Weekly Wrap-Up (August 4)

Aloha! After an unscheduled break last week, I am back with my weekly wrap-up and let me tell you, it’s going to blow your socks off! Or possibly not.

Insert obligatory freak-out about it being August already here. AUGUST! WTF?!

Thank you for the messages last week and apologies if I worried you all. The heatwave kicked my bum like a big kicking thing. I mean, 42C. Come on! But it was mostly my dog who struggled. This resulted in having to sleep downstairs on the sofa, where it was slightly cooler. And by sleep, I mean, SHE slept all night and I did not. I managed a grand total of about 4 hours over 3 nights so suffice to say I was absolutely shattered. By the weekend, I had a massive migraine and barely knew my own name 🤣. Writing up the wrap-up wasn’t exactly high on my list of priorities. Besides, I’d only read two books that week so there really wasn’t much to talk about anyway. 😳

All back to normal this week, thank goodness. Except for the reading as I’ve been hugely distracted by my dvd collection and hot boys hanging out in Hawaii. I’m not even sorry.

So, what did I read this week then?

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

A mere three books. And only because I had to, not because I felt like it. This is bad. So very bad.

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

Looks like even my book buying mojo has done a runner.

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Joined the blog tour for The July Girls by Phoebe Locke

Tuesday : Reviewed Conviction by Denise Mina

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for The Daughter in Law by Nina Manning

Friday : Joined the blog tour for The Holiday by T.M. Logan

Saturday : Nada

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

I’m just relieved I managed to read those tour books on time 😂

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Blog tour | Review | Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas

Tuesday : Blog tour | Review | Clear My Name by Paula Daly

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Review | The Chain by Adrian McKinty

Friday : Review | Now You See Me by Chris McGeorge

Saturday : Don’t have anything planned

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Why yes, I do still need to read the book for Tuesday. Why do you ask? *facepalm*

The good news is though, for me anyway, that the blog tours will start to slow down. I only have 3 more left after this week. I know, you’re shocked. The bad news is I still have 7 books to read for my 20 Books of Summer Challenge. Let’s just say I’m not feeling very confident I’ll nail that one this year 😂

The countdown to my annual holiday is official on! One month to go and I will be enjoying the peace and quiet of gorgeous Tuscany. Hubby has already started making lists, he’s so organised. I, on the other hand, am just trying to decide which books to take with me. Then again, at the rate I’m going, maybe I should just take Chuck Wendig’s Wanderers. It’s 800 pages, might take me two weeks to finish it. 🤔

And that’s a wrap! Told you it would knock your socks off 😉.

Wishing you all a fabulous week and lots of happy reading! Until next time! xx

The Holiday by T.M. Logan | @TMLoganAuthor @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n | #blogtour #TheHoliday

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Holiday by T.M. Logan. My thanks to Tracy Fenton for the opportunity to join and to Bonnier Zaffre for my review copy!

Author : T.M. Logan
Title : The Holiday
Pages : 489
Publisher : Bonnier Zaffre
Publication date : July 25, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Seven days. Three families. One killer.

It was supposed to be the perfect holiday – a group of families enjoying a week together in the sun. Four women who have been best friends for as long as they can remember making the most of a luxurious villa in the south of France.

But Kate has a secret: her husband is having an affair. And a week away might just be the perfect opportunity to get the proof she needs – to catch him in the act once and for all. Because she suspects the other woman is one of her two best friends.

One of them is working against her, willing to sacrifice years of friendship to destroy her family. But which one? As Kate closes in on the truth in the stifling Mediterranean heat, she realises too late that the stakes are far higher than she ever imagined . . . 

Because someone in the villa may be prepared to kill to keep their secret hidden.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Kate, Izzy, Rowan and Jennifer have been friends for years. This year, all four women turn 40 and what better way to celebrate that than with a week in the glorious sunshine of the south of France. With husbands and children in tow, this is supposed to be the perfect holiday.

But Kate thinks her husband, Sean, is having an affair. Not just with anyone but with one of her best friends. But which friend? Could it be Izzy, the longtime friend who’s been traveling the world and finally seems ready to settle down? Could it be Jennifer, the stay-at-home and somewhat overprotective mum? O could it be Rowan, the hugely successful businesswoman?

