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#ReleaseDay #Review ~ Excess Baggage by Laura Barnard #Giveaway @BarnardLaura

đź’śđź’šEXCESS BAGGAGE RELEASE DAY GIVEAWAY!đź’śđź’š

Grab your copy now –  Here
Win a SIGNED PAPERBACK & Amazon voucher (Details of giveaway below).

‘An absolute must read this Summer!’ Lady Living in Bookland
‘Quintessential British humour, I felt like I was on a girls holiday with my own chicks.’ Persuing Princesses Book Blog
‘Almost made me pee myself I laughed so hard!’ Shelly’s Book Corner


Synopsis
Their attraction is still there and it isn’t long before sparks fly, but fifteen years is a long time. They aren’t the same people they were back then and besides, it’s only a week, right?

Is it a second chance at something real or will their excess baggage ruin their shot at love after they leave Luna Island?
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Check out the reviews on Goodreads – Here

My Review

I have read several books by Laura now and can tell instantly that I am going to be flung through a myriad of emotions, mainly huge guffaws!

This is a light hearted story involving second chance romance.

Erica has been caring for her mother while she was getting chemo so her friends figured a break in the sun would be beneficial. So off they head for a week on Luna island, all looking forward to sun, sea and sex.

But to Erica’s horror when they are checking in she spots Jack, her one and only first love who broke her heart when she was fifteen.

What follows is a week of mayhem, poor Erica is somewhat accident prone and seems to have a penchant for flashing her tits to all and sundry. There are some magical hilarious moments which lurch to downright cringeworthy but you can’t help rooting for the hapless girl.

Her group of friends spend a lot of time with Jack’s group and have a wonderful time. Can Erica resist Jack now she is older and wiser or will her heart continue to flutter?

If you are searching for a fun filled book brilliantly written, easy to read that has all the requirements for a beach read then look no further than Excess Baggage because this hits the spot on so many levels.

I’m really hoping Laura writes the next potential book in the series. Thanks for my ARC which I read and revised voluntarily. 

GIVEAWAY!
Head on over to Laura’s facebook page to enter her release day giveaway to be in with a chance of winning a signed paperback of EXCESS BAGGAGE and a ÂŁ5/$5 Amazon gift card.


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#BlogTour #Review ~ Annie’s Lovely Choir by the Sea by Liz Eeles @bookouture @lizeelesauthor

When twenty-nine-year-old Annie Trebarwith receives an unexpected letter from a great-aunt she’s never known, she leaves her shoebox-sized flat in London and catches a train to the rugged Cornish coast.


Salt Bay is beautiful and Annie begins to kindle a bond with her great-aunt Alice. Even though there is zero phone signal and the locals – including the gorgeous but brooding Josh Pasco – can be decidedly grumpy at times, Annie starts to feel at home in Salt Bay.

Soon Annie’s love of music leads her to relaunch the Salt Bay Choral Society, and she’s surprised to see how just much the choir means to the community – and she even starts to break through Josh’s surly exterior…

But London is calling Annie back, and she has to make a decision. Give up her old life completely, or leave Salt Bay, her new-found family – and the choir – behind?

Annie’s Lovely Choir by the Sea is a heart-warming story about family, belonging and the healing power of music, perfect for fans of Jo Thomas, Holly Martin and Carole Matthews.

 Amazon UK
 Amazon US

Annie’s Lovely Choir by the Sea by Liz Eeles out on 18th May

About the Author

Liz began her writing career as a journalist for newspapers and magazines before moving into the health sector as a communications manager and press officer. The low point of her career was abandoning an interview with Cliff Richard after two questions because she was about to faint – her excuse is that she was newly pregnant at the time.

Liz is from Gloucestershire but now lives by the sea in West Sussex with her husband and grown-up daughter. She spends a lot of time meaning to meditate, avoiding exercise, and missing her son who lives in London.

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My Review

The title has such a lovely ring to it, the cover is glorious and once again I’m reading a book set in Cornwall so I have obviously made the right choice to move there!

As I have said previously there seems to be a plethora of Cornwall books out at the moment and this isn’t the first one where the long lost family come to light so I was a little blase when I began. However, before the first few pages were read I was giggling and knew I was in for a treat.

This is the first book by Liz Eeles that I have read and I believe it could actually be her debut in which case it is a beauty.

