Weekly Wrap-Up (May 26)

I know I keep complaining about the weather like some old woman but seriously, what is going on? It doesn’t feel like May at all! One day I’m outside in a short-sleeved t-shirt basking in the sunshine and the next I’m having to turn on the heating.

The reading slump, I’m sad to say, continues. When pulling weeds in the garden sounds more appealing than a book, I know I’m definitely in trouble. So, I watched The Hobbit trilogy. Yes, again. And the behind the scenes footage as well. I’m not even sorry!

Am I getting in trouble with my schedule? Why, yes but also no. There’s nothing quite as stressful as finishing a book the evening before your blog tour stop and writing your review the morning of, though, is there?

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

Utterly pathetic 😂. The Slaughter / Child collaboration doesn’t even count. It’s only about 85 pages. At least I’ve not missed a tour stop so far. Yet. I was hoping to add another one to that, which is for tomorrow’s blog tour but I’ve not finished it yet 😳

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

I really enjoyed Alice Feeney’s previous book so I Know Who You Are was a no-brainer. And I’ve been hearing so many good things about The Dangerous Kind that I just had to buy it.

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

One for a blog tour, one a proof copy. With thanks to Michael Joseph and One World Publications.

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Nothing

Tuesday : Joined the blog tour for Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Breakers by Doug Johnstone

Friday : Forgot what I wanted to post here so didn’t post at all 🤣

Saturday : Took the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Anyone else missing the days where I posted every day like a mad woman? Just me? Okay then.

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Blog tour | Review | Your Deepest Fear by David Jackson

Tuesday : Blog tour | Review | The Wartime Midwives by Daisy Styles

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Nothing

Friday : 20 Books of Summer Challenge

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

I have a few busier weeks coming up the next few months but not as particularly crazy as I’ve been known to do. Which is good thing because as you can see from Friday’s post, I will be joining in the 20 Books of Summer Challenge again this year and I will, like last year, be reading those 20 books on top of my other commitments. Nothing like living a bit dangerously, especially in the middle of a reading slump 😂

This afternoon, I shall be finishing the book I’m currently reading for tomorrow’s blog tour. And then I’ll probably not be picking up another book for a few days and try not to worry about that or my schedule. But first, it’s civic duty time and voting.

Question of the week : Another easy one for you this week. What is your favourite book so far this year? I’ll even allow you to split your choices up into genres, if need be.

For me, it would be “The Taking of Annie Thorne” and in the historical fiction genre “Finding Dorothy”. Your turn!

That’s it! Wishing you all a fabulous week and lots of happy reading! xx

Breakers by Doug Johnstone | @doug_johnstone @OrendaBooks @annecater | #blogtour #bookreview #RandomThingsTours

Delighted to host a stop on the blog tour for Breakers by Doug Johnstone alongside my blog buddy Yvo. Make sure you check out her review too! My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my review copy!

Author : Doug Johnstone
Title : Breakers
Pages : 230
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : May 16, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Seventeen-year-old Tyler lives in one of Edinburgh’s most deprived areas. Coerced into robbing rich people’s homes by his bullying older siblings, he’s also trying to care for his little sister and his drug-addict mother. On a job, his brother stabs a homeowner and leaves her for dead—and the woman is the wife of Edinburgh’s biggest crime lord, Deke Holt.

With the police and the Holts closing in, and his shattered family in devastating danger, Tyler meets posh girl Flick in another stranger’s house, and he thinks she may just be his salvation, unless he drags her down, too.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Every once in a while, it really hits home how hard this reviewing malarkey can be. Especially when you come across a book like Breakers. While I was reading, I already realised there was no way any of the words I could possibly come up with would do this book justice.

Having only read Doug Johnstone’s previous book, Fault Lines, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Breakers but it soon became apparent Johnstone is seemingly somewhat of a chameleon who can seamlessly switch genres. In this case, from a dystopian novel to a psychological thriller. But not just any psychological thriller. This is one with a difference, incredibly original and with an amazing level of depth to it that you don’t always find in this genre.

