Skint Estate by Cash Carraway

4 Stars from me

Being rejected by a parent – the very person whose sole job it is to protect you – leaves it’s mark.

I loved her description of walking around the estate hoping to be discovered as the next White Dee!

Cash tells her story with a unique voice – I loved the USE OF CAPITALS to emphasise a point and the (ALBEIT – UNNECESSARY – PULLING – OUT – OF – PRASES) which all added to the personal identity of the memoir.

This is a hard hitting read, you will need to be ready for the cold hard facts that are relentless in places, for the IN DEPTH descriptions of all parts of her and human anatomy – along with all kinds of secretions…

This could easily have been a pity me, feel sorry for me, woe is me tale, yet it is peppered with intelligence and humour throughout. None of which detracts from the stark awfulness of what she has been through.

This is not a light read or a fun read, but in a lot of ways it should be an essential read – maybe for the Tory government that she so blatantly despises!

Blurb: Cash Carraway is a single mum living in temporary accommodation. She’s been moved around the system since she left home at sixteen. She’s also been called a stain on society. And she’s caught in a poverty trap.

Skint Estate is the hard-hitting debut memoir about impoverishment, loneliness and violence – set against a grim landscape of sink estates, police cells, refuges and peepshows.

The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman

5 Stars from me

Don’t be fooled by the innocuous title and beautifully simplistic cover – The Secrets of Strangers will fast get under your skin.

I felt as though I were present in that little cafe and found myself desperately trying to think of a positive way out for the gunman. I was willing Abi to come up with a clever way for him to get off.

There is pure magic in these pages as the story unfolds and the lives, hopes and dreams of the hostages becomes known to us.

I cared about these people. I cared about the gunman, I cared about the damn dogs outside and I cared about the negotiator.

Absolutely brilliant.

My thanks to @CharityNorman1 @annecater @AllenAndUnwinUK for letting me be a part of this wonderful #BlogTour#BookReview of #TheSecretsOfStrangers by Charity Norman

 

 

 

 

 

Blurb: A regular weekday morning veers drastically off-course for five strangers whose paths cross in a London café  their lives never to be the same again when an apparently crazed gunman holds them hostage. But there is more to the situation than first meets the eye and as the captives grapple with their own inner demons, the line between right and wrong starts to blur. Will the secrets they keep stop them from escaping with their lives?

Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell

5 Stars from me

My my Lisa Jewell what must your search history look like!

I have loved previous books by Lisa Jewell so was already anticipating good things as I sat down to read Invisible Girl.

I am glad to say that I wasn’t disappointed!

The story centres around a few strong characters and I really like that format. We have a family – mum, dad, 2 children – seemingly the ideal set up. We have a teacher who is seemingly inadvertently in the middle of an accusation of sexual misconduct – I felt quite sorry for him. We have a girl whose life hasn’t exactly gone to plan, she is in therapy which explores the things which have gone wrong in her life – yet she manages to keep back the worst thing.

Their paths cross and interweave in a wonderfully crafted way, layer upon layer of gossamer threads sticking where they touch…

This is proper compelling reading and I was quickly immersed in the story and the lives of these people.

Definitely recommended.

 

Blurb: Owen Pick’s life is falling apart.

In his thirties, a virgin, and living in his aunt’s spare bedroom, he has just been suspended from his job as a geography teacher after accusations of sexual misconduct, which he strongly denies. Searching for professional advice online, he is inadvertently sucked into the dark world of incel—involuntary celibate—forums, where he meets the charismatic, mysterious, and sinister Bryn.

Across the street from Owen lives the Fours family, headed by mom Cate, a physiotherapist, and dad Roan, a child psychologist. But the Fours family have a bad feeling about their neighbor Owen. He’s a bit creepy and their teenaged daughter swears he followed her home from the train station one night.

Meanwhile, young Saffyre Maddox spent three years as a patient of Roan Fours. Feeling abandoned when their therapy ends, she searches for other ways to maintain her connection with him, following him in the shadows and learning more than she wanted to know about Roan and his family. Then, on Valentine’s night, Saffyre Maddox disappears—and the last person to see her alive is Owen Pick.

