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Monthly Roundup – February 2019

February may be a short month but I’ve managed to read some books that I’m sure are going to feature on my ‘favourites of 2019’ list. It’s also been the month when I’ve been able to share my reviews of some of the books that I read a while ago due to them being part of their respective blog tours.

The Last by Hanna Jameson was a book that I read at the end of last year. I’d read so many good things about this book on social media that I was really pleased to be given the opportunity to take part in the blog tour. This dystopian murder-mystery certainly lived up to my expectations.

 

 

I also shared a review of Remember Me by D. E. White as part of the blog tour. Set in Wales, this story of a deranged serial killer was a great read with plenty of sub-plots that all tied together nicely.

 

 

One of my favourite series of recent years has definitely been Sarah Flint’s Charlie Stafford series. I was pleased to share an extract from Mummy’s Favourite, the first in the series, which has just been published in paperback after previously being available as an ebook.

 

 

Another series I am really enjoying is the DI Kelly Porter books by Rachel Lynch. I shared a review of Bitter Edge as part of the blog tour, another brilliant read set in the Lake District.

 

 

 

I was also on the blog tour for The Scent of Death by Simon Beckett. This is the sixth in the series and I can’t believe I have never read any of the others! This will definitely be rectified as I really enjoyed reading about the forensics expert.

 

 

The Good Friend by Jo Baldwin was another great read that featured my review as part of the blog tour. Set in the Languedoc lavender fields, it asks the question: Do we really know those closest to us?

 

 

I was also pleased to share an extract from Death Will Find Me by Vanessa Robertson, a historical crime novel set in Scotland in 1920.

 

 

 

I also took part in a cover reveal for The Family by P. R. Black. The cover and the synopsis have definitely whetted my appetite for the book and I will be featuring a review as part of the blog tour soon.

 

 

I recently finished reading Critical Incidents by Lucie Whitehouse, the first in a new series about Robin Lyons who has been dismissed from her role as a Met detective. A review will be published nearer publication date.

 

I also read three of the books that I had been waiting to read: The Stone Circle by Elly GriffithsOn My Life by Angela Clarke and Dead Memories by Angela Marsons. Like many other bloggers, I enjoyed each of these books immensely and cannot recommend them enough!

 

Books I Have Acquired

In a rural English village in the middle of a snowstorm, the unthinkable happens: the school is under siege.

From the wounded headmaster barricaded in the library, to teenage Hannah in love for the first time, to the pregnant police psychologist who must identify the gunmen, to the terrified 8-year-old Syrian refugee, to the kids sheltering in the school theatre still rehearsing Macbeth, all must find the courage to stand up to evil and try to save the people they love . . .

In an intense exploration of fear and violence, courage and redemption, Rosamund Lupton takes us deep into the heart of human experience.

 

Whitehall Palace, England, 1539

When Catherine Howard arrives at the court of King Henry VIII to be a maid of honour in the household of the new queen, Anne of Cleves, she has no idea of the fate that awaits her.

Catching the king’s fancy, she finds herself caught up in her uncle’s ambition to get a Howard heir to the throne.

Terrified by the ageing king after the fate that befell her cousin, Anne Boleyn, Catherine begins to fear for her life…

Pembrokeshire, Wales, 2018

Dr Perdita Rivers receives news of the death of her estranged grandmother, renowned Tudor historian Mary Fitzroy.

Mary inexplicably cut all contact with Perdita and her twin sister, Piper, but she has left them Marquess House, her vast estate in Pembrokeshire.

Perdita sets out to unravel their grandmother’s motives for abandoning them, and is drawn into the mystery of an ancient document in the archives of Marquess House, a collection of letters and diaries claiming the records of Catherine Howard’s execution were falsified…

What truths are hiding in Marquess House? What really happened to Catherine Howard?
And how was Perdita’s grandmother connected to it all?

 

‘She lifted the flap of the envelope and pulled out the single white page. As she opened it up she stared, open mouthed. Four words were typed on the page. I am watching you.’

When Amy Whyte and Penny Brogan leave a local nightclub in the early hours of Sunday morning and don’t arrive home, their families are beside themselves with worry. Conor Dowling has just been released from prison, a man full of hatred for Amy, the girl who put him behind bars in the first place.

The case is given to Detective Lottie Parker, when the girls’ blood-soaked bodies are found, days later, in a derelict squat. Chillingly, both girls are clutching silver coins in their hands – what message is this killer leaving behind? All the signs point to Conor but his alibi is water tight.

As Lottie examines Penny and Amy’s final days alive in a desperate search for clues, two more girls are found stabbed to death in a luxury apartment complex. Caught up in what is fast becoming her toughest case yet, Lottie is unaware that somebody is watching her every move.

Then Lottie’s two daughters, Katie and Chloe suddenly disappear from the town centre. Terrified that the killer has her girls, the stakes have never been higher for Lottie.

But as Lottie puts everything on the line to find her daughters and solve the case, she’s about to find herself in terrible danger – someone has a personal axe to grind with her and they know the best way to get to her is to hurt the ones she loves the most.

So, a busy February! Here’s to a great March!

 

 

**BLOG TOUR** The Last by Hanna Jameson

Historian Jon Keller is on a work trip to Switzerland when the unimaginable happens – nuclear bombs start dropping on the major global cities, signifying the end of the world. Holed up in a hotel with other survivors, Jon has no way of knowing whether his family back in the United States are still alive. Then, the body of a young girl is found at the hotel – one of the residents is a killer. As he investigates, paranoia begins to surface – just who, if anyone, can he trust and is he putting his own life in danger by trying to uncover the truth in a strange new world?

I had heard so many good things about this book so was ecstatic to be given the opportunity to read it as part of the blog tour and was equally pleased to find that it certainly lives up to the hype. I admit that dystopian novels have never been something that have interested me, but I loved the premise of the book and was so glad that I decided to expand my horizons (even if it was the crime element that pulled me towards it!).

One of my favourite books is Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, where a group of people being murdered one-by-one realise that the killer is one of their number. It was for this reason that I wanted to read The Last, as there seemed to be echoes of this plot. This was not the case, however, and although there are certainly deaths in the book, I would not say that this is the main focus. Instead what we have is a thought-provoking tale of ‘what ifs’ – especially scary given the instability in the world at the moment. In an age where we are so heavily reliant upon the internet and other media sources, it was easy to imagine the panic of the people at the hotel, not knowing what was happening or whether their loved ones had made it to safety.

I liked the mix of characters and felt that the slow pace of the book gave the author chance to develop them fully. It was fascinating to read how personalities changed and that, faced with such extreme circumstances, some people stepped up to take control whilst others were keen to survive at all costs, no matter who they hurt in the process. There were some genuinely tense moments when they left the confinement of the hotel in search of supplies, not knowing if there were other survivors out there and whether they would make it back alive.

The Last is a very tense, claustrophobic read and one that certainly makes you question what you would do should you be faced with that situation. It is a very clever book that grabs your attention and holds onto it until the very last page. This looks like being one of the books of the year and one that could be easily be imagined as a TV mini-series. Highly recommended.

With thanks to Emily Burns at Brand Hive and Viking / Penguin for giving me the opportunity to review The Last.

 

 

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!

 

 

Monthly Round Up – October 2018

Due to work, I’ve been a bit slow with blog posts this month but I have managed to read some great books and I also reached my Goodreads challenge total too!

Books I Have Read

Her Last Move by John Marrs

A superb serial killer novel that definitely has a twist that I did not see coming. My review for this must-read book will form part of the blog tour later in the month. Highly recommended!

 

The Silent Christmas by M J Lee

This novella, part of the Jayne Sinclair genealogical mystery series, tells the story of one of the iconic moments of World War One. It can be read  as a standalone and is a good introduction to this great series.

 

A Better Me by Gary Barlow

The Take That singer’s autobiography is a very honest take on his life, dealing with his constant weight battle, depression and the traumatic loss of his baby daughter. A must for all Take That fans.

 

The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths

As a big fan of all of Elly’s other books, I was really looking forward this one and was definitely not disappointed. When the body of a teacher is found, a link to a long-dead author provides a mysterious and, at times, spooky murder investigation.

 

The Twisted Web by Rebecca Bradley

The latest installment in the  D I Hannah Robbins series sees the detective investigating some horribly-staged murders which appear to have some sort of social media link. Can she catch the killer before more bodies are found? My review will form part of the blog tour.

 

Where the Truth Lies by M J Lee

The first in a new series sees coroner’s officer, Thomas Ridpath, investigating the disappearance of a body and the possibility of a copycat killer. This promises to be a great series. My review will form part of the blog tour.

 

Books I Have Acquired

BREAKING: Nuclear weapon detonates over Washington
BREAKING: London hit, thousands feared dead
BREAKING: Munich and Scotland hit. World leaders call for calm

Historian Jon Keller is on a trip to Switzerland when the world ends. As the lights go out on civilisation, he wishes he had a way of knowing whether his wife, Nadia, and their two daughters are still alive. More than anything, Jon wishes he hadn’t ignored Nadia’s last message.

Twenty people remain in Jon’s hotel. Far from the nearest city and walled in by towering trees, they wait, they survive.

Then one day, the body of a young girl is found. It’s clear she has been murdered. Which means that someone in the hotel is a killer.

As paranoia descends, Jon decides to investigate. But how far is he willing to go in pursuit of justice? And what kind of justice can he hope for, when society as he knows it no longer exists?

 

One night, Annie went missing. Disappeared from her own bed. There were searches, appeals. Everyone thought the worst. And then, miraculously, after forty-eight hours, she came back. But she couldn’t, or wouldn’t, say what had happened to her.

Something happened to my sister. I can’t explain what. I just know that when she came back, she wasn’t the same. She wasn’t my Annie.

I didn’t want to admit, even to myself, that sometimes I was scared to death of my own little sister.

 

 

That’s it for another month! I’ve, again, limited the books that I’ve bought/got from Net Galley as I’m determined not to let my TBR list rise! I can’t wait to read the two I’ve acquired though – C J Tudor’s The Chalk Man was one of my favourites of the past year and I’m sure The Taking of Annie Thorne will be just as good.

Have you read any of these books?

 

 

 

 

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