#Spotlight #Mine @ClareEmpson2 @OrionBooks @tr4cyf3nt0n #bookblogger

I hope you’re all keeping well just now. Life is very, very different to the one we were all a part of this time last week! Many of us are finding it difficult to concentrate on our usual hobbies, reading including, so I want to thank Tracy Fenton for being incredibly accommodating in the recent climate, so therefore my stop today is a spotlight post with the promise of reviewing soon.

‘Who am I? Why am I here? Why did my mother give me away?’

On the surface, Luke and his girlfriend Hannah seem to have a perfect life. He’s an A&R man, she’s an arts correspondent and they are devoted to their new-born son Samuel.

But beneath the gloss Luke has always felt like an outsider. So when he finds his birth mother Alice, the instant connection with her is a little like falling in love.

When Hannah goes back to work, Luke asks Alice to look after their son. But Alice – fuelled with grief from when her baby was taken from her 27 years ago – starts to fall in love with Samuel. And Luke won’t settle for his mother pushing him aside once again…

Why readers love this emotionally gripping story by the author of HIM:

‘Read it, read it, read it. One of my books of the year, without a doubt.’ Goodreads reviewer

‘Beautiful, haunting, emotional, and totally addictive.’ Goodreads reviewer

‘A realistic, character driven, highly-emotional and addictive read.’ Goodreads reviewer

‘Be warned: this novel will take over your life while you are reading it.’ Goodreads reviewer

Click here to purchase Clare Empson’s previous novel ‘Him’

Click here to purchase ‘Mine’

Loved either of Clare’s books? Leave a review and tell the world!

#ForBetterForWorse @JaneIsaacAuthor @HoZ_books #blogtour #review

Apologies for how late in the day this is, but I’m sure you’ll all agree that it is such a weird time for everyone just now. I hope you’re all keeping as safe as you can, both physically and emotionally. Thinking of everyone that has been directly affected by the virus, or is struggling with their mental health due to the uncertainty.

Thank you, Head of Zeus, for asking me to kick off the blog tour for ‘For Better, For Worse’ by Jane Isaac, and for the ARC. Here is my review:

Stuart Ingram was once a respected local councillor…

The first time the police knocked on Gina’s door, they arrested her husband.

The second time, they accused him of child abuse.

But he died a guilty man.

This time, the police are here for Gina – to tell her that her husband is dead. Murdered, just two weeks before his trial.

Gina always stood by her husband. Even when everyone else walked away. She believed the trial would clear his name. But now Stuart is dead.

And his wife is the suspect.

It’s a race against time for DC Beth Chamberlain to uncover the truth – especially when a second man turns up dead.

Previously published as Presumed Guilty.

What does TWG think?

What would you do if people turned their backs on you and your family, all because of an allegation? Would you stand by your husband like your had promised in your vows? Or would you side with the masses and presume him guilty?

The allegation against Gina’s husband, Stuart, was one that could break someone’s reputation whether they were guilty or not. The evidence was stacked against him, and even his own daughter wanted nothing to do with him. I could see why!!

Just like other books in this genre, the storyline is a slow burner which increases in tension gradually, and in such a way that kept me hooked. This book is the second book in the DC Beth Chamberlain series, something I wasnt actually aware of until after I had finished reading it! It can be read as a standalone, yet I probably would have gelled with Beth a little bit more if I had had a bit more insight to who she was. I couldnt take to her and I felt like something was missing. I’m not saying she was a bad character, because she was far from it. I just wish I had had more to go on where she was concerned, you know?

Despite that, the premise of the storyline and levels of intensity, I was really taken by the investigation and the uncertainty which surrounded the entire thing. I thought it was very cleverly done and kept me on my toes!

The star of the show, for me, was the psychological elements of the novel – I just loved how Jane Isaac went about them, incorporating well thought out red herrings and emotional blackmail into an already complex storyline.

All in all, ‘For Better, For Worse’ was a really enjoyable, suspenseful read that showcased Jane Isaac’s addictive story telling.

Buy now.

