#BookReview by Lou A Narrow Door by Joanne Harris @Joannechocolat @alexxlayt @orionbooks #JoanneHarris #Thriller #Fiction #BookRecommendation

A Narrow Door
By Joanne Harris

Rating: 5 out of 5.

There are huge changes at St. Oswalds and I am priveleged to be able to read and review it. There’s the anticipation of reading it, but also wondering, after reading so many books by her, even pre-blog, would I like it? Would I think other readers would like it? It’s a resounding yes from me. Even after however long it has been since the last book in this series – A Different Class, it is great to be back at St. Oswalds to see how this thriller continues in this latest book –
A Narrow Door
.
Thanks very much to Alex Layt at Orion Books for allowing me to review and for gifting me a proof copy and a bag of Liquorice Allsorts.
Please find out more in the blurb and the rest of my review below…
*My review is unbiased.

A Narrow Door

Blurb

Now I’m in charge, the gates are my gates. The rules are my rules.

It’s an incendiary moment for St Oswald’s school. For the first time in its history, a headmistress is in power, the gates opening to girls.

Rebecca Buckfast has spilled blood to reach this position. Barely forty, she is just starting to reap the harvest of her ambition. As the new regime takes on the old guard, the ground shifts. And with it, the remains of a body are discovered.

But Rebecca is here to make her mark. She’ll bury the past so deep it will evade even her own memory, just like she has done before. After all…

You can’t keep a good woman down.

Review

A Narrow DoorStep through A Narrow Door with all its symbolism and connotations, and a lot awaits…
The book is split into 8 parts, plus a preface and epilogue. Each part is named after something in Greek Mythology and written in English underneath. It’s eyecatching, as you’d think it is, but even more so because of this as it’s different. The narrative here and throughout is strong and compulsive. Hours disappeared into the midst of time whilst reading this book.

No longer is St. Oswalds an all boys grammar school. It is now an academy with a female headmaster at the helm and females can now enter and be educated there with the boys.

This is an absolutely powerful book, even from the preface. Mr Straitley is still around as are a few other staff as are some of the group of boys known as “Brodie Boys”.
The future and the past merges together with old school ties and her new start and then a body is discovered adding an air of mystery to the changes in the school life with the rise of a Rebecca Buckfast.
Merged into the story, that has its mystery, there are also themes of strong females, how they are perceived and some of the myths. It does this very quickly and starkly in the preface, especially. It is written in the most fantastic, mature and knowledgeable way and also leads very well into the rest of, what turns out to be a twisty and compelling, involving complex thriller.

The writing; the air that it brings is powerful and absolutely all encompassing. It demands and captures attention from the beginning. It doesn’t let go. It seeps into your mind and all your senses in one way or another. It puts readers right back to the heart of St. Oswalds, an all boys school that exudes a certain stature and power, but one that wasn’t without its issues. Now the school is changing, catching up with the times.

This is absolutely marvellous writing throughout and the book is pretty hard to put down.
The years go between 1989 and 2006, showing what became tradition and what the school’s future holds as co-education begins as an academy with a female headmaster – Rebecca Buckfast (yes, headmaster and not headmistress. This isn’t a typo), at the helm and she is not to be underestimated. There’s a determination, a resilience in the school and the new headmaster is on a mission! Roy Straitley has a strong view on women and she is set to try and change that. She doesn’t want to let anything get in her way, not even the matter of a body.

Rebecca Buckfast isn’t, however, without her own personal things to deal with. Conrad, her brother, went missing years ago, there’s also the heartbreak and the hope of her parents that she still needs to contend with. There’s some great twists and turns where Conrad is concerned. He had gone to King Henry’s Grammar School for Boys, not St. Oswalds. So, now Rebecca has ties with both and a fight on her hands with both schools.
Roy Straitley has also further troubles with a past friendship involving Eric Scoones.

There are also licquorice Allsorts. Those of you who have read the other books in this series will know what I am talking about. They are now all duly eaten. They aren’t just a sweet, according to the story, they are a way to tell people’s personalities. Aside from that, and including this, it is a very thought-provoking right to the fantastic and very fitting end.

I highly recommend A Narrow Door.

 

Advertisement

#Extract of Extreme Prejudice By Gordon Bickerstaff @GFBickerstaff @ZooloosBT #Espionage #Thriller #BlogTour

Extreme Prejudice
By Gordon Bickerstaff

Today I am on the blog tour for Extreme Prejudice and have a little bit to whet your appetite for the espionage thriller. So, follow down to the blurb and then an extract from the book.

