Facing A Twisted Judgment by K.J McGillick | @rararesources | #blogtour #guestpost

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Facing A Twisted Judgment by K.J. McGillick! My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. Author K.J. McGillick joins me on the blog today to talk about how she tackles writing her books. But first, here is what Facing A Twisted Judgment is all about.

Author : K.J. McGillick
Title : Facing A Twisted Judgment 
Series : Lies and Misdirection #2
Pages : 270
Publisher : KJRM Publishing LLC
Publication date : November 16, 2018

What happens when tunnel vision clouds a police investigation? Is it true that once you are labeled a person of interest you really are the prime suspect? Can you trust the legal system? Probably not.

After a bitterly contested legal battle over inherited property, the hard-won art collection and its owner Samantha Bennington disappear. Both have vanished without a trace. 

When blood spatter is discovered under the freshly painted wall of the room in which two of the paintings were hung, the theft becomes the opening act in a twisted tale of jealousy, revenge, and murder leading to a final judgment for all involved. 

As the list of suspects narrows, the focus lands squarely on the husband. Some labeled Samantha’s husband a corrupt attorney, others an opportunist. Either way, he’s in the crosshairs of law enforcement and they are calling him a murderer. But is he the only viable suspect? What about the missing woman’s drug-addicted sister and her convicted felon brother? Both were furious over their loss at court and have more than enough reason to hate Samantha. 

Guilty until proven innocent leaves Alexander Clarke facing a twisted judgment.

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Do you outline books ahead of time or are you more of a by-the-seat-of-your-pants writer?

I have tried both methods and I can’t say I like one over the other or one works better. I believe the story choses the method as opposed to the writer.

My first book THREE: Deception Love Murder came upon the heels of months of research about the craft of writing. The research I did I saved at http://writingresearch.homesteadcloud.com/. Using all this research I felt comfortable to craft my novel. The first step involved meticulous plotting of the story chapter by chapter with lots of attention to detail. The second step encompassed the fleshing out of characters down to physical attributes, flaws and where they fell on the Myers Briggs testing. I could have drafted the novel at this point but instead purchased thirty poster boards, lots of tape and found pictures that story boarded how I wanted my story to progress. Now I was ready. The subject research came after twenty years of museum visits, many PBS documentaries, and many art appreciation classes. Once I started the novel, the story unfolded naturally. 

My second book TWO: Mind Games and Murder was a book written somewhat by the seat of my pants. Again, the subject matter research accumulated in my mind over many years and a few Google searches updated the statistics I needed. Although I knew about black market organ trafficking things had changed over the years and I needed new information. My outline was sparse and consisted of a page that included the seven points I needed to hit to provide plot development. This book was an easy write. My law practice exposed me to women who were victims of emotional abuse and gas lighting and thus my book gave them a voice. Complex characters who didn’t understand their own motivations gave me a great deal to work with and allowed my story to unfold as it wanted leading to a great story.

My third book ONE: Rage Vengeance and Murder was the most difficult to write of the long and grueling subject research. I chose not to do an outline for the book, felt I knew my characters from the second book. However, the lack of a formal outline led to two full manuscripts being trashed and unnecessary frustration. The only way to open my mind to complete the trilogy involved a trip to Denver for a few days and start the new and final version in a new place to allow my mind to breathe. 

My fourth book The Last Lie She Told was back to the tried-and-true formula that worked for me the first time. I opened my power point and completed in detail my one-page Essential Scenes in Every Story seven-point wheel and a character analysis. 

My fifth book Facing a Twisted Judgment I opened  my Word document and started to write without a safety net. I had no idea where I was going and the only thing I knew was the story’s main character would be a ethically challenged lawyer. I had no plot, story line or blurb and trust my mind to let the story unfold.   

I believe as Lee Child that some books need to be written by the seat of your pants so even you don’t know where the story will take you to keep your interest. 

K. J. McGillick was born in New York and once she started to walk she never stopped running. But that’s what New Yorker’s do. Right?