T.M. Logan sets the scene for this week perfectly, really allowing the reader to get to grips with the dynamics in these friendships and marriages. These friends couldn’t possibly be more different from each other if they tried and each and every one of them seems to have something to hide. And let’s not forget the children, who all bring their own kind of drama to the table.

The Holiday is quite the slow-burner but it remains gripping throughout as the reader, alongside Kate, tries to figure out what is going on and which friend could possibly be invading Kate’s marriage. The tension slowly builds up throughout the story. It’s a bit like a pressure cooker, simmering away, and you just know that lid is going to blow off any minute. It feels quite realistic in a way. There’s a big difference between spending an afternoon barbecuing with friends or spending an entire week with them on holiday, no matter how beautiful the surroundings may be.

I couldn’t at all figure out what was going on or who was involved. There’s quite a bit going on and watching the pieces of the puzzle finally come together was utterly satisfying. T.M. Logan always manages to come up with such incredibly clever plots and The Holiday is no different. Full of red herrings, this story about secrets, lies and dare I say it, bad parenting, will keep you guessing until the very end.

The Holiday is available to buy!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Tim was born in Berkshire and studied in London and Cardiff before becoming a national newspaper journalist. He currently writes full-time and lives in Nottinghamshire with his wife and two children. 

The Daughter in Law by Nina Manning | @ninamanning78 @BoldwoodBooks | #BoldwoodBlogtour #extract #excerpt

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Daughter in Law by Nina Manning. I have an extract to share with you all today but first, let’s see what this book is all about.

Author : Nina Manning
Title : The Daughter in Law
Pages : 354
Publisher : Boldwood Books
Publication date : August 1, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

No one is good enough for her son…

As a single mother, Annie has an especially close relationship with her son, Ben. They have always been together. Just the two of them. So, when Ben brings home his mysterious beautiful new wife, Daisy, immediately Annie doesn’t trust her. Who is this woman who has taken her son away from her? And what is she hiding?

She’ll protect him with her life…

When Ben disappears, suddenly Annie and Daisy are all the other one has. Alone in Annie’s big, remote house, just the two of them, the tension is rising. And like any protective mother, Annie will stop at nothing to expose her new daughter in law, and the secrets she is hiding…

| EXTRACT |

Annie

My favourite room is the spare bedroom at the front of the house. It gets all the light in the morning and looks so inviting. I’ve done it up like a picture I saw in a lifestyle magazine: a checked throw across the end of the bed, floral sheets and hooked back curtains, a little wicker chair in the corner with a few well-read paperbacks stacked on top of it, and a white vase on the bedside table. It really is the most comforting place to be. Of course, no one ever uses it. I like to keep the house looking nice. But it was only ever going to be me and my son.

Getting out of bed was particularly hard this morning. It has been every morning since Ben left. I keep thinking, what is the point? I’ve been feeling that empty hopelessness for several months now. Since Ben deserted me.

For her.

I’d heard all about empty nest syndrome but I never imagined for a moment it would happen to me. I never actually thought he would leave. I thought we would just keep existing together. Forever.

He kept so much of his stuff here initially, that I felt sure he would return – but just last month, he came and took the lot.

It’s so quiet here now. It was quiet anyway, that’s why I took the house. It’s the house I grew up alone in with my father, but fled from as soon as I was able to support myself.

How do you define an unhappy childhood? In those days it was unheard of to make an allegation about your relative. I accepted the violence – it was, after all, part of him and all I had ever known. Throughout my motherless upbringing, the beach house provided a sanctuary for me with plenty of places to hide. I got stealthier as I grew and with my legs pulled up tightly into my chest and my head pressed to my knees, I would squeeze myself into an alcove, the airing cupboard or the shed with the ringing sound of my father’s threats in my ear. Later on, I would sneak out and find my way back to my bedroom past my father’s drunken snores. The next day he wouldn’t remember a thing. Had I not been able to escape down to the shore to skim pebbles or poke about in rock pools, then I would have run away sooner. The sea kept me safe. But as soon as I turned sixteen I took myself hundreds of miles away. I never heard a whisper from my father, who had told me daily I reminded him too much of my brazen excuse of a mother. Then he was dead and the beach house was mine. I left it sitting empty for a while, too scared to return, too busy trying to salvage my own marriage. Then Ben arrived and I knew it was time.