This is the one time I’m happy to admit being #DeadWrong! @nholten40 @0nemorechapter_ @BOTBSPublicity #blogtour #review

Thanks so much to sarah from BOTBSPublicity for inviting me to take part in much loved blogger and author, Noelle Holten’s blog tour. Also thank you to the publisher for the ARC too. Here is my review:

The serial killer is behind bars. But the murders are just beginning…

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…

What does TWG think?

Before reading ‘Dead Wrong’ I was well aware of the authors jet black mind and, if I’m being perfectly honest, I was in awe of how quickly her mind manages to conjure up situations that are so clever, and so well thought out.

Having now read ‘Dead Wrong’, I am even more impressed by this authors talent than I was at the beginning! Bill Raven is everyone’s worst nightmare, and there were many moments where i felt like reading through my fingers because of the discomfort and uncertainty which surrounded that particular character. He was such a chilling character to read about yet, as weird as this sounds, I think he gave the storyline THE edge.

I dont know what it is about DC Maggie Jamieson, but I still cannot seem to work her out. I struggled to gel with her in the first book, and again I found her to be a quite a two dimensional character. Maybe that is just her personality, after all you cant like every single character in a book!

Noelle Holten has hit the nail on the head in terms of suspense, and I thoroughly enjoyed the psychological elements of the story especially. Its evident that Holten knows the genre in depth due to her professional history, and shes certainly making the most of that knowledge with this riveting and dynamic read. Roll on book three!

Buy now.

Would you get in contact with someone you used to love, even though theres a chance they might not want to talk? #TheManILovedBefore @bookouture @AnnaMansell #blogtour

Many thanks to Bookouture for inviting me to take part in Anna Mansell’s blog tour, and for providing me with an ARC. Here is my review:

‘Dear Ben, I can only write you this letter because I know you’ll never read it…’

When Jem writes to her ex Ben, it’s to explain everything. All the secrets she kept from him – from the little lies she’d sometimes tell about how new those shoes really were, or how many glasses of wine she’d had that evening… right up to The Big Thing that happened on the night that changed everything. But she never expects he will actually see what she’s written.

She is just writing because she thinks it will help to get the words out. Later, she resolves, she’ll burn the letter, and then the past will be in the past for good.

Because Jem is doing fine now. She’s busy: working, spending time with her best friend, and looking after her mother, who’s in remission from cancer. She’s even dating again and has just met a guy who she thinks she could actually fall for. At long last, Jem is really, definitely somewhere close to happy.

But her mum finds the letter and thinks she’s doing Jem a favour when she posts it to Ben. And Jem’s new, carefully rebuilt life begins to unravel in ways she could never have imagined. Then, when her mother gets ill again, she finds herself asking who has the key to her future. The man she’s falling in love with now? Or the man she loved before?

What does TWG think?

Theres a lot of various avenues to explore in ‘The Man I Loved Before’. Not only is Jem finding it difficult to get over the man who had her heart, her mum was in remission from cancer. And, if that wasn’t enough, Jem finds herself being pulled in directions that arent good for her emotional wellbeing that ends up threatening her friendship with her best friend.

I reckon a lot of readers would find it difficult not to be empathetic towards Jem. The situations she deals with is more than enough for several people to contend with, let alone just one. Of course the fact that Jem’s mum is in remission is clearly good news, however with something like that, you cant help but wait for it to return. Not only that, her mum didnt return to her usual self after the cancer.

I enjoyed the realism of the storyline as it focused on things that can happen to real life people, without pretending that life is hunkydory because, contrary to popular belief, it isnt always like that. I appreciated the angle of the book, even though it was emotional at times and very powerful.

When Jem found herself in a sticky situation later on in the book, it did bring memories back for me as I had been in a similar boat myself many years ago. It wasnt easy to read, but i respected the author for including a topic that is often seen as taboo. However (sorry), I felt that it overpowered the rest of the book and took my attention away from other scenes in the book that I felt were important.

‘The Man I Loved Before’ is a romantic, poignant, topical read which puts relationships to the test big time. I really enjoyed the heartfelt storyline but, most importantly, I loved how difficult topics were given their time to shine in attempt to help others understand. Something that Anna Mansell has Mansell exceptionally well.

Buy now.

#HerBrokenWings @DKHood_Author @Bookouture #blogtour

Many thanks to Bookouture for inviting me to take part in the blog today for D.K.Hood and ‘Her Broken Wings’, and for the ARC. Here is my review:

The sound that wakes her from sleep is unmistakable—someone is in their house. She listens as heavy footsteps start up the stairs, and as the bedroom door is flung open, she doesn’t even have time to scream…

Following a frantic emergency call in the middle of the night, Detective Jenna Alton arrives at a secluded family home to find the body of Lucas Robinson lying in a pool of his own blood in his bed. His wife Carol, shivering in shock, has just watched an intruder shoot her husband in cold blood.

As Jenna investigates the murder, she soon discovers that Lucas was having an affair. And when his mistress is also found strangled to death in the center of the small town, Jenna is convinced that the murderer is living amongst them.

When the killer escalates with a mass murder at a remote ranch on the outskirts of Black Rock Falls, Jenna knows for sure that she’s dealing with a murderer more twisted than any other she’s faced before.

As the town begins to fill with revelers for the annual Halloween festival, Jenna has to work fast to stop any more lives being taken. But as the killer always seems to be one step ahead of the investigation, has she finally met a murderer who can outsmart her?

What does TWG think?

Well that escalated quickly!!!! I have been a huge fan of D.K.Hood’s ‘Kane and Alton’ since the very beginning, however I dont think my heart has raced as much as it did with ‘Her Broken Wings’. Bloody heck! If those wings weren’t broken, I reckon they would have taken off by now!

Black Rock Falls has had more than enough murders to last a lifetime, but they kept on coming in this book! I have no idea what the population of the town is – surely they havent got more random people to kill off! Honestly, the murders in this book were like a box of chocolates, they just kept happening until one minute they stopped and you are left wondering what’s going to happen next.

Kane and Alton have their work cut out, however this time round they have assistance from the FBI to help lighten their load. Or will it be a case of ‘too many cooks spoiling the broth’? I adore the rapport that Kane and Alton have, especially the way that they always have each others backs in whatever situation they find themselves in. On the other hand though, I cant help but think to myself ‘will they just get together already!!!’.

So, the reason why my heart was racing a lot more with this book was because of the storyline was dark. Jet black dark. It was sinister. Unforgiving. Dangerous. Eventful. Race car suspenseful.

Basically, I loved it. D.K.Hood is absolutely brilliant at creating the tension that made my heart want to beat out of my chest. I was completely blindsided by the turn of events and the way that the storyline unfolded. I have no idea where the author gets her ideas from, yet I know that she delivers every single book in this series in an expert manner.

‘Her Broken Wings’ kept me hooked and left me gasping in shock – an all round, suspenseful and bloody brilliant addition to a series that just keeps on getting better and better!

Buy now.

#ThreePerfectLiars @HeidiPerksBooks @arrowpublishing #blogtour #review

Many thanks to Rachel for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for ‘Three Perfect Liars’ by Heidi Perks. Here is my review:

When a body is pulled out of an office fire, three women are first in line for questioning.

All of them have reasons for wanting revenge against the company’s CEO.

It could be Laura, who has returned to work to find that her maternity cover isn’t leaving. The CEO insists he’s doing what’s best for the company. Laura isn’t convinced he’s telling the truth.

Or there’s Mia. Brought in as temporary cover for Laura, she has quickly made herself indispensable – and popular with her colleagues. But if people knew why she was so desperate to keep her job, they might not welcome her so freely.

Then there’s Janie, wife to the CEO, who gave up her courtroom career to support her husband and his business. She has her own secret to protect – and will go to any length to keep it safe.

They never thought it would come to this.

What does TWG think?

Three women, three different version of events, but which one is lying?

