Posted in Blog Tour, Suspense

The Fallen Persimmon Gigi Karagoz 4* #Review @gigi_karagoz @lovebooksgroup #Suspense #Japan #HistFic #1980s #lovebookstours #TheFallenPersimmon


Japan 1985 – a young English woman battles her conscience.
A page-turning suspense novel…

Money blows across a field, the notes slapping against the stubble of dry rice stalks. Mr Ito walks towards the irrigation ditch at the end of his field, his rubber boots kicking up dust.

Standing at the ditch, he remembers the rumour; the one about the missing English woman.

But this is Mari’s story. She knows it’s her fault that her sister died, and trying to move on, she takes a dream job teaching English in small-town Japan. It turns into a nightmare when Mari learns that she’s employed by the yakuza (Japanese mafia), and that the man she loves has his own dark secrets. When the yakuza play their final hand, Mari believes that once again, it’s all her fault.

If you like a novel that builds suspense, is set in an exotic location, has a strong female lead, and a pinch of romance; then this book is for you.

AmazonUK

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

My Thoughts…

You get a definite sense of time and place in this story. The descriptions are detailed and vivid and immerse the reader into Mari and Kate’s world. Two young women travel to Japan to teach English, Mari is running from her secrets, but they form a friendship and become flatmates. Not everything is as it seems, and the suspense builds as they try to escape their predicament.

The gently paced story written in a literary rather than commercial fiction style engages the readers’ senses with its vibrant imagery and relatable characters. The plot has surprises, and the impactful ending resonates.

Gigi has spent most of her life living and working in countries all over the world. Her big passion is travel, especially in Asia, and India is a favourite destination. Giving up a career in tourism, she qualified as a holistic therapist and worked in yoga retreats in the Mediterranean for twelve years. Currently, Gigi lives in Wiltshire with Isabella, the cat she rescued from the streets of Fethiye, in southern Turkey.

Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Friendship, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance, Suspense

The Unquiet Spirit Penny Hampson 4*#Review @penny_hampson @darkstrokedark @rararesources #Mystery #Suspense #Gothic

A new beginning. A house with a past. A man with secrets.

It was a dream come true…that turned into a nightmare.

Kate Wilson thinks moving back to Cornwall might be the answer to her prayers. But it isn’t long before she begins to have doubts. Is the house she inherited from her godmother haunted? Or is she going out of her mind? With a stalker, threats, and attempted break-ins, Kate’s troubles multiply.

Then there’s her enigmatic neighbour, the brooding Tom Carbis; a man with secrets he doesn’t wish to share. Can she trust him when he says he wants to help?

In her quest to unravel the mysteries surrounding her, will Kate uncover more than she bargains for?

Set in beautiful Cornwall, The Unquiet Spirit is a gripping suspense with paranormal and romantic elements.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is an atmospheric story that is full of historical detail that adds to its authenticity. Kate unexpectedly inherits an old house from her godmother in Cornwall. Eager for a new start, she travels to Cornwall to claim her inheritance. A house with secrets.

Mystery, paranormal, romance and suspense are weaved into the well-paced plot. Engaging characters and detailed imagery makes this an enjoyable reading experience. The suspense building and paranormal twists immerse the reader in Kate’s world with an interesting conflicted, but romantic relationship with Tom, a man with secrets.

This is an engaging read with a wide reader appeal because of its cross-genre approach.

Penny Hampson

Some time ago Penny Hampson decided to follow her passion for history by studying with the Open University. She graduated with honours and went on to complete a post-graduate degree.

Penny then landed her dream role, working in an environment where she was surrounded by rare books and historical manuscripts. Flash forward nineteen years, and the opportunity came along to indulge her other main passion – writing. Penny joined the New Writers’ Scheme of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and  three years later published her debut novel, A Gentleman’s Promise, a  historical mystery/romance. Other books in the same genre soon followed.

But never happy in a rut, Penny also writes contemporary suspense with paranormal and romantic elements. Her first book in this genre is The Unquiet Spirit, published by Darkstroke.

Penny lives with her family in Oxfordshire, and when she is not writing, she enjoys reading, walking, swimming, and the odd gin and tonic (not all at the same time).

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Noir, Suspense, Thriller

The Devil Upstairs Anthony O’Neil 5*#Review #AnthonyONeil @bwpublishing @lovebooksgroup #TheDevilUpstairs #lovebookstours #BlogTour #BookReview

In a quiet corner of Edinburgh, Cat Thomas is going through hell.

She’s tried everything. He respects nothing.

If your neighbour was making your life hell …

Would you call upon the devil?

Cat Thomas, a brilliant fraud investigator, has just relocated from Florida to a dreamy flat in historic Edinburgh. Everything seems perfect. Everything seems serene. Except for the unbelievably noisy wannabe rockstar upstairs.