As she evolved so did her career choices. After completing her graduate degree in nursing she spent many years in the university setting sharing the dreams of the enthusiastic nursing students she taught. After twenty rewarding years in the medical field she attended law school and has spent the last twenty-four years as an attorney helping people navigate the turbulent waters of the legal system. Not an easy feat. And now? Now she is sharing the characters she loves with readers hoping they are intrigued by her twisting and turning plots and entertained by her writing.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter | Website

The Lingering by S.J.I. Holliday | @SJIHolliday @orendabooks @annecater | #blogtour #bookreview #TheLingering #RandomThingsTours #recommended

I’m absolutely delighted to host a stop on the blog tour for The Lingering by SJI Holliday today! Huge thanks to Anne Cater for the invitation to join and to Karen Sullivan at Orenda for the fabulous review copy!

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Author : SJI Holliday
Title : The Lingering
Pages : 300
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : September 15, 2018 (ebook) | November 15, 2018 (paperback)

aboutthebook

Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient spiritual commune in the English Fens, desperate for fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history.

When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution…

mythoughts

I don’t normally read scary stories because I’m a big fat wuss and I was slightly worried, that just like with scary movies, I’d be hiding behind my sofa or have my face buried in a pillow which would make reading rather difficult. Luckily though, I wouldn’t quite label this one as a scary read. Creepy? Absolutely! Chilling? Right to the bone!

The Lingering oozes atmosphere from the very first page, almost like a movie scene. Driving a car down a driveway, seeing a house loom up in front of you for the first time. Not just any house though for this place used to be a mental asylum and if there’s any setting more exciting than that one, I haven’t discovered it yet. Who knows what secrets are hidden in the walls and the shadows?

Married couple Jack and Ali leave behind everything they’ve ever known to move into Rosalind House and be part of a commune. It’s relatively obvious from the start that all is not well with these two. Their arrival at Rosalind House sets in motion a series of unexplained events. But who or what is responsible? Obviously I can’t tell you that but I will say this is one tense, suspenseful and thrilling ride. I wasn’t at all sure of the outcome, couldn’t see how things would end up but found the conclusion absolutely satisfying.

Part domestic thriller, past ghost story The Lingering had me absolutely hooked. Talk about a gripping read, hoo boy! I couldn’t get a feel for any of the characters at all which just added to this sense of unease that I found quite hard to let go of, even hours after finishing the book. On top of that, we are treated to diary chapters written by a doctor who used to work at the psychiatric institution and in an odd sort of way, those frightened me more than anything because they felt incredibly realistic and believable in showing what human beings are capable of.

The Lingering is one dark and disturbing read. With a brilliantly executed plot and complex characters, this haunting tale will linger (see what I did there?) in your mind for days. I have no doubt you’ll see this one pop up near the end of the year on my list of books of 2018.

PS : Do not read in the bathtub. You’ll thank me later.

The Lingering is available to buy!

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

abouttheauthor

S.J.I. (Susi) Holliday is a pharmaceutical statistician by day and a crime and horror fan by night. Her short stories have been published in many places and she was shortlisted for the inaugural CWA Margery Allingham prize with her story ‘Home from Home’, which was published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in spring 2017. She is the bestselling author of the creepy and claustrophobic Banktoun trilogy (Black Wood, Willow Walk andThe Damselfly) featuring the much-loved Sergeant Davie Gray, and has dabbled in festive crime with the critically acclaimed The Deaths of December.

Her latest psychological thriller is modern gothic with more than a hint of the supernatural, which she loved writing due to her fascination and fear of ghosts. She is proud to be one of The Slice Girls and has been described by David Mark as ‘Dark as a smoker’s lung.’

She divides her time between Edinburgh and London and you will find her at crime-fiction events in the UK and abroad.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter

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None So Blind by Alis Hawkins | @Alis_Hawkins @emily_glenister @DomePress | #bookreview #NoneSoBlind #recommended

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Author : Alis Hawkins
Title : None So Blind
Series : The Teifi Valley Coroner #1
Pages : 460
Publisher : Dome Press
Publication date : November 15, 2018

aboutthebook

West Wales, 1850.

When an old tree root is dug up, the remains of a young woman are found. Harry Probert-Lloyd, a young barrister forced home from London by encroaching blindness, has been dreading this discovery.

He knows exactly whose bones they are.

Working with his clerk, John Davies, Harry is determined to expose the guilty, but the investigation turns up more questions than answers.

The search for the truth will prove costly. Will Harry and John be the ones to pay the highest price?

mythoughts

There’s none so blind as those that will not see.

