17 Church Row by James Carol #17churchrow @Tr4cyF3nt0n @JamesCarolBooks @ZaffreBooks

Today I’m thrilled to be kicking off the blog tour for 17 Church Row alongside my #blogbestie Emma Welton at damppebbles Many thanks to Tracy Fenton for the blog tour invite.

About this book…

Three years ago, Nikki and Ethan Rhodes suffered a devastating loss when their four-year-old daughter Grace was tragically killed in a road accident. Ethan, a radio personality, escapes into work, leaving Nikki to care for their remaining child, Bella, who hasn’t spoken since that day.

Seeking a fresh start, the family moves into a revolutionary new house designed by renowned architect, Catriona Fisher. The house features a state-of-the-art security system, along with every amenity you could dream of.

For the Rhodes’ this is a chance to finally pick up the pieces and get on with their lives in a place where they feel totally safe.

But what if 17 Church Row isn’t the safe haven that they think it is?

My review…

This is actually the second book that I’ve read this year that has a thriller built around an Alexa type virtual assistant and it’s a very topical and thought provoking storyline that proves very intriguing. In this case the AI was called Alice and it completely ran the household at 17 Church Row. You want pizza? Ask Alice to order some in. You want doors to open? Ask Alice! In fact, pretty soon Alice became able to do things even before she was asked which sounds great doesn’t it? But for Ethan and Nikki this is their new start and Alice seems to be causing problems instead of making things easier for the family.

I did feel very sorry for Ethan and Nikki as they were struggling to raise a daughter who had been separated from her twin in horrific circumstances. Bella has been rendered speechless by what she witnessed and communicates via her tablet. The move to 17 Church Row was supposed to bring them all closer together but right from the start something seems “off” and I found that I wasn’t sure who I could trust. The architect who designed the house seemed to remain fully invested in the property even though it was no longer hers to worry about. And there were others who also seemed to have an overly keen interest in the home and the new family within its walls. There is an unknown narrator who’s voice echos throughout the narrative and I thought I knew who this was but (talk about misdirection!) I was actually shocked when I realised who’s POV this turned out to be!

This was an interesting and relevant techno thriller that really does make you sit up and think about the way our technology is heading and I find it an incredibly scary direction to be facing. I already hate the way I can be talking about a certain brand or object and then be hit with adverts for it all over my social media channels! But our lives are now intrinsically linked with this kind of technology and it can only go forward from here so let’s hope it develops in a positive way.

This is a gripping storyline that would work perfectly transferred to the big screen as it has a slow burning and disturbing menace that gradually creeps up on you and I’d love to see it made into a film. It left me with goosebumps long after I’d finished it.

Meet the author…

James Carol is the bestselling author of BROKEN DOLLS, the first in a series featuring former FBI profiler Jefferson Winter. The novel was released in the UK in January 2014 to rave reviews and reached number 1 on the Amazon fiction and thriller charts. In addition James is writing a series of eBooks set during Winter’s FBI days. PRESUMED GUILTY is the first of these. Under the pseudonym J.S. Carol, he has also written a number of standalones. KISS ME KILL ME is the latest.

‘BROKEN DOLLS has it all. Horrifying evil, a brilliant, conflicted profiler and cracking pace and tension. I read it in what seemed like two trembling gulps.’ (Stephen Fry)

‘Strikingly well-researched and written with a real swagger, it leaves you desperate for more.’ (The Mail)

Praise for WATCH ME:
‘James Carol is a non-American who has mastered the idiom of the US thriller … Carol is no [Lee] Child clone, and carves out his own menacing canvas with real panache. (Barry Foreshaw, The Independent)

James was born in Scotland and moved to England in the early-eighties. At various times he has worked as a guitarist, sound engineer, guitar tutor, journalist, and a horse riding instructor. When he’s not writing, James can usually be found in a pair of headphones writing and recording music. He lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and two children.

For more information go to: http://www.james-carol.com

A Midsummer Knight’s Kiss by Elisabeth Hobbs

About this book…

A stolen moment…
…to reunite them!

Since her mischief-making childhood with Robbie Danby, Rowenna has curbed her impetuous nature and become a lady. When she meets Robbie again in York he’s close to claiming his knighthood, and their newly awakened affection inspires in Rowenna a decidedly adult impulsiveness! Yet Robbie’s heart appears to belong to another…unless a Midsummer kiss can change everything…?

My review…

I am a huge fan of Elisabeth Hobbs and I’m thrilled that she has written another historical romance around the Danby brothers. I first met Hal and Joanna in The Blacksmiths Wife and then Hal’s brother Roger popped up again in his own story when he met Lucy in Redeeming The Rogue Knight. In A Midsummer Knight’s Kiss we are introduced to Hal and Joanna’s daughter Rowena (the legitimate child of the illegitimate son) and Robbie who is the illegitimate adoptive son of Roger Danby. Sounds confusing? It isn’t but you may want to catch up on the Danby brothers before or even after A Midsummer Knight’s Kiss! But that basically means that Rowena and Robbie are best friends and maybe something else eventually? After their childhood friendship Robbie is now in York trying to claim his knighthood and is in love with another. Can their childhood love for each other develop into an adult relationship or will others come between them?

