This Week in Books (January 16)

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 |

Single-mother bounty hunter Lori Anderson has finally got her family back together, but her new-found happiness is shattered when she’s snatched by the Miami Mob – and they want her dead. Rather than a bullet, they offer her a job: find the Mob’s ‘numbers man’ – Carlton North – who’s in protective custody after being forced to turn federal witness against them. If Lori succeeds, they’ll wipe the slate clean and the price on her head – and those of her family – will be removed. If she fails, they die.

With North due in court in forty-eight hours, Lori sets off across Florida, racing against the clock to find him and save her family. Only in this race the prize is more deadly – and the secret she shares with JT more dangerous – than she ever could have imagined. In this race only the winner gets out alive…

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

They left four children safe upstairs.
They came back to three.

On the fifth floor of the White Caps Hotel, four young boys are left alone while their parents dine downstairs.

But when one of the parents checks on the children at midnight, they discover one of them is missing.

The boys swear they stayed in their room. CCTV confirms that none of them left the building. No trace of the child is found.

Now the hunt is on to find him, before it’s too late – and before the search for a boy becomes a search for a body…

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

Emily Jacobs, a nurse, is in hospital for a minor operation. When she wakes in the night, woozy with anaesthetic, she sees the doctor frantically trying to resuscitate the woman in the bed next to her. In the morning, she is told that she must have had a nightmare. The bed has been empty all along . . .

When Emily returns to work she discovers a bracelet that she believes belonged to the missing woman. Soon, she becomes convinced that her colleagues at the hospital are hiding a terrible secret. 

What if she’s wrong? What if her own troubled past has affected her more than she knows?

But what if she’s right? 

What else could they be capable of?

Looks like I’m in for some great treats again this week! What about you? What are you reading this week? Let me know! Happy reading! xx

Some of my most anticipated books of 2019

At the end of last year, I mentioned doing a post focusing on some of my most anticipated releases for the new year. Since then, it seems everyone and their dog has done a post like that so obviously my idea wasn’t as original as I thought it was. Anyway, I decided to share this list regardless and hopefully you’ll find something that will pique your interest.

Listed by publication date for digital and hardcover copies.

| JANUARY |

Steve Cavanagh – Twisted
Matt Wesolowski – Changeling
Will Dean – Red Snow
Steph Broadribb – Deep Dirty Truth
Diane Setterfield – Once Upon A River

| FEBRUARY |

Angela Marsons – Dead Memories
Jo Spain – Dirty Little Secrets
Stacey Halls – The Familiars
Louise Beech – Call Me Star Girl
C.J. Tudor – The Taking of Annie Thorne
Alex Michaelides – The Silent Patient

| APRIL |

Gillian McAllister – The Evidence Against You

| MAY |

Stuart MacBride – All That’s Dead
Alison Weir – Anna of Kleve : Queen of Secrets
Sarah Hilary – Never Be Broken
Melanie Golding – Little Darlings

| JUNE |

Karin Slaughter – The Last Widow
Alex North – The Whisper Man

| JULY |

Riley Sager – Lock Every Door

| UNKNOWN |

Sharon Bolton – The Poisoner

This is a weird one but I’ve included it anyway. I could have sworn the original publication date was May but Amazon now lists it as December 2020, which quite frankly I refuse to believe because I WANT IT NOW!

Honourable mention to Johana Gustawsson and the third book in the Roy & Castells series.

I have a feeling it’s going to be a great bookish year once again! Which book(s) are you looking forward to the most? Do let me know and I hope you’ve found something in this list that caught your eye. Happy reading! xx

The Secrets You Hide by Kate Helm @KateWritesBooks @BonnierZaffre @Francesca_PR #blogtour #bookreview #guestpost #TheSecretsYouHide #NetGalley

Thrilled to host a stop on the blog tour for The Secrets You Hide by Kate Helm today! My thanks to Francesca at Bonnier Zaffre for the invitation to join and my review copy. The lovely Kate Helm visits my blog today to talk about Brighton as a location for her novel and I’ll also be sharing my thoughts on this fabulous thriller. But first, here is what The Secrets You Hide is all about.

