Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech | @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks @annecater | #blogtour #RandomThingsTours #recommended

Delighted beyond words to host a stop on the blog tour for Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech today! My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invitation to join and to Karen Sullivan at Orenda books for the fabulous review copy!

Author : Louise Beech
Title : Call Me Star Girl
Pages : 276
Publisher : Orenda
Publication date : April 18, 2019 (paperback)

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Tonight is the night for secrets…

Pregnant Victoria Valbon was brutally murdered in an alley three weeks ago – and her killer hasn’t been caught.

Tonight is Stella McKeever’s final radio show. The theme is secrets. You tell her yours, and she’ll share some of hers.

Stella might tell you about Tom, a boyfriend who likes to play games, about the mother who abandoned her, now back after twelve years. She might tell you about the perfume bottle with the star-shaped stopper, or about her father …

What Stella really wants to know is more about the mysterious man calling the station … who says he knows who killed Victoria, and has proof.

Tonight is the night for secrets, and Stella wants to know everything…

| MY THOUGHTS |

Thoughts? Ha! Bloody hell, I don’t know. I can’t even begin to think of any words. I hurt. Way deep inside, like an awful physical pain that makes me want to curl up into a tiny ball under the duvet and just weep.

Louise Beech is one of maybe two authors who always manages to make me cry in the ugliest way possible. So when I heard she had gone down the dark path and written a psychological thriller, I felt relieved and my first thought was how I wouldn’t need to stock up on tissues and explain to my other half why my eyes were so red. There’s only so many times you can use the “I was chopping onions” excuse, you know.

How wrong I was. How massively wrong to think for just one second that Louise Beech would somehow stick to the “rules” of this genre. Because we all know by now this is an author who doesn’t fit neatly into a labeled box and neither does Call Me Star Girl. I was expecting something dark and boy, did I get that! But despite all the warnings, I was not prepared for how devastating this story would turn out to be.

Such incredible characterisation, such complex and multi-layered personalities, so many secrets and throughout it all a stunning Noir vibe, feeling like I was watching an old black and white movie and then the utterly exquisite writing, which just pulls you in, sweeps you up and away, becoming so immersed you forget everything and everyone around you, all the while stirring something deep inside. Call Me Star Girl is intensely compelling, emotional, memorable and thought-provoking. What would you do for love?

This is the kind of novel that causes book hangovers. I don’t know where to go from here. My heart is broken and nobody is able to elicit those kinds of emotions from me but the amazingly talented and incomparable Louise Beech. Wherever she goes, whatever she writes, I will follow her without a moment’s hesitation.

Call Me Star Girl is available to buy!

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| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. The follow-up, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Both of her previous books Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost were widely reviewed, critically acclaimed and number-one bestsellers on Kindle. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award in 2019.

Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice.

Louise lives with her husband on the outskirts of Hull, and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012.

Perfect Crime by Helen Fields | @Helen_Fields @AvonBooksUK @Sabah_K | #blogtour #bookreview #PerfectCrime

Delighted to join the blog tour for Perfect Crime by Helen Fields today! My thanks to Sabah at Avon for the opportunity to join and for the review copy!

Author : Helen Fields
Title : Perfect Crime
Series : DI Luc Callanach #5
Pages : 400
Publisher : Avon UK
Publication date : April 18, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Stephen Berry is about to jump off a bridge until a suicide prevention counsellor stops him. A week later, Stephen is dead. Found at the bottom of a cliff, DI Luc Callanach and DCI Ava Turner are drafted in to investigate whether he jumped or whether he was pushed…

As they dig deeper, more would-be suicides roll in: a woman found dead in a bath; a man violently electrocuted. But these are carefully curated deaths – nothing like the impulsive suicide attempts they’ve been made out to be.

Little do Callanach and Turner know how close their perpetrator is as, across Edinburgh, a violent and psychopathic killer gains more confidence with every life he takes…

| MY THOUGHTS |

Let me just start my review by saying that if you’re not reading this series, I am judging you like a big, bad judging thing! This is one of the best crime fiction series out there and you are sorely missing out!

Perfect Crime is the fifth instalment in the DI Luc Callanach series and by now, these characters feel like family and I am always excited about spending more time with them. Before you ask, no, you really shouldn’t treat these as stand-alones. Start from the beginning. I promise you won’t regret it!

