blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Final Cut – S.J. Watson*

S J Watson writes:

In writing Final Cut I wanted to move away slightly from the entirely domestic, urban and claustrophobic feel of Before I Go To Sleep and open the story world a little. I’m returning to my preoccupations of memory, narrative and identity, though bringing a fresh spin and new maturity to them.

The story follows a young ambitious documentary film maker whose first film was lauded and her second less so, and who is struggling with her third film. She hits on the idea of making a film about life in a small, northern village and is persuaded, against her better judgement and for reasons unknown, to film in Blackwood Bay. Once there she discovers a town shrouded in mystery and full of secrets, that threaten to engulf and ultimately destroy her. She has to dig deep to save herself, as well as the lives of others.

In researching the book, I was drawn to the idea of the way we document our lives now, on Instagram and Twitter etc., and the downsides of that, as well as the darkness that can hide in plain sight and the abuses that people can visit on their fellow humans. The sad fact is I had to tone down some of the horrific atrocities I read about, or else the book would’ve been too dark, even for me.

S. J. Watson’s first novel, Before I Go To Sleep, became a phenomenal international success and has now sold over 6,000,000 copies worldwide. It won the Crime Writers’ Association Award for Best Debut Novel and the Galaxy National Book Award for Crime Thriller of the Year.

The film of the book, starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth and Mark Strong, and directed by Rowan Joffe, was released in September 2014.

S. J. Watson’s second novel, Second Life, a psychological thriller, was published to acclaim in 2015.

S. J. Watson was born in the Midlands and now lives in London.

My thoughts:

This was really interesting, playing with concepts of memory and trust. Can Alex trust her own memories or anyone else’s? Why can’t she remember why she ran away?

For such a small town Blackwood Bay bristles with secrets and mysteries, rather than everyone knowing each other’s business.

The use of anonymous snippets of phone footage to plant clues and the film Alex says she’s making bring it up to date and add another dimension.

A very clever thriller that twists and turns, with an unreliable narrator and untrustworthy characters.


*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Say No More – Karen Rose*

Perfect for fans of James Patterson and Karin Slaughter, this is the second gripping instalment of the Sacramento series from Sunday Times bestseller Karen Rose. An explosive crime thriller, Say No More will keep you gripped until the final page.

If they ever catch you, say nothing. Admit nothing. Never tell.
Mercy Callahan never thought she’d be able to talk about her past. When she arrives in Sacramento to make peace with her brother Gideon, and to help find the brutal cult that took away her childhood, she is finally ready to talk. But when Ephraim Burton – the man who made her life a living hell – follows her there, she realises she might never be safe.
Rafe Sokolov would do anything to have Mercy back in his life and would go to any length to protect her. But when it becomes apparent that Ephraim is more determined than ever to get Mercy back, even Rafe might not be able to stop the trail of destruction he leaves in his wake. As Ephraim draws near, it’s clear it’s not just Mercy who is in danger; those closest to her are firmly in his sights.
Will Mercy sacrifice herself to help bring Ephraim down? Or will he finally get what he’s always wanted…

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Karen Rose was introduced to suspense and horror at the tender age of eight when she accidentally read Poe’s The Pit and The Pendulum and was afraid to go to sleep for years. She now enjoys writing books that make other people afraid to go to sleep. Karen lives in Florida with her family, their cat, Bella, and two dogs, Loki and Freya. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, and her new hobby – knitting.

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My thoughts:

I really enjoy Karen Rose’s books, while there’s always some awful murderer that her characters are after, it’s more about the relationships between the people she writes about than the chase.

This is the second Sacremento set book, I read the previous one a while ago, but I think you pick up enough of the gist to go in cold if you want. There’s always some romance, lots of food and pets, in this case a little dog and two cats, all of whom act as emotional support for their humans.

I love the Sokolov family, especially Irina and Zoya, they provide the levity amidst the grim goings on that bring the group of Feds and cops and family members together around Mercy.

The search for serial killer and all around monster takes the crew across Northern California as they try to stop him from killing anyone else or getting his hands on Mercy; the object of his violent obsession.

Her relationship with Rafe blossoms, as her does the one with her brother Gideon – they both lived through horrors as children and still bear the mental scars, but are starting to heal.

I cannot wait for the next book in the series – I want to know if they find the cult Mercy and Gideon escaped from and whether they can finally lay their nightmares to rest.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: One Fatal Night – Hèlene Fermont*

One woman’s quest for revenge unearths a fatal secret from her past.