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Author : Kate Helm
Title : The Secrets You Hide
Pages : 330
Publisher : Bonnier Zaffre
Publication date : October 4, 2018 (ebook) | February 7, 2019 (paperback)

aboutthebook

Georgia Sage has a gift: she can see evil in people. As a courtroom artist she uses her skills to help condemn those who commit terrible crimes. After all, her own brutal past means she knows innocence is even rarer than justice.

But when she is drawn back into the trial that defined her career, a case of twisted family betrayal, she realises her own reckless pursuit of justice may have helped the guilty go free.

As Georgia gets closer to the truth behind the Slater family, something happens that threatens not only her career – but even her own sanity. At first, she fears her guilt around the events of her terrible childhood is finally coming back to haunt her.

The truth turns out to be even more terrifying . . .

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How often do we look at someone and immediately decide whether we like them or not? How often are we wrong and does our initial idea of someone change? What if you’re a court artist, like Georgia Sage? She thinks she has a firm grasp on people’s faces and can spot evil in a flash. After all, she’s been drawing them for years and she knows what to look out for. With a few simple brush strokes, she can get her opinion of a suspect at a trial across to a tv audience as well. But what if she’s wrong?

Drawn back to one of the first court cases Georgia attended, she may need to face up to the fact she possibly helped the guilty party go free. While searching for the truth and hopefully seeing justice served, Georgia finds herself confronted with her own dark past. A chilling event from her childhood has haunted her ever since but the truth is even more devastating. As Georgia will soon discover for herself.

This compelling story has a lot to offer. Not only is there the wonderful setting in Brighton but there’s a murder to solve and for once, there’s not a detective in sight. There’s just Georgia, a normal young woman, albeit it a tad damaged. While the pace was maybe somewhat on the slow side at the beginning, I found myself utterly engrossed, wondering what was going on. But then!

I’m not a fan of this whole “twist you won’t see coming” thing but guess what?! There was a twist I didn’t see coming! It changed the entire storyline, tilting it right onto its head, making me sit up just that little bit straighter. All of a sudden, an “average” crime thriller turned into something highly original and unusual and I absolutely loved it!

With a unique premise and an exciting first chapter, this had me utterly gripped. A slow burner, yes, but packed full of emotion and intriguing characters. The Secrets You Hide is well-plotted, brilliantly written, addictive and hugely satisfying. If you enjoy your crime thrillers and you’re looking for something that’s a little bit different, look no more! I’m incredibly excited to find out what Kate Helm comes up with next.

The Secrets You Hide is available in e-book format now. The UK paperback will be published on February 7 and can be pre-ordered.

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

guestpost

Brighton by the book: thriller author Kate Helm examines why sunny Brighton is the perfect setting for murder

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside… especially when I am writing about murder.

Because there’s something about coastal towns that makes them brilliant places to live – but also the ideal setting for truly terrifying events.

Brighton has been my home town for the last seven years and I love the city. So when I decided to write my first thriller, I wanted to pay my own tribute to its beauty – and its seediness. I’m not the first. Graham Greene portrayed its underworld in Brighton Rock – and Peter James’ bestsellers feature the challenges and mysteries of policing the place.

My Brighton is very different – well, it’d be madness to take on Peter James on his home turf – as it’s seen from the point of view of an ‘ordinary’ person. Though my heroine, courtroom sketch artist Georgia, is not everyone’s idea of normal.

She fled to the city to escape terrible memories and a broken relationship. As an artist, the light was one attraction for her. It’s one of my biggest pleasures too. Living on the coast means you really can experience four seasons in one day. And the fact that I can walk for less than sixty seconds and see the sea and the horizon, means it’s easy to regain your sense of perspective.

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Georgia lives in a flat in Brunswick Square – if you’ve ever seen a photograph of the city’s buttermilk-coloured terraced crescents, chances are it’s Brunswick. I describe them as ‘wedding cake houses’ – I’ve been inside a couple of these flats, with their huge bay windows and heart-stopping sea views. Georgia’s difficult past means she can afford to buy a flat and live there alone – though the price of her ’wealth’ is one most of us would never want to pay.

