blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The End of Her- Shari Lapena*

It starts with a shocking accusation…

Stephanie and Patrick are recently married, with new-born twins. While Stephanie struggles with the disorienting effects of sleep deprivation, there’s one thing she knows for certain – she has everything she ever wanted.

Then a woman from his past arrives and makes a horrifying allegation about his first wife. He always claimed her death was an accident – but she says it was murder.

He insists he’s innocent, that this is nothing but a blackmail attempt. But is Patrick telling the truth? Or has Stephanie made a terrible mistake?

How will it end?

My thoughts:

This was a very clever, twisting narrative and it was hard at times to figure out who was telling the truth, turning the reader into Stephanie, with conflicting stories that all sound like they could just be true…

The writing was compelling and the plot had me gripped, the deeply ambiguous ending and the sudden twists as well as the subplot concerning another family threatened by the same conniving blackmailer is equally intriguing.

*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: Precious You – Helen Monks Takhar*

Trusting you was my first mistake.
To Katherine, twenty-four-year-old Lily Lunt is a typical “snowflake.” It seems like the privileged, politically correct millennial will do whatever she can to make it big as a writer, including leveraging her family’s connections. To Lily, Katherine Ross, a career woman in her early forties, is a holdover from another era: clueless, old-fashioned, and perfectly happy to build her success on the backs of her unpaid interns.
When Lily is hired as the new intern at the magazine where Katherine is editor in chief, her arrival threatens the very foundation of the self-serving little world that Katherine has built. She finds herself obsessively drawn to Lily, who seems to be a cruel reminder of the beauty and potential she once had—things Lily uses against Katherine as she slowly begins to undermine her, sabotaging her work and turning the magazine’s new publisher against her. Is Katherine being paranoid? Or is Lily seeking to systematically destroy her life? As Katherine tries to fight back, a toxic generational divide turns explosive and long-buried secrets are exposed—with deadly consequences for both. . . .
Gripping and provocative, Precious You delivers an unsettling, provocative take on the contemporary workplace, turning the professional roles women play on their heads in a razor-sharp, revenge-driven thriller for our age.

My thoughts:

This is dark tale of stalking, gaslighting and twisted revenge. Lily sets out to destroy Katherine’s life, on the surface just because she can. She’s fuelled by misplaced anger and jealousy, and all of this ultimately will lead to her downfall as Katherine is smart enough to see through her.

Twisted and shocking, with an ending I couldn’t predict, this is a thriller for the way we live now, with generations pitched against each other, competing for the things we take for granted.

*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: Deadly Vengeance – OMJ Ryan*

When the fifteen-year-old daughter of UK munitions dealer, Sir Richard Hawkins vanishes without a trace – the race is on to find her. But Sir Richard and his wife’s worst fears are realised when they receive a video of Hollie, tied to a chair, with a masked man holding a gun to her head.

The ransom demands are simple, pay four million pounds in cash – or they’ll never see their daughter again. DCI Jane Phillips is assigned to the case, and has no idea of who, or what she’s up against. But as the investigation unfolds, it becomes clear Hollie’s kidnapping was the work of a formidable gang – who operate in the shadows and will stop at nothing to get what they want.

As the pressure mounts, can Phillips and the team find Hollie before it’s too late? Or will this investigation signal not only the death of the Major Crimes Unit, but one of her beloved team, as well?

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Hailing from Yorkshire, OMJ Ryan worked in radio and entertainment for over twenty years, collaborating with household names and accumulating a host of international writing and radio awards. In 2018 he followed his passion to become a full-time novelist, writing stories for people who devour exciting, fast-paced thrillers by the pool, on their commute – or those rare moments of downtime before bed. Owen’s mission is to entertain from the first page to the last.

Deadly Vengeance is the third Detective Jane Phillips book in the series and OMJ’s fourth book with Inkubator Books.

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My thoughts:

This was a cracking thrill ride against time as the police team under DCI Phillips hunt down a team of sophisticated kidnappers in order to rescue the teenage stepdaughter of an arms dealer with connections to the government.

The pace doesn’t let up and there are several heart in your throat moments, as the chase unravels across the Manchester backdrop. *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: The Waiting Rooms – Eve Smith*

Decades of spiralling drug resistance have unleashed a global antibiotic crisis. Ordinary infections are untreatable, and a scratch from a pet can kill. A sacrifice is required to keep the majority safe: no one over seventy is allowed new antibiotics. The elderly are sent to hospitals nicknamed ‘The Waiting Rooms’ … hospitals where no one ever gets well.

Twenty years after the crisis takes hold, Kate begins a search for her birth mother, armed only with her name and her age. As Kate unearths disturbing facts about her mother’s past, she puts her family in danger and risks losing everything. Because Kate is not the only secret that her mother is hiding. Someone else is looking for her, too.

