This Week in Books (February 6)

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 |

1686, Iceland.

Betrothed unexpectedly to Jón Eiríksson, Rósa is sent to join her new husband in the remote village of Stykkishólmur. Here, the villagers are wary of outsiders.

But Rósa harbours her own suspicions. Her husband buried his first wife alone in the dead of night. He will not talk of it. Instead he gives her a small glass figurine. She does not know what it signifies.

The villagers mistrust them both. Dark threats are whispered. There is an evil here – Rósa can feel it. Is it her husband, the villagers – or the land itself?

Alone and far from home, Rósa sees the darkness coming. She fears she will be its next victim.

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

In a remote hunting lodge, deep in the Scottish wilderness, old friends gather for New Year.

The beautiful one
The golden couple
The volatile one
The new parents
The quiet one
The city boy
The outsider

The victim.

Not an accident – a murder among friends.

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

An idyllic village in the Alps.
A legacy of sin.
An evil lurking in the woods.

In a quiet village surrounded by the imposing Italian Alps, a series of violent assaults take place.

Police inspector Teresa Battaglia is called in when the first body is found. Soon more victims are discovered – all horrifically mutilated – and when a new-born baby is kidnapped, Teresa’s investigation becomes a race against the clock.

But Teresa is also fighting a battle against her own body, weighed down by age and diabetes, and her mind, once invincible and now slowly gnawing away at her memory..

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

The Last by Hanna Jameson | @Hanna_Jameson @Emily_BookPR @VikingBooksUK | #blogtour #TheLast

Delighted to join the blog tour for The Last by Hanna Jameson today! My thanks to Emily Burns for the invitation to join and my fabulous review copy!

Author : Hanna Jameson
Title : The Last
Pages : 352
Publisher : Viking
Publication date : January 31, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Historian Jon Keller is on a trip to Switzerland when the world ends. As the lights go out on civilization, he wishes he had a way of knowing whether his wife, Nadia and their two daughters are still alive. More than anything, Jon wishes he hadn’t ignored Nadia’s last message.

Twenty people remain in Jon’s hotel. Far from the nearest city and walled in by towering trees, they wait, they survive.

Then one day, the body of a young girl is found. It’s clear she has been murdered. Which means that someone in the hotel is a killer.

As paranoia descends, Jon decides to investigate. But how far is he willing to go in pursuit of justice? And what kind of justice can he hope for, when society as he knows it no longer exists?

| MY THOUGHTS |

It’s the end of the world as we know it …

Nuclear bombs have been dropped down on various cities. Guests at a hotel in the middle of nowhere Switzerland are left without any means of communication. Cut off from the world, they have no idea what’s going on and no way of getting in touch with family or friends. Do the rules of civilisation still apply when that civilisation ceases to exist?

Jon Keller most definitely seems to think so when the body of a young girl is discovered in a water tank. Who was she and why was she murdered? Just like that, Hanna Jameson effortlessly combines a murder mystery with a suspenseful dystopian psychological thriller. Although admittedly, the murder investigation plays a backseat to everything else that is going on.

What an incredibly frightening premise this is. There’s an all-encompassing sense of isolation that chilled me to the bone. Hotel guests are stranded in what appears to be a relatively safe place but they are fully aware that supplies will start to run out at some point and Winter is just around the corner. What do you do? Stay where you are? Hope against hope help might arrive? Or take a chance on whatever is out there and hope you’ll find a better place?

Now if you’re waiting for zombies or a hot dude with an insanely modified baseball bat to appear from behind a tree in the forest, you’re in the wrong place. This is not that kind of book. The Last is a fascinating and immensely thought-provoking character study and an insight into human behaviour. As these characters’ circumstances change, they are forced to accept things may never again be as they used to be. For some, the desperation is too much. For others, survival is the only thing that matters.

With a constant feeling of unease, The Last had me utterly engrossed. It’s without a doubt one of those novels that makes you think about what you would do if you found yourself in this situation. Would you be a leader or a follower? Would you risk leaving a place of safety to go out into the unknown to find food? Personally, I have no idea but I sure hope I never have to find out. Compelling and unnerving, scarily plausible and incredibly gripping, The Last will stay with me for quite some time and I enjoyed it immensely!

The Last is available to buy!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Jameson had written the first draft of her debut, award-nominated novel – SOMETHING YOU ARE – at just seventeen. Something You Are and two further novels in the series – GIRL SEVEN and ROAD KILL – are available now in the UK, Germany, Japan, and the Netherlands.

She lives in London currently, and is working on screenwriting projects. She likes whiskey, history, and emotionally taxing TV shows.