Things kick off when Stephen Berry is getting ready to jump off a bridge. Luckily, a suicide prevention counsellor manages to talk him down but a week later, Stephen is found dead at the bottom of a cliff. DI Luc Callanach and DCI Ava Turner are called in to investigate whether Stephen killed himself or was murdered. But the deaths do not stop there …

Meanwhile, Callanach is finding himself in hot water when he visits someone in a care home who is later found dead. I won’t say anything else about that so I don’t spoil things for those who haven’t read the previous books (shame on you! 😂) but I will say I really enjoyed this second thread of the story. Switching back and forth between the two investigations really held my attention.

I mentioned these characters feel like family by now so when they hurt, I hurt. And there is a lot of “hurt” going on in this one. Relationships shift, some characters managed to surprise me, others infuriated me and through it all are original, frightening and gruesome deaths as I’ve come to expect from this series.

I very early on figured out what was going on but that didn’t ruin things for me at all. I became so absorbed in the investigation that I almost forgot about my suspect. Helen Fields always delivers gripping, compelling, thrilling and tense stories full of intriguing (and sometimes totally crazy) characters. This is one of those series that just keeps getting better and better and I can’t wait to see what Helen Fields comes up with next but I know it will be awesome once again. Highly recommended!

Perfect Crime is available to buy!

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Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

While you’re there, why not grab yourself copies of the previous books in the series 😉

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Helen Fields studied law at the University of East Anglia, then went on to the Inns of Court School of Law in London. After completing her pupillage, she joined chambers in Middle Temple where she practised criminal and family law for thirteen years. After her second child was born, Helen left the Bar.

Together with her husband David, she runs a film production company, acting as script writer and producer. Helen and her husband now live in Los Angeles with their three children and two dogs.

55 by James Delargy | @JDelargyAuthor @simonschusterUK | #whoisfiftyfive #RandomThingsTours

Thrilled to bits to join the blog tour for “55” by James Delargy today! My thanks to Anne Cater for the opportunity to join and to the publisher for my fabulous review copy!

Author : James Delargy
Title : 55
Pages : 432
Publisher : Simon & Schuster
Publication date : April 4, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Wilbrook in Western Australia is a sleepy, remote town that sits on the edge of miles and miles of unexplored wilderness. It is home to Police Sergeant Chandler Jenkins, who is proud to run the town’s small police station, a place used to dealing with domestic disputes and noise complaints.

All that changes on a scorching day when an injured man stumbles into Chandler’s station. He’s covered in dried blood. His name is Gabriel. He tells Chandler what he remembers.

He was drugged and driven to a cabin in the mountains and tied up in iron chains. The man who took him was called Heath. Heath told Gabriel he was going to be number 55. His 55th victim.

Heath is a serial killer.

As a manhunt is launched, a man who says he is Heath walks into the same station. He tells Chandler he was taken by a man named Gabriel. Gabriel told Heath he was going to be victim 55.

Gabriel is the serial killer.

Two suspects. Two identical stories. Which one is the truth?

| MY THOUGHTS |

When I first spotted this book on Twitter, I just knew it was one I had to read. The fascinating and intriguing premise caught my eye instantly. Who is fifty-five indeed?! My expectations were high but as soon as I started reading the first page, I was already convinced James Delargy was going to live up to them. And then some.

Welcome to the sleepy town of Wilbrook, Western Australia. A town so remote, it’s almost falling off the map. A town surrounded by stunning landscapes and beautiful Mother Nature and yet, it feels oddly claustrophobic. Nothing much ever happens in Wilbrook. It’s the kind of town you leave behind in a trail of dust on your way to the bright lights of the big cities.

The small police department mostly deals with domestic disputes, noise complaints, maybe a drunken fight here and there. But all that changes when a blood-soaked Gabriel enters the station. He says he was kidnapped by a serial killer called Heath, who told him he was going to be his fifty-fifth victim. Police Sergeant Chandler Jenkins quickly launches a manhunt for this Heath but to his surprise, Heath walks into the police station himself, telling the exact same story. Two suspects or two victims?

Yes, good luck trying to figure that one out. Every time I thought I had it figured out, something would happen to make me doubt myself and my opinion shifted. These characters are so immensely intriguing and one or two are also awfully unlikeable. Somehow whatever is going on draws parallels with events from the past, which at some point led me to having one of those exciting eureka moments. But for the most part, my theories kept changing throughout the story as the author kept me guessing until the end, unable to predict the outcome.

Speaking of outcomes, I normally make it a point not to mention endings but I can’t wrap this review up without it this time. It is just extremely shocking and it left me so immensely flabbergasted, I had to read it three times. Only to spend the next ten minutes gazing into the distance wondering what the hell I just read. Fa-bu-lous!

