Tell Me No Lies by Lisa Hall – Blog Tour Review.

 

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About the Book

Don’t. Trust. Anyone.

It was supposed to be a fresh start.

A chance to forget the past and embrace the future.

But can you ever really start again?

Or does the past follow you wherever you go

My Review

Steph and Mark Gordon are settling into a new home in an attempt to rebuild their marriage after he had an affair. Steph has had her problems, a traumatic event in her teens, post-natal depression, the affair and her best friend now lives in America.
Mark works away a lot of the time and she becomes good friends with two neighbours Lila and Lawrence. But she is under pressure, Mark is away in the build up to Christmas, she is pregnant and being hassled by a very unlikeable woman to join the PTA. And then more worryingly, items start to appear on her doorstep, personal items disappear and she has a general feeling that somebody has been in her house.
I loved Lisa’s first novel so jumped at the chance to read an advance copy of her follow up. I found it very gripping and at times felt extremely edgy. I thought I could see what was happening but when more was revealed about Steph’s problems in the past I became more uncertain. I had a lot of sympathy for her, it must be an awful situation to be in. Events were happening that she couldn’t explain and nobody including her husband, mother and friends believed her.
The ending was totally unexpected. Everything I thought would happen didn’t and I felt bewildered and flabbergasted by how events turned out even though it was believable. I found myself tapping the kindle to turn over the page, thinking NO this can’t be happening!!
Its very intimidating, scary and made me feel quite paranoid.

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.

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The Mountain in my Shoe by Louise Beech – Blog Tour.

 

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About the Book

On the night Bernadette finally has the courage to tell her domineering husband that she’s leaving, he doesn’t come home. Neither does Conor, the little boy she’s befriended for the past five years. Also missing is his lifebook, the only thing that holds the answers. With the help of Conor’s foster mum, Bernadette must face her own past, her husband’s secrets and a future she never dared imagine in order to find them all.

Exquisitely written and deeply touching, The Mountain in My Shoe is both a gripping psychological thriller and a powerful and emotive examination of the meaning of family … and just how far we’re willing to go for the people we love.

My Review

How to be Brave was one of my favourite novels from 2015 so I was really looking forward to reading Louise’s new novel. It’s a completely different type of novel, whilst both books are about survival this one was also more of a thriller.
Conor is a young boy in care who gets into a stranger’s car after school. Very anxious to find him are Anne his foster mother and Bernadette who has become his friend through a voluntary friendship scheme. Bernadette has become very close to him through the scheme and he thinks a lot of her. She hasn’t told her husband about their friendship sensing that he would disapprove and stop her going. She had been planning to leave her husband on the day that Conor disappeared but he failed to come home from work.
I worked out fairly early on who Conor was with but I don’t think it was ever meant to be a shock. What is important is why it happened and Conor’s life up to that point. The book tells both Bernadette and Conor’s story throughout but there also chapters from his lifebook. This was a book that would be given to Conor when he turned 18 and it would give him an idea of his family history. These chapters were at times devastating to read, but as well as highlighting the bad side of our care system it also showed that there were those who wanted to do the best for him. It would be wrong to judge people in this novel. Conor’s mothers story was in its self very upsetting and due to her own childhood she was ill equipped to provide the best care for her own children.
Conor was an amazing character, I loved the chapters that he narrated. They showed a need to trust, to love and be loved and also an amazing sense of humour. What was absent was a level of self-pity, he just accepted that his life was a little different to other people. He showed anger but also remorse for any hurt he caused.
There were twists and heartbreak but also friendship and love in another fantastic and heartwarming novel from Louise Beech.
With thanks to Karen Sullivan for the copy received.

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Dancers in the Wind by Anne Coates – Blog Tour.

 

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About the Book

SHE IS HUNTING FOR THE TRUTH, BUT WHO IS HUNTING HER? Freelance journalist and single mother Hannah Weybridge is commissioned by a national newspaper to write an investigative article on the notorious red light district in Kings Cross. There she meets prostitute Princess, and police inspector in the vice squad, Tom Jordan. When Princess later arrives on her doorstep beaten up so badly she is barely recognisable, Hannah has to make some tough decisions and is drawn ever deeper into the world of deceit and violence. Three sex workers are murdered, their deaths covered up in a media blackout, and Hannah herself is under threat. As she comes to realise that the taste for vice reaches into the higher echelons of the great and the good, Hannah realises she must do everything in her power to expose the truth …. and stay alive.

My Review

I was slightly dubious when starting Dancers in the Wind. The last few books I had read had all been at times difficult to read. But even though the storyline concerning prostitutes was gritty it was a quick and easy read.
Hannah is shocked when Princess turns up at her home in a life threatening condition. After providing medical assistance she reluctantly gives her a home, despite reservations. She has a young daughter and is worried about being in danger. But she agrees that she can stay and starts to think of her as Caroline rather than Princess, her street name. But Caroline does bring danger with her and Hannah has no idea of who she can trust.
What Anne does is ignore the popular image shown on a lot of TV drama of prostitutes stood on street corners wearing nice clothing and having perfect skin, hair and nails. Instead she shows a truer image of desperation, scared, emotionally and physically battered women who do what they do for any reason from paying the bills to paying for boarding school. But despite their hardships they were all very loyal to each other and wanted to help. Even if it put them at risk from their pimps or clients.
As I said earlier it is an easy book to read. Hannah is a very likeable person unlike the other characters that feature who have the same career. Some of the people she deals with are very unpleasant and she is shocked at the levels that they sink to when they have the power and the money.
I am pleased that there will be a follow up to this novel. I would be interested to see what Hannah gets involved in next.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy via NetGalley.

The Vanishing Year by Kate Moretti – Guest Post and Review.

