The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena @sharilapena

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Book Description:

You never know what’s happening on the other side of the wall.

Your neighbour told you that she didn’t want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn’t stand her crying.

Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You’ll have the baby monitor and you’ll take it in turns to go back every half hour.

Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She’s gone.

You’ve never had to call the police before. But now they’re in your home, and who knows what they’ll find there.

What would you be capable of, when pushed past your limit?

My Thoughts:

What a wonderfully dark and twisted read this was!

I have to admit I’m not quite sure what I was expecting after reading the blurb but the author delivered way more than I could have possibly imagined. It’s actually going to be hard to know what to say without giving any spoilers away as the story line went off in a direction I never envisioned.

Anne and Marco could be any couple. I didn’t really agree with leaving such a young baby in the house on their own but then they were only in their next door neighbours garden and they did have the baby monitor with them. Even though still not right, I could feel for Anna who hadn’t wanted to leave her daughter and against her better judgement had gone along with her husbands idea, it is certainly one of those things that with hindsight, you would never have done it.

Right from this point there was so many questions going through my head as to the who and why. All I can say is that from that point onward’s, the author took me on a roller coaster of a ride with lots of thrilling shocks and revelations.

I loved the detective that was working on the case. So calm and collective and you can tell he has had a lot of experience in his working life in the way he was thinking and trying to get to the bottom of things. He reminded me a bit of the wonderful Columbo apart from everyone takes this one seriously.

The Couple Next Door was a great read that any fan of psychological thrillers will enjoy. From picking it up, I struggled to put it down as I needed to know whether parents and baby would be reunited. Whilst the first half or so of the book sets everything up nicely the second half just seemed to be a whirl wind read of twists and turn. Really enjoyed it.

The Couple Next Door is available to purchase from Amazon. (Please note that link used is an affiliate link).

This Could Change Everything by Jill Mansell @JillMansell @headlinepg

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Book Description:

If only Essie hadn’t written that letter – the one that went viral…

The feel-good new novel from Jill Mansell, the bestselling author of MEET ME AT BEACHCOMBER BAY. Not to be missed by fans of Katie Fforde and Lucy Diamond.

On the one hand, if Essie hadn’t written that letter – the one that only her best friend was meant to see – then she’d still be living like an actual proper grown-up, tucked up with Paul in his picture-perfect cottage, maybe even planning their wedding…

On the other hand (if her true feelings hadn’t accidentally taken the internet by storm, that is) she wouldn’t have moved into the attic flat on the square. She would never have met Conor. Or got to know Lucas…

And she wouldn’t have found herself falling in love with someone she really, really shouldn’t fall in love with…

This Could Change Everything Blog Tour Poster .jpg

My Thoughts:

I knew from the opening page I was going to love this book and I wasn’t wrong.

As soon as we meet Zillah, I couldn’t wait to find out more about her. I think she could teach us many a thing in life. I like how she believes in people and takes risks. For a woman in her eighties, she certainly lives life to the fullest and I thought she was the most fabulous of characters. Certainly one I will remember very fondly.

Essie is the main character who due to a bit of bad luck finds herself jobless and boyfriendless. Her luck changes for the better though when she meets Zillah who takes her under her wing and offers her a roof over her head. The house and the square that they live on sounded so idyllic and I could easily visualise it in my head.

There are quite a few characters that stand out for different reasons. They all bring something to this wonderful story and it really makes for a feel good read.

This Could Change Everything is a life changing read. I would like to think from this wonderful story that it will make people sit back and think and maybe change their life for the better. It oozes positivity and charm and makes you want to give people a chance in life. Loved it. A heart warming and engaging read that fans of this genre will adore.

My thanks to Anne Cater and the publisher for a copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.

This Could Change Everything is available to purchase from Amazon. (Please note that link used is an affiliate link).

Jill Mansell

Author Bio:

Jill Mansell is the author of over twenty Sunday Times bestsellers including THE ONE YOU REALLY WANT, TO THE MOON AND BACK, YOU AND ME, ALWAYS and MEET ME AT BEACHCOMBER BAY. TAKE A CHANCE ON ME won the RNA’s Romantic Comedy Prize, and in 2015 the RNA presented Jill with an outstanding achievement award.

