6 Ripley Avenue by Noelle Holten #bookreview #blogtour @nholten40 @0neMoreChapter_ @RandomTTours

On my blog today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Noelle Holten, 6 Ripley Avenue. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.



Jeanette is the manager of a probation hostel that houses high risk offenders released on license.

At 3am one morning, she receives a call telling her a resident has been murdered.

Her whole team, along with the eight convicted murderers, are now all suspects in a crime no one saw committed…


I was really intrigued to hear that Noelle Holten was writing a standalone thriller, as I have loved her DC Maggie Jamieson series. Noelle didn’t disappoint. 6 Ripley Avenue is a very dark crime thriller, focusing in on a hostel for high risk individuals. I think it’s perhaps Noelle’s darkest crime novel yet.

It’s fair to say that the residents, who live nearby to 6 Ripley Avenue, aren’t too happy about the idea of having dangerous criminals living nearby; I think if I was in their position, I would be feeling the same. One resident, Helen Burgess, blames the hostel for the death of her husband, who blamed his stress, that caused his death, on the place. Helen, however, in the present, is working in the kitchens there, but she is determined to get the hostel shut down and begins working with a journalist, Sloane.

There is a real sense of menace throughout this book, especially following the murder of a person staying at the hostel, Danny Wells. This puts everyone on edge, including the criminals who are living there as they don’t want any more of their freedoms taken away, which the staff threatens to do so, as the tensions between those running the hostel and the local community escalate.

As Helen and Sloane started talking, it made me wonder just how much danger they were going to be putting themselves in. Sloane is determined to get a good story and it is clear to see that she is willing to do anything to get one. Throughout the book there are some sinister chapters told from the point of view of the killer, and it isn’t yet clear what their motive is here, especially with the murder of Danny Wells. Noelle also creates tension around the possibility of the killer striking again.

Noelle Holten has created a cast of intriguing characters in this book. I was totally surprised by who the killer turned out to be, and I thought Noelle wrapped everything up well as she drew the novel to a close. Noelle Holten has written another brilliant thriller. If you’re a fan of her writing, you will love this one, and if you haven’t read her work yet, then you definitely need to.

Publisher: One More Chapter

Publication date: 27th September 2022

Print length:

6 Ripley Avenue is available to buy:

Amazon UK


The Hike by Susi Holliday #bookreview #blogtour @SJIHolliday @AmazonPub @RandomTTours

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel by Susi Holliday, The Hike. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.


Four hikers enter the mountains. Only two return. But is it tragedy? Or treachery?

When sisters Cat and Ginny travel with their husbands to the idyllic Swiss Alps for a hiking holiday, it’s not just a chance to take in the stunning scenery. It’s an opportunity to reconnect with each other after years of drifting apart—and patch up marriages that are straining at the seams.

As they head into the mountains, morale is high, but as the terrain turns treacherous, cracks in the relationships start to show. With worrying signs that someone might be following them, the sun begins to set and exhaustion kicks in. Suddenly, lost high on a terrifying ridge, tensions spill over—with disastrous consequences.

When only two of the four hikers make it down from the mountain, the police press them for their story—but soon become suspicious when their accounts just don’t add up.

What really happened up on that ridge? Who are the survivors? And what secrets are they trying to hide?


I’ve always found Susi Holliday’s writing addictive, and her latest book, The Hike, is no exception. There is a real intense atmosphere in this book, set in the Swiss Alps, and Susi Holliday builds on this setting to create tension, so well. We meet a family, two sisters and their husbands, who have travelled for a hiking holiday, but something terrible is about to happen to them in the mountains. Only two people will survive.

I loved the way how Susi Holliday peeled back the layers of each character, especially as they made their way up the mountain, making things between them more intense. The interaction between the two sisters, Cat and Ginny, I thought was particularly interesting. You can see what they think about each other and I wanted to know what was going to happen to them while they were up there. From the opening prologue you know that something terrible has happened, and Susi Holliday creates layers of suspicion very well in her writing, pulling you deeper into the lives of her characters. They are certainly not very likeable people, but this is what made them all the more interesting and the characterisation is so well done.

