#Review – #Cracked by Louise McCreesh @loumccreesh @JennyPlatt90 @Hodderbooks #psychologicalthriller

My thanks, as always, go to Jenny Platt and Hodder for inviting me to take part in the blog tour, and for supplying me with an ARC.

Seven patients. One dark secret.

PHILLIP WALTON HAS BEEN MURDERED.

AND THIS IS NOT THE FIRST MURDER.

Jenny Nilson hasn’t seen her former psychiatrist Phillip since she left the Hillside Psychiatric Unit eight years ago. She wanted to forget everything about her time there, so she kept her secrets buried deep. Especially from her new husband.
But now the police are knocking at her door with evidence of her involvement in Phillip’s death. It seems as though everything she’s kept hidden is about to spill out.
Jenny desperately needs to speak to old friends, and old enemies, from those dark years. Because they are the only ones who know what really happened at Hillside, and about the dark secret that Phillip kept for them all – that this is not the first death.

THIS IS NOT THE FIRST MURDER.

What does TWG think?

The cover of this book had me by the youknowwhats straight away, and as for the tagline ‘seven patients one dark secret’, i was going to rewind time and throw a wobbly if I couldn’t read it quick enough! Safe to say that first impressions were through the roof.

As for the storyline itself – was it a bit flawed and a bit cracked? (see what I did there?) Yes, it was, however it was also overrun with so much promise and potential, that the cracks didn’t seem as crater like as I had once thought.

‘Cracked’ is psychological based through and through, covering topics such as eating disorders, self harm, murder, psychotic episodes, and other forms of mental health. Its not a light read, that’s for sure! As someone who went through an eating disorder from the age of 5 and 25 years later still suffering with the psychological after effects and momentary relapses, I resonated with the character and their train of thought. Same as depression. Okay, some of the discussions may be triggers for people and that is perfectly understandable. Yet on the other hand, some of those discussions may also end up being a catalyst for others.

I couldnt fault the tension throughout the novel at all. Louise McCreesh had worked wonders on layering the suspense from the very beginning – probably why I ended up reading the book in one sitting! McCreesh did an outstanding job of building the suspense, keeping her readers guessing, and maintaining the shock value without divulging too much too soon.

For me, the downside to this novel was the ending. I felt that the body of the book created the questions, building momentum with the thrill and what not, making me feel as though something major was about to happen……only to then reach its conclusion as though the other person finished first without helping you out…if you catch my drift. A bit of an anti climax. I felt like the ending didn’t live up to the picture the author had portrayed in the previous chapters which, given the intensity of said chapters and how much work had gone into them, it was as though the author had done herself a disservice which was a shame.

I’m only saying the above because I was so hooked, and so caught up in the characters webs, I needed that iron clad ending.

Aside from that, like I’ve said, I was drawn to the storyline from the get go! Louise McCreesh has definitely set the ball rolling with her debut novel, and I have no doubt in my mind that it will also get people talking about the topics mentioned throughout.

A very, very promising start. Suspense, tension, and intrigue – three things that made ‘Cracked’ what it was. Definitely a page turner!

Buy now

#SaveHerSoul @LisaLRegan @Bookouture #review

Thank you, as always, to Bookouture for inviting me to take part in Lisa Regan’s blog tour for ‘Save Her Soul’, and for supplying me with an ARC.

Josie flinches as she takes in the faded blue sports jacket wrapped around the girl they just pulled from the water. Josie knew someone who’d once owned that jacket. He had died in her arms five years ago.

Heavy rain pours on the small town of Denton causing the riverbanks to break and the body of a young girl to float quietly to the surface. With no crime scene to examine, the odds are against Detective Josie Quinn and her team. Mercifully, the victim’s body is perfectly preserved, right down to the baseball patch on the jacket she was wearing. Josie can’t hide her devastation—her dead ex-husband, Ray, owned one just like it.

Following the trail back to her high school, Josie identifies the girl as Beverly Urban, a troubled student rumored to have been dating Ray before she left town for good. It looks like a tragic accident until the autopsy reveals a bullet in her head and the heart-breaking secret she was keeping.

