BLOG TOUR – Her darkest fear by Nina Manning

Thank you to Megan @BoldwoodBooks for my place on the tour and gifted ebook via Netgalley. All opinions are honest and my own.

Blurb

One mother’s past could cost her everything…

Frankie Keegan is struggling.
While she tries to make strides in her career, life at home is slowly unravelling as she is haunted by the secrets of her past.

Someone else remembers…

As the dark nights draw in, the anniversary of the loss of her brother looms and Frankie is drawn back to the memories of that fateful night 20 years previously. As she descends into a guilt-ridden state, she begins to suspect that someone else is also remembering that night and they are determined to terrify her…

Can she confront her past before it’s too late?

My Review

After reading and really enjoying Nina’s first book The daughter in law you can read my review here : https://melaniesreads.wordpress.com/2019/08/02/blog-tour-the-daughter-in-law-by-nina-manning-4-stars I was really looking forward to her next book.

This book is told in a dual timeline which definitely seems to be a current trend. Narrated by Frankie the chapters alternate between 20 years ago and the present. Frankie is your typical mum trying to balance work and raise kids but the majority of the book centred around her drinking , occasionally to the point of black out and losing time. I will say I found the premise great and the underlying mystery of the accident that killed her brother Kiefer. I think this is more domestic noir than thriller as the pace is fairly slow.

Also I was completely hoodwinked at the end and I’m still not sure what to make of it. Even after a quick re read to make sure I hadn’t missed anything.

I would recommend this to those who like a domestic suspense where things aren’t what they seem.

About the author

Nina Manning studied psychology and was a restaurant-owner and private chef (including to members of the royal family). She is the founder and co-host of Sniffing The Pages, a book review podcast. The Daughter in Law is her debut psychological thriller, and will be published in August 2019. She lives in Dorset in the United Kingdom.

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Don’t forget to check out all the other blogger’s thoughts on the tour. Happy reading!

Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton – 5 stars

Blurb

In rural Somerset in the middle of a blizzard, the unthinkable happens: a school is under siege. Children and teachers barricade themselves into classrooms, the library, the theatre. The headmaster lies wounded in the library, unable to help his trapped students and staff. Outside, a police psychiatrist must identify the gunmen, while parents gather desperate for news. In three intense hours, all must find the courage to stand up to evil and save the people they love.

My Review

I read this as a buddy read with Gemma. You can find her on betweenthepagesbookclub.blog and her thoughts here https://betweenthepagesbookclub.blog/2020/03/25/three-hours-rosamund- Lupton

This book starts with a bullet at 9.16 am and then follows the next three hours. Sharing viewpoints from the teachers and pupils trapped in the school, the police and specialists trying to glean information on the gunmen and the parents anxiously awaiting information.

The school involved is seen as a liberal school with no uniform and allowing pupils to be themselves. Also taking in refugees such as brothers Rafi and Basi who after already going through hell getting here are suffering PTSD. Due to Rafi constantly being on high alert he tells the headmaster his suspicions after hearing what he suspects to be a bomb and seeing something in the woods.

As someone who is incredibly empathetic and non judgemental I found this utterly heartbreaking. The strength of the teachers putting themselves in harms way to protect and the bravery of the children and their determination to not be beaten. But what really got me was the mother of one of the gunmen. Her “in head” conversations with the boy he was before and her coming to see how he was essentially brainwashed had me captivated.

This is a hard hitting read covering difficult subjects especially immigration and the far right movement but what I will take from this is that for every bad man there is always a good one and they are worth fighting for. This is a story of love, a boy who will risk everything for his brother and friends, teachers who shield and protect and a mother’s unconditional love for her son.

About the author

Rosamund Lupton is the author of Sister, a BBC Radio 4 “Book at Bedtime”, a Sunday Times and New York Timesbestseller, winner of the Strand Magazine critics award and the Richard and Judy Bookclub Readers’ Choice Award. Her next two books Afterwards and The Quality of Silence (also a Richard and Judy pick) were Sunday Timesbestsellers. Her books have been published in over thirty languages.

