#BookReview: MINE by J. L. Butler @tasminaperry @HarperFiction @fictionpubteam @flisssity

mINEPublication: 28th June 2018 by HarperFiction

Fatal Attraction meets Apple Tree Yard. This debut novel will be your new obsession.

Francine Day is a high flying lawyer about to apply for silk, ambitious and brilliant. She just needs one headline grabbing client to seal her place as queen’s counsel … Martin Joy. The attraction is instant. Obsessive.

They embark on a secret affair and Francine thinks she can hold it together. But then Martin’s wife goes missing. And Martin is the prime suspect. Francine is now his lawyer, lover and the last person to see Donna Joy alive.

As the case unravels so does Francine.

 

Jealousy, obsession, and love triangles. Twists and suspense. Friendship and loyalty. Unreliable narrator and multi-layered characters. This novel has them all. And I loved every page of it.

The protagonist of the novel is Francine Day. Raised in the North of England, living in an estate with her mother, stepfather, and siblings and step-siblings, she managed to get good grades, go to college, and to escape to London to be a lawyer. Now she is a family lawyer, dealing with divorces and custody arrangements. She works hard and she is really good at her job. She is respected and sought after by colleagues and clients and she is about to be appointed in the Queen’s Counsel. On the personal side, she has a few loyal friends and zero love life. And then, one day, she meets Martin Joy. He is handsome, rich, charming, and he is her new client. While helping him getting a divorce from his wife, Francine embarks on a love affair with Martin. And when his wife disappears, Francine was one of the last people to see her, but, because of a mix of medications and alcohol, she doesn’t remember anything about it (I do love unreliable characters in thrillers!). So, for the entire novel, the suspicion that Francine had something to do with Donna’s disappearance is always there, keeping the tension high, page after page.

I found the character of Francine well-developed, but frustrating. Her love for Martin quickly turns into obsession and she makes a series of bad decisions that spiral out of control and make you want to scream at her “What are you doing???”. The plot is dark, gripping, and full of twists and, even though I had my suspicions, I was completely taken by surprise when the truth was revealed at the end. With the tension always high, a cast of suspicious characters, and a gloomy atmosphere, I found myself completely engrossed in this thrilling and haunting novel

I’d like to thank Felicity Denham and HarperCollins for providing me with a copy of the book.

 

 

#BlogTour: FROM DUKE TILL DAWN by Eva Leigh @Zoe_Archer @MillsandBoon

173811-FCX (1)The Duke of Greyland lost his heart – and a princely sum – to a charming, beautiful and destitute widow who, after one passionate night, vanished without a trace. Cassandra Blair grew up on the city streets, picking pockets to survive. Greyland was a rich mark – to be fleeced and forgotten – only she’d never forgotten him.

Years later, chance brings them together again, in a London gaming hell. Grayland is desperate to have her… never suspecting everything about his lover was a lie. But finding herself in dire financial straits, at risk of losing everything, Cassandra has no choice but to beg the man she betrayed for help.

The proud Duke will assist her under one condition: she doesn’t leave his sight until her debts are paid! But can the real Cassandra – the smart, streetwise survivor – steal his heart all over again?

It is my absolute pleasure to share with you an extract from the first novel in the new Scandalous Ladies of London series, published by Mills & Boon on 26th July 2018.

