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**COVER REVEAL** A Spoonful of Murder by J M Hall

Introducing the three unlikeliest sleuths you’ll ever meet… 🥄

#ASpoonfulOfMurder by J.M. Hall is out 17th March 2022! ☕

Available to pre-order now: http://ow.ly/Y6zF50GIykR


Retirement can be murder…

Once a week, three retired school teachers have their ‘coffee o’clock’ sessions at the Thirsk Garden Centre café.

But one fateful Thursday morning, they bump into their ex-colleague, Topsy, during their weekly coffee and catch-up. By the next Thursday, Topsy’s dead.

The last thing Liz, Thelma and Pat imagined was that they would become embroiled in a murder.

But they know there’s more to Topsy’s death than meets the eye – and it’s down to them to prove it…

**BLOG TOUR** The Clockmaker’s Wife by Daisy Wood

London, 1940: After their house is destroyed in the Blitz, Nell Spelman flees to the countryside with her baby, Alice, leaving her husband, Arthur behind. Arthur has an important job to do – he is one of the men tasked with keeping the Great Clock at Westminster working and the famous Big Ben chiming.

New York, Present Day: When Ellie discovers a watch belonging to a grandmother she never met, she embarks on an investigation to find out more about her family’s past. When another discovery shocks her to the core, she begins to wonder whether she really wants to know the truth.

The first thing I would like to say about The Clockmaker’s Wife is how pleased I was that the blurb does not give away too much of the plot. Enough to grab my attention, I found myself instantly engrossed in the story, wondering where the author was going to take us. The World War Two setting opens up so many potential twists and turns and we definitely have many of them here!

Although this is told in two time frames, it was the chapters set during World War Two that were the strongest for me as this was where the core of the plot took place. All aspects of the war were covered from the Blitz to evacuation, rationing to the changing role of women. There is a huge element of mystery and intrigue making up the focus for both time frames which was exciting and at times, highly emotive.

The Clockmaker’s Wife is a well-written piece of historical fiction which kept me gripped right until the end and I will definitely be looking out for more books by this author.

With thanks to Ellie Pilcher for organising the blog tour and to Avon and Net Galley for my copy.

**BLOG TOUR** The Serial Killer’s Wife by Alice Hunter

Beth and Tom Hardcastle live in the sort of village where everyone knows everyone else’s business. It doesn’t take long, therefore, for news to travel when the police appear at Beth’s door. Thinking that something bad has happened to her husband, Beth is shocked when she is told that Tom is helping them with their enquiries into the disappearance and possible murder of his former girlfriend. As the evidence begins to mount, Beth begins to wonder how much she actually knows her husband. The villagers have other nagging doubts, though: surely as his wife, Beth must have suspected… mustn’t she?


This debut from Alice Hunter takes the traditional serial killer book and turns it on its head by not having its focus on the perpetrator or the police investigation. As the title suggests, we see most of the story from the perspective of Beth, a woman with a successful cafe, a young daughter and a seemingly loving husband. We soon realise however that, despite her ‘perfect’ life, she appears quite lonely with no family and no real friends. This adds to the devastation when her husband is arrested as she doesn’t really have anyone close who she can turn to. I liked how the author developed the character of Beth and enjoyed reading a book about the killer’s wife rather than the killer – something I haven’t read about in many books.

It is no spoiler to reveal that Tom is a killer as this is more than suggested in the title of the book, so the focus isn’t on if he did it but whether or not there is evidence to prove it. As the book progresses, we find out more about his life before he met Beth, building up a complete picture of the character that is trying to prove his innocence. I liked how, as a reader, there is no ambiguity about his character, but we have nagging doubts about Beth. Has she been covering up for him or did she genuinely not know?


The Serial Killer’s Wife is a slow burner of a book, but this does not mean that it is not a gripping read – far from it! I raced through it, eagerly awaiting the outcome and was totally taken aback by the twist at the end. This is one of those books where you know something is coming, but can’t figure out what and Alice Hunter keeps us waiting right until the end to hit us with something that will truly make you gasp.


This is a superb debut and, on the strength of this, I can’t wait to read Alice Hunter’s next book.


With thanks to Ellie Pilcher and Eleanor Slater at Avon for my ARC and for organising the blog tour.





The Silent Suspect by Nell Pattison

When sign language interpreter, Paige Northwood, receives a call asking her to assist at the scene of a house fire, she arrives to find client Lukas alive and well but his wife trapped inside the burning building. As her lifeless body is brought out, it becomes apparent that she was dead before the fire started. Lukas signs to Paige that he knows who killed his wife but refuses to share his thoughts with the police, leaving him as the prime suspect. Feeling that he is hiding something, Paige sets out to help, but is he guilty or afraid of something or someone?

