Posted in Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, Noir, Suspense

The Secret Admirer Carol Wyer 5*#Review #DetectiveNatalieWard @carolewyer @bookouture #CrimeFiction #Detective #TheSecretAdmirer #BookReview

‘I tried to talk to you today but you snubbed me and walked away. It wasn’t wise to give me the brush-off, Gemma. I can be a truly good friend but I also make the perfect enemy.’

Sasha’s eighteen-year-old daughter Gemma was all she had in the world. Sasha fell pregnant with Gemma when she was still at school, and the two are as close as sisters. So when Gemma’s burned and broken body is found, Sasha’s world ends. What kind of person would want her beautiful daughter dead?

Leading the case is Detective Natalie Ward, scarred by her own recent tragedy. When she finds a note in Gemma’s diary from a ‘secret admirer’, she moves quickly, determined to un-mask them. But interviews with Gemma’s devastated ex-boyfriend, and her charismatic teacher, who has been seen embracing his student far away from the classroom, don’t give Natalie the answers she’d hoped for…

And then the case takes a devastating, personal twist. CCTV footage reveals Natalie’s estranged husband David followed Gemma home every evening the week before she died.

Natalie is forced to put personal feelings aside and follow procedure, even though she can’t believe David could be guilty. But when Gemma’s housemate is found murdered, Natalie thinks the killer could still be at large. Is she right to trust her instincts about David and can she discover the truth before another precious life is taken?

Grippingly fast and nail-bitingly tense, The Secret Admirer will have you flying through the pages long into the night.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

No spoilers but after what happened at the end of the previous book, The Blossom Twins it’s surprising Natalie can carry on.

Another horrific crime draws Natalie back to work. The investigation is complex and full of suspects a personal connection further threatens Natalie’s objectivity, but her professionalism shines through.

This book achieves the right balance of investigative and character detail. Natalie’s courage and tenacity make her easy to empathise. She’s flawed and human and relatable.

The plot keeps its secrets, engaging with clues but not revealing all until the end, making it realistic.

Posted in Book Review, Friendship, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

One Of Us Is Lying Shalini Boland 4*#Review @ShaliniBoland @bookouture #psychological #suspense #BookReview #OneOfUsIsLying #PsychologicalThriller

Tia never harmed anyone. So why does someone want to destroy her?

Tia is walking home with her children, along the lakeside of their quiet, safe town, when she realises something is wrong with her five-year-old daughter, Rosie. She seems troubled, not at all her usual happy self.

But when Tia finally coaxes Rosie to open up, she wishes she hadn’t. Because her sweet daughter asks a question Tia never thought she’d hear.

‘Mummy, why did you kill someone?’

Tia knows how rumours spread around her small town. She just can’t understand who would have shared such a horrible story. Or why.

It can’t have anything to do with what happened. Only her two best friends really remember that…

Tia thought she could trust Fiona and Kelly with her life. They’ve been through so much together. But when she’s sent photos of herself that could tear her whole world apart, she starts to wonder. Someone is determined to punish her. But who? And will her friends stand by her, or will the past destroy all of their lives?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This fast-paced, multi-point of view psychological suspense breathes new life into a familiar scenario with plenty of twists and turns. Three school friends’ lives unravel years later. All have secrets, but who is targeting them and why?

All the main protagonists have elements of unreliability, who do you trust? The story is addictive and suspenseful and keeps its secrets until the dramatic conclusion.

Posted in Book Review, Mystery, Romance, Romance -Dark and Steamy, Romantic Suspense, Suspense

An Oxford Revenge Maxine Barry 4*#Review @FaithMartin_Nov @JoffeBooks #Mystery #Oxford #RomanticSuspense #MondayBlogs #MondayMurder #AnOxfordRevenge

 

REVENGE ISN’T ALWAYS AS SWEET AS YOU THINK

HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO FOR REVENGE?

Davina Granger wants revenge. She blames Dr Gareth Lacey for her brother’s suicide. When she gets a fellowship at his Oxford college, she sees her chance to punish him.

But is he really as guilty as she believes?

Alicia Norman is a student at the same college. She’s excited to leave her sheltered, privileged existence for college life. But her brother and his friends will do anything to stop her from being with anyone they think isn’t posh enough for her. Including murder?

HOW FAR WILL THEY GO?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Joffe Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Something different from this crime fiction author that may surprise her readership. If you’re expecting murder mystery, you’ll be disappointed. This story set in an Oxford college, in the early twenty-first century, is about obsession, passion and revenge. These are all motivation for murder, but here the focus is more on romance and suspense.

Davina, a successful poet, gains an honorary fellowship at St Bede’s Oxford college, to compile and write a forward, for a poetry anthology. She has an ulterior motive for being there, but her quest for revenge is convoluted by physical attraction and passion.

