When They Find Her by Lia Middleton #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the debut novel by Lia Middleton, When They Find Her.

When They Find Her: The gripping new thriller that will take your breath away by [Lia Middleton]

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NAOMI ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A MOTHER.

But three years ago, her husband left, taking their child with him.

Now, her daughter has come to stay, and Naomi knows it’s her one chance to re-build her family.

But the night ends in a terrible accident.

And Naomi has no memory of what happened.

Panicking, desperate, Naomi finds herself telling a lie:

‘My daughter is missing.’

NOW SHE CAN NEVER TAKE IT BACK . . .

MY THOUGHTS

When They Find Her is a tense, compelling and a heartbreaking psychological thriller by Lia Middleton. The moment I read the blurb for this book and saw the cover, I knew I had to read it. It is a very fresh thriller built around a horrific lie and how a lie can spiral out of control. It is a fantastic debut.

Naomi is desperate to spend time with her daughter, Freya, who has been living with her father since Naomi split up with her husband. Naomi lost custody of Freya, and she is desperate to show that she can be a good mother. Naomi believes she can do this even though her ex-husband has reservations about her looking after their daughter. But tragedy strikes, and in a panic, Naomi covers up what has happened, and her lie will have disastrous consequences.

I was utterly gripped from the first chapter. I couldn’t believe what I was reading as the scene on the page played out. I couldn’t believe Naomi’s actions as she tried to cover up what had happened. I could feel her fear and the tension building up inside her as she tried to make sure that the police and her ex-husband didn’t find out what really happened to her daughter. I could understand her fear, and why she was worried about the police finding out, it made me wonder what I would have done if I was in her position. It did make me wonder how long she would be able to keep the lie up.

Lia Middleton keeps the tension ticking up a notch, and this is the type of book that you can devour in just one sitting. I wanted to know what was going to happen to Naomi and if anyone was going to discover the secret she had covered up. I also kept wondering if her ex-husband was going to discover it as well. This really added to the pace and the tension.

My eyes were kept glued to the page as Lia Middleton wrapped the book up in the final scenes. There is a devastating twist which I could not believe as I was reading it. Psychological thriller lovers, you need to add this book to your TBR pile. I can’t wait to read what Lia Middleton comes up with next.

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 25th May 2021

Print length: 371 pages

When They Find Her is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

The Cursed Girls by Caro Ramsay #bookreview #blogtour @CaroRamsayBooks @blackthornbks @RandomTTours

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Cursed Girls by Caro Ramsay on my blog today. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

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Megan Melvick has spent years avoiding her inheritance, the dark and disquieting family estate Benbrae, now home only to her distant, aristocratic father, and her sister Melissa, dying quietly in an upstairs bedroom. Trapped behind her unreliable hearing aids and vulnerable to what others want her to see, Megan is unable to find the answers she wants: why is there a new woman on her father’s arm? And why has their absent mother not returned to say a final goodbye to Melissa?

Benbrae has always been a place of loss and misfortune for Megan, but as the Melvick family diminishes still further, she must ask one final question. If there is a curse on the house, will she be its next victim?

MY THOUGHTS

The Cursed Girls is a really atmospheric psychological thriller by Caro Ramsay. I loved the Scottish Island setting, which gave the book a very mysterious and almost mystical feel, particularly with the mention of the faerie pools. There is a gripping mystery that pulled me into the book, and I devoured it in just a couple of sittings.

Megan is such an intriguing character. She is returning to her childhood home following the death of her sister Melissa five years earlier. When they were children, their mother also disappeared. Their mother’s disappearance has never been solved, and it has haunted the family for years.

I loved the atmospheric feel to this book, which added gloominess to the setting and a menacing tone. Caro Ramsay brings the Island setting to life really well. I felt as though I was there as I was reading. It felt very isolated and very foreboding. There are talks of a curse upon Megan’s family. I love anything with a slight hint of the supernatural weaved into the plot; it gives the story a really chilling tone. The disappearance of Megan’s mother and what happened to her sister confirms the belief for Megan that there is a curse placed on her family. There isn’t a big supernatural element here in this book, but there is a hint which adds to the suspense and the atmosphere.