The Temple House Vanishing by Rachel Donohue

4 Stars from me

This darkly atmospheric tale is in Temple House  boarding school for girls – run by some rather lacklustre nuns. In 1990 Louisa gains a scholarship but is deemed inferior by the richer students. Think Mallory Towers but make it more of an R rating! Ripe for the picking she soon latches onto Victoria, the only girl to truly offer her friendship, and fangirls over the male art teacher Mr Lavelle.

Questions abound when Mr Lavelle and Victoria disappear…

25 years later and we join the story as told by Louisa and a journalist – layers of history are unveiled in a bid to find the truth.

Beautifully descriptive, this story is essentially a dark mystery, a cold case in a way, but it is full of acutely observed tales of the falsehood of friendships, teenage angst and raging hormones, deceit, the dreadful ways in which some people behave towards others and an obsessive quest for the truth.

Blurb: 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.

The House on the Lake by Nuala Ellwood

4 Stars from me

The story alternates between present day and a few years ago – present day is Lisa and her little boy who are on the run from her controlling partner – and the older story is from the previous occupants of the house on the lake.

I have to admit I was peeved when the first ‘older’ chapter appeared as I hadn’t realised it was that style of story and I was really into the present day… However, I very soon become utterly drawn in to both timelines and can honestly say I enjoyed them equally.

The house was so well described – it sounded AWFUL! I wouldn’t have stayed there for 5 minutes, fair play to Lisa for putting up with it.

The two storylines run alongside each other very well and as you would expect there comes a points where the two cross – some interesting little sidelines and a few unexpected moments, overall a good solid page turner.

Blurb: No matter how far you run . . . He’s never far behind

Lisa needs to disappear. And her friend’s rambling old home in the wilds of Yorkshire seems like the perfect place. It’s miles away from the closest town, and no one there knows her or her little boy, Joe.

But when a woman from the local village comes to visit them, Lisa realizes that she and Joe aren’t as safe as she thought.

What secret has Rowan Isle House – and her friend – kept hidden all these years?

And what will Lisa have to do to survive, when her past finally catches up with her?

The Goodbye Man by Jeffery Deaver

4 Stars from me

In this, the second of the Colter Shaw series, the story starts with a BANG as Shaw is forced off the road and finds himself in mortal danger.

Literally as I flipped the page desperate to see what happened next I groaned as we were jolted back in time to the beginning of the story!

Our main character Colter Shaw is searching for two youths – purely for the $50,000 reward, of course!

Featuring and almost constant thrum of suspense, this book covers racism, murder, religion and – a bit of a personal fascination – a cult.

The Goodbye Man is a high octane ride, a proper thriller with bucket loads of peril and tension throughout. I would expect no less from Jeffery Deaver – creator of  the fabulous Lincoln Rhyme.

I would definitely recommend that you read the first in the series – The Never Game – first so as to fully acquaint yourself with Colter Shaw.

Blurb: A thrilling new Colter Shaw adventure by the master of suspense, Jeffery Deaver. Colter Shaw, the itinerant reward-seeker readers met in The Never Game, returns in a new adventure.

Colter takes on a new case when he learns of a reward – two, actually – being offered in Gig Harbor, a small spot in Washington State. Two white teenagers decided to deface a few black churches, and then to set one aflame. But as it turns out, it wasn’t empty. And when the preacher and the janitor emerged from the burning building, they were shot–and the suspects drove off.

So state police and the town are offering $50,000 for help in finding the two suspects. The family of one of the two suspects is offering $900 for help in proving his innocence.

Game for a challenge, hungry to see justice done, and intrigued by the forces in opposition in this specific case, Colter drives north and west…only to discover that no case comes without its unexpected complications, or without its considerable dangers.