I loved catching up on this dysfunctional family! I think their previous books have been my favourite of all Elisabeth Hobbs previous books so it really was a pleasure to spend time with them once again. I had a real sense of time and place within this York setting and the sparks between Rowena and Robbie just flew off each page whenever they were together. The relationships between the characters are always based against the background of very realistic time periods and the research done to get everything right is very obvious. I always feel physically transported back in time by the narrative and become completely involved in the dramas of the period. Elisabeth Hobbs writes so beautifully that her characters come to life in front of you and I was so sad when I had to leave them behind on the pages once I closed my copy of A Midsummer Knight’s Kiss.

Highly recommended by me!

Meet the author…

Elisabeth grew up in York, where she spent her teenage years looking for a handsome Roman or Viking to sweep her off her feet.

She achieved her dream of becoming an author after finishing third in Harlequin’s SYTYCW contest 2013 and being offered a two-book contract. When she isn’t writing, she spends her time reading and is a pro at cooking while holding a book!

Elisabeth lives in Cheshire with her husband, two children and two cats with ridiculous names.

The Ex Girlfriend by Nicola Moriarty

Today I’m delighted to be sharing my review of The Ex Girlfriend by Nicola Moriarty. Many thanks to Sriya at Penguin Randomhouse for the invite and my review copy of the book.

About this book…

SHE WANTS HIM BACK. SHE WANTS YOU GONE. 

Finally, Georgia has found the one. Luke is kind, handsome, and makes her feel safe – which is what she needs after everything she’s been through. 

The only problem is his ex-girlfriend. 

Luke says Cadence just can’t accept the breakup, and that explains the texts, the emails, the notes . . . 

But then things start to go very wrong – will Cadence really do whatever it takes to get what she wants?

My review…

I wasn’t sure when I first started The Ex Girlfriend that I was going to enjoy it. The Sydney setting wasn’t the one I had been expecting and although I love a slow burner, it did seem to be taking its time heading towards the “big twist” that I have come to expect from this style of psychological thriller. I was right in my guess about what was going on but OMG about half way through, the pace increased and there were so many twists and turns that I felt decidedly dizzy with delight at the direction in which it now appeared to be heading!!

When Georgia is stood up by her Tinder date she is thankfully rescued from unwanted advances by the gorgeous, gentlemanly Luke. They become close and Luke has to tell her about his ex-girlfriend Cadence who is refusing to let go of him even though their relationship is over. It isn’t helped by the fact they live together still either! Georgia by that time is in too deep and nothing will keep her from following her heart even though Cadence is now sending her threatening messages. But when things start to go too far, Georgia decides to face her tormentor with horrifying consequences…

The more I read The Ex Girlfriend, the more involved I became in its addictive narrative. The games being played went from harmless to full on dangerous very quickly indeed and I became very worried for Georgia’s safety and mental health! I had come to like her far more than I had expected from the opening chapters and when her life becomes endangered I was on the edge of my seat!

My Ex Girlfriend is a book that gradually grew on me so that by the last few pages I couldn’t put it down. The epilogue didn’t quite work for me personally as I don’t need things wrapped up in bows to feel fulfilled by the narratives I enjoy.

A recommended psychological thriller!

Meet the author…

Nicola Moriarty is a novelist, copywriter and mum to two small (but remarkably strong-willed) daughters. In between various career changes, becoming a mum and studying at university, she began to write. Now, she can’t seem to stop. The Fifth Letter was her UK debut novel, followed by Those Other Women.

A Deathly Silence by Jane Isaac #ADeathlySilence @JaneIsaacAuthor @Legend_Press

Today I’m sharing my review of the third DCI Helen Lavery book by Jane Isaac. Many thanks to Lucy at Legend Press for the blog tour invite.

About this book…

When the mutilated body of a police officer is found in a derelict factory, the Hamptonshire police force is shocked to the core.

DCI Helen Lavery returns from injury leave and is immediately plunged into an investigation like no other. Is this a random attack or is someone targeting the force? Organised crime groups or a lone killer?

As the net draws in, Helen finds the truth lies closer than she could have imagined, and trusts no one.

