The Cliff House by Amanda Jennings

5 Stars from me

Oh my, the aching beauty that spills from these pages is just breath taking.

At 11% I adored the book, by 60% it made me cry and I simply didn’t ever want it to end.

I know of no other author who can create the emotive resonance that Amanda Jennings brings to life within the pages of a book: much like in her other excellent books Sworn Secret, The Judas Scar and In Her Wake.

All the characters (and there are only a handful) are utterly credible and I felt their emotions, their fragility their realness is if it were my own.

My favourite character? Probably Jago, although poor old Angie wins the sympathy vote. The rest of the characters weren’t particularly likeable but it was their flaws which made them so defined.

The setting and the era are flawlessly described. Who wouldn’t covet the lifestyle of the Davenports? The agony and deprivation of life for poor Angie is sensitively accurate – the grief, the loneliness, the worry are all spot on.

As for Tamsyn, the innocent mixed up teenage whose life has been turned inside out by grief, her portrayal is particularly raw and exposed – Jennings knack for honing in on the feelings of teenagers is uncanny.

A beautiful book – it literally is the perfect summer read – I want to dive into that pool and I want to go to one of the Davenport’s parties!

 

Synopsis: Some friendships are made to be broken.

Cornwall, summer of 1986.

The Davenports, with their fast cars and glamorous clothes, living the dream in a breathtaking house overlooking the sea.

If only… thinks sixteen-year-old Tamsyn, her binoculars trained on the perfect family in their perfect home.

If only her life was as perfect as theirs.

If only Edie Davenport would be her friend.

If only she lived at The Cliff House…

Amanda Jennings weaves a haunting tale of obsession, loss and longing, set against the brooding North Cornish coastline, destined to stay with readers long after the final page is turned.

‘A beautiful, stirring story of loss and obsession’ Lisa Jewell

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Take It Back by Kia Abdullah

5 Stars from me!

Wow. Just wow. This is one of those books which sticks with you after you’ve finished it – and not necessarily in a comfortable way!

There is an awful lot going on within these pages, the depth of the story and the message is huge even though it is dealt with in a sensitive manner. There are so many issues, all given the lightest touch, and all jostling for their time to be considered.

Just the single thread regarding Jodie is a whole massive story on its own – how anyone copes as a teenager these days let alone with a neglectful, alcoholic mother, let alone with facial disfigurement.

Our former barrister, Zara, who now works to support victims of sex crimes, is also worthy of a story of her own as she turns her back on a glittering careers, tries to fight against decades of history and family ‘rules’ in order to tread her own path, all while battling her own demons as she risks everything to support Jodie.

The accused – their story is another one worthy to stand on its own. The complexities of friendships, the weight of responsibility upon their young shoulders.

Then there is the alleged assault. The main crux of the book, it demonstrates beautifully and painfully how incredibly difficult it is to ever prove a rape/sexual assault. I deeply admire those brave souls who endeavour to do so when they are up against the men who lie, the women who lie, the jurors who have their own preconceptions and judicial system which isn’t always stacked fairly.

I am so glad I read this book.

 

Synopsis: Take It Back is a gripping courtroom drama, perfect for fans of Apple Tree YardHe Said/She Said and Anatomy of a Scandal.

The Victim: A sixteen-year-old girl with facial deformities, neglected by an alcoholic mother. Who accuses four boys of something unthinkable.

The Defendants: Four handsome teenage boys from hardworking immigrant families. All with corroborating stories.

Someone is lying.

Former barrister Zara Kaleel, one of London’s brightest young legal minds, takes up Jodie Wolfe’s case; she believes her, even if those closest to Jodie do not.

Jodie and Zara become the centre of the most explosive criminal trial of the year, in which ugly divisions within British society are exposed. As everything around Zara begins to unravel she becomes even more determined to get Jodie the justice she’s looking for. But at what price? 

Deserve to Die by Miranda Rijks

5 Stars from me!

Practically the perfect page turner! This book should be your beach side summer read… but keep an eye on your children…

Dom and Stacey have an enviable life, the sort of people you would equally love and hate to know as they have it all and a perfect, solid marriage to boot.

Pretty, perfect, perky Tamara on the other hand seems like a gift from god when she arrives with almost Mary Poppins-esque timing and grace and swoops in to magically fill the shoes of Dylan who died in tragic circumstances. In no time at all this beautiful, considerate and uber organised woman proves herself to be invaluable to Dom.