Return Addresses by Michael A McLellan

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Michael A. McLellan has a new book out in the world! Read on for an exclusive except and a fantastic giveaway — A $20 Amazon gift card, and a copy of Return Addresses!

Psst, bloggers and book reviewers! There is also going to be a blog tour June 10th to the 26th, if you’re interested! Visit R&R Book Tours for more info!

New Final FINAL 4Return Addresses

Publication Date: April 13, 2020
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Mountain Press

“This ain’t your world. You don’t have any friends out here. Not real ones. No one out here cares about nothin’ but where their next drink or fix is comin’ from. That, or they were born too messed up in the head to even understand what friendship is. Remember that. You can’t trust anybody. You can’t rely on no one but yourself.”

Fourteen-year-old Sean Pennington never thought he’d find himself riding on an open train car in the middle of the night. He never thought he’d find himself alone. He never thought he’d be running for his life.

In the spring of 2015 Sean Pennington’s world of comfort and privilege is shattered and he becomes a ward of the state. Thrust into a broken foster care system, he discovers the harsh realities of orphanhood. Lonely, confused, and tormented by his peers, he runs away, intending to locate his only living relative; a grandfather he’s never met, who his only connection with is a return address on a crumpled envelope. Enter Andrea, a modern day hobo Sean meets at a California homeless encampment. Andrea travels the country by rail, stowing away on shipping container cars with other transients calling themselves traveling kids. Though battling her own demons, road-savvy Andrea promises to help Sean on his quest, but can she protect him from the unpredictable and often violent world she lives in?

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Excerpt

He turned toward the voice. Two men were walking toward him from the group of haphazardly placed shelters about twenty feet from the sidewalk. Gauging that he was less than halfway through, he turned around and started back the way he’d come. The men picked up their pace to a jog and cut him off. They stood on the sidewalk in his path. Sean stopped short of them and they casually walked forward, closing the distance. He was more afraid than he’d ever been in his life. His legs were shaking and he felt sick to his stomach. One of the men was old and had long, matted gray hair that hung to his chest in clumps. His clothes were tattered and filthy. The other was younger, maybe thirty. He was wearing a red hoodie and gray sweat pants that were so dirty they’d turned black in places. He had the hood up and masses of brown dreadlocks spilled out of the sides. The smell of the two men reminded Sean of spoiled food and urine.

Now Available on Amazon!

About the Author

Mike Author 1

Michael’s love of books began with Beverly Cleary’s The Mouse and the Motorcycle when he was seven-years-old. Later influenced by the works of John Steinbeck, Harper Lee, Stephen King, James Baldwin, and Cormac McCarthy, Michael developed his style of storytelling. A self-proclaimed blue-collar writer, he draws on his experiences and observations to bring relevant and compelling topics to life.

Michael lives in Northern California and when he’s not writing, he can usually be found wandering around the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges.

His body of work includes the 2014 novel After and Again, the 2015 novel American Flowers, and the 2017 novel, In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree, as well as various shorts and essays.

Michael McLellan | Goodreads| Twitter

Giveaway: 1st prize is a $20 Amazon gift card and a digital copy of Return Addresses. 2nd prize is a digital copy of the book! The giveaway will run from today to May 21st! Click the link below to enter!

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One Fatal Night by Hélene Fermont

BOOK SPOTLIGHT for ONE FATAL NIGHT by Hélene Fermont

Book blurb: 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 realises 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.

Sound intriguing? Read on if you would like a sneaky peek at an excerpt taken from Chapter 2:

Grabbing his jacket and mobile from the small table next to the bed, he disappeared out the front door. As she sat alone in the tiny bedsit, Astrid’s eyes welled up with tears. Wringing her hands, she ran into the bathroom and showered for nearly half an hour, her body shaking from the memory of what they had done. Scrubbing away his mouth and skin from hers, she couldn’t stop crying and detesting herself for her part in it. But it was necessary to prove how much I care. She dried herself with a big light blue towel and cleaned up after him, throwing her ripped, flimsy clothes into a bin outside the flat. It wasn’t until she’d eaten a piece of toast and drunk half a mug of strong black coffee that she wondered, Did you feel the same as me, Mor? Did you hate yourself as much as I do now? Daniel Holst has no idea who I am. I’ll stick with the plan a while longer until he gets what he deserves. All I have to do is wait for his call and the next instalment of what I’ve got in store for him. She smiled and started to clear the table.

