Alice Teale Is Missing by H.A. Linskey | @HowardLinskey @MichaelJBooks @sriya__v | #blogtour

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Alice Teale Is Missing by Howard Linskey! My thanks to Sriya at Michael Joseph for the invitation to join and for the fab review copy!

Author : Howard Linskey
Title : Alice Teale Is Missing
Pages : 409
Publisher : Michael Joseph
Publication date : January 23, 2020

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Alice Teale walked out of school at the end of a bright spring day.

She’s not been seen since.

Alice was popular and well-liked, and her boyfriend, friends and family are desperate to find her.

But soon it’s clear that everyone in her life has something to hide.

Then the police receive a disturbing package.

Pages from Alice’s precious diary.

Who could have sent them? And what have they done with Alice?

| MY THOUGHTS |

One evening in Spring, seventeen year old Alice Teale leaves the school grounds around 9pm and is never seen again. What happened to her and why? The investigation gets off to quite a slow start until DS Lucas Black takes over with the help from DS Beth Winter.

The small mining town of Collemby hides quite a few secrets. Did Alice stumble upon something she shouldn’t have? Or did she simply run away from a far-from-perfect family home? Quite a few theories floated through my brain at one point or another but I could never quite decide on one to stick with. When someone starts sending the detectives excerpts from Alice’s journal, seemingly taunting them with information, the whole thing became even more complicated in my head and I stopped trying to figure things out. Which was a good thing too because it all turned out a whole lot more dark and disturbing than I bargained for.

I didn’t particularly like Alice, which seemed wrong somehow, considering the fact that she went missing and might possibly be in quite a lot of trouble or worse. But that didn’t stop me from becoming completely invested in her life, wanting to know what happened to her and even hoping for a positive outcome to it all. Her journal entries work really well into giving the reader an insight into the kind of girl Alice is and at the same time they act like pieces of a puzzle to try and fit together.

I did however instantly like both Lucas and Beth. This is Beth’s first big case so obviously she wants to do a good job and impress the powers that be. But Lucas is … well, he’s Lucas. You’ll have to find out more about that yourself. There’s a bit of a dark cloud hanging around him and he’s not exactly popular. Yet somehow, this rather odd pairing works like a charm and while it doesn’t look like this book is the first in a series, I’m kind of hoping that it is because I’d absolutely love to read more stories involving Lucas and Beth.

The pace is spot-on throughout and the plot is full of intrigue, mystery and a red herring or two. Alice Teale Is Missing had me hook, line and sinker from the very first page and didn’t let go. Tense, suspenseful and engrossing, I have no doubt this will appeal to crime fiction fans everywhere. I hadn’t read a Howard Linskey book before, despite seeing the name pass by often enough, but I already know it won’t be my last.

Alice Teale Is Missing is available to buy!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Howard Linskey is a best-selling author of crime and historical fiction published in seven countries. His debut novel ‘The Drop’ was voted one of the Top Five Thrillers of the Year by the Times newspaper and ‘The Damage’ was voted one of its top summer reads. His David Blake series was optioned for TV by Harry Potter producer, David Barron.

Howard writes a series of north-east set, crime fiction novels for Penguin Random House featuring investigative journalists Tom Carney and Helen Norton, as well as Detective Sergeant Ian Bradshaw.

His historical novels are set in WW2. ‘Hunting the Hangman’ tells the story of the assassination of Nazi general and architect of the Holocaust, Reinhard Heydrich in Prague in 1942. ‘Ungentlemanly Warfare’ follows SOE agent Harry Walsh into occupied France. 

Originally from the north east of England, Howard now lives in Herts with his wife Alison and daughter Erin.  

The Other People by C.J. Tudor | @cjtudor @MichaelJBooks | #recommended

Happy publication day to the fabulous C.J. Tudor for her outstanding third book, The Other People!

Author : C.J. Tudor
Title : The Other People
Pages : 416
Publisher : Michael Joseph
Publication date : January 23, 2020

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

She sleeps, a pale girl in a white room . . .

Driving home one night, stuck behind a rusty old car, Gabe sees a little girl’s face appear in the rear window.

She mouths one word: ‘Daddy.’

It’s his five-year-old daughter, Izzy.

He never sees her again.

Three years later, Gabe spends his days and nights travelling up and down the motorway, searching for the car that took his daughter, refusing to give up hope, even though most people believe that Izzy is dead.

