#BloggerBlast! #Review – #TheNightBefore by Wendy Walker (@Wendy_Walker) @AlainnaGeorgiou @OrionBooks

Another Orion blogger blast coming to you this evening, this time it’s for ‘The Night Before’ by Wendy Walker. Once again I want to say a massive thank you to Alainna and Team Orion for asking me to be involved in these blasts. It has been such an honour and I hope you enjoy reading my review!

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Rosie Ferro and Laura Heart are sisters, but as different as it is possible to be. One is lucky in love and has a conventional family: a husband, and a small son. The other has a troubled past she is still struggling to break free from.

When Laura disappears after going on a date with a stranger she met online, Rosie, her protector since they were young, springs into action to look for her. But as she slowly uncovers more about the situation, Rosie begins to fear that her sister might have been more of a danger than the man she went out with.

Told in duel timelines – the night of and the night before, Wendy Walker’s new novel is a riveting examination of family loyalty, obsession, and how just how far we will go for love.

What does TWG think?

Well, well, well! What an interesting read!! I wasn’t too taken with the storyline at first as I just couldn’t sink my teeth into the book deep enough to fall under its spell. The thing about ‘The Night Before’, in my opinion, is that it’s a very slow burning novel which increases its levels of suspense ever so slightly with each turn of the page. Do not, under any circumstance, let the fact that the book starts off exceptionally slow whilst also setting the scene in a dot the i’s, cross the t’s sort of way, put you off. I am so glad that I kept an open mind with Wendy Walker’s new book as my goodness, the wait is definitely worth it!

I kept looking at Rosie’s surname wondering why I was always hungry every time it caught my eye – I stupidly thought it said Ferrero…..after the chocolate! What a numpty! Anyway, back to the book….

Laura is an intriguing character. She is often treated with kid gloves by her sister, Rosie, as its like Laura cannot be trusted to live life on her own terms. Obviously I had no idea whether that actually was the case or not, as it took a little while for Laura’s past to become apparent, but even then, there were quite a few gaps in the story. Don’t fret though, those gaps are filled by the end of the book. Now, whether they will be filled in the way that you think they should be, remains to be seen. Did I see it coming? No. I genuinely didn’t. It wasn’t until I had reached 80% of the book that the puzzle pieces started to fit together, but even then I wasn’t sure what to believe knowing just how brilliant Wendy Walker was at leading her readers into a false sense of security.

‘The Night Before’ is a dual timeline read of the night before, and the night after, whilst also switching between both Laura’s and Rosie’s lives. It works. It really does. Yes, the thing about different timelines is that they can end up making readers confused, but I found that this book did the complete opposite. Instead of being confused by the to-ing and fro-ing, I felt invigorated by the snippets of new information that were being dropped by the author each time. It was very cleverly done and, unfortunately for me, enabled my mind to switch camps like nobodies business. Whose camp do you think you’ll be in? Rosie’s? Laura’s? Neither?

I was absolutely hooked by Wendy Walker’s atmospheric storytelling! At times nothing seemed to make sense, and then all of a sudden, everything made complete sense. ‘The Night Before’ is a novel which changes its stance, so to speak. You might feel that you know where the book is heading at the beginning, yet before you can say ‘omg!’, the author changes the direction of the storyline and leaves you wondering what on earth to believe next.

Slow burning it may be, but boring and predictable it definitely is NOT! A psychologically twisted, complex and sinister novel – I can guarantee that, the morning after you will be thinking about ‘The Night Before’.

Buy now!

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#BloggerBlast! #DegreesOfGuilt by HS Chandler (@HSCInkpen) @AlainnaGeorgiou @OrionBooks

It has been a huge honour to be involved in the blogger blast for Degrees of Guilt by HS Chandler, thank you so much to Alainna and Orion for asking me to take part, as well as allowing me to receive one of the very rare proofs of the book. Without further ado, here is my review:

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When you read this book, you will think you know every twist in the tale.

Maria is on trial for attempted murder.

She has confessed to the crime and wanted her husband dead.

Lottie is on the jury, trying to decide her fate.