Jill’s personal favourite amongst her novels is THREE AMAZING THINGS ABOUT YOU, which is about cystic fibrosis and organ donation; to her great delight, many people have joined the organ donor register as a direct result of reading this novel.

Jill started writing fiction while working in the NHS, after she read a magazine article that inspired her to join a local creative writing class. Her first book was published in 1991 and she is now a full-time novelist. She is one of the few who still write their books by hand, like a leftover from the dark ages. She lives in Bristol with her family.

Jill keeps in touch with her readers on Twitter – @JillMansell – and Facebook – /OfficialJillMansell. You can also visit her website http://www.jillmansell.co.uk/.

No Time To Die by Andrew Barrett @Bloodhoundbook @AndrewBarrettUK

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Book Description:

When CSI Eddie Collins finds a dead woman in his house, he thinks life can’t get any worse, until a violent gang ties his hands together and puts a gun to his head. And this time there’s no way out.

Operation Domino is the investigation into gang boss, Slade Crosby, and his connection to an undercover officer’s death. But tampered evidence kills the investigation’s progress, and with Eddie gone, Slade is in the clear.

There’s only one way to get Slade in cuffs, but it won’t be easy…

My Thoughts:

No Time To Die is the second book in the Eddie Collins series. I would probably suggest reading the books in order, although it did read easily enough as a stand alone. I think readers will benefit though from getting to know Eddie better by reading The Third Rule prior to this one.

The story gets off to a good start with a murder happening within the first pages. The death toll doesn’t stop there, which, as a crime lover, is always good news when it comes to fiction. I have to admit I struggled slightly at the start as we are introduced to quite a few characters, quite quickly and the story bounces back and forth amongst them. It settles down though of which by then I was fully invested in the story.

It’s hard to say too much about this story as there is a certain surprise for Eddie as well as the reader and it plays quite a big part in this story line, making it difficult to say anything without spoiling it for others.

The story deals with various topics, one being domestic abuse, of which does make for uncomfortable reading. The author handles it well though and it certainly had me going through an array of emotions.

Living in Leeds where the books in the series are set, was very much a bonus for me. I could easily visualise all the areas the author describes and it brought the story to life in my head.

No Time To Die is a dark and tense read of which starts off at a steady pace and increases towards the end. If you are looking for something a bit different to the many detective crime novels out there, then the CSI Eddie Collins series will certainly come as a refreshing change.

My thanks to Bloodhound Books and NetGalley for an advanced readers copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.

No Time To Die is available to purchase from Amazon. (Please note that the link used is an affiliate link).

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Author Bio:

Andrew Barrett has enjoyed variety in his professional life, from engine-builder to farmer, from Oilfield Service Technician in Kuwait, to his current role of Senior CSI in Yorkshire.

He’s been a CSI since 1996, and has worked on all scene types from terrorism to murder, suicide to rape, drugs manufacture to bomb scenes. One way or another, Andrew’s life revolves around crime.

In 1997 he finished his first crime thriller, A Long Time Dead, and it’s still a readers’ favourite today, some 200,000 copies later, topping the Amazon charts several times. Two more books featuring SOCO Roger Conniston completed the trilogy.

Today, Andrew is still producing high-quality, authentic crime thrillers with a forensic flavour that attract attention from readers worldwide. He’s also attracted attention from the Yorkshire media, having been featured in the Yorkshire Post, and twice interviewed on BBC Radio Leeds.

He’s best known for his lead character, CSI Eddie Collins, and the acerbic way in which he roots out criminals and administers justice. Eddie’s series is four books and two short stories in length, and there’s still more to come.

Andrew is a proud Yorkshireman and sets all of his novels there, using his home city of Leeds as another major, and complementary, character in each of the stories.

Links:

Contact: andrew@andrewbarrett.co.uk

Website: http://www.andrewbarrett.co.uk/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndrewBarrettUK

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AndrewBarrett.author

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/andrewbarrettauthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/andrewbarrettauthor

Amazon.co.uk: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Andrew-Barrett/e/B0055888Q0/

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Andrew-Barrett/e/B0055888Q0/

 

 

The Factory Girls of Lark Lane by Pam Howes @PamHowes1 @bookouture

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Book Description:

The struggles of war will build the strongest of friendships…

1940, Liverpool: Best friends Alice Turner and Millie Markham work for the war effort at Rootes munitions factory, making shell caps and Halifax bombers. Alice’s sweetheart Terry is home from the front for a brief period of leave, and the women are excitedly planning a whirlwind wedding.

But the honeymoon is soon over, and the ever-present air raid sirens quickly bring Alice back down to earth. When a terrible explosion at the factory leads to a tragic death, and a loved one is announced missing in action, it’s only their friendship and the support of the other factory girls which help to keep Alice and Millie’s spirits up.

As the war stretches on with no sign of an ending, can Alice and Millie help one another make it through – and find happiness even in the darkest of times?

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My Thoughts:

I loved the authors other trilogy which is also set in Liverpool so couldn’t wait to read her latest book. As with her others, it didn’t disappoint.

Set during war time, you really get a feel of what life was like back then with the rationing as well as having loved ones so far away.

The friendship between Alice and Millie was so heart warming. They’ve been friends for such a long time and was good that both had each other to help with their men being miles away.

For Alice especially it is hard as her and Terry just got married before he was sent away with the army. Not the greatest of starts to married life. On top of that she is hit with varying other life issues which leaves her under pressure to try and do whats best for her and her family.

The Factory Girls of Lark Lane transports the reader back in time for an emotive and gripping read. As with all the other authors books, from picking it up I literally could not put it down. A story very much about family and friends and doing the best with what life throws at you. If you haven’t read any of this authors books yet then you are really missing out. Highly recommended.

My thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for an advanced readers copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.

The Factory Girls of Lark Lane is available to purchase from Amazon. (Please note that link used is an affiliate link).

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ABOUT PAM HOWES

Pam is a retired interior designer, mum to three daughters, grandma to seven assorted grandchildren and roadie to her musician partner.

The inspiration for Pam’s first novel came from her teenage years, working in a record store, and hanging around with musicians who frequented the business. The first novel evolved into a series about a fictional band The Raiders. She is a fan of sixties music and it’s this love that compelled her to begin writing.

You can find Pam on Twitter at https://twitter.com/PamHowes1

You can find Pam on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Pam-Howes-Author-260328010709267/?fref=ts

 

Pretty Ugly Lies by Pamela Crane @Bloodhoundbook

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Book Description:

What causes a woman to murder her whole family?

Jo’s idyllic life would make most people jealous. Until one day her daughter is abducted and the only way to find her is to unravel her dark past.

Ellie is a devoted wife… until she discovers the pain of betrayal. Now vengeance is all she can think about.

Party-girl Shayla knows how to hide her demons. But when she’s confronted with a life-shattering choice, it will cost her everything.

June knows suffering intimately, though the smile she wears keeps it hidden.

Soon the lives of these four women intersect and one of them is about to snap…

From USA TODAY best-selling author Pamela Crane comes “a thought-provoking domestic noir novel perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty and B.A. Paris … A chilling look at the secrets mothers will hide for the sake of their families, and the gruesome reality of what can break an everyday woman.”

My Thoughts:

The story flicks between the four woman so we get an insight into each of their lives. Each woman is quite different so was interesting trying to work out how the whole story line was going to pan out.

From the very first page the author ensured they had me hooked. How could any woman kill their children, never mind their man. Those first few pages though do make you reflect on your own family life and the relationship we have with our husband and children and how we can take each other for granted.

If anything this story goes to show what goes on behind closed doors and also how well we really know people. It actually gives you a lot of food for thought and I think these women’s lives will have an impact on the reader.

