The Silent Sister by Shalini Boland @ShaliniBoland @bookouture #blogblitz #TheSilentSister

Good morning and welcome to my stop on the blog blitz for The Silent Sister. Happy publication day to Shalini Boland!

My thanks to Kim Nash at Bookouture for the invitation to join and the review copy, which I received via Netgalley.

39890031

Author : Shalini Boland
Title : The Silent Sister
Pages : 304
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : July 16, 2018

When Lizzy Beresford discovers a threatening letter addressed to her, the words on the old, tattered paper chill her to the bone. But who sent it? Living in pretty cottage in a quiet country village, Lizzy’s never made any enemies in her life…

Except her sister.

Lizzy hasn’t spoken to Emma in years. Not since the argument which tore their relationship apart. Would her sister really want to cause her harm after all this time?

As Lizzy receives more disturbing messages, she begins to doubt those closest to her – her boyfriend, her best friend, her neighbours.

Because the mystery sender seems to know everything about her. And after a series of malicious incidents, it’s clear they won’t stop until they’ve destroyed her life.

Lizzy knows she must confront her sister. But can she trust her? And will she realise the shocking truth, before it’s too late?

Probably an odd way to start a review by mentioning the ending but I hereby declare Shalini Boland the “Queen of Epilogues” because every single time, she manages to put a spin on everything you’ve read on the pages preceding it! Makes me want to read the whole thing again to see how I missed the clues, if there are any.

Anywho, to the beginning.

Few things sound as scary to me as having a stalker. Someone who knows your every move, sometimes even seemingly before you do. Someone who taunts you and terrifies you, who makes you suspicious of everyone you meet. This is what happens to Lizzy when she starts receiving odd notes at home and at work. The police are no help at all and so it falls to Lizzy herself to figure out who wishes her harm. Could it be her sister, Emma? Her boyfriend, Joe? Her neighbours? Her boss/landlord? The cat?!

This is one of those stories where you are suspicious of just about everyone. Like me, you may find yourself zeroing in on a potential suspect, then double-guessing yourself, backtracking and getting utterly confused. Not helped by the fact that either someone is acting like a total creep or is too good to be true.

I found this one started out a bit slow but the tension did build up in the second part and true to form there are a few twists and turns I didn’t quite see coming. Even though, I thought I knew who the stalker was, I couldn’t at all figure out their connection to Lizzy, nor why they had it in for her as much as they did.

Shalini Boland is one of those authors who constantly delivers and I have no doubt fans of her previous books will enjoy this twisty tale of secrets, betrayal and revenge as well.

The Silent Sister will be published on July 16th and is available for pre-order!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

Shalini Boland is a USA Today bestselling author of psychological thrillers ‘THE GIRL FROM THE SEA’ (No 1, US Audible charts), ‘THE BEST FRIEND’ (No 2, US Audible charts), ‘THE MILLIONAIRE’S WIFE’ (No 9, UK Kindle charts), ‘THE SECRET MOTHER’ (No 2, US Kindle charts), THE CHILD NEXT DOOR (No 11, UK Kindle charts).

Shalini 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).

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

Author links : Facebook | Twitter | Website

07162018_silentsister

The Backstreets of Purgatory by Helen Taylor @TaylorHelen_M @unbounders @annecater #blogtour #RandomThingsTours #extract

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Backstreets of Purgatory by Helen Taylor!

Huge apologies to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours and to the author for posting this a day late.

I have an extract to share with you all but first, here is what the book is all about.

backstreets-cover

Author : Helen Taylor
Title : The Backstreets of Purgatory
Pages : 496
Publisher : Unbound
Publication date : July 12, 2018

aboutthebook

Finn Garvie’s life is one spectacular mess. He spends most of his time fannying around a makeshift Glasgow studio, failing to paint his degree portfolio, while his girlfriend Lizzi treats him like one of her psychology patients, and his best friend Rob is convinced that the tattoos he designs are the height of artistic achievement.

To top it all, Finn is worried that some stinking bastard is hanging around, spying on him, laughing at his cock-ups and eating his leftover curry. Fortunately, he has plenty of techniques to distract him – tackling the church hall renovations with the help of his alcoholic neighbour; pining after Kassia, the splendidly stroppy au-pair; and re-reading that book on Caravaggio, his all-time hero.

Things take a turn for the strange when he finally encounters the person who’s been bugging him, and it seems to be none other than Caravaggio himself…

extract

Boy Peeling a Fruit

At much the same time as Finn was admiring young Davy’s nude torso at the Art School, across town, in a side street two up from Partick Cross, Tuesday McLaughlin was attempting to gain entry to a tattoo parlour that was owned by Finn’s best mate. The shop belonged to Rob Stevenson, a detail to which Tuesday was, for the moment, happily oblivious, intent as she was on finding a lawful way into the premises. The trouble was, from where she was standing, it didn’t look too promising. The sign quite clearly stated the place was open for another hour, but it was closed, no ques- tion. For about the seventh time, Tuesday rattled the locked door and, when it still wouldn’t open, shoved her face up against the window.

The shop was full of stuff she’d have been happy to offload given different circumstances: shelves lined with old medicine bottles and volumes of faded red and green hardbacks; a round mirror speckled with  age that would definitely make good money down the antique market; and, on the counter, gleaming under the protection of a fingerprint-free glass case, a set of brass weighing scales of a quality any dealer would happily pawn their weans for. But, as far as Tuesday could make out, if you were talking actual living breathing life, there was less than what you’d find in your average coffin-dodgers’ coach trip. The only hope of someone who might be able to do the business was the limp skeleton hanging from a scaffold by a screw in its baldy head who appeared to be guarding the till, or the baby alligator perched on top of the stationery cupboard with glassy eyes and a stupid grin on its face. Strictly, Tuesday knew she couldn’t complain if the shop was dead – it was the whole morbid thing it had going on that had made her choose it in the first place – but, frankly, if the sign said open, it should bloody well be open.

