Beneath The Surface by Jo Spain | @JoSpain @QuercusBooks | #20BooksofSummer

Author : Jo Spain
Title : Beneath The Surface
Series : DI Tom Reynolds #2
Pages : 389
Publisher : Quercus
Publication date : September 8, 2016

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Late at night, two powerful men meet in a secret location to discuss a long nurtured plan about to come to fruition. One is desperate to know there is nothing standing in their way – the other assures him everything is taken care of. Hours later, a high-ranking government official called Ryan Finnegan is brutally slain in the most secure building in Ireland – Leinster House, the seat of parliament. Inspector Tom Reynolds and his team are called in to uncover the truth behind the murder.

At first, all the evidence hints at a politically motivated crime, until a surprise discovery takes the investigation in a dramatically different direction. Suddenly the motive for murder has got a lot more personal. . . but who benefits the most from Ryan’s death?

| MY THOUGHTS |

Beneath The Surface is the second instalment in the DI Tom Reynolds series and if I wasn’t a fan of Jo Spain before this one, I sure would be now.

Ryan Finnegan, a high-ranking government official, is found shot to death in Ireland’s most secure building – the seat of Parliament, Leinster House. DI Tom Reynolds and his team are called in to solve Finnegan’s murder but that won’t be easy. With a charity ball across the road and lots of people milling around, the list of potential suspects could quite quickly run into the hundreds. Most of those are involved in politics, obviously, and we all know few of them can be trusted to speak the truth.

Politics, blackmail, backstabbing, lies and deceit. Sounds like an episode of House of Cards. There are a multitude of questions that need answers before DI Reynolds can even begin to make sense of it all. Why was Finnegan in that part of the building? What is the significance of the picture that was found underneath his body? Does his murder have anything to do with a Bill that Parliament needs to vote on soon?

I love the balance Jo Spain achieves in combining the team’s job with their private lives and even manages to throw in some chuckle-worthy moments, often courtesy of Ray. Tom is adjusting to new circumstances at home and the arrival of his grandchild, which causes quite a few problems between his wife and his daughter. Meanwhile, Ray realises he may just see Laura as more than just a colleague. But she has a boyfriend now. Timing is everything.

These personal events allow you to get the characters so much better, while also sometimes bringing some much needed relief from the murder investigation. I couldn’t at all figure out what had happened to Ryan Finnegan and this incredibly clever plot kept me guessing until the end. I must admit some of the political shenanigans confused me somewhat from time to time but that didn’t ruin my reading experience at all. And let’s face it, who isn’t confused by politics these days. I’m thoroughly enjoying this series! So much so, that I have now picked up book 3. I can’t wait to see what DI Reynolds and his team will be investigating next.

Beneath The Surface is available to buy!

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

Book 2 from my 20 Books of Summer list

Weekly Wrap-Up (June 16)

Halfway through June and still no sign of Summer. This past week, we had so many thunderstorms I lost count. I have no idea what’s going on but I do not approve.

What’s a girl to do when the weather is crap? Well, in hindsight, I suppose I could have done some ironing. Oops. Instead, I read. There was a bit of a wobble mid-week, when two books made their way onto the DNF pile. One I gave a go twice in the last few months. Seems safe to say it’s not for me. It was one of my 20 Books of Summer too, which means it’ll need replacing.

Anywho! What did I read this week? And did I manage to read more than 3 books this time around? Let’s find out!

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

Well, would you look at that!!!! I’m too impressed with myself to say any more than that 😉. Probably all downhill from here again though. 🤣

Spoiler : one of those is currently my book of the year. It’ll take something special to knock if off that number one spot. Yes, you’re allowed to guess. No, there won’t be a reward. 😜

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

Karin Slaughter!!!!!!! I couldn’t possibly be more excited! It arrived early too (yesterday instead of Monday/Tuesday) so obviously I’m already reading it. It’s SO GOOD! I’m incredibly annoyed that I have to go and be social today or I would have stayed up all night reading it, instead of going to bed and get some sleep in order to look halfway decent today. (Didn’t work, should have just kept reading 😂)

