S.E. Lynes – The Housewarming

‘The Housewarming’ by S.E Lynes is a psychological thriller that definitely pulled on my heartstrings a few times. The author brings us a parents worst nightmare, a missing child. Her writing is so superb, I felt like I was living through this horrific event with her parents.

S.E. Lynes

Ava and Matt’s two-year-old daughter, Abi vanished from her pushchair one morning. Ava had left her for five minutes, when she returned the door was open and Abi had gone. One year on and they are invited to a housewarming party for a neighbour. Abi is reluctant to go, still struggling with Abi’s disappearance, she can hardly deal with the socialising. These people helped to look for Abi and she is paranoid about everything surrounding Abi’s disappearance. Matt convinces her to attend with him. As the party undergoes the tension is palpable then, a chance remark makes Ava rerun everything she knows and doesn’t know about her daughter going missing.

I cannot state enough how the emotions play such a large part in this book! From a parents perspective, I was put through the wringer while reading this. The book speeds up with the pace at the party and never lets up. All the secrets and every little confession begin to bubble to the surface and eventually the truth comes to light…make sure you have tissues at hand. Just when you think its over and all is done, in comes another twist to shock you again.

Another fabulous addition to S.E Lynes spectacular books! Thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for the book to write my review.

Nikki Crutchley – The Murder Club

‘The Murder Club’ by Nikki Crutchley is the second book in the Miller Hatcher series, but it is great to read as a standalone also. One thing I truly adore is discovering new authors and Nikki Crutchley is a definite gem of a find.

Nikki Crutchley

Set in a small town, Lentford in New Zealand. I enjoy reading books set in different countries, gives me the feeling of being a bit travelled in my head anyway!

Miller is a local journalist and receives an anonymous letter that reads ‘It begins tonight’ The next morning the first victim is discovered.
Miller has just started to become friends with Cassie Hughes, a woman whose mother was murdered and she has spent some time in a psychiatric unit for beating a man she believed killed her mother and is still searching for the killer to this day. Then we meet Logan, his sister was also murdered. He has set up a Murder Club. He plans to organise tours for all the murders that have occurred within the area, and wants Miller to do a piece on them in the newspaper.

All these characters are brilliantly created and I felt like I was part of this story. The writing was so vivid and realistic with great plotting. I was kept guessing throughout and the build-up of tension kept me on the edge of my seat too. I thoroughly enjoyed The Murder Club and would easily recommend it to others.

Thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources and Nikki Crutchley for the book to write my review.

Kevin Albin – Stonechild

‘Stonechild’ by Kevin Albin is a truly different and unique story. It is a Young Adult book but I am certain that advanced readers among the younger children would thoroughly enjoy this story of statues coming to life around London. The book begs the question, what does happen when we all die?

Kevin Albin

Molly is a pretty intelligent fifteen-year-old who is lucky to have travelled to a lot of places with her parents. She is also well-read and understands a lot about conservation. The statues in and around London begin to come alive saying they are here to save the planet. Molly is not as confident this is wholly the reason for their animation, especially with the ones she encounters first. Molly is a lone voice among many who flock to see the statues. It seems no-one is prepared to believe her. Molly set out to find out the truth behind the happening.

I had fun travelling around London to all the places where the statues are placed. Not only visiting the main, famous sites of statues but discovering the hidden locations of some. I have never been to London personally so for me it added to my experience of the book. I loved the bit of historical detail Kevin gave us. I, as an adult, would love any amount of history added, but keeping in mind this book is written for YA, there is enough not to make it more of a history lesson. Kevin has certainly put a lot of research into why which statue is used, that is clear.

The race against time for Molly creates plenty of adventure and drama to the story and while this is a truly fictional book, conservation is a major topic for everyone, even for the kids. Greta Thunberg immediately springs to mind and also 2020 being the Pandemic year, it seems very apt Stonechild is here now.

Thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources and Kevin Albin for the copy of the book for my review today.

Nina Manning – The Housemate

‘The Housemate’ by Nina Manning is the newest offering in her psychological thrillers. I have read a few of Nina’s books and always enjoyed them, so I hoped The Housemate would be just as good if not better. I need not have worried, this book keeps her high standards if not higher.

Nina Manning

Regi is an older, mature student who house shares with three much younger students in London. We soon discover that Regi has more issues than meets the eye. She is suffering from OCD which is never easy as well as trying to escape her past. The story is told through ‘now’ and ‘then’ alternately. This woman had my emotions rolling as the past events in her life are slowly revealed and the state of her mental health can be better understood.

