love the setting and the characters and the twisty turns. Roll on book three!

Blurb:


Death is stalking the South Island of New Zealand…
Marginalised by previous antics, Sam Shephard, is on the bottom rung of detective training in Dunedin, and her boss makes sure she knows
it. She gets involved in her first homicide investigation, when a university student is murdered in the Botanic Gardens, and Sam soon
discovers this is not an isolated incident. There is a chilling prospect of a predator loose in Dunedin, and a very strong possibility that the
deaths are linked to a visiting circus…Determined to find out who’s running the show, and to prove herself, Sam throws herself into an investigation that can have only one ending…
Rich with atmosphere, humour and a dark, shocking plot, The
Ringmaster marks the return of passionate, headstrong police officer,
Sam Shephard, in the next instalment of Vanda Symon’s bestselling
series.

About The Author:


Vanda Symon is a crime writer, TV presenter and radio host from Dunedin, New Zealand, and the chair of the Otago Southland branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors. The Sam Shephard
series has climbed to number one on the New Zealand bestseller list, and also been shortlisted for the Ngaio Marsh Award for best crime novel. She currently lives in Dunedin, with her husband and
two sons.

The Ringmaster by Vanda Symon is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.