The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea | @CarolineleaLea @MichaelJBooks @JennyPlatt90 | #TheGlassWoman

Absolutely delighted to host a stop on the blog tour for The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea today! My thanks to Jenny Platt for the invitation to join and the stunning review copy!

Author : Caroline Lea
Title : The Glass Woman
Pages : 384
Publisher : Michael Joseph
Publication date : February 7, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

1686, Iceland.

Betrothed unexpectedly to Jón Eiríksson, Rósa is sent to join her new husband in the remote village of Stykkishólmur. Here, the villagers are wary of outsiders.

But Rósa harbours her own suspicions. Her husband buried his first wife alone in the dead of night. He will not talk of it. Instead he gives her a small glass figurine. She does not know what it signifies.

The villagers mistrust them both. Dark threats are whispered. There is an evil here – Rósa can feel it. Is it her husband, the villagers – or the land itself?

Alone and far from home, Rósa sees the darkness coming. She fears she will be its next victim.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Oh, be still my beating historical-fiction-loving heart. This novel right here is exactly why I enjoy this genre so much! It reminded me a bit of Burial Rites by Hannah Kent, which you should also most definitely read if you haven’t done so already.

The Glass Woman tells the story of Rósa in 1686 Iceland. Struggling with poverty and a poorly mother, Rósa finds herself rather unexpectedly betrothed to Jón. He is the wealthy chief of another settlement and marrying him will make sure Rósa’s mother and the other villagers will be taken care of. But when Rósa joins her new husband in the remote village of Stykkishólmur, there is no sign of a fairytale romance. Jón isn’t exactly the most loving husband and Rósa starts to wonder about his first wife. What happened to her anyway? There is a darkness hanging over this settlement and Rósa’s new home. Is she in danger?

With its short days and long nights, darkness is all around in this novel. When the snow begins to fall and you’re acutely aware of how remote this settlement actually is, you are left with an immensely chilling sense of isolation. The Glass Woman oozes atmosphere from start to finish. This story about forbidden love, fear and pretending to be someone you’re not is utterly immersive and brilliantly written. Full of superstition and suspicion, it’s perfectly paced and extremely compelling.

While there is the mystery of what happened to Jón’s first wife to solve, it was the characters who drew me in. Few of them came across as particularly likeable but this only added to the feeling of discomfort and general creepiness that runs through this novel. Just like Rósa, I wondered why the villagers were so wary of her and it was a struggle for me to figure out who to trust, if anyone. The fate of these characters was impossible to predict and while I felt the conclusion was satisfying, it almost left me a little saddened.

Haunting, beautifully atmospheric and full of complex characters, Caroline Lea’s novel captured my heart. If you enjoy historical fiction, I’m convinced it will do the same to you. I will without a doubt be keeping a firm eye on her in future.

The Glass Woman is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Caroline Lea was born and raised in Jersey. She gained a First in English Literature and Creative Writing from Warwick University and has had poetry published in The Phoenix Anthology and An Aston Anthology, which she also co-edited. 

Author link : Twitter

Stalker by Lars Kepler | @AAKnopf @crimebythebook | #blogtour #LarsKepler #extract

Happy Friday and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Stalker by Lars Keppler! My thanks to Abby Endler for the invitation to join! Today, I’m sharing an extract with you but first, here is what Stalker is all about.

Author : Lars Kepler
Title : Stalker
Series : Joona Linna #5
Pages : 560
Publisher : Knopf
Publication date : February 5, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

The Swedish National Crime Unit receives a video of a young woman in her home, clearly unaware that she’s being watched. Soon after the tape is received, the woman’s body is found horrifically mutilated. With the arrival of the next, similar video, the police understand that the killer is toying with them, warning of a new victim, knowing there’s nothing they can do.

Detective Margot Silverman is put in charge of the investigation, and soon asks Detective Joona Linna for help. Linna, in turn, recruits Erik Maria Bark, the hypnotist and expert in trauma, with whom Linna’s worked before. Bark is leery of forcing people to give up their secrets. But this time, Bark is the one hiding things. 

Years before, he had put a man away for an eerily similar crime, and now he’s beginning to think that an innocent man may be behind bars–and a serial killer still on the loose.

| EXTRACT |

Chapter 1

It’s a quarter to nine on Friday, August 22. After the magical sunsets and light nights of high summer, darkness is encroaching with surprising speed. It’s already dusk outside the National Police Authority.

