BLOG TOUR – Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

Thank you to Anne @RandomThingsTours for my place on the tour and to the author and @TransworldBooks for my gifted ebook via Netgalley . All opinions are honest and my own.

Blurb

Awfully opinionated for a girl’ is what they call Hillary as she grows up in her Chicago suburb. 

Smart, diligent, and a bit plain, that’s the general consensus. Then Hillary goes to college, and her star rises. At Yale Law School, she continues to be a leader— and catches the eye of driven, handsome and charismatic Bill. But when he asks her to marry him, Hillary gives him a firm No.

How might things have turned out for them, for America, for the world itself, if Hillary Rodham had really turned down Bill Clinton?

With her sharp but always compassionate eye, Sittenfeld explores the loneliness, moral ambivalence and iron determination that characterise the quest for high office, as well as the painful compromises demanded of female ambition in a world ruled by men.

My Review

It’s hard to believe this is a work of fiction as it reads like a highly believable biography. Broken down into three parts the first part 1970-74 gives an insight into a young Hillary from her graduation speech at Wellesley to attending Yale Law where she meets fellow law student Bill Clinton. The second part is 1991 and the sliding door moment of Hillary turning down Bill’s third proposal. What follows next in part three is the alternate reality.

The author really shows how Bill’s charisma and Hillary’s intellect make exceedingly good bedfellows and the chemistry between the two is palpable. Beware, the sex scenes are something else and not something I personally wanted to picture. As they are two very real people that are well known it’s a bit like thinking of your parents having sex eurgh. Putting that aside though you can see how their attraction is very much a meeting of minds and ambition.

For me though it was part three that really hit home how dirty politics is and the lengths people go to for power. Razorgate throwing in sexual harassment and sexual orientation claims leading to a fake set up date tipped off to the media to gain popularity. It gave an insight into how much goes on behind the scenes to handle situations like these but that honesty and an apology is always the best course of action.

Trump comes across, well as Trump really, still tweeting and still not knowing when to keep his mouth shut but it’s Bill who comes across as worse. Politics in America is shown as being very much a man’s world and the fact that they have never had a female president is testament to that. For women it’s a lose lose battle, have children you aren’t up for the job, don’t have children what is wrong with you? What type of woman would rather have a career in politics than a family? Couldn’t she find a husband? The internal feminist in me seethed at those lines.

I like formidable, driven ambitious women but like a lot of women I never understood why she stuck with Bill especially after the intern scandal. She has brains and could have gone far on her own. This book shows just how far….

About the author

In addition to Rodham, Curtis Sittenfeld is the author of the Sunday Times bestseller American Wife, in which she painted a picture of an ordinary American girl – a thinly-disguised Laura Bush – who found herself married to a President. It was longlisted for the Orange Prize, as was her debut novel Prep.
Her other books are Man of My Dreams, Sisterland (a Richard & Judy Book Club pick), Eligible, and the acclaimed short story collection You Think It, I’ll Say It.
Her books are translated into 30 languages.
She lives with her family in the American Mid-West.

Link to buy

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

BLOG TOUR – The waiting rooms by Eve Smith 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thank you to Anne Cater for my place on the tour and the author and Orenda Books for my gifted ebook. All opinions are honest and my own.

Blurb

Decades of spiralling drug resistance have unleashed a global antibiotic crisis. Ordinary infections are untreatable, and a scratch from a pet can kill. A sacrifice is required to keep the majority safe: no one over seventy is allowed new antibiotics. The elderly are sent to hospitals nicknamed ‘The Waiting Rooms’ … hospitals where no one ever gets well.

Twenty years after the crisis takes hold, Kate begins a search for her birth mother, armed only with her name and her age. As Kate unearths disturbing facts about her mother’s past, she puts her family in danger and risks losing everything. Because Kate is not the only secret that her mother is hiding. Someone else is looking for her, too.

Sweeping from an all-too-real modern Britain to a pre-crisis South Africa, The Waiting Rooms is epic in scope, richly populated with unforgettable characters, and a tense, haunting vision of a future that is only a few mutations away.