Annie leaves London and heads to meet a Great Aunt that she had no idea existed until a solicitor contacted her. Arriving in Salt Bay is less than perfect, the weather is dank the locals not overly friendly if being virtually knocked for six on the roadside is anything to go by! However this maniac driver does materialise into a brooding, sultry hunk.

Annie is used to the hustle of city life so being stuck in a remote area with no wifi or phone signal is not appealing but as time goes on and she becomes fond of Aunt Alice who is frail needing care, Annie loosens up and as secrets are revealed the story takes on some twists and tuns.

As she begins to settle and make friends she finds out about the village tragedy and this is where the resurrection of the choir comes into play. Her and Kayla form a a great bond and the healing powers of music aids the community.

There are lots of  great characters, some more pleasant than others and I enjoyed watching Annie blossom from city to county girl. 

This is a thoroughly entertaining book filled with a warm welcome, it invites you in and wraps you in it’s charm. Annie’s Lovely Choir by the Sea is a gem that will leave you feeling satisfied.

My thanks to Bookouture, Netgalley and the author for my copy which I reviewed voluntarily.

#BlogTour #Review ~ Summer at Conwenna Cove by Darcie Boleyn @canelo_co @DarcieBoleyn @fayerogersuk

Eve has a glittering career, a loving husband and a future. But a terrible twist of fate means she loses it all, and with nowhere left to turn she flees to her Aunt Mary’s home in Cornwall. The last thing on her mind is romance – until she meets Jack.

Jack has seen the worst things people can do to each other and realised he is better off alone. He settles in Conwenna Cove, and saves his affections for the rescue dogs he cares for. But when Eve arrives in the village he can’t deny his attraction to her.

Eve and Jack are both scared to trust, but when they come together it’s impossible for either to ignore their feelings. Can they put their fears aside and learn to love again?

Summer at Conwenna Cove is an emotional and heart-warming holiday read about being brave enough to take a chance on love.

 

Title: Summer at Conwenna Cove
Author: Darcie Boleyn
Release Date: 15th May 2017
Genre: Romance
Publisher: Canelo
Format: E-book
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About the Author

Darcie Boleyn has a huge heart and is a real softy. She never fails to cry at books and movies, whether the ending is happy or not. Darcie is in possession of an overactive imagination that often keeps her awake at night. Her childhood dream was to become a Jedi but she hasn’t yet found suitable transport to take her to a galaxy far, far away. She also has reservations about how she’d look in a gold bikini, as she rather enjoys red wine, cheese and loves anything with ginger or cherries in it – especially chocolate. Darcie fell in love in New York, got married in the snow, rescues uncoordinated greyhounds and can usually be found reading or typing away on her laptop.

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My Review

I’m a keen fan of Darcie’s books so I was looking forward to this one tremendously. Also the fact it’s set in Cornwall is extremely relevant due to me moving there imminently. There is a deluge of books set in Cornwall at the moment or maybe they are just hitting my personal radar. Which means they have to contain a special ingredient to stand out from the rest.

Well, Summer in Conwenna Cove has that ingredient in spades. The location, the characters and for a soppy soul like me the dogs! It should carry a warning .. Greyhound scenes will pull your heartstrings.

Eve is a high-flying career driven head teacher whose job has taken a huge toll on her health and marriage. Suffering an emotional loss contributes to her breakdown at work.  Never being close to her parents Eve wonders who to turn to for support. Her Aunt Mary springs to mind,  pleasant memories of childhood holidays lure Eve back to Mary and Conwenna Cove.

Needing to recuperate and obtain a slower pace of life and regain confidence it is an idyllic place to retreat. Aunt Mary has two cottages side by side and  Jack is the tenant in one .. Jack is a big bear of a man but also seems to be carrying a huge weight on his shoulders.

Can Eve and Jack find a way to help each other ? This is such a beautiful story, Eve is likeable, Mary is the type of Aunt anyone would long for, wise and kind. Jack was my star of the show, as  more of his layers are revealed he becomes more desirable. Handsome, fit, ex-Marine (fans oneself) and a heart of gold what more could a girl want in a book boyfriend! 

Spend the summer with this crowd, join in with the fair, eat marvellous ice-creams and bathe in the cove .. Darcie has such a gentle approach to story telling that is like a warm caress.  There is romance which is so sweetly portrayed. My utmost favourite parts involved the dogs, Jack and Eve volunteer at the greyhound rescue sanctuary .. the brilliant work they do is highlighted throughout with such devotion. If it was possible for me to re-home one I would.

