WWW Wednesday – 12/05/2021

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?

The Perfect Lie: the gripping new thriller from the bestselling author of Dirty Little Secrets by [Jo Spain]

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.

WOULD YOU SAVE THE MAN
WHO DESTROYED YOUR LIFE?

When paramedic Megan Lowe is called to the scene of an attempted murder, all she can do is try to save the victim. But as the man is lifted onto a stretcher, she realises she knows him. She despises him. Why should she save his life when he destroyed hers?

Jess Foster is on her way home when she receives a text from Megan. Once best friends, the two women haven’t been close for years, not since the night when they were just the teenage girls whom no-one believed; whose reputations were ruined. All Jess can think is, you had it coming.

Now Megan and Jess are at the centre of a murder investigation. But what secrets are they hiding? Can they trust one another? And who really is the victim?

What have I finished reading?

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

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.

Helen has it all…

Daniel is the perfect husband.
Rory is the perfect brother.
Serena is the perfect sister-in-law.

And Rachel? Rachel is the perfect nightmare.

When Helen, finally pregnant after years of tragedy, attends her first antenatal class, she is expecting her loving architect husband to arrive soon after, along with her confident, charming brother Rory and his pregnant wife, the effortlessly beautiful Serena. What she is not expecting is Rachel.

Extroverted, brash, unsettling single mother-to-be Rachel, who just wants to be Helen’s friend. Who just wants to get know Helen and her friends and her family. Who just wants to know everything about them. Every little secret.

What will I read next?

Hannah had a normal life – a loving husband, a good job. Until she did something shocking.

Now she’s in a psychiatric clinic. It should be a safe place. But patients keep dying.

The doctors say it’s suicide. Hannah knows they’re lying.

Can she make anyone believe her before the killer strikes again?

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 . . .

WWW Wednesday – 21/04/2021

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?

Our Dark Secret by [Jenny Quintana]

As a teenager in the late 1970s, Elizabeth was clever, overweight and something of a loner. When Rachel and her family moved to town, though, Elizabeth was drawn to the bright and beautiful Rachel like a moth to a flame. She would do anything for Rachel. Anything.

Then the first body was discovered.

Twenty years on, Elizabeth wants nothing more than to keep the secrets of her teenage years where they belong: in the past. But another body has been found, and she can’t keep running from what happened . . .
Can she?

A Ruined Girl: Winner of the Bath Novel Award by [Kate Simants]

TWO BOYS LOVED HER.
BUT WHICH ONE KILLED HER?

On a dark night two years ago, teenagers Rob and Paige broke into a house. They beat and traumatised the occupants, then left, taking only a bracelet. No one knows why, not even Luke, Rob’s younger brother and Paige’s confidant. Paige disappeared after that night. And having spent her life in children’s homes and the foster system, no one cared enough to look for her.

Now Rob is out of prison, and probation officer Wren Reynolds has been tasked with his rehabilitation. But Wren has her own reasons for taking on Rob as a client. Convinced that Rob knows what happened to Paige, and hiding a lifetime of secrets from her heavily pregnant wife, Wren’s obsession with finding a missing girl may tear her family apart…

What have I finished reading?

The Rapunzel Act: A Burton & Lamb Case (Burton and Lamb Thrillers Book 4) by [Abi Silver]

CAN YOU FIND JUSTICE… WHEN THE WORLD IS WATCHING?

When breakfast TV host and nation’s darling, Rosie Harper, is found brutally murdered at home, suspicion falls on her spouse, formerly international football star, Danny ‘walks on water’ Mallard, now living out of the public eye as trans woman, Debbie.

Not only must Debbie challenge the hard evidence against her, including her blood-drenched glove at the scene of the crime, she must also contend with the nation’s prejudices, as the trial is broadcast live, turning it into a public spectacle. For someone trying to live their life without judgment, it might just be too much to bear.

Legal duo Judith Burton and Constance Lamb are subjected to unyielding scrutiny as they strive to defend their most famous client yet.