Astrid Jensen holds one man responsible for her mother’s suicide, and she’ll do whatever’s necessary to get close to Daniel Holst and destroy his life – even if it means sleeping with him to gain his trust. Astrid knows he’s not who he pretends to be. But before she can reveal his dark secret, people from her mother’s past start turning up dead, and it looks like she and Daniel are next. In order to survive, she might have to put her trust in the man she has hated for so long.

Daniel Holst has worked hard to climb into Norway’s most elite and glamorous circles, and he’s not about to let any woman bring him down. But when a psychopathic killer starts murdering people from his shadowy past, he discovers that the only person who might be able to save him is the woman who wants to destroy him.

As Astrid digs deeper into her past, she uncovers secrets long buried and realizes everything she once believed is based on lies. What began as a quest to avenge her mother’s death becomes a desperate struggle for survival and leads to the truth about what happened one fatal night ten years ago—and the surprising mastermind behind the most recent murders.

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Hélene is an Anglo-Swedish fiction author currently residing in her home town of Malmo, Sweden, after relocating back from London after 20 years.

Her thrilling character-driven psychological fiction novels are known for their explosive, pacy narrative and storylines.

Hélene is the proud author of four novels – One Fatal Night, Because of You, We Never Said Goodbye and His Guilty Secret.

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My thoughts:

A lot happens very quickly in this novel as everything Astrid believes to be true unravels and the race to find the real killer of her mother kicks into high gear.

The body count increases and more secrets are revealed as both Astrid and the police desperately search for a killer with no remorse.

Fast-paced and full of twists, the plot unfolds in snowy woods outside Oslo as the killer goes to ground.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books

Book Blitz: The Fallen Persimmon – Gigi Karagoz

Japan 1985 – a young English woman battles her conscience.

A page-turning suspense novel…

Money blows across a field, the notes slapping against the stubble of dry rice stalks. Mr Ito walks towards the irrigation ditch at the end of his field, his rubber boots kicking up dust.

Standing at the ditch, he remembers the rumour; the one about the missing English woman.

But this is Mari’s story. She knows it’s her fault that her sister died, and trying to move on, she takes a dream job teaching English in small-town Japan. It turns into a nightmare when Mari learns that she’s employed by the yakuza (Japanese mafia), and that the man she loves has his own dark secrets. When the yakuza play their final hand, Mari believes that once again, it’s all her fault.

If you like a novel that builds suspense, is set in an exotic location, has a strong female lead, and a pinch of romance; then this book is for you.

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Gigi has spent most of her life living and working in countries all over the world. Her big passion is travel, especially in Asia, and India is a favourite destination. Giving up a career in tourism, she qualified as a holistic therapist and worked in yoga retreats in the Mediterranean for twelve years. Currently, Gigi lives in Wiltshire with Isabella, the cat she rescued from the streets of Fethiye, in southern Turkey.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Stray Cats of Homs – Eva Nour*

Sami’s childhood is much like any other – an innocent blend of family and school, of friends and relations and pets (including stray cats and dogs, and the turtle he keeps on the roof).

But growing up in one of the largest cities in Syria, with his country at war with itself, means that nothing is really normal. And Sami’s hopes for a better future are ripped away when he is conscripted into the military and forced to train as a map maker. Sami may be shielded from the worst horrors of the war, but it will still be impossible to avoid his own nightmare…

Inspired by extraordinary true events, The Stray Cats of Homs is the story of a young man who will do anything to keep the dream of home alive, even in the face of unimaginable devastation. Tender, wild and unbearably raw, it is a novel which will stay with you for ever.

My thoughts:

This book was beautiful, sad, moving and tender. Sami and his friends find ways to live despite the war in the streets and the constant terror of rocket attacks around them.

A gentle person, Sami is conscripted and forced to work for a military he does not believe in, waging war on their own people. He becomes a journalist, trying to share the reality of life under fire.

His escape and journey to the safety of Paris, where he meets the author, had my heart in my mouth at times.

Written under a nom de plume to protect the real “Sami”, the author is now his partner, and there is a sense of that affection throughout. As well as that of Sami’s for animals – he never loses his tender heart.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Her Husband’s Grave – P.L. Kane*

A hint of gold glistened in the sand. It was a watch, no doubt about it. A watch… attached to a body.

Criminal psychologist Robyn Adams is at breaking point after a previous case resulted in an attempt on her own life. But as she sits in the car about to head home, her phone rings. It’s Robyn’s cousin, Vicky Carter, who she hasn’t seen or heard from in years.

Vicky’s voice cracks down the phone. Her husband, Simon, has been found buried on Golden Sands beach. Desperate to help and determined not to let her last case get the better of her, Robyn returns to the coastal village where she spent summers with Vicky as a child.

Robyn knows that she has let Vicky down in the past and is set on making up for lost time. Throwing herself into the case, she combs through evidence, intent on discovering a lead that will help the local police.

But there is clearly someone who wants Robyn gone. She is convinced someone is watching her and when she begins to receive threatening notes, Robyn knows that she could be risking her life…

But Robyn won’t leave again – she owes it to Vicky to stay.

My thoughts:

An enjoyable thriller, where one person’s growing paranoia threatens to unravel everything around them.

Robyn needs a break, moving straight from a serial killer case that could have killed her to a more personal one involving her family members has a detrimental affect on her mental wellbeing and sends her spiralling.

Her past resurfaces and her relationship with her cousin threatens to fall apart completely. Complicating matters is her rocky professional agreement with the local police and her decision to try and solve the murder on her own.

The case takes a back seat to Robyn’s growing crisis and becomes more of a book about her not managing her issues and how dangerous that can be.

I found this book interesting and enjoyable as it was more than the average thriller it initially appeared to be.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my o

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Dear Emmie Blue – Lia Louis

In this charming and poignant novel, teenager Emmie Blue releases a balloon with her email address and a big secret into the sky, only to fall head-over-heels for the boy who finds it; now, fourteen years later, the one thing Emmie has been counting on is gone for good, and everything she planned is up in the air.

At sixteen, Emmie Blue stood in the fields of her school and released a red balloon into the sky. Attached was her name, her email address…and a secret she desperately wanted to be free of. Weeks later, on a beach in France, Lucas Moreau discovered the balloon and immediately emailed the attached addressed, sparking an intense friendship between the two teens.

Now, fourteen years later, Emmie is hiding the fact that she’s desperately in love with Lucas. She has pinned all her hopes on him and waits patiently for him to finally admit that she’s the one for him. So dedicated to her love for Lucas, Emmie has all but neglected her life outside of this relationship—she’s given up the search for her absentee father, no longer tries to build bridges with her distant mother, and lives as a lodger to an old lady she barely knows after being laid off from her job. And when Lucas tells Emmie he has a big question to ask her, she’s convinced this is the moment he’ll reveal his feelings for her. But nothing in life ever quite goes as planned, does it?

Emmie Blue is about to learn everything she thinks she knows about life (and love) is just that: what she thinks she knows. Is there such thing as meant to be? Or is it true when they say that life is what happens when you are busy making other plans? A story filled with heart and humor, Dear Emmie Blue is perfect for fans of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and Evvie Drake Starts Over.

My thoughts:

This book made me cry. In a good way. It’s sweet, lovely, funny and charming. I loved Emmie, my heart broke for her, all the shit she’d overcome. I loved Rosie and Fox, they’re hilarious. Lucas was kind of an arse, Eliot was not.

Just a really, really lovely book.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Note to Boy – Sue Clark*

Eloise is an erratic, faded fashionista. Bradley is a glum but wily teenager.

In need of help to write her racy 1960s memoirs, the former ‘shock frock’ fashion guru tolerates his common ways. Unable to remember his name, she calls him Boy. Desperate to escape a brutal home life, he puts up with her bossiness and confusing notes.

Both guard secrets. How did she lose her fame and fortune? What is he scheming – beyond getting his hands on her bank card? And just what’s hidden in that mysterious locked room?

Sue Clark has grilled John Humphreys, quipped with Ronnie Corbett, danced with one James Bond and had a one-sided conversation with another, and penned funny lines for the likes of Lenny Henry, June Whitfield, Roy Hudd and David Jason. She’s been a BBC radio and TV comedy scriptwriter on such shows such as Alas Smith and Jones, Weekending, The News Huddlines and The Jason Explanation, a copywriter, a PR, a journalist, a magazine editor, a writer of guidebooks, a secretary and was, briefly, paid to read books all day long for a film producer. And now she’s written a novel.

