The Secret Child by Caroline Mitchell | @Caroline_writes @midaspr @AmazonPub| #TheSecretChild #ThomasAndMercer

I’m kicking off the week with a stop on the blog tour for The Secret Child by Caroline Mitchell. My thanks to Agnes at Midas PR for the invitation to join and to Caroline Mitchell for the review copy!

Author : Caroline Mitchell
Title : The Secret Child
Series : DI Amy Winter #2
Pages : 336
Publisher : Thomas & Mercer
Publication date : March 7, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Four-year-old Ellen is snatched by a stranger in the dead of night. Her devastated mother, Nicole, receives four identical phials and a threatening note in a familiar scrawl that chills her to the bone. But she always knew this would happen. She’s been expecting it for years…

According to the note, one of the phials is poisoned. Nicole is given a deadly challenge: if she drinks one, the sadistic kidnapper will notify the police of Ellen’s location. The sender claims to be Luka Volkov but Luka is supposed to be dead, killed long ago in a fire that haunts all those involved.

DI Amy Winter is still reeling from the discovery that she is the daughter of a serial killer, and her childhood trauma only makes her more determined to bring Ellen home. When another child is taken, Amy finds herself in a race against time. To rescue the children, must she seek help from the one person she wants to forget…?

| MY THOUGHTS |

When four year old Ellen is kidnapped from her bedroom, it becomes clear quite early on her parents aren’t telling the police everything. This kidnapper is on a mission and Ellen was targeted for a reason. But what dark secrets are hiding in the past? Amy and her team find themselves in a race against time to find Ellen before it’s too late.

The Secret Child is the second instalment in the DI Amy Winter series and I felt it was even stronger than its predecessor. The storyline is pretty intense, helped by the fact I could never quite figure out what the kidnapper’s endgame was going to be. There are quite a few parallels throughout, between the kidnapper’s past and Amy’s. Hoping to find some common ground with the kidnapper, can Amy keep her past a secret though?

I must admit that Amy got on my nerves quite a bit this time around. It’s not surprising she has issues, obviously, and she’ll do whatever it takes to protect herself from getting hurt but some of the moments where she was lashing out angered me. I felt like grabbing her and shaking her and telling her to get a grip, focus on what’s what or who’s who. I quite enjoy it when a character can get to me like that though.

Speaking of characters that do that, the character calling himself Luka is one of those as well. Obviously I can’t give anything away but his background is so incredibly devastating, it’s hard not to feel for him. Even if the things he’s doing now are wrong, you understand why he’s doing them. It all begins in the eighties but those events have a lifelong impact on all those who were involved.

With a topic like childhood trauma and its effects, The Secret Child quickly becomes a tense, fascinating and gripping read. This isn’t just your average awesome crime thriller as there’s a remarkable depth and psychology to it that adds that little bit extra. It had me hooked from start to finish and I can’t wait to see where Caroline Mitchell takes this series next.

The Secret Child is available to buy!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Caroline originates from Ireland and now lives with her family in a pretty village on the coast of Essex.

A former police detective, Caroline has worked in CID and specialised in roles dealing with vulnerable victims, high-risk victims of domestic abuse, and serious sexual offences.

She now writes full time.

Weekly Wrap-Up (March 10)

Once upon a time there was a week in March and then it was gone. There were a lot of dark days, lots of rain and high winds. Twas also not a productive one, yet full of books and some delightful procrastinating courtesy of Netflix. I binge-watched Harlan Coben’s Safe, which is brilliant, and also took the advice of a fellow blogger (thank you, Jacob) and finally started watching The Crown.

Reading-wise, my week was all over the place. A few misses, a few “meh” and a few corkers. Let’s see what I read this week.

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

This is not as impressive as it looks. Two of those (Until The Day I Die and Closer Than You Think) were DNF’s and will not be reviewed on the blog. I blame me and not the books. I’m in a mood and I need books that start with a bang and grab me by the collar and not let go. When I find I start thinking of other things I could be doing, it’s time to move on to another book.