Frustrated, she rattled the door again. The lock was pretty flimsy, barely holding. If she still had her old ways about her, she might have considered it worth booting the door in and having a run-in with the skinny bloke at the till, if only for the scrap metal value of the chemical balance. Instead, as she left, she gave the door a half-hearted kick for old times’ sake, and immediately regretted it when she stubbed her middle toe. Once the numbness had passed, it started throbbing like a tadger.

She was hopping on the white line halfway across the main road, waiting for a break in the traffic, when she heard a shout.

‘Hey, missus.’ Rob was waving to her from under a streetlight at the corner of the side street. A big bloke with a shaved head and tats on his face was Tuesday’s take. Nobody she knew. Although with his steel toecaps and pumped-up muscles, she clocked him for the type who reckoned he was hard.

‘Aye, you with the skinny pins. Are you coming in or what?’

Rush-hour traffic was passing either side, coughing out blue exhaust fumes around her. Tuesday shook her head. She’d lost the motivation. The shut-up shop had floored her. Whatever the opposite of psyched-up, that was her. Psyched-down or something. It would be easier to dis- appear into the going-home crowd.

‘Nah, you missed your chance, doll.’

Mind made up, Tuesday waved Rob off, but before she managed to dive through the oncoming traffic, a black BMW came speeding up the main road. The driver was playing with his mobile, steering one-handed, swerving all over the place. For a second, Tuesday swithered on the mid- line, too late to make the dash. She couldn’t believe it. He was practically on top of her and he hadn’t seen a bone in her body. Fuck that. She wasn’t having it. She held her ground and pumped her bunched fist from her forehead. Dickhead. The car missed her by a sliver. The driver beeped, leaving his hand on the klax – a wanker’s lesson in road safety – and, as the car passed, the sound dropped a semi- tone and faded into the traffic hum.

‘You okay?’

‘Aye, fucking peachy,’ Tuesday said, even though she wasn’t. It did her head in, these fancy tossers who thought they were entitled to make her invisible because they lived inside their fuel-injection, leather-trimmed lives. But even though the near-miss had left her shaky, there was no way she was admitting as much to a bloke who wore his denims that tight.

‘Come on. I’ve put the kettle on.’

Tuesday pulled a face and crossed back over, following Rob past the overflowing bins in the darkened side street. At the shop, he waited for her, holding open the door.

‘Milk and three sugars,’ Tuesday said, as rudely as she could. She may have been quarter his size but it didn’t mean she wasn’t capable of opening a door. Not that she was one of those feminist nut-jobs who got offended by basic man- ners, but this chivalry business annoyed the tits off her. In normal life, the only time a man held open a door for her was when the door in question was attached to a police van.

She was still working out how best to slag him off when Rob bowed elaborately and offered her his arm. ‘Would the young lady care to enter my humble premises?’

Tuesday shoved his arm out of the way and pushed past him. ‘If you don’t mind me saying, pal, that’s no fucking normal.’

He laughed and followed her in.

Close up the shop looked even better than it had through the window. Tuesday glanced around, taking it all in. Pretty phenomenal. Without intending to, she let out a low whis- tle. Front of house, a computer and music speakers were the only evidence of the twenty-first century. Otherwise, the place was entirely kitted out as a Victorian consulting room, complete with microscopes, anatomy charts and pickled specimens. There was a waiting area under the window lit with pretend oil lamps, a travelling trunk in place of a table, and through the half-open door at the back of the shop, she could have sworn it was a full-on operating theatre walled by the industrial white glazed tiles familiar from the back courts of warehouses and workshops all around the city.

‘Some place,’ she said, unzipping her puffer jacket. ‘Lots of bottles.’

‘Indeed,’ Rob said. ‘As you can see, we have products to meet your every requirement. From the benign’ – he indi- cated a tin of Beecham’s Pills, another of Allenburys Throat Pastilles – ‘to – I hesitate to say ridiculous – let’s say safe-in- the-correct-hands . . .’ His hand swept past thick bottles with ground-glass stoppers and peeling labels. Tuesday had to strain to read names. Aquae camphorae, saltpetre.

‘. . . to the outright-hazardous-to-human-health.’ Mercurous chloride, belladonna.

‘Are thae ones poison too?’ Arsenic, she knew.

He frowned. ‘Well spotted. I’m probably meant to keep them behind bars. I ought to find out.’

‘Aye, you ought to,’ Tuesday sneered. He was doing that thing they did at the day centre. Feigning idiocy to get down to your level.

After a microsecond of hesitation, Rob finished his tour. ‘Finally, the favourite of poets and physicians alike . . .’ He made it sound like a big pronouncement, a fanfare, like Tuesday would guess what was coming before he said it.

‘Eh?’

‘Laudanum.’

Tuesday gawped as blankly as her irritation would allow. ‘Opium for the upper class,’ Rob clarified.

In response, Tuesday flashed him a look of contempt and pointed out that the bottle was empty.

He grinned at her inanely. ‘Aye, well at least I cannae get done for possession.’

The line of chat was boring her already, so to liven things up she asked why Rob had pickled his dick. Puzzled, he glanced over to see what she was talking about. ‘You mean the eel? I bought it in a supermarket in France when I bought the calf’s brain.’ He nodded at a jellied mushroom  in a jar. ‘It’s amazing what you can buy in the pre-packed aisle over there.’