This is the third in the Paige Northwood series and while there are references to the previous two, it can be read as a standalone. There are some spoilers, but nothing that would prevent someone from going back and reading the earlier books.

My attention was grabbed right from the start as the scene is set almost immediately, introducing us to Lukas and why he needs Paige’s help. It was apparent very early on that Lukas had something to hide but was he trying to protect someone or was he scared to tell the truth? Some twists and turns along the way keep you asking these questions until the end, suspicion being placed on several characters until the big reveal.

I think the main strength of these books is the accurate portrayal of the deaf community, something which I do not recall being a subject in any other books. Nell Pattison shows how vital people like Paige are, helping deaf people to access the things that the rest of us take for granted. I did find myself getting frustrated by Paige several times, however, and I wish that she would take her own advice about trying to stay out of trouble!

This is a series that I am really enjoying and I look forward to seeing how repercussions from events in The Silent Suspect affect Paige in future books.

With thanks to Avon Books UK and Eleanor Slater for my copy.

**COVER REVEAL** The Open House by Sam Carrington

I’m really pleased to be able to share with you the cover for The Open House, the latest book from Sam Carrington which is published by Avon on 10th December. This looks like a fantastic read and the blurb has already piqued my interest!

Everyone’s welcome. But not everyone leaves…

Nick and Amber Miller are splitting up and selling their Devon family home. But despite the desirable location, the house isn’t moving. Not a single viewing so far.

When their estate agent suggests an open house event, Amber agrees, even as she worries about their gossiping neighbours attending and snooping around their home.

But Amber has more to worry about than nosy neighbours. Because thirteen people enter her house that afternoon, and only twelve leave.

Someone doesn’t want the house to sell, and is willing to do anything to stop it…

 

With thanks to Ellie Pilcher and Avon.

**BLOG TOUR** The Weekend Away by Sarah Alderson

For many years, best friends Orla and Kate have embarked on a annual weekend away. This year takes them to Lisbon for a couple of days where Kate can forget about her forthcoming divorce and Orla can take a break from life as a new mum. The morning after the first night, however, all has gone wrong. Waking up feeling very much worse for wear, Orla discovers that Kate is nowhere to be found. Knowing immediately that something is wrong, she tries to enlist the help of the police, who are less than enthusiastic in their approach to the missing woman. Retracing their steps from the previous night, Orla makes discoveries about her friend that lead her to think that she didn’t know her as well as she thought she did.

What should have been a relaxing break ends up as a nightmare for Orla, and we are thrown straight in with her as we witness her frantic search for her friend. From the start, I had great sympathy for Orla as we see Kate engaging in a great deal of irresponsible behaviour. Torn between not wanting to appear a letdown and the need for a quiet time, I willed Orla to put her foot down and stand her ground with Kate. Maybe things would have turned out different if she had!

Kate was a thoroughly unlikeable character, and it was quite easy to see why someone would have wanted her out of the way, but who? The author introduces us to a plethora of characters, each with their own motive, and I was constantly torn as to who the guilty party could be. As Orla is a classic unreliable witness due to events that will become apparent, we were unsure as to what had actually happened, leaving us waiting until the very end to get the full picture. This kept my interest piqued, making me not want to put the book down!

The Weekend Away has one of the best final pages that I have read in a long time, twisting everything on its head and leaving us with a superb cliffhanger. I thought this was a clever ending, leaving us with no doubt as to what had happened while also making us want more!

This is an ideal summer read and, once you start, you will not want to stop.

With thanks to Avon and Net Galley for my copy and to Sanjana Cunniah for organising the blog tour. 

 

 

**BLOG TOUR** The Heatwave by Katerina Diamond

News of a girl going missing near her childhood home transports Felicity back sixteen years to a time when she was a carefree teenager. Carefree, that is, until another girl disappeared, and she fled, knowing more than she cared to let on. Feeling that this is the time to put this behind her once and for all, Felicity is compelled to return to her childhood haunts, using her knowledge of what happened then to help find the girl. Little does she know the full extent of what happened all those years ago and how much danger she is putting herself in by returning…

Having recently read and enjoyed Woman in the Water, the sixth book in the Imogen Grey series, I couldn’t wait to read Katerina Diamond’s latest standalone book, The Heatwave. I was instantly hooked, wondering what it was that happened that had made Felicity leave her home at such a young age, and what it was about the missing girl that had made her go back after all these years.

The Heatwave is told from two perspectives, the first being the aforementioned Felicity, as she returns to Devon to find the truth about the missing girl. It soon becomes apparent that something similar happened years ago, with Felicity fearing that the past has come back to haunt her. It is from the other perspective that we begin to build up the story of what happened as we meet Jasmine, Felicity’s friend, her part of the story being set sixteen years ago, prior to the event that changed their lives forever.