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

Technically, none. I did pre-order the three below but pre-orders don’t count, right? 🤔

| ARC’s RECEIVED VIA NETGALLEY |

None! I’ve only visited there to drop off some reviews and that’s it. I’m increasingly struggling with reading on Kindle lately so my Netgalley days might just be over.

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

Excited doesn’t even begin to cover it! Huge thanks to Bonnier Zaffre, Michale Joseph, Avon UK and Headline!

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Reviewed The Shape of Lies by Rachel Abbott

Tuesday : Posted my review for Looker by Laura Sims

Wednesday : This Week in Books which I didn’t stick to 😭

Thursday : Shared my review of Now You See Her by Heidi Perks for paperback publication day celebrations.

Friday : Shared an extract on my stop on the blog tour for The Rain Watcher by Tatiana de Rosnay

Saturday : Joined the blog tour for Punch by Kate North with a guest post.

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Blog tour | Review | The Secret Child by Caroline Mitchell

Tuesday : I don’t know yet

Wednesday : Blog tour | Review | Only Daughter by Sarah A. Denzil

Thursday : Maybe nothing

Friday : Not a clue

Saturday : Might take today off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Look at that empty schedule! I’m part proud of myself for cutting down and part completely panicking because I’m worried I forgot to write something down 😂

Question of the week : Prompted by my two DNF’s this week, how do you feel about not finishing a book? When do you decide to just admit defeat and move on to something else? Do you have a specific cut-off point, like 100 pages or 20%? On a scale of one to ten, how bad do you feel about not finishing a book? Is there a difference between not finishing a book you’ve bought, received via Netgalley or a publisher? What are the odds you’ll pick this book you’ve not finished up again in future and give it another go?

That’s it for another week. Hopefully next week the sun will be out and the glorious blue skies will return to lift our moods. Wishing you all a fabulous week! Happy reading! xx

Punch by Kate North | @katetnorth @BultiauwBooks | #blogtour #Punch #guestpost

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Punch by Kate North! My thanks to Karen Bultiauw for the invitation to join! Author Kate North visits my blog today to talk about short stories but first, here is what Punch is all about.

Author : Kate North
Title : Punch
Pages : 114
Publisher : Cinnamon Press
Publication date : March 4, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Punch is a collection of stories exploring the uncanny, the uncomfortable and the surreal in the everyday, at home and abroad.

Whether its a man with a growth on his hand, a couple trying for a baby, a woman finishing a book, a pope with penis envy, or a bullied girl, characters throughout the collection assess their surroundings and are often forced to reassess themselves. 

Punch offers the reader a humorous and disturbing take on life in the twenty-first century.

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon UK | Wordery

| GUEST POST |

Hi, I’m Kate North and I’m absolutely thrilled that Eva has handed over the blog spot to me today for the blog tour of my short story collection Punch

I love writing short stories.  I think they are the perfect vehicle for diving into action just before the crux of things.  They also allow you to get out when you have given the reader just enough so they can imagine what might happen next for themselves.  I like short stories that stay with me, stories that unsettle or calm me in some way.  I enjoy working out how and why later.  Writers like Anna Kavan and Ali Smith are really excellent at doing this.  When I was younger I enjoyed the TV shows Tales of the Unexpected and The Twilight Zone for the same reasons.  

The stories in Punch are set in a number of places throughout the UK and across various  European countries.  They are told from a range of perspectives, young through to old, male and female.  What they all have in common is the fact that they explore the weird and how it exists in and amongst the everyday.  I am fascinated by the strange and the un-nerving, how the uncanny can emerge in the most average of settings.  Those moments when you do a double take and say to yourself, ‘did I really just see that?’, the times when you are thinking ‘am I the only person in the room who thinks this is odd?’.  In these instances you can find yourself questioning your own sanity and even facts you know to be true.  These are scenarios that I explore in my stories. I write about how characters respond, whether on a first date or having just moved into a new home.

My stories have characters who are surprised and encounter the unexpected in some way or other.  How they react to a given situation depends upon personality and background, but also on the environment in which they find themselves.  The title story of the collection follows a girl being relentlessly bullied at school, but it isn’t until she finds herself outside of the school that she feels able to respond to her tormentors.  

I also write poetry and I think that may be another reason I am drawn to the short story.  The poem and the short story have a lot in common.  The intense and the lyrical are at home in a short narrative.   You don’t necessarily want or need the expanse of a novel to think about why a character makes a specific decision or how they may react in a particular place.  I think that commuters may like these stories, they are the ideal size for a train or bus trip.  They are short, sharp tales that pack a punch, they are written to make you think.  I’m really looking forward to people reading them.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Kate! I’m always quite impressed at how much information an author can pack into a short story.

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Kate North’s first novel, Eva Shell, was published by Cinnamon Press in 2008 and her poetry collection, Bistro, in 2012. She writes and edits for a number of journals and publications.

She has a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing from Cardiff University and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. She lives and teaches in Cardiff.

Visit her website:  www.katenorth.co.uk or follow her on Twitter @katetnorth.

The Rain Watcher by Tatiana de Rosnay | @Tatianaderosnay @WorldEdBooks | #blogtour #extract

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Rainwatcher by Tatiana de Rosnay. My thanks to Julia Forster at World Editions for the invitation to join. I have an extract to share with you all today but first, let’s find out a bit more about the novel.

Author : Tatiana de Rosnay
Title : The Rain Watcher
Pages : 288
Publisher : World Editions
Publication date : March 5, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

It is raining non-stop over Paris. The Malegarde family – split between France, London, and the US – is reunited for the first time in years.

When Paul, a famous yet withdrawn arborist, suffers a stroke in the middle of his 70th birthday celebrations, his son Linden is stuck in a city that is undergoing a stunning natural disaster.

As the Seine bursts its banks and floods the streets, the family will have to fight to keep their unity as hidden fears and secrets also begin to rise.

In this profound and intense novel of love and redemption, De Rosnay demonstrates her wealth of skills both as an incredible storyteller and also as a connoisseur of the human soul.

| EXTRACT |

Opening to The Rain Watcher by Tatiana de Rosnay

“It’s been like this for the past two weeks,” says the listless taxi driver. The rain pours down, a silver curtain, hissing, obstructing all daylight. It is only ten o’clock in the morning, but to Linden, it feels like dusk glimmering with wetness. The taxi driver says he wants to move away for good, flee Paris, find the sun, go back to balmy Martinique, where he is from. As the car leaves Charles de Gaulle Airport and edges along the jammed highway and ring road that circles the city, Linden cannot help agreeing with him. The sodden suburbs are dismal, clustered contours of cubic volumes bedecked with garish neon billboards flickering in the drizzle. He asks the driver to turn on the radio, and the man comments upon his perfect French, “for an American.” Linden grins. This happens every time he returns to Paris. He replies he’s Franco-American, born in France, French father, American mother, he speaks both languages fluently, with no accent at all. How about that, eh? The driver chortles, fumbles with the radio, well, monsieur certainly looks like an American, doesn’t he, tall, athletic, jeans, sneakers, not like those Parisians with their fancy ties and suits.

The news is all about the Seine. Linden listens while squeaky windshield wipers thrust away rivulets in a never-ending battle. The river has been rising for five days now, since January 15, lapping around the Zouave’s ankles. The huge stone statue of a colonial soldier situated just below the pont de l’Alma is, Linden knows, the popular indicator of the river’s level. In 1910, during the major overflows that inundated the city, the water had crept all the way up to the Zouave’s shoulders. The driver exhales, there’s nothing to be done to prevent a river from flooding, no use fighting nature. Men need to stop tampering with nature; all this is her way of lashing back. As the car inches along sluggish circulation, unrelenting rain pounding on the car roof, Linden is reminded of the email the hotel sent him on Tuesday.