A perfect book for the summer, if it’s on your ‘to read’ list bump it up to the top because this is Darcie at her best.

My thanks to her, Canelo, Netgalley and Faye for my copy which I reviewed voluntarily. 

#BlogTour #Review ~ Nobody’s Girl by Tania Crosse @aria_fiction @TaniaCrosse

I’m thrilled to be kicking off the blog tour today for this gorgeous book .. the cover lures you in and the story is delightful.

A compelling story that tingles with drama, tension and an overwhelming sense of love. Perfect for the fans of Jo Cox and Rosie Goodwin.
The boom years immediately after the Great War bring nothing but happiness for wealthy industrialist Wigmore Stratfield-Whyte and his wife Clarissa – until tragedy robs them of their greatest treasure.
Many years later, an horrific fatal accident brings young Meg Chandler, a spirited farmer’s daughter, into their lives. Meg wants nothing to do with them, but Clarissa is drawn irresistibly towards the bereaved girl and will move heaven and earth to help her. Will Meg allow Clarissa into her own shattered life, and can the two share a future happiness together? And will Meg’s new acquaintances bring her the contentment she craves – or seek to destroy her?
Set in the Kent countryside in the years leading up to the Second World War, this compelling saga tingles with drama, tension and an overwhelming sense of love.

Buy links

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About the Author

Delaying her childhood dream of writing historical novels until her family had grown up, Tania eventually completed a series of published stories based on her beloved Dartmoor. She is now setting her future sagas in London and the south east.

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My Review

The first question that comes to mind after reading this is how have I not read any books by Tania Crosse before!? What a brilliant storyteller, Nobody’s Girl begins in 1919 and spans the years to 1939 so an absolute gem of an era between two wars.

I thoroughly enjoy this period, it’s a fascinating time in history and this family saga blends in wonderfully. The females are made of stern stuff, there is tragedy from the onset but love and hope mixed in with the tense drama keep the reader glued.

The cover is delightful and simply sums up the nostalgia bringing the whole setting to life. 

Clarrie and Wig are the upstairs residents of the house, Meg comes into their lives along with challenges, will the two families blend or is there too much grief involved … I liked the inclusion of the ‘servants’ in the family. Nana May is a lovable character.

It was a joy to read full of emotion, fabulously descriptive and I felt as though I was a fly on the wall observing all the goings on. 

If you like epic tales then this is for you, be prepared for an inconclusive ending but the good news is a sequel is on it’s way and personally I can’t wait to continue the saga and find out what happens!

My thanks to Aria, Netgalley and the author for my ARC which I reviewed voluntarily. 

#BlogTour #Review ~ Lizzie’s Daughters by Rosie Clarke (@AnneHerries) @aria_fiction

LONDON 1958. Lizzie Larch battles to keep her daughters safe and out of harm’s reach. Perfect for the fans of Nadine Dorries and Lyn Andrews.
Lizzie adores her beautiful and clever daughters and will do anything for them. Both possess a wonderful creative flair, but have fiercely different characters. Betty, the eldest is head strong like Lizzie’s first husband whilst Francie is talented and easily influenced.
When Betty runs away after an argument with Sebastian, heartbreak and worry descend on the family. At great risk to her health Lizzie finds herself pregnant but is determined to give Sebastian the son they craved. Sebastian meanwhile is plunged into a dangerous overseas mission using his old contacts to track Betty to Paris and to the lair of the rogue that seduced her?
Consumed with guilt can Sebastian right the wrongs of the past and finally unite his family and friends?

Links to buy

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Get The Workshop Girls series Here

 

Rosie Clarke was born in Swindon, but moved to Ely in Cambridgeshire at the age of nine. Married at eighteen, she ran her own hairdressing business for many years. Rosie started writing in 1976, combining this with helping her husband run his antique shop. She loves to write for her own enjoyment and to give pleasure to her millions of fans. Rosie was the well-deserved winner of the 2004 RNA Romance Award and the Betty Neels Trophy.

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My Review

This is the final part of a trilogy .. it would help to read the first two and heighten enjoyment but it can be read as a standalone. I like Rosie Clarke books because you can engross yourself into a saga and usually relish the fact the characters lives are more complicated than your own!