She embarks on an illicit affair with a stranger, and her husband can never find out.

You will think you know who is guilty and who is innocent.

You will be wrong.

What does TWG think?

Er HELLO MIND FUNK!!! Gee whizz and all that jazz – the last two lines of the blurb are absolutely bang on. I read through ‘Degrees of Guilt’ feeling all smug with myself that I knew who did what, who would end up in trouble and so forth, but I could not have been more wrong if I tried.

Apologies for the incredibly vague review, but it is needed as I would hate to give anything about this book away to any of you!

Maria is on trial for the attempted murder of her husband. A man who has a large following. A man who is incredibly respected due to the work he does. So, why did Maria want him dead? Unfortunately, whilst there is two sides to every story, the fact that only one of those sides can be vocalised personally adds insult to injury. Pardon the pun.

Whilst Maria’s fate looks as though it has been sealed, Lottie (a person who is on the jury) is about to see her own future flash before her eyes. Why? Well, that would be telling but again, there are two sides to every story.

I throughly enjoyed every aspect of this book. It made such a nice change to have a storyline predominantly set in a courtroom instead of just dabbling in that setting for several chapters. At the start of this review I stated that this book was a mind funk, and I completely stand by that as it completely blew my mind from all different angles. Not only does the story focus on the accused, Maria, it also focuses on the actions of the jury both inside of the courtroom, and outside of it. People take things at face value in life. If they can see something, then they believe it. If they cannot see something with their own two eyes yet someone is adamant a situation or a feeling is happening, nobody believes it. Well, some might, but disbelief is what comes first. Physical abuse is just that; physical. You can see it. You can touch the outcome. Emotional abuse, again, is just that; emotional. You can’t physically see the scars. You can’t physically see someone’s life being torn about from the inside. However, why is it that, even though abuse is abuse in every sense of the word, people only believe it when it’s staring them in the face?

‘Degrees of Guilt’ has ‘abuse’ at its core and I’ll be totally honest, the theme of the book definitely gave me food for thought and made me look at things differently. Hell, and that’s even coming from someone who has been on the receiving end of both physical AND emotional abuse. No two situations are the same.

HS Chandler delivers suspense and intensity throughout this book like rockets. Every inch of the book was laced with psychological brilliance and jaw dropping situations – honestly, I’ve said it once and I’ll happily say it again – it blew my mind.

‘Degrees of Guilt’ is a brilliant, brilliant, novel which puts simple ideologies to the test and will have readers questioning every inch of their judgement. You may find that you read this book on the side of one of the characters, yet end the book being on the oppositions side.

I honestly cannot recommend this author, and this book, enough. A psychologically brilliant, highly atmospheric, and addictive read which left my jaw unhinged until the very last page.

Buy now from Amazon (E-book)

#BlogTour! #Review – Hitman Sam by Morgen Bailey (@morgenwriterUK) @BOTBSPublicity

Many thanks to Sarah from BOTBSPublicity for the ‘Hitman Sam’ blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review for today’s stop:

Having been made redundant as a photocopier software designer, Sam Simpson is lured by a cryptic advert. As he learns it is for a trainee hitman, will he be tough enough to see the job through? Even James Bond had to start somewhere and Sam, as his alias Josh Bradley, looks forward to enjoying James’ lifestyle, although soon embroiled in a love triangle, Sam hadn’t expected things to get so complicated so quickly.

What does TWG think?

Well this was certainly different! Its novella sized, perfect for an ‘inbetween read’ so to speak. Nothing to strenuous, nothing too heavy.

I have to say that I had to keep going backwards and forwards whilst reading, trying to make sense of the storyline. I cannot fault Morgen Bailey’s imagination one iota! She took an idea and ran with it like Buzz Lightyear; to infinity and beyond.

I do like reads which leave me guessing, but the farfetchedness of ‘Hitman Sam’ had me in a spin.

Buy now.

#BlogBlitz! #Review – The Butcher’s Daughter by Jane.E.James (@jane_e_james) @BloodHoundBook

Many thanks to BloodHoundBooks for the blog tour invite and ARC for ‘The Butcher’s Daughter’ by Jane E James. It’s a pleasure to be hosting the author today with a review.