Dear Mr. Malegarde,

We are looking forward to your arrival and stay with us as from Friday, January 19th, at noon, until Sunday, January 21, in the evening (with a late checkout, as requested). However, the traffic situation in Paris might be problematic due to the level of the river Seine. Fortunately, the Chatterton Hotel, situated in the fourteenth arrondissement, is not located in an area liable to inundations, and therefore will not be concerned by the inconvenience. For the moment, the prefecture informs us there is nothing to worry about, but our policy is to update our guests. Please let us know if you need any assistance. Kind regards.

Linden read it at the airport on his way from LA to New York, where he was booked to photograph a British actress for Vanity Fair. He forwarded the message to his sister, Tilia, in London, and to his mother, Lauren, in the Drôme valley, who were to join him in Paris that Friday. Linden had not included Paul in the email because his father only appreciated letters and postcards, not emails. His sister’s answer, which he received when he landed hours later at JFK, made him chuckle.

Floodings?! What?! Again? Don’t you remember there was already a scary flood in Paris last November? And what about the one in June 2016? It took us years to organize this bloody weekend, and now this?! She signed off with a series of scowling emoticons.

Later, his mother replied to both of them: Will come by boat if we have to, dragging your father away from his trees! To at last be together! No way will we cancel this family gathering! See you on Friday, my loves!

The Malegarde family was meeting in Paris to celebrate Paul’s seventieth birthday, as well as Lauren and Paul’s fortieth wedding anniversary.

Linden had not given the hotel’s warning another thought. When he left New York for Paris on Thursday evening, he felt weary. It had been two full days, and before that, weeks of hard work around the globe. He would have preferred to fly back home to San Francisco, to Elizabeth Street, to Sacha and the cats. He had not seen much of Sacha, nor the cats, in the past month. Rachel Yellan, his dynamic agent, had landed him one job after the other, a dizzying swirl from city to city that left him depleted and longing for a break. The narrow blue house in Noe Valley and its cherished inhabitants would have to wait until this special family event was over.

“Just the four of us,” his mother had said, all those months ago, when she had booked hotel and restaurant. Was he looking forward to this? he wondered as the plane took off. They had not often been together, just the four of them, since his teenage years at Sévral, where he grew up, and more so, since he had left Vénozan, his father’s familial domain, in 1997, at nearly sixteen. He saw his parents once or twice a year, and his sister whenever he went to London, which was frequently. Why did “just the four of us” sound both so cozy and ominous? 

On the flight to Paris, Linden read Le Figaro and realized with a jab of apprehension that the situation described by the hotel was, in fact, disquieting. The Seine had already flooded in late November, as Tilia pointed out, after a wet summer and autumn, and previously, in June 2016. Parisians had kept a wary eye on the Zouave, and the little waves lapping up his shins. Fortunately, the flow had stopped increasing. Le Figaro explained that thanks to modern technology, one could predict the river’s engorgement three days ahead, which left ample time for evacuating. But the actual problem was the torrential rain, which had not lessened. The river was on the rise again, and threateningly fast…

If this extract and Tatiana de Rosnay’s beautiful writing has left you wanting more, then why not buy yourself a copy of The Rain Watcher!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Tatiana de Rosnay, of English, French, and Russian descent, was born in 1961, in Neuilly-sur-Seine, and raised in Boston and Paris.

After studying literature in England at the University of East Anglia, Tatiana worked in Paris as a reporter for Vanity FairPsychologies Magazine, and ELLE.

She has published twelve novels in French and three in English including New York Times bestseller Sarah’s Key, which sold over eleven million copies worldwide, and was made into a film starring Kristin Scott Thomas in 2010.

Her books have been published in 42 countries and in 2011 she was listed by Le Figaro as the fifth most-read French author worldwide.

Now You See Her by Heidi Perks | @HeidiPerksBooks @arrowpublishing @Rachel90Kennedy | #NowYouSeeHer

Happy paperback publication day to Heidi Perks!

