Weekly Wrap-Up (July 6)

This wrap-up might be somewhat on the short side because I have friends coming over this afternoon and a bajillion things to do.

While I’ve been putting this post together, the other half started vacuuming so now I’m wondering if I just sit here and look busy, if he’ll tackle some other chores from my list. 🤔

This week has consisted mostly of books and Wimbledon tennis. Probably more tennis than books, actually. I have a liiiiitle bit of leeway in my schedule so hopefully I won’t get into too much trouble.

So, what have I read this week?

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

I’m okay with that. That could have been a lot worse! One from my 20 Books of Summer list and the others are all for blog tours. Good thing I’m slowing down, eh?

Today’s guessing game : there are two 5 stars reads. Go! 😂

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

Oops 😳. I am so running out of room to put all of these. Especially paperbacks. So I often tell myself “self, we should read more paperbacks” and thus we choose another hardback because that’s just how self and I roll. 🤣

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Shared my review for Black Summer by M.W. Craven

Tuesday : Reviewed The Friend Who Lied by Rachel Amphlett

Wednesday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for The Closer I Get by Paul Burston and shared My Week in Books

Thursday : Reviewed The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Friday : Joined the blog tour for The Reunion by Guillaume Musso

Saturday : Shared my review of The Island by Ragnar Jónasson

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Get me posting every day of the week!

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Blog tour | Review | The Sleepwalker by Joseph Knox

Tuesday : Blog tour | Review | The Divorce by Victoria Jenkins

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Blog tour | Review | A Fatal Game by Nicholas Searle

Friday : Blog tour | Review | I Looked Away by Jane Corry

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Yep, slowing down is working like a charm. 😂

Right, that’s it. Hope everyone has a brilliant week! See you next time. Happy reading! xx

The Island by Ragnar Jónasson | #20BooksofSummer

Author : Ragnar Jónasson
Title : The Island
Series : Hidden Iceland #2
Pages : 342
Publisher : Michael Joseph / Penguin UK
Publication date : April 4, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir is sent to the isolated island of Elliðaey to investigate and soon finds haunting similarities with a previous case – a young woman found murdered ten years ago in the equally desolate Westfjords. 

Is there a patient killer stalking these barren outposts? 

As Hulda navigates a sinister game constructed of smoke and mirrors she is convinced that no one is telling the truth, including those closest to her. 

But who will crack first? And what secrets is the island hiding?

| MY THOUGHTS |

After having really enjoyed The Darkness a while back, I couldn’t wait to see what Ragnar Jónasson had in store with The Island.

Four friends come together to spend a weekend on an isolated island for a reunion, marking the tenth anniversary of the death of one of their other friends. It soon becomes apparent their friendship isn’t as solid as it used to be. There’s a lot of tension, awkward silences, the conversation doesn’t flow like it did all those years ago and dark secrets are struggling to stay hidden. Then, one of the remaining four friends is found dead. DI Hulda Hermannsdóttir is sent to the island to investigate this death. Could there possibly be a connection to what happened all those years ago?

Reading The Darkness had me immensely intrigued as to where Ragnar Jónasson would take this series. After all, book one was the end and we’re going back in time. From the start, I thought that was a really interesting premise. However, now that I’ve read the second book, I’m not sure I quite understand the point of going in reverse. I found it quite hard to care about Hulda because I already know what happens to her. It’s a bit like watching a film when the biggest spoiler or twist has already been revealed to you and you’re left to wonder why you’re wasting your time on something you already know the conclusion of. I can’t help but feel I’m missing something that would enlighten me about this premise and make me appreciate it more.

Saving grace in this instance, though, is Ragnar Jónasson’s writing. Always absorbing and beautifully descriptive, it paints the most magical picture of Iceland. The Island is dark, sometimes somewhat chilling, with a sense of foreboding and the investigation kept me guessing until the end. I couldn’t at all figure out whodunnit or why and needing to know the answers to those questions is what kept me reading.

Overall though, I am mostly left with sense of disappointment. I expected more, I suppose, and in that respect The Island didn’t really deliver. It’s a good book on its own but as the middle book in a trilogy, I feel it needed something more to really keep me gripped. That said, I will be reading the final instalment when it’s published as I am still intrigued enough to see what Ragnar Jónasson’s end game is.

The Island is available to buy!

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

Book 8 from my 20 Books of Summer list

The Reunion by Guillaume Musso | @wnbooks @orionbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n | #blogtour #TheReunion

It’s a real pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for The Reunion by Guillaume Musso. My thanks to Tracy Fenton for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my review copy!