When I returned here all those years later with my son, it was fairly run down and rotting in places I couldn’t get to, much like my father for all those years. The brown weather-worn cladding needed a sand down and varnish and the white framed windows were peeling, but overall the exterior wasn’t so bad. I did the best I could with it and I could overlook most of the natural decay when I scanned the vast horizon and breathed in the fresh sea air.

It’s a remote spot, perched right on the edge of the peninsular before it slopes round into the sea. Standing in the garden or looking out of the window, you would be forgiven for thinking there were no houses for miles, but there is one around along the shore and to the left and then they begin to scatter more frequently as they feed towards the village. People rarely walk this far down as the shore is a little more rustic with huge pieces of driftwood and great mounds of seaweed washing up daily. Besides, the stretch of beach at the end of the garden and over the low battered wall essentially belongs to me. We are protected a little from the wind by a few surrounding trees, but it does get a little breezy here at times. But when it’s still and the sea looks like a flat piece of mirror you could walk across, that’s when I love it the most. Of course, I love the waves too, especially the ferocious ones that thrust themselves towards the wall. I like to watch those waves and feel my own fury in them.

A house on the seafront, much like a savannah plain, is the perfect spot to see when enemies are approaching. And anyone who tries to come between me and my son, I consider an enemy.

But despite the weather and the waves, I know the house is empty. And although I try to fill my days with mundane daily tasks, I too feel empty. I need to feel fulfilled again. I need my son back. Back where he belongs.

There’s no one downstairs humming a tuneless song whilst they make their breakfast. There are no dirty trainers in the hallway, or piles of washing in the laundry basket. There are no toast crumbs on the kitchen side, or butter streaks in the marmite. The house is so eerily quiet. I have never experienced this. Not since having Ben. I forced all the bad memories away from the time I lived here as a child and made it all about me and Ben. It’s our sanctuary; our hub. Our place away from the world.

Now he’s gone. He hardly texts or rings. She has him wrapped around her little finger. Calling all the shots no doubt.

It was a real shock when Ben told me he had met someone. It was more of a shock when he told me he had gone and gotten himself married. He had been spending a lot of time at her house, that I knew. But I had no idea things had evolved so quickly. And to have done it without telling me, his own mother, first. We used to be so close. I am not coping so well.

I did the right thing, of course. I invited them over for something to eat – mostly because I needed to get a good look at the woman who thinks she has replaced me.

But I know it’s only temporary. I can’t be replaced. My son can’t live without me.

Hm. Well, I don’t know about you but I sense trouble ahead. If you’d like to find out what Annie gets up to next, then you can purchase a copy of The Daughter in Law right now!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Nina Manning studied psychology and was a restaurant-owner and private chef (including to members of the royal family). She is the founder and co-host of Sniffing The Pages, a book review podcast.

The Daughter in Law is her debut psychological thriller, and will be published in August 2019.

She lives in Dorset.

This Week in Books (July 31)

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 |

Every year, on the same night in July, a woman is taken from the streets of London; snatched by a killer who moves through the city like a ghost.

Addie has a secret. On the morning of her tenth birthday, four bombs were detonated across the capital. That night her dad came home covered in blood. She thought he was hurt in the attacks – but then her sister Jessie found a missing woman’s purse hidden in his room.

Jessie says they mustn’t tell. She says there’s nothing to worry about. But when she takes a job looking after the woman’s baby daughter, Addie starts to realise that her big sister doesn’t always tell her the whole story. And that the secrets they’re keeping may start costing lives…

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

Seven days. Three families. One killer.

It was supposed to be the perfect holiday – a group of families enjoying a week together in the sun. Four women who have been best friends for as long as they can remember making the most of a luxurious villa in the south of France.

But Kate has a secret: her husband is having an affair. And a week away might just be the perfect opportunity to get the proof she needs – to catch him in the act once and for all. Because she suspects the other woman is one of her two best friends.

One of them is working against her, willing to sacrifice years of friendship to destroy her family. But which one? As Kate closes in on the truth in the stifling Mediterranean heat, she realises too late that the stakes are far higher than she ever imagined . . . 

Because someone in the villa may be prepared to kill to keep their secret hidden. 

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

Everything changed the night Flora Powell disappeared. 

Heather and Jess were best friends – until the night Heather’s sister vanished.

Jess has never forgiven herself for the lie she told that night. Nor has Heather.

But now Heather is accused of an awful crime.

And Jess is forced to return to the sleepy seaside town where they grew up, to ask the question she’s avoided for so long:

What really happened the night Flora disappeared? 