Fran and her daughter, Alice, also put in a lot of miles on the motorway. Not searching. But running. Trying to keep one step ahead of the people who want to hurt them.

Because Fran knows the truth. She knows what really happened to Gabe’s daughter. She knows who is responsible. And she knows what they will do if they ever catch up with her and Alice.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Warning : possibility of awkward love-fest ahead.

Hell is other people

For the longest time, whenever someone would ask me who my favourite author was, I didn’t even have to think about the answer. (For those who haven’t been keeping up, that’d be Karin Slaughter). But ever since I read The Chalk Man, the answer is coming just that little bit slower and now, on having read C.J. Tudor’s latest book, The Other People, the time may have come to utter the words “move over, Karin!”. So sorry, Karin, it’s not you, it’s me.

The Other People was easily my most anticipated book of the year. I had such high expectations that I was convinced before it even arrived in the post, that I would absolutely love it and no matter how much I tried to temper down that feeling, worrying that I was setting myself up to be disappointed, I couldn’t do it. So obviously I was ecstatic when I realised my expectations were being exceeded. As far as I’m concerned, C.J. Tudor can write me a shopping list and I’ll read it and love it and tell you all to read it too until I’m blue in the face.

First of all, there’s the writing. I can’t even begin to explain why it draws me in as it does. It’s almost magical and completely mesmerising. Some of it is so immensely deep and insightful (come talk to me again when you’ve read about “hope”) and I often find myself nodding as I’m reading along because yes, hitting the nail on the head right there in a way I’m clearly incapable of myself. But the writing is also natural and not conceited in any way. It feels comfortable. It feels as if C.J. Tudor is right here on my sofa, telling me a story and I’m hanging onto every single word. Sometimes I even chuckle, although I’m not entirely sure I’m supposed to (I have an odd sense of humour) but I’d like to think that it’s the author’s way of releasing some of the tension by adding a slightly witty remark or observation.

I’m not going to mention anything about the plot. All you need is in the book description and I won’t add another word to it because I don’t want to give anything away. From the minute I picked up this book though, I knew I wasn’t going to put it down again until I had flipped that final page. The Other People takes “addictive” and “being glued to the pages” to a completely different level. I just HAD to keep reading. Various points-of-view kept me utterly enthralled and while I had a tiny inkling about something, the whole picture completely evaded me. I couldn’t at all even begin to try and figure out how the various storylines were supposed to fit together until C.J. Tudor revealed it to me.

What to say about the characters? Gabe. Gah. My heart broke for him numerous times and his pain, his sense of loss is so intensely palpable. Fran was somewhat more difficult to get my head around but I think that was the point. However, she’s clearly on the run from something or someone and every time panic struck, I was right there with her, heart pounding, hands getting clammy, ready to run.

Atmospheric? Check! Bit of a supernatural vibe? Also, check! Although maybe not as prevalent as in the previous books but it’s there, in the background, in a creepy, chilling kind of way. A mystery to solve? You bet your shiny arse there is. And then let’s add all those other words people are getting tired of hearing : gripping, compelling, engrossing, a page-turner, addictive, impossible to put down (IT REALLY IS!) …. all that and so, so much more! Sometimes quite sad, mostly full of suspense and questions. So many questions. Did I mention impossible to put down? (Just checking)

Dare I say it? You know what? Yes. I’m going to say it. This is C.J. Tudor’s BEST book yet and it is without a doubt a huge contender for my book of the year. Right now, it has caused a massive book hangover. I loved everything about it, in case you hadn’t noticed, and I’m sad this thrilling ride is over.

By the way, my hardback copy has a teaser chapter of C.J. Tudor’s next book (out next year) and I already can’t wait! It promises to be another absolute belter but for now, do yourself a favour, pick up a copy of The Other People because I promise you, C.J. Tudor is the real deal.

To recap, I’d like to borrow a tiny part from my review for The Taking of Annie Thorne, which is just as apt here :

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! x infinity (😉)

The Other People is available to buy!

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

This Week in Books (January 22)

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 |

She sleeps, a pale girl in a white room . . .

Driving home one night, stuck behind a rusty old car, Gabe sees a little girl’s face appear in the rear window.

She mouths one word: ‘Daddy.’

It’s his five-year-old daughter, Izzy.

He never sees her again.

Three years later, Gabe spends his days and nights travelling up and down the motorway, searching for the car that took his daughter, refusing to give up hope, even though most people believe that Izzy is dead.

