Sister Of Mine by Laurie Petrou | @lauriepetrou @noexitpress | #blogtour #RandomThingsTours

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou! My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my review copy!

Author : Laurie Petrou
Title : Sister of Mine
Pages : 250
Publisher : No Exit Press
Publication date : June 20, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Penny and Hattie are sisters in a small town, bound tight to the point of knots. They share a secret they cannot escape, even while it pulls them apart. 

One night, a match is lit, and Penny’s terrible husband is killed – a marriage going up in flames, and offering the potential of a new life. The sisters retreat into their family home – a house of secrets and memories – and try to live in the shadow of what they put in motion. But Penny’s husband is not the only thing they are hiding, from the outside world and from each other.

Under a cloud of long-held resentments, sibling rivalry, and debts unpaid, the bonds of sisterhood begin to crack. How long will Penny and Hattie demand the unthinkable of each other? How often will they say, “You owe me,” and when will it ever be enough? 

| MY THOUGHTS |

There is always something quite fascinating about the relationship between sisters, for some reason. However, the relationship between Penny and Hattie is a tad on the dysfunctional side.

The two sisters have always found themselves on the outside of the small community where they’ve lived their entire lives. As a teenager, Hattie makes a break for freedom but young love and the lure of her hometown soon bring her back home. After Hattie’s husband dies in a fire, the sisters retreat to their family home and try to live with a massive secret. Sibling rivalry is a dangerous thing, however, and cracks start to appear in their relationship.

Sister of Mine makes for some compulsive reading. While relatively on the slow side, I found myself glued to the pages; wondering what would happen, all the while feeling it couldn’t be anything good. These two characters don’t exactly come across as particularly likeable. Is one a good sister and the other a bad one? Are they both bad? I had a heck of a time trying to decide. Yet, having a younger sister of my own, there were some moments I could absolutely relate to.

There’s a rather great sense of claustrophobia throughout this novel. It’s not only brought on by the small town feeling, where everybody seems to know your business, and no matter how hard you try there doesn’t seem to be any escape. It’s also in the relationship between the sisters themselves. This secret they both keep is an explosive one. One that could change their lives if it ever came out. If you’re not entirely sure the other person will keep their mouth shut, there’s little you can do but constantly keep an eye on them, ultimately putting your own life on hold.

Sister of Mine is a tense and character-driven psychological thriller that really brings to the fore how thin the line between love and hate can be. There are no dazzling twists or shocking surprises but there didn’t need to be. This dark story is all about the complex characters and how far they will go to test the bond between them and this gripping tale of sisterhood will undoubtedly appeal to fans of the domestic family genre.

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Author, Professor, PhD, drinker of tea.

Most of my adventures take place inside books. I am, I think, part Hobbit: I love my books, my armchair, my garden… but I am not at all stealth (was once described as a Clydesdale for the way I clomp around the house).

 My 2nd book, Sister of Mine, won the inaugural Half the World Award, and was on a number of Best Of lists, including the Top 100 Books of 2018 of the Globe and Mail (2nd time running). 

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

This Week in Books (June 5)

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 |

Penny and Hattie are sisters in a small town, bound tight to the point of knots. They share a secret they cannot escape, even while it pulls them apart.

One night, a match is lit, and Penny’s terrible husband is killed – a marriage going up in flames, and offering the potential of a new life. The sisters retreat into their family home – a house of secrets and memories – and try to live in the shadow of what they put in motion. But Penny’s husband is not the only thing they are hiding, from the outside world and from each other.

Under a cloud of long-held resentments, sibling rivalry, and debts unpaid, the bonds of sisterhood begin to crack. How long will Penny and Hattie demand the unthinkable of each other? How often will they say, “You owe me,” and when will it ever be enough? 

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

We all know them. Those who exist just on the fringes of society. Who send prickles up the back of our neck. The charmers. The liars. The manipulators. Those who have the potential to go that one step too far. And then take another step.

Jessamine Gooch makes a living from these people. Each week she broadcasts a radio show looking into the past lives of convicted killers; asking if there was more that could have been done to prevent their terrible crimes.