Author : Heidi Perks
Title : Now You See Her
Pages : 416
Publisher : Arrow Publishing
Publication date : March 7, 2019 (UK paperback)

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

NOW YOU SEE HER

She’s playing at the school fete with your children. You pull out your phone, scroll through Facebook, and look up again.

NOW YOU DON’T

Charlotte is looking after her best friend’s daughter the day she disappears. She thought the little girl was playing with her own children. She swears she only took her eyes off them for a second.

Now, Charlotte must do the unthinkable, tell her best friend Harriet that her only child is missing. The child she was meant to be watching.

Devastated, Harriet can no longer bear to see Charlotte. No one could expect her to trust her friend again.

Only now she needs to. Because two weeks later Harriet and Charlotte are both being questioned separately by the police. And secrets are about to surface.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Holy bejeebus! How did I not read this book sooner?!

Charlotte takes her children and her friend Harriet’s daughter, Alice, to the school fete. But then Alice disappears. Despite intense search parties, there is no trace of her. How do you tell your friend you’ve lost her child? Their friendship unsurprisingly hits rock bottom. Harriet can never trust Charlotte again but now, two weeks after Alice’s disappearance, she has to. Because she and Charlotte are being questioned by the police …

And then! OMG! I can’t tell you! But holy WOW! If at any point you think “Ha! I totally know where this is going!” … no! NO! You so don’t! Or at least, I didn’t. I was completely blindsided and left reeling. Bloody love it when an author manages to do that to me! In the blink of an eye, Heidi Perks takes the topic of a missing child (let’s face it, it’s not like it hasn’t been done before) and turns it completely on its head, blowing me away with the force of a gale.

Poor Charlotte! The author did a brilliant job of getting across the position she finds herself in. Alice disappeared on her watch after all. With fingers pointing to her everywhere, people leaving nasty comments on newspaper articles and her friends distancing themselves from her … I’d never leave my house again, to be honest. It’s all quite realistic and believable and I really felt for her. I’m sure any mother can relate. It only takes a split second of averting your eyes for a child to suddenly not be where you saw them last.

A missing child, secrets galore, twists that left my head spinning and so much more I can’t talk about without giving anything away (but it involves an incredibly despicable character) … It all resulted in me not just devouring this book, but absolutely inhaling it! Gripping, compelling, utterly addictive and I just knew it would cause a book hangover.

Now You See Her is brilliantly plotted. It isn’t packed full of action as its focus is very much on the intriguing characters but it had me absolutely engrossed from start to finish. Loved it and I highly recommend it if you enjoy your psychological thrillers.

Huge thanks to Rachel Kennedy at Arrow Publishing for my review copy!

Now You See Her is out in paperback today!

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

This Week in Books (March 6)

Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

| LAST BOOK I FINISHED READING |

Sometimes friendship can be murder…

It’s the weekend of Clarisse’s bridal party, a trip the girls have all been looking forward to. Then, on the day of their flight, Tamsyn, the maid of honour, suddenly backs out. Upset and confused, they try to make the most of the stunning, isolated seaside house they find themselves in.

But, there is a surprise in store – Tamsyn has organised a murder mystery, a sinister game in which they must discover a killer in their midst. As tensions quickly boil over, it becomes clear to them all that there are some secrets that won’t stay buried…

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

Waking up beside the dead girl, she couldn’t remember anything.
Who she was. Who had taken her. How to escape.

Detective Abigail Boone has been missing for four days when she is finally found, confused and broken. Suffering retrograde amnesia, she is a stranger to her despairing husband and bewildered son.

Hopelessly lost in her own life, with no leads on her abduction, Boone’s only instinct is to revisit the case she was investigating when she vanished: the baffling disappearance of a young woman, Sarah Still.

Defying her family and the police, Boone obsessively follows a deadly trail to the darkest edges of human cruelty. But even if she finds Sarah, will Boone ever be the same again?

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

You’ve lost your daughter.