‘I’ll take your word for it.’ In the last few years, the fur- thest Tuesday had been from Partick was the Underground station at Govan.

‘I’m no sure, though, that bunging it in neat formalde- hyde will stop it rotting.’ Rob lifted the specimen jar off the shelf and wiped the dust on its shoulders with a cloth from under the desk. The liquid around the jelly brain was snot- thick. ‘Maybe I should’ve consulted a taxidermist.’

‘Aye, mebbe you should’ve,’ Tuesday said, and wandered over to the travelling trunk to pick up one of the folders scattered on it.

‘I’m thinking about a tattoo,’ she said finally. ‘Well, you’ve come to the right place.’

Riled, she spun round, ready to match whatever aggro came her way. But straight off she registered Rob wasn’t taking the piss. He was nervous, she realised. She was making him nervous. She was beginning to wonder if, in fact, she had come to the right place.

Casually, she flicked through the folder. ‘These all yours?’ ‘Indeed. By my own dark hand.’ He did a weird thing with his fingers. ‘No kidding.’

‘Aye. Rule number one. Original artwork only.’ ‘No bad.’

‘Thanks.’ Under his tattoos, Rob blushed. Tuesday snig- gered. How awkward. The bloke clearly fancied himself as an artist. In what even to her was obvious as an abysmal effort to gloss past, Rob took the folder and opened the inside cover. The price list was stuck to the plastic. ‘It’s by the hour. A wee one will take an hour, max hour and a half. Big ones can take anything up to five or six. Longer for colour.’

Tuesday nodded. It was pricier than she had anticipated. ‘When can we start?’

‘Rule number two. First appointments strictly consults only. Don’t want to jeopardise my stats.’

She just looked at him. He laughed. Nervously.

‘My cadaver rate. It’s exceptionally low. If I don’t think someone’s up to it, I scare them off deliberately.’

‘Cadaver rate?’

‘You know, the jessies who take a whitey at the sight of a needle.’

‘Right.’

‘Talking of cadavers and the like, did you meet Lister?’ ‘The skelly? Aye.’ Tuesday didn’t like the way Rob was looking at her, kind of squinty-eyed and troubled, even as he held out the skeleton’s bony hand to shake hers. Sud- denly, she panicked that he was going to refuse her.

But all he said was, ‘We  know each other,  right?’

Tuesday breathed a sigh of relief. ‘To be honest, doll, I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen you before in my puff.’ She would have remembered. He had near enough a menagerie swimming, running, crawling around his neck, up his jaw, on to his cheek. ‘It’d be hard to forget a face like that.’

‘Fair point,’ he said. ‘I’m Rob, by the way. Short for Robin. But you knew that already, I take it, or you wouldna’ve come in fancy dress.’

She laughed. ‘Fuck off.’ The funny thing was, he wasn’t that far off. The red puffer jacket had been her latest Oxfam steal and the leggings belonged to the Somali lassie who did the cleaning in the B&B and who changed into her work overalls in the reception toilets. The boots were her own. Discount sheepskin, tide-marked and losing their glue.

‘What I usually do is give the client a tour of the treat- ment room, get them to read over the health questionnaire and consent form, and then we work up some designs together. Gie’s two secs to finish the autoclave check and we can get on to it. Don’t let anyone else in.’ Rob locked the front door. Before he disappeared through the back, he gawked at her again. ‘I swear I know you. Those cheek- bones. Unmistakable. You could chib someone.’

Tuesday chucked the folder back on to the trunk. There was something majorly warped, she reckoned – something your mother probably would have warned you against if she hadn’t been a junkie waste of space with not a drop of maternal instinct – about being locked in a shop full of poison with a guy six foot four and built like a brick shit- house. But if anyone was crapping it, it certainly wasn’t her. While Rob sorted whatever it was he had to do through the back, Tuesday decided to make herself comfy. The choice of seating was laid out in front of her like the kind of cheap personality test they were keen on at the clinic. The window seat padded with charcoal velvet cushions was obviously the easy option. Beside that, there was an antique oak and leather study chair which had the air of being the boss’s and which she reckoned it would be sensible to avoid if Rob was the one inflicting the pain later, or an old- fashioned wicker and wooden invalid’s chair with foldable foot rests and a stick to steer it. She chose the wheelchair.

No contest.

Rob came back a few minutes later with his desk diary. ‘Okay, what are we looking at? See anything you like?’

Tuesday flattened a scrap of paper she’d pulled from her coat pocket and handed it over. Rob studied it.

‘Ah, the midge. Diminutive scourge of the Highlands and unwitting accomplice of the nationalists. The few foolhardy tourists who brave the badlands rarely repeat their mistake. Nectar running in their English blood, I reckon. Unlike the acerbic locals.’

Tuesday rolled her eyes. ‘You’re a freak, doll. D’you know that?’

‘All your own work?’

‘What gave it away?’ She’d torn it from a textbook in the nature section in the library.

‘Only I usually—’

‘You gonnae do it or what?’

‘The thing is . . . okay, maybe this once, but don’t let on to the masses. Where d’you want it?’

Tuesday scrabbled to pull off her coat and pushed up the sleeve of her sweatshirt. ‘Here.’

Livid tracks radiated up her arm from the scarred veins at the crook of her elbow. She stared at him, daring him to challenge her. To her surprise, he didn’t flinch.

He opened the diary. ‘What about next week? Early Monday?’

‘Listen, doll,’ she said, ‘I’m no being funny, but I’m here now.’