Despite the girls being close friends, they had very different personalities and backgrounds, both of them damaged in their own way. There were many reasons to dislike Felicity and yet, at the same time, I had great sympathy towards her due to the life she was leading. It was easy to see why she was drawn to Jasmine, the girl from the stable home with charity-volunteer parents. All was not what it seemed with Jasmine, however, as we found out more about her past and the troubling time she has had at school.

The arrival of Tim, a lodger at Jasmine’s home, definitely ramped up the tension. It was obvious that he was hiding something but, due to his actions in several different parts of the book, I found it difficult to determine what his motives were. What was he hiding and what was he planning to do?

The Heatwave is a book full of surprises with twists that I did not see coming. The events of sixteen years ago are slowly revealed, the plot becoming much more twisted than I could have ever imagined, with a shocking conclusion that made me gasp several times. I was genuinely taken aback by some of the reveals, some of them sickening and others heartbreaking, and I did not predict any of them!

This is one of those books which draws you in and refuses to let you put it down and I found myself racing through it, desperate to find out what had happened all those years ago. A gripping plot with some very shocking moments, The Heatwave is another great read from Katerina Diamond and I hope that we will see some more standalones soon.

With thanks to Net Galley and Avon for my copy and to Sanjana Cunniah for organising the blog tour.

**BLOG TOUR** Strangers by C L Taylor

Three people who have never met before suddenly find themselves linked in such a way that should they not stick together, one of them will die. Ursula, a woman with the compulsion to steal, believes that she has killed the love of her life, Gareth, a security guard, has been receiving strange postcards and Alice, out on a date for the first time in years, is being stalked. What bring them together and why do their lives now depend on each other?

After thoroughly enjoying the author’s previous book, Sleep, I jumped at the chance to be one of the blogs on the tour for her latest book, Strangers. From the clever prologue where we have three apparent strangers standing around a dead body, I was immediately hooked and knew that this was going to be one of those books that I would be reluctant to put down.

The rest of the book is about the events leading up to that prologue, and gives us the back stories of the three main characters – Ursula, Gareth and Alice. Each of these characters have very different stories and, although it soon becomes apparent where they all converge, I loved how the author kept us waiting to discover who the victim is and their reason for being there. This slow build up led to a gripping finale where there were several heart-in-mouth moments, and I was definitely right about not being able to put the book down!

Throughout the book, the author takes us on an emotional journey as we get to know each of these characters. My favourite character was Ursula, a woman with her faults but whose tenacity and sense of justice shone through, even putting her own safety at risk to protect others. Although Ursula finds herself in a very frightening situation, it was, perhaps, Alice who I felt the most fear for. It was easy to see that all was not well with her new relationship, and I willed her to get out while she still could!

It was, however, Gareth’s story that I found the saddest and the one that had the most effect on me. I defy anybody reading the conclusion of his part of the plot not to have a lump in their throat.

Strangers has a clever plot that is action-packed and full of surprises; parts of it will remain with me for a long time. Highly recommended.

With thanks to Sanjana Cunniah, Avon and Net Galley for my ARC and for my spot on the tour.

**BLOG TOUR** The Silent House by Nell Pattison

When a toddler is found brutally murdered in her bedroom with nobody seeing or hearing anything, the initial thought would be ‘how is this possible?’ The Hunter family would not be able to hear anything, however, as everybody in the house is deaf. To help with their interviews, the police call in interpreter Paige Northwood, and soon she comes to the conclusion that the family are hiding something. Who was the intruder or is the murderer of Lexi someone closer to home?

I loved the premise of this book, and the plot is one that really makes you think. At night, when all is dark, we rely upon our hearing to alert us to any danger, but what if you are deprived of this sense? How do you know if anything is wrong? This is the scenario we are faced with when young Lexi is found dead, no one in the family able to hear anything. This was a truly terrifying image and I really felt for the family as they discovered what had happened the following morning.

Nell Pattison really gives us an insight into the deaf community, showing us their daily struggles and how they overcome this. It did not come as a surprise to see that the author works with students who use BSL as her knowledge was apparent throughout her writing. This tight-knit community posed problems for Paige as everyone seemed to know everyone else and gossip was rife. I felt sorry for the interpreter as she was constantly pressed for information from her family and friends, knowing that she would not be able to share what she had discovered in the police interviews.

As well as the murder, there is a linked sub-plot involving Paige when her own life is put in danger. What starts off as messages warning her to stop her work with the police, soon escalates and she is left fearing for her life and for that of her hearing impaired sister. I enjoyed this part of the story as we see Paige suspecting everyone around her, not knowing who, if anyone, she can trust.

Although I did manage to work out who the killer was, it took me quite a while due to the numerous shady characters we meet as the book progresses. This is a strong debut and I look forward to reading what the author writes next.

With thanks to Avon for my copy of The Silent House and to Sanjana Cunniah for organising  the blog tour.

 

 

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