As I mentioned earlier, Susi Holliday creates an intense atmosphere in The Hike. You can feel the danger the characters are in, as they make their way up the mountain, but it seems that it isn’t the dangerous terrain around them, or the intense cold, that they need to be wary of. Susi Holliday keeps on adding to the tension as we begin to find out what happened to the group. It is on the mountain that the character’s true colours begin to emerge, and this may be more dangerous to them than the threat of avalanches, or what else is lurking on the mountainside.

Susi Holliday has written another terrific, tense thriller, that I’m sure will thrill fans of her previous novels. The Hike will keep you entertained and gripped to the words on the page. I really enjoyed it.

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication date: 1st October 2022

Print length: 266 pages

The Hike is available to buy:

Amazon UK


The Bleeding by Johana Gustawsson #bookreview #blogtour @JoGustawsson @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

On my blog today, I’m taking part in the blog tour for the brilliant new novel by Johana Gustawsson, The Bleeding. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.


1899, Belle Époque Paris. Lucienne’s two daughters are believed dead when her mansion burns to the ground, but she is certain that her girls are still alive and embarks on a journey into the depths of the spiritualist community to find them.

1949, Post-War Québec. Teenager Lina’s father has died in the French Resistance, and as she struggles to fit in at school, her mother introduces her to an elderly woman at the asylum where she works, changing Lina’s life in the darkest way imaginable.

2002, Quebec. A former schoolteacher is accused of brutally stabbing her husband – a famous university professor – to death. Detective Maxine Grant, who has recently lost her own husband and is parenting a teenager and a new baby single-handedly, takes on the investigation.

Under enormous personal pressure, Maxine makes a series of macabre discoveries that link directly to historical cases involving black magic and murder, secret societies and spiritism … and women at breaking point, who will stop at nothing to protect the ones they love…


I was told I would need to set an afternoon aside to read The Bleeding, and I definitely needed to. I flew through Johana Gustawsson’s latest novel in less than a single day. It feels like it’s been a long while since I read one of her books, which meant I was so exciting to read this one. I always find her ideas so interesting, and her books are so cleverly plotted, especially as they cover several time periods, sometimes spanning decades and hundreds of years. The Bleeding is a dark book; it does cover some heavy themes which may make some readers feel uncomfortable, but it is so compelling. It has all the makings of a classic.

Johana begins her novel in 2002 in Quebec, Canada, where a former schoolteacher has been accused of brutally murdering her husband. We meet Detective Maxine Grant, and from the outset, this is a very strange case, but just how is it connected to the disappearance of two young girls in 1899, and the life of a young girl, Lina in 1949?

I’m always left in awe at just how clever Johana’s novels are. I can only imagine that she must spend many weeks and months plotting her books. Her ideas are always so original, and there isn’t a writer, I can think of, that I can quite compare her work to. The murder in 2002 is very intriguing, particularly with the macabre discoveries Maxine makes at the home of the man who is murdered.

As I mentioned, Johana does cover some dark themes in this book, including black magic, and I have to admit these scenes did send a shiver up my spine as I was reading. I think this book is geared more towards fans of the horror genre, but the crime and mystery element was still there and so well done.

Maxine was a fascinating character, and her connection to the only suspect, who was once her teacher, was especially interesting as the investigation begins. It made me wonder how this would affect Maxine’s judgement of the woman.

The Bleeding is so well written and it instantly grips you. You definitely want to start this when you have a couple of hours to spare as you will not want to put it down. I really enjoyed it.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 15th September 2022

Print length: 300 pages

The Bleeding is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones


The Skeleton Key by Erin Kelly #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel by Erin Kelly, The Skeleton Key.



Summer, 2021.
 Nell has come home at her family’s insistence to celebrate an anniversary. Fifty years ago, her father wrote The Golden Bones. Part picture book, part treasure hunt, Sir Frank Churcher created a fairy story about Elinore, a murdered woman whose skeleton was scattered all over England. Clues and puzzles in the pages of The Golden Bones led readers to seven sites where jewels were buried – gold and precious stones, each a different part of a skeleton. One by one, the tiny golden bones were dug up until only Elinore’s pelvis remained hidden.

The book was a sensation. A community of treasure hunters called the Bonehunters formed, in frenzied competition, obsessed to a dangerous degree. People sold their homes to travel to England and search for Elinore. Marriages broke down as the quest consumed people. A man died. The book made Frank a rich man. Stalked by fans who could not tell fantasy from reality, his daughter, Nell, became a recluse.

