#BookReview The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor @cjtudor @MichaelJBooks

 

36355177

The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor

 

My Review:

Ok, so this review could be very, very short. Basically, all that I will say in it can be summed up in these few words ‘It is bloody brilliant and you should read it.’

If you’d like to know a little bit more about the book then keep reading, no spoilers obviously, but if not then you get the gist and that is all that you need to know.

I’d heard a lot about The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor and was desperate to read it, I just couldn’t wait until publication day so I totally abused my position as a book blogger and begged the publisher to let me read it earlier. Luckily for me, they were very obliging. I was so excited when it landed on my Kindle that I started to read it straight away and once I started I struggled to stop. It was just so so good I couldn’t put it down! Forget the washing/cleaning/cooking/shopping/kids/pets/work/tv/sleep/anything, it won’t get done until you finish reading this book. I’m a slow reader and I read it in two days, sleep didn’t matter, I just had to keep reading.

That this book is a debut is incredibly impressive, the writing is solid and the plot is twisted and well written, the characters are believable and realistic. It’s pretty much as close to a perfect book as you can get.

Blurb:

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy little English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code; little chalk stick figures they leave for each other as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing will ever be the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he’s put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out his other friends got the same messages, they think it could be a prank… until one of them turns up dead. That’s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

Expertly alternating between flashbacks and the present day, The Chalk Man is the very best kind of suspense novel, one where every character is wonderfully fleshed out and compelling, where every mystery has a satisfying payoff, and where the twists will shock even the savviest reader.

About The Author:

20374489_158877098004329_719442257321190286_nC. J. Tudor was born in Salisbury and grew up in Nottingham, where she still lives with her partner and young daughter.

She left school at sixteen and has had a variety of jobs over the years, including trainee reporter, radio scriptwriter, shop assistant, ad agency copywriter and voiceover.

In the early nineties, she fell into a job as a television presenter for a show on Channel 4 called Moviewatch. Although a terrible presenter, she got to interview acting legends such as Sigourney Weaver, Michael Douglas, Emma Thompson and Robin Williams. She also annoyed Tim Robbins by asking a question about Susan Sarandon’s breasts and was extremely flattered when Robert Downey Junior showed her his chest.

While writing the Chalk Man she ran a dog-walking business, walking over twenty dogs a week as well as looking after her little girl.

She’s been writing since she was a child but only knuckled down to it properly in her thirties. Her English teacher once told her that if she ‘did not become Prime Minister or a best-selling author’ he would be ‘very disappointed.’

The Chalk Man was inspired by a tub of chalks a friend bought for her daughter’s second birthday. One afternoon they drew chalk figures all over the driveway. Later that night she opened the back door to be confronted by weird stick men everywhere. In the dark, they looked incredibly sinister. She called to her partner: ‘These chalk men look really creepy in the dark . . .’

She is never knowingly over-dressed. She has never owned a handbag and the last time she wore heels (twelve years ago) she broke a tooth.

She loves The Killers, Foo Fighters and Frank Turner. Her favourite venue is Rock City.

Her favourite films are Ghostbusters and The Lost Boys. Her favourite authors are Stephen King, Michael Marshall and Harlan Coben.

She is SO glad she was a teenager in the eighties.

She firmly believes that there are no finer meals than takeaway pizza and champagne, or chips with curry sauce after a night out.

Everyone calls her Caz.

The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor is released on 11th January 2018 and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Book Review: Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton @AuthorSJBolton @TransworldBooks

32618153

Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton.

So, this is my final review of 2017. I can’t believe that the year is over already, I’ve got so caught up with everything that I haven’t even started my book of the year post. Bad me. I have definitely been neglecting my lovely blog over the last few weeks but I endeavour to do better.

The worst thing about this review is that I actually read it months ago, how I forgot to review it I don’t know because I really enjoyed this book. Bad me again.

My Review:

I really, really like Sharon Bolton. She is a great author whose writing is so solid and real that I often think that her characters are real life people. There are still some of her books that I am yet to read but I am determined to make my way through all of them. My favourite so far is, without a doubt, Little Black Lies and I very much doubt that any of her books will beat that!

Dead Woman Walking gripped me from the very start, the balloon ride that goes horribly wrong when they see a woman being killed below. Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time! When the murderer chases the balloon which soon crashes out of the sky in a spectacular fashion leaving just one survivor the tension is cranked right up.

That tension barely let up through the book as the sole survivor fights for survival, not so easy when they have no idea who they can trust. I haven’t given anything away that isn’t in the blurb and I really don’t want to do that, so if you enjoy thrillers where the story twists and turns and you’re never quite sure who is who and who to trust then this book is one for you. I’m looking forward to reading the authors next book.

Blurb:

Just before dawn in the hills near the Scottish border, a man murders a young woman. At the same time, a hot-air balloon crashes out of the sky. There’s just one survivor.

She’s seen the killer’s face – but he’s also seen hers. And he won’t rest until he’s eliminated the only witness to his crime.

Alone, scared, trusting no one, she’s running to where she feels safe – but it could be the most dangerous place of all . . .

About The Author:

1038226Sharon (formerly SJ) Bolton grew up in a cotton-mill town in Lancashire and had an eclectic early career which she is now rather embarrassed about. She gave it all up to become a mother and a writer.

Her first novel, Sacrifice, was voted Best New Read by Amazon.uk, whilst her second, Awakening, won the 2010 Mary Higgins Clark award. In 2014, Lost, (UK title, Like This, For Ever) was named RT Magazine’s Best Contemporary Thriller in the US, and in France, Now You See Me won the Plume de Bronze. That same year, Sharon was awarded the CWA Dagger in the Library, for her entire body of work.

 

Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

#BookReview The Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan @SVaughanAuthor @simonschusterUK

 

34466492

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan.

 

My Review:

There is a lot of hype from fellow book bloggers about Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan, this can be a good thing as hype doesn’t happen over an average book but it can also be a bad thing, having heard all the hype it is easy to have high expectations and be disappointed by a book.

Having seen nothing but 5* reviews for this book I had high hopes, but did it live up to my expectations? Well, the answer is yes, and no. One pretty amazing thing about this book is timing, given how long it takes to write a book, edit it and get it ready for publication the timing of the release is pretty perfect as the story is so so current.

With the recent flurry of stories coming from Westminister about sexual assaults and people taking advantage of junior staff this book is timely and certainly gives food for thought.

The story of James, the apparently loving family man, is accused of a serious crime by his former mistress. The fact that they previously had a consensual sexual relationship does muddy the water slightly as he can easily claim revenge for breaking up with her.

The book is well written and the characters have a great backstory and their actions are in the main believable. It is a great book and well worth reading but for me, it lacked the wow factor that other readers have felt when reading it. Who knows why, but it’s still a great read that I’d definitely recommend.

Blurb:

An astonishingly incisive and suspenseful novel about a scandal amongst Britain’s privileged elite and the women caught up in its wake.

Sophie’s husband James is a loving father, a handsome man, a charismatic and successful public figure. And yet he stands accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is convinced he is innocent and desperate to protect her precious family from the lies that threaten to rip them apart.

Kate is the lawyer hired to prosecute the case: an experienced professional who knows that the law is all about winning the argument. And yet Kate seeks the truth at all times. She is certain James is guilty and is determined he will pay for his crimes.

Who is right about James? Sophie or Kate? And is either of them informed by anything more than instinct and personal experience? Despite her privileged upbringing, Sophie is well aware that her beautiful life is not inviolable. She has known it since she and James were first lovers, at Oxford, and she witnessed how easily pleasure could tip into tragedy.

Most people would prefer not to try to understand what passes between a man and a woman when they are alone: alone in bed, alone in an embrace, alone in an elevator… Or alone in the moonlit courtyard of an Oxford college, where a girl once stood before a boy, heart pounding with excitement, then fear. Sophie never understood why her tutorial partner Holly left Oxford so abruptly. What would she think, if she knew the truth?

About the Author:

1026489 Sarah Vaughan read English at Oxford and went on to be a journalist. After training with the Press Association, she worked for The Guardian for 11 years as a news reporter, health correspondent and political correspondent before leaving to freelance. She started writing fiction the week she turned forty. Anatomy of a Scandal is her third novel and will be published in January 2018 by S&S in the UK, US and Canada, plus other commonwealth countries. It will also be translated into 16 languages. She lives in Cambridge with her husband and two young children and is currently writing her fourth novel.