Josie visits the salon where Beverly’s mother used to work, believing she was at the heart of a terrible scandal around the time her daughter’s life was taken. With the Denton wives remaining tight-lipped, Josie’s only hope is a secret meet-up with a terrified woman willing to talk. But she is murdered moments before giving Josie crucial information. It’s clear that someone is prepared to keep on killing to stop the truth from getting out.

Digging deep into memories of her own past with Ray is the only advantage Josie has on this twisted killer… but at what cost?

What does TWG think?

Josie has been dealing with the loss of ex husband, Ray, for the last five years and, just when she thought that she was able to process the grief a lot easier than before, memories of Ray as a living human being come back to slap her in the face with a vengeance. Its crazy how one item of clothing can open the flood gates, isn’t it?

Josie Quinn, when will you finally get some good luck?! I do feel like this character was born with a short straw, as bad luck seems to find its way to her quicker than anyone else. That said, if she did have good luck, then there wouldn’t be much of a story! Not that I’m relishing in her misfortunes of course!

I did enjoy ‘Save Her Soul’ and the way in which the storyline kept me on my toes. I couldnt help but think of many questions relating to Ray and the body that was found. It took a little while things to make sense, naturally, but i was so intrigued I just wanted to find out straight away!

Whilst I understand the need to bring up previous books in the series to ensure that the series remained seamless, i did feel as though the rehashing was a bit too frequent and seemed to take up a large portion of the story which should have been kept for the new storyline.

Just like other Lisa Regan novels, the suspense is second to none and the character development was very well thought out. As a huge Regan fan, ‘Save Her Soul’ definitely ticked my boxes – I really cannot complain.

Buy now

#AWalkAlongTheBeach @debbiemacomber @arrowpublishing #review #bookblogger #DebbieMacomber

Thank you, Rachel and the Arrow Publishing team for inviting me to take part in Debbie Macomber’s blog tour, and for supplying me with an advanced copy. Today I have the honour of closing the tour with my review, enjoy!

Sisters Willa and Harper mean the world to each other.

Inseparable since the loss of their mother as teenagers, the Lakey sisters are perfect opposites. Quiet, demure Willa has always admired Harper’s sense of adventure. She enjoys her peaceful routine as a café owner in their coastal hometown of Oceanside.

When a handsome customer shows interest in Willa, Harper urges her sister to take a chance on love.

Then Harper receives crushing news that threatens to bring everything to a halt. Only by supporting each other will the sisters be able to face the trials to come. And though the time ahead may be tough, Willa and Harper will discover that the darkest times can lead to the most beautiful rewards.

What does TWG think?

I don’t even know how to bring my thoughts of this novel to the surface. To say I was emotionally blindesided by the storyline would be an understatement. To say that i was emotionally bereft by what I read, would also be an understatement. And, you guessed it, to say that i absolutely loved Debbie Macomber’s new novel would be an understatement.

Several chapters from the end of the book, my heart smashed into millions and millions of pieces. Emotion spilled from my eyes like a waterfall – I couldnt control the sobs that took over my body at that very moment. What a moving, poignant, thought provoking piece of writing.

If you’ve ever been affected by cancer, both first hand or via a loved one, then you will no doubt be able to resonate with Willa and the heartbreak that surrounds herself and her family. Debbie Macomber makes it clear at the beginning of the story that she has recently been affected by the tragic loss of a loved one, and i truly felt that loss through the power of her words. Strong words, such as those in this storyline, cannot be forged, nor can they be googled, they need to come from the heart of the author and that is exactly what happens here.

Cancer is a strong subject at the heart of ‘A Walk Along The Beach’, yet so is love and the hope at finding that special someone despite having had your heart broken in the past, whether that is at the hands of a two legged friend, or four.

Debbie Macomber is exceptionally talented, a force to be reckoned with, and one of the very few authors who have touched my soul so deeply that they left an imprint of substantial size.

‘A Walk Along The Beach’ needs to have its moment on the big screen for sure but, until that time, this novel needs to have its moment, multiple times, on people’s bookshelves and in readers hands. I absolutely cannot recommend this book enough – undeniably one of THE best books I have EVER read (and I’ve read a few!).

Buy now.

#BelowTheBigBlueSky by @AnnaMcpartlin #RememberRabbitHayes @ZaffreBooks @tr4cyf3nt0n #blogtour #review

Many thanks to Tracy for inviting me to take part in Anna McPartlin’s blog tour for ‘Below The Big Blue Sky’, and of course thank you to the publisher for the review copy.