But now the Churchers must be reunited. The book is being reissued along with a new treasure hunt and a documentary crew are charting everything that follows. Nell is appalled, and terrified. During the filming, Frank finally reveals the whereabouts of the missing golden bone. And then all hell breaks loose.


I’ve always enjoyed Erin Kelly’s work, so I was looking forward to reading her new novel The Skeleton Key, which has a very intriguing premise. Readers of gothic suspense will really enjoy her latest book. Erin Kelly begins the novel with a shocking opening with a horrific attack on a young woman, and the reasons behind her attack are disturbing, giving that opening prologue a chilling note that carries right the way through the rest of the story. This is what propels you into the book, as I wanted to understand more about what happened to the woman and why.

The central premise in Erin Kelly’s latest novel, centres on a book called The Golden Bones, which, although has brought success to the author and wealth to them, has also created turmoil and upset for decades since its release. It is focused on a treasure hunt for the bones of a woman named Elinor, scattered in the countryside, and one bone, fifty years later, still hasn’t been found. There are also a group of people who call themselves by the disturbing name ‘the bone hunters’ who are obsessed with the treasure hunt. Now that the fiftieth anniversary is approaching since the book was first published, the media interest is picking up again.

I was captivated by all the characters in this book. Erin Kelly delves into their stories and brings them to life so well on the page, making this book a masterclass in characterisation. I loved how Erin Kelly gradually pulled us further into the mysteries of the novel, making me even more curious about the character’s and what was going to happen to them, especially with what was going on with the bone hunters. You can see the obsession that the bone hunters have with this case. Erin Kelly draws on this well to create tension, especially with the main character, Nell, whose point of view the novel is mainly told from. You can see their obsession with the treasure hunt is becoming dangerous and I had no idea what they might do next to achieve their goal.

You can really feel the emotions Nell is going through especially as she becomes reacquainted with her family again, after she has stayed away from them for so long, following the trauma she went through. This really made me connect to her character.

The Skeleton Key draws you into the disturbing mystery Erin Kelly has created. It is definitely one of the most original thrillers I’ve read this year.

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Publication date: 1st September 2022

Print length: 545 pages

The Skeleton Key is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

Black Hearts by Doug Johnstone #bookreview #blogtour @doug_johnstone @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

On my blog today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Doug Johnstone, Black Hearts. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.


Death is just the beginning…

The Skelf women live in the shadow of death every day, running the family funeral directors and private investigator business in Edinburgh. But now their own grief interwines with that of their clients, as they are left reeling by shocking past events.

A fist-fight by an open grave leads Dorothy to investigate the possibility of a faked death, while a young woman’s obsession with Hannah threatens her relationship with Indy and puts them both in mortal danger. An elderly man claims he’s being abused by the ghost of his late wife, while ghosts of another kind come back to haunt Jenny from the grave … pushing her to breaking point.

As the Skelfs struggle with increasingly unnerving cases and chilling danger lurks close to home, it becomes clear that grief, in all its forms, can be deadly…


I’m a huge fan of the Skelf series by Doug Johnstone, so I was really excited to hear that he was releasing a fourth book in the series. Black Hearts is the latest book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I finished it in a few greedy gulps. I’m always interested to see what the Skelf women are getting up to, the idea of meshing a funeral business, and a private detective agency, is an idea I’ll always love, and it’s part of what makes this series stand out to me, that, and the characters, and how Doug Johnstone brings Edinburgh to life.

Following the last three books in the series, tensions are still running high in the Skelf family, especially after what happened to them in the last book. You can feel the emotions they are experiencing following what has previously happened, and you experience the conflict and the guilt they feel. Doug Johnstone really knows how to draw you into the minds of his characters through their emotions, and this really makes you connect to them. I thought this particularly with Jenny in this book, as she definitely seems to be going through a tough time.

There are a few cases that the Skelf women become involved in, in Black Hearts. I particularly thought the case Hannah was investigating, was fascinating, after a grandfather, Udo, contacts her, who believes he is in touch with his dead wife’s spirit by using a Japanese wind phone. Spirituality is a key theme in this book and I liked how Doug Johnstone continued to explore this. I also liked how he explored Hannah’s line of work, and her interest in the universe further, which I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, is a topic I’m fascinated by. I particularly liked the scene when she was at a lecture focusing on exoplanets, and you can feel Hannah’s enthusiasm for the topic. Hannah is also facing difficulties with a stalker, which adds another layer of tension to the book.

This book does blend genres, and I think Doug Johnstone does this so well, by making me even more gripped by his writing and the lives of the Skelf women. I really hope that there a more books to come in this series, the writing is brilliant, and the characters will live in your mind long after you turn the final page. If you’re not yet reading this series, then you are really missing out on some of the best crime novels out there. I highly recommend them.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 29th September 2022

Print length: 300 pages

Black Hearts is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones


Your Word or Mine by Lia Middleton #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel by Lia Middleton, Your Word or Mine.


Prosecutor Ava Knight always plays by the rules.

Until she meets fifteen-year-old Lily Hawthorne, accused of stabbing hotel magnate Michael Osborne in cold blood.

It should be an open-and-shut case. But Ava suspects something everyone else does not:

Because eighteen years ago, Ava was brutally assaulted. The case went to trial. Her attacker was acquitted.

His name? Michael Osborne.

Now, court is in session.

And Ava must decide how far she’s willing to go to uncover the truth . . .


I thought Lia Middleton’s debut, When They Find Her, was one of the most original thrillers I read last year, so I was very excited to read her new novel, Your Word or Mine. For her second book, Lia Middleton has crafted a tense and very emotive courtroom drama, beginning eighteen years ago, when Annabelle King, a fifteen-year-old girl, is assaulted on her way home. Now, in the present day, Annabelle goes under a different name and is working as a prosecutor. And she is about to come face to face again with the man who attacked her all those years ago and got away with it, leaving her life in turmoil.

There is a lot of tension in this novel, particularly when Annabelle, now named in the present as Ava, finds out that she’ll be meeting the man who attacked her, Michael Osborne eighteen years earlier. I immediately connected to Ava, especially in the scenes when Lia Middleton takes us back to the time when her attacker was found not guilty. You can see the raw emotions this causes within her family as it feels as though she has been accused of lying about the attack. I wondered what she was going to do in the present day, as she met her attacker once again, and if she would do anything to try and get revenge. This is what drives the plot of the novel forward.

It feels as though history is beginning to repeat itself as Ava becomes involved in the case Michael Osborne is connected to. You can feel Ava’s determination to make people realise what sort of person Michael really is, and to do this, she must put her own career at risk. Lia Middleton has created a really dislikeable character in Michael Osborne, and I was rooting for Ava, right the way through the book, to succeed in getting him brought to justice.

I flew through Your Word or Mine. I liked the clever reveals that came as I delved deeper into the book. It makes for an addictive page turner and I was invested in the lives of the characters, particularly Ava’s, I really had no idea how things were going to pan out for her. I thoroughly enjoyed Lia Middleton’s second novel, I’m looking forward to seeing what she writes next. I’ve become a huge fan of her writing, and I hope there are many more books by Lia to come.

Publisher: Michael Jospeh

Publication date: 1st September 2022

Print length: 367 pages

Your Word or Mine is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

The Rising Tide by Ann Cleeves #bookreview #blogtour @AnnCleeves @panmacmillan @RandomTTours

On my blog today, I’m taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Ann Cleeves, The Rising Tide. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.


Fifty years ago, a group of teenagers spent a weekend on Holy Island, forging a bond that has lasted a lifetime. Now, they still return every five years to celebrate their friendship, and remember the friend they lost to the rising waters of the causeway at the first reunion.

Now, when one of them is found hanged, Vera is called in. Learning that the dead man had recently been fired after misconduct allegations, Vera knows she must discover what the friends are hiding, and whether the events of many years before could have led to murder then, and now . . .

But with the tide rising, secrets long-hidden are finding their way to the surface, and Vera and the team may find themselves in more danger than they could have believed possible . . .