My Review

This book was a very personal read for me, for a multitude of reasons. I have for a long time held the belief that people take drugs like sweets and this cannot go on. I have had antibiotics three times in my life, that I know of, which at 47 I think is pretty good. I was in hospital for two weeks last year and had to have IV antibiotics, now imagine if they hadn’t worked due to resistance or I was over 70 so was not allowed them. I know if this highly plausible book became reality I would be deemed unworthy of treatment. Shocking isn’t it!

This book follows three equally captivating characters, Kate an end of life nurse at the waiting rooms facility, Lily a care home resident rapidly approaching seventy and Mary, a young botanist living in South Africa, searching for a cure using plants for Tuberculosis before the crisis. With a dual timeline of pre and post crisis and some well developed sub plots of a mystery surrounding Lily and Kate’s search for her biological mother. This really does have something for everyone.

My personal opinion is that nature has a way of fighting back and controlling the population. Cure one disease a new one will pop up but nature can also help with finding the cure.

The timing of this book couldn’t have been better or worse depending how you view it and it wasn’t surprising that a lot of it was based on actual medical research. I really admire how much work has gone into this as you can tell from the writing just how much research the author has done herself.

However it was the little things that really surprised me with this book. Not being able to touch plants, thorns and spikes no longer exist as they have been genetically modified so you don’t get scratched. The end of life poison being made to taste like your favourite tipple. It’s the little details that make this a truly outstanding book and a highly impressive debut.

About the author

Eve Smith’s debut novel The Waiting Rooms was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize First Novel Award. Eve writes speculative fiction, mainly about the things that scare her. She attributes her love of all things dark and dystopian to a childhood watching Tales of the Unexpected and black-and-white Edgar Allen Poe double bills. Eve’s flash fiction has been shortlisted for the Bath Flash Fiction Award and highly commended for The Brighton Prize. In this world of questionable facts, stats and news, she believes storytelling is more important than ever to engage people in real life issues. Eve recently contributed a piece of flash fiction, Belting Up, to an anthology of crime shorts called Noir From the Bar. The collection of stories has been launched to raise money for the NHS. Eve’s previous job as COO of an environmental charity took her to research projects across Asia, Africa and the Americas, and she has an ongoing passion for wild creatures, wild science and far-flung places. A Modern Languages graduate from Oxford, she returned to Oxfordshire fifteen years ago to set up home with her husband. When she’s not writing, she’s chasing across fields after her dog, attempting to organise herself and her family or off exploring somewhere new. Follow Eve: @evecsmith on Twitter & http://www.evesmithauthor.com Instagram: evesmithauthor Facebook: EveSmithAuthor

Link to buy

eBookstore

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

BLOG TOUR – The life she left behind by Nicole Trope

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

Blurb

When I wake up in the middle of the night, it’s not a sound that disturbs me. It’s a feeling. Silently, I creep to my daughter’s room, breathing a sigh of relief when I see her sleeping, her night-light twirling, butterfly shapes moving their pink wings. Quickly, I lock the door. I won’t let anything happen to my little girl.

You tell him everything. The husband you adore, the father of your child, your best friend.

He knows, just by looking at your sage-green eyes, when something is wrong. The two of you can communicate with a glance, or a touch of the hand.

Except what if you can’t?

What if your happy marriage has plastered over one huge lie? A lie you have even started to believe yourself, in order to survive?

What if you have a secret, something you have hidden from your beloved husband and your strawberry-scented baby girl, to keep them safe? What if the guilt has kept you up, night after night, for as long as you can remember?

What happens when suddenly, after twenty-eight years, that secret refuses to stay buried? What will you do now everyone you love, everything you cherish, is in harm’s way?

An emotional, thought-provoking and beautifully written novel which examines the pieces of ourselves we are afraid of, and the impossible decisions we make when we are desperate. Fans of Jodi Picoult, Kerry Fisher and Liane Moriarty will be moved by this heartbreaking tale.

My Review

This is a story of families, one family that is loving, safe and protecting while the other family is controlling and dangerous with both physical and mental abuse. Unfortunately Rachel is at the heart of both of them.

Told from multiple perspectives, Rachel’s, her husband Ben’s, little bird who is Rachel as a young girl and an unknown. From little bird we learn that her father is a domineering master in the house and that her mother is beaten. The child’s description of the purple flower on her mother’s cheek meaning a bruise was so very sad and chilling. Rachel, her mother and brother Kevin all suffer at his hands until one day the mother and Rachel escape, leaving Kevin behind. Having to constantly move so her father doesn’t find them and keeping their past a secret.