This isn’t an easy one to review. Obviously I don’t want to give anything away and all you really need to know is right there in the book description. I will say “55” is brilliantly plotted, extremely clever, delightfully atmospheric and an incredibly addictive page-turner. I found it so intensely gripping that I just couldn’t put it down and devoured it in one glorious reading session. I’m pretty sure you’ll be seeing this book again in my end-of-year wrap up. Loved it!

“55” is an incredible debut and I can’t wait to see what James Delargy comes up with next. In the meantime, I’ll be recommending “55” until I’m blue in the face.

“55” is available to buy!

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Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

James Delargy was born and raised in Ireland and lived in South Africa, Australia and Scotland, before ending up in semi-rural England where he now lives. He incorporates his diverse knowledge of towns, cities, landscape and culture picked up on his travels into his writing. 

55 is his first novel, which has been sold in 19 countries so far and optioned for film by Zucker Productions in partnership with Prodigy Pictures.

Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts | @ellakroftpatel @QuercusBooks | #FindingDorothy #recommended

Today is publication day for the wonderful Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts! Huge thanks to Quercus and Ella Patel for my stunning review copy!

Author : Elizabeth Letts
Title : Finding Dorothy
Pages : 368
Publisher : Quercus
Publication date : April 4, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Maud Gage Baum, widow of the author of the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, met Judy Garland, the young actress playing the role of Dorothy on the set of The Wizard of Oz in 1939. At the time, Maud was seventy-eight and Judy was sixteen. In spite of their age difference, Maud immediately connected to Judy–especially when Maud heard her sing “Over the Rainbow,” a song whose yearning brought to mind the tough years in South Dakota when Maud and her husband struggled to make a living–until Frank Baum’s book became a national sensation.

This wonderfully evocative two-stranded story recreates Maud’s youth as the rebellious daughter of a leading suffragette, and the prairie years of Maud and Frank’s early days when they lived among the people–especially young Dorothy–who would inspire Frank’s masterpiece. Woven into this past story is one set in 1939, describing the high-pressured days on The Wizard of Oz film set where Judy is being badgered by the director, producer, and her ambitious stage mother to lose weight, bind her breasts, and laugh, cry, and act terrified on command. As Maud had promised to protect the original Dorothy back in Aberdeen, she now takes on the job of protecting young Judy.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Sometimes you pick up a book and like magic, everything seems to fall into place. For me, Finding Dorothy is one of those books. It’s extremely hard for me to put into words exactly why that is but I completely fell in love with everything about it. The era, the characters, the writing itself … it all came together and created such a wonderful reading experience.

1939, Hollywood. Filming has started on The Wizard of Oz, based on the book by L. Frank Baum. His seventy-eight year old widow, Maud, feels fiercely protective of her husband’s story. After all, she knows all its secrets and she’s determined to make the sure the film will do her husband’s story justice. But she soon realises she may need to protect the film’s star Judy Garland as well.

Maud’s story is a fascinating one. Growing up as the daughter of Matilda Joslyn Gage, it seemed her life had been entirely planned out. Matilda was a fierce and determined woman who battled for women’s right to vote and for girls to be allowed a higher education. Maud ends up being one of the first female coeds at Cornell University. But her mother’s shadow follows her everywhere and Maud never really quite finds her place there. Then she meets Frank. An actor, a weaver of stories and words, a dreamer and he completely sweeps her off her feet. And me right alongside with it.

Both Maud and Frank captured my heart from the moment I met them. From traveling throughout the country with theatre shows, to living in the harsh prairies of the Dakota Territory where they struggled to make a living, to that moment where the stars align and Frank creates his masterpiece, I became utterly invested and engrossed.

Even though Frank, who’s incredibly fickle and apparently unable to settle down, got on my nerves sometimes; even though I sometimes felt Maud needed a bit more of a backbone; and even though at times I much more enjoyed the chapters about their lives than the ones set in 1939, I found this novel immensely immersive. At some points it even brought a lump to my throat and throughout it all there’s Maud, this energetic and passionate woman whom I absolutely adored.

“Magic isn’t things materializing out of nowhere. Magic is when a lot of people all believe in the same thing at the same time, and somehow we all escape ourselves a little bit and we meet up somewhere, and just for a moment, we taste the sublime.”

This quote sums up my reading experience entirely. I have tasted the sublime. This review doesn’t do this novel justice at all but I hope it does bring across how much I love it and that you decide to give it a go and hopefully have the same enchanting and magical experience I had.