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My thoughts:

This is a witty, intelligent novel with some laugh out loud, snorting moments as Eloise recounts her life’s misadventures to the rather reluctant ears of Bradley, her assistant/cleaner/life coach.

She’s led a colourful life, the toast of Swinging London, at least according to her!

This was tremendous fun, and had a hugely redemptive and satisfying ending.


*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Paper Dolls – Lisa Bradley*

YOU HAVEN’T FORGOTTEN.

THEY HAVEN’T FORGIVEN.

Leah Wallace has just achieved her dream of becoming editor at a regional paper. On her first day a 15-year-old girl, Hope Hooper-Smith, is reported missing. The police fear that she has been abducted.

Hours later, another teenage girl goes missing. But this girl, Tilly Bowers, is from a troubled background and is a habitual runaway. Leah decides to run the Hope’s abduction on the front page, while Tilly only gets a small mention on page eighteen. The next day, Hope is found unharmed at a train station. But Tilly is never seen or heard from again.

Sixteen years later, a TV documentary questions Leah’s decision not to give Tilly’s case immediate coverage, implying that she could have cost Tilly her life, and Leah starts receiving death threats online.

Then mysterious paper dolls begin appearing, cut from the newspapers Leah used to edit, and she suspects that an intruder has been in the house. Leah becomes convinced that someone wants to punish her for the part she played in Tilly’s disappearance. But just how far will they go to make her pay?

My thoughts:

Creepy paper dolls and candles, doors left open, footsteps in the hallway, Leah feels like she’s losing it, her family are worried. Who is coming after her?

This was a nicely creepy thriller, with weird goings on contrasted with every day activities like dropping the kids off and walking the dog; giving it the slightly off-kilter feeling that Leah experiences.

I honestly didn’t see the twist coming and had several wrong ideas about the villain of the piece. The sub plots are so cleverly done, leading you away from the stalking and off onto other tangents.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Seven Devils – Elizabeth May & Laura Lam*

This first book in a feminist space opera duology follows seven resistance fighters who will free the galaxy from the ruthless Tholosian Empire–or die trying.
When Eris faked her death, she thought she had left her old life as the heir to the galaxy’s most ruthless empire behind. But her recruitment by the Novantaen Resistance, an organization opposed to the empire’s voracious expansion, throws her right back into the fray.
Eris has been assigned a new mission: to infiltrate a spaceship ferrying deadly cargo and return the intelligence gathered to the Resistance. But her partner for the mission, mechanic and hotshot pilot Cloelia, bears an old grudge against Eris, making an already difficult infiltration even more complicated.
When they find the ship, they discover more than they bargained for: three fugitives with firsthand knowledge of the corrupt empire’s inner workings.
Together, these women possess the knowledge and capabilities to bring the empire to its knees. But the clock is ticking: the new heir to the empire plans to disrupt a peace summit with the only remaining alien empire, ensuring the empire’s continued expansion. If they can find a way to stop him, they will save the galaxy. If they can’t, millions may die.

My thoughts:

Anyone who knows me knows I love me some space pirates/rebels. And I loved this book.It’s got humour, it’s got romance, it’s got action, adventure, swearing, spaceships, an evil AI, baddies with ancient world names, heroes with other ancient world names. It’s basically excellent.I don’t want to give any spoilers, if you’ve read it and want to gush, meet me in the Twitter DMs.

The love story is so perfect, I adore our lesbian romance, I love that their leader is trans, that the smartest person there is a sixteen year old girl who associates the taste of chocolate with freedom.

That the villain is called Damocles (as in Sword of), and one of the heroines Ariadne (who led Theseus out of the Minotaur’s lair with her ball of thread), another Rhea (a titan and mother of Zeus and Hera) is just another moment of nerdy delight (please see my enormous collection of mythogy books).

The AI, Oracle, genuinely is creepy, evil and corrupt and horrible. It gave me shivers thinking about how it was in everyone’s minds, slowly turning them into zombies devoted only to it. Like that bacteria that enslaves ants by seeping into their brains.I had a sampler of the first chapter from last year’s Gollanzcfest and I love the work of both authors (whose books you need to go check out now please) so I knew good stuff was imminent but this was so much more than I expected.

And yes, I have the Florence & the Machine song stuck in my head whenever the words “seven devils” is used but that’s fine.Now the long wait for book two commences, guess I’ll just have to read this one again!

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.