Flash forward and Rachel is happily married with a daughter of her own. Her husband Ben is everything her father wasn’t. Loving, caring and a wonderful father and so desperate to make Rachel happy. He doesn’t know of her past but senses her sadness. He has been told her father died when she was a child and her mother is now dying of cancer so he puts it down to that. They have recently moved into the dream house Ben always wanted for them and with Ben working late to cover the cost Rachel hears footsteps downstairs and calls Ben who urges her to call the police. Upon hearing the sirens the intruder flees but not before leaving something behind. A stark reminder of her past taunting her….

This was a beautifully harrowing read with characters that are at completely different ends of the spectrum. I am so fortunate that I grew up knowing nothing but love and safety and reading the child’s perspective completely broke me. It is often said that the abused can become abusers and there is also the nature vs nurture debate. Are we what our parents make us? Do we fight against it to make our own children happier than we were? This would make a terrific book club read as it offers so many discussion points.

I did guess the mystery element but in no way did it spoil my enjoyment of the book. Although I’m not sure enjoyment is the right word. As this is a very realistic, emotion wringing tale of the tragedy of domestic violence.

About the author

Nicole Trope went to university to study Law but realised the error of her ways when she did very badly on her first law essay because, as her professor pointed out, ‘It’s not meant to be a story.’

She studied teaching instead and used her holidays to work on her writing career and complete a Masters’ degree. In between raising three children, working for her husband and renovating houses, she has published six novels. She lives in Sydney, Australia.
https://www.facebook.com/NicoleTrope/
https://twitter.com/nicoletrope

Links to buy

Amazon: https://bit.ly/2BDSAyMApple: https://apple.co/2JEnEiEKobo: https://bit.ly/3dOSTpeGoogle: https://bit.ly/3476ALH

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

Pigeonhole read – The perfect life by Valerie Keogh

Blurb

Appearances can be deceptive…

Molly Chatwell has a beautiful house, a handsome husband, two children and a job she likes. It all seems so perfect but when her two children leave for university, she realises her life has become dull and empty. When her husband refuses to go away with her, Molly decides to go alone. 

But what should have been a relaxing break turns into a nightmare. 

Back at home in London, Molly tries to put it all behind her but when the police arrive at her door and tell her that a body has been found with connections to her, Molly realises that her perfect life is under threat

My Review

This review is going to be complicated as there were things I liked about it and a lot I didn’t. Judging by the comments on pigeonhole, while reading, a lot had the same issues I did.

Let me start with the characters. Molly is naive, delusional and vacuous. As somebody of a similar age I was shocked by her continued stupidity. Her husband is awful and I personally would have served him divorce papers after the first chapter. Then there are her friends, if you can call them that. More acquaintances than friends and just as shallow and insincere as Jack’s hideous work colleagues. As you can probably gather I didn’t like any of them and not really liking Molly didn’t really make me root for her. In fact if anything I just found myself shouting at her.

I can’t really go into the plot too much without getting into spoiler territory but part of the ending really came out of nowhere and left me annoyed. What would have worked well would have been a role reversal, I can’t be the only one fed up with women being written as silly victims. Even if they do have to be a victim at least give them some gumption.

My suspicions were pretty much spot on except for the ridiculous throw in that hadn’t been mentioned since the start of the book. So I could barely remember it and it felt like it had been plucked from thin air.

One major positive though was the pace, I flew through the staves really quickly, and if I had read this as a book I probably could have read it in 2 hours. It also kept my attention as I did want to know what was coming next.

About the author

Valerie Keogh grew up reading Agatha Christie so when she started writing it seemed natural to write crime novels. In March 2018, Valerie signed a two book contract with the publisher, Bookouture. The first of these, Secrets Between Us, was published in Nov 2018 and the second, The Housewife, in Feb 2019. In June 2019, Valerie signed a three book contract with Bloodhound books. The first psychological thriller, The Three Women, was published in Feb 2020, the second is due in June 2020 and the third in Sept 2020. Bloodhound are also publishing Valerie’s Irish Crime series, the first of which, No Simple Death was published in Dec 2019, the second, No Obvious Cause in Jan 2020, the third, No Past Forgiven in March. Valerie also writes a series based in the UK featuring Nicola Connolly, a serial killer. The Hudson and Connolly series: Deadly Sleep, Twisted Power, Bitter Business, and Wicked Secret. Valerie has also written a stand-alone psychological thriller, Exit Five from Charing Cross Like Valerie Keogh’s facebook page: facebook.com/valeriekeoghnovels

Link to buy

BLOG TOUR – The Heatwave by Katerina Diamond 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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

Blurb

One summer. One stranger. One killer…

Two bad things happened that summer:
A stranger arrived. And the first girl disappeared.