Another thought-provoking courtroom drama from the acclaimed author of the Burton & Lamb series.

Twisted Lies: An absolutely gripping mystery and suspense thriller (Detective Kim Stone Crime Thriller Book 14) by [Angela Marsons]

Her stomach lurches as she sits in the windowless room. He throws her phone to the ground, grinds it against the floor with the heel of his shoe and brings his face closer to hers. There was no turning back now, her life as she knew it was gone.

When the lifeless body of a man is found on an industrial estate, Detective Kim Stone arrives on the scene and discovers he’s been tortured in the worst way imaginable.

But as she breaks the devastating news to the victim’s wife, Diane Phipps, Kim can’t help feeling that something isn’t quite right about the woman’s reaction.

Twenty-four hours later, the victim’s family disappears into thin air.

Then a second body is found staked to the ground in a local nature reserve.

Desperate to crack the case open quickly, Kim and her team unravel a vital clue – a fiercely guarded secret that links both victims and could cost even more lives.

A secret that some police officers are also protecting.

Faced with deceit from those she should be able to trust, family members who won’t talk, and local reporter, Tracy Frost, opening a can of worms on the case of a woman murdered by her husband a year ago – Kim is in deep water like never before.

Kim must find the motive if she is to find the killer who is systematically targeting and torturing his victims. But can she unlock the shocking truth and stop him before he strikes again?

What will I read next?

Exit: ‘The best crime novel you’ll read this year’ Clare Mackintosh by [Belinda Bauer]

Meet Felix Pink. The most unlikely murderer you’ll ever have the good fortune to spend time with.

When Felix lets himself in to Number 3 Black Lane, he’s there to perform an act of charity: to keep a dying man company as he takes his final breath . . .

But just fifteen minutes later Felix is on the run from the police – after making the biggest mistake of his life.

Now his world is turned upside down as he must find out if he’s really to blame, or if something much more sinister is at play. All while staying one shaky step ahead of the law.

The Retreat by [Sherri Smith]

Katie Manning was a beloved child star until her mid-teens when her manager attacked and permanently scarred her face, effectively ending her career and sending her on a path of all-too-familiar post-Hollywood self-destruction.

Now twenty-seven, Katie wants a better answer to those clickbait “Where Are They Now?” articles that float around online. An answer she hopes to find when her brother’s too-good-to-be-true fiancée invites her to a wellness retreat upstate. Together with Katie’s two best friends—one struggling with crippling debt and family obligations, one running away from a failed job and relationship—Katie will try to find the inner peace promised at the tranquil retreat. But finding oneself just might drudge up more memories than Katie is prepared to deal with.

Each woman has come to the retreat for different reasons. Each has her secrets to hide. And at the end of this weekend, only one will be left standing.

The Best of Friends by Alex Day #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel by Alex Day, The Best of Friends.

The Best of Friends: The gripping new 2021 domestic psychological thriller by [Alex Day]

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Susannah is rebuilding her life…
Susannah has had a tough year. After a knotty divorce, moving to a small town in the south of England with her two sons is exactly the fresh start she needs.
 
Charlotte seems to have it all…
Charlotte is delighted when Susannah arrives in town. Charlotte may appear to have the perfect husband, the perfect family, the perfect house, but she needs someone to confide in.
 
But one of them is not who they pretend to be…
The two women instantly become best friends. But underneath the surface, secrets, lies and betrayals are all hiding. And when the truth comes out, not everyone will live to tell the tale…

MY THOUGHTS

I really enjoyed Alex Day’s first book, and I couldn’t wait to see what she would write next. The Best of Friends is a chilling and an utterly gripping psychological thriller. We meet Susannah and Charlotte, two women who both come from very different social backgrounds. Susannah is now raising her two sons on her own following a messy divorce. She has recently moved to a new town, where she has opened up a café, and it is here that she meets Charlotte. Charlotte lives in a huge house and lives a lifestyle many would dream of having. But as they begin to grow close, Susannah begins to grow close to Charlotte’s husband. And soon, both of their worlds will fall apart.

