#BookReview by Lou – The New Home By Chris Merritt @DrCJMerritt @bookouture #PsychologicalThriller #Thriller

The New Home
By Chris Merritt

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The New Home is a stand-alone psychological thriller that has a quiet intensity propelling the pages to turn and will keep you guessing. FInd out more in the blurb and then my full review,
First, thanks to Bookouture and Chris Merritt for the book and allowing me to review.

The New Home

Blurb

The New HomeFreya loves her new home on a quiet suburban street. And her beautiful neighbour Emily is everything she’s ever wanted in a best friend. Finally, she has somebody to share her secrets with over a glass of wine. But as Freya watches her new friend setting the table for dinner one evening, she sees something shocking that makes her think that Emily’s life might not be as perfect as it seems. Days later, Emily and her daughter vanish…

When you meet Emily’s husband, you will think you know what he’s hiding.

You will ask yourself whether Emily and Freya really did meet by chance.

You will think you know what happened to Emily and her little girl the night they went missing.

But when you discover the truth, it will shake you to your core and you will lie awake at night wondering if you can ever really trust the people in the house next door…

Review

Jack and his fiancee, Freya have moved to Sunningdale Road to Weybridge, a London suburb. They move to a house, which should have been wonderful. A new home also brings new neighbours to get to know. These are Emily and Michael and their daughter Thea. There is also Cathy to meet, along the way. Things seem like they could be okay, even though Emily and Michael’s relationship have strains within it due to bereavement of a miscarriage, which Emily are trying to talk through with therapist, Laurence.
There is also control within relationships and delusion that are some of the other meaty themes dealt with in the threads of the book.

 Emily and Thea go missing and the search, reported on the news, is on. As time goes on, the mystery to the disappearance of them deepens, and also feels more sinister and at times, spine-tinglingly so. The quiet intensity also builds, that wraps around this psychological thriller that keeps you guessing to the end and leave you thinking about it for a while after, since what seems like a nice neighbourhood has darkness within it.

On another note, this book may be also good for book clubs as it holds plenty to discuss within the themes raised and character behaviours.

Read to the very end and find an author’s note about the themes dealt with in this book and holds an important message for readers.

This is the author’s first standalone novel. He is known more for writing series and it absolutely does not disappoint!

 

#BookReview by Lou – The Lies We Tell by Jane Corry @JaneCorryAuthor @PenguinRandom @wordadventures #PsychologicalThriller #DomesticNoir #TheLiesWeTell

The Lies We Tell
By Jane Corry

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Lies We Tell is a great domestic noir of a psychological thriller that you will watch play out. Find out more in the synopsis and my review. Thanks first of all to Adventures With Words for inviting me to the blog tour to review and to Penguin for gifting me the book.

Synopsis

The Lies We Tell Cover‘Everything I love in a book’ LISA JEWELL
‘Leaves you asking – what would I do? Jane Corry’s best yet’ BA PARIS

Sarah always thought of herself and her husband, Tom, as good people. But that was before their son Freddy came home saying he’d done something terrible. Begging them not to tell the police.

Soon Sarah and Tom must find out just how far they are willing to push themselves, and their marriage, to protect their only child . . .

As the lies build up and Sarah is presented with the perfect opportunity to get Freddy off the hook, she is faced with a terrifying decision . . .

Save her son . . . or save herself?

Review

Oscillating chapters between Sarah and Tom, you get a sense of both perspectives on the thought-provoking thriller that plays out.
It questions, what would you do if someone in your family had done something so terrible, so illegal?

The differences in how Tom and Sarah are striking and it shows how funny love can be sometimes and how opposites can attract. Tom is stricter than Sarah’s more relaxed approach and this sometimes puts a strain on their relationship and even more so, now their son, Freddy, has gone off the rails somewhat and committed a terrible crime…. but there’s more and the lies that build started before Freddy. It seems if you need an ace liar, Sarah is you woman. This is far from a cosy, perfect family that happens to have a son who did something terrible, even his parents, especially Sarah had been in on the wrong side of the law before. As you read lies, you also discover truth about this rather messed up family, with the parents being relationship to each other, practically at crisis point. It is such an interesting read of this whole family set-up, where you think it will be in one direction, but goes in quite another. It’s interesting to see the formation of the different personalities and parenting traits quickly come out. It creates quite an atmosphere and one that holds tight to the end.