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

Titan Books be spoiling me. A Shroud of Leaves is the second book in a series, which I wasn’t aware of. So naturally, I’m going to have to get the first one first because I just can’t help myself. 🙄

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Shared my review of All That’s Dead by Stuart MacBride

Tuesday : Posted an extract for my stop on the blog tour for What Lies Around Us by Andrew Crofts

Wednesday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for A Modern Family by Helga Flatland and shared my Week in Books

Thursday : Joined the blog tour for Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou

Friday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Without A Trace by Carissa Ann Lynch

Saturday : Took the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Busy, busy. Good thing that reading slump is a tad less hormonal than a few weeks ago 😂

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Blog tour | Review | Death and Other Happy Endings by Melanie Cantor

Tuesday : Blog tour | Forget Me Not by Claire Allan

Wednesday : Blog tour | Review | The Serpent’s Mark by S.W. Perry

Thursday : Review | The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor

Friday : Blog tour | Review | The Whisper Man by Alex North

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Want to know something? I have read all of those! I know, right? Go me! I do still have two reviews to write but hey, can’t have everything. Besides, that’s not my fault but Karin Slaughter’s 😉

Personally, I think this entire wrap-up is most impressive. If you’d like to shower me with prizes, I won’t say no. 😂

That’s it for this week. I am now going to spend an insane amount of time staring at my wardrobe, trying to figure out what to wear for this lunch I am forced to attend. There will be wine! I’ll be raising a glass to my granddad, who would have turned 100 years old today, if he had still been with us.

Enough babbling. Wishing you all a fabulous week and lots of happy reading! Until next time! xx

Weekly Wrap-Up ( June 9)

Looks like Summer pissed off again. Instead we’ve had huge thunderstorms, rain and gusts. One of my young trees toppled over and is currently quite elegantly stuck between two rubbish bins so it stays upright. Idea courtesy of the other half 🙄

Reading-wise, my week got off to a great start! And then my reading mojo decided to throw yet another spanner in the works, resulting in starting two books that quickly found their way back to the bookshelf. Instead, I watched some tennis and did a whole lot of absolutely nothing.

However, I did manage to read more than 3 books this week so that’s progress! And I would have finished another one yesterday if a certain buddy reader would have stopped procrastinating 😉😂

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

I’m switching back and forth between blog tour books and books from my 20 Books of Summer list and so far, it’s working like a charm. Fingers crossed I can keep this up! Reviews for three of those will be up on the blog this week.

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

This pre-order arrived at the start of the week so naturally I dropped everything and read it straight away. I mean, come on! It’s Stuart MacBride!

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

A giveaway win, two for a blog tour and one that might be for a tour? I’m not exactly sure. 😂 With thanks to Transworld, Orenda, Penguin and Jo!

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Nothing to see here

Tuesday : I was going to post and then I forgot what I wanted to do so I didn’t do anything 😳

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Shared an extract of The House On The Edge Of The Cliff by Carol Drinkwater for my stop on the blog tour

Friday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Wolves at the Door by Gunnar Staalesen

Saturday : Took the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Review | All That’s Dead by Stuart MacBride

Tuesday : Blog tour | Extract | What Lies Around Us by Andrew Croft

Wednesday : Blog tour | Review | A Modern Family by Helga Flatland

Thursday : Blog tour | Review | Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou

Friday : Blog tour | Review | Without A Trace by Carissa Ann Lynch

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Oooh. Could this be the start of a busy summer?

Question of the week : How far ahead do you start planning your holiday reads? How do you decide which books to shove into your suitcase? Are there books you deliberately keep aside for when you’re on holiday?

That’s a wrap! Have a fabulous week and I’ll see you next time! Happy reading! xx

20 Books of Summer – 2019

The 20 Books of Summer Challenge is an annual event run by the lovely Cathy, running from June 3rd until September 3rd. Since I nailed it last year, joining in again this year was a total no-brainer. And just like last year, I will be reading these 20 books on top of my other commitments because otherwise it just doesn’t feel enough like a challenge to me. Unless my reading slump continues, in which case I’ll be in serious trouble 😂

So, here are the 20 books on my list. For now. This list has gone through so many changes already and I can’t promise you’ll be seeing these same 20 books again at the end of it all. But that’s okay! Because it’s totally allowed!