Soon Cat’s blissful new life is in ruins. Desperate, she’s willing to try anything. When all else fails, she makes an appeal … to Satan.

And suddenly everything is eerily quiet. But her nightmare has only just begun …

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Black and White Publishing in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This story is not what it first seems to be, and that’s its charm. Told from Cat’s point of view the story follows her moving from Florida to Edinburgh after a dangerous case in the world of financial fraud. She is a likeable character and relatable, but she has secrets as everyone does.

The real story begins when Cat’s idyllic new start is ruined by and a noisy and obnoxious neighbour. This story remains credible because Cat’s feelings are recognisable and make her easy to empathise. Her meeting with Agnes and the strange encounter at the castle change Cat’s life.

The plot is a mix of noir crime, noir humour and suspense with paranormal elements. Cat isn’t sure whether she is losing her mind, a victim of organised crime or something less quantifiable. The final twist will be unexpected for most and gives the story a powerful conclusion.


ANTHONY O NEILL is the son of an Irish policeman and an Australian stenographer. He was born in Melbourne and now lives in Edinburgh. He is the author of seven novels including The Dark Side and Dr Jekyll & Mr Seek, recommended by Ian Rankin as ‘clever, gripping and reverent’.

Posted in Audiobook Review, Book Review, Psychological Thriller

Three D. A. Mishani 4*#Review #Audiobook #PsychologicalThriller #Israel #Translator Jessica Cohen #Narrator LucyPaterson @HachetteAudioUK #DAMishani @riverrunbooks @QuercusBooks

Three tells the stories of three women: Orna, a divorced single-mother looking for a new relationship; Emilia, a Latvian immigrant on a spiritual search; and Ella, married and mother of three, returning to University to write her thesis. All of them will meet the same man. His name is Gil. He won’t tell them the whole truth about himself – but they don’t tell him everything either.

Tense, twisted and surprising, Three is a daring new form of psychological thriller. It is a declaration of war against the normalisation of death and violence. Slowly but surely, you see the danger each woman walks into. What you won’t see is the trap being laid – until it snaps shut.

Audible UK Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This story works well, as an audiobook, the writing style is very descriptive and detailed. Told from the viewpoints of three women all with secrets and less than perfect lives it develops into an addictive thriller and you empathise with the victims.

The reader gets to know the three women intimately, but little is known about the antagonist, only what he chooses to share. The conclusion of the first part is shocking. The second part begins and appears to have little connection to what precedes it. When the common link emerges, the reader knows what will happen next, but not how or when increasing the intensity and suspensefulness.

The narrator voices the characters well, although some of the accents are confusing. The setting in Israel gives the story its uniqueness, and the translation captures the story’s essence. The plot twists are well-written, and there is a satisfying end to the story.

The vulnerability of the victims and the underlying menace of the seemingly ordinary antagonist make this a chilling and compulsive audiobook.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Domestic Thriller, Family Drama, Noir, Suspense

Gilding The Lily Justine John 5*#Review @justinecjohn @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #domestic #noir #suspense #BlogTour #BookReview #MondayBlogs

A gripping mystery of jealousy, murder and lies.

An invitation to her estranged, wealthy father’s surprise 75th birthday party in New York sees Amelia and her husband, Jack, set off across the pond to meet a whole new world of family politics.

Amelia, now a successful businesswoman, feels guilty about never liking her father’s women, so does her upmost to give his new socialite partner, Evelyn, the benefit of the doubt. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could just all get along? But there’s something very dark, determined and dangerous about her…

When Amelia’s father, Roger, becomes ill, Jack grows suspicious that there is more to it. Amelia understands why, but no one else will believe them. They travel back to America to piece together the puzzle, but when Roger goes missing, the couple are driven to their wits’ end. It takes a DEA officer and a secret assassin to bring them answers, but the ruthless truth is something no one expected…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is compelling domestic noir suspense with multi-faceted characters. An intense and intriguing plot ends with a dramatic twist, expected in this genre of suspense.

Amelia and Jack’s are a loving couple, easy to empathise. Told mainly from their viewpoints, the story occasionally includes Evelyn is Roger’s lover,’s viewpoint. She is a sinister figure, but not everything is straightforward. Is Amelia and Jack’s view of events reliable?

The domestic setting’s ordinariness contrasts perfectly with the simmering tension, and the reader is on edge wondering what will happen next. The author uses sensory imagery effectively making this an immersive reading experience, and at times claustrophobic.

Justine John

After thirty years in corporate life in London, half of which was running a successful events company, I decided to take a chance to write the novel that was ‘in me’ since I was a child. Gilding the Lily is the result of this and is a domestic noir story which I hope will keep you on the edge of your chair/sofa/bed/train/plane-seat….