I wanted to know what had happened to Megan’s mother and what happened on the day of her sister’s wedding. This book is shrouded in mystery, and the writing kept me hooked as I flew through it to find out what happened and what was going on. I felt Megan was a character who I could never entirely trust. I felt that there were some things about her past which she was holding back. I liked how Caro Ramsay took us into the minds of several characters, and I was particularly intrigued by the voice of Megan’s friend. There is quite a difference between the two friends. Carla comes through as a much stronger individual than Megan. I found some parts told from her point of view chilling. 

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Cursed Girls. Caro Ramsay is a new author to me, and I will definitely be catching on what I have missed. If you enjoy reading novels with a dark and menacing atmosphere, then you need to add this book to your TBR pile.

Publisher: Black Thorn

Publication date: 3rd June 2021

Print length: 249 pages

The Cursed Girls is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR

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The Forever Home by Sue Watson #bookreview #booksontour @suewatsonwriter @bookouture

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Forever Home by Sue Watson on my blog today. With thanks to Noelle Holten from Bookouture for inviting me to take part.

The Forever Home: An incredibly gripping psychological thriller with a breathtaking twist by [Sue Watson]

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You thought you’d always be safe there… you were wrong.

Carly had thought they’d always live there. The beautiful Cornish cliffside house they’d taken on as a wreck, that Mark had obsessively re-designed and renovated – a project that had made him famous. It was where they’d raised their children, where they’d sat cosily on the sofa watching storms raging over the sea below. It was where they’d promised to keep each other’s secrets…

Until now. Because Mark has fallen in love. With someone he definitely shouldn’t have. Someone who isn’t Carly. And suddenly their family home doesn’t feel like so much of a safe haven.

Carly thinks forever should mean forever though: it’s her home and she’ll stay there. Even the dark family secrets it contains feel like they belong to her. But someone disagrees. And, as threats start to arrive at her front door, it becomes clear, someone will stop at nothing. Because someone wants to demolish every last thing that makes Carly feel safe. Forever.

MY THOUGHTS

The Forever Home is the first book by Sue Watson, which I have read, and now I’m desperate to catch up on her other psychological thrillers. The tension gradually builds, and I raced through those final chapters to find out what was going to happen.

Mark and Carly Anderson have become celebrities following the success of their reality television show, The Forever House. They have lived the past twenty five years of their life in the spotlight. But now, their marriage is about to come to a bitter end. On their twenty fifth wedding anniversary, Carly discovers that Mark has been having an affair with her best friend’s daughter, Erin, who is twenty four. I really felt for Carly as I was reading this scene. Sue Watson paints a vivid picture of what a terrible person Mark is, and I really didn’t like him. And my intense dislike for him grew and grew as the novel progressed.

As Carly and Mark begin to work through the divorce proceedings, it is clear that there are parts of their lives which they would both rather keep private. I really wanted to know what had happened to them in the past and what secrets they were keeping. Sue Watson did a brilliant job keeping my intrigue piqued. The tension begins to gather pace here, and I couldn’t believe how Carly was being treated. It made me feel really angry, and I especially didn’t like, Erin the woman Mark left her for. There was one scene in a café, in particular, which made my jaw drop. I couldn’t believe what was being said. 

We also have the introduction of Ryan, who Carly begins to grow attached to after her split from Mark. As I was reading, I felt I could never quite trust Ryan. This added to the tension as I wondered if Carly was doing the right thing here in letting him into her life.

The ending was so well done, and I thought the book had a really satisfying ending as well. Everything was pulled very neatly together. The Forever Home is so twisty. I’m sure if you’re a fan of psychological thrillers, you will devour it. An excellent read!

