Safe at Home by Lauren North #bookreview #blogtour @Lauren_C_North @TransworldBooks @RandomTTours

On my blog today, I’m taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Lauren North, Safe at Home. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

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What if you left your child alone, and something terrible happened?

Anna James is an anxious mother. So when she has to leave eleven-year-old Harrie home alone one evening, she can’t stop worrying about her daughter. But nothing bad ever happens in the sleepy village of Barton St Martin.

Except something goes wrong that night, and Anna returns to find Harrie with bruises she won’t explain. The next morning a local businessman is reported missing and the village is sparking with gossip.

Anna is convinced there’s a connection and that Harrie is in trouble. But how can she protect her daughter if she doesn’t know where the danger is coming from?

MY THOUGHTS

Safe at Home is the type of book that can easily be read in one sitting. This is the first book by Lauren North which I’ve read, and it certainly won’t be the last. The tension is there right from the first page, and it builds and builds as the story develops. This is one of the most gripping books I’ve read this year!

There is so much intrigue in this book. The most fascinating character for me, was eleven-year-old Harrie. There is so much mystery surrounding her, and I wanted to get to the bottom of what was going on in her life. We know something is up, right at the very start, when on Halloween, Harrie doesn’t return from trick or treating. This creates panic, but before we find out what has happened to Harrie we’re taken back to ten days earlier. Ten days before Halloween Harrie’s mother, Anna has left her at home for what should be just a few moments. But they are caught in a devastating accident and something terrible happens at home.

I thought both Harrie and Anna’s voice came through very strongly in the book. You can feel the tension in Anna’s voice as she speaks, and you can see just how anxious she is. This did very well in adding to the tension. Harrie doesn’t let on at all about what is bothering her, and you can see just how scared she is.

My opinion of Harrie kept changing as I was reading. One moment I was feeling sorry for her and hoping that things would get better for her, but then I couldn’t believe how she was treating her mother. I thought at times that she was being selfish. I liked this as it kept me interested in Harrie and what she was going through.

I really had no idea how things were going to pan out for Harrie and Anna. It’s what kept me hooked as I was reading. The plot is so well thought out and when Lauren North revealed what was really going on, I thought it was done in a very clever way. The final revelations were so shocking, and I could not believe what I was reading.

This is psychological suspense at its very best. I flew through this book. Now I’m desperate to catch up on Lauren North’s previous novels. If you’re looking for a pacy, addictive thriller, then I highly recommend Safe at Home. I could not put it down!

Publisher: Corgi

Publication date: 9th September 2021 (kindle) 30th October 2021 (paperback)

Print length: 374 pages

Safe at Home is available to buy:

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Tall Bones by Anna Bailey #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the debut crime novel by Anna Bailey, Tall Bones.

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When seventeen-year-old Emma leaves her best friend Abi at a party in the woods, she believes, like most girls her age, that their lives are just beginning. Many things will happen that night, but Emma will never see her friend again.

Abi’s disappearance cracks open the façade of the small town of Whistling Ridge, its intimate history of long-held grudges and resentment. Even within Abi’s family, there are questions to be asked – of Noah, the older brother whom Abi betrayed, of Jude, the shining younger sibling who hides his battle scars, of Dolly, her mother and Samuel, her father – both in thrall to the fire and brimstone preacher who holds the entire town in his grasp. Then there is Rat, the outsider, whose presence in the town both unsettles and excites those around him.

Anything could happen in Whistling Ridge, this tinder box of small-town rage, and all it will take is just one spark – the truth of what really happened that night out at the Tall Bones….

MY THOUGHTS

Tall Bones is an engaging, harrowing and an unnerving debut thriller by Anna Bailey. Anna takes us to a small American town, where the church is at its centre. The pastor of the church has a lot of influence, and you get the sense that the people will follow whatever command he gives. When teenager, Abi, goes missing, tensions in the town run high. Many, including Abi’s family, are pushed to breaking point as they try to work out what happened to her and who they should blame.

I wanted to know what had happened to Abi. Anna Bailey portrays very clearly how rattled her disappearance has made the residents of the town. Abi’s father Samuel is very religious, but he is also a bully. He is a character who I really didn’t like from the start, and I hated how the pastor could easily excuse his actions.

One character who I did like was Rat, a Romanian boy who lives on his own in the town. He felt like a breath of fresh air in the book, compared to the rest of the town’s population. I also really liked his relationship with Abi’s older brother, Noah. This relationship is looked down upon by the rest of the town’s population, especially by Abi’s father. I was worried that something terrible was going to happen to Noah; I wouldn’t have put it past a few of the town’s residents to have done something despicable to him.