Brunswick Brighton

As she tries to solve the central mystery in the book – whether a person she helped convict really did murder his stepmother in a devastating fire on Christmas Eve – she walks by the seafront to clear her head. The pebble beach here is well-known, but what I didn’t know till I moved here is how at very low tide, another beach is revealed, a wet sandy shoreline that I can never resist paddling in.

Brighton low tide

The irritations of living in a tourist hot spot are part of Georgia’s life – the bottlenecks caused by delightful but chattering foreign language students, the noise of the stag and hen parties, the damp buildings caused by year-round salty breezes.

As Georgia’s job is sketching people involved in criminal trials, she spends a lot of time in court. And that’s where I’ve taken the biggest liberty – by inventing a new crown court for Brighton. The real crown court here is in Hove – the posher end of the city – and it’s an ugly box of a building with very little charm. So I let my imagination summon up a Victorian court house in the same place as the current Brighton Magistrates’.  It has turrets and wood panelling and giant institutional radiators that make it baking hot all year round. It’s based on courts I’ve visited, but if you look for it on Eastern Road, all you’ll find is the police station and the American Express building.

Georgia loves the city as much as I do, and she hangs out in the same shabby pubs I visit when the seafront haunts are packed with tourists. She came here – as many people do – looking for answers, but also finds acceptance, because the city really is one of the most tolerant places in the world.

And my final connection to this place? My pseudonym. Because my past books have been very different, we decided to create a new identity for me. I keep my first name but needed a second one to replace Harrison. Brighthelmstone is the name for the original settlement here – so Kate Helm it is. My new name is my own tribute to the city I love.

[Photography by Kate Helm]

abouttheauthor

Kate Helm was born in Lancashire, and worked as a journalist covering courts and crime, before becoming a BBC reporter and producer in news and current affairs. She also wrote documentary and drama scripts, including the BBC1 programme: Angel of Death: The Story of Beverly Allitt.

Kate Helm is a pseudonym for author Kate Harrison whose non-fiction and novels have been sold in 20 territories and sold over 800,000 copies. Kate lives in Brighton, this is her first book under the name Kate Helm and her debut adult crime novel.

Beach hut wide

Join Kate’s free book club for exclusive previews and competitions to win signed books by your favourite thriller authors, via Kate’s website www.kate-harrison.com or follow her on Twitter@katewritesbooks

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The Darkness Around Her by Neil White @neilwhite1965 @BonnierZaffre #TheDarknessAroundHer #NetGalley

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Author : Neil White
Title : The Darkness Around Her
Series : Dan Grant #2
Pages : 448
Publisher : Bonnier Zaffre
Publication date : August 9, 2018 (ebook) | August 23, 2018 (paperback)

aboutthebook

See no evil . . .

When Lizzie Barnsley is murdered along a canal after escaping the clutches of her abusive boyfriend, Dan Grant is called in to represent her alleged killer. Peter Box has confessed to Lizzie’s murder, but did he actually do it, or is there some other, darker, force at play?

Hear no evil . . .

When Dan and his investigator, Jayne Brett, begin to look into the case, they discover a number of canalside murders and disappearances, including the brutal killing of fourteen-year-old Rosie Smith ten years earlier. Rosie’s stepfather Sean had been accused, but they discover that somebody else tried to confess – Peter Box.

Speak no evil . . .

With a client who has a habit of confessing to murder, Dan and Jayne have their work cut out for them, but when it becomes clear that Peter Box can’t have been involved with every murder and disappearance along the canal, the two realise that they may have stumbled on to something far more sinister.

But the clock is ticking and time is running out for the next victim . . .

mythoughts

Move over, John Grisham! I’ve found myself a new favourite legal crime thriller author and his name is Neil White. After thoroughly enjoying the first book in the Dan Grant series, From the Shadows, I couldn’t wait to get stuck into its follow-up.