Alex Day expertly builds on the tension in her book. From the moment Susannah first meets Charlotte’s husband, I could see that there was something there between them. I wanted to know if this would expand into anything. Also, what this would do to her friendship with Charlotte. Would Charlotte realise what was happening between Susannah and her husband if things went any further? As I was reading, it felt as though the characters were walking on eggshells around each other. And the suspense continues to simmer away.

I really liked how Alex Day developed Susannah and Charlotte’s characters. They both have intriguing backstories, Charlotte, particularly, as it appears as though she is being followed. I wanted to understand what had happened in her past and why she was so fearful of these people, especially as she didn’t want to get her husband involved.

It’s hard to talk much more about the plot without giving what happens away. The tension really begins to heat up as we reach the conclusion. I was turning the pages faster and faster as I was desperate to find out what would happen. Alex Day really surprised me with the direction she took the story in the final stages, and it’s what makes it so chilling. I thought it was very cleverly done, and it really gets you thinking about the characters. The writing was taut, and I was utterly invested in the story and the characters. I really wanted to know what was going to happen to them at the end.

Psychological thriller fans, this is a book that’s not to be missed. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ll definitely be reading what Alex Day writes next.

Publisher: One More Chapter

Publication date: 9th April 2021

Print length: 271 pages

The Best of Friends is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones

The Girl in the Missing Poster by Barbara Copperthwaite #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on The Girl in the Missing Poster by Barbara Copperthwaite.

The Girl in the Missing Poster: An absolutely gripping psychological thriller with a jaw-dropping twist by [Barbara Copperthwaite]

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24 June, 1994 – Nineteen-year-old Leila Hawkins runs from her father’s birthday party into the stormy night wearing her sister Stella’s long red coat. Some say she was crying, others swear they saw her get into a passing car. Nobody ever saw her again.

Present – This time every year, on the anniversary of that fateful night, Stella decorates the small seaside town she grew up in with pictures of her beautiful missing sister. But after twenty-five years, is it even worth hoping someone will come forward? Perhaps the upcoming documentary will spark people’s memories by reuniting all the guests who were there the night Leila went missing.

As old friends gather and long-buried secrets begin to surface, the last thing Stella ever expects is a direct response from someone claiming they took Leila. They want private details of Stella’s life in return for answers. But as the true events of the night of the party play out once again, who is lying? And who is next?

MY THOUGHTS

The Girl in the Missing Poster is the first book by Barbara Copperthwaite, which I have read, and I’m definitely going to be catching up on her previous novels. This is a twisty, intriguing psychological thriller that follows Leila’s search as she desperately tries to uncover what happened to her twin sister, Stella, who vanished twenty-five years ago. She fears that this time it’s the last chance she’ll have of finding out what happened, and she is willing to do anything to get to the truth.

This book is more of a slow burner, but the tension certainly gathers pace as we reach the conclusion. Barbara tells parts of the story through transcripts from a Netflix documentary, and I thought this was really clever. By chance, Leila gets talking to Euan, a documentary producer for Netflix. He speaks to her about producing a documentary to try and generate new leads in her sister’s case. Stella agrees, but what she isn’t prepared for is the number of nasty comments it creates on social media, something she hasn’t had much experience with before. But then someone gets in contact with Leila, and they may know what happened to her sister.

Barbara definitely held my interest as she reveals more background information into the investigation of Leila’s disappearance. Through the transcripts, we read interviews from police officers involved in the case as they explain why they did what they did. It made for really interesting reading. I often watch true-crime documentaries on Netflix, so it did feel as though I was reading about a real life case. I did like how Barbara built on Leila’s relationship with Euan; although I did think as I was reading it, I couldn’t trust any of the characters who were close to her.

I really wanted to know what had happened to Stella, and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough as Barbara takes us closer to the truth. I really liked how she pulled everything together. There are some jaw dropping revelations as the person responsible for Stella’s disappearance is revealed.

