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.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Silence – Susan Allott*

It is 1997, and in a basement flat in Hackney Isla Green is awakened by a call in the middle of the night: her father, phoning from Sydney. 30 years ago, in the suffocating heat of summer 1967, the Greens’ next-door neighbour Mandy disappeared.

At the time, it was thought she had gone to start a new life; but now Mandy’s family is trying to reconnect, and there is no trace of her. Isla’s father Joe was allegedly the last person to see her alive, and now he’s under suspicion of murder.

Reluctantly, Isla goes back to Australia for the first time in a decade. The return to Sydney will plunge her deep into the past, to a quiet street by the sea where two couples live side by side.

Isla’s parents, Louisa and Joe, have recently emigrated from England — a move that has left Louisa miserably homesick while Joe embraces this new life. Next door, Steve and Mandy are equally troubled. Mandy doesn’t want a baby, even though Steve — a cop trying to hold it together under the pressures of the job — is desperate to become a father.

The more Isla asks about the past, the more she learns: about both young couples and the secrets each marriage bore. Could her father be capable of doing something terrible? How much does her mother know? And is there another secret in this community, one which goes deeper into Australia’s colonial past, which has held them in a conspiracy of silence?

Susan Allott is from the UK but spent part of her twenties in Australia, desperately homesick but trying to make Sydney her home. In 2016 she completed the Faber Academy course, during which she started writing this novel. She now lives in south London with her two children and her very Australian husband.

My thoughts:

This was really interesting, what seemed to be a crime novel about a missing woman turned into an exploration of a dark chapter in Australia’s (and Britain’s) history – the forcible removal of Aboriginal children from their families.

A moving and fascinating look into the personal and political and how those can entwine. Timely and powerful, this lingers in the mind long after the final page.

*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, reviews

Blog Tour: Homecoming – Luan Goldie*

For years Yvonne has tried to keep her demons buried and focus on moving forward. But her guilt is always with her and weighs heavily on her heart.

Kiama has had to grow up without a mother, and while there is so much he remembers about her, there is still plenty he doesn’t know. And there’s only one person who can fill in the gaps.

Lewis wants nothing more than to keep Kiama, his son, safe, but the thought of Kiama dredging up the past worries Lewis deeply. And Lewis doesn’t know if he’s ready to let the only woman he’s ever loved back into his life.

When Kiama seeks Yvonne out and asks her to come with him to Kenya, the place that holds the answers to his questions, she knows she can’t refuse. And this one act sets in motion an unravelling of the past that no one is ready for.

Moving between London and Kenya, and spanning almost two decades, Homecoming is a profound and moving story of love, family and friendship. It’s about coming to terms with your past, opening yourself up to the exquisite pain and pleasure of love, and of what happens when three lost souls, all bound by one person, come together and finally share their truths.

My thoughts:

This was a fascinating novel about family, the past and dealing with things we’ve locked away.

Kiama has fragmented memories of his childhood in Kenya, before his mother’s death, and he wants to make sense of them. His dad doesn’t want to talk about it, so he seeks out his mother’s best friend Yvonne and asks her to come with him to Kenya to unravel his memories.

Interestingly Yvonne knows the whole story but is uncomfortable with what it says about her. There’s things she doesn’t really want to tell Kiama, they don’t paint her in a good light or his father.

The plot moves back and forth between Yvonne’s past and the present, revealing the secrets she’d rather keep to herself.

*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: The One That Got Away – Egan Hughes*

You love him. You trust him. You can’t escape him.

Mia thinks she has escaped her controlling ex-husband, Rob. She’s found herself a new home, a new boyfriend and a new life.
But when the police arrive to tell her that Rob has been found dead on his boat, things quickly fall apart. Mia is terrified she’ll be suspected, however the police are keeping all options open. They know Mia had reason to hate her ex-husband, but she’s not the only one. Plenty of people wanted Rob Creavy dead, not least his new wife, Rachel.
What they don’t know is that Mia has a secret, one she’s desperate to protect.

But someone else knows. Someone with very dark secrets of their own . . .

My thoughts:

Coercive control or gaslighting is in the news a lot more recently, an insidious form of abuse that can be more easily hidden than the marks of physical violence. Rob is a skilled manipulator and con man. Mia, Rachel and plenty of other women suffered at his hands. So clearly there are people who want him dead.

The plot twists and turns, flashing back to Mia’s turbulent marriage and to the present and the investigation into Rob’s death.

Lots of red herrings pop up, little plot cul de sacs that trick the reader into going “a-ha!” incorrectly. Mia makes some of the same errors.

The sting at the end, after the case appears to be solved is very clever and makes you reconsider some of the characters and their actions.

A very enjoyable and clever thriller.

*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

Cover Reveal: Siren Song – Rebecca McKinney

A man who glimpses other people’s inner worlds, and a woman who can foresee death. Can they trace a missing girl before the worst happens?

Harrison Jones is a university lecturer with a secret: he moonlights as a psychic detective. Amy Bell is a paramedic who has the uncanny knack of knowing things are going to happen before they do. From their first accidental meeting on an Edinburgh bridge, both of their lives are destined to change.

Harrison invites Amy to help him investigate the disappearance of a beautiful young singer. The search will lead them into the murky world of human trafficking, from Edinburgh to the streets of Athens, and into the darkest corners of the human mind…

Rebecca McKinney is a writer, therapist and community development practitioner, living and working in Midlothian, Scotland. She shares her home with her husband, two teenagers, three cats, and a growing collection of musical instruments.

Previous novels:

The Angel in the Stone: shortlisted for the Highland Book Prize, 2017: Sandstone Press

Blast Radius: 2015: Sandstone Press

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Night Lawyer – Alex Churchill*

Sophie Angel is the night lawyer. Once a week, she’s the one who decides what the papers can and can’t say.

During the day, she’s a barrister. She struggles for justice in a system that’s close to collapse, where she confronts the most dangerous aspects of humanity.

Her life changes when a wealthy Russian offers her the biggest case of her career, a rape trial with a seemingly innocent client.

But is someone manipulating Sophie from the shadows? With her marriage under strain and haunted by nightmares from the past, Sophie must find the answer to these questions before it’s too late.

This is a story about betrayal, trust, guilt and innocence, played out from the courtrooms of London to the darkest corners of Soviet era Moscow.

My thoughts:

This was a really interesting thriller that didn’t go where the synopsis suggests. It’s not Sophie’s Moscow connection that puts her in danger, or her work at the newspaper.

Sophie is an interesting character and this books gives a glimpse into the reality of life as a barrister under a system where there’s no guarantee of getting paid unless you take cases, some of which might make you very uncomfortable.

Sophie really grew as the plot unfolded, stepping into her own rightful place, demonstrating her competence and intelligence, in and out of the court room.

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