The present makes us wonder if she is really being stalked by a man in a baseball cap and if any of the other things she is constantly overthinking are real or the result of her failing mental health. Even her social media obsession makes us think, is this due to her obsessive behaviour or because she is trying so hard to lead a normal life just like her housemates.

This book made me feel for Regi, her struggles just to get through a single day were hard enough. Her housemates are all as you expect of uni students, trying to ‘get’ Regi and her issues at the same time as having their own stuff to deal with.

This is not a fast-paced story, but that is good. All the issues highlighted, abuse, grief and obsession along with mental health problems may have not been dealt with the correct sensitivity if it was faster. I was gripped by this captivating story and as I said previously, it had me feeling every emotion as the story unfolded.

Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources and Nina Manning for the copy of the book to write my review.

T.A. Belshaw – Unspoken

‘Unspoken’ by T.A. Belshaw is a saga that spans three generations and eighty years. Two women, Alice and Jess are Great-Gran and Great-Grandaughter, There may be three generations between them but Jess’s life seems to be mirroring her Great-Gran’s, as well as her taste in men.

T.A. Belshaw

Alice is almost one hundred years old and death is moving closer for her. She retells her life story to Jess and we can see Alice still has the inner strength she has had throughout her life. As Jess listens we can see her gaining strength just through her Great-Grandma’s story and realising she can sort her own life out if she keeps the strength of mind Alice has shown too.

The characters in the book have been created so well, they are strong, believable and memorable people. I particularly loved Alice for her strength and her best friend Amy. She is a woman everyone needs for a friend, and she is the one that helps Alice gain her fairytale ending.

I always enjoy a saga story but this one, really got me. The historical section in Alice’s younger years was so vibrantly described and in such a realistic way, I was swept away in that time. Minutes turned to hours and I didn’t even notice. An unputdownable book from the first chapter straight through to the final one.

Thank you to Damp Pebbles Blog Tours and T.A Belshaw for the copy of the book for my review today.

Jennifer Harvey – No More Secrets

‘No More Secrets’ by Jennifer Harvey is a book that I found to be an emotional mystery story that had me holding my breath in parts, turning the pages so fast so I could find out what came next in this thrilling read.

Jennifer Harvey

Evie’ boyfriend was murdered twenty years ago. Her brother Ethan was charged with his murder. Evie still struggles to come to terms with what happened. Her dad passes away and Her mum, Carole returns for the funeral…bringing with her Ethan, who has been released from prison. Her brother wants to talk to Evie, he believes he is innocent and wants to explain. The biggest issue is, is Evie able to cope hearing Ethan’s truth?

The family drama is strong throughout this book, it adds to the mystery and tension. This book deals with how secrets can wreck lives, as well as grief and guilt. The way the book slips from past to the present throughout the chapters so, we see the full picture of their teenage years and it builds a picture of just how and why it connects to Evie’s state of mind currently.

Jennifer Harvey has created a book that I was unable to leave alone for any length of time. A compelling book that will be excellent for anyone who loves an emotional family drama with added tension and mystery.

Thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for the copy of the book for my review today.

Liz Mistry – Unbound Ties

‘Unbound Ties’ by Liz Mistry is the seventh and newest instalment of Bradford’s Di Gus Maguire’s adventures. This is one of those series that is brilliant from the first book and never let up in their brilliance, not for one minute!

Liz Mistry

This time he is called out to a case of a pregnant woman found hanging in her home. ritualistic items are found at her feet, including a drawing. It soon comes to light that Gus’s mum has been getting drawing sent in the post also. Gus ends up of the case and DS Alice Cooper takes over whole Gus is placed on a different case. Gus is left wondering what else his parents are keeping from him due to the link to his mum with this particular case. It soon becomes clear that the new case Gus is on is interlinked with the other one, and the past sometimes tends to return and impact your life from then on.

Wow! I love the Gus Macguire series. This particular book delves into Gus’s history like never before. The characters have always been spot on with realism and development but now, this one makes Gus even more human than before!

Another fabulous read from the pen of Liz Mistry, keep them coming!
Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources and the fabulous Liz Mistry for my copy of her book for my review.

