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 July Girls by Phoebe Locke | @phoebe_locke @Wildfirebks @headlinepg @JenRHarlow | #RandomThingsTours

Thrilled to host a stop on the blog tour for The July Girls by Phoebe Locke today! My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the opportunity to join and to the publisher for my review copy!

Author : Phoebe Locke
Title : The July Girls
Pages : 340
Publisher : Wildfire Books / Headline
Publication date : July 25, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

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…

| MY THOUGHTS |

When I read The Tall Man a while ago, I immediately somehow felt Phoebe Locke would be my kind of writer. So when I heard The July Girls was coming, I signed up for this blog tour without even knowing what the book was about, confident that I would like whatever Phoebe Locke came up with this time around. And I was right. (I usually am, OH hates it 😉)

Every year, on the same day, a woman disappears without a trace from the streets of London. That day, July 7th, is Addie’s birthday. Coincidence or not? On her tenth birthday, her father arrives home with his clothes covered in blood. It’s July 7th, 2005. Addie thinks maybe her dad was hurt in the bombings that rocked London that day. Until her sister, Jessie, finds a purse belonging to a missing woman hidden in their dad’s bedroom. Is Addie’s dad a killer?

This story is told through the eyes of Addie, whom the reader follows throughout her teenage years as she struggles to deal with all the secrets she carries and the burden on her shoulders seems to grow with each year. I really enjoyed watching Addie develop throughout the story, how her voice changed as she grew up, how the things she just accepted as a ten year old suddenly didn’t seem to fit as she got older and matured.

You may think having a story told through a ten year old would come across as childish but you’d be awfully wrong. It was actually quite refreshing to see the world through innocent eyes, that little dash of naivety Addie still has, amidst the darkness in the world and then to sadly see that innocence shattered as she gets older.

The July Girls is immensely absorbing and extremely suspenseful. It’s one of those books that draws you in from the very beginning and just won’t let go. Now, I am awfully suspicious by nature so apart from Addie, I found it hard to trust anyone in this story as the characters were highly intriguing and constantly seemed to have something to hide. And yes, there is a mystery or a few murders to solve, one I couldn’t figure out at all. But that’s not the be all and end all of The July Girls. This is a story about relationships, family dynamics and secrets with a sense of impending doom hanging above it. That feeling you get when you know something is coming but you can’t figure out what that is.

I fear my review isn’t doing this book any justice. Sometimes words are just so hard to find. It isn’t just the storyline that had me hooked throughout but Phoebe Locke’s writing is really something else. Incredibly immersive and beautiful, it adds an extra layer to this story and all I can really say is : I’m a fan and I look forward immensely to whatever Phoebe Locke comes up with next!

The July Girls is available to buy!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

PHOEBE LOCKE is the pseudonym of full-time writer Nicci Cloke. She previously worked at the Faber Academy, and hosted London literary salon Speakeasy. Nicci has had two literary novels published by Fourth Estate and Cape, and also writes YA for Hot Key Books. She lives and writes in Cambridgeshire. THE JULY GIRLS follows Phoebe Locke’s debut thriller THE TALL MAN.

Weekly Wrap-Up (June 23)

Boy, am I glad to see the back of this week. So much stress and anxiety, tis not good for the soul.

On Tuesday, the ball-and-chain and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. Condolences welcome 😉. Now, you’d think that after 20 years, he would know that a) I don’t like surprises and b) I don’t like being the centre of attention. So naturally, he organised something behind my back that “involved other people”. I didn’t know where we were going, what I was supposed to wear, when I was supposed to be ready, nothing. And I hated every single minute of that day. Turns out we just went to a fancy restaurant with his stepbrother and stepbrother’s wife. And it was fantastic, had a really good time, sat outside until midnight, ate great food, drank fabulous wine and a cheeky limoncello or two.

But I could have done without the added stress as doggie wasn’t well again and I hated having to leave her behind with my mother-in-law, the babysitter. Yoshi was incredibly unsteady on her paws, almost toppled over a few times. She wouldn’t eat, she slept a lot. All in all, just not the kind of behaviour I’m used to from her. She’s also started walking into furniture as her sight is going. Anyway, stressful! For those wondering, she seems to be a bit better now but I’m obviously watching her like a hawk.