A foreign embassy official warns the UK government of a bomb attack on London. Zoe Tampsin’s Lambeth Group team is launched into a race against time to find the terrorists.
​​​​​
As Zoe unpicks the details, she suspects the informant didn’t tell her the whole story. With time running out, her team chase a promising lead only to have it wrenched from their grasp
Either the bombers were incredibly lucky​​​​​, or they received a tip-off.

One of her team infiltrates the bombers. She discovers the attack has started, and her colleague Gavin Shawlens is missing, presumed killed by the terrorists.

While searching for Gavin, a massive disaster unfolds.

Can Zoe stop colossal loss of life in a small community and prevent the collapse of a key pillar of society.

Extract

Carver emptied a bottle of water over Liam’s mouth. He woke, coughing, spluttering, and spitting. Liam discovered his hands and feet were bound, and he lay on his back on the floor of his camper van. Carver towered over him.

He looked all around. ‘Where are Kacey and Jeff?’

Carver said, ‘We have questions and we’ll do them separately, then compare the answers.’

‘What questions?’

Carver pulled a stool and sat beside Liam. ‘You know how this works. I ask you the same questions as Peaty asks Kacey. Every lie you tell me will be punished.’

Around Liam’s bare left arm, Carver fitted a band like a blood pressure cuff, except this one had red and blue wires leading to a black box.

‘Who do you work for?’

Liam peered anxiously at the band on his arm. ‘I’m a driver for Consolidated Northern News Corporation.’

‘Does Kacey and Jeff work for you?’

‘They are freelancers. They contact an editor and outline the scope and likely outcome of a proposed investigation. If agreement is reached, the paper will provide expenses and some support such as a driver. That would be me.’

‘Doing well, Liam. What was the outline that your paper agreed?’

‘Documented and verified exposé of medical deception and fraud by Cartwright’s company New Lifestyle and Destiny, operating out of Serennity House. Kacey is following up a raft of complaints already on file.’

Carver looked up and down the camper. ‘I’ve rummaged around your van. No-one was living here. Where did Kacey go went she went home after her shift?’

‘We rent a cottage.’

‘Where?’

‘Howwood. The address is on an invoice in my wallet.’

Carver smiled. ‘Good. Keep this up and you’ll be home free without a mark on you. What about side issues?’

‘What?’

‘Teenage boys attending a prayer group What did she get out of them?’

Liam’s face paled, and he showed the whites of his eyeballs. ‘Look. I wasn’t there. I stayed here. I don’t know about the stuff with the boys.’

Liam didn’t lie well under pressure. Not even an average liar. He transported people and documents, and didn’t need lies or deception while driving.

Carver lifted the black box similar to a TV remote control. He pressed a few buttons to activate the arm cuff. ‘This will jog your memory.’

He pressed a red button to send a single high voltage, low current charge through Liam’s arm.

Liam screamed and his whole body shuddered.

Carver leaned closer to Liam’s face. ‘That’s setting one. Next lie will move to setting four. Setting 12 will stop your heart.’

Carver examined Liam’s phone. ‘Your phone shows she called you twelve times over the week. Does she have a fetish for grubby old tossers in seedy vans? Or did she tell you about her progress?’

Liam struggled to say the words. ‘Part of the agreement. I receive progress reports to keep the editor in the loop.’

Carver smiled. ‘Now we’re getting somewhere.’

‘What did she tell you, and what did you pass on to the editor?’

‘Cartwright is—aagh!’ Liam squealed as another charge seared through his body, setting his nerves on fire.

A faint smell of burning hair drifted out from the cuff on Liam’s arm. One side of his trousers became soaked with urine. In a few minutes, the smell of urine would overcome the smell of burning.

Carver said, ‘I don’t have all day. I’ve cranked the setting to six. The next shock will do some internal damage to your organs. Think before you answer. I’m not interested in Cartwright.’

Perspiration ran down Liam’s face and his voice cracked with an edgy tone. ‘She met a group of boys from a prayer group.’

‘Correct. What did they tell her?’

‘She said one boy was upset because he was made to watch other boys attack an unbeliever. Kacey comforted him and he confided in her. He told her about clients being blackmailed. A lot of people have been blackmailed.’

