The Party House by Lin Anderson @RandomTTours

The Party House by Lin Anderson is a deeply atmospheric psychological thriller set in the Scottish Highlands, for fans of Lucy Foley, Ruth Ware and Sarah Pearse’s The Sanatorium.

Devastated by a recent pandemic brought in by outsiders, the villagers of Blackrig in the Scottish Highlands are outraged when they find that the nearby estate plans to reopen its luxury ‘party house’ to tourists.

As animosity sparks amongst the locals, part of the property is damaged and, in the ensuing chaos, the body of a young girl is found in the wreck. Seventeen-year-old Ailsa Cummings went missing five years ago, never to be seen again – until now.

The excavation of Ailsa’s remains ignites old suspicions cast on the men of this small community, including Greg, the estate’s gamekeeper. At the beginning of a burgeoning relationship with a new lover, Joanne, Greg is loath to discuss old wounds. Frightened by Greg’s reaction to the missing girl’s discovery, Joanne begins to doubt how well she knows this new man in her life. Then again, he’s not the only one with secrets in their volatile relationship . . .

Having read the Dr Rhonda MacLeod series I knew I just had to read this stand-alone psychological thriller by Lin Anderson. She brings her Scottish settings to life so perfectly that I always feel as though I’m back north of the border and even my accent changes back to that weird English/Scottish hybrid I rocked during my 16 years living there!

Set in the highlands of Scotland, The Party House is a gorgeous holiday home that has a bad reputation. The locals blame it for bringing Covid to their rural community so when they hear it’s about to open again, there is understandably an uproar. But during the backlash an horrific discovery is made when the body of a missing girl is discovered in the grounds…

The gamekeeper of the estate, Greg, aroused my suspicions early on in the proceedings as he obviously had something to hide. But he has recently started a new relationship with Joanne who has travelled up to Scotland from London to spend time with her new partner. This couple seemed very much suited even though they haven’t known each other for long. But they both had secrets they were hiding from each other and these are gradually uncovered as each of them show their true selves. Lin Anderson tells their story from both points of view but often the truths were revealed to the reader at the same time as the characters maintaining the tension throughout.

The Scottish Highlands are ofcourse the star of the show here and it’s occupants are shown to be relatable with their mistrust of outsiders as they are determined to look after their own. I had no idea who was responsible for the death of Ailsa, a girl unable to defend herself in death as in life. There were plenty of twists and turns and I was never really sure who to trust although I really did like Joanne-even though I found some of her decisions highly questionable! But Lin Anderson brought everything together perfectly and I was left wanting more. Im hoping there are more stand-alone psychological thrillers to come from her as I absolutely loved The Party House-it really is a page turner of the highest quality!

Highly recommended by me!

The Party House is published by McMillan on 4th August 2022.

Lin Anderson is best known as the creator of the forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod series of crime thriller novels, and for her part in founding the annual ‘Bloody Scotland’ crime writing festival.

Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister #wrongplacewrongtime

It’s every parent’s nightmare.

Your happy, funny, innocent son commits a terrible crime: murdering a complete stranger.

You don’t know who.
You don’t know why.
You only know your teenage boy is in custody – and his future lost.

Somewhere in the past lie the answers, and you don’t have a choice but to find them . . .

I’ve read and loved all Gillian McAllisters books ever since I was involved in the cover reveal for her debut novel Everything But The Truth. But Wrong Place Wrong Time is not only her best book yet but probably one of the best books I’ve EVER read! It’s certainly a contender for my book of 2022 as it has one of the most perfectly plotted storylines that I have ever encountered. It is complex (and oh so clever!) as well as being completely different from any other book out there at the moment. From the moment you meet them, you become involved in the lives of characters that you just can’t help but become emotionally connected to.