By currently reading, I mean I haven’t even started it yet. Because erm … other priorities 😏

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

Conviction by Denise Mina | #20BooksOfSummer

Author : Denise Mina
Title : Conviction
Pages : 372
Publisher : Harvill Secker
Publication date : May 16, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

It’s just a normal morning for Anna McDonald. Gym kits, packed lunches, getting everyone up and ready. Until she opens the front door to her best friend, Estelle. Anna turns to see her own husband at the top of the stairs, suitcase in hand. They’re leaving together and they’re taking Anna’s two daughters with them.

Left alone in the big, dark house, Anna can’t think, she can’t take it in. With her safe, predictable world shattered, she distracts herself with a story: a true-crime podcast. There’s a sunken yacht in the Mediterranean, multiple murders and a hint of power and corruption. Then Anna realises she knew one of the victims in another life. She is convinced she knows what happened. Her past, so carefully hidden until now, will no longer stay silent.

This is a murder she can’t ignore, and she throws herself into investigating the case. But little does she know, her past and present lives are about to collide, sending everything she has worked so hard to achieve into freefall.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Denise Mina is a name I’ve seen mentioned quite a lot but I had never read any of her books before. Her latest release, Conviction, seemed like a good place to start.

When Anna’s husband leaves her for her best friend and takes the kids with him, the only thing that’s able to distract Anna from the shambles of her life is a true crime podcast. This podcast tries to find the answers to the mysterious sinking of a yacht that left three people dead. When Anna realises she actually knew one of the victims, she is convinced she knows what happened and sets out to investigate.

I’ve never listened to a podcast in my life. But I sure do love reading about them. They’re a really interesting way of getting a story across, giving you the facts and the questions that need answering. The podcast chapters in this book were my favourites to read. But I struggled with the rest of the story. I didn’t particularly like Anna, which felt immensely wrong considering her past and the secrets she’s hiding.

Some of the events that happened seemed somewhat over the top to me, yet the search for the truth kept me hooked and I couldn’t at all figure out what or who had caused these deaths. But for some reason, I wasn’t entirely convinced. Sure, there’s a well-crafted plot and Denise Mina is obviously a very skilled author but something was lacking for me and I can’t quite put my finger on what that was.

Furthermore, this finished hardback was riddled with mistakes. Now quite clearly that is not the author’s fault but it did have a huge impact on my reading experience. I often found myself utterly annoyed by the errors which took away my focus of the story. All in all, my first introduction to Denise Mina didn’t go down so well but I do still plan to read another one of her books in future.

Conviction is available to buy!

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

Book 11 from my 20 Books of Summer

The July Girls by Phoebe Locke | @phoebe_locke @Wildfirebks @headlinepg @JenRHarlow | #RandomThingsTours

Thrilled to host a stop on the blog tour for The July Girls by Phoebe Locke today! My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the opportunity to join and to the publisher for my review copy!

Author : Phoebe Locke
Title : The July Girls
Pages : 340
Publisher : Wildfire Books / Headline
Publication date : July 25, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Every year, on the same night in July, a woman is taken from the streets of London; snatched by a killer who moves through the city like a ghost.

Addie has a secret. On the morning of her tenth birthday, four bombs were detonated across the capital. That night her dad came home covered in blood. She thought he was hurt in the attacks – but then her sister Jessie found a missing woman’s purse hidden in his room.

Jessie says they mustn’t tell. She says there’s nothing to worry about. But when she takes a job looking after the woman’s baby daughter, Addie starts to realise that her big sister doesn’t always tell her the whole story. And that the secrets they’re keeping may start costing lives…

| MY THOUGHTS |

When I read The Tall Man a while ago, I immediately somehow felt Phoebe Locke would be my kind of writer. So when I heard The July Girls was coming, I signed up for this blog tour without even knowing what the book was about, confident that I would like whatever Phoebe Locke came up with this time around. And I was right. (I usually am, OH hates it 😉)

Every year, on the same day, a woman disappears without a trace from the streets of London. That day, July 7th, is Addie’s birthday. Coincidence or not? On her tenth birthday, her father arrives home with his clothes covered in blood. It’s July 7th, 2005. Addie thinks maybe her dad was hurt in the bombings that rocked London that day. Until her sister, Jessie, finds a purse belonging to a missing woman hidden in their dad’s bedroom. Is Addie’s dad a killer?

