books · Reading for Fun · summer reading

For my reading pleasure

It’s fair to say I read a lot of books, many as part of blog tours, but as a reader I also have a selection of books that I choose for my own reading pleasure.

Here’s a shortened version of my summer line up (in no particular order):

After Melanie

Can they start again, or will they lose one another forever? David and Judith’s fragile marriage is threatened by the sudden death of their beloved thirteen-year-old daughter, Melanie. As they struggle to cope with their loss, they confront bewildering challenges. But instead of turning to each other, they find comfort with others. David is drawn to Nancy, a colleague and single mother, and a survivor of her own personal tragedy, while Judith grows close to Jeffrey, a recently widowed physician whom she meets through her volunteer work at a thrift shop, itself the scene of multiple daily dramas. As their grief drives them further apart, does their future lie together ‘after Melanie’, or are they destined to lose one another for ever?

What She Saw

How far would you go to keep your daughter safe?

Everyone knows Leona would do anything for her daughter, Beth: she moved to Church Langdon to send Beth to the best school, built a business to support them and found the perfect little cottage to call home. They hike together, shop together, share their hopes and fears. It’s the relationship every mother dreams of.

But Leona never talks about why they moved to the Lake District.

She’s never told Beth anything about her father.

She says Beth should never speak to strangers. She says Beth doesn’t need friends.

She’s only trying to protect her daughter.

When Leona answers the phone one morning, her heart stops as she hears a voice from her past.

She’s given her daughter everything, but now she must tell her the truth. And once it’s out, can she keep her little girl safe?

What She Saw is a gripping psychological thriller with an incredible twist that will make your jaw drop. If you love The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl or Behind Closed Doors you’ll be consumed by this.

One Summer in Santorini

There was something in the air that night. . .

Sarah has had enough of men. It’s time to rekindle her first true love – travel – so she books a sailing trip around the Greek islands with a group of strangers.

The very last thing Sarah wants is to meet someone new… But then a gorgeous American man boards her yacht and she knows she’s in trouble. And when she also encounters a handsome silver fox who promises her the world, she realises that trouble really does come in twos.

Will Sarah dive into a holiday fling, embark on a relationship, or stick to her plan – steer clear of men, continue her love affair with feta, and find her own way after all?

The Doctor

How much do you know about the couple next door?

When Emily and Ben move in next door to Dr Burman and his wife Anita, they are keen to get to know their new neighbours. Outgoing and sociable, Emily tries to befriend the doctor’s wife, but Anita is strangely subdued, barely leaving the house, and terrified of answering the phone.

When Emily goes missing a few weeks later, Ben is plunged into a panic. His wife has left him a note, but can she really have abandoned him for another man? Or has Emily’s curiosity about the couple next door led her straight into danger?

Two Little Girls

An innocent girl is taken. The killer confesses.
But that’s not the whole story. That’s not even the beginning…

It’s 1985 and the disappearance of ten-year-old Lisa Cook shocks the nation. Her best friend, Kirsty, traumatised and fearful, gives evidence that helps to put the Cook family’s lodger behind bars.

…But what if Kirsty made a mistake?

Now, decades later, Kirsty leaves a life she loves to move back to the hometown she hates – tortured by her memories, she’s determined to finally uncover the truth about what happened to Lisa that day. But someone is waiting for her there, someone close to her family. Someone who is hoping to finish off a job that was started years ago…

Mom’s Perfect Boyfriend

A smart romantic comedy about mothers and daughters, and the hilarious consequences of a white lie.

Crystal has trouble saying no to her lonely, single mother. For 25 years, it wasn’t a problem. But when one small mistake leaves Crystal jilted, homeless and unemployed, she has to move back in with the one person who caused it all: her mother.

Soon Crystal is sucked into her mother’s vortex, partying with boomers and hawking misshapen marshmallows. Desperate for some independence, she hatches a foolproof plan: get an experimental android to play her mom’s “perfect” boyfriend. It’s only a matter of time before her mom finds out, and Crystal will never live down the hilarious and disastrous consequences.