Author link : Twitter

The Boy at the Door by Alex Dahl | @HoZ_Books @alexdahlauthor | #BoyattheDoor #LoveBooksGroup #guestpost

Today, I join the blog tour for The Boy at the Door by Alex Dahl. Thanks to Kelly at LoveBooksGroups for the invitation to join. Author Alex Dahl visits my blog with a truly wonderful guest post but first, here is what the book is all about.

Author : Alex Dahl
Title : The Boy at the Door
Pages : 384
Publisher : Head of Zeus
Publication date : January 10, 2019 (first published in 2018)

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Everyone has secrets. Even those who seem to be perfect…

On a rainy October evening, Cecilia Wilborg – loving wife, devoted mother, tennis club regular – is waiting for her kids to finish their swimming lesson. It’s been a long day. She can almost taste the crisp, cold glass of Chablis she’ll pour for herself once the girls are tucked up in bed.

But what Cecilia doesn’t know, is that this is the last time life will feel normal. Tonight she’ll be asked to drop a little boy home, a simple favour that will threaten to expose her deepest, darkest secret…

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

| GUEST POST |

Not That Kind of Mother

It’s one of those days. You know, when you have so much to do at work your head is literally spinning. Your breath is shallow, your palms itchy, your entire being shaking with the ravages of your caffeine addiction. Then school calls to say your little munchkin is feeling iffy. You have little choice but to pick him up, but his illness magically evaporates as soon as you arrive home and the bored child then spends the rest of the day whinging. You wish you could stick him in front of Fortnite until two seconds before bed time, but you’re not that kind of mother, hell no, in this house there are rules and boundaries, and one of them is no gaming if off school sick. 

You put your head phones in and hope for the best. You dream about that big glass of Pinot Noir when the kids are in bed and then you remember it’s Dry January and you’re actually doing it, if only to silence the (alarming) number of friends who laughed in your face when you said you might. We all know the mummy-and-alcohol jokes- mummies love the vino a little too much because our little angels bleed us dry. But not me, oh no. I’m not that kind of mother, either. I don’t succumb to the dangerous clutches of alcohol to soothe my shot mummy nerves. 

Then your dog gets some kind of virus and stages an actual shit-show. It alternates between hysterical barking and literal general disgustingness. You clean up and plug the ear plugs back in. You’re just making a dent in your inbox when it’s time to pick up your other child. You walk, in torrential icy rain, dragging the half-squatting dog along, because you’re not the kind of mother who drives everywhere and spews more pollution into our children’s already doomed world. 

You drag the dog and the kid home, shouting snippets of French vocabulary over the downpour as you go along, why waste the opportunity to learn something? (Allez! Vite! Il faut manger! Repeat after me- mon chien s’appele Figaro, etc) You get home and decide to bake because your gluten-free low-carb six-seed paleo bread sure isn’t going to bake itself. While it is in the oven you check if anyone responded to your Mummy chat room bid for interesting vegan recipes for the whole family. And they did. Lots of them, in fact. 

What kind of psycho would make their kids go vegan? 

How the hell do your kids get protein? 

I am so sick of these goddamned vegans, go away, die, BURN! 

Your kids aren’t vegan, by the way. Perhaps you aren’t, either- it’s besides the point. The point is the fury. The judgment. The anger- the sheer, unbridled anger. It’s everywhere- in the media, in the chat rooms, at the school gates, in the way we make harmless jokes about ‘the kind of mother who…’ Why are we so angry? Why do we subject other women and ourselves to these insane, impossible demands? These questions are at the very core of my novel, The Boy at the Door. Cecilia Wilborg is consumed by appearances, obsessed with maintaining her flawless façade, at any cost. She may be an unsympathetic narcissist, but the point is that it is society’s entirely unreasonable demands on mothers that drives her to some very dark places. We are sold an idea of perfection, of having it all. We are expected to work harder and harder, while parenting our children in an ever more hands-on (smothering?) way, holding their hands well into adulthood. 

No wonder mummy needs a drink or ten to avoid cracking up. Just kidding- you’re not that kind of mother! 

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Alex Dahl is a half-American, half-Norwegian author. Born in Oslo, she wrote The Boy at the Door while living in Sandefjord.

Out of the Silence by Owen Mullen | @OwenMullen6 @Bloodhoundbook | #blogtour #guestpost

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Out of the Silence by Owen Mullen! My thanks to Emma Welton for the invitation to join. Owen joins us today to play a around of Dessert Island Must-Haves but first, let’s see what the book is all about.

