#review The Foster Child by @JennyBlackhurst @headlinepg

 

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The Foster Child by Jenny Blackhurst.

 

My Review:

I have enjoyed Jenny Blackhurst’s previous books so I was looking forward to reading The Foster Child.

When Imogen reluctantly returns to her childhood home with her husband she is apprehensive about her new start in a town that she hated and a home that never quite felt like a home. To make matters worse she is also starting a new job, one that she was forced to take after leaving her previous role after something happened with a child that she was treating.

When Imogen is assigned Ellie, a young girl who lost her family in a fire who is now being looked after in a foster home, we know that all is not as it seems when Imogen discovers that her teachers are scared of her and her foster mother thinks that when Ellie gets angry things go wrong and people get hurt.

Imogen defends Ellie and soon oversteps her boundaries, seeing Ellie outside of work hours and taking her shopping for new clothes. While everyone is suspicious of Ellie, Imogen becomes more determined to help her and to show everyone that they are wrong. But are they?

I thought that The Foster Child by Jenny Blackhurst is brilliantly written and woven, the characters are all believable and the reader is never quite sure what is really going on with Ellie.

What I liked most was that everyone’s behaviour and actions had a reason which helped to make it all so much more real and believable, the author had thought about everything and I couldn’t help but be impressed.

Overall, The Foster Child is a great read that takes the reader on a real journey where you won’t be sure what is really happening, then you’ll think that you worked it out before you realise just how cleverly written The Foster Child is.

Blurb:

The brilliant new novel from Jenny Blackhurst , the #1 eBook bestselling author of HOW I LOST YOU , which Clare Mackintosh called ‘utterly gripping’ and BEFORE I LET YOU IN If you love Louise Jensen’s THE GIFT or SK Tremayne’s THE ICE TWINS you will love this.

When child psychologist Imogen Reid takes on the case of 11-year-old Ellie Atkinson, she refuses to listen to warnings that the girl is dangerous.

Ellie was the only survivor of a fire that killed her family. Imogen is convinced she’s just a sad and angry child struggling to cope with her loss.

But Ellie’s foster parents and teachers are starting to fear her. When she gets upset, bad things seem to happen. And as Imogen gets closer to Ellie, she may be putting herself in danger…

About The Author:

Jenny-Blackhurst-Author-Photo

Jenny Blackhurst lives in Shropshire with her husband, two sons and their dog, Woody. Until recently she worked at Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, resigning in August 2017 to follow her dream of becoming a full time writer. These days she watches Netflix in her pjs until mid day and eats chocolate (whilst working on her fourth novel of course).

The Foster Child by Jenny Blackhurst is out on 21st September 2017 and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US to pre-order.

#review A Stranger In The House @sharilapena @penguinrandom

 

astrangerinthehouse

A Stranger In The House by  Shari Lapena

 

My Review:

Having thoroughly enjoyed Shari Lapena’s The Couple Next Door (you can read my review here) I was very excited to read A Stranger In The House and promptly requested to read it via Netgalley.

The book quickly sucked me into the story, I wanted to know just what Karen had been running from when she crashed her car. Was her amnesia real or was she pretending? Had her marriage really been so perfect? And what was with the curtain twitcher who lived opposite?

When a book immediately throws you into the action it can mean that reader doesn’t get to know who the characters are before their lives were thrown into turmoil, but Lapena’s writing doesn’t fall into that trap. I felt that I had a good understanding of Tom and Karen’s relationship which made the book all the more enjoyable.

As the twisted story revealed itself more was revealed about Karen and her past, I started to think that I’d worked it out but of course I hadn’t at all. Lots of twists and turns in this book that’s for sure!

I think that A Stranger In The House is even better than The Couple Next Door, so I am now really looking forward to her next book!

Blurb:

In this neighborhood, danger lies close to home. A domestic thriller packed full of secrets, and a twisty story that never stops—from the bestselling author of The Couple Next Door

He looks at her, concerned. “How do you feel?” She wants to say, Terrified. Instead, she says, with a faint smile, “Glad to be home.”