Set in the 1950’s an era I enjoy reading about.  Lizzie is devoted to her daughters but as with all growing girls they have minds of their own. Betty the eldest is spoilt but naive, in her stubbornness she wants to leave school and work with her mother in the hat business but Sebastian (step-father) insists she finish her education. Unknown to the parents Betty has been hanging out with a French guy, predictably after a disagreement with Sebastian she goes missing.

Francie the younger daughter is a budding artist, still at school but things go a little awry at a fashion show. Will she be easily led or take care of mother who finds herself on bed rest.

An epic tale with plenty of interlinking themes, Sebastian heads off to Paris to try & locate Betty but the resulting mission isn’t easy.

This is a fairly lengthy book but pleasantly entertaining, allow yourself a trip back in time and find out what happens to Lizzie’s Daughters. I am always happy to read books by this author.

My thanks to Aria .. I reviewed voluntarily 

 

#AudioBook #Review ~ Medicine for the Dead: The Ulrich Files, Book 2 by @AmbroseIbsen @JU_AudioBooks @AnAudiobookworm

The Spirits of Exeter House are Restless

Facing tough times, private investigator Harlan Ulrich takes a job looking after a historic downtown building as a favor to an old acquaintance who’s out on business. Settling into the elegant Exeter House for a week-long stay, Ulrich’s apartment is beautifully furnished and situated on the top floor, giving him a great view of the city. At first, he thinks it a wonderful opportunity. He’s got plenty of coffee, good books to read and the whole building to himself.

At least, that’s what he’s been told.

It turns out there are others there, in the seemingly empty building. Dark entities that lurk in its shadowed corners.

During his first night, strange things begin to occur. As he makes his nightly rounds, ensuring that the old building is free of intruders, Ulrich finds the place transformed. By day, Exeter House is a treasured local institution. By night, it crawls with the frightening souls of the hateful dead. Tormented nightly by a number of mysterious specters, it’s all the investigator can do to hold onto his sanity.

Can Harlan Ulrich tap into the building’s dreadful past and quell the spirits that walk its halls, or will he lose his mind trying? Join him as he seeks answers in Medicine for the Dead, a full-length novel of supernatural terror and suspense.

Medicine for the Dead is the second book in the Ulrich Files series by Ambrose Ibsen.

Genre: Horror

Narrator: Jake Urry

Publisher: Ambrose Ibsen⎮July 13, 2016

Length: 5 hours 32 minutes

Series: The Ulrich Files, Book 2

About the Author

Once upon a time, a young Ambrose Ibsen discovered a collection of ghost stories on his father’s bookshelf. He was never the same again.

Apart from horror fiction, he enjoys good coffee, brewed strong.

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About the Narrator

Jake Urry is an actor and audiobook narrator, and also co-run’s Just Some Theatre Company, producing new writing that tours around the UK. He is currently recording Audiobooks for sale on Audible, Amazon and iTunes.

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My Audio Review

After reading/listening to The Sick House (Review Here) I rapidly moved on to book two in the trilogy. Medicine for the Dead once again features Harlan Ulrich, the down on his luck PI. He really does seem to land the crumby cases. 

This time he accepts a week long lease in an apartment in return for ‘house sitting’ the majestic Exeter House. All is well by day, he mooches around content so long as he has his coffee, something to read and peace and quiet. Now Harlan is a grumpy old codger but I’m learning to like his quirky ways. Intent on being alone he wasn’t too impressed to find he would be sharing the living space with a CAT .. Sparkles met his match in Harlan but eventually a truce is called, this demonstrated a softer side in Harlan and was the turning point for my growing affection.

As night looms things take on a more sinister feel in the house and that’s when the story livens up. It gets creepy, eerie and tension mounts. Can Harlan defeat the evilness that plagues his mind. Yet again I’m tormented by rats, they tend to appear in these books!

While I enjoyed book one this part captured my imagination on a different level, almost as though Harlan has matured in his role. I now have the pleasure of book three, Darkside Blues.

Yet again I must compliment Jake Urry on the narration, without a doubt he brings the whole tale and situation to life. An exceptionally gifted story-teller with an addictive voice. 

My thanks to the author for creating a captivating story and thanks to Jess at An Audiobookworm for the copy which I reviewed voluntarily. 

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#BlogTour #Review ~ Ella’s Ice Cream Summer by Sue Watson @bookouture @suewatsonwriter

Ella’s life just hit rock-bottom, but can a summer by the sea mend her broken heart? When life gives you lemons… make icecream!

