Cuckoo by Sophie Draper | @sophiedraper9 @AvonBooksUK @Sabah_K | #blogtour #bookreview

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Cuckoo by Sophie Draper! My thanks to Sabah at Avon for the invitation to join and the review copy, which I received via Netgalley.

Author : Sophie Draper
Title : Cuckoo
Pages : 297
Publisher : Avon UK
Publication date : November 29, 2018

When her stepmother dies unexpectedly, Caro returns to her childhood home in Derbyshire. She hadn’t seen Elizabeth in years, but the remote farmhouse offers refuge from a bad relationship, and a chance to start again.

But going through Elizabeth’s belongings unearths memories Caro would rather stay buried. In particular, the story her stepmother would tell her, about two little girls and the terrible thing they do.

As heavy snow traps Caro in the village, where her neighbours stare and whisper, Caro is forced to question why Elizabeth hated her so much, and what she was hiding. But does she really want to uncover the truth?

Caro returns to her childhood home after the death of her stepmother, Elizabeth. Their relationship had always been a fraught one and they hadn’t seen each other in years. Caro’s memories of her childhood are somewhat patchy in places but going through Elizabeth’s belongings unearths things she may not wish to remember at all. Why do the villagers dislike her so much? Why did Elizabeth hate her? 

Strange things start to happen around the house. As an illustrator for children’s books, Caro has a vivid imagination so I was never quite sure if what she saw was actually there. Are these memories struggling to resurface or is it a bad case of paranoia? With an entire village against her and a sister on the other side of the world, is there anyone Caro can trust?

Cuckoo has an intensely unsettling atmosphere throughout. The story starts with someone in hospital but the reader doesn’t know who the patient is or how they got there. I quickly found myself intrigued, trying to unravel this mystery. Now, this is quite a slow-paced book and at times, for me personally, a bit too slow. That said though, the latter part of the book more than made up for that!

Of course, there are some twists and turns. Some I saw coming, others not at all. There are quite a few family secrets waiting to be unraveled and there’s a constant feeling of isolation that almost made me feel claustrophobic and it all leads to a rather unnerving conclusion. If slow-burning gothic mysteries are your thing, this slightly creepy read will be right up your street!

Cuckoo is available to buy!

Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

Sophie Draper is a Derbyshire based author. Cuckoo is her first book and won the Bath Novel Award 2017. She also won the York Festival of Writing Friday Night Live Award 2017. A second book is due to be published later in 2019.

Author links :  Twitter

Perfect Silence by Helen Fields @Helen_Fields @AvonBooksUK @Sabah_K #blogtour #PerfectSilence

Good morning from a still glorious but slightly cloudy Tuscany! I’m thrilled to join the blog tour for Perfect Silence by Helen Fields today! My thanks to Sabah Khan at Avon for the invitation to join and for the review copy.

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Author : Helen Fields
Title : Perfect Silence
Series : DI Luc Callanach #4
Pages : 432
Publisher : Avon UK
Publication date : August 23, 2018

aboutthebook

When silence falls, who will hear their cries?

The body of a young girl is found dumped on the roadside on the outskirts of Edinburgh. When pathologists examine the remains, they make a gruesome discovery: the silhouette of a doll carved in the victim’s skin.

DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach are struggling to find leads in the case, until a doll made of skin is found nestled beside an abandoned baby.

After another young woman is found butchered, Luc and Ava realise the babydoll killer is playing a horrifying game. And it’s only a matter of time before he strikes again. Can they stop another victim from being silenced forever – or is it already too late?

mythoughts

Three words : read this NOW! You can thank me later.

If you’re a crime fiction fan, then the DI Luc Callanach series is undoubtedly one you should be reading. I’ve loved and enjoyed this series from the start and anxiously await a new addition every time because I just know I’ll be in for a treat.

That said though, if you’re of the faint-hearted variety, this may not quite be for you as you’ll need a bit of a strong stomach for this one. But that shouldn’t come as a surprise if you’ve read any of the previous books.