Then one day she is approached by a woman desperate to find her missing friend, Cassie, fearing her abusive husband may have taken that final deadly step. But as Jessamine delves into the months prior to Cassie’s disappearance she fails to realise there is a dark figure closer to home, one that threatens the safety of her own family . . . 

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

When Liv, Ellen, and Håkon, along with their partners and children, arrive in Rome to celebrate their father’s 70th birthday, a quiet earthquake occurs: their parents have decided to divorce. Shocked and disbelieving, the siblings try to come to terms with their parents’ decision as it echoes through the homes they have built for themselves, and forces them to reconstruct the shared narrative of their childhood and family history.

For those who follow my Sunday wrap-up posts and are keeping track of my reading, I would like to point out that I am currently reading my third book of the week. If you have any bets going on how many books I’ll read this week, now might be the time to have a think on wether or not I’ll get to four (or higher) by the weekend 😉😂

Anything here you’ve read and loved? Anything you’d like to read? What are you reading this week? Let me know! Happy reading! xx

Weekly Wrap-Up (May 12)

The May weather is not playing nice. Dark days, wet and miserable, hail and random thunderstorms … what is this fudgery? All I see when I look out of the window is a garden that is slowly starting to resemble a jungle but I can’t get out there to do anything about it.

Luckily, I have books! Which came in especially handy when I was suddenly confronted with an hour long power cut. I was determined to get ahead of schedule again because my Line of Duty box set is on its way so guess what I’ll be doing next week! Somehow, I have still managed to remain completely spoiler free. It’s an absolute miracle!

So yes, getting ahead of schedule. How did that work out for you, Eva? Well, not so good because for some reason, I ended up with a bunch of books in a row that went over 400 pages and I may also have squeezed in one of my own TBR because … why not?

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

I’ll take that. That’s not too shabby at all! Now if only I could get the reviews written 🙄

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

I love the Six Tudor Queens series and had Anna of Kleve on preorder for what felt like forever. So obviously, when it finally arrived, I dropped everything to read it. The Doll Factory … I’ve been going back and forth on that one for ages but ultimately, it was sprayed edges envy that won out 😂

| ARC’s RECEIVED VIA NETGALLEY |

As you know, I don’t normally read on kindle anymore these days but I was sent a widget for this one by the publisher and by golly, I just couldn’t resist. It’s Tammy Cohen! I love her books! Why yes, I did already read it too.

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

What a week! Sure, these are all for blog tours because I just can’t help myself but whatever. Look at The Whisper Man! One of my most anticipated books of this year and it’s finally arrived! I can’t wait to read this one. May need to turn my schedule upside down again. 🤔 (With thanks to Headline, Orion, No Exit and Michael Joseph)

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Joined the blog tour for The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen with a guest post.

Tuesday : Took the day off

Wednesday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Night By Night by Jack Jordan and shared My Week in Books

Thursday : Reviewed With Our Blessing by Jo Spain

Friday : Took the day off

Saturday : Joined the blog tour for In Two Minds by Alis Hawkins

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Blog tour | Review | Never Be Broken by Sarah Hilary

Tuesday : Blog tour | Review | The Evidence Against You by Gillian McAllister

Wednesday : Blog tour | Review | Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly

Thursday : Blog tour | Review | Tell Me Where You Are by Moira Forsyth

Friday : Review | Anna of Kleve by Alison Weir

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

See the blog tour on Thursday? Yep, still have to read that 😳🤣

In other news, I am having some technical difficulties lately which are extremely annoying. My mornings are usually spent on my laptop, where things works relatively normal. Not all of it, but I found a way around it so that’s okay. But for the rest of the day, I am on my iPad and for some reason WordPress does not play nicely. This means, I am constantly logged out and despite numerous attempts to log in, it just won’t let me. So I have to visit blogs via the WordPress Reader and like/share from there. However, being logged out means I can’t comment! In case you thought I was ignoring your wonderful posts, I’m really not.