Finding Dorothy publishes today!

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Run Away by Harlan Coben | @HarlanCoben @PenguinUKBooks

Author : Harlan Coben
Title : Run Away
Pages : 384
Publisher : Penguin UK
Publication date : March 21, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

You’ve lost your daughter.

She’s addicted to drugs and to an abusive boyfriend. And she’s made it clear that she doesn’t want to be found.

Then, quite by chance, you see her busking in New York’s Central Park.

But she’s not the girl you remember. This woman is wasted, frightened and clearly in trouble.

You don’t stop to think. You approach her, beg her to come home.

She runs.

And you follow her into a dark and dangerous world you never knew existed. Where criminal gangs rule, where drugs are the main currency, and murder is commonplace.

Now it’s your life on the line. And nowhere and no one is safe.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Harlan Coben is one of those authors who slipped off my radar for a couple of years but I’ve been trying to correct that mistake the last few weeks by reading “The Stranger” (soon to be a Netflix series), by watching “Safe” (currently on Netflix and it’s brilliant!), by buying some of his older books and by getting my hands on his latest release, Run Away. (sprayed edges! 😍)

Simon’s eldest daughter is a drug addict and has gone missing. Until one day, Simon spots her busking in Central Park. When he approaches her and begs her to come home, she runs off. Simon’s daughter is nothing like he remembered her. Drugs have wreaked havoc on her body and she’s quite obviously in trouble so what’s a parent to do? Simon will not rest until his daughter is safe but he soon finds himself in a dark and dangerous world. And that’s all I’m saying because it’s really all you need to know and also, I can’t possibly begin to explain.

It’s safe to say this story went in a completely different direction than I was expecting. Alongside the thread that follows Simon, there’s another one whose purpose I couldn’t figure out at all. When the pieces of the puzzle finally started to fit, I was in awe of how masterfully this entire plot came together.

Run Away grabbed me by the throat so fiercely from the very first chapter that I was immediately kicking myself for losing track of Harlan Coben’s work. I’m hard pressed to think of any other author out there who writes this kind of suspenseful thriller, taking a realistic scenario and then completely turning it onto its head. Simon is just your regular parent, not some kind of action hero and I’m sure anyone with children can relate to his situation. Is there anything he could have done differently? Is he to blame for the downward spiral his daughter has found herself in? Is there ever a time when you completely give up on them?

There’s something quite cinematic about the way Harlan Coben writes, in that way that you can see scenes play out right in front of your eyes as if you’re watching them on a screen, and if that doesn’t make for an incredibly immersive reading experience, I don’t know what will. I wouldn’t at all be surprised if this too finds its way onto Netflix some time soon.

Run Away is full of twists and turns, lies and deceit and few things or characters are what they seem. This well paced and cleverly plotted story makes for one addictive page-turner. There is just no way to stop reading once you’ve started. Let that be a warning to you! Above all, it has put Harlan Coben firmly back onto my radar and I will not lose sight of him again.

Run Away is available to buy!

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The Girl Next Door by Phoebe Morgan | @Phoebe_A_Morgan @HQstories

Author : Phoebe Morgan
Title : The Girl Next Door
Pages : 384
Publisher : HQ
Publication date : February 21, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Perfect mother. Perfect wife. Jane Goodwin has spent years building her picture-perfect life in the quiet town of Ashdon.

So when the girl next door, sixteen-year-old Clare Edwards, is found murdered, Jane knows she must first protect her family.

Every marriage has a few white lies and hers is no exception. Jane’s worked hard to cover up her dark secret from all those years ago – and she’ll do anything to keep it hidden…

| MY THOUGHTS |

I thoroughly enjoyed Phoebe Morgan’s debut novel The Doll House when I read it last year but this one? Hoo boy! It’s on a completely different level and I absolutely loved it! From the very first pages, I could already tell I was in for a treat.

Have I mentioned yet how much I love small town settings? Life in the quiet town of Ashdon seems picture perfect. Nothing much ever happens here until the day sixteen year old Clare Edwards is found murdered. But even though we get a few flashbacks about Clare’s last day on the planet, this story isn’t really about her. It’s more about her neighbour, Jane. From the beginning, I sensed there was something off about her. Jane is very much about appearances and didn’t come across as particularly likeable. Yet it is also rather obvious that the mask she wears hides lies and secrets, making her instantly fascinating and intriguing.