The plot is complex with elements of psychological suspense. The characters are flawed and emotionally vulnerable as a consequence of life events, family and social class. There is good suspense building throughout the story. The exploration of the Oxford establishment and family, peer and societal expectations is insightful. An atmospheric and claustrophobic romantic suspense.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Political Thriller, Suspense, Thriller

Blood Red City Rod Reynolds 5*#Review @Rod_WR @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours @AnneCater #Urban #Techno #SocialMedia #political #Thriller#BlogTour #BookReview

A witness with no victim. A crime with no crime scene…

When crusading journalist Lydia Wright is sent a video of an apparent murder on a London train, she thinks she’s found the story to revive her career. But she can’t find a victim, much less the killers, and the only witness has disappeared. Wary she’s fallen for fake news, she begins to doubt her instincts – until a sinister call suggests that she’s not the only one interested in the crime.

Michael Stringer deals in information – and doesn’t care which side of the law he finds himself on. But the murder on the train has left him exposed, and now he’ll stop at nothing to discover what Lydia knows.

When their paths collide, Lydia finds the story leads through a nightmare world, where money, power and politics intersect … and information is the only thing more dangerous than a bullet.

A nerve-shattering and brutally realistic thriller, Blood Red City bursts with energy and grit from the opening page, twisting and feinting to a superb, unexpected ending that will leave you breathless.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Orenda Books in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is an edgy, urban thriller with an action-driven, pacy plot.

Lydia tired of being sidelined investigates a video detailing a crime. She realises if genuine it has the potential, to mainstream her career. There’s relentless suspense. A sense of menace pervades every page.

Michael Stringer is an enigma. An information mercenary, he wants to know what Lydia knows. The London setting adds authenticity to the story. The story uses sensual imagery well making the events and locations easy to imagine.

The author creates an ethos of mistrust. It’s difficult to establish the truth, and who to believe. The ending answers all these questions with the possibility of a future investigation.

Rod Reynolds

Rod Reynolds is the author of four novels, including the Charlie Yates series. His 2015 debut, The Dark Inside, was longlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger, and was followed by Black Night Falling (2016) and Cold Desert Sky (2018); the Guardian have called the books ‘Pitch-perfect American noir.’ A lifelong Londoner, in 2020 Orenda Books will publish his first novel set in his hometown, Blood Red City. Rod previously worked in advertising as a media buyer, and holds an MA in novel writing from City University London. Rod lives with his wife and family and spends most of his time trying to keep up with his two young daughters.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Suspense

DéjàVu Melody Saleh 3* #Review #UnBroken @MelodySaleh @lovebooksgroup #DéjàVu #LoveBooksTours #Friendship #relationships #Family #Romance #ThursdayMorning #ThursdayThoughts

Happiness is finally within reach for best friends, Amber, Dominque, Debra and Zya.  But fate has other plans…

Pregnant and widowed, Debra is engaged to suave and charming Italian heartthrob Roberto.  So why does her heart race when she thinks about her therapist, Brian?  Has she said yes to the wrong man?

Dominque has found the love and acceptance she always longed for with Tad.  But devastating news soon threatens their future together.

Successful fashion designer Zya has discovered her own unexpected happily ever after with Tina . . . until her daughter, Ashanti is bullied and becomes the focus of a police investigation and the media. Now Zya suddenly stands to lose everything she holds dear.

Finally, together with the only man she’s ever loved, Amber is determined to not let anything come between her and Patrick—not even her jealous and vindictive identical twin sister.  But someone is watching . . . waiting for the right moment to destroy her . . .

Will the women get their happy ending, or is it déjà vu all over again?  Find out in the dramatic and suspenseful second book of the Unbroken series.

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I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is the second book in the Unbroken series and to understand the characters and their motivations you need to read Facade first. The story has moved on, but the conflict and secrets continue to blight the women’s lives threatening their family and relationships.

Familiarity with the characters makes this an easier read, but the story’s chaos and complexity will not suit everyone. The characters are realistic and relatable. This the story’s greatest strength, as they engage your interest and what happens to them matters.

After 35+ years in operations for various businesses (including her own), Melody pursued her dream of writing a novel. Having written for business publications, local magazines and even publishing a poem, Chemo’s not for Sissies, during treatment after her first cancer diagnosis, it was time to finish the novel that was started many years ago. When she started  writing, “Facade: Things Aren’t Always as They Appear,” she had no idea where her characters were going to take her. “The story basically wrote itself. It was like a movie projector playing in my mind,” is how she describes her experience. It soon became apparent, their voices were not to be silenced… “The Unbroken Series” was born. “Deja Vu: Here We Go Again,” Book II, to be released June 23, 2020, followed by C’est la Vie, Book III, in December.

