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**BLOG TOUR** Best Friends by Carys Jones

Struggling to pay the rent, four housemates, Grace, Jasper, Franklin and Aaron think that all of their prayers have been answered when they find a case containing a large sum of money in a skip. Despite their consciences telling them to leave it where it is, they are soon spending their new-found wealth. The arrival of a thug on their doorstep, though, changes everything when he demands his property be returned in a week’s time or consequences will be dealt. When one of the four suddenly finds themselves fighting for their life, the others begin to wonder whether they, too, will suffer the same fate…

What would you do if you found £20,000? Personally, I’d hand it in to the police but our protagonists in Best Friends are in such dire straits that all they can think about is how this unexpected windfall could solve all of their problems. In addition to paying their rent, they soon start to purchase items that they feel will help them in their burgeoning careers, whether it be time at a dance studio or a new guitar. Of course, it was inevitable that the real owner of the case would come looking for his money and this sets in motion a chain of events that will see several of the friends venturing into the seedier side of money-making in order to prevent something terrible happening to them.

I liked the main character, Grace, and felt desperately sorry for her as she tried, to no avail, to fulfil her dreams of becoming a professional dancer. Her early life was beyond traumatic and I willed her to succeed so she could finally live the life she deserved. It was pleasing to see how her housemates tried to protect her even when she stepped completely out of her comfort zone to try to earn back some of the money that they took.

While Best Friends definitely deals with a crime and its consequences, I would not put this in the thriller or crime genres. Instead, it is a great study of how people react in different ways to a situation and how easy it is to get drawn into something unsavoury. The ending is tied up neatly and it is a good lesson in how vital friendships are and how you should always aim high in order to reach your potential.

With thanks to Aria and Net Galley for the ARC.

Links to buy

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2mKlVg0

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2DMGC34

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2mMlsKp

iBooks: https://apple.co/2rk5pZN

Follow Carys Jones

Twitter: http://bit.ly/2rmTGti

Facebook: http://bit.ly/2Dpix5D

Website: http://bit.ly/2mS51gj

Follow Aria

   Website: www.ariafiction.com

Facebook: @ariafiction

Twitter: @aria_fiction

Instagram: @ariafiction

NetGalley: http://bit.ly/2lkKB0e

Sign up to the Aria newsletter: http://bit.ly/2jQxVtV

 

 

 

Monthly Roundup: January 2018

The first month of the year has been and gone and I have already read some of the books on my ‘most anticipated’ list. Thankfully, they all lived up to my expectations!

Books I’ve Read

Don’t Make a Sound by David Jackson

It’s still a while before this one is published and I’m actually quite jealous that some people still have this to look forward to! The Bensons have a daughter, the only problem being she doesn’t actually belong to them and now they’ve decided they’d like another one. This is the third book in the Nathan Cody series – a series that is going from strength to strength.

 

The Blood Card by Elly Griffiths

The third in the Stephens and Mephisto series sees the pairing trying to thwart an attack on the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Another great story that transports you back to 1950s England, a time when many changes were about to take place.

 

Dark Game by Rachel Lynch

The first in a new police procedural series set in the picturesque Lake District has everything – human trafficking, prostitution, illegal fighting, gangland crime… I’m looking forward to reading more of Rachel Lynch’s work.

 

The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths

One of my most anticipated books and it was everything I hoped. Ruth Galloway is in Italy, assisting with the discovery of a skeleton when a murder brings everything firmly into the present day. Ruth has definitely become one of my favourite fictional characters.

 

Best Friends by Carys Jones

Four friends find a suitcase containing £20,000, believing that this unexpected windfall will be the answer to all of their problems. What they don’t realise is that the money belongs to a dangerous gangster and he wants it back… My review will be live on 13th February as part of the Blog Tour.

 

The Lying Kind by Alison James

Detective Rachel Prince has been tasked with a cold case – the disappearance of six-year-old Lola Jade Harper. When the body of a woman is discovered, connections begin to be made between the two cases, leading the detective to realise that this is a much more complex case than she first thought. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and hope that there will be more to follow!

 

Books I’ve Acquired

Deceit, betrayal and tension abound in this chilling police procedural from dazzling new voice Ashley Dyer.

Sergeant Ruth Lake and DCI Greg Carver are on the hunt for a serial killer who carefully poses his victims and covers every inch of their bodies in intricate, cryptic tattoos. Dubbed the ‘Thorn Killer’, by the media, the killer uses a primitive and excruciatingly painful thorn method to etch his victims. After many months, a breakthrough feels imminent. Then the killer gets personal: the latest victim – a student found only a week earlier – is staged to look like Carver’s wife.

Pushed over the edge, Carver spirals into a self-destructive cycle of booze and risky sex. Now he lies near death, and the unreadable Lake stands over him with a gun. Did she shoot her boss? If not, why is she removing evidence from his apartment, faking the scene?

Ruth, too, is convinced that Carver is holding back; that he remembers more than he admits. Why is he lying? Does he know what she did? How can she hope to unravel the half-truths, hidden meanings, secrets and lies at the centre of this investigation when she herself has lied and lied?

Intrigued, the Thorn Killer watches their every move – all the while plotting the next. Can Carver and Lake pull together to catch him before he strikes again? Or will they be held captive by their own web of lies?

Utterly gripping, with a twisting plot that keeps you guessing until the end, SPLINTER IN THE BLOOD is an unforgettable read that will get under your skin.

 

Digging in the garden, builder and current owner, Bill Maynard, discovers some old bones. He worries that the discovery will upset his plans for renovating and selling the house. Fortunately, his neighbour tells him the whole area was a burial site at the time of the Black Death and finding bones is commonplace. “Well, as they’re so old and the museums have enough bones already, I suppose we can ignore them. It’s not like there’s been a murder and we’ve just found the body,” he justified his decision. But had they? His discovery sets off a chain of unfortunate events.

 

 

Mina Scarletti returns in her most thrilling mystery yet! Perfect for fans of Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie and Antonia Hodgson…

A family is being torn apart by rumours of a murderer in their midst. Can Mina solve the mystery and lay the ghosts to rest? 

Brighton, 1871

Mina Scarletti is becoming well known for unmasking fraudulent psychics. So it is no surprise to her when a young couple write to her seeking her advice.

George Fernwood and Mary Clifton, betrothed distant cousins, have a family secret that is preventing them from getting married. Twenty years ago, their alcoholic grandfather died in his bed and since then rumours have been circulating that someone in the family murdered him.

Desperate to find out the truth, they have decided to seek out a medium to communicate with their grandfather, and they want Mina to help them find one who is genuine.

Though she is not a believer in ghosts, Mina is intrigued by the family mystery and decides to help them in any way she can.

Could one of the new mediums advertising in Brighton really be genuine? Will they help George and Mary find the answers they are looking for? 

Or will this Unquiet Ghost ruin the chance of happiness for future generations …?

 

Happy reading!

 

 

**BLOG TOUR** Dead Girls Can’t Lie by Carys Jones

51VnMg05LvL._SY346_I’m pleased to be the latest stop on the blog tour for the new book by Carys Jones – Dead Girls Can’t Lie.

North Stone is devastated when her best friend, Kelly Orton, is found hanging from a tree in an area which is a well-known route for joggers. Police are quick to close the case, declaring it a suicide but North is adamant that they have drawn the wrong conclusion – Kelly has been murdered. With the police refusing to take North seriously, she has no option but to investigate the death herself. Putting herself in the line of danger, she soon begins to question how much she actually knew her friend.

Dead Girls Can’t Lie explores the relationship between two life-long friends, their story being told in a series of flashbacks detailing their schooldays through to adulthood. I felt a lot of sympathy for North who, despite experiencing so much sadness and loss in her early life, had gone on to work in a profession she truly loved. Losing her best friend had, once again, stirred up memories of the tragic loss of her parents and we see her slowly unravelling, doubting her own sanity as she tried to convince everyone that Kelly would not have taken her own life. Kelly, on the other hand, I found it difficult to like, as she was incredibly domineering, using North’s grief for her own ends. Despite this, I could see how North was totally dependent on her friend and her quest for justice made perfect sense.

As North undertakes her investigation and finds herself in a different world than the one she is used to, there are several points where the events are slightly convenient but, like in most books, you have to suspend reality in order for the plot to move on. It was interesting to see how the normally reserved North started to undertake some of Kelly’s character traits in order to help her achieve her aim.

Although there aren’t too many characters in the book, the author has still managed to cast doubt on who the guilty party could be. I had an idea throughout the book as to who it would be and, at one point, thought I’d got it right. Thankfully, though, the plot wasn’t that obvious and I was pleased that I was wrong!

Dead Girls Can’t Lie is another great book from Carys Jones and one that is definitely worth a read!

With thanks to Head of Zeus and Net Galley for the ARC and to Yasemin Turan for organising the blog tour.

Take a look at the rest of the blog tour:

Monthly Round Up: July 2017

Well, July was the month where I completed my Goodreads challenge – I obviously set my target way too low!

Books I’ve Read

51Sv-EJivWLFrost At Midnight by James Henry

Detective Jack Frost returns in another prequel to the R. D. Wingfield series that inspired the TV show starring David Jason. A gripping and entertaining read that sees Frost investigating the murder of a woman found dead in a churchyard.

 

51Au1qVQ0PL._SY346_The Stolen Girls by Patricia Gibney

The follow-up to the brilliant The Missing Ones sees Detective Lottie Parker investigating an incredibly harrowing crime involving human trafficking, prostitution and organ harvesting. This is a must read!

 

514-fU+PfcLLast Seen Alive by Claire Douglas

When Libby and her husband undertake a short term house swap, strange things begin to happen. Is it paranoia or is someone watching her, trying to make her relive the disappearance of her friend nine years ago? This is a very clever book with a genuine twist.

 

51mCV12k+uL__SX323_BO1,204,203,200_Friend Request by Laura Marshall

Receiving a Facebook friend request from a long-lost pal should be a happy occurrence but not if the friend has been dead for over twenty years. Who is behind the cruel mind games and how many lives are in danger?

 

A Very British Murder by Lucy Worsley

Historian and TV presenter explores the British fascination with murder, whether it be true crime such as the Ratcliffe Highway murders or the Golden Age of detective fiction. A must-read for anyone interested in the history of British crime.

 

The Girl From Ballymor by Kathleen McGurl

Another dual time frame book from Kathleen McGurl, telling the story of a woman researching her artist ancestor coupled with an an account of the nineteenth century potato famine. This was one of the books I have been looking forward to reading and it didn’t disappoint. Review to follow nearer to publication day (7th September 2017).

 

Dead Girls Can’t Lie by Carys Jones

When a girl’s best friend is found hanging from a tree, she knows right away that this is a case of murder. With the police refusing to investigate, stating that it is a case of suicide, North Stone has no other option but to try to prove it herself. A fast paced tale of a woman who refuses to give up. Review will be published on August 25th as part of the book’s blog tour.

 

The Room by the Lake by Emma Dibdin

After a traumatic childhood, Caitlyn travels to New York where she meets the handsome and charismatic Jake. Soon, he is taking her to meet his family in a house in the woods, in the middle of nowhere, but all is most definitely not what it seems. A great psychological debut. Review will be published on August 21st as part of the book’s blog tour.

 

Books I’ve Acquired

71KqcAPXiFLHow do you catch a killer when you’re the number one suspect?

A man is caught on CCTV, shooting dead a cashier at a bank. Detective Harry Hole begins his investigation, but after dinner with an old flame wakes up with no memory of the past 12 hours. Then the girl is found dead in mysterious circumstances and he beings to receive threatening emails: is someone trying to frame him for her death?

As Harry fights to clear his name, the bank robberies continue with unparalleled savagery…

 

Meet Hendrik Groen. An octogenarian in a care home who has no intention of doing what he’s told, or dying quietly. To that end, he creates the Old-But-Not-Dead Club and with his fellow members sets about living his final years with careless abandon. Such anarchism infuriates the care home director but pleases Eefje, the woman who makes Hendrik’s frail heart palpitate. If it’s never too late to have fun, then can it ever be too late to meet the love of your life?

 

 

If you can’t trust your sister, then who can you trust?

Kate Rafter has spent her life running from her past. But when her mother dies, she’s forced to return to Herne Bay – a place her sister Sally never left.

But something isn’t right in the old family home. On her first night Kate is woken by terrifying screams. And then she sees a shadowy figure in the garden…

Who is crying for help?
What does it have to do with Kate’s past?
And why does no one – not even her sister – believe her?

I currently only have one book on my Net Galley bookshelf so think it’s time to get looking!

**BLOG TOUR** Last Witness by Carys Jones – Extract

 

It is my pleasure to be the next stop on the blog tour for the brilliant new book by Carys Jones – Last Witness. My review can be found here, but I am also lucky enough to be able to share an extract with you!

1

‘I want to go home.’
Ewan’s voice was plaintive, sorrowful, as he lifted his head off Amanda’s arm and peered up at her through tired eyes.
Home.
The word pressed itself into Amanda’s side like a thorn. Each time she breathed in she felt its barbed tip. What was home? A place? A person? For Amanda, home had been the beautiful new house she’d bought with her husband, Will.
Bending forward, she coughed to conceal the sob which trembled up her throat and burst from her lips. Will was gone. All that was left of him was the little boy at her side.
‘Home.’ Ewan smacked his hands against his seat and blinked back tears.
‘We can’t go home,’ Shane briefly turned to look back at them from the driving seat. Amanda had watched his profile throughout their long journey, noticed the unrelenting tension in his jaw as he drove down seemingly never-ending motorways. Scotland was now in the rear-view mirror. The sun had started to dip in the sky and Amanda wasn’t sure if she’d reach her mother’s house before dark.
‘Why not?’ the little boy demanded of both the adults in the car, dividing his
heated gaze between them. Shane was looking ahead once more.
‘Because we can’t,’ Amanda wished she had a more concrete explanation to offer Ewan. She wrapped her arm around his slight shoulders and drew him back towards her. He was too tired to pull away.
‘But why not?’ his eyelids were drooping.
Because your mother and father are dead. Because the man who killed them may well be hunting you too.
‘Because we can’t,’ Amanda repeated softly. A minute passed and Ewan’s
breathing deepened as he drifted off to sleep.
*
As Amanda had predicted, night had fallen when Shane’s car pulled into the small driveway outside her mother’s cottage. She could taste the salt in the air sweeping in off the Southern English coast as she stretched out her legs, trying to unknot them after the long drive down from Scotland. Thick, velvety shadows gathered where the vehicle’s headlights couldn’t reach.
‘Are you sure she’s going to be okay with this?’ Shane’s voice was dubious as Amanda yawned widely in the back seat and stretched out her arms.
‘She has to be.’
‘And if she isn’t?’
‘Well,’ Amanda dusted a strand of blonde hair out of her eyes, ‘you don’t have a place of your own right now. I’m sure as hell not going back to my place. And that leaves hers.’
Even at night, the little cottage managed to look welcoming. A single outside light shone beside the front door. It banished away any shadows that lingered too close to the threshold. Amanda smiled a little to herself as she looked at its glow, remembering how that light used to be left on to help guide her back home during her teenage years, when she’d spent hours down on the beach with Shane and John. But who was it on for now? Or did her mother just like to think that she was offering a guiding light to any souls that wandered along the cliffside?
It was cold out. When she opened her car door the slap of the night air against his cheeks roused Ewan from slumber. He made his hands into little balls and furiously rubbed them against his eyes. ‘Where are we?’ he mumbled the question as Shane scooped him up in his strong arms and rested Ewan against his chest. The boy promptly lowered his head and fell back asleep.
‘I envy his ability to just sleep anywhere.’ Shane smiled. It wasn’t a hearty, natural one. More the sort of smile you use in polite company. But Amanda was grateful for it. It was nice to see someone else smile, especially since she doubted she’d ever be able to again.
Pushing back all her nerves and worries, she rang the doorbell.
‘Are you even sure she’ll be up?’
Amanda pulled her phone from her pocket and peered at the screen. It was a quarter to eleven. ‘She’ll be up.’
Sure enough it took less than a minute for the locks to turn on the other side of the door.
‘Who is it?’ Her mother’s voice was tight, suspicious. Amanda could imagine her staring hard at the door, rouge lips pursed in annoyance.
‘Mum, it’s me.’
The door opened. Light flooded the porch, brilliant and bright. Amanda had to stagger back, briefly shielding her eyes.

About the Author:

Carys Jones loves nothing more than to write and create stories which ignite the reader’s imagination. Based in Shropshire, England, Carys lives with her husband, two guinea pigs and her adored canine companion Rollo.

Follow Carys

Twitter: @tiny_dancer85

Facebook: @CarysJonesWriter

Instagram: tiny_dancer_8

Website: http://www.carys-jones.com/

 

With thanks to Aria, Head of Zeus, Carys Jones and Yasmine Turan for enabling me to be part of this blog tour. Take a look at the rest of the great blogs that are participating:

 

 

**BLOG TOUR** Last Witness by Carys Jones – Review

Amanda Thorne is a woman on a mission. After the death of her husband, she is determined to find the man responsible and will not rest until he has been dealt with. Heading back to Scotland, she knows the only way to achieve her aim is to go deep undercover into the world of gang kingpin McAllister. This means immersing herself into the seedy world of drugs, women and nightclubs and exposing herself to extreme danger. Will she be able to protect herself from the secrets of the past and ensure that the last witness to the truth survives?

It was with some trepidation that I started to read this book as it is the continuation of the previous book, Wrong Number – a book I have not read. I was pleased to discover, however, that the author has given enough information to ensure that there is a full understanding of events that have previously occurred without spoiling the opportunity to go back and read the first book.

From the start, I warmed to Amanda, a woman who has taken on the responsibility of bringing up a child that is not hers. Her maternal, protective instinct is clear to see and so it is inevitable that she should want to eliminate the only threat to the child’s future – McAllister. I did question her friend Shane’s involvement in the whole scenario who seemed blinded by love despite his role as a police officer! I did admire his loyalty to Amanda, though, and thought he came across as a thoroughly nice man – exactly the sort of man Amanda needed in her life.

It is essential to suspend reality while reading Last Witness as Amanda pursues McAllister via the darkweb. As this is an area of the internet that, thankfully, very few people have access to, it became quite concerning as to how easy it was for Amanda to access weapons and hack into various databases. There were times when I wanted to scream at Amanda at how stupid she was being for putting her life into danger, especially when there was a child at home waiting for her.

Overall, I found this an enjoyable, fast-paced read and one that makes me regret not reading the first book in the series before this one!

With thanks to Aria, Head of Zeus and Net Galley for the ARC.

Take a look at an extract here!

 

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