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

The Boy at the Door by Alex Dahl | @HoZ_Books @alexdahlauthor | #BoyattheDoor #LoveBooksGroup #guestpost

Today, I join the blog tour for The Boy at the Door by Alex Dahl. Thanks to Kelly at LoveBooksGroups for the invitation to join. Author Alex Dahl visits my blog with a truly wonderful guest post but first, here is what the book is all about.

Author : Alex Dahl
Title : The Boy at the Door
Pages : 384
Publisher : Head of Zeus
Publication date : January 10, 2019 (first published in 2018)

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Everyone has secrets. Even those who seem to be perfect…

On a rainy October evening, Cecilia Wilborg – loving wife, devoted mother, tennis club regular – is waiting for her kids to finish their swimming lesson. It’s been a long day. She can almost taste the crisp, cold glass of Chablis she’ll pour for herself once the girls are tucked up in bed.

But what Cecilia doesn’t know, is that this is the last time life will feel normal. Tonight she’ll be asked to drop a little boy home, a simple favour that will threaten to expose her deepest, darkest secret…

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

| GUEST POST |

Not That Kind of Mother

It’s one of those days. You know, when you have so much to do at work your head is literally spinning. Your breath is shallow, your palms itchy, your entire being shaking with the ravages of your caffeine addiction. Then school calls to say your little munchkin is feeling iffy. You have little choice but to pick him up, but his illness magically evaporates as soon as you arrive home and the bored child then spends the rest of the day whinging. You wish you could stick him in front of Fortnite until two seconds before bed time, but you’re not that kind of mother, hell no, in this house there are rules and boundaries, and one of them is no gaming if off school sick. 

You put your head phones in and hope for the best. You dream about that big glass of Pinot Noir when the kids are in bed and then you remember it’s Dry January and you’re actually doing it, if only to silence the (alarming) number of friends who laughed in your face when you said you might. We all know the mummy-and-alcohol jokes- mummies love the vino a little too much because our little angels bleed us dry. But not me, oh no. I’m not that kind of mother, either. I don’t succumb to the dangerous clutches of alcohol to soothe my shot mummy nerves. 

Then your dog gets some kind of virus and stages an actual shit-show. It alternates between hysterical barking and literal general disgustingness. You clean up and plug the ear plugs back in. You’re just making a dent in your inbox when it’s time to pick up your other child. You walk, in torrential icy rain, dragging the half-squatting dog along, because you’re not the kind of mother who drives everywhere and spews more pollution into our children’s already doomed world. 

You drag the dog and the kid home, shouting snippets of French vocabulary over the downpour as you go along, why waste the opportunity to learn something? (Allez! Vite! Il faut manger! Repeat after me- mon chien s’appele Figaro, etc) You get home and decide to bake because your gluten-free low-carb six-seed paleo bread sure isn’t going to bake itself. While it is in the oven you check if anyone responded to your Mummy chat room bid for interesting vegan recipes for the whole family. And they did. Lots of them, in fact. 

What kind of psycho would make their kids go vegan? 

How the hell do your kids get protein? 

I am so sick of these goddamned vegans, go away, die, BURN! 

Your kids aren’t vegan, by the way. Perhaps you aren’t, either- it’s besides the point. The point is the fury. The judgment. The anger- the sheer, unbridled anger. It’s everywhere- in the media, in the chat rooms, at the school gates, in the way we make harmless jokes about ‘the kind of mother who…’ Why are we so angry? Why do we subject other women and ourselves to these insane, impossible demands? These questions are at the very core of my novel, The Boy at the Door. Cecilia Wilborg is consumed by appearances, obsessed with maintaining her flawless façade, at any cost. She may be an unsympathetic narcissist, but the point is that it is society’s entirely unreasonable demands on mothers that drives her to some very dark places. We are sold an idea of perfection, of having it all. We are expected to work harder and harder, while parenting our children in an ever more hands-on (smothering?) way, holding their hands well into adulthood. 

No wonder mummy needs a drink or ten to avoid cracking up. Just kidding- you’re not that kind of mother! 

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Alex Dahl is a half-American, half-Norwegian author. Born in Oslo, she wrote The Boy at the Door while living in Sandefjord.