Link to buy

BLOG TOUR – Mine by Clare Empson

Thank you to Tracy @Compulsive Readers for my place on the tour and to the author and Orion Publishing Group for my gifted ebook via Netgalley. All opinions are honest and my own.

Blurb

‘Who am I? Why am I here? Why did my mother give me away?’

On the surface, Luke and his girlfriend Hannah seem to have a perfect life. He’s an A&R man, she’s an arts correspondent and they are devoted to their new-born son Samuel.

But beneath the gloss Luke has always felt like an outsider. So when he finds his birth mother Alice, the instant connection with her is a little like falling in love.

When Hannah goes back to work, Luke asks Alice to look after their son. But Alice – fuelled with grief from when her baby was taken from her 27 years ago – starts to fall in love with Samuel. And Luke won’t settle for his mother pushing him aside once again…

My Review

This is really a story of family and relationships more than a psychological thriller. Told in dual timeline, in the present we meet Luke, Hannah and their newborn Samuel and then it goes back to tell the story of Luke’s birth mother Alice.

This was a slow burn of a read really getting to the heart of the characters and the emotional effects of adoption and how the person adopted still feels that pull to know where they come from. I think especially once having a child of his own Luke really struggled to understand being given away and was desperate to connect with Alice.

But when Alice falls in love with baby Samuel, is she replacing the baby she gave away and giving herself a second chance? Luke’s jealousy and unraveling silently seethed from the pages and you really felt for him. I won’t go much more into the plot as this book would be so easy to spoil. Plenty of tension to keep you gripped, a few nice twists and a Kleenex worthy ending make this an emotional book well worth reading and this is one that will stay with you long after the final page is turned.

About the author

Clare is a journalist with a background in national newspapers – small business editor, finance correspondent and fashion at the Mail on Sunday and the Daily Express, freelance for The Sunday Telegraph, The Sunday Times, the Evening Standard and Tatler amongst others. She currently works as editor/founder of experiential lifestyle website http://www.countrycalling.co.uk.

Link to buy

Don’t forget to check out all the other blogger’s thoughts on the tour. Happy reading!

BLOG TOUR – The first wife by Jill Childs

Thank you to Bookouture for my gifted ebook via Netgalley. All opinions are honest and my own.

Book Description:
I moved closer to the little girl, afraid that our voices would be caught by the monitor.
‘What happened to you, Lucy? Can you tell me?’

When Sophie’s life falls apart, she accepts an invitation from a childhood friend, Caroline, to visit her family’s beautiful beach house, situated at the mouth of an isolated cove, miles from the nearest town. The silence is broken only by the rhythmic crash of the waves against the jagged black rocks below.

But when Sophie arrives, she finds her friend much changed. Caroline – who used to be so warm and confident – is secretive and on-edge, spending long, unexplained hours away from her family. And then there’s Caroline’s little daughter Lucy – who stopped speaking soon after they moved in. Caroline assures Sophie that it’s only a phase, but Sophie thinks Lucy looks a little uncared for, a little afraid…

Then one night Sophie is woken by a scream and runs to find Lucy, out of bed and at the attic window, staring in terror at the view below. When Sophie goes to look, her blood runs cold…

What secrets hide behind closed doors in this isolated house by the sea? A compelling domestic drama from the USA Today bestselling author of Gracie’s Secret. Perfect for fans of Big Little Lies and The Couple Next Door.

My Review

You know the feeling you get when you know something isn’t quite right, when you are all alone and even the shadows seem frightening. The hairs on the back of your neck stand up and you call out but no answer comes back. That is the perfect way to describe this ominous read.

Told in dual narrative from Sophie and Caroline’s perspectives we learn that Sophie has lost both parents and has little money until her parent’s house is sold. She takes up old school friend Caroline’s offer of staying with her even though they haven’t seen each other in 25 years. Then from glamorous, wealthy Caroline we learn of her old life in Hong Kong and how she met her husband Dominic.