Karen and Tom Krupp are happy—they’ve got a lovely home in upstate New York, they’re practically newlyweds, and they have no kids to interrupt their comfortable life together. But one day, Tom returns home to find Karen has vanished—her car’s gone and it seems she left in a rush. She even left her purse—complete with phone and ID—behind.

There’s a knock on the door—the police are there to take Tom to the hospital where his wife has been admitted. She had a car accident, and lost control as she sped through the worst part of town.

The accident has left Karen with a concussion and a few scrapes. Still, she’s mostly okay—except that she can’t remember what she was doing or where she was when she crashed. The cops think her memory loss is highly convenient, and they suspect she was up to no good.

Karen returns home with Tom, determined to heal and move on with her life. Then she realizes something’s been moved. Something’s not quite right. Someone’s been in her house. And the police won’t stop asking questions.

Because in this house, everyone’s a stranger. Everyone has something they’d rather keep hidden. Something they might even kill to keep quiet.

About The Author:

sharilapena

Shari Lapena worked as a lawyer and as an English teacher before turning to writing fiction. She has written two award-winning literary novels, and her suspense debut, The Couple Next Door, was a New York Times and an international bestseller. A Stranger in the House is her second thriller.

A Stranger In The House is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

#review Don’t Close Your Eyes by @hollyseddon @AtlanticBooks

 

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Don’t Close Your Eyes by Holly Seddon.

My Review:

I was attracted to Don’t Close Your Eyes because it features twins, and as a twin mum I do like reading books with twins in. But this book is a lot more than just a book about twins. It’s a twisty psychological thriller that has the reader questioning everything that they think is happening.

Robin used to be in a band, travelling the world, but now she spends her days locked in her home, scared to open the door and obsessed with the lives of the residents of the block of flats that she overlooks. She speaks to no one yet is convinced that someone is trying to get her. She thinks that she is doing ok, but it is clear that she isn’t, especially when she starts getting over involved in the lives of one family living behind her.

Her twin sister is Sarah, we know that they haven’t been in contact for years and we know that Sarah is doing no better than Robin. Kicked out of her home and desperate to see her little girl she doesn’t know where to turn for help, and without knowing that her twin needs Sarah as much as she needs her twin, Sarah tracks Robin down.

I really wasn’t sure where the story was going to take me, I really felt for Robin and how lonely she was, she had totally isolated herself and makes it very difficult to get herself out of it. What’s going on with Sarah is a bit more complicated and it wasn’t what I was expecting!

Despite the years of no contact Robin and Sarah still have a special bond which comes from being a twin, and together they are able to confront their fears and face the reality of their lives.

It’s hard to write this and not give spoilers, but I enjoyed Don’t Close Your Eyes, despite the majority of it being set inside one house it kept me reading and wanting to know more and see what would happen, it really is a tense and uncomfortable read at times.

Blurb:

A gripping novel of psychological suspense centered on two sisters whose lives have taken them apart, and the shocking family secrets that bind them together.

Twin sisters Robin and Sarah haven’t spoken in years.

Robin can’t leave her house. A complete shut-in, she spends her days spying on her neighbors, subtly meddling in their lives. But she can’t keep her demons out forever. Someone from her past has returned, and is desperate to get inside.

Sarah can’t go home. Her husband has kicked her out, forcibly denying her access to their toddler. Sarah will do anything to get her daughter back, but she’s unraveling under the mounting pressure of concealing the dark secrets of her past. And her lies are catching up to her.

The novel takes readers back in time to witness the complex family dynamics that formed Robin and Sarah into the emotionally damaged, estranged young women they’ve become. As the gripping and intricate layers of their shared past are slowly peeled away, the shocks and twists will keep readers breathless long after the final page.

About the author:

hollyseddon

Holly Seddon is a full time writer, living slap bang in the middle of Amsterdam with her husband James and a house full of children and pets.

