White Lies by Lucy Dawson @lucydawsonbooks @bookouture #blogblitz

Absolutely thrilled to host a stop on the blog blitz for White Lies by Lucy Dawson today! I’ll be sharing my thoughts in just a second, right after I tell you what this corker of a book is all about.

My thanks to Kim at Bookouture!

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Author : Lucy Dawson
Title : White Lies
Pages : 320
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : April 20, 2018

aboutthebook

Alexandra Inglis is a respected family doctor, trusted by her patients to keep their most intimate secrets. And if sometimes the boundaries between duty and desire blur… well, she’s only human.

But when Alex oversteps a line with Jonathan, one of her patients, she knows she’s gone too far. Jonathan is obsessive, and to get what he wants he will tear Alex’s world apart – threatening not only her career but her marriage and family too.

Soon Alex finds she’s capable of doing almost anything to keep hold of her perfect life, as it begins to spin dangerously out of her control.

mythoughts

Good grief. How to even begin to explain how White Lies made me feel? You know that game where you’re blindfolded and people spin you around and around and you’re left slightly nauseous, dizzy and completely disorientated? Yes, a bit like that.

Alex is a respected doctor, wife and mother. But when she crosses the line with one of her patients, she stands to lose everything. The story is mostly told by Alex and Jonathan but it quickly becomes obvious they both have rather different versions of the truth. Neither Alex or Jonathan came across as particularly likeable, nor could I figure out if they were reliable narrators. I found myself questioning every word they said and even now, I still find myself wondering if I have the right end of the stick.

In the aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, this story is incredibly apt. An innocent gesture may very well be blown up out of all proportions and a drunken mistake can easily ruin lives. Lucy Dawson paints a a thought-provoking and vivid picture of how hard it is to defend yourself against certain allegations, especially in a case like the one involving Alex and Jonathan.

White Lies is an utterly gripping and incredibly addictive psychological thriller that kept me up half the night and left me guessing until the very last page. It’s relatable in that way that I’m sure many of us have had a cheeky glass too many and maybe ended up doing something we might not normally do. By the time you think of the consequences, it’s usually already too late.

The ultimate conclusion left me spinning and also slightly confused for a while. During the night, when yet another bout of insomnia had me staring at the ceiling, I had a Eureka moment and all the pieces fell into place. I love this, in case you didn’t know. A storyline that keeps me guessing, that has me asking lots of questions, that has my brain going around in circles with a crazy amount of thinky-thoughts and is still on my mind days after finishing the book.

I thought Lucy Dawson’s previous book The Daughter was utterly brilliant but this one is even more so. A corker of a book and one you should undoubtedly add to your TBR right now! I can’t wait to see what the author comes up with next.

White Lies is available for purchase!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

I’ve been writing psychological suspense novels since 2008, when my first bestseller – His Other Lover – was published. I write full time (mostly on the playroom sofa) from my home in Devon, where I live with my husband and children. Before that, I used to interview the likes of Steps and SClub7 for a living, making absolutely no use whatsoever of my psychology degree from Warwick University, but it was a lot of fun.

I’m addicted to writing about the extraordinary things that can happen to ordinary people – I like stories that jump in at the deep end, with a gasp. When readers take the time out to let me know they’ve stayed up all night because they couldn’t put the book down, it makes my day.

I really enjoy catching up with readers and always reply to emails. You can reach me at lucy@lucydawsonbooks.com. I’m also on Twitter @lucydawsonbooks and have a Facebook page at lucydawsonbooks. Alternatively you can download a free short story of mine at www.lucydawsonbooks.com or if you want to look at a lot of pictures of the beach and books that I’m reading, find me on Instagram at lucydawsonbooks.

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The Undercover Mother by Emma Robinson @emmarobinsonuk @bookouture #blogblitz

Delighted to welcome you all to my stop on the blog blitz for the feel-good comedy The Undercover Mother by Emma Robinson. My thanks to Kim Nash at Bookouture for the opportunity and my review copy, which I received via Netgalley.

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Author : Emma Robinson
Title : The Undercover Mother
Pages : 287
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : March 20, 2018

aboutthebook

Jenny has too much on her plate: literally – she’s only pregnant with one child but she’s already eating for three. Not to mention trying to juggle her future life with a baby, a nightmare boss, a know-it-all sister, and a bizarrely laid back husband.

She used to be famous for her ‘Single Girl About Town’ journalism. But not only is she bored of parties, she also hasn’t been single for years, and is now 8½ months pregnant.

