The Fear by C. L. Taylor – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

Sometimes your first love won’t let you go…

When Lou Wandsworth ran away to France with her teacher Mike Hughes, she thought he was the love of her life. But Mike wasn’t what he seemed and he left her life in pieces.

Now 32, Lou discovers that he is involved with teenager Chloe Meadows. Determined to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself, she returns home to confront him for the damage he’s caused.

But Mike is a predator of the worst kind, and as Lou tries to bring him to justice, it’s clear that she could once again become his prey…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect from The Fear, but it certainly wasn’t to feel as repulsed, sickened and in fear of the man who could manipulate all three of the women/ girls who appear in the novel.
At first, before Lou’s diary entries revealed more details, the reader is just aware that she was in love, excited that her boyfriend was taking her on a weekend break. It is only when you see his mood swings and violence that you see exactly what he was doing. There were plenty of mind games, and it is probably these along with the violence towards her and others that made me feel so on edge. And the ‘fear’ when she realised that his plan is more than a holiday.
Lou, aged 32, shows all the damage that was caused by what she went through. Not being able to maintain a relationship and the guilt at not testifying all come to a head when she finds that he is doing exactly the same again with Chloe and she takes drastic action to ensure that Chloe does not go through what she did.I was desperate for Lou and Chloe to be safe and for Wendy whose true identity isn’t revealed at first, to get some answers and be happy. Wendy’s role in the novel was light-hearted relief. She did make me smile quite often, I never knew what she was going to do next.
Yes, the novel is far-fetched, I struggled at first with the way that both fathers were portrayed as louts who had no respect for wives and daughters but this is a compelling read. There was a certain point in the novel when I couldn’t put it down until I finished it.
Recommended.

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Beneath The Skin by Caroline England – Review.

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About the Book

Three women. Three secrets.
Antonia is beautiful and happily married. Her life is perfect. So why does she hurt herself when nobody’s watching?
Sophie is witty, smart and married to the best-looking man in town. She likes a drink, but who doesn’t?
Olivia is pretending to be a happy wife and mother. But her secret could tear her family apart.
Their lies start small, they always do. But if they don’t watch out, the consequences will be deadly.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
I had Beneath The Skin on my kindle for a while and when I saw that there was a new book out I decided it would be the right time to read it.
There couldn’t be a more apt title for this book because nearly every character in it didn’t show the true side to their personalities. There are four couples, all different in most cases, apart from that they all have secrets. Most of the people in the novel are unpleasant a lot of the time, although you did see a better side to them occasionally. That is with the exception of Sami and Sophie, two characters who I just hated with a passion. There is a saying, that them being together wouldn’t ruin another couple and it is accurate for these two people. Sophie is a nightmare, spoilt, arrogant, lazy and bullying pretty much sums her up. Antonia is her victim much of the time, and apart from Rupert, she was the only one who I had any sympathy and liking for.
I didn’t really regard it is a psychological thriller, the secret isn’t revealed until the end of the novel. And by that time, for me, it was of no consequence. What was happening in present time was more fascinating. I had a feeling that the ending was left slightly open. There is definitely potential for another book featuring many of the same characters. Or it could have been left for the reader to make up their own mind. each way works perfectly.

You can purchase the book here

Stand By Me by S. D Robertson – Extract.

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Today I am delighted to share with you an extract from Stand by Me by S. D Robertson. It is a book that I am looking forward to reading soon.

About the Book

They’ll always have each other…won’t they?
Lisa and Elliot have been best friends ever since the day they met as children. Popular, bright and sporty, Lisa was Elliot’s biggest supporter when the school bullies made his life a misery, and for that, he will always be grateful.
Twenty years later, life has pulled the pair apart and Lisa is struggling. Her marriage is floundering, her teenage kids are being secretive, and she’s so tired she can’t think straight. So when Elliot knocks on the door, looking much better than she remembers, she can’t help but be delighted to see her old friend again.
With Elliot back in their lives, Lisa’s family problems begin to improve – he’s like the fairy godmother she never had. As their bond deepens, she realises how much she’s missed him, and prays that this is one friendship that will last a lifetime. But sometimes, life has other ideas…
A heartwarming story perfect for fans of Keith Stewart and Jojo Moyes, that will leave you with a tear in your eye but hope in your heart.

Extract

Chapter 10

She remained at the door, shaking her head and smiling, watching her old friend walk down the pavement into the distance and thinking how wonderful it was to see him again. If someone had told her a week ago that this was going to happen, she wouldn’t have believed them. So much time had passed since they’d last seen each other that she’d given up on it ever happening.

Lisa had been heartbroken when he’d emigrated. Before that she’d always imagined that they would be lifelong friends; that they would visit each other at their respective universities and regularly meet up after graduating, even if they didn’t live in the same place. She’d hoped that as adults they’d get on with each other’s partners, be like honorary aunts and uncles to their respective kids, maybe even take their families on holiday together. It had never occurred to her that Elliot would be drawn to the other side of the world, forcing their lives apart.

And even after he’d left for Australia, Lisa had persuaded herself that he wouldn’t be gone long: that the pull of home would bring him back before she knew it. This had been her way of dealing with the loss, essentially by burying her head in the sand, although as the years passed and he didn’t return, she had no choice but to accept the truth.