Rob stroked his chin. ‘True enough. Still an hour or two to torture before beer time.’ He pulled out a printed sheet from the back of the binder and passed it to her. ‘Is there anything I should know?’

The whole time she studied the form – following the words with her fingertip, mouthing them silently – she could feel Rob’s eyes on her. When she reached the bottom of the page, she flung it back to him. ‘I’m no HIV, if that’s what you’re on about.’

‘Fair enough. Sign here.’

She scribbled her signature. He twisted his neck to read  it upside down.

‘Tuesday. Tuesday McLaughlin.’ He was grinning, laugh- ing, rubbing the back of his shaved head in surprise. ‘I was right. I do know you. It’s me. Rob Stevenson. I . . . we . . . were in your class at primary. Jed – Gerrard – my brother. Twins. Remember? Athletics club in secondary. We used to pal around together. Bloody hell. I cannae believe it. Tuesday McLaughlin.’

It was pretty astounding how quickly a perfectly reason- able idea could take on a hideous new shape. ‘You know what?’ Tuesday said, scrambling to her feet. ‘Something came up.’ The consent form fluttered to the floor.

‘Hey, hey. You’re no going, are you? Don’t go. Hey.

Come on.’

But there was no way she was hanging about. She snatched up her coat and hurdled the travelling trunk.

‘I wouldna’ve had you down for bottling it.’

‘Fuck off,’ Tuesday said, jiggling the key in the lock. ‘I’m no bottling it.’

‘If you say so.’

‘Aye, I fucking say so.’ She was pissed off now.

Rob unlocked the door and stepped outside. He was chuckling to himself.

‘What’s so funny?’ Tuesday could smell fireworks and burning Catholics on the winter air.

‘I was terrified of you when I was a nipper.’

‘So you should’ve been. You and your brother? Soft as.’ Even in primary, Tuesday was harder than the twins. And wilder. By the time they were teenagers, she was already pretty much a legend, her name earnt by the inability ever to make it to school on the first day of the week. While Rob and his brother and their mates spent their Saturday nights innocently getting bevved on Tennent’s lager (and leching over the less-than-appetising Lager Lovelies that decorated the tins in those medieval times), Tuesday was moving in altogether different circles, getting spannered on acid and vodka in weekend binges that lasted beyond Sunday and put to shame even the Jimmy-Choo-and-fake-tan brigade that hung out those days at the Arches and had slag fights in the street overlooked by police who’d been advised not to inter- vene unless they were wearing stab vests.

Rob grinned at her. ‘What do you say? Mates’ rates?’

She shrugged and went back in, making out like she was doing him a favour. He offered her whisky from his special stock through the back, but she went for tea, loading it with sugar from sachets that had come from the café up the road and, as there was no sign of a spoon, stirred it with the top end of the Biro she’d used to sign the form. Once she was settled back in the wheelchair, she blew on her tea, watching Rob over the top of the mug. He was peeling an apple with an army knife. The peel unravelled in a single spiral.

‘Are you some kinda weirdo health freak, by the way?’ ‘Aye,’ Rob said mildly, dangling the peel into his mouth. ‘Still into all that fitness malarkey?’

‘Aye.’ He cut slices from the apple. Ate them off the knife blade. ‘Yourself?’

‘Don’t be fucking stupid.’

The running club was probably the last place they had seen each other. Tuesday’s one and only attempt at a legitim- ate extra-curricular activity. In the winter, they’d run the laughably named cross-country through the schemes round Knightswood and the Drum, getting abuse from the local kids who were after their Adidas three stripes and cagoules. And in the summer, endless laps round the playing field while Campbell Spence sat in his camping chair, feet up on his cold box, thumb on his stopwatch.

‘Cannon Balls Spence, remember him?’ Rob said, reading her mind. ‘He had a thing for you.’

‘Course he did. I was the  talent.’

‘Whatever happened to Tuesday McLaughlin?’ he said, starting on a second apple. ‘You left the party early, did you no?’

‘Like anyone gave a fuck.’

Tuesday sipped her tea. Rob crunched on his apple slices.

The wicker chair squeaked underneath her.

‘Gie’s a break,’ Rob said eventually. ‘Twenty years is a lifetime ago.’

‘Eighteen,’ Tuesday said. She’d been counting.

‘Eighteen, eh? You’ve no changed.’

Tuesday bit the edge of her mug. The soft git probably meant it as a compliment. ‘Cannae say the same about you, Slimster. What’s the story? Anything new? Girlfriend? Boy- friend?’

Lister jiggled almost imperceptibly in the air current. Tuesday could feel the dust settling on the poison bottles, the calf brain decomposing in its tank. The baby gator gave a rictus grin.

‘Nah, nothing to speak of,’ Rob said sheepishly. ‘So, are we gonnae do this thing or what?

page-divide_12_orig

If this extract has tickled your fancy, then you can go grab yourself a copy of The Backstreets of Purgatory right now!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Helen Taylor is a writer living in France. The Backstreets of Purgatory is her first book.

Author link : Twitter

page-divide_12_orig

07142018_backstreets

 

Weekly Wrap-Up (July 15)

weekly-wrap-up

At the risk of repeating myself : where the heck did this week go?!

Still quite warm here, this weekend especially so, and no rain in sight. Also, I think I may be a tad poorly as I bought my first ever pair of shorts. If the sun goes off to hide, feel free to blame my pale legs. Snow White has nothing on me! 🤣

With the World Cup Football winding down, I’m back to having lots more reading time. This totally counts as productivity in my book, no matter the state of my house. Just saying.