She’s addicted to drugs and to an abusive boyfriend. And she’s made it clear that she doesn’t want to be found.

Then, quite by chance, you see her busking in New York’s Central Park.

But she’s not the girl you remember. This woman is wasted, frightened and clearly in trouble.

You don’t stop to think. You approach her, beg her to come home.

She runs.

And you follow her into a dark and dangerous world you never knew existed. Where criminal gangs rule, where drugs are the main currency, and murder is commonplace.

Now it’s your life on the line. And nowhere and no one is safe.

Not a good week so far. I don’t know if it’s the books. Or me. I finished The Bridal Party on Monday and have had two DNF’s since. I’m hoping things will pick up this afternoon when I start Past Life.

How’s your reading week going? Good? Bad? Let me know!
Happy reading! xx

Looker by Laura Sims | @ljsims50 @Bookish_Becky @TinderPress | #Looker

Author : Laura Sims
Title : Looker
Pages : 180
Publisher : Tinder Press
Publication date : January 8, 2019 (ebook)

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Have you ever wanted to steal someone else’s life?

The Professor lives in Brooklyn; her partner Nathan has left her; she can’t have a baby. All she’s left with is Nathan’s old moggy, Cat. Who she doesn’t even like.

Then a celebrity actress moves into the area. She’s beautiful, with long auburn hair, perfect skin, a lovely smile. She’s got children – a baby, even. And a husband who seems to adore her. She leaves discarded household items and toys outside for thrift collection. She leaves her windows open, even at night.

There’s no harm, the Professor thinks, in recycling those items. Or looking in through the illuminated glass at that shiny, happy family. Is there?

| MY THOUGHTS |

Wow! For a mere 180 pages, this packs quite the punch!

Looker is the story of an unnamed professor whose life and mind slowly start to unravel after a series of unsuccessful IVF attempts and the departure of her husband. All she’s left with is the cat, and she doesn’t even like it. The unnamed professor becomes fixated and obsessed with the unnamed actress who lives on her street. The actress has everything : good looks, a handsome husband, three children, a nice house and a career. Everything the professor doesn’t have.

This is not an easy read. It’s incredibly unsettling and made me rather uncomfortable at times. But it’s also intensely compelling and slightly voyeuristic in that way where you’re just standing by, watching someone fall apart. It’s like you want to look away but you can’t. While the professor might not be a character to specifically like, she is one to feel some sympathy for because it’s easy to imagine her pain and the jealousy she has to deal with when something that so many other women seemingly effortlessly have in their lives, is completely out of her grasp.

Laura Sims does an incredible job in blurring the lines between reality and fantasy. At times I myself was left to wonder what was real and what wasn’t. I wasn’t entirely sure about how much of the professor’s narration I could trust. Throughout the storyline, a feeling of extreme unease kept growing. This sinking feeling in your bones that lets you know something is coming but you have no idea what. And I didn’t have a clue, as I couldn’t predict the outcome at all.

I’m not entirely sure how to label this book. It isn’t your typical psychological thriller, although it seems to be marketed that way. I really hesitate to call it that. It’s more of a fascinating character study about a woman losing her grip on reality. Looker is slightly disturbing, somewhat sad and also creepy all at once. To be honest, at the end of it I was desperate for something fluffy. Yet, it’s brilliantly written and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Huge thanks to Becky Hunter for the review copy!

Looker is available to buy in ebook format. The paperback will be published in July.

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

The Shape of Lies by Rachel Abbott | @RachelAbbott @MauraWilding | #TheShapeofLies #NetGalley

Author : Rachel Abbott
Title : The Shape of Lies
Series : DI Tom Douglas #8
Pages : 384
Publisher : Black Dot Publishing
Publication date : February 19, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Fourteen years ago Scott was Anna’s boyfriend. She loved him, but he ruined her life. When he died, she should have been free.

But today Scott is on the radio, talking about her. Threatening to spill her secrets.

Anna is a mother, a wife, and head teacher of a primary school. And she’s a very good liar. She has been lying about herself for so long, she doesn’t really know who she is any more.