Life hasn’t always been easy for single mum Ella, but she has just hit an all-time low; she’s jobless, loveless, very nearly homeless and, to make matters worse, now the owner of a pocket-sized pooch with a better wardrobe than her.

Packing her bags (and a bigger one for the dog), Ella sets off for the seaside town of Appledore in Devon to re-live the magical summers of her youth and claim her portion of the family icecream business: a clapped-out icecream van and a complicated mess of secrets.

There she meets gorgeous and free-spirited solicitor, Ben, who sees things differently: with a little bit of TLC he has a plan to get the van – and Ella – back up and running in no time.

Ella’s IceCream Summer is a heart-warming and hilarious romance that will scoop you off your feet and prove it’s never too late for a fresh start. The ideal holiday read for fans of Lucy Diamond, Abby Clements and Debbie Johnson.
UK  Amazon UK
US  Amazon US
About the Author

Sue Watson was a journalist on women’s magazines and national newspapers before leaving it all behind for a career in TV. As a producer with the BBC she worked on garden makeovers, kitchen takeovers and daytime sofas – all the time making copious notes so that one day she might escape to the country and turn it all into a book.

After much deliberation and copious consumption of cake, Sue eventually left her life in TV to write.  After a very successful debut novel, Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes Sue signed with Bookouture.
 
 
 
My Review

If the cover of this book doesn’t call out to you then frankly there is something wrong! As soon as I saw it and the title it was a foregone conclusion, it had to be read. It was a gloomy, rainy day when I settled down to enjoy ‘Ella’s IceCream Summer’ and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Full of humour, told in such a way that you become involved in the overall hubbub of the family.

Ella feels life is passing her by, the sprogs are vacating the nest, the ex-Dick (lol) is busy with his new woman, her eccentric mother is busy sexting the vicar, her friend is incapable of stringing a sentence together without mixing her words erratic/erotic you get my drift.

So when good old Aunt Sophia leaves Ella an Ice-Cream van (Reginaldo) as her inheritance the option to change direction kinda appeals. So against mother’s wishes due to a bit of a family rift involving aunt, cousin,mother off she goes to adventures and pastures new. 

The extreme characters all gel into a splendid mix of hilarity and you can’t help but like them all. The Ice-Cream is to die for, the setting of Appledore in Devon is the dream summer location evoking pleasant childhood memories.

Superb story involving  family, mid-life, mystery, it’s up-lifting with a feel-good factor an absolute joy to read. I’m already looking forward to the next book.

Many thanks to Bookouture/Netgalley for my copy which I read and reviewed voluntarily. 

#BlogTour #Review ~ The Butlins Girls by Elaine Everest @panmacmillan @ElaineEverest

‘Molly Missons gazed around in awe. So this was Butlin’s. Whitewashed buildings, bordered by rhododendrons, gave a cheerful feeling to a world still recovering from six years of war. The Skegness holiday camp covered a vast area, much larger than Molly expected to see.

Molly Missons hasn’t had the best of times recently. Having lost her parents, now some dubious long-lost family have darkened her door – attempting to steal her home and livelihood…

After a horrendous ordeal, Molly applies for a job as a Butlin’s Aunty. When she receives news that she has got the job, she immediately leaves her small home town – in search of a new life in Skegness.

Molly finds true friendship in Freda, Bunty and Plum. But the biggest shock is discovering that star of the silver screen, Johnny Johnson, is working at Butlin’s as head of the entertainment team. Johnny takes an instant liking to Molly and she begins to shed the shackles of her recent traumas. Will Johnny be just the distraction Molly needs – or is he too good be to be true?

About the Author

Elaine was born and brought up in North West Kent. She grew up listening to stories of the war years and her home town of Erith so no wonder her best selling stories feature Kent. She lives with her husband, Michael, and Polish Lowland Sheepdog Henry.

Elaine’s love of historical novels led to her writing her first fiction book, Gracie’s War, (available in libraries) before being contracted by Pan Macmillan to write Sagas. The first, The Woolworths Girls, was published in May 2016 with the second, The Butlins Girls, due to be published in May 2017.

A former journalist, and author of non fiction books for dog owners, Elaine has written over sixty short stories for the international women’s magazine market and can be heard on radio where she chats about canine issues – and just about anything else!