In the wake of the crime that rocked her community, Felicity fled, knowing more than she let on.

But sixteen years later, her new life is shattered by the news that a second girl has gone missing in her hometown.

Now Felicity must go back, to face the truth about what happened all those years ago.

Only she holds the answers – and they’re more shocking than anyone could imagine.

The heatwave is back. And so is the killer.

My Review

Well well well what have we here? The first stand-alone by Katerina Diamond and it’s criminally good (pun intended).

Told by dual narration and dual timeline we first get to know Felicity now married and a mum and living away from where she grew up. Seeing a news report of a girl who has gone missing there, she obviously knows more than she lets on and makes the rash decision to leave her husband with the children to go back and figure it out.

Then it goes back to sixteen years ago and is narrated by Jasmine who has just moved to the area with her parents and a new lodger has moved in to help them. Jasmine and Felicity become best friends, each secretly envious of the other’s life and each have their own demons. Felicity’s mum drinks too much and has a parade of men through the door and Felicity seems to be following in her footsteps. Coveting Jasmine’s loving parents and the normality of family. Jasmine’s parents travel extensively doing charity work and Jasmine is for a change spending the first summer at home. Then a girl goes missing…

This book has some really good sub plots, enough red herrings to set up a fish shop and some terrific characters. Out of the two timelines Jasmine’s had me hooked the most which was surprising as I normally struggle with teenage girl narration. But these two as teenagers had real depth and there was so much more going on. The creepy lodger, the even creepier teacher, errant parents and raging hormones everywhere.

The pace of this book is slower than the normal thriller but don’t let that put you off. It’s all to build the suspense and character development. The last few chapters the pace intensified and my jaw hit the floor when all was revealed. I’m really hoping the author writes more stand alone thrillers if this is anything to go by.

About the author

Katerina Diamond burst onto the crime scene with her debut The Teacher, which became a Sunday Times bestseller and a number one Kindle bestseller. It was longlisted for the CWA John Creasey Debut Dagger Award and the Hotel Chocolat Award for ‘darkest moment’. The Teacher was followed by sequels The Secret, The Angel, The Promise, Truth or Die and Woman in the Water, all of which featured detectives Adrian Miles and Imogen Grey. The Heatwave is her first standalone thriller.

Link to buy

BLOG TOUR – What I know by Miranda Smith

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

Blurb

My brother was thirteen the first time he tried to kill me.

These days, Della is a loving wife, a dedicated teacher, a woman trying to do her best. She has put her past far behind her. But she hasn’t forgotten the lessons she learned.

It’s just a regular morning when Della welcomes Zoey to her English class. She treats her like any other new student: assigns her a desk, hands out the work. But then she meets Zoey’s cold, calculating eyes and freezes as terrifying memories threaten to overwhelm her.

Della knows what evil looks like when it hides behind a confident smile. Her own brother, the town’s darling, couldn’t keep his true nature hidden for ever. Della has been watching out for people like him ever since, determined to stop them before it’s too late.

When a student is viciously attacked and Della is sent a detailed account of the crime, she’s more convinced than ever that Zoey has darkness inside her.

But to make people believe her, she needs proof. Will she risk everything to get it? And without it, can she be sure she’s right?

Prepare to be hooked by this dark, gripping crime thriller, perfect for fans of Karin Slaughter, Gillian Flynn and Rachel Caine.

My Review

Well tickle me pink not just one psychopath but two. Both are manipulative, highly intelligent and full of superficial charm which they can turn on and off like a light switch. Both also are a major part in Della’s life, one is her brother and the second is now her student.

Narrated by Della in a dual timeline of past and present we learn of how having lived with her brother may be obscuring her judgement with new student Zoey. Or like before is she spotting what others are missing?