 

My thanks to Hélene Fermont, author, and to Sarah Hardy from Book On The Bright Side Publicity & PromoTwitter: @BOTBSPublicity – Facebook: Book On The Bright Side

The Perfect Couple by Lisa Hall

5 Stars from me

BRILLIANT BRILLIANT BRILLIANT BRILLIANT BRILLIANT BRILLIANT BRILLIANT BRILLIANT

Will that do as a book review?

Oh, ok. Suffice it to say I loved The Perfect Couple, much as I have also loved Lisa Hall‘s previous novels.

I have had the best, most lazy day today as I started The Perfect Couple shortly after waking up and (with the exception of a shower and making lunch) I have read all day, having finished the book just now.

As I fully expect from this master of the twisty turn snake of a story, The Perfect Couple is a fabulous read! I was hooked from the very first chapter and simply had to read to the end to find out what had happened.

So many potential versions of the truth, so many possible scenarios, so many available outcomes – do you know what, they would all have been brilliant… However, for me, the ending was as good as the book itself.

Please don’t be mistaken into thinking this is just a hot flash of ‘a twist’ for it is not, this book is beautifully constructed, the imagery created when reading is superb – pictures, scenes, places, people will fill your mind as you reads. Smells, sounds and emotions are all brought to life within these pages – The Perfect Couple is not just a pretty face.

 

Blurb: When Emily applies for a job as a housekeeper for widower Rupert, it’s a chance to start over – a steady job and regular money means she can work towards her own place, not sharing a grimy flat with old mate, Mags.

As Emily gets to know more about Rupert’s world – how he likes his supper when he comes in from work, who his friends are – she can make sure everything runs like clockwork for him.

Soon there’s a spark between them; Rupert likes Emily and invites her to stay. For good.

To the outside world, they really seem to be a perfect match. There’s just the small issue of what really happened to Rupert’s first wife…

Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

4.5 Stars from me

Where to start with this addictive and multi layered domestic thriller?

Blood Orange is an accomplished and compelling read with lively characters and scenes written so well that you can practically smell the cigarette smoke hanging in the air.

I read it as part of a book group and found it quite interesting that none of us liked Alison’s ‘doting husband’ at any point throughout the book.

Blood Orange makes the world of barristers sound shocking and intoxicating in equal measure, it was so easy to see why Alison felt the need to commit so much to her role.

However, I varied in my sympathies towards Alison – part of me completely understood her situation – part of me felt she was just selfish. One of the book group ladies summed it up quite nicely ‘lawyers/coppers always bonk each other, don’t they, it’s just part of the job‘!

The sub-story of the client who was literally caught red handed was excellent and practically and stand along tale in its own right, it was just as interesting as the main plot.

I definitely look forward to more by Harriet Tyce.

Blurb: Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, and a career on the rise – she’s just been given her first murder case to defend. But all is never as it seems…

Just one more night. Then I’ll end it.

Alison drinks too much. She’s neglecting her family. And she’s having an affair with a colleague whose taste for pushing boundaries may be more than she can handle.

I did it. I killed him. I should be locked up.

Alison’s client doesn’t deny that she stabbed her husband – she wants to plead guilty. And yet something about her story is deeply amiss. Saving this woman may be the first step to Alison saving herself.

I’m watching you. I know what you’re doing.

But someone knows Alison’s secrets. Someone who wants to make her pay for what she’s done, and who won’t stop until she’s lost everything….

A disturbing, toxic and compelling novel that explores the power of fear and desire, jealousy and betrayal, love and hate, BLOOD ORANGE introduces a stunning new voice in psychological suspense.