It’s going to be one helluva summer.

What’s on your reading pleasure list?

As always,

book review · British · detective · historical · mystery · NetGalley

Book Review – Traitor’s Codex

Traitor’s Codex

by Jeri Westerson

Crispin Guest, Tracker of London, is enjoying his ale in the Boar’s Tusk tavern – until a stranger leaves a mysterious wrapped bundle on his table, telling him, “You’ll know what to do.”

Inside is an ancient leather-bound book written in an unrecognizable language.

Accompanied by his apprentice, Jack Tucker, Crispin takes the unknown codex to a hidden rabbi, where they make a shocking discovery: it is the Gospel of Judas from the Holy Land, and its contents challenge the very doctrine of Christianity itself.

Crispin is soon drawn into a deadly maze involving murder, living saints, and lethal henchmen.

Why was he given the blasphemous book, and what should he do with it?

A series of horrific events confirm his fears that there are powerful men who want it – and who will stop at nothing to see it destroyed.

My Review

Wow! Is that not the most intriguing blurb ever? That, and the very gorgeous cover, drew me in. And, it didn’t even matter that this was the twelfth book in a series, which just proves the quality of the writing.

The story takes place, for the most part, in late 14th century London. Crispin Guest, a former knight is now living in The Shambles with his apprentice Jack Tucker and Jack’s young family.

In his role as a tracker now (a detective in modern parlance), Crispin is used to handling odd cases, but not of the sort that is dropped on his table in the Boar’s Tusk Tavern. He takes the mysterious parcel home and unwraps it to find an old book written in a language he cannot decipher.

He seeks out those he hopes can identify the book and its language, and while he succeeds in that, the repercussions for those who aid him are fatal. Now he knows the book is a missing Gospel – the Judas Gospel – and one which the Catholic Church deems as “dangerous” and therefore must be destroyed. There are those amongst the shadows who wish to relieve him of the book, but they have seriously underestimated Crispin if they believe he will simply hand it over.

As Crispin endeavours to keep the book safe, in the hope of returning it to its rightful owner, other events – besides those intent on doing him harm if he holds on to the book – distract him. The three men who helped him out earlier are murdered, there’s an impostor posing as him and putting his reputation at risk, and he is drawn back into the court of King Richard II when the Queen dies. Having been banished years before, this move puts his life in danger but he cannot stay away.

With all this going on, the author still adds depth to Crispin’s life outside of his job. Firstly, with details of his lost love and the young son he cannot acknowledge, then with an insight into his past life at court and his bond with Lancaster, and finally with his acceptance of his current status and the role that Jack and his family play in bringing him peace and joy despite his less affluent lifestyle.

This story comes across as atmospheric and authentic in its historical setting, and compelling and intriguing as a mystery. Despite there being much of Crispin’s past that has been dealt with in previous books of the series, this can be read easily as a standalone story. That said, I am sorely tempted to delve into earlier books and learn more of Crispin’s fascinating history.

My thanks to NetGalley and Severn House Publishers for an advance copy in return for my honest review.

PS – as a bit of a word nerd, I can’t tell you how delighted I was to see the word “whence” used correctly 😉

Get your copy here, and enjoy!

As always,

book review · NetGalley · psychological suspense · thriller

Book Review – A Face in the Crowd

A Face in the Crowd

by Kerry Wilkinson

To be released 6th June 2019

Lucy gets the same bus every day.

She hopes to get a seat to herself, tries to avoid eye contact, and, if she’s really lucky, reads a chapter of her book.

But it’s a Friday – and the bus is always crammed at the end of the week. Personal space doesn’t exist. She keeps her elbows close and clings to a pole at every juddering stop.

When she gets off, something feels different.

An envelope stuffed with thousands of pounds is in her bag.

Is it the answer to her prayers, or the beginning of a nightmare?

Because, in the end, everything has a price.