Holly has written for newspapers, websites and magazines since her early 20s after growing up in the English countryside, obsessed with music and books.

Her first novel, TRY NOT TO BREATHE, was published worldwide in 2016 and became a bestseller in several countries. DON’T CLOSE YOUR EYES is her second novel.

Don’t Close Your Eyes is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

#blogtour The Other Twin by LV Hay @LucyVHayAuthor @OrendaBooks

Other twin blog tour poster new

I’m delighted to be on the blog tour for The Other Twin by LV Hay today! I’ve known Lucy through social media for a while now and I’ve always liked her posts and her blog where she gives some great tips for would be writers, she also did a great guest post for me on The 1 Simple Habit Guaranteed to Lower your TBR Pile.

I was very excited to read The Other Twin, not only is it written by Lucy, but it is published by Orenda Books who have an amazing track record of giving us really great books, and the book had something to do with twins which, as a mother or twins, makes me want to read any book!

My Review:

 

The Other Twin cover

The Other Twin by LV Hay.

 

When Poppy gets a phone call from her Mum telling her that her sister, India, has jumped to her death from a bridge Poppy heads straight home to Brighton. It quickly becomes clear that it is many years since Poppy last went home and saw her family.

Poppy refuses to believe that India had committed suicide. Despite not having seen or speaking to her sister in five years Poppy was sure that it was not something that she would have done. With her parents grieving Poppy sets about finding out more about her sister and what had actually happened on that fateful night.

The author cleverly weaves the story, keeping the reader guessing and trying to work out what might have happened to India. Social media is cleverly woven into the story, playing a big part in Poppy’s research. I thought that this was cleverly done, and felt very current and relevant given how many young adults are using it in their daily lives.

The diversity of the characters in The Other Twin also helps to make the story current and interesting, with scenes taking place in LGBT bars in Brighton, and questions about India’s sexuality arising.

Reading The Other Twin you would not think that this is the first full length novel that the author has written. The writing is so confident and solid, with the storyline woven so cleverly to reveal what had really happened to India, and who was actually involved.

This book will appeal to many, and I am sure that it will make you think. LV Hay is an author to watch.

Blurb:

When India falls to her death from a bridge over a railway, her sister Poppy returns home to Brighton for the first time in years. Unconvinced by official explanations, Poppy begins her own investigation into India’s death. But the deeper she digs, the closer she comes to uncovering deeply buried secrets. Could Matthew Temple, the boyfriend she abandoned, be involved? And what of his powerful and wealthy parents, and his twin sister, Ana? Enter the mysterious and ethereal Jenny: the girl Poppy discovers after hacking into India’s laptop. What is exactly is she hiding, and what did India find out about her? Taking the reader on a breathless ride through the winding lanes of Brighton, into its vibrant party scene and inside the homes of its well-heeled families, The Other Twin is a startling and up-to-the-minute thriller about the social-media world, where resentments and accusations are played out online, where identities are made and remade, and where there is no such thing as truth.

About the author:

Lucy Hay author photo

Lucy V Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. She is associate producer of Brit Thrillers Deviation (2012) and Assassin (2015), both starring Danny Dyer. Lucky is also head reader for the London Screenwriter’s Festival and has written two non-fiction books, Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays, plus its follow-up Drama Screenplays. She lives in Devon with her husband, three children, six cats and five African Land Snails.

The Other Twin by LV Hay is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

#review Broken Branches by @MJonathanLee @HideawayFalls

 

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Broken Branches by M Jonathan Lee

 

My Review:

I wasn’t quite sure what I’d think about Broken Branches by M Jonathan Lee. There was quite a buildup to me receiving it, with the publisher Hideaway Falls, sending myself and many other book bloggers a fun teaser pack before the book finally landed on my doorstep.

I know that M Jonathan Lee is vocal about mental health issues, a subject close to my heart so I was quite looking forward to reading Broken Branches.

The book centres on Ian who is currently living in a cottage that frankly, sounds rather lovely. He lives with his wife and young son and at first, all seems to be well in the family home. But it soon becomes clear that all is not as it first seems.