Seventeen year old Tyler lives in Edinburgh with his mother and his seven year old sister. Life is hard in one of the most depraved areas of this city and Tyler is being bullied by his older half-brother into burgling houses of the more affluent residents. But one night, things go horribly wrong when a homeowner returns home unexpectedly and Tyler’s brother stabs her. Unbeknownst to them, this woman is the wife of Edinburgh’s biggest crime lord, Deke Holt, and he is not a man to be messed with.

This isn’t an easy story to read. It’s at times massively uncomfortable and immensely sad. Tyler’s circumstances are extremely heartbreaking and I really felt for him and everything he had to deal with on a daily basis. His love for his sister, Bean, and his fierce determination in protecting her and keeping her safe almost brought a tear to my eye. Stuck in this cycle of poverty, addiction and violence, Tyler goes out of his way to somehow create an environment of normalcy for his sister, a routine, all the while doing whatever he can to shield her from the things that are really going on around her.

A little beacon of light comes from a somewhat unlikely source when Tyler meets Flick. Flick is posh, goes to an expensive boarding school and drives a flashy car. She seems to have everything Tyler wants from life but looks can be deceiving. Watching their friendship develop was truly heartwarming. Flick sees Tyler the same way I, as the reader, did. As a young man who is good, who does good, but is also forced to do bad and unable to see a way out.

Breakers is quite dark and gritty. It’s tense and constantly has this sense of impending doom. I kept feeling deep down this couldn’t end well but was utterly unable to see how things would turn out. Tyler is one of those characters you become completely invested in, one you’ll root for all the way. This gripping, compelling, raw, sometimes brutal and utterly thought-provoking novel will make you reel against the injustice, will make you feel helpless, will put your own life into perspective and appreciate what you have. Breakers is a story that will stay with me for quite some time to come and I’m secretly hoping for a follow-up to see what becomes of Tyler and Bean.

Breakers is available to buy!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Doug Johnstone is an author, journalist and musician based in Edinburgh.
He’s had nine novels published, most recently Fault Lines. His previous
novel, The Jump, was a finalist for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime
Novel of the Year. Several of his other novels have been award winners and
bestsellers, and he’s had short stories published in numerous anthologies
and literary magazines. His work has been praised by the likes of Ian Rankin, Val McDermid and Irvine Welsh. Several of his novels have been optioned for film and television. Doug is also a Royal Literary Fund Consultant Fellow.

He’s worked as an RLF Fellow at Queen Margaret University, taught creative
writing at Strathclyde University and William Purves Funeral Directors.
He mentors and assesses manuscripts for The Literary Consultancy and
regularly tutors at Moniack Mhor writing retreat. Doug has released seven albums in various bands, and is drummer, vocalist and occasional guitarist for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He also reviews books for The Big Issue magazine, is player-manager for Scotland Writers Football Club and has a PhD in nuclear physics.

This Week in Books (May 22)

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 |

Will Trent is undercover at Fort Knox. His assignment: to investigate a twenty-two-year-old murder. His suspect’s name: Jack Reacher.

Jack Reacher is in Fort Knox on his own mission: to bring down a dangerous criminal ring operating at the heart of America’s military. Except now Will Trent is on the scene.

But there’s a bigger conspiracy at play – one that neither the special agent nor the ex-military cop could have anticipated. And the only option is for Jack Reacher and Will Trent to team up and play nicely. If they can…

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

Seventeen-year-old Tyler lives in one of Edinburgh’s most deprived areas. Coerced into robbing rich people’s homes by his bullying older siblings, he’s also trying to care for his little sister and his drug-addict mother. On a job, his brother stabs a homeowner and leaves her for dead—and the woman is the wife of Edinburgh’s biggest crime lord, Deke Holt.

With the police and the Holts closing in, and his shattered family in devastating danger, Tyler meets posh girl Flick in another stranger’s house, and he thinks she may just be his salvation, unless he drags her down, too.

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

‘…They’re here. They’re-‘

The message on Sara Prior’s phone contains the last words she will ever hear from her husband. Racing to find him, she discovers he has been brutally murdered.