So when her boss hands her column to a younger colleague, Jenny panics and proposes instead writing about being a clueless new mum. Surely people will find her new friendship group fascinating? Even if the only thing they have in common is that they all had sex around the same time 9 months ago…

Like – what’s the deal with scary Gail’s mystery husband? How is posh mum Antonia already out drinking when Jenny can barely make a cup of tea? Why isn’t sweet-natured Ruth answering any phone calls?

And if her readers aren’t quite hooked yet, maybe Jenny will just have to be more liberal with the truth. After all, none of the other mums will read it… will they?

mythoughts

Something a little different on the blog today. Sometimes I find I need to step away a little bit from the gritty crime and dark thrillers I normally gravitate towards and The Undercover Mother seemed like a great alternative. Granted, this is so incredibly far removed from my usual choices, you may well wonder if there’s something not quite right with me. Fear not, all is well! Better yet, within the space of a few pages, I already knew I’d made the right decision when I could feel my spirits lift and a big smile settled itself on my face.

Jenny used to write a singles column called “Girls About Town” for a magazine. The problem is, Jenny isn’t single anymore and is also preparing for the birth of her first child. So when her column is handed over to a younger colleague, Jenny tries to convince her boss she could write about motherhood instead. To find inspiration, Jenny joins an antenatal class where she meets four other women who couldn’t possible be more different from each other if they tried. There’s Naomi, the hippy earth-mom; Gail, the fierce business woman; Antonia, the well turned-out snobbish one who seems to have it all and finally Ruth, who’s been struggling to get pregnant for years.

Now, I admit I thought I would struggle with this story as I’m not a member of the mum club and never had the desire to join up. While I am familiar with sleepless nights due to being an insomniac, I’ve never changed a diaper nor have I thankfully ever been the victim of misdirected projectile vomiting. But somehow, I found myself totally able to relate to Jenny and her circle of first time mothers. Not everything is all roses and sunshine. Sure, there are moments where I chuckled and snorted rather un-lady like but there were also times when I felt quite a huge lump in my throat.

From unplanned pregnancies to having to throw your carefully written birthing plan out the window, from exhaustion to mishaps, from trying to juggle it all and think you need to be perfect at everything, to realising your live has changed forever, … this story has everything and these five women will somehow find each other, despite their differences. Mothers everywhere will undoubtedly be able to relate and some things will surely bring back fond, or less fond, memories. If like me, you’re not a mother, worry not as I’m feeling pretty confident you will be as entertained as I was.

The Undercover Mother is a funny feel-good story about pregnancies, motherhood, friendships and finding the best of friends in the most unusual places. I thoroughly enjoyed the time I got to spend with all of them and I do so hope there will be a follow-up at some point as I would absolutely love to know what happens to all of them next.

The Undercover Mother is available for purchase!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Emma Robinson thinks of herself as one of the ‘Bridget Jones generation’ – who are now grown up and having children – and writes novels for women who feel the same.

She also has a blog, Motherhood for Slackers, which takes a humorous look at parenthood, and includes poems such as ‘Dear Teacher’ about her son starting school which has been shared around the world. Emma is an English teacher and lives in Essex with a patient husband and two children who are an endless source of material.

Facebook | Twitter

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The Visitor by K.L. Slater @KimLSlater @bookouture #blogblitz #TheVisitor

Delighted to host a stop on the blog blitz for K.L. Slater’s new psychological thriller The Visitor! My thanks to Bookouture for the review copy!

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Author : K.L. Slater
Title : The Visitor
Pages : 252
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : March 2, 2018

aboutthebook

Holly returns to her home town after some time away – she has been through something terrible and now she needs a safe haven in which to recover, and to plan the rest of her life. She finds a room in a quiet and leafy suburban street, in the home of Cora Barrett.

David lives next door to Cora Barrett and he sees everything that happens on Baker Crescent. David stays at home, and he watches: he likes to feel safe and he doesn’t like to leave the house. He wants to keep his friends and neighbours safe too. So he observes them, and he records every tiny detail of their lives, just in case the information is ever needed.

Both lonely and vulnerable, Holly and David gradually begin to strike up a friendship. But Holly can’t shake the feeling that someone from her past might have tracked her down. And David is always watching… But uncovering the secret that could save his new friend and neighbour could be the one thing that destroys him.

mythoughts

If you do a really good job, it’s amazing how people around you will start believing in the person who isn’t really you.

Intriguing, huh? I’m sure we’re all familiar with wearing a mask from time to time, pretending to be someone we’re not or pretending to feel absolutely fabulous when we’re actually feeling incredibly low. But who is not who they are portraying themselves to be in this story? And why?