Now this may seem a bit odd but stick with me. I normally love female psychopaths, I do get a bit fed up with women generally being victims. So what really surprised me was that the better psychopath for me in this book was Brian. I found the past chapters had more depth and held my attention more and Brian was just so well drawn out I could picture the devious little murderer so clearly it was frighteningly good.

There is so much I loved about this book, the back and forth between the past and present narratives, Della’s strength of pushing against popular opinion and the use of her being a teacher opened up the whole high school clique narrative of using charm to gain popularity to cover misdoings.

This isn’t your standard thriller with twists and turns, no this is more than that, this is a genre defying study on how to spot a psychopath. What makes someone a victim? Della is alive but still very much a victim of her brother’s behaviour. Is Zoey like Brian or just a damaged teenage girl?

About the author

Miranda Smith writes psychological and domestic suspense. She is drawn to stories about ordinary people in extraordinary situations. Before completing her first novel, she worked as a newspaper staff writer and a secondary English teacher. She lives in East Tennessee with her husband and three young children.
https://mirandasmithwriter.com/
https://www.facebook.com/MirandaSmithAuthor/https://www.instagram.com/mirandasmithwriter/

Links to buy

Amazon: https://bit.ly/2YHk3HTApple: https://apple.co/2YJtfeJKobo: https://bit.ly/3fANfr1Google: https://bit.ly/2wSiltn

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

BLOG TOUR – I know the truth by M.A. Comley 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thank you to the author and Sarah @BOTBSPublicity for my place on the tour and gifted ebook. All opinions are honest and my own.

Blurb

From NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Justice series, M A Comley, who has sold over three million copies worldwide.

She escaped his clutches.

Now she hides under a new name.

For the past five years, Lucy has lived in fear of her past.
But all that changes when Matthew enters her life.

Is she able to trust another man after…

Should she listen to her head or her heart?

As she fights for her future, someone is lurking in the shadows with their own agenda.

And they will determine whether she lives or dies.

My Review

This is my first foray into Mel’s books and I’m now wondering what took me so long.

I loved Lucy the protagonist and her best friend Trisha. Trisha is there for Lucy in every way possible, just as a best friend should be. Protecting her, keeping her secret and offering a shoulder to cry on and advice when needed.

The reader knows from dialogue interspersed throughout that Lucy was previously in a very serious domestic abuse situation and understandably has shut herself away from the possibility of love for the last five years. However on a night out with Trisha she meets Matthew.

Matthew is the epitome of “perfect man” if it exists (rarer than a unicorn in my opinion). Lucy suddenly finds herself swept off her feet and before she can say woah hang on a minute she’s introduced to his brother Jake (arrogant pig with issues) and his overbearing mother Cynthia (less said about her the better).

Just as Lucy meets Matthew her life starts spiralling out of control and danger seems to be lurking all around her. With her past still haunting her is her future in trouble too?

With great characters, some you will root for some you will despise, and a plot that is so tense at times you will be holding your breath. The pacing is fast and I raced through this book in a few hours as I was thoroughly gripped.

On a serious note, this may be a work of fiction but unfortunately for many women and men this situation is all too real. I cannot stress how serious domestic abuse is and if anybody finds themselves in that situation I urge you to seek help. https://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk/

About the author

M A Comley is a KINDLE UNLIMITED ALL-STAR author as well as being a New York Times, USA Today, Amazon Top 20 bestselling author, she has topped the book charts on iBooks as a top 5 bestselling and reached #2 bestselling author on Barnes and Noble. Over two and a half million copies sold world wide. She’s a British author who moved to France in 2002, and that’s when she turned her hobby into a career. 

When she’s not writing crime novels as well as caring for her elderly mother, she’s either reading or going on long walks with her rescue pup Labrador, Dex.

Here is a list of her books, Cruel Justice, Impeding Justice, Final Justice, Foul Justice, Guaranteed Justice, Ultimate Justice, Virtual Justice, Hostile Justice, Tortured Justice, Rough Justice, Dubious Justice, Calculated Justice, Twisted Justice, Prime Justice, Heroic Justice, Shameful Justice, Immoral Justice and Overdue Justice. There are several novellas and short stories in the series too.