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 4th June 2021

Print length: 391 pages

The Forever Home is available to buy:

Amazon UK

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The Perfect Lie by Jo Spain #bookreview @SpainJoanne @QuercusBooks @1stMondayCrime

On my blog today I’m sharing my review of the latest psychological thriller by Jo Spain, The Perfect Lie. Jo is one of the authors who will be appearing on the First Monday Crime Panel on Monday, 7th June 2021. I’ll have all the details about who will be appearing and how you can access the event at the end of this post. But first let’s find out more about The Perfect Lie.

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He jumped to his death in front of witnesses. Now his wife is charged with murder.

Five years ago, Erin Kennedy moved to New York following a family tragedy. She now lives happily with her detective husband in the scenic seaside town of Newport, Long Island. When Erin answers the door to Danny’s police colleagues one morning, it’s the start of an ordinary day. But behind her, Danny walks to the window of their fourth-floor apartment and jumps to his death.

Eighteen months later, Erin is in court, charged with her husband’s murder. Over that year and a half, Erin has learned things about Danny she could never have imagined. She thought he was perfect. She thought their life was perfect.

But it was all built on the perfect lie.

MY THOUGHTS

I’m a huge fan of Jo Spain’s books, and I couldn’t wait to get started on her latest. The Perfect Lie is one of the most gripping books I’ve read this year. It’s addictive, clever and so well plotted. I devoured it in just a couple of sittings.

The pace and tension is excellent, and the taut writing keeps the book flying forward. We meet Erin, a publisher, who has moved to America from Ireland. She falls in love with a police detective, Danny, and they marry. Five years later, Erin is left devastated when Danny throws himself to his death when police detectives visit them at their home. Still grappling with what has happened, Erin is horrified when eighteen months later, she is on trial for his murder.

There is a lot of mystery surrounding Danny’s death which I wanted to get to the bottom of. Erin’s frustration comes through very clearly as she tries to make sense of the man she thought she knew well. But it appears that he was keeping secrets from her. Why did he feel as though he had to end things this way? What prompted him to kill himself? Erin fights to get answers to this, and as she gets closer to understanding why he did what he did, she uncovers some uncomfortable truths. Like Erin, I had to know if what she found out about him was true; I didn’t know who to believe.

Jo Spain also takes us back to 2016 at Harvard University, where we meet Lauren and Ally, two students. It’s not clear when we first meet them how their story connects to Erin’s life in the present. I wanted to know how this was going to be weaved together, and Jo Spain does this in a very clever way. I had no idea how the plot was going to unfold as I was reading. It’s what kept questions ticking over in my mind as well, as I tried to work out what was really going on with Danny and what he was involved in.

Jo Spain keeps the tension turning up a notch as the book races towards its finale, and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. I was utterly gripped; once you start it, I guarantee you will not want to put this book down. It’s the perfect book which you could happily lose a Sunday afternoon too. I highly, highly recommend this book; you don’t want to miss it!

Publisher: Quercus

Publication date: 13th May 2021

Print length: 400 pages

The Perfect Lie is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

FIRST MONDAY CRIME

If you would like to tune in to watch Jo Spain talk about her book and her writing, you can do so via the First Monday Crime Facebook page. The event is being live streamed on Facebook from 19.30 p.m. UK time. Alongside Jo we also have appearing, Imran Mahmood author of I Know What I Saw, Dorothy Koomson, author of I Know What You’ve Done and Patricia Marques, author of The Colour of Death. To access the event please click on the link below which will take you through to the First Monday Crime Facebook page.

First Monday Crime

The Prank by L.V. Matthews #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the debut thriller by L.V. Matthews, The Prank.

The Prank: The revenge thriller T.M. Logan calls 'Pacy, absorbing and brilliantly topical' by [L V Matthews]

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What happens when reality TV goes wrong? El Greene is about to find out.

El lives a quiet life in London until a chance encounter leads her to discover a link between a hit reality TV show and her father’s death.