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, International Thriller, Noir, Political Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Thriller

I Am The Night Ethan Cross 4*#Review The Ackerman Thrillers, 1 @EthanCrossBooks @AriesFiction @HoZ_Books #CrimeFiction #Thriller #BlogTour #BookReview #Suspense #conspiracy #IAmTheNight

The night is dark. My soul is darker.

Marcus Williams and Francis Ackerman Jr. are both killers. But while Williams is tortured by the deaths he has caused, Ackerman takes pleasure in his murders.

Williams is a former New York City homicide detective.

Ackerman is a serial killer.

And both men are about to become unwilling pawns in a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of US government. They will be plunged deep into a hellish underworld of murderers and killers. They will find that there is more that connects them than divides them… and that their lives depend on it.

Amazon Aries Store Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Aries Fiction – Head of Zeus via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Violence is integral to this thriller, vividly depicted throughout, so be warned. This is more than a thriller about a serial killer and the ex-cop chasing him, both antagonist and protagonist are pawns in an immoral political game.

Flawed and relatable characters and a suspenseful and twisty plot make this an addictive read. The sense of menace pervades this story on many levels. The serial killer is evil, but the darkness, extends much wider, even the good characters have noir traits.

This is a grisly and gripping thriller that will satisfy the requirements of most thriller readers.

Ethan Cross

Ethan Cross’s Shepherd thrillers are international bestsellers. Before becoming a full time writer, he was a computer programmer, a Chief Technology Officer and a Marketing Director for a New York publisher. He lives in Illinois with his wife, three kids, and two Shih Tzus.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Domestic Thriller, Extract, Family Drama, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

The Guilty Wife Nina Manning 5*#Review @ninamanning78 @BoldwoodBooks #PsychologicalThriller #Domestic #Suspense #Family #Guilt #boldwoodbloggers #TheGuiltyWife @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #SundayReads #SundayMorning

One woman’s past could cost her everything…

Frankie Keegan is struggling.
While she tries to make strides in her career, life at home is slowly unravelling as she is haunted by the secrets of her past.


Someone else remembers…
As the dark nights draw in, the anniversary of the loss of her brother looms and Frankie is drawn back to the memories of that fateful night 20 years previously. As she descends into a guilt-ridden state, she begins to suspect that someone else is also remembering that night and they are determined to terrify her…

Can she confront her past before it’s too late?

From the international bestselling author of The Daughter In Law, a gripping psychological thriller about family, secrecy and grief – with a twist you won’t see coming.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The suspense grips you in this story from the first words and keeps its hold until the dramatic conclusion.

Frankie’s never recovered from the accident twenty years ago that took her brother. She’s moved on with life, but the grief and guilt remain festering. A functioning alcoholic with her marriage in trouble, she’s a flawed, and unreliable protagonist but you want her to find peace.

Plot-driven this is a detailed story told from Frankie’s viewpoints both past and present. Everyone in her life has their agenda. As the story progresses, it’s hard to know who to trust. The story’s addictive quality keeps you reading, thinking you know what’s going to happen next.

The compelling characters all have a purpose often to confuse the reader. I did realise what was happening late on in the story, but the dramatic ending still resonated.

This is a poignant tale about the payback of youthful indiscretions and damaged minds.

TheGuilty Wife – Nina Manning – Extract

Prologue

I stood at the top of the stairs and held my breath as my anxiety spiked and my heart pounded in my throat. But I could no longer hear the noise that had drawn me there. As I stood, my foot perched ready to take the first step, I wondered if perhaps my mind was playing tricks on me. Maybe the events of the last few days had finally caught up with me. But faces were hovering in front of me. Those people I had trusted. And those who I had hurt.

All those years ago I was trying so hard to make a difference in any way I could. But I was young. And I was foolish. I knew the past would never be able to bury itself, and I had not been able to rest for twenty years because the horrors of that day would stay with me until I took my final breath.

But now it was time to face the past head on. I tightened my grip on my weapon and began the descent to the kitchen. I knew I was now in grave danger. I knew that I had to protect my children and face the person who had found their way into my home.

Nina Manning

Nina Manning studied psychology and was a restaurant-owner and private chef (including to members of the royal family). She is the founder and co-host of Sniffing The Pages, a book review podcast. Her debut psychological thriller, The Daughter in Law, was a bestseller in the UK, US, Australia and Canada. She lives in Dorset.

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Read my review of The Daughter in Law

First published as Her Darkest Fear 26 March 20

Posted in Blog Blitz, Suspense

The Fallen Persimmon Gigi Karagoz @gigi_karagoz @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #TheFallenPersimmon


Japan 1985 – a young English woman battles her conscience.
A page-turning suspense novel…

Money blows across a field, the notes slapping against the stubble of dry rice stalks. Mr Ito walks towards the irrigation ditch at the end of his field, his rubber boots kicking up dust.