No Right To Kill, Killer Blow, The Dead Can’t Speak, Deluded and The Murder Pact in the DI Sara Ramsey series. 

Her other successful series are: The DI Sally Parker thriller series, which includes WRONG PLACE, NO HIDING PLACE, COLD CASE, Deadly encounter and Lost Innocence

The DI Kayli Bright Trilogy – The Missing Children, Killer on the Run, Hidden Agenda, Murderous Betrayal and Dying Breath. 

The Hero series, TORN APART, END RESULT, IN PLAIN SIGHT, DOUBLE JEOPARDY and CRIMINAL ACTIONS.

There are three books in the Intention series, Sole Intention, Grave Intention and Devious Intention.

Plus a couple of standalone novels – EVIL IN DISGUISE and FOREVER WATCHING YOU.
I’ve also penned a cozy mystery Private Investigator series – Murder at the Wedding, Murder at the Hotel and Murder by the Sea.

As well as co-authoring the Deception Series co-authored by fellow NY Times bestselling author, Linda S Prather Clever Deception, Tragic Deception and Sinful Deception.
You can follow M A Comley via:-

Twitter @Melcom1

Blog

http://melcomley.blogspot.com

Facebook

http://smarturl.it/sps7jh

Newsletter

http://smarturl.it/8jtcvv

BookBub

www.bookbub.com/authors/m-a-comley

I would also like to add that she’s one of the nicest, funniest, all round good gals I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with on social media.

Link to buy

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

BLOG TOUR – From the shadows by G.R. Halliday

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

Blurb

Seven days. Four deaths. One chance to catch a killer.

Sixteen-year-old Robert arrives home late. Without a word to his dad, he goes up to his bedroom. Robert is never seen alive again.

A body is soon found on the coast of the Scottish Highlands. Detective Inspector Monica Kennedy is drawn into the murder investigation and she has a feeling that the case won’t begin and end with this one death. 

Meanwhile, Inverness-based social worker Michael Bach is worried about one of his clients whose last correspondence was a single ambiguous text message; Nichol Morgan has been missing for seven days.

As Monica is faced with catching a murderer who has been meticulously watching and waiting, Michael keeps searching for Nichol, desperate to find him before the killer claims another victim.

From the Shadows introduces DI Monica Kennedy, an unforgettable new series lead, perfect for fans of Ann Cleeves’s Vera, Susie Steiner and Peter May.

My Review

I was gripped from the very first chapter. I already knew from the blurb Robert was in trouble but I had no idea how shocking that trouble would be. Just as I had started to like him too.

You know pretty early on how but not who and why, which the armchair detective in me loved. With another boy missing the race is on for Detective Inspector Monica Kennedy.

There are lots of clues from strange stones, burning incense, perfume, stars and drugged drinks and occasional narration from someone called “the watcher”. Also you have the social worker Michael taking it upon himself to try and find Nichol who has been missing a week.

The characters in this are fantastic. From Michael with his feral cats including Colonel Mustard. DI Monica, single mum to four year old Lucy, and her mum. Now Monica’s mum was my favourite and I loved how nosy she was due to watching too many police dramas. The author made me chuckle when Monica admitted that her mum wanted her to drink because all her favourite detectives were alcoholics.

This does contain quite graphic descriptions, luckily I’m not squeamish in the slightest, but it is the vivid imagery of the highlands and the portrayal of the weather and isolation that are the author’s skill. Bringing a real sense of atmosphere and adding extra creepiness to an already creepy and macabre plot.

This is a really solid debut and I can’t wait to read the next book for the tour in July.

About the author

G.R. Halliday was born in Edinburgh and grew up near Stirling in Scotland. He spent his childhood obsessing over the unexplained mysteries his father investigated, which has proved excellent inspiration for From the Shadows. The book was shortlisted for the McIlvanney Debut Prize 2019. G.R. Halliday now lives in the rural Highlands outside of Inverness, where he is able to pursue his favourite pastimes of mountain climbing and swimming in the sea, before returning home to his band of semi-feral cats. Dark Waters is his second novel.

Link to buy

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

BLOG TOUR – The last wife by Karen Hamilton

Thank you to Anne @RandomThingsTours for my place on the tour and to Rosie Margesson @Headline /Wildfire Books for my gifted arc. All opinions are honest and my own.