When not writing Elaine can be found teaching her talented students at The write Place Creative Writing School in Dartford, Kent where she holds classes at the Mick Jagger Centre – and no, she has not yet met Sir Mick!

A keen member of the Romantic Novelist Association Elaine sits on their committee and runs their Social Media.

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My Review

After reading The Woolworth Girls by Elaine (Review Here) I just knew I would adore this story about The Butlins Girls as well. Elaine has a specific knack of writing that lures you straight into the era she is talking about. Set in 1946 just after the war it has a very nostalgic but hopeful feel about it.

The world is your oyster and full of promise but still has a certain amount of austerity linked into the theme. Go into this with the view that it is a by-gone time when life was at a slower pace, it’s a fabulous excuse to relax, unwind and be transported backwards.

I live fairly close to the Butlins on the south coast and my Aunt lived in Skegness so I immediately had a sense of belonging and understanding although I learnt a lot about the actual history and day to day running of the holiday camp via the book.

Molly has been through a tragic time losing both parents in a car accident and the arrival of two ‘unknown’ relatives and a quibble over the will and her home lead her to leaving her hometown of Erith and embarking on a journey to Skegness and a job as a ‘Butlins Auntie’ responsible for the childcare of the guests.

She is a young, fairly naive girl and it is an emotional upheaval but she soon bonds with two other girls who she shares a chalet with. The overwhelming depth of friendship with Bunty and Plum is a joy to read, along with her oldest friend Freda who appeared in the previous book. They all have their own personalities and issues but pull through together.

Add in some mystery, a ‘film-star’ a little romance, not to mention fish and chips, cute donkeys and it’s a winning recipe of feel-good cosiness.

I was quite content to lose myself, enjoyed the story, writing and being part of the Butlins ‘gang’ for a short time. I’m hoping it won’t be long util there is another book from Elaine.

Thanks to the author and Pan MacMillan for my copy which I read and reviewed voluntarily. 

#BlogTour #Review ~ The Darkest Lies by Barbara Copperthwaite @bookouture @BCopperthwait

I am over the moon to finally bring my review of ‘The Darkest Lies’ and be alongside super blogger Anne at Random Things Through My Letterbox on the Blog Tour.

A mother desperate for the truth. A daughter hiding a terrible secret.


Melanie Oak appeared to have the perfect life. Married to her childhood sweetheart, Jacob, the couple live with their beautiful, loving, teenage daughter, Beth, in a pretty village.

Nothing can shake her happiness – until the day that Beth goes missing and is discovered beaten almost to the point of death, her broken body lying in a freezing creek on the marshes near their home.

Consumed with grief, Melanie is determined to find her daughter’s attacker. Someone in the village must have seen something. Why won’t they talk? 

As Melanie tries to piece together what happened to Beth, she discovers that her innocent teenager has been harbouring some dark secrets of her own. Thetruth may lie closer to home and put Melanie’s life in terrible danger…

A completely gripping psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming. Fans of The Girl on the Train, The Sister and Before I Let You In will be captivated.

UK  Here
US  Here

About the Author

The people behind the crime, from the perpetrator to the victim and beyond, are what intrigue Barbara Copperthwaite.

She was raised by the sea and in the countryside, where she became a lover of both nature and the written word – the latter leading to a successful career as a journalist. For over twenty years people have kindly and bravely shared with her their real experiences of being victims of crime. Now, through fiction, Barbara continues to explore the emotional repercussions.

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My Review

So where do I start with this review. I have had the pleasure of ‘meeting’ the author on social media and I was lucky enough to win a competition where *I* was written as a character into her next book. Well this is it, the anticipation, excitement and nerves all culminated in a wonderful book. I had no idea previously if I would be a goodie or a baddie, all I knew was it would be a psychological  thriller!

The title gives you an inkling of what is to come .. The Darkest Lies .. nothing good ever comes from telling fibs and this book certainly portrays the disastrous consequences when one lie escalates into another.

Melanie and Jacob are living the perceived perfect life along with young teenage daughter Beth and a fluffy mutt. They are a close family and as Melanie states, bad things don’t happen to people like us.

Yet after a regular night spent with her BFF it soon becomes apparent that Beth is missing. Why would she not tell her parents where she was going? What happens to her? 

This is every parents nightmare and the writing sucks you into that black hole of despair. Beth was an animal lover and would spend hours on the bleak Lincolnshire marshes observing wildlife .. is that where she might be? I could sense the desolation, feel the wind biting my skin, the eerie bleakness of the area it was all described so vividly.