Books I’ve read this week

Yes, yes. Eight books AND one I didn’t finish. AND an incredibly teasing 6 chapters of The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelidis, which is to be published in February and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be huuuuuuge! Add it to your TBR right now!


Books I’ve bought this week

Oops. I knew it wouldn’t last. #notsorry


ARC’s received via Netgalley

One a “read now”, three for blog tours. Sadly, my request for the new Karin Slaughter was turned down 😭


On the blog this past week

Monday : Joined the blog tour for How Far We Fall by Jane Shemilt

Tuesday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for No Further Questions by Gillian McAllister and I also shared my review for The Fifth To Die by J.D. Barker

Wednesday : Joined the blog blitz for Happily Never After by Emma Robinson, did a cover reveal for Brothers in Blood by Amer Anwar and posted My Week in Books.

Thursday : Shared my review for Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

Friday : Posted an extract for my stop on the blog tour for Needle Song by Russell Day and shared my review for A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay

Saturday : Suffered a wee mishap when I posted a blog tour review 12 days too early 😳

Sunday : Weekly wrap-up


Next week on Novel Deelights

What would my blog look like without tours, eh? I guess we won’t be finding out any time soon. 😂

Monday : Blog tour | Review | The Silent Sister by Shalini Boland.
Tuesday : Blog tour | Review | The Memories of Us by Vanessa Carnevale
Wednesday : Blog tour | Content | Pretty Ugly Lies by Pamela Crane
Thursday : Blog tour | Review | The Emperor of Shoes by Spencer Wise
Friday :  Blog tour | Review | Do No Harm by Lucy V. Hay
Saturday : Oooh, lookie here, a gap! How did that happen? 🤣

And that’s it for another wrap-up! Off to melt. Wishing you all a most wonderful week and lots off happy reading! xx

 

 

The Day I Lost You by Alex Sinclair @bookouture #blogblitz

It’s a real pleasure to welcome you all to the blog blitz for The Day I Lost You by Alex Sinclair. My thanks to Noelle Holten at Bookouture for the invitation to join and the review copy, which I received via Netgalley.

39935166

Author : Alex Sinclair
Title : The Day I Lost You
Pages : 255
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : July 13, 2018

aboutthebook

You only let her go for a second… Now she’s gone.

Erika Rice is in an elevator with her four-year-old daughter Alice when all the lights go out. It jerks to a stop on a deserted floor of apartments and the little girl runs out into the corridor.

But before Erika can follow her the doors slam shut again. Now her daughter is nowhere to be seen.

Erika was about to take Alice away for a fresh start, far from her troubled past, when the child vanished. How could a four-year-old disappear into thin air?

And with no one to help her, will Erika ever find her daughter?

mythoughts

Well now, if you think stories about missing children have been done to death, think again. Because Alex Sinclair has come up with quite the unique twist to every mother’s nightmare.

When visiting her ex-husband’s penthouse flat, Erika and her daughter get stuck in an elevator. With the doors slightly open, four year old Alice manages to get out but Erika is unable to follow her as the doors shut again. Now Alice has disappeared and in an apartment complex this massive, the search isn’t an easy one.

Now, I did feel the storyline was a tad far-fetched at times and required me to suspend belief a little bit but nevertheless, it was quite the gripping story. The search for Alice takes us all around the complex, with few people seemingly willing to help Erika look for her daughter. It’s a truly creepy place, I’d never want to live there and the suspicious nature of the residents really didn’t help.

Erika herself is the only character we really get to know and I couldn’t quite connect to her, although I can’t really explain why except I found her behaviour increasingly frustrating. Some flashback chapters give a fascinating insight into the marriage of Erika and her ex-husband Michael, but since Erika’s side of the story is the only one we hear, I couldn’t decide if I could rely on her version of events. These chapters had me hooked though and I found myself wishing for more of them.

I couldn’t at all figure out the reason behind Alice’s disappearance, who’d want to take her or why. Nor could I predict the outcome which was so incredibly unexpected I think I did one of those awkward fish impressions. Mouth open, mouth shut, repeat.

While I feel The Day I Lost You could have done with a bit more tension, a bit more “thrill” of the thriller variety, I did enjoy this one. It’s a relatively quick read that is a surefire way to spend an entertaining afternoon.

The Day I Lost You is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Alex Sinclair is a thirty-two-year-old psychological thriller author from a quiet country town outside of Melbourne, Australia. He currently works full-time for a small business and writes in the early hours of the morning before his daughter and wife wake up for the day.

Alex has a background in IT, bookkeeping, and 3D animation. He loves all things creative but especially loves writing. He is an avid reader of all genres, but loves psychological thrillers more than anything else. He also has a passion for good storytelling in all forms of media such as addictive TV shows and movies.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter | Website

page-divide_12_orig

07152018_daylost

A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay @linwood_barclay @RebeccaGray @orion_crime #mustread #20BooksofSummer

37772278

Author : Linwood Barclay
Title : A Noise Downstairs
Pages : 336
Publisher : Orion
Publication date : July 12, 2018

aboutthebook

EVERY STEP…
Paul Davis forgets things – he gets confused, he has sudden panic attacks. But he wasn’t always like this.

TAKES YOU CLOSER…
Eight months ago, Paul found two dead bodies in the back of a co-worker’s car. He was attacked, left for dead, and has been slowly recovering ever since. His wife tries her best but fears the worst…

TO THE TRUTH…
Therapy helps during the days, but at night he hears things – impossible things – that no one else can. That nobody else believes. Either he’s losing his mind – or someone wants him to think he is.

Just because he’s paranoid doesn’t mean it’s not happening…

mythoughts

Oh, what a delightfully devilish tale this is!