El realises she can orchestrate the perfect revenge but her pursuit soon turns to obsession and she doesn’t seem to know how to stop. Her drive for destruction means risking her life, and the lives of those closest to her . . .

MY THOUGHTS

Psychological thriller lovers, if you’re looking for something fresh and exciting in this genre, then you need to try this debut novel by L.V. Matthews The Prank. This is one of those books which you’ll be recommending to everyone once you have finished it.

I felt I really connected to the lead character El; you can really sense her pain as she relieves the trauma that has happened in her life. I could understand her need to get revenge, and I could see why she wanted to down this route. But as she drew closer to achieving this goal, I kept thinking that she was putting herself closer and closer to danger. But it’s what makes this book so exciting and so nerve-racking as the tension continues to tighten.

What I loved about this book was how original it felt as I was reading it. I thought the idea of a television show of people being pranked was really well thought out, and it’s an idea I haven’t seen before in thrillers. Like El, I felt angry as well as I was reading it. Sometimes these sorts of things can be done in good humour. But the people behind the television show in this book seem to be only in it for the viewing figures and the reaction they get from their audience. They don’t have a thought at all for the people who they prank.

The pace kept me turning the pages; I was rooting for El to get what she wanted right the way through. There are some very sinister scenes, especially when she is planning out what she is going to do in an Internet chatroom. I didn’t like the producer of the television show at all. He comes across as quite likeable and charming when El is first introduced to him, but then things soon turn very sinister. I was really worried about what he would do if he found out the truth about El. It made me wonder just how far El would be prepared to go to get what she wants.

I have definitely found a new favourite author, and I can’t wait to see what L.V. Matthews writes next. The Prank is gripping and very chilling. A brilliant debut thriller.

Publisher: Welbeck

Publication date: 18th March 2021

Print length: 296 pages

The Prank is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones

WWW Wednesday – 02/06/21

Welcome to this week’s WWW Wednesday. WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words.

Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

The three Ws are:
What are you currently reading?
What have you finished reading?
What will you read next?

What am I currently reading?

In Her Bones by [Kate Moretti]

New York Times​ ​bestselling author Kate Moretti​’​s​ (The Vanishing Year)​ latest ​novel follows the daughter of a convicted serial killer who finds herself at the centre of a murder investigation.
Fifteen years ago, Lilith Wade was arrested for the brutal murder of six women. After a death row conviction and media frenzy, her thirty-year-old daughter Edie is a recovering alcoholic with a deadend city job, just trying to survive out of the spotlight.
Edie also has a disturbing secret: a growing obsession with the families of Lilith’s victims. She’s desperate to discover how they’ve managed—or failed—to move on, and whether they’ve fared better than her. She’s been careful to keep her distance, until the day one of them is found murdered and she quickly becomes the prime suspect. Edie remembers nothing of the night of the death, and must get to the truth before the police—or the real killer—find her.

Project Hail Mary: From the bestselling author of The Martian by [Andy Weir]

A lone astronaut.
An impossible mission.
An ally he never imagined.

Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission – and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.

Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.

All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.

His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, Ryland realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Hurtling through space on this tiny ship, it’s up to him to puzzle out an impossible scientific mystery-and conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.

And with the clock ticking down and the nearest human being light-years away, he’s got to do it all alone.

Or does he?

What have I finished reading?

The Prank: The revenge thriller T.M. Logan calls 'Pacy, absorbing and brilliantly topical' by [L V Matthews]

What happens when reality TV goes wrong? El Greene is about to find out.

El lives a quiet life in London until a chance encounter leads her to discover a link between a hit reality TV show and her father’s death.

El realises she can orchestrate the perfect revenge but her pursuit soon turns to obsession and she doesn’t seem to know how to stop. Her drive for destruction means risking her life, and the lives of those closest to her . . .