Sweeping from an all-too-real modern Britain to a pre-crisis South Africa, The Waiting Rooms is epic in scope, richly populated with unforgettable characters, and a tense, haunting vision of a future that is only a few mutations away.

Eve Smith writes speculative fiction, mainly about the things that scare her. She attributes her love of all things dark and dystopian to a childhood watching Tales of the Unexpected and black-and-white Edgar Allen Poe double bills. In this world of questionable facts, stats and news, she believes storytelling is more important than ever to engage people in real life issues.

Set twenty years after an antibiotic crisis, her debut novel The Waiting Rooms was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize First Novel Award. Her flash fiction has been shortlisted for the Bath Flash Fiction Award and highly commended for The Brighton Prize.

When she’s not writing she’s romping across fields after her dog, trying to organise herself and her family or off exploring somewhere new.

My thoughts:

Honestly, this sent chills through me. While the pandemic in this book is to do with antibiotic resistance reading it during the Covid-19 lockdown made it feel all too real and the science is fairly sound. Bacteria are being resistant to antibiotics, it’s why everyone admitted to hospital is checked for MRSA, get the wrong infection and you could die.

There’s also the way the government have treated the elderly in care homes – the horror stories from Spain of the army finding the dead and dying abandoned springs to mind.

A harrowing look at our possible future, but also a compelling mystery. In a world where getting the smallest cut could mark your doom, where is the hope trapped in the bottom of the box?

*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: Not My Daughter – Suzy K Quinn*

I told my daughter a terrible lie…

Lorna never told her sixteen-year-old daughter the chilling truth about her real father. But one morning, she finds Liberty missing — and realizes the teenager has left to find the man she once fled from…

My thoughts:

This was a clever thriller where every has a story and an agenda but it’s not sure who’s playing who and why until the very end.

I’ve read some of the author’s other books but wasn’t aware of how good a thriller writer she is till this book, with its twists and turns and throwback narrative and so many secrets.

This is the kind of thriller I devour in one sitting, even forgetting my snack! (Doritos and grapes fyi for this one).

*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: Ride or Die – Khurrum Rahman*

JAY QASIM is finally out of the game and trying to lay low. But then he gets news that rocks his world and drags up everything that he thought he’d left behind. Jay must break his vow never to work with MI5 again and turn to the person who sold him out. But this time he’s determined to do it on his terms.

IMRAN SIDDIQUI once tried to kill Jay but now they have a common adversary. The one thing worse than death is watching the people closest to you die. And after the happiest day of Imran’s life becomes the most tragic, he will stop at nothing to take revenge on the people that have taken away his family.

But when everyone has their own agenda, who can you really trust?
Your most deadly enemy is about to become your closest ally.

My thoughts:

I hadn’t read the first two books in this series but it didn’t matter as the author includes enough back story to root this in a longer narrative with Jay. I know some of the parts of London Jay drives through which helped ground it for me.

Jay’s a personable, engaging protagonist and he has a realistic, recognisable voice as he and Imran alternately narrate their adventures in Northern Pakistan and Afghanistan, attempting to carry out the dangerous mission MI5 have sent them on.

*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: The Memories We Bury – H.A. Leuschel*

An emotionally charged and captivating novel about the complexities of female friendship and motherhood.

Lizzie Thomson has landed her first job as a music teacher, and after a whirlwind romance with Markus, the newlywed couple move into a beautiful new home in the outskirts of Edinburgh. Lizzie quickly befriends their neighbour Morag, an elderly, resourceful yet lonely widow, who’s own children rarely visit her. Everything seems perfect in Lizzie’s life until she finds out she is pregnant and her relationship with both Morag and Markus change beyond her control.

Can Lizzie really trust Morag and why is Markus keeping secrets from her?

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Helene Andrea Leuschel gained a Master in Journalism & Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. She later acquired a Master in Philosophy, specializing in the study of the mind. Helene has a particular interest in emotional, psychological and social well-being and this led her to write her first novel, Manipulated Lives, a fictional collection of five novellas, each highlighting the dangers of interacting with narcissists. She lives with her husband and two children in Portugal.

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My thoughts:

This was an interesting book about family and obsession. Lizzie has no extended family and her marriage is struggling after the birth of her son and neighbour Morag, an older lady, offers a hand. Morag becomes obsessed with baby Jamie and starts to gaslight Lizzie.

It reminded me a little of Notes on a Scandal in the sense of Morag’s obsessive behaviour and the age gap between characters.

It gets quite dark as Morag’s behaviour becomes more extreme and her past comes to light. The writing is compelling and Lizzie is an empathetic character.

*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: The Wives – Tarryn Fisher*

Imagine that your husband has two other wives.

