The Room Mates by Rachel Sargeant – Extract – BlogTour.

About The Book

THEY LIVE IN YOUR HOUSE
University is supposed to be the best time of your life. But Imo’s first week is quickly going from bad to worse.

YOU SHARE EVERYTHING
A stalker is watching her flat, following her every move, and Imo suspects that her new roommates are hiding dark secrets…

BUT DO YOU TRUST THEM?
When one of them suddenly disappears, the trauma of Imo’s recent past comes hurtling back to haunt her. And she begins to realise just how little she knows about the people she lives with…

Extract

Prologue

Three Years Ago

A car horn blares and instinct makes her jump back. Male driver, early thirties. Mouth open in an oath as he speeds past, skidding on the bridge’s frosty tarmac. She can’t be bothered to gesture after him. Defiance gone.

Clutching her elbows for warmth, she makes it to the opposite side. Her jacket’s not much of a coat these days. Zip bust from straining. The barrier along the side of the bridge is tall – nearly her height – but she peers between its vertical railings. The river below looks benign. No boats are out in mid-winter to ruffle its grey-green surface. A few dog walkers and cyclists on the promenade. The café’s open but the air’s too bitter even for smokers to sit outside.

Wind picks up, making her stumble. For a moment she longs for the warmth of the bonfire under the bridge where the others will be. A few cans and a bit of weed. Where’s the harm? But she can’t go there because of Danno. Can’t bear to see her betrayal reflected in his eyes. To see how her lies have destroyed him.

With her back against the barrier, sheltering from the worst of the weather, she squats and watches the traffic. When a passing lorry causes the bridge to judder, a change of plan flits through her mind. It might be quicker, more certain. But she can’t do that to a driver. She’s damaged enough people. People she loves. Her eyes smart. She stands up.

Searching for places to climb, she walks close to the barrier and spots possible toeholds – welded joints on some of the metal posts that are fixed into the ground at regular intervals. There’s a lull in the traffic and she hears her heartbeat. Loud. A shiver passes through her. Can she do this? What else is there? No one wants her, can’t blame Mum and Jade.

In one swift movement, she grips two railings, wedges the side of her foot on a bolt and hauls herself up. An icy blast hits her head and neck. When she looks down, the river looms in and out of focus. Her head spins so much, she’s sure she’ll overbalance. Determination deserts her and the dizziness makes her afraid. Her hands clench the top rail and she ignores how much the cold metal burns.

As she stares down at the water, Leo’s face flashes across her mind. This isn’t because of Danno – or Mum or Jade. Most of all she’s failed Leo. Her breathing slows and the unsteadiness fades. Her doubts begin to disappear. She levers herself higher.

No more pain, no more loss, no more hurting those who care – used to care. The burden lifts. Limbs and belly light for the first time in months. All over. She smiles. Places a knee on the top of the barrier. One final breath.

“Amber!” A voice shrieks along the bridge before the wind swallows it whole.

Postscript by Cecelia Ahern – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

It’s been seven years since Holly Kennedy’s husband died – six since she read his final letter, urging Holly to find the courage to forge a new life.

She’s proud of all the ways in which she has grown and evolved. But when a group inspired by Gerry’s letters, calling themselves the PS, I Love You Club, approaches Holly asking for help, she finds herself drawn back into a world that she worked so hard to leave behind.

Reluctantly, Holly begins a relationship with the club, even as their friendship threatens to destroy the peace she believes she has achieved. As each of these people calls upon Holly to help them leave something meaningful behind for their loved ones, Holly will embark on a remarkable journey – one that will challenge her to ask whether embracing the future means betraying the past, and what it means to love someone forever…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I was hesitant about reading this book at first, I hadn’t read PS, I Love You but I was assured that it worked well as a standalone. I’m glad I took the chance, it is a while since I read a book that made me feel so emotionally drained but also enchanted by the characters.

I was prepared to be upset, you would have to have a heart of stone not to get upset at least once when reading this book. Holly’s memories of Gerry were special, but apart from one scene didn’t affect me so much. It was the group of people who Holly decided to help, against advice from friends, family and new partner Gabriel. One of them more than any other, I won’t say who. Everybody who reads will have a character who they have more empathy for.

But there were also moments that made me laugh. Her family, especially her brother Richard and her friends, I laughed every time Mathew appeared.

A truly inspiring novel which showed an unusual way of bringing comfort in a tragic situation. That even doing the smallest thing could make a difference.

The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

It begins with an abduction. The routine of a family shopping trip is shattered when Michelle Spivey is snatched as she leaves the mall with her young daughter. The police search for her, her partner pleads for her release, but in the end…they find nothing. It’s as if she disappeared into thin air.
A month later, on a sleepy Sunday afternoon, medical examiner Sara Linton is at lunch with her boyfriend Will Trent, an agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. But the serenity of the summer’s day is broken by the wail of sirens.
Sara and Will are trained to help in an emergency. Their jobs – their vocations – mean that they run towards a crisis, not away from it. But on this one terrible day that instinct betrays them both. Within hours the situation has spiralled out of control; Sara is taken prisoner; Will is forced undercover. And the fallout will lead them into the Appalachian mountains, to the terrible truth about what really happened to Michelle, and to a remote compound where a radical group has murder in mind…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Even though I have read books by Karin Slaughter before I have never read one from the Will Trent series. I had no problems following the storyline though. Despite knowing nothing about any of the characters.