This story is told through the eyes of Addie, whom the reader follows throughout her teenage years as she struggles to deal with all the secrets she carries and the burden on her shoulders seems to grow with each year. I really enjoyed watching Addie develop throughout the story, how her voice changed as she grew up, how the things she just accepted as a ten year old suddenly didn’t seem to fit as she got older and matured.

You may think having a story told through a ten year old would come across as childish but you’d be awfully wrong. It was actually quite refreshing to see the world through innocent eyes, that little dash of naivety Addie still has, amidst the darkness in the world and then to sadly see that innocence shattered as she gets older.

The July Girls is immensely absorbing and extremely suspenseful. It’s one of those books that draws you in from the very beginning and just won’t let go. Now, I am awfully suspicious by nature so apart from Addie, I found it hard to trust anyone in this story as the characters were highly intriguing and constantly seemed to have something to hide. And yes, there is a mystery or a few murders to solve, one I couldn’t figure out at all. But that’s not the be all and end all of The July Girls. This is a story about relationships, family dynamics and secrets with a sense of impending doom hanging above it. That feeling you get when you know something is coming but you can’t figure out what that is.

I fear my review isn’t doing this book any justice. Sometimes words are just so hard to find. It isn’t just the storyline that had me hooked throughout but Phoebe Locke’s writing is really something else. Incredibly immersive and beautiful, it adds an extra layer to this story and all I can really say is : I’m a fan and I look forward immensely to whatever Phoebe Locke comes up with next!

The July Girls is available to buy!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

PHOEBE LOCKE is the pseudonym of full-time writer Nicci Cloke. She previously worked at the Faber Academy, and hosted London literary salon Speakeasy. Nicci has had two literary novels published by Fourth Estate and Cape, and also writes YA for Hot Key Books. She lives and writes in Cambridgeshire. THE JULY GIRLS follows Phoebe Locke’s debut thriller THE TALL MAN.

The Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor | #20BooksOfSummer

Author : Andrew Taylor
Title : The Ashes of London
Series : James Marwood #1
Pages : 482
Publisher : Harper Collins
Publication date : April 7, 2016

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

London, September 1666. The Great Fire rages through the city, consuming everything in its path. Even the impregnable cathedral of St. Paul’s is engulfed in flames and reduced to ruins. Among the crowds watching its destruction is James Marwood, son of a disgraced printer, and reluctant government informer.

In the aftermath of the fire, a semi-mummified body is discovered in the ashes of St. Paul’s, in a tomb that should have been empty. The man’s body has been mutilated and his thumbs have been tied behind his back.

Under orders from the government, Marwood is tasked with hunting down the killer across the devastated city. But at a time of dangerous internal dissent and the threat of foreign invasion, Marwood finds his investigation leads him into treacherous waters – and across the path of a determined, beautiful and vengeful young woman.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Recently, I’ve been on the look-out for more historical crime fiction as it’s a genre I’ve been enjoying quite a bit lately. The Ashes Of London caught my eye as it’s an era I’m not especially familiar with. I had heard of The Great Fire though, so that’s something as that is where this story starts.

The Great Fire of London in 1666 caused quite a few deaths. But St. Paul’s holds another body that didn’t perish in the fire. This victim was murdered before the fire got to them. As James Marwood watches the devastating fire roar, he helps a boy to safety. A boy who later turns out to be a young girl. This girl, Catherine, is trying to find her father. Could he be the murder victim?

For some reason, I couldn’t quite get to grips with this one. While I found it interesting to see the devastation the fire caused across the city, how it affected some but not others and the way it seemed to rain ashes for days on end, I mostly picked this book because I’m a crime fan. And the crime fan in me will always be way more intrigued by the murder investigation. This seemed to often take a bit of a backseat though in this story. There is a lot of walking through the streets, soaking up the atmosphere, a rather big cast of characters which sometimes confused me, conversations of which I felt they didn’t really bring much to the table and a rather slow pace where I was expecting more tension and “oomph”.

The story switches between James and Catherine. Unfortunately for me, neither of these two characters particularly held my interest and I often found my attention wandering. This story of conspiracies and revenge didn’t quite do it for me. I actually have the other books on my shelves and I will be giving them a go at some point. But for now, when I need a historical crime fiction fix, I will return to the Shardlake series by C.J. Sansom which, in my most humble opinion, is far more superior.