While the police struggle to uncover evidence around this shocking crime, it becomes clear that Sara is no ordinary bereaved wife. And she is not the sort of woman to let things lie. Following a hidden clue in her husband’s last desperate phone-call, Sara follows the trail to the house of the last person she’d expect . . .

Meanwhile DS Nathan Cody finds himself drawn into the darkest and most twisted case of his career. And this time things are about to get very very personal.

The reading slump continues. Cleaning The Gold is a mere 80 pages. It took me an entire afternoon to read and it’s the only thing I’ve read since Saturday. Send help! 😂

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

Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald | @FitzHelen @OrendaBooks @annecater | #blogtour #bookreview #recommended #RandomThingsTours

Author : Helen Fitzgerald
Title : Worst Case Scenario
Pages : 200
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : May 16, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Mary Shields is a moody, acerbic probation offer, dealing with some of Glasgow’s worst cases, and her job is on the line.

Liam Macdowall was imprisoned for murdering his wife, and he’s published a series of letters to the dead woman, in a book that makes him an unlikely hero – and a poster boy for Men’s Rights activists.

Liam is released on licence into Mary’s care, but things are far from simple. Mary develops a poisonous obsession with Liam and his world, and when her son and Liam’s daughter form a relationship, Mary will stop at nothing to impose her own brand of justice … with devastating consequences.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Whatever you think this book will be about, set your thoughts aside. This is nothing like I expected and that’s a marvellous thing because Worst Case Scenario is incredibly original, refreshing and just an all-round fabulous surprise.

Just look at this opening line!

Every time Mary tried to relax in the bath, a paedophile ruined it.

Meet Mary Shields, a criminal justice social worker. Mary is awfully moody, menopausal, has a bit of a drinking problem, likes the occasional joint and is just plain fed up with her job and ready for retirement. She is also one of the most fantastic characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting and she had me chuckling from the very first page, even when at times it didn’t seem all that appropriate. You know how you sometimes laugh out loud and then quickly cover your mouth with your hand because it feels wrong? Yes, that. Then Liam, a man who spent time in prison for murdering his wife, is released on licence into Mary’s care. How could anything possibly go wrong?

Worst Case Scenario is often witty but also dark and moving. It’s extremely easy to imagine the frustration these social workers go through on a daily basis. With mountains of paperwork, flexitime and criminals that need constant supervision who keep finding ways to break the restrictions that have been put upon them, it’s a small miracle these social workers don’t go absolutely insane. Heck, I’d be drinking!

I’m trying to keep this vague because you should experience Mary’s turmoil for yourself. There are some tough topics along the way, all too realistic and believable and ultimately also thought-provoking. While part of me kept thinking there was no way things could possibly end well, shit hits the fan in a way I couldn’t have predicted at all. But I loved everything about it. I was quite sad to see my journey with Mary coming to an end and I’m secretly hoping she will be back some day.

I knew I’d enjoy this one, because Orenda Books never lets me down, but I wasn’t prepared for how much I’d absolutely love it. Gripping, addictive, impossible to put down and with an incredible female protagonist you can’t help but root for, Worst Case Scenario is responsible for one of the best afternoons I’ve ever had. As such, this moves straight onto my list of books of the year. A list which Orenda Books may just end up dominating at this rate. Highly recommend you check this one out!

Worst Case Scenario is available to buy!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Helen FitzGerald is the second youngest of thirteen children. She grew up in the small town of Kilmore, Victoria, Australia, and studied English and History at the University of Melbourne. Via India and London, Helen came to Glasgow University where she completed a Diploma and Masters in Social Work.

She works part time as a criminal justice social worker in Glasgow. She’s married to screenwriter Sergio Casci, and they have two children. 

Weekly Wrap-Up (May 19)

*insert long rant about how crappy this week has been here*

Thank you for all the well-wishes on twitter. I’m fine. There is just a whole lot of family shit going on, which came at me like a speeding train and I felt completely overwhelmed by everything. On top of that, I seem to have landed myself in a reading slump and I’m suffering from a crisis in confidence, partly brought on by being the only blogger who wasn’t thanked by an author for her review on a blog tour. I know I shouldn’t let that get to me but man, it’s hard not to take that personally. (Thank you, shallow tribe! You know why! 😘)

Luckily, Line of Duty came to the rescue. I binge-watched all 5 seasons and am all caught up, ready for more! What a brilliant show. I can’t believe it passed me by all this time. It’s extremely impressive how a show where lots of scenes are just played out around a table can be so bloody thrilling!