I really like K.L. Slater’s books so I was pretty darn excited when the opportunity to read this one popped up. It’s fair to say, I think that The Visitor is slightly different from the author’s previous works but that is absolutely not a bad thing. This is a slow-burner, more about the characters, their actions and motivations, than any twists and turns that leave your head spinning but it’s intensely gripping nonetheless.

The chapters alternate between Holly and David. Holly has just returned to her hometown after ten years away. She needs a place to stay, somewhere where she feels safe and can figure out how to get her life back on track. David lives next door and is very set in his ways. He likes his routine and watching his neighbours to make sure they’re safe from harm. Admittedly, slightly on the creepy side. But who’s watching who?

It’s obvious early on that all these characters have secrets but the reveals are slow to come, especially where Holly’s past is concerned. Yet I quite happily followed the trail of breadcrumbs up the proverbial garden path, utterly unable to figure things out. The Visitor isn’t fast-paced or action-packed or the nail-biting sort of story you might expect from this genre. But it is brilliantly written and I found that despite the slower pace, it was still incredibly compelling, engrossing and a thoroughly entertaining psychological thriller. I can’t wait to read more by K.L. Slater!

The Visitor was published on March 2nd.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | KoboGoodreads

abouttheauthor

Kim is the bestselling author of psychological crime thrillers ‘Safe With Me,’ ‘Blink,’ ‘Liar’, ‘The Mistake’ and ‘The Visitor.’

For many years, Kim sent her work out to literary agents and collected a stack of rejection slips. At the age of 40 she went back to Nottingham Trent University and now has an MA in Creative Writing.

Before graduating in 2012, she received five offers of representation from London literary agents and a book deal which was, as Kim says, ‘a fairytale … at the end of a very long road!’

Kim is a full-time writer and lives in Nottingham with her husband, Mac.

She also writes award-winning YA fiction for Macmillan Children’s Books, writing as Kim Slater.

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Found Drowned by B.K. Duncan @BKDuncanwriter@Bloodhoundbook #blogblitz #guestpost

Welcome to my stop on the blog blitz for Found Drowned by B.K. Duncan! My thanks to Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books for the opportunity to join. Today, I have a fabulous guest post to share with you but first, here is what the book is all about.

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Author : B.K. Duncan
Title : Found Drowned
Series : May Keaps #2
Pages : 353
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : February 27, 2018

aboutthebook

Smuggling. Prostitution. Murder.

London. 1920 and coroner’s officer May Keaps is tasked with solving the mystery that surrounds the death of a young boy, found drowned in The Thames.

But was it murder or an accident?

May knows that when children go missing, the reason is often linked to money but she is in danger of underestimating the corrupting influence of power . . .

On streets where poverty and exploitation walk hand-in-hand everyone has a price. And some are more valuable dead than alive. But who is pulling the strings?

May must journey into the dark underbelly of London to find the answers.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

guestpost

I READ, THEREFORE I AM by BK DUNCAN

One of the most common questions an author is asked is why they write. It is second only to where we get our ideas from (I’ll come on to that one later). My answer is as simple as it is all-encompassing. I write because it opens up new worlds to me. Worlds that I only half understood before I began to explore them, or worlds I didn’t even know existed before research laid them at my feet. Worlds in which I am able to taste something of other people’s lives through memories bequeathed us; where I can – for a brief moment at least – imagine what life might be like if I hadn’t been born in the time and place I was. If I wasn’t me. And that sets you free. Free to pretend to be someone else; free to dance to the beat of a different drum. Free to escape the ordinariness of everyday life and forget the worries and stresses of the moment.

But spending time living vicariously is accompanied by being unable to avoid illuminating aspects of your true, deep personality. Sometimes discovering things that are startling or unsettling; things that rock the real world you inhabit and send tremors through the person you will be tomorrow. Shakespeare knew a thing or two about writing, and when he had Hamlet say of acting: ‘. . . the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first and now, was and is, to hold, as t’were a mirror up to nature . . .’ he could have been giving his job description as a playwright.

I write because, by doing so, I learn.

The May Keaps series explores the East End of London during the 1920s in the immediate aftermath of The Great War – with the prequel short story The Last Post set at the Western Front in 1918. The ongoing Centenary Commemorations have augmented my research with television programmes, radio dramas, and numerous websites where a click will unveil vivid first-hand accounts. All have enriched my understanding of self as I try to walk in the shoes of the people who endured the horrors of a worst nightmare. How would it have affected me? Surviving it would certainly have damaged me physically, psychologically or emotionally. What must it have been like to face a future that had been irrevocably altered by a cataclysmic event, the ramifications of which we, with rolling news and frontline reportage, can’t possibly comprehend? Can you imagine coming back from the trenches to a Britain flooded with a sort of collective amnesia that turned a blind eye to deny on-going suffering? Bear in mind that Wilfred Owen wrote his poems of remembrance, not for us, but to awaken his contemporaries. He bore witness to the world around him and, in doing so, left a legacy that shapes our world today.