‘Much better, Liam. The boy’s name?’

‘Peyman… I think. Pay-something. I don’t remember exactly.’

‘What did Peyman tell Kacey about the attack?’

‘I don’t know. She was going to give me the story after we left Lochwinnoch.’

‘What did you pass on to the newspaper?’

‘Nothing. I told them the story was coming later today, and as soon as Kacey told me I would pass it on to the editor.’

Carver held the remote in one hand. The fingers of his other hand hovering over the keypad. ‘Think carefully. Did you pass anything the boy told her to the paper?’

‘What the boy told her is in a video they captured today. I haven’t seen it so I have nothing to report.’

‘What about names? Did Kacey mention names to you?’

‘Only his first name, Peyman. The paper told me they wanted the name of the boy and his father. I told Kacey the paper wanted names—we need full names. It happened this afternoon. That’s as far as we got.’

‘My boss needs to know if his name will appear in the paper. Did Kacey name him?’

‘No. The only name she’s got is Cartwright.’

Carver knew he heard the truth and put the remote on the floor. ‘That wasn’t too bad.’

He climbed out of the camper to make his report to Omar.

#BookReview of amazing 5 star book – The Things I Want To Say But Can’t By Carla Christian @Carla_C_Author @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours

The Things I Want To Say But Can’t
By Carla Christian
Rated: 5 Stars *****

Not so long ago I revealed the cover for The Things I Want To Say But Can’t. Now I have the priviledge of sharing my review of its contents. Readers are in for a treat! This is a debut novel, but it feels like this author has been writing for years. This book seriously reads like there have been many books under her belt, even though there is not. It’s seriously impressive and hard to put down.

One emotional journey of life! That’s what this story is. It’ll grab you and hold you so you can’t let it go and will stay with you for a bit longer as you come to terms with what just happened. I don’t think readers will be disappointed. I certainly was not.
In the acknowledgements, Carla Christian credits being inspired by One Day by David Nicholls. It’s certainly almost as good as that, but with a bigger intensity. Both One Day and The Things I Want To Say But Can’t, hook you into characters lives, but different genres. Then there is “You” in the story…
I thank Love Books Tours for inviting me on the blogtour to review. I thank Carla Christian for signing the book and for Lets Get Booked for sending it. Please note this has no bearing on what I have rated or written in the review. I have based it on its own merits. 

Find out more below in the blurb and my review.

About The Author

CopenhaganMe (1) (2)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.

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.

What I Want to Say Cover

Review

Sharp, cutting and moving from the start, this tells the story of Isobel’s life. It’s definitely one powerful story that Carla Christian has written. The pain is striking! The sense of real emotion is written with a light touch and yet so excellently observed. It starts at a funeral to a new love and beyond. The pain is physical, psychological, emotional. It’s uncanny how recognisable it is, right to every nuance. I, who rarely cries, wants to, but doesn’t, and instead, I carry on in amazement at the writing, wanting to know more as it’s off-set with some joyous moments before turning a deep, dark corner. It’s quite extraordinary and incredibly enthralling and good!

There’s a new potential lover who comes onto the scene in a bar. She can’t take her eyes off this person. I can’t take my eyes off the words leaping off the page as the intensity increases. This is clever. The writing remains taught, even when Isobel is recalling compliments. Everything becomes heightened. What if her lover – referred to as You, discovers too much about her?

Butterflies do come into it when Isobel comes across Amy. She has a jar full of caterpillars because she wants to see them turn into butterflies. It’s sweet and innocent, mostly. Do take note of the dates as there are some that go back to the time of childhood. It works incredibly well in telling a bit of back story, which eases off the tension a little, before ramping it up again in Isobel’s adult life, especially with “You”.

The contrast between the beauty and vividness of butterflies and the darker edges of human life is stark and paints a picture itself. One that twists to some dark places of human behaviour and the cruelty that can occur in life that can creep up and subtly build and build, before you know what’s going on. It makes for a fascinating read of cause and effect and how the past is often still there and how it can mould, shape and transform life.

Interestingly, readers can, in part 2 of the book, see what happened before “You”, when there was the relationship with Matthew, which is when life begins to slide. Then there is the third and part of what happens after “You” and things change again, with so much to face and overcome. The fourth part is The End that is shocking! Brilliantly written, but shocking, not for art’s sake of creating a crescendo, but because it is fitting with the story.