The action starts immediately with the abduction of a mother who is out shopping with her daughter. Whilst this is unexpected, you would expect it to be the daughter, it isn’t the main focus of the storyline. What is, starts when Sara and Will are just about to have a family meal and are interrupted by an emergency situation. And it is one of the most convincing, terrifying and sickening that I have ever read. 

There are three points of view. Sara’s, Will’s and Faith, his partner and good friend to both of them. It was Sara’s I preferred, mainly because she was the one who was in the midst, but also because I understood her story a lot more. There is a lot to understand about white supremacy groups and I did find some of the terminology a little confusing at times. But as the story progressed and the danger levels increased I struggled to put the book down.

It is a series I need to catch up on. I want to know more about Will and how he turned his life around and how  he met Sara. And I want to know more about Faith and her brilliant and sometimes witty approach to being a mother. 


The Never Game by Jeffery Deaver – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

A young woman has gone missing in Silicon Valley and her father has hired Colter Shaw to find her. The son of a survivalist family, Shaw is an expert tracker. Now he makes a living as a “reward seeker,” traveling the country to help police solve crimes and private citizens locate missing persons. But what seems a simple investigation quickly thrusts him into the dark heart of America’s tech hub and the cutthroat billion-dollar video-gaming industry. 

“Escape if you can.”

When another victim is kidnapped, the clues point to one video game with a troubled past–The Whispering Man. In that game, the player has to survive after being abandoned in an inhospitable setting with five random objects. Is a madman bringing the game to life? 

“Or die with dignity.”

Shaw finds himself caught in a cat-and-mouse game, risking his own life to save the victims even as he pursues the kidnapper across both Silicon Valley and the dark ‘net. Encountering eccentric game designers, trigger-happy gamers and ruthless tech titans, he soon learns that he isn’t the only one on the hunt: someone is on his trail and closing fast.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I have never read a book by Jeffrey Deaver so when I found out that this book was the start of a new series it seemed a good one to start with. I was not disappointed, and I now have more books to read at some point in the future.

Colter was a character I liked instantly, I could tell that he was doing his job out of a desire to save a life, not just for the reward. I enjoyed the glimpses of his childhood and the survival techniques he was taught. And I liked his no mess attitude, the bravery, his use of percentages to assess a situation and his attitude when he was proven right or wrong. 

The gaming industry that is the theme in this book is one that baffles me. I don’t understand how people can sit for hours obsessed with online death or survival. And the thought of turning that online activity into reality is terrifying. I had also never given a thought to what else the gaming companies might be involved in. Something that made me more dubious about various gadgets that are in many homes.

A great start to a series, I will be looking forward to reading more about Colter in the future. 


The Ghost Tree by Barbara Erskine – Review – Ambassador Book Buzz.

About The Book

The past is about to become the present… 

Ruth has returned to Edinburgh after many years of exile. Left rootless by the death of her estranged father, she is faced with the daunting task of sorting through his possessions. Amidst the dust of her old life, Ruth discovers a hidden diary from the eighteenth century, written by her ancestor, Thomas Erskine. As she sifts through the ancient pages of the past, Ruth is pulled into a story that she can’t escape.

As the youngest son of a noble family Thomas’ life started in genteel poverty, but his extraordinary experiences propel him from the high seas to Lord Chancellor. Yet, on his journey through life, he makes a powerful enemy who hounds him to the death – and beyond.
Ruth has opened a door to the past that she can’t close, and meets a ghost in her family tree who wasn’t invited. She will have to draw upon new friends and old in what will become a battle for her very survival…

The inspiration for The Ghost Tree lies in Barbara Erskine’s own personal history – branching back to the days of Thomas Erskine, her great grandfather, five times removed. Once again, the Sunday Times bestselling author brings the past to life in vivid, spellbinding colour.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received via LoveReading. It is many years since I read a novel by Barbara Erskine. I always enjoyed the ones I had read, so was looking forward to reading this new one, especially when I realised that one of the themes concerned genealogy. The author has done a brilliant job of combining her own family tree, a haunting and modern day fraud into a fictional work. I spent a lot of time looking at the handwritten family tree at the beginning of the novel.

The modern day story concerns Ruth, who is trying to protect her inheritance whilst reading and researching her family’s past, Timothy and April the siblings who are determined to get their hands on her property and Thomas the man who Ruth is descended from. And present throughout is Andrew Farquhar, the man who is determined to get revenge. Everybody has underestimated how far he is prepared to go in his resolve to make Thomas pay. His character was probably the strongest one. You can’t beat a malevolent spirit!

Some of Thomas’s story is revealed through Ruth reading his journals. I have to admit that I preferred him when he was younger. His time in the navy and when he first met his wife Fanny showed his better side. As he got older and more powerful I had a lot less empathy for him. Even though I did realise that he was being controlled by some. One of the more chilling parts of the novel concerned him witnessing a public hanging. Whilst I have read similar the account of how the crowd took a lot of delight in the act was horrifying.

I liked Ruth. She was loyal to Thomas, not interested in making money from his journals, just wanting to know more about what happened to him and his immediate family. But the modern day story I preferred was the one that concerned April and Timothy and the way that their whole life changed because of greed and dishonesty.

I would like to thank Charlotte Walker for asking me to be part of LoveReading’s Ambassador Book Buzz.