Look What You Made Me Do by Nikki Smith – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Two people can keep a secret . . . if one of them is dead.

Sisters Jo and Caroline are used to hiding things from each other. They’ve never been close – taking it in turns to feel on the outside of their family unit, playing an endless game of favourites.

Jo envies Caroline’s life – things have always come so easy to her. Then a family inheritance falls entirely to Jo, and suddenly now Caroline wants what Jo has. Needs it, even.

But just how far will she go to get it? 

You’ll be riveted by the new psychological suspense from Nikki Smith – a gripping gut-punch of a novel . . .

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Look What You Made Me Do is an excellent second novel by this author, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading both this and the earlier book All In Her Head. And like that book, the synopsis doesn’t fully reflect the full storyline. This is how they should be, far too often too much detail is given and I really enjoyed finding the snippets that weren’t revealed.

Whilst most of the focus in the novel is on the two sisters it wasn’t what I expected. I didn’t expect to have so much sympathy for Caroline and to feel the same fear that she felt when she was near her husband Rob. The abuse shown wasn’t through assault alone, here there was slyness and control. Even over something as simple as a jar of coffee. But I felt that she was planning something and I wasn’t convinced it involved inheritance. I found her story difficult to read but very compelling. 

Jo’s life was completely different but she also had issues. She’d had problems with eating disorders in her past, a very strange relationship with her mother which I had misunderstood for much of the novel and a husband who she felt disconnected from. I wished that both sisters could be there for each other but they had never been close. 

It’s a fascinating novel that shows you never know what goes on behind closed doors. 

BackStories by Simon Van Der Velde – Review.

About The Book

Dreamers, singers, talkers and killers; they can dazzle with their beauty or their talent or their unmitigated evil, but inside themselves they are as frail and desperate as the rest of us. But can you see them? Can you unravel the truth? 

These are people you know, but not as you know them. 

Peel back the mask and see. 

Backstories is a unique collection of stories each told from the point of view of a famous, (or notorious) person at a pivotal moment in their lives. The writing is literary but accessible and the voices vividly real. The settings are mostly 60’s and 70’s UK and USA, and the driving themes are inclusion, social justice and of course, nostalgia – but the real key to these stories is that the protagonists’ identities are withheld. This means that your job is to find them, leading to that Eureka moment when you realise who’s mind you’ve been inhabiting for the last twenty minutes.

My Review

With thanks to the author for the copy received. I don’t read many short stories but when I was contacted by the author of this collection I was a little intrigued. And I am so pleased that I chose to read it. Backstories is a delight. A few of them I read more than once, the ones I liked the most and the ones that I wanted to see if I had missed anything that could have made me work out who they were.

It is impossible to review without giving away any identities so instead I will tell you what my favourites were and my thoughts on one of others. The stories I enjoyed the most were The Guitar, Tonight’s The Night and The Big Attraction. One of the reasons I liked The Guitar, the first in the collection, was because I instantly knew I was in for a treat. The other two are completely different to this but were characters who many will be aware of. 

One of the stories sent the hairs up on the back of my neck. Again I can’t say who it was about but that story was The Blank Face. I will read this story again but I found it more unsettling than the others. This was a story that sent me straight to the internet, I had known nothing about this person’s personal life. Just their actions

Out of all of them there was only one I wasn’t familiar with so that story didn’t have the same impact. Again though, it sent me to the internet.

This collection was very refreshing, it is the type of collection where you would benefit from reading one or two a day and savouring what you have experienced. I loved it.

You can purchase a copy of the book at http://bit.ly/Amazon-Backstories

Judas Horse by Lynda La Plante – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Do you know what a Judas Horse is? When the wild mustangs are running free, you corral one and train it. When he’s ready, you release him and he’ll bring his team back into the corral – like Judas betraying them…’

Violent burglars have been terrorising residents across the English countryside. But when a mutilated body is discovered in a Cotswolds house, it becomes clear that this is no ordinary group of opportunist thieves.

As Detective Jack Warr investigates, he discovers locals with dark secrets, unearths hidden crimes – and hits countless dead ends. With few leads and the violent attacks escalating, he will have to act as audaciously as the criminals if he hopes to stop them. 

When Warr meets Charlotte Miles, a terrified woman with links to the group, he must use her to lure the unsuspecting killers into one last job, and into his trap. But with the law already stretched to breaking point, any failure will be on Warr’s head – and any more blood spilled, on his hands

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Judas Horse is the second book in the Jack Warr series. This series is the only one that I have read by this author and I need to make a determined effort to catch up with a few others. Whilst I liked the previous book, Buried, I enjoyed this one a lot more. It proved that it could stand on its own without the connection to the Widows series. You could read this without reading the former but I would recommend reading them in order.

Jack has calmed down a lot since the events in Buried. He has just become a father and has come to terms with finding out his own father’s identity. He is settled into his new home with the wonderful Maggie, young Hannah and his mother. He enjoys his job more and appears to be less of a hothead and in this novel he is helping a team in the Cotswolds solve a series of house crimes that are getting increasingly violent. But he is no walkover and there is a power struggle within that team that causes more problems than it solves.

I think Jack is a great character. He is encouraging to the less experienced officers and handles the team from Oxford brilliantly. I would love to see that ‘partnership’ in further novels. I can see a lot of animosity ahead! The way he was with the witnesses and the victims showed compassion but a determination not to be ignored or patronised. 