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Bad Sister by Sam Carrington – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

Stephanie is scared for her life. Her psychologist, Connie Summers, wants to help her face her fears, but Connie will never really understand her. Stephanie’s past has been wiped away for her own protection. Stephanie isn’t even her real name. But then, Dr Summers isn’t Connie’s real name either.
And that’s not all the women have in common. As Stephanie opens up about her troubled relationship with her brother, Connie is forced to confront her own dark family secrets.
When a mutilated body is dumped in plain sight, it will have devastating consequences for both women.
Who is the victim?
Who is to blame?
Who is next?

My Review

Bad Sister is the first book that I have read by Sam Carrington. That will be remedied next year in my plan to catch up on books that I have fallen behind on. I can’t work out if is a series but at least one of the characters appeared in the earlier book.

In this novel, after a very creepy prologue, there are mainly two narrators. Connie, who has recently started her own business as a psychologist after taking the rap for a bad decision in her previous employment at the prison.  Connie has changed her surname as a way of distancing herself from the past. DI Lindsay Wade, the returning character,  has also been held accountable for her decisions in the past. Both women are determined to move on and prove that they are fit to do their job. There is also a unamed narrator. These chapters are headed ‘then’ and are connected to Connie’s client Stephanie. The unnamed character is only young, frightened and increasingly bitter.

Connie is making headway with Stephanie. She is living under witness protection but feels that this has been compromised. With Connie’s identity also revealed after a local incident she wants to see another psychologist. But before this can be arranged, tragedy occurs. I hadn’t expected this at all and did find it a little upsetting. Lindsay is determined that this time the investigation won’t go wrong and enlists Connie’s help. But Connie is in danger, from events in her own past.

Even though the tragedy did upset me I enjoyed this book. Both Connie and Lindsay were shown to be normal women who were not without fault. They built up a strong friendship despite the investigation and I hope that this is sign that this will be a series. There was a bad feeling between Connie and Mack, Lindsay’s partner in the police that was explained during the novel, again this was something I would like to see fully resolved. I enjoyed reading an investigation from a different view-point to a police officer.I haven’t read many that are similar.

The ending was unusual, part of me felt warm when Connie realised who could keep her safe but there was also a moment in the epilogue that sent me cold again. A sign that there was more happening than I realised when I was reading.

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.

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Beneath The Skin by Caroline England – Extract.

Today, I am delighted to share with you an extract from Caroline England’s debut novel. I have the book on my kindle and hope to read very soon.

  About the Book

Antonia, Antonia. My name is Antonia.’
It’s been her name for many years. But sometimes, like tonight, she forgets.
Antonia has a secret. A secret so dark and so deep that she can barely admit it to herself. Instead, she treats herself to Friday night sessions of self-harm while her husband David is at the pub, and her best friend Sophie is drinking too much wine a few doors down.
Nobody close to her knows the truth about what the teenage Antonia saw all those years ago. No-one, that is, except her mother. But Candy is in a care home now, her mind too addled to remember the truth. Antonia is safe. Isn’t she?
The lies start small. They always do. But when the tightly woven story you’ve told yourself begins to unravel, the truth threatens to come to the surface. And then what’s going to happen?

Extract

‘How’s Antonia?’
‘Fine, she’s fine,’ David answers, glancing towards the bar, the sparkle back in his bright blue eyes. ‘At home with a DVD and guacamole. Jennifer Aniston’s my bet. Actually Mikey, I wanted to ask you. Her birthday’s coming up and I want to buy her something special, maybe something different for a change. Got any ideas? What would you buy Olivia?’
Mike scratches his chin, still smooth from its second shave of the day. He laughs. ‘You mean, what do you buy the woman who has everything?’
‘He treats her like a bloody doll,’ his wife Olivia often remarks, spot on as ever. The statement reminds him of a cardboard dolly set his sister was given one Christmas. She asked him to play, and despite his desire to try out his new bicycle in the biting Irish winter outside, he knelt beside her and joined in the game at the warm kitchen table, detaching the paper outfits from the booklet, the dresses, the hats, the scarves and the shoes, then dressing the doll in different designs for each season of the year.
‘I’m serious, Mikey.’ David interrupts his thoughts. ‘What would you buy Olivia?’
Mike takes a swig of his beer, then wipes the rim of the glass with his thumb. David’s assumption that their respective wives fall into any remotely similar category makes him smile to himself.
‘Vain and vacant. The sort of woman I can’t stand,’ Olivia said of Antonia after meeting her for the first time at one of David and Antonia’s dinner parties. ‘But as it happens, she’s nice and I like her, which is really annoying.’
So what would he buy Olivia? What had he bought her last time? Mike can’t remember, probably something she’d asked for, but then they don’t make a fuss of their own birthdays, preferring to concentrate on their two lovely girls.
And there it is: like Winston Churchill’s dog, his own black dog of despair, bounding back into the pub and sitting by him. Close, comfortable and devastating. He hears his own voice not long after it happened, trying for rationality: ‘I didn’t even know him. It could have been so much worse.’
There are times when Mike wonders if he’s spoken aloud, made his words to the dog public. For a moment he’s forgotten the question, but he’s saved from an answer; David has turned towards the door.
‘What bloody time do you call this?’ he bellows, standing up and gesticulating towards the bar. Mike looks at his watch. It’s getting on for last orders but Sami Richards grins and shrugs, holding out his palms in a dismissively apologetic gesture. Elegant and handsome, he strolls past the Friday regulars clustered at the bar, the turned-up collar of his black leather jacket matching the sheen of his skin.
‘Why does he always look as though he’s walked off the page of a fucking magazine?’ David says, a little too aggressively, as he turns back towards Mike. He knocks back his pint, ready to get in more drinks.

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