Fran and her daughter, Alice, also put in a lot of miles on the motorway. Not searching. But running. Trying to keep one step ahead of the people who want to hurt them.

Because Fran knows the truth. She knows what really happened to Gabe’s daughter. She knows who is responsible. And she knows what they will do if they ever catch up with her and Alice.

[C.J. Tudor strikes again and this is right up there as a contender for my book of the year. Fa-bu-lous!]

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

It’s Livia’s 40th birthday and she’s having the party of a lifetime to make up for the wedding she never had. Everyone she loves will be there except her daughter Marnie, who’s studying abroad. But although Livia loves Marnie, she’s secretly glad she won’t be at the party. She needs to tell Adam something about their daughter but she’s waiting until the party is over so they can have this last happy time together.

Adam wants everything to be perfect for Livia so he’s secretly arranged for Marnie to come home and surprise her on her birthday. During the day, he hears some terrible news. He needs to tell Livia, because how can the party go on? But she’s so happy, so excited – and the guests are about to arrive.

The Dilemma – how far would you go to give someone you love a last few hours of happiness?

One day that will change a family forever. 

[About halfway through this one and it’s immensely gripping. Yet I can’t help but feel I may need to reach for a tissue at some point 🤔]

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

Oslo, 2018. Former long-distance runner Sonja Nordstrøm never shows at the launch of her controversial autobiography, Always Number One. When celebrity blogger Emma Ramm visits Nordstrøm’s home later that day, she finds the door unlocked and signs of a struggle inside. A bib with the number ‘one’ has been pinned to the TV.

Police officer Alexander Blix is appointed to head up the missing-persons investigation, but he still bears the emotional scars of a hostage situation nineteen years earlier, when he killed the father of a five-year-old girl. Traces of Nordstrøm soon show up at different locations, but the appearance of the clues appear to be carefully calculated … evidence of a bigger picture that he’s just not seeing…

Blix and Ramm soon join forces, determined to find and stop a merciless killer with a flare for the dramatic, and thirst for attention.

Trouble is, he’s just got his first taste of it.

[May just be a teensie-weensie excited about this one]

And that’s my week in books. What does your week look like? Do let me know in the comments! Happy reading! xx

This Week in Books (January 15)

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 |

The Dean Wilson Theatre is believed to be haunted by a long-dead actress, singing her last song, waiting for her final cue, looking for her killer…

Now Dust, the iconic musical, is returning after twenty years. But who will be brave enough to take on the role of ghostly goddess Esme Black, last played by Morgan Miller, who was murdered in her dressing room?

Theatre usher Chloe Dee is caught up in the spectacle. As the new actors arrive, including an unexpected face from her past, everything changes. Are the eerie sounds and sightings backstage real or just her imagination? Is someone playing games?

Is the role of Esme Black cursed? Could witchcraft be at the heart of the tragedy? And are dark deeds from Chloe’s past about to catch up with her?

Not all the drama takes place onstage. Sometimes murder, magic, obsession and the biggest of betrayals are real life. When you’re in the theatre shadows, you see everything.

And Chloe has been watching…

[review to follow soon but here’s a clue … ❤️]

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

Alice Teale walked out of school at the end of a bright spring day.

She’s not been seen since.

Alice was popular and well-liked, and her boyfriend, friends and family are desperate to find her.

But soon it’s clear that everyone in her life has something to hide.

Then the police receive a disturbing package.

Pages from Alice’s precious diary.

Who could have sent them? And what have they done with Alice?

[By currently, I mean I’m about to start it. Any second now. Honestly.]

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

It’s the most disturbing crime scene DCI Matilda Darke has ever seen…

The morning after a wedding reception at a beautiful suburban home in Sheffield, the bride’s entire family are stabbed to death – in a frenzied attack more violent than anything DCI Matilda Darke could have imagined.

Forensics point to a burglar on the run across the country. But cracks are starting to appear in Matilda’s team, someone is playing games with the evidence – and the killer might be closer to home than they thought…

[Another one of my favourite series so I’m really looking forward to this!]

And that’s my week! With a dash of Stephen King thrown in at some point. What are you reading this week? Do let me know! Happy reading! xx

The Ex-Girlfriend by Nicola Moriarty | #blogtour

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Ex-Girlfriend by Nicola Moriarty. My thanks to Sriya at Michael Joseph for the invitation to join and for the review copy!