As a parent I know how hard it can be when your child does something so shocking that you just want to rewind time and hope that you can prevent whatever caused your child to go down that path. And that’s what happens when Jen wakes up the morning after her son has been arrested for an horrific knife crime. She is no longer following a forward timeline but working her way backwards as she looks for clues as to why Todd has committed such a heinous act of violence against a stranger. And as she wakes up in the days, weeks and even years before that night, she discovers that her whole life depends on finding answers. So can she stop a murder before it happens? You HAVE to read this book to find out!

Wrong Place Wrong Time is a total triumph that must have been a complete nightmare to write! But you wouldn’t know that from the exquisitely evocative narrative! Jen, Kelly and Todd rise up from the page as their characters interact throughout the differing timelines. To see them developing backwards was so incredibly clever and worked beautifully. This is no ordinary time loop thriller-it goes far deeper, exploring a mothers love for her child and that ever present guilt that somehow, something we have done in the past has caused events in the present. I’m sure that every single one of us can think of a “sliding door” moment and wondered what if…

This book has had such a profound impact on me and I’ve not stopped thinking about it since I finished it. I knew it would be good as Gillian is a master of her craft and her meticulous planning and dedication to her work mean that her books are always gripping but Wrong Place Wrong Time takes her writing to the next level. I loved it!

Gillian McAllister is the Sunday Times Top 10 bestselling author of Everything But The Truth, Anything You Do Say, No Further Questions, The Evidence Against You, How To Disappear and the Richard and Judy book club pick That Night. 

Her latest release is Wrong Place Wrong Time, available now and selected for the Radio 2 book club. 

All of her novels are standalone and can be read in any order. She is published in ten countries around the world. The Good Sister is her US debut, released by Penguin USA, and is the American title for No Further Questions. The Choice is her second American release which is the US title for Anything You Do Say. 

You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @gillianmauthor. She also blogs at http://www.gillianmcallister.com.

Listen to Me by Tess Gerritsen

The murder of Sofia Suarez is both gruesome and seemingly senseless. Why would anyone target a respected nurse who was well-liked by her friends and her neighbours? As Detective Jane Rizzoli and Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles investigate the baffling case, they discover that Sofia was guarding a dangerous secret — a secret that may have led the killer straight to her door.

Meanwhile, Jane’s mother Angela Rizzoli is conducting an investigationof her own. She may be a housewife, not a police detective, but she’s savvy enough to know there’s something very strange, perhaps even dangerous, about the new neighbours across the street. The problem is, no one believes her, not even her own daughter.

Immersed in the hunt for Sofia’s killer, Jane and Maura are too busy to pay attention to Angela’s fears. With no one listening to her, and danger mounting in her neighbourhood, Angela just may be forced to take action on her own..

I’ve been a huge Rizzoli and Isles fan since book one and it’s always a highlight for me when a new thriller is released featuring my favourite duo. Listen To Me had a very different vibe but that was definitely a positive in my eyes! Jane Rizzoli is investigating the murder of a well respected nurse who seemed to have no enemies. Was it a burglary gone wrong or will Jane have to dig much deeper to find answers buried deep in the past?

What I loved about Listen to Me was that Jane and Maura actually took a bit of a back seat to Jane’s mother Angela! Angela has new neighbours and they seem very strange indeed. She tries to talk to Jane about it but Jane is too wrapped up in her new case to really give her mum much time. I loved the “normality” of their mother-daughter relationship with Angela calling her daughter at work constantly to try and report the things happening in her neighbourhood but with Jane having no time for what she assumes are the usual dramas on the street. Angela is such a great character and I found myself really looking forward to her chapters-she was so likeable and engaging with an intuitive outlook.

As usual I raced through this book! Its so easy to becoming completely involved in the storyline as the characters draw you in and I found myself desperately seeking answers to the same questions that Jane, Maura and Angela were asking. As I said before the change to the character dynamics worked really well, adding a new level of interest to the action packed investigation. If you’ve never read any of this series before, you will easily be able to read this as a stand-alone novel. I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish!