I seem to have found a (sub)genre to get increasingly excited about and that’s historical crime fiction. It has the crime element I love so much but its historical setting offers possibilities that the modern setting just doesn’t have. The author starts the book with a brief historic note on law and order in nineteenth century West Wales, concerning inquests and coroners and the like and I found it immensely interesting.

When an old tree root is dug up, the remains of a young woman are discovered. Harry Probert-Lloyd knows exactly whose bones they are. Together with his clerk, John Davies, he sets out to investigate what happened to this young woman and he’s determined to expose her killer.

Set in Wales, a few years after the Rebecca Riots, the influence of those involved still lingers to this day. People will do or say anything to avoid the wrath of the Rebeccaites. I knew nothing about this period and while some of it is explained throughout the story, it never turned into one of those boring history lessons we all hated. I got a really good feeling of what had happened in those days and I’m thankful to the author for keeping the longer explanation for the author’s notes. Because already at almost 460 pages, this isn’t exactly the kind of book you race through in one sitting and it’s a credit to the author for never making me feel like the story was too elaborate or dragged on too much, making me wonder if it couldn’t have been just that little bit shorter.

Harry Probert-Lloyd makes for one incredibly fascinating main character, one I must say is highly original. As the son of a magistrate but raised by a maid, the line between the privileged and the poor is slightly blurred to him. Forced to leave behind his career as a barrister in London, he returns home due to encroaching blindness. During his investigation into the past, he relies heavily on his clerk, John Davies. Here too, the divide between the gentry and its servants plays a huge part. These two characters were a joy to get to know and watching their relationship develop along the way felt incredibly natural.

A town and its residents in fear of repercussions results in quite the frustrating search for the truth for Harry and John. There are secrets and skeletons in closets that many don’t want to be revealed. I did have a good idea of what had happened and why but that didn’t ruin my enjoyment at all. The journey to discover the truth was twisty, gripping, full of brilliantly intriguing characters and I loved every minute of it. I can’t wait for more from Harry and John!

My thanks to Emily Glenister at Dome Press for my fabulous review copy!

None So Blind is out on Thursday!

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

Her Last Move by John Marrs | @johnmarrs1 @AmazonPub @EmmaFinnigan | #HerLastMove #damppebblesblogtours #guestpost

Delighted to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for Her Last Move by John Marrs. My thanks to Emma Welton for the invitation to join. John Marrs visits my blog today to talk about ten things you don’t know about himself and his books. But first, here is what Her Last Move is all about!

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Author : John Marrs
Title : Her Last Move
Pages : 352
Publisher : Thomas & Mercer
Publication date : November 8, 2018

aboutthebook

She’s chasing a killer. He’s watching her every move.

He hides in the shadows, waiting for the perfect moment. Each kill is calculated, planned and executed like clockwork.

Struggling to balance her personal and professional life, young DS Becca Vincent has landed the biggest case of her career—and she knows that it will make or break her. But she can’t catch the culprit alone. Together with facial recognition expert Joe Russell, she strives to get a lead on the elusive murderer, who is always one step ahead of them.

Time is not on their side. The body count is rising, and the attacks are striking closer and closer to home. Can Becca and Joe uncover the connection between the murders before the killer strikes the last name from his list?

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Ten Things You Don’t Know About Me and My Books