In The Darkness Around Her, Dan Grant is facing the difficult task of defending an alleged killer, Peter Box, in a murder trial. Peter has been accused of the murder of Lizzie Barnsley, who was found along a canal path. But Peter is making things increasingly tough by refusing to talk to the police and to his lawyer. Did he really kill Lizzie or is someone else responsible? After all, Lizzie wasn’t the first victim along this stretch of the canal.

Jayne and Dan have to dig deep to get to the truth, uncovering a whole trail of missing and murdered women along the way. Is Peter Box responsible for all of them? Meanwhile, Dan is also forced to face a future without his boss, Pat, who is considering retirement. As if being solely in charge of a murder defence wasn’t enough to deal with.

One of the things I really enjoy about this series is that it combines the best of two worlds for me. I love legal thrillers and the drama that is played out in a court setting, which is obviously where Dan comes in. But I also get the investigation into a crime with Detective Murdoch but even more so, with private investigator Jayne. I really enjoy the dynamics between Dan and Jayne, even though that will-they/won’t-they thing continues. But just like the characters, I’m struggling to decide if it would be a good thing or not for them to become involved.

The Darkness Around Her is intensely gripping, with intriguing and complex characters. The pace and the action builds up to almost unbearable levels. Neil White kept me guessing for ages as to what was really going on and I couldn’t flip the pages fast enough to see what the outcome would be. This is a cleverly plotted, brilliantly executed, enthralling and insanely addictive thriller. An incredibly tense ride with a few surprises along the way that I found hard to put down and absolutely fantastic addition to the series! I can’t wait to see what’s next.

My thanks to the publisher for my review copy, which I received via Netgalley.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | BookdepositoryKobo | Goodreads

This Week in Books (August 22)

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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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Aged just 16, Geo’s best friend Angela disappeared without a trace. Years later, Angela’s body is discovered in the woods near Geo’s childhood home, revealed as yet another victim of the notorious serial killer Calvin James. Geo’s high-school boyfriend.

For fourteen years, Geo knew what had happened and told no one, carrying the secret until she was arrested and sent to prison. Why would any woman protect a man capable of committing such a heinous crime? Geo had her reasons…

To Geo, Calvin is more than a monster, a serial killer with no remorse. He is something else entirely. And while Geo did her time, Calvin escaped and went on the run. Now released, Geo is ready to start over. But then the bodies begin to turn up, killed in the exact same manner as Angela…

As chilling secrets are revealed, everything turns on what really happened one fateful night, almost 20 years ago. Is it too late for anyone, Geo included, to survive the truth?

The book I’m currently reading

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She can’t see the killer
But the killer can see her…

Naomi Hannah has been blind since birth. Struggling with living in the small, claustrophobic town of Balkerne Heights, Naomi contemplates ending her life. But before she can, Naomi stumbles across the body of a young woman who has been brutally murdered. She senses someone else there at the scene – watching her. Naomi may not be able to see the killer’s face, but she is still the only person who can identify him.

For Naomi, this frightening truth changes everything: she realises that she wants to live, at the very point at which her life is in greatest peril. As the police begin hunting the person responsible and the bodies pile up, Naomi must lie in wait and answer the question that hangs her fate in the balance: why did the killer let her live?

In a town this small, the murderer must be close, perhaps even before her very eyes…

What I’m (probably) reading next

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See no evil . . .

When Lizzie Barnsley is murdered along a canal after escaping the clutches of her abusive boyfriend, Dan Grant is called in to represent her alleged killer. Peter Box has confessed to Lizzie’s murder, but did he actually do it, or is there some other, darker, force at play?

Hear no evil . . .

When Dan and his investigator, Jayne Brett, begin to look into the case, they discover a number of canalside murders and disappearances, including the brutal killing of fourteen-year-old Rosie Smith ten years earlier. Rosie’s stepfather Sean had been accused, but they discover that somebody else tried to confess – Peter Box.

Speak no evil . . .

With a client who has a habit of confessing to murder, Dan and Jayne have their work cut out for them, but when it becomes clear that Peter Box can’t have been involved with every murder and disappearance along the canal, the two realise that they may have stumbled on to something far more sinister.

But the clock is ticking and time is running out for the next victim . . .