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Today,I am delighted to publish a guest post by Kate Moretti author of The Vanishing Year. I have only read one of the books that she wants to read and she is in for a treat! My review follows at the end.

Six Suspense Novels I’m Dying to Read This Fall

Something about the cooler weather makes me actively seek the books that scare the dickens out of me. These six are the ones I have on my nightstand, just waiting to keep me awake half the night, jumping at every little noise.

The Kept Woman, Karin Slaughter
I love Karin Slaughter. I start one of her books and I know I’m in great hands, that the plot will twist completely unpredictably and I’ll be lost down a rabbit hole for the next two days. I can’t wait to read this one! The Kept Woman is part of the Will Trent series, about a murder at an abandoned construction site. Because this is a Slaughter book, it’s not just a murder. It’s a murder and a kidnapping, and OF COURSE Trent’s past is linked to the current crime, so this one promises to be emotionally gripping with a whiplash pace.

Good As Gone, Amy Gentry
All I have to say is this: a 13 year-old girl goes missing and eight years later comes home. This might sound ripped from the headlines but what if the girl who comes home isn’t the girl who left? Dum-dum-DUM! The premise grabbed me immediately and I bought the book without question. Plus, what a GORGEOUS cover.

The Couple Next Door, Shari Lapena
I live in the suburbs. We sometimes have neighborhood parties. This book is what the domestic suspense genre is all about. I can literally see this happening to me, and it’s terrifying. A dinner party, a missing baby, a neighborhood turned upside down, all your friends suspects. Pass me a cup of coffee (or tea!) and a blanket. I’ll see you tomorrow!

The Trespasser, Tana French
Three words: Dublin Murder Squad. Yes, please. I love, love, love these books. I was hooked with In The Woods, and Cassie stole my heart in The Likeness and I will read them all sight unseen. No one does depth of characterization, twisty plots, and atmosphere quite like Tana French. If you read (or write!) suspense, French should be required reading. The Trespasser brings back Antoinette Conway, from The Secret Place and gives us a not-what-it-seems lovers tiff/murder. I can’t wait for this one!

You Will Know Me, Megan Abbott
I read everything Megan Abbott writes. She can do teenagers like no one else and every book of hers sets my nerves on edge. Atmosphere is her middle name. You Will Know Me is set in the world of Olympic-track gymnasts and the sacrifices that must be made to protect your child, your life’s investment, your community, even your marriage.

Arrowood, Laura McHugh
I loved The Weight of Blood, Laura McHugh’s award winning debut. Her writing is so beautiful, so evocative. Arrowood promises to be a worthy follow up: gothic mystery, creepy old house, twin girls (Hello, twin girls, not creepy at all). A book about family secrets, murder, and a hint of ghosts? Yes, yes, yes. Perfect reading for Halloween!

About the book

Zoe Whittaker appears to have a charmed life. Newly married to a rich and attentive man, she has the best of everything. But five years ago, Zoe’s life was in danger. Because back then, Zoe wasn’t Zoe at all. When an attempt is made on her life, Zoe fears that her past has caught up with her. But who can she ask for help when even her own husband doesn’t t know her real name? Zoe must decide who she can trust before she, whoever she is, vanishes completely…

My Review

When this book arrived I was very intrigued. Not every book comes wrapped in tissue paper and placed in a box with a single flower.
Zoe has rebuilt her life after a terrifying experience during her teen years. Her childhood has been very much on the poverty line, and she struggled with her memories of how she left it all behind. She has changed her identity and having no family, apart from her birth mother who she had never met, hoped that her past stayed that way. But she became aware that she was in danger, more so when she makes attempts to find her birth mother. With no idea who to turn to her life starts to fall apart.
There are plenty of twists in this novel. You are aware that she is in danger but she is also vulnerable with the loneliness in her life. The friends that she had were aggrieved that she had lost touch when she married and her husband is absent much of the time. She had no independence at all, a devoted husband who wanted to rule every aspect of her life even as far as choosing all her clothes. The only person who she feels that she could rely on is Cash, a reporter who chose to help her but by doing so increased the level of danger.
I had an idea of which way the story was going to go but the outcome was much more complex than I expected. I don’t want to give spoilers so won’t say more but this novel is a quick and entertaining read which demonstrates that you shouldn’t assume anything.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.

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A Suitable Lie by Michael Malone – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

Andy Boyd thinks he is the luckiest man alive. Widowed with a young child, after his wife dies in childbirth, he is certain that he will never again experience true love. Then he meets Anna. Feisty, fun and beautiful, she’s his perfect match… And she loves his son, too. When Andy ends up in the hospital on his wedding night, he receives his first clue that Anna is not all that she seems. He ignores it; a dangerous mistake that could cost him everything. A brave, deeply moving psychological thriller which marks a stunning departure for one of Scotland’s top crime writers.

My Review

Well, another book that I have read this year that is incredibly hard hitting. Andy was left devastated by the death of his first wife and was over the moon when he met Anna and she agreed to become his wife and a mother to his young son. The joy was very short lived though and he soon realized how little he knew her.
The abuse that he received from his wife was horrific and at times I found it very difficult to read. I fluctuated between wanting to carry on reading to see what happened next and needing to put it down to relax. But alongside the abuse was the love shown to him by his family and friends. The relationship with his sons was something special to read. I didn’t find anything likeable about Anna, even before the abuse started there was something about her that made me uneasy.
It is difficult to accept that domestic abuse against a man was not taken seriously. Even though the book is set a few years ago I found myself questioning whether attitudes have changed. It’s a fascinating book to read, chilling, difficult to put down and at times difficult to read.
With thanks to Karen Sullivan for the copy received.

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