But then things start to go wrong for Stacey. Poor Stacey with her charmed life, dream career, darling children and her handsome, dedicated, husband. Suddenly she can’t seem to catch a break – its almost as if something, or someone, is conspiring against her.

I won’t spoil the story, other than to say it’s absolutely brilliant – as was Fatal Fortune so I can’t say I’m surprised! Brilliant author with gripping and well constructed books; I can’t wait to read more and highly recommend.

#DeserveToDie @MirandaRijks #InkubatorBooks @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: Dom and Stacey have the perfect life. Until they meet Tamara. Brilliant, beautiful, she hides a horrifying secret. One that may destroy them all.

Happily married with two beautiful children, Dom and Stacey have it all. He runs a successful design agency, she is finding fame as an author of children’s books.

Everything is perfect. Until they meet Tamara.

Because Tamara is a woman with a plan.  She executes it step by step – patient, systematic, methodical.

And as her plan unfolds, Dom and Stacey find their lives slipping out of control.  Taking them from heaven into the deepest, darkest hell.

About Miranda Rijks:

Miranda Rijks is a writer of suspense novels.

Miranda has an eclectic background ranging from law to running a garden centre. She’s been writing all of her life and has a Masters in writing. A couple of years ago she decided to ditch the business plans and press releases and now she’s living the dream, writing suspense novels full time. She lives in Sussex, England with her Dutch husband, musician daughter and black Labrador.

Miranda loves connecting with her readers, so you can reach out to her at www.mirandarijks.com

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MirandaRijks

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MirandaRijksAuthor/

Website: www.mirandarijks.com

Black Wolf by G D Abson

4 Stars from me

A bit deeper and and a more grown up read than my usual fluffy crime thrillers, Black Wolf is the sequel to Abson’s debut thriller Motherland and again features Captain Natalya Ivanova of St Petersburg’s Serious Crimes Unit.

The book begins with a beautifully described and atmospheric scene which dunks you straight into the cold, stark, brutal world in which the book is set. It took me a while to comprehend that this is truly based on modern day Russia.

Natalya has a case taken off her but can’t let go of it – the body of a young woman, found on a remote roadside who is found to have links to an anti-Putin activist group – Decembrists. Natalya knows that there will be no true attempts made to find the murderer and she continues her own investigation, even though doing so puts her job and possibly her life in jeopardy.

The beautiful, wintery back drop of St Petersburg and what feels like a private glimpse into Russian politics made this a fascinating read. Dishonesty and corruption are rife, freedom of speech/thought/deed are non-existent and there is a palpable sense of danger throughout.

No spoilers from me. This is a great book to get your teeth into and lose yourself in the icy and dangerous political climate of Putin’s Russia.

Synopsis: A young woman is found dead on the outskirts of St Petersburg on a freezing January morning. She has no injuries, and heavy snowfall has buried all trace of an attacker.

Government security services immediately shut down the case, and Natalya suspects the authorities have something to hide. When the dead woman is revealed to be an anti-Putin activist, Natalya has to go undercover to expose the truth.

But with her career at stake and her own family in danger, how far is she prepared to go?

A captivating, pacy thriller that plunges right into the beating heart of Putin’s Russia.

Someone We Know by Shari Lapena

5 Stars from me!

Having enjoyed ‘The Couple Next Door‘, I was keen to read ‘Someone We Know’ and I wasn’t disappointed. I was completely hooked by from start to finish. This is a highly accomplished psychological thriller that will keep you well and truly on the edge of your seat.

There are a few separate yet very linked stories running throughout the book and they all probably would have stood up well as main storylines in their own rights.

The book is packed full of ‘what would you do‘ theoretical conundrums and a fair sprinkling of infidelity and untrustworthy friends.

I literally hated putting this book down, I just wanted to keep on reading and find out what was going on. Throughout all of the domestic nitty gritty and suburban life there is a murder to solve after all. I usually guess the killer early on in these things but there were so many threads and viable would be murderers that it kept the pace fast and the story interesting.

Can’t recommend this enough, go read it!

 

Synopsis: “No-one does suburban paranoia like Shari Lapena – this slowly unfurling nightmare will have you biting your nails until the end.” 

–Ruth Ware, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in Cabin 10

The new domestic suspense novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Couple Next Door, A Stranger in the House, and An Unwanted Guest, Shari Lapena

Maybe you don’t know your neighbours as well as you thought you did…

“This is a very difficult letter to write. I hope you will not hate us too much… My son broke into your home recently while you were out.”