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I’m once again quite excited about my week’s reading. What do you think? Anything here you’d like to read or have maybe read already? What are you reading? Let me know!

Happy reading! xx

The Cathy Connolly Trilogy by Sam Blake @samblakebooks @BonnierZaffre #blogtour

It is a real pleasure to be joining the blog tour celebrating the release of the third book, No Turning Back, in the Cathy Connolly Trilogy by Sam Blake today! My thanks to Imogen Sebba at Bonnier Zaffre for the invitation to join the tour!

I’ve read all three of these books and today, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the newest release, No Turning Back. Here is what the book is all about.

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Author : Sam Blake
Title : No Turning Back
Series : Cathy Connolly #3
Pages : 341
Publisher : Bonnier Zaffre
Publication date : May 17, 2018

aboutthebook

Orla and Conor Quinn are the perfect power couple: smart, successful and beautiful, they have an enviable relationship and an idyllic family life. But then the unthinkable happens. Their oldest son, Tom, is the victim of a hit-and-run. What was Tom doing out walking so late at night? Did he really have problems sleeping, or was he secretly meeting someone? Is it a coincidence that his friend, Lauren, committed suicide nearby – or is there something more sinister going on?

Detective Garda Cathy Connolly is part of the team investigating both incidents. As she delves deeper, she realises that all is not what it seems in the Quinn household and that everyone connected to both cases have their own reasons for hiding things from the police.

With her boss and mentor, Dawson O’Rourke, in line for a promotion on the other side of the country, it’s time for Cat to consider not only what she wants from her career, but also where their relationship is going. However, when a terrorist threat is unveiled close to home, will Cat be able to put the pieces together in time to save the day? Whatever happens though, there is no turning back …

mythoughts

No Turning Back is the third book in the Cathy Connolly series. I think you might possibly get away with reading this as a stand-alone but why would you want to? Read all three, as I have done and I’m sure you’ll agree with me that this latest one is the best one yet.

Young Tom Quinn is found dead in the road from what looks to be a hit-and-run. His parents are obviously devastated but something isn’t quite right in the Quinn household. Then Tom’s classmate, Lauren, is also found dead at the bottom of a cliff from an apparent suicide. Are these two events connected somehow? O’Rourke, Cathy and the rest of the team have their work cut out for them because these two families may look like they have it all but they’re all hiding secrets they desperately don’t want to reveal.

There are multiple exciting layers running throughout this story. Not only are there the investigations into the deaths of Tom and Lauren, we also get teasing glimpses of an unknown character seemingly plotting terrorist attacks. Meanwhile, Cathy is also getting increasingly confused about her relationship with O’Rourke while also wondering about her future and where the next step in her career might be. Things are definitely changing.

This is a well-plotted, compelling and tense addition to the series with an explosive and action-packed conclusion. The investigation spreads far and wide and held my attention from start to finish. However that was mostly due to a professor with an intriguing background and connections in the CIA. With many twists along the way, it is a suspenseful book that will keep you hooked and will make you think twice about modern technology. Although I must admit that some of that technical stuff went right over my head, I will definitely not forget to cover up the cameras on all my devices. Just in case.

No Turning Back wraps up this trilogy nicely and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s in no way an ending, but it does promise a new and exciting change for Cathy Connolly and it will be interesting to see where Sam Blake takes Cathy and this series next.

No Turning Back is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Sam Blake is a pseudonym for Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin, who is originally from St. Albans in Hertfordshire but has lived at the foot of the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland for (almost) more years than she lived in the UK. She has been writing fiction since 1999 when her husband went sailing across the Atlantic for 8 weeks and she had an idea for a book.

Vanessa is also the founder of The Inkwell Group publishing consultancy and the Irish national writing resources website Writing.ie. She is Ireland’s leading literary scout who has assisted many award winning and bestselling authors to publication.

Author link : Twitter

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Don’t Make A Sound by David Jackson @Author_Dave @BonnierZaffre

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Author : David Jackson
Title : Don’t Make A Sound
Series : DS Nathan Cody #3
Pages : 400
Publisher : Bonnier Zaffre
Publication date : May 3, 2018

aboutthebook

You can’t choose your family. Or can you?

Meet the Bensons. A pleasant enough couple. They keep themselves to themselves. They wash their car, mow their lawn and pass the time of day with their neighbours. And they have a beautiful little girl called Daisy.

There’s just one problem. Daisy doesn’t belong to the Bensons. They stole her.

And now they’ve decided that Daisy needs a little brother or sister.

D. S. Nathan Cody is about to face his darkest and most terrifying case yet.

mythoughts

Did you hear that thud? That was the sound of my jaw hitting the floor. Good grief.

The third instalment of the DS Nathan Cody series starts off innocently enough but after just a few pages, the whole scene is tilted onto its head so hard that my eyes almost popped out of my head and I wondered how I would survive the rest of this book without taking something that would provide some sort of calming effect. Talk about having the rug pulled from underneath you. Bloody hell!

I don’t want to give anything away about this terribly exciting plot, other than to say it deals with a missing child. Stories involving children are always rather tough to read, I find, and David Jackson made that experience even worse (in a totally good way) by actually offering the reader a missing child’s perspective. It’s uncomfortable, frightening and utterly heartbreaking to find yourself in that horrible situation with them.

Don’t Make A Sound is intensely gripping, utterly addictive and I devoured it in one glorious sitting. It’s a dark, disturbing and a brilliantly relentless page-turner that kept me having to remind myself to keep breathing. The banter between Cody and Webley offers some much needed relief at times, making me chuckle in the midst of all this evilness. We even learn a little something new about Blunt, which I’m desperately hoping will be explored further.

I don’t normally like mentioning endings. I always find it’s something like that “twist you won’t see coming” bit where you rush to get to the part everyone is talking about. Know what I mean? Obviously I don’t want you to rush to get to the end of this story (seriously, slow down, enjoy the thrilling ride) but boy, did that blow my mind or what?! Didn’t see that coming at all and it seriously messed with my head! Just awesome!

What an absolutely brilliant addition to an already outstanding series! You’re all reading these, right? If not, I highly recommend you head out out to pick up your copies right now? When you’ve finished catching up, I’m sure you’ll join me in eagerly awaiting the fourth book in the series. I can’t wait to see what David Jackson has in store for the team.

Don’t Make A Sound is out now!

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

 

This Week in Books (May 2)

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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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This is a love story. Mike’s love story.

Mike Hayes fought his way out of a brutal childhood and into a quiet, if lonely life, before he met Verity Metcalf. V taught him about love, and in return, Mike has dedicated his life to making her happy. He’s found the perfect home, the perfect job, he’s sculpted himself into the physical ideal V has always wanted. He knows they’ll be blissfully happy together.

It doesn’t matter that she hasn’t been returning his emails or phone calls.
It doesn’t matter that she says she’s marrying Angus.

It’s all just part of the secret game they used to play. If Mike watches V closely, he’ll see the signs. If he keeps track of her every move he’ll know just when to come to her rescue.

The book I’m currently reading

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What would you do if the love of your life had no memory of you?

The 19th of January, 1996 . . . I’ll never forget it. It was the day we met. I was seven and she was six. It was the day she moved in next door, and the same day I developed my first crush on a girl.

Then tragedy struck. Nineteen days after our wedding day, Jemma was in an accident that would change our lives forever. When she woke from her coma, she had no memory of me, of us, of the love we shared.

That’s when I started writing her letters. The stories of our life. Of when we met. About the happier times, and everything we’d experienced together.

What we had was far too beautiful to be forgotten.

What I’m (definitely) reading next

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You can’t choose your family. Or can you?

Meet the Bensons. A pleasant enough couple. They keep themselves to themselves. They wash their car, mow their lawn and pass the time of day with their neighbours. And they have a beautiful little girl called Daisy.

There’s just one problem. Daisy doesn’t belong to the Bensons. They stole her.

And now they’ve decided that Daisy needs a little brother or sister.

D. S. Nathan Cody is about to face his darkest and most terrifying case yet.

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I’m way behind on my reading so I’m not around as much as I normally am. Hopefully regular service will resume soon.