The Girl in the Missing Poster is a really well written psychological thriller. It’s a complex mystery, and Barbara Copperthwaite cleverly pulls everything together. Now I can’t wait to catch up on Barbara’s previous books.

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 23rd February 2021

Print length: 346 pages

The Girl in the Missing Poster is available to buy:

Amazon UK

The Bone Keeper by Luca Veste #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on The Bone Keeper by Luca Veste.

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What if the figure that haunted your nightmares as child, the myth of the man in the woods, was real?
 
He’ll slice your flesh. 
Your bones he’ll keep.
 
Twenty years ago, four teenagers went exploring in the local woods, trying to find to the supposed home of The Bone Keeper. Only three returned. 
 
Now, a woman is found wandering the streets of Liverpool, horrifically injured, claiming to have fled the Bone Keeper.  Investigating officer DC Louise Henderson must convince sceptical colleagues that this urban myth might be flesh and blood.  But when a body is unearthed in the woodland the woman has fled from, the case takes on a much darker tone. 
 
The disappeared have been found. And their killer is watching every move the police make.

MY THOUGHTS

The Bone Keeper by Luca Veste is one of the creepiest crime thrillers I’ve ever read. The story of the bone keeper is like a dark fairy tale, and the rhyme that people know, which is associated with him, will send shivers down your spine.

When police officers pick up a distressed young woman after being attacked, she insists that her attacker was ‘the bone keeper.’ This is a legendary figure which haunts the dreams of the locals who know the story very well. The police who are investigating the case take her claims, however, with a pinch of salt. How can it possibly be that a local legend is real? It must surely be someone taking advantage of the tale, mustn’t it?

Luca Veste is a writer who knows how to create atmosphere, and he knows how to pull the reader into the story. He creates a palpable sense of tension as we begin to learn more about what is going on here. I wanted to know what the real deal was here and who was behind the crimes taking place. I also wanted to find out more about the legend as well and what its origins were. I love a good crime thriller based around legend and folklore, and this book certainly fits that bill.

I really liked the detective investigating the crime, DC Louise Henderson, who certainly takes an interest in the tales of the legend. However, her colleagues are more sceptical, and they pretty much refuse to give it the time of day. But Louise knows that there is something more here than what first meets the eye. I would actually really like to see Louise return in a future book. She makes for such a fascinating character, and I would like to see what she does next.

This is a book that will keep you utterly gripped. Some of Luca Veste’s scenes were so, so chilling. It makes for a terrifying reading experience, so perhaps, I wouldn’t suggest reading this book before you’re about to go sleep. You’ll be jumping at every sound. But, I guarantee you will be hooked from the very first page. I didn’t want to put it down.

I’ve only read one other book by Luca Veste, but I’ll definitely be catching up on his previous books as soon as I can. I really enjoyed this book, and I highly recommend it. It would definitely be the perfect read for Halloween.

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Publication date: 8th March 2018

Print length: 432 pages

The Bone Keeper is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

I Know What I Saw by S.K. Sharp #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel by S.K. Sharp, I Know What I Saw.

I Know What I Saw: A perfect memory. A perfect murder. by [S K Sharp]

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She remembers everything.
She understands nothing.

Only a handful of people in the world have a truly perfect memory. Nicola is one of them. It’s more of a curse than a blessing – every moment of sadness, embarrassment and unhappiness is burned into her mind forever – so she plays it down, and tries to live a quiet life.

But a body has been found, a discovery that threatens to tear her community apart – and reopen old wounds from decades ago.

Nicola was a child, but she remembers the night with perfect clarity. Despite that, she never discovered the truth of what happened.

Now she must use her unique memory to solve the murder, or watch the man she loved be wrongly convicted of the crime…

MY THOUGHTS

Imagine being able to remember every single day of your life, the good and the bad ones. This is the remarkable condition Nicola has in I Know What I Saw by S.K. Sharp. I’ve read about people having this condition before, and it makes me wonder if this is a blessing or a curse. Would you like to be able to remember every single day of your life? I’m not sure if I would or not, although I would have loved to have had a photographic memory at school to help out in exams.