The body of a young woman is found. Her death seems to have been a particularly gruesome one and the silhouette of a doll is carved into her skin. Detectives are having a hard time finding any clues or leads and then the doll made of skin is found near to where another young woman has gone missing. There’s no doubt there’s a serial killer roaming the streets. They’re playing a horrific game and are obviously on a mission. Can DI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach find the culprit before another young woman goes missing?

Perfect Silence is dark, chilling and disturbing, as I’ve come to expect from this series. Some chapters are written from the victims’ point of view, which were heartbreaking to read and made me choke up. It felt all too easy to imagine what it would be like to find yourself stuck in such a horrendous situation.

As for the serial killer, Helen Fields kept me guessing until the end. I couldn’t at all figure out their identity, their motivations or how they were selecting their victims in the first place. The race to find this murderer is incredibly tense and the ultimate reveal and somehow rather fascinating reasoning behind it all, left me a little open-mouthed.

I feel it’s also worth mentioning that I’ve been Team Luc from the start but I must say, in this instalment it was Ava who stole the show for me. She’s always been a bit of a character I couldn’t quite put my finger on but this time around she completely won me over. I loved seeing a different side to her, sympathised with her, rooted for her and often got the wrong end of the stick, just like she did. But there is so much to admire about her.

This series has been blowing my mind since the very beginning and I feel it’s only been getting better with each book. Intensely gripping and massively engrossing, this is another belter from Helen Fields and I absolutely can’t wait for book five and more from Luc and Ava. You should all add this series to your TBR’s or shopping baskets right now, as it is indeed quite “perfect”.

Perfect Silence is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Helen Fields studied law at the University of East Anglia, then went on to the Inns of Court School of Law in London. After completing her pupillage, she joined chambers in Middle Temple where she practised criminal and family law for thirteen years. After her second child was born, Helen left the Bar.

Together with her husband David, she runs a film production company, acting as script writer and producer. Perfect Remains is set in Scotland, where Helen feels most at one with the world. Helen and her husband now live in Hampshire with their three children and two dogs.

Author links : Twitter

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This Week in Books (September 5)

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This week is getting completely away from me! I’m so ridiculously busy and my reading is taking a massive beating.

Last book I finished reading

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Liv died when she was just six years old. At least, that’s what the authorities think.

Her father knew he was the only one who could keep her safe in this world. So one evening he left the isolated house his little family called home, he pushed their boat out to sea and watched it ruin on the rocks. Then he walked the long way into town to report his only child missing.

But behind the boxes and the baskets crowding her Dad’s workshop, Liv was hiding. This way her Dad had said, she’d never have to go to school; this way, she’d never have to leave her parents.

This way, Liv would be safe.

[Such an absolutely amazing story! Dark and heartbreaking but beautifully written!]


The book I’m currently reading

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When silence falls, who will hear their cries?

The body of a young girl is found dumped on the roadside on the outskirts of Edinburgh. When pathologists examine the remains, they make a gruesome discovery: the silhouette of a doll carved in the victim’s skin.

DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach are struggling to find leads in the case, until a doll made of skin is found nestled beside an abandoned baby.

After another young woman is found butchered, Luc and Ava realise the babydoll killer is playing a horrifying game. And it’s only a matter of time before he strikes again. Can they stop another victim from being silenced forever – or is it already too late?

[I started this on Monday and I’m still only halfway! Bloody universe messing with my reading time. Anyway, another fabulous addition to the series! Not for the faint-hearted!]


What I’m (possibly) reading next

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You need to know who your husband really was…

When Paula Gadd’s husband of almost thirty years dies, just days away from the seventh anniversary of their son, Christopher’s death, her world falls apart. Grieving and bereft, she is stunned when a young woman approaches her at the funeral service, and slips something into her pocket. A note suggesting that Paula’s husband was not all that he seemed…

When the two women eventually meet, a series of revelations challenges everything Paula thought they knew, and it becomes immediately clear that both women’s lives are in very real danger.

Both a dark, twisty slice of domestic noir and taut, explosive psychological thriller, After He Died is also a chilling reminder that the people we trust the most can harbour the deadliest secrets…

[At the rate I’m going, “next” will probably not be until Sunday but still, I am SO looking forward to this one. I can’t wait to see what devilish tale Michael J. Malone has come up with this time!]

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I’m so sorry for not being very social this week. Did I mention I’m insanely busy? I’m still trying to share as many of your blog posts as I possibly can but unfortunately, I don’t have the time to leave comments or to interact with you guys on Twitter. I hope my “liking” your posts and tweets shows you how much I do appreciate everything! Normal service will resume when I’m back from holiday.

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

11 Missed Calls by Elisabeth Carpenter @LibbyCPT @AvonBooksUK @Sabah_K #blogtour #excerpt #extract

It’s a real pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for 11 Missed Calls by Elisabeth Carpenter. My thanks to Sabah Khan at Avon for the invitation to join and for providing me with the extract I’ll be sharing with you today. But first, here is what this book is all about.

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Author : Elisabeth Carpenter
Title : 11 Missed Calls
Pages : 384
Publisher : Avon UK
Publication date : July 26, 2018

aboutthebook

Here are two things I know about my mother:

1. She had dark hair, like mine.

2. She wasn’t very happy at the end.

Anna has always believed that her mother, Debbie, died 30 years ago on the night she disappeared.

But when her father gets a strange note, she realises that she’s never been told the full story of what happened that night on the cliff.

Confused and upset, Anna turns to her husband Jack – but when she finds a love letter from another woman in his wallet, she realises there’s no-one left to help her, least of all her family.

And then a body is found…

extract

I wait until Sophie has gone to bed before I mention Debbie. I didn’t want to confuse her by talking about another grandmother – who she thinks has passed away. How am I going to explain to her that Debbie is alive after all?

‘Don’t get your hopes up,’ says Jack − words I have heard many times − while he pours himself a glass of white wine.

‘I’m not,’ I say. ‘But the woman behind the counter said photos usually come out well, even after all that time.’

I grab my laptop and take it into the living room. I still don’t know what to say in my reply to Debbie. It is too important to just fire off a few words when I have a whole lifetime to write about. She won’t be expecting a message from me, but I doubt Monica or Dad have replied yet. They would have told me if they had, though I’m not sure of anything these days.

‘Just ask to meet,’ says Jack, reading my mind. ‘You don’t have to write an essay. If she is who she says she is, then you’ll find out soon enough.’

Perhaps it is as simple as that. There is a tiny part of me – self-preservation, again – that tells me not to give too much away in an email. She must earn the right to hear my news. The least she could do is meet me.

I click on the email forwarded by Dad. I already know her words off by heart, but I still read it. ‘The memories of shells and sweet things …’ No one else could know about that.

I type out the reply before I can think about it, and press send.

I look up and flinch. Jack is standing just centimetres away from me.

He laughs.

‘You were off in dreamland then.’ He hands me a piece of paper. ‘These are a few of the private investigators we use at work. The other partners hire them to find people for court summonses. One of them might be able to help if you don’t get a reply. Tell them to charge it to my account.’

‘What makes you think she won’t reply?’ I say. He shrugs. I look at the list. ‘So, are these PIs like Magnum?’

‘Er, no. Unfortunately not. They’re more likely to drive a Volvo estate than a Ferrari.’ He laughs at his own joke.

I settle back into the sofa. Some names to research; it makes me feel useful. I’ve never spoken to a private investigator before; they must lead such exciting lives.

‘They’ll probably jump at the chance of this job,’ says Jack. ‘They’re usually sitting in a car for eight hours at a time, pissing into a coke bottle.’

‘Oh.’

‘I’m just nipping down to the shop for more wine. Tough case at the moment.’

‘But it’s Friday night.’