I write because I read.

I had something to write about in Foul Trade because others have broadened my knowledge through the written word. The number of sails on a ship running the trade winds from China? I’ll find it in a book. What woods and spices came through West India Docks and what time of year could they be expected to arrive? The labels on the exhibits in the cabinets at the Museum of London Docklands told me that. How much food could a 1920 East End family buy per week and what would it cost? A contemporary newspaper article cross-referenced with the tables at the back of a volume of The New Survey of London Life and Labour put me straight. Whittaker’s Almanac of 1919 is stuffed full of facts such as the number of postal deliveries a day (four); and the names of the police commissioners, judges, coroners, Home Office pathologists and everyone else with professional relevance to the world I was attempting to recreate. Do you care that a two-wheel horse drawn Hackney Carriage cost 2/6 (12p) to hire in 1920? You would if you were wondering if one of the characters in your story could afford to take one as a means of escape. My point in subjecting you to the sources of all this useless information is that it is only useless if you don’t need it, and if you need it, the only way to cure your ignorance is by reading.

I write because you read.

If I didn’t know you were reading this, then I wouldn’t be spending my Sunday writing it. Writing and reading is to give and to receive. Writing something down is to preserve experience and grant knowledge. Reading is to acquire and assimilate that knowledge; to learn and grow as a consequence. If we can’t read then the worlds open to us are limited and unvaried. If the person we become is a product of the combination of our inner and outer worlds, then by being unable to read we are, by definition, restricting our potential. There are too many people in England today who can only read sufficiently well to get by. The National Literacy Trust gives the figure of 16% or 5.2 million adults who have the literacy levels at or below those expected of an 11-year-old. Such an appalling statistic in 2017 matters. It matters because if you can’t read proficiently enough to enjoy it, then you’re only ever going to read what you need to know (remember my 1920 cab fares above?) and miss out on everything else. It matters, because so much of the everyday experience of ordinary people of the past was lost when they couldn’t write down their thoughts and feelings in letters or diaries. Nor, I suspect, will any of England’s 5.2 million, however unique or fascinating their lives. It matters because one of the fundamental things human beings do is communicate with each other. No reading equals no texts, emails, blogs, books, magazines, newspapers, Wikipedia . . . And as a result our individual and collective world-pictures are painted in less bright colours.

So I read to write, and I write to be read. I write to be who I am. To make myself into the person I want to be. To make a difference (no matter if only in causing you think twice about Wilfred Owen) to who you are. Oh, I nearly forgot. Where does a writer get their ideas? From opening their eyes to the world around them because every story there has ever been in the history of human thought and deed is out there, writ large. You just need to be able to read the signs.

abouttheauthor

BK Duncan is the pen name Ruth Wade has adopted for the May Keaps series of historical crime novels.

Born on a steam railway and brought up on the South Coast of England, such beginnings were destined to leave BK Duncan with a love of vintage transport, crashing seas, and Art Deco architecture.

Following a career encompassing developmental learning and change-management consultancy she now combines producing her own work with lecturing part-time in creative writing in colleges and academies in Cambridge and Oxford. Her two great passions are longbow archery and the Argentine Tango. Sadly, she is not nearly as accomplished at either as she’d like.

BK Duncan also writes historical crime novels as Ruth Wade.

Twitter | Website

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Next To Die by T.J. Brearton @BreartonTJ @bookouture #blogblitz #NextToDie

Delighted to host a stop on the blog blitz for Next To Die by T.J. Brearton today! Many thanks to Noelle at Bookouture for the opportunity and my review copy.

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Author : T.J. Brearton
Title : Next To Die
Pages : 364
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : February 16, 2018

aboutthebook

When a social worker is brutally murdered, Detectives Mike Nelson and Lena Overton are straight on the scene. But with a long list of potential suspects, can they work out who’s next before the killer strikes again?

It’s Lake Haven’s first murder in eighteen years, and the community is terrified – especially Bobbi, who was not only supposed to be on duty that night, but also has the same long dark hair as Harriet and drives the same blue car. Now Bobbi lives in constant fear that the murderer will be back for her.