Chapter 1

London, England
1817

A woman laughed, and Alexander Lewis, Duke of Greyland felt the sound like a gunshot to his chest.
It was a very pleasant laugh, low and musical rather than shrill and forced, yet it sounded like The Lost Queen’s laugh. Alex could not resist the urge to glance over his shoulder as he left the Eagle chophouse. He’d fancifully taken to calling her The Lost Queen, though she was most assuredly a mortal woman. Had she somehow appeared on a busy London street at dusk? The last time he’d seen her had been two years ago, in the spa town of Cheltenham, in his bed, asleep and naked.
The owner of the laugh turned out to be a completely different woman—brunette rather than blonde, petite and round rather than lithe and willowy. She caught Alex staring and raised her eyebrows. He bowed gravely in response, then continued toward the curb.
Night came on in indigo waves, but the shops spilled golden light in radiant patches onto the street. The hardworking citizens of London continued to toil as the upper echelons began their evening revelries. Crowds thronged the sidewalk, while wagons, carriages, and people on horseback crammed the streets. A handful of pedestrians recognized Alex and politely curtsied or tipped their hats, murmuring, “Good evening, Your Grace.” Though he was in no mood for politeness, responsibility and virtue were his constant companions—had been his whole life—and so rather than snapping, “Go to the devil, damn you!” he merely nodded in greeting.
He’d done his duty. He’d been seen in public, rather than disappearing into the cavernous chambers of his Mayfair mansion, where he could lick his wounds in peace.
The trouble with being a duke was that he always had to do his duty. “You are the pinnacle of British Society,” his father had often said to him. “The world looks to you for guidance. So you must lead by example. Be their True North.”
This evening, before dining, Alex had taken a very conspicuous turn up and down Bond Street, making certain that he was seen by many consequential—and loose-lipped—
figures in the ton. Word would soon spread that the Duke of Greyland was not holed up,
sulking in seclusion. His honor as one of Society’s bulwarks would not be felled by something as insignificant as his failed marriage suit to Lady Emmeline Birks. The Dukes of Greyland had stood strong against Roundheads, Jacobites, and countless other threats
against Britain. One girl barely out of the schoolroom could hardly damage Alex’s ducal armor.
But that armor had been dented by The Lost Queen. Far deeper than he would have expected.
Standing on the curb, he signaled for his carriage, which pulled out of the mews. He tugged on his spotless gloves as he waited and adjusted the brim of his black beaver hat to make certain it sat properly on his head. “Always maintain a faultless appearance,” his father had reminded him again and again. “The slightest bit of disorder in your dress can lead to rampant speculation about the stability of your affairs. This, we cannot tolerate. The nation demands nothing less than perfection.”
Alex’s father had been dead for ten years, but that didn’t keep the serious, sober man’s voice from his mind. It was part of him now—his role as one of the most powerful men in England and the responsibilities that role carried with it. Not once did he ever let frivolities distract him from his duties.
Except for one time . . .

FromDuke_BlogTour

EVA LEIGH is the pen name of a RITA® Award-nominated romance author who writes novels chock-full of smart women and sexy men. She enjoys baking, Tweeting about boots, and listening to music from the ’80s. Eva and her husband live in Central California.

#BlogTour: GRIST MILL ROAD by Christopher J. Yates @CJ_Yates ‏@jenniferleech1 @headlinepg

Grist Mill RoadPublication: 9th August 2018 by Headline

Everyone knows what happened there. No one knows why.

Matthew and Hannah were just playing in the woods, a little way from home.
But now he’s tying Hannah to a tree. And she has never been so terrified.
Patrick is there too, hidden, watching. He can’t move. 
He can’t take his eyes off Matthew’s gun.

Years later, in New York City, leading adult lives they never would have imagined, the three will meet again. With even more devastating consequences.

It all began on Grist Mill Road…

 

This novel was nothing at all what I expected. It’s more literary and completely different from any other thrillers I am used to read and I loved it. From the well-developed characters to the small-town atmosphere, from the author’s attention to details to the layered plot, I found myself completely immersed and captivated by this book.

The story has a unique structure. It alternates between the past, 1982, and the “present”, 2008. It also alternates between the three characters’ points of view, Patrick (also called Patch or Tricky), Hannah, and Matthew. But who are these three characters? Back in 1982, when they were barely teenagers, Patrick, Hannah, and Matthew were involved in a terrible “episode” to which the reader is introduced right from the first page. All three characters have to live with the consequences of what happened that day, but it’s not as simple as that, as the author unravels the truth of what really happened layer by layer, a truth that is much darker and more disturbing than I expected. Patrick, Hannah, and Matthew are very complex characters. They are flawed, realistic, and psychologically difficult to figure out. The choices they make in their lives, the secrets they keep, the lies they tell, the things they do, they completely took me by surprise.

