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Michele Campbell

**BLOG TOUR** A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell

After finally building the beach house of her dreams, Caroline Stark feels like she has it all. Little does she know what is around the corner… Finding out that her husband, Jason, has been lying to her, she finds comfort with a man who works in the local bar, but is he who she thinks he is? As her life begins to crumble around her, her lover’s infatuation with her begins to grow and soon she begins to fear for her life. What is the truth and who will make it out alive?

Well, Michele Campbell has definitely written a page-turner in A Stranger on the Beach! Starting off from the perspective of Caroline, alarm bells were ringing straight away as she first encountered Aiden. It was understandable how, after being humiliated by her husband, she would find herself attracted to the younger man. As we found out more about Aiden, those alarm bells were ringing louder as I willed her to put an end to their dalliance before something serious happened.

Now this is where my head nearly exploded! After spending the first part of the book reading about and fearing for Caroline, we started to get the story from Aiden’s perspective, and what a perspective it was! All of a sudden, we were reading two accounts of the same event, each telling a completely different story. So, who was telling the truth? Was Caroline in fear for her safety or was Aiden hopelessly in love with the older woman? I loved this twist in the plot and I started to desperately search for holes in their stories to try to determine what exactly was happening.

As the story progressed, I did have an inkling as to what was going to happen, but the events were even more twisted than I could imagine. This book definitely shows how we should not always take people at face value and that people are not always who they say they are.

A Stranger on the Beach was one of those books that I could not put down, even taking it with me to read whilst queuing up in the Boxing Day sales! A thrilling, roller-coaster ride of a book with some very unsettling moments, A Stranger on the Beach is a superb read.

With thanks to HQ for my copy and to Jessica Lee for organising the blog tour.

 

Monthly Round Up: December 2019

The end of the year has arrived already! Here’s a roundup of what I’ve been reading this month.

Books I’ve Read

Death at Eden’s End by Jo Allen

The death of a 100-year-old woman at a nursing home shouldn’t cause suspicion, but what ensues is a mystery dating back to World War Two and a cold, callous killer. This, the second in the Jude Satterthwaite series, is even better than the first.

What She Saw Last Night by Mason Cross

When a woman is murdered on a sleeper train and her daughter seemingly vanishes into thin air, fellow passenger Jenny Bowen finds herself embroiled in a dangerous cat and mouse game with a hardened killer. A fast-paced, edge of your seat thriller that I really enjoyed.

Gone by Leona Deakin

When a woman goes missing after receiving a card inviting her to play a game, it becomes apparent that she is not the first and that there are an unknown number of people out in the wild, wreaking their own personal havoc. A brilliant twist on a missing person story, with some timely reminders of how we should always be careful what information we share online.

The Merchant’s Daughter by M J Lee

The seventh in the Jayne Sinclair series sees the genealogist investigating the mysterious African ancestor of a well-known TV star. With a plot revolving around slavery, this is probably one of my favourite books of this series so far.

First Blood by Angela Marsons

This Kim Stone a prequel was a fantastic surprise to all fans of Angela Marsons. Set at the time when the team were coming together for the first time, we not only get a wonderful and informative insight into the pasts of the characters we have come to know and love, but also an exciting and emotive serial killer plot to boot! This author never lets us down!

A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell

This beautifully twisted tale of love and deception really grabbed my imagination. When a woman who is experiencing marriage problems meets a younger, handsome man, this sets off a chain of events that threaten to alter the course of all of their lives forever. This review will be published as part of the blog tour.

 

Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton

I’ve been a huge fan of Rosamund Lupton ever since reading Sister  and have heard nothing but praise for Three Hours. This book, detailing the three hours when a school is in the midst of a potential terrorist attack, genuinely blew me away and deserves to be a huge success. My review will be featured as part of the blog tour.

 

Books I’ve Acquired

Beth and Cath are leaving their husbands.
This is a story about two very different women.
One is wealthy and having an affair with a man who gives her the kind of love that her cold, detached husband does not.
One is living hand to mouth, suffering at the hands of a violent partner who would rather see her dead than leave him.

You may think you know these women already and how their lives will unfold.
Beth will live happily ever after with her little girl and her soulmate.
Cath will go back to her abusive husband.

And these two women will never cross paths.
But you will be wrong.

On the 3.15pm train from London to Bristol, Beth and Cath are about to meet and discover they share one shocking thing in common.

 

Family begins with a capital eff.