Author : Owen Mullens
Title : Out of the Silence
Pages : n/a
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : January 28, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Star investigative reporter Ralph Buchanan’s glory days are behind him. His newspaper has banished him to Pakistan, not knowing the greatest moment of his long career is waiting for him there.

When Simone Jasnin asks him to help expose a grave injustice, he finds himself embroiled in a harrowing tale that began in a dusty settlement in rural Punjab, setting in motion a chain of events that will change the lives of everyone involved.

Seven years later in the city of Lahore, members of a prominent family are being brutally murdered, one by one. The only clue is a hand-carved wooden bangle left at the scene of each crime.

As the list of suspects grows and the tension mounts, Ralph realises the answers might be closer to home than he ever thought possible.

Solving the mystery will put him back on top but at what cost?

Only when the smoke clears will the killing stop and honour be satisfied…

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

| GUEST POST |

My wife Christine set me this fun challenge… so I thought I’d share it with you.

Dessert Island Must Haves

You have been washed up on a desert island with no hope of rescue in the foreseeable future but before leaving the ship you have just enough time to grab 1 item from each of the following… Tell us what/who you would choose and why. 

A Book – I suspect that being on a dessert island may not be all its cracked up to be,  sure to be a few down days.  And,  as you’ve probably discovered, sand gets everywhere. With all of that going on I’m liable to need some spiritual uplifting.  The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho has helped me before and probably would again:  a simple tale,  simply told with a host of powerful messages on how to navigate the journey through life – and desert islands. Fantastic! 

An Album – So many to choose from, but I’d go with something from a time when music was very important to me. I was still at school when The Beatles double album – sometimes called The White Album came out.  And what an impression it made on me; great songs,  too many to mention.  Think I’ll put it on while I’m writing this. I remember teaching myself to play Blackbird in my lunchtime breaks and being over the moon  when I got it. 

A Film – Often comedy films don’t make me laugh. Having said that,  probably my favourite film of all time is…As Good As It Gets. Jack Nicholson is always great but in this movie Helen Hunt, Cuba Gooding Junior and Greg Kinnear all give him a run for his money.  The film manages to be cringe-worthy cruel,  sad and laugh-out-loud funny. No wonder it won 2 Oscars. I’ve seen it a dozen times and if I see it another dozen that will be fine with me. 

A fictional character – As a crime fiction writer I’m often asked who my favourite fictional character is and I always say Sherlock Holmes.  However,  old Sherlock would be heavy going on a desert island – out of his face on dope most of the time, because there would be no crimes to solve and he’s depressed. Then, when he gets started on his violin… couldn’t handle it.  So who would I like to be there with me?  No contest,  Patrick Logue from the Charlie Cameron series.  He would always make me laugh and if it turned out there were natives he’d soon be on first name terms. Might even keep us off the menu! Though I would have to keep my eye on him or he’d have the coconut milk out of my tea. 

A luxury item – There would be plenty of time to kill so I’d take a guitar,  I was always able to lose myself in music and I would maybe even discover that elusive 4th chord. 

A photograph – I’d take the photograph I took of Christine a few days ago in Chania. She was looking wonderful,  and I captured it. 

A weapon – I’d take a machete because it could double as a tool. And if it turned out that there were natives and they weren’t friendly, they just might think twice before attacking a mad Scotsman wielding one of these – in my head I’m seeing Braveheart🤣

One useful item – I could imagine mosquito repellent just might come in handy, but I’d go for matches to keep that signal fire burning. 

One food item – A big jar of curry powder for obvious reasons. Too long without a curry and I’d get withdrawal symptoms. 

One drink item – Coffee,  I’d definitely struggle without the bean! How could I possibly get into the day?  I’d need to get used to no Stevia though; not looking forward to that. 

One fun item – A football; nothing like a kick about on the beach! 

I already got stuck on the first question 😂. Great answers, Owen! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing this wish us!

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Owen Mullen is a McIlvanney Crime Book Of The Year long-listed novelist.

Owen graduated from Strathclyde University, moved to London and worked as a rock musician, session singer and songwriter, and had a hit record in Japan with a band he refuses to name; he still loves to perform on occasion. His passion for travel has taken him on many adventures from the Amazon and Africa to the colourful continent of India and Nepal. A gregarious recluse, he and his wife, Christine, split their time between Glasgow, and their home in the Greek Islands where In Harm’s Way and the Charlie Cameron and Delaney series’ were created and written. His latest novel Out Of The Silence is a truly compelling thriller set in Pakistan. 

Deep Dirty Truth by Steph Broadribb | @crimethrillgirl @OrendaBooks @annecater | #blogtour #DeepDirtyTruth #TeamLori

I’m absolutely delighted to join the blog tour for Deep Dirty Truth by Steph Broadribb today! My thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda for my review copy and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invitation to join the tour!