There are clearly big problems in Ian’s marriage and Ian himself seems to be obsessed with ‘research’ into his family that has lived in his home for many generations. The story changes between the present day and Ian’s childhood as a boy growing up in the cottage when his father farmed the surrounding land. Ian’s childhood was not a happy one and it becomes clear that the family had been plagued by what they called a curse, and that is what Ian is determined to get to the bottom of with his research.

This book is definitely a slow burner, not a great deal actually happens in the book and much of it is spent within Ian’s mind, a mind that seems to be confused and perhaps very unreliable at telling us what is really happening, and at times it seemed to all be getting a little bit silly.

I liked how the story developed though and the more we got to know about Ian the more unsure I was about whether he was totally mad or well, only slightly mad. The writing is solid and it is easy to read, with plenty to keep the reader guessing and a few twists along the way.

Thank you to the author, and to Hideaway Falls, for a copy of Broken Branches.

Blurb:

‘Family curses don’t exist. Sure, some families seem to suffer more pain than others, but a curse? An actual curse? I don’t think so.’

A family tragedy was the catalyst for Ian Perkins to return to the isolated cottage with his wife and young son. But now they are back, it seems yet more grief might befall the family.

There is still time to act, but that means Ian must face the uncomfortable truth about his past. And in doing so, he must uncover the truth behind the supposed family curse.

About the author:

jonathan-lee

M. Jonathan Lee is a nationally shortlisted author who was born in South Yorkshire in 1974. He still lives and works in Yorkshire, England and has three children.

Jonathan began writing seriously at the age of 9 at which point he self-published a magazine which ran for six issues and sold more than 500 copies. Since then, he has written a number of short stories and eagerly hoarded away journal after journal of ideas before finally writing The Radio.

The Radio was shortlisted for The Novel Prize 2012 and is his first novel. He is currently touring schools, colleges, prisons and universities talking about creative writing and storytelling.  The Radio continues to receive excellent reviews and film rights are currently being discussed with interested parties. Jonathan appeared at Sheffield’s Off the Shelf literary festival in 2013 and will appear again this year as well as headlining at Doncaster’s Turn the Page festival 2014.

His second novel, The Page was released in February 2015. He has just finished his third novel, A Tiny Feeling of Fear which was released in September 2015. He is currently working on the final part of the ‘The’ trilogy: working title ‘The Knot’ which is due for release in 2016. He is currently signed on a four book deal with boutique publishers, SoloP Publishing based in the north of England.

Broken Branches is out on 27th July 2017 and is available to pre-order on Amazon UK and Amazon US. You can find out more about the author on his website.

On a little side note, my puppy loved Broken Branches. The photo below shows just how much. She was lucky that she wasn’t rehomed!

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#review: The Honeymoon by @tinaseskis @MichaelJBooks

 

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The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis

 

My Review:

I had heard a lot about The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis, but not having read any of her previous books I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

This psychological thriller really does keep the reader guessing. Jemma is on her honeymoon on a beautiful and exclusive island in the Maldives, but it is clear from the start that all is not right with her new marriage, and when her new husband goes missing the reader is unsure whether Jemma’s version that gradually emerges as the book progresses it true, or if she is hiding something.

The book goes back to the start of Jemma’s relationship with Dan when Jemma was really not sure whether he was ‘the one’. As the relationship progresses and we learn more about the backstory I became less and less sure about what was true and what wasn’t. Jemma definitely didn’t seem like a reliable witness.

There are plenty of twists and turns in the book, and I’m happy to admit that I didn’t see the main ones coming. Jemma, as a character was not likeable and there was very little about her that I could like, but that didn’t stop me wanting to know what had happened to her husband and whether she was involved. Another couple on the island provide a bit of light relief, which was welcome.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Honeymoon, I wanted to keep reading and the twists were great and cleverly done. If you like a twisty, turny book then this is for you! It gets an easy 4.5* from me. I’m off to look at Seskis’s other books.