This book completely blindsided me! Laura has gone back to work after having her little boy, Bobby, but finds her replacement, Mia, with her feet firmly under Laura’s desk. Whilst everyone is worshipping the ground that Mia walks on, Laura isnt at all convinced by the game shes playing and is adamant that Mia’s true colours will be shown.

I thought that Laura’s obsession with Mia completely took over the storyline. It was as though she was a dog with a bone, refusing to give it up. To a point I could see why as Mia’s character gave off a dishonest vibe, yet on the other hand i couldnt quite see why Laura didnt just let it go, especially since her priorities had changed due to becoming a mum.

‘Three Perfect Liars’ is told from Mia, Laura’s and Janie’s point of views, so not only do we get to follow Laura’s obsession with Mia, we get to know parts of Mia’s personality, as well as trying to find out what it is that has ruffled Janie’s feathers. These women are such a mixed bag in terms of their personalities, and is found their involvement with each other quite surprising.

Even though I felt that Laura’s obsession with Mia overshadowed the rest of the storyline a little, the more of the book I read, the more the storyline made sense and the pieces began to fit very nicely together. There is a intriguing question of ‘whodunnit’ hanging over the storyline, something which kept me on tenterhooks as it could have been anyone. I’m genuinely surprised that I didnt get papercuts on my hands because of the speed in which I turned the pages. Maybe I had found my own temporary obsession with Heidi Perks’ novel?

I loved the ‘edge of my seat’ suspense and the air of mystery which spoke volumes throughout the whole book. I felt that a lot of the characters were quite dislikeable, however I dont think having characters who were as nice as pie would work in the same way.

I thought that the author delivered the intensity brilliantly and, as I said at the start, I was completely blindsided by what materialised. In fact, the amount of shock I was in made the ending of the book feel a bit anticlimactic as I was ready to keep on reading to try and delve into the psychology behind the characters actions. I’m nosy, I admit it!

Psychologically brilliant, topical, and thrilling on many different levels – I highly recommend this belter of a book.

Pre-order now.

#WhenWeWereBrave @Bookouture #blogtour @SuzKelman

Many thanks to Bookouture for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for ‘When We Were Brave’ by Suzanne Kelman. Here is my review:

The face of the woman in the photograph was tilted upwards, as if enjoying the sunshine just for a moment, even as the wreckage of the bombed-out street lay behind her…

1944, Cornwall: Blinded by love, Vivienne Hamilton eloped to Paris with a Nazi prisoner-of-war, never to be seen again. A disgrace to her family, her name would not be mentioned by any of her relatives for over 75 years.

Present day, London: When Sophie discovers a photograph of her great aunt Vivi from World War Two, it throws her into a world of confusion. Because, as she learns about this secret relative, she quickly realises that the photograph doesn’t fit with her family’s story. It shows Vivi leaving an address associated with a spy network in London – a place she had no reason to be – and it is dated right before she disappeared.

Meanwhile Sophie’s own life feels as blasted and bombed as the blitzed city in the photograph she’s looking at. Her beautiful daughter – as full of joy and wild energy as Vivi had apparently once been – is gone; and Sophie’s heart has been left broken into pieces.

Retreating to the family home in rural Cornwall to seek solace from her pain and the feelings of guilt that she could have done more to protect her daughter, Sophie finds herself becoming obsessed with Vivi’s life.

But nothing can prepare Sophie for what she is about to uncover – the story of a woman who risked everything for the person she loved the most; and a secret family history that could be the key to Sophie’s own future.

What does TWG think?

Reading ‘When We Were Brave’ got me thinking about the fact that I have never, ever been to a museum! How?! I really need to change that!

Sophie is a character that you cant help but warm to. She hasn’t had the easiest of lives to date, what with losing two of the most important people in her life. Knowing that her heart wont be easily fixed, Sophie puts all of her energy into trying to find a relative she never knew existed. Life isnt that simple though is it?

Dual timelines, historical fiction and a whole load of intensity, ‘When We Were Brave’ really ticked my boxes and kept me gripped until the very end. The storyline was full of emotion and heartache, yet it was also full of hope and determination. I really couldn’t have asked for more.

Buy now.

It’s good for your children to make friends…#LittleFriends in fact….but is it? @janeshemilt @MichaelJBooks

Many thanks to the Michael Joseph/Penguin team for inviting me to take part in Jane Shemilt’s blog tour for ‘Little Friends’, and for the ARC. Here is my review:

Their children are friends first. They hit it off immediately, as kids do.

So the parents are forced to get to know each other. But as they get closer, they start to take their eyes off their children.

And while they have been looking the other way, evil has crept in.

Every parent’s biggest nightmare is about to come true…

What does TWG think?

Eve is a laid back parent. A parent who doesnt give her children as many boundaries as what her husband, Eric, would like. With a daughter who has dyslexia, Eve gets a little tutor group going for other children on a Sunday. What started off as an innocent tutor group ended up turning into something much more sinister.

‘Little Friends’ is told from the voices of Eve, Melissa, and Grace, the mothers of the children in the story. The great thing about the book being told from different perspectives meant that as readers, we get to hear the story from various angles instead of it being one sided from just one particular character.

I found this book an incredibly unsettling and uncomfortable read, yet I was unable to tear my eyes away from the disaster that was unfolding before my very eyes. I would love to delve further into what I read, however due to spoilers I would be very afraid to do so incase I accidentally tripped up.

Jane Shmelit has crammed a lot of content into her book, covering topics such as marital problems, grief, dyslexia, parenting troubles, mental health, abuse…the lot. Weirdly enough, I didnt feel overwhelmed by how much content there was as everything slotted in well to the premise of the book.

Even though I felt as though my body was encased in a block of ice due to the chilling nature of the storyline, I flew through the novel in no more than three hours. It was so dark, so compelling, so gut wrenching….I felt like I wasnt able to continue yet my brain seemed to have other ideas.

I feel bad for saying that I throughly enjoyed this book due to what the story contained, however I was SO impressed by Jane Shmelit’s way with words and the realistic picture she painted with her characters and the journeys they embarked on.

As unsettling as this may have been, I was absolutely hooked and I have a strong feeling that readers will struggle to keep this novel from their minds. A moving, sinister, memorable domestic thriller – not for the faint hearted!

Buy now.

If you’re holding out for a legal thriller, ‘TheHoldout’ might just be the one! @MrGrahamMoore @OrionBooks @tr4cyf3nt0n #blogtour

Thank you to Tracy Fenton and Oriom for the blog tour invite for ‘The Holdout’ by Graham Moore, and for the ARC. Here is my review:

One juror changed the verdict. What if she was wrong?

‘Ten years ago we made a decision together…’

Fifteen-year-old Jessica Silver, heiress to a billion-dollar fortune, vanishes on her way home from school. Her teacher, Bobby Nock, is the prime suspect. It’s an open and shut case for the prosecution, and a quick conviction seems all but guaranteed.

Until Maya Seale, a young woman on the jury, persuades the rest of the jurors to vote not guilty: a controversial decision that will change all of their lives forever.

Ten years later, one of the jurors is found dead, and Maya is the prime suspect.

The real killer could be any of the other ten jurors. Is Maya being forced to pay the price for her decision all those years ago?

What does TWG think?

Never mind ‘holding out for a hero’, I’m holding out for ‘The Holdout’! I’ve always wondered what it must be like to be a member of the jury and, weirdly enough, my obsession with ‘Ally Mcbeal’ has never really piqued my curiosity as much as I would have liked it to. Basically, I’m too nosy for my own good. So, when I saw Graham Moore’s novel appear on social media, I knew straight away that I needed to get my mitts on a copy. Did it disappoint? Why no, no it did not!

I’m not going to lie though, the storyline was, at times, a little beyond farfetched, something which I’m not exactly used to. However, I had to keep an open mind so that my own walls weren’t stopping me from enjoying the storyline in its entirety.

The concept of everything not being as it seemed is usually so predictable, yet this book completely threw that assumption out of the park! Every new page gave me something I wasn’t expecting, whether it be a new piece of evidence, an unlikely friendship, a different route for the story to take. I was honestly surprised by what I was reading and the way that the author delivered every new thing in such a punchy, memorable way.