When Nicola receives a bolt out of the blue phone call from the police, it rakes up old memories. Her former partner, Declan, has been arrested for the murder of his father. His father’s body has been found thirty years after he went missing on his fiftieth birthday in 1985. He makes contact with Nicola because he knows she has vital information that might help clear his name. But doing that will be no easy task.

This was a really pacy read. The dialogue between the characters is engaging, and it propels the novel forwards. I wanted to know what information Nicola could have that might help clear her former partner’s name. Would she be willing to help him, given that he cheated on her in the past?

The race to get answers keeps the tension turning up a notch as Nicola fights to clear her Declan’s name. Even though their relationship broke down many years ago, you can see that they still care for each other.

S.K. Sharp keeps turning the tension up a notch as the picture becomes clearer, and Nicola realises who was really responsible for the murder of Declan’s father. The frustrating thing for Nicola is that although she can remember Declan’s father was murdered clearly in her mind, she can’t quite piece together the full picture. But her ability to be able to remember everything certainly helps to fill in some of the gaps.

I Know What I Saw quickly pulled me into the story, and I was keen to find out what happened all those years ago in 1985 to Declan’s father and who was responsible. It’s a gripping read which I would definitely recommend to lovers of psychological thrillers.

Publisher: Arrow

Publication date: 28th January 2021

Print length: 400 pages

I Know What I Saw is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

February 2021 Wrap-Up

For me, January this year seemed to really drag, but February has flown by. I hope you’ve managed to have a good month. It does finally seem that there is some light at the end of the tunnel which is giving me something to look forward to. Hopefully by the summer we’ll have some sense of normality back in our lives.

I managed to read thirteen books in total this month which has taken the number of books I’ve read this year so far to 31. Last month I finished writing my second book and I have started work on something new which I’m very excited about. My current idea I’m working on, was partly inspired by an episode in a true crime documentary I watched on Netflix at the end of last year. I already know where I’m going with it which is very rare when I start writing. I’m not a writer who can sit and plan but this time I did write a full synopsis and it has definitely made things a lot easier.

This month I took part in seven blog tours and I’ve listed the links below, in case you missed any.

An Eye For An Eye by Carol Wyer

The Art of Death by David Fennell

Black Widows by Cate Quinn

Shadow of a Doubt by Michelle Davies

The Last Snow by Stina Jackson

Deity by Matt Wesolowski

Smoke Screen by Thomas Enger and Jorn Lier Horst

In March, I’m taking part in six blog tours. The blog tours I’m taking part in are, Bound by Vanda Symon on the 1st March, Future Perfect by Felicia Yap on the 13th March, The Night Gate by Peter May on the 20th March, The Hiding Place by Jenny Quintana on the 23rd March, Nighthawking by Russ Thomas on the 24th March and Last Seen by Joy Kluver on the 28th March.

I also received some exciting bookpost this month. I received copies of, The Hiding Place by Jenny Quintana, Good Girl by Mel Sherratt, Girls Who Lie by Eva Björg Ægisdóttir, The Assistant by Kjell Ola Dahl and Facets of Death by Michael Stanley Nighthawking by Russ Thomas, Look What You Made Me Do by Nikki Smith, If I Fall by Merilyn Davis and The Night Gate by Peter May

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That’s all from me this month. At the moment I’m currently reading Nighthawking by Russ Thomas and I’m listening to the audiobook of The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. The Midnight Library isn’t the type of book I would typically choose, but it is the book which was voted for this month in the book club I am a member of on Facebook, A Novel Book Club. I’m interested to see what I think of it. What are you reading at the moment? Let me know in the comments.

Don’t forget that First Monday Crime is back live on Facebook on Monday, 1st March 2021 at 19.30 p.m. You can access the event by clicking on the link below.