Blurb

THE BRILLIANT NEW PSYCHOLOGICAL DRAMA FROM THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE PERFECT GIRLFRIEND

Two women. A dying wish. And a web of lies that will bring their world crashing down.

Nina and Marie were best friends-until Nina was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Before she died, Nina asked Marie to fulfill her final wishes.

But her mistake was in thinking Marie was someone she could trust.

What Nina didn’t know was that Marie always wanted her beautiful life, and that Marie has an agenda of her own. She’ll do anything to get what she wants.

Marie thinks she can keep her promise to her friend’s family on her own terms. But what she doesn’t know is that Nina was hiding explosive secrets of her own…

My Review

Not since Millicent in My lovely wife and Rhiannon in Sweetpea has there been a more warped female character. Well shut the front door as in steps Marie, pathological liar, manipulator, and all other manner of horrible personality traits.

In fact she is such a manipulator I did wonder if I was being manipulated too. She kept telling me how she lies but is that just to cover up the truth. After all I only have her word for it. That is precisely what gives this book such credence and I think the author is just as calculating as Marie. Reading this book is like playing a game of chess with a genius. They are already about ten moves ahead of you and the queen is in charge.

Unusually, this is also very much a book of two halves. The first half is all Marie, giving you true insight into her very soul. Will you feel sorry for her? Will you despise her? Will you admire her for going for what she wants? Then the second half will just mess you up. Marie finally has what she wants but it’s very much a case of be careful what you wish for. Nina also had secrets and the pedestal that Marie had her on is very wobbly.

This is not a fast paced thriller it is more a character driven domestic tale of an obsessive female who will go to any lengths to get what she wants. Reminiscent of Single white female and with vibes of Fatal Attraction. So if you like messed up women with more loose screws than a wonkily built flat pack (I know I do) then I can really recommend this.

About the author

Karen Hamilton spent her childhood in Angola, Zimbabwe, Belgium and Italy, and developed a love of travel through moving around so much. This led her to a career as a flight attendant, and it was in the air that she thought of the idea for her debut thriller The Perfect Girlfriend.
Karen is a recent graduate of the Faber Academy, and has now put down roots in Hampshire to raise her young family with her husband. The Perfect Girlfriend was a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller in paperback. The Last Wife is her hotly anticipated second novel.

Link to buy

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

BLOG TOUR – The Truants by Kate Weinberg

Thank you to Anne for my place on the tour. Hardback copy my own after purchasing at Waterstones Norwich but a digital copy was provided by Bloomsbury Books.

Blurb

Jess Walker, middle child of a middle class family, has perfected the art of vanishing in plain sight. But when she arrives at a concrete university campus under flat, grey, East Anglian skies, her world flares with colour.

Drawn into a tightly-knit group of rule breakers – led by their maverick teacher, Lorna Clay – Jess begins to experiment with a new version of herself. But the dynamic between the friends begins to darken as they share secrets, lovers and finally a tragedy. Soon Jess is thrown up against the question she fears most: what is the true cost of an extraordinary life?

My Review

After receiving a book one Christmas from her uncle titled The Truants, Jessica is enraptured so much she applies to study at the university where the author is a professor. Now the setting of this university happens to be my local one so I was already sold. I never went to university so the fascination of uni life and friendship dynamics is one I find interesting.

Add to that the course is based around Agatha Christie and that’s another of my boxes ticked. These parts were by far my favourite and it almost felt like it layered mystery inside a mystery. So many little details and all is definitely not what it first seems. Pay attention to the themes!

The book, narrated by Jess six years on and looking back on her friendship with three other students Georgie, Alec and Nick and her infatuation with the charismatic Dr Lorna Clay shows the true value of hindsight. Perfectly capturing her longing for more, adolescent heartbreak and betrayal while also covering some hard hitting subjects. In places there are brutally graphic descriptions covering the consequences of their actions which some may find difficult to read.

Although there is a mystery this is more a slow burning, highly moving, character novel of young love and obsession. Proving that the young feel invincible and only life experience shows them they are not.

About the author

Kate Weinberg was born and lives in London. She studied English at Oxford and creative writing in East Anglia. She has worked as a slush pile reader, a bookshop assistant, a journalist and a ghost writer. The Truants is her first novel. kateweinbergwriter.com

Link to buy

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