We Can See You by Simon Kernick #bookreview

About this book…

You have it all. Success; a beautiful home; a happy family.

And then in a heartbeat it’s gone; your life changed for ever.

You return home to find your beautiful daughter has been taken and a ransom demand left in her place.

More worrying still is the fact that the kidnappers seem to know everything about you, including dark secrets from your past you would rather forget.

They can see you, they warn, and they will know if you tell the police.

But this is no ordinary abduction. This is something far worse and within hours you are on the run with only one thought running through your head.

That you will do anything to get your daughter back. 

Even commit murder…

My review…

I’ve been a Simon Kernick fan for many years now and every single book he brings out is cause for celebration for me! I’ve enjoyed all the standalone books and the series (Tina Boyd was a particular favourite of mine!) but I was a little unsure when I read the blurb for We Can See You as it sounded a more commercial and lightweight read than I’m used to. But I needn’t have worried! We Can See You is an adrenaline fuelled race against time with some unexpected twists that blew me away and I loved every minute of this blood pressure raising thriller!

Brook Connor returns home one night expecting her daughter Paige and housekeeper Rosa to be there to greet her. When she discovers an empty house, her panic turns to sheer terror when she realises Paige has been kidnapped. What follows is a mothers determination to bring back her child, fighting against unknown perpetrators and never knowing who to trust. We meet Brook as she faces a present day police interrogation and then flashback to the days leading up to her arrest. There are plenty of shocks in store for both Brook and the reader as we gradually become aware of why Paige has been kidnapped but I have to admit to not having had a clue, until it slapped me soundly in the face, who was behind everything.

I’ll warn you now, don’t start this book unless you can give it some serious attention as it’s one of those that completely sweeps you along from chapter to enthralling chapter. The characters aren’t always that likeable to be fair and they make some really stupid rookie mistakes at times but that just encouraged me to gleefully enjoy their downfalls even more once they came! There’s not a lot of time for detailed character development due to the book moving at such a speedy pace but I still managed to get a feel for their personalities, gaining plenty of clues along the way.

We Can See You is a gripping crime thriller with a cleverly crafted storyline. A fantastic read from start to finish.

Meet the author…

Simon Kernick is one of Britain’s most exciting thriller writers. He arrived on the crime writing scene with his highly acclaimed debut novel The Business of Dying, the story of a corrupt cop moonlighting as a hitman. Simon’s big breakthrough came with his novel Relentless which was the biggest selling thriller of 2007. His most recent crime thrillers include Siege, Ultimatum, Stay Aliveand The Final Minute. He is also the author of the bestselling three-part serial thrillers Dead Man’s Gift and One By One.

Simon talks both on and off the record to members of the Counter Terrorism Command and the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, so he gets to hear first hand what actually happens in the dark and murky underbelly of UK crime.

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Stone Cold Heart by Caz Frear #blogtour @Tr4cyF3nt0n

Today I’m absolutely delighted to be opening in the blog tour for Stone Cold Heart. Many thanks to Tracy Fenton for my blog tour invite.

About this book…

A fractured marriage. A silent family. A secret worth killing for.

When DC Cat Kinsella is approached by Joseph Madden for help with his wife, Rachel, there’s not much she can do. Joseph claims that Rachel has been threatening him, but can’t – or won’t – give Cat details as to why. Dismissing it as a marriage on the rocks, Cat forgets about it.

That is until Naomi Lockhart, a young PA, is found dead after a party attended by both Joseph and Rachel, and Joseph is arrested for the murder.

Joseph says his wife is setting him up.
His wife says he didn’t do it.
The trail of evidence leads to even more questions . . .

Adulterer. Murderer. Victim. Who would you believe?

My review…

I really enjoyed the debut from Caz Frear and so was delighted to be able to read her second DC Cat Kinsella book. Although possible to read as a standalone, I do think you probably need to read Sweet Little Lies first as there is quite a chunk of backstory that’s quite relevant to understanding Cat and her relationships (especially that between her and her father!!) and will add to your understanding and enjoyment of Stone Cold Heart.