Those wonderful days were quickly followed by picking up numerous books, reading a few pages and putting them back on my shelf. Nothing, absolutely nothing was grabbing me. No reading for me today as I have company and for once I’m actually glad about that. But tomorrow, I’m going to have to force myself to read a book for a blog tour and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried.

So, what did I read this week?

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

I don’t even care. I’m okay with this. That could easily have said just the one book, which I needed to read for a tour.

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

Adding some more books to my Harlan Coben collection. These have the most wonderful colourful spines and look so pretty on my bookshelf. Little Darlings was one I’ve been waiting for and should hopefully get around to reading soon. (That’s actually one I picked up and put back after 10 pages 😳) The other one, I don’t have a clue where I saw it or why I wanted to buy it, but since I wrote it down I must have had a reason so here it is. 😂

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

Courtesy of Avon and Orenda, both for blog tours.

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Never Be Broken by Sarah Hilary

Tuesday : Joined the blog tour for The Evidence Against You by Gillian McAllister

Wednesday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly

Thursday : Joined the blog tour for Tell Me Where You Are by Moira Forsyth

Friday : Shared my review for Anna of Kleve by Alison Weir

Saturday : Took the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Nailed it 🤣

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Nothing planned

Tuesday : Blog tour | Review | Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Blog tour | Review | Breakers by Doug Johnstone

Friday : There may be something but probably not

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Note to self : This is good. We like this. Try and keep it up. Even if we still have to read the one for Thursday 🙄

Fun little question this week because I’m curious as heck about the answers that’ll pop up. Brought on by little old me saying she’d never read a Michael Connelly book before Dark Sacred Night.

Name an author (or two) whose books you’ve never read. If any of you say Karin Slaughter, I might just hurt you! 😂

My answer would be : Lee Child. It’s a name I see mentioned quite a lot, yet somehow it’s not one that’s made its way onto my bookshelves. Have you read any of his books? Am I missing out something extraordinary?

That’s it for this week’s wrap-up. Wishing you all a fabulous week, preferably with sunshine (not looking good here). Until next time. Happy reading! xx

Anna of Kleve : Queen of Secrets by Alison Weir

Author : Alison Weir
Title : Anna of Kleve : Queen of Secrets
Series : Six Tudor Queens #4
Pages : 485
Publisher : Headline
Publication date : May 2, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Newly widowed and the father of an infant son, Henry VIII realizes he must marry again to insure the royal succession. Now forty-six, overweight and unwell, Henry is soundly rejected by some of Europe’s most eligible princesses, but Anna of Kleve—a small German duchy—is twenty-four and eager to wed.

Henry requests Anna’s portrait from his court painter, who enhances her looks, painting her straight-on in order not to emphasize her rather long nose. Henry is entranced by the lovely image, only to be bitterly surprised when Anna arrives in England and he sees her in the flesh. She is pleasant looking, just not the lady that Henry had expected.

What follows is a fascinating story of this awkward royal union that had to somehow be terminated tactfully. Alison Weir takes a fresh and surprising look at this remarkable royal marriage by describing it from the point of view of Queen Anna, a young woman with hopes and dreams of her own, alone in a royal court that rejected her from the day she arrived. 

| MY THOUGHTS |

The Six Tudor Queens series continues with the fourth of Henry VIII’s wives, Anna of Kleve. This is one I’d been looking forward to, happy to move even further away from the Great Matter, and also because I didn’t know much about Anna herself.