Author : Guillaume Musso
Title : The Reunion
Pages : 275
Publisher : Weidenfeld & Nicolson 
Publication date : July 11, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

French Riviera, winter 1992.
On a freezing night, as her high school campus is engulfed by a snowstorm, 19-year-old Vinca Rockwell runs away with Alexis, her philosophy teacher.
No one will ever see them again.

French Riviera, spring 2017.
Formerly inseparable, Thomas, Maxime and Fanny – Vinca’s best friends – have not spoken in twenty-five years. But when they receive a notice from their old school detailing the plans for a new gymnasium and inviting them to a class reunion, they know they must go back one more time.

Because there is a body buried in the gymnasium’s walls… 
…and they’re the ones who put it there.

| MY THOUGHTS |

School reunions. Personally, I’ve never attended one because I’ve never quite understood the appeal of them. But Thomas has little choice in the matter. During the reunion, the school is set to announce plans for a new gymnasium and Thomas, Maxime and Fanny, who haven’t seen each other in 25 years, know they must go back to school one more time. Because there is a body in the walls, and they put it there.

How is that for a premise? I couldn’t have been more intrigued if I tried. It’s also an interesting way to start a story because it seems as if you’re getting all the information in one go so what could possibly be left to discover? Ha! Quite a bloody lot, let me tell you!

Everything harks back to the winter of 1992 when nineteen year old Vinca Rockwell disappeared. Rumour had it she ran off with her philosophy teacher but neither one of them was ever heard from again. Despite moving all the way to New York from the Côte d’Azur, Thomas has never been able to forget Vinca. She was his first true love after all and thoughts of her still haunt him. But did he ever really know her?

Does anyone even know anyone in this story?! There are not just secrets buried behind the gymnasium’s walls. In fact, they are everywhere and they come at you thick and fast. I think this is one of the most unpredictable plots I’ve read in a long time. There are some delicious twists and turns, none of which I saw coming and there’s a lovely kind of Noir vibe throughout.

The Côte d’Azur provides the perfect backdrop too. Beautiful surroundings that ooze atmosphere and really off-set the dark events that play out throughout the story. The Reunion is an engaging and well-paced story about unrequited love, obsession, jealousy and family. I must admit I’d never heard of Guillaume Musso but it’s easy to see why he is so popular in France. Hopefully more of his books will be translated to English so a bigger audience can acquaint themselves with his work but for now, if you’re looking for a page-turner, The Reunion will not let you down.

The Reunion is available to buy!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Guillaume Musso was the number one bestselling author in France in 2011 and 2012. Born in 1974 on the Cote d’Azur, he knew from an early age that he wanted to write novels and to touch the largest possible number of people. 

In 2004, ‘AFTERWARDS’ was published in France by XO Editions and was an immediate bestseller and established a loyal following for his unique brand of storytelling which blends romance, adventure, suspense and the supernatural. It was later made into a film starring John Malkovich, Evangeline Lily and Romain Duris.

Since then, with every one of the six novels which have followed, his loyal readership has grown significantly, making him the most widely-read author writing in French today. His stories have universal central themes: missed opportunities, second chances,the passage of time, lost love and redemption.

Source : Amazon

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid | @tjenkinsreid @AtriaBooks | #20BooksOfSummer #recommended

Author : Taylor Jenkins Reid
Title : The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Pages : 385
Publisher : Atria
Publication date : September 1, 2017

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ’80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Aging former movie star Evelyn Hugo is ready to tell the world about her life and set the record straight. Surprisingly, she picks an absolute nobody to write her biography. But as soon as you get to know Evelyn, you realise she doesn’t do anything for no reason and that nobody, Monique, is right where she should be. Why though? That’s the million dollar question and one I completely failed to answer until it was revealed to me.

Evelyn Hugo’s story depicts life behind the glitz, glamour and bright lights of Hollywood. In the days when the big movie studios ran Hollywood, things were very different from now. The movie studios held enormous power over their stars, determining what they should look like, what to eat (or not to eat) and even who to date. Anything to make their movie stars stand out, get publicity and sell movie tickets. There’s quite a lot of deceit, hiding behind masks, putting on acts all over town, the need to be seen. But more than anything, the sense that you should do whatever is necessary to avoid a scandal. Not just to protect your career, but also your family.