Pretty Ugly Lies is a gripping and thought provoking read. I think it will make many of us feel normal in how we think about our own family life. The blurb suggests that readers who have enjoyed Laine Moriarty’s books would enjoy this book and I whole heartedly agree. A domestic noir story that readers certainly do not want to miss.

My thanks to Bloodhound Books and NetGalley for an advanced readers copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.

Pretty Ugly Lies is available to purchase from Amazon. (Please note that link used is an affiliate link).

Pamela_Crane

 

Author Profile:

Pamela Crane is a professional juggler. Not the type of juggler who can toss flaming torches in the air, but a juggler of four kids, a writing addiction, a horse rescuer, and a book editor by trade. She lives on the edge (ask her Arabian horse about that—he’ll tell you all about their wild adventures while trying to train him) and she writes on the edge. Writing murder mysteries is her escape from the real world of dirty diapers and cleaning horse stalls, and she bases her characters on real people, so be warned! She is a USA Today best-selling author of several award-winning thrillers, which you can find on her website at www.pamelacrane.com.

Author links:

http://www.pamelacrane.com

https://www.facebook.com/Author.Pamela.Crane

https://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscompamela_crane

 

The Madonna of Bolton by Matt Cain @MattCainWriter @unbounders

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Book Description:

Charlie Matthews’ love story begins in a pebble-dashed house in suburban Bolton, at a time when most little boys want to grow up to be Michael Jackson, and girls want to be Princess Di. Remembering the Green Cross Code and getting out of football are the most important things in his life, until Auntie Jan gives him a gift that will last a lifetime: a seven-inch single called ‘Lucky Star’…

On his ninth birthday, Charlie discovers Madonna, and falls in love. His obsession sees him through some tough times in life: being persecuted at school, fitting in at a posh university, a glamorous career in London, finding boyfriends, getting rid of boyfriends, and family heartbreak. Madonna’s music and videos inspire him, and her fierce determination to succeed gives him the confidence to do the same. Ultimately, though, he must learn to let go of his idol and find his own voice.

Charlie’s story is Billy Elliot meets Beautiful Thing wearing a conical bra – a story for anyone who ever sang their heart out, looked for love and dreamed of more… The Madonna of Bolton will make you laugh, cry and Get Into the Groove. It’s a book to Cherish and a Ray of Light, and it even has a little Hanky Panky.

Madonna Of Bolton Blog Tour Poster

Guest Post – “How Do You Create Characters?”

Someone once told me that when you think you’re ready to start writing a novel you should wait another six months – because you often think your ideas are fully formed in your mind and ready to come bursting out and onto the page but usually this isn’t the case. I think this is true of characterization more than anything else; for a character to be convincing and consistent he or she really has to be fully formed before you start writing. Occasionally I’ve started writing minor or supporting characters too soon but I’ve only had to go back over my manuscript to fill them in and even them out, which can be really fiddly and a pain.

Some authors try to pin down their characters by fleshing out their physical appearance but I often don’t have much idea about this till the very end of the process. I prefer to delve into what really moves my characters as people and what inspires them to do whatever actions drive forward the plot of the book. Often this is determined by their backstory, so I like to have this worked out in my head before I start writing. This is particularly the case with characters who are responsible for any kind of bad behaviour; I’ve always been intrigued by what makes inherently good people do bad things and I like to explore this in my fiction. But if you want readers to empathise with a character who behaves badly you really have to justify this by explaining what it is in their past that turned them sour. If you can get this right the empathy will flow, as let’s be honest, we’ve all found ourselves on the verge of giving into bitterness and anger sometimes.

When I start creating a character, I take a double page of A4 paper in the notebook I’ve devoted to whichever novel I’m planning. Then I brainstorm around them and write down everything I can think of – this can be the character’s favourite music, hair colour or means of keeping fit, or people they might remind me of in real life. I also think about their turns of phrase or some of the words they might over-use in conversation, as everyone speaks differently and dialogue can be a great way to really help define a character on the page. (Think about something simple like whether a character would call you ‘mate,’ ‘darling’ or ‘sweetheart’ – people usually have a favourite they stick to rather than using all three). Then I read over my ideas several times before whittling them down to those I consider essential, often starting a new double-page spread as the character evolves further and further away from my original ideas.