I had so many thoughts on what had happened to Abi as I was reading, and I was never able to quite work out what had happened. Did she run away? Did she get caught up in something much more terrifying? I was kept utterly gripped as the final devastating truth became clear. There are some shocking truths as the reasons behind Abi’s disappearance become clear.

Tall Bones is an exciting debut and I’m sure I’ll be looking out for anything that Anna Bailey writes next. If you enjoy character-driven novels, then I highly recommend this book. I’m sure it’ll stay in the minds of readers long after they have turned the final page. I loved it.

Publisher: Doubleday

Publication date: 1st April 2021

Print length: 352 pages

Tall Bones is available to buy:

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Dead Mercy by Noelle Holten cover reveal @nholten40 @BOTBSPublicity #coverreveal

On my blog today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the cover reveal for the new novel in the DC Maggie Jamieson series by Noelle Holten, Dead Mercy. But before I reveal the cover, let’s take a look at what the novel is about.

A brutal murder…

When a burned body is found with its teeth missing, DC Maggie Jamieson discovers that the victim may be the husband of one of her probation colleagues.

A dark history…

As the body count rises, the team becomes increasingly baffled by how the victims could possibly be connected until a clue leads them to a historical case that was never prosecuted.

A terrible secret…

In order to catch the killer, Maggie must piece together what happened all those years ago before it’s too late.

Now for the all important cover . . . .

….

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Dead Mercy is available to pre-order now and it’ll be published on 19th November 2021.

Amazon UK

Black Reed Bay by Rod Reynolds #blogtour #giveaway #win #prize @Rod_WR @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

As part of the blog tour for Black Reed Bay by Rod Reynolds, I’m delighted to be able to offer one paperback copy to giveaway. If you would like to read my review of the book you can do so by clicking here. Before I reveal more about the competition, let’s find out what the book is about.

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Don’t trust ANYONE…

When a young woman makes a distressing middle-of-the-night call to 911, apparently running for her life in a quiet, exclusive beachside neighbourhood, miles from her home, everything suggests a domestic incident.

Except no one has seen her since, and something doesn’t sit right with the officers at Hampstead County PD. With multiple suspects and witnesses throwing up startling inconsistencies, and interference from the top threatening the integrity of the investigation, lead detective Casey Wray is thrust into an increasingly puzzling case that looks like it’s going to have only one ending…

And then the first body appears…

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 28th May 2021 (kindle) 2nd September 2021

Print length: 300 pages

Black Reed Bay is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

GIVEAWAY

As part of the blog tour I have one copy of the book to giveaway. To enter please see my pinned Tweet on my Twitter account @collinsjacob115. The Giveaway will end 11.59 p.m. Friday, 17th September, UK time. I’m afraid this giveaway is open to UK residents only.

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The Chateau by Catherine Cooper #bookreview #blogtour @catherinecooper @HarperCollinsUK @RandomTTours

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

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They thought it was perfect. They were wrong…

A glamorous chateau

Aura and Nick don’t talk about what happened in England. They’ve bought a chateau in France to make a fresh start, and their kids need them to stay together – whatever it costs.

A couple on the brink

The expat community is welcoming, but when a neighbour is murdered at a lavish party, Aura and Nick don’t know who to trust.

A secret that is bound to come out…

Someone knows exactly why they really came to the chateau. And someone is going to give them what they deserve.

MY THOUGHTS

Catherine Cooper has written another brilliant, utterly chilling thriller. The Chateau opens with an intriguing paragraph that made me want to know what was going on here. Someone is out for revenge. But who is this person? What has made them want to pursue this course of action?

Catherine Cooper then takes us to France, where at a party, someone ends up dead. This makes for such a gripping opening. I had to know who this person was who was killed. Following on from this we meet Aura and Nick who have recently relocated to France from the UK with their two sons, Bay and Sorrel. They are doing up a chateau with a film crew present who are filming for a documentary. It is clear that they have come here to try and forget something which happened to them.

As we get to know Aura and Nick Catherine Cooper takes us back in time. It is here that we get to see the events play out which led to them seeking a new life in France. There were some gripping scenes here as I wondered just what exactly had happened and I began to see events in the present in a new light. As Aura and Nick get to know the expat community out in France, I couldn’t believe some of the scenes I was reading, particularly when they attend their friend Thea’s party. Aura’s frustration comes through very clearly in her character here. It made me wonder how things were going to pan out for them in France.

Catherine Cooper throws in a lot of red herrings which keeps your attention focused elsewhere and I thought she did this very well. There was a twist which came towards the end of the book which completely surprised me. I had no idea that this was the direction that Catherine was going to take. It made it all the more chilling and those last few lines in the final chapter gave me shivers.

Psychological thriller fans, Catherine Cooper’s novels are a must read if you haven’t read them already. I was utterly gripped by The Chateau and I can’t wait to see what Catherine Cooper writes next.

Publisher: Harper Collins

Publication date: 2nd September 2021

Print length: 400 pages

The Chateau is available to buy:

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The Vacancy by Elisabeth Carpenter #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new thriller by Elisabeth Carpenter, The Vacancy.

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Running from her past, Rachel answers an advert to be a live-in assistant to glamorous and eccentric author Dorothy Winters. But behind the closed doors of Dorothy’s house, she quickly discovers that nothing is as it seems.

When Dorothy’s manuscript throws up striking similarities to events in Rachel’s own life, she becomes convinced that the past she’s tried to hide is catching up with her.

Then the phone calls start. The parcel arrives. The blood shows up in the bathroom.

And Dorothy’s friend disappears.

Terrified of being blamed for murder, Rachel has nobody left to turn to.

Because who can she believe when she doesn’t even trust herself…?

MY THOUGHTS

The Vacancy is a tense, highly intriguing new thriller by Elisabeth Carpenter which, to me, felt very fresh. We meet Rachel who answers a job application for live-in assistant to famous writer, Dorothy Winters. Rachel is bowled over when she receives the news that she has got the job. Dorothy is a complex character, but Rachel soon settles into her new life. Soon, strange things start happening and Rachel begins to wonder what is going on here and what sort of person Dorothy Winters really is.


I was fascinated by Rachel. When she arrives at Dorothy’s, we can see that she is doing this to make a new start in her life. Something has happened to her. I wanted to know what it was that had happened in her past and what secrets she was keeping. Elisabeth Carpenter gradually reveals what this is, and the true picture of Rachel begins to emerge. I was intrigued by Dorothy as well. Dorothy was a successful author in the 90s and is working on a new manuscript which Rachel is having to type. As Rachel begins to type Dorothy’s chapters, she realises that the story she’s working on bears a haunting similarity to events which have happened in her own life. Coincidence?


I loved Rachel’s voice which drew me into the story. It felt as though someone is watching Rachel as she settles into her new life. There are snippets throughout the book where it appears as though someone is spying and recording what she is doing. It kept the tension ticking up a notch as I wondered if this was the case. Who could be following her? As Rachel gets to know her new employer she starts snooping around her house, to try and find out more about her. I thought this was a very bold move of Rachel to make and it made me wonder what she might potentially find out about Dorothy. What would happen if Dorothy found out what she was doing?


Elisabeth Carpenter begins to reveal what is really going on here and there was one twist which floored me. I thought it was very clever and it gives the book such a haunting feeling as we draw closer to the end; I thought the ending was very satisfying.


Elisabeth Carpenter has written an another utterly addictive psychological thriller with real emotional depth and the tension keeps you turning the pages. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

Publisher: Orion

Publication date: 5th August 2021

Print length: 432 pages

The Vacancy is available to buy:

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The Final Child by Fran Dorricott #bookreview #blogtour @franwritesstuff @TitanBooks

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Final Child by Fran Dorricott on my blog today. With thanks to Lydia Gittins at Titan Books for inviting me to take part.

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He won’t forget her…

Erin and her brother Alex were the last children abducted by ‘the Father’, a serial killer who only ever took pairs of siblings. She escaped, but her brother was never seen again. Traumatised, Erin couldn’t remember anything about her ordeal, and the Father was never caught.

Eighteen years later, Erin has done her best to put the past behind her. But then she meets Harriet. Harriet’s young cousins were the Father’s first victims and, haunted by their deaths, she is writing a book about the disappearances and is desperate for an interview with the only survivor. At first, Erin wants nothing to do with her. But then she starts receiving sinister gifts, her house is broken into, and she can’t shake the feeling that she’s being watched. After all these years, Erin believed that the Father was gone, but now she begins to wonder if he was only waiting…

A tense and emotive thriller, The Final Child is a powerful tale of a survivor being forced to confront her painful past.

MY THOUGHTS

The Final Child is a tense, utterly gripping thriller by Fran Dorricott. I loved Fran’s debut when I read it a couple of years ago which meant her latest book jumped right to the top of my TBR pile. Fran Dorricott doesn’t shy away from the darkness in her writing. Years ago, a serial killer was targeting young siblings, abducting them from their rooms. The person responsible known as ‘The Father’ was never caught.

We are introduced to Erin and Harriet. Erin and her brother, Alex, were victims of a serial killer known as ‘The Father.’ She has tried to forget about what happened, but she soon finds the past calling to her. She’s contacted by Harriet, a journalist writing a book about the case. She is desperate for an interview with Erin. Erin only agrees to help when strange things start happening and she feels she must get to the bottom of what is going on. Has ‘The Father’ come back? Is he out to get Erin even after all these years?

The storyline was very tense, I think more so in the second half than in the first, though. I liked both Erin and Hannah. I could see how much of an impact the trauma of what happened in Erin’s childhood has had on her life. I wanted to know if the strange things that were happening to her now was related to what happened in her childhood. I did feel sorry for Erin. Although she has changed her identity, she was previously known as Jillian, she has never been able to escape what happened. Harriet also has a connection to the case. Her cousins were ‘The Father’s’ last victims, so she is invested in getting to the truth of what is going on as well. They are both very strong leads.

The tension continues to tick up a notch and there were some very tense final scenes as Erin and Harriet come to realise what is really going on. I was utterly gripped as I read the final devastating chapters. I could not put the book down until I had turned the final page and I couldn’t believe what I was reading.

The Final Child is a very dark book, but it captured my interest. I really enjoyed it. If you love dark and gripping crime thrillers, you should add this to your TBR pile. I highly recommend it.

Publisher: Titan Books

Publication date: 7th September 2021

Print length: 448 pages

The Final Child is available to buy:

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A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins #bookreview #blogtour @RandomTTours @TransworldBooks

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for the new novel by Paula Hawkins on my blog today, A Slow Fire Burning. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

A Slow Fire Burning: The scorching new thriller from the author of The Girl on the Train by [Paula Hawkins]

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‘What is wrong with you?’

Laura has spent most of her life being judged. She’s seen as hot-tempered, troubled, a loner. Some even call her dangerous.

Miriam knows that just because Laura is witnessed leaving the scene of a horrific murder with blood on her clothes, that doesn’t mean she’s a killer. Bitter experience has taught her how easy it is to get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Carla is reeling from the brutal murder of her nephew. She trusts no one: good people are capable of terrible deeds. But how far will she go to find peace?

Innocent or guilty, everyone is damaged. Some are damaged enough to kill.

Look what you started.

MY THOUGHTS

A Slow Fire Burning is a brilliant new novel by Paula Hawkins. The tension gradually builds following the discovery of the body of a young man, Daniel Sutherland, on a houseboat on Regent’s Canal. He is discovered by Miriam Lewis, who needs to tell him that he has over extended his stay. Paula expertly tells the story through the eyes of five characters. They all have some sort of connection to the man who has been found dead. But are any of them guilty of killing him? I had to find out.

Paula Hawkins draws on the atmosphere so well, creating a very dark and foreboding feeling. The characters are all very different and I found each one of them captivating. They come across as very real people, each with their own set of problems. I think it was Theo’s story which came through very strongly, for me, particularly as he is still struggling to cope with the death of his son. Theo is a writer, and had one big success with an early book in his career, but he has struggled to put pen to paper since his son died. His emotions come through very strongly on the page.

Laura was another character who I found fascinating. She has some issues with her family. She is frustrated. Whenever she calls her father, his partner, Deidre, who she doesn’t get on with, is always there, listening in and criticising her. And her mum won’t pick up the phone to her. It feels as though she is on her own. I wanted to get to the bottom of who she was and what had happened in her past. I think readers may find her a bit eccentric but there was one aspect to her character which I really liked. Laura helps look after an elderly woman, Irene and this helps portray her as a really likeable character.

All of the characters have intriguing backstories and Paula Hawkins writes them so well into her book. I never felt confused as I was reading, which can sometimes happen when a book is told from multiple viewpoints.

I had to know if any of the characters were somehow involved in Daniel’s death and why he was killed. Paula Hawkins has created an intriguing list of suspects. They don’t make it easy for the police to solve this case. I got the feeling that any one of them could be responsible for the murder. I had no idea how things were going to pan out for them. It’s what made the book so enjoyable. Paula Hawkins keeps you thinking about the characters and what their connection to the murder might be.

Although this is a slow burn, the tension simmers away in the background. It’s a story which focuses much more on the characters. They make this book such an unsettling read. Paula Hawkins expertly revealed what had happened to Daniel. I was gripped to the final pages as the whole truth became clear. It does make for an utterly gripping and unnerving finale.

If you’re a fan of Paula Hawkins writing you will love this book. Once again she has created a very clever and an utterly compelling read that will keep you hooked. This is domestic noir at its very best. I’m looking forward to reading what she writes next.

Publisher: Transworld

Publication date: 31st August 2021

Print length: 308 pages

A Slow Fire Burning is available to buy:

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The Wedding Party by Tammy Cohen #bookreview #blogtour @MsTamarCohen @RandomTTours

On my blog today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Tammy Cohen, The Wedding Party. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

The Wedding Party: ‘Absolutely gripping’ Jane Fallon by [Tammy Cohen]

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Till death do us part . . .

Lucy has dreamt of her wedding day for as long as she can remember.

And now the day is almost here. Her nearest and dearest are gathered on an idyllic Greek island and she just knows it’s going to be perfect. It has to be.

But even the best-laid plans can go horribly wrong. Why are her parents behaving so strangely? Why won’t the rather odd lady from the airport stop hanging around? Who is the silent stranger her sister brought as a plus-1?

And then they find the body.

It’s going to be a day to remember.

MY THOUGHTS

I’m a huge Tammy Cohen fan, and I jumped at the chance to read her latest novel, The Wedding Party. A wedding is supposed to be a happy, joyous occasion that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. This wedding, however, will be remembered for entirely different reasons. From the first few pages, we know that someone will end up dead. But how have we got to this point?

What drives the tension in this book is the question we are presented with at the beginning. Who will be the victim here? The family members and friends in this book who are attending are characters who will get under your skin. I’ve only ever been a guest at a wedding, but I can imagine they can be very stressful for the bride and groom and their families. That stress plays out on the page in the run up to Lucy and Jason’s big day on a Greek Island. Tammy Cohen explores the family dynamics so well. From the opening pages, there are tensions between the characters. Lucy is, of course, desperate to make everything perfect. She is also worried about the strange person her sister has brought as her plus one and what is going on in her parents’ life?

We also have transcripts from police interviews following the discovery of the body. This adds another layer to the tension as we begin to understand what has gone on. This is also a clever way in which Tammy reveals what the characters think about each other. There are parts of the novel which are also told through journal entries. However, we don’t know which character is writing their thoughts down. Is this our victim or our killer? The Wedding Party really is more of a character driven thriller novel, I think, and that is what I loved about it.

I loved the Greek Island setting. I think as well it added to the sense of mystery to the plot as the characters are in an unfamiliar landscape. I thought Tammy Cohen drew on the setting so well, and she brought it to life. I could feel the heat, and I could picture the hotel so well. I think the tension between the people attending the wedding also helps create a claustrophobic atmosphere. You know that at any moment, someone is going to snap.

I flew through this book. Tammy Cohen is a master at writing gripping suspense novels. She always delivers a tension fuelled plot that keeps you turning the pages. I loved it.

Publisher: Transworld

Publication date: 24th June 2021

Print length: 478 pages

The Wedding Party is available to buy:

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August 2021 Wrap-Up

How are we at the end of August? I know we all say this but it’s crazy to think that there are only four months left of the year. I hope you’ve all had a good summer. I’ve not taken any time off work, apart from going to Harrogate for a long weekend in July for the Theakston Crime Festival. I’ve still got a few days holiday left to take so I think I’ll take some days off in October.

I have finished my new novel, which I started earlier this year, so it has taken me between seven and eight months to complete. It’s had quite a heavy edit since the first draft but I think I’m finally happy with it. It may need a few more minor tweaks but I think it’s nearly there.

I’ve now read 110 books so far this year, and I surpassed my goal to read 100 books in 2021 earlier this month.

I took part in five blog tours this month and I’ve listed the links below in case you missed any.

The Face at the Window by Ruby Speechley

Invite Me In by Emma Curtis

Ouija by Zoe-Lee O’Farrell

Mother Loves Me by Abby Davies

Lost Angels by Stacy Green

I have four blog tours coming up in September, The Wedding Party by Tammy Cohen on the 3rd September, A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins on the 5th, The Chateau by Catherine Cooper on the 13th and Safe at Home by Lauren North on the 22nd.

I received some exciting bookpost this month. I received copies of, This Girl, That Girl by Lesley Kara, The Spirit Engineer by A.J. West, The Quiet People by Paul Cleave, A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins and The Vacancy by Elisabeth Carpenter.

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That’s all from me this month. What are you reading at the moment? I’m currently reading The Final Child by Fran Dorricott and The Vacancy by Elisabeth Carpenter. Let me know in the comments. I hope you have a great month in September.