Him by Clare Empson @ClareEmpson2 @orionbooks #Him #NetGalley

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Author : Clare Empson
Title : Him
Pages : 352
Publisher : Orion
Publication date : August 23, 2018

aboutthebook

Catherine has witnessed something so traumatic that she can’t speak. Or won’t speak.The doctors say the only way forward is to look into her past.

Catherine needs to start with HIM .

Fifteen years ago she met Lucian at university and fell into a passionate love affair. They were meant to be together forever. But something happened. Something that destroyed them.

Catherine married someone else. Had two children. She moved on – or so she thought. Now Lucian is back, showing her how different life could have been.

But going back to the beginning won’t change the ending.
In fact, it might be the thing that finally breaks her…

mythoughts

This didn’t quite turn out the way I thought it would. I was expecting a psychological thriller and while it does have some of the elements of that genre and a bit of a mystery to solve, at its core Him is a love story gone badly, oh so badly, wrong.

Catherine doesn’t talk. She suffers from elective mutism after witnessing a traumatic event. It all has to do with “him” but the why takes a while for the reader to discover.

Fifteen years ago, Catherine met the dashing Lucian at university. Theirs was a passionate love affair but then Catherine breaks up with Lucian. No explanation or anything. She just disappears and refuses to talk to him ever again, leaving Lucian utterly devastated.

But her obsession with him and what life could have been like by his side continues through the years, through a marriage and the birth of her children. This is a love that can’t be forgotten or denied, but also one with devastating consequences. What exactly happened when Catherine met Lucian again four months ago?

This story switches back and forth between events from fifteen years ago, four months ago and the present day. This may sound a little all over the place but it’s really not. It’s done incredibly well and never gets confusing. Slowly but surely, the pieces of the puzzle come together.

I found the characters hard to connect with though. Lucian and his friends are an elitist and snobbish club of rich and privileged people that Catherine never really quite fits into. Yet some are drawn to them like moths to a flame. And while Catherine wonders what her life would have been like had she stayed with Lucian, I was wondering how different her life with her husband, Sam, could have been had she been able to let Lucian go. To be honest, Sam was the only person I was able to muster up any kind of sympathy for.

Him is a dark and tragic tale of love, obsession and guilt. Despite it’s relatively slow pace, this character-driven story is rather gripping and at times incredibly sad. I was desperate to know why Catherine stopped talking and if she’d ever utter another word again. I enjoyed it but I found the psychological thriller label a tad misleading so my advice to you is to go in with an open mind and let Catherine take you on a moving journey through her memories.

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

Him is published today!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough #20BooksofSummer

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Author : Sarah Pinborough
Title : Cross Her Heart
Pages : 400
Publisher : Harper Collins
Publication date : May 14, 2018

aboutthebook

SOMEONE IS LIVING A LIE… BUT WHO?

Is it Lisa?
Haunted by a tragic past, all Lisa wants is a quiet life with her daughter, Ava. And when she meets a new man, things seem to be falling into place. But Lisa is hiding a secret so momentous it could shatter her entire world…

Is it Ava?
When sixteen-year-old Ava saves a young boy’s life, she becomes a local hero. But never in a million years could she have anticipated the fallout of her actions…

Is it Marilyn?
Marilyn has the perfect life. Her husband, her job, her house—she seems to have it all. But she could never admit to her best friend Lisa the lies she tells herself to get through the day…

One moment will change these three women’s lives forever. And the secrets they’ve been keeping could destroy them all.

mythoughts

After being blown away by Sarah Pinborough’s previous book and that #WTFending, I was curious to see what she’d come up with next. I had high hopes and expectations but I’m sad to say, they weren’t quite delivered.

The book is divided up into three parts and I must admit part one had me wondering if I had the right author. It all felt incredibly slow, too much time spent on setting the scene and being introduced to the various characters. It’s obvious early on that Lisa is hiding from her past and I felt like shouting “just bloody tell me what’s going on already!”. Patient, I am not.

I desperately needed something, anything, to happen. Luckily, the last page of part one finally promised something exciting around the corner but up until that point, it all felt a bit like pretty much any other psychological thriller out there.

And …. that didn’t really change. Not in part two and not in part three. Sure, there are a few surprises and a red herring or two but overall, it wasn’t the addictive page-turner I was expecting and it wasn’t anywhere near the brilliance of Behind Your Eyes. Some of it was rather predictable and some things were a bit too much out there, losing believability along the way and causing me to roll my eyes once or twice. And all of this ended in a massively disappointing reveal.

So no, Cross Her Heart didn’t quite work for me. It fails immensely at standing out from the crowd, which I very much expected it to. Now, it’s not all bad. She says way too late. I do enjoy Pinborough’s writing style and I think she handled the character of Ava, particular, extremely well. All that teenage angst and secrets. Overall, there is a good plot here and it never occurred to me not to finish the book. I just read too much in this genre, I think, and I fully admit that my constant comparison to her previous book didn’t do me any favours as I was constantly awaiting a special kind of BOOM.

So, please don’t take my word for it. This is getting some rave reviews so grab yourself a copy, read it and feel free to come back and tell me how wrong I am 😂.

[I normally wouldn’t have posted this review but since this book was on my 20 Books of Summer list, it only seemed like the right thing to do. Also, thanks to Janel @ Keeper of Pages for another fun buddy read!)

Cross Her Heart is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

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Book 18 from my 20 Books of Summer list.

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This Week in Books (August 22)

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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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Aged just 16, Geo’s best friend Angela disappeared without a trace. Years later, Angela’s body is discovered in the woods near Geo’s childhood home, revealed as yet another victim of the notorious serial killer Calvin James. Geo’s high-school boyfriend.

For fourteen years, Geo knew what had happened and told no one, carrying the secret until she was arrested and sent to prison. Why would any woman protect a man capable of committing such a heinous crime? Geo had her reasons…

To Geo, Calvin is more than a monster, a serial killer with no remorse. He is something else entirely. And while Geo did her time, Calvin escaped and went on the run. Now released, Geo is ready to start over. But then the bodies begin to turn up, killed in the exact same manner as Angela…

As chilling secrets are revealed, everything turns on what really happened one fateful night, almost 20 years ago. Is it too late for anyone, Geo included, to survive the truth?

The book I’m currently reading

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She can’t see the killer
But the killer can see her…

Naomi Hannah has been blind since birth. Struggling with living in the small, claustrophobic town of Balkerne Heights, Naomi contemplates ending her life. But before she can, Naomi stumbles across the body of a young woman who has been brutally murdered. She senses someone else there at the scene – watching her. Naomi may not be able to see the killer’s face, but she is still the only person who can identify him.

For Naomi, this frightening truth changes everything: she realises that she wants to live, at the very point at which her life is in greatest peril. As the police begin hunting the person responsible and the bodies pile up, Naomi must lie in wait and answer the question that hangs her fate in the balance: why did the killer let her live?

In a town this small, the murderer must be close, perhaps even before her very eyes…

What I’m (probably) reading next

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See no evil . . .

When Lizzie Barnsley is murdered along a canal after escaping the clutches of her abusive boyfriend, Dan Grant is called in to represent her alleged killer. Peter Box has confessed to Lizzie’s murder, but did he actually do it, or is there some other, darker, force at play?

Hear no evil . . .

When Dan and his investigator, Jayne Brett, begin to look into the case, they discover a number of canalside murders and disappearances, including the brutal killing of fourteen-year-old Rosie Smith ten years earlier. Rosie’s stepfather Sean had been accused, but they discover that somebody else tried to confess – Peter Box.

Speak no evil . . .

With a client who has a habit of confessing to murder, Dan and Jayne have their work cut out for them, but when it becomes clear that Peter Box can’t have been involved with every murder and disappearance along the canal, the two realise that they may have stumbled on to something far more sinister.

But the clock is ticking and time is running out for the next victim . . .

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I’m once again quite excited about my week’s reading. What do you think? Anything here you’d like to read or have maybe read already? What are you reading? Let me know!

Happy reading! xx

Deceive and Defend by Marilyn Cohen de Villiers @MarilynCohendeV @annecater #blogtour #extract #excerpt #SilvermanSaga #RandomThingsTours

Today, it is my pleasure to close down the blog tour for Deceive and Defend by Marilyn Cohen de Villiers. My thanks to Anne Cater for the invite and for the extract I’ll be sharing with you, right after I tell you more about this third instalment in the Silverman Saga series.

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Author : Marilyn Cohen de Villiers
Title : Deceive and Defend
Series : Silverman Saga #3
Pages : 338
Publisher : Mapolaje Publishers
Publication date : June 13, 2018

aboutthebook

Like a pebble dropped in a pond, the effects of two deaths—one in the Johannesburg home of the wealthy Silverman family; the second, hundreds of kilometres away on a Free State farm—ripple across South Africa and the world, irrevocably changing the lives of four people:

Tracy Jacobs who desperately wants journalism’s highest laurels… and also yearns for love. Now she must choose between saving her career or defending her chance of happiness;

Aviva Silverman who wants nothing more than to live happily ever after with her adored new family. Now she must place it all at risk to defend the family she left behind;

Carol Aronowitz, dedicated social worker who prides herself on her professionalism . Now she must find a way to defend herself against clear evidence of incompetence that has had disasterous consequences; and

Yair Silverman, Aviva’s twin brother, who stands to lose everything as he takes a drastic decision to deceive everyone.

Set against the backdrop of South Africa’s post-Mandela decline, Deceive and Defend is as current and thought provoking as today’s headlines.

extract

Tracy ignored her mother’s barrage and hurtled into the bathroom. She tore off her pyjamas, turned the shower on full blast, and stepped into the still icy torrent. The water would warm up eventually but her heart, her body would remain frozen. She just knew it. She had died inside. She stood motionless as her tears washed down the drain.

It was all too much. First Yair. Then this. It wasn’t fair. It just wasn’t fucking fair. She had worked so damn hard on that story. Lepalake had promised her… he had promised that he would phone her the next time he was in Johannesburg and… and he had! That phone call that Duduzile had so kindly offered to take just as she was leaving the office yesterday – that had to have been Peter Lepalake. And instead of Duduzile calling her back, the bitch had kept the story for herself – and Mafuta had obviously helped her, filling in some of the blanks from the things Tracy had told him over the weeks she had spent working on the story. Damn him. At least she hadn’t filed her story about Yair and Tiffany. It would have seemed so petty, such a nothing story, in comparison to Peter Lepalake. Mafuta and Duduzile would have made her life a misery—more of a misery—if she had given in to her spiteful temptation. They’d be saying she was only capable of stupid gossip, not real news.

Hammering on the bathroom door startled her.

‘Your news editor’s on the phone. Can you speak to him or will you call him back?’ Maxine shouted.

‘Tell him I’ll phone him,’ Tracy said and poured some shampoo into her hand to lather into her hair. Mafuta could wait. He probably just wanted to explain why he had given her story to his mistress. Maybe. Mafuta never explained anything to anyone. Ever. Too bad. He’d just have to wait until she was ready to speak to him about whatever he wanted. She wasn’t supposed to be on duty until 9am… he could fucking wait. 

Tracy rinsed her hair, massaged in a liberal amount of conditioner, shaved her legs, rinsed off the conditioner, switched off the water, stepped out of the shower, wrapped herself in her threadbare towel and padded down the passage to her bedroom.

Her cellphone was ringing as she stepped through the door. She picked it up. Mafuta. 

Her finger hovered over the red icon – but she couldn’t bring herself to cut her news editor off.

‘Hello Prince.’

‘TT, what the fuck has taken you so long. I told your mother to tell you to call me back urgently. And when I say urgently, I mean immediately. Not a fucking half hour later.’

‘Sorry. I was washing my hair. I supposed you wanted to tell me about Peter Lepalake. Don’t worry. I’ve read Duduzile’s story. It’s full of mistakes. Why didn’t you call me when he phoned? I was still in the building.’

‘And let you screw it up again? You couldn’t get the story, Duduzile did – end of story. Anyway, I’m giving you a new story and I hope you don’t fuck this up too. Mpho’s police contacts called him this morning, early. Something has happened at Alan Silverman’s house. Police and ambulances are on their way. Or are probably there already, as you should have been if you hadn’t been fucking washing your fucking hair.’

Tracy sat down heavily on the bed, her hand shaking.

‘What’s happened?’

‘It may be nothing more serious than a house robbery or a hijacking. But Mpho says there could be some fatalities so it may be something worthwhile – more death in the cursed Silverman mansion type of thing. Just get over there. I’d send Mpho but you know the family so, for once in your useless little life, get me a fucking story I can use.’ 

Tracy stared at her phone, willing it to ring, willing it to be Yair telling her that he was okay, that everything was okay. But the phone stayed stubbornly, ominously silent. 

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Has this wee teaser left you wanting more? Then why not grab yourself a copy as Deceive and Defend is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | KoboGoodreads

abouttheauthor

I was born and raised in Johannesburg’s northern suburbs, the youngest daughter of an extraordinarily ordinary, happy, stable, traditional (rather than observant) Jewish family. After matriculating at Northview High School, I went to Rhodes University in Grahamstown where I served on the SRC, competed (badly) in synchronised swimming and completed a B. Journalism degree. This was followed by a “totally useless” – according to my parents – English Honours (first class), also at Rhodes.

With the dawning of the turbulent 1980s, I started my career as a reporter on a daily newspaper, working first in the news and later, the finance departments. During this period, I interviewed, among others, Frank Sinatra, Jeffrey Archer, Eugene Terre’blanche and Desmond Tutu. I caught crocodiles; avoided rocks and tear smoke canisters in various South African townships; stayed awake through interminable city council meetings and criminal and civil court cases – and learned to interpret balance sheets.

I also married my news editor, Poen de Villiers and, despite all the odds against us coming as we did from totally different backgrounds, we remained happily married for 32 years and three days. Poen passed away as a result of diabetes complications on 15 March, 2015.

After the birth of our two daughters, I ‘crossed over’ into Public Relations with its regular hours and predictability.  My writing – articles, media releases, opinion and thought leadership pieces and so on – was published regularly in newspapers and other media, usually under someone else’s by-line. But after more than 20 years, I decided the time had come to go it alone. I now work as a freelance wordsmith which (theoretically) gives me more time to focus on what I love best – writing fiction.

So why, after a lifetime of writing non-fiction, did I decide to try my hand at fiction? The catalyst was the unexpected death of a childhood friend and colleague in 2012. This spurred me to take stock of my life, to think about what I had achieved.  A few months later, I decided to try and write a novel. This turned out to be A Beautiful Family which was published in July 2014.  The fiction bug had bitten, and my second novel, When Time Fails, was launched in September 2015. Now, the third and final novel in the Silverman Saga Trilogy, Deceive and Defend, is launching in June 2018… and novel number 4 is percolating in my head.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter | Website

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Vox by Christina Dalcher @CVDalcher @HQstories @LilyCapewell #100words #VOX #WeWillNotBeSilenced

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Author : Christina Dalcher
Title : Vox
Pages : 384
Publisher : HQ
Publication date : August 21, 2018 (ebook)

aboutthebook

Silence can be deafening.

Jean McClellan spends her time in almost complete silence, limited to just one hundred words a day. Any more, and a thousand volts of electricity will course through her veins.

Now the new government is in power, everything has changed. But only if you’re a woman.

Almost overnight, bank accounts are frozen, passports are taken away and seventy million women lose their jobs. Even more terrifyingly, young girls are no longer taught to read or write.

For herself, her daughter, and for every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice. This is only the beginning…

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100 words a day. Just sit and think for a minute how that would impact your life.

A life where you walk around with a counter bracelet, ticking down every time you utter a word until you reach your daily limit. Where an electric shock awaits you if you dare speak one word more. You can’t, can you? And things for Jean and all the women in her country are far worse than that. No sign language, no writing notes, no reading. No passports, no jobs, no bank accounts and each and every decision is made by the men.

Men who may not all agree with what’s going on but for various reasons don’t stand up to make a change. Young boys who are growing up in this environment, almost brainwashed to the point where they think this treatment of women is perfectly acceptable. Little girls who aren’t allowed to learn how to read or write, who have never been read a bedtime story and for whom remaining silent all day suddenly seems like a fun competition. And people who don’t fit the mould or break the rules are sent to camps for the rest of their lives.

This incredibly frightening scenario sadly sounds all too believable in this day and age. It made me angry and it saddened me. The whole thing may seem far-fetched and yet, parts of it are extremely plausible. You may think, just like Jean, this will never come to pass but before she and other women realise, there they are. There’s a lesson here. Stand up and make your voice count. Not only vocally but by voting. As the characters in the novel say, the time to act is always now.

This is quite a hard one to review. It evokes a lot of emotions but it’s one of those books you need to read for yourself to get the full impact of immersing yourself into these women’s circumstances and hoping you’ll never find yourself in that position.

Vox is immensely powerful and thought-provoking, leaving me with a massive feeling of claustrophobia and sheer dread. It’s disturbing, more terrifying than any gruesome thriller I’ve ever read or nightmare I’ve ever had. It’ll make you think and get under your skin and like me, I doubt you’ll ever forget it.

My thanks to Lily Capewell at HQ for my review copy!

Vox will be published in ebook format on August 21st.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

The Edge of Sanity by Chris Thomas @cthomasauthor1 @Bloodhoundbook #blogtour #TheEdgeofSanity #guestpost

Good morning, fellow bookworms! I’m kicking off the week with a stop on the blog tour for The Edge of Sanity by Chris Thomas. My thanks to Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books for the opportunity! Author Chris Thomas visits the blog today about what he’s learned since writing a book. But first, here is what The Edge of Sanity is all about.

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Author : Chris Thomas
Title : The Edge of Sanity
Pages : 361
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : August 20, 2018

aboutthebook

In a derelict squat, the Smart Man watches as the new narcotic developed by his shadowy organisation wreaks havoc on its unsuspecting victims. The drug is now ready for sale on their exclusive darknet market place.

Elsewhere, DCI Robert Smith, the retired head of the Cyber Crimes Unit, seeks out crime boss Curtis Slater at his remote farm. He offers to provide Slater with information in exchange for money. But what information is he offering?

Meanwhile, former detective Pete Harris had started a new life, away from the Cyber Crimes Unit, with his daughter and begins to rekindle his relationship with old colleague Grace Brooks.

With his life seemingly complete, Pete’s world comes crashing down as he is drawn into Slater’s game with fatal consequences. He must join forces with his old enemies in a race against time. But can Pete save his daughter and Grace from the clutches of Slater, the Smart Man, and the sinister ring master, the Professor?

[The Edge of Sanity is out today!]

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

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What I have learned since writing a book

From the minute I first typed ‘Chapter 1’ into my new Word document, it became quickly apparent that the actual writing of my first book The Red Room, later to become Enter The Dark, was the easy part. There was so much more to not only finishing a book and putting it out for people to read, but also in somehow making sure that people knew about it and wanted to read it. Amazon Kindle has made it exceptionally easy for anyone to have ‘a book on Amazon’. You write a story in Word, use their cover design tool, upload it to your Amazon Author account, et voila, you have a book on Amazon.

Some purists would argue that this is a terrible thing. That only traditionally published authors, whose work has been checked, verified and thus endorsed by the sages of the publishing world, should be allowed to grace the screens of the paying public’s e-readers. I whole-heartedly disagree and would say that anything which encourages people to get out there and do something they wouldn’t ordinarily do is a good thing. The paying public are smart enough to make their own mind up and the cream (whether that be writing talent or simply a story that grabs people) will naturally rise to the top.

But one thing that should be stressed is that, whilst it will be fun, on the whole, it’s not easy. Here are the main lessons I’ve learned since starting out on writing books.

  1. Making people read your work is hard.

The obvious way is through friends and family on Facebook. And generally, once they have got over the novelty that someone they knew had written a novel, bought it and shared the odd post, after a while you can no longer rely on them as your main source of publicity. And that’s when it gets really difficult. As a self-published author you don’t have access to the same people: bloggers, publicists, etc as those signed to even a small indie label. Before The Red Room was signed, we were at the point of my wife (i) approaching anyone in the book aisle in Tesco (ii) talking to whoever we happened to be sat next to in a theatre (iii) anyone showing the slightest interest in anything to do with books, and handing them some promotional business cards that I had printed. Which brings me neatly onto…

  1. Blog Tours!

Until I started joining book groups on Facebook and Twitter I never knew that blog tours were even a thing. Once I knew of their existence I figured that I would just send my book to the blog sites, they would read it and advertise it for me. But no. These people are inundated with submissions, and quite rightly so, because they offer a brilliant way of reaching way more readers than on one’s own. And that was probably the single biggest difference I noticed once I signed with Bloodhound; that I could now join this world. This world where people who read way more than me, whose love of books has led them to review online for fun, the sort of people who I would love to not only read my book but rave about it. My tour for Enter the Dark lasted seven days, with two bloggers a day posting reviews. And I loved it. Some of the reviews simply blew me away. But even the not-so-positive ones were of huge value. If everyone loves your work, you have no reason to try to be better.

  1. Not everyone will like your book.

Fact. Being an author really isn’t a job/pastime for anyone who is overly sensitive about what other people think. Overall, my Amazon reviews for Enter the Dark were wholly positive. But there were some real stinkers in there as well –the dreaded ‘One-Star Club’. Even worse is the ‘Would have given it no stars if I could’. No point getting upset about them, just accept it and move on.

  1. You will doubt you own quality.

My wife always moaned that I never believed that what I wrote was any good. During the first draft of The Red Room, I sent it periodically to a very good friend who is a proper book fiend (reads a novel in one sitting in the evening etc). Even when they came back saying it was good, you still assume they are being polite. When people come up to you who say they’ve read it and really enjoyed it, it’s difficult not to do the same. This must be better than the deluded belief that you have just written a Nobel Prize winning piece of literature, but it is important to take the praise as much as the criticism.

  1. You have to just start.

Everyone has a book in them, apparently. And lots of people say they want to write a book. But the only way to do it is simply to start. I read some sort of profound quote about water not flowing until you turn the tap on and you won’t write anything unless you sit down and just do it. Which is true, but writing a novel isn’t like putting up a shelf, it’s a much bigger emotional and physical investment of energy. My personal prompt was taking an evening course called “Kickstart Your Creativity” which mainly taught me that I could string words together and was pleasantly surprised when the people hearing them didn’t choke on their own vomit at how dreadful it was. Put simply, it won’t write itself and you’ll soon work out whether it’s for you.

  1. Don’t stop submitting it to publishers and agents.

Why stop? Just because some have rejected it is not a reason to give up. We’ve all heard stories of huge authors / novels being rejected by countless agents or publishers before eventually being taken on. It doesn’t take long to make a submission, so keep at it. 

There’s almost certainly a whole bunch of others lessons that I have learned but don’t know I’ve learned, and a few lessons that I am still to learn. A bit like Donald Rumsfeld and his ‘known-knowns’ and ‘known-unknowns’. 

What I do know is that having a published book, regardless of how it was received is something that no-one can ever take away. I have an actual job, so do not need to rely on making an income from writing to make a living. But I have huge admiration for those that do as it is not easy. And if you do chose to write a book, whether as a hobby or as a full-time occupation, the only thing you can do is to just go for it.

abouttheauthor

Chris Thomas was born near London in 1978 before moving to Buckinghamshire a few months later. He attended the University of Bristol, graduating with a degree in psychology in 1999. It was here that he developed his interest in criminal psychology and serial killers.

After a brief stint working at an investment bank in London, he left the City to work for his wife’s family business, a position he still holds.

Chris is an avid film fan, especially horror, thrillers and dark comedy- something that he tries to blend in his writing. He self-published his debut novel The Red Room in February 2017 before joining the Bloodhound Books stable and re-releasing the book as Enter The Dark. The follow up, “The Edge of Sanity”, will be released by Bloodhound Books in August 2018.

In his spare time, Chris enjoys karate (holding a black belt) and spending time with his wife and two young daughters.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter | Website

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Weekly Wrap-Up (August 19)

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In the week that kept on giving, I was forced to socialise not once, not twice but THREE BLOODY TIMES and I’m not sure I’ll ever recover! Good grief. How are there people out there who think this is fun?!

So of course my reading took a beating. All those precious hours wasted on people and small talk. Ew. 😂

Books I’ve read this week

A measly four. 😭 And once again behind on my schedule. I was doing so well!

 

Books I’ve bought this week

Only two. That’s not too shabby. I wasn’t going to buy any but Inge @ The Belgian Reviewer made me buy Jar of Hearts and I can apparently not just buy the one book so I added another one.

I also finally (!!!) received the first two books from my Goldsboro Book of the Month Club membership thing. That’s right. The books for June and July arrived this week. I wonder when the one for August will get here. I’m thinking November. 😂

 

ARC’s received via Netgalley

One for blog tour purposes  (by our very own Ronnie Turner! So exciting!), though not until October. One because I could. One finally approved and still not entirely sure it was worth the wait. Three still pending! 🙄

 

On the blog this past week

Monday : Reviewed Close to Home by Cara Hunter

Tuesday : Shared my thoughts on Fatal Inheritance by Rachel Rhys

Wednesday : Posted my review for The Zig Zag Girl by Elly Griffiths and shared my Week in Books

Thursday : Reviewed The Defence by Steve Cavanagh

Friday : Shared an extract from Keep You Safe by Rona Halsall for my stop on the blog tour

Saturday : Posted my review for A Different Kind of Evil by Andrew Wilson

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Next week on Novel Deelights

I could have sworn I was slowing down in the weeks leading up to my holiday. 🤔 Although I would like to point out there’s only one blog tour review. Maybe I’m finally learning 😉

Monday : Blog tour | Guest Post | The Edge of Sanity by Chris Thomas
Monday : Review | Vox by Christina Dalcher

Tuesday : Blog tour | Extract | Deceive and Defend by Marilyn Cohen de Villiers

Wednesday : Review | Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough

Thursday : Review | Him by Clare Empson

Friday : Blog tour | Review | The Wife Before Me by Laura Elliott

Saturday : Blog tour | Guest Post | The Glass Diplomat by S.R. Wilsher

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

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And that’s it. Thank goodness this week is over. I look forward to next week where I shall be hiding away in my wee bubble, surrounded by books, no socialising in sight. I will hurt anyone who dares to try and thwart my plans!

First though, must catch up on reviews. Which takes me to …

Question of the week : How quickly do you write your reviews? Do you write them straight after finishing a book? Or do you let them pile up? Do you take notes you can fall back on?

I try to take notes but fail miserably. Especially when I’m reading a gripping page-turner. I’m just so lost in the pages that scribbling notes doesn’t even occur to me. For the most part, I also try to write a review immediately after finishing a book. But sometimes I just don’t feel like it and I’ll pick up another book instead. I currently have three reviews to write. Did I mention I don’t have notes? Eek.

Best get to it. Books await me!

Have an absolutely fantastic week and lots of happy reading! See you next Sunday! xx

A Different Kind of Evil by Andrew Wilson #20BooksofSummer

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Author : Andrew Wilson
Title : A Different Kind of Evil
Pages : 375
Publisher : Simon & Schuster
Publication date : May 31, 2018

aboutthebook

Two months after the events of A Talent for Murder, during which Agatha Christie “disappeared,” the famed mystery writer’s remarkable talent for detection has captured the attention of British Special Agent Davison.

Now, at his behest, she is traveling to the beautiful Canary Islands to investigate the strange and gruesome death of Douglas Green, an agent of the British Secret Intelligence Service. As she embarks on a glamorous cruise ship to her destination, she suddenly hears a scream. Rushing over to the stern of the liner, she witnesses a woman fling herself over the side of the ship to her death.

After this shocking experience, she makes it to the Grand Hotel in a lush valley on the islands. There, she meets a diverse and fascinating cast of characters, including two men who are suspected to be involved in the murder of Douglas Green: an occultist similar to Aleister Crowley; and the secretary to a prominent scholar, who may also be a Communist spy. But Agatha soon realizes that nothing is what it seems here and she is surprised to learn that the apparent suicide of the young woman on the ocean liner is related to the murder of Douglas Green. Now she has to unmask a different kind of evil in this sinister and thrilling mystery.

mythoughts

After thoroughly enjoying the previous book, A Talent for Murder, I couldn’t wait to pick up this next one.

A Different Kind of Evil picks up quite shortly after events from the first book. Agatha Christie has caught the eye of the British Secret Intelligence Service and for her first mission, she is sent to Tenerife to help solve the murder of an agent whose body has been found mummified and drained of blood in a remote cave.

Events already kick off on board the ship that will take Agatha to Tenerife, when she witnesses a young woman jump overboard in what looks to be a tragic suicide. This is only the start though as Agatha finds herself deeply involved in the odd occult world of one of the island’s residents. Will Agatha be able to stop another murder from happening?

Being a crime fiction writer obviously doesn’t mean you have a knack at solving murders, although that is what’s expected from Agatha here. And so the whole story has that delightful Murder, She Wrote feeling to it, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Just as in the previous book, Agatha comes across as an intelligent and perceptive woman. On top of trying to solve this gruesome murder, she’s also struggling to finish her latest book and doubting her abilities as a mother.

Once again, Andrew Wilson takes a few facts from Agatha Christie’s life and turns them into the most delicious murder mystery. While I had some inkling as to what was going on, I couldn’t quite put the various pieces of the puzzle together and there were a few surprises left for me to discover.

Agatha Christie makes a formidable main character and even though I feel I enjoyed the previous book just that little bit more, A Different Kind of Evil was hugely entertaining and I very much look forward to the next one in the series.

A Different Kind of Evil is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | WorderyGoodreads

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Book 17 from my 20 Books of Summer list.

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Keep You Safe by Rona Halsall @RonaHalsallAuth @bookouture #extract #blogtour #KeepYouSafe

Happy Friday and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Keep You Safe by Rona Halsall! My thanks to Noelle Holten at Bookouture for the invitation and the extract that I’ll be sharing with you today, right after I tell you what the book is all about.

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Author : Rona Halsall
Title : Keep You Safe
Pages : 363
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : August 17, 2018

aboutthebook

What if trying to protect your child only put them in danger?

Natalie is desperate to find her little boy. It has been more than three years since she saw Harry. Three long years in prison for a crime she knows she didn’t commit.

But her husband believed the police, and took their son.

Who has gone to such great lengths to destroy Natalie’s life? Everyone she once trusted – friends, family, everyone close to her – what secrets do they hide?

If Natalie finds the truth, will she get Harry back, or lose him forever?

extract

Chapter  One

Now

Natalie  sits  on  a  metal  bench  on  the  top  deck  of  the  ferry,  watching the  mountains  of  the  Lake  District  glide  past.  She  wonders  what her  son  looks  like.  Has  his  hair  darkened,  his  face  thinned  out? They  change  so  quickly  when  they’re  young  and  she  has  nothing to  go  on,  not  a  single  picture  since  he  was  a  baby.

She’ll  know  soon  enough,  she  thinks,  with  a  shiver  of  nerves, uncertain  of  what  lies  ahead  but  sure  that  she’ll  risk  everything to  have  him  with  her  again.  She  wraps  her  arms  around  her  chest and  imagines  that  it’s  her  child  that  she’s  hugging.  She  can  almost feel  his  hair  against  her  face,  his  breath  tickling  her  neck  and  she hugs  tighter,  fingers  feeling  the  bones  of  her  ribcage,  even  through two  layers  of  clothing.

 What  if  things  go  wrong?

Her  jaw  tightens,  and  she  knows  that  she  can’t  let  herself  dwell  on the  idea,  not  for  a  moment.  Confidence  is  the  key  to  success.  She  has to  believe  her  plan  is  possible,  has  to  have  faith  in  herself.  After  all, she’s  not  the  same  woman  she  was  three  years  ago,  before  she  went to  prison.  Her  anger  is  carved  into  her  heart,  is  part  of  who  she  is now  and  she’s  a  little  scared  of  what  she’s  capable  of  when  pushed to  her  limit.  If  it’s  happened  once,  it  can  happen  again,  can’t  it?

She  shivers  and  wraps  her  fleece  a  little  tighter  round  her  body. Prison  was  a  place  full  of  raw  emotions,  a  place  where  it  was impossible  to  relax,  where  people  played  mind  games,  bullied  and manipulated  to  get  what  they  wanted.  Or  just  to  pass  the  time.

Fear  lurked  in  every  dark  corner,  every  sudden  noise,  every  scream. And  fear  is  an  emotion  that  doesn’t  disappear  overnight.  It  has to unwind  itself,  loosen  its  tendrils  until  you  can  ease  yourself  out  of  its  grasp  and  finally  step  away.  That’s  what  she  hopes  will  happen, and  soon,  because  living  on  adrenaline  is  exhausting,  draining  the life  out  of  her  with  the  effort  of  keeping  safe.

On  the  upside,  she  knows  how  to  fight  now,  which  would be  a  surprise  to  everyone  who  knew  her  before.  She  can  throw  a proper  punch,  knows  which  parts  of  the  anatomy  require  a  kick,  a stomp  or  a  jab,  where  the  main  pressure  points  lie,  and  even  how to  use  everyday  things  as  lethal  weapons.  Spoons  to  gouge  eyes, toothbrushes  to  jab,  pens  to  stab,  shoes  to  batter  and  smack.  She’s seen  it  all.  Even  clothing  can  be  dangerous.

It’s  true  to  say  that  she’s  learned  self-defence  from  some  pretty ferocious  women,  uncompromising  in  their  methods  when  it comes  to  protecting  themselves  and  their  families.  She  liked  some of  them.  Admired  them  for  their  resilience  and  sheer  determination to  survive.  And  then  there  was  Katya.

Her  body  gives  an  involuntary  shudder.

She  hugs  herself  harder,  shakes  the  idea  of  violence  from  her mind.  Anyway,  physical  skills  are  not  the  most  important  for  the task  ahead.  She  needs  to  meld  situations  to  her  advantage,  engineer possibilities,  mess  with  people’s  plans.  What’s  going  to  be  really important  is  the  art  of  cunning.  And  the  certainty  that  she  will  do whatever  it  takes  to  be  with  her  son  Harry  again.  No  questions, no  doubts,  no  hesitation. She  sits  back  in  her  seat,  unwraps  her  arms  and  stretches  out her  fingers.

 Relax,  relax, she  tells  herself.

 I  can  do  this. 

As  long  as  she  can  stay  calm,  keep  her  mind  focused  and  not  let  anger  take control.  She  imagines  Harry  as  a  four-year-old  boy  instead  of  the baby  she  knew.  His  hair  will  be  brown  like  hers,  she  thinks,  rather than  the  dark  blond  of  his  father.  His  eyes,  she  knows,  are  wide apart  and  hazel.  And  his  face?  She  prefers  the  idea  that  it  is  oval, like  hers  rather  than  square  like  his  father’s.  His  nose,  of  course, will  still  be  a  little  button  of  a  thing,  covered  in  freckles  that  spread across  his  cheeks,  just  like  the  pictures  of  her  when  she  was  a  child.

Days,  weeks,  maybe  months  of  her  life  have  gone  into  building up  this  mental  picture  of  her  child.  A  child  she  doesn’t  know.  In  the absence  of  photos,  she’s  used  magazines  to  find  pictures  of  children and  build  them  into  a  likeness  of  her  little  boy.  She’s  invented  a voice  for  him,  a  laugh,  a  smile,  even  his  own  set  of  mannerisms.

Likes  and  dislikes.  Now  the  image  is  so  strong,  so  certain,  that she  can  conjure  him  at  will  into  her  daydreams.  And  as  she  closes her  eyes,  she  can  feel  his  little  fingers  holding  her  hand,  hear  his excited  voice  telling  her  stories  about  his  day,  his  life,  what  he dreams  about.  And  questions!  So  many  questions.  She  imagines picnics,  playing  on  the  swings,  the  roundabouts,  helping  him  scale the  climbing  frame.  A  seed  of  joy  germinates  in  her  heart  as  she allows  herself  to  create  a  future  that  almost  seems  real.

 Soon  it  will  be  real.

In  another  place,  where  her  past  can’t  find  her  and  she  can  start  again.

A  smile  creeps  onto  her  lips  and  expands  into  a  proper  grin, stretching  muscles  that  haven’t  been  used  for  quite  some  time.  It’s a  forgotten  feeling;  this  bubbling  in  her  stomach,  lightness  in  her shoulders,  laughter  in  her  throat.  The  movement  of  the  ferry,  as it  rolls  gently  from  side  to  side,  is  a  weird  but  pleasant  sensation, reminding  her  of  fairground  rides  when  she  was  a  little  kid,  when life  was  simple.  She  sighs.  Is  it  possible  that  life  can  be  fun  again?…

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If you’ve enjoyed this teaser chapter of Keep You Safe, you can buy your copy now!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Rona’s debut psychological thriller, Keep You Safe is out on 17th August and her second novel will be out in November 2018.

Rona lives on the Isle of Man with her husband, two dogs and three guinea pigs. She has been a bookworm since she was a child and now she’s actually creating stories of her own, which still feels like a dream come true.

She is an outdoorsy person and loves stomping up a mountain, walking the coastal paths and exploring the wonderful beaches on the Island while she’s plotting how to kill off her next victim. She also makes sure she deletes her Google history on a regular basis, because… well, you can’t be too careful when you spend your life researching new and ingenious ways for people to die.

She has three children and two step-children who are now grown up and leading varied and interesting lives, which provides plenty of ideas for new stories!

Author links : Facebook | Twitter

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The Defence by Steve Cavanagh #20BooksofSummer

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Author : Steve Cavanagh
Title : The Defence
Series : Eddie Flynn #1
Pages : 306
Publisher : Orion
Publication date : February 18, 2016

aboutthebook

The truth has no place in a courtroom. The truth doesn’t matter in a trial.

The only thing that matters is what the prosecution can prove.

Eddie Flynn used to be a con artist. Then he became a lawyer. Turned out the two weren’t that different.

It’s been over a year since Eddie vowed never to set foot in a courtroom again. But now he doesn’t have a choice. Olek Volchek, the infamous head of the Russian mafia in New York, has strapped a bomb to Eddie’s back and kidnapped his ten-year-old daughter Amy.

Eddie only has 48 hours to defend Volchek in an impossible murder trial – and win – if wants to save his daughter.

Under the scrutiny of the media and the FBI, Eddie must use his razor-sharp wit and every con-artist trick in the book to defend his ‘client’ and ensure Amy’s safety. With the timer on his back ticking away, can Eddie convince the jury of the impossible?

Lose this case and he loses everything.

mythoughts

As soon as I finished Thirteen, which I didn’t realise was the fourth book in a series at the time, I knew I would go back and catch up on the previous ones as soon as I could.

In The Defence, we are introduced to Eddie Flynn, one-time conman and lawyer, although the two seem remarkably interchangeable. Once a hustler, always a hustler but Eddie is quite the likeable one and in The Defence we learn how events led him to making that step from conman to lawyer with the help of Judge Harry

The action pulls you in from the first page when Eddie is faced with a gun pointing at his head during a trip to the restroom in a restaurant. The Russian mob needs his help but they have a funny way of asking for it. Not only does Eddie find himself with a bomb lined in his jacket, his daughter has been kidnapped as well. Eddie has no choice but to cooperate. Preferably without being responsible for a whole bunch of dead bodies and even more preferably, with his daughter and himself safe from harm.

Eddie soon realises though he’s not being told the whole story. We’re dealing with the mob after all. Backstabbing, rivalry, corruption and a dead body here and there … it’s all in a day’s work really. Can Eddie figure out what’s going on? Can he save his daughter? And himself?

The tricks Eddie has learned in his “previous life” sure do come in handy, as do connections on the other side of the law. More than anything, Eddie is brilliantly clever, fiercely determined and incredibly resourceful. The Defence is intense, action-packed and hugely entertaining. I thoroughly enjoyed going back to the first book and having the opportunity to fill in some of Eddie’s background. I’ll definitely be catching up on the other books in this series when I have the time.

The Defence is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

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Book 16 from my 20 Books of Summer list.

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