Author : Nicola Moriarty
Title : The Ex-Girlfriend
Pages : 385
Publisher : Michael Joseph / Penguin
Publication date : October 31, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

SHE WANTS HIM BACK. SHE WANTS YOU GONE.

Luke is the one. After everything she’s been through, Georgia knows she deserves someone like him, to make her feel loved. Safe.

The only problem is his ex-girlfriend. Luke says Cadence is having trouble accepting their break-up, but Georgia thinks there’s more to the story. She has the feeling someone is watching her.

So when everything starts to go wrong at work, at home, in her old friendships and her happy new relationship with Luke, Georgia starts to feel afraid.

It’s becoming clear Cadence wants what she has. But how far will she go to get it? 

| MY THOUGHTS |

My Ex-Girlfriend is one of those books that is hard to review without giving anything away so this might quite possibly be one of the shortest reviews I’ve ever written.

Girl meets boy in bar, after having been stood up by a Tinder date. Georgia and Luke’s romance is one of the whirlwind kind. But Georgia knows she has finally found the one. Luke is everything she could possibly want in a boyfriend. Except for the fact that he can’t seem to shake his crazy ex-girlfriend, Cadence.

Now, I read a lot of books from the psychological thriller and suspense genre and I’m not entirely sure I’d put this book in that particular category. On top of that, I have a truly suspicious nature. So I pretty much figured out where things were heading right from the start. Yet that didn’t mean I wasn’t invested in the story. I often caught myself rolling my eyes, urging the characters to see what I was seeing or practically imploring them not to do certain things.

Personally, I prefer my psychological thrillers a lot more on the gripping side, which is something I felt was lacking somewhat in The Ex-Girlfriend. Nevertheless, it’s an entertaining and quickie read and Nicola Moriarty tackles a range of subjects from mental health issues to depression to self-harm. It’s remarkably easy to imagine how a stalker can drive you to the brink when you’re already feeling vulnerable.

And really, that’s all I’m going to say. Very sorry but I’ve already had to delete certain things because they came too close to spoiler territory. I will say that things turned out quite a bit more harrowing than I expected them to and if there are lessons to be learned from this story, they are to stay as far away from the dating scene as you possibly can and never trust anyone. Ever. You’re welcome.

The Ex-Girlfriend is available to buy!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Nicola Moriarty lives in Sydney’s north west with her husband and two small daughters. She is the younger sister of bestselling authors Liane Moriarty and Jaclyn Moriarty. In between various career changes, becoming a mum and studying teaching at Macquarie University, she began to write. Now, she can’t seem to stop.

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane | @MichaelJBooks @sriya__v | #extract #excerpt

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane. My thanks to Sriya at Michael Joseph for the invitation to join. I have an extract to share with you all today but first, here is what this novel is all about.

Author : Mary Beth Keane
Title : Ask Again, Yes
Pages : 388
Publisher : Michael Joseph
Publication date : August 8, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

A profoundly moving novel about two neighboring families in a suburban town, the bond between their children, a tragedy that reverberates over four decades, the daily intimacies of marriage, and the power of forgiveness.

Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope, two rookie cops in the NYPD, live next door to each other outside the city. What happens behind closed doors in both houses—the loneliness of Francis’s wife, Lena, and the instability of Brian’s wife, Anne—sets the stage for the explosive events to come.

Ask Again, Yes is a deeply affecting exploration of the lifelong friendship and love that blossoms between Francis and Lena’s daughter, Kate, and Brian and Anne’s son, Peter. Luminous, heartbreaking, and redemptive, Ask Again, Yes reveals the way childhood memories change when viewed from the distance of adulthood—villains lose their menace and those who appeared innocent seem less so. Kate and Peter’s love story, while tested by echoes from the past, is marked by tenderness, generosity, and grace.

| EXTRACT |

one

GILLAM WAS NICE ENOUGH but lonely, Lena Teobaldo thought when she first saw it. It was the kind of place that if she were there on vacation she’d love for the first two days, and then by the third day she’d start looking forward to leaving. It didn’t seem quite real: the apple trees and maples, the shingled houses with front porches, the cornfields, the dairy, the kids playing stickball in the street as if they didn’t notice their houses were sitting on a half acre of grass. Later, she’d figure out that the kids played the games their parents had played growing up in the city. Stickball. Hopscotch. Kick the can. When a father taught a son how to throw a ball, he marched that boy to the middle of the road as if they were on a block tight with tenements, because that’s where he’d learned from his father. She’d agreed to the trip because it was something to do and if she’d stayed in Bay Ridge that Saturday, her mother would have made her bring food to Mrs. Venard, who’d never been right since her boy went missing in Vietnam.