Author : Steph Broadribb
Title : Deep Dirty Truth
Series : Lori Anderson #3
Pages : 320
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : January 24, 2019 (paperback)

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

A price on her head. A secret worth dying for. Just 48 hours to expose the truth…

Single-mother bounty hunter Lori Anderson has finally got her family back together, but her new-found happiness is shattered when she’s snatched by the Miami Mob – and they want her dead. Rather than a bullet, they offer her a job: find the Mob’s ‘numbers man’ – Carlton North – who’s in protective custody after being forced to turn federal witness against them.

If Lori succeeds, they’ll wipe the slate clean and the price on her head – and those of her family – will be removed. If she fails, they die.

With North due in court in forty-eight hours, Lori sets off across Florida, racing against the clock to find him and save her family. Only in this race the prize is more deadly – and the secret she shares with JT more dangerous – than she ever could have imagined. In this race only the winner gets out alive…

| MY THOUGHTS |

Clammy hands, pulse racing, energy tank empty. Am I ill? No! These are the symptoms of the aftermath of reading Deep Dirty Truth because Lori Anderson is back with a BANG!

In this third instalment, Lori is forced to make a deal with the devil. I mean, the mob. This would be the Old Man, who’s been after Lori since her husband Tommy died. If it wasn’t clear from this little tidbit, you should really read the previous books if you haven’t done so already. Anyway, the FBI have the mob’s “numbers man”, Carlton North, in custody. If Lori can find him and bring him back to the mob’s compound, the price on her head and the heads of JT and Dakota will be removed.

Cue a bunch of backstabbing, lies and deceit. I mean, if you can’t trust the mob, who can you trust? Oh … wait. Never mind. From quite early on, you’re left with this sinking feeling of “this is not going to go well”. And guess what? It doesn’t! But what a bloody awesome and thrilling ride it is! The mob, gators, high-speed boat chases, kayaks, shoot-outs … what more could you possibly want?!

Deep Dirty Truth is action-packed from the word go! There were times I felt like asking for a time-out so I could have a moment to catch my breath. Yet, with a heartbeat going faster and faster and hands gripping the book ever tighter, I couldn’t stop reading. It left me utterly exhausted but oh so incredibly satisfied.

Lori remains one of the most awesome female main characters in the book world right now. She’s fierce, determined, resourceful and quick to think on her feet. She is always able to pull herself back up after being knocked down, ready to kick some serious ass and always ready to do whatever it takes to keep her family safe. Speaking of her family, I love how the relationship between JT and Dakota is developing. Such a pleasure to behold and it often put a huge smile on my face.

This series has been a total blast from the very first book and Deep Dirty Truth is without a doubt THE BEST ONE YET! Oh yes! I said it! Fast-paced, with characters to get invested in and root for and edge-of-your-seat action galore, this is sheer entertainment of the highest level! Stock up on snacks and maybe an oxygen tank and enjoy the rollercoaster ride! Your legs may feel like jelly at the end of it, but it’ll be worth it!

Deep Dirty Truth is available to buy in ebook format. The UK paperback will be published on January 24th!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Steph Broadribb was born in Birmingham and grew up in Buckinghamshire. Most of her working life has been spent between the UK and USA.

As her alter ego – Crime Thriller Girl – she indulges her love of all things crime fiction by blogging at crimethrillergirl.com, where she interviews authors and reviews the latest releases. She is also a member of the crime-themed girl band The Splice Girls.

Steph is an alumni of the MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) at City University London, and she trained as a bounty hunter in California, which inspired her Lori Anderson thrillers. She lives in Buckinghamshire surrounded by horses, cows and chickens.

Her debut thriller, Deep Down Dead, was shortlisted for the Dead Good
Reader Awards in two categories, and hit number one on the UK and AU kindle charts. My Little Eye, her first novel under her pseudonym Stephanie Marland was published by Trapeze Books in April 2018.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter

Changeling by Matt Wesolowski | @ConcreteKraken @OrendaBooks @annecater | #blogtour #Changeling #RandomThingsTours #recommended

Thrilled to bits to join the blog tour for Changeling by Matt Wesolowski today! My thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda for the review copy and to Anne Cater for the invitation to join the tour!

Author : Matt Wesolowski
Title : Changeling
Series : Six Stories #3
Pages : 194
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : January 15, 2019 (paperback)

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

On Christmas Eve in 1988, seven-year-old Alfie Marsden vanished in the Wentshire Forest Pass, when a burst tyre forced his father, Sorrel, to stop the car. Leaving the car to summon the emergency services, Sorrel returned to find his son gone. No trace of the child, nor his remains, have ever been found. Alfie Marsden was declared officially dead in 1995.