A compulsive read that will have you absolutely hooked and reading late into the night.

What everyone’s saying about this book:

Wow this had me captivated! I could hardly put the book down … OMG that ending! … stunning … I had to get my breath back at the end!’ Bonnie’s Book Talk, 5 stars

WOW ABSOLUTELY WOW!!!! This is the most unputdownable book I’ve read in a very long time!!! …Loads of tense moments and twists and turns. And an ending you won’t see coming!!’ NetGalley Reviewer, 5 stars

OMG this book is so damn good… gripped from the very first page… I freaking loved it!… an utterly sensational page turner. I literally couldn’t put this book down and devoured it in one afternoon.’ Chelle’s Book Reviews

Oh my god what an amazing book. This is a real page turner…I was hooked from the first page and only putting this book down when I needed to…My husband has definitely become a book widower with this one.’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars

‘Cor! Kerry Wilkinson strikes again with this absolutely incredible page turner!’ Novel Deelights

OHHHHHH I just love a Kerry Wilkinson book… This book really is one of those page turners… It’s one of those books that as much as you try to figure things out, you just have no damn clue which way it is going. Brilliantly, cleverly written…First class, but I really didn’t expect anything else from this authorBLOODY LOVED IT!!!!!’ NetGalley Reviewer, 5 stars

‘A suspenseful thriller with a lot of emotional trauma…here are secrets and twists which bring out hidden family dramas and deceptions. Very well written and interesting! Let’s Escape with a Good Book, 5 stars

Another phenomenal book by this author…A lot of twists and turns. I didn’t want this book to end. I was not expecting the ending that was delivered. Such a good book!’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars

‘A real page turner…Hooks the reader in from the first page. The storyline is so good and believable…It’s a rollercoaster ride right through to the end and believe me I did not expect that ending!…A word of warning though! Do not read it in one sitting which is so easy to do. You will be left longing for more!’ NetGalley Reviewer, 5 stars

‘This book had me at the first page…As with Kerry’s other books you don’t know ‘who done it’ until the end.

My Review

4/5 stars

Lucy and Ben seem like a happy, successful couple. But beneath the surface, cracks are already appearing.

Ben wants to buy Lucy the perfect house – one she commented on once upon a time – and now he’s talking about stables for a horse based on a tale she told him from when she was seven years old. He wants her to have everything and is determined to provide it.

Thing is, Lucy has never asked for the extravagant wedding he seems insistent on giving her, and the horse tale was just a childhood memory, not a lifelong dream. Sometimes she wonders if he knows that, or just chooses not to listen.

Like I said … cracks!

But then, one day Ben doesn’t come home. A train crash has killed several passengers and he and his brother are amongst the dead.

Lucy has to start over, as a single woman.

However, once the grief has lessened, she finds that this time around, not only is she on her own but she is saddled with a mountain of debt too – Ben’s debts from loans made in her name.

Yep! That’s right. Mr “I’ll give you the world” is – was – not quite the man she thought him to be.

So, with understandable anger and bitterness now creeping into her thoughts, memories of Ben are not quite what they could be. She’s living in a one-bedroomed flat, living from hand to mouth on a minimum wage from a nearby supermarket. After tending to her dog, Billy, there is little left over for her to live off. Even owning a decent pair of shoes is a luxury she can ill afford. (she has a pair of trainers and a pair of “school” shoes – not quite the life she enjoyed before)

Until, that is, one Friday evening during the bus journey home, Lucy finds an envelope in her bag, packed with cash. Cash she cannot stop counting. Cash that she is determined to hand in to the police the next day. Cash that could help with her bills, give her and Billy a few treats and just make her life easier for a while. But she’s not the type of person who can say nothing. Is she?

Lucy’s dilemma is not resolved that weekend, but it has already changed her in those few hours. She’s more wary of people – are they watching her? do they know about the money? -and when the sole falls off her trainers and her laptop dies its long-awaited and expected death, dipping into the cash is the answer. But, of course, not permanently.