Her cousin Karolina’s dress was hanging on the hook behind Lena’s bedroom door, altered and ready for Lena to wear in just six days’ time. She’d gotten her shoes, her veil. There was nothing more to do other than wait, so when Francis asked if she wanted to take a little trip to check out a town he’d heard about through a guy at work, she’d said sure, it was a beautiful fall day, it would be nice to get out to the country for a few hours, she’d pack a picnic lunch. They unpacked that lunch on a bench outside the public library, and in the time it took to unwrap their sandwiches, eat them, sip all the tea from the thermos, only one person entered the library. A northbound train pulled into the station and three people got off. Across the town square was a deli, and next to it a five-and-dime with a stroller parked outside. Francis had driven them in Lena’s father’s Datsun—her brother Karol’s copy of Led Zeppelin IV stuck in the tape deck. Lena didn’t have a driver’s license, didn’t have the first idea how to drive. She’d assumed she’d never have to learn.

“So? What do you think?” Francis asked later as they eased back onto the Palisades Parkway. Lena opened the window and lit a cigarette.

“Pretty,” she said. “Quiet.” She slipped off her shoes and put her feet up on the dashboard. She’d put in for two weeks of vacation time—a week before her wedding plus a week after—and that day, a Saturday, was her first day of the longest stretch of days she’d had off in three years.

“You saw the train? There’s also a bus that goes to Midtown,” he said. She thought it a random piece of information until it hit her like a kick in the shin that he wanted to live there. He hadn’t said that. He’d said only that he wanted to take a spin in the car, check out a place he’d heard of. She thought he only wanted a break from all the wedding talk. Relatives from Italy and Poland were already arriving, and her parents’ apartment was packed with food and people every hour of the day. No one from Ireland was coming but some relation of Francis’s who’d emigrated to Chicago had sent a piece of Irish china. Francis said he didn’t mind. It was the bride’s day anyway. But now she saw he had a plan in mind. It seemed so far-fetched she decided not to mention it again unless he brought it up first.

A few weeks later, the wedding over and done with, their guests long departed, Lena back at work with a new name and a new band on her finger, Francis said it was time for them to move out of her parents’ apartment. He said that everyone had to tiptoe through the narrow livingroom if Lena’s sister, Natusia, was in there with her books. Karol was almost always in a bad mood, probably because the newlyweds had taken over his bedroom. There was nowhere to be alone. Every moment Francis spent there, he said, he felt like he should be offering to help with something, do something. Their wedding gifts were stacked in corners and Lena’s mother was always admonishing everyone to be careful, think of the crystal. Lena thought it was nice, a half dozen people sitting down to dinner together, sometimes more, depending on who stopped by. For the first time she wondered if she’d known him well enough to marry him.

“But where?” she said.

They looked on Staten Island. They looked within Bay Ridge. They climbed walk-ups in Yorkville, Morningside Heights, the Village. They walked through houses filled with other people’s things, their photos displayed on ledges, their polyester flower arrangements. On all those visits, Lena could see the road to Gillam approaching like an exit on the freeway. They’d socked away the cash gifts they’d gotten at the wedding plus most of their salaries and had enough for a down payment.

One Saturday morning in January 1974, after he’d worked a midnight tour plus a few hours of overtime, Francis got to Bay Ridge and told Lena to get her coat, he’d found their house.

“I’m not going,” she said, looking up from her coffee with her face set like stone. Angelo Teobaldo was doing a crossword across from her. Gosia Teobaldo had just cracked two eggs onto a skillet. Standing six foot two in his patrolman’s uniform, Francis’s face burned.

“He’s your husband,” Angelo said to his daughter. A reprimand. Like she’d left her toys scattered on the carpet and forgotten to put them away.

“You keep quiet,” Gosia said, motioning for him to zip his lip. “We’re having breakfast at Hinsch’s,” she announced, extinguishing the flame under the skillet.

“Let’s just go see, Lena. We don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.”

“Oh, sure,” Lena said.

An hour and twenty minutes later, Lena pressed her forehead against the glass of the passenger window and looked at the house that would be theirs. There was a brightly lettered For Sale sign outside. The hydrangea that would flower in June was just a clump of frostbitten sticks. The current owners were home, their Ford was in the driveway—so Francis kept the engine running.