DC Cat Kinsella is a brilliantly complex and intriguing character that you can’t help but root for even though she’s her own worst enemy at times. Her reactions to incidents in her relationship and her career are pretty much determined by things that have happened in the previous book but her emotions are full on, honest and compelling making her a character that you really can relate to. When she’s approached by Joseph Madden in a coffee shop she initially just puts his suspicions about his wife down to some sort of weird flirting but when the body of a young Australian woman is found in her flat, the trail leads back to Joseph and his very strange and rather unlikeable family.

I thoroughly enjoyed Stone Cold Heart. Caz Frear writes with a fabulously dark humour and an undercurrent of frisson that made me shudder at times! The storyline was slow to unfold which helped to keep the tension tight and I enjoyed seeing it come together with twists and turns that I hadn’t been expecting. But it is definitely Cat who is the star of the show here! Her thoughts on everything were always kept wide open for the reader to see and it gave her a vulnerability because nothing is hidden-what you see is what you get! I really like her and hope to meet her again in future cases especially as the last page made me want to read more about her life IMMEDIATELY!

Stone Cold Heart is a crime drama that would translate perfectly to television and so I have my fingers crossed that someone will spot the potential here and bring DC Cat Kinsella to a wider audience.

Meet the author…

Caz Frear grew up in Coventry and spent her teenage years dreaming of moving to London and writing a novel. After fulfilling her first dream, it wasn’t until she moved back to Coventry thirteen years later that the writing dream finally came true. She has a first-class degree in History & Politics, which she’s put to enormous use over the years by working as a waitress, shop assistant, retail merchandiser and, for the past twelve years, a headhunter.

When she’s not agonising over snappy dialogue or incisive prose, she can be found shouting at the TV when Arsenal are playing, or holding court in the pub on topics she knows nothing about.

Forget Me Not by Claire Allan #blogtour

I’m absolutely thrilled to be sharing my review of Forget Me Not today. Huge thanks as always to the lovely Sabah at Avon for my invite.

About this book…

I disappeared on a Tuesday afternoon. I was there one minute and the next I was gone. They’ve never found my body…
 
It’s six in the morning during the hottest summer on record when Elizabeth O’Loughlin, out walking her dog, comes across Clare, a victim of a horrific knife attack, clinging onto life at the side of the road.
 
Clare dies minutes later, but not before whispering her haunting last words to Elizabeth.
  
When it becomes clear that Clare’s killer has more than one murder on his mind, Elizabeth has to take drastic action or face losing everything.
 
But what if she can’t stop a killer determined never to be forgotten?

My review…

I’ve read all of Claire Allan’s books now (they are always included in my holiday reading lists!) but I must start by saying that Forget Me Not is possibly my favourite so far. It’s has a grippingly twisted storyline that is helped by relatively short chapters so that it’s impossible to put it down without reading “just another quick chapter” so be warned!

Forget Me Not is told in two points of view by Elizabeth, who finds Clare’s broken body and listens to her final words before she dies, and by Rachel who alongside Jenny is Clare’s best friend. Both women are deeply affected by the loss of Clare and are unable to get over the feeling that there is something they are missing. And it turns out that Elizabeth and Rachel have far more in common than they realise!

This is a chilling and slightly creepy read that grabbed me from the first page. Elizabeth and Rachel were very different characters who evoked very different emotions in me. I felt a great deal of empathy for Elizabeth due to her suffering the terrible loss of her child. Rachel, I wasn’t sure about as she was slightly less likeable and made some rather questionable decisions. But both women were determined to find out who was responsible for sending the Forget Me Nots that seemed to link to both of the deaths that had affected them. I thought that I had worked out exactly who was responsible and why but I didn’t quite solve the full picture as some missing pieces of the puzzle came as a bit of a shock to me!

Claire Allan writes such beautifully crafted novels that reading them is an absolute pleasure. Forget Me Not kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end and I can highly recommended it!

Meet the author…

Claire Allan is an International Bestselling Author from Derry in Northern Ireland.
.
She wrote her first novel in 2006, and Rainy Days and Tuesdays was subsequently published in 2007 and reached number 2 in the Irish Bestsellers chart. She published seven further women’s fiction books with Poolbeg Press before switching genres to crime/ domestic noir.

Her debut psychological thriller, Her Name Was Rose, was published by Avon Books, an imprint of Harper Collins, in June 2018. It has hit the bestseller charts in the UK, Australia, Canada and is a USA Today bestseller. 