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

Book 10 from my 20 Books of Summer list.

Invisible Blood : 17 stories of murder and mystery edited by Maxim Jakubowski | @TitanBooks @Sarah_Mather_15

Author : Various, edited by Maxim Jakubowski
Title : Invisible Blood
Pages : 400
Publisher : Titan Books
Publication date : July 23, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Open the files on seventeen new crime stories to probe the brutal and complex hearts of criminals. Watch as a secretive group of intelligence community officers traces Jack Reacher’s steps through Heathrow airport in Lee Child’s “Smile”. In Mary Hoffman’s “Fallen Woman”, a journalist on the trail of a secretive drug lord gets caught up in the violent suicide of a young woman in Siena. And in Jeffrey Deaver’s “Connecting the Dots”, detectives follow the trail of clues in the brutal killing of a homeless man, wherever it may lead… Invisible Blood is a gripping collection of the compulsions of the criminal mind. 

| MY THOUGHTS |

I must admit that I’m not normally a fan of short stories because well, they’re short, and just when I feel I’m about to really sink my teeth into the story, they’re over and done with and we move on to the next one. But when Titan offered me Invisible Blood for review, I gladly accepted. I’m always looking for new crime authors and a short story collection like this one is the perfect way to discover some I’m not familiar with, or whose work I’ve never read.

So, 17 short crime stories in one go. I never know how to tackle these. Do I pick and choose? Do I start with an author I know? Or one who’s not known to me at all? Do I read from beginning to end? Never knew I could be this indecisive. As it is, I decided to just start from the beginning and a good choice that was too.

The first story is by Denise Mina, an author I’ve seen mentioned numerous times but I’ve never read any of her books. Lo and behold, her short story was one of my favourites and I’ll definitely be reading more by her in future. Lee Child pops up with a new Jack Reacher story and we also get one by one my favourite Orenda Books authors, Johana Gustawsson, that chilled me to the bone.

Short these stories may be. Some are a mere 20 pages long. But boy, do they pack a punch. My favourites were by Denise Mina, Lee Child, Johana Gustawsson and Jeffrey Deaver. The reader travels to Spain, where washing lines play an important part; to Italy on the trail of a drugs dealer; to America where a homeless man is found murdered and to the UK, where airport security is apparently flawed.

Murder, mystery and blood from seventeen fantastic crime writers all combined into one book makes Invisible Blood the perfect collection for any crime fiction fan. Or for someone like me, who’s on the look-out for new authors.

My thanks to Titan for the review copy!

Invisible Blood is available to buy!

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

Contributing authors : Lee Child, Jeffrey Deaver, Stella Duffy, Lavie Tidhar, R. J. Ellory, Christopher Fowler, Lauren Henderson, Jason Starr, Stella Duffy, James Grady, Johana Gustawsson, Denise Mina, Bill Beverly, Ken Bruen, Cathi Unsworth, John Harvey, and A. K. Benedict.

Edited by Maxim Jakubowski

The Scribe by A.A. Chaudhuri | @Endeavour_Media

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Scribe by A.A. Chaudhuri! My thanks to Hannah at Endeavour for the invitation to join and for the fab review copy!

Author : A.A. Chaudhuri
Title : The Scribe
Series : Kramer & Carver #1
Pages : 311
Publisher : Endeavour Media
Publication date : July 1, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Making it as a lawyer has always been a cutthroat business.

But now that a sadistic serial killer is on the loose the consequences could prove deadly… A killer is targeting former students of The Bloomsbury Academy of Law. The victims – all female – are gruesomely butchered according to a pattern corresponding with the legal syllabus. Even more disconcerting are riddles sent by the killer to investigating officer, Chief Inspector Jake Carver, offering clues as to who is next and where they will die. 

Up-and-coming lawyer Madeline Kramer, a former classmate of a number of the slain, soon finds her life turned upside down by the savagery. And when she decides to help Carver track down the killer, she places herself in mortal danger. Can Maddy unscramble the complex riddles, and save her own life and those of others destined to die? 

| MY THOUGHTS |

A serial killer is roaming the streets and they’re on a mission. The victims this person is targeting are all female and former students of the Bloomsbury Academy of Law. Madeline Kramer finds herself smack-bang in the thick of things and decides to help detectives crack this case before more women die.