Margot Silverman gets out of the elevator and walks toward the security doors in the foyer. She’s wearing a black cardigan, a white blouse that fits tightly around her chest, and long black pants whose high waist is stretched across her expanding stomach. She ambles toward the revolving doors in the glass wall. Margot’s hair is the color of polished birch wood and is pulled into a thick braid down her back. She has moist eyes and rosy cheeks. She is thirty-six years old and pregnant with her third child.

She’s heading home after a long week. She’s worked overtime every day and has received two warnings for pushing herself too hard. She is the new police expert on serial killers, spree killers, and stalkers. The murder of Maria Carlsson is the first case she’s been in charge of since her appointment.

There are no witnesses and no suspects. The victim was single and had no children. She worked as a product adviser for Ikea and had inherited her parents’ unmortgaged town house after her father died and her mother went into a nursing home.

On most days, Maria traveled to work with a colleague. They would meet down on Kyrk Road. When she wasn’t there that morning, her colleague drove to her house and rang the doorbell, looked through the windows, and then walked around the back and saw her. She was sitting on the floor, her face covered in knife wounds, her neck almost sliced through, her head lolling to one side, and her mouth strangely wide open. According to the postmortem, there was evidence to suggest that her mouth had been so arranged after death.

When Margot was appointed to head the investigation, she knew she couldn’t seem too aggressive. She has a tendency to be overeager. Her colleagues would have laughed if she’d told them she was absolutely convinced that they were dealing with a serial killer.

Over the course of the week, Margot has watched the video of Maria Carlsson putting her tights on more than two hundred times. All the evidence suggests she was murdered shortly after the recording was uploaded to YouTube. Margot can’t see anything that makes this video special. It’s not unusual for people to have a tights fetish, but nothing about the murder indicates that sort of inclination. The video is simply a brief excerpt from an ordinary woman’s life. She’s single, has a good job, and takes cartoon drawing classes at night.

There’s no way of knowing why the perpetrator was in her garden, whether it was pure chance or the result of a carefully planned operation, but in the minutes before the murder, he captured her on video. Given that he sent the link to the police, he must have wanted to show them something. He wanted to highlight something about this particular woman, or a certain type of woman. Maybe it’s about all women. But to Margot’s eyes, there’s nothing unusual about the woman’s behavior or appearance. She’s simply concentrating on getting her tights on properly.

Margot has visited the house on Bredablicks Road twice, but she’s spent most of her time examining the video of the crime scene before it was contaminated.

The perpetrator’s film almost looks like a lovingly created work of art compared to the police’s crime scene video. The forensics team’s minutely detailed recording of the evidence is relentless. The dead woman is filmed from various angles as she sits with her legs stretched out on the floor, surrounded by dark blood. Her bra is in shreds, dangling from one shoulder, and one white breast hangs down toward the bulge of her stomach. There’s almost nothing left of her face, just a gaping mouth surrounded by red pulp.

Margot stops as if by chance beside the fruit bowl, glances over at the guard, who is talking on the phone, then turns her back to him. For a few seconds, she watches the guard’s reflection in the glass wall, then takes six apples from the bowl and puts them in her bag. Six is too many, she knows that, but she can’t stop herself. It’s occurred to her that Jenny might like to make an apple pie that evening, with lots of butter, cinnamon, and sugar.

Her thoughts are interrupted when her phone rings. She looks at the screen and sees a picture of Adam Youssef, a member of the investigating team.

“Are you still in the building?” Adam asks. “Please tell me you’re still here, because we’ve—”

“I’m sitting in the car on Klarastrands Road,” Margot lies. “What do you need?”

“He’s uploaded a new video.”

She feels her stomach clench and puts one hand under the heavy bulge. “A new video,” she repeats.

“Are you coming back?”

“I’ll stop and turn around,” she says, and begins to retrace her steps. “Make sure we get a decent copy of the recording.”

Margot could have just gone home, leaving the case in Adam’s hands. It would take only a phone call to arrange a full year of paid maternity leave. Her fate is hanging in the balance. She doesn’t know what this case will bring, but she can sense its gravity, its dark pull.

The light in the elevator makes her face seem older in the reflection of the shining doors. The thick, dark line of mascara around her eyes is almost gone. As she leans her head back, she realizes she’s starting to look like her father, the former commissioner.

The elevator stops at the eighth floor, and she walks along the empty hallway as fast as her bulging stomach will allow. She and Adam moved into Joona Linna’s old office the same week the police held a memorial service for him. Margot never knew Joona personally and had no problem taking over his office.

“You have a fast car,” Adam says as she walks in, then smiles, showing his sharp teeth.

“Pretty fast,” Margot replies.

Adam joined the police force after a brief stint as a professional soccer player. He is twenty-eight years old, with long hair and a round youthful face. His short-sleeved shirt is untucked.

“How long has the video been up?” she asks.

“Three minutes,” Adam says. “He’s there now. Standing outside the window and—”

“We don’t know that, but—”

“I think he is,” he interrupts.

Margot sets her heavy bag on the floor, sits down on her chair, and calls forensics.

“Margot here. Have you downloaded a copy?” she asks. “Listen, I need a location or a name. All the resources you’ve got. You have five minutes—do whatever the hell you want—just give me something, and I promise I’ll let you go so you can enjoy your Friday evening.”

She puts the phone down and opens the pizza box on Adam’s desk. “Are you done with this?” she asks.

There’s a ping as an email arrives, and Margot quickly stuffs a piece of pizza crust into her mouth. A worry line deepens on her forehead. She clicks on the video file and maximizes the onscreen image, pushes her braid over her shoulder, and rolls her chair back so Adam can see.

The first shot is an illuminated window shimmering in the darkness. The camera moves slowly closer through leaves that brush the lens. Margot feels the hair on her arms stand up.

A woman is in front of a television, eating ice cream from a carton. She’s pulled her sweatpants down and is balancing on one foot. One of her socks is off. She glances at the television and smiles at something, then licks the spoon.

The only sound in police headquarters is the computer fan.

Just give me one detail to go on, Margot thinks as she looks at the woman’s face. Her body seems to be steaming with residual heat. She’s just been for a run. The elastic of her underwear is loose after too many washings, and her bra is clearly visible through her sweat-stained shirt.

Margot leans closer to the screen, her stomach pressing against her thighs, and her heavy braid falls forward over her shoulder.

“One minute to go,” Adam says.

The woman sets the carton of ice cream on the coffee table and leaves the room, her sweatpants still dangling from one foot.The camera follows her, moving sideways past a narrow door until it reaches the bedroom window, where the light goes on and the woman comes into view. She kicks her pants off. They fly through the air, hit the wall behind an armchair with a red cushion, and fall to the floor.

Eek. Creepy! If this extract has left you wanting more, then Stalker is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

LARS KEPLER is the pseudonym of the critically acclaimed husband and wife team Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril and Alexander Ahndoril. Their number one internationally bestselling Joona Linna series has sold more than twelve million copies in forty languages. The Ahndorils were both established writers before they adopted the pen name Lars Kepler and have each published several acclaimed novels. They live in Stockholm, Sweden.

Translated by Neil Smith.

The Lost Man by Jane Harper | @janeharperautho @LittleBrownUK @GraceEVincent @caolinndouglas | #TheLostMan

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Lost Man by Jane Harper! My thanks to Caolinn at Little Brown for the invitation to join and for my review copy!

Author : Jane Harper
Title : The Lost Man
Pages : 352
Publisher : Little Brown UK
Publication date: February 7, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Two brothers meet at the remote fence line separating their cattle farms under the relenting sun of the remote outback. In an isolated part of Western Australia, they are each other’s nearest neighbour, their homes three hours’ drive apart.

They are at the stockman’s grave, a landmark so old that no one can remember who is buried there. But today, the scant shadow it casts was the last hope for their middle brother, Cameron, who lies dead at their feet. 

Something had been on Cam’s mind. Did he choose to walk to his death? Because if he didn’t, the isolation of the outback leaves few suspects…

| MY THOUGHTS |

You may be familiar with Jane Harper’s Aaron Falk series but The Lost Man is something altogether different, but no less gripping.

When the body of Cameron is found near a landmark, his death raises a number of questions. What was he doing out there? Was he alone? Did the heat and the environment catch him unawares, despite his experience? Did he take his own life? What really happened to Cameron?

The harsh and unforgiving landscape of the Australian outback plays a huge part in this story. It’s almost a character of its own. With its relentless heat and all-encompassing feeling of isolation, this tough life isn’t for the faint-hearted. When there is no one around for miles, the only people you can truly depend on are those closest to you, even if they are three hours’ drive away. But do we ever really know someone?

None of these characters came across as particularly likeable but I blamed that on their way of life and obviously, the death of a loved one. Yet, I still found it quite hard to sympathise with them. However, I did admire their perseverance. It takes a special kind of person to survive this particular set of hardships, I think, and obviously life isn’t a barrel of laughs and there’s little to be happy about.

Bit by bit, the truth about this family is revealed when family secrets that go back decades are discovered. While The Lost Man is relatively slow-paced, it remains compelling throughout as we delve into the intriguing and complex family dynamics. The mystery surrounding Cameron’s death is a gripping one and I couldn’t figure it out at all.

The Lost Man oozes atmosphere from start to finish and is all about family. This character driven story makes for some compelling reading and if Jane Harper wasn’t on your radar yet, she most definitely should be now!

The Lost Man is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Jane Harper is international bestselling author of The Dry and Force of Nature. Her third book, The Lost Man, will be realised in October 2018.
Jane has won numerous top awards including the Australian Book Industry Awards Book of the Year, the Australian Indie Awards Book of the Year, the CWA Gold Dagger Award for Best Crime Novel, and the British Book Awards Crime and Thriller Book of the Year. 

Her books are published in more than 36 territories worldwide, with film rights sold to Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea. 
Jane worked as a print journalist for thirteen years both in Australia and the UK, and now lives in Melbourne.

This Week in Books (February 6)

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 |

1686, Iceland.

Betrothed unexpectedly to Jón Eiríksson, Rósa is sent to join her new husband in the remote village of Stykkishólmur. Here, the villagers are wary of outsiders.

But Rósa harbours her own suspicions. Her husband buried his first wife alone in the dead of night. He will not talk of it. Instead he gives her a small glass figurine. She does not know what it signifies.

The villagers mistrust them both. Dark threats are whispered. There is an evil here – Rósa can feel it. Is it her husband, the villagers – or the land itself?

Alone and far from home, Rósa sees the darkness coming. She fears she will be its next victim.

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

In a remote hunting lodge, deep in the Scottish wilderness, old friends gather for New Year.

The beautiful one
The golden couple
The volatile one
The new parents
The quiet one
The city boy
The outsider

The victim.

Not an accident – a murder among friends.

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

An idyllic village in the Alps.
A legacy of sin.
An evil lurking in the woods.

In a quiet village surrounded by the imposing Italian Alps, a series of violent assaults take place.

Police inspector Teresa Battaglia is called in when the first body is found. Soon more victims are discovered – all horrifically mutilated – and when a new-born baby is kidnapped, Teresa’s investigation becomes a race against the clock.

But Teresa is also fighting a battle against her own body, weighed down by age and diabetes, and her mind, once invincible and now slowly gnawing away at her memory..

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

What Happens in France by Carol Wyer | @carolewyer @canelo_ca @ElliePilcher95 | #blogtour #Biggie

It’s such a pleasure to join the blog tour for What Happens in France by Carol Wyer today! My thanks to the author and the publisher for the invitation to join and for the review copy!

Author : Carol Wyer
Title : What Happens in France
Pages : n/a
Publisher : Canelo
Publication date : January 28, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Bryony Masters has been looking for her long-lost sister, Hannah, for years, but when their father has a stroke her search takes on new urgency. So when primetime game show, What Happens in France, puts a call-out for new contestants, Bryony spots the ultimate public platform to find her reality TV-obsessed sister, and finally reunite their family.

With the help of handsome teammate Lewis, it’s not long before she’s on a private jet heading for the stunning beauty of rural France. With a social media star dog, a high maintenance quiz host and a cast of truly unique characters, Bryony and Lewis have their work cut out for them to stay on the show and in the public eye.

Yet as the audience grows and the grand prize beckons they find that the search that brought them together may just fulfil more than one heart’s wish… 

| MY THOUGHTS |

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of Carol Wyer’s books. I’m pretty sure I mentioned at one point that I’ll read whatever she writes. And so that is why you now find me reviewing something I’d normally never pick up. Because Carol Wyer has apparently decided to put my words to the test by leaving the dark side of crime fiction momentarily behind to bring us a romantic comedy.

At the age of sixteen, Bryony’s sister Hannah ran away from home. Since then, there has been no word from her and her family don’t know if she’s still alive or not. When Bryony’s father suffers a stroke and keeps asking about his eldest daughter, Bryony decides to make one final push in trying to find her sister. Encouraged by her best friend, Bryony signs up for an audition for a new game show. She and her sister used to love watching them and Bryony hopes her exposure on the show might lead to news about Hannah’s whereabouts.

And so off to France we go for fun, games and some surprisingly difficult questions. If I had been a contestant on this show, I would have been sent home on day one! A week full of obstacle courses, general knowledge quizzes and even a treasure hunt in delightfully wee cars will change Bryony’s life forever. She meets the most fabulous characters : hot Lewis, the wonderful Jim, brilliant Oscar and let’s not forgot Biggie Smalls, a dog so famous he has his own Instagram account.

True to form in this genre, there are some ups and downs and misunderstandings along the way. But I guarantee you will be rooting for these characters throughout the story. We also get a great glimpse into all the behind the scenes action and it’s quite obvious Carol Wyer has done her research on this. All that waiting and redoing takes would drive me mental.

Will Bryony find love in France? Will she win the game show? But more importantly, will she finally find out what happened to her sister and why she left all those years ago? There’s only one way to find out. Buy yourself a copy and go on a delightful and entertaining adventure to France. Fans of this genre will not be disappointed!

What Happens in France is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

As a child Carol Wyer was always moving, and relied on humour to fit in at new schools. A funny short story won her popularity, planting the seed of becoming a writer. Her career spans dry cleaning, running a language teaching company, and boxercise coaching. Now writing full-time, Carol has several books published and journalism in many magazines.

Carol won The People’s Book Prize Award for non-fiction (2015), and can sometimes be found performing her stand-up comedy routine Laugh While You Still Have Teeth.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter

You Belong to Me by Mark Tilbury | @MTilburyAuthor @Bloodhoundbook

Delighted to join the blog tour for You Belong to Me by Mark Tilbury today. Thanks to Bloodhound Books for the review copy!

Author : Mark Tilbury
Title : You Belong to Me
Pages : 300
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : February 4, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Can two wrongs ever make a right?

The police never found fifteen-year-old Ellie Hutton. She vanished ten years ago after walking home from school along a disused railway track. But Danny Sheppard knows exactly what happened to her. She is dead and buried in a field near Lassiter’s Brook.    

Now Cassie Rafferty has gone missing. Same age. Similar circumstances. And Danny also knows what has happened to her.

Can Danny fight his demons and tell the truth this time?

Or will history repeat itself and leave another innocent girl dead?

| MY THOUGHTS |

Almost ten years ago, fifteen year old Ellie Hutton disappeared on her way home from school. She was never found. But Danny knows exactly what happened to her. Now, Cassie Rafferty goes missing. Once again, Danny knows what happened to her. But can he tell the truth this time around?

The disappearance of Cassie prompts Danny to reconnect with three friends who are also aware of what happened to Ellie. None of these have had the best of times in their lives. Some remain on a downward spiral, some have tried to find a way to turn their lives around. All of them are deeply affected by the events from all those years ago and will have to confront their demons.

Being asked to read a book by Mark Tilbury is right up there with being offered a piece of chocolate. I say yes so quickly that my brain barely has time to register what the question was. I’ve enjoyed his previous books so much that reading You Belong to Me was a no-brainer. This one is slightly different in that it doesn’t have the supernatural vibe Mark Tilbury has been known for so far. What it does have and where this author’s strength lies, is one of the most vile and despicable characters you’ll ever meet. Sheer evil through and through, making your blood boil and fear for everyone around them.

I couldn’t at all figure out how things would end up, nor what actually happened to Ellie and Cassie. These events almost took a backseat for me because I was so focused on the characters, sympathising with them, willing them on, hoping they’d find a way to pick up the pieces of their lives. And yet, as the book description says, can two wrongs ever make a right? This is thought-provoking stuff for sure and I still haven’t quite made up my mind. Is there anything more awesome than a book that makes you think?

With You Belong to Me, Mark Tilbury has delivered a cracking psychological thriller. This is another super tense, disturbing and incredibly gripping story with characters that will get under you skin, as I’ve come to expect from him. If you’re not familiar with this author’s work, you are really missing out. I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us next!

You Belong to Me is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Mark lives in a small village in the lovely county of Cumbria, although his books are set in Oxfordshire where he was born and raised. 

After serving in the Royal Navy and raising his two daughters after being widowed, Mark finally took the plunge and self-published two books on Amazon, The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused. 

He’s always had a keen interest in writing, and is extremely proud to have had six novels published by Bloodhound Books, including his most recent release, You Belong To Me. 

When he’s not writing, Mark can be found trying and failing to master blues guitar, and taking walks around the beautiful county of Cumbria.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter | Website

Dirty Little Secrets by Jo Spain | @SpainJoanne @QuercusBooks

Author : Jo Spain
Title : Dirty Little Secrets
Pages : 400
Publisher : Quercus
Publication date : February 7, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Six neighbours, six secrets, six reasons to want Olive Collins dead.

In the exclusive gated community of Withered Vale, people’s lives appear as perfect as their beautifully manicured lawns. Money, success, privilege – the residents have it all. Life is good.

There’s just one problem.

Olive Collins’ dead body has been rotting inside number four for the last three months. Her neighbours say they’re shocked at the discovery but nobody thought to check on her when she vanished from sight.

The police start to ask questions and the seemingly flawless facade begins to crack. Because, when it comes to Olive’s neighbours, it seems each of them has something to hide, something to lose and everything to gain from her death.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Welcome to the gated community of Withered Vale; where the grass is green, life is good and everyone is happy. Or are they? When Olive Collin’s body is discovered at number four, cracks begin to show and Withered Vale will not quite be the same ever again.

What an absolutely delightful surprise this one was. Think along the lines of Big Little Lies but deliciously darker. There’s a whole cast of not particularly likeable characters, not even Olive and she’s dead. It’s a bit weird when you can’t even find it in yourself to sympathise with a dead person. And yet, dead as she may be, Olive also provides the chuckles and sometimes that was much needed because the issues the residents of this community are dealing with are often quite serious. From manipulation to addiction to infidelity; the amount of skeletons in the closet is pretty impressive.

What happened to Olive though and why was her body left undiscovered for so long? The police start asking questions and it soon becomes apparent Olive wasn’t exactly well liked in the community. She seemed to have a nose for sniffing out secrets and there are lot of them around. Pretty much each and every one of her neighbours has something to hide. So which one felt Olive should be silenced before their secret was revealed? I definitely learned that the whole “fly on the wall” thing is massively overrated. My neighbours need not worry about me watching them like a hawk. I’d much rather not know at all what they get up to behind closed doors, thank you very much.

Dirty Little Secrets was another buddy read with Janel at Keeper of Pages and it’s by far the fastest one we’ve done. We absolutely devoured the pages. Talk about an addictive page-turner! While we did have an inkling as to what had happened, it didn’t ruin our reading experience at all. With such a clever plot and so brilliantly written, Jo Spain kept me enthralled until the very last page.

Dirty Little Secrets is quite different from Jo Spain’s previous book, The Confession and I love that. It’s always a pleasure to know an author can keep surprising you. Immensely engrossing, hugely entertaining and absolutely unputdownable, Dirty Little Secrets shoots right up the list of my favourite books of the year and Jo Spain has found herself a spot on my list of go-to authors. I absolutely can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

Dirty Little Secrets will be published on February 7th.

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Wordery

Weekly Wrap-Up (February 3)

Hello February! So good to see you! I’m so delighted I’m welcoming you with a whole bunch of sneezing and sniffling. You’re welcome!

Nothing much else to report. This week was a much better one than last week. Staying away from social media really works. The less I know, the better. And I am now officially in “countdown to Spring” mode. Which would go a heck of a lot easier if it would stop snowing but at least the days are slowly but surely getting longer.

On to the books! What did I read?

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

Once again, I thought I read more than this. My wrap ups are disappointing me 😂. I know, I know, six is good, blah blah blah. I just really need to get my head down because have I mentioned February is mental on the blog? I think I have. It bears repeating.

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

In case you missed the news, Harlan Coben’s The Stranger is coming to Netflix, starring the hotness that is Richard Armitage, so of course I had to buy the book so I can read it before the tv adaptation airs sometime this year. Then said hotness that is Richard Armitage completely threw me off by saying he recommends you read the book beforehand but NOT the last two chapters. Say what now?! Terribly sorry, your hotness, but it’s all or nothing. 😂

| ARC’s RECEIVED VIA NETGALLEY |

One to read early and one I was convinced I wouldn’t get so I went ahead and requested it, confident that it wouldn’t mess up my shelf. Ha! Oops.

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

Annie Thorne! Yay! Courtesy of Michael Joseph and for the blog tour at the end of the month. I must admit I’m slightly puzzled about the other one 🤔

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : I kicked off the week by sharing an extract for my stop on the blog tour for I’ll Find You by Liz Lawler

Tuesday : Joined the blog tour for the brilliant The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup

Wednesday : Author Owen Mullen visited my blog with a fun guest post for my stop on the blog tour for Out of the Silence. I also shared my Week in Books.

Thursday : Shared my review for Don’t Turn Around by Amanda Brooke

Friday : Another fab guest post. This time from author Alex Dahl for the blog tour of The Boy at the Door

Saturday : Accidental double booking day. I joined the blog tour for The Last by Hanna Jameson and shared an extract for my stop on the tour for Beton Rouge by Simone Buchholz.

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Review | Dirty Little Secrets by Jo Spain

Tuesday : Blog tour | Review | What Happens in France by Carol Wyer
Tuesday : Blog tour | Review | You Belong to Me by Mark Tilbury

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Blog tour | Review | The Lost Man by Jane Harper

Friday : Blog tour | Extract | Stalker by Lars Keppler

Saturday : Blog tour | Review | The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

This isn’t so bad. I’ve got this. I think.

Fun things around the internet.

Over on Twitter, Vintage HQ is asking who you’d like to see in a remake of An Affair to Remember, which originally starred Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. The options are Richard Armitage & Kate Winslet, Matthew Goode & Carey Mulligan or Tom Ellis & Claire Foye.

Also over on Twitter, Penguin Books UK is asking you to vote on your favourite love story.

Nominations are now open for the Annual Blogger Bash Awards so go forth and nominate your favourite book blog.

And that’s it. I have a huge pile of reviews to get through and then reading to go. Hope you’re all enjoying your weekend and I wish you a fantastic week! See you next time! Happy reading! xx

Beton Rouge by Simone Buchholz | @OrendaBooks @annecater | #blogtour #extract

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Beton Rouge by Simone Buchholz! My thanks to Anne Cater for the invitation to join! Today, I have an extract to share with you from this next instalment in the Chastity Riley series, but first, here is what the book is all about.

Author : Simone Buchholz (trs Rachel Ward)
Title : Beton Rouge
Series : Chastity Riley
Pages : 276
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : February 21, 2019 (paperback)

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

On a warm September morning, an unconscious man is found in a cage at the entrance to the offices of one of the biggest German newspapers. Closer inspection shows he is a manager of the company, and he’s been tortured. Three days later, another manager appears in similar circumstances.

Chastity Riley and her new colleague Ivo Stepanovic are tasked with uncovering the truth behind the attacks, an investigation that goes far beyond the revenge they first suspect … to the dubious past shared by both victims. Travelling to the south of Germany, they step into the elite world of boarding schools, where secrets are currency, and monsters are bred … monsters who will stop at nothing to protect themselves.

| EXTRACT |

DOG EAT DOG WORLD

The rain creates walls in the night. Falling from the sky, they are like mirrors, reflecting and warping the blue light from the police car. Everything spins.

The street emerges from the darkness and loses itself between the harbour lights, and there – right in the middle, just where it suddenly drops downhill – is where it happened: a cyclist.

She’s lying, twisted, on the asphalt, her strawberry-blonde hair forming a delicate pool around her head. Her pale dress is awash with blood; the blood seems to be flowing from her side, staining the concrete red. There’s a black shoe – some kind of ballet flat – on her right foot and no skin at all on her left. The bike’s lying a few feet away on a grass verge, as if it’s been ditched.

The woman isn’t moving; only her ribcage twitches desperately, as if to rise and fall, but then it doesn’t move at all. Her body is trying to take in air from somewhere.

Two paramedics are leaning over and talking to her, but it doesn’t look as though they’re getting through. It doesn’t look as though anything’s getting through any more. Death is about to give her a ride.

Two police officers are cordoning off the accident site, shadows dancing on their faces. Now and then, a car comes past and drives slowly around her. The people in the cars don’t want to look too closely.

The paramedics do things to their paramedic cases; then they close them, stand up. That must be it, then.
So, thinks God, looking industrious, that’s that. He picks up his well-chewed pencil, crosses the cyclist off , and wonders whose life he could play football with next.

I think: I’m not on duty. I’m just on my way to the nearest pub.
But as I’m here.
‘Hello,’ I say.
What else was I supposed to say?

‘Move along, please,’ says the more solid of the two policemen. He’s pulled his cap right down over his face; raindrops are glittering on his black moustache. The other has his back to me and is on his phone.

‘I certainly can,’ I say, ‘or I can stay and take care of a few things.’ I hold out my hand. ‘Chastity Riley, public prosecutor.’

‘Ah, OK.’

He takes my hand but doesn’t shake it. I feel as though he’s holding it. Because that’s what you do at times like this, when someone’s just died – because a tiny bit of all of us dies along with them and so everything’s a bit shaky. The big policeman and I seem suddenly involved in a relationship of mutual uncertainty.

‘Dirk Kammann,’ he says. ‘Davidwache Station. My colleague’s on the phone to our CID.’

‘OK,’ I say.
‘OK,’ he says, letting go of my hand.
‘Hit-and-run?’ I ask.
‘Looks like it. She hardly drove over her own belly.’
I nod, he nods; we stop talking but stand side by side a while longer.

When the dark-blue saloon draws up with the CID guys from the Davidwache, I say goodbye and go, but I look back round before turning the corner. There’s a grey veil over the brightly lit scene, and it’s not the rain; for once it’s not even the persistent rain that falls in my head. This isn’t my personal charcoal grey; it’s a universal one.

I call Klatsche and tell him that there’s nothing doing tonight. That I don’t feel like the pub.
Then I go home, sit by the window and stare into the night.
The moon looks like it feels sick.

If this extract has left you wanting more, you can grab yourself a copy of the ebook right now. The UK paperback is set to be published on February 21st.

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Simone Buchholz was born in Hanau in 1972. At university, she studied Philosophy and Literature, worked as a waitress and a columnist, and trained to be a journalist at the prestigious Henri-Nannen-School in Hamburg. In 2016, Simone Buchholz was awarded the Crime Cologne Award, and second place in the German Crime Fiction Prize, for Blue Night, which was number one on the KrimiZEIT Best of Crime List for months.

She lives in Sankt Pauli, in the heart of Hamburg, with her husband and son.

The Last by Hanna Jameson | @Hanna_Jameson @Emily_BookPR @VikingBooksUK | #blogtour #TheLast

Delighted to join the blog tour for The Last by Hanna Jameson today! My thanks to Emily Burns for the invitation to join and my fabulous review copy!

Author : Hanna Jameson
Title : The Last
Pages : 352
Publisher : Viking
Publication date : January 31, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Historian Jon Keller is on a trip to Switzerland when the world ends. As the lights go out on civilization, he wishes he had a way of knowing whether his wife, Nadia and their two daughters are still alive. More than anything, Jon wishes he hadn’t ignored Nadia’s last message.

Twenty people remain in Jon’s hotel. Far from the nearest city and walled in by towering trees, they wait, they survive.

Then one day, the body of a young girl is found. It’s clear she has been murdered. Which means that someone in the hotel is a killer.

As paranoia descends, Jon decides to investigate. But how far is he willing to go in pursuit of justice? And what kind of justice can he hope for, when society as he knows it no longer exists?

| MY THOUGHTS |

It’s the end of the world as we know it …

Nuclear bombs have been dropped down on various cities. Guests at a hotel in the middle of nowhere Switzerland are left without any means of communication. Cut off from the world, they have no idea what’s going on and no way of getting in touch with family or friends. Do the rules of civilisation still apply when that civilisation ceases to exist?

Jon Keller most definitely seems to think so when the body of a young girl is discovered in a water tank. Who was she and why was she murdered? Just like that, Hanna Jameson effortlessly combines a murder mystery with a suspenseful dystopian psychological thriller. Although admittedly, the murder investigation plays a backseat to everything else that is going on.

What an incredibly frightening premise this is. There’s an all-encompassing sense of isolation that chilled me to the bone. Hotel guests are stranded in what appears to be a relatively safe place but they are fully aware that supplies will start to run out at some point and Winter is just around the corner. What do you do? Stay where you are? Hope against hope help might arrive? Or take a chance on whatever is out there and hope you’ll find a better place?

Now if you’re waiting for zombies or a hot dude with an insanely modified baseball bat to appear from behind a tree in the forest, you’re in the wrong place. This is not that kind of book. The Last is a fascinating and immensely thought-provoking character study and an insight into human behaviour. As these characters’ circumstances change, they are forced to accept things may never again be as they used to be. For some, the desperation is too much. For others, survival is the only thing that matters.

With a constant feeling of unease, The Last had me utterly engrossed. It’s without a doubt one of those novels that makes you think about what you would do if you found yourself in this situation. Would you be a leader or a follower? Would you risk leaving a place of safety to go out into the unknown to find food? Personally, I have no idea but I sure hope I never have to find out. Compelling and unnerving, scarily plausible and incredibly gripping, The Last will stay with me for quite some time and I enjoyed it immensely!

The Last is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Jameson had written the first draft of her debut, award-nominated novel – SOMETHING YOU ARE – at just seventeen. Something You Are and two further novels in the series – GIRL SEVEN and ROAD KILL – are available now in the UK, Germany, Japan, and the Netherlands.

She lives in London currently, and is working on screenwriting projects. She likes whiskey, history, and emotionally taxing TV shows.

Author link : Twitter