I loved the author’s beautifully-written prose, although I found some of the descriptions a bit too graphic for my taste. The book is slow-paced but the tension is always high because nothing is what it seems. It’s a novel that demands your full attention and that deals with difficult themes like violence, abuse, and sexual desire. It’s a dark, gripping, and compelling novel and you will still be thinking about it after you finished reading it and I’d like to thank Jennifer Leech and Headline for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and for providing me with an early copy of the book.

Follow the rest of the blog tour:

Grist Mill Road Blog Tour Poster

Christopher J. Yates was born and raised in Kent and studied law at Oxford University before working as a puzzle editor in London. He now lives in New York City with his wife and dog. ‘Black Chalk’ is his debut novel. You can read his blog on his website at: http://www.christopherjyates.com/

#BookReview: VOX by Christina Dalcher @CVDalcher @HQstories

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Publication: 23th August 2018 by HQ

Silence can be deafening.

Jean McClellan spends her time in almost complete silence, limited to just one hundred words a day. Any more, and a thousand volts of electricity will course through her veins.

Now the new government is in power, everything has changed. But only if you’re a woman.

Almost overnight, bank accounts are frozen, passports are taken away and seventy million women lose their jobs. Even more terrifyingly, young girls are no longer taught to read or write.

For herself, her daughter, and for every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice. This is only the beginning…

 

I have been hearing talking about this book for months and months and when I finally got my hands on an early copy, for which I’d like to thank HQ, I devoured it in two days. I was completely blown away by its unrealistic and scary plot and I couldn’t put it down.

In a near future, a pure religion movement has taken control of the government of the United States and has established a law according to which women are allowed to use only 100 words a day. And to be sure they follow this law the women have to wear a bracelet that gives them electric shocks whenever they go over the limit. The protagonist and narrator of this novel is Jean McClellan. She was a linguist scientist before all women were banned from doing any job. I shared Jean’s frustration and anger as she watches helplessly as women are forced to give up not only talking, but also working or even simply reading a book or the mail. All they have to do is to take care of their house and their family, waiting for the men to come home. There are bracelets that keep your word count, cameras that watch every step you make, and men that take you away to camps if you do something that it’s deemed impure.  Jean has four children, one of which is a six-year-old girl who is so scared to talk that she never uses her 100 words a day. On the other hand, her seventeen-year-old son Steven is being brainwashed at school in becoming one of the government puppets. But how did they get to this? Through Jean’s flashbacks, we see how nobody really believed that something like this could really happen until it did.

I really liked the character of Jean. She is strong-willed and determined and, even though she is limited to 100 words a day, she doesn’t give up on hope that one day things will be better and fights for her right to speak. She wants a better future for her daughter and all the other women and this makes her brave and dangerous.

VOX is chilling, it’s scary and it makes you furious and frustrated at the way not only women, but also people of different race or LGQBT are treated page after page. It’s a dystopian thriller full of twists, it’s suspenseful, compelling, and completely gripping, and it should be on everyone reading list.

#CoverReveal: A VILLAGE AFFAIR by Julie Houston @juliehouston2 @aria_fiction

It is my absolute pleasure to reveal the cover of A VILLAGE AFFAIR by Julie Houston. Isn’t it beautiful?

This funny and captivating novel will be published on November 6th, 2018 by Aria Fiction.

ARIA_Houston_ A Village Affair_E

Cassie Beresford has recently landed her dream job as deputy head at her local, idyllic village primary school, Little Acorns.

So, the last thing she needs is her husband of twenty years being ‘outed’ at a village charity auction – he has been having an affair with one of her closest friends.

As if that weren’t enough to cope with, Cassie suddenly finds herself catapulted into the head teacher position, and at the forefront of a fight to ward off developers determined to concrete over the beautiful landscape.