“What’s that? Are they rocks?” Toward the back of the property were five huge rocks, lined up by Mother Nature hundreds of millennia ago in ascending order, the tallest maybe five feet high.

“Boulders,” Francis said. “They’re all over this area. The realtor told me the builders left some as natural dividers between the houses. They remind me of Ireland.”

Lena looked at him as if to say, So that’s why you brought me here. He’d met a realtor. His mind was made up. The houses on that street— Jefferson—and the surrounding streets—Washington, Adams, Madison, Monroe—were closer together than the houses farther from town, and Francis said that was because these houses were older, built back in the 1920s when there was a tannery in town and everyone walked to work. He thought Lena would like that. There was a porch out front.

“Who will I talk to?” she asked.

“To our neighbors,” he said. “To the people you meet. You make friends faster than anyone. Besides, you’ll still be in the city every day. You’ll have the girls you work with. The bus stops right at the end of the block. You don’t even have to learn to drive if you don’t want to.” He’d be her driver, he joked.

He couldn’t explain to her that he needed the trees and the quiet as a correction for what he saw on the job, how crossing a bridge and having that physical barrier between him and his beat felt like leaving one life and entering another. In his imagination he had it all organized: Officer Gleeson could exist there, and Francis Gleeson could exist here. In academy, some of the instructors were old-timers who claimed they’d never in their thirty-year careers so much as drawn their weapons, but after only six months Francis had drawn several times. His sergeant had just recently shot a thirty-year-old man in the chest during a standoff beside the Bruckner Expressway, and the man died on the scene. But it was a good kill, they all said, because the man was a known junkie and had been armed. Sergeant hadn’t seemed the slightest bit concerned. Francis had nodded along with the rest of them and gone out for drinks when their tour was over. But the next day, when someone had to meet with the man’s mother and the mother of his children to explain to them what had happened since they wouldn’t leave the waiting room for anything, it seemed to Francis that he was the only one who felt rattled. The man had had a mother. He’d been a father. He hadn’t always been a junkie. Standing by the coffeepot and wishing the women would go the hell home, it was as if he could see the whole rest of the man’s life—not just the moment he’d foolishly swung around while holding his little .22.

And though he told Lena none of this, only that work was fine, things were busy, she sensed the thing he wasn’t saying and looked at the house again. She imagined a bright row of flowers at the foot of the porch. They could have a guest bedroom. It was true that the bus from Gillam to Midtown Manhattan would take less time than the subway from Bay Ridge.

If you would like to read more about Francis and Lena and the events that will impact their family for years to come, then why not grab yourself a copy of Ask Again, Yes as it’s available to buy!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Mary Beth Keane’s first novel, The Walking People (2009) was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award, and her second novel, Fever (2013) was named a best book of 2013 by NPR Books, Library Journal, and The San Francisco Chronicle. In 2011 she was named to the National Book Foundation’s “5 under 35.” She was a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow in Fiction and her new novel, Ask Again, Yes, is forthcoming in June of 2019.

Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas | @Dougieclaire @MichaelJBooks @sriya__v | #blogtour

Delighted to host a stop on the blog tour for Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas today! My thanks to Sriya at Michael Joseph for the invitation to join and for the fab review copy!

Author : Claire Douglas
Title : Then She Vanishes
Pages : 430
Publisher : Michael Joseph
Publication date : August 8, 2019 (paperback)

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Everything changed the night Flora Powell disappeared. 

Heather and Jess were best friends – until the night Heather’s sister vanished.

Jess has never forgiven herself for the lie she told that night. Nor has Heather.

But now Heather is accused of an awful crime.

And Jess is forced to return to the sleepy seaside town where they grew up, to ask the question she’s avoided for so long:

What really happened the night Flora disappeared? 

| MY THOUGHTS |

That feeling you get when one of your favourite authors has a new book out …. priceless!

Claire Douglas has been on my go-to list for quite a while now. I don’t even need to know what her books are about. I’ll see her name and the book will be in my hands, just like that. So obviously I couldn’t wait to get stuck into Then She Vanishes.

This one starts off with a bang. Literally. A small seaside town is rocked by a double murder. As a reporter, Jess follows the news but in this case even more so, because this is her hometown and the person accused of the murders could possibly be her childhood friend, Heather. Jess hasn’t been in contact with Heather for years. Not since the night she told a lie. Not since the night Heather’s sister, Flora, disappeared.