But Helen is facing a twisted killer who will stop at nothing to ensure their secrets remain hidden. And time is running out…

My review…

I love Jane Isaacs books! If you’re looking for a British police procedural series to follow then I do highly recommend you look up her books. DCI Helen Lavery is a fabulous character creation and Jane Isaac manages to create the perfect professional and private life balance for her within each book in the series. Here, Helen returns to work after a previous injury has lead to some time away from the force but she’s called back when a murder occurs that is very close to home. The mutilated body of a female police officer has been discovered in a derelict factory by a dog walker who says he saw 2 young lads running away from the scene of the crime. But there’s more to this crime than meets the eye and Helen needs to delve deeply if she’s to solve the murder of a fellow officer.

I raced through this fast paced crime thriller desperate to solve this horrific case! My heart really went out to everyone affected by Sineads death and to the colleagues who had to bury one of their own. There were plenty of twists and turns on the journey to solve this murder but it always felt as though everything happened at the perfect speed. Helen is a really likeable protagonist and I liked “catching up” with her. I don’t think you even need to have read the previous books in the series as A Deathly Silence can be read perfectly well as a stand-alone. It’s an addictive read from start to finish with a well thought out storyline and a few shocks alone the way!

Highly recommended by me!

Meet the author…

Jane Isaac studied creative writing with the Writers Bureau and the London School of Journalism. Jane’s short stories have appeared in several crime fiction anthologies. Her debut novel, An Unfamiliar Murder, was published in the US in 2012, and was followed by three novels with Legend Press: The Truth Will Out in 2014, Before It’s Too Late in 2015, and Beneath the Ashes in 2016.

Jane lives in rural Northamptonshire with her husband, daughter and dog, Bollo.

Visit Jane at janeisaac.co.uk or on Twitter @JaneIsaacAuthor

The Other Daughter by Shalini Boland @bookouture

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review of The Other Daughter by Shalini Boland. Many thanks to Bookouture for my invite onto the tour and my review copy of the book.

About this book…

Nine years ago her daughter was taken. And now she’s back.

Two-and-a-half-year-old Holly is playing happily in a pink plastic playhouse, while her mother Rachel sips coffee and chats with a friend nearby. It should be an ordinary day for all of them. But, in the blink of an eye, it turns into every family’s worst nightmare.

Holly is taken by a stranger and never found.

Nine years later, Rachel is living a quiet life in Dorset. She’s tried to keep things together since the traumatic day when she lost her eldest daughter. She has a new family, a loving partner and her secrets are locked away in her painful past.

Until one afternoon when Rachel meets a new school parent Kate and her teenage daughter Bella. Rachel’s world is instantly turned upside down – she’s seen Bella before. She’d recognise that face anywhere – it’s her missing child.

And she will stop at nothing to get her back…

My review…

Shalini Boland is one of my favourite “go to” authors as I know that I will always get an involving family oriented storyline with a shocking twist. And The Other Daughter certainly delivers on all counts! My jaw was firmly planted on the floor throughout and although it’s never all about the twist for me, this one is a corker!

Nine years ago Rachel’s daughter was abducted whilst she sat having coffee with a friend and was never seen again. Fast forward and Rachel is living with Matt, her daughter Jess and son Charlie when she meets a mum in the school playground who has just moved to the area. They hit it off straight away but when Kate introduces Rachel to her 12 year old daughter Bella, Rachel is shocked you see that she is the image of her lost daughter Holly…

I really felt for Rachel who was obviously struggling to cope mentally with the lose of her daughter and meeting Kate seemed to be a catalyst for a further breakdown in her mental health. It became very uncomfortable at times to watch her determination to prove that Bella is her daughter as she was so tunnel visioned in her search for proof that it began to affect her relationships within her own family and friendship circle. But it was impossible not to feel sorry for her after all she had been through.

This was such an addictive and intriguing storyline that I read it from cover to cover in one single session, unable to put it down until I had squeezed every drop of tension from it that I could. The twists and turns towards the end need a lot of concentration so be warned! Another highly recommended book from Shalini Boland!

Meet the author…

Shalini Boland is the million-copy, USA-Today bestselling author of eight psychological thrillers: ‘THE GIRL FROM THE SEA’, ‘THE BEST FRIEND’, ‘THE MILLIONAIRE’S WIFE’ (optioned for TV by Legendary Studios), ‘THE SECRET MOTHER’, ‘THE CHILD NEXT DOOR’, ‘THE SILENT SISTER’, ‘THE PERFECT FAMILY’ and ‘THE MARRIAGE BETRAYAL’.

THE OTHER DAUGHTER comes out Nov 5th and is now available to preorder!

Her titles are published by Bookouture, Grand Central (USA) and Tantor.

Shalini lives by the sea in Dorset, England with her husband, two children and their cheeky terrier cross. Before kids, she was signed to Universal Music Publishing as a singer/songwriter, but now she spends her days writing psychological thrillers (in between school runs and sorting endless baskets of laundry).  

The Secrets He Kept by Jackie Walsh @BOTBSPublicity

Today I’m on the blog tour for The Secrets He Kept by Jackie Walsh. Many thanks to Sarah Hardy for inviting me onto the tour.

About this book…

You know everything about your husband. Don’t you?

He loves you

He loves your children

He’d never put his family in danger

One of these is a lie.

It started like any other day at the hairdressers where Sally works as a stylist… until her first client innocently shows her a family photograph; a photograph that causes Sally to collapse in shock.

In one moment, Sally discovers that Tom has been hiding an explosive secret – one that could tear apart the life they’ve built together. Faced with an impossible dilemma – search for the truth, or keep her contented life? – Sally is about to discover that even those closest to us have secrets… and that sometimes the truth is the last thing we want to hear.

A completely gripping, suspenseful psychological thriller that fans of T.M. Logan, My Lovely Wife and K.L. Slater won’t be able to put down.

My review…

Well this was a twisty ride and a half! It made me wonder how I would react if I discovered that my husband had been keeping secrets from me-especially if they were as explosive as the ones that Tom is keeping from Sally! Imagine going to work one day and whilst chatting away to your client she shows you a photo of her boyfriend. Sounds like a normal day at the hairdressers doesn’t it? But when Charlie points out her boyfriends dad…that’s when Sally’s world starts to fall apart as that man is her husband Tom.

This was a fast paced and twisty ride that kept me gripped from start to finish. It was the plot details that kept me invested in the storyline as I found nearly every character to be completely unlikeable! Sally was probably my favourite of the lot but I just wish she’d stood up to Tom and not listened to the crap that came out of his mouth!! She was far too eager to believe every excuse he used to brush off all her suspicions and backed down when I just wanted her to confront him for causing so much trouble in their previously quiet existence. If my husband had missed our twins birthday party and left me to deal with everything myself then I would have gone ballistic!! Especially when he came up with his ridiculous excuses once again. I started to wonder why they were still together as there didn’t seem to be any mutual trust or respect so I found their relationship rather difficult to understand and believe in.

Jackie Walsh can certainly write and it was her involving and well humoured narrative style that kept me glued to The Secrets He Kept. I thought the ending, although it seemed out of place with the previous style, was absolutely brilliantly crafted and was a perfect ending to this case. And whilst the plot seemed rather unbelievable at times, it certainly kept me addicted till the very last page.

I’m looking forward to reading more from Jackie Walsh in the near future!

Meet the author…

Jackie Walsh lives in Dublin with her husband Paul and dog Layla. After years spent building her own business, she decided to take time out and pursue her interest in writing. With a lot to learn, she spent years attending classes and writing groups, going to festivals and launches, writing and rewriting, until eventually sending her words out into the world.  Now she is thrilled to have landed a publisher. Especially Hera Books, a new company headed by two women who have years of experience and love a good story.

Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver @OrendaBooks

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver. Many thanks to Anne Cater and to Karen Sullivan for the invite and the review copy of the book.

About this book…

Nine suicides
One Cult
No leader

Nine people arrive one night on Chelsea Bridge. They’ve never met. But at the same time, they run, and leap to their deaths. Each of them received a letter in the post that morning, a pre-written suicide note, and a page containing only four words: Nothing important happened today.

That is how they knew they had been chosen to become a part of the People Of Choice: A mysterious suicide cult whose members have no knowledge of one another.

Thirty-two people on that train witness the event. Two of them will be next. By the morning, People Of Choice are appearing around the globe; it becomes a movement. A social media page that has lain dormant for four years suddenly has thousands of followers. The police are under pressure to find a link between the cult members, to locate a leader that does not seem to exist.

How do you stop a cult when nobody knows they are a member?

A shocking, mesmerisingly original and pitch-black thriller, Nothing Important Happened Today confirms Will Carver as one of the most extraordinary, exciting authors in crime fiction.

My review…

My first thought when I started reading Nothing Important Happened Today was “What the actual ****?!” and my last thought when I finished Nothing Important Happened Today was “What the actual ****?!” but in between those two thoughts was one of the most shockingly original and relevant books that I have ever read in my entire life! And I just can’t get this damned book out of my head! I knew it was going to be impossible to write any sort of understandable review but if there’s so much filling my head why am I finding it so hard to form it into words for this post? I’m going to have to deliver that old chestnut “You’ll need to read it to understand what the hell I’m talking about” and I’m very aware that I’m probably not making much sense but you really do!! This book is like nothing else you have read before! It’s dark, it’s twisted, it delivers a social sermon you need to listen to and it is very VERY disturbing. It’s a classic in the making, a book of our time, a vision of our society that is way to close to home and that’s what made me feel so spine tinglingly uncomfortable whilst reading it and every day since I finished it. If this book doesn’t appear on the GCSE or A level English reading list in years to come then I will eat my entire copy.

Meet the author…

Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age 11, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, while working on his next thriller. He lives in Reading with his two children.
Follow Will on Twitter @will_carver