  1. I’ve written six books since 2012 and am currently on draft one of my seventh. One character appears in each of my novels – my dog Oscar. In real life he’s a nine-year-old border terrier who has been with me since he was ten weeks old. In my stories, I’ve twice killed him off, changed his breed, his age and even his sex! 
  1. None of my books are sequels, but there is a little character hopping that happens. For example, the rock star son of Catherine in When You Disappeared appears as a music judge in Welcome To Wherever You Are. The house in When You Disappeared crops up in The Good Samaritan. The psychopath in my latest novel, Her Last Move, was in foster care with Laura, my sociopath from The Good Samaritan. Match Your DNA, the common theme in The One, will make an occurrence in my sixth novel, as yet untitled, which comes out early next year.
  1. My first five books were written on trains. I live in Northamptonshire but until ten months ago, I worked in London so I commuted each day. With round trips and lunch breaks, I had a good four hours a day to write. I’d slip on my headphones, find a moody playlist of music and ignore the world to create my own. Book six is the first one I’ve written completely at home.
  1. The original ending of The Good Samaritan was completely different to the version that appeared in the book. In the first few drafts, it was Laura’s friend Mary who was blackmailing her. My editor wasn’t convinced that was the right way to finish the book, so after much sulking from me, eventually I agreed with her and the ending that’s in the book is so much better.
  1. The first person who reads each of my books is my partner, confusingly, also called John. I also sound out the plots of my stories with him when we take the dog for long walks around the park. For book seven, we plotted the entire thing out while hiking in America’s Yosemite national park. The next reader is my mum, then fellow author Louise Beech before it goes to my editor.
  1. I don’t read half as much as I would like to. I just don’t have the time. I download a lot of audiobooks now which I listen to when I’m at the gym or taking Oscar for a walk. I’ll listen to my own books too when they first arrive. It’s always interesting to hear an actor or actress interpret your words. Some of them I’ve loved, others, well… I’m not so convinced by!
  1. My first novel, The Wronged Sons, was turned down by eighty different publishers and agents in the UK. It became a self-published word of mouth hit before it was taken on by publisher Thomas & Mercer, rewritten, republished and renamed When You Disappeared. In just over a year, it has now sold 250,000 copies. To all you unpublished writers out there – NEVER. GIVE. UP.
  1. My second novel, Welcome To Wherever You Are, is set in a backpacking hostel in Los Angeles and is loosely based on the characters I met there when I was a 21-year-old travelling around America for a year. This summer, I went back to LA and visited it for the first time in 26 years. It was quite a special moment.
  1. The One contains five main characters and their stories when they discover they each have a soul mate somewhere out there in the world. However, there was originally a sixth character. I’d written about 20,000 words of her story when I decided the book was going to be too long so I had to cull someone. She was axed as her story became too violent and I felt with one psychopath in the book, there wasn’t any more room for bloodshed.
  1.  My latest book, Her Last Move, is my first foray into police procedural. I wanted to write a police thriller just to see if I could manage it. I don’t see the point in writing the same kind of book over and over again even if they are hits. I needed to set myself a challenge and push myself and boy, did this push me. Hats off to every writer out there who works in this genre on a regular basis. Thankfully I had some expert assistants to help with the accuracy. And judging by early reviews on Goodreads and NetGalley, people seem to be liking it so far. Phew!

[I hope to get around to reading Her Last Move myself some time soon! Thank you so much for stopping by, John!]

abouttheauthor

John Marrs is the author of The One, The Good Samaritan, When You Disappeared, and Welcome to Wherever You Are.

A freelance journalist based in London, England, he has spent the past twenty years interviewing celebrities from the world of television, film and music for national newspapers and magazines.

He has written for publications including the Guardian’s Guide and Guardian Online, Total Film, Huffington Post, Empire, Q, GT, the Independent, S Magazine and Company.

Author links : Twitter | Website

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Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia @MejiaWrites @QuercusBooks @ellakroftpatel #blogtour #LeaveNoTrace

Good morning from glorious and scorching hot Tuscany! Today, I’m delighted to host a stop on the blog tour for Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia! My thanks to Ella Patel at Quercus for the invitation to join and for the wonderful review copy!

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Author : Mindy Mejia
Title : Leave No Trace
Pages : 336
Publisher : Quercus
Publication date : September 4, 2018

aboutthebook

Ten years ago Josiah Blackthorn and his son trekked into the wilderness of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters and vanished. Now one of them has returned.

Lucas Blackthorn, the boy who came back from the dead, is nineteen, semi-feral and violent. He is now incarcerated in Congdon Psychiatric Institute and the police are desperate to hear his story. All Lucas wants is to return to his home and his father.

Therapist Maya Stark has her own unfinished business with the Boundary Waters, and as she and Lucas grow closer she sees a chance for them to help each other.

She is prepared to risk everything to get answers to the questions that have haunted her for all her adult life. But sometimes finding out the truth is the worst thing you can do …

mythoughts

I absolutely loved Mindy Mejia’s previous novel, The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman, so I was incredibly excited at being given the opportunity to join the blog tour for her latest release, Leave No Trace. I’ll tell you right now though, this is nothing like her previous novel! I love it when an author takes me by surprise.