Invisible Victim: A completely gripping psychological thriller with a shocking twist by [Mel Sherratt]

‘Let me out! Please!’ I shouted, banging on the door. How had I got here? What day was it? I couldn’t remember anything. But I knew I had become the fifth woman to be abducted.

As my eyes adjust to the darkness, I’m filled with dread. Everything looks just like the others described: a small hole in the door, a mattress and a narrow window allowing only a small chink of light. The jewellery given to me by my loving husband has gone and I’m in someone else’s clothes.

Just days before, I had interviewed the third victim for the local paper. She couldn’t stop shaking. Her story was the same as those before her: an ordinary woman, locked away for ten days then released with no explanation, and nothing – nothing she could think of – to link her to the others. Throughout the ordeal, her abductor stayed eerily silent.

I tell myself I’ll be safe in ten days. But I can’t help thinking of the fourth victim who is still missing. And then I hear the voice coming through the door. ‘You said everything would be fine. But it wasn’t was it?’ It is then that I realise. If I am to make it out alive, I need to revisit a dark secret of my own that I have spent a lifetime trying to forget.

What will I read next?

Broken Girls: A totally addictive and unputdownable crime thriller (Detective Bernadette Noel Book 2) by [Joy Kluver]

Brambles catch her dress, scratch her legs. She has no option but to go barefoot if she’s going to escape. They’d been laughing a few minutes before, but things can change in the blink of an eye…

The woman is young, judging by the short red dress, and dark-haired. Any other signs of her identity have been erased during her long wait to be found, but it’s clear she has been strangled: this was a vicious and personal murder.

D.I. Bernadette Noel knows that every second counts if they are to catch this killer, but they have no leads – until the discovery that the dead woman’s rings match a stolen property report, and the rings’ owner mentions a missing Italian au pair.

Then a shocking discovery about their victim – and the news that another girl, also young and dark-haired, has been abducted – changes everything the team thought they knew about the case.

Piecing together witness statements, Bernie notices key similarities between the description of the person last seen with their murder victim, and someone the missing girl was messaging online. She is convinced they’re looking at the same perpetrator – and if that’s the case, Bernie’s job is no longer just to catch a killer: it’s to save a life.

With few options left, and time running out, she makes a desperate plan. She’ll risk everything on one shot to force their suspect’s hand and push him into making a mistake. But traps need bait – and if her plan fails, a third girl could die…

When They Find Her: The gripping new thriller that will take your breath away by [Lia Middleton]

NAOMI ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A MOTHER.

But three years ago, her husband left, taking their child with him.

Now, her daughter has come to stay, and Naomi knows it’s her one chance to re-build her family.

But the night ends in a terrible accident.

And Naomi has no memory of what happened.

Panicking, desperate, Naomi finds herself telling a lie:

‘My daughter is missing.’

NOW SHE CAN NEVER TAKE IT BACK . . .

Hooked From Page One turns 5! #giveaway #competition #win

I can’t believe it’s been five years since I first pressed the publish button when my blog went live on blogspot on the 1st June 2016, I moved to WordPress the following year in 2017. I have read some incredible books in that time and I have found new favourite authors who I probably would never have come across had it not been for blogging. It’s also been amazing to be part of the blogging community and I have made many friends through this way. I really had no idea what I was doing when I first started and I had no idea that I would still be doing it five years later.

Through blogging I’ve had the privilege of meeting some of my favourite authors and I have also gained confidence to start attending book festivals and other book events.

My first post which I published was a book review for The Widow by Fiona Barton and if you would like to check out my very first review you can do so by clicking here. I must admit, it does make me cringe when I read my earlier reviews. I hope they have improved over time.

To say thank you for sticking with my blog over the last five years, I’m giving away a £15.00 Amazon gift card. To enter, all you have to do is follow my blog and leave a comment below. You can follow my blog by clicking on the follow blog button on the right hand side, if you have a WordPress account, or by email. This competition will run until 23.59 p.m. UK time, Friday, 4th June 2021. One winner will be selected as random. Good luck!