A former journalist with the Derry Journal, Claire made the switch to writing full time in 2016.
She is married, a mum to two kids (one of each kind) and they share their home with two cats and a dog. She considers Michael Buble to be her one true love – although she rarely talks about the time she met him, and he kissed her and she kissed him back.

The Things I Know by Amanda Prowse @MrsAmandaProwse

About this book…

From bestselling author Amanda Prowse comes a heartwarming tale of first impressions and lasting love.

Thomasina ‘Hitch’ Waycott loves living and working on the remote family farm and B&B. But she also wants more. To see the world. To own her own home. To fall madly in love.

But those are fairy tales, and if her life is a fairy tale, then she’s the ugly duckling. Her deformed lip, her crooked limbs and her weak heart have kept her from taking chances. But that’s about to change.

When Grayson Potts comes to stay, he’s unlike anyone Thomasina has ever met. He’s aloof, eccentric and exceptionally kind. He’s also totally unconcerned with the physical flaws that have always defined Thomasina.

The two form a bond that neither has had before. It’s possible that it could become something more, but Thomasina also wonders if it’s too good to be true. By putting her heart on the line, Thomasina may open herself to heartbreak. But she may also open herself to so much more.

My review…

It’s no secret that I’m a HUGE Amanda Prowse fan and look forward to reading her newest book as soon as I physically can! This latest release came out on 11th June but I was lucky enough to have a signed copy waiting for me when I got back from my daughters wedding and so I managed to read it a few days before publication. And I have to say firstly, HOW THE HELL DOES SHE DO IT?! Every book she brings out covers a subject that we can relate to (And always something for me personally weirdly enough which is why I’m such a big supporter!!) but this beautifully crafted relationship between Thomasina “Hitch” Waycott and Grayson Potts really did tug unexpectedly at my heartstrings! I went on a journey with these two characters that I became so invested in, I didn’t want it to end! And then when it did, I felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest, wrung dry and then shoved back in again upside down! So be prepared for the emotional path Amanda Prowse waves you off on and remember to pack those tissues!

Hitch is a young woman still living at home with her parents but gazing hopefully at the outside world just waiting for her time to shine in it. She’s kept there by a sense of duty towards her family due to their farm and B&B business plus her brother has already defected to another life in the USA making her the sole sibling left to help their parents. She also feels her physical disabilities exclude her from having a “normal” relationship but she lives in hope of escaping the farm one day to find love and see the amazing world that exists outside its walls. Although to be honest, I’d have been quite happy to STAY there myself! The farmhouse is just so beautifully crafted and intrinsically placed within the storyline that it’s pretty much a character of its own standing. I don’t think I would ever have wanted to stray from its quirky characteristics and the history that seeped through the pores of each and every room and it’s contents. And let’s not forget that amazing cooked farmhouse breakfast that had me drooling with the descriptions of locally sourced produce including freshly laid eggs from “the girls”.

But for Hitch, it wasn’t enough. I felt so sorry for her, not because of her physical appearance or disabilities but because of the way she was treated by everyone! Hitch may have been a nickname but once I found out the origin of it, I was completely shocked that even her own parents used it! And in the absence of her brother, who has gone off to live the American Dream, her parents have recruited her bullying cousin to come and help them run the farm. He was NOT a nice man! But it didn’t seem to matter what Hitch did, no one took the chance to find out what SHE wanted from life until Grayson Potts turned up and pulled the rug from under her feet. When Grayson appears on her doorstep, an unlikely friendship is formed but do they both have the courage to move forward together?

It was refreshing to meet characters that weren’t considered to be “the norm” and the moment Hitch realises that Grayson is going to be someone very special in her life was just spectacular to read! He is obviously on the spectrum, he has a very literal take on life, but he is the perfect person to launch Hitch off on her voyage of self discovery. Both of these characters were fully fleshed out so that we developed an affection and affinity for them very quickly. I was utterly transfixed by their relationship as it felt realistic and uplifting so I was very sad to be torn from them at the end of the book. They are certainly a couple I would welcome returning to at sometime in the future to find out how they are and what they are doing now!

The Things I Know is a beautifully written book about family, relationships and never giving up on your dreams. The feelings I had as a teenage girl that I was never the most popular, the prettiest or the cleverest were rekindled for me whilst reading “the things” that Hitch knew. It was a brilliant way of expressing the hopes and dreams that Hitch had for her future-a future she never gave up believing in.