Maggie is also a great character. Grounded and loving and she knows that her man isn’t a saint. But she is prepared to let him think that he believes everything she is told because she knows that what he does is done is with a good heart. 

It is quite brutal at times but I feel it is more intimidating because of the rural, usually peaceful setting and also because of who is on the receiving end. Nobody is safe from these criminals.

Judas Horse is a great addition to this new series and I’m looking forward to book three and keeping my fingers crossed that like the other books that it will be televised.


The Girls From Alexandria by Carol Cooper – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Memories are fragile when you are seventy years old. I can’t afford to lose any more of them, not when remembering the past might help with the here and now.

Nadia needs help. Help getting out of her hospital bed. Help taking her pills. One thing she doesn’t need help with is remembering her sister. But she does need help finding her.

Alone and abandoned in a London hospital, 70-year-old Nadia is facing the rest of her life spent in a care home unless she can contact her sister Simone… who’s been missing for 50 years.

Despite being told she’s ‘confused’ and not quite understanding how wi-fi works, Nadia is determined to find Simone. So with only cryptic postcards and her own jumbled memories to go on, Nadia must race against her own fading faculties and find her sister before she herself is forgotten.

Set against the lush and glamorous backdrop of 20th century Alexandria, Carol Cooper’s third novel is equal parts contemporary mystery and historical fiction: a re-coming of age story about family, identity, and homeland.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I always enjoy reading something out of my comfort zone and it’s a bonus when it concerns an area or a topic which I know nothing about. In this novel that area was Alexandria, I’m ashamed to say I had never even heard of it.

It’s a dual time frame novel where Nadia features in both. The modern day where Nadia is in hospital, aged 70 and being ignored by the medics who were going through the motions of providing care. The other part of the novel started in the 1950s and went through to modern day covering Nadia’s childhood and then her married life in Alexandria and London. And whilst I loved her  wry approach to life and way of coping with being ignored in modern day I also enjoyed reading about a completely different way of life in Alexandria. There were parts that made me sad and wary but there were also parts that made me smile. I have never thought about how strange some of the British everyday phrases seem to those who aren’t used to them. I felt that Nadia, Fouad, and their many friends took a lot of pleasure in using them. 

Like a few  in the novel I wasn’t convinced by Simone’s existence at first. But as it progressed I wanted her to be real if for no other reason to make those who should have provided care to listen to Nadia. I hope that I have never have the misfortune to get doctors like the ones who feature here. 

An absolutely wonderful novel that I read at a perfect time for me.

Last Seen by Joy Kluver – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

I can see her, shouting with laughter as she swings as high as she can, her beautiful blonde curls flying out behind her. I can feel her tiny hot hand in mine, and my heart aches. My little girl. If only I’d listened to my gut. Then maybe she’d be safe here with me…

When five-year-old Molly Reynolds is snatched from the park in the small village of Otterfield, Detective Bernadette ‘Bernie’ Noel throws herself into the search, sick with worry for the quiet, sensitive little girl and her distraught mother.

Wasting no time, Bernie finds a small green cardigan under a bush in the park. It still has the smiley face sticker Molly won that week at school. It’s the first in a chain of clues – and Bernie can’t shake the feeling that it was left deliberately, as a message.  

But Bernie encounters a wall of silence. Otterfield is a close-knit community, yet no one in the village seems to care that Molly is missing at all. Why?

And then Bernie makes a chilling discovery: twenty-five years ago, another little girl went missing from the area. Her name was Sophie, and all they ever found of her was her teddy bear, hidden under a bush. Now Bernie knows she’s in a race against time to save Molly’s life.

Bernie’s team work round the clock to find a connection between the two girls, and just when they think they’re making progress a devastating tragedy strikes at the heart of the case. Molly’s family have been hiding a secret, and now their little girl is in greater danger than ever.

Can Bernie outwit the most warped criminal she has ever faced and bring Molly home safe, or will another innocent life be lost? 

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Last Seen is an interesting debut novel which introduces the reader to Bernie and her team. Soon after attending the funeral of her beloved ’Pops’ Bernie has to investigate the disappearance of a young girl, Molly, from a play area. You would expect the local community to help with finding her but there is reluctance from the locals. The reasons why are revealed further into the novel but this is a close knit community and like many they don’t like questions, they are loyal and there are a lot of memories. I could understand how frustrating this was for Bernie and her team.

Bernie is new to the area, she relocated from the MET Police for reasons unspecified but the disappearance of Molly is putting her in the spotlight. Something which she is trying to avoid. The loss of Pops, not really knowing the local area and receiving  what could be a threatening card adds to her worry. Not to mention having to work with a new colleague who she can’t make her mind up about. 

One of the strengths of this novel is how long it seemed to take for the team to get their answers. It showed that not every case is fast moving and even though only a few days had gone they all felt the exhaustion and frustration and were fully aware that they needed to get a breakthrough. 

Little is revealed about most of them, including Bernie. Even though I liked her a lot, I felt I only knew her as a police officer. I wanted to know more about her life outside of the job. I expect that more will be revealed further into the series as she settles into her new life. I know that many series are similar and this isn’t a criticism but she seemed to be somebody I would like to know in real life. I am looking forward to learning more about all of them in book two.