How do you pick up the pieces when the person that held them together is gone?
When forty-year-old Rabbit Hayes dies, she leaves behind a family broken by grief. Her mother Molly is distraught and in danger of losing her faith. Her father Jack spends hour upon hour in the family attic, poring over his old diaries, losing himself in the past.
Rabbit’s brother Davey finds himself suddenly guardian to her twelve-year-old daughter Juliet. Juliet might be able to fill a hole in Davey’s heart – but how can he help Juliet through her grief when he can barely cope with his own?
But even though the Hayes family are all fighting their own battles, they are drawn together by their love for Rabbit, and their love for each other. In the years that follow her death they find new ways to celebrate and remember her, to find humour and hope in the face of tragedy, and to live life to its fullest, as Rabbit would have wanted.

What does TWG think?

Before reading Anna McPartlin’s new book, I had already heard so much about Rabbit Hayes, however i hadn’t read the predecessor to this novel, ‘The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes’. The joys of being on a blog tour for a second book in a series meant that I needed to read the first book first, in order to be able to follow the next installment. I wholeheartedly recommend that you do the same!

I’m never usually lost for words, but i am now! Trying to write a review about a book as emotive as this one, without giving anything away, is proving more difficult than i thought.

The topic of cancer is at the heart of this novel in more ways than one. No doubt those reading this would have been affected by cancer in one form or another, and the devastating aftermath such a bastard of an illness leaves behind, even with survivors.

Anna McPartlin has excelled with her characterisation skills, her adept way of bringing a story to life with such grace, dignity and spellbinding beauty. I was gobsmacked by what my brain was digesting, and what my heart was allowed to devour.

The Hayes family are such a one of a kind, memorable bunch of characters that really make this story, and series, the fantastic read it is.

I was moved by the characters grief, the topic of cancer, and the rawness of such complex emotions. For me, McPartlin has delivered a story which will stand the test of time like never before, and being able to read a book like this, was an honour that I will never, ever forget.

Buy now.

#AnotherWomansChild – Kerry Fisher @KerryFSwayne @Bookouture #BlogTour #review

Thank you, Bookouture, for inviting me to take part in Kerry Fisher’s blog tour today for ‘Another Woman’s Child’, and for supplying me with an ARC. Here is my review:

Could you take in your best friend’s child, even if it risked destroying your own family?

Jo had thought that her life – and her heart – was full. With a busy job, a husband and a teenage daughter who is going off the rails, keeping her life running smoothly had already felt hard enough.
But now Jo sits at the funeral of her best friend Ginny, crushed by the loss of a friendship that had endured for thirty years: from college and their first days at work through to settling down and raising their own children.
Against her husband’s wishes, Jo has made a life-changing decision: to take in Ginny’s teenage son Victor and raise him as her own. Despite her misgivings, Jo feels she had no choice: Ginny was a single parent and Victor had no other family who could take care of him.
But Victor’s arrival is about to break open the fragile cracks that were already forming on the surface of Jo’s family life and in her small rural community… and expose a secret that has remained hidden for many years, with devastating consequences.

What does TWG think?

What a good question; ‘Could you take in your best friend’s child, even if it risked destroying your own family?’

Could you? But then again, could you answer that honestly, without even being in the situation? Now, if someone asked me whether I would take in my best friends child, without the addition of the last sentence, I would say yes in a heartbeat. Who knows, it could destroy my own family, then again, it may not. To call this situation complex would be an understatement but, just like everything else in the world, there is a lot more to any situation that meets the eye.

Jo and Ginny were best friends for many years. Their friendship stood the test of the stormy seas….literally, until one day, their friendship was severed due to the unfortunate death of Ginny. But is the tie truly severed? Ginny, before she died, asked Jo to take in her son, 17 year old Victor. Jo was adamant that she was going to do that one thing for Ginny, despite having a tearaway, misunderstood child of her own, young Phoebe. Like I said at the very beginning of this review, there is a lot more to a situation than what anyone realises, and Jo’s situation is no different.

Look, I cant really sit here and judge a teenager on her antics all because I never stooped to that level when I was a teenager, however I was really shocked by how Phoebe acted, as wrll as the ways in which Jo and Patrick responded. Im not a perfect parent, nor have I had the pleasure of parenting a teenager….yet, so i probably don’t have a right to pass comment on the way that Phoebe is being parented. I was just really blindsided by those actions.

Speaking of being blindsided, when Victor came into the family so much schnitzel went down it was madness! Racism was a topic of conversation, as was blended families, loyalties, grief, relationships, drugs, alcohol…..you name it, it was probably discussed in this book. Im not saying that in a negative manner either because all of the topics were given an equal amount of time in the spotlight to manifest throughout the book.

I really do enjoy reading a Kerry Fisher novel because of the way she discusses real life situations in an honest and impressionable manner. I do feel like there was a lot in this storyline to focus on and at times that made me feel a little bit overwhelmed as everything in the storyline deserved my attention equally, and I couldn’t give that.

I enjoyed the complexity of the storyline and the uniqueness of what the book was centered around as it certainly gave me food for thought until the very end. I found the varying family dynamics such an interesting concept and it added brilliant depths to an already multi layered read.

Whilst ‘Another Woman’s Child’ seemed different to the usual Kerry Fisher novels I have grown to know and love, I still really appreciated the thought provoking story telling and the insightful, memorable novel that I really enjoyed.

Buy now.

#TheNightSwim by Megan Goldin @MeganGoldin @TheMirrorBooks #blogtour

I cannot believe that I get to kick off Megan Goldin’s blog tour today! Thank you so much to Mirror Books for asking me to be involved in the tour, and for supplying the ARC. Here is my review:

In The Night Swim, a new thriller from Megan Goldin, author of the “gripping and unforgettable” (Harlen Coben) The Escape Room, a true-crime podcast host covering a controversial trial finds herself drawn deep into a small town’s dark past and a brutal crime that took place there years before.

Ever since her true-crime podcast became an overnight sensation and set an innocent man free, Rachel Krall has become a household name – and the last hope for people seeking justice. But she’s used to being recognised for her voice, not her face. Which makes it all the more unsettling when she finds a note on her car windshield, addressed to her, begging for help.

The new season of Rachel’s podcast has brought her to a small town being torn apart by a devastating rape trial. A local golden boy, a swimmer destined for Olympic greatness, has been accused of raping the beloved granddaughter of the police chief. Under pressure to make Season 3 a success, Rachel throws herself into her investigation – but the mysterious letters keep coming. Someone is following her, and she won’t stop until Rachel finds out what happened to her sister twenty-five years ago.

Officially, Jenny Stills tragically drowned, but the letters insist she was murdered – and when Rachel starts asking questions, nobody in town wants to answer. The past and present start to collide as Rachel uncovers startling connections between the two cases – and a revelation that will change the course of the trial and the lives of everyone involved.

What does TWG think?

With Megan Goldin’s debut novel, ‘The Escape Room’ being one of my top reads of 2019, I was so excited to get stuck into her newest book, ‘The Night Swim’ – and what a book it is!

Rachel has gone from zero to hero in a short space of time due to her true crime podcast, with many people finding her voice familiar in public, but not her looks. Until now. Given the nature of her podcast and the fact that she has been face to face with serial killers, the prospect of being recognised in public filled her with dread. How did they know what she looked like? How did they know where she would be at that precise moment when even she didn’t have a clue until the last minute?

Just like crimes and the trials that go with them, there was clearly a lot more to the situation than Rachel had anticipated. Was she going to end up being a crime in her own true crime podcast?

Megan Goldin nails suspense like nobody’s business. She knows how to create drama that is unique to the storyline, and she knows how to keep it consistent throughout the entire book. For me, those elements were the highlight of the book because, whilst they showcased the authors fantastic way with words, they also gave the storyline its intricate layers that ended up holding me hostage.

I would be genuinely surprised if this novel didn’t make it onto the big screen at some point because it just screams to be televised!

If you’re after a storyline that has you hooked from page one, with characters who manage to unnerve you and intrigue you at the same time, as well as a read that is full to the brim of dramatic events, suspense and stomach churning intensity, then I highly recommend that you put ‘The Night Swim’ on your ‘to read’ pile – you will not regret it.

Buy now.