Trust no one. Not even yourself.

When Natalie Powers returns home for the first time in thirteen years, she must convince everyone she has fully recovered from the mental illness, which has seen her institutionalised for most of her young life.

But instead of being welcomed back, Natalie enters a baffling world of deception. She must fight her way through the lies in order to discover the truth about her mother’s sudden disappearance sixteen years earlier. To do this, Natalie must also try to make sense of the hazy memories from the past that continue to haunt her.

In the village of Little Downey, everybody appears to harbour a mysterious secret, including her father, Frank, the village butcher, who refuses to discuss the circumstances surrounding Natalie’s mother’s disappearance, but who can Natalie trust if not her own father? Especially when it becomes clear her protector and confidante, Dr Moses, is not all he appears.

Meanwhile, a spate of unexplained clifftop suicides has seen the seaside resort go into decline. Are the villagers somehow involved or is something more sinister at work?

Determined to find out what happened to her mother, Natalie must make sure her own frailty and self-doubt does not catapult her back to the mental institution before she can uncover the truth…

What does TWG think?

If you’re finding the weather a little too hot and are needing to be cooled down, you definitely won’t go wrong with this chilling, chilling read.

The topic of mental health is incredibly rife throughout the book, yet its written with such realism and sensitivity that would make the bigots of the world feel very ashamed with themselves.

Jane.E.James transported me to a very dark and sinister place which had me hooked until the very end. I was very impressed by how much detail the author incorporated into each event within the book as it made the story come to life. Granted, at times when uncomfortable things happened, I didn’t really want to feel as though I was seeing the sinister moments with my very own eyes Haha.

All in all, ‘The Butcher’s Daughter’ is a very intense, chilling and brilliant book which highlights just how talented Jane.E.James is.

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – Little Darlings by Melanie Golding (@mk_golding) @HQStories

Many thanks to HQ for the blog tour invite and ARC. Apologies for the day late blog tour post, but here is my review of Little Darlings by Melanie Golding.

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THE TWINS ARE CRYING.
THE TWINS ARE HUNGRY.

LAUREN IS CRYING.
LAUREN IS EXHAUSTED.

Behind the hospital curtain, someone is waiting . . .

Lauren is alone on the maternity ward with her new-born twins when a terrifying encounter in the middle of the night leaves her convinced someone is trying to steal her children. Lauren, desperate with fear, locks herself and her sons in the bathroom until the police arrive to investigate.

When DS Joanna Harper picks up the list of overnight incidents that have been reported, she expects the usual calls from drunks and wrong numbers. But then a report of an attempted abduction catches her eye. The only thing is that it was flagged as a false alarm just fifteen minutes later.

Harper’s superior officer tells her there’s no case here, but Harper can’t let it go so she visits the hospital anyway. There’s nothing on the CCTV. No one believes this woman was ever there. And yet, Lauren claims that she keeps seeing the woman and that her babies are in danger, and soon Harper is sucked into Lauren’s spiral of fear. But how far will they go to save children who may not even be in danger?

What does TWG think?

How to review this book without giving too much away…..

Yes, ‘Little Darlings’ is one of those books where reviews need to be thought about even more carefully because of spoiler drops. I’m not saying that my review will contain spoilers, because I will make sure that it won’t. However, please don’t be expecting me to write a review that isn’t at all vague, because this will be!

Giving birth to your own child, or becoming a parent for the very first time via other means, is one of the worlds greatest thing, if not THE worlds greatest thing. However, for some parents, predominately mothers, that time where you are in a fog of love and dirty nappies isn’t quite a happy one. For others, such as Lauren, becoming a new mother can be incredibly confusing and some what….psychologically challenging. But how can we be certain that the goings on in a new mothers head is down to lack of sleep, paranoia, etc, and isn’t simply a case of, oh I don’t know, being the truth?

That question went through my head continuously while I read this book. Is Lauren telling the truth? Is she merely seeing things? Is reality being stilted by lack of sleep, having two babies suck milk out of you as though they’re drinking a McDonald’s milkshake, or because your partner refuses to….man up? Sorry, I hate that term, but Lauren’s husband annoyed me something chronic, so it fits in my opinion.

Obviously when a 999 call is triggered, the emergency services are required to look into it. However, the Police are not required to follow up on something which, according to the system, has been deemed as ‘closed’. I’m not too sure if DS Harper actually saw that on the notes, or whether she pretended not to see it, either way she refused to let the little niggle in her belly get the better of her as she gave Lauren’s case a bit more attention than her boss would have liked.

‘Little Darlings’ has been dubbed ‘chilling’ on social media by fellow bloggers and I can see why! That said, I didn’t find myself as creeped out by the storyline as I thought I would be. I mean, I, like many other people, adore Fairytales, so with the storyline grazing over that theme periodically throughout the book, I found myself becoming so invested in the concept as a whole, I think I blurred the lines between reality and fairytales in my own mind, therefore not finding the storyline creepy because I was looking at both sides of the coin with enthusiasm. If that makes sense.

I thought that ‘Little Darlings’ was very cleverly written and has got suspense down to a fine art. There are a lot of characters in the storyline who, in my opinion, don’t really add much to the book, but I think that’s because I disliked them. That said, the fact that I have an opinion on them full stop, just goes to show that the author did well by including them.

All in all, I flew through ‘Little Darlings’ like a baby bird spreading its wings. It’s dark. It’s intense. And it’s definitely a read which keeps your mind on its toes, so to speak!

Buy now!

#BlogBlitz! #Review – The Murder Mile by Lesley McEvoy (@LesleyMcEvoy20) @BloodHoundBook

Many thanks to BloodHoundBooks for the blitz invite and ARC, I am excited to be reviewing ‘The Murder Mile’ by Lesley McEvoy today.

Forensic Psychologist, Jo McCready is assisting DCI Callum Ferguson on a murder inquiry, when one of her patients is found brutally murdered.

Jo was the last person to see Martha Scott alive. She was helping Martha unlock a repressed memory. But during the session, Jo unlocked more than she bargained for. An alter personality introduced himself as the reincarnation of Jack the Ripper – and thanked Jo for setting him free to kill again.

As Ferguson’s team race to find Martha’s killer, a series of copycat killings begin, replicating ‘The Autumn of Terror’ in 1888. But if Jack is just a figment of Martha’s damaged mind, who killed her?

As the body count rises, Jo must construct a profile to stop the murderer recreating the terror of the most infamous serial killer of all time.

But not everyone is on Jo’s side. The Police Intelligence Unit have their own profiler, Liz Taylor-Caine, who resents Jo’s involvement as a contributing expert in the case.

Suspicion about Jo’s involvement in the killings increases when someone close to the team becomes one of Jack’s victims.

And as the anniversary of the final and most gruesome of all the killings looms, Jo discovers that the killer has one murder on his mind that is far closer to home…

What does TWG think?

A debut you say?! I cannot believe that ‘The Murder Mile’ is Lesley McEvoy’s debut novel! I was beyond impressed by the storyline! The inclusion of ‘Jack the Ripper’ was an incredibly clever direction to go down, as was having a forensic psychologist as one of the main character! The more crime books I read, the more intrigued by the forensic side of things I become, and the author certainly fed my hunger with this book!

The pace of the book was on point, kept me on my toes without feeling as though the storyline had unnecessary pregnant paused. I felt as though there was a sharp chill in the air for the duration of the book, which meant that I flew through the pages because I was so eager to find out all of the nitty gritty details.

‘The Murder Mile’ is a brilliant, brilliant debut! All you readers who get to read it for the very first time are such lucky beggars – I loved it!

Buy now!

#BlogBlitz! #Review – Dark Is The Day by Tana Collins (@TanaCollins7) @BloodHoundBook

Given the weather outside, I would say that the title of the book I’m reviewing today is quite apt! Many thanks to BloodHoundBooks for the blitz invite and ARC of ‘Dark is the Day’ by Tana Collins – here is my review:

DI Jim Carruthers has to put his personal feelings for newly- appointed DCI Sandra McTavish aside when a young student is brutally attacked and left for dead.

Meanwhile, when a university lecturer is stalked by one of her own students, Carruthers is horrified to discover that the academic is none other than his ex-wife, Mairi. Are the attacker and stalker one and the same, and if so, will Carruthers’ ex-wife be next?

When a second then a third victim is discovered, not only dead but mutilated, Carruthers and his team are tasked with searching for a murderer. A murderer who takes great pleasure from killing.

What is the victims’ connection to a cult in North America, which seems to be getting a stranglehold in a Scottish university? Why have these women been targeted? And who is doing the killing?

It looks like there might be a serial killer on the loose in Castletown but can DI Jim Carruthers stop this depraved murderer before they strike again?

What does TWG think?

Right, this will make no sense to anyone else except the people who have already read the book and of course the author – MALCOLM IS A LEGEND!!! What a man! I was in absolute hysterics at the brilliantly placed one liner that came out of his mouth during a not so funny situation. I felt bad for laughing given what was going on at the time, but I just couldn’t help myself!

‘Dark Is The Day’ is such a brilliant, dark, Scottish crime novel which had me on the edge of my seat until the very end. I really enjoyed following DI Carruthers and his team as they try to find the culprit behind the latest killings. What do the students have in common? Why is someone targeting them?

As always, I had my guesses as to whom I thought was behind the murders. But I was wrong. To be honest, the person who it turned out to be, didn’t even feature on my radar!

Tana Collins is a descriptive author who nails the crime genre incredibly. For me, there is no negatives to this book – I genuinely loved every single minute of it.

A thrilling, chilling, atmospheric and witty novel which blew me away due to it’s hilarious one liners and gritty suspense.

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Extract – Tick Tock by Mel Sherratt (@writermels) @AvonBooksUK

Last but not least, it gives me great pleasure to welcome back to TWG, the one and only, Mel Sherratt! I promise I will get round to reading ‘Tick Tock’, but until then I hope you will forgive me as I share an extract from the book. Before that though, here is a little bit more about ‘Tick Tock, as well as the all important link to purchase. Enjoy!

TICK…

In the city of Stoke, a teenage girl is murdered in the middle of the day, her lifeless body abandoned in a field behind her school.

TOCK…

Two days later, a young mother is abducted. She’s discovered strangled and dumped in a local park.

TIME’S UP…

DS Grace Allendale and her team are brought in to investigate, but with a bold killer, no leads and nothing to connect the victims, the case seems hopeless. It’s only when a third woman is targeted that a sinister pattern emerges. A dangerous mind is behind these attacks, and Grace realises that the clock is ticking…

Can they catch the killer before another young woman dies?

Buy now.

Extract.

The school was on the edge of the city, meaning that it backed onto a considerable amount of countryside. But driving up to the block itself, you wouldn’t have reason to believe that. It was a deftly overpopulated area with homes on every available piece of land. Built in the mid-1940s, the estate was past its sell-by date in terms of today’s standards. Cars were parked everywhere owing to lack of space, on already narrow roads, which were a rat run for car chases.

Grace and Perry pulled into the already crowded car park. As they stepped out of the vehicle, there seemed to be orderly chaos everywhere Grace looked. Teachers were herding pupils into a main hallway. Parents had started to turn up, no doubt having been rung by frantic children wondering what was going on.

They passed a woman she assumed to be a member of staff trying to explain to a man that he needed to wait until his child’s name was crossed off her list and then someone would go and fetch him; Grace presumed this was to ensure they had a record of who was on the premises. Another woman was trying to stop a worried parent from barging through.

A uniformed officer was marking down names of people who were going into the school as part of their investigation. Grace knew they could contain the crime scene as it was away from the school site, but it would be handy in the days to come to show who had been where and doing what here as well.

Nick caught up with Grace and Perry after parking next to them.

‘I think we’ll go and see her first,’ he said. ‘Then we can speak to the girls who found her, the teachers who took the class and the headmaster. Eyes are on us.’

#BlogTour! #Review – What She Saw by Wendy Clarke (@WendyClarke99) @Bookouture

Next up on TWG is my blog tour review for, ‘What She Saw’ by Wendy Clarke. Many thanks to Bookouture for the blog tour invite and ARC.

Everyone knows Leona would do anything for her daughter Beth: she moved to Church Langdon to send Beth to the best school, worked hard to build a successful business to support them and found them the perfect little cottage to call home. Leona and Beth hike together, shop together, share their hopes and fears with one another. People say they’re more like best friends than mother and daughter.
It’s the relationship every mother dreams of.
But their closeness means that Beth struggles to make friends. Her mother has kept her sheltered from the world. She’s more reliant on her mother’s love. More vulnerable.
When Beth finds an envelope hidden under the floorboards of their home, the contents make her heart stop. Everything she thought she knew about her mother is a lie. And she realises there is no one she can turn to for help.
What if you’ve been protected from strangers your whole life, but the one person you can’t trust is the person closest to home?

What does TWG think?

‘What She Saw’ is definitely a nail biting read, my nerves were shot to youknowwhat by the time I reached the end.

Now, my opinion of Wendy Clarke’s novel kept changing throughout, I’ll be honest. There was a lot of promise, but at times it felt as though the storyline didn’t go further than that.

This novel isn’t a wham, bam, thank you mam, kind of storyline, so don’t expect fireworks instantly. It does, in my opinion, take quite a while to get momentum, but when it does it was like a rocket.

The slow burning storyline does work in regards to the shock factor and the way the book concludes, and I am very glad that I listened to my gut regarding the promising themes as it definitely paid off.

Leona is a very well crafted character. I couldn’t help but feel empathy towards her situation, and I knew her heart was in the right place when things didn’t go to plan.

Wendy Clarke took me on journey with shocking results, thanks to this twisted and gritty novel. I’m so looking forward to reading more from this author.

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #Review – The Evidence Against You by Gillian McAllister (@GillianMAuthor) @MichaelJBooks

Hugest of thanks to the team at Michael Joseph for the blog tour invite and ARC of Gillian McAllister’s new novel, The Evidence Against You. For my stop on the tour today, I am delighted to be sharing a review:

It’s the day Izzy’s father will be released from jail.

She has every reason to feel conflicted – he’s the man who gave her a childhood filled with happy memories.

But he has also just served seventeen years for the murder of her mother.

Now, Izzy’s father sends her a letter. He wants to talk, to defend himself against each piece of evidence from his trial.

But should she give him the benefit of the doubt?

Or is her father guilty as charged, and luring her into a trap?

What does TWG think?

This is one, psychologically twisted read!

I have to hold my hands up and say that I wasn’t a fan of ‘The Evidence Against You’ at first. I found Izzy’s character to be quite immature and, due to the fact that this particular storyline builds its rapport the more of it you read, I struggled to find the all important hook and keep hold of it.

However, from about the half way mark, my opinion of the book completely changed! The suspense had cranked up several notches, and the constant thought of ‘did he do it, or didn’t he do it?’ just didn’t leave my thoughts.

Basically, Izzy’s dad has been released from prison for murdering her mother, Alex. Gabe says he didn’t do it, yet the evidence and the police say that he clearly did do it. But what does Izzy believe? Shes been left in the dark about the case because she was young when it happened, so the not knowing the ins and outs became her new norm.

With Gabe back in Izzy’s life after nearly 20 years, does she go with the evidence behind his conviction? Or does she give her dad the benefit of the doubt?

What would you do? Tough one really, isn’t it? The evidence was there. The police convicted him. How could he be innocent?

I was really impressed by how the author delivered both sides of the ‘arguement’ so to speak. One minute I was all for the guilty verdict, and then the next I didn’t know what to think. I mean, it was pretty clear that Gabe was digging himself a huge hole.

I thought that the psychological element to the book was outstanding and certainly kept me guessing. Like I said before, the latter half of the book, for me, is where the magic truly happens, and the place where I refused to put the book down until I had finished.

An intriguing, intense read which will have the words, ‘what if?’ balancing on the tip of your tongue until the very end.

Buy now!