Standing at the ditch, he remembers the rumour; the one about the missing English woman.

But this is Mari’s story. She knows it’s her fault that her sister died, and trying to move on, she takes a dream job teaching English in small-town Japan. It turns into a nightmare when Mari learns that she’s employed by the yakuza (Japanese mafia), and that the man she loves has his own dark secrets. When the yakuza play their final hand, Mari believes that once again, it’s all her fault.

If you like a novel that builds suspense, is set in an exotic location, has a strong female lead, and a pinch of romance; then this book is for you.

AmazonUK

Gigi has spent most of her life living and working in countries all over the world. Her big passion is travel, especially in Asia, and India is a favourite destination. Giving up a career in tourism, she qualified as a holistic therapist and worked in yoga retreats in the Mediterranean for twelve years. Currently, Gigi lives in Wiltshire with Isabella, the cat she rescued from the streets of Fethiye, in southern Turkey.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Historical Crime Fiction, Paranormal, Romance, Suspense

Sight Unseen by Sandra Ireland 5*#Review @22_ireland @BirlinnBooks @lovebooksgroup #SightUnseen #lovebookstours

1648. Alie Gowdie marries Richard Webster during a turbulent time in Scotland’s history. Charles I is about to lose his head, and little does Alie know that she too will meet a grisly end within the year.

2019. Sarah Sutherland is struggling to cope with the demands of her day job, caring for her elderly father and keeping tabs on her backpacking daughter. She wanted to be an archaeologist, but now in her forties, she is divorced, alone, and there seems to be no respite, no glimmer of excitement on the horizon. However, she does have a special affinity with the Kilgour Witch, Alie Gowdie, who lived in Sarah’s cottage until her execution in 1648, and Sarah likes nothing better than to retreat into a world of sorcery, spells and religious fanaticism. Her stories delight tourists as she leads them along the cobbled streets of her home town, but what really lies behind the tale of Alie Gowdie, the Kilgour Witch? Can Sarah uncover the truth in order to right a centuries-old wrong? And what else might modern-day Kilgour be hiding, just out of sight?

Amazon UK Waterstones

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

My Thoughts…

The originality is refreshing, and the story itself surprising. It’s not the plot I imagined, but Sarah Sutherland is a complex character with relatable flaws and innate intelligence. Family drama and historical crime are at the centre of this story which has unforeseen twists and dashes of the paranormal and romance.

The supporting characters are authentic and give the story depth. John, her father and Grant are good characters and their relationship with Sarah, complex. They show different facets of Sarah’s character. There is a mystery and suspense as Sarah tries to find out what happened to the women who lived in her house. She uncovers more than one historical crime and criminal elements close to home too.

I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Sandra Ireland was awarded a Carnegie-Cameron scholarship to study for an MLitt in Writing Practice and Study at the University of Dundee, graduating with a distinction in 2014. Her work has appeared in various publications and women’s magazines. She is the author of Beneath the Skin (2016), Bone Deep (2018) and The Unmaking of Ellie Rook (2019). She lives in Carnoustie, Scotland.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Friendship, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

The Weekend Away Sarah Alderson 4*#Review @sarahalderson @AvonBooksUK #CrimeFiction #PsychologicalThriller #Lisbon #Friendship #BookReview #TheWeekendAway

Two friends go on holiday. Only one comes back.

Orla and Kate have been best friends forever. Together they’ve faced it all – be it Orla’s struggles as a new mother or Kate’s messy divorce. And whatever else happens in their lives, they can always look forward to their annual weekend away.

This year, they’re off to Lisbon: the perfect flat, the perfect view, the perfect itinerary. And what better way to kick things off in style than with the perfect night out?

But when Orla wakes up the next morning, Kate is gone. Brushed off by the police and with only a fuzzy memory of the night’s events, Orla is her friend’s only hope. As she frantically retraces their steps, Orla makes a series of shattering discoveries that threaten everything she holds dear. Because while Lisbon holds the secret of what happened that night, the truth may lie closer to home…

A twisty holiday read

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The predictability of this story’s foundation makes it relatable, and when it all goes wrong so much more chilling. Orla and Kate best friends embark on a long-awaited weekend away. Orla, a new mum, is torn between rekindling her friendship and lost identity and staying home with the child she idolises. She goes and quickly gets into the weekend away vibe. Unfortunately, the next morning Kate is missing, and so is Orla’s recollection of the night before.

The story follows Orla trying to find Kate and what she uncovers along the way. There are lots of twists, plenty of smokescreens and unreliable characters. Who can she trust? The suspenseful, pacy plot engenders a sense of danger.

I like the dynamic between Orla and her unlikely hero. The ending is true to the psychological thriller genre, unexpected, unexplained and unsettling.