Evelyn Hugo married seven times during her lifetime. While talking to Monique, she deftly guides us through each of these marriages and it was often quite heartbreaking and devastating. Numerous times, I found I had a bit of a lump in my throat and by the end, I was very much an emotional mess.

Just like Monique, I too had a hard time deciding how I felt about Evelyn. From a young age, she knew exactly what she wanted and she went out there and got it, no matter what it took. Some of her actions really caused food for thought. Yet, they were also entirely understandable and throughout I was often left to wonder what I would have done in the situations Evelyn found herself in.

I found myself absolutely engrossed in Evelyn’s story from the very beginning. I feel privileged to have spent time with her, to have somewhat gotten to know the woman behind the actress. I say somewhat, because I’m convinced there were many more stories she could have told. Saying goodbye to Evelyn has left me feeling quite bereft and I realise I’m talking about her as if she was a real person because that’s exactly how she felt to me.

I loved everything about this story. The setting, the complex and multi-layered characters, the absolutely beautiful writing … there’s someone out there nodding her head, saying “I bloody told you so!” and now I’m telling you. If you love historical fiction or just a fantastic story in general, really, you have to meet Evelyn. This is my first time reading a novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid but it won’t be my last.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is available to buy!

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

Book 7 from my 20 Books of Summer list.

This Week in Books (July 3)

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 |

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.

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

As a series of rolling blackouts plunge the city into darkness, Detective Aidan Waits sits on an abandoned hospital ward, watching a mass murderer slowly die. Transferred from his usual night shift duties and onto protective custody, he has just one job…

To extract the location of Martin Wick’s final victim before the notorious mass murderer passes away.

Wick has spent over a decade in prison, in near-total silence, having confessed to an unspeakable crime that shocked the nation and earned him the nickname of TheSleepwalker.

But when a daring premeditated attack leaves one police officer dead and another one fighting for his life, Wick’s whispered last words will send Waits on a journey into the heart of darkness…

Manipulated by a reticent psychopath from his past, and under investigation from his new partner, Detective Constable Naomi Black, Waits realises too late that a remorseless contract killer is at work.

Can Aidan Waits solve his last case before fleeing justice?

Or will his name be next on the hit list?

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

When Lydia and Josh Green walk into Karen’s office one rainy February morning, Karen sees a couple under stress, almost at breaking point. But working with struggling couples, finding out more about their problems, helping to save their marriages, is what Karen does. 

But as Karen spends more time with Lydia and Josh, her sense of unease grows… 

Lydia is something more than just a woman whose marriage is in trouble. She seems frightened for her safety. 

Josh is angry, grief-stricken and seems to be hiding a dark secret. 

And soon Karen herself is afraid – there is something about the behaviour of this couple that recalls traumatic incidents from her own past. There is something there that may be the key to saving them, if Karen can only unlock it in time… 

Wimbledon is seriously messing up my reading plans. I can already tell I won’t be reading 7 books this week. 😂

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

The Closer I Get by Paul Burston | @PaulBurston @OrendaBooks | #blogtour #RandomThingsTours

Delighted to join the blog tour for The Closer I Get by Paul Burston today! My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invitation to join and to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for the brilliant review copy!

Author : Paul Burston
Title : The Closer I Get
Pages : 311
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : July 11, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Tom is a successful author, but he’s struggling to finish his novel. His main distraction is an online admirer, Evie, who simply won’t leave him alone.

Evie is smart, well read and unstable; she lives with her father and her social-media friendships are not only her escape, but everything she has.

When she’s hit with a restraining order, her world is turned upside down, and Tom is free to live his life again, to concentrate on writing.

But things aren’t really adding up. For Tom is distracted but also addicted to his online relationships, and when they take a darker, more menacing turn, he feels powerless to change things. Because maybe he needs Evie more than he’s letting on.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Well, now. If this doesn’t make you want to shut down all of your social media accounts and unplug your modern technology gadgets from now until eternity, I don’t know what will.

Tom Hunter is a successful author but he’s struggling to finish his latest novel. An online fan, Evie, just will not leave him alone. When Evie is hit with a restraining order, Tom is able to live again and enjoy his freedom. Or is he? Because there is a lot more to this story than you might think.

I must admit, I’ve been struggling with the psychological thriller genre a bit lately. But this one? Gosh, this one is SO dark and SO utterly brilliantly disturbing, it had me hooked! And of course, immensely relatable because I’m sure many of us have had to deal with “trolls” on social media. Paul Burston really manages to bring home the impact this kind of behaviour can have on someone who’s at the receiving end. To the point where I myself was beginning to feel completely paranoid, eying my social media followers, wondering who’s hiding behind those profile pictures.