The Scribe is the first instalment in the Kramer & Carver series and does exactly what it needs to do to lay a good foundation for future books. It introduces us to the early beginnings of the working relationship between these two characters while on the hunt for quite the brutal killer.

That investigation is pretty enthralling. There’s something else that links these victims but is that why they’re being killed or is there something more sinister going on? I was completely unable to figure it out. Any ideas I came up with were more of the “that’s not going to be it” variety but the actual answer never quite came to me. Not helped by the red herrings that kept throwing me off the scent.

As far as characters go, there are quite a few fascinating and intriguing ones in this story. Chaudhuri also takes the time to introduce us to the victims before they meet their untimely deaths, which I quite liked. Some you’ll like, some you won’t but does that mean they deserve what’s coming to them? I mentioned “brutal killer”, right? Some of the murder scenes are quite graphic but somehow never gruesome.

My only little niggle was that Kramer seemed to do all the work. Sure, she’s smart and determined but she’s not a detective. It didn’t bother me that she was working with Carver, despite being a lawyer and seemingly forgetting all about her job, but sometimes I found that the solutions she came up with were things he should have figured out for himself, long before she did. Copper’s nose and all that.

All in all, The Scribe is a well-paced and well plotted serial killer thriller. Not one to overanalyse but one to be enjoyed by the pool. It’ll be interesting to see how things evolve in the next book.

The Scribe is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

A. A. Chaudhuri is a former City lawyer.

Once a highly ranked British junior tennis player, she went on to gain a degree in History at University College London, then trained as a solicitor and worked for several major London law firms before leaving law to pursue her passion for writing.

In addition to books featuring the feisty Maddy Kramer, she has written four stand-alone novels, including racy thriller, Illicit Retainers, and political thriller, The Darker Side of White, yet to be published.

She lives in Surrey with her family.

Found by Erin Kinsley | @KinsleyErin @headlinepg @JenRHarlow | #RandomThingsTours

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Found by Erin Kinsley! My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the opportunity to join and to the publisher for my review copy!

Author : Erin Kinsley
Title : Found
Pages : 368
Publisher : Headline
Publication date : July 25, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

When 11 year old Evan vanishes without trace, his parents are plunged into their worst nightmare. 
Especially as the police, under massive pressure, have no answers.

But months later Evan is unexpectedly found, frightened and refusing to speak. His loving family realise life will never be the same again.

DI Naylor knows that unless those who took Evan are caught, other children are in danger. And with Evan silent, she must race against time to find those responsible…

| MY THOUGHTS |

Claire and Matt are faced with every parent’s worst nightmare when their son, Evan, fails to return from school. Evan was taken from a bus stop in broad daylight. With no witnesses, zero leads and a reconstruction that doesn’t provide any answers, detectives fail to move forward in their investigation.

Months go by, until Evan is unexpectedly found and returned home to his parents. But the damage has been done. Evan won’t talk, will not venture outside and hides himself away in his bedroom. Detectives are desperate to hunt down Evan’s kidnappers for fear they might strike again and kidnap another child but without Evan’s help, they don’t even know where to start.

I must say, this didn’t at all turn out the way I expected it to. This is one of those books that doesn’t quite fit into just any category. There’s the police procedural angle as the reader follows detectives on their frustrating journey to answers. But there is also more of a family drama side to this story as Evan’s family first go through the horrible period of his disappearance and then later need to deal with his return and the changes he’s undergone.

These were the chapters that are still very much at the forefront of my mind. The relationship between Evan and his granddad, especially, really got to me. It was just so warm and genuine, full of love and patience and I adored every minute they spent together. I never really considered that Found would move me as much as it did.

As harrowing as Found’s topic may be, I feel the author really managed to get events across without bombarding the reader with disturbing scene upon disturbing scene. A lot is left up to the reader’s imagination, be that a good or a bad thing. The story is chilling enough on its own, it didn’t need any added shock value and I appreciate that Erin Kinsley shied away from that and dealt with things in an incredibly sensitive way.

Found is a compelling and often devastating read, beautifully written and extremely sympathetically done. A truly impressive debut by Erin Kinsley.

Found is published in paperback format tomorrow!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Erin Kinsley is a full-time writer. She grew up in Yorkshire and currently lives in East Anglia. Now writing under a pseudonym, her previous books were published by Bloomsbury. Longlisted for the Desmond Elliot prize amongst other awards, her writing has received glowing reviews across the national press.