At the heart of The Girl Next Door is quite a dark and disturbing topic. You just never know what goes on behind closed doors and this story is no different. So deliciously twisted and incredibly cleverly done, I found myself utterly engrossed. The pace was spot on and the storyline was so immensely compelling that I kept flipping the pages faster and faster.

Plenty of secrets and lies are to be discovered in Ashdon and of course, there is the death of Clare that needs solving. I thought I had this figured out, then kept changing my mind and ended up getting it entirely wrong. This is one of those books that lends itself perfectly to be read in one long reading session. It’s incredibly addictive and the few moments where I had to put the book down for pesky things like dinner, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

Ultimately, this left me rather sad and angry at the injustice of it all but I loved every single word on every single page and I can’t wait to read more by Phoebe Morgan! I highly recommend The Girl Next Door and Phoebe Morgan is without a doubt one to watch!

The Girl Next Door is available to buy!

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Now You See Her by Heidi Perks | @HeidiPerksBooks @arrowpublishing @Rachel90Kennedy | #NowYouSeeHer

Happy paperback publication day to Heidi Perks!

Author : Heidi Perks
Title : Now You See Her
Pages : 416
Publisher : Arrow Publishing
Publication date : March 7, 2019 (UK paperback)

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

NOW YOU SEE HER

She’s playing at the school fete with your children. You pull out your phone, scroll through Facebook, and look up again.

NOW YOU DON’T

Charlotte is looking after her best friend’s daughter the day she disappears. She thought the little girl was playing with her own children. She swears she only took her eyes off them for a second.

Now, Charlotte must do the unthinkable, tell her best friend Harriet that her only child is missing. The child she was meant to be watching.

Devastated, Harriet can no longer bear to see Charlotte. No one could expect her to trust her friend again.

Only now she needs to. Because two weeks later Harriet and Charlotte are both being questioned separately by the police. And secrets are about to surface.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Holy bejeebus! How did I not read this book sooner?!

Charlotte takes her children and her friend Harriet’s daughter, Alice, to the school fete. But then Alice disappears. Despite intense search parties, there is no trace of her. How do you tell your friend you’ve lost her child? Their friendship unsurprisingly hits rock bottom. Harriet can never trust Charlotte again but now, two weeks after Alice’s disappearance, she has to. Because she and Charlotte are being questioned by the police …

And then! OMG! I can’t tell you! But holy WOW! If at any point you think “Ha! I totally know where this is going!” … no! NO! You so don’t! Or at least, I didn’t. I was completely blindsided and left reeling. Bloody love it when an author manages to do that to me! In the blink of an eye, Heidi Perks takes the topic of a missing child (let’s face it, it’s not like it hasn’t been done before) and turns it completely on its head, blowing me away with the force of a gale.

Poor Charlotte! The author did a brilliant job of getting across the position she finds herself in. Alice disappeared on her watch after all. With fingers pointing to her everywhere, people leaving nasty comments on newspaper articles and her friends distancing themselves from her … I’d never leave my house again, to be honest. It’s all quite realistic and believable and I really felt for her. I’m sure any mother can relate. It only takes a split second of averting your eyes for a child to suddenly not be where you saw them last.

A missing child, secrets galore, twists that left my head spinning and so much more I can’t talk about without giving anything away (but it involves an incredibly despicable character) … It all resulted in me not just devouring this book, but absolutely inhaling it! Gripping, compelling, utterly addictive and I just knew it would cause a book hangover.

Now You See Her is brilliantly plotted. It isn’t packed full of action as its focus is very much on the intriguing characters but it had me absolutely engrossed from start to finish. Loved it and I highly recommend it if you enjoy your psychological thrillers.

Huge thanks to Rachel Kennedy at Arrow Publishing for my review copy!

Now You See Her is out in paperback today!

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Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Wordery

The Taking of Annie Thorne by C.J. Tudor | @cjtudor @MichaelJBooks @JennyPlatt90 | #TheTakingofAnnieThorne #blogtour #recommended

Absolutely thrilled to bits to host a stop on the blog tour for The Taking of Annie Thorne by C.J. Tudor today! Huge thanks to Jenny Platt at Michael Joseph for the invitation to join and for the fabulous review copy!

Author : C.J. Tudor
Title : The Taking of Annie Thorne (The Hiding Place)
Pages : 344
Publisher : Michael Joseph
Publication date : February 21, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Joe never wanted to come back to Arnhill. After the way things ended with his old gang–the betrayal, the suicide, the murder–and after what happened when his sister went missing, the last thing he wanted to do was return to his hometown. But Joe doesn’t have a choice. Because judging by what was done to that poor Morton kid, what happened all those years ago to Joe’s sister is happening again. And only Joe knows who is really at fault.

Lying his way into a teaching job at his former high school is the easy part. Facing off with former friends who are none too happy to have him back in town–while avoiding the enemies he’s made in the years since–is tougher. But the hardest part of all will be returning to that abandoned mine where it all went wrong and his life changed forever, and finally confronting the shocking, horrifying truth about Arnhill, his sister, and himself. Because for Joe, the worst moment of his life wasn’t the day his sister went missing. It was the day she came back. 

| MY THOUGHTS |

Oh my word, where to even start?! I’ve been a proud C.J. Tudor fan from the second I read The Chalk Man. Quite frankly, if I were a teenager and she was a rockstar, her poster would be on my bedroom wall. I can’t possibly begin to describe the excitement that coursed through me when I was finally able to pick up The Taking of Annie Thorne. Yes, I had high expectations but I was never in any doubt whatsoever that I would just love this book to pieces. And I did!

This is a tough one to review without giving anything away. Other than the exquisite book trailer, I knew absolutely nothing about this book and it’s the best way to experience it. Also, if you’re expecting some incredibly coherent review, this one won’t be it. If I could have gotten away with four paragraphs of exclamation marks, I totally would have done it. I find it extremely hard to explain why I love this book so much and I can only hope it comes across somewhat (possibly in a slightly embarrassing way, I do apologise) and it’ll convince you to give this one a go.

I don’t know what it is about small town settings but I just love them and they don’t come any more intriguing than Arnhill does. It feels particularly gloomy and depressing. Joe never thought he’d go back there. Who would even want to? Especially after what happened.

When my sister was eight years old, she disappeared.

And then she came back.

[Note to self : never move anywhere near a mine pit. Also, always keep the loo lid down.]

As someone who was a teenager herself in the 80’s, any and all references to that era just make me giddy and there are a lot of them in this story that put a huge smile on my face. Throw in Joe’s delightful sense of humour, sarcasm and inner voice and I was hooked. With a dark atmosphere, a high creepiness factor, fascinating characters and lots of questions that need answers, this was one suspenseful and thrilling ride. And then just when I thought I could sit back, relax and breathe again … the rug was pulled from under my feet with the most deliciously chilling epilogue that almost made my eyes pop out of my head.

By the way, if you’re a fan of audiobooks, and quite frankly even if you’re not, you should most definitely give this one a listen! I may be starting to sound like some sort of running advertisement for the amazing Richard Armitage but seriously, you guys, his narration brings this story to a whole different level of intensity. It’s a fantastic experience all on its own.

Anyway!

The Taking of Annie Thorne is a brilliantly plotted, exquisitely written, utterly compelling, addictive and “unputdownable” page-turner. Whatever “it” is, C.J. Tudor has it in abundance and then some. There’s something about the way she writes that has me captivated from the very first word. It almost feels like being under a spell and I’ll gladly let her guide me wherever it is she wants to take me. I’m a fan, what more can I say?

I think I’d better leave it here. This whole thing is starting to sound like a teenage girl writing a letter to her favourite boyband member. 😳

In case it wasn’t clear, I absolutely LOVED The Taking of Annie Thorne and you will without a doubt be seeing this book again in my top 5 at the end of the year, just like The Chalk Man was last year. I am so ridiculously excited to see what C.J. Tudor comes up with next that I have already pre-ordered her next book. So should you, right here 😉

To recap : !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! x infinity

The Taking of Annie Thorne is available to buy!

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Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

C. J. Tudor was born in Salisbury and grew up in Nottingham, where she still lives with her partner and young daughter.

She left school at sixteen and has had a variety of jobs over the years, including trainee reporter, radio scriptwriter, shop assistant, ad agency copywriter and voiceover.

In the early nineties, she fell into a job as a television presenter for a show on Channel 4 called Moviewatch. Although a terrible presenter, she got to interview acting legends such as Sigourney Weaver, Michael Douglas, Emma Thompson and Robin Williams. She also annoyed Tim Robbins by asking a question about Susan Sarandon’s breasts and was extremely flattered when Robert Downey Junior showed her his chest.

While writing the Chalk Man she ran a dog-walking business, walking over twenty dogs a week as well as looking after her little girl.

Please check out these amazing bloggers on the tour who say it all much better than I do.

Dead Memories by Angela Marsons | @WriteAngie @bookouture | #DeadMemories #NetGalley #recommended

Author : Angela Marsons
Title : Dead Memories
Series : DI Kim Stone #10
Pages : 400
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : February 22, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

On the fourth floor of Chaucer House, two teenagers are found chained to a radiator. The boy is dead but the girl is alive. For Detective Kim Stone every detail of the scene mirrors her own terrifying experience with her brother Mikey, when they lived in the same tower block thirty years ago. 

When the bodies of a middle-aged couple are discovered in a burnt-out car, Kim can’t ignore the chilling similarity to the deaths of Erica and Keith – the only loving parents Kim had ever known. 

Faced with a killer who is recreating traumatic events from her past, Kim must face the brutal truth that someone wants to hurt her in the worst way possible. Desperate to stay on the case, she is forced to work with profiler Alison Lowe who has been called in to observe and monitor Kim’s behaviour. 

Kim has spent years catching dangerous criminals and protecting the innocent. But with a killer firmly fixed on destroying Kim, can she solve this complex case and save her own life or will she become the final victim?

| MY THOUGHTS |

Bloody hell, Angela! Seriously?!

I’ve said it before and it looks like I’ll be saying it until this series ceases to exist (which quite frankly I hope is absolutely never!) : this series just keeps going from strength to strength! Now, that is obviously fantastic if you’re Angela, her publisher or a reader. Not so good for me when I put on my reviewer cap because …. words, you guys! I ran out of ways to say how awesome the Kim Stone series is at least five or so books ago! How many times can I say “brilliant, fantastic, READ THIS NOW!” without boring you all to tears?!

If you’ve been following this series (and if you haven’t, you can’t possibly imagine how hard I am judging you right now!), you’ll know that Kim Stone has pissed off quite a lot of people along the way. Some we don’t even know about. She’s just that kind of person and we love her for it. At some point, someone was bound to be out for revenge and that time has come. Eek!

You’ll also know that Kim hasn’t had an easy childhood and what do you know? Someone has decided to use all that heartache against her by recreating some of the most devastating events Kim has had to deal with in her life. It all starts with the death of two young addicts. They are found chained to a radiator in the building Kim grew up in. The boy is dead, the girl is barely alive and that is how this scene is horribly reminiscent of Kim’s own experience alongside her brother, Mickey. But whomever is behind this horrendous reenactment isn’t finished yet. There’s more to come. My lips are sealed, however. Prepare yourself though, as old and new wounds will be poked at and it will hurt. *blows nose*

From the very beginning, I found myself with that sickening feeling in my stomach that things were only going to get worse. Kim holds a very special place in my heart after all this time, so to see her having to go through this was quite painful. Her pain was my pain. How do you keep the lid on, keep your emotions in check, when the worst of the worst that has happened to you is being rubbed in your face? I can’t even begin to describe the range of emotions I went through myself. I felt angry and sad, I gasped, I felt like punching someone, I even had a wee sob. I am SO not the sobbing kind of person! I even felt sympathy for characters who may or may not deserve it. But more than anything, this dreadful trip down Memory Lane has only made me love Kim Stone even more.

And as if all that wasn’t enough, there is another thread in this storyline when consultant Angela returns. She is supposed to keep an eye on Kim, make sure she’s dealing with things and needs to report back to Kim’s boss. But Angela also has other things on her mind when she isn’t convinced that a case she consulted on previously reached the right conclusion. Angela is one of those characters I wasn’t quite sure about but she really grew on me and her sheer determination was definitely something to be admired.

And then there’s Kim’s team. Stacey, Penn and Bryant … so much love. Each one gets their own moment to shine and they do it so fabulously. Yes, things have changed and yes, there is one desk that still doesn’t feel quite right but Penn, the one I almost wanted to dislike out of sheer principle, is such a delight and I’m really enjoying getting to know him better. While at first, it was easy to consider him the outsider, the one who shouldn’t be there because things were just fine as they were, thankyouverymuch, now I find it’s as if he’s been there all along. Stacey continues to kick butt in her own fierce way and Bryant is a rock, pure and simple.

Once again, Angela Marsons has left me feeling utterly discombobulated. My mind has been blown into so many pieces, I fear it may never be whole again. I love this series with a fiery passion. This is top-notch crime fiction, as it has been from the very beginning. Always utterly gripping and compelling, always immensely absorbing and addictive, always an absolute treat and I’m dying for more! As long as Angela Marsons keeps writing these, I’ll be at the front of the line and I WILL be using my elbows, people!

In case you think “sheesh, that’s way too much text, I’m so not reading that”, here’s a recap. BUY IT NOW!!!! You can thank me later. You’re welcome.

Huge thanks to the publisher for my review copy, which I received via Netgalley!

Dead Memories is available to buy!

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Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Wordery

Inborn by Thomas Enger | @EngerThomas @OrendaBooks | #blogtour #RandomThingsTours #Inborn #recommended

Delighted to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for Inborn by Thomas Enger. My thanks to Anne Cater for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my review copy!

Author : Thomas Enger [trs Kari Dickson]
Title : Inborn
Pages : 276
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : February 7, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

When the high school in the small Norwegian village of Fredheim becomes a murder scene, the finger is soon pointed at seventeen-year-old Even. As the investigation closes in, social media is ablaze with accusations, rumours and even threats, and Even finds himself the subject of an online trial as well as being in the dock… for murder?

Even pores over his memories of the months leading up to the crime, and it becomes clear that more than one villager was acting suspiciously… and secrets are simmering beneath the calm surface of this close-knit community.

As events from the past play tag with the present, he’s forced to question everything he thought he knew. Was the death of his father in a car crash a decade earlier really accidental? Has his relationship stirred up something that someone is prepared to kill to protect? It seems that there may be no one that Even can trust. But can we trust him? 

| MY THOUGHTS |

Some of you may remember that I was a huge fan of Thomas Enger’s Henning Juul series, which sadly came to an end a while back. Sniff. I’m okay. Whew. Deep breath. Anyway, since then I’ve been rather impatiently awaiting what he would come up with next and the wait is finally over. Could Thomas Enger meet my slightly high expectations?

Now, admittedly I was a bit worried about Inborn because I kept seeing mention of YA (Young Adult for the uninitiated amongst us) everywhere and I’m a lot closer to SA (Senior Adult). So close in fact I barely remember my young adult days. But of course I shouldn’t have been worried at all! While Inborn is based on a YA novel Thomas Enger wrote a few years ago, it has been completely rewritten to appeal to a wider audience.

The small Norwegian village of Fredheim is shocked to the core when two of its teenagers are found dead in the high school. Soon fingers everywhere are pointing at seventeen year old Even. As Even tries to unravel the truth himself, he realises quite a lot of the residents in Fredheim have secrets they are desperate to hide. Does what happened at the school have its roots in the past? Who can Even trust? And can the reader trust him?

Small town murder mysteries will always be one of my most favourite things and when you throw in some courtroom drama, let’s just say : good luck trying to prise this book out of my hands! Switching seamlessly between the past and the present, I was utterly hooked from beginning to end. The plot is set up in such a remarkable way, which each chapter almost ending on a cliffhanger, that I couldn’t stop reading even if I wanted to.

When we meet Even, he is in the docks during a trial. He’s being questioned, forced to think back to the previous months and the night of the murders, until layer after layer we get to the truth. Being fed little pieces of information like this is such a joy. The detective in me (the really bad one because she often gets it wrong) couldn’t help but try and figure things out, pick up little clues along the way but Thomas Enger kept me guessing until the end. Along the way, we meet a cast of extremely fascinating characters : from Even’s struggling mother, to his uncle Imo, to the detective heading the murder investigation whom I just wanted to wrap up in a big hug.

Thomas Enger is one of those authors who just gets me excited but I can never quite pin down why. There’s something about his style of writing (captivating), something about the way he creates multi-layered and believable characters , and the compelling atmosphere he comes up with time and time again that has me utterly absorbed and desperately wanting more. I knew from the minute I read the first page that I was in for another treat. So yes, this is without a doubt another brilliantly written, suspenseful and hugely addictive page-turner! Slightly high expectations effortlessly met and even exceeded and I do really, really want more!

Inborn is available to buy!

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Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Thomas Enger is a former journalist. He made his debut with the crime novel Burned in 2010, which became an international sensation before publication, and marked the first in the bestselling Henning Juul series. Rights to the series have been sold to 28 countries to date.

In 2013 Enger published his first book for young adults, a dark fantasy thriller called The Evil Legacy, for which he won the U-prize (best book Young Adult). Killer Instinct, upon which Inborn is based, and another Young Adult suspense novel, was published in Norway in 2017 and won the same prestigious prize. Most recently, Thomas has co- written a thriller with Jørn Lier Horst. 

Enger also composes music, and he lives in Oslo.