Finally, I really enjoy naming my characters and this is one of the last things I do that really helps crystallize them in my mind. I like to name characters after people in my family but I have to be careful that this still fits how I see them in my mind – or how the readers will see them. It seems silly but certain names like Emily and Lucy can sound warm and sweet while others, like Valerie or Violet, make you imagine some kind of brittle ice-queen. All this can help as you want to engage your readers straight away – and in particular you want them to be drawn into your central character’s story from the very first page so they’re rooting for them all through the novel, willing them on to whichever end they’re chasing.

Matt Cain Author

About Matt Cain:

Matt Cain was born in Bury and brought up in Bolton. He spent ten years making arts and entertainment programmes for ITV before stepping in front of the camera in 2010 to become Channel 4 News’ first ever culture editor. His first novel, Shot Through the Heart, was published in 2014 and his second, Nothing But Trouble, followed in 2015. As a journalist he has contributed articles to all the major UK newspapers and is currently Editor-in-Chief of Attitude, the UK’s biggest-selling magazine for gay men, and its sister publication, Winq. In 2017 he was voted Diversity in Media’s Journalist of the Year. He lives in London.

http://www.mattcainwriter.com/@mattcainwriter

The Silent Sister by Shalini Boland @bookouture @ShaliniBoland

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Book Description:

‘You don’t deserve a sister…’

Lizzy Beresford is at home alone when she hears a strange noise. Running downstairs to check, she discovers a disturbing letter addressed to her.
 
But who sent it?

As Lizzy receives more unsettling messages, she begins to doubt those closest to her – her boyfriend, her neighbours, her friends. Because the mystery sender seems to know everything about her.
 
And they want to destroy her perfect life.

Desperate for answers, Lizzy reaches out to her sister, Emma. She used to be her best friend. But they haven’t spoken in years…

Surrounded by secrets and lies, Lizzy doesn’t know if she should trust her sister. Is the truth more shocking than Lizzy ever imagined?

The Silent Sister - Blog tour

My Thoughts:

Lizzy is loved up with her boyfriend Joe, living in a quaint cottage she rents from the man who she manages a shop for. Her life isn’t perfect as she hasn’t spoken to her sister for quite a few years but otherwise it’s good until she starts receiving disturbing letters.

This is one of those stories that apart from Lizzy, I didn’t trust anyone. I was desperately trying to work out who could be behind the letters and I was so certain I had it sussed, only to realise I’d been wrong all along.

This was a quick read that I flew through as the tension mounts and things for Lizzy get more disturbing. The author really has you caring for the main character so you worry about them making everything that is happening affect you even more.

The Silent Sister is a suspenseful and thrilling read that had me hooked and turning those pages. A deliciously dark and twisted read. Shalini Boland is without a doubt the queen of twists and she never disappoints. Another great read.

My thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for an advanced readers copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.

The Silent Sister is available to purchase from Amazon. (Please note that link used is an affiliate link).

Shalini Boland - Author Pic

About the author:
 
Shalini Boland is a USA Today bestselling author of psychological thrillers ‘THE GIRL FROM THE SEA’ (No 1, US Audible charts), ‘THE BEST FRIEND’ (No 2, US Audible charts), ‘THE MILLIONAIRE’S WIFE’ (No 9, UK Kindle charts), ‘THE SECRET MOTHER’ (No 2, US Kindle charts), THE CHILD NEXT DOOR (No 11, UK Kindle charts).

Shalini lives 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 hanging out endless baskets of laundry).

Be the first to hear about her new releases here: http://eepurl.com/b4vb45

She is also the author of two bestselling Young Adult series as well as an atmospheric WWII novel with a time-travel twist.

http://www.facebook.com/ShaliniBolandAuthor
http://www.shaliniboland.co.uk
https://twitter.com/ShaliniBoland