Anna used to think she was a good person. She made one stupid mistake, and now she is having to pay for it – over and over again.

Scott is the only person who knows the truth about her past. But how can Scott be alive?

Soon, DCI Tom Douglas is going to knock on her door looking for answers. But Anna is already running scared: from the man she used to love; the man she watched die all those years ago; the man who has come back to life.

She has one week to find him. One week to stop him.

| MY THOUGHTS |

It’s always such a joy to be able to read a new book in the DCI Tom Douglas series. I can’t believe we’re already at book eight and I must say, this is another crime series that keeps going from strength to strength.

In case the title of the book didn’t give you a clue, there are a lot of lies in this story and lies comes in all shapes and sizes. Little white lies, flagrant lies and the lies we have to keep telling in order to protect one lie from the past that could cause a whole lot of you-know-what to hit the fan. This is what happened to Anna. But she feels quite safe in the knowledge that the only person who knows about her past is dead. Or is he? Someone is ready to share Anna’s secrets and lies with the world. She has one week to find them and to stop them before her life falls apart.

Anna is a wife, a mother, a headteacher and an insanely good liar. The way the lies roll off her tongue so easily is actually quite impressive. Slowly but surely, the truth about her is revealed, going all the way back to when she was a rather naive nineteen year old girl. At university, she makes one mistake but it’s one that has a massive impact.

I found Anna quite a tough character to relate to. In fact, I didn’t really like her very much. There was no hardship at all in sympathising with her during her university days but the adult Anna, with the lies and the deceit, left me rather cold. That said, you don’t always have to be able to sympathise with, trust or even like a character to be absolutely engrossed in a story and luckily Rachel Abbott knows exactly how to come up with a storyline that will keep you hooked, no matter what.

Did I think I had things figured out? Of course, I did. Was I right? Well, yes and also no. Because that’s another thing this author does so extremely well. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing until the end and if you do happen to have a theory, make you doubt yourself.

The Shape of Lies is another fantastic addition to the DCI Tom Douglas series. Full of suspense and intrigue, it makes for one gripping and tense read. I thoroughly enjoyed catching up with Tom and Becky again and I hope to see them back again soon. In the meantime, you have time to get caught up if you haven’t done so already because this truly is a fantastic crime series that should be on everyone’s radar and Rachel Abbott is an author who should most definitely be on your bookshelf.

Huge thanks to Maura Wilding for my review copy!

The Shape of Lies is available to buy!

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

Weekly Wrap-Up (March 2)

Hello, March! It’s good to see you! Although why you had to announce your arrival with dark, wet and miserable weather is a mystery to me. Still, we’re another step closer to Summer so I’m not complaining. Much.

I am horribly sleep deprived. The most sleep I had in one night was about 5 hours and it wasn’t even in one go. That said, I have been oddly productive as evidenced by the fact I tackled my pile of ironing at 8 o’clock in the morning. Totally scared myself there. Self and I had a good long talk and agreed this can never happen again.

Reading-wise, I was able to squeeze in a few new releases as a treat to myself. So, what did I read this week? Let’s see.

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

Not as impressive as it looks since Looker is only 180 pages long. But! I do have a few other things still on the go that I wasn’t able to finish this week (one of which is almost 500 pages) so you know, it’s okay. I’ll take it.

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

Just two. Which according to the OH is still too much. Huh? Does not compute.

| ARC’s RECEIVED VIA NETGALLEY |

Apparently After She’s Gone is the second in a series, which I wasn’t told when I was invited to read it. 🙄 Run Away, well, I don’t quite remember requesting that one. Immense lack of sleep will do that to a person. But I’m thrilled I got it!

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

Another good week at Casa Novel Deelights. Huge thanks to Penguin, Headline, Agora, Avon and Ebury!