‘If I can get this done, I can relax for the rest of the weekend.’

‘You can’t drive – you’ve already had a glass.’

He tuts. ‘I’m walking to the offy on the corner.’

It’s what I hoped he’d say.

As soon as I hear the front door shut, I race up the two flights of stairs to Jack’s office in the loft. Tough case, my arse. He’s a conveyancing solicitor, not a human rights lawyer.

There’s no door to open – the whole of the loft is his work space. Three walls are hidden by bookcases filled with leather-bound books I’m certain he’s never read, and sports trophies from his university days. There’s a sofa bed to the left and a large mahogany desk under the roof window. The blue screen of his laptop is reflected in the skylight. If I’m quick enough, the screensaver won’t have kicked in yet. He’s protective over his passwords.

I slide onto his chair. His Facebook account is open. I click on the messages tab, but there are none. Not even the link to our old house for sale that I sent him last week. I check the archive folder. Still nothing. I must have at least fifty messages archived in mine. He must have deleted every one. Who does that? Especially someone who professes to hardly ever use Facebook.

Francesca was the name of the woman who signed her name at the bottom of the letter. I go to his friends list, my hands shaking. Jack might only be minutes from walking through the door.

He only has fifty-nine friends. She’s not hard to find. I could have looked on his friends list from my account. Francesca King. Even her name sounds glamorous. She has long chestnut-coloured hair and her photo looks professionally taken. I click on her profile, and jot down everything I can see in her About section. Partner at Gerald & Co, Winckley Square, Preston. She works across town from Jack. I want to look through her posts and photos, but I don’t have time.

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If you too would like to find out if Jack is having an affair and what the private investigator will unearth, then 11 Missed Calls is now available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Elisabeth (Libby) Carpenter won a Northern Writers New Fiction Award (2016) and was longlisted for Yeovil Literary Prize (2015 & 2016) and MsLexia Women’s Novel award (2015).

Elisabeth lives in Preston, Lancashire with her family. She loves the north of England, setting most of her stories in the area – including the novel she is writing at the moment.

Author links : Twitter

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The Memories of Us by Vanessa Carnevale @v_carnevale @AvonBooksUK @Sabah_K #blogtour

Delighted to join the blog tour for The Memories of Us by Vanessa Carnevale today! My thanks to Sabah Khan at Avon UK for the invitation to join and the beautiful review copy!

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Author : Vanessa Carnevale
Title : The Memories of Us
Pages : 336
Publisher : Avon UK
Publication date : July 12, 2018

One moment can change your life.

When Gracie Ashcroft wakes after a crash with severe amnesia, she must choose whether to live a life through other people’s memories or to start a new life all her own.

Discovering her late mother left her an old flower farm, Gracie leaves her fiancé, best friend and the home full of forgotten memories behind, hoping to learn who she is now.

Torn between wishing she could remember and afraid of losing what she now has, Gracie starts to wonder: if you had your time over, would you live the same life twice?

If the past determines our present, what happens when we lose our memories of who we are? When you can’t remember what you like or love, from breakfast to the man you’re supposed to be marrying?

If memories are the delicate threads that knit our souls together and make us who we are, who can we be without them?

After being involved in a car accident, Gracie wakes up suffering from amnesia. She can’t remember her own name, her best friend or her fiancé. Gracie is adamant nobody should tell her anything about what her life was like. She wants to find things out on her own because suddenly her job as an interior designer, for instance, doesn’t sound so appealing. So with a clean slate, so to speak, will the choices Grace now makes bring her back to the life she used to have or will things turn out completely differently?

Gracie returns to the flower farm her mother used to own. A place that should feel familiar to her but does nothing of the sort. Yet, it’s through the language of flowers, the stunning power of Mother Nature, that Gracie finds out a bit more about herself and may even find love again. I must say, I really enjoyed spending time at Summerhill. The beautiful descriptions almost made it sound magical. I’d move there in a heartbeat!