I lost track of Linwood Barclay there for a while but I will not be making that mistake again because A Noise Downstairs is an absolutely fantastic stand-alone thriller that will make you paranoid and eye your inanimate objects suspiciously for weeks to come.

Eight months ago, Paul Davis was hit over the head with a shovel when he stumbled upon a co-worker with two dead bodies in his car. Paul’s recovery has been immensely slow. He has panic attacks, gets confused and forgets things. Therapy helps, as does his wife. But when Paul starts hearing a noise downstairs in the middle of the night, nobody believes him. Is he paranoid? Finally losing his mind? Or is something else going on?

Even though I thought I’d figured a wee something out, most likely because I’m immensely suspicious by nature and maybe read too much, when the pieces of the puzzle finally came together, I was completely thrown for a loop.  For once, there actually was a twist I didn’t see coming and the sheer unexpectedness filled me with glee and at the same time left me gobsmacked! It completely changed the storyline from something that could have been predictable to something that blew my little pea-sized brain to bits and turned the whole story upside down.

A Noise Downstairs is one of those books where I kept telling Myself “I’ll just read one more chapter”, which resulted in staying up way too late just so I could finish the novel in one go. The fast-paced and massively clever plot just lends itself to it and it’s impossible to put down!  So intelligently crafted and so brilliantly written. Compelling? Check! Engrossing? Check! Addictive page-turner? Absolutely check!

I’ve read quite a few books by Linwood Barclay over the years but this one is most definitely his best one yet. In stepping away from what he’s done before, A Noise Downstairs feels incredibly refreshing and I can’t wait to see what’s next! Go grab yourself a copy, devour it and enjoy it. You can thank me later. 😉

My thanks to Rebecca Gray at Orion for my review copy!

A Noise Downstairs is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

page-divide_12_orig

Book 7 on my 20 Books of Summer list.

20-books-of-summer-cathy

 

Needle Song by Russell Day @rfdaze @fahrenheitpress @damppebbles #blogtour #extract #damppebblesblogtours

It’s a real pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for Needle Song by Russell Day today! My thanks to Emma Welton for the invitation to join. I have an extract to share with you all but first, here is what the book is all about.

40136141

Author : Russell Day
Title : Needle Song
Pages : 380
Publisher : Fahrenheit Press
Publication date : April 28, 2018

aboutthebook

Spending the night with a beautiful woman would be a good alibi, if the body in the next room wasn’t her husband.

Doc Slidesmith has a habit of knowing things he shouldn’t. He knows the woman Chris Rudjer meets online is married. He knows the adult fun she’s looking for is likely to be short lived. And when her husband’s killed, he knows Chris Rudjer didn’t do it.

Only trouble is the police disagree and no one wants to waste time investigating an open and shut case.

No one except Doc.

Using lies, blackmail and a loaded pack of Tarot cards, Doc sets about looking for the truth – but the more truth he finds, the less he thinks his friend is going to like it.

extract

Mornington Crescent

I took a long route home, telling myself it was a nice evening for a ride and that the tension across my shoulders was stiffness from work. Funny the lies we tell only ourselves. I lived about three miles from the shop but managed to put fifteen on the clock before arriving.

The house, my father’s, was in the middle of an old terrace. Not classic, just old, one of a row, each one as bland as the next. High-density living, neighbours sleeping a brick’s width apart and not knowing each other’s names. North London in a nutshell.

Dad was sat on the stairs about a third of the way up. He didn’t claim to be stuck but his laboured breathing implied a story to be told.

“Hello,” I said. Dad took a couple of heroic gasps but decided the effort of speech was too great and weakly raised a hand, his opening move. “You alright?” I asked it as a greeting rather than an enquiry, subtle difference.

Dad decided his next move quickly and chose badly. He could have gone for the sympathy or pity play. Instead he went for martyrdom, suffering in silence. He held a hand up again and added a brave nod. A man in distress but too proud to let on. I took it at face value and walked straight past him to the kitchen, which was a minor victory to me, at least I think it was. The rules for the game dad played were as clear as those of Mornington Crescent.

The kitchen smelt stale, dad didn’t believe in opening windows and a good number of food-smeared plates and a pair of pans waited for attention. I let them wait a bit longer. I went to the front room and sat facing the over-size television, the blaring screen was the only thing the room hadn’t sucked the colour from. Dad came in and made his way to his armchair, sat in it with has much effort as he could. He’d given up on the heavy breathing, conceding a point to me. I had no doubt there’d be a counter play at some stage but I told myself I wasn’t worried. Funny the lies we tell only ourselves.

“You had any dinner?” I asked, bellowed, over the TV.

Dad walked right into it.

“Not really.” Voice just the right side of accusatory.

I nodded and, without looking away from the screen said, “Load of washing up in the sink.”

Bang, I got another point, won a few blessed minutes of peace. Dad broke the silence with a master stroke.

“Your girlfriend rang. I told her you were out.”

I nodded, left the room, went upstairs to the bathroom and stood clutching the side of the bath until my knuckles hurt. When I trusted myself to sit with dad again, I asked what she’d wanted. Without looking away from the screen, he shrugged.

“Asked for you. I told her you were out.”

I unclenched my fists with an effort and left the room again. Game, set and match to dad.

page-divide_12_orig

If this teaser has left you wanting more, you’re in luck as Needle Song is available to buy from the following links!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Fahrenheit Press Shop | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Russell Day was born in 1966 and grew up in Harlesden, NW10 – a geographic region searching for an alibi. From an early age it was clear the only things he cared about were motorcycles, tattoos and writing. At a later stage he added family life to his list of interests and now lives with his wife and two children. He’s still in London, but has moved south of the river for the milder climate.