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

The Body in the Boat by A.J. MacKenzie @AJMacKnovels @BonnierZaffre #blogtour #extract

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Body in the Boat by A.J. MacKenzie! I was unfortunately unable to read this one (I need more hours in the day! Someone make that happen!) but I do have a great extract to share with you all today.

My thanks to Imogen at Bonnier Zaffre for the invitation!

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Author : A.J. Mackenzie
Title : The Body in the Boat
Series : Hardcastle & Chaytor Mysteries #3
Pages : 400
Publisher : Bonnier Zaffre
Publication date : April 5, 2018

aboutthebook

Across the still, dark English Channel come the smugglers. But tonight they carry an unusual cargo: a coffin. Several miles inland, a respected banker holds a birthday party for his wife. Within days, one of the guests is found shot dead.

What links this apparently senseless killing to the smugglers lurking in the mists? Why has the local bank been buying and hoarding gold? And who was in the mysterious coffin?

Reverend Hardcastle and Mrs Chaytor find themselves drawn into the worlds of high finance and organised crime in this dramatic and dark Georgian mystery.

extract

Dawn broke, glowing red and pink and gold over the heaving sea, the wind still hard from the west. She was so exhausted she could hardly think. The world around her seemed to stutter. The relentless crash of the waves, the creaking of the hull, the moaning of the rigging tore at her nerves.

‘A mile and a half’, said Captain Haddock. ‘Sloterdyke is no lubber. He must know we’re overhauling him.’

‘Think he might turn and fight, sir?’

‘Wouldn’t you? Pipe the hands to breakfast.’

Breakfast was a form of porridge. She forced a few spoonsful down, shuddering with a nausea that had nothing to do with seasickness. Another cup of coffee laced with rum calmed her stomach.

Blue sky overhead, enormous columns of white cloud marching over the sea round them, trailing grey sheets of rain. The wind was down a little, but still the waves rolled on, streaked with white foam. The deck of the ship heaved and swayed beneath her feet.

‘Sail ho!’

‘Where away?’

‘Port bow, captain. It’s another lugger.’

White sails, rising and falling on the horizon. The sea, rolling and rolling, without end.

‘She’s one of ours, captain! I think it’s Black Joke!’

‘Make the recognition signal.’

Silence, waiting.

‘Weather’s coming up, captain.’ One of the great storm clouds was rolling towards them from the west.

Black Joke’s answering, captain. She’s spotted the Dutchman.’

The squall was drawing nearer. A few raindrops pattered on the already wet deck.

Black Joke is turning, sir! She’s running to cut the Dutchman off.’

‘Watch the Dutchman, lads, watch her’, said Haddock. ‘She’ll wait until the squall hits and then try to run back past us. Watch her sails; sing out the moment you see her turn.’

Rain was falling heavily now. Her cloak was saturated, she realised, and she was wet through to her small clothes. Her body shivered from head to foot, but she could not turn away.

‘Ma’am’, said Captain Haddock, ‘I am about to send the crew to quarters. You should go below.’

She did not know what that meant. She shook her head.

A whistle blew. A drum beat. Men ran across the rolling deck. The ropes securing the black guns were removed. Charges of powder were rammed down the muzzles, roundshot forced home after them.

The rain hit them in earnest, pouring out of the sky, streaming across the deck. The men around her were soaked through in an instant. The horizon vanished behind the curtain of rain.

‘She’s turning!’ Several voices shouting at once. They had seen the Dutch lugger’s sails turn just before the heavy rain blotted her from sight.

‘Hard a-starboard. Now, midships. Meet her.’

‘Steady as she goes, captain.’

‘Gun’s crews closed up and ready for action, sir.’

The rain hammered at them. A powerful gust of wind followed, kicking up the waves so that Stag corkscrewed across them, diving into the troughs. Mrs Chaytor grabbed for a rope and clung on as a big wave broke across the deck, green water up to her waist for a moment, then pouring away over the side.

Waiting, watching the rain for any sign of movement.

There she is!

Great red sails stretched taut, black hull shiny with wet driving over the heaving grey seas, white foam at her bow, perhaps three hundred yards away.