The Memories of Us isn’t quite my typical sort of novel. But I was swayed by the beautiful cover and the intriguing description. I soon found myself completely immersed in Gracie’s circumstances and I think the author handled the issue of Retrograde Amnesia quite wonderfully. It was easy to sympathise with Gracie, to imagine what her life was now like, how frustrating it must be when you realise you can’t even remember how to tie your shoelaces. Of course, there’s a dash of romance. While this usually makes me cringe, I actually quite enjoyed this part of the story as well and found myself rooting for a happy ending.

A wonderfully warm and beautiful story about love, heartbreak and hope that even almost left me with a lump in my throat. Thoroughly enjoyed it!

The Memories of Us is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

Vanessa Carnevale is a freelance writer based in Australia, who has contributed to The Green Parent, The Huffington Post, Muse, and Italy magazine, among others. Her debut novel, The Florentine Bridge, was published in 2017 by HQ in Australia. She was a finalist in the Best New Author category for the AusRom Today Readers Choice Awards 2017.

Vanessa is also the host of Your Beautiful Writing Life Retreats held in Tuscany and Australia.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter

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Her Name Was Rose by Claire Allan @ClaireAllan @AvonBooksUK @Sabah_K #blogtour

I’m absolutely delighted to join the blog tour for Her Name Was Rose by Claire Allan today! My thanks to Sabah Khan at Avon for the opportunity to join and for my fab review copy.

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Author : Claire Allan
Title : Her Name Was Rose
Pages : 336
Publisher : Avon UK
Publication date : June 28, 2018

aboutthebook

When Emily lets a stranger step out in front of her, she never imagines that split second will change her life. But after Emily watches a car plough into the young mother – killing her instantly – she finds herself unable to move on.

And then she makes a decision she can never take back.

Because Rose had everything Emily had ever dreamed of. A beautiful, loving family, a great job and a stunning home. And now Rose’s husband misses his wife, and their son needs a mother. Why couldn’t Emily fill that space?

But as Emily is about to discover, no one’s life is perfect … and not everything is as it seems.

mythoughts

Here is one of life’s lessons. Things aren’t always what they seem. If you think life behind those glossy filtered Facebook pictures is all flowers and sunshine, think again. A smile can hide a multitude of things.

Emily witnesses a young mother being run over and killed instantly by a joyrider. Her name was Rose and she’s left a vacancy. Because Rose has everything Emily dreams off. A charming and handsome husband, a stunning home, a great job and a cute baby. Maybe Emily could take her place. But we all know the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side, don’t we?

Emily is damaged, carries quite a lot of baggage from a previous relationship and is slightly naive. Yet, despite often rolling my eyes at her actions and decisions, I found myself firmly on her side, hoping she’d find a way to move on and find happiness. We are also introduced to Rose via diary chapters, revealing the truth behind the Facebook updates. And then there’s Rose’s husband Cian, who is dealing with his grief, trying to find a way to move on and raise his baby son on his own.

Full of suspense and intrigue, this addictive page-turner had me hooked from start to finish. Her Name Was Rose is an intensely gripping psychological thriller, which I found remarkably hard to put down. I did worry about a certain level of predictability and figuring a few things out, but I felt that was always the author’s intention. Even if it wasn’t, it didn’t bother me because the story remained fabulously tense and had me on the edge of my seat. There were enough surprises and twists that completely threw me off and kept me glued to the pages, not at all able to figure out how things would end.

This is Claire Allan’s first foray into the psychological thriller genre and hoo boy, does this promise brilliant things from her in figure! I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next but if this is anything to go by, I have no doubt it’ll be fantastic. One to watch for sure!

Her Name Was Rose is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Claire Allan is an Irish author who has previously written women’s fiction. A former journalist, this is her first psychological thriller.

Author links : Twitter | Website

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Stalker by Lisa Stone @LisaStoneBooks @AvonBooksUK @Sabah_K #blogtour #Stalker

Delighted to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for Stalker by Lisa Stone! My thanks to Sabah Khan at Avon for the invitation to join and the fab review copy!

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Author : Lisa Stone
Title : Stalker
Pages : 384
Publisher : Avon UK
Publication date : June 14, 2018

aboutthebook

Derek Flint is a loner. He lives with his mother and spends his evenings watching his clients on the CCTV cameras he has installed inside their homes. He likes their companionship – even if it’s through a screen.

When a series of crimes hits Derek’s neighbourhood, DC Beth Mayes begins to suspect he’s involved. How does he know so much about the victims’ lives? Why won’t he let anyone into his office? And what is his mother hiding in that strange, lonely house?

As the crimes become more violent, Beth must race against the clock to find out who is behind the attacks. Will she uncover the truth in time? And is Derek more dangerous than even she has guessed?

mythoughts

I’ve come to the conclusion that sometimes the most realistic scenarios are the scariest to read about. Especially when it involves modern technology we all just take for granted. Maybe there’s something to be said about living like a hermit in the middle of nowhere, off the grid, offline and unplugged.

You’d think you’re keeping yourself and your family safe when you install an alarm system and camera’s, don’t you? Derek Flint runs a home security firm and he takes the safety of his clients very seriously. A bit too seriously, in a horribly creepy sort of way. When a series of crimes hits the neighbourhood and it turns out the home owners all had their security system installed by Derek, police quickly zero in on him.

Derek is the obvious choice for a suspect. He’s a loner, has no friends, lives with his mother and has a few quirky tendencies. With a vast source of knowledge about his clients at his fingertips, is he the person the police is looking for?

Stalker had me hooked from the very first page. It’s suspenseful, compelling and incredibly gripping. I had an inkling as to what was happening but the truth is far more sinister and terrifying than I ever expected. A stalker doesn’t necessarily have to follow you home, stand across the street watching your house or having a peek inside your bedroom window. Not in this day and age. Things have evolved and not all of them for the good.

Lisa Stone has taken a modern, realistic concept and turned it into a dark, disturbing and utterly chilling psychological thriller. One which will undoubtedly pop up into my head every time I pass a CCTV camera and I may never feel safe again. 😄

This was my first time reading a book by Lisa Stone but it most certainly won’t be my last.  Cleverly plotted, tense and addictive. If you enjoy your psychological thrillers, this one is for you.

Stalker is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

As a writer of suspense thrillers I often ask myself what if? What if this happened instead of that? Or why a particular person reacted as they did. So often fact is stranger than fiction and these books start with a fact which I develop. You may be surprised to know, for example, just how many patients experience changes in their likes and dislikes after a transplant operation ~ The Darkness Within. Or how easy it is to look into someone’s home through their CCTV ~ Stalker.

Just a little bit about me. I live in England and have three children. I have always been a writer – from when I was at school, with poems and articles in the school magazine. In my teens I began writing short stories, a few radio plays and novels. I finally made it into the bestseller charts with Damaged in 2007 which I wrote under the pseudonym Cathy Glass. Since then I have had 28 books published, many of which have become international bestsellers.

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This Week in Books (June 27)

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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

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When Charlotte’s husband James tragically dies, he leaves her an unexpected gift – her grandmother’s beautiful villa, Marisal, on the Spanish island of Formentera.

As she begins to explore her new home, and heal her broken heart in the warm golden sunshine, Charlotte discovers that her grandmother Alba has been keeping secrets about her life on the island. Intrigued by her family’s hidden history, Charlotte uncovers a devastating love affair that put many lives at risk and two sisters torn apart by loss.

Can the heartbreaking truth of the island’s dark history finally be laid to rest? Or will the secrets of the past shake the new life and love that Charlotte is close to finding?


The book I’m currently reading

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Her name was Rose. You watched her die. And her death has created a vacancy.

When Emily lets a stranger step out in front of her, she never imagines that split second will change her life. But after Emily watches a car plough into the young mother – killing her instantly – she finds herself unable to move on.