Bestselling author TESS GERRITSEN is also a physician, and she brings to her novels her first-hand knowledge of emergency and autopsy rooms. Her thrillers starring homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles inspired the hit TV series Rizzoli & Isles. But Tess’s interests span far more than medicine and crime. As an anthropology student at Stanford University, she catalogued centuries-old human remains, and she continues to travel the world, driven by her fascination with ancient cultures and bizarre natural phenomena.

Deep Water by Emma Bamford #DeepWater @RandomTTours @emmavbamford @simonschusterPR

Lies can be buried… Secrets always come to the surface

Amarante is paradise…
An uninhabited, unspoilt island somewhere in the Indian Ocean.
Only those who know it exists can find it.

But paradise comes with a price…
Virginie and Jake sail to Amarante for their honeymoon, but they are not alone.
They have to adjust to life on the island with five strangers.

And not everyone will live to tell the tale…
Dark secrets surface and their dream abruptly turns into a nightmare.
Removed from society, they find out what they’re truly capable of.

What an amazing debut from Emma Bamford! I couldn’t read Deep Water fast enough-it is one of those “just one more chapter” reads that I can’t get enough of and has put Emma Bamford well and truly on my radar!

I have to say though that I wasn’t sure when I started the first chapter but then when the captain of a navy vessel first gets the distress call from a young woman I found myself with some serious “Dead Calm” shivers especially when the boat actually finds the catamaran that the mayday has come from. What on earth has happened to Virginie and her husband Jake? Well all will be revealed as she tells her rescuers her terrifying tale.

We would probably all love to follow in the footsteps of this newly married couple-buy a boat, spend time doing it up and then setting sail for a romantic adventure to a deserted island paradise. But even those of us with no nautical knowledge will know that many, MANY things can go wrong when sailing anywhere and things don’t go to plan from the minute they arrive on Amarante. For a start, it’s not like they have the privacy they had expected as the island isn’t quite as secret and deserted as they would have liked! Sharing food, trading goods and services should work well but if there’s no trust then things can start to go downhill very quickly. It was these interactions that I found myself gripped by as I was immediately drawn into the group dynamics. Some of them were stereotypical sailor types, such as the outspoken yet private Aussie Roly accompanied by his dog Gus, but they all came alive in this idyllic setting that they had worked hard to achieve. It was hard to imagine what could possibly have gone so wrong but I had my suspicions right from the start about who could have been the fly in that factor 50 sun lotion!

Deep Water falls into one of my favourite categories of thrillers-set in a dream location that turns into a nightmare you can’t escape from! And this incredibly addictive debut pulls out all the stops! If you love books by Lucy Clarke then you are going to thoroughly enjoy Deep Water. A gripping read from start to finish.

Emma Bamford is an author and journalist who has worked for the Independent, the Daily Express, the Daily Mirror, Sailing Today and BOAT International.

She spent several years sailing among some of the world’s most beautiful islands and wrote two travel memoirs about her experiences, Casting Off and Untie the Lines.

A graduate of the University of East Anglia’s Prose Fiction MA, she lives in the UK. Deep Water is her first novel. Her next thriller is due to be published in summer 2023.

http://www.emmabamford.com

The Summer Trip by Isabelle Broom

What if your life worked out perfectly . . . for someone else?

It’s been 18 years since Ava spent the summer on the Greek island of Corfu, but she has never forgotten what happened during those months – or who she left behind.

Now single, estranged from her family, and preparing to wave her daughter off to university, Ava’s life seems a million miles away from the one she dreamed about as a teenager – a life now being lived by her sister instead.

When Ava decides to return to Corfu for the summer, she knows she must finally face the place and the people that broke her heart. But with old resentments festering, long-buried secrets lurking, and familiar feelings resurfacing, it looks set to be a holiday that will change all their lives forever. . .

Isabelle Broom has swept me up from the cold English summertime and deposited me on the island of Corfu for her latest sumptuous book The Summer Trip. I love Greece, especially Corfu which has a very special place in my heart as we honeymooned there 34 years ago and have been frequenting it as a favourite holiday destination ever since. But Covid brought our Greek love affair to an abrupt halt and this will be our third summer without a visit to our spiritual home from home. So I was thrilled to receive a review copy of The Summer Trip and return to Corfu-if only between the pages of this fictional escape.

Ava and her daughter Rosie are looking forward to a summer spent in the Grecian sunshine-a place that evokes very emotional memories for Ava. Her sister Mattie is living on the island and living the life that Ava wishes had been hers. But their arrival doesn’t go as planned when Ava realises she has been the victim of her mother’s interference…

This is a beautifully written book with strong and relatable female characters facing each other and themselves in an enviable environment. If I closed my eyes I could practically smell the souvlaki cooking on the grill and feel the sun gently crisping up my skin! But Ava couldn’t look beyond the envy she felt about her own circumstances and what might have been. I actually really liked her and could see and understand her actions in a way that others couldn’t due to her lack of honesty about the past.

The Summer Trip is the perfect holiday read for those escaping to the sunshine abroad this summer but for those of us not leaving our UK shores, it will transport you to the stunning island paradise of Corfu. This is escapism at its very best and I found myself not wanting to leave the characters even after the book had finished-I wanted to stay with Ava and make sure she got the life she deserved.

Highly recommended!

Isabelle Broom was born in Cambridge nine days before the 1980s began and studied Media Arts in London before a 12-year stint at heat, the UK”s top celebrity magazine. Always happiest when she’s off on an adventure, Isabelle travels all over the world seeking out settings for her escapist fiction novels. Currently based in Suffolk, where she shares a home with two dogs and approximately 467 spiders, Isabelle fits her writing around a busy freelance career and tries her best not to be crushed to oblivion under her ever-growing pile of to-be-read books.

Find Isabelle on Twitter @Isabelle_Broom, Instagram @Isabelle_Broom_Author, Facebook/IsabelleBroomAuthor and on YouTube/IsabelleBroomAuthor, where she hosts a weekly author interview series called Hello (Again). To learn more about her books, view location galleries, read excerpts and sign up to her monthly newsletter, visit her website http://www.isabellebroom.com

Fatal Witness by Robert Bryndza

Detective Erika Foster is back in FATAL WITNESS – with a chilling new serial killer case in Robert Bryndza’s multi-million bestselling crime thriller series!

How do you find a killer who has destroyed all the evidence?

Detective Erika Foster is on a late-night walk near her new house in Blackheath when she stumbles upon the brutal murder of Vicky Clarke, a true-crime podcaster.

Erika is assigned to the case and discovers that Vicky had been working on a new podcast episode about a sexual predator who preys on young female students around South London, staking out his victims in their halls of residence before breaking in at the dead of night.

When Erika discovers that Vicky’s notes and sound recordings were stolen from her flat at the time of her murder, it leads her to believe that Vicky was close to unmasking the attacker, and she was killed to guarantee her silence.

The case takes on a disturbing twist when the body of a young Bulgarian student doctor is discovered in the same building, and this makes Erika question everything she thought she knew about Vicky. With very little evidence, the clock is ticking to find the killer before he strikes again.

I was so excited when I heard that Robert Bryndza was bringing back one of my favourite detectives of all time-Erika Foster. And in Fatal Witness she makes a spectacular return with a twisty and compelling new case.

Erika has now moved into her new home but she doesn’t get much time to do any home improvements or even get any new furniture due to stumbling across a murder case whilst out walking near her new house. This leads her to a prime suspect very quickly when one of the victims neighbours is stopped after displaying some very suspicious behaviour. But Erika is going to find out that not all is as it seems…

It was wonderful being back in the company of such a familiar character and within only a few pages it was like she’d never been away-rather like seeing friends again after lockdown finished and being back in that friendship zone again before you know it! She’s such an intriguing character, yet she also wears her emotions more freely than before. The whole gang are also back but if you’ve never read any of the books in the series before, I must say that this can be read as a stand-alone without any problems at all.

The case itself is complex and twisty but easy to become engaged with as the clues lead Erika round the houses! And talking of houses, her new abode indirectly leads her to changes in her personal life which pleased me no end! No spoilers from me though!

Fatal Witness has an unsettling storyline and some disturbing scenes that made my blood run cold at times. This is a serial killer determined to avoid detection at all costs so nothing will stand in their way and that includes Erika herself so be prepared!

I had high expectations for Fatal Witness but thankfully it totally lived up to them. Robert Bryndza has delivered a gripping new story for one of my favourite detectives and I absolutely loved it! He writes such fabulously strong and positive female characters so make sure you read both this series and the Kate Marshall one with is also brilliant!

Robert Bryndza is an international bestselling author, best known for his page-turning crime and thriller novels, which have sold over five million copies.

His crime debut, The Girl in the Ice was released in February 2016, introducing Detective Chief Inspector Erika Foster. Within five months it sold one million copies, reaching number one in the Amazon UK, USA and Australian charts. To date, The Girl in the Ice has sold over 1.5 million copies in the English language and has been sold into translation in 29 countries. It was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Mystery & Thriller (2016), the Grand prix des lectrices de Elle in France (2018), and it won two reader voted awards, The Thrillzone Awards best debut thriller in The Netherlands (2018) and The Dead Good Papercut Award for best page turner at the Harrogate Crime Festival (2016).

Robert has released a further five novels in the Erika Foster series, The Night Stalker, Dark Water, Last Breath, Cold Blood and Deadly Secrets, all of which have been global bestsellers, and in 2017 Last Breath was a Goodreads Choice Award nominee for Mystery and Thriller. Fatal Witness, the seventh Erika Foster novel, is now available to pre-order and will be published 7th July 2022.

Most recently, Robert created a new crime thriller series based around the central character Kate Marshall, a police officer turned private detective. The first book, Nine Elms, was an Amazon USA #1 bestseller and an Amazon UK top five bestseller, and the series has been sold into translation in 18 countries. The second book in the series is the global bestselling, Shadow Sands and the third book, Darkness Falls, has just been published.

Robert was born in Lowestoft, on the east coast of England. He studied at Aberystwyth University, and the Guildford School of Acting, and was an actor for several years, but didn’t find success until he took a play he’d written to the Edinburgh Festival. This led to the decision to change career and start writing. He self-published a bestselling series of romantic comedy novels, before switching to writing crime. Robert lives with his husband in Slovakia, and is lucky enough to write full-time.

You can find out more about Robert and his books at http://www.robertbryndza.com

What I Hid From You by Heleen Kist @LoveBooksTours

She thought she was her own worst enemy … until the real one came after her

Traumatised by the death of a patient in her chair, Glaswegian dentist Radha Bakshi succumbs to an addiction to Valium she can’t acknowledge, even to herself.

The pills take the edge off trying to be the consummate professional, perfect daughter, devoted wife and a not-too-embarrassing mother to her teenage son.

When increased scrutiny of her work forces her to find a new source of supply, she stumbles into the menacing clutches of blackmailing drug dealers.

A mistake that could cost her everything.

A gripping psychological thriller about the sadly common, insidious substance abuse among healthcare workers and the complexity of familial relationships as children grow up.

I’ve enjoyed previous books by Heleen Kist so I knew her newest book What I Hid From You was one I wanted to read so huge thanks to Kelly Lacey at Love Books Tours for inviting me onto the blog tour and arranging a review copy for me.

Someone told me once that the suicide rate amongst dentists was the highest of any other profession. Now I don’t know if that’s true or an urban myth but I do know that it’s an incredibly stressful job-look at how many of us hate going to the dentist! The opening of What I Hid From You introduces the reader to Radha, a dentist from Glasgow who is struggling to cope with the death of patient in her chair. This trauma has left with with an obviously undiagnosed case of PTSD and to help herself deal with those flashbacks she has become addicted to Valium. Radha felt very familiar to me-a mother struggling to be the best at her job, a good wife and mother plus being a daughter to make her father proud. Her relationship with her son became a large part of the storyline as she felt she was losing him and was desperate to have back the bond she had with him when younger. Heleen made her so relatable and I felt every panicky moment alongside her when her drug addiction starts to affect all areas of her life.