Once Sophie gets to their new home The Conifers we are then introduced to Lucy, Caroline and Dominic’s strange child, who screams in the night but never speaks and Dominic who is only there at weekends. After Lucy’s nanny walks out Sophie is then used as the help while Caroline selfishly disappears regularly. The grand isolated house by the sea and the stormy weather really play into the feeling of being unsettled and the writing is flawless in its subtle foreboding.

Little hints, clues, like a jigsaw puzzle it’s all there you just have to piece it together. I didn’t but then I was never very good at jigsaws. With unbridled tension and a coldness that almost seeps from the page this is a great read and I would highly recommend this especially to fans of Ruth Ware.

Author Bio:
Jill always loved writing – real and imaginary – and spent thirty years travelling the world as a journalist, living overseas and reporting wherever the news took her. She’s now made her home in south-west London with her husband and twin girls who love stories as much as she does. Although she’s covered everything from earthquakes and floods, wars and riots, she’s decided some of the most extraordinary stories are right here at home – in the secrets and lies she imagines behind closed doors on ordinary streets just like yours.  

https://twitter.com/author_jillhttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17843718.Jill_Childs
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jill-Childs/e/B07BL52SYB/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Buy Links:
Amazon: http://bit.ly/33aNiF1Apple Books: https://apple.co/2vVOe3CKobo: http://bit.ly/3cLZm3MGoogle Play: http://bit.ly/2IEKy9e

Don’t forget to check out all the other blogger’s thoughts on the tour. Happy reading!

BLOG TOUR – The prized girl by Amy K. Green

Thank you to Sian @HQ for my place on the tour and gifted paperback. All opinions are honest and my own.

Blurb

It was always going to end in trouble. But how did it end in murder?

A murdered beauty queen. A town full of secrets. Who killed Jenny?

Jenny Kennedy appears to have it all. She’s the perfect daughter, the popular girl at school and a successful beauty queen. But then Jenny is found dead in a murder that rocks the small town she grew up in to the core.

Her estranged half-sister Virginia finds herself thrust into the spotlight as the case dominates the news and is desperate to uncover who killed Jenny. But she soon realises that maybe Jenny’s life wasn’t so perfect after all.

The truth is that Jenny has more than a few secrets of her own, and so do her neighbours… What really happened that night?

My Review

This book has a dual narration and a dual timeline. Beginning with Virginia’s story as she attends her half sister Jenny’s funeral then moving to Jenny’s story weeks before her death.

There was so much to love about this dark book , a dysfunctional family, small town dynamics, the world of beauty pageants and the mothers that think their darling girls are perfect, teenage drama, stalking and murder.

I didn’t take to either of the two narrators but I don’t need to like characters to enjoy reading their stories. In fact the opposite is normally true and I find the unlikeable have more of a pull. What made them how they are? Nature vs nurture and in a family with this many issues was this a foretold conclusion?

This almost felt like reading one of those choose your own adventure books as there were so many suspects and ways this could pan out and f**k me I did not see that ending coming. So if you like a twisty thriller with some teenage angst thrown in this is the read for you.

About the author

Amy Green, was born and raised in a small New England town where she was once struck by lightning. She was a practicing CPA before leaving the corporate life to work in film production, write, and wear fewer high heels. She now lives in LA.

Link to buy

Don’t forget to check out all the other blogger’s thoughts on the tour. Happy reading !

BLOG TOUR – When life gives you lemons by Fiona Gibson

Thank you to Sanjana @avonbooks for my place on the tour and gifted paperback. All opinions are honest and my own.

Blurb

Sometimes life can be bittersweet . . . 

Between tending to the whims of her seven-year-old and the demands of her boss, Viv barely gets a moment to herself. It’s not quite the life she wanted, but she hasn’t run screaming for the hills yet.

But then Viv’s husband Andy makes his mid-life crisis her problem. He’s having an affair with his (infuriatingly age-appropriate) colleague, a woman who – unlike Viv – doesn’t put on weight when she so much as glances at a cream cake.

Viv suddenly finds herself single, with zero desire to mingle. Should she be mourning the end of life as she knows it, or could this be the perfect chance to put herself first?

When life gives you lemons, lemonade just won’t cut it. Bring on the gin!