And then she makes a decision she can never take back.

Because Rose had everything Emily had ever dreamed of. A beautiful, loving family, a great job and a stunning home. And now Rose’s husband misses his wife, and their son needs a mother. Why couldn’t Emily fill that space?

But as Emily is about to discover, no one’s life is perfect … and not everything is as it seems.


What I’m (probably) reading next

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The Missing…

In a hidden basement, eighteen-year-old Toni is held captive and no one can hear her screams. She’s been abducted after investigating unspeakable things in the darkest corners of the Internet.

The Vigilante…

Fearing the worst, Toni’s mother turns to ex-SAS operative Mitchell to help find her missing daughter. And when Mitchell discovers Toni’s fate rests in the hands of pure evil, he races against the clock to find Toni and bring her out alive. But even that might not be enough to save her.

The Detective…

DS Warren Carter is looking forward to a new job and a simpler life. But when he’s called in to investigate the brutal murder of a seemingly normal couple, he becomes entangled in lives that are anything but simple. And as he digs deeper, he uncovers a crime more twisted than he could ever have imagined.

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I’m quite excited about my upcoming reads. What are you reading this week? Let me know! Happy reading! xx

Murder on the Green by H.V. Coombs @AvonBooksUK @Sabah_K #blogtour

Good morning! Today, I’m kicking off the blog tour for Murder on the Green by H.V Coombs. My thanks to Sabah Khan for the invitation to join and for providing the extract I’ll be sharing with you today. But first, here is what the book is all about.

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Author : H.V. Coombs
Title : Murder on the Green
Pages : n/a
Publisher : Avon UK
Publication date : June 25, 2018

aboutthebook

Midsomer Murders meets The Great British Bake Off in this foodie delight with murder at its heart.

Hampden Green has been a quiet for months, allowing Ben Hunter to concentrate on running The Old Forge Café. That is until celebrity chef Justin McCleish announces he is opening a pop-up restaurant at the local opera festival and wants Ben to help out.

Ben couldn’t prouder or more flattered, until he discovers he hasn’t been hired for his cooking abilities… Justin is being blackmailed and he needs help to crack the case. That is, until extortion turns deadly!

Now Ben must do whatever it takes to find the killer before they strike again…

extract

I hadn’t been outside at seven p.m. on a Thursday in years, not with a full kitchen to run. But I knew that if you parked your car carefully – not by the side of the green which, as the many signs point out, is strictly forbidden – and strolled around, you’d think to yourself, ‘What a peaceful place.’ It’s what I had thought when I’d moved here.

The green, with its fenced-off play area, a couple of mothers exercising children before bed in the summer, and maybe a dog walker or two, seems like a nice place to raise a family or live a quiet life. Even the tasteful Parish information noticeboard gives details of Zumba classes and yoga in the village hall. Locals can be spotted sitting outside the local Three Bells pub having a quiet pint. And then there’s my restaurant, the Old Forge Café.

In the calm, tranquil dining room that Thursday night, there were about twenty-five people, enjoying good food (at reasonable prices!) efficiently and charmingly served by my young manager and her assistant waiter.

A peaceful place to eat in a peaceful Chiltern village. Until you get to the kitchen …

Heat from the stove, heat from the chargrill, heat from the hot plate, heat from the lights keeping the food warm on the pass, heat from the backs of the fridges, heat from the deep-fat fryers, heat and steam from the dishwasher …

‘Cheque on!’ I shouted to Francis over the kitchen fans. It was unbelievably hot. My jacket was sodden with perspiration. I wiped my forehead with the back of my sleeve.

‘Two hake, one fillet steak medium rare, peppercorn sauce … no starter …’

Francis’s large, red, sweaty face beamed at me from underneath his bandanna that he’d taken to wearing in the kitchen, and he turned away to get the vegetable accompaniments ready.