In no particular order, with links to Goodreads for your convenience. Reviews will be added as and when they are written. I hope.

What do you think? I’m pretty excited about my list. Apart from two titles that are only there because Janel made me add them 😜.

Who’s joining in this year? The more, the merrier! It’ll be fun! I think 🤣

Wish me luck! xx

With Our Blessing by Jo Spain | @SpainJoanne @QuercusBooks | #bookreview #recommended

Author : Jo Spain
Title : With Our Blessing
Series : DI Tom Reynolds #1
Pages : 531
Publisher : Quercus
Publication date : July 27, 2015

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

1975. A baby, minutes old, is forcibly taken from its devastated mother.

2010. The body of an elderly woman is found in a Dublin public park in the depths of winter.

Detective Inspector Tom Reynolds is working the case. He’s convinced the murder is linked to historical events that took place in the notorious Magdalene Laundries.

Reynolds and his team follow the trail to an isolated convent in the Irish countryside. But once inside, it becomes disturbingly clear that the killer is amongst them . . . and is determined to exact further vengeance for the sins of the past. 

| MY THOUGHTS |

You’re probably familiar with Jo Spain’s psychological thrillers but did you know she also writes a crime fiction series, set in Ireland? The DI Tom Reynolds series has been on my shelf for ages and since I heard there is a new book on the horizon, I decided to try and squeeze this series into my reading schedule in an attempt to catch up.

Best decision ever!

With Our Blessing is the first book and hoo boy, what a first instalment it is! Despite its 531 pages, I absolutely flew through this one because once I started reading, I just couldn’t stop. The body of an elderly woman is found in a park in Dublin. It’s quite a gruesome scene and the investigation leads DI Tom Reynolds and his team to a convent in the Irish countryside and a part of history Ireland would probably quite happily forget all about.

The notorious Magdalane Laundries have been in the news often these last few years. The events that happened there remain horrible and With Our Blessing starts with one such horrific scene when in 1975, a newborn baby is forcibly taken from its mother. If that doesn’t break your heart, I don’t know what will.

But how does that prologue connect to the murder of the elderly woman? That’s for DI Tom Reynolds to figure out and it’s a race against the clock because this killer is quite obviously on a mission to get revenge and if they aren’t stopped, more people will die. I quickly ruled out a number of potential suspects which left me with a tiny problem, in that I had nobody left. I was convinced I knew who wasn’t the killer but couldn’t at all figure out who was!

As brilliantly gripping as the murder investigation was, I also really enjoyed the perfect balance Jo Spain achieved by including information about the various team members’ private lives. I got a really good feel for them and loved getting to know them along the way.

With Our Blessing is a fantastic start to this series. With intriguing characters, a compelling investigation, a beautiful setting and even some humour, this had me hooked from start to finish. I’m kicking myself for not reading this series sooner and I can’t wait to read the other books. If Jo Spain wasn’t already on my go-to list, she would most definitely be now! And if you are looking for another crime series to sink your teeth into, you should definitely check this one out!

With Our Blessing is available to buy!

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

Weekly Wrap-Up (April 28)

Bit of a blur again, this past week. I can’t quite figure out how April is almost over. This year is flying!

Spent the Easter weekend socialising (ugh), drinking wine (yay) and enjoying the warm sunshine (woohoo). Then I decided to see what the fuss about “Line of Duty” was about so I hit up Netflix and started watching. About halfway through the second episode, I realised I was watching season 3 because for some reason our Netflix doesn’t have the show from the start. But by that time, I was already so hooked on it that I kept watching. I’m now trying to stay away from all things spoilers until my box set arrives. Between that, The Avengers Endgame and Game of Thrones, I may just have to avoid the internet altogether.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, because obviously that had an impact on my reading. As you will see below.

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

Oops. Oh well, I’m so ahead of my May schedule that I’m really not bothered. And I’m quite enjoying reading some books from my ever-growing TBR instead of books for blog tours all the time.