Don’t Turn Around by Amanda Brooke | @AmandaBrookeAB @HarperCollinsUK | #DontTurnAround #NetGalley

Author : Amanda Brooke
Title : Don’t Turn Around
Pages : 416
Publisher : Harper Collins
Publication date : January 24, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Ten years ago, Jen’s cousin Meg killed herself after failing to escape an abusive relationship.

Now, Meg’s ex is back and Jen’s domestic abuse helpline has started getting frightening calls from a girl who knows things about Meg – details that only the dead girl or the man who hurt her could have known…

As Jen starts to uncover the past, someone is determined to stop her. Can she save this young woman from Meg’s fate? Or is history about to repeat itself?

| MY THOUGHTS |

Good grief! What an emotional rollercoaster ride this was. It took me several moments to recover from the devastating storyline Don’t Turn Around focused on.

Ten years ago, Meg killed herself. Her mother Ruth and cousin Jen have always believed Meg saw no other way to escape the abusive relationship she was in with her boyfriend Lewis. But lack of proof meant Lewis was never brought to justice. Now, Lewis is back in town and the helpline where Ruth and Jen work starts receiving frightening calls from a girl who knows things about Meg and is finding herself in the same situation. Can Ruth and Jen help this girl to safety before it’s too late?

This story is told through the perspectives of Ruth and Jen. Both of these characters struggle immensely with the guilt of not having seen what Meg was going through, of having been unable to see the signs and get her the help she needed. Throughout the story, you’re left to wonder if Ruth and Jen knew Meg at all as they delve into their memories of her short life. That in turn made me, as the reader, wonder about Meg as well. Was she someone who liked playing games, pulling people to her and then pushing them away again? Or was there something far more sinister going on that damaged her?

The search for the truth is not an easy one. Dealing with this new girl via the helpline has major consequences. Ruth and Jen have always vowed that the best way to deal with Meg’s loss is to make sure no other girl ever has to deal with what she dealt with. But does this determination blind them to the truth? And will they finally find out why Meg took her own life?

Amanda Brooke does an amazing job in delving into the aftermath of a loss like Meg’s for those around her. The immense struggle to pick up the pieces of their lives and move on without her is utterly realistic and believable. Time does not heal all wounds and that’s something that’s very noticeable here. This isn’t the most comfortable storyline to read as it deals with the rather dark and disturbing topics of abuse and suicide but I feel the author tackled it brilliantly.

Don’t Turn Around is a gripping, suspenseful and emotive psychological thriller with plenty of twists and red herrings. It made me angry, it made me sad and had me completely engrossed right up until the incredibly shocking ending.

My thanks to the publisher for the advanced copy!

Don’t Turn Around is available to buy!

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

This Week in Books (January 30)

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 |

Breaking: Nuclear weapon detonates over Washington

Breaking: London hit, thousands feared dead

Breaking: Munich and Scotland hit. World leaders call for calm

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?

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

2019: Julianne is preparing a family dinner when her son comes to her and says he’s found something on his iPad. Something so terrible, it will turn Julianne’s world into a nightmare and make her question everything about her marriage and what type of man her husband is or is pretending to be.

1990: Holly is a fresher student at Oxford University. Out of her depth and nervous about her surroundings, she falls into an uneasy friendship with a group of older students from the upper echelons of society and begins to develop feelings for one in particular. He’s confident, quiet, attractive and seems to like her too. But as the year progresses, her friends’ behaviour grows steadily more disconcerting and Holly begins to realise she might just be a disposable pawn in a very sinister game.

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

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… 

From dystopian to rom-com. This will be interesting. 😂

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

Out of the Silence by Owen Mullen | @OwenMullen6 @Bloodhoundbook | #blogtour #guestpost

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Out of the Silence by Owen Mullen! My thanks to Emma Welton for the invitation to join. Owen joins us today to play a around of Dessert Island Must-Haves but first, let’s see what the book is all about.

Author : Owen Mullens
Title : Out of the Silence
Pages : n/a
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : January 28, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Star investigative reporter Ralph Buchanan’s glory days are behind him. His newspaper has banished him to Pakistan, not knowing the greatest moment of his long career is waiting for him there.