Obviously, all of this took a massive toll on my reading. I knew those 7 books last week would be a fluke but I wasn’t prepared for this week’s downward spiral. 😂

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

Yep. Three. That’s it. Apart from a book where I got to 200 pages and then abandoned it. Two absolute corkers up there though! I’m sure you’ll be able to guess which ones 😉

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

Of course I was going to get a hardback of The Whisper Man for my shelves! While browsing, I stumbled upon Allen Eskens and I really need to get caught up on his books so there is one. Charlie Donlea is someone I keep hearing lots about. I’ve only read two of his books so far, although I do have the others.

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

Black Summer was a book I chose in a giveaway I won. The other two are for blog tours, kindly forwarded on by Zoé 😘

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Death and Other Happy Endings by Melanie Cantor

Tuesday : Joined the blog tour for Forget Me Not by Claire Allan

Wednesday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for The Serpent’s Mark by S.W. Perry

Thursday : Reviewed Beneath the Surface by Jo Spain

Friday : Joined the blog tour for The Whisper Man by Alex North

Saturday : Took the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

I’m impressed with myself for getting this all out there on the right days and on time, considering the week I’ve had.

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Review | The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

Tuesday : Review | After the End by Claire Mackintosh

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Blog tour | Don’t Ever Tell by Lucy Dawson

Friday : Review | The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Look at that! Just the one blog tour! Do you need a minute? Feel a tad faint? 😂

My next blog tour isn’t until July 3rd. But I’ve only read 5 books from my 20 Books of Summer list so far, so I really need to get a move on. This upcoming week promises to be HOT AS HELL with temperatures of 38°C coming our way. The perfect excuse for doing absolutely nothing but read. Hopefully by the weekend, I’ll have another 7 books under my belt because this silly 3 just will not do!

Right, I have one review to write. I know, you’re jealous. Then I might browse around, possibly buy some more books as I still have a tiny bit of room left on my shelves and it looks stupid 😉.

Hope everyone has a fabulous week! If you’re caught up in a heatwave as I am, stay cool and drink lots of water. If not, erm, sorry 😂. Until next time! Happy reading! xx

My Top 20 Favourite Reads of 2018

What an absolutely amazing year for books it has been! 

Just like last year, I thought splitting things up between series and stand-alones would help narrow down the list but nope. A Top 10 was never going to happen here. Despite the fact that my reading mojo was up and down like a bloody yo-yo all year, I still managed to read 250 books. Sure, that’s 50 less than last year but do I care? Clue : no, I don’t 😉

Anyway, I present to you My Top 20 Favourite (stand-alone) Reads of 2018. With apologies to the authors/books I had to drop from the list.

In no particular order, except for the Top 5, here we go!

Phoebe Locke – The Tall Man [my review]
Louise Voss – The Old You [my review]
Linwood Barclay – A Noise Downstairs [my review]
Mark Edwards – The Retreat [my review]

Ane Riel – Resin [no review]
Joanna Cannon – Three Things About Elsie [no review]
Gillian McAllister – No Further Questions [my review]
Shari Lapena – An Unwanted Guest [my review]

Lesley Kara – The Rumour [review to follow]
Karin Slaughter – Pieces of Her [my review]
SJI Holliday – The Lingering [my review]
Elly Griffiths – The Stranger Diaries [review to follow]

Gill Paul – The Lost Daughter [my review]
Louise Beech – The Lion Tamer Who Lost [my review]
Rachel Rhys – Fatal Inheritance [my review]

Top 5

5. C.J. Tudor – The Chalk Man [my review]
4. Ruth Ware – The Death of Mrs Westaway [my review]
3. Liz Nugent – Skin Deep [my review]
2. Elizabeth Haynes – The Murder of Harriet Monckton [my review]

My favourite book of the year is …

I don’t think this comes as a huge surprise. When I read this back in February, I said it would take something insanely special to knock this off the top spot. Skin Deep and Harriet Monckton came awfully close but in the end, “Agatha Christie on crack” won out. [my review]

A massive thank you to all the authors, publishers and Netgalley for making 2018 so spectacular! And to you, my fellow bloggers and readers, huge thanks for the support, for visiting and for commenting! ❤️

The Tall Man by Phoebe Locke @phoebe_locke @Wildfirebks @annecater #blogtour #RandomThingsTours

I’m so excited to host the blog tour for The Tall Man by Phoebe Locke today! My thanks to  Anne Cater for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my fabulous review copy!