The story is told via Jess and Heather’s mum, Margot. Jess, who as a reporter but also a former friend who spent a lot of time at Heather’s home, needs to somehow find a way to find a balance between her loyalty towards this family and keeping her boss happy with exclusive interviews. And poor Margot, who already lost a daughter, now needs to face up to the fact she may lose her other daughter as well. Did Heather commit the crimes she’s accused of? If so, what could possibly have driven her to do something like that?

From the very first chapter, Then She Vanishes had me utterly hooked. There was no way I was going to put this book down until I knew what had happened. The road to get to the truth is full of twists, turns and “wait, what?!” moments that left my mouth hanging open in the most un-lady like way. And that doesn’t even take into account the chilling ending! I couldn’t at all figure out how things were connected and wasn’t prepared for how dark things would become.

I’ve read all of Claire Douglas’ books and I have no problem whatsoever in saying that this is her best one yet. It’s immensely gripping and compelling, full of intriguing and believable characters, some unlikeable and hugely unreliable, and an absolute page-turner. I mean, what more could you possibly want? Incredibly well plotted, I found Then She Vanishes massively exciting, suspenseful and thoroughly enjoyable and I can’t wait to see what Claire Douglas comes up with next.

Then She Vanishes is available to buy!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Claire Douglas always wanted to write novels and, after many years of trying to get published, her dream came true when she won the Marie Claire Debut Novel Award in 2013 with THE SISTERS.

Her subsequent novels LOCAL GIRL MISSING, LAST SEEN ALIVE and DO NOT DISTURB all reached the Sunday Times top ten bestsellers list and are published in over fifteen countries. LOCAL GIRL MISSING was the bestselling crime debut of 2018 in Germany. Her fifth thriller, THEN SHE VANISHES is due for release in Ebook end of June 2019 and in paperback August 2019.

Weekly Wrap-Up (August 4)

Aloha! After an unscheduled break last week, I am back with my weekly wrap-up and let me tell you, it’s going to blow your socks off! Or possibly not.

Insert obligatory freak-out about it being August already here. AUGUST! WTF?!

Thank you for the messages last week and apologies if I worried you all. The heatwave kicked my bum like a big kicking thing. I mean, 42C. Come on! But it was mostly my dog who struggled. This resulted in having to sleep downstairs on the sofa, where it was slightly cooler. And by sleep, I mean, SHE slept all night and I did not. I managed a grand total of about 4 hours over 3 nights so suffice to say I was absolutely shattered. By the weekend, I had a massive migraine and barely knew my own name 🤣. Writing up the wrap-up wasn’t exactly high on my list of priorities. Besides, I’d only read two books that week so there really wasn’t much to talk about anyway. 😳

All back to normal this week, thank goodness. Except for the reading as I’ve been hugely distracted by my dvd collection and hot boys hanging out in Hawaii. I’m not even sorry.

So, what did I read this week then?

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

A mere three books. And only because I had to, not because I felt like it. This is bad. So very bad.

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

Looks like even my book buying mojo has done a runner.

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Joined the blog tour for The July Girls by Phoebe Locke

Tuesday : Reviewed Conviction by Denise Mina

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for The Daughter in Law by Nina Manning

Friday : Joined the blog tour for The Holiday by T.M. Logan

Saturday : Nada

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

I’m just relieved I managed to read those tour books on time 😂

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Blog tour | Review | Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas

Tuesday : Blog tour | Review | Clear My Name by Paula Daly

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Review | The Chain by Adrian McKinty

Friday : Review | Now You See Me by Chris McGeorge

Saturday : Don’t have anything planned

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Why yes, I do still need to read the book for Tuesday. Why do you ask? *facepalm*

The good news is though, for me anyway, that the blog tours will start to slow down. I only have 3 more left after this week. I know, you’re shocked. The bad news is I still have 7 books to read for my 20 Books of Summer Challenge. Let’s just say I’m not feeling very confident I’ll nail that one this year 😂

The countdown to my annual holiday is official on! One month to go and I will be enjoying the peace and quiet of gorgeous Tuscany. Hubby has already started making lists, he’s so organised. I, on the other hand, am just trying to decide which books to take with me. Then again, at the rate I’m going, maybe I should just take Chuck Wendig’s Wanderers. It’s 800 pages, might take me two weeks to finish it. 🤔

And that’s a wrap! Told you it would knock your socks off 😉.

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

This Week in Books (July 31)

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 |

Every year, on the same night in July, a woman is taken from the streets of London; snatched by a killer who moves through the city like a ghost.

Addie has a secret. On the morning of her tenth birthday, four bombs were detonated across the capital. That night her dad came home covered in blood. She thought he was hurt in the attacks – but then her sister Jessie found a missing woman’s purse hidden in his room.

Jessie says they mustn’t tell. She says there’s nothing to worry about. But when she takes a job looking after the woman’s baby daughter, Addie starts to realise that her big sister doesn’t always tell her the whole story. And that the secrets they’re keeping may start costing lives…

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

Seven days. Three families. One killer.

It was supposed to be the perfect holiday – a group of families enjoying a week together in the sun. Four women who have been best friends for as long as they can remember making the most of a luxurious villa in the south of France.

But Kate has a secret: her husband is having an affair. And a week away might just be the perfect opportunity to get the proof she needs – to catch him in the act once and for all. Because she suspects the other woman is one of her two best friends.

One of them is working against her, willing to sacrifice years of friendship to destroy her family. But which one? As Kate closes in on the truth in the stifling Mediterranean heat, she realises too late that the stakes are far higher than she ever imagined . . . 

Because someone in the villa may be prepared to kill to keep their secret hidden. 

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

Everything changed the night Flora Powell disappeared. 

Heather and Jess were best friends – until the night Heather’s sister vanished.

Jess has never forgiven herself for the lie she told that night. Nor has Heather.

But now Heather is accused of an awful crime.

And Jess is forced to return to the sleepy seaside town where they grew up, to ask the question she’s avoided for so long:

What really happened the night Flora disappeared? 

By currently reading, I mean I haven’t even started it yet. Because erm … other priorities 😏

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

The Island by Ragnar Jónasson | #20BooksofSummer

Author : Ragnar Jónasson
Title : The Island
Series : Hidden Iceland #2
Pages : 342
Publisher : Michael Joseph / Penguin UK
Publication date : April 4, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir is sent to the isolated island of Elliðaey to investigate and soon finds haunting similarities with a previous case – a young woman found murdered ten years ago in the equally desolate Westfjords. 

Is there a patient killer stalking these barren outposts? 

As Hulda navigates a sinister game constructed of smoke and mirrors she is convinced that no one is telling the truth, including those closest to her. 

But who will crack first? And what secrets is the island hiding?

| MY THOUGHTS |

After having really enjoyed The Darkness a while back, I couldn’t wait to see what Ragnar Jónasson had in store with The Island.

Four friends come together to spend a weekend on an isolated island for a reunion, marking the tenth anniversary of the death of one of their other friends. It soon becomes apparent their friendship isn’t as solid as it used to be. There’s a lot of tension, awkward silences, the conversation doesn’t flow like it did all those years ago and dark secrets are struggling to stay hidden. Then, one of the remaining four friends is found dead. DI Hulda Hermannsdóttir is sent to the island to investigate this death. Could there possibly be a connection to what happened all those years ago?

Reading The Darkness had me immensely intrigued as to where Ragnar Jónasson would take this series. After all, book one was the end and we’re going back in time. From the start, I thought that was a really interesting premise. However, now that I’ve read the second book, I’m not sure I quite understand the point of going in reverse. I found it quite hard to care about Hulda because I already know what happens to her. It’s a bit like watching a film when the biggest spoiler or twist has already been revealed to you and you’re left to wonder why you’re wasting your time on something you already know the conclusion of. I can’t help but feel I’m missing something that would enlighten me about this premise and make me appreciate it more.

Saving grace in this instance, though, is Ragnar Jónasson’s writing. Always absorbing and beautifully descriptive, it paints the most magical picture of Iceland. The Island is dark, sometimes somewhat chilling, with a sense of foreboding and the investigation kept me guessing until the end. I couldn’t at all figure out whodunnit or why and needing to know the answers to those questions is what kept me reading.

Overall though, I am mostly left with sense of disappointment. I expected more, I suppose, and in that respect The Island didn’t really deliver. It’s a good book on its own but as the middle book in a trilogy, I feel it needed something more to really keep me gripped. That said, I will be reading the final instalment when it’s published as I am still intrigued enough to see what Ragnar Jónasson’s end game is.

The Island is available to buy!

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

Book 8 from my 20 Books of Summer list