I must admit, this is the first Vera novel I’ve read. I’ve watched and enjoyed the television series, but I’m always wary of starting a series several books in, without having read it from the beginning. But I needn’t have worried, The Rising Tide can easily be read as a standalone, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Ann Cleeves has created an intriguing and well plotted case for Vera to get to grips with, and I wanted to find out what was going on, and who was responsible for the murder.

We meet a group of friends, who are traveling to Holy Island, off the Northeast coast of England, where they have met every few years to mark the anniversary of their first meeting when they were at school. Quite a few decades have passed now since they all first met. One of them, Rhys, is a minor celebrity, who’s career has stalled after a few scandals. And it’s Rhys, who’s body is found while they are on Holy Island for their anniversary. It’s also clear to see that there are a few people who have a grudge against him, and there are more than a few potential suspects. But Rhys isn’t the only dead body to soon be found.

It was fascinating to see how Vera gradually began to realise what was going on and who was behind the murders. I loved how Ann Cleeves portrayed her character and she was instantly likeable. I found it interesting how, having already watched the television series, to then seeing just how well Vera is portrayed on the screen, as I read one of the books for the first time.

I liked, in the beginning, how Ann Cleeves introduced us to each member of the group at the reunion on Holy Island, before Rhys’s murder takes place. Ann Cleeves doesn’t dive into the action right away but I still found the writing addictive nonetheless. It was interesting finding out more about who these people were, and you can begin to see their own opinions of each other.

Ann Cleeves draws on the setting of Holy Island so well. You get a sense of the danger, especially with the changing tide, which gives the setting a very atmospheric feeling. It is the perfect setting for a crime novel. One interesting fact I did learn from the book, is that Holy Island is one of the earliest sites where Christianity first appeared in Britain, it made me want to find out more about the setting.

I will definitely be catching up on the previous books I’ve missed in this series. Ann Cleeves is a brilliant writer. If you haven’t read this series yet, I would say that you’re definitely missing out. I really enjoyed it.

Publisher: Panmacmillan

Publication date: 1st September 2022

Print length: 384 pages

The Rising Tide is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones


The Girls Who Disappeared by Claire Douglas #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel by Claire Douglas, The Girls Who Disappeared.



Twenty years ago, Olivia Rutherfood crashed her car while driving home with three friends.
When she regained consciousness, she was alone – her friends had vanished.


Now, journalist Jenna Halliday visits the town where it happened, determined to unlock the girls’ disappearance.

But Olivia won’t speak. And as Jenna probes further, the locals grow frightened . . .

How many secrets can one small town hide?


I loved The Girls Who Disappeared by Claire Douglas. Claire has created such an intriguing mystery and it had me gripped right from the first page. The opening scene pulled me into the story, when we see Olivia and her friends in a car, as they are heading out for the night. But when they have an accident down a road in their local town known as The Devil’s Corridor, only Olivia makes it out of the car alive. Her friends are nowhere to be seen.

I really wanted to know what had happened to Olivia’s friends following the accident. This is what journalist, Jenna Halliday has travelled to the town to investigate, twenty five years later, for a podcast she is working on. There is a really creepy vibe when Claire is describing the scene where the accident took place. Even when Jenna arrives in the town, travelling along the same road, she is greeted by a strange individual and this really chilled me.

I wanted to know what Jenna could possibly uncover about the accident a quarter of a century later, when no one has found any trace of Olivia’s friends. You can see that Olivia is still traumatised by what happened, and when Jenna tries to make contact with her, Olivia refuses to speak about what happened that night. She’s never spoken to the press before and she doesn’t want to speak to Jenna. Of course there are theories about what happened to the girl’s that night, that Jenna explores, including a suggestion by a witness, that aliens were involved. This is what makes the case even more mysterious. The way in which Claire writes this, even though you know it can’t be the case, still makes the idea seem credible. I had absolutely no idea what had happened to Olivia’s friends. It seemed, as I was reading, that anything could be possible.

Throughout the novel there are scenes told from the point of view of characters, who are on holiday in Thailand. I had no idea how these scenes would be linked to the main plot of the novel, but the way how Claire Douglas gradually revealed this was done so well. This novel is so well plotted and I loved how Claire revealed her secrets.

The Girls Who Disappeared is another addictive read from Claire Douglas. I loved it.

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 15th September 2022

Print length: 365 pages

The Girls Who Disappeared is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones