The Face at the Window by Ruby Speechley #bookreview #blogtour @rubyspeechley @HeraBooks @BOTBSPublicity

On my blog today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Face at the Window by Ruby Speechley. With thanks to Sarah Hardy from Books on the Bright Side Publicity for inviting me to take part.

The Face At The Window: A gripping, twisty thriller you won't be able to put down by [Ruby Speechley]

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They’re in your house.

They want your life.

And now, they have your baby.

To the world, I’m @HappyWife. Online, people only see my picture-perfect home, my handsome husband, Nick, and my beautiful baby, Thomas.

They don’t see the real Gemma Adams. They don’t see my past, the dark secrets I’m hiding in my marriage. They don’t see the fear I live in every single day.

But I know someone is watching me. And now, they’ve taken Thomas.

I just don’t know why.

But I’m going to stop at nothing to get my baby back.

Even if it destroys everything I’ve got to find him.

A compelling thriller, packed with suspense – fans of K.L. Slater and Lisa Jewell won’t be able to put it down.

MY THOUGHTS

The Face at the Window is the first book by Ruby Speechley I’ve read, and now I definitely need to catch up on her previous books. This is a very fast paced read. I thought the plot was utterly compelling, although none of the characters are particularly very likeable. Ruby Speechely brings them to life so well, and they really drive the story forward.

Gemma is relieved when a young woman she thinks she can trust offers to look after her baby for a brief moment. It’ll only be for a few moments. But a brief moment is all it takes. Soon, her baby is nowhere to be found, and the nightmare begins. And she soon begins to understand that the woman who took her baby isn’t the woman she thought she knew.

I have read a few missing child novels, and I really liked Ruby Speechley’s ideas in this one. It makes for a very chilling read, particularly when she begins to reveal what was happening in the run up to Gemma’s son being taken. We begin to understand why the kidnapper did what they did.

I struggled to warm to Gemma when Ruby first introduced her. She did seem self-centred at first, with her focus on her online presence. She is known as @HappyWife on Social Media, and this is something Gemma has to portray to the outside world. But things are very different to what she makes them out to be. The story is also told from the point of view of Scarlett. Scarlett is a young woman who we know is having an affair with a married man. I was really interested in Scarlett’s character. She is desperate to track down her birth father, who her mother refuses to talk about. Scarlett’s backstory, and the disappearance of Gemma’s baby, does mean a lot going on in this book, but for me, it’s what made it so tense. My opinions of each character kept changing, and they were very different at the end of the novel from what they were at the start. 

I wanted to know what was going to happen, particularly to Gemma’s baby. I thought how Ruby Speechley revealed more of what was going on in her characters’ lives was done very well. It added extra layers to the story, and the reveals made the book all the more chilling. If you’re looking for an entertaining, utterly addictive psychological thriller, then you should definitely add The Face at the Window to your TBR pile.

Publisher: Hera Books

Publication date: 28th July 2021

Print length:

The Face at the Window is available to buy:

Amazon UK

Dead Secret by Noelle Holten #bookreview #blogtour @nholten40 @0neMoreChapter_ @BOTBSPublicity

On my blog today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the new novel in the DC Maggie Jamieson series by Noelle Holten, Dead Secret. With thanks to Sarah Hardy from Books on the Bright Side Publicity for inviting me to take part.

Dead Secret: A gripping crime thriller with shocking twists you won’t see coming (Maggie Jamieson thriller, Book 4) by [Noelle Holten]

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Psychopaths can take root in the unlikeliest soil…

DC Maggie Jamieson crosses paths once again with Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood when a domestic violence survivor stumbles into her new refuge, unable to speak, desperate for help.

Then another case hits Maggie’s desk. A young man has been murdered, and a curious constellation of black dots has been inked onto his cheek.

That’s when DCI Hastings goes missing and Maggie uncovers a shocking connection that turns the case on its head.

Every family may hide secrets, but not every family buries them…

MY THOUGHTS

Dead Secret is the latest book in the DC Maggie Jamieson series by Noelle Holten, and I think it is my favourite book in the series to date. This is a series that keeps getting better and better, and in Noelle’s true style, she has left the book on another cliff-hanger. I now need the next book in this series ASAP.

Maggie finds herself involved in a complex, high profile investigation when her boss, DCI Hastings, disappears. His family are also missing, and it is feared that he has done something terrible to them. It’s really hard for the police to come to terms with this, and it causes a lot of tension within the force. They’re not quite sure how best to proceed with these revelations.

This book is really fast-paced. Dead Secret also sees the return of Lucy Sherwood, who appeared in the first book in the series. She is in the process of opening a women’s refuge centre. Although the centre isn’t officially open yet, she finds herself looking after a young woman in desperate need of help. I was really intrigued by this strand of the story, and I wanted to know what this woman had gone through.

Noelle Holten kept me utterly gripped as the investigation into what happened to the Hastings family proceeded. Noelle is a writer who knows how to plant red herrings, and she knows how to write a good twist. It’s what, I’m sure, keeps her readers coming back to her books. The revelations which come at the end of Dead Secret are hard-hitting and I did not expect them at all.

What I thought Noelle Holten developed really well in this book was Maggie’s relationship with reporter Julie. There is still some frostiness between them, but I am interested to see how things for them will progress from here. It’s hard to believe that we’re already on book four. I am absolutely loving this series, and I can’t wait to read the next book.

Noelle Holten is a brilliant writer. I highly, highly recommend her books.

Publisher: One More Chapter

Publication date: 23rd April 2021 (kindle) 22nd July 2021 (paperback)

Print length: 448 pages

Dead Secret is available to buy:

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Dead Perfect by Noelle Holten #bookreview #blogtour @nholten40 @BOTBSPublicity @0neMoreChapter_

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for the third book in the DC Maggie Jamieson series by Noelle Holten, Dead Perfect. With thanks to Sarah Hardy from Books on the Bright Side Publicity for inviting me to take part.

Dead Perfect: An absolutely gripping crime thriller with dark and jaw-dropping twists (Maggie Jamieson thriller, Book 3) by [Noelle Holten]

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A murdered woman…

When the body of a young woman is found in a local park, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she’s dealing with no ordinary killer.  The murder victim has been disfigured; her outfit changed to resemble someone else.  Someone Maggie knows all too well…her close friend Dr Kate Moloney.

A determined detective…

Maggie is determined to keep her friend safe, but with Kate already struggling with a threatening stalker, Maggie now fears Kate’s life is in real danger.  Who else would want to harm Kate and why else would the killer be turning his victims into exact replicas – his living dolls? 

Can Maggie find the depraved killer?  Or will Kate become his next living doll?

MY THOUGHTS

The moment I started reading Noelle Holten’s new novel, Dead Perfect, my heart was in my mouth. What a way to open a book! After the cliff hanger, Noelle left her last book on, I was desperate to get round to reading the next book as soon as possible, and I think it’s her best book yet in this series.

This time around DC Maggie Jamieson is left fearing for the life of her close friend, Dr Kate Moloney, after the body of a woman is discovered. The woman who has been found bears a strong resemblance to Kate, which immediately sparks thoughts that it is her. But Maggie doesn’t quite feel the sense of relief she should feel when the body is identified as someone else. What becomes clear is that someone is targeting Kate, and they are killing women who look very similar to her. Is this to send Kate a message? It isn’t clear. But Maggie now knows her friend’s life is under imminent threat and she is determined to protect her.

My heart rate kept increasing as I raced through this book. You can see how desperate the killer is to get to Kate, but you are never quite sure what their motive is here. Kate herself has been stalked recently, which gives Maggie cause for concern, and she wants Kate to step up her security. However, Kate doesn’t seem to be particularly keen, especially as she doesn’t want to be attached to her phone all the time.

You can see Maggie’s feelings for Kate growing in this book, and her feelings for Kate is what makes Maggie even more concerned for her welfare and keen to protect her. I really liked this side of Maggie, and it makes her character feel much more real and human. After finishing the latest book, I’m wondering just how things for Maggie are going to develop next.

As Noelle has done in the first two books in the series, she uses her knowledge of the probation system, adding a ring of authenticity to her writing.

If you’re not yet reading this series, you’re missing out on some excellent books. Noelle Holten keeps the tension rising, and then she always ends with another cliff hanger that makes you desperate to read her next book. Brilliant stuff!

Publisher: One Chapter

Publication date: 16th October 2020 (kindle) 24th December 2020 (paperback)

Print length: 328 pages

Dead Perfect is available to buy:

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Left For Dead by Caroline Mitchell #bookreview blog tour @Caroline_writes @BOTBSPublicity

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for Left For Dead by Caroline Mitchell on my blog today. With thanks to Sarah Hardy from Books on the Bright Side Publicity for inviting me to take part.

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A victim on display. A detective on the rails.

Shopping with her sister, DI Amy Winter is admiring a Valentine’s Day window display of a perfect bride encrusted in diamonds and resplendent in lace—until she notices blood oozing from the mannequin’s mouth.

This is no stunt. A post-mortem reveals the victim was left to die on her macabre throne for all to see. When a second victim is found, it emerges that both women were ‘Sugar Babes’ arranging dates with older men online—and Amy finds herself hunting an accomplished psychopath.

As she tracks down the killer, Amy’s instincts go into overdrive when the charismatic head of the agency behind the display makes no attempt to hide his fascination with her serial-killer parents. What exactly does he want from Amy? With her own world in freefall as her biological mother, Lillian Grimes, appeals her conviction, Amy pushes the boundaries of police procedure when a third ‘Sugar Babe’ disappears…Is she as much at risk as the killer’s victims?

MY THOUGHTS

Left For Dead is another tense thriller in Caroline Mitchell’s DI Amy Winter series. In the opening chapters, by accident, Amy Winter comes across the body of a young woman in a shop’s display window. The macabre discovery sparks an intense police investigation. But what strikes Amy is a significant link between this killing and the killing of a teacher decades earlier. The culprit behind the murder has remained at large ever since. It seems that this is the start of a new killing spree, and the killer is willing to do anything to make sure they goes undetected.

What made this book really intriguing is that we know who the killer is very early on in the novel and if anything, I found this made the story even more tense. We can see how keen they are to make sure that they aren’t discovered as the culprit behind the crimes. What is even more disturbing is the lengths they are willing to go to make this certain. Amy Winter has a hunch who they are, but with a suspect already in custody, she knows it is going to be very difficult to convince her colleagues that they’ve got the wrong person. This means that Amy will have to do a lot of work on her own, and it’ll mean going against the orders and advice of her superiors.

What I liked about this book was Amy’s growing relationship with her boss, although I do wonder as they work closely together whether this will have an impact on their relationship. But I am interested to see where Caroline Mitchell will take this. Another part of the story which feeds into this book is Amy’s relationship with her birth mother, serial killer Lillian Grimes. This is a really tense part of the narrative as you are never sure what hand Lillian is going to play next. Her retrial is fast approaching and Amy is willing to do anything that she possibly can to stop her mother from being released. It appears that Lillian is playing games with her family and all of a sudden it seems possible that she’ll soon be walking free.

As Amy gets closer to catching the killer, Caroline Mitchell continues to raise the tension. You know that Amy is risking her career by doing this, but all that matters to Amy is getting justice for the victims, and making sure that this despicable killer is locked up behind bars.

After reading the final chapters in this book, it’s going to be really interesting to see where Caroline Mitchell takes things next and what this will mean for Amy. I’ve raced through all of the books in this series, and I can’t wait to see what Caroline Mitchell has in store for us next.

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication date: 8th July 2020

Print length: 335 pages

Left For Dead is available to buy:

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The Toybox by Charly Cox #bookreview #blogtour @CharlylynnCox @HeraBooks @BOTBSPublicity

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on The Toybox by Charly Cox on my blog today as part of the blog tour. With thanks to Sarah Hardy from Books on the Bright Side Publicity for inviting me to take part.

The Toybox: A totally addictive, nail-biting crime thriller (Detective Alyssa Wyatt Book 2) by [Charly Cox]

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You don’t want to play their games…

All around Albuquerque, New Mexico, young women are going missing, seemingly vanished into thin air. With no link between the victims, Detective Alyssa Wyatt is quickly plunged into a horrifying case with no obvious clues.

And when Jersey Andrews, the best friend of Alyssa’s teenage daughter, Holly, joins the list of vanished girls, the case becomes personal.

But this investigation will lead Alyssa and partner Cord into the most sinister depths of humanity; an evil place where life is expendable, and where the depraved can fulfil their darkest desires – if they have the money to pay for it.

As the first bodies appear, abandoned on the streets, Alyssa is forced into a frantic hunt to track down the killers – before more innocent women lose their lives. But when the truth comes out, it seems that the key to solving the case was hiding in the last place anyone expected…

MY THOUGHTS

The Toybox is a dark police procedural by Charly Cox, examining the horrific world of human trafficking. This book sees the return of Detective Alyssa Wyatt. Alyssa’s own family is still reeling from the horrific events which happened to them in book one in the series when Alyssa’s son was kidnapped. You don’t need to have read the first book to enjoy this one, but I would recommend it if you want to get a better understanding of the characters and what they have previously been through.

It doesn’t seem as though Alyssa Wyatt’s family is going to be left in peace after what happened to them, when her daughter’s best friend, Jersey goes missing after a frat party. In the opening chapter, Charly Cox draws you into the moments prior to Jersey’s disappearance, and she creates an unnerving, claustrophobic feeling as the party gets underway. Charly has created some instantly dislikeable characters in this book, and I found this particularly with one young man, who Alyssa is hoping to connect to the crimes, and with the parents of one of the missing girls. You can see just how angry these characters make Alyssa and the other detectives working on the case feel. It also made me feel angry that there are people who are like this out there in the world.

I must admit, however, I did find the build-up of the book quite slow. After the opening scenes, it did take time for the tension to get going again. But I did want to find out what was going to happen to the girls who had been kidnapped. I was rooting for Alyssa to reach the answers before it was too late. There are some really tense scenes when we see where the girls have been taken, and Charly Cox made it seem as though time was running out for them.

The tension really turns up a notch as the book reaches its climax. I don’t want to go into too much detail here as I don’t want to spoil it, but Charly Cox still kept me gripping the page as I felt that there was still the possibility that something could go drastically wrong.

I enjoyed catching up with Detective Alyssa Wyatt again in this book, and I will be looking forward to seeing what Charly Cox comes up with next. If you enjoy gritty police procedurals, then I would recommend giving these books a go.

Publisher: Hera Books

Publication date: 3rd June 2020

Print length:

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Dead Wrong by Noelle Holten #bookreview blog tour @nholten40 @BOTBSPublicity

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for Dead Wrong by Noelle Holten today on my blog. With thanks to Sarah Hardy from Books on the Bright Side Publicity for inviting me to take part.

Dead Wrong: An absolutely gripping and suspenseful serial killer thriller (Maggie Jamieson thriller, Book 2) by [Noelle Holten]

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DC Maggie Jamieson’s past comes back to haunt her in this dark and gripping serial killer thriller.

Three missing women running out of time…

They were abducted years ago. Notorious serial killer Bill Raven admitted to killing them and was sentenced to life.

The case was closed – at least DC Maggie Jamieson thought it was…

But now one of them has been found, dismembered and dumped in a bin bag in town.

Forensics reveal that she died just two days ago, when Raven was behind bars, so Maggie has a second killer to find.

Because even if the other missing women are still alive, one thing’s for certain: they don’t have long left to live…

MY THOUGHTS

I thought Noelle Holten’s debut novel, which I read last year, was brilliant, but I think her second book, Dead Wrong, is even better. Noelle left us on a bit of a cliff hanger at the end of the first book in the series, and when I got to the end of Dead Wrong, I couldn’t help but think oh my god, I can’t believe what I’m reading. She is definitely the kind of writer whose books you’ll want to be jumping to the moment they’re released as you’ll want to know what happens next. This can be easily read as a stand-alone, however, so it isn’t necessary to read the first book, but I would highly recommend reading it as well.

The end of the previous book, sees DC Maggie Jamieson being notified that a case from her past is about to come back and haunt her. The resurfacing of an old case does leave Maggie in an uncomfortable position that sees her career put at risk. Maggie takes a much more centre stage in Dead Wrong. In the last book, Noelle focussed the story a lot more on probation officer Lucy Sherwood, and she used her own knowledge of this profession.

In an earlier case in her career, Maggie was responsible for locking up Bill Raven, a man convicted for a string of murders, handing him a life prison sentence. But Maggie’s work on the case is thrown into doubt when the body of one of Bill’s victim’s turns up, and it seems that he couldn’t have killed her as he would have been in prison at the time. Bill launches an appeal to be released, and Maggie is determined to make sure he stays behind bars. But it seems as though she is fighting a losing battle and it is getting ever closer to the dangerous possibility of Bill being released. But is he innocent or is he guilty?

I did not like Bill Raven from the first moment Noelle introduces us to him. He is a cold and calculating individual, and he knows how to mould a situation. It was also the way he spoke to Maggie that gave me shivers, and I was rooting for her to find the evidence to keep him in his place. When I could see what sort of a person he was, I was really hoping that Maggie could succeed, but I also thought that she could be hindered by those who are ranked above her in the police.

I really liked Maggie’s working relationship with police officer, Nathan Wright, and I also liked the growing relationship between her and Dr Kate Moloney. I didn’t particularly get on with DI Rutherford, but I think this was because of the restraints she was trying to put on Maggie when Maggie wanted to speak to Bill Raven. I couldn’t believe that she was trying to distance Maggie from doing this, and this made me gripped to the plot all the more as I waited to see what the outcome was going to be. Noelle Holten cleverly weaves the answers into the story, and I thought it was very well-plotted.