Those caterpillars, earlier, in the jar, waiting to be beautiful, elegant butterflies becomes more and more nuanced in adult life. What seemed innocent in childhood, becomes less so later on, I realise as my mind casts back and then to the current pages, as it becomes more apparent that there’s a lot more than the lust of earlier, it turns into something ugly and would make anyone wonder if she’s always going to be trapped like those caterpillars or if there will she be able to fly away, like the butterflies?
Read this amazing book to find out if she, like the caterpillar, can transform?

Buy Link  Amazon

#BookReview by Lou A Narrow Door by Joanne Harris @Joannechocolat @alexxlayt @orionbooks #JoanneHarris #Thriller #Fiction #BookRecommendation

A Narrow Door
By Joanne Harris

Rating: 5 out of 5.

There are huge changes at St. Oswalds and I am priveleged to be able to read and review it. There’s the anticipation of reading it, but also wondering, after reading so many books by her, even pre-blog, would I like it? Would I think other readers would like it? It’s a resounding yes from me. Even after however long it has been since the last book in this series – A Different Class, it is great to be back at St. Oswalds to see how this thriller continues in this latest book – A Narrow Door.
Thanks very much to Alex Layt at Orion Books for allowing me to review and for gifting me a proof copy and a bag of Liquorice Allsorts.
Please find out more in the blurb and the rest of my review below…
*My review is unbiased.

A Narrow Door

Blurb

Now I’m in charge, the gates are my gates. The rules are my rules.

It’s an incendiary moment for St Oswald’s school. For the first time in its history, a headmistress is in power, the gates opening to girls.

Rebecca Buckfast has spilled blood to reach this position. Barely forty, she is just starting to reap the harvest of her ambition. As the new regime takes on the old guard, the ground shifts. And with it, the remains of a body are discovered.

But Rebecca is here to make her mark. She’ll bury the past so deep it will evade even her own memory, just like she has done before. After all…

You can’t keep a good woman down.

Review

A Narrow DoorStep through A Narrow Door with all its symbolism and connotations, and a lot awaits…
The book is split into 8 parts, plus a preface and epilogue. Each part is named after something in Greek Mythology and written in English underneath. It’s eyecatching, as you’d think it is, but even more so because of this as it’s different. The narrative here and throughout is strong and compulsive. Hours disappeared into the midst of time whilst reading this book.

No longer is St. Oswalds an all boys grammar school. It is now an academy with a female headmaster at the helm and females can now enter and be educated there with the boys.

This is an absolutely powerful book, even from the preface. Mr Straitley is still around as are a few other staff as are some of the group of boys known as “Brodie Boys”.
The future and the past merges together with old school ties and her new start and then a body is discovered adding an air of mystery to the changes in the school life with the rise of a Rebecca Buckfast.
Merged into the story, that has its mystery, there are also themes of strong females, how they are perceived and some of the myths. It does this very quickly and starkly in the preface, especially. It is written in the most fantastic, mature and knowledgeable way and also leads very well into the rest of, what turns out to be a twisty and compelling, involving complex thriller.

The writing; the air that it brings is powerful and absolutely all encompassing. It demands and captures attention from the beginning. It doesn’t let go. It seeps into your mind and all your senses in one way or another. It puts readers right back to the heart of St. Oswalds, an all boys school that exudes a certain stature and power, but one that wasn’t without its issues. Now the school is changing, catching up with the times.

This is absolutely marvellous writing throughout and the book is pretty hard to put down.
The years go between 1989 and 2006, showing what became tradition and what the school’s future holds as co-education begins as an academy with a female headmaster – Rebecca Buckfast (yes, headmaster and not headmistress. This isn’t a typo), at the helm and she is not to be underestimated. There’s a determination, a resilience in the school and the new headmaster is on a mission! Roy Straitley has a strong view on women and she is set to try and change that. She doesn’t want to let anything get in her way, not even the matter of a body.

Rebecca Buckfast isn’t, however, without her own personal things to deal with. Conrad, her brother, went missing years ago, there’s also the heartbreak and the hope of her parents that she still needs to contend with. There’s some great twists and turns where Conrad is concerned. He had gone to King Henry’s Grammar School for Boys, not St. Oswalds. So, now Rebecca has ties with both and a fight on her hands with both schools.
Roy Straitley has also further troubles with a past friendship involving Eric Scoones.