Guess what I’m doing today! If you think it’s lounging on the sofa with a good book, accidentally having a nap … you’re wrong! Bloody stupid socialising crap for me again. There should be a law against this stuff. I’m so tired, I feel as if I haven’t slept for a week and I worry I’ll end up with my face in a bowl of soup. I can’t even get the tiniest bit excited about there being wine. Oh dear.

Anyway, I should probably try to write a review of two (five) before I have to get ready. So, that’s it for another week. Hope you all have a great one and lots of happy reading! xx

Death Rope by Leigh Russell @LeighRussell @noexitpress @KatherineSunde3 #blogtour #guestpost #DeathRope #GS11

It’s a pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for Death Rope by Leigh Russell. My thanks to Katherine at No Exit Press for the invitation to join. Author Leigh Russell stops by the blog today to talk about the appeal of evil. But first, here is what the eleventh instalment in the DI Geraldine Steel series is all about.

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Author : Leigh Russell
Title : Death Rope
Series : DI Geraldine Steel #11
Pages : 386
Publisher : No Exit Press
Publication date : July 26, 2018

aboutthebook

THEY SAY SUICIDE. SHE SAYS MURDER.

Mark Abbott is dead. His sister refuses to believe it was suicide, but only Detective Sergeant Geraldine Steel will listen.

When other members of Mark’s family disappear, Geraldine’s suspicions are confirmed.

Taking a risk, Geraldine finds herself confronted by an adversary deadlier than any she has faced before… Her boss Ian is close, but will he arrive in time to save her, or is this the end for Geraldine Steel?

Amazon US | Amazon UK | BookdepositoryKobo | Goodreads

guestpost

The Appeal of Evil 

My detective, Geraldine Steel, is the protagonist in eleven of my books so far, with a cameo role in three more crime thrillers. Had I been more forward thinking, Geraldine might have arrived in the first book of her series as a fully formed character, with a back story in place and a future planned out. But it was the story of the killer which interested me in my debut novel, and that fascination has continued to drive my writing, as I explore what might motivate someone to kill.

A fictional killer’s behaviour has to be sufficiently complex to take time to unravel, but his motive has to be clear and follow some kind of logic, however demented. In a crime novel it is really not satisfactory to explain away the villain’s behaviour by simply writing him off as crazy. There has to be more to it than that, or the detective’s job would become quite random, and the reader would have no chance of solving the mystery.

Some of my books are ‘whodunnits’ in the traditional sense of the word. In other books my readers discover the identity of the killer early on, and in these books the suspense is built through dramatic irony as the reader watches my detective trying to solve the case.

But all of my books have one key element in common: Geraldine Steel. When I introduced my detective in my debut novel, I had no inkling of how popular she would become, or how many books she was going to feature in. Now it seems my original pipe dream of writing twenty books in the series might actually come true.

I’ve always found my villains at least as interesting to write about as my detectives. In some ways, writing about people operating outside the parameters of normal behaviour is quite liberating – although I’m not sure I would go quite as far as William Blake when he said, nearly two hundred and fifty years ago: “The reason Milton wrote in fetters when he wrote of Angels & God, and at liberty when of Devils & Hell, is because he was a true Poet and of the Devil’s party without knowing it.” I like to think that good people can write about the evil aspects of human nature!

Each of my books works as a stand alone, so anyone can read Death Rope without having looked at the books in the series, but Geraldine remains a constant throughout, and I’m still enjoying exploring her story. And now, I’d better get back to work as I’ve left her in the middle of complex case…

abouttheauthor

Leigh Russell is the author of the internationally bestselling Geraldine Steel series: Cut Short, Road Closed, Dead End, Death Bed, Stop DeadFatal ActKiller Plan, Murder Ring, Deadly Alibi and Class Murder. The series has sold over a million copies worldwide. Cut Short was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association (CWA) John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award, and Leigh has been longlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library Award. Her books have been #1 on Amazon Kindle and iTunes with Stop Dead and Murder Ring selected as finalists for The People’s Book Prize. Leigh is chair of the CWA’s Debut Dagger Award judging panel and is a Royal Literary Fellow. Leigh studied at the University of Kent, gaining a Masters degree in English and American Literature. She is married with two daughters and a granddaughter, and lives in London.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter

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The Emperor of Shoes by Spencer Wise @SpencerWise10 @annecater @noexitpress #blogtour #RandomThingsTours

It’s a real pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for The Emperor of Shoes by Spencer Wise today! My thanks to Anne Cater for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my review copy!