There is a sinister edge that grows in the book, that leads you to feel it more and see Tom’s distrust of his wife grow. It is, although a psychological thriller, very much and perhaps a bit more so, a domestic noir/ family drama feel, that is full of cause and effect and choices to make.

It is an intriguing read to find out how it all ends, with wayward attitudes and actions. There’s a bit of a change when Freddie reveals what it is that he’s done and Sarah’s more relaxed style is given quite a jolt. This works well as you can see the sobering of her style appears… for a bit. What happens next as things progress, brings a bit of a different feel and it all intensifies, until the end. At the end, it sort of has you linger, wondering just what you might do, if faced in a similar situation.

The Lies We Tell BlogTour1

Check this #CoverReveal for The Things I Want To Say But Can’t By Carla Christian #CarlaChristian @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #Fiction #ComingSoon

The Things I Want To Say But Can’t
By Carla Christian

The Things I Want To Say But Can't (1)

Today I am on the blog tour to show the cover and some content for the fictional book –The Things I Want To Say By Can’t by Carla Christian. It sounds fascinating. I will then, on the 2nd September, present my review. In the mean-time check out the cover, blurb and about the author. The cover looks so evocative with a face showing through the butterfly. There are also some emotive pictures of the author, taken in Stockholm and Copenhagen when she was there. She resides in the UK, as you can discover below…
I thank Carla Christian and Love Books Tours for inviting me and providing the content.

What I Want to Say Cover

 

Blurb

‘A lifetime of endings, a million goodbyes. None of them right. It’s funny what you remember when you’ve got nothing else to think about. All those things you should’ve said while you had the chance. You never learned, did you? You never, ever learned.’

Belle has a habit of losing things. Her friends. Her lovers. Her mind.

Everything ends eventually, or at least that’s what life has taught her. But what if everything she lost came back again? What if she got a chance to finally have her say? To face her past. To put things right.

Second chances aren’t easy when memories are all you have. So, when Belle invites the nightmares of her past back in, is she willing to deal with the consequences? Because maybe, just maybe, this time she’s getting what she deserves.

About the Author

Carla Christian lives in the Lake District in the North of England. A busy working mum of two teenagers, she has a passion for writing, art and travel, and these interests have been a part of her for as long as she can remember. 

Constantly inspired by both the good and the bad in the world around her, she spends much of her time creating in one way or another; be it painting canvases for the blank walls of her new home, sketching pictures to capture memories of the many travel adventures she’s been lucky enough to go on, baking fantastical cakes with her daughter, or writing endless beginnings to a million unfinished stories.

The Things I Want To Say But Can’t is her first novel.

Review of #MustRead – Before I Say I Do by Vicki Bradley @vbradleywriter @simonschusterUK #RandomThingsTours #CrimeFiction #Thriller #MustRead #Reviews

Before I Say I Do
By Vikki Bradley
Rated: 5 Stars *****

I am so delighted and happy to be on this blog tour for Before I Say I Do. I am so thrilled to be able to share this treat of a book with you. You’re in for a book that is addictive to read, a book that twists one way and then another, a book where the bride is far from your average woman about to be married and has dark, dark secrets. They are the darkest secrets and just who is the bride really and where is her groom? This is a psychological thriller that you will see time runaway from you as you read and you may well just have a need to discover the answers. It’s a great book for your tbr pile (to be read pile)  Read on to discover the blurb and my full review…

It is also with thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the blog tour and to the publisher Simon Schuster for supplying me with a print/physical copy of the book.

About the Author

Before I Say I Do Vicki Bradley Author PicVicki Bradley is a detective constable in the Metropolitan Police Service. She
has had a varied career, as a uniformed response driver in Brent and then as a detective Constable in Southwark CID. She has managed High Risk Sex Offenders and worked on the Serious Organised Crime Command. She is currently on a 5-year career break to focus on her writing. Vicki completed a Creative Writing MA at City University in 2016. Before I Say I Do won the Write Here, Right Now competition, came 3rd in the First Novel Prize and has been shortlisted for the Virago New Crime Writer 2017 and Peters Fraser and Dunlop Prize 2016. She enjoys travelling the world and climbing
mountains. Vicki lives in London with her husband.