When Mike and Lena make a link to a missing-persons case and uncover a wide-spread grudge against social services, they know they’re close to uncovering the killer – but can they connect the last few dots and stop him before he takes another victim?

mythoughts

When a social worker is found brutally murdered in her car, investigators have a long list of suspects and questions. Why would anyone want Harriet dead? Does it have to do with her job? Is there another reason someone wanted her out of the way? Or was it a case of mistaken identity and did the wrong person die? The murder has left the small town of Lake Haven reeling as nothing like this has happened in almost two decades.

Well now, if you’re looking for something that will have you guessing until the end, then this is it. I had no idea where this tale was going at all. Dead ends, twists, red herrings … I mean, never mind investigators having a long list of suspects. I had NO suspects whatsoever! Not even the tiniest clue! If I’d been a detective, they would have asked for my badge and probably wondered how I made it through the detective exams in the first place. Luckily Detectives Nelson and Overton are on the case, on the hunt for a killer before get a chance to strike again.

I can’t say I warmed all too much to the various characters but the plot was so utterly gripping that I didn’t care. Not having a particular character to root for didn’t ruin my enjoyment of this thrilling story at all. Just goes to show that your dislike of characters isn’t always the be all and end all of a book. When a plot is as compelling as this one, you’ll keep reading regardless. Lesson learned.

Not only is this a murder investigation but Next To Die also highlights a topic I never really gave much thought. How much danger do social workers put themselves in on a daily basis to keep children safe? Thought-provoking for sure and I always love it when a story makes me learn something new or makes me think.

This is another fantastic, thrilling and suspenseful book by T.J. Brearton. Personally, I feel it’s his best one yet and I look forward to whatever is next.

Next To Die is available now!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

T.J. Brearton is the author of thirteen published novels of crime fiction, including detective thrillers, police procedurals, psychological suspense, and one paranormal crime story. His eBooks have been best-sellers on the Amazon kindle fiction Top 100 list. He lives in the Adirondacks with his wife and three children where he writes full time.

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Liars by Frances Vick @franvicksays @bookouture #blogblitz

Such a pleasure to co-host the publication day blogblitz for Liars by Frances Vick today! My thanks to Bookouture for the review copy.

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Author : Frances Vick
Title : Liars
Pages : 436
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : January 26, 2018

aboutthebook

Jenny hasn’t had an easy life – no job and no money, with a sick mother and an abusive ex-stepfather. Not that anybody cares, she’s from the wrong side of town.

David has taken care of Jenny ever since they were at school together. He knows how special she is, how much she needs his support. David has a lot of love to give.

Jenny and David aren’t in a relationship. They aren’t even friends.

Jenny thinks she’s free to do what she wants, see who she likes. What does David think? Well, you’ll have to find out.

mythoughts

Well, now. I don’t even know where to start.

This is a story about manipulation, secrets and lies and an absorbing study in all things psychology. A story about how people have their own versions of the truth, often contorting it to make it fit their purpose or make life more bearable. In a way, sometimes these aren’t even lies so much, but different perspectives and it’s absolutely fascinating!

My sympathies with the various characters kept switching back and forth until I ultimately pretty much disliked everyone and I had no idea who to trust at all. David and Jenny are both quite messed up. Jenny’s had a horrible childhood and David has seemingly just been that little bit different since birth. Or in my version of the truth, utterly creepy. I don’t want to say too much else as I’m afraid of spoiling things but suffice to say, this is one gripping, intriguing and suspenseful ride.

Liars is written absolutely brilliantly and even though I found the the first part rather slow, it was a necessary set-up to the rest of the story. The reveals left me spinning. I think the ending may leave people’s opinions divided. Some may find it satisfying, others may not. To be honest, I’m still not sure how I feel about it and that’s okay. This is one of those stories that makes you think, it stays with you as you go over things in your head for days on end and still can’t quite figure out how you feel.

Frances Vick has written a compelling, thought-provoking and addictive psychological thriller that I won’t forget in a hurry.

Liars is out today!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

The only child of parents who worked at a top security psychiatric hospital, Frances Vick grew up receiving disquieting notes and presents from the patients. Expelled from school, she spent the next few years on the dole, augmenting her income by providing security and crewing for gigs, and being a medical experiment guinea pig. Later jobs included working in a theatre in Manhattan, teaching English in Japanese Junior High Schools, and being a life model in Italy, before coming back to London and working with young offenders and refugees. Her first novel ‘Chinaski’ was published in 2014, her second, bestselling novel ‘Bad Little Girl’ came out in February 2017. Liars is out now.

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