Hard a-starboard!

Flashes of flame, puffs of white smoke from the Dutch lugger’s deck; thuds of shot against the wooden hull, something tearing a hole in the sail overhead. Hardcastle was there beside her, white faced. ‘Amelia, what are you doing? Go below!’

She could not move; she could only shake her head.

‘It’s that God-damned Puckle gun! Look out, they’re firing again!’ Flash. Flash. Flash from the enemy deck, more thumps against the hull. Another puff of smoke and a cannonball tore a white leaping fountain from the face of an incoming wave.

‘Midships. Meet her.’

The Dutch ship was turning too, away to port. She could see the long barrel of the Puckle gun now, and the men around the other guns, reloading. At this distance their faces were white featureless blobs. Another cannon fired from the Dutchman’s deck, gushing smoke; this time, she heard the sharp crack of the explosion over the roar of wind and water.

Rain drumming on the deck, running down her face and into her eyes. The crash of waves under the bow, spray flying up in hissing sheets. Flash. Flash. Flash; the Puckle gun, firing again. Shouts from the men around her as the ship was hit.

‘Stand by the guns. Fire.’

White billowing smoke, a hammering in her ears that made her want to scream, the smoke twisting away quickly on the wind. ‘Did we hit her?’

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😲. Well, I don’t know! Did they? Or not? If you want to find out, The Body in the Boat is available for purchase!

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abouttheauthor

A J MacKenzie is the pseudonym of Marilyn Livingstone and Morgen Witzel, an Anglo-Canadian husband-and-wife team of writers and historians.

They write non-fiction history and management books under their own names, but ‘become’ A J MacKenzie when writing fiction.

Twitter | Website

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04192018_bodyboat

29 Seconds by T.M. Logan @TMLoganAuthor @BonnierZaffre

36217426

Author : T.M. Logan
Title : 29 Seconds
Pages : 432
Publisher : Bonnier Zaffre
Publication date : January 25, 2018

aboutthebook

Give me one name. One person. And I will make them disappear . . .

When Sarah rescues a young girl in trouble, she expects nothing in return. But her act of bravery puts a powerful and dangerous man in her debt. He lives by his own brutal code, and all debts must be repaid – in the only way he knows how.

He offers Sarah a way to solve a desperate situation with her intolerable boss. A once-in-a-lifetime deal that will make all her problems disappear.

No consequences. No comeback. No chance of being found out.

All it takes is a 29 second phone call.

Because everyone has a name to give. Don’t they?

mythoughts

What a way to turn a simple premise about an intolerable boss completely on its head.

Sarah works at the local university but things aren’t going well for her. She’s consistently being passed over for promotion and her creepy boss has made it quite clear that her circumstances will only change if she sleeps with him. Her boss’ reputation is a well known secret all around campus but he brings in lots of money and the dean refuses to rock that particular boat. Sadly, Sarah’s situation is highly realistic and believable. It’s also incredibly frustrating and makes you angry at the injustice of it all.

So, what if you were given the opportunity to get rid of someone who’s making your life utterly miserable in every way? When Sarah rescues the daughter of a dangerous criminal, he offers to repay the debt the only way he knows how to. And all it takes is a simple 29 seconds long phone call.

Give me one name. One person. And I will make them disappear.

Oooh, moral dilemma. Now, okay, maybe this is a tad far-fetched and it requires suspending belief for a bit but it’s also incredibly thrilling and it makes you think. That old adage of “what would you do?”. Because as it says in the book description, we all have a name to give, don’t we? Will she? Or won’t she? You’ll have find out for yourself.

This is one rollercoaster ride of suspense that had me guessing until the end. I was rooting for Sarah all the way, wondering what she would do, thinking things through with her. 29 Seconds is one of those books where you find yourself swiping the pages faster and faster, desperately needing to know the outcome. T.M. Logan has delivered another hugely entertaining, tense and gripping psychological thriller. I thoroughly enjoyed his previous offering Lies, but in my opinion, this one is even better and I very much look forward to more from this author!

29 Seconds will be published on January 25th.

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