Elusive online journalist Scott King, whose ‘Six Stories’ podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the disappearance, interviewing six witnesses, including Sorrel, his son and his ex-partner, to try to find out what really happened that fateful night. He takes a journey through the trees of the Wentshire Forest – a place synonymous with strange sightings, and tales of hidden folk who dwell there. He talks to a company that tried and failed to build a development in the forest, and a psychic who claims to know where Alfie is…

| MY THOUGHTS |

If you go out in the woods today …

Bloody hell! Like, seriously! WHAT?! I said it last time and I’ll say it again, Matt Wesolowski’s books are just impossible to review! My vocabulary doesn’t stretch far enough to find the words to describe the sheer level of awesomeness this author comes up with time and time again.

If you’re not familiar with the Six Stories series (OMG WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH YOU?!), it’s centred around a true crime podcast in which Scott King investigates cold cases. This time around, the focus is on seven year old Alfie Marsden who disappeared thirty years ago and was never found. Alfie was officially declared dead in 1995 but questions remain. Now, via six stories from six different sources, will the answers surrounding Alfie’s disappearance finally be found and will we learn what happened to this little boy all those years ago?

This is one of those stories that worms its way under your skin, one that will just not let you go. Dark, disturbing and chilling, Changeling had my heartbeat racing throughout and I was gripping the pages so tightly that my knuckles turned white! This tremendously addictive page-turner is insanely thought-provoking and also absolutely terrifying, though possibly not in the way you might expect. Monsters are real. Also, I’m never stepping foot into a forest ever again!

With a fantastic plot that kept me on tenterhooks and even managed to leave me with a lump in my throat, Changeling is without a doubt fiction from the top shelf and worthy of all the stars and praise I can possibly shower it with. Matt Wesolowski deftly guides the reader through a realistic and, sadly, believable scenario and if that wasn’t marvellous enough, ends up sucker punching you in the final pages, leaving your head utterly spinning. You, sir, are a genius!

Changeling was one of my most anticipated releases this year. Thank goodness it was published this month or I may have just spontaneously combusted. Matt Wesolowski has most definitely done it again and Changeling is the best one in the series yet. Considering the brilliance of its two predecessors, that’s really saying something. I would undoubtedly like some more, please! In the meantime, you can be sure you’ll be seeing this book again when I compile my list of top books of the year in December.

Changeling is available to buy!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor for children in care and leads creative writing workshops for young people in association with New Writing North. 

Wesolowski started his writing career in horror and was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at ‘Bloody Scotland’; Crime Writing Festival 2015. His subsequent debut crime novel ‘Six Stories’ was published by Orenda Books in the spring of 2016 with follow-up ‘Hydra’ published in the winter of 2017.

‘Six Stories’ has been optioned by a major Hollywood studio.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter

The Disappeared by Sibel Hodge | @sibelhodge @Bloodhoundbook | #blogtour #guestpost

Welcome to my stop on the blog blitz for The Disappeared by Sibel Hodge! My thanks to Emma at Bloodhound Books for the opportunity join. Author Sibel Hodge joins me today to talk about her writing day but first, here is what The Disappeared is all about!

Author : Sibel Hodge
Title : The Disappeared
Pages : 318
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : January 10, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

On a routine flight from Africa to England, Dr Mason Palmer is tragically killed when the light aircraft he’s travelling on crashes and disappears in dense bush land.

The Widow…

Ten months later, Nicole Palmer is still trying to block out the grief of her husband’s sudden death. Until one morning she receives a photo of Mason through the post, along with a cryptic message. A message only he could’ve written.

The Secret…

But when Nicole tries to find out if Mason is really alive and what actually happened to him in Africa, everyone she turns to for answers ends up dead.

Determined to find the truth, Nicole uncovers a conspiracy that spans the globe, and discovers there are powerful people who are prepared to kill to keep her silent.

Who’s lying? Who’s watching Nicole? And can she expose their murky secrets before they catch up with her?

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Wordery | Goodreads

| GUEST POST |

My writing day…

I’m a morning person so I’m most productive first thing. My day starts at about 5 or 6 a.m., and after a cuppa while I’m checking out emails and social media I do a 30 minute yoga and meditation set. A banana and iced soya latte later and I’m good to go! 

When I’m working on my first draft I always aim to write 3000-5000 words per day. I’m a pantster, not a plotter, so I don’t have a clue what I’m going to write until the words tumble out of my head, and it’s not until I finish my first draft, when I really know I’ve got something solid, that I can properly relax. My first draft can end up anything between 45,000-70,000 words, and I tend to write shorter and add more later, rather than longer and cutting anything. Then for the editing process, which means going through it and through it, tweaking, filling plot holes, adding character’s personality, more dialogue, bits of research, etc.

Even when I’m not writing, you can often find me staring into space, thinking about the book—an idea, what I need to do next, working out a problem, imagining a character. And I can’t escape the book in my sleep because I dream about it too. There have been so many times I’ve woken up with my characters having conversations with each other, and I keep a notebook by my bed in case inspiration strikes as I’m falling asleep or during a dream. I’m living it full time, completely immersed in it. I always think being an author is like being an actor, except an author is playing all of the characters at once, getting inside all their heads and going through what they’re going through, and they’re in every scene, which can be exhausting mentally and emotionally at times. 

I write mostly at a standing desk, which I love. It’s actually a really rustic piece of wood shaped from a tree trunk. Or sometimes I’ll be sprawled on the sofa with my laptop on my knees, and often accompanied by up to seven cats that all want to get in on the action and type gobbledygook on my keyboard just for a laugh. 

It’s got to be dead quiet when I’m working. No music for me. No one talking. I need silence and calm to concentrate. Although the calmness doesn’t extend to my work space. I’ve got notes everywhere when I’m writing a novel. Snippets of ideas and dialogue, bits of research, things I need to add in. Sometimes I can have hundreds of pieces of paper scribbled with stuff. 

At my house, we (read : I) call that organised chaos 😉. Thank you, Sibel, for stopping by and sharing your writing day with us!

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Sibel Hodge is the author of the No 1 Bestsellers Look Behind YouUntouchable, and Duplicity. Her books have sold over one million copies and are international bestsellers in the UK, USA, Australia, France, Canada and Germany. She writes in an eclectic mix of genres, and is a passionate human and animal rights advocate.

Her work has been nominated and shortlisted for numerous prizes, including the Harry Bowling Prize, the Yeovil Literary Prize, the Chapter One Promotions Novel Competition, The Romance Reviews’ prize for Best Novel with Romantic Elements and Indie Book Bargains’ Best Indie Book of 2012 in two categories. She was the winner of Best Children’s Book in the 2013 eFestival of Words; nominated for the 2015 BigAl’s Books and Pals Young Adult Readers’ Choice Award; winner of the Crime, Thrillers & Mystery Book from a Series Award in the SpaSpa Book Awards 2013; winner of the Readers’ Favorite Young Adult (Coming of Age) Honorable award in 2015; a New Adult finalist in the Oklahoma Romance Writers of America’s International Digital Awards 2015, and 2017 International Thriller Writers Award finalist for Best E-book Original Novel. Her novella Trafficked: The Diary of a Sex Slave has been listed as one of the top forty books about human rights by Accredited Online Colleges.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter | Website

The Man With No Face by Peter May | @authorpetermay @QuercusBooks @riverrunbooks | #blogtour #TheManWithNoFace

It’s a real pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for The Man With No Face by Peter May. My thanks to Agnes Rowe at Midas PR for the invitation to join and for providing me with a review copy.

Author : Peter May
Title : The Man With No Face
Pages : 416
Publisher : Riverrun
Publication date : January 10, 2019 (first published in 1981)

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

There are two men on their way to Brussels from the UK: Neil Bannerman, an iconoclastic journalist for Scotland’s Daily Standard whose irate editor wants him out of the way, and Kale–a professional assassin.

Expecting to find only a difficult, dreary political investigation in Belgium, Bannerman has barely settled in when tragedy strikes. His host, a fellow journalist, along with a British Cabinet minister, are discovered dead in the minister’s elegant Brussels townhouse. It appears that they have shot each other. But the dead journalist’s young autistic daughter, Tania, was hidden in a closet during the killings, and when she draws a chilling picture of a third party–a man with no face–Bannerman suddenly finds himself a reluctant participant in a desperate murder investigation.

As the facts slowly begin to emerge under Bannerman’s scrutiny, he comes to suspect that the shootings may have a deep and foul link with the rotten politics that brought him to Brussels in the first place. And as Kale threatens to strike again, Bannerman begins to feel a change within himself. His jaded professionalism is transforming into a growing concern for the lonely and frightened Tania, and a strong attraction to a courageous woman named Sally–drawing him out of himself and into the very heart of a profound, cold-blooded, and infinitely dangerous conspiracy.

| MY THOUGHTS |

The Man With No Face is my first introduction to Peter May’s work and it’s easy to see why he’s an internationally bestselling author. This novel was first published in 1981 and it’s quite surprising (or maybe not) to see the political landscape has changed very little and The Man With No Face has stood the test of time quite brilliantly in that respect.