I didn’t find either of these characters particularly likeable. I’m not entirely sure if I was meant to. As unstable as Evie is, I often felt like smacking her because I found her extremely irritating (sorry!). And as for Tom, despite being the victim in this case, he often came across as an arrogant douchebag (again, sorry!) and there was just something about him that meant I didn’t fully trust him.

You can’t have a psychological thriller and not have a few surprises along the way, now can you. Paul Burston did that extremely well and pulled the rug right from under my feet. I was never quite able to figure out the outcome of this story, couldn’t see how this would all end and tried to imagine a few different scenarios. None of which were happy and fluffy, mind you. The ultimate conclusion though is one I could never have predicted at all and it blew me away!

This story is massively unsettling. With an almost unbearable tension, complex characters, a remarkable psychological insight and an impending sense of doom, The Closer I Get is a highly addictive, thought-provoking and compelling page-turner. Creepy, extremely frightening and chilling, this is the kind of book you just can’t put down and one which makes you appreciate the psychological thriller genre all over again!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and deactivate my twitter account. 😅

The Closer I Get is available to buy in ebook format, with the paperback to follow on July 11th.

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goldsboro (sprayed edges!) | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Paul Burston is the author of five novels and the editor of two short story collections. His most recent novel The Black Path, was a WHSmith bestseller. His first novel, Shameless, was shortlisted for the State of Britain Award. His third novel, Lovers & Losers was shortlisted for a Stonewall Award. His fourth, The Gay Divorcee, was optioned for television.

He was a founding editor of Attitude magazine and has written for many publications includingGuardian, Independent, Time Out, The Times and Sunday Times. In March 2016, he was featured in the British Council’s #FiveFilms4Freedom Global List 2016, celebrating “33 visionary people who are promoting freedom, equality and LGBT rights around the world”.

He is the founder and host of London’s award-winning LGBT+ literary salon Polari and founder and chair of The Polari First Book Prize for new writing and the newly announced Polari Prize.

The Friend Who Lied by Rachel Amphlett | @RachelAmphlett

Author : Rachel Amphlett
Title : The Friend Who Lied
Pages : 360
Publisher : Saxon Publishing
Publication date : June 9, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Lisa Ashton receives a last-minute reprieve from death two weeks before her birthday. Regaining consciousness, she is horrified to learn one of her friends has been killed – and saved her life.

As she recovers, she uncovers a trail of carefully guarded reputations, disturbing rumours, and lies. Soon, Lisa begins to wonder if one of her friends is hiding a terrible secret. 

Because five of them entered the escape room that day, and only four got out alive. 

And someone is determined to cover their tracks before she can find out the truth.

Can Lisa find the killer before someone else dies?

| MY THOUGHTS |

Most of you are probably familiar with Rachel Amphlett and her outstanding crime fiction series featuring Kay Hunter. But now, Rachel Amphlett has come up with something a little different and has crossed over into the physological thriller genre.

Lisa Ashton wakes up in hospital. Soon Lisa realises that if she is alive, that means someone else is dead. As it turns out, that someone was a friend, Simon. Their little group of five was last together enjoying an escape room experience. Five entered but only four made it out. So what happened? And why can’t Lisa remember?

The reader hears from all four remaining friends as they try to come to terms with Simon’s death in their own way. But their individual struggles have an impact on their friendships. It becomes clear quite early on that they all have their own secrets which they are desperately trying to hide from one another. Apart from Lisa, I didn’t find any of the characters particularly likeable and I couldn’t at all figure out who to trust. If any of them.

There’s a tense vibe throughout the story. Like a taut piece of string, which you know will snap if you pull it just that little bit harder. With relatively short chapters, a brilliant pace and the urge to find out the answers, this turned into quite the super addictive and quickie read.

The Friend Who Lied is suspenseful and kept me guessing until the end. I dare say Rachel Amphlett’s foray into this genre worked out really well and I can’t wait to see what she does next!

The Friend Who Lied is available to buy!

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

Book 6 from my 20 Books of Summer list.