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Author : Phoebe Locke
Title : The Tall Man
Pages : 362
Publisher : Wildfire Books / Headline
Publication date : June 14, 2018

aboutthebook

1990: In the darkest woods, three girls devote themselves to a sinister figure.

2000: A young mother disappears, leaving behind her husband and baby daughter.

2018: A teenage girl is charged with murder, and her trial will shock the world.

Three chilling events, connected by the shadow he casts.

He is the Tall Man. He can make you special…

mythoughts

Have you met the Tall Man? Be afraid. Be very afraid!

This is one of those reviews where I’m being deliberately vague. I’m not telling you anything about the plot for fear of giving something away. All you really need to know is right there in the book description.

The Tall Man is a slow-burner of a thriller that packs quite the punch. For the longest time, I couldn’t at all get a handle on things, wasn’t quite sure what to make of it and felt a little confused. Yet I was constantly intrigued enough to keep reading.

Phoebe Locke does an absolutely brilliant job of giving just the right amount of teasers while all the while slowly building up to some incredible reveals. During the latter part of the novel, I couldn’t flip the pages fast enough, desperate to know what had actually happened. When the pieces of the puzzle finally fell into place, it was just the most deliciously shocking moment.

None of these characters are particularly likeable for all sorts of reasons that become clear throughout the story. I especially had a hard time dealing with the relentlessness of the true crime crew and the depths they’ll go to in pursuit of those all-important viewer ratings. It’s harsh and cruel and goes to show how little they care about the person behind the story, forgetting this isn’t just someone’s story but someone’s life.

This is a dark, haunting and chilling story about urban legends and murder. It’s about redemption, revenge and motherhood and it comes with a delightfully high creepiness factor. Utterly addictive, brilliantly plotted and highly suspenseful, this debut thriller by Phoebe Locke should probably better not be read in the dark. Loved it!

The Tall Man is available to buy!

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

abouttheauthor

PHOEBE LOCKE is the pseudonym of full-time writer Nicci Cloke. She previously worked at the Faber Academy, and hosted London literary salon Speakeasy. Nicci has had two literary novels published by Fourth Estate and Cape, and also writes YA for Hot Key Books. She lives and writes in London. THE TALL MAN is Phoebe Locke’s debut thriller.

Author links : Twitter

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This Week in Books (June 13)

this-week-in-books

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

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Time stops for Jen when her beloved daughter, Gracie, is involved in a terrible car crash. Pronounced dead at the scene, it’s a miracle when paramedics manage to then resuscitate the little girl.

The relief Jen feels at Gracie’s recovery is matched only by her fury at the driver of the car – her ex-husband’s new girlfriend Ella. Jen has never trusted Ella, and now her worst fears have been confirmed.

But then Gracie begins to tell strange stories about what she heard in the car that day, and what she saw in those moments near death. It’s clear that there’s something shocking hidden in Ella’s past… but exposing it could tear all their lives apart.


The book I’m currently reading

35442765

1990: In the darkest woods, three girls devote themselves to a sinister figure.

2000: A young mother disappears, leaving behind her husband and baby daughter.

2018: A teenage girl is charged with murder, and her trial will shock the world.

Three chilling events, connected by the shadow he casts.


What I’m (probably) reading next

39403777

On a damp October day, a body is found in an abandoned hospital, too burnt to be identified, but Detective Alex King knows that every victim is someone’s daughter or son.

Pushing aside her own troubles, Alex puts everything into finding the killer, but when someone else is found dead, she begins to suspect that the body in the hospital was just the first of many.

Just as Alex uncovers a heart-breaking link between the victims, she finds her own safety under threat. Is this a figure from her past hell-bent on revenge, or could the murderer be even nearer than she thinks?

Alex is running out of time. Can she catch the killer before they take another life, or will they get to her first?

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