Highly recommended by me!

Meet the author…

Amanda Prowse likens her own life story to those she writes about in her books. After self-publishing her debut novel, Poppy Day, in 2011, she has gone on to author twenty-one novels and six novellas. Her books have been translated into a dozen languages and she regularly tops bestseller charts all over the world. Remaining true to her ethos, Amanda writes stories of ordinary women and their families who find their strength, courage and love tested in ways they never imagined. The most prolific female contemporary-fiction writer in the UK, with a legion of loyal readers, she goes from strength to strength. Being crowned ‘queen of domestic drama’ by the Daily Mail was one of her finest moments. Amanda is a regular contributor on TV and radio but her first love is, and will always be, writing.

You can find her online at http://www.amandaprowse.com, on Twitter @MrsAmandaProwse, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AmandaProwseAuthor.

Keep Her Close by Erik Therme #BlogTour @BOTBSPublicity

Today I’m sharing my review of Keep Her Close. Huge thanks to Sarah Hardy for the invite onto the tour.

About this book…

Then:
Three-year-old Ally was found alone in a parking lot.
She was barefoot and dressed only in a yellow sundress. In the middle of winter.
What kind of person would abandon their daughter?

Now:
Fifteen years later and Ally has a new family.
But her real father has sent her a letter.
And now Ally is missing.

A gripping twist-filled thriller that will have you looking over your shoulder. Perfect for fans of Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train and Teresa Driscoll.

My review…

This is my first book by Erik Therme but I can guarantee that it won’t be the last. It was a thrill a minute, rollercoaster of a read with lots of twists and turns to keep the reader interested and most of which I didn’t see coming until they hit me right between the eyes!

It’s a heartbreaking start to Keep Her Close when a young girl is found wandering by Dan and Holly with a sign around her neck saying “Free to Good home”. A woman’s body is found nearby but there are no other clues to her identity. Eventually Dan and Holly are able to give Allie her “forever home” but when Ally one day receives a letter from a man claiming to be her real father, there begins a race against time to work out who sent the letter…and find Ally who seems to have disappeared!

This is a fast paced and twisty read that follows Dan as he tries to find his daughter and work out why she has disappeared and who is responsible. It took me on an emotional journey as Dan figured out who he could trust to help him. Dan took risks and put himself into dangerous situations that had me mentally shouting at him to watch out!!! Honestly, why don’t characters ever listen to me when I do that?! I have to say that the storyline didn’t take quite the direction that I was expecting but that’s not a bad thing! It was well written and compelling with a stylish narrative that reminded me of Harlan Coben at times so if you’re a fan of that author then you may want to try out Erik Therme.

I’m not sure how I feel about the ending but that’s just a personal response to the way in which the author brought Keep Her Close to a close. I would have liked a little more closure but I can completely understand why he chose to end the book this way.

I really enjoyed Keep Her Close and can’t wait to discover more from Erik Therme.

Meet the author…

Erik Therme has thrashed in garage bands, inadvertently harbored runaways, and met Darth Vader. When he’s not at his computer, he can be found cheering on his youngest daughter’s volleyball team, or watching horror movies with his oldest. He currently resides in Iowa City, Iowa—one of only twenty-eight places in the world that UNESCO has certified as a City of Literature. Join Erik’s mailing list to be notified of new releases and author giveaways: http://eepurl.com/cD1F8L  

The First Mistake by Sandie Jones #BookReview

About this book…

The First Mistake is the stunning second novel from The Other Woman author Sandie Jones, who delivers twist after heart-stopping twist, in this addictively readable domestic suspense about a wife, her husband, and her best friend. Perfect for fans of The Mother-in-Law and My Lovely Wife.

For Alice, life has never been better. 

After the death of her first husband, she has remarried, with a successful business, two children and a beautiful house. 

In Beth, she also has the best friend she has always wanted. A friend without judgement, she is the most trustworthy and loyal person Alice knows. 

So when Alice begins to suspect her husband Nathan is having an affair, Alice turns to Beth to help her find the truth. She can trust Beth, can’t she . . .?

My review…

Sandie Jones first book, The Other Woman, was one of my favourite books of last year and one that I recommended to many readers especially as a holiday read because once started it was impossible to put down. So Her First Mistake was a must read for me!! Did it live up to my super high expectations?! Absolutely!!! It’s another twisty relationship thriller which will keep you guessing until the very last page.

I love it when a book takes me in a totally different direction to the one I was expecting and here, Sandie Jones made me do a complete 180 degree turnaround in my expectations due to a twist part way through Her First Mistake that I hadn’t seen coming! With my jaw firmly planted on the floor, I then had to completely reassess my opinions of characters I thought had been thrown in to support our protagonist but who had been quietly waiting to surprise us!

Sandie Jones writes involving and gripping moral dilemmas with characters that you can empathise with even if you don’t find them particularly likeable! Expect your emotions to be played with throughout with some shocking twists and behaviours but, OH MY GOODNESS, what a thrilling denouement! If you love a twisty thriller that keeps you guessing then you are going to love this book!

This is a brilliant second novel from Sandie Jones and is hopefully another bestseller for her-she thoroughly deserves all the stars for this one!

Meet the author…

Sandie Jones has been a freelance journalist for over 20 years, interviewing celebrities for Hello, Woman’s Weekly and the national daily newspapers. Amongst her favourite people to talk to are Paul O’Grady, Joanna Lumley, Julie Walters and the late Bruce Forsyth.

Her debut novel, The Other Woman, is a psychological thriller about the destructive relationship between a woman and her partner’s mother.

If Sandie wasn’t an author she’d be an interior designer as she has an unhealthy obsession with cushions!

She lives in London with her husband and three children.

The Sunday Girl by Pip Drysdale #randomthingsblogtours

Today I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour for The Sunday Girl blog tour. Many thanks to Anne Cater for my invite.

About this book…

The Girl on the Train meets Before I Go to Sleep with a dash of Bridget Jones in this chilling tale of love gone horribly wrong …
    Some love affairs change you forever. Someone comes into your orbit and swivels you on your axis, like the wind working on a rooftop weather vane. And when they leave, as the wind always does, you are different; you have a new direction. And it’s not always north.’
    Any woman who’s ever been involved with a bad, bad man and been dumped will understand what it feels like to be broken, broken-hearted and bent on revenge.
    Taylor Bishop is hurt, angry and wants to destroy Angus Hollingsworth in the way he destroyed her: ‘Insidiously. Irreparably. Like a puzzle he’d slowly dissembled … stolen a couple of pieces from, and then discarded, knowing that nobody would ever be able to put it back together ever again.’
    So Taylor consults The Art of War and makes a plan. Then she takes the next irrevocable step – one that will change her life forever.
Things start to spiral out of her control – and The Sunday Girl becomes impossible to put down.

My review…

We have all been let down by other people but I think that we are probably divided into two camps of how we deal with the betrayal by a loved one. Some of us let it go (after all life’s surely too short to hold a grudge that will just eat you up from the inside out?) but others will want to make them pay! Now they say that revenge is a dish best served cold but here Taylor Bishop is serving hers with a side order of gleeful relish as she plans to destroy the life of her ex Angus, a man I think I would have been quite happy never to cross paths with ever again! They say that love is blind but the bitterness Taylor feels for Angus seems to have made her completely oblivious to the danger she is getting herself into. And as she consults “The Art of War” to plan her attack, she forgets the first and most important rule of battle-never underestimate your enemy!!!

I absolutely loved this book! It’s written with a dark underlying humour that totally embraces the dilemmas faced by the characters here. I loved Taylor although I have to admit that I wanted to scream at her sometimes!! She was so focused on her revenge that she overlooked the other opportunities in her life that could have given her far more personal satisfaction but to be fair, I did love her determination to see things through to the very bitter end! Now that’s commitment!

The Sunday Girl is, unbelievably, Pip Drysdales debut novel! She just writes so beautifully with a real feel for emotions and relationships. I was gripped throughout by the storyline and completely invested in the plot. Plus the stunningly twisted denouement that rounded it off perfectly means that I can’t wait to read more from Pip Drysdale in the future. She’s definitely an author to watch out for!

Meet the author…

PIP DRYSDALE is a writer, actor and musician who grew up in Africa and Australia. At 20 she moved to New York to study acting, worked in indie films and off-off Broadway theatre, started writing songs and made four records. After graduating with a BA in English, Pip moved to London where she dated some interesting men and played shows across Europe. The Sunday Girl is her first novel and she is working on a second.