Ten years ago, Josiah Blackthorn and his son trekked into the wilderness, only to vanish. But now, Josiah’s son Lucas has returned.  Lucas is now nineteen years old and finds himself incarcerated in a psychiatric institute. He doesn’t talk and all he really wants is to return to his father.

Maya Stark is a speech therapist at the psychiatric institute and it’s her job to get Lucas to talk. Is he keeping quiet because he doesn’t know how to talk?  Or is he just being stubborn? Maya is haunted by past events herself. Will meeting Lucas bring her the answers she has so desperately been searching for?

Leave No Trace is very different from Mindy Mejia’s previous novel but as ever, it’s immensely beautifully written. The vivid descriptions of the Boundary Waters in Minnesota really bring the place to life and almost made me want to go out on a hike or grab a canoe. I say almost, because you know, water and creepy-crawlies. But there’s also the peace and tranquility, not another person in sight, just gorgeous Mother Nature all around you. Bliss. Living off the grid obviously isn’t for everyone but Mindy Mejia took inspiration from people who’ve actually done so, for various reasons, and I do so enjoy it when an author makes me want to google things.

Despite it’s relatively slow pace, I was captivated by the exquisite storytelling. There is some fascinating character development to sink your teeth into and even a few twists and surprises. Some I may have figured out but that did nothing to ruin my reading experience, nor did the fact that maybe a few things might have required me to suspend belief just a tad.  Leave No Trace is a compelling mystery and I was swept away by this tale of love, family and loss from start to finish.

I must say, I’m fast becoming a fan of Mindy Mejia’s work and remain impressed with her excellent storytelling skills. I’m incredibly curious to see what she comes up with next.

Leave No Trace is available to buy!

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

abouttheauthor

My name is Mindy Mejia and I’m a writer. I write because, ever since I was six years old, my favorite game has been pretend. My life doesn’t have symmetry, theme, symbolism, or meditated beauty and I gravitate toward these things like a houseplant to the sun. I love the perfect words; I love how “fierce” and “confounded” and “swagger” look on the page and how my chest expands when I read them. I write because I believe in the reality of my fantasies, the truth in my fabrications. I’ve always had stories sneaking around my head, thrillers like THE DRAGON KEEPER and EVERYTHING YOU WANT ME TO BE, and sometimes I inhabit those stories more than my own life. (Best not to mention that last part to my husband, kids, or boss.)

Author links : Twitter

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A Different Kind of Evil by Andrew Wilson #20BooksofSummer

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Author : Andrew Wilson
Title : A Different Kind of Evil
Pages : 375
Publisher : Simon & Schuster
Publication date : May 31, 2018

aboutthebook

Two months after the events of A Talent for Murder, during which Agatha Christie “disappeared,” the famed mystery writer’s remarkable talent for detection has captured the attention of British Special Agent Davison.

Now, at his behest, she is traveling to the beautiful Canary Islands to investigate the strange and gruesome death of Douglas Green, an agent of the British Secret Intelligence Service. As she embarks on a glamorous cruise ship to her destination, she suddenly hears a scream. Rushing over to the stern of the liner, she witnesses a woman fling herself over the side of the ship to her death.

After this shocking experience, she makes it to the Grand Hotel in a lush valley on the islands. There, she meets a diverse and fascinating cast of characters, including two men who are suspected to be involved in the murder of Douglas Green: an occultist similar to Aleister Crowley; and the secretary to a prominent scholar, who may also be a Communist spy. But Agatha soon realizes that nothing is what it seems here and she is surprised to learn that the apparent suicide of the young woman on the ocean liner is related to the murder of Douglas Green. Now she has to unmask a different kind of evil in this sinister and thrilling mystery.

mythoughts

After thoroughly enjoying the previous book, A Talent for Murder, I couldn’t wait to pick up this next one.

A Different Kind of Evil picks up quite shortly after events from the first book. Agatha Christie has caught the eye of the British Secret Intelligence Service and for her first mission, she is sent to Tenerife to help solve the murder of an agent whose body has been found mummified and drained of blood in a remote cave.

Events already kick off on board the ship that will take Agatha to Tenerife, when she witnesses a young woman jump overboard in what looks to be a tragic suicide. This is only the start though as Agatha finds herself deeply involved in the odd occult world of one of the island’s residents. Will Agatha be able to stop another murder from happening?

