Her Deadly Friend by Rae Sargeant – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

The Suspect
Bullied by Steph Lewis at school, then betrayed by her lover, Amy Ashby still seethes with fury. Despite the decades-old resentment, she’s on the hunt for a new man and a fresh start. This time for keeps.

The Stalker
When both women are stalked by a figure from their shared past, danger threatens.

The Detective
Now Detective Inspector, Steph follows a tip-off to her old rival. After quarrels exploded beyond the playground and changed lives forever, she vowed never to see Amy again. But that was then.

The Deaths
Murder rocks the city. First one, then another. The body count reaches five, and all Steph’s leads point to Amy. But is Steph obsessed with a schoolgirl vendetta or closing in on a deadly killer?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. At the beginning of this novel you get to meet two of the main characters, one in the police and the other a suspect, as children. One of them is accused of bullying the other and you soon see that the events that happened in childhood still had an impact on both many years later. This is definitely not a relationship where feelings have mellowed. 

But these are two people who have to communicate. Both of them are strongly connected to the investigation and Steph has to ask questions despite what occurred in their past. I had a lot of sympathy for Steph, despite the accusation against her. I detested Amy almost immediately.

The team that Steph is part of is a strong one. Not really friends, just colleagues who tolerate each other, but they don’t let any animosity impact on their jobs. They do care about each other though, and this became more evident when Steph’s worrying health issues were revealed. This was a part of the novel that I appreciated a lot. It’s not often where a team is portrayed so honestly. And it’s not often where I’ve had a lot of concern for a character’s health. 

I read a lot of crime fiction, sometimes I guess who is responsible for whichever crime has been committed, sometimes it’s a surprise but also a disappointment because it doesn’t make much sense. I thought I knew which way the storyline was going until a very surprising and clever event part way through In this novel and from then I had no idea what was going to happen or who was the murderer. 

I hope that there will be a follow up to this novel, I enjoyed this one a lot.

Love And Other Human Errors by Bethany Clift – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

An unforgettable story about love in all its chaotic glory from the author of Last One At The Party

A book synopsis is fundamentally ridiculous. How can I possibly convey, in only 100 words, the events of the past year and their impact on my perfectly ordered existence?

It is insufficient space to accurately detail how I was blackmailed into demonstrating my flawless algorithm to find a soulmate, despite having no desire for one. 

In my former life I avoided trivial human connections. I was alone, accomplished and brilliant.

Unfortunately, that solitary and driven woman no longer exists.

My name is Indiana Dylan and this is the extraordinary account of how I fell in love.

There: 100 words exactly.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I have confession to make, I can’t remember the last time I read a romance novel. But having thoroughly enjoying Bethany Cliff’s debut novel Last One At The Party I knew I had to read this. And I am so glad I did, I loved meeting Indiana, Lina and Jack. And off course the slightly different characters Peggy and Spider.

It’s easy to see that Indiana, Jack and Lina had something missing in their lives, but  none of them could see it themselves. Indiana hid behind technology, convinced she would find her soulmate through her invention. Lina was struggling to balance her family life and her career and the real Jack was nothing like the Jack that he was in the office, the smiles and interest in his colleagues personal life were all fake. It made me wonder, how many people were like these three. Struggling and isolated and either not realising it or not knowing a way out.

I had a lot of sympathy for all three main characters. All of them lonely, slightly brittle and all coping differently. Indiana’s methods were a little unusual, her ‘colleague’ Peggy was a friend who not many would have, nor would they have Spider as an employee but these two made me smile a lot. Peggy showed her how to be a friend to others, especially those who needed it. Lina and Jack’s methods felt more real, and I think many will identify with both.

Set in the future, the novel concerned a slightly worrying advancement in technology. Much of this didn’t mean a thing to me but there were times, when reading, that I was wondering what my fitness watch could sense. And whether it was responsible for the many adverts that would appear across social media hours after anything was discussed!

A wonderful second novel by an author who is now one of my favourites. I’m looking forward to what she does next.

A Corruption Of Blood by Ambrose Parry – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

A Raven and Fisher Mystery: Book 3

Edinburgh, 1850. This city will bleed you dry.

Sarah Fisher is keeping a safe distance from her old flame Dr Will Raven. Having long worked at the side of Dr James Simpson, she has set her sights on learning to practise medicine herself. A notion everyone seems intent on dissuading her from.

Across town, Raven finds himself drawn into Edinburgh’s mire when a package containing human remains washes up on the shores of Leith, and an old adversary he has long detested contacts him, pleading for Raven’s help to escape the hangman.

Sarah and Raven’s lives seem indelibly woven together as they discover that wealth and status cannot alter a fate written in the blood.

My Review

I am thrilled to be opening the blog tour for this latest book in one of my favourite series. It is also one of the few where I have all three books signed by the authors.