The events that followed had me turning the pages for ‘just one more chapter’ until it was all over. There’s the anniversary of the train crash, a fellow resident being found dead,  and Ben’s mother glaring at her from every corner. then there’s the poisoning of Billy, and Judge the Corgi, at the block of flats, an unpleasant neighbour and his loud music, and an incident at the supermarket that costs her dearly.

This is a great story, packed with interest, taken from the viewpoint of a very ordinary young woman, living a mundane life, but for whom these events fuel a paranoia. But for a very good reason. The twist revelation towards the end of the book is where the pace goes through the ceiling. Lucy is in danger – but from whom? Luckily, she has Billy to come to her rescue. When Billy is threatened too, then Lucy finds her inner strength and fights back. This is tense stuff, page-scrolling like you’ve never scrolled before.

Read it, and find out for yourself.

You won’t regret it.

Get your copy here: PRE-ORDER link

Thanks to Netgalley, the author and Bookouture for my copy of this book. This review is made of my own volition, and these words are mine, all mine and only mine.

As always,

 

 

blog tour · book review · crime · family · literary fiction · must-read · mystery · nostalgia · thought provoking · women's fiction

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Pink Ice Creams

Pink Ice Creams

by Jo Woolaston

Pink Ice Creams

Intent on fixing her broken marriage and the alcohol-fuelled catastrophe that is her life, Kay Harris arrives at her grim and grey holiday let, ready to lay to rest the tragedy that has governed her entire adulthood – the disappearance of her little brother, Adam.

But the road to recovery is pitted with the pot-holes of her own poor choices, and it isn’t long before Kay is forced to accept that maybe she doesn’t deserve the retribution she seeks. Will the intervention of strangers help her find the answers she needs to move on from her past, or will she always be stuck on the hard shoulder with no clear view ahead and a glove box full of empties?

Pink Ice Creams is a tale of loss, self-destruction, and clinging on to the scraps of the long-lost when everyone else has given up hope.


Purchase Links

Amazon.co.uk:

Paperback:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1984168231

Kindle: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07RV49TKB

Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B07RYX3YWP

Amazon.com:

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1984168231

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07RV49TKB

Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/jowoolaston

 

Author Bio

Jo Woolaston lives in Leicestershire, England with her extreme noise-making husband and two lovely sons. She tries to avoid housework and getting a ‘proper job’ by just writing stuff instead – silly verse, screenplays, shopping lists…

This sometimes works in her favour (she did well in her MA in TV Scriptwriting, gaining a Best Student award in Media and Journalism – and has had a few plays produced – that kind of thing) but mostly it just results in chronic insomnia and desperate tears of frustration. Pink Ice Creams is her first novel, she hopes you liked it.

Social Media Links 

Facebookhttps://m.facebook.com/nevermindthebloggers

Twitter @JoWoolaston

Website: https://www.jowoolaston.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19176972.Jo_Woolaston

My Review

Wow – what a book!

Kay’s story switches between one major life event to another. As a pre-teen, her younger brother, Adam went missing while on holiday – a caravan holiday with her mum and little bro. She harbours some guilt about his disappearance, and it’s clear she hasn’t really grieved and recovered from it all.

Years later she is back at the same caravan park, this time having left her husband Martin. We learn he’s a bully, an abuser with violent and manipulative tendencies, and even now, whilst in a safe place, she contemplates going back to him. But, this time, she fears he won’t forgive her actions.

Vulnerable, traumatised and paranoid, the events that play out at the caravan park and the local area are indicative of her disturbed state of mind. Yet, despite being at her lowest, she still has the strength of character and sisterly love to unravel the details surrounding her brother’s disappearance.

Peppered with nursery rhymes, holiday nostalgia as well as less happy memories relating to her marriage, the story drifts between the past and present. Sometimes, this is a little confusing and jarring – but maybe that’s just the Kindle version. I can imagine a print copy would break the text up more successfully, thus avoiding any confusion as the timeline changes.