Family relationships are at the heart of this suspenseful thriller. It’s beautifully written and expertly delivers a strong connection to the characters. And as the plot line descends towards its shocking and dramatic conclusion, I found myself slowing down unwilling to end that connection. A compelling and honest look at the effects of trauma on family life.

Heleen Kist is a Dutch, formerly globetrotting career woman who fell in love with a Scotsman and his country, and now writes about its (sometimes scary) people from her garden office in Glasgow.

She was chosen as an up-and-coming new author at Bloody Scotland 2018. Her debut, ‘In Servitude’, won the silver medal for Best European Fiction at the Independent Publishers Book Awards in the USA and was shortlisted for The Selfies awarded at London Book Fair. Her feminist thriller ‘Stay Mad, Sweetheart’ was a finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards and won third place in the inaugural Book Bloggers’ Novel of the Year award 2020. ‘What I Hid From You’ is her third novel, set next door to ‘In Servitude’ – for fun.

Heleen hopes you enjoy her writing, and would love to hear from you on twitter (@hkist), Faceboook (@heleenkistauthor) or Goodreads. You can also sign up to her newsletter on http://www.heleenkist.com.

The Ex-Husband by Samantha Hayes @bookouture

You thought you were safe. Until he moved in next door…

I haven’t lived here long. The house is small and a little rundown, but each piece of faded floral wallpaper I peel away feels like unwrapping the second chance I never thought I’d get. I’m finally free to wear what I want, and I don’t flinch when I accidently burn dinner. My new home is warm, and the kids are safe inside. Anywhere would feel idyllic after the nightmare marriage I’ve just escaped.

But then I see my ex-husband Craig stroll past my window and let himself into the house next door. Fear chokes me. How did he find me? Does he want me back, or to destroy me for good?

As the removals van pulls away, Craig tells me it’s just a coincidence, that we can all get along and be good neighbours. But at night I lie awake listening to the sound of laughter and lovemaking through the thin wall that separates us, wondering if his new girlfriend is safe. And in the morning, I rifle through his trash, trying to guess his next move. I know how crazy I look, but I’d do anything to protect my children.

Weeks later, when the night air fills with smoke, and this quiet street dances with blue and red flashing police lights, all the secrets behind our two closed doors will be revealed. But after everything that’s happened, will anyone believe I’m innocent.

OMG what did I just read?! I absolutely adore Samantha Hayes books and have been a fan for years but this has to be her best one yet!! I physically couldn’t put it down and was still reading it at 2 in the morning as the twists just got bigger and better with every turn of the page! Make sure you clear your entire day when you pick up The Ex-Husband because it’s the most addictive book I’ve read this year!

The storyline was very clever here. We’ve all heard about nightmare neighbours from hell but what if that neighbour were your ex and his new partner? And he wants you all to get along for the sake of your children but your past abusive relationship makes it hard to trust anyone let alone the man you moved away from… Leah has a good life and is thriving after her divorce. She has her own business, lives in the same village as her parents and has developed a live of gardening and growing her own vegetables-she even keeps chickens! But that ideal life is shaken when one day she watches a furniture van unload next door and realised that her abusive ex-husband is now her next door neighbour. And as the plot progresses, it becomes very difficult not to feel very uneasy as everyone seems to believe the lies Craig is spreading about her. It is affecting her new relationship as well (which seems to be over before it really began) so will she ever be free from the hold Craig has over her?