 

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan is out on 11th January 2018 and can be pre-ordered now from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

#blogblast #review Dying Breath by @helenphifer1 @bookouture

Dying Breath - Blog Tour

My Review:

I really enjoyed Helen Phifer’s first book, Dark House (previously called The Lost Children) that introduced readers to Lucy Harwin, a feisty detective who feels the pain of murder victims so deeply, so when I heard that the second book in the series was coming out I knew that I had to read it.

And it did not disappoint. In fact, I think that it is an even better read and story. I just loved how the story played out, there were twists and turns aplenty and I often thought that I knew who the baddie was but couldn’t be quite sure. I just loved reading Dying Breath and enjoyed getting to know the characters a bit more, especially Lucy and her sidekick Mattie.

I really don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll keep it simple. Read this book. That is all that you need to know unless you haven’t read Dark House yet, in which case read that first as although this book is absolutely fine to read as a standalone, it’s always better to start at the beginning. I cannot wait for book three to come out now!

Blurb:

Dying-Breath-Kindle

Take a breath. Pray it’s not your last.

Just a few months after a terrifying case that nearly took her life, Detective Lucy Harwin is back with her squad in the coastal town of Brooklyn Bay – and this time, she’s faced with a case more horrifying than anything she’s encountered.

Along with her partner, Detective Mattie Jackson, Lucy is investigating what appears to be a vicious but isolated murder; a woman found bludgeoned to death on a lonely patch of wasteland.

But when a second victim is discovered strangled in an alleyway, then a young family shot in their own home, Lucy and the team must face the unthinkable reality – a killer is walking the streets of their quiet coastal town.

While Lucy and the team try to find the link between these seemingly unconnected murders, they uncover a disturbing truth – these murders are replicating those carried out by infamous serial killers.

Lucy must get to the killer before he strikes again. But he’s got his sights on her, and is getting ever closer… Can she save herself, before she becomes the final piece in his twisted game?

 About the Author:

Helen Phifer author picture

Helen Phifer lives in a small town called Barrow-in-Furness with her husband and five children.

Helen has always loved writing and reading. Her love of horror films and novels is legendary. Helen adores reading books which make the hair on the back of her neck stand on end. Unable to find enough scary stories to read she decided to write her own.

Helen’s debut novel ‘The Ghost House’ was published by Carina UK in October 2013 and went on to become a best seller along with the rest of the Annie Graham series. The Secrets of the Shadows, The Forgotten Cottage, The Lake House, The Girls in the Woods and The Face Behind the Mask.

The Good Sisters is a standalone horror story which will scare the pants off you or so her lovely readers have told her. It scared Helen when she was writing it so she pretty much agrees with them.

March 2017 saw the release of psychological thriller Dark House (previously called The Lost Children), book 1 in the Detective Inspector Lucy Harwin series. Book 2 – Dying Breath is due for release in Nov 2017.

Author Social Media Links:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Helenphifer1

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

Twitter:       https://twitter.com/helenphifer1

Website:     https://www.helenphifer.com

Dying Breath by Helen Phifer is out now and available from  Amazon UK and Amazon US.

 

#blogtour The Secret Mother by Shalini Boland @ShaliniBoland @bookouture

thumbnail

 

My review:

Ok, so first off I need to tell you that I really, really enjoyed reading The Secret Mother by Shalini Boland. It wasn’t that it was the best written book or the most amazing storyline but there was something about it that grabbed me and kept me hooked.

I think what made it so good was wondering whether Tessa was actually a reliable witness, was there really a child in her kitchen or was she delusional? And if there was a child then had she really taken it from where he belonged? It is perfectly set up to make the reader unsure of what the truth might actually be as Tessa’s story does sound rather implausible, why would a strange boy be in her kitchen and saying that she was his Mummy? Very clever. Something fishy had to be going on, and sure enough, it was.