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Author : Spencer Wise
Title : The Emperor of Shoes
Pages : 312
Publisher : No Exit Press
Publication date : July 26, 2018

aboutthebook

Alex Cohen, a twenty-six-year-old Jewish Bostonian, is living in southern China, where his father runs their family-owned shoe factory. Alex reluctantly assumes the helm of the company, but as he explores the plant’s vast floors and assembly lines, he comes to a grim realization: employees are exploited, regulatory systems are corrupt and Alex’s own father is engaging in bribes to protect the bottom line. When Alex meets a seamstress named Ivy, his sympathies begin to shift. She is an embedded organizer of a pro-democratic Chinese party, secretly sowing dissonance among her fellow labourers. Will Alex remain loyal to his father and his heritage? Or will the sparks of revolution ignite?

mythoughts

How often do we buy something that says Made in China? When we do, do we stop and wonder about the conditions of the people who made this pair of jeans, this phone in our hand or the shoes on our feet?

At twenty-six years of age, Alex Cohen hasn’t really been questioning these things either, despite the fact his father owns a shoe factory in China. It isn’t until Alex meets Ivy, a seamstress at the factory, that his sympathies begin to shift.

This novel is mainly centred around the relationship between Alex and his father. Alex is fiercely loyal and while he feels changes need to be made somehow, he’s wary of going against everything his father stands for. All he really wants is to make him happy and proud. But Fedor Cohen isn’t a particularly likeable character most of the time. He doesn’t care one iota for his workers, the conditions they work and live in and would like nothing more than to see his son follow in his footsteps. Yet, despite their relationship being quite complicated, it’s also rather wonderful. There’s mutual respect and also a lovely dose of humour.

And then there’s Alex’s relationship with Ivy. Ivy was present at the historical and unforgettable student protests at Tiananmen Square in 1989 and despite the devastating consequences, her desire for a democratic and better China hasn’t waned. Is she using Alex to push through changes, though?

I must admit I struggled with this novel a little bit at the start and wondered if literary fiction was perhaps a step too far for me. But at some point, things just clicked and I became quite engrossed. This is an incredibly thought-provoking novel that gives immense insight into the social issues that plague China and its population. The injustice and the corruption is really laid bare. But it’s not all doom and gloom as there are some quite funny moments too. Chinese proverbs do not translate well to English, for one, and there’s also an older factory worker who apparently learned the little knowledge of English she has through movies.

With wonderfully vivid descriptions of China and an eye-opening topic, this beautifully written and realistic novel about change in every shape or form is a powerful debut by Spencer Wise and I’m glad, that despite the initial struggle, I persevered.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | BookdepositoryKoboGoodreads

abouttheauthor

Spencer Wise is a graduate of Tufts University and the University of Texas at Austin. He recently won the 2017 Gulf Coast Prize in nonfiction. His work has appeared in Narrative magazine, Hayden’s Ferry Review, the Florida Review, and New Ohio Review. Wise teaches at Florida State University and lives in Tallahassee.

Author links : Twitter

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Walden of Bermondsey : Where There’s Smoke by Peter Murphy @noexitpress @KatherineSunde3

** copy received via publisher **

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Author : Peter Murphy
Title : Walden of Bermondsey : Where There’s Smoke
Pages : n/a
Publisher : No Exit Press
Publication date : November 23, 2017

aboutthebook

When Charlie Walden took on the job of Resident Judge of the Bermondsey Crown Court, he was hoping for a quiet life. But he soon finds himself struggling to keep the peace between three feisty fellow judges who have very different views about how to do their job, and about how Charlie should do his.

And as if that’s not enough, there’s the endless battle against the ‘Grey Smoothies’, the humourless grey-suited civil servants who seem determined to drown Charlie in paperwork and strip the court of its last vestiges of civilisation.