I actually found myself getting really angry and frustrated whilst reading this which isn’t like me at all! But as Leah’s support network disappeared I found myself feeling so helpless on her behalf! Craig is a vile character with a narcissistic personality and so perfectly portrayed that my emotions just got the better of me! To evoke that level of frustration is so clever and has the plot line developed, I found myself wondering how long it would take for Craig to get his comeuppance or if he even would! And as the plot line delivered twist upon twist before delivering a couple of whoppers towards the end, I began to wonder if I had got it wrong…

The Ex-Husband is a brilliant book-it’s a gripping psychological thriller with a compelling storyline and some gasp out loud twists. I highly recommend it!

Samantha Hayes grew up in a creative family where her love of writing began as a child. Samantha has written eight thrillers in total, including the bestselling Until You’re Mine. The Independent said “fantastically written and very tense” while Good Housekeeping said “Her believable psychological thrillers are completely gripping.” Samantha’s books are published in 22 languages at the last count.

When not writing, Samantha loves to cook, go to the gym, see friends and drink nice wine. She is also studying for a degree in psychotherapy. She has three grown-up children and lives in Warwickshire.

Sign up to be the first to hear about new releases from Samantha Hayes here:

Buy Link:

Amazon: https://geni.us/B09YFJT3Q4social

Audio:

UK: zpr.io/sG8A59cgWNmK
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Nothing Else by Louise Beech @orendabooks @RandomTTours

Heather Harris is a piano teacher and professional musician, whose quiet life revolves around music, whose memories centre on a single song that haunts her. A song she longs to perform again. A song she wrote as a child, to drown out the violence in their home. A song she played with her little sister, Harriet.

But Harriet is gone … she disappeared when their parents died, and Heather never saw her again.

When Heather is offered an opportunity to play piano on a cruise ship, she leaps at the chance. She’ll read her recently released childhood care records by day – searching for clues to her sister’s disappearance – and play piano by night … coming to terms with the truth about a past she’s done everything to forget.

An exquisitely moving novel about surviving devastating trauma, about the unbreakable bond between sisters, Nothing Else is also a story of courage and love, and the power of music to transcend – and change – everything

I adore this authors books and devour them as soon as they come through the letterbox. Every book is so different but their common theme is usually family and relationships as Louise Beech understands what makes us human (different book I know but it’s title sums up perfectly what Louise does!) and uses her poignant and perfectly pitched prose to unravel the complexities of our connections with others. Every book she has written seems to delve deeply into my own emotions and Nothing Else was no different.

Heather lives a quiet life with no children or family, just an ex-husband and a best friend. Her parents died when she was young and her sister Harriet disappeared when they were sent to a childrens home. So when her friend encourages her to take a job on a cruise ship as their resident piano player, she decides to take a chance and do something very much out of her comfort zone. Heather is a talented musician and as we flash back to her life before tragedy takes hold, we see where her love of music and performing comes from and why it is so important to her now. There are obviously some very distressing issues covered here-domestic violence and the care system in the UK-but Louise handles these perfectly using her conscious flow of words to show the horror of what Heather goes through but through the eyes of her devotion to her mother, her sister and her music.

I found the parts where Heather gets hold of her care records incredibly moving. These documents were very clinical and of their time so I found it quite heartbreaking to read them. But I loved seeing Heather change during her time on the cruise ship as she gradually tries to unravel the reasons for Harriet’s disappearance by reading her records for the first time. Her emotions started to unlock her years of self protection and memories came flooding back.

Obviously music is at the heart of Nothing Else which is also the name of the song Heather composed and played with Harriet by her side. I could almost hear the piano playing as she once again reached a place where the music became the beating heart of who she was. Louise has produced a playlist for anyone who wants or needs to hear the exact music she writes about here-a wonderfully varied range from classical to modern that works beautifully with the storyline. Music is such a wonderful counsellor, opening the soul to confession and forgiveness, delivering therapy to those who often don’t even realise they need it. Music makes us smile, relax and cry-a powerful distraction for the mind and used brilliantly as the pivotal role in Nothing Else.

I absolutely loved this-the relationship between two sisters, supporting each other through their music and the love they have for each other, felt emotionally overwhelming at times but that’s because it so authentic. It’s a beautifully written pilgrimage of self discovery, emotionally lyrical, delivering a novel that sometimes felt too personal to read. Louise Beech has done it again and written a book that will be appearing all over those “Best of 2022” lists at the end of the year and I felt very privileged to read it.