Set in Brussels in the late ’70s, this intricately plotted novel has a rather dark atmosphere and a bit of a Noir vibe to it. The reader finds themselves in the middle of a murder investigation, through the eyes of Scottish journalist, Neil Bannerman. He’s been sent to Brussels by his editor, who really just wants him out of the way. But when Neil’s host, a fellow journalist, is found dead alongside a British Cabinet minister, Neil finds himself in the middle of a bit of a mess.

Albeit it rather on the slow side, for me personally, I still found The Man With No Face intensely gripping. Although at times, also somewhat depressing. These are not happy characters and they all carry a ton of issues to deal with. Or not as most seem quite happy to drown their sorrows. And in the midst of all this, is a young girl who may actually know what really happened. Unfortunately for investigators, she’s autistic and doesn’t talk.

Greed, money, blackmail, murder, intrigue, conspiracies and power. This political thriller has it all. The Man With No Face is tense and suspenseful, with fantastic and complex characters, even if some come across a tad stereotypical. Of course, some things do feel rather dated. Gone are the days of smoking on trains or in bars, for instance. But there’s also that good old-fashioned pounding the pavement type of investigation. No internet, no cell phones, no nifty gadgets to rely on. I do so quite enjoy that from time to time.

I dare say my first introduction to Peter May’s novels went down well and I may need to find some time to catch up on some of his most recent work. If, like me, you are unfamiliar with his novels, then this is definitely a good place to start.

The Man With No Face is available to buy!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Peter May has written several standalone novels and three series: the award-winning China Thrillers, featuring Beijing detective Li Yan and American forensic pathologist Margaret Campbell; the critically acclaimed Enzo Files, featuring Scottish forensic scientist Enzo Macleod, set in France; and the Lewis Trilogy (The Black House, The Lewis Man, and The Chessmen), all three volumes of which are internationally bestselling novels.

One of Scotland’s most prolific television dramatists, May garnered more than 1,000 credits over a decade and a half spent as scriptwriter and editor on prime-time British television. Before quitting TV to concentrate on writing novels, he was the creator of three major series, two of which were the highest rated in Scotland.

May lives and writes in France.

Author links : Twitter

The Cold Years by Joel Hames | @joel_hames @Tr4cyF3nt0n | #blogtour #bookreview

I’m delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for The Cold Years by Joel Hames today! My thanks to Tracy Fenton for the invitation to join!

Author : Joel Hames
Title : The Cold Years
Series : Sam Williams #3
Pages : 314
Publisher : Mainsail Books
Publication date : November 26, 2018

Everyone needs to be heard: if there’s one thing Sam Williams has learned it’s that. Which is why he finds himself defending Richard Fothergill against accusations that date back decades.

But Sam’s real problems are closer to home. His nemesis, Trawden, is finally dead, but so are those he once called friends. The people he used to count on, the ones who aren’t in the ground, aren’t what they once were, either. DI Martins is on his back again, and she’s got company. And Sam’s girlfriend Claire might be recovering from her breakdown, but she’s not telling him everything.

Life would be so much easier if Sam knew the answers. Instead, all he’s got are questions.

Who is following him, and what do they want?

What did Fothergill really do to the children he taught?

And where was Claire the day Edward Trawden was killed? 

Everyone has a secret to hide, but some secrets are too close to home.

The Cold Years is the third instalment in the Sam Williams series but there’s no need to worry as this can be read quite well as a stand-alone. If you have read the previous books but need some help, the author has very kindly added a link at the beginning of the book to refresh your memory. 

For those who don’t know, Sam Williams is a lawyer but not a really successful one. While events in this instalment do connect to those from the previous books, there is enough background story for a new reader not to feel like they’re missing out on too much. However, for me personally, I’m glad I did read the previous ones though as it’s been incredibly fun to watch Joel Hames manage to keep a truckload of balls juggling in the air. So if you have the time, I’d definitely recommend reading all three books in order to give you a better understanding of the characters and their various relationships.

Surprisingly, Sam does actually manage to get hold of a case, defending Richard Fothergill against decades old accusations. But his real problems are a lot closer to home. His girlfriend, Claire, is acting weird. She may very well be recovering from a breakdown but it’s also becoming increasingly apparent that she’s keeping secrets. Friends have died and others aren’t what they used to be, leaving Sam with lots of questions and very little answers.