The book takes us on a journey with Tessa as she sets out to prove her innocence. Her ex fights her at every turn, seemingly convinced that Tessa is unstable and needs help. But Tessa’s boss believes her and sees something in her that other’s done and he helps her find the truth. I actually really enjoyed reading about Tessa’s relationship with her boss and it was great that she had someone supporting her along the way.

I’ve not given anything away that isn’t in the blurb and so I won’t say anymore as I don’t want to ruin it for anyone, but I really did enjoy this book and thoroughly recommend it to anyone who enjoys books that keep you wondering and guessing and not sure of who to believe. Once again the publishers Bookouture have produced a psychological thriller that is a cracking read.

Blurb:

thumbnail (1)

‘Are you my mummy?’ 

Tessa Markham comes home to find a little boy in her kitchen. He thinks she’s his mother. But Tessa doesn’t have any children.

Not anymore.

She doesn’t know who the child is or how he got there.

After contacting the police, Tessa comes under suspicion for snatching the boy. She must fight to prove her innocence. But how can she convince everyone she’s not guilty when even those closest to her are questioning the truth? And when Tessa doesn’t even trust herself…

A chilling, unputdownable thriller with a dark twist that will take your breath away and make you wonder if you can ever trust anyone again. Perfect for fans of Gone Girl, Girl on the Train and The Sister.

About the Author:

thumbnail

Shalini Boland lives in Dorset, England with her husband, two children and their cheeky terrier cross. Before kids, she was signed to Universal Music Publishing as a singer/songwriter, but now she spends her days writing psychological thrillers (in between school runs and hanging out endless baskets of laundry).

Shalini’s debut psychological thriller THE GIRL FROM THE SEA reached No 1 in the US Audible charts and No 7 in the UK Kindle charts. Her second thriller THE BEST FRIEND reached no 2 in the US Audible charts and No 10 in the Amazon UK Kindle charts. It also achieved number 1 in all its categories and was a Kindle All Star title for several months in a row. Shalini’s recent release THE MILLIONAIRE’S WIFE reached No 9 in the Kindle UK charts.

Be the first to hear about her new releases here: http://eepurl.com/b4vb45

Shalini is also the author of two bestselling Young Adult series as well as an atmospheric WWII novel with a time-travel twist.

http://www.facebook.com/ShaliniBolandAuthor
http://www.shaliniboland.co.uk
https://twitter.com/ShaliniBoland

The Secret Mother by Shalini Boland is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

#blogtour #bookreview Beneath The Skin by Caroline England. @CazEngland @AvonBooksUK

Blog tour banner BTS

Today it is my stop on the blog tour for Beneath The Skin by Caroline England, a debut author who has given herself a lot to live up to with her next book!

My Review:

Reading a debut novel is always like going into the unknown, unsure whether the author’s writing style will be one that you enjoy for a start. But Beneath The Skin appealed to me, the blurb, the cover and the publisher, so in I went.

Beneath The Skin focuses on the relationships of four couples who are all linked together. At first, I wasn’t so sure as I struggled with keeping up with all the different characters that were introduced to us, especially as some of them had a present and past to keep up with. But what that did was make me focus on what I was reading, and that was only a good thing. This is not a book to skim read as everything is linked together and nothing is told to us for no reason, and as the story progresses you will be pleased that you took notice.

I have to admit that I didn’t like many of the characters in Beneath The Skin, but that isn’t a bad thing. Some were mildly unlikeable and others were downright detestable. The worst was probably Sophie, a self-obsessed alcoholic who is keeping secrets from her husband Sami, who also happens to be keeping secrets from her. Her supposedly best friend is Antonia, who Sophie uses and abuses, but they have known each other since childhood and their relationship is complicated, they are both keeping secrets for the other. Antonia is married to David, we know something isn’t right with Antonia thanks to her weekly self-harm session while David is at the pub with his friends. But David is hiding something too, he is worried about something being found out by others, but what is it that he has done?

David’s best friend is Charlie, a likeable fellow who is married to the truly awful Helen. Their son, Rupert, is almost a stranger to them both, he attends the same boarding school that Charlie and David went to in their youth. Little do they know that events are going to change all of their lives forever, but will it be for the better?