No hope of a quiet life then for Charlie, and there are times when his real job – trying the challenging criminal cases that come before him – actually seems like light relief.

mythoughts

This is probably going to be a short review but that’s okay, because the first case of Charlie Walden is a rather short and quick read as well as it’s a sample designed to give you a taster of what’s to come.

Where There’s Smoke is the first of six cases Resident Judge Walden will be working on. When Charlie took up this position, he was hoping for a quiet life. But that was not to be. Apart from trying to keep the peace between fellow judges, he’s also involved in a daily battle with the “Grey Smoothies”, the civil servants who drown Charlie in paperwork and make life as hard as possible.

The case in front of the judge seems straightforward but is it though? A young man is appearing in court, accused of starting a fire at the local church which results in the building being completely unusable. There’s a witness, Father Stringer, who saw the young man leave the scene of the crime. Case closed. Or not?

This is such a breath of fresh air. Not only does it involve some court action, which I thoroughly enjoy but Charlie and his colleagues are a cast of incredibly fun characters. Some are a little odd and eccentric maybe and it’s easy to see why they don’t always get along but they are all vastly entertaining. I suppose this story would fall into the cosy mystery category. What makes it stand out a bit are the fabulously witty moments and seeing a court through the eyes of a judge instead of a lawyer.

This was a wonderful change of pace from the usual books I tend to read and I really enjoyed meeting Charlie Walden. I’ll definitely be picking up the full novel to follow Charlie and his other cases.

Many thanks to Katherine at No Exit Press!

Walden of Bermondsey was published yesterday!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

The Unquiet Dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan @noexitpress

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Author : Ausma Zehanat Khan
Title : The Unquiet Dead
Series : Rachel Getty and Esa Khattak #1
Pages : 352
Publisher : No Exit Press
Publication date : July 19, 2017

aboutthebook

Scarborough Bluffs, Toronto.

The body of Christopher Drayton is found at the foot of the cliffs. Muslim Detective Esa Khattak, head of the Community Policing Unit, and his partner, Rachel Getty, are called in to investigate. As the secrets of Drayton’s role in the 1995 Srebrenica genocide of Bosnian Muslims surface, the harrowing significance of his death makes it difficult to remain objective.

In a community haunted by the atrocities of war, anyone could be a suspect. And when the victim is a man with so many deaths to his name, could it be that justice has at long last been served?

mythoughts

Well, I honestly don’t quite know where to start with this review as I can’t find the words to describe how much it has left me reeling. I don’t normally take breaks while reading a book but in this case, I often felt the need to go off and google fun and fluffy things in an attempt to get rid of the humongous lump in my throat.

Christopher Drayton’s body is found at the foot of the cliffs. Accident or suicide? It soon becomes apparent Drayton wasn’t who he claimed to be so is there a more sinister motive to be found for his death? It’s up to Detective Khattak and his colleague Getty to investigate and figure out the truth.

At its core, the story is a crime fiction one with detectives looking for a potential killer. Their search isn’t easy as anyone could be a suspect. It also comes with much needed diversity and multi-cultural references as Detective Khattak is Muslim. Yet, it is so much more than that as it evolves into something quite thought-provoking that will haunt me for many years to come. Try to imagine coming face to face with a war criminal who’s responsible for the deaths of your entire family. What would you do? Seek justice? Or revenge?

The Unquiet Dead has its roots firmly fixed into an incredibly dark piece of European history that is rarely talked about anymore these days, namely the war in the former republic of Yugoslavia and the genocide in Srebrenica. While I was aware of these atrocities, which happened in the early 90’s, it made for some truly uncomfortable reading.

Some chapters are massively brutal, describing events that are sadly all too prevalent in war. They brought tears to my eyes, rendered me speechless and hit even harder when I got to reading the notes at the end of the book. The storyline is often harrowing, dark and disturbing. It had me gripped from start to finish and I would highly recommend it!

Huge thanks to Maddy at No Exit Press for my advanced electronic copy, which I chose to review honestly!

The Unquiet Dead was published on July 19th.

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