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Inborn by Thomas Enger

Tuesday : Reviewed Dead Memories by Angela Marsons

Wednesday : Shared my most incoherent review ever (!!!!) when I joined the blog tour for The Taking of Annie Thorne by C.J. Tudor and posted My Week in Books

Thursday : Shared my review for The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Friday : Reviewed Between The Lies by Michelle Adams

Saturday : Joined the blog tour for The Blameless Dead by Gary Haynes

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Made it! Bye-bye, frantic February!

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Review | The Shape of Lies by Rachel Abbott

Tuesday : Review | Looker by Laura Sims

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Review | Now You See Her by Heidi Perks

Friday : Blog tour | Extract | The Rainwatcher by Tatiana de Rosnay

Saturday : Blog tour | Guest Post | Punch by Kate North

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Well, would you look at that! Not a single review blog tour! I know, you’re impressed, aren’t you? 😂

Now, I do remember saying that March was going to be slow. Famous last words. Some last minute additions and a glance at Netgalley publication dates and well, let’s just say there is no Hobbit trilogy binge-watch in my near future. But that’s okay! I have it all under control! Really! Where’s the wine?

Right, that’s it! My Sunday afternoon shall be spent writing some reviews and reading up a storm! Hope you’re having a lovely weekend, however you’re spending it. Have a great week! Until next time. Happy reading! xx

The Blameless Dead by Gary Haynes | @EndeavourQuill

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Blameless Dead by Gary Haynes! My thanks to Hannah at Endeavour for the invitation to join and the review copy.

Author : Gary Haynes
Title : The Blameless Dead
Pages : n/a
Publisher : Endeavour Quill
Publication date : March 18, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

In the dying days of World War Two, Pavel Romasko and his Red Army colleagues pick their way through the carnage and detritus of a dying Berlin. Stumbling upon the smoking remains of a Nazi bunker, they find something inside that eclipses the horror of even the worst excesses in the city above them…

As the war ends, retribution begins. But some revenge cannot be taken at once. Some revenge takes years.

And so it is, as post-war Europe tries desperately to drag itself back onto its feet, and soldiers attempt a return to normality, that retribution continues to ferment in the Gulags of the Soviet Union and beneath the surface of apparently ordinary lives.

Which is how, seventy years later, FBI agent Carla Romero and New York lawyer Gabriel Hall are enlisted to investigate a series of blood-chilling crimes that seem to have their roots in the distant past — even though the suffering they cause is all too present. And for one of them, the disappearance of young women is a particularly personal matter.

| MY THOUGHTS |

The Blameless Dead begins with what looks like a home invasion, when a husband and wife are found murdered in their apartment in New York. The FBI quite quickly zero in on a suspect but while this person may not be talking, it soon becomes obvious there is something far more sinister going on. Something which has its roots firmly planted at the end of the second World War.

Thus begins a journey through the ages. This is quite a complex storyline that requires a fair bit of concentration. There are a number of characters to keep track of, spread out over various countries and decades. There’s also a rather high body count with plenty of murders along the way, none of which are pleasant.

The Blameless Dead brings to light the horrors of war and how someone is after revenge, even after seventy years. Because some things just can’t be forgotten and events from the past have, shall we say, “inspired” a serial killer throughout the years. And this character is going to great lengths to make sure his secrets remain hidden.

What we have here is an incredibly dark and disturbing topic with a few pretty graphic scenes thrown in, which may not appeal to everyone. I found it quite unsettling at times. The plot is well executed though and is full of historical details. It took me quite a while to figure out how the pieces of the puzzle fit together and I felt rather smug when I put two and two together, only to have Gary Haynes throw in a delicious sting in the tale.

Part murder mystery and part historical fiction, Gary Haynes takes us from the ashes of late war Berlin to the modern setting of New York, showing the impact the atrocities of war can have on a person and while the war may have been over a long time ago, its legacy lasts forever.

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Gary Haynes studied law at university before becoming a commercial litigator. He is interested in history, philosophy and international relations. When he’s not writing or reading, he enjoys watching European films, travelling, hillwalking and spending time with his family. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers Organization.