When Simone Jasnin asks him to help expose a grave injustice, he finds himself embroiled in a harrowing tale that began in a dusty settlement in rural Punjab, setting in motion a chain of events that will change the lives of everyone involved.

Seven years later in the city of Lahore, members of a prominent family are being brutally murdered, one by one. The only clue is a hand-carved wooden bangle left at the scene of each crime.

As the list of suspects grows and the tension mounts, Ralph realises the answers might be closer to home than he ever thought possible.

Solving the mystery will put him back on top but at what cost?

Only when the smoke clears will the killing stop and honour be satisfied…

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

| GUEST POST |

My wife Christine set me this fun challenge… so I thought I’d share it with you.

Dessert Island Must Haves

You have been washed up on a desert island with no hope of rescue in the foreseeable future but before leaving the ship you have just enough time to grab 1 item from each of the following… Tell us what/who you would choose and why. 

A Book – I suspect that being on a dessert island may not be all its cracked up to be,  sure to be a few down days.  And,  as you’ve probably discovered, sand gets everywhere. With all of that going on I’m liable to need some spiritual uplifting.  The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho has helped me before and probably would again:  a simple tale,  simply told with a host of powerful messages on how to navigate the journey through life – and desert islands. Fantastic! 

An Album – So many to choose from, but I’d go with something from a time when music was very important to me. I was still at school when The Beatles double album – sometimes called The White Album came out.  And what an impression it made on me; great songs,  too many to mention.  Think I’ll put it on while I’m writing this. I remember teaching myself to play Blackbird in my lunchtime breaks and being over the moon  when I got it. 

A Film – Often comedy films don’t make me laugh. Having said that,  probably my favourite film of all time is…As Good As It Gets. Jack Nicholson is always great but in this movie Helen Hunt, Cuba Gooding Junior and Greg Kinnear all give him a run for his money.  The film manages to be cringe-worthy cruel,  sad and laugh-out-loud funny. No wonder it won 2 Oscars. I’ve seen it a dozen times and if I see it another dozen that will be fine with me. 

A fictional character – As a crime fiction writer I’m often asked who my favourite fictional character is and I always say Sherlock Holmes.  However,  old Sherlock would be heavy going on a desert island – out of his face on dope most of the time, because there would be no crimes to solve and he’s depressed. Then, when he gets started on his violin… couldn’t handle it.  So who would I like to be there with me?  No contest,  Patrick Logue from the Charlie Cameron series.  He would always make me laugh and if it turned out there were natives he’d soon be on first name terms. Might even keep us off the menu! Though I would have to keep my eye on him or he’d have the coconut milk out of my tea. 

A luxury item – There would be plenty of time to kill so I’d take a guitar,  I was always able to lose myself in music and I would maybe even discover that elusive 4th chord. 

A photograph – I’d take the photograph I took of Christine a few days ago in Chania. She was looking wonderful,  and I captured it. 

A weapon – I’d take a machete because it could double as a tool. And if it turned out that there were natives and they weren’t friendly, they just might think twice before attacking a mad Scotsman wielding one of these – in my head I’m seeing Braveheart🤣

One useful item – I could imagine mosquito repellent just might come in handy, but I’d go for matches to keep that signal fire burning. 

One food item – A big jar of curry powder for obvious reasons. Too long without a curry and I’d get withdrawal symptoms. 

One drink item – Coffee,  I’d definitely struggle without the bean! How could I possibly get into the day?  I’d need to get used to no Stevia though; not looking forward to that. 

One fun item – A football; nothing like a kick about on the beach! 

I already got stuck on the first question 😂. Great answers, Owen! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing this wish us!

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Owen Mullen is a McIlvanney Crime Book Of The Year long-listed novelist.

Owen graduated from Strathclyde University, moved to London and worked as a rock musician, session singer and songwriter, and had a hit record in Japan with a band he refuses to name; he still loves to perform on occasion. His passion for travel has taken him on many adventures from the Amazon and Africa to the colourful continent of India and Nepal. A gregarious recluse, he and his wife, Christine, split their time between Glasgow, and their home in the Greek Islands where In Harm’s Way and the Charlie Cameron and Delaney series’ were created and written. His latest novel Out Of The Silence is a truly compelling thriller set in Pakistan.