Before I Say I Do Cover

Blurb

Winner of the inaugural Write here, Right Now Prize 2018, in partnership with the
Bradford Literature Festival.

Her dream wedding is about to become her worst nightmare Julia is nervous and it’s not just because she’s about to get married. There’s a lot that her soonto-be husband, Mark, doesn’t know – and she is determined to keep it that way.
As she walks down the aisle, spotting Mark is his tailored suit, she knows she is taking her first steps to happiness- her past can’t catch her now. He turns to face her…
But it isn’t Mark in the beautiful suit – it’s his best man. Because Mark is missing.
And Julia’s past is closer than she thinks.

Before I Say I Do Cover

Review

Firstly the by-line To Have, To Hold, To Hurt, sets this thriller up so well, as does the stunning cover. Like a bride with her groom, I am in the clutches of the book from the first page. The book joins readers up with Julie Talbot on her wedding day to Mark along with best friend and bridesmaid – Lucy Webb. From as early as the first chapter the intrigue heightens and you know there’s something in Julie’s past and there is one sentence, about wondering if the registrar knows something, that hooks you in even more. It is by far a normal wedding day, not with a missing groom, who Alana Loxton, recently demoted MIT officer to CID officer, is on the case to discover what happened, along with DC Dominik Kowalski. This is a fast-paced book that goes wonderfully between the bride and her feelings and  the investigation into Mark’s mysterious disappearance as CID search for clues as to what may have happened, until the two collide and her past catches up with her. The writing is excellent, from the emotions to the detailing of what is going on. Before you know it, you’ve reached page 100 and just keep reading as someone from the past turns up.
The book also goes a bit into forensics, which is good. It all gives a full picture to the investigation.

The tension ramps up as the story progresses, as does the murkiness of Julia’s past and who she used to be associated with. I won’t spoil it for you as to what her past actually entails as it is part of the crux of this story, which twists one way and then another. The bride – Julia Talbot, as readers will discover is not exactly your average bride as more dark, dark secrets come into the forefront as you will discover as you read it and also discover more about Johnathon Cane and where he fits into her past as it all get more and more sinister. The senetence structure to build the tension works so well. To put the book down is like when something is so hot, it sticks to your skin and hard to release. This book is hard to put down. The climax is quite something to behold and will leave you sighing with relief from the tension when you’re done.

This is such a great book, a must read book even, from this debut novelist, that will have you clutching onto it, tight, until it finishes, like an ordinary bride would with her groom.

Before I Say I Do BT Poster

The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman @CharityNorman1 @AllenAndUnwin #TheSecretsofStrangers #RandomThingsTours #Thriller #CrimeFiction #BlogTour #Review #MustRead

The Secrets of Strangers
by Charity Norman
Rated: 5 stars *****

Tense, compelling, touching, The Secret of Strangers is an excellent read. I can well see why the author has made it to the Radio 2 Bookclub and with a previous book – The Richard and Judy Bookclub. It is with thanks to the publisher Allen & Unwin that I have the great opportunity for reviewing The Secrets of Strangers – a stand-alone novel. It’s a Must Read thriller set in a cafe and one, I am ecstatic to share with you as a tale of one gunman and three hostages unfolds. I loved this book so, so much!!! Read on for more info and my full review, that I’ve approached from a slightly different angle this time of writing it.

About the Author

The Secret of Strangers Charity Norman Author PicCharity Norman was born in Uganda and brought up in successive draughty vicarages in Yorkshire and Birmingham. After several years’ travel she became a barrister, specialising in crime and family law. In 2002, realising that her three children had barely met her, she took a break from the law and moved with her family to New Zealand. THE SECRETS OF STRANGERS is her sixth novel.

 

Secrets of Strangers Cover

Blurb

A regular weekday morning veers drastically off-course for five strangers whose paths cross in a London café – their lives never to be the same again when an apparently crazed gunman holds them hostage.