One of the many reasons I enjoy historical fiction like this is because of the way the story is based on read life characters as well as fictional ones, the knowledge that many of the events would have happened and the opinions of many of the characters would have been common. Most of these opinions left me feeling outraged and saddened. I don’t think that I would have been able to stay quiet like Sarah did, and I had a lot of respect for her ability to do so, and her determination to try and prove her critics wrong. She did have her supporters though, from women like her, who couldn’t follow their dream.

Initially Sarah and Raven were investigating different cases, but they do have a link and eventually they ended up working together. Unfortunately, they found themselves in danger and they knew that someone was scared of them getting too close to the truth. What they did discover was heartbreaking. I know that there were many who were capable of acts like this, but can’t imagine what it would be like to know that you had been duped by somebody so cruel. I was completely wrong about all aspects of their investigations but had a lot of appreciation for the eventual outcome.

Whilst there is a lot of focus on uncovering the truth there is also a lot that shows the way life was at the times for many. The poverty, the horrifying decisions that many were forced to make and the attitudes of the wealthy towards those who were less fortunate. All of this combined with Sarah’s determination to be acknowledged is the reason I enjoy this series so much.

I was happy to read a few weeks ago that book four in this series will be published next year. I am looking forward to seeing what happens next.

The Hive by Scarlett Brade – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Charlotte Goodwin looks directly at the camera and reveals a chilling truth to the thousands watching her Instagram Live broadcast. She has killed her ex-boyfriend’s new partner in cold blood. But she is not finished yet. The viewers must nowvote to decide whether he should live or die.

The public display sends shockwaves rippling through the online community and the numbers of viewers skyrockets. But as Lincoln’s past is revealed, how will he be judged?

The Hive explores our darkest fears of the relationship between social media and mental health, but, most importantly, the strength of sisterhood against all the odds. 

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Hive is one of those novels where I wasn’t certain what to expect. I do use social media but I am a bit clueless about the so called influencers who many people are fascinated with. So when followers and fans had to decide between #letlive or #letdie I was a little unsettled.

And I had quite a while to wait before I would find which way the online vote would go. It’s only in the latter stages of the novel that you see that sees the culmination of the prologue. But this is no great hardship, what happens in between is gripping.

When Charlotte gets involved with Linc, a famous boxer, she falls in love quickly and has dreams of their future together. She is overwhelmed by the social media following that comes because of their relationship, especially when things go badly wrong and everyone has an opinion. Most of it involving hatred of her and all of it with only no idea of the true situation. She is bewildered, grieving over what she has lost and isn’t coping. With this part of the novel the author shows how fickle social media can be and how easy it is to manipulate the truth. 

But, she is part of a strong group of women who have been friends for many years and who have overcome a lot since childhood. All of these women are a huge support to her and are trying to help her get over her relationship with Linc and the events that happened. This part of the novel forms most of the novel and I had as much sympathy for them as I did for her. Strangely, it isn’t really a depressing novel, the author shows her characters coping with their own trauma but she also manages to show how the friends can laugh together. They have a lot of respect for each other’s situation and cope in the way they know best. 

Whether the reader likes or loathes these characters doesn’t really matter. Many will judge, just like the followers. Others will judge because most of these characters are in some way criminals. What I got from reading this was that it was  a thoroughly original novel that had me cheering on those who suffered the most and a lot of entertainment.

The Reunion by Polly Phillips – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

A chance to reconnect. 
A chance to get revenge . . .

Emily Toller has tried to forget her time at university and the events that led to her suddenly leaving under a cloud. She has done everything she can to forget the shame and the trauma – and the people involved. She has tried to focus on the life she has built with her children and husband, Nick.

But events like that can’t just be forgotten. Not without someone answering for what they’ve done. 

When an invitation arrives to a University reunion, everything clicks into place. Emily has a plan.

Because if you can’t forget – why not get revenge?

A fresh, original and strikingly relatable psychological thriller, perfect for fans of ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL. 

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The prologue in this novel is one of the most intense and gripping I have read for a long time and it was a struggle to put it down. I needed to find out what had led to the situation in which Emily found herself in.

You know very early on that her Cambridge University experience wasn’t a good one and the career she had planned didn’t materialise. You are also aware that she is now in a position where she can make sure that those who ruined her dreams could now suffer. But with the way this book was written, with each chapter going back and forward in time it takes a while for the reader to discover what happened in Cambridge and what she was planning.

I have to say that this novel features some very unlikeable people, mostly the type who believe that their wealth lets them do whatever they want. It also shows how much hurt that attitude causes to those who are less visible and who are forced to feel that they are insignificant. Even Emily, who hasn’t got the wealth, but is friends with those who have, is guilty of doing this. The only character out of all of them who I really liked was Helen, Emily’s sister. I thought she had integrity, a sense of humour and a lot of love to give. 

It is fascinating to read, extremely character driven and I dread to think that the events described could happen. I have a feeling though that there are those who would behave like some in this novel.