Anna hailed from Germany and to all intents and purposes seemed to have lived quite the sheltered life under the watchful eye of her mother. Until the day Henry VIII, King of England, decides he needs another wife and preferably another heir. With Spain and France joining forces against him, an alliance with the Duke of Kleve would be quite an advantage. Henry asks his court painter for a portrait of Anna. He likes what he sees. Until Anna finally arrives in England. Despite the marriage going ahead, it quickly becomes clear Henry isn’t happy and when Henry isn’t happy, heads roll. But will it be Anna’s?

There is quite the controversial storyline running through Anna of Kleve. As always, Alison Weir takes facts and builds her story around those. In this case, the reasons Henry listed for his marriage to Anna to remain unconsummated. By that time, he was nearing 50, massively overweight and unfit, and quite possibly impotent. But of course, that’s not something he would ever have admitted. In his attempts to have his marriage to Anna annulled, Henry shows a side of himself we’ve not really seen before. At times he managed to come across as likeable even.

Now imagine Anna. A young woman sent off to England to marry a King. She spoke no English, knew nothing of the culture or customs but did know the stories about what happened to Henry’s previous wives. How incredibly frightening is that? Unable to please Henry, through no fault of her own, her life at the court must have been spent in sheer fear and anxiety.

I mentioned the controversial path Alison Weir takes with this story. Up to a certain point, I was quite willing to follow it. It explained a lot, it made sense while keeping Henry’s words in the back of my mind. But as the years went on, I must admit that that particular fictional part of the story lost me a little bit. I’m being deliberately vague here because I want the readers to experience this for themselves. If you do read this novel, and you definitely should, I’d be incredibly interested in knowing your thoughts.

I absolutely adore the Six Tudor Queens series and boy, do those hardcovers look amazing on my bookshelf. As always, Alison Weir’s research is immaculate and her descriptions are fabulously vivid. From the various palaces and their furnishings to the food served to the gorgeous clothes, she brings this era to life like no other. While I enjoyed Anna of Kleve, it wasn’t my favourite of the series though. It’s a bit hard to explain but for the first time in this series, I really felt like I was reading fiction. Which it is for the most part, of course, but some of it just didn’t quite work for me. Nevertheless, putting those misgivings aside, Anna of Kleve is another fantastic addition to this series and I can’t wait for the next one.

Anna of Kleve : Queen of Secrets is available to buy in ebook and hardcover.

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

Tell Me Where You Are by Moira Forsyth | @sandstonepress | #blogtour

It’s a pleasure to host a stop on the blog tour for Tell Me Where You Are by Moira Forsyth today! My thanks to Julia Forster for the invitation to join and for the review copy!

!Author : Moira Forsyth
Title : Tell Me Where You Are
Pages : 344
Publisher : Sandstone Press
Publication date : May 15, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

The last thing Frances wants is a phone call from Alec, the husband who left her for her sister thirteen years ago. But Susan has disappeared, abandoning Alec and her daughter Kate, a surly teenager with an explosive secret. Reluctantly, Frances is drawn into her sister’s turbulent life.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Thirteen years ago, Frances’ husband Alec left her. Not just for anyone, but for her younger sister, Susan. Frances hasn’t been in touch with her sister since. Nobody in the family has. But now, a phone call from Alec upsets Frances’s perfectly peaceful life. Susan has gone missing.

The reader never gets to meet Susan but she doesn’t come across as a particularly likeable character. From an early age, she seemed to be the odd one out in a family with three daughters and caused her parents quite the headaches. Did that somewhat outrageous behaviour just carry on into adulthood? Is she just a selfish woman or does she suffer from mental issues?

None of that matters to one iota to Frances. What matters is Kate, Susan’s teenage daughter. With her mother gone and her stepfather too busy or unwilling to take care off her, she’s dumped at the home of her aunt Frances. With a family member missing, surely nothing else can go wrong! Plenty, as it turns out.

This is a story about a family thrown into turmoil. With multiple points-of-view throughout, the impact Susan has had, and now continues to have even though she’s disappeared, becomes incredibly clear. From her parents who wonder what went wrong; to her husband who who may just regret his decision; to a daughter, lost and confused.