Which leaves Mike and Olivia, seemly the most functional of the bunch, or so it seems…

I really loved reading about all of them and the tales of deceit, cheating and coming together. Caroline England weaves a wonderful tale that, once you get into it, is enthralling. The fact that she is a debut author makes it all the more impressive, and I am very excited to see what England does next.

This is a deep and twisted book that I’m sure I will be thinking of for a long time to come. One thing that I will say though, is that it made me very grateful to be single!!

Blurb:

image001

No-one remembers your past. But you do.

 

Three women. Three secrets.

Antonia is beautiful and happily married. Her life is perfect. So why does she hurt herself when nobody’s watching?

Sophie is witty, smart and married to the best-looking man in town. She likes a drink, but who doesn’t?

Olivia is pretending to be a happy wife and mother. But her secret could tear her family apart.

Their lies start small, they always do. But if they don’t watch out, the consequences will be deadly.

About the Author:

image003

Born Yorkshire lass, Caroline studied Law at the University of Manchester and stayed over the border. Caroline became a partner in a Solicitors practise and instigated her jottings when she deserted the law to bring up her three lovely daughters. In addition to the publication of her short story collection, Watching Horsepats Feed the Roses by ACHUKAbooks, Caroline has had short stories and poems published in a variety of literary magazines and anthologies. Her debut novel, Beneath the Skin, will be published by Avon HarperCollins on 5 October 2017.

 

Beneath The Skin by Caroline England is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

 

#blogtour The Man Who Died by Antti Tuomainen @OrendaBooks #themanwhodied

man who died blog poster 2017

 

My Review:

I have to admit that I’m not sure why I wanted to read The Man Who Died. I mean firstly, my most hated food in the whole world are mushrooms. Yet here I was agreeing to read a book about a man who spends a lot of his time thinking about, talking about and eating mushrooms. What drew me to this book was that it is published by Orenda Books, a brilliant publisher with a real knack for finding great books, many of which are written by authors from countries such as Sweden, Iceland or, as in this case, Finland.

The Man Who Died has an intriguing start when Jaakko, our main character, is told by his doctor that he is dying. Someone has been poisoning him over a period of time and the doctor doesn’t know how long he will live for, but it won’t be for long. So Jaakko sets about finding out who is trying to kill him, he wants to solve his own murder.

Despite being in the process of dying, Jaakko showed great determination as well as an awful lot of luck, perhaps a little bit too much luck, but hey, he is dying so he deserves it!  The Man Who Died was really a great read, fantastically translated by David Hackston, it reads incredibly well. It really is something different and something special.

Thank you to the publisher Orenda Books for a copy of The Man Who Died, I was under no obligation to review and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

The Man Who Died new front (1)

A successful entrepreneur in the mushroom industry, Jaakko Kaunismaa is a man in his prime. At just 37 years of age, he is shocked when his doctor tells him that he’s dying. What is more, the cause is discovered to be prolonged exposure to toxins; in other words, someone has slowly but surely been poisoning him. Determined to find out who wants him dead, Jaakko embarks on a suspenseful rollercoaster journey full of unusual characters, bizarre situations and unexpected twists. With a nod to Fargo and the best elements of the Scandinavian noir tradition, The Man Who Died is a
pageturning thriller brimming with the blackest comedy surrounding life and death, and love and betrayal, marking a stunning new departure for the King of Helsinki Noir.

About the Author:

Antti Tuomainen

Finnish Antti Tuomainen (b. 1971) was an award-winning copywriter when he made his literary debut in 2007 as a suspense author. The critically acclaimed My Brother’s Keeper was published two years later. In 2011 Tuomainen’s third novel, The Healer, was awarded the Clue Award for ‘Best Finnish Crime Novel of 2011’ and was shortlisted for the Glass Key Award. The Finnish press labelled The Healerthe story of a writer desperately searching for his missing wife in a postapocalyptic Helsinki ‘unputdownable’. Two years later in 2013 they crowned Tuomainen ‘The King of Helsinki Noir’ when Dark as My Heart was published. The Mine, published in 2016, was an international bestseller. All of his books have been optioned for TV/film. With his piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen is one of the first to challenge the Scandinavian crime genre formula, and The Man Who Died sees him at his literary best.

The Man Who Died is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.