But there is more to the situation than first meets the eye and as the captives grapple with their own inner demons, the line between right and wrong starts to blur. Will the secrets they keep stop them from escaping with their lives?

Another tense, multi-dimensional drama from the writer of the Richard & Judy bestseller After the Fall.

Review

This book is absolutely terrific and so unputdownable. Sleep eluded me. I didn’t want to get to the end because I seriously didn’t want to have to leave this book and yet I really, really needed to see how it would all end. It was seriously that good and it’s a book I imagine I will read again someday. I was pulled into this book gripping book within the first few pages and time knew no bounds as it ticked on by as the pages turned ever so easily from one to the next, never stopping to look at a clock.

Told through 6 main characters – Abi, Eliza, Mutesi, Sam, Neil, Rosie as they more or less take on the chapters, this is a captivating book which is incredibly well-written and the more I read, the more I want to keep going through the intensity of what is ultimately an eloquently told story within the premise of a hostage situation in a cafe. This is a story of the time of being taken hostage and the very human story surrounding this and how people get to know each other a little more and about the secrets they have.

Meet the characters:

Neil is quickly established as being homeless, but used to work for a company making medical equipment. He used to be a teacher prior to being made homeless and has quite a story to tell.

Abi works as a barrister and has worked on many cases. She has also been struggling to conceive, even with IVF with Charlie. It’s emotive.

Mutesi cleans in the church – St. Judes and is a nurse in a carehome and you wonder what more there is to her, which is discovered in the book.

Eliza works for the MET in the serious crime unit and is also a hostage negotiator. She has a family – a teenage son and a husband – Richard who is self-employed. It was all love at first sight, whilst travelling on a train on the beautiful East Coast Railway. A line I have travelled often on, as has many people. She has quite a role to play as is involved in negotations.

Sam at 8 years old, helps around his parent’s farm and is keen to be a farmer and less keen on school, where he gets support for his dyslexia. I do love how his dad likes when the school is on summer holidays and comes across as having a terrific attitude to them. This is until tragedy strikes. Everything changed! Psychologically everything changed. There is a powerful theme within that, handled sensitively and so well as destruction ensues. More secrets come out and there’s some cause and effect that is presented in the story. There’s some sinister goings on with him being manipulated for years. It is interesting to see how and why he ends up where he is as an adult.

Rosie – despises her dad- until she really needs his help that is and is interesting how that unfolds

The rest of my thoughts on what is an exceptional book

There’s a lovely sounding cafe called Tuckbox, whose usual hustle and bustle is disturbed one day when a gun man walks in and the atmosphere rapidly changes and there’s a real sense of urgency in the writing as circumstances change.

 The tension that builds is just phenomenal, as is the clarity of writing and that with the music references that are scattered throughout works so well together.
What else that is is so great about reading this book, is it is so easy to follow because it flows so well from character to character. The book really is like looking into The Tuckshop Cafe and seeing exactly where each character is and what’s happening in each of their lives at every step of the hostage situation they find themselves in.

You feel the anguish of each person as the hostage situation builds and also at times, an almost claustrophobic atmosphere as they try and find hiding places to keep safe. Also as tension builds up, so do the characters as readers get a deeper insight into their lives.

There’s the sense of danger and delicacy of negotiating the hostage taker, that is written so naturally and well.

What else can be said, except, this is an exceptional book that I highly recommend as a Must Read.

Do follow the rest of the tour too.

The Secrets of Strangers BT Poster

 

#Review of What’s Left of Me is Yours by Stephanie Scott @stephaniewscott @wnbooks #WhatsLeftOfMeIsYours #RandomThingsTours #PsychologicalThriller #BlogTour #Debut #CrimeFiction #Fiction #Mustread

What’s Left of Me is Yours
By Stephanie Scott
Rated: 4 Stars ****

 

This is a blog tour I was particularly interested in joining because it is a fictional piece, absolutely based on fact, on a newspaper article seen in the Times in 2010. It’s a story with a humanity about it, but is also a wonderfully presented psychological as it builds up the picture of what happened to Rina. With thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto her blog tour, and for the publisher for supplying a print/physical copy of this book, that I must say, has a beautiful, elegant cover that draws the eye in.
So today I present my review of the newly published book What’s Left of Me is Yours by Stephanie Scott. Please also find below, a short piece, that goes further into what inspired her to write this story. I’ve given it 4 stars, but it is so close to being 5 for me in my opinion.