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

Just these two. Although I’m running out of space on my shelves. I did tell myself to read a few books first and then buy new ones. Then I laughed.

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

With thanks to Atlantic. Review coming in May on the blog tour.

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Joined the blog tour for Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech

Tuesday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Fallen Angel by Chris Brookmyre

Wednesday : Reviewed The Dare by Carol Wyer and shared My Week in Books

Thursday : Shared an extract of Envy by Amanda Robson for my stop on the blog tour

Friday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Picture of Innocence by T.J. Stimson

Saturday : Joined the blog tour for Sleep by C.L. Taylor

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Whew! That was a busy one!

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Nothing planned

Tuesday : Again, I don’t have anything planned

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Blog tour | Review | The Innocent Ones by Neil White

Friday : Blog tour | Review | No Way Out by Cara Hunter

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

I could get used to a schedule like this. 😂

That’s it for another week. Time to tackle some reviews. Wishing you all a great week and lots of happy reading! Until next time! xx

Dirty Little Secrets by Jo Spain | @SpainJoanne @QuercusBooks

Author : Jo Spain
Title : Dirty Little Secrets
Pages : 400
Publisher : Quercus
Publication date : February 7, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Six neighbours, six secrets, six reasons to want Olive Collins dead.

In the exclusive gated community of Withered Vale, people’s lives appear as perfect as their beautifully manicured lawns. Money, success, privilege – the residents have it all. Life is good.

There’s just one problem.

Olive Collins’ dead body has been rotting inside number four for the last three months. Her neighbours say they’re shocked at the discovery but nobody thought to check on her when she vanished from sight.

The police start to ask questions and the seemingly flawless facade begins to crack. Because, when it comes to Olive’s neighbours, it seems each of them has something to hide, something to lose and everything to gain from her death.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Welcome to the gated community of Withered Vale; where the grass is green, life is good and everyone is happy. Or are they? When Olive Collin’s body is discovered at number four, cracks begin to show and Withered Vale will not quite be the same ever again.

What an absolutely delightful surprise this one was. Think along the lines of Big Little Lies but deliciously darker. There’s a whole cast of not particularly likeable characters, not even Olive and she’s dead. It’s a bit weird when you can’t even find it in yourself to sympathise with a dead person. And yet, dead as she may be, Olive also provides the chuckles and sometimes that was much needed because the issues the residents of this community are dealing with are often quite serious. From manipulation to addiction to infidelity; the amount of skeletons in the closet is pretty impressive.

What happened to Olive though and why was her body left undiscovered for so long? The police start asking questions and it soon becomes apparent Olive wasn’t exactly well liked in the community. She seemed to have a nose for sniffing out secrets and there are lot of them around. Pretty much each and every one of her neighbours has something to hide. So which one felt Olive should be silenced before their secret was revealed? I definitely learned that the whole “fly on the wall” thing is massively overrated. My neighbours need not worry about me watching them like a hawk. I’d much rather not know at all what they get up to behind closed doors, thank you very much.

Dirty Little Secrets was another buddy read with Janel at Keeper of Pages and it’s by far the fastest one we’ve done. We absolutely devoured the pages. Talk about an addictive page-turner! While we did have an inkling as to what had happened, it didn’t ruin our reading experience at all. With such a clever plot and so brilliantly written, Jo Spain kept me enthralled until the very last page.

Dirty Little Secrets is quite different from Jo Spain’s previous book, The Confession and I love that. It’s always a pleasure to know an author can keep surprising you. Immensely engrossing, hugely entertaining and absolutely unputdownable, Dirty Little Secrets shoots right up the list of my favourite books of the year and Jo Spain has found herself a spot on my list of go-to authors. I absolutely can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

Dirty Little Secrets will be published on February 7th.

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

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

This Week in Books (November 28)

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

People always notice my daughter, Isobel. How could they not? Extraordinarily beautiful… until she speaks. 

An unsettling, little-girl voice, exactly like a child’s, but from the mouth of a full-grown woman. 