Jacob like any father is so protective of his little girl but complies with the police in their search not only for Beth but later her attacker. Mel on the other hand becomes a woman possessed and goes on the rampage in the small community trying to unearth some clues. She rapidly turns folk against her. She drove me mad at times with her insistence on knowing best but then as a mother I, god forbid would probably react the same. 

When Mel’s old school chum returns to the village he makes a bee line for her and offers his support where Jacob doesn’t seem able to. The whole story explores what happens when a family unit is torn apart by a tragic event. How any action or remark can cause an avalanche of pain. The thoughts and feelings of the parents when other characters encroach on personal space. It definitely made me think about how I would deal with it, the fine line between giving kids their independence or wrapping in cotton wool, the cloying guilt if something goes terribly wrong.

It keeps you guessing all the way through, when I thought I had it figured out another twist would jump at me. Barbara isn’t afraid to deal with unpleasant circumstances or take the reader on a difficult journey. Once you begin this it soon becomes imperative that the ‘real’ world stops so the book can be read in peace with out interrupting the flow. I found it incredibly hard to put it down and found myself abandoning my family just to finish it!

I think the most scary thing of all is, this could potentially happen, sometimes it’s easier to read about ghosts or vampires to let the imagination run riot but this story felt SO real. The whole package is a marvellous mix of tense, atmospheric, chilling, emotional thrills!

I loved the saying Mel used for Beth .. ‘love you to bits then whole again’ that gives such an innocent insight into their relationship.

What did I think of my alter ego Alison ?  … well she played quite a large part in the story, it was a really weird sensation living vicariously in that situation but without doubt I thoroughly enjoyed her antics and realising I didn’t have to deal with the outcome was a bonus! It was a huge honour and my thanks go again to Barbara for including me and to Netgalley/Bookouture for my copy. 

Would I recommend it .. damn right I would 🙂

 

#BlogTour #Review ~ Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson @JoGustawsson @OrendaBooks @annecater

Falkenberg, Sweden. The mutilated body of talented young jewellery designer, Linnea Blix, is found in a snow-swept marina. Hampstead Heath, London. The body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea’s. Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as a human again. Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald? Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea’s friend, French true-crime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light. Plumbing the darkness and the horrific evidence of the nature of evil, Block 46 is a multi-layered, sweeping and evocative thriller that heralds a stunning new voice in French Noir.

WINNER: Nouvelle Plume D’Argent 2016
For fans of The Missing, Dominique Manotti, Camilla Lackberg, Stieg Larsson

Purchase Here

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Orenda (15 May 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1910633704
  • ISBN-13: 978-1910633700

About the Author

Born in 1978 in Marseille, France, and a graduate of Political Sciences, Johana Gustawsson was a journalist for television and French press. She now lives in London, England.

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My Review

It’s always exciting to be part of a blog tour where the book is so highly regarded, knowing before you begin reading that others have loved it. I’m always dubious in case I don’t ‘get’ those same feelings but Block 46 possibly exceeded my expectations!

It is a gruelling read, hard hitting, emotional, gruesome but oh SO compelling. Once I started reading this I resented any interruptions. Cleverly set in two timelines, present day and 194o’s and covers London, Sweden and Germany.

There are murdered children, and a woman .. could they be linked? Is there a serial killer on the loose and how do any of these events connect to the Buchenwald Concentration Camp from years ago?

Emily a profiler works closely with the police along with Alexis a crime writer but also the friend of the murdered woman. Between them the story grips you by the scruff of your neck and doesn’t let go! 

The segments set in Buchenwald were harrowing but incredibly fascinating. I have always shown an interest in the holocaust and this takes you to the centre of the horror. It is written so beautifully for such a tragic subject, hauntingly enthralling. Erich is a prisoner in the camp, he got under my skin and I desperately needed to know what happened to him.

Emily is an interesting character and it opened my eyes too the intense work and thought processes required to do that job. Johana manages to combine so many clues to form a tremendous ending without revealing too many secrets. It has been translated from French by Maxim Jakubowski  superbly which lets you read it flawlessly.

If you like crime, thrillers, history and have a strong stomach then this undoubtedly will be a best-seller. I can’t wait to see what the author produces next.

My thanks to Johana and Orenda for my copy which I read and reviewed voluntarily.