My Review

As a woman of a certain age this book had me chuckling away at some of the utterly relatable incidents regarding middle age and menopause. Fiona Gibson has not only managed to portray how women start to become invisible and taken for granted but she has done it with a terrific sense of style and humour.

I really felt for Viv right from the start and she is like so many women that try to do everything and please everybody that she rarely thinks of herself. Then she discovers her husband (utter knob) has been having an affair and suddenly her life is very different.

While adultery and the menopause can be quite difficult subjects to approach. The author’s lighthearted touch and witty one liners made for comedy gold. Dry and sarcastic humour are me to a tee so I loved the authors writing style.

The characters, especially Penny, are mostly warm and wonderful and it was a pleasure having them in my life. Would love to know if they are based on real life people.

This book is funny, charming and in a sea of books with 20 somethings it was great to see a 50 year old woman learning to swim for a change. After all there’s life in the old dog yet!

About the author

Fiona was born in a youth hostel in Yorkshire. She started working on teen magazine Jackie at age 17, then went on to join Just Seventeen and More!where she invented the infamous ‘Position of the Fortnight.’ Fiona now lives in Scotland with her husband Jimmy, their three children and a wayward rescue collie cross called Jack. For more info, visit http://www.fionagibson.com. You can follow Fiona on Twitter @fionagibson.

Link to buy

Don’t forget to check out all the other blogger’s thoughts on the tour. Happy Reading!

BLOG TOUR – The rearranged life of Oona Lockhart by Margarita Montimore

Thank you to Tracy @CompulsiveReaders for my place on the tour and to Gollancz Orion publishing group for the beautiful gifted hardback. All opinions are honest and my own.

Blurb

What would you do if you woke up thirty years older than you were yesterday?

Brooklyn, 1982. Oona Lockhart and her boyfriend are about to ring in the New Year and Oona’s 19th birthday. But seconds after the New Year begins, Oona is torn from her life and everyone she loves, finding herself in her fifty-one year old body thirty-three years into the future. The life she had is gone, and all she is a letter from herself from the previous year to guide her.

Each year on the stroke of midnight she finds herself resurfacing in a different year of her own adulthood. Still a young woman on the inside, but ever changing on the outside, who will she be next year? Wealthy philanthropist? Club kid? World traveller? Wife to a man she’s never met?

My Review

I adore time travel/slip books and movies. The time travellers wife, About time, The age of Adaline, All our wrong todays, The psychology of time travel. You name it I’ve read it/watched it and loved it, if I haven’t then give me your recs. So I jumped at the chance to read this and was swept straight into the life of Oona.

It starts at a party, both New Years and Oona’s 19th birthday. At the strike of midnight Oona travels in time to land in the body of herself at different ages and in no order (hence the title), then has to live that year until the next birthday when it happens again. From the early eighties to 2015 and with some fantastic music references (especially for us 80’s teenagers) one minute she is 19 and then she is 50. Now I know what I was like at 19 and I would be horrified, now at nearly 47 reading this made me look at it slightly differently to how I perhaps would have read it when I was younger.

There is something to be said about the not knowing, as the old saying goes “ignorance is bliss”. So to have the knowledge of all that will happen to you and the possibility of changing it. Would you? I personally wouldn’t change a thing as I think our experiences good and bad shape us into who we are.

Oona leaves herself a letter for each time jump and having invested wisely in stocks and shares finances aren’t an issue. There are a few minor inconsistencies but it certainly didn’t spoil my enjoyment. Suspend your disbelief and just enjoy the adventure. The characters are fun especially Oona’s mother, the story is creative and different and the writing is top notch.

The ending was perfect and this book is a heartfelt lesson on what is really important in a life that is unpredictable.

About the author

Margarita Montimore has a BFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. She worked for over a decade in publishing and social media before deciding to focus on the writing dream full-time. She has blogged for Marvel, Google, Quirk Books, and XOJane.com. When not writing, she freelances as a book coach and editor. She grew up in Brooklyn but currently lives in New Jersey with her husband and their dog.

Link to buy

Don’t forget to check out all the other blogger’s thoughts on the tour. Happy reading.