Izzie might look grown-up, but inside she’s trapped. Caught in the day it happened… the day that broke her from within. Our family fell apart that day, and we never could pick up the pieces.

The book I’m currently reading

When single mum Joanna hears a rumour at the school gates, she never intends to pass it on. But one casual comment leads to another and now there’s no going back.

Rumour has it that a notorious child killer is living under a new identity, in their sleepy little town of Flinstead-on-Sea.

Sally McGowan was just ten years old when she stabbed little Robbie Harris to death forty-eight years ago – no photos of her exist since her release as a young woman.

So who is the supposedly reformed killer who now lives among them? How dangerous can one rumour become? And how far will Joanna go to protect her loved ones from harm, when she realizes what it is she’s unleashed?

What I’m (possibly) reading next

It’s true what they say . . . revenge is sweet. 

1975 
A baby, minutes old, is forcibly taken from its devastated mother. 

2010 
The body of an elderly woman is found in a Dublin public park in the depths of winter.

Detective Inspector Tom Reynolds is on the case. He’s convinced the murder is linked to historical events that took place in the notorious Magdalene Laundries. Reynolds and his team follow the trail to an isolated convent in the Irish countryside. But once inside, it becomes disturbingly clear that the killer is amongst them . . . and is determined to exact further vengeance for the sins of the past.

The Rumour marks the end of my blog tour commitments for the year. Woohoo! Time to delve into my own TBR and Jo Spain’s Tom Reynolds series is the first one I’ve decided to catch up on. 

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

The Confession by Jo Spain @SpainJoanne @QuercusBooks @ellakroftpatel #PaperbackPublicationDay #TheConfession

Happy paperback publication day to Jo Spain for her fab psychological thriller The Confession! To celebrate the launch, I’m reposting my review from January.

confession

Author : Jo Spain
Title : The Confession
Pages : 416
Publisher : Quercus
Publication date : January 25, 2018 (ebook) | August 9, 2018 (paperback)

aboutthebook

Late one night a man walks into the luxurious home of disgraced banker Harry McNamara and his wife Julie. The man launches an unspeakably brutal attack on Harry as a horror-struck Julie watches, frozen by fear.

Just an hour later the attacker, JP Carney, has handed himself in to the police. He confesses to beating Harry to death, but JP claims that the assault was not premeditated and that he didn’t know the identity of his victim. With a man as notorious as Harry McNamara, the detectives cannot help wondering, was this really a random act of violence or is it linked to one of Harry’s many sins: corruption, greed, betrayal?

This gripping psychological thriller will have you questioning, who – of Harry, Julie and JP – is really the guilty one? And is Carney’s surrender driven by a guilty conscience or is his confession a calculated move in a deadly game?

mythoughts

Here’s a refreshing way to tackle a psychological thriller! Never mind wracking your brain about the who, as that’s revealed from the start. It’s the why that will keep you utterly enthralled until the last page. And if you think that ruins half the suspense, you’d be awfully wrong.

Late one night, banker Harry McNamara is the victim of an incredibly brutal attack. Oddly enough, hours later, his attacker Joe simply walks into the police station and confesses although he claims not to know his victim and that the assault wasn’t premeditated. But surely there’s more to the story? Well, yes, of course there is or this would be one short book. But I’m not going to tell you anything about it.

Obviously I’m not in favour of violence but I must admit that I would quite happily have clobbered Harry to pulp myself. I found him to be highly unlikeable and I also had a hard time mustering up any kind of sympathy for his wife, Julie. We do get an incredible insight into a remarkably flawed marriage which I found every bit as compelling as the investigation into the actual attack.

The Confession has a brilliantly executed and well-paced plot. Full of intrigue, it had me absolutely gripped until the end, not having an inkling what the likely outcome would be. Numerous times I thought I had it all figured out when Jo Spain whacked me in the face with another curveball that left me spinning. This is a complex and thoroughly entertaining psychological thriller with a truly satisfying conclusion. I understand this is Jo Spain’s first foray into this genre and that sounds most promising for the future. I look forward to more!

The Confession is available for purchase now!

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

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