Although he only writes crime fiction Russ doesn’t consider his work restricted. ‘As long as there have been people there has been crime, as long as there are people there will be crime.’ That attitude leaves a lot of scope for settings and characters. One of the first short stories he had published, The Second Rat and the Automatic Nun, was a double-cross story set in a world where the church had taken over policing. In his first novel, Needle Song, an amateur detective employs logic, psychology and a loaded pack of tarot cards to investigate a death.

Russ often tells people he seldom smiles due to nerve damage, sustained when his jaw was broken. In fact, this is a total fabrication and his family will tell you he’s has always been a miserable bastard.

Author links : Twitter

page-divide_12_orig

07132018_needlesong

Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager #20BooksOfSummer

38206879

Author : Riley Sager
Title : Last Time I Lied
Pages : 368
Publisher : Ebury
Publication date : July 12, 2018

aboutthebook

Have you ever played two truths and a lie?

Emma has. Her first summer away from home, she learned how to play the game. And she learned how to lie.

Then three of her new friends went into the woods and never returned . . .

Now, years later, Emma has been asked to go back to the newly re-opened Camp Nightingale. She thinks she’s laying old ghosts to rest but really she’s returning to the scene of a crime.

Because Emma’s innocence might be the biggest lie of all…

mythoughts

This one time … at summer camp … three girls went missing. They were never found and nobody knows what happened to them. Now, fifteen years later, Emma returns to Camp Nightingale and hopes to lay old ghosts to rest. Because the events of that summer still haunt her. After all, she lied.

Right off the bat, you’re left to wonder if Emma is a reliable narrator. What did she lie about fifteen years ago? How many times did she lie? And why? Does she know what happened to the three missing girls? The storyline switches between events in the past to the now. Both threads kept me guessing until the very end. I found both threads to be incredibly gripping and was lucky enough to finish the book in one sitting, desperate to know the outcome before bed.

Creating an unsettling and threatening feeling is something Riley Sager does extremely well. Even when it seems there’s little going on, I half expected someone or something to jump out from behind a tree or whatever else creepy hiding place. The setting of the camp and the nearby lagoon lends itself to this perfectly. There’s a constant dark, creepy and chilling atmosphere that had me utterly captivated.

Just like Emma, I tried to follow the clues, got the wrong end of the stick multiple times and just couldn’t figure things out at all. It seemed like just about everyone had a secret they were trying to hide and few characters came across as likeable. And then Riley Sager hit me with the most brilliant epilogue ever! Did NOT see that coming! Fabulous!

I was slightly in the minority where Riley Sagar’s previous book, The Final Girls, was concerned. While I enjoyed it, I wasn’t entirely sure it was as special as the buzz surrounding it made it out to be. Personally, I feel Last Time I Lied was much better. Tense and intriguing, full of suspense and with a deliciously awesome mystery to solve, this is one of those books that is really hard to put down. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for Riley Sager’s next book!

My thanks to the publisher for the review copy, which I received via Netgalley.

Last Time I Lied is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

page-divide_12_orig

Book 6 from my 20 Books of Summer list

20-books-of-summer-cathy

This Week in Books (July 11)

this-week-in-books

Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

Last book I finished reading

38321825

Inside the Dead Letters Depot in East London, William Woolf is one of thirty letter detectives who spend their days solving mysteries: Missing postcodes, illegible handwriting, rain-smudged ink, lost address labels, torn packages, forgotten street names – they are all the culprits of missed birthdays, broken hearts, unheard confessions, pointless accusations, unpaid bills and unanswered prayers.

When William discovers letters addressed simply to ‘My Great Love’ his work takes on new meaning. Written by a woman to a soulmate she hasn’t met yet, the missives stir William in ways he didn’t know were possible. Soon he begins to wonder: Could William be her great love?

William must follow the clues in Winter’s letters to solve his most important mystery yet: the human heart.


The book I’m currently reading

39935166

You only let her go for a second… Now she’s gone.

Erika Rice is in an elevator with her four-year-old daughter Alice when all the lights go out. It jerks to a stop on a deserted floor of apartments and the little girl runs out into the corridor.

But before Erika can follow her the doors slam shut again. Now her daughter is nowhere to be seen.

Erika was about to take Alice away for a fresh start, far from her troubled past, when the child vanished. How could a four-year-old disappear into thin air?

And with no one to help her, will Erika ever find her daughter?


What I’m (most 
definitely) reading next

39890031

When Lizzy Beresford discovers a threatening letter addressed to her, the words on the old, tattered paper chill her to the bone. But who sent it? Living in pretty cottage in a quiet country village, Lizzy’s never made any enemies in her life…

Except her sister.

Lizzy hasn’t spoken to Emma in years. Not since the argument which tore their relationship apart. Would her sister really want to cause her harm after all this time?

As Lizzy receives more disturbing messages, she begins to doubt those closest to her – her boyfriend, her best friend, her neighbours.

Because the mystery sender seems to know everything about her. And after a series of malicious incidents, it’s clear they won’t stop until they’ve destroyed her life.

Lizzy knows she must confront her sister. But can she trust her? And will she realise the shocking truth, before it’s too late?

page-divide_12_orig

What are you reading this week? Let me know! Happy reading! xx

Cover Reveal : Brothers in Blood by Amer Anwar @ameranwar #coverreveal

coverreveal2

I am incredibly delighted to be amongst a host of other bloggers who have the pleasure of revealing the cover of Brothers in Blood by Amer Anwar for you today.