First Monday Crime

The Storm by Amanda Jennings #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new thriller by Amanda Jennings, The Storm.

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To the outside world Hannah married the perfect man. Behind the closed doors of their imposing home it’s a very different story. Nathan controls everything Hannah does. He chooses her clothes, checks her receipts, and keeps her passport locked away. But why does she let him?

Years before, in the midst of a relentless storm, the tragic events of one night changed everything. And Hannah has been living with the consequences ever since. Keeping Nathan happy. Doing as she’s told.

But the past is about to catch up with them.
 
Set against the unforgiving backdrop of a Cornish fishing port in the ‘90s, this is a devastating exploration of the power of coercive control in a marriage where nothing is quite as it seems…

MY THOUGHTS

I’m a huge fan of Amanda Jennings writing, and I was so excited to finally get round to reading her latest novel, The Storm. This is a dark, character-driven novel which will keep you turning the pages.

We meet Hannah and Nathan, who on the outside, have a seemingly perfect relationship. They also have a teenage son. Nathan is rich and successful, and he turns heads wherever they go. But why is there such a tense atmosphere when they are at home? Why does he seem to have so much control over his wife? I wanted to know the answers to these questions as I was reading and what was really going on in their relationship.

The tension grows as the novel progresses. There are flashback scenes back to when Hannah and Nathan first meet in Cornwall, in 1998. It’s in these scenes when Amanda Jennings begins to reveal what happened early on in their relationship. As the novel reaches its conclusion, it makes for very tense reading.

Amanda Jennings took us to Cornwall in her last novel, The Cliff House, and I love the way how she brings the setting to life. I could really picture the sea in my mind as I was reading the flashback scenes. As settings often do in books, the sea almost becomes a character itself.

I thought Hannah and Nathan’s relationship was very intriguing, and I wanted to know what was going on underneath the surface. What was really keeping Hannah there, when it is clear that she isn’t happy? I was rooting for her to get out of the relationship. But I also kept thinking that if she made a sudden move, then something terrible would happen to her. The tension builds and builds as we begin to understand more about what is going on.

The reveals that come are shocking, and I thought the way how Amanda Jennings weaved them into the story, was done really well. I loved how Amanda Jennings gradually revealed what had happened in the past.

The Storm is a highly engaging read, and Amanda Jennings writing drew me in very quickly. I couldn’t put it down. I can’t wait to read what Amanda Jennings writes next.

Publisher: HQ

Publication date: 23rd July 2020

Print length: 384 pages

The Storm is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

Skin Deep by Liz Nugent #bookreview

On my blog today I’m sharing my thoughts on Skin Deep, a psychological thriller by Liz Nugent.

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She’s not who you think she is …

Delia O’Flaherty is as wild, remote and dangerous as her island home off the west coast of Ireland. Her adoring father tells her that one day she will be the Queen of Inishcrann.

However, tragedy leaves Delia alone in the world, to make her way relying on her wits and her rare beauty. But Delia’s beauty is deceptive – as anyone who cares about her eventually finds out.

What is the truth behind Delia’s tragic past? And what happens when a face from that past turns up on her doorstep?

MY THOUGHTS

Skin Deep is a dark, compulsive read. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to try Liz Nugent’s books. Her characters came to life on the page, and I was compelled to read on. Delia is a very intriguing character and I thought that Liz Nugent wrote her life story so well. I had so many different opinions of her as Liz Nugent delved deeper and deeper into her story.

A gripping prologue sets the scene. A man is lying dead; a woman stands looking down at him. Who is the woman who is standing there? Who is the man? What did he do to deserve this?

We first meet Delia when she is a young girl, living on an island off the coast of Ireland called Inishcrann. The population of the island is dwindling, and the locals don’t want it to die. Delia is the apple of her father’s eye, and he proclaims her Queen of the islanders. But he treats his wife and two sons with discontent. I wanted to know why this was. Why couldn’t he share the same love he had for his daughter with the rest of his family? What had they done to him?