And not just heat to contend with, but noise too. The roar of the extractor fans, which in this small space were like a jet taking off, the hiss and bubble of the deep-fat fryer, the clang of the pans on the stove, the crash of fridges as we frantically opened and closed them, the crackle of the cheque machine as new orders came into the kitchen …

I added the cheque to the row of five that were already lined up in chronological order above the pass. An easy order to do.

I quickly finished plating the dish that I had just cooked, glanced at the clock, pulled a frying pan off the stove and balanced it on the side.

‘Service …’ Jess, my waitress, appeared, and I pointed at the pass. She was back from uni for the summer, thank God. Jess might be only twenty-two but she was by far the most mature person I knew, myself included. ‘Two lamb, one smoked aubergine feuilleté. Thank you, Jess.’

‘Thank you, Chef.’

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Midsomer Murder meets The Great British Bake Off? If you’d like to find out more, Murder on the Green is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

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The Forgotten Guide to Happiness by Sophie Jenkins @sophiejenkinsuk @AvonBooksUK @Sabah_K #blogtour

I’m delighted to join the blog tour for The Forgotten Guide to Happiness by Sophie Jenkins today! My thanks to Sabah Khan at Avon for the invitation to join and the review copy!

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Author : Sophie Jenkins
Title : The Forgotten Guide to Happiness
Pages : 320
Publisher : Avon UK
Publication date : May 28, 2018

aboutthebook

Twenty-eight-year-old Lana Green has never been good at making friends. She’s perfectly happy to be left alone with her books. Or at least, that’s what she tells herself.

Nancy Ellis Hall was once a celebrated writer. Now eighty, she lives alone in her North London house, and thinks she’s doing just fine. But dementia is loosening Nancy’s grip on the world.

When Lana and Nancy become unconventional house mates, their lives will change in ways they never expected. But can an unusual friendship rescue two women who don’t realise they need to be saved?

mythoughts

Once again, I find myself reviewing a book I wouldn’t normally pick up. But I was swayed by the pretty cover and the book description and I’m chuffed to bits I decided to give this one a go.

Lana Green is an author who has written a romantic novel based on her own relationship with Mark. Unfortunately, writing the sequel turned into a bit of a nightmare when her soulmate abandoned her and her publisher rejects her manuscript. Lana needs a hero, a muse, and quickly before she runs out of money. As such, she is always looking for inspiration and setting the scene, so to speak, and it was fun following her thought processes and imagination.

Then Lana meets Jack, whose stepmother used to be a writer. Now eighty years old, Nancy Ellis Hall sadly suffers from dementia. When Lana moves in with her to keep her safe, an unexpected friendship develops that might just help Lana find happiness again. And a new novel.

Having a grandmother with dementia herself, I often found myself with a lump in my throat. However, this novel isn’t overwhelmingly sad. It is actually quite witty, most definitely uplifting and even more so, incredibly heartwarming. The author managed to tackle a serious illness like dementia in a light-hearted way that just felt right. Yes, there are tears but there is also laughter, as there is in real life, and ultimately it left me with a big smile on my face.

Sure, there were a few predicable moments but who cares? I most certainly didn’t  because this wonderful novel is filled with the most fantastic, colourful and slightly quirky characters that each warmed my heart in their own very special ways and I thoroughly enjoyed the time I got to spend with them. Not just Lana and Nancy, but the secondary characters as well. Each and every one of them stands out in a way that adds that little something extra to the story.

The Forgotten Guide to Happiness is a truly delightful story about love, friendship and figuring out what matters the most. It wraps itself around you like a warm, comforting blanket and it made me chuckle, a little emotional at times but in the end, pretty happy.

The Forgotten Guide to Happiness is now available to buy in ebook format!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Sophie Jenkins is a serial joiner of writing groups and workshops and a prolific short story writer. To encourage her creativity she regularly enters half-marathons and trains by running from her home in North London to breakfast in the centre of town with a notepad.

The character of Nancy in The Forgotten Guide to Happiness is based on her experiences with her own mother, who was diagnosed with dementia fifteen years ago.

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