I’m wondering how many more f*cking ‘phases’ I have to endure before my children become civilised and functioning members of society? It seems like people have been telling me ‘it’s just a phase!’ for the last fifteen bloody years. Not sleeping through the night is ‘just a phase.’ Potty training and the associated accidents ‘is just a phase’. The tantrums of the terrible twos are ‘just a phase’. The picky eating, the back chat, the obsessions. The toddler refusals to nap, the teenage inability to leave their beds before 1pm without a rocket being put up their arse. The endless singing of Frozen songs, the dabbing, the weeks where apparently making them wear pants was akin to child torture. All ‘just phases!’ When do the ‘phases’ end though? WHEN?

Mummy dreams of a quirky rural cottage with roses around the door and chatty chickens in the garden. Life, as ever, is not going quite as she planned. Paxo, Oxo and Bisto turn out to be highly rambunctious, rather than merely chatty, and the roses have jaggy thorns. Her precious moppets are now giant teenagers, and instead of wittering at her about who would win in a fight – a dragon badger or a ninja horse – they are Snapchatting the night away, stropping around the tiny cottage and communicating mainly in grunts – except when they are demanding Ellen provides taxi services in the small hours. And there is never, but never, any milk in the house. At least the one thing they can all agree on is that rescued Barry the Wolfdog may indeed be The Ugliest Dog in the World, but he is also the loveliest.

 

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are on the trail of Wang Li a Chinese criminal gang leader in London who is involved in the importation of opium, and Chinese girls who are forced into prostitution in the many brothels under his control in London. On a dark fog bound night, on a back street in old London town a direct confrontation between Holmes and Watson, with this arch criminal and his gang would bring home the reality and danger they both constantly faced in taking on one of the most dangerous investigations they had ever undertaken, against an adversary who was both cunning, and dangerous. Surrounded and outnumbered by Wang Li and his gang, would Holmes and Watson prevail? “Sherlock Holmes-The Final Chapter” is a must read to find the answer.

 

Between August and November 1888 the residents of Whitechapel a cosmopolitan suburb located in The East End of London would find themselves in the grip of fear as to what was to become known as The Autumn of Terror. A fearsome killer who became known as Jack the Ripper was stalking the dimly lit fog bound streets hiding in the shadows, before slaughtering and butchering the helpless street women. The police were failing in their attempt to apprehend this killer, and public condemnation of the murders was running high.An offer of help would come from an unlikely source in Emma Holmes daughter of the legendary Sherlock Holmes. Using all the knowledge and expertise gained from her father would she be able to prevent further murders and lure this killer to his ultimate and final date with the hangman?A compelling, Victorian crime mystery based on the original Whitechapel Murders of 1888. A mystery which contains many twists and turns leading to an unexpected and surreal thought provoking final conclusion.

 

Here’s to a great January!

 

 

**BLOG TOUR** She Was the Quiet One by Michele Campbell

51xSXTTs1CLRose and Bel Enright haven’t had the best start in life. After the death of their parents, they are sent to live with their grandmother who wastes no time in packing them off to boarding school, albeit the exclusive Odell. Heath and Sarah Donovan are also at Odell, but as teachers, starting a new life after a scandal threatened to tear them apart. All is not as it seems at the school, however, and one night there is a murder on campus. Who has been killed and who is the perpetrator? The lives of all involved will never be the same again…

The idea of a boarding school is quite an alien concept to those of us who have never experienced anything of the sort and Odell is definitely not the sort of school I am used to! From the outset, we see the rift beginning between the sisters when Bel, already beginning to go off the rails, ingratiates herself with the ‘cool’ crowd. Rose, on the other hand, is keen to experience all that Odell has to offer, working hard and befriending her tutor, Sarah Donovan. This is a stark contrast to Bel, who is more than keen to develop a friendship with Sarah’s husband, Heath…

From quite early on in the book, we learn that the murdered person is one of the sisters, but we do not know which one. This was very clever as, due to the way the story progresses, both had a motive to kill the other one, and, indeed, there may be more people who would want to see one, or both, of the sisters dead. As both of the sisters find themselves deeper into situations beyond their control, the tension mounts and there is a definite sense of foreboding. One part of the book, in particular, left a nasty taste in the mouth – the incident leading up to the major rift between the sisters. I do not want to go into detail as I do not want to spoil the plot, but I will say that I was incensed by the attitude of some of the adults in the book who did not seem to think that there was anything wrong with what happened.

Throughout the book, I had the most sympathy for Sarah Donovan, a woman trying to bring up her family and work in a particularly demanding job, not knowing if there is any truth to the whispers that are spreading round the school. I willed her to investigate further and found myself fearful that something untoward was going to happen to her.

She Was the Quiet One was a fantastic fast-paced read that shows how quickly life as we know it can change as a result of the decisions we make. Highly recommended.

With thanks to Joe Thomas at HQ / Harper Collins for allowing me to review this fantastic book.

 

 

Monthly Roundup – December 2018

Another year is over and I’m happy to report that I managed to complete my Goodreads reading challenge! I’d set myself a target of 60 books but read 75, so I’m quite pleased with that!

I’ve read a range of different books this month and have taken part in a few blog tours. One of the blog tours was for We All Fall Down by Cynthia Clarke where I was pleased to be able to share an extract, and what an extract it was! I was also one of the blogs to feature on the tour for the latest book by J. S. Monroe, Forget My Name. I also shared an extract from Picking Up The Pieces by Jo Worgan as part of the huge Urbane Extravaganza, organised by Love Books Group Tours.

Books I’ve Read

61dkqcjG65LThe Mile End Murder by Sinclair McKay

In 1860, a 70-year-old widow was bludgeoned to death at her London home. Although someone was convicted of the murder, it was widely accepted that a miscarriage of justice had taken place. Sinclair McKay examines the evidence and suggests an alternative theory as to what actually happened.

41yMiciSptL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_Adrian Mole the Wilderness Years by Sue Townsend

I revisited this thanks to Radio Four’s Book at Bedtime and still found it funny the second time round. The eponymous diarist is now in his twenties and is still struggling with his family, work and love life. Not the best in the series, but still worth a read.

51xSXTTs1CLShe Was the Quiet One by Michele Campbell

A twisted tale of power and revenge, She Was the Quiet One tells the story of the murder of one of two sisters who have just enrolled at an exclusive boarding school. Who has been killed and who is the killer? I really enjoyed this book – a full review will be posted as part of the blog tour.

51ZvNY7p0KL._SY346_The Killing Habit by Mark Billingham

The fifteenth book in the Tom Thorne series sees the detective investigating a spate of cat killings in the London area. He soon deduces that cats are not the only living thing being killed but can he prevent even more deaths?

51bxBROykeLMove to Murder by Antony M Brown

A retelling of the murder of Julia Wallace which took place in Liverpool in 1931. The author puts forward five different theories that could potentially find the answer to the unsolved case. A well-written and researched book wit some very plausible theories.

518TmU9zu2LThe Slum Reaper by David Field

The fourth in David Field’s Jack & Esther Enright series sees them investigating what initially seems to be the accidental deaths of several people. As connections are made to a local slum clearance, however, they soon realise that the deaths are no accident – there is a killer on the loose in Victorian London.

The Murder of Patience Brooke by J C Briggs

After the murder of a woman on the steps of a home for ‘fallen women’, Charles Dickens and the London police force find themselves embroiled in a case which will see them exploring the darkest parts of the capital. A great, atmospheric first book in the series and I’m looking forward to reading the rest.

 

The Asylum by Nathan Dylan Goodwin

This short story is the prequel to the Morton Farrier series and tells us how the forensic genealogist came to meet Juliette,who he would go on to marry. Morton investigates the suspicious death of a woman who spent some time in an asylum in a case that proves to be both emotive and challenging.

 

Books I Have Acquired

Jenna thought she had the perfect life: a loving fiancé, a great job, a beautiful home. Then she finds her stepdaughter murdered; her partner missing.

And the police think she did it…

Locked up to await trial, surrounded by prisoners who’d hurt her if they knew what she’s accused of, certain someone close to her has framed her, Jenna knows what she needs to do:

Clear her name
Save her baby
Find the killer

But can she do it in time?

 

She vanished into the ice cold night. Is this their only chance to get her back? Get ready for this winter’s most chilling thriller…

It’s been eleven years since Claire Flynn disappeared – abducted without trace from a snowy hillside, leaving her parents heartbroken.

Investigator Darby McCormick remembers the case. She knows there’s only ever been one suspect, Father Richard Byrne, linked inconclusively to two similar disappearances.

Finally, terminally ill, Byrne is willing to talk. But he’ll only talk to Darby.

She’s expecting a confession – but what she hears is far more disturbing.

And it soon becomes clear that someone is willing to kill to keep this cold case on ice…

 

Wishing you all a happy new year!

 

Monthly Roundup – November 2018

It’s hard to believe that there is only one month left in 2018! Due to various reasons, I’ve not been able to read as much as I would have liked this month, but I’ve still managed to read a few great books and take part in several blog tours and cover reveals.

I was pleased to be able to share an extract from Who I Am by Sarah Simpson and also take part in the cover reveals for Sea Babies by Tracey Scott-Townsend and She’s Mine by Claire S Lewis.

I published three reviews for books which were part of their respective blog tours: Her Last Move by John Marrs, The Twisted Web by Rebecca Bradley and Where the Truth Lies by M. J. Lee.

Books I Have Read

Teacher TeacherTeacher, Teacher! by Jack Sheffield

A funny and, at times, emotional memoir of a new primary school headteacher in a small village school in Yorkshire. The first in a series, I’ve already purchased the next on to read.

 

51Kuj6-OyfLThe Prodigal Sister by David Field

The third in the Esther and Jack Enright Victorian mystery series sees the couple investigating the death of a young woman under very suspicious circumstances. Esther, once again, finds herself in danger as she attempts to uncover the truth.

41GlScwYK3L._SY346_The Last by Hanna Jameson

My review will form part of the blog tour in 2019 but I’d heard so much about this book that I couldn’t wait to start reading. The story of a murder lurking amongst a group of end-of-the-world survivors definitely lived up to its early hype!

 

Books I Have Acquired

4188+KnGUVL._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_Once upon a time they were best friends.

They were all friends.

So when Jenny moved to Australia to focus on her swimming career, she not only lost Kath, but her soulmate Tom. It was for the best. Or so they said.

Now, eight years later, Jenny seeks out her childhood friend and heads to rural France where Kath has settled. At first the women fall back into a close relationship, but before long strange and malicious behaviour leads Jenny to suspect the truth: that Kath has played a clever game all along to manipulate and control those around her. And Jenny is her biggest victim. Set against the glorious backdrop of the Languedoc lavender fields, The Good Friend is a beautifully written psychological drama about love, lies and a dangerous obsession.

Because once the truth is revealed, there’s no going back…

 

41NL9AYyBoLWho can you trust when your world goes up in flames?

A gripping, sensational new crime drama, from the bestselling author of Before We Met.

Detective Inspector Robin Lyons is going home.

Dismissed for misconduct from the Met’s Homicide Command after refusing to follow orders, unable to pay her bills (or hold down a relationship), she has no choice but to take her teenage daughter Lennie and move back in with her parents in the city she thought she’d escaped forever at 18.

In Birmingham, sharing a bunkbed with Lennie and navigating the stormy relationship with her mother, Robin works as a benefit-fraud investigator – to the delight of those wanting to see her cut down to size.

Only Corinna, her best friend of 20 years seems happy to have Robin back. But when Corinna’s family is engulfed by violence and her missing husband becomes a murder suspect, Robin can’t bear to stand idly by as the police investigate. Can she trust them to find the truth of what happened? And why does it bother her so much that the officer in charge is her ex-boyfriend – the love of her teenage life?

As Robin launches her own unofficial investigation and realises there may be a link to the disappearance of a young woman, she starts to wonder how well we can really know the people we love – and how far any of us will go to protect our own.

 

51xSXTTs1CLBecause murderers are never who you expect…

She was the quiet one… but is she guilty?

For twin sisters Rose and Bel, enrolling at the prestigious new boarding school should have been a fresh start. But with its sinister rituals and traditions, Odell soon brings out a deadly rivalry between the sisters.

For Sarah and husband Heath, the chance to teach at Odell seems like the best thing that ever happened to their small family – a chance to rise through the ranks and put the past behind them.

Until one dark night ends in murder.

But who’s guilty and who’s telling the truth? And who’s been in on it all along..?

 

51bxBROykeLThe puzzling murder of Julia Wallace in Liverpool in 1931.
A telephone message is left at a chess club, instructing one of its members, insurance agent William Wallace, to meet a Mr Qualtrough. But the address given by the mystery caller does not exist and Wallace returns home to find his wife Julia bludgeoned to death.

The case turns on the telephone call. Who made it? The police thought it was Wallace, creating an alibi that might have come from an Agatha Christie thriller. Others believe Wallace innocent but disagree on the identity of the murderer. The Cold Case Jury must decide what happened in one of the most celebrated cold cases of all time.

 

The Julia Wallace murder is one that has fascinated me for a long time, so I can’t wait to read that one!

Until next time, happy reading!

 

 

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