Black Summer by M.W. Craven | @MWCravenUK @LittleBrownUK | #bookreview #recommended #20BooksofSummer

Author : M.W. Craven
Title : Black Summer
Series : Washington Poe #2
Pages : 388
Publisher : Constable / Little Brown UK
Publication date : June 20, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Jared Keaton, chef to the stars. Charming. Charismatic. Psychopath . . . He’s currently serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of his daughter, Elizabeth. Her body was never found and Keaton was convicted largely on the testimony of Detective Sergeant Washington Poe.

So when a young woman staggers into a remote police station with irrefutable evidence that she is Elizabeth Keaton, Poe finds himself on the wrong end of an investigation, one that could cost him much more than his career.

Helped by the only person he trusts, the brilliant but socially awkward Tilly Bradshaw, Poe races to answer the only question that matters: how can someone be both dead and alive at the same time?

And then Elizabeth goes missing again – and all paths of investigation lead back to Poe.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Black Summer is the second book in the Washington Poe series and I’ll say right now that it’s even better than its predecessor. I never reviewed The Puppet Show on my blog because the sheer awesomeness blew me away and I couldn’t find the words to describe all the feels, as the youngsters would say. Ever since I finished reading that one, I’ve been impatiently awaiting its follow-up and here it is. This time, I’m determined to get some half-decent sentences on paper and try to convince you that, yes, you DO absolutely need a new series in your life.

Celebrated chef Jared Keaton is serving a life sentence for the murder of his daughter, Elizabeth. But Elizabeth’s body was never found. So when a young woman walks into a remote police station declaring she is Elizabeth, it looks like Jared will be released. Washington Poe suddenly finds himself on the wrong side of the investigation. Determined to find out the truth, he enlists the help of the only person he trusts, the absolutely fabulous Tilly Bradshaw. The question they need to answer is a real conundrum. How can someone be both alive and dead at the same time?

Fair warning. Black Summer kicks off with a rather gruesome event at a restaurant. It’s not a brutal murder scene, in case you wondered. It’s a dish that is served, which made me gag. I also made the horrible mistake of googling to see if it was a real thing. Stupid me. It’s things like that, that give me nightmares, people! Shudder.

Anywho! From that opening scene, we go back in time, when two weeks prior Elizabeth reappears. And just like that, we’re off on a ridiculously tense and gripping journey with a manipulative psychopath at the helm. I couldn’t at all figure out what was going on. While I had some theories, I just couldn’t make them stick, which was rather apt because that was also Poe’s problem. He’s quite convinced he knows the score, he just can’t seem to find the proof he so desperately needs.

A fascinating investigation to keep you hooked from start to finish but what really make this series stand out is the truly delightful relationship between Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw. Tilly herself is a joy but it’s her interactions with Poe and others that really make her shine and allow for some comic relief in between all the gore, murder and mayhem.

I don’t know about being Team Poe or Team Tilly, the decision is too hard, but I am most definitely Team Craven! Black Summer is immensely compelling, a delicious page-turner and it’s undoubtedly left me wanting more. Make some room on your shelves for this one! You won’t regret it!

Black Summer is available to buy!

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

Book 5 from my 20 Books of Summer list.

Weekly Wrap-Up (June 30)

Bye bye, June! You were really cold and then you were really hot so I forgive you for not realising Summer had already started because you sure as heck made up for it!

Obviously, because of this heat, I didn’t do anything much productive. Perfect excuse really, to just lounge around and complain to the other half because he is of course at work in air-conditioning all day. So not fair. Although I did, like a true crazy person, tackle my ironing in 32C heat. As you do. I’m hoping I lost enough calories doing that to balance out all the ice cream I’ve had this past week.

Last night, I abandoned my current book to watch two glorious hours of The Killers headlining Glastonbury. Few things make me drop a book but they will do it every single time. I was lucky enough to see them a few years ago and hope I get another chance at that some time in the future. Love them. ❤️

Anyway, books! That’s why we’re here, right? So, how did I do this week? Let’s see!

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

BOOM!!!! *smug face*

One somewhat disappointing, one absolutely fantastic, the others somewhere in between. Feel free to guess 😉

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

It’s a good thing I read 7 books last week because I may have ordered some*. But since they haven’t arrived yet, you’ll have to wait until next week to see what they are.

*(Only 8)

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

One for review (which actually arrived last week but I forgot to mention it) and one for a blog tour I’m ridiculously excited about! With thanks to Quercus and Michael Joseph.