The story totally took off, for me, in the second half, where the pace of events sped up, and Kay became clearer as to what happened to Adam – after a series of very unfortunate mistakes, generally due to her drunken state and paranoia and an ability to jump to conclusions at those times.

A powerful read, with moments of humour and sadness. The author’s character observations are uniquely made, but with such clarity and detail that brings every scene to life. Jo Woolaston is definitely a great talent, and one I’ll be following with interest, awaiting her next tour de force.

 

For more news and reviews, fill your boots at these blogs:

As always,

book review · crime · detective · female detective · suspense · thriller

Book Review – Little Girls Sleeping

Little Girls Sleeping

by Jennifer Chase

He looked down at the little girl, sleeping peacefully, her arms wrapped around a teddy bear. He knew he was the only one who could save her. He could let her sleep forever. 

An eight-year-old girl, Chelsea Compton, is missing in Pine Valley, California and for Detective Katie Scott it’s a cruel reminder of the friend who disappeared from summer camp twenty years ago. Unable to shake the memories, Katie vows she won’t rest until she discovers what happened to Chelsea.

But as Katie starts to investigate, the case reveals itself to be much bigger and more shocking than she feared. Hidden deep in the forest she unearths a makeshift cemetery: a row of graves, each with a brightly coloured teddy bear.

Katie links the graves to a stack of missing-persons cases involving young girls—finding a pattern no one else has managed to see. Someone in Pine Valley has been taking the town’s daughters for years, and Katie is the only one who can stop them.

And then another little girl goes missing, snatched from the park near her home.

Katie’s still haunted by the friend she failed to protect, and she’ll do anything to stop the killer striking again—but can she find the little girl before it’s too late?

My Review

I love it when I get a heads up on a new series, and with this being the first book in the Detective Katie Scott series I’m convinced it’s going to be a winner.

Katie Scott has just returned from serving in Afghanistan, and is met at the airport by her uncle who just happens to be the local Sheriff. Having lost her parents years before, he is the closest family she has left, and theirs is a beautiful relationship – his surprise for her is the best ever: Cisco her service dog, who Uncle has brought back from Afghanistan, and who is waiting ready to save her life again. (and he does – but I’ll say no more)

Unsure about her future, and clearly with some trauma to deal with, Katie – an ex-cop with Sacramento PD herself – now takes on an admin role at her uncle’s police station to give herself time to consider her options.

When filing away cold cases, she sees the file for Chelsea Compton and is mentally drawn into the investigation. Chelsea went missing four years ago, and the trail has gone cold. For Katie, it brings back memories of her own friend who was killed twenty years ago during a camping holiday. She has always wondered if she could have done something, even then as a young girl.

So, with the bit between her teeth, she turns her spare room into an investigation zone and quietly draws up a list of people she wants to talk to. Unfortunately, the first person on that list also tells a certain detective, Templeton, the investigating officer at the time, who is not best pleased by her meddling. Keen to cast aspersions on her ability and her relationship with the Sheriff, Templeton goes out of his way to belittle her and sideline her enquiries.

But Katie has more gumption than that, and doesn’t take kindly to sitting on the sidelines. When she manages to convince her uncle to let her pursue her investigation, no one expected her to find the body of Chelsea and another young girl during a hike with Cisco (who really should get the credit for luring her into the area where the bodies were found 😉 )

Now, the hunt is on to find the killer – The Toymaker – especially when another young girl goes missing.

The story is told from Katie’s viewpoint primarily, but is interspersed with chapters dedicated to the killer, where he outlines his motive, his methods and his intention – but never his identity …until Katie gets too close to the truth.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Katie’s character is well-rounded, her past still haunts her and that is evident in her behaviour. Luckily she has the support of her uncle and aunt, as well as Chad, an old friend from her childhood. The interplay between these characters is charming, as they clearly care a lot for her. That doesn’t mean to say she has an easy ride, as Templeton is determined to undermine her, and not in the cleverest of ways either!

The descriptions of the area and the crime scenes are strong and pulled me further into the story, and the last few chapters are tense and dramatic.

I was able to read an advanced copy of this book thanks to NetGalley and the publishers in exchange for an unbiased review. If you’re interested in starting a new series based around cold cases with determined and complex characters, then this is for you.

The book is released on May 31st, but you can pre-order your copy here

As always,

cover reveal · humour · romance · series · Spanish · Sport

Cover Reveal – Singles, Set & Match

Singles, Set & Match

by Elaine Spires

Singles, Set and Match

The fifth and final book in the Singles’ Series takes us to the Mediterranean island of Ibiza then back to the Caribbean island of Antigua, where it all began.  

After making a hard decision two years earlier Eve Mitchell has moved on with the hand that life has dealt her and she finds herself on the White Island working a tennis holiday.  While it isn’t a job she would have chosen, in her typical pragmatic way Eve gets on with it, working hard to ensure that her diverse group of singles, with their hopes, expectations, character flaws and baggage, have the best time possible.  And as she binds together tennis sessions, social gatherings, meals and trips, Eve hears some tragic personal news that brings her to another crossroads in her life. Will she and the love of her life Melv finally make a life together and live happily ever after?

 

Publication Date – 1st July 2019

and here’s the fabulous cover …

Pre-order links on Amazon

 

Author Bio 

Elaine Spires is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter and actress. Extensive travelling and a background in education and tourism perfected Elaine’s keen eye for the quirky characteristics of people, captivating the humorous observations she now affectionately shares with the readers of her novels. Elaine has written two books of short stories, two novellas and seven novels, four of which form the Singles Series – Singles’ Holiday, Singles and Spice, Single All The Way and Singles At Sea.  Her latest book, Singles, Set and Match is the fifth and final book in the series. Her play Stanley Grimshaw Has Left The Building is being staged at the Bridewell Theatre, London in May 2019. Her short film Only the Lonely, co-written with Veronique Christie and featuring Anna Calder Marshall is currently being in shown in film festivals worldwide and she is currently working on a full length feature film script. Only the Lonely won the Groucho Club Short Film Festival 2019!  Elaine recently returned to UK after living in Antigua W.I. She lives in East London.

 

Social Media Links 

Facebook: Elaine Spires Author

Twitter: @ElaineSWriter

Instagram: elainespiresauthor

 

 

cover reveal · crime · psychological suspense · thriller

Cover Reveal – The First Lie

I can’t tell you how pleased I am to be sharing this cover with you. The book itself – a psychological thriller – is out 13th June, and available to pre-order now.

The First Lie

by  A. J. Park

Once you’ve read this description, you’ll be hooked too.

The First Lie

We’ve all had sleepless nights thinking about it.
You’re home alone. Someone breaks in.
In defending yourself, you end up killing the intruder.
Now you’re the one the police want.

That is the situation that criminal barrister Paul Reeve arrives home to find.
His wife Alice stands in the bedroom, clutching a bloodied letter opener in her shaking hand.

“What have you done, Alice?”
“I didn’t have a choice…”

We would all believe the person we love most.
But would we all make the same choice Paul and Alice make next…?

See what I mean?

Are you ready?

You can pre-order it now – here are the links:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/First-Lie-addictive-psychological-thriller-ebook/dp/B07NLCMD44/

UShttps://www.amazon.com/First-Lie-addictive-psychological-thriller-ebook/dp/B07NLCMD44/

https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-first-lie/a-j-park/9781409187424

Author Bio

After studying literature, linguistics and Spanish at university, AJ Park trained as an English teacher and actor. He has edited magazines and taught English, Media Studies and Drama in secondary schools in England. He was also a competitive fencer for seven years.

Catch up with the author on social media:

Twitter @AJParkauthor

Facebook KarlVadaszffy

www.karlvad.com

Let me know if you take the plunge …

As always,