Sam’s world remains as complicated as ever and there are quite a few players to keep track of but I never found myself at a loss or utterly confused. Although there are various threads to sink your teeth into, the one that stood out for me and really held my attention was the one involving Claire. Just like Sam, I became increasingly suspicious of her behaviour but I couldn’t at all figure out whether or not it was justified, and if she was up to something, what that could possibly be.

The Cold Years is another thrilling addition to the Sam Williams series. It’s intricately plotted, with some delightful twists and will keep you guessing until the end. Sam remains a remarkably likeable character, someone to get behind and root for and solving mysteries alongside a lawyer makes a nice change from all the detective stories out there. I’m not sure if there will be more from Sam in the future. If there is, that’d be wonderful, but if not, it’s been a fabulous adventure!

The Cold Years is out now!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

Joel Hames lives in rural Lancashire, England, with his wife and two daughters, where he works hard at looking serious and pretending to be a proper novelist.

After a varied career in London which involved City law firms, a picture frame warehouse, an investment bank and a number of market stalls (he has been known to cry out “Belgian chocolates going cheap over ‘ere” in his sleep), Joel relocated from the Big Smoke to be his own boss. As a result, he now writes what he wants, when he wants to (which by coincidence is when the rest of the family choose to let him).

Joel’s first novel, Bankers Town, was published in 2014, and The Art of Staying Dead followed in 2015. The novellas Brexecution (written and published in the space of ten days following the UK’s Brexit referendum, with half of the profits going to charity) and Victims were published in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

Joel’s website can be found at http://www.joelhamesauthor.com/, where you can find out more about the writer and the books, and sign up to his email newsletter. If you want to know what Joel has planned for the future, what he thinks right now, or just stalk him a little, you can find him on Facebook at facebook.com/joelhamesauthor or Twitter at @joel_hames.

Joel has never seen the word “Joel” appear as frequently as it does right here, and wholeheartedly approves.

Good Samaritans by Will Carver | @will_carver @OrendaBooks @annecater | #blogtour #GoodSamaritans #SixBottlesofBleach #bookreview #RandomThingsTours

Delighted to join the blog tour for Good Samaritans by Will Carver today! My thanks to Anne Cater for the invitation to join and to Karen Sullivan at Orenda for my fab review copy!

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Author : Will Carver
Title : Good Samaritans
Pages : 320
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : September 27, 2018 (ebook) | November 15, 2018 (paperback)

aboutthebook

One crossed wire, three dead bodies and six bottles of bleach

Seth Beauman can’t sleep. He stays up late, calling strangers from his phonebook, hoping to make a connection, while his wife, Maeve, sleeps upstairs.

A crossed wire finds a suicidal Hadley Serf on the phone to Seth, thinking she is talking to The Samaritans.

But a seemingly harmless, late-night hobby turns into something more for Seth and for Hadley, and soon their late-night talks are turning into day-time meet-ups.

And then this dysfunctional love story turns into something altogether darker, when Seth brings Hadley home…

And someone is watching…

mythoughts

Have you ever finished the last page of a book and thought to yourself “what the heck did I just read?”.

Meet the weirdly wonderful brain of author Will Carver and his book Good Samaritans. Boy, oh boy, this one will mess with your head like no other.

It’s also quite a hard one to review without giving anything away. The story is mainly told via four different characters. All flawed, all carrying tons of baggage, all lonely in their own little ways and all trying to find ways to cope.

Ant works for the Samaritans hotline. Maeve drinks. (I approve 😂) Seth struggles with insomnia and has the oddest hobby ever as every night, he picks up the phone and randomly calls a stranger asking them if they’d like to talk. Most don’t. Some do. Note to self : never answer the phone again. But Hadley does. Uh oh.

The short chapters urge you to keep on reading, making Good Samaritans incredibly hard to put down. There’s a tense vibe throughout, a threat of something dark and disturbing that oozes from the pages. It’s edgy, original, bit dirty (think the kind of thing that would have made you blush fiercely if your parents had walked in on you reading this) and brings the word “dysfunctional” to a whole other level.

Good Samaritans is a belter of a crime thriller / serial killer / domestic noir kind of combination and the characterisation is immensely engrossing. It’s one of those stories I can’t stop thinking about, going over things in my head, wondering what I missed and I’m obviously struggling to put it into words as well. It’s unlike anything else I’ve ever read and you just really need to experience this one for yourselves.

This is my first time reading a book by Will Carver, whose brain must quite frankly be the most scary place ever, but I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last time.

Good Samaritans is available to buy!

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

abouttheauthor

Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series (Arrow). He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age 11, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company.
He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, while working on his next thriller. He lives in Reading with his two children.

Author links :  Twitter

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