But through it all, the irresistible joy of her pupils, the reality of keeping her teenage children on the straight and narrow, her irrepressible family and friends, and the possibility of new love, mean what could have been the worst year ever, actually might be the best yet…

Julie Houston’s novels are funny, wonderfully warm and completely addictive. Perfect for all fans of Gervaise Phinn, Katie Fforde and Jill Mansell.

 

JULIE HOUSTON is the author of THE ONE SAVING GRACE, GOODNESS, GRACE AND ME and LOOKING FOR LUCY, a Kindle top 100 general bestseller and a Kindle #1 bestseller. She is married, with two teenage children and a mad cockerpoo and, like her heroine, lives in a West Yorkshire village. She is also a teacher and a magistrate.

Follow Karen

Website: www.juliehouston.co.uk

Twitter: @juliehouston2

Facebook: @JulieHoustonauthor

Buy links:

Amazon: mybook.to/AVillageAffair

Follow Aria

Website: www.ariafiction.com

Twitter: @aria_fiction

Facebook: @ariafiction

Instagram: @ariafiction

#BookReview: PIECES OF HER by Karin Slaughter @SlaughterKarin @HarperFiction @fictionpubteam

Pieces of HerPublication: 9th August 2018 by HarperFiction

You’ve known her your whole life…
Andrea Oliver knows everything about her mother Laura. She knows she’s always lived in the small town of Belle Isle; she knows she’s a pillar of the community; she knows she’s never kept a secret in her life.

but she’s hiding something…
Then one day, a trip to the mall explodes into a shocking act of violence and Andy suddenly sees a completely different side to Laura.

and it could destroy you both…
Hours later, Laura is in hospital, her face splashed over the newspapers. But the danger has only just begun. Now, Andy must go on a desperate race to uncover the secrets of her mother’s past. Unless she can, there may be no future for either of them…

 

You think you really know someone, especially someone as close as your own mother, with whom you’ve been living together for the last three years, until the day everything changes and you see her under a completely different light and you find out that your mother’s life is full of secrets. Every time I read a new Karin Slaughter’s novel I know that I will be surprised, captivated, and completely glued to the page, and, once again, I wasn’t disappointed.

PIECES OF HER starts with what it was supposed to be a normal day at the mall. Andrea is thirty-one years old, she is living in her mother’s garage, working the night shift as a dispatcher, and going through her days with nothing barely exciting going on. She certainly didn’t expect to be snapped out of her monotony during her birthday lunch with her mother, Laura. After a man starts shooting at the mall and another one breaks into her mother’s house and threatens her, Andrea finds herself on the run across the United States while she tries to uncover her mother’s secrets.

Although the novel is slow-paced, the tension is always high. The present narration is interrupted by flashbacks to a past linked somehow to Laura and I found myself completely absorbed in both narratives. While reading about Andrea’s investigation on her mother’s past I couldn’t wait to go back to the story of a naïve young girl who found herself involved in something that she couldn’t control, and vice versa.

Even though I expected some of the twists, I still found myself mesmerised and eager to find out what would happen next. The beautiful writing style of the author makes for an entertaining read and, once again, Karin Slaughter created well-developed characters. At the beginning, I found the character of Andrea often irritating and frustrating, but it was fascinating watching her mature and pull out her surviving (and also investigative) skills and half-way through the book I started really liking her.

PIECES OF HER is a stunning, compulsive, and unusual read that it’s not easy to put down and I’d like to thank HarperCollins for providing me with an early copy of the book.

 

#BookReview: THE PLUS ONE by Sophia Money-Coutts @sophiamcoutts @HQstories @joe_thomas25

The Plus One 9th August 2018 by HQ

The Plus One [n] informal a person who accompanies an invited person to a wedding or a reminder of being single, alone and absolutely plus none

Polly’s not looking for ‘the one’, just the plus one…

Polly Spencer is fine. She’s single, turning thirty and only managed to have sex twice last year (both times with a Swedish banker called Fred), but seriously, she’s fine. Even if she’s still stuck at Posh!magazine writing about royal babies and the chances of finding a plus one to her best friend’s summer wedding are looking worryingly slