Weekly Wrap-Up (April 21)

Happy Easter!

It feels like Summer and I’m loving every single second of it! Gorgeous blue skies, glorious sunshine, weeds popping up all over the place and hay fever kicking my arse. Okay, wait, those last two aren’t fun but we’ll take the good with the bad and enjoy it while it lasts.

Of the bad, all that sunshine made me realise how dirty my windows were, mostly due to an inconsiderate other half. So of course I had to clean them. Again! I swear my house would be so much cleaner if I were single 😂

Reading-wise. Hoo boy! What a week it’s been! Let’s have a look at what I read.

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

Best week EVER! There are four 5 star reads on that list! The books I’ll be reading next week have a lot to live up to!

I’m not even worried about “only” reading 6 books because the books in that C.J. Sansom series are just getting bigger and bigger. 650 pages, devoured in less than two days. If you love crime fiction and historical fiction and the Tudor era, this series NEEDS to be on your shelf! SO GOOD!

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

Nada! Zip! My other half is pleased. Little does he know I fully intend to catch up at some point 😉

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

Just the one but what a corker it is. Enormously pleased.

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Took the day off

Tuesday : Joined the blog tour for The Passengers by John Marrs and shared a guest on the blog tour for White Leaves of Peace by Tracey Iceton

Wednesday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe and shared My Week in Books

Thursday : Joined the blog tour for The Garden of Lost and Found by Harriet Evans

Friday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Liberation Square by Gareth Rubin

Saturday : Joined the blog tour for Perfect Crime by Helen Fields

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

And breathe! What a fun week that was! Thank you for all the shares on Twitter. I lost track of my notifications at some point and may have missed some people. Apologies! The glorious sunshine made me do it 🤣

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Blog tour | Review | Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech

Tuesday : Blog tour | Review | Fallen Angel by Chris Brookmyre

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Blog tour | Extract | Envy by Amanda Robson

Friday : Blog tour | Review | Picture of Innocence by T.J. Stimson

Saturday : Blog tour | Review | Sleep by C.L. Taylor

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

So much for slowing down, huh? Have to say though, I do so love being this busy. And I’m even ahead of schedule. I have one review left to write for this upcoming week but as far as reading the books is concerned, I’m reading for May. I feel quite accomplished. 😊

Question of the week. Which I totally stole from the lovely Kate at Portable Magic. If you have blog tours scheduled, do you ever read out of order?

Take me for instance and the books I read this past week. First I read one for a blog tour on May 27th, then I read one due May 2nd, to be followed by one due May 13th. One isn’t even for a blog tour at all (hello, Sovereign!). All the while I seem to be skipping over the one that’s due May 1st. 😂

Is that something you do as well? Or do you stick to your schedule and just basically try not to panic?

Friendly reminder that voting is still open for the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards

Feel free to ignore the other 64 names on the list and vote for me (Novel Deelights, in case you wondered) 😂

That’s it for another week. I have a few reviews to tackle before my mother-in-law arrives for a fun afternoon of board games, sunshine and stuffing our faces full of chocolate. Or ice cream. Or hell, both! Diet? What diet?

Hope everyone has a fabulous week! Until next time! Happy reading! xx

Perfect Crime by Helen Fields | @Helen_Fields @AvonBooksUK @Sabah_K | #blogtour #bookreview #PerfectCrime

Delighted to join the blog tour for Perfect Crime by Helen Fields today! My thanks to Sabah at Avon for the opportunity to join and for the review copy!

Author : Helen Fields
Title : Perfect Crime
Series : DI Luc Callanach #5
Pages : 400
Publisher : Avon UK
Publication date : April 18, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Stephen Berry is about to jump off a bridge until a suicide prevention counsellor stops him. A week later, Stephen is dead. Found at the bottom of a cliff, DI Luc Callanach and DCI Ava Turner are drafted in to investigate whether he jumped or whether he was pushed…

As they dig deeper, more would-be suicides roll in: a woman found dead in a bath; a man violently electrocuted. But these are carefully curated deaths – nothing like the impulsive suicide attempts they’ve been made out to be.

Little do Callanach and Turner know how close their perpetrator is as, across Edinburgh, a violent and psychopathic killer gains more confidence with every life he takes…

| MY THOUGHTS |

Let me just start my review by saying that if you’re not reading this series, I am judging you like a big, bad judging thing! This is one of the best crime fiction series out there and you are sorely missing out!

Perfect Crime is the fifth instalment in the DI Luc Callanach series and by now, these characters feel like family and I am always excited about spending more time with them. Before you ask, no, you really shouldn’t treat these as stand-alones. Start from the beginning. I promise you won’t regret it!

Things kick off when Stephen Berry is getting ready to jump off a bridge. Luckily, a suicide prevention counsellor manages to talk him down but a week later, Stephen is found dead at the bottom of a cliff. DI Luc Callanach and DCI Ava Turner are called in to investigate whether Stephen killed himself or was murdered. But the deaths do not stop there …

Meanwhile, Callanach is finding himself in hot water when he visits someone in a care home who is later found dead. I won’t say anything else about that so I don’t spoil things for those who haven’t read the previous books (shame on you! 😂) but I will say I really enjoyed this second thread of the story. Switching back and forth between the two investigations really held my attention.

I mentioned these characters feel like family by now so when they hurt, I hurt. And there is a lot of “hurt” going on in this one. Relationships shift, some characters managed to surprise me, others infuriated me and through it all are original, frightening and gruesome deaths as I’ve come to expect from this series.

I very early on figured out what was going on but that didn’t ruin things for me at all. I became so absorbed in the investigation that I almost forgot about my suspect. Helen Fields always delivers gripping, compelling, thrilling and tense stories full of intriguing (and sometimes totally crazy) characters. This is one of those series that just keeps getting better and better and I can’t wait to see what Helen Fields comes up with next but I know it will be awesome once again. Highly recommended!

Perfect Crime is available to buy!

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

While you’re there, why not grab yourself copies of the previous books in the series 😉

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

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. Helen and her husband now live in Los Angeles with their three children and two dogs.

The Killer in Me by Olivia Kiernan | @LivKiernan @riverrunbooks @Millsreid11 | #TheKillerInMe

Today I’m sharing my review for The Killer in Me by Olivia Kiernan. Huge thanks to Milly Read at Riverrun Books for the fabulous review copy!

Author : Olivia Kiernan
Title : The Killer in Me
Series : Frankie Sheehan #2
Pages : 336
Publisher : Riverrun
Publication date : April 4, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Death is no stranger to Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan, but she isn’t the only one from her small, coastal suburb to be intimately acquainted with it.

Years ago, teenager Seán Hennessey shocked the tight-knit community when he was convicted of the brutal murder of his parents and attempted slaying of his sister, though he always maintained his innocence. Now, Seán is finally being released from prison—but when his newfound freedom coincides with the discovery of two bodies, the alleged connection between the cases only serves to pull Frankie further from answers even as it draws her closer to her town’s hidden darkness.

With a television documentary revisiting Seán’s sentence pushing the public’s sympathies into conflict on a weekly basis, a rabid media pressuring the police like never before, and a rising body count, Frankie will need all of her resources if she is not only to catch a killer, but put to rest what really happened all those years ago.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Seventeen years ago, the town of Clontarf was rocked to its very core when fifteen year old Seán Hennessy was convicted of the murder of his parents and attempted murder of his then ten year old sister. Seán always maintained his innocence and now he’s finally been released, he’s set on clearing his name once and for all. But his return to Clontarf sets off another spate of murders. Coincidence or not? Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan will need to keep her wits about her to figure out the truth.

One of the first things to pull you into this story is the amazing atmosphere Olivia Kiernan creates. This small seaside town on the coast of Ireland isn’t exactly a glamorous holiday destination. It rains a lot. It’s windy. Often you look up and only see dark and grey skies. But these elements all add to the doom and gloom of a complicated murder investigation and this here investigation is certainly complicated.

The Killer in Me is full of complex and multi-layered characters. Few come across as trustworthy and my keen detective eye (ha!) zeroed in on a suspect relatively soon. But just like Frankie and her team, I wasn’t prepared for all the twists, turns and dead ends and ultimately I had to admit defeat, not seeing who the culprit was or why it seemed to be connected to the past.

I had some misgivings about Frankie when I was first introduced to her in Too Close to Breathe but in this instalment, she completely won me over! It may seem a tad harsh to say but I almost felt as if she had some kind of personality transplant but I loved her. She always keeps an open mind and isn’t afraid to admit to herself when she’s wrong about something. Her profiling background remains incredibly fascinating, the way she “sees” things play out in front of her eyes really drew me in. I had no problems whatsoever getting behind her this time around.

A lot about this story is about perceptions, which in turn makes it rather thought-provoking. The Killer in Me is gripping, immersive and utterly addictive. Oozing atmosphere throughout and with a touch of true crime about it, it had me absolutely hooked from start to finish. If you’re into crime fiction, I’d definitely recommend this one and I’m ridiculously excited to see where Olivia Kiernan takes this series next!

The Killer in Me will be published on April 4th!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Olivia Kiernan is an Irish writer living in the UK.

She was born and raised in County Meath, near the famed heritage town of Kells and holds an MA in Creative Writing awarded by the University of Sussex.

She Lies in Wait by Gytha Hodge | @MichaelJBooks @JennyPlatt90 | #blogtour #SheLiesInWait

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for She Lies in Wait by Gytha Hodge! My thanks to Jenny Platt at Michael Joseph for the invitation to join and for the review copy!

Author : Gytha Hodge
Title : She Lies in Wait
Series : DCI Jonah Sheens #1
Pages : 384
Publisher : Michael Joseph
Publication date : March 21, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

On a hot July night in 1983, six school friends go camping in the forest. Bright and brilliant, they are destined for great things, and young Aurora Jackson is dazzled to be allowed to tag along.

Thirty years later, a body is discovered. DCI Sheens is called to the scene, but he already knows what’s waiting for him: Aurora Jackson, found at long last.

But that’s not all. The friends have all maintained their innocence, but the body is found in a hideaway only the six of them knew about.

It seems the killer has always lurked very close to home…

| MY THOUGHTS |

Thirty years ago, fourteen year old Aurora went missing from a camp site in the forest. She was never found. Now a dog walker (it’s always the poor dog walkers, isn’t it?) stumbles across a body. DCI Sheens is called to the scene but he already knows what will be waiting there for him. Aurora has been found at last but the place where she was found, raises a multitude of other questions. Her body is found in a hideaway only her six friends could have known about. Is one of them the killer?

There is something I find extremely fascinating about cold case investigations. I’m one of those people who can barely remember what she did last week, never mind thirty years ago. Although I suppose a night where someone goes missing would be memorable enough not to forget. But the details however are another thing. Especially when alcohol has been consumed. Are the memories you have really that reliable? Surely things have become somewhat muddled? Maybe misremembered or misinterpreted?

These six friends have gone on to be hugely successful and they have a lot to lose. While they have maintained their innocence all these years, DCI Sheens is convinced one of them knows a lot more than they’re saying. Now you’d think that with only six suspects, you’d be able to figure things out easily, don’t you? That was not the case for me. I didn’t have a clue and kept wondering if I’d missed something obvious along the way. As it happens, I was completely on the wrong track and I do so enjoy it when an author can take me by surprise like that.

This isn’t an action-packed story and its pace is rather slow but it is full of intriguing characters and quite gripping. There’s a lot of interviewing and re-interviewing suspects, trying to uncover the lies and deceit these six friends have been hiding behind for so long and I found that rather refreshing for a change. It also gives the reader the opportunity to somehow join in in this investigation as opposed to detectives miraculously finding all the answers in a computer database, for instance. Added to that are the four members that make up DCI Sheen’s team. They’re all remarkably different, each with their own set of skills and one or two may just have an interesting background story.

I thoroughly enjoyed this first instalment in the DCI Sheens series and I look forward to seeing where Gytha Lodge takes him and his team next.

She Lies in Wait is available to buy!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Gytha Lodge is a multi-award-winning playwright, novelist and writer for video games and screen. She is also a single parent who blogs about the ridiculousness of bringing up a mega-nerd small boy. 

She has a profound addiction to tea, crosswords and awful puns. When not writing, she heads up a copywriting team at a global translation firm, where she generally tries to keep all the video-game writing to herself. 

She studied English at Cambridge, where she became known quite quickly for her brand of twisty, dark yet entertaining drama. She later took the Creative Writing MA at UEA. 

She has signed with Penguin Random House worldwide for the first three books in her crime series featuring DCI Jonah Sheens.

Whatever Happened To Betsy Blake by David B. Lyons | @TheOpenAuthor

Author : David B. Lyons
Title : Whatever Happened To Betsy Blake
Pages : 305
Publisher : n/a
Publication date : March 27, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Betsy Blake was only four years old when she vanished outside her family home in Dublin. 

Her father – wracked with guilt for the past seventeen years – still can’t bring himself to admit the search is over, despite the fact his wife has moved on and police have closed off the investigation. 

When he is informed he must undergo major heart surgery that he only has a fifty percent chance of surviving, Gordon Blake hires a local PI to give the investigation one last try. 

But surely rookie PI Lenny Moon – who has little or no experience in such high-profile investigating – doesn’t have what it takes to make a breakthrough in this case before Gordon is put to sleep. 

…or does he? 

The clock is ticking… 

| MY THOUGHTS |

David B. Lyon’s previous book, Midday, was one of the most surprising books I read last year. So when I was approached to read his next book, I didn’t hesitate, fully expecting another clever and tense plot and that is exactly what I got!

Seventeen years ago, four year old Betsy Blake disappeared. She was never found. Now, her father Gordon is in hospital awaiting surgery. His odds of surviving aren’t exactly great. Gordon’s biggest fear is dying on the operating table, not knowing what happened to his daughter. So he hires a private investigator, Lenny Moon, who has exactly five hours to find out whatever happened to Betsy Blake. Can Lenny achieve what police have failed to do?

The clock is ticking. For real. David B. Lyons manages to ratchet up the tension by having his characters check the time on a regular basis, constantly keeping the reader on the edge of their seat. I can just imagine watching this on tv, with a countdown slowly but surely ticking away the minutes in the corner of my screen.

Some of the chapters are incredibly harrowing and haunting. I often felt quite unsettled and went through a whole gamut of emotions, from anger to sheer sadness. Luckily, there are also a few chuckles along the way. Lenny doesn’t exactly ooze confidence. As a PI whose jobs mostly come from insurance companies trying to catch out frauds, he’s very much out of his depth and it shows. But he’s also extremely likeable and against all the odds, you can’t help but root for him. Gordon too is someone to sympathise with and root for. I can’t even begin to imagine the endless nightmare parents have to live with when their child goes missing.

This is one of those books that has me desperate to read it again because I just know I missed clues left, right and centre! That’s not a bad thing, obviously, because I was left completely blindsided and reeling at the end of it all. David B. Lyons has an uncanny knack for coming up with clever and refreshing plots, in this instance taking something like the disappearance of a child, which has obviously been done before, and turning it completely onto its head. And once again, he managed to pull the rug right from under my feet! Whatever Happened to Betsy Blake is a compelling and addictive story with a few surprises in store and I can’t wait to see what the author comes up with next!

Huge thanks to the author for my review copy!

Whatever Happened to Betsy Blake is available to buy!

 Amazon US | Amazon UK

A Body in the Lakes by Graham Smith | @GrahamSmith1972 @bookouture

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for A Body in the Lakes by Graham Smith! My thanks to Noelle Holten at Bookouture for the opportunity to join and for the review copy!

Author : Graham Smith
Title : A Body in the Lakes
Series : Detective Beth Young #2
Pages : 372
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : March 15, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

When a walker finds the body of a woman by the shores of Ullswater Lake, the police are put on high alert. Felicia Evans was known to be a tough character, but who would have strangled her? 

Detective Beth Young quickly spots the links to three cold cases. Three women strangled and discarded in the stunning, wild hills of the Lake District. 

As Beth begins tracking down witnesses, the team receives an anonymous letter claiming the charming mayor of Carlisle is behind the murders. There’s pressure from the top to clear his name. But Beth is determined to find the truth no matter whose feathers she ruffles in the process. 

Beth knows the clock is ticking. The killer is hunting again. And it’s down toher to find who’s responsible before another woman becomes his prey…

| MY THOUGHTS |

Goodness gracious me, this was quite the unsettling read. Particularly if you’re a woman. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. I spent half the time with my legs firmly crossed, considering never leaving the safety of my house again!

When the naked body of a woman is found, it looks like detectives might just solve this case in a nanosecond. After all, everything points to the mayor. Pressure from the top demands the mayor’s name be cleared as soon as possible but Beth is determined to find out the truth. She quickly finds a connection to three old cases, where women were found raped, strangled and dumped.

The second instalment in the Beth Young series might not quite be for the faint-hearted. There are some grim and graphic descriptions but they really drive home what a monster this particular killer is. The search to find him is an intense race against the clock because it doesn’t take a detective to know they won’t stop until they are caught. Throughout the storyline, Graham Smith really brings to the fore how hard it is for victims of rape to bring their attackers to justice, how damaging any form of assault can be.

As for Beth, she remains one of those characters I can’t quite put my finger on. She’s determined, hugely passionate and not afraid to speak her mind even when told not to. While these are all qualities to admire, I just can’t seem to warm to her but I can’t for the life of me figure out why that is.

A Body in the Lakes is a gripping and compelling crime thriller. I couldn’t at all figure out who the culprit was and just when I thought it was all over, there’s a rather delicious and somewhat sad sting in the tail. True to form, Graham Smith manages to throw in an action sequence or two and allows the reader to get to know Beth just that little bit better. While this is the second in a series, I think you could possibly get away with treating it as a stand-alone but why not get caught up and then sit back and wait for book three!

A Body in the Lakes is available to buy! 

Amazon US | Amazon UK

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Graham Smith is the bestselling author of four explosive crime thrillers in the Jake Boulder series, Watching the Bodies, The Kindred Killers, Past Echoes and Die Cold. Watching the Bodies spent over two weeks at number one in the Amazon UK chart and Amazon CA charts. Graham is also the author of the popular DI Harry Evans series and has collections of short stories and novellas. His latest novel with Bookouture is set in Cumbria and the Lake District, featuring DC Beth Young.

He is the proud father of a young son. As a time served joiner he has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. Since 2000 he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland. 

An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer for the well-respected review site Crimesquad.com since 2010.

When not working, his time is spent reading, writing and playing games with his son. He enjoys socialising and spending time with friends and family.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter

Mama’s Gone by Leopold Borstinski | @borstinski @damppebbles | #guestpost #damppebblestours

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Mama’s Gone by Leopold Borstinksi. My thanks to Emma Welton at damppebbles tours for the invitation to join. Today, author Leopold Borstinksi visits my blog to talk about which book he wishes he’d written and why. But first, here is what his own book is all about!

Author : Leopold Borstinski
Title : Mama’s Gone
Series : The Lagotti Family Series #4
Pages : 301
Publisher : Sobriety Press
Publication date : March 18, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

When the children grow up, the parents must die.

California gang leader Mary Lou has built a criminal empire while her adult children are desperate for their mother’s attention and love. 

As her mental faculties wane, Alice and Frank Jr must acknowledge their mother is not the woman she once was and that they need to step up and take the helm, despite the stark differences between them. 

But their sibling rivalry blinds both of them to their weaknesses which threatens the family when the Russian mob moves into the state. How can they fend off those attacks while fighting to decide who will lead the family now their dear Mama’s gone? 

Amazon US | Amazon UK

| GUEST POST |

For reasons I am not able to express, I was asked recently what book I wish had written and the honest answer is Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre because it is a work of total genius that changed the way I viewed the world. It is an existentialist work, but four years after I first read it I found out that Sartre had written the slender novel under the influence of mescaline. This explains a lot. But if you ask me which fiction book I most admire then hands down it is The Cold Six Thousand by James Ellroy. Why? Let me tell you…

This was the first Ellroy book I read and his particular prose style amazed me as much as it challenged me. The way that internal monologues sleep through every paragraph and the non-standard approach to language made it a very difficult first hundred pages, but the rewards were immense.

I was introduced to a cast of characters as vast and disparate as you could get. Given the reach of the story – covering the assassination of JFK and pushing toward the next Kennedy death – and the breadth of mob, politician and underworld criminal worlds depicted, it is nothing short of fabulous. At the time, I was a Joe Public book reader, but now I am a writer as well, I have a greater understanding of the complex hurdles Ellroy needed to surmount in order to deliver the book as published.

First of all, of course and I hope this doesn’t count as a spoiler, but we all know that JFK gets killed, so the central premise – will they or won’t they top the president – is null and void as something to generate tension. Anyone who has read The Day of The Jackal knows how hard it is to suspend your disbelief long enough to read a tale about famous historical events.

But I was gripped right up to the end. And there were sequels as well that kept me riveted too. One of the central conceits of the book is to meld real-life people with fictional folk. You wonder the extent to which Ellroy researched the Kennedy clan and those around them. I wanted it all to be true, real, genuine, but I know in my heart of hearts that this is not a documentary or even a dramatisation of actual events. This is fiction and the people with real names are as made up as the other characters.

And yet I still love the book. What’s the best bit about it? It’s size? From memory, my copy weighed in at about 800 pages – it was purchased at a time when an eBook was a typo and not the norm – it was about as thick as the Lord of the Rings, but it was a pure crime novel. Not a furry critter in sight.

Since then, I have devoured almost everything of Ellroy I can lay my hands on, but the Six Thousand remains my favourite. Perhaps because it was my first, but definitely because it is a juicy steak of a book. Oh and I lied: I do wish I’d written it, but I wanted to make myself seem clever in the opening paragraph.

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.

There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.

He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter

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

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

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

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

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

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

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

| MY THOUGHTS |

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

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

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

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

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

The Secret Child is available to buy!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

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

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

She now writes full time.

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

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

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

| MY THOUGHTS |

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

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

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

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

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

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

Huge thanks to Maura Wilding for my review copy!

The Shape of Lies is available to buy!

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

Dead Memories by Angela Marsons | @WriteAngie @bookouture | #DeadMemories #NetGalley #recommended

Author : Angela Marsons
Title : Dead Memories
Series : DI Kim Stone #10
Pages : 400
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : February 22, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

On the fourth floor of Chaucer House, two teenagers are found chained to a radiator. The boy is dead but the girl is alive. For Detective Kim Stone every detail of the scene mirrors her own terrifying experience with her brother Mikey, when they lived in the same tower block thirty years ago. 

When the bodies of a middle-aged couple are discovered in a burnt-out car, Kim can’t ignore the chilling similarity to the deaths of Erica and Keith – the only loving parents Kim had ever known. 

Faced with a killer who is recreating traumatic events from her past, Kim must face the brutal truth that someone wants to hurt her in the worst way possible. Desperate to stay on the case, she is forced to work with profiler Alison Lowe who has been called in to observe and monitor Kim’s behaviour. 

Kim has spent years catching dangerous criminals and protecting the innocent. But with a killer firmly fixed on destroying Kim, can she solve this complex case and save her own life or will she become the final victim?

| MY THOUGHTS |

Bloody hell, Angela! Seriously?!

I’ve said it before and it looks like I’ll be saying it until this series ceases to exist (which quite frankly I hope is absolutely never!) : this series just keeps going from strength to strength! Now, that is obviously fantastic if you’re Angela, her publisher or a reader. Not so good for me when I put on my reviewer cap because …. words, you guys! I ran out of ways to say how awesome the Kim Stone series is at least five or so books ago! How many times can I say “brilliant, fantastic, READ THIS NOW!” without boring you all to tears?!

If you’ve been following this series (and if you haven’t, you can’t possibly imagine how hard I am judging you right now!), you’ll know that Kim Stone has pissed off quite a lot of people along the way. Some we don’t even know about. She’s just that kind of person and we love her for it. At some point, someone was bound to be out for revenge and that time has come. Eek!

You’ll also know that Kim hasn’t had an easy childhood and what do you know? Someone has decided to use all that heartache against her by recreating some of the most devastating events Kim has had to deal with in her life. It all starts with the death of two young addicts. They are found chained to a radiator in the building Kim grew up in. The boy is dead, the girl is barely alive and that is how this scene is horribly reminiscent of Kim’s own experience alongside her brother, Mickey. But whomever is behind this horrendous reenactment isn’t finished yet. There’s more to come. My lips are sealed, however. Prepare yourself though, as old and new wounds will be poked at and it will hurt. *blows nose*

From the very beginning, I found myself with that sickening feeling in my stomach that things were only going to get worse. Kim holds a very special place in my heart after all this time, so to see her having to go through this was quite painful. Her pain was my pain. How do you keep the lid on, keep your emotions in check, when the worst of the worst that has happened to you is being rubbed in your face? I can’t even begin to describe the range of emotions I went through myself. I felt angry and sad, I gasped, I felt like punching someone, I even had a wee sob. I am SO not the sobbing kind of person! I even felt sympathy for characters who may or may not deserve it. But more than anything, this dreadful trip down Memory Lane has only made me love Kim Stone even more.

And as if all that wasn’t enough, there is another thread in this storyline when consultant Angela returns. She is supposed to keep an eye on Kim, make sure she’s dealing with things and needs to report back to Kim’s boss. But Angela also has other things on her mind when she isn’t convinced that a case she consulted on previously reached the right conclusion. Angela is one of those characters I wasn’t quite sure about but she really grew on me and her sheer determination was definitely something to be admired.

And then there’s Kim’s team. Stacey, Penn and Bryant … so much love. Each one gets their own moment to shine and they do it so fabulously. Yes, things have changed and yes, there is one desk that still doesn’t feel quite right but Penn, the one I almost wanted to dislike out of sheer principle, is such a delight and I’m really enjoying getting to know him better. While at first, it was easy to consider him the outsider, the one who shouldn’t be there because things were just fine as they were, thankyouverymuch, now I find it’s as if he’s been there all along. Stacey continues to kick butt in her own fierce way and Bryant is a rock, pure and simple.

Once again, Angela Marsons has left me feeling utterly discombobulated. My mind has been blown into so many pieces, I fear it may never be whole again. I love this series with a fiery passion. This is top-notch crime fiction, as it has been from the very beginning. Always utterly gripping and compelling, always immensely absorbing and addictive, always an absolute treat and I’m dying for more! As long as Angela Marsons keeps writing these, I’ll be at the front of the line and I WILL be using my elbows, people!

In case you think “sheesh, that’s way too much text, I’m so not reading that”, here’s a recap. BUY IT NOW!!!! You can thank me later. You’re welcome.

Huge thanks to the publisher for my review copy, which I received via Netgalley!

Dead Memories is available to buy!

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