Whats Left of Me is Yours BT Poster.png

 

stephanie scott is a Singaporean-British writer who was born and raised in South East Asia. She read English Literature at the Universities of York and Cambridge and holds an M.St in Creative Writing from Oxford University.
She was awarded a British Association of Japanese Studies Toshiba Studentship for her anthropological work on WHAT’S LEFT OF ME IS YOURS and has been made a member of the British Japanese Law Association as a result of her research.
She has won the A.M. Heath Prize, the Jerwood Arvon Prize for Prose Fiction, and runner up in the Bridport Prize Peggy Chapman-Andrews First Novel Award for an early draft of the manuscript.

Blurb

A gripping debut set in the Japanese marriage break-up industry and inspired by a true crime, from award-winning debut novelist Stephanie Scott.
Within the Tokyo underworld there is an industry which exists to break up marriages. It is known today as wakaresaseya – agents who, for a fee, can be hired by one spouse to seduce the other and provide grounds for divorce on favourable terms.
When Satō hires Kaitarō, a wakaresaseya agent, to have an affair with his wife, Rina, he assumes it will be an easy case. But Satō has never truly understood Rina or her desires and Kaitarō’s job is to do exactly that–until he does it too well. While Rina remains ignorant of the circumstances that brought them together, she and Kaitarō fall in a desperate, singular love, setting in motion a series of violent acts that will forever haunt her daughter’s life.
As Rina’s daughter, Sumiko, fills in the gaps of her mother’s story and her own memory, Scott probes the thorny psychological and moral grounds of the actions we take in the name of love, asking where we draw the line between passion and possession.

“A Beautiful Debut” says Louise Doughty on the cover (author of the very successful Apple Tree Yard and other novels).

What's Left Of Me - Cover

Review

Firstly, let’s start with that cover, so beautiful, so full of curiosities and elegant. This book is eloquently written as it takes readers into the landscape of Japan and sensitively forms a story that inspired by reality, but is a work of fiction. 

This a psychological that asks just where is the line drawn between healthy love and unhealthy possession. It shows the blurring of those lines through a few points of views and how this can lead up to such tragic consequences. It’s also a story of an actual, shocking industry that exists to break up marriages. It’s quite a hidden underworld I had no knowledge of, until I read this. The book sometimes also reads like it could be real with police incident reports also included, throughout as the story unfolds. I feel they play an important part to the narrative.

Kaitaro wants Rina (Sarashima’s mother) to return to photography and even buys her an expensive camera and already, near the beginning you can see a little bit of tension. Then readers will meet Shamiko, entering a legal career at the bar in Tokyo.
This is essentially a book in search of truth. The truth of what happened to Ms Sarashima’s mother and her determination to seek it as she speaks to people who may have worked on the original case within the justice system in the courthouse.

Some of what occurs is especially chilling within this mysterious story, that looks like has been well researched as it shows off some, perhaps lesser known parts of Japanese culture.

The book is a rich tapestry as it shows through a few characters eyes what happened. Within that, it also shows Rina’s life first hand and how she met Kaitaro and the seeming, romance of it all and how she sadly met her demise. 

There is mostly a satisfying enough conclusion as facts are discovered and lives move onwards. It is definitely one I am pleased is at least as interesting and good as I had hoped. It was a book that had a premise that captured my attention as soon as I had heard about it and on the whole, it held my attention. All in all, this is a very good debut novel, that is worth investing time in.

 

The Inspiration

‘In 2010 I read an article in The Times on a murder case in Tokyo where a marriage break-up agent had strangled his lover when she discovered his true profession and threatened to leave him. The agent was arrested at the scene and swiftly confessed, but as he was speaking to police detectives he said “I loved her. I love her still.” And it was this, the humanity of the original story which drew me. The agent claimed that he had felt trapped by all the lies he had told his target over the course of their relationship, but that he had truly come to love her, that he could not live without her. I was just newly married at the time and I wondered if what he had said was true – could you truly love someone and kill them?’