Despite all the disruption Susan’s disappearance has caused, life goes on and somehow this family must find a way to come together through ups and downs. They are faced with difficult and realistic decisions and throughout it all, Frances really stood out for me. She may not always be sympathetic or tactful but she always tries to tackle problems head-on and do what’s best. Her ex-husband, on the other hand, I could quite happily have strangled.

Just like in real life, things aren’t wrapped up all pretty with a bow. There are some unanswered questions, tough decisions and no easy solutions. Throughout it all are believable characters you’ll sympathise with and root for. Tell Me Where You are is a delightful and warm story about a dysfunctional family navigating its way through life and its various roadblocks.

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Moira Forsyth grew up in Aberdeen, lived in England for nearly twenty years, and is now in the Highlands. She is the author of four previous novels and many short stories and poems published in anthologies and magazines. Waiting for Lindsay and David’s Sisters, originally published by Sceptre, are now available as e-books from Sandstone Press, which also published The Treacle Well in 2015.

Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly | @orionbooks @orion_crime @Tr4cyF3nt0n | #blogtour #bookreview #compulsivereaders

Truly delighted to join the blog tour for Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly today! My thanks to Tracy Fenton for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my review copy!

Author : Michael Connelly
Title : Dark Sacred Night
Series : Renée Ballard #2
Pages : 448
Publisher : Orion
Publication date : May 16, 2019 (paperback)

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Renée Ballard is working the night beat again, and returns to Hollywood Station in the early hours only to find a stranger rifling through old file cabinets. The intruder is retired detective Harry Bosch, working a cold case that has gotten under his skin. Ballard kicks him out, but then checks into the case herself and it brings a deep tug of empathy and anger.

Bosch is investigating the death of fifteen-year-old Daisy Clayton, a runaway on the streets of Hollywood who was brutally murdered and her body left in a dumpster like so much trash. Now, Ballard joins forces with Bosch to find out what happened to Daisy and finally bring her killer to justice. 

| MY THOUGHTS |

Gather around, it’s confession time.

Ready? *ahem*

I have never read a Michael Connelly book before this one. I know, you’re wondering where the heck I’ve been and you have every right to judge me. I did watch The Lincoln Lawyer film once upon a long time ago and I had every intention of reading a Harry Bosch book, before I realised how many there are. So, as Dark Sacred Night brings together Renée Ballard and Harry Bosch in one fell swoop, I figured this was a good place to start. And even though this is Renée’s second outing, I found this read perfectly well as a stand-alone.

Renée Ballard is a detective, working out of Hollywood Station. After filing a sexual harassment claim against a colleague, she finds herself cast out and working the graveyard shift. On returning to her office one night, she catches someone rifling through the police station’s filing cabinets. Turns out this person is none other than Harry Bosch himself. He’s looking for information on an old investigation; a cold case involving the murder of a young girl almost a decade ago. Harry is determined to finally find out what happened to her.

That investigation isn’t the entire focus of this book though and I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed that. It feels more realistic to see detectives investigate more than one case, even during a dark night. A lot goes on behind the bright lights and the glamour of the Hollywood sign and even though a regular burglary might seem quite boring compared to a thrilling murder investigation, it is still a case that needs to be solved. All this combined made for great diversity and I could easily imagine the frustration of needing to attend these other crime scenes and filling out paperwork when something more interesting is waiting for you to sink your teeth into.

I don’t think Ballard particularly needed Bosch to give this series a push in the right direction because as a character she is more than capable to hold her own, but they worked together perfectly and I loved the different points of view. I enjoyed getting to know both these characters. Both are tenacious and determined, although Bosch might be somewhat tired of it all, and not afraid of bending the rules. I warmed to them in an instant. At no point did I feel I was missing out on not knowing anything at all about their backgrounds. If anything, it’s made me more curious to go back and get caught up on the previous books in both the series. Although when I’m supposed to find the time for that is another matter.

What is clear throughout this story, is Michael Connelly’s background. Well thought-out and cleverly plotted, he shows remarkable attention to detail and an insight that can come only from inside knowledge somehow. This added an extra layer to the realism and believability. Michael Connelly is a fantastic crime writer and it’s easy to see why he’s so popular and still going strong after all these years. I have no doubt fans and new readers like myself will enjoy Dark Sacred Night and it has most definitely left me wanting more!

Dark Sacred Night is available to buy in ebook and hardcover, with the paperback to follow on May 16th.

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

A former police reporter for the Los Angeles Times, Michael Connelly is the internationally bestselling author of the Harry Bosch series, and several other bestsellers including the highly acclaimed legal thriller, The Lincoln Lawyer. The TV series – Bosch – is one of the most watched original series on Amazon Prime.

He has been President of the Mystery Writers of America, and his books have been translated into thirty-nine languages and have won awards all over the world, including the Edgar and Anthony Awards.

He spends his time in California and Florida.

The Evidence Against You by Gillian McAllister | @GillianMAuthor @MichaelJBooks @Livvii | #blogtour #bookreview

Delighted to join the blog tour for The Evidence Against You by Gillian McAllister today! My thanks to Olivia at Michael Joseph for the opportunity to join and for the fabulous review copy!

Author : Gillian McAllister
Title : The Evidence Against You
Pages : 422
Publisher : Michael Joseph
Publication date : April 18, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

It’s the day her father will be released from jail. Izzy English has every reason to feel conflicted – he’s the man who gave her a childhood filled with happy memories. But he has also just served seventeen years for the murder of her mother.

Now, Izzy’s father sends her a letter. He wants to talk, to defend himself against each piece of evidence from his trial. But should she give him the benefit of the doubt? Or is her father guilty as charged, and luring her into a trap?

| MY THOUGHTS |

After having read and enjoyed Gillian McAllister’s previous books, I was incredibly excited to hold her latest book in my hands. Even though I admit, I initially had a wee struggle with the earlier chapters, I soon found myself completely immersed in the intrigue and suspense.

Almost two decades ago, Izzy’s father was convicted of the murder of his wife and sent to prison. Izzy has had no contact with him since. But now, Gabriel is released and he wants to talk to Izzy, give her his side of the story, defend himself, maybe even convince her he is innocent. But should Izzy give him the time of day?

While I found Izzy quite hard to like for some reason, I could completely understand her struggles. The way she longs for that feeling of belonging to a family, her willingness to listen to her father because at least she’d have one parent back in her life and the way she shies away from starting a family of her own because she fears there is evil inside of her. Despite my misgivings about her, I couldn’t help but root for her when she starts to dig deep into her parents’ lives.

Just like Izzy, I kept going back and forth on my opinion about Gabriel, unable to figure out whether he was truly guilty or if this whole thing had been a massive miscarriage of justice. But this story isn’t just about Gabriel’s guilt or innocence. It is also about the impact nineteen years in prison has on a person. Imagine being cut off from the world for such a long time and then be thrown back out there, expected to fend for yourself when everything has been done for you all these years. Where do you even start when the whole world has moved on without you?

As I’ve come to expect from Gillian McAllister, The Evidence Against You is a slow-burner but nevertheless immensely tense and compelling. As I mentioned, I struggled just a little bit with the slow pace in the beginning but it also has its advantages, as it gives you the time and opportunity to really get a feel for these characters. It’s almost impossible to determine who to trust or believe and that includes Izzy herself, because how reliable are her own memories after all this time? With plenty of twists and turns, unreliable characters, lies and betrayal, I was gripped until the rather devastating end. The kind of ending where you wish deep down things could have been different, yet one that is also extremely fitting and just makes sense.

The Evidence Against You is a gripping and thought-provoking story, guaranteed to have you flipping the pages faster as you go. Brilliantly and cleverly plotted, Gillian McAllister knows how to draw the reader in and keep them coming back for more. Her books are always worth the wait and I impatiently await what’s next.

The Evidence Against You is available to buy!

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Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Gillian McAllister has been writing for as long as she can remember. She graduated with an English degree before working as a lawyer. She lives in Birmingham where she now writes full-time. 

She is the Sunday Times bestselling author of Everything but the Truth, Anything You Do Say, No Further Questions and The Evidence Against You. 