Being a crime fiction writer obviously doesn’t mean you have a knack at solving murders, although that is what’s expected from Agatha here. And so the whole story has that delightful Murder, She Wrote feeling to it, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Just as in the previous book, Agatha comes across as an intelligent and perceptive woman. On top of trying to solve this gruesome murder, she’s also struggling to finish her latest book and doubting her abilities as a mother.

Once again, Andrew Wilson takes a few facts from Agatha Christie’s life and turns them into the most delicious murder mystery. While I had some inkling as to what was going on, I couldn’t quite put the various pieces of the puzzle together and there were a few surprises left for me to discover.

Agatha Christie makes a formidable main character and even though I feel I enjoyed the previous book just that little bit more, A Different Kind of Evil was hugely entertaining and I very much look forward to the next one in the series.

A Different Kind of Evil is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | WorderyGoodreads

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Book 17 from my 20 Books of Summer list.

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The Zig Zag Girl by Elly Griffiths #20BooksofSummer

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Author : Elly Griffiths
Title : The Zig Zag Girl
Series : A Stephens & Mephisto Mystery #1
Pages : 352
Publisher : Quercus
Publication date : July 16, 2015

aboutthebook

Brighton, 1950.

When the body of a girl is found, cut into three, Detective Inspector Edgar Stephens is reminded of a magic trick, the Zig Zag Girl.

The inventor of the trick, Max Mephisto, is an old friend of Edgar’s. They served together in the war as part of a shadowy unit called the Magic Men.

Max is still on the circuit, touring seaside towns in the company of ventriloquists, sword-swallowers and dancing girls. Changing times mean that variety is not what it once was, yet Max is reluctant to leave this world to help Edgar investigate. But when the dead girl turns out to be known to him, Max changes his mind.

Another death, another magic trick: Edgar and Max become convinced that the answer to the murders lies in their army days. When Edgar receives a letter warning of another ‘trick’, the Wolf Trap, he knows that they are all in danger…

mythoughts

I’m sure many of you are familiar with Elly Griffiths’ other series featuring Ruth Galloway (So behind on that one as well. I’ve only read four 🙈) but this one is very different. I’d heard quite a lot about The Vanishing Box, the fourth book in this Stephens and Mephisto Mystery series but as always, I was compelled to start at the beginning.

When the body of a young girl is found, DI Stephens is immediately reminded of a magic trick gone wrong.  The girl’s body has been cut up into three pieces, just like the Zig Zag Girl trick. DI Stephens calls in the help of his old friend, Max Mephisto, with whom he served in the war. Max is a good old-fashioned magician who is still touring around the country from venue to venue in a world that’s constantly changing and where variety show entertainers may just be a dying breed.

Max is reluctant to help until it turns out the dead girl was known to him. When another body turns up, Stephens and Mephisto become convinced that the answer is to be found in their army days. But can they stop the killer before they strike again?

Set in 1950’s Brighton, The Zig Zag Girl is an incredibly original combination of police work with the intriguing world of magic and variety shows. Now, I did figure it out but that didn’t bother me at all. The atmosphere, the fantastic setting and the fabulously colourful and sometimes quirky characters had me completely enthralled.

This cleverly plotted and addictive story had me utterly captivated and it’s such a delight to step away from the more modern crime fiction. DI Stephens doesn’t have access to all the fancy gadgets and resources that are around these days. No smartphones, no computers, no databases. All he has is his wit and his gut instinct and nobody bats an eyelid when he pulls in an amateur to help out with his investigation.

I’m glad I have this in-built urge to start a series at the beginning, no matter how many books there are already. Granted, I don’t know how the other books progress but I feel I may not have connected to these characters the way I did if I had jumped right into book four. As it is, I’m left wanting more from both of them as I’m sure there is a lot more background to discover about Stephens and Mephisto.

Elly Griffiths’ decision to tackle something completely different sure paid off. I enjoyed this historical mystery immensely and I can’t wait to find the time to get caught up on the rest of the series.

The Zig Zag Girl is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

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Book 15 from my 20 Books of Summer list.