I thought the island setting in the opening pages was very dark and atmospheric. To me, even though there aren’t many people on the island, it seemed very claustrophobic. There is no escaping the wrath of the locals if you do something to offend them. Delia’s character grows as she later leaves the island and finds a home on the mainland. It’s very hard to talk more about this book without giving too much away, so I don’t want to say much more about what happens.

I found Delia to be a very difficult character to warm to, and I think many readers will have different opinions of her. Part of me did feel sorry for her, especially for what she went through as a young child, but some of her decisions made me mad. Without giving too much away, though, I was rooting for her to make peace and reconnect with her past.

Skin Deep is such a compelling read. Liz Nugent writes her characters so well, and her writing is so absorbing. This is the first book by Liz, which I have read, and I will be catching up on her other books as soon as possible.

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 15th November 2018

Print length: 384 pages

Skin Deep is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

Shadow of a Doubt by Michelle Davies #bookreview #blogtour @M_Davieswrites @orion_crime

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on the new novel by Michelle Davies, Shadow of a Doubt on my blog today. With thanks to Alainna Hadjigeorgiou from Orion Books for inviting me to take part.

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Twenty-five years ago my brother was murdered in my family home.

I was sent to a psychiatric unit for killing him.

The truth is, I didn’t do it.

The whole world believed nine-year-old Cara killed her younger brother on that fateful night. But she blamed it on a paranormal entity she swears was haunting her house.

No one believed her and after two years of treatment in a psychiatric unit for delusional disorder, Cara was shunned by her remaining family and put into foster care.

Now she’s being forced to return to the family home for the first time since her brother’s death, but what if she’s about to re-discover the evil that was lurking inside its walls?

MY THOUGHTS

Shadow of a Doubt by Michelle Davies is a creepy psychological thriller opening with a chilling prologue. It gripped me right from the first page. I have previously read Michelle Davies’s DC Maggie Neville series, which I have really enjoyed, so I was intrigued to find out that she was bringing out a standalone. I’m pleased to say that my high expectations for Shadow of a Doubt were met and I loved it.

We meet Cara, who has had a dark cloud hanging over her since she was very small. Now in her thirties, Cara is perturbed when she receives a text from a family member, letting her know that her biological mother has died. Cara hasn’t seen her family since she was a small after they abandoned her. Her family, the police, and the country held her responsible her young brother’s death after he became trapped behind the curtains in their living room and suffocated. But Cara has always remained adamant that she had nothing to do with her brother’s death and it was a ghost, who she nicknamed, Limey Stan, who haunted their house. Even in her adult years, she still believes it. With her return to her hometown, is the truth about Limey Stan about to be revealed?

I really felt sorry for Cara. She has suffered from unimaginable trauma in her life, following the death of her brother. I was fascinated by the story of the ghost, which she still wholeheartedly believes. It made me want to know what really happened that night back in 1994 when her brother died. Was Cara really responsible for his death? Did her imagination create the story of Limey Stan in an attempt to block out the terrible truth?

I could never really be sure what was really going on here. Cara manages to convince a small minority of people that the ghost was responsible, but the majority still can’t believe she is still going on about this. She is determined to get to the bottom of things when she comes back to her hometown, and I was rooting for her to get to the truth. I also wanted to know why her mother had left her house to her in her will. This seemed an extraordinarily generous thing to do for someone who completely cut their daughter out of their life. Was her mother doing this to make Cara come to terms with the truth? I had so many questions which I wanted to know the answers to.

Michelle Davies creates a really creepy atmosphere. I love a good ghost story, and Shadow of a Doubt certainly fits the bill. Michelle Davies ratchets up the tension as the book races towards its conclusion and Michelle Davies expertly plants red herrings, turning your attention away from the real culprit. This is an excellent psychological thriller.

Publisher: Orion

Publication date: 12th November 2020

Print length: 368 pages

Shadow of a Doubt is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

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