There are also licquorice Allsorts. Those of you who have read the other books in this series will know what I am talking about. They are now all duly eaten. They aren’t just a sweet, according to the story, they are a way to tell people’s personalities. Aside from that, and including this, it is a very thought-provoking right to the fantastic and very fitting end.

I highly recommend A Narrow Door.

 

#CoverReveal of #Thriller – The Open House By Sam Carrington @sam_carrington1 @ElliePilcher95 @AvonBooksUK @HarperCollinsUK

The Open House
By Sam Carrington

The Open House Cover Reveal

Today is very exciting! I have been invited to be part of the Cover Reveal for The Open House – By Sam Carrington and what a triumph this cover is. It’s evocative and check out that door! (pic below) It looks so welcoming, but then read that wording “Your home is for sale. Thirteen people will go inside. Only twelve leave.” it soon changes to being mysterious and spine-tingling. At first glance at the book, it’s a door you will want to bravely open, with its contents that bravely urges to read more because who can’t resist a snoop around an Open House event and get to know some gripping characters? This is a new book to watch out for, with its publishing date being 10th December, just in time for Christmas.
This is perfect for those bookish, thriller appetities. It’s a real treat!

Follow on down to the synopsis to find out a bit more of what it is all about.
I thank Ellie Pilcher from Avon Books for inviting me to be part of this and for an exclusive early look at the book.

The Open House Insta 1

Synopsis

Everyone’s welcome. But not everyone leaves…

Nick and Amber Miller are splitting up and selling their Devon family home. But despite the desirable location, the house isn’t moving. Not a single viewing so far.

When their estate agent suggests an open house event, Amber agrees, even as she worries about their gossiping neighbours attending and snooping around their home.

But Amber has more to worry about than nosy neighbours. Because thirteen people enter her house that afternoon, and only twelve leave.

Someone doesn’t want the house to sell, and is willing to do anything to stop it…

The Open House Cover Reveal

My Darling by Amanda Robson – An Enigmatic #PsychologicalThriller @AmandaRAuthor @SabahKhan @PhoebeMorgan @AvonBooks #CrimeFiction

My Darling
By Amanda Robson
Rated: 5 stars *****

The extremities of human behaviour, including a murder is shown in this psychological thriller that will play with you in its enigmatic, twisty way, and keep you guessing right to the end.
I thank Pheobe Morgan and Sabah Khan and everyone at Avon Books for accepting my request to review.

My Darling

Blurb

Thrilling, unputdownable – I was obsessed’ BA ParisThe brand-new domestic thriller from the #1 bestselling author of Obsession

A new couple moves in next door.
And nothing will ever be the same again…

I watched you move in and thought we might be friends.

I saw you watching from the window – and knew I’d have to keep you away from my husband.

I started to trust you. Confide in you.

I started to mistrust you. Suspect you.

I was confused when I blacked out after an evening at your place. Was I really that drunk?

I came up with a plan. A plan to make you both pay . . .

Sexy and sinister – this book will keep you up all night . . .

Review

Taking centre stage with chapters each to themselves are Emma, Jade and Alistair. Each is just a couple pages or so long. It does however, all marry-up together well.

The word “Clusterfuck” that crops up quite a bit in the book is worth a mention as it has an appealing quality. It does have relevance to the book in terms of a character. The dictionary definition is:  a complex and utterly disordered and mismanaged situation : a muddled mess.

Emma is a dentist who is together with Alistair who is a forensic scientist. Jade and Tomas move into a Victorian detached house – Fairlawns near the river in Henley-on-Thames, with what sounds like, the best of everything and seems materialistic and yet fitting for the house, that, from the minute the removal van pulls up and is starting to be emptied, the place will look sublime or a bit like a magazine set-up house. The real beginnings of an atmostphere you wouldn’t expect to find, starts at a dinner party. Looks can be deceptive though as there’s a visit to a psychiatrist’s office and either founded or unfounded insecurities start to emerge.

Heather Brown is Alistair’s ex-wife turns up with an urgency, and things take a more sinister twist. As events occur, the curiosity about just which of the characters are telling the truth about just about everything as it becomes a tale of smoke and mirrors. Lives are twisted. My Darling becomes to have so many connotations within those two words, that aren’t as innocent as they may first appear within memories and the present story, the behaviours presented and a murder.

This is a book that gripped and twisted almost as much as a Rubix Cube and I’m sure will keep many readers guessing to its shock ending.