Stuart James – Stranded

‘Stranded’ by Stuart James is the book everyone needs to read! This month! I have previously read and taken part in The House On Rectory Lane blog tour and that book alone blew me away, so I was hoping against hope that The Stranded could live up to that. Well, let me tell you this is such a dark, intense and really scary story that I almost needed to read it during the day.

Stuart James

Ben, Laura and their daughter Millie are off to Gatwick airport so they can go on their family holiday to Barcelona. They chose not to get there on the motorway and go the scenic route through the countryside. On the way, they are stopped by a man in high vis, who tells them a. alternative route due to a tree blocking the road ahead. They follow his advised route until they come across a bus stopped and blocking the road. They wait for the bus to move and finally, when it doesn’t Ben goes to investigate and wishes he never opened his car door.

What ensues is a nightmare of the highest order from here on in! He finds the coach has people on board but they are all tied up and gagged. As he enters the bus a telephone rings so Ben answers… the caller is very clear – he has a game plan and a total of eight passengers and they are alive but, they may not live for long. Ben has to help him and any change in following the instructions, including trying to raise the alarm, will result in death. As the story unfolds we start to learn more about each of the passengers, including the missing ones, and what exactly they all did to be a part of this twisted plan. To be honest, maybe some should not live anyway, not all are nice people in the first place. We also find out about the kidnapper himself and just what has happened to cause him to even think of this terrible plan, never mind to take it to this point! Ben knows this is ten million miles away from his relaxing holiday and it will be one hell of a long night for all.

This is so cleverly written and it is released at the perfect time of the year, a thriller that almost crosses genre to a horror, yes it is that sick and twisted! The characters are excellent. We have the unlikeable ones who I immediately wanted dead, especially when I read their backstories.

This is no in-between book at all, you are gonna love it or hate it. The nasty characters make the story so much more, do they deserve to die or not? Read and see.

Ben and his family are truly way braver than I ever would be. I would have been turning around as quickly as possible! A spectacular conclusion that I didn’t see coming and the twists and turns are awesome, for sure.

Thanks to Sarah Hardy at Books On The Bright Side and Stuart James for my copy of the book for my review of this terrific book today.

Stacy Green – The Girls In The Snow

‘The Girls In The Snow’ by Stacy Green is a brand new series featuring Special Agent Nikki Hunt, who returns to her home town of Saltwater, after two decades.

Stacy Green

The bodies of two girls have been discovered and the police think they already know the perpetrator, a known serial killer, but Nikki is not as definite. She thinks these murders are not connected to the man she has been attempting to hunt down for years, but someone else.

Nikki has avoided returning before because both her parents were murdered twenty years ago, by Mark Todd, a man that was found in her parents bedroom covered in blood and his prints on the weapon. Now the residents of the town are demanding a judicial review due to new facts coming to light on the case. This makes Nikki question everything she knows of the case.

The story is told from Nikki’s point of view so we really get to know her and her personality in this first outing. She is thorough in her work and this shows with her self-doubt on the case of her parents. I personally enjoyed this particular strand of the story as it shows her as a real human being and not just ‘special agent’.

A gripping, twisty and engrossing read that I read in two sittings. Both strands of the story were as compelling as each other for me. The team with Nikki work well together and have that chemistry that you know is going to get even better as the series progresses. Nikki herself is a woman that doesn’t stop until she gets justice and to do that she is a strong resilient woman that made me root for her right from the start.

I do love the start of a new series and can only look forward to Stacy Green writing the second soon.

Emily Cavanagh – Everybody Lies

‘Everybody Lies’ by Emily Cavanagh is a suspense thriller that is set on the island of Great Rock in America. It is an island on which everybody knows everybody, any business is known by everybody. An island that only livens up in the winter, during the Winter Festival. This island has many secrets and so do the residents and this becomes clear after a woman who worked in a restaurant is found strangled. The question is whose secrets include killing her?

Emily Cavanagh

The story is told from multiple points of view Caroline, Evvy and Daisy. I enjoy a story told this way due to gaining a wider picture and having different views on the story, I feel like I can get to know the characters. It is a book with a few differing story threads that Emily Cavanagh cleverly weaves together into a book that is a slow burner to begin but has so much going on you want to read what may happen next. She has packed secrets, mystery, lies, murder and crime into one book that hooks you in and keeps you turning the pages. Her characters are all well fleshed out and believable so adds to the suspense within the story.

Thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for my copy of the book to write this review today.

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