Blurb:

For as long as she can remember, Jemma has been planning the perfect honeymoon. A fortnight’s retreat to a five-star resort in the Maldives, complete with luxury villas, personal butlers and absolute privacy. It should be paradise, but it’s turned into a nightmare.

Because the man Jemma married a week ago has just disappeared from the island without a trace. And now her perfect new life is vanishing just as quickly before her eyes. After everything they’ve been through together, how can this be happening? Is there anyone on the island who Jemma can trust? And above all – where has her husband gone?

About the author:

Tina Seskis grew up in Hampshire, before going off to study in the beautiful city of Bath and then moving to London, where she has lived on and off ever since.

Tina’s first novel One Step Too Far was released in 2013, and has since been published in 17 languages in over 60 countries. Her latest novel, The Honeymoon, will finally be released on 1st June 2017.

Tina lives in North London with her husband and son.

The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis is out now and available from  Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Review: Each Little Lie by @T0mBale @Bookouture #blogtour

Each little Lie Blog Tour

My Review:

Regular readers of my blog will know that I like Tom Bale’s books. He has an incredible skill at sucking the reader into the story, making it difficult to put his books down. His book, See How They Run, probably has the best first chapter of any book that I have read, with All Fall Down not far behind. Each Little Lie is a little bit different, although the reader’s interest is piqued, it didn’t have me holding my breath and desperate to read on. But if I didn’t compare it to the previous books then it is still a cracking first chapter.

When Jen decides to do a good dead for her neighbour after she finds his house keys dropped outside his home, she makes a decision that considering she is a character in a Tom Bale book is clearly going to be a mistake. It feels a bit like one of those horror movies where you want to shout ‘don’t run up the stairs’, but Jen doesn’t listen to the reader, and so the scene is set, and Jen’s life will never be the same again.

The story kept me guessing, not only about what was going to happen to poor Jen next but also who was behind making her life so awful and why. She did continue to make some questionable choices and I didn’t find her particularly likeable, but she went through hell and kept fighting, and so I was able to forgive her rather stupid mistake at the beginning of the book.

The characters in the book were great, many weren’t likeable, some were downright creepy and we were never quite sure who to trust. Poor Jen seemed to have particularly bad luck when it comes to attracting dodgy characters, but Bale made a smart decision when he makes her a single parent, and when her son Charlie is at risk, Jen will stop at nothing to fight and protect.

All in all, Each Little Lie is another tension-filled, action-packed book by Tom Bale, he really does have a great skill and I will be reading his books for a long time to come.

Blurb:

Each-Little-Lie-Kindle
UK 🇬🇧 http://amzn.to/2qUMvVj 
US 🇺🇸 http://amzn.to/2qU9ORi

One split second can destroy your life forever.

Single mother Jen Cornish is just trying to hold things together for the sake of her seven-year-old son Charlie. Until the day when she does an impulsive good deed to help a neighbour, setting off a terrifying chain of events that quickly spirals out of control…

When she is arrested for a crime she didn’t commit, Jen quickly starts to wonder if someone is playing a cruel game with her – or is she losing her mind?

Desperate to clear her name with the police, she must first untangle a chilling web of lies. But someone is watching her every move – and it isn’t just Jen who is in danger.

They’re watching her child as well.

An unputdownable psychological thriller with plenty of twists that will keep you hooked until the very last page…

About the Author:

Tom Bale
Tom Bale has had a variety of jobs including retail assistant, claims negotiator and project manager, but none was as exhausting as the several years he spent as a househusband with two pre-school children. Tom has been writing since the age of seven, and completed his first novel at fifteen. After twenty years and hundreds of rejection slips, his first novel SINS OF THE FATHER was published under his real name, David Harrison. With his next book, SKIN AND BONES, he acquired an agent, a pseudonym and a book deal that enabled him to write full-time. His latest novel is the thriller SEE HOW THEY RUN, published by Bookouture in May 2016.