The Lost Daughter by Gill Paul @GillPaulAUTHOR @headlinepg @annecater #blogtour #TheLostDaughter #mustread #recommended

I am beyond delighted and extremely honoured to kick off the blog tour for The Lost Daughter by Gill Paul today! Huge thanks to Anne Cater for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my review copy!

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Author : Gill Paul
Title : The Lost Daughter
Pages : 440
Publisher : Headline
Publication date : October 18, 2018 (UK paperback)

aboutthebook

1918. With the country they once ruled turned against them, the future of the Romanov family hangs in the balance. When middle daughter Maria captures the attention of two of the guards, it will lead to the ultimate choice between right and wrong….

Fifty-five years later…

‘I didn’t want to kill her’. With these cryptic words Val’s father dies, leaving her to unravel a mystery which unites two families who have faced unspeakable tragedy and perhaps to finally offer an explanation which has been long overdue.

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Gosh, I don’t think I can put into words how much I loved The Lost Daughter. As soon as I finished the final page, I wanted to talk to someone about it, say “Oh my god, this novel, you have to read this now!”. Then I sat down to write my review, and poof, all my words were gone. I couldn’t seem to get past “amazing”, “awesome”, “brilliant” … which are all true but I’m guessing a review should have a few more words, right?

There are a few authors for whom I’d happily drop whatever it is I’m doing or reading and Gill Paul is, without a doubt, one of them. I knew that from the second I discovered her work. Picking up one of her novels always fills me with joy and excitement because I know she will take me on the most delightful journey. High anticipations, you ask? Check! But all of them were met and then some.

In The Secret Wife, Gill Paul already introduced us to the Romanov family and their dramatic circumstances. That story was centred around Tatiana Romanova and if you haven’t yet read it, you most definitely should as it is a brilliant novel. This time around, in The Lost Daughter, the focus is on the middle child of the family, Maria. And it’s an even more brilliant novel! Yes, that’s right, I said it. And used the “brilliant” word again. I must add that I loved how Gill Paul tied these two novels together with little references to Tatiana’s story.

We meet Maria in 1918, a most turbulent time in Russia. There’s been a revolution and people have turned on the royal family. Tsar Nicholas, his wife and children are prisoners of the new regime. Their circumstances are very different from what they’re used to. Maria is nineteen years old and a lovely, bubbly chatterbox who seems to be able to make friends with just about anyone. I warmed to her from the start as she’s a truly likeable character. But what will become of her?

The other thread of The Lost Daughter has us traveling all the way to Australia, where we meet Val. When she gets a phone call from the nursing home where her father is a resident, she decides to visit him although it’s been years since they last talked. But his words “I didn’t want to kill her” leave Val with a mystery to solve and set in motion a lot of changes in her life. Who was her father really? What secrets was he hiding?

From the first page, I found myself transported into the lives of Maria and Val, both extremely realistic and believable characters. I couldn’t quite see how the two threads of the story would come together but the road to get there was just marvellous.

This exquisitely written novel had me utterly engrossed and throughout the story, I often found myself with a lump in my throat. The Lost Daughter is a story across the ages and country borders about love, family, war, loss, survival and hope. But also about the strength of women, in sometimes horrifying circumstances. It is immensely absorbing, moving and powerful and I couldn’t tear myself away. When I flipped the final page, there was a happy sigh, a “wow” and then a little bit of sadness that I had come to the end.

I can’t even begin to imagine the painstaking amount of research Gill Paul must have gone through to come up with this incredibly captivating tale. If you are a fan of this genre, I can honestly not recommend her books enough. This is undoubtedly historical fiction from the top shelf and whenever Gill Paul publishes her next novel, I will be first in line!

The Lost Daughter will be available in paperback on October 18th.

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

abouttheauthor

Gill Paul is an author of historical fiction, specialising in relatively recent history.

She was born in Glasgow and grew up there, apart from an eventful year at school in the US when she was ten. She studied Medicine at Glasgow University, then English Literature and History (she was a student for a long time), before moving to London to work in publishing. She started her own company producing books for publishers, along the way editing such luminaries as Griff Rhys Jones, John Suchet, John Julius Norwich, Ray Mears and Eartha Kitt. She also writes on health, nutrition and relationships.

Gill swims year-round in an open-air pond – “It’s good for you so long as it doesn’t kill you”– and is a devotee of Pilates. She also particularly enjoys travelling on what she calls “research trips” and attempting to match-make for friends.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter

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Weekly Wrap-Up (October 14)

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What a week. Crap here, shit there and at the end of it, I was left to wonder what we’re doing it for. That may be slightly vague but I really don’t want to get into it. Let’s just say I’ve often been telling myself this week that this whole blogging malarkey is supposed to be fun and sometimes, it just really doesn’t feel like it. Don’t be surprised if you see (even less) of me around social media. Those places really are cesspits.

Moving on. My reading took a massive hit this week. Granted, two of the books I read were close to 500 pages but that’s not much of an excuse, is it? Let’s see what the damage is, shall we?

Books I’ve read this week

Yep. Three. That’s it. Oops.

On the other hand, I had a whale of a time chatting to fellow book bloggers and even virtually (sort of) attended the brilliant Quercus event on Wednesday. I was given some more Instagram master classes, rearranged a book shelf, wasted a few hours trying to buy an exclusive from Goldsboro whose website kept crashing and even managed to squeeze in some ironing. It’s not like I didn’t DO anything 😂

Books I’ve bought this week

Just the one and it was all because of peer pleasure, quite frankly 😉

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ARC’s received via Netgalley

For blog tour purposes. I requested two more but they’re pending.

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On the blog this past week

Monday : I posted my review for Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty and I shared an extract for my stop on the blog tour for Trap by Lilja Sigurdardottir

Tuesday : Joined the blog tour for Palm Beach Finland by Antii Tuomainen

Wednesday : I reviewed Bring Them Home by D.S. Butler and posted my Week in Books

Thursday : Hosted a stop on the blog blitz for Our Little Lies by Sue Watson

Friday : Joined the blog blitz for The Warning by Kathryn Croft

Saturday : Shared an extract on the blog tour for Without Rules by Andrew Field

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Next week on Novel Deelights

You may want to sit down for this one. 😉

Monday : Blog tour | Review | The Lost Daughter by Gill Paul

Tuesday : I don’t know

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Not a clue

Friday : Review | Fatal Promise by Angela Marsons

Saturday : Look at all these gaps in my schedule!

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Are you all feeling okay? 😂

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Question of the week : Blog tours. Yes, I know they’ve pretty much been discussed to death but this isn’t about how successful they are or whatnot. What I’m interested in this time around are the actual posts, reviews and content. I’d like to know if there’s something you never read. Personally, I skip promo posts because I find them a waste of time and I never read extracts. I will, once in a blue moon, read a guest post or a Q&A. It depends on the author or the topic they’re talking about. As for reviews, if I still have to read the book myself (and we all know how close I cut it sometimes), I won’t read it because I don’t want to be influenced in any way.

So, what about you? Do you like content posts? Do you feel they add something to a tour? Which ones are your favourite to read? Which ones do you pass on?

And that’s a wrap, once again. I have an insanely busy weekend ahead of me. I’m writing this early on Saturday morning. Later on, I have friends coming over who will be spending the night. There will be wine and limoncello. 🥂 We have elections here tomorrow (Sunday) morning (boo hiss!) and I also have a birthday dinner to attend. Fingers crossed I’ll be awake (and sober) enough to get this post out.

Wishing you all a most wonderful week and lots of happy reading! See you next time! xx

Without Rules by Andrew Field @AFwithoutrules @damppebbles #blogtour #extract #damppebblesblogtours #WithoutRules

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Without Rules by Andrew Field! My thanks to Emma at damppebbles blog tours for the invitation to join. I have an extract to share with you today but first, here is what you need to know about Without Rules.

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Author : Andrew Field
Title : Without Rules
Pages : 288
Publisher : Boomslang
Publication date : October 15, 2018

aboutthebook

When a professional hitman turns up at Candy’s World to hide, China Mackie discovers her plan to flee from her abusive father has tragically backfired. A gruesome bloodbath has left four people dead on the streets of a northern city centre on a cold wet Sunday morning. China knows she’s next to die. Unless she is more ruthless than everyone else. She must improvise fast. Seduce her father’s assassin. Plead her case so he helps her escape in a fight to the death where rules don’t matter but the consequences do.

extract

1: China

China ran and she ran and she ran, a lung-busting pace quelled the anxiety inside her. She pushed herself, punished her body and distracted her mind before her guests arrived at Candy’s World. They were already waiting, two wet and cold men huddled outside her front door. China had been running since Karl and Jenny Grant took Rose to room 203 at the Paradise Hills resort. 

“I am coming,” she shouted. 

She removed the chain, undid the door’s deadlocks, dried herself with a towel. Her two unwanted guests bypassed her as if she was invisible. Normally goat boys barely disguised their urge to download on her software. She noticed the stench of excrement overpowered large pans of chilli and bolognese simmering on her Aga. Switchblade Eddie in badly stained jeans was the culprit. He grabbed a bottle of Lynchburg, Tennessee’s finest sour mash, filled a lead crystal tumbler and swigged from the bottle. 

“You want a slug, catch,” said Eddie. 

He chucked the Jack Daniels towards the stranger, who made no attempt to catch. As it smashed the stranger looked at her. She noticed ice cold clear blue eyes. China was big on eyes, the windows to the soul if you looked deep and hard enough.

“Drink is the first and last refuge of the gutless. I’ll take that as an offer of a friendly drink rather than an unwise act of aggression,” said the stranger. “Think you need to go home.” 

“Wanker,” said Eddie. He hurled the tumbler at the floor-to-ceiling window overlooking the resort golf course. The tumbler shattered, the window stayed intact. 

China stepped back. She didn’t want to get hurt in the crossfire. She had seen Switchblade Eddie kick the unconscious further into unconsciousness out of sheer spite too many times. 

“When you’ve finished your tantrum close the door behind you,” said the stranger as he switched on a twenty-four hour news channel. 

All three watched the scrolling newsflash: city centre shooting incident, unconfirmed police reports say four people dead.  

“Four,” the stranger said to himself. “Four, the fourth?”

“Jak, we need to call Chip,” said Eddie, his voice timid after his outburst. 

“You still here?” asked Jak.

“Got to keep him in the picture.”  

“Can’t he watch TV like the rest of us?” 

China glanced at the huge two-way mirrors that dominated the massive open plan ground floor. Unseen CCTV cameras recorded every movement, every word.  

A mobile rang. 

“China, I believe our friends have finally arrived. Entertain them until darkness falls,” said Chip.  

“Shall I fuck them?” 

Jak noticed her when the ‘fuck’ word was aired. He turned from the TV screen, gave her the once over, like she was a second hand motor on its last legs. He wasn’t the first to view her as white trash and would not be the last. She eyed him up too, although she did not want a fuck buddy. China lusted after a white stallion man to ride to her and Rose’s rescue, a hero not intimidated by Chip and his cronies. 

“No need to be so crude, I was thinking of a cup of tea, a slice of cake, maybe brunch,” said Chip. “Ask Eddie and Jak if their Christian DeVeres’ mission was successful?”

“Yes, your man is toast.”

“A total fuck up, Jimmy’s bloody dead. Saw it with my own eyes. Jesus, Chip. A fucking nightmare,” said Switchblade Eddie as he opened a second bottle of Jack D.

“The man lost his head.”  

She heard a snort from Chip. He didn’t give a toss about Jimmy Doyle’s death. Or Christian DeVeres who habitually hung around her kitchen for the last six months as he cooked the books and cleaned dirty money while Rose played, danced and skipped. 

What unpredictable madness had taken place? Chip had lost the plot. He ranted at her. “No more cock ups. Stay put until collection. No calls. No contacts with anyone. Understand China? You’re responsible for them two. Tell them and get their approval.”

She did as she was told on automatic pilot. They nodded imperceptibly.

“I’ve got to go China, fucking them might be a good idea. Stop them killing each other. Better still, let them fight. Save us a lot of bother,” said Chip before he cut the call.  

“You two better behave or I’ll give you both a spanking.” 

They ignored her, the two of them less than a dozen paces apart. Eddie produced a blade, eight inches of Sheffield cold steel, clasped in his right hand. 

Jak looked nonplussed. “You as good at maths as your brother was at riding a motorcycle? What happened to the shooter?” He took off his jacket and black t-shirt, pulled off black boots, unbuttoned 501 black jeans, stood there almost naked in CK boxers. “These will need washing and drying. Did you count? How many bullets left? How fast are you Eddie? Faster than a Black Talon bullet?” 

Eddie backed off towards the door, away from Jak. 

“Chip said stay put.” 

“Open the door,” said Jak. He watched Switchblade Eddie pull on the JD. “Put the knife down, unless your mum wants a two-for-one funeral deal.”

A single loud sob from Eddie broke the tension. 

Bizarrely, China felt sorry for him, if sorrow and hatred were complementary emotions, like anxiety and fear. She didn’t know. She was an emotional cripple herself. Only Rose kept her sane. 

“You’re not having my blade you cunt,” cried Eddie. Jak’s intensity had reduced him to tears. 

She opened the door. He glided out into the cold and the wet. She slammed the door shut. China looked over at Jak to see what happened next. She searched for the words to make the right impression. He took the decision away from her, pointed to his dirty laundry, pulled out a pistol from his jacket. 

“One bullet left. We only had five. He made the right choice. Put my clothes in the wash. Now about this fuck?”

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If this extract has you wanting more, then Without Rules will be available to buy on Monday, October 15th.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Andrew Field’s Online BookstoreGoodreads

abouttheauthor

Andrew lives, works and plays in Manchester, England, Europe, with his partner, Catherine. He has been a trade journalist in Southampton in his youth. He owned a PR agency in the nineties and early noughties and is now an independent PR, marketing and publishing consultant looking forward to the challenge of becoming the story with the publication of Without Rules.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter | Website

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The Warning by Kathryn Croft @bookouture #NetGalley #TheWarning #bookreview #blogblitz

It’s a real pleasure to be one of the stops on the blog blitz for The Warning by Kathryn Croft today! My thanks to Kim Nash at Bookouture for the invitation to join and for the reciew copy, which I received via Netgalley.

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Author : Kathryn Croft
Title : The Warning
Pages : 318
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : October 12, 2018

aboutthebook

Three years ago, nurse Zoe’s son Ethan was found drowned in a muddy river by their home, along with his best friend Josh. With no witnesses, their deaths were ruled a tragic accident.

Heartbroken, Zoe and her family, move away from her home. They’re just beginning to get back to some kind of normality, when, out of the blue, Zoe receives an anonymous email:

You need to find out the truth about what happened to your son. Don’t let this rest. Don’t believe the lie.

Shaken, Zoe starts an obsessive hunt for the truth. But why is her husband so reluctant to help? And why is Josh’s mother so determined not to believe her?

mythoughts

Three years ago, Zoe’s fourteen year old son Ethan and his best friend Josh were found drowned in a river. It was ruled an unfortunate accident. Now, Zoe and her family have moved away and are trying to move on from the dramatic loss. But then Zoe receives an email. Was Ethan’s death not an accident after all? What really happened that night? And who is behind these messages?

Well, who indeed. I thought I knew and held on to that belief throughout the story, even when at some point my theory failed to make sense even to me. Kathryn Croft has created an immensely dark and twisted story here and if you manage to figure it out, there’s a whole box of cookies waiting for you right here!

Obviously, the truth about what happened to Ethan is what kept me hooked. But more than that, I felt the author did an incredible job bringing these characters and their struggles to life. Zoe, her husband and her remaining son all have very different ways of dealing with the loss of Ethan and the never-ending grief. The changing family dynamics fascinated me and there are a multitude of lies and secrets to discover.

Kathryn Croft manages to combine a few uncomfortable topics into a twisty psychological thriller. Zoe is stunned to find that Josh’s mother Roberta seems quite reluctant to help her in finding out the truth. After all, she lost her son as well. But there is more than meets the eye and as always, the reader soon finds out that you just never know what goes on behind closed doors.

The Warning is a well-paced tale of love, grief, loss and a mother’s desperate search for the truth with realistic and believable characters. I couldn’t at all predict the outcome. Full of suspense, this psychological thriller will keep you gripped from start to finish.

The Warning is out today!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Kathryn Croft is the bestselling author of six psychological thrillers, and to date has sold over one million copies of her books. The Girl With No Past spent over four weeks at number one in the Amazon UK chart and her other novels, Behind Closed Doors, The Stranger Within and The Girl You Lost all reached number one in the psychological thriller charts.

Her seventh psychological thriller is due to be released in October 2018.

After six years teaching secondary school English, Kathryn now writes full time and lives in Guildford, Surrey with her husband and young family.

Having always been an avid reader, Kathryn believes in the power of words to entertain, teach and transform lives. She is also a firm believer in following your dreams and says anything is possible if you work hard enough and never give up!

Author links : Facebook | Twitter | Website

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Our Little Lies by Sue Watson @suewatsonwriter @bookouture #blogtour #NetGalley #OurLittleLies

Delighted to join the blog blitz for Our Little Lies by Sue Watson today! My thanks to Kim Nash at Bookouture for the opportunity to join and for my review copy, which I received via Netgalley.

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Author : Sue Watson
Title : Our Little Lies
Pages : 347
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : October 11, 2018

aboutthebook

Marianne has a life others dream of. A beautiful townhouse on the best street in the neighbourhood. Three bright children who are her pride and joy.

Sometimes her past still hurts: losing her mother early, growing up in foster care. But her husband, Simon, is always there. A successful surgeon, he’s the envy of every woman they’ve ever met. Flowers, gifts, trips to France: nothing is too good for his family.

Then Simon says another woman’s name. The way he lingers on it, Caroline , gives Marianne a shudder of suspicion, but she knows it’s nothing – she can’t entertain this flash of paranoia.

In the old days, she’d have distracted herself by excelling at work, but Marianne left her glamorous career when she married. She’d speak to a friend, but she’s too busy with her children and besides, Simon doesn’t approve of the few she has left.

It’s almost by accident that Marianne starts to learn more about Caroline. But once started, she can’t stop, because what she finds makes her wonder: is the question she should be asking not ‘should she be jealous’, but… ‘should she be scared?’

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You may be familiar with Sue Watson from her Ice-Cream Café series but now, Sue has decided to join the dark side. Our Little Lies is is her first psychological thriller and holy guacamole, is it tense or what? Answer, yes, yes it is.

Marianne seems to have it all. She’s married to a successful surgeon, has three wonderful children and lives in the most delightful house in a wonderful neighbourhood. Until the day, her husband mentions a colleague called Caroline. There is just something about the way he says her name that makes Marianne incredibly suspicious. Bit by bit, Marianne’s perfect life will start to crumble.

Now, prepare yourself to become increasingly angry as the story goes on. There is a vile and despicable character that made me feel quite murderous. Yet, the way Sue Watson tells the story constantly left me wondering if I had the right end of the stick. Is there one unreliable character? Or are there more? Who to believe? I didn’t have a clue! So many lies, so much paranoia, such extreme manipulation … my head was spinning!

It was clear to me relatively quickly that I was never going to figure out the outcome and I didn’t. Up until the final reveal, I still had an idea in my head that wasn’t even close to what actually occurred. I love it when that happens and I breathed a happy sigh of satisfaction. And also one of exhaustion because yikes, the tension was almost so unbearable my heart was racing at a bajillion miles an hour.

This to me is a combination of a domestic noir and a psychological thriller at its finest. I absolutely raced through this extremely gripping and hugely addictive page-turner, as if my own life depended on it. Obviously, Sue Watson should tackle this genre more often! I’ll be waiting with baited breath!

Our Little Lies is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Sue Watson was a journalist then TV Producer at the BBC until she wrote her first book and was hooked.

She’s now written thirteen novels – many involving cake – and her books have been translated into Italian, German and Portuguese. Originally from Manchester, Sue now lives with her husband and teenage daughter in Worcestershire where much of her day is spent procrastinating while eating cake (for research purposes), and watching ‘My 600lb Life,’ on the sofa.

Sue explored the darker side of life for her latest book ‘Our Little Lies,’ a dark, psychological thriller completely devoid of cake. She’s hoping this change in direction will be reflected on the weighing scales.

Author links : FacebookTwitter | Website

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This Week in Books (October 10)

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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

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The Murder of Harriet Monckton is based on a true story that shocked and fascinated the nation.

On 7th November 1843, Harriet Monckton, 23 years old and a woman of respectable parentage and religious habits, was found murdered in the privy behind the dissenting chapel she had regularly attended in Bromley, Kent. The community was appalled by her death, apparently as a result of swallowing a fatal dose of prussic acid, and even more so when the autopsy revealed that Harriet was six months pregnant.

Drawing on the coroner’s reports and witness testimonies, the novel unfolds from the viewpoints of each of the main characters, each of whom have a reason to want her dead. Harriet Monckton had at least three lovers and several people were suspected of her murder, including her close companion and fellow teacher, Miss Frances Williams. The scandal ripped through the community, the murderer was never found and for years the inhabitants of Bromley slept less soundly.

This rich, robust novel is full of suggestion and suspicion, with the innocent looking guilty and the guilty hiding behind their piety. It is also a novel that exposes the perilous position of unmarried women, the scandal of sex out of wedlock and the hypocrisy of upstanding, church-going folk.

[And it is absolutely FANTASTIC!]

The book I’m currently reading

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Three years ago, nurse Zoe’s son Ethan was found drowned in a muddy river by their home, along with his best friend Josh. With no witnesses, their deaths were ruled a tragic accident.

Heartbroken, Zoe and her family, move away from her home. They’re just beginning to get back to some kind of normality, when, out of the blue, Zoe receives an anonymous email:

You need to find out the truth about what happened to your son. Don’t let this rest. Don’t believe the lie.

Shaken, Zoe starts an obsessive hunt for the truth. But why is her husband so reluctant to help?
And why is Josh’s mother so determined not to believe her?

What I’m (most definitely) reading next

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1918. With the country they once ruled turned against them, the future of the Romanov family hangs in the balance. When middle daughter Maria captures the attention of two of the guards, it will lead to the ultimate choice between right and wrong….

Fifty-five years later…

‘I didn’t want to kill her’. With these cryptic words Val’s father dies, leaving her to unravel a mystery which unites two families who have faced unspeakable tragedy and perhaps to finally offer an explanation which has been long overdue.

[So ridiculously excited to finally see this one near the top of my TBR. I love Gill Paul!]

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

Bring Them Home by D.S. Butler

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Author : D.S. Butler
Title : Bring Them Home
Series : Detective Karen Hart #1
Pages : 304
Publisher : Thomas & Mercer / Amazon Publishing
Publication date : October 11, 2018

aboutthebook

When two young girls disappear from their primary school, the village of Heighington is put on high alert—and not for the first time. Called in to investigate, Detective Karen Hart is sure that parallels with a previous disappearance are anything but coincidental.

DS Hart is still reeling from a case she tried and failed to solve eighteen months ago, when a young woman vanished without a trace. She’s no nearer to the truth of what happened to Amy Fisher, but with two children missing now too, the stakes have never been higher. As she looks to the past for clues, she must confront her own haunting loss, a nightmare she is determined to spare other families.

Hart soon realises that nothing in this close-knit Lincolnshire community is what it seems. Pursuing the investigation with personal vengeance, she finds herself in conflict with her scrupulous new boss, but playing by the rules will have to wait. Because while there’s no shortage of suspects, the missing girls are running out of time…

mythoughts

I do so love storylines involving kidnappings. There’s always this delightful race against the clock to find the victims alive. Tick, tock.

The story starts out exciting enough. Two ten year old girls go missing from school. From the beginning, it’s clear this will be one frustrating investigation. There are no witnesses, no clues and detectives don’t know where to start looking for Emily and her friend Sian. But DS Hart has a suspect in sight early on. Is she distracted by a previously unsolved case though?

Bring Me Home is the first instalment in a brand-new series, featuring Detective Karen Hart. I liked the fact that she isn’t a DI but a DS because, let’s face it, there’s a lot of those around. While a DI might sometimes get away with breaking the rules, DS Hart doesn’t get that opportunity very often, although she gives it a good go, as her boss is always nearby and he’s a stickler for the rules.

Now, as you know, I read a lot of crime fiction and I’m fully aware of the fact that it’s becoming increasingly harder for an author to come up with something new that will either shock or surprise me. So although I thought Bring Them Home wasn’t badly written, it felt a little too much like things that have been done before.

Throughout the story, these characters never really convinced me. On top of that, I found the author tried too hard to dazzle the reader with red herrings and dead ends but deep down, I always felt there was only ever going to be one way the story would end and thus, the conclusion wasn’t unexpected at all.

All in all, a straightforward mystery but to be honest, there are far more better ones out there to sink your teeth into. For me, this ended up being a quick but, sadly, forgettable read.

Bring Me Home will be published tomorrow!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

Palm Beach Finland by Antii Tuomainen (trs David Hackston) @antti_tuomainen @countertenorist @OrendaBooks #blogtour #PalmBeachFinland #bookreview

It’s a real pleasure to host a stop on the blog tour for Palm Beach Finland by Antii Tuomainen today! My thanks to Orenda Books and Anne Cater for the invitation to join and the review copy! Make sure you also check out my tour buddy Mairead’s post over on Swirl and Thread.

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Author : Antii Tuomainen (translated by David Hackston)
Title : Palm Beach Finland
Pages : 304
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : October 18, 2018 (UK paperback)

aboutthebook

Jan Nyman, the ace detective of the covert operations unit of the National Central Police, is sent to a sleepy seaside town to investigate a mysterious death. Nyman arrives in the town dominated by a bizarre holiday village—the “hottest beach in Finland.”

The suspect: Olivia Koski, who has only recently returned to her old hometown.

The mission: find out what happened, by any means necessary.

With a nod to Fargo, and dark noir, Palm Beach, Finland is both a page-turning thriller and a black comedy about lust for money, fleeing dreams, and people struggling at turning points in their lives—chasing their fantasies regardless of reason.

mythoughts

Sunshine, sandy beaches, palm trees. What more could you want?

Welcome to Palm Beach … Finland!

Wait, what? *screeches to a halt*

Yes, Palm Beach Finland. The hottest beach in Finland. Where everything is bright neon lights, it’s cold, the beaches are mostly empty and the palm trees are made of plastic. Not exactly the paradise you find offered in the glossy brochures.

But something is afoot in this not-quite paradise. There has been a mysterious death and Jan Nyman is sent undercover to find out what happened. And thus begins one of the oddest books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. With references to tv shows like Baywatch and Miami Vice and a nod to Fargo, Palm Beach Finland is full of quirky and eccentric characters that will either have you laughing or rolling your eyes.

Because some of it is a tad over the top, a bit outlandish, almost bordering towards the slapstick genre but there is also dash of subtly dark and black humour throughout that you just don’t find anywhere else but will have you chuckling throughout. Palm Beach Finland is original, unique and highly unusual. This is crime fiction with a difference and I dare say nobody does it better than Antii Tuomainen does.

So a mystery to solve, although not quite for the reader since we know pretty much what happened from the start. But the characters in this story are all so incredibly unpredictable, there is no way of knowing what they’ll get up to next or even if their actions will be successful. That’s half the fun right there. Yet, there is also a more serious undertone to the story. That of residents in this sleepy community with ambitions and dreams of a better life, desperately grabbing at opportunities to make a change.

Once again, David Hackston’s translation is faultless, enabling an English speaking audience to enjoy Antii Tuomainen’s unique way with words and his delightful sense of humour. Wonderfully weird, fabulously funny and extremely entertaining.

Palm Beach Finland is available in ebook format now! The UK paperback will be published on October 18th and can be pre-ordered.

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

abouttheauthor

Finnish Antti Tuomainen 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. Two years later, in 2013, the Finnish press crowned Tuomainen the ‘King of Helsinki Noir’ when Dark as My Heart was published.

With a piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen was one of the first to challenge the Scandinavian crime genre formula, and his poignant, dark and hilarious The Man Who Died became an international bestseller, shortlisting for the Petrona and Last Laugh Awards.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter

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First Palm Beach BT Poster

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty @MichaelJBooks #NinePerfectStrangers #NetGalley

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Author : Liane Moriarty
Title : Nine Perfect Strangers
Pages : 432
Publisher : Michael Joseph / Penguin UK
Publication date : October 4, 2018

aboutthebook

Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be.

Frances Welty, the formerly best-selling romantic novelist, arrives at Tranquillum House nursing a bad back, a broken heart, and an exquisitely painful paper cut. She’s immediately intrigued by her fellow guests. Most of them don’t look to be in need of a health resort at all. But the person that intrigues her most is the strange and charismatic owner/director of Tranquillum House. Could this person really have the answers Frances didn’t even know she was seeking? Should Frances put aside her doubts and immerse herself in everything Tranquillum House has to offer – or should she run while she still can?

It’s not long before every guest at Tranquillum House is asking exactly the same question.

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This may come as a bit of a surprise considering the genres I usually read but boy, do I love me some Liane Moriarty. I was very excited to hear she had a new book coming out and couldn’t wait to get stuck into it.

Nine Perfect Strangers is rather hard to put a label on. It’s contemporary fiction in the way Liane Moriarty does best, but there’s also a touch of the psychological thriller vibe to it and it had me hooked from the start.

That was mainly due to the fabulous character of Frances, whom I adored from the minute I met her. Frances used to be a bestselling romance author but now she’s lost her way a little bit. Suffering from a bad back, a broken heart, menopausal symptoms and an awful paper cut, she checks herself into Tranquillum House for some pampering and a ten day cleansing. But not even the imaginative Frances could possibly predict the challenges that lay ahead.

There are quite a few characters in this delightful story. On top of the nine guests, we also meet the owner and her staff. Each one of these characters is so brilliantly introduced that it never gets confusing at all, even with chapters switching back and forth between them. Some are likeable from the start, some take a little getting used to but each one comes across as highly realistic and believable.

The guests are there for very different reasons and some parts made me feel quite emotional. It’s not all doom and gloom though. There are some fantastically witty moments and retorts, which made this a highly entertaining and enjoyable read. Even though some of the events involving the owner may have gone slightly over the top, I was so engrossed that it didn’t bother me at all.

I loved Nine Perfect Strangers from the outset. It may not quite have turned out the way I expected it to but I had a fabulous time meeting these characters, sympathising with them, rooting for them and it all leads to a wonderful conclusion. I have no doubt this one will do well and I look forward immensely to whatever Liane Moriarty comes up with next.

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

Nine Perfect Strangers is available to buy!

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

Trap by Lilja Sigurðardóttir (trs Quentin Bates) @lilja1972 @graskeggur @OrendaBooks @annecater #blogtour #Trap #extract #excerpt

It’s a pleasure to host a stop on the blog tour for Trap by Lilja Sigurðardóttir today! My thanks to Anne Cater for the invitation to join. I’ll be sharing an extract with you today but first, here is what Trap is all about.

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Author : Lilja Sigurðardóttir (translated by Quentin Bates)
Title : Trap
Pages : 250
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : October 18, 2018 (UK Paperback)

aboutthebook

Happily settled in Florida, Sonja believes she’s finally escaped the trap set by unscrupulous drug lords. But when her son Tomas is taken, she’s back to square one … and Iceland.

Her lover, Agla, is awaiting sentencing for financial misconduct after the banking crash, and Sonja refuses to see her. And that’s not all … Agla owes money to some extremely powerful men, and they’ll stop at nothing to get it back.

With her former nemesis, customs officer Bragi, on her side, Sonja puts her own plan into motion, to bring down the drug barons and her scheming ex-husband, and get Tomas back safely. But things aren’t as straightforward as they seem, and Sonja finds herself caught in the centre of a trap that will put all of their lives at risk…

extract

April 2011

1

Sonja was wrenched, shivering, from a deep sleep. She sat up in bed and looked at the thermometer on the air-conditioning unit; it was thirty degrees in the trailer. She had closed her eyes for an afternoon nap and fallen fast asleep while Tómas had gone to play with Duncan – a boy of a similar age who was staying in the next trailer. While she’d been snoozing, the sun had raised the temperature in their little space to thirty degrees, at which point the air-con had rumbled into action, blasting out ice-cold air.

Her dreams had been of pack ice drifting up to the shore alongside the trailer park, and however ridiculous the idea of sea ice off the coast of Florida might be, the dream had been so vivid that it took Sonja a few moments to shake off the image of grinding icebergs approaching the beach. While she knew the dream had been a fantasy and that the chill of the ice had in fact been the air-conditioning, it still left her uneasy. A dream of sea ice wasn’t something that could bode well.

Sonja got off the bed, and as soon as she stepped on the floor, she stubbed a big toe on the loose board. This trailer was really starting to get on her nerves. But it didn’t matter, because it was really time to move on. They had been here for three weeks, and that was already a dangerously long time. Tomorrow she would discreetly pack everything up and in the evening, without saying goodbye to any of the neighbours, and under cover of darkness, they would drive away in the old rattletrap she had paid for in cash. She had coughed up a month’s rent in advance, so the trailer’s owner wouldn’t lose out.

This time, she and Tómas would travel northwards to Georgia and find a place there to rent for a week or two; and then they’d move on again – to some other location, where they would stay, but then depart before they’d put down any roots. They would leave before they could be noticed, before Adam could track them down. Adam who was Tómas’s father; Adam who was her former husband; Adam the drug dealer. Adam the slave driver.

One day, once they had travelled far enough and hidden their tracks well enough for Sonja finally to feel secure, they would settle down. It would be in a quiet spot, maybe in the US, or maybe somewhere else. In fact, it didn’t particularly matter where the place was, as long as it was somewhere they could disappear into the crowd, where she wouldn’t constantly have to glance over her shoulder.

Sonja peered into the microwave – something that had become a habit. Inside, giving her a sense of security by being where it should be, was the sandwich box full of cash. It was a white box with a blue lid, and was stuffed with the dollars and euros she had scraped together during the year that she had been caught in Adam’s trap. This bundle of cash was her lifeline, in this new existence where she dared trust nobody. She had got herself a prepaid Walmart MoneyCard and had loaded it with enough to keep them afloat for a few months, but she had not dared apply for a normal credit card; she didn’t want to risk Agla, with her access to the banking system, using it to track her movements.

Her heart lurched at the thought of Agla. The memory of the scent of her hair and the warmth of her skin under the bedclothes brought a lump to Sonja’s throat that refused to be swallowed. The more time that passed since their parting, the harder she had to work to stop herself from calling her. Iceland was behind her, and that was the way it was. This was her and Tómas’s new life, and she was fully aware that to begin with it would be a lonely one. But loneliness wasn’t her biggest problem; a much weightier concern was their safety –Tómas’s in particular. If she allowed herself the luxury of contacting Agla, there was every chance that Adam would sniff out their communication and use it to track her down.

Sonja opened the trailer door and sat down on the step. The air outside was hotter than inside the trailer and the afternoon sun cast long shadows from the trees across the bare earth at the centre of the cluster of trailers. Sonja took a deep breath of the outdoor air and tried to throw off the discomfort the dream had left her with.The old, toothless guy opposite stood over his barbecue, which sent up plumes of smoke as the fire took; Duncan’s mother sat in a camp chair outside the trailer next door, listening to the radio. There was a peace to the place, but it would soon come to an end, broken by the noise of traffic and horns on the freeway as people began the commute home from work.

Duncan came out of his trailer at a run, along with the basketball that he dribbled everywhere. He half crouched over the ball, and Sonja smiled to herself. She and Tómas had seen that his weird dribbling technique didn’t affect his accuracy when he shot for the basket. His skill at basketball was unbelievable, and after a few days playing together, his interest had infected Tómas as well.

Tómas…

‘Duncan! Where’s Tómas?’ she called, and the boy twisted in the air, dropped the ball through the basket fixed to the trunk of a palm tree and, when his feet were back on the ground, shrugged.

‘Where is Tómas?’ she repeated.

‘I don’t know,’ Duncan said, still dribbling the ball. ‘He went down to the beach just now, but then some guys came looking for him.’ ‘Guys? What guys?’ In one bound Sonja was at Duncan’s side.

He finally let the ball drop from his hands. ‘Just guys,’ Duncan said. ‘Just some guys.’

‘Tell me, Duncan. Where did they go?’

Duncan pointed towards the woods that lay between the trailer park and the beach.

‘What’s up?’ Duncan’s mother called from her camp chair, but Sonja didn’t give herself time to reply.

She sprinted towards the beach, her mind racing. The vision of ice on the shore, the groaning of the floes as the waves grounded them on the beach and the chill that the white layer brought with it clouded her thoughts as if the dream were becoming a reality. She cursed herself for not having bought the gun she had seen in the flea market at the weekend.

It’s never good for an Icelander to dream of sea ice, she thought. That means a hard spring to come, and ice brings bears.

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Eek! If this little teaser has left you wanting more, then Trap is available to buy in ebook format! The UK paperback will be published on October 18th!

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

abouttheauthor

Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, with Snare, the first in a new series, hitting bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.

Author links : Twitter

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Trap First BT Poster