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.

3.5*, blog tours, book review

#BookReview #BlogTour The Family Lie by Jake Cross @bookouture


My second blog tour of the day is for The Family Lie by Jake Cross and published by the wonderful Bookouture. I received a copy of the book to read but was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

My Review:

The Family Lie by Jake Cross starts with a bang. Imagine waking up in the middle of the night and finding the house empty, your husband and daughter are nowhere to be seen but the back door is open and something just doesn’t feel right.

That is what happens to Anna, and before she knows it the house is full of police and questions are being asked that Anna isn’t comfortable answering. The police officer in charge, Miller, believes husband Nick is responsible and that he has taken their little girl.

But it soon becomes clear that he isn’t involved, but we know that the parents seem to be hiding something. Just what is going on and who has taken the little girl and why?

This book could have been excellent, the premise was great and clever and certainly very twisty. I also liked the author’s style of writing but sadly there were a few things that let the book down.

Mainly, the characters just weren’t anyone I cared about. With the book starting with the kidnap we didn’t get to know the family before it happened, the missing girl was a stranger whose name was barely used throughout the book. Her parents were unlikeable and I was never really sure whether I cared all that much whether she was found.

The only character that felt fully formed was Miller, the police officer searching for the missing child. However, she was also incredibly annoying at times, constantly calling Anna ‘Dear’ which drove me slightly crazy, and calling Nick, the husband ‘My friend’.

However, saying that, I enjoyed reading The Family Lie by Jake Cross, I wanted to know what they were lying about and why and it was a clever twisty tale and you will never be quite sure about who to trust.

Blurb:

You whispered goodnight to your daughter. You didn’t know that would be your last goodbye.

You wake up in the middle of the night.

Your five-year-old daughter is gone.

Your husband is nowhere to be seen.

Your family think he took her.

The police believe he’s guilty.

But he wouldn’t do that, would he?

He’s a loving father. A loving husband. Isn’t he?

An addictive and completely gripping psychological thriller with a twist that will blow you away. Fans of The Girl on the Train,K.L. Slater and Shalini Boland won’t be able to put down this jaw-dropping novel.

About The Author:

Jake has been making stuff up from a real early age. His parents never believed his silly lies when he was young, so he still has no idea why he thought he could invent a decent story as an adult. But he kept trying, and here we are. THE CHOICE is his first novel, the first of three thrillers to be published by Bookouture, and he hopes you like it. If you don’t, he at least hopes you don’t ask for a refund.

Author Social Media Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jakecrossauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JakeCrossAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17625443.Jake_Cross

Buy Link:

Amazon: https://geni.us/B07N8VVHGFSocial

Apple Books: https://apple.co/2t41M85

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2D1yls8

Googleplay: http://ow.ly/sLbg30nxGTv

5*, blog tours, book review, WW2

#BlogTour #BookReview The Librarian Of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe @ToniIturbe @EburyPublishing @PenguinUKBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #LibrarianOfAuschwitz

I’m delighted to be part of the blog tour for The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe. Thank you to Tracy Fenton for asking me to be part of the tour. I received a copy of the book but I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

My Review:

There seems to be a flurry of books about the second world war and more specifically, Auschwitz, being released. Perhaps partly down to the success of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, but whatever the cause is pretty irrelevant. The fact is that these books tell readers a very important story.

I had always considered myself well educated when it comes to the horrific actions of the German Army and their treatment of those that they considered to be less than themselves. But each book I have read teaches me something new.

The Librarian of Auschwitz starts off by telling us that the author had talked at length with Dita Kraus, who had been the librarian during her time in the concentration camp, a job that had been incredibly risky, but one she was determined to do.

It feels a bit funny saying that I enjoyed reading this book, after all how could anyone get any enjoyment out of the horror that is written about in this book. But I did enjoy reading it, I loved reading about how people were determined to stay true to themselves despite what was going on around them.

People like Dita, who was lucky enough to get a job in the tent where the children went each day. Staff there were meant to sing songs and play games, no teaching was allowed, but that is exactly what they did. With people keeping watch for the Nazi soldiers, the staff told the children stories about the world outside the camp they were kept in. They carved pencils from sticks and burnt the ends so children could write a few words, they found a way to mark the Jewish holiday’s and they found a way to have books, kept hidden under floorboards that could be borrowed for lessons.

Dita showed a strength and determination that was beyond her years, but her beloved books that she worked so hard to keep hidden helped her escape from the horrors around her as she found places to hide and read.

How anyone managed to survive the Nazi Concentration Camps is beyond me, the inner strength and will to survive they must have possessed is inspirational. This book gives us detail of the horrors they experienced and it is not easy reading. But it is important, we must never forget what happened and books like this, fiction and easily accessible to all yet heavily based on real life events and people are essential for bringing the stories to people who wouldn’t sit down to read a history book.

The Librarian of Auschwitz is a powerful book, it is an important book and it is powerful story of people’s fight to survive. Please read this book, it is a story you should know.

Blurb:

For readers of The Tattooist of Auschwitz and The Choice: this is the story of the smallest library in the world – and the most dangerous.

‘It wasn’t an extensive library. In fact, it consisted of eight books and some of them were in poor condition. But they were books. In this incredibly dark place, they were a reminder of less sombre times, when words rang out more loudly than machine guns…’

Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious books the prisoners have managed to smuggle past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the secret librarian of Auschwitz, responsible for the safekeeping of the small collection of titles, as well as the ‘living books’ – prisoners of Auschwitz who know certain books so well, they too can be ‘borrowed’ to educate the children in the camp.

But books are extremely dangerous. They make people think. And nowhere are they more dangerous than in Block 31 of Auschwitz, the children’s block, where the slightest transgression can result in execution, no matter how young the transgressor…

About The Author:

Antonio Iturbe lives in Spain, where he is both a novelist and a journalist. In researching The Librarian of Auschwitz, he interviewed Dita Kraus, the real-life librarian of Auschwitz. Lilit Zekulin Thwaites is an award-winning literary translator. After thirty years as an academic at La Trobe University in Australia, she retired from teaching and now focuses primarily on her ongoing translation and research projects. Dita Kraus was born in Prague. In 1942, when Dita was thirteen years old , she and her parents were deported to Ghetto Theresienstadt and later to Auschwitz,. Neither of Dita’s parents survived. After the war Dita married the author Otto B. Kraus. They emigrated to Israel in 1949, where they both worked as teachers They had three children. Since Otto’s death in 2000 , Dita lives alone in Netanya. She has four grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Despite the horrors of the concentration camps, Dita has kept her positive approach to life.

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.