Never Be Broken by Sarah Hilary | @sarah_hilary @headlinepg @annecater | #blogtour #bookreview #recommended #mustread #DIMarnieRome #RandomThingsTours

Beyond thrilled to kick off the blog tour for Never Be Broken by Sarah Hilary alongside Anne Cater today! Huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my fabulous review copy!

Author : Sarah Hilary
Title : Never Be Broken
Series : DI Marnie Rome #6
Pages : 368
Publisher : Headline
Publication date : May 16, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Children are dying on London’s streets. Frankie Reece, stabbed through the heart, outside a corner shop. Others recruited from care homes, picked up and exploited; passed like gifts between gangs. They are London’s lost. 

Then Raphaela Belsham is killed. She’s thirteen years old, her father is a man of influence, from a smart part of town. And she’s white. Suddenly, the establishment is taking notice.

DS Noah Jake is determined to handle Raphaela’s case and Frankie’s too. But he’s facing his own turmoil, and it’s becoming an obsession. DI Marnie Rome is worried, and she needs Noah on side. Because more children are disappearing, more are being killed by the day and the swelling tide of violence needs to be stemmed before it’s too late.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Blessed are the hearts that bend; they shall never be broken.

I am broken though. Just … WOW!

Never Be Broken is sadly extremely realistic, believable and apt in this day and age. Children are dying on London’s streets and the whiteboard at DI Marnie Rome’s precinct is covered in photographs of young victims. Then, another teenager finds herself on the wrong side of a knife. Raphaela comes from a rich background and is white, and suddenly everyone sits up and takes notice. DS Noah Jake is determined to solve every single case on the whiteboard but he is struggling.

Never Be Broken shows the raw and harsh reality of living on the streets of London. Beyond the bright lights and the beautiful tourist spots, this is a city full of drugs, racism and violence. Police seem to be unable to make much of a difference, no matter how hard they want to. Yet throughout it all, the author’s love for the city manages to shine through.

This is at times quite a painful read. There’s no way the fate of the victims and the suffering of those they leave behind can leave you cold. But there’s also Noah, who’s having a hard time coming to terms with the death of his brother Sol. My heart was absolutely breaking for him. I just wanted to wrap him up in a tight hug. Despite his grief being hard to see, I thought Sarah Hilary handled that whole topic quite brilliantly.

There are some super tense chapters that almost brought tears to my eyes, that made my heart pound and my hands all clammy. This is a dark story, immensely gritty, compelling, captivating and gripping but also one of hope for better days and one of the toughest things to achieve : forgiveness. For those who’ve done you wrong but also for yourself.

Please tell me you are reading this series. It’s been absolutely outstanding from the very beginning and I don’t know how she does it, but Sarah Hilary manages to outdo herself time and time again, bringing each book in this series to whole other level. At the risk of repeating myself, because I’m pretty sure I say this every time, this is the best one in the series yet and Sarah Hilary is an author who deserves all the praise. She continues to impress me with her remarkable storylines, utterly brilliant character development and fantastic writing. There are so many lines I could quote but I won’t because I’d be here all day and obviously you just need to read this book (and the rest of the series) for yourself.

I’ve had a ridiculously hard time getting my thoughts in order. This is one of those books that managed to get completely under my skin, making me go through a whole range of emotions and writing this review seemed like an impossible task when all I really wanted to say was “WOW! Read this now!” and leave it at that. Do yourself a massive favour and pick this up, along with the rest of the series if you haven’t done so already. I promise you from the bottom of my heart, you will not regret it!

Never Be Broken will be published on Thursday, May 16th but you can, and should, preorder it now!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Sarah Hilary’s debut novel, SOMEONE ELSE’S SKIN, won Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year and was a World Book Night selection. The Observer’s Book of the Month (“superbly disturbing”) and a Richard & Judy Book Club bestseller, it has been published worldwide. NO OTHER DARKNESS, the second in the series was shortlisted for a Barry Award in the US. Her DI Marnie Rome series continues with TASTES LIKE FEAR (2016) QUIETER THAN KILLING (2017) COME AND FIND ME (2018) and NEVER BE BROKEN (2019).

Follow Sarah on Twitter