In a quiet, leafy suburb in upstate New York, a teenager has been sneaking into houses -and into the owners’ computers as well-learning their secrets, and maybe sharing some of them, too.

Who is he, and what might he have uncovered? After two anonymous letters are received, whispers start to circulate, and suspicion mounts. And when a woman down the street is found murdered, the tension reaches the breaking point. Who killed her? Who knows more than they’re telling? And how far will all these very nice people go to protect their own secrets?

In this neighbourhood, it’s not just the husbands and wives who play games. Here, everyone in the family has something to hide…

You never really know what people are capable of. 

The Perfect Betrayal by Lauren North

5 Stars from me!

Poor Tess, the grief just oozes from these pages as she struggles even to exist following the aftermath of the plane crash which kills her husband. Day to day tasks seem impossible and Tess soon recognises that she isn’t being a good enough mum to their son, Jamie, who seems to mirror her feelings and emotions as he struggles to process his own.

Fortunately for Tess salvation arrives in the shape of grief counsellor Shelley who fast becomes her number one confidante and best friend as well as someone who steps in to help with Jamie – playing his favourite playstation games, cooking with him and generally being a stand-in mum while Tess flounders. But is she too good to be true?

As if the poor woman hasn’t been through enough, her brother-in-law starts demanding money – saying he’d lent it to her husband – someone is following her, someone is making menacing calls and before long she has no idea who she can trust.

I have to confess, I got to about 89% before I sussed what was going on… well I say I sussed it, I’m pretty sure it was spelt out! Such clever and well engineered plotting from Lauren North.

I also, having lived in Colchester for over 10 years, completely loved the locations noted!

Avoid any reviews containing spoilers and enjoy this book – it’s a fast paced read that will keep you guessing and defy you to work out who she can trust.

Huge thanks to Emma from Damp Pebbles Blog Tours for allowing me to take part.

Synopsis: After the sudden death of her husband, Tess is drowning in grief. All she has left is her son, Jamie, and she’ll do anything to protect him – but she’s struggling to cope.
When grief counsellor Shelley knocks on their door, everything changes. Shelley is understanding and kind, and promises she can help Tess through the hardest time of her life.

But when a string of unsettling events happens and questions arise over her husband’s death, Tess starts to suspect that Shelley may have an ulterior motive. Tess knows she must do everything she can to keep Jamie safe – but she’s at her most vulnerable, and that’s a dangerous place to be.

About Lauren North:
Lauren North writes psychological suspense novels that delve into the darker side of relationships and families. She has a lifelong passion for writing, reading, and all things books. Lauren’s love of psychological suspense has grown since childhood and her dark imagination of always wondering what’s the worst thing that could happen in every situation.

Lauren studied psychology before moving to London where she lived and worked for many years. She now lives with her family in the Suffolk countryside.

Social Media:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lauren_C_North
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LaurenNorthAuthor/

The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter

5 Stars from me

Such an epic read – I really can see this one as a standalone film, it has everything: love, lust, fear, threat, cults, family, loss, abuse, a shootout, WMD, kidnapping and more heros than you can shake a stick at.

The Last Widow is exciting, fast paced, a bit cheesy and I loved it!

I still remember reading the book from Karin Slaughter where Jeffery was killed and thinking ‘what has she done!’, at that point Sara was a bit of a nothing character for me and Jeffery was the star of the show, I just couldn’t see where she could take the books from there. But suffice it to say, Will Trent more than fills Jeffery’s shoes and he makes for a fascinating male lead.

I would say this would make a fabulous holiday read as you need to suspend belief a little bit and immerse yourself in the pages – go on, you won’t regret it!

Synopsis: From the No.1 bestselling author comes a gripping new crime thriller featuring Will Trent and Sara Linton.

It begins with an abduction. The routine of a family shopping trip is shattered when Michelle Spivey is snatched as she leaves the mall with her young daughter. The police search for her, her partner pleads for her release, but in the end…they find nothing. It’s as if she disappeared into thin air.

A month later, on a sleepy Sunday afternoon, medical examiner Sara Linton is at lunch with her boyfriend Will Trent, an agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. But the serenity of the summer’s day is broken by the wail of sirens.

Sara and Will are trained to help in an emergency. Their jobs – their vocations – mean that they run towards a crisis, not away from it. But on this one terrible day that instinct betrays them both. Within hours the situation has spiralled out of control; Sara is taken prisoner; Will is forced undercover. And the fallout will lead them into the Appalachian mountains, to the terrible truth about what really happened to Michelle, and to a remote compound where a radical group has murder in mind…