Louise’s debut novel, How to be Brave, was a Guardian Readers’ pick in 2015 and a top ten bestseller on Amazon. The Mountain in my Shoe longlisted for the Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize 2016. The Sunday Mirror called Maria in the Moon ‘quirky, darkly comic, original and heartfelt’. It was also a Must Read in the Sunday Express and a Book of the Year at LoveReadingUK. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was described as ‘engrossing and captivating’ by the Daily Express. It also shortlisted for the RNA’s Romantic Novel of the Year and longlisted for the Polari Prize 2019. Call Me Star Girl hit number one on Kobo. It also longlisted for the Not The Booker Prize and won the Best magazine Big Book Award 2019. This Is How We Are Human was a Clare Mackintosh August Book of the Month 2021. My memoir Daffodils is out now in audiobook, and novel Nothing Else is published in June.

Link to her website – http://louisebeech.co.uk/

The Guest House by Robin Morgan-Bentley @Tr4cyF3nt0n

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Guest House today as it’s also publication day! Many thanks to Tracy Fenton for my invite onto the tour!

KEEP YOUR FAMILY SAFE.
WHATEVER THE COST…

Jamie and Victoria are expecting their first baby.

With a few weeks to go, they head off for a final weekend break in a remote part of the North Pennines. The small and peaceful guesthouse is the ideal location to unwind together before becoming parents. Upon arrival, they are greeted by Barry and Fiona, the older couple who run the guesthouse. They cook them dinner and show them to their room before retreating to bed themselves.

The next morning, Jamie and Victoria wake to find the house deserted. Barry and Fiona are nowhere to be seen. All the doors are locked. Both their mobile phones and car keys have disappeared. Even though it’s a few weeks early, Victoria knows the contractions are starting.

The baby is coming, and there’s no way out.

The Guest House is a brilliantly paced, addictive read that I sat and read in one session-NOTHING was going to tear me away from this book once I’d started it! The plot line is an imaginative and intriguing idea from the start as married couple Jamie and Victoria decide to have a “babymoon” a few weeks before their must wanted and longed for first child arrives. They have everything ready for his arrival (including his name) so a little break away will ease them into their new lives as parents with a relaxing stay in an isolated guesthouse. Unfortunately, the morning after they arrive, they awaken to a rather shocking scenario. Fiona and Barry, the couple who own the guesthouse, have disappeared as have Jamie’s car keys, and every door and window is locked shut. But if that’s not chilling enough, Victoria then starts getting contractions…

This has to be one of the best books I’ve read this year. It’s absolutely stunning! The storyline is cleverly constructed, gradually revealing what happens after Victoria goes into labour but not revealing everything until the final shocking denouement. Instead we are thrust forward in time to the month after what has taken place. What has happened to their baby? Why is Victoria living apart from Jamie and who is sending them threatening emails? Well, you will just have to read this for yourselves as there is no way I’m telling you any more than I have already! Just know that Robin Morgan-Bentley deliberately holds onto many secrets, gently unraveling them so as to make the final few twists even more shocking.

Just when I thought everything was settled, along came the epilogue… it’s very rare that I read something and then stop and go back to read it again and yet again!! But the author certainly held onto another shock for the reader and played his final card perfectly. What a perfect ending to the most amazing, compelling storyline. I really can’t recommend this book highly enough-I absolutely loved every single page!

Robin Morgan-Bentley was born and grew up in London. After studying Modern and Medieval Languages at Cambridge University, he went on to work for Google before moving to Audible, where he has been working since 2014. His debut thriller, The Wreckage, was nominated for the CWA Dagger John Creasey New Blood Award, the CrimeFest Specsavers Debut Crime Award and Capital Crime’s Debut Book of the Year Award. Robin lives in Buckinghamshire with his husband and son.