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

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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:

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‘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:

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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

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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:

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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:

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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

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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:

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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.

 

 

#blogtour Maggie by @nettanewbound @Bloodhoundbook

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As a huge Netta Newbound fan, I’m delighted to be one of the bloggers kicking off the tour for her latest book, Maggie.

My Review:

I have to admit that as a huge fan of Netta Newbound I have high expectations of her books. I agreed to read and review Maggie based solely on the author’s name without reading the blurb. It was bumped up my pile of books to read and, looking forward to a great read, I started Maggie.

So it was my own fault that I was taken by surprise by the abusive step-father at the start of the book, a subject that I will normally avoid. Thankfully the book soon moved on and I got sucked into the life of Maggie, a feisty teen who finds herself an orphan with many people suspicious and against her, she relies on the few people that stand by her. Determined to move away and get a fresh start Maggie finds herself drawn back home when one of her allies is seriously injured in what appears to have been an accident.

Soon enough more of her friends are being murdered and Maggie is sure that the killings are random. But who can she trust? And why is someone killing everyone that she loves?

I did enjoy Maggie, it was a twisty read that kept me guessing, but not guessing enough as I did work out the ‘who done it’ quite early on. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and I did like the storyline but I definitely feel that this is not one of the author’s best books. Perhaps this is unfair of me, as if it had been written by another author who I didn’t have such high expectations of I may well have been less critical.

But don’t let that put you off, Maggie is still a great read and an enjoyable one and Maggie, the character, is great and although I hope that her life got a lot easier after the events in this book, I would be happy to revisit in another book.

Thank you to the author, Netta Newbound, and the publisher, Bloodhound Books, for my copy of Maggie. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

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When sixteen-year-old Maggie Simms’ mum loses her battle with cancer, the only family she has left is her abusive stepfather, Kenny.
Horrified to discover he intends to continue his nightly abuse, Maggie is driven to put a stop to him once and for all.
However, she finds her troubles are only just beginning when several of her closest allies are killed.
Although nothing seems to be linking the deaths, Maggie believes she is jinxed.
Why are the people she cares about being targeted?
And who is really behind the murders?
Sometimes the truth is closer than you think.

About the Author:

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My name’s Netta Newbound. I write thrillers in many different styles — some grittier than others. The Cold Case Files have a lighter tone and are full of fun. I also write a series set in London, which features one of my favourite characters, Detective Adam Stanley. These books are a little grittier. My standalone books, The Watcher and An Impossible Dilemma, are not for the faint hearted, and it seems you either love them or hate them—I’d love to know what you think.
 
Originally from Manchester, England, I have travelled extensively and have lived and worked in a variety of exciting places. I now live in New Zealand with my husband. We have three grown up children and four grandchildren.
Maggie by Netta Newbound is today and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

#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:

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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

 

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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:

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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:

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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.