Melody lives with her husband in her native home state Florida. She’s blessed to be alive today after two cancer diagnoses and enjoys watching her grandchildren grow up; something she doesn’t take for granted.

Read my review of Facade Book1

Posted in Cover Reveal, Crime, Domestic Thriller, Friendship, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

Do Her No Harm Naomi Joy #CoverReveal @naomijoyauthor @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #PsychologicalThriller #CrimeFiction #Secrets #Lies #DomesticSuspense #Friendship

One unsolved murder. A best friend determined to right the wrongs of the past.

On the 21st August Tabitha Rice disappeared without a trace. All the signs point to murder, but no signs point to a murderer. The easiest answer is her husband, Rick. But he protests his innocence and there is little proof he is the murderer.

Annabella knows there is more to the story than what the police are telling. Tabitha was her best friend and she vows to uncover the truth.

As Annabella delves further into the past, she uncovers sides to Tabitha that she never saw coming, and she finds herself asking the question… Was this murder? Or is there more to Tabitha Rice’s story than meets the eye?

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Naomi Joy is a pen name of a young PR professional who was formerly an account director at a prestigious PR firm in London. Writing from experience, she draws the reader in to the darker side of the uptown and glamorous, presenting realism that is life or death, unreliable and thrilling to page-turn.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance, Romance -Dark and Steamy, Suspense

Facade Melody Saleh 3*#Review @MelodySaleh @lovebooksgroup #LoveBooksTours #Romance #Friendship #Relationships #FamilyDrama #BlogTour #BookReview #Facade #Unbroken

Sex in The City meets Fifty Shades… (without the Red Room)

Amber can’t get Patrick out of her mind. Night after night he haunts her dreams . . . teasing her . . .  pleasuring her . . . owning her body . . . until her alarm rings. Left unsatisfied night after night, she devises a plan to bring her fantasies to life—with a platinum wig, blue contact lenses, and a new persona.

Stay-at-home mom Debra adores her husband, but wishes for a little more spice and adventure in her life.  She’s not even sure she’s ever had an orgasm!  But when tragedy strikes, her dreams come true in ways she never imagined…or wanted.

Despite a hard life as a single black Muslim mother, up-and-coming fashion designer Zya finally has a successful business and a sense of security, despite the increasing persecution she and her daughter experience.  But then a mysterious stranger comes into her life, challenging everything she thought she knew about love. But can it be real?

Gorgeous Dominque likes sex—wild, kinky, and lots of it.  Secretly longing for something real and lasting, she settles for less, burying her insecurity and self-doubt between late-night trysts and anemia.  But before long, she’s forced to face her fears, or succumb to them.

Four friends…each hiding behind a façade.  But as fantasy clashes with reality, things aren’t always as they appear.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

There are some great characters in this story which explores contemporary relationships. The dynamic between the main protagonists is believable. The women are likeable and relatable. Everyone has secrets, which makes this story, intense, and suspenseful.

The well written sensual fantasy theme gives the story an erotic edge. It adds to the characters’ complexity. Facade, is an intriguing start, to what promises to be, a page-turning series.

After 35+ years in operations for various businesses (including her own), Melody pursued her dream of writing a novel. Having written for business publications, local magazines and even publishing a poem, Chemo’s not for Sissies, during treatment after her first cancer diagnosis, it was time to finish the novel that was started many years ago. When she started  writing, “Facade: Things Aren’t Always as They Appear,” she had no idea where her characters were going to take her. “The story basically wrote itself. It was like a movie projector playing in my mind,” is how she describes her experience. It soon became apparent, their voices were not to be silenced… “The Unbroken Series” was born. “Deja Vu: Here We Go Again,” Book II, to be released June 23, 2020, followed by C’est la Vie, Book III, in December.

Melody lives with her husband in her native home state Florida. She’s blessed to be alive today after two cancer diagnoses and enjoys watching her grandchildren grow up; something she doesn’t take for granted.

Read my review of DéjàVu Book2

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Mystery, Suspense

Buried Secrets by Krissy Baccaro 4*#Review @BaccaroKrissy @lovebooksgroup #Mystery #FamilyDrama #Love #Lies #Secrets #Italy #LoveBooksTours #FridayReads #BuriedSecrets

Some things should stay hidden

Families have secrets. Some secrets are locked, sealed and taken to the grave. Others beg to be told. They ooze through cracks a little at a time. You tease them out until an ugly truth is fully exposed.