I really was hooked by this suspenseful, punchy and eye opening novel. I have a feeling that this is the start of very good things for Graham Moore and his novels!

Buy now.

#Extract from #CodeNameLise by Larry Loftis @LarryLoftis @MirrorBooks #spy #WWII

I was planning on reading this book but unfortunately I haven’t been able to get a copy yet so i will be sharing an extract from ‘Code Name: Lise’ instead. Many thanks to Mirror Books for having me on the tour!

The year is 1942, and World War II is in full swing.

Odette Sansom decides to follow in her war hero father’s footsteps by becoming an SOE agent to aid Britain and her beloved homeland, France. Five failed attempts and one plane crash later, she finally lands in occupied France to begin her mission.

It is here that she meets her commanding officer Captain Peter Churchill. As they successfully complete mission after mission, Peter and Odette fall in love. All the while, they are being hunted by the cunning German secret police sergeant, Hugo Bleicher, who finally succeeds in capturing them.

They are sent to Paris’s Fresnes prison, and on to concentration camps in Germany, where they are starved, beaten, and tortured. But in the face of despair, they never give up hope, their love for each other, or the whereabouts of their colleagues.

Buy now from Amazon UK

Extract.

THE FOLLOWING DAY, ANXIOUS to see her beloved France and begin
her work, Odette boarded a Whitley bomber. The plane taxied
to the end of the runway and stopped to wait for the landing of an
incoming aircraft. Odette peered through the window and started.
The landing plane was coming straight at them.

There was a violent collision of metal as the plane clipped the
Whitley’s starboard wing. The pilot immediately cut both engines
and the shouting began. Someone opened the door and Odette
tumbled out. Fortunately, the plane didn’t ignite and no one was
injured.

On September 27 a Lysander became available and Odette
again headed to the airfield. As the plane was warming up, however,
Baker Street received a cable stating that the Gestapo had
arrested her contacts; three had been summarily executed, the rest
soon to be.

Odette returned home, and Buckmaster told her to sit tight
while he coordinated other contacts and searched for another plane.
A week later he called and Odette caught a train to Plymouth,
where she was to depart by seaplane for Gibraltar. As she sat in the
Mountbatten Airport, she watched the Catalina bobbing in the water
as high winds jerked its moorings. Sheets of rain followed, and
it appeared that this mission, too, would be jinxed. After several
hours, an officer from the Royal Air Force came in and confirmed
what Odette expected: the weather would not allow departure.

She returned to London.
The War Office scheduled another flight five days later and instructed
Odette to report to Redruth in Cornwall. From there she
was escorted to a hotel and told to get any sleep she could. An attendant
would wake her at 0100, they said, for a 2 a.m. departure
from Newquay Cornwall Airport. Odette drifted off, and promptly
at one someone knocked on her door with a cup of hot tea.
It was raining.

At the airport she was told there was a slight delay: the Whitley’s
starboard engine had a fuel stoppage, someone said, and mechanics
were addressing it while the luggage was stowed. They’d be under
way shortly.

Finally, the craft was cleared and Odette climbed aboard. There
were no seats, she saw, and the fuselage was crammed to the hilt
with cargo. Finding a small spot on the metal floor, she arranged
herself against a wooden crate and tried to stretch her legs. It
wouldn’t be the most comfortable ride, but at least she was finally
leaving.

The engines revved up and they taxied to the runway. Odette sat
back. It had been a long process: the guilt at Somerset, worry about
leaving her children, the training, the injuries, the false starts. Now
at last she could fulfill the duty her grandfather had encouraged so
many years before.

The Whitley lifted off, dipping for a moment and then resuming
its trajectory. Another dip. Odette swung her eyes to the cockpit.
The pilot was trying to gain altitude, but the bomber was responding
by rising and sinking. Up and down, up and down it went, a
sluggish battle with gravity.
The airframe began to shudder.
Cargo creaked as it slid, then a thunderous burst as the starboard
engine went.
Odette braced herself.
They were going to crash.