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Fatal Inheritance by Rachel Rhys #20BooksofSummer

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Author : Rachel Rhys
Title : Fatal Inheritance
Pages : 400
Publisher : Doubleday
Publication date : June 26, 2018

aboutthebook

1948: Eve Forrester is trapped in a loveless marriage, in a gloomy house, in a grey London suburb.

Then, out of the blue, she receives a solicitor’s letter. A wealthy stranger has left her a mystery inheritance. And to find out more, she must to travel to the glittering French Riviera.

There Eve discovers that her legacy is an enchanting pale pink villa overlooking the Mediterranean sea. Suddenly her life could not be more glamorous. But while she rubs shoulders with film-stars and famous writers, under the heat of the golden sun, rivals to her unexplained fortune begin to emerge. Rivals who want her out of the way.

Alone in this beguiling paradise, Eve must unlock the story behind her surprise bequest – before events turn deadly.

mythoughts

One word : LOVE!!!! There. Now go and buy it.

I adored Rachel Rhys’ previous book, A Dangerous Crossing, and couldn’t wait to read more by her. I had super high expectations for Fatal Inheritance and needing to wait for the stunning hardcover to finally land on my doorstep was excruciating! However, within the first few pages I already knew it had most definitely been worth the wait.

There is something immensely captivating about the way Rachel Rhys writes and it only took minutes for me to find myself completely transported to 1948, where we are introduced to the character of Eve Forrester. To say Eve is a wee miserable might be a slight understatement. Caught up in loveless marriage and living in a grey London suburb in a gloomy house where nothing is to her taste, she often wonders if this is it. Is this the best it’ll ever be?

But then she receives a letter, telling her of an inheritance left to her by a wealthy stranger. To find out more, Eve needs to travel all the way to the south of France. But with a family resentful of her status as an heir, all is not fierce sunshine and lovely smelling flowers.

Set right after the second world war, there was no hardship at all in sympathising with Eve’s circumstances. After all, women had been doing their bit during the war, finding their own feet and surviving, doing jobs intended for men as they were off fighting. Yet now, they are expected to go back to being submissive. Eve’s husband, in particular, is incredibly domineering and highly unlikeable. Her trip to France, where she gets to mingle with celebrities and get a taste of how things could be, will change her life.

I’ve never been to the south of France but the gloriously vivid descriptions made it incredibly easy to imagine the sights, the scents and the feeling of the sun on my skin. Although considering I read this in the middle of a heatwave, the latter wasn’t too hard to do. The mystery as to who has left Eve this inheritance is slowly revealed throughout the story and while I did figure bits out quite early on, it didn’t bother me at all.

Fatal Inheritance is historical fiction from the top shelf. It’s mysterious and exquisitely written. One to savour and enjoy and be utterly immersed in. Did I mention I loved it? I absolutely can’t wait for more by Rachel Rhys!

Fatal Inheritance is available to buy!

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

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Book 14 from my 20 Books of Summer list.

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The Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware #20BooksofSummer

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Author : Ruth Ware
Title : The Death of Mrs Westaway
Pages : 384
Publisher : Harvill Secker
Publication date : June 28, 2018

aboutthebook

On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.

Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the center of it.

mythoughts

Oh boy, I have absolutely no idea how to tackle this review and get across how much I loved The Death of Mrs Westaway. 

Hal receives a letter telling her she’s inherited something. She’s convinced names were mixed up and this inheritance isn’t meant for her. But debts and threats spur her on to rely on the cold-reading skills she’s picked up as a tarot card reader to convince everyone she is a rightful heir and maybe get herself out of trouble.

Despite the fact Hal is about to commit fraud, I couldn’t help but warm to her. She’s a very likeable and complicated character who has fallen on hard times and I was rooting for her all the way, wishing she could get some sort of happy ending.

The Death of Mrs Westaway is not packed full of action, nor would I call it a thriller. It has quite a slow pace but it’s nevertheless incredibly engrossing and as the tension gradually builds up throughout the story, I felt I just couldn’t put it down. It’s an intensely gripping mystery that held my attention, kept me guessing and I devoured it in one day. The Westaway family has secrets like no other and I enjoyed trying to unravel them.

I found this to be quite the dark and haunting story, set against the glorious and slightly creepy feeling of a neglected mansion. It oozes atmosphere and has that delightful gothic vibe to it. The immensely mysterious and character-driven plot full of intrigue had me completely enthralled from start to finish and Ruth Ware’s brilliant writing totally won me over.

This is the first book I’ve read by Ruth Ware and it left me feeling like I’d seriously been missing out. So much so that it prompted me to buy her other books and I can’t wait to find the time to get caught up. For now though, this one shoots right up my list of top books of the year and I highly recommend it!

The Death of Mrs Westaway is available to buy!

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

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Book 11 from my 20 Books of Summer list

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The Girl in the Letter by Emily Gunnis @EmilyGunnis @headlinepg @annecater #blogtour #RandomThingsTours

Delighted to host a stop on the blog tour for The Girl in the Letter by Emily Gunnis today! My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my review copy.

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Author : Emily Gunnis
Title : The Girl in the Letter
Pages : 384
Publisher : Headline
Publication date : August 1, 2018

aboutthebook

In the winter of 1956 pregnant young Ivy is sent in disgrace to St Margaret’s, a home for unmarried mothers in the south of England, run by nuns, to have her child. Her baby daughter is adopted. Ivy will never leave.

Sixty years later, journalist Samantha stumbles upon a series of letters from Ivy to her lover, pleading with him to rescue her from St Margaret’s before it is too late. As Sam pieces together Ivy’s tragic story, terrible secrets about St Margaret’s dark past begin to emerge. What happened to Ivy, to her baby, and to the hundreds of children born in the home? What links a number of mysterious, sudden deaths in the area? And why are those who once worked at St Margaret’s so keen that the truth should never be told? As Sam unpicks the sinister web of lies surrounding St Margaret’s, she also looks deep within – to confront some unwelcome truths of her own…

mythoughts

Wow! The Girl in the Letter has left me rather speechless and let me tell you that doesn’t happen very often. I feel quite lost for words and slightly incapable of forming any kind of coherent sentence, nor do I have a clue as to how to do this novel justice.

In her debut novel, Emily Gunnis tackles one of the most disturbing topics in history. That of the mother and baby homes, where single expecting mothers were sent to give birth away from the disapproving eyes of relatives and neighbours. They were often forced to give their babies up for adoption with no hope of ever seeing them again.

The story starts in 1956 when young Ivy is sent to St. Margaret’s. Abandoned by her family and the boy who got her pregnant, the circumstances in which she finds herself are utterly devastating.  Sixty years later, reporter Samantha stumbles upon letters written by Ivy while at the mother and baby home. Samantha senses there’s a story here that needs to be told. What happened to Ivy? Where is Ivy’s baby? What secrets and lies hide behind the walls of the home?

I don’t want to give too much away about the plot. Yes, there are a few mysteries to be solved and questions to be answered but to be honest, they all kind of melted into the background for me. This was all so realistic and believable, as history has proven it to be, that it near had me in bits. Ivy’s letters are immensely harrowing and the events she describes are incredibly disturbing. I can’t even begin to imagine the hardship of daily life at the home, the loss of a child. Not just at the home but also in later life. It’s devastating to realise that so many people got away with these atrocities.

The Girl in the Letter is a thought-provoking, moving and utterly heartbreaking novel that nearly had me in tears. It made me sad, it made me angry and it’s a novel I won’t be forgetting in a hurry. I’m not entirely sure I’ve managed to get across the impact this novel had on me but I do so hope I’ve said enough to make you want to pick this one up. This is an absolutely incredible debut novel by Emily Gunnis and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

The Girl in the Letter is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

I’ve wanted to be an author since my mum, Penny Vincenzi, got her first book deal when I was 13. We’d spend hours walking and talking about the worlds her characters inhabited and unpicking any plot dead ends she’d found herself in. I absolutely loved it – this is what I wanted to do!

Fast forward 30 years and I’ve discovered it’s a great deal harder than my mother made it look! But still, here I am.

After graduating I wrote scripts and had two episodes of BBC Doctors commissioned but didn’t like all the input from Script Editors and Producers. So, while I worked in various PA jobs I decided to go for it and just kept learning as much as I could until I sold my debut novel, The Girl in the Letter, which is published on eBook on 1st August 2018 and paperback in April 2019. I really hope you enjoy it, and my follow-up novel which I’m busy researching now!

I live in Sussex with my husband Steve and our two beautiful girls, Grace and Eleanor.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter

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