I was lucky enough to read this brilliant book last year when the author very kindly sent me a review copy. You can read my review here. (with its original title Western Fringes). Now though, Amer Anwar has been signed by Dialogue Books (woohoo!!!) and his book has received a make-over. And what a make-over it is!

But before I show you the cover, here is what Brothers in Blood is all about.

aboutthebook

Winner of the CWA Debut Dagger

A Sikh girl on the run.
A Muslim ex-con who has to find her.
A whole heap of trouble.

Southall, West London. After being released from prison, Zaq Khan is lucky to land a dead-end job at a builders’ yard. All he wants to do is keep his head down and put the past behind him.

But when Zaq is forced to search for his boss’s runaway daughter, he quickly finds himself caught up in a deadly web of deception, murder and revenge.
With time running out and pressure mounting, can Zaq find the missing girl before it’s too late? And if he does, can he keep her – and himself – alive long enough to deal with the people who want them both dead?

page-divide_12_orig

Praise for Amer Anwar

“An engaging hero, a cunning plot, and a fascinating journey into Southall’s underworld. We’ll be hearing a lot more from Amer Anwar.”
Mick Herron

“A fine debut novel. With his engaging characters and skilful plotting, Anwar brings a fresh and exciting new voice to the genre.”
Ann Cleeves

abouttheauthor

Amer Anwar grew up in West London. After leaving college he had a variety of jobs, including; warehouse assistant, comic book lettering artist, a driver for emergency doctors and chalet rep in the French Alps.

He eventually landed a job as a creative artworker/graphic designer and spent the next decade and a half producing artwork, mainly for the home entertainmentindustry.

He has an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck, University of London and is a winner of the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Award. Western Fringes is his first novel.

For everything else, he has an alibi. It wasn’t him. He was never there.

Author link : Twitter

page-divide_12_orig

Right, that’s enough babble.

Are you ready to see the cover for Brothers in Blood?

I’m really quite excited!

Here it comes!

3

2

1

BOOM!

brothers-in-blood-cover

I don’t know about you but I think that looks absolutely awesome! 😍

Brothers in Blood will be published on September 6th and is available for pre-order!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | BookdepositoryKobo | Goodreads

My thanks to Amer Anwar for inviting me to join this cover reveal!

Happily Never After by Emma Robinson @emmarobinsonuk @bookouture #blogblitz #HappilyNeverAfter

It’s a real pleasure to host one of the stops on the blog blitz for Happily Never After by Emma Robinson today! My thanks to Kim Nash at Bookouture for the opportunity to join and for the review copy, which I received via Netgalley.

40061592

Author : Emma Robinson
Title : Happily Never After
Pages : 296
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : July 10, 2018

aboutthebook

Rory doesn’t believe in love. She’s got far too many real problems to deal with.

She’s just bought a tumbledown house. Her mother is generally behaving like a wicked witch, insisting on calling her Aurora, and generally interfering in her (admittedly pitiful lack of) love life. And her 16-year-old daughter has finally grown out of Disney princesses and discovered dating…

But Rory’s adamant that she doesn’t need saving. In fact, the only thing she’s wishing on a star for is a bit of practical help. However, when she meets a builder whose name is John Prince and who seems to be in the habit of rescuing her (right down to finding her lost shoe one evening) she might have to face a truth as uncomfortable as hobbling home barefoot – that maybe there’s something enchanted in the air.

Her mother, daughter and friends are convinced her prince has come, but Rory just wishes everyone could let it go. Especially when she hears a story that makes her question whether he is really the hero everyone thinks he is.

mythoughts

No, you have not accidentally stumbled upon the wrong blog. I can see why you might think that as this is quite clearly not something I’d normally read. However, I rather enjoyed Emma Robinson’s previous book, The Undercover Mother, and sometimes it’s just nice to step away from all the dark and disturbing stories I usually read.

Rory has a lot on her plate. She’s just bought a rundown house that will surely make a fabulous home in time. But time is exactly something Rory doesn’t have in abundance. Her job as a teacher is increasingly demanding, not helped at all by the new deputy head, who’s more interested in statistics and spreadsheets than anything else. On top of that, her sixteen year old daughter Belle has just discovered dating. Rory doesn’t have time for anything, least of all finding love. She’s perfectly fine without a knight in shining armour coming to her rescue, even if his name happens to be Prince. Or is she?

These characters are all delightful and it was such a joy to get to know them. Rory is fiercely independent, to the point of being stubborn. Her colleagues Susi and Penny are very different as both seem to think the only thing that can make them happy is a man in their lives. Susi especially comes across as rather desperate. But the one who elicited some chuckles from me was Sheila, Rory’s mother, and her gossip about the retirement home she lives in.

Even though there are some funny moments, I wouldn’t exactly call this a laugh-out-loud comedy though, to be honest, but I did thoroughly enjoy it. It’s sweet and a little dramatic and sometimes even a little sad but also realistic as it tackles numerous topics from teenage drama to illness.

Not quite as light and fluffy as I expected it to be but a wonderfully entertaining summer read nonetheless, and for me, the perfect palette cleanser before diving back into the gruesome crime genre.

Happily Never After is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | GoogleplayiBookstoreKobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Emma Robinson thinks of herself as one of the ‘Bridget Jones generation’ – who are now grown up and having children – and writes novels for women who feel the same.

She also has a blog, Motherhood for Slackers, which takes a humorous look at parenthood, and includes poems such as ‘Dear Teacher’ about her son starting school which has been shared around the world. Emma is an English teacher and lives in Essex with a patient husband and two children who are an endless source of material.

Author links : Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Website

page-divide_12_orig

07112018_happilynever