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Reviewed The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

Tuesday : Shared my review of After The End by Clare Mackintosh

Wednesday : This Week in Books (which I didn’t stick to again 🙄)

Thursday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Don’t Ever Tell by Lucy Dawson

Friday : Shared my review of The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter

Saturday : Took the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Look at that! One blog tour! ONE! Quite obviously a mistake. 😉

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Review | Black Summer by M.W. Craven

Tuesday : Review | The Friend Who Lied by Rachel Amphlett

Wednesday : Blog tour | Review | The Closer I Get by Paul Burston

Thursday : Review | The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Friday : Blog tour | Review | The Reunion by Guillaume Musso

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Read all of them. I feel rather accomplished. Let’s not mention the reviews, shall we? 😳 I’m hoping to do those this afternoon but I’m pretty sure my brain has melted.

Please also note there are only two blog tours. Could it possibly be I finally have that whole thing figured out? Tune in next time 🤣

And that, as they say, is a wrap! Wishing you all a wonderful week and lots of happy reading! Until next time! xx

The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter | @KarinSlaughter @HarperCollins | #20BooksofSummer #recommended

Author : Karin Slaughter
Title : The Last Widow
Series : Will Trent #9
Pages : 448
Publisher : Harper Collins
Publication date : June 13, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

A mysterious kidnapping

On a hot summer night, a scientist from the Centers for Disease Control is grabbed by unknown assailants in a shopping center parking lot. Vanished into thin air, the authorities are desperate to save the doctor. 

A devastating explosion

One month later, the serenity of a sunny Sunday afternoon is shattered by the boom of a ground-shaking blast—followed by another seconds later. One of Atlanta’s busiest and most important neighborhood’s has been bombed—the location of Emory University, two major hospitals, the FBI headquarters, and the CDC.

A diabolical enemy

Medical examiner Sara Linton and her partner Will Trent, an investigator with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, rush to the scene—and into the heart of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to destroy thousands of innocent lives. When the assailants abduct Sara, Will goes undercover to save her and prevent a massacre—putting his own life on the line for the woman and the country he loves.

| MY THOUGHTS |

After a three year hiatus, Will Trent is back and I couldn’t be more excited if I tried! The Last Widow is the ninth instalment in this series but it can be read perfectly as a stand-alone. Karin Slaughter manages really well to give new readers sufficient background on these characters, while giving older fans a bit of a refresher course.

If you’re new to my blog, or you just haven’t been paying attention, you may not know I am a huge Karin Slaughter fan. I’ll read whatever she writes, to be honest. I’ve been following the Will Trent series from the very beginning and it’s one of those series that just keeps getting better and better, while Karin Slaughter’s writing gets even more taught and sharp with each book. One of the things I really like about her, is that she doesn’t shy away from the tough and hard-hitting topics and The Last Widow definitely has one of those.

A series of events put Will and Sara’s lives in danger. First, a scientist from the Centers of Disease Control is kidnapped in broad daylight. Then, a month later, one of Atlanta’s busiest neighbourhoods is rocked by two explosions. As Will and Sara both work for law enforcement, they run towards the danger in order to offer any help they can. But that decision has devastating consequences when Sara is abducted.

Cue heart pounding, clammy hands and the need to take a break from time to time because the tension was so high, I almost forgot to breathe!

The Last Widow isn’t an easy story to read. It often made me feel extremely uncomfortable and it should have done, considering the topics that are dealt with here. White supremacy, pedophilia, child abuse, all the worst things man could possibly get up to; it’s all here, hidden away in a remote location in the Appalachian Mountains where the leader of a cult has zero good intentions. You know deep down things won’t end well, you can feel it in your bones but nothing can prepare for the devastation.

This is Karin Slaughter at her best. Yes, there was a bit at the beginning that slightly puzzled me. Certain events played out from both Sara and Will’s point of view and while I could totally understand why it was done that way, it was also somewhat repetitive. But that little niggle aside, The Last Widow is an absolute corker of a book. The wait for Will Trent to return was most definitely worth it. This story made me angry, it made me sad and throughout it all, you can feel Will’s desperation and helplessness, his fear but also his determination and resolve to do whatever it takes to save Sara. I’m not normally one for romantic shenanigans in my crime fiction but these two? Aaww. They have such a delightful, yet complicated relationship and I can’t help but root for them all the way.

Karin Slaughter firmly keeps her top spot on my list of favourite authors. She can truly do no wrong in my eyes and I absolutely can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. Be it another book in the Will Trent series or a stand-alone, I’ll be right there at the front of the line, using my elbows.

The Last Widow is available to buy!

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Book 4 from my 20 Books of Summer list.