Noelle Holten keeps the pace flying forward which and she does this using short chapters which keep you reading on to the next.

Dead Wrong is an exciting addition to the DC Maggie Jamieson series, and after that final chapter I’m waiting with bated breath for the next one to be released, don’t leave us waiting too long, Noelle.

Publisher: One More Chapter

Publication date: 14th March 2020 (kindle) 14th May 2020 (paperback)

Print length: 432 pages

Dead Wrong is available to buy:

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The Unbroken by Alex Caan #bookreview blog tour @alexcaanauthor @HeraBooks @BOTBSPublicity

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on The Unbroken by Alex Caan today on my blog. With thanks to Sarah Hardy from Books on the Bright Side Publicity for inviting me to take part.

The Unbroken: A completely gripping, unputdownable crime thriller by [Caan, Alex]

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Millie didn’t get time to think. The car door was pulled open and she was dragged out, her screams loud and raw, as she kicked and fought. She called out for Oscar, again and again, screaming for help.

But he never came.

It was the wedding of the year. Millie Beaumont marrying billionaire playboy Oscar Hayat, the eyes of the world watching.

But the dream turns into a nightmare when Millie and Oscar are brutally abducted while on honeymoon. Millie is killed, her body dumped in London. Oscar is still
missing…

Enter DS Moomy Khan and DI Sarah Heaton – not your typical police officers. Moomy is running from her own troubled past, while Sarah is having to live with the hard choices she has made. Yet they will stop at nothing to find Millie’s murderers and track down Oscar. Only a family as high profile as the Hayats have enemies lurking in every corner – have they taken the ultimate revenge, or is someone else behind the death and kidnapping?

And
can Moomy and Sarah find Oscar – before time runs out and he suffers the same fate as his wife?

MY THOUGHTS

Alex Caan has returned to the world of crime in his latest novel, The Unbroken and he explores the world of the seriously wealthy and introduces to a new, diverse cast of characters who really make this book feel fresh in the crime fiction genre. It really does make you look closely at the idea that there seems to be one law for a select few and one law for the rest of us.

For me, what made this novel stand out were the two lead detectives, DS Moomy and DI Heaton.  While they both practise the Muslim faith, they have very opposing views. I think this is a much more character-driven crime novel than it is plot-driven, but I really liked this. Alex Caan still kept me invested in the main story, and I wanted to know who was behind the crime that takes place.

DS Moomy Khan grew up a Muslim and has spent her life trying to fight back against tradition and what is expected of her by her family and her religion. It does seem that she is still trying to work out if she believes in her faith. DI Sarah Heaton, however, has recently converted, having been brought up in a Christian family in England. I was really intrigued by DI Heaton, and I wondered what it was that had prompted her to make such a decision.  Alex Caan fleshes out his characters really well, and he has given them interesting back stories which don’t feel overly familiar as so many back stories often do in crime fiction.

The novel opens with the discovery of the body of a young woman, Millie Beaumont, who has recently got married to the son of a self-made billionaire, Oscar, who is due to inherit his family’s fortune. They had recently left the country to go on their honeymoon to Istanbul, so how has she ended up back in London? Was she murdered in Istanbul and her body later dumped here? Or was she kidnapped and transported alive back to the capital? As DS Moomy and DI Heaton delve into the family she had married into, schemes and dark secrets are uncovered, which prompt the detectives to think someone within the family organised Millie’s murder. But could this be the case when their son has gone missing as well?

I loved how Alex Caan delved into the Hayat family and how he examined every part of their lives as his detectives raced to find an answer to the questions behind Millie’s murder. When I first started reading the book, I felt some level of respect for the head of the family, John Hayat, who escaped persecution during the reign of Sadam Hussain and strived to make his fortune. He seemed to be someone who stood on his morals, and he was the only person who seemed to approve of his eldest son’s choice to marry Millie. Despite how much he is worth and what he has achieved in his life, he seems really down to earth. His wife, who inherited her fortune, certainly isn’t pleased with the choice her son has made, and you can see that she has a very controlling personality.

As this series progresses, I’m going to be really intrigued to find out more about DS Moomy and DI Heaton. I hope Alex Caan takes these books a lot further and I will definitely be looking out for when the next one is released.

Publisher: Hera Books

Publication date: 18th March 2020

Print length:

The Unbroken is available to buy:

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