You’ve never met the other wives. None of you know each other, and because of this unconventional arrangement, you can see your husband only one day a week. But you love him so much you don’t care. Or at least that’s what you’ve told yourself.

But one day, while you’re doing laundry, you find a scrap of paper in his pocket — an appointment reminder for a woman named Hannah, and you just know it’s another of the wives.

You thought you were fine with your arrangement, but you can’t help yourself: you track her down, and, under false pretenses, you strike up a friendship. Hannah has no idea who you really are. Then Hannah starts showing up to your coffee dates with telltale bruises, and you realise she’s being abused by her husband. Who, of course, is also your husband. But you’ve never known him to be violent, ever.

Who exactly is your husband, and how far would you go to find the truth? Would you risk your own life?

And who is his mysterious third wife?

My thoughts:I got a bit confused when the plot switches up towards the end but the main bulk of the plot focuses on Thursday and her investigations into the rest of husband’s life.She seems quite lost in her life, despite having a job and her family, she doesn’t seem to have any friends.The plot ratchets up as she goes in search of Hannah and starts questioning the arrangement she agreed to when she got married.When the twist came I wasn’t prepared for it and the ending definitely left me a little puzzled. What was true? What was really going on?*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: Blood Red City – Rod Reynolds*

A witness with no victim. A crime with no crime scene…

When crusading journalist Lydia Wright is sent a video of an apparent murder on a London train, she thinks she’s found the story to revive her career. But she can’t find a victim, much less the killers, and the only witness has disappeared. Wary she’s fallen for fake news, she begins to doubt her instincts – until a sinister call suggests that she’s not the only one interested in the crime.

Michael Stringer deals in information – and doesn’t care which side of the law he finds himself on. But the murder on the train has left him exposed, and now he’ll stop at nothing to discover what Lydia knows.

When their paths collide, Lydia finds the story leads through a nightmare world, where money, power and politics intersect … and information is the only thing more dangerous than a bullet.

A nerve-shattering and brutally realistic thriller, Blood Red City bursts with energy and grit from the opening page, twisting and feinting to a superb, unexpected ending that will leave you breathless.

Reynolds is the author of four novels, including the Charlie Yates series. His 2015 debut, The Dark Inside, was longlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger, and was followed by Black Night Falling (2016) and Cold Desert Sky (2018); the Guardian have called the books ‘Pitch-perfect American noir.’

A lifelong Londoner, in 2020 Orenda Books will publish his first novel set in his hometown, Blood Red City.

Rod previously worked in advertising as a media buyer, and holds an MA in novel writing from City University London. Rod lives with his wife and family and spends most of his time trying to keep up with his two young daughters.

My thoughts:

This was a clever, twisty turny story, with lots of smart writing and a compelling plot. As Wright and Stringer get drawn into a dangerous conspiracy and risk their lives to uncover the truth about the man on the tube, who is behind it all and how far will they go?

I gobbled this book down in one sitting, it really gripped me and the familiar settings (I live on the Northern line and know most of the places, like Brent Cross, pretty well) helped me visualise the events.

*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: Everything to Lose – Gordon Bickerstaff*

Scientists claim their new sports drug will boost the performance of every athlete in the world. The Lambeth Group send scientist, Gavin Shawlens, to investigate the claim.

The product is stolen, top athletes disappear, and the research team are unaware that their product has a dangerous side effect. Gavin must stop the sports drug launch before more people die.

When Gavin disappears – Zoe Tampsin searches frantically to find him before he becomes the next victim.

As if Zoe hasn’t got enough on her plate. Past events in Gavin’s life catch up with him. A powerful US general decides that Gavin must die to prevent exposure of a 60-year old secret capable of world-changing and power-shifting events.

The chase is on…

I was born and brought up in Glasgow, Scotland. I studied biochemistry, and I’ve worked in several Scottish universities where I did research on enzymes, and taught biochemistry. After thirty years of teaching and research I retired my academic pen, and took of a mightier fiction pen.

I live in central Scotland with my wife and we enjoy reading, writing, and walking in the hills.

The Lambeth Group books follow the secret government investigations of agent Zoe Tampsin. A strong female protagonist with courage, determination, and guile. She is assisted by specialist consultant, Gavin Shawlens.

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My thoughts:

This was a pacy, engaging thriller with a science-y edge. As the Lambeth Group go undercover at a university to find out who is producing potentially lethal performance enhancing drugs they open a whole can of worms. As enemies and supposed allies start to descend, it’s a race against time.

Even though I haven’t read the preceding book it was easy to get into the plot and connect with the characters. Zoe and Gavin are an engaging pair of protagonists and the plot wasn’t too complicated, especially as I’m no scientist!

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