Ella Perri knows there’s something hidden in the family cottage. In his last breath, Ella’s grandfather reveals to her a startling secret that hints at something sinister. On behalf of her beloved grandfather, she embarks on a dangerous quest for truth. A World War II diary and the 21st century collide as Ella desperately chases every clue in a faraway and unfamiliar setting where the real story begins. Who can be trusted and who has something to hide? One secret leads to another. Ella must decide: share the secrets and alter the fates of her loved ones forever or become part of the lie that’s been buried deep for decades.

Buried Secrets is a suspenseful mystery with twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the shocking ending.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The atmospheric and emotional beginning sets the scene for a dramatic family mystery. Despite family disapproval, Ella sets out to solve a historic secret and honour her Poppy’s dying wish.

The cast of characters is believable and vividly portrayed. The plot is suspenseful with many twists and a surprising and poignant ending. The Italian setting is dramatic and mirrors the story’s emotions.

The ending gives romantic hope for the future and leaves mysteries to be solved.

Krissy Baccaro is an author of mystery and suspense. She recently published her short story, LUCA, on Amazon. Krissy collaborated with authors from several countries to bring forth fantastic tales. Together they published Once Upon a Story: A Short Fiction Anthology. This book includes two of her short story mysteries, “Luca” and “Monster.” “Monster” will soon be available for separate purchase on Amazon. The author is a proud member of several online writing groups, and most active in Active Alumni Writers. The Alumni helps authors critique and support one another’s writing projects to polish stories into bestsellers. For 25 years, Krissy taught Kindergarten through fifth grade. Currently, she teaches writing and reading to 5th-grade students and works on her mysterious sequel to Buried Secrets. The author resides in upstate New York not far from Skaneateles, where the puzzle of Buried Secrets begins.

Posted in Blog Blitz, Crime, Family Drama, Noir, Psychological Thriller, Scandinavian Crime, Suspense

One Fatal Night Helene Fermont #BookBlitz @helenefermont @Lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #OneFatalNight #eBook£2.99

One woman’s quest for revenge unearths a fatal secret from her past.

Astrid Jensen holds one man responsible for her mother’s suicide, and she’ll do whatever’s necessary to get close to Daniel Holst and destroy his life – even if it means sleeping with him to gain his trust. Astrid knows he’s not who he pretends to be. But before she can reveal his dark secret, people from her mother’s past start turning up dead, and it looks like she and Daniel are next. In order to survive, she might have to put her trust in the man she has hated for so long.

Daniel Holst has worked hard to climb into Norway’s most elite and glamorous circles, and he’s not about to let any woman bring him down. But when a psychopathic killer starts murdering people from his shadowy past, he discovers that the only person who might be able to save him is the woman who wants to destroy him.

As Astrid digs deeper into her past, she uncovers secrets long buried and realizes everything she once believed is based on lies. What began as a quest to avenge her mother’s death becomes a desperate struggle for survival and leads to the truth about what happened one fatal night ten years ago—and the surprising mastermind behind the most recent murders.

eBook only £2.99

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Hélene is an Anglo-Swedish fiction author currently residing in her home town of Malmo, Sweden, after relocating back from London after 20 years.

Her thrilling character-driven psychological fiction novels are known for their explosive, pacy narrative and storylines.

Hélene is the proud author of four novels – One Fatal Night, Because of You, We Never Said Goodbye and His Guilty Secret.

Posted in Book Review, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Noir, Suspense

The Temple House Vanishing Rachel Donohue 4*#Review @AtlanticBooks @CorvusBooks #LiteraryFiction #Mystery #Suspense #BookReview #Noir #TheTempleHouseVanishing

Twenty-five years ago, a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl and her charismatic teacher disappeared without trace…

In an elite Catholic girls’ boarding-school the pupils live under the repressive, watchful gaze of the nuns. Seeking to break from the cloistered atmosphere two of the students – Louisa and Victoria – quickly become infatuated with their young, bohemian art teacher, and act out passionately as a result. That is, until he and Louisa suddenly disappear.

Years later, a journalist uncovers the troubled past of the school and determines to resolve the mystery of the missing pair. The search for the truth will uncover a tragic, mercurial tale of suppressed desire and long-buried secrets. It will shatter lives and lay a lost soul to rest.

The Temple House Vanishing is a stunning, intensely atmospheric novel of unrequited longing, dark obsession and uneasy consequences.

Amazon UK Waterstones

I received a copy of this book from Atlantic Books – Corvus via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The remote setting gives this story a gothic quality. It’s a place that masks deceit, obsession and dark secrets. Louisa is vulnerable and desperate to fit in somewhere in her new school. This makes her an easy target for manipulative Victoria.

Flawed realistic characters are the story’s driving force. They often lack compassion and understanding. The pacing is slow to create the school’s claustrophobic atmosphere. The plot does seem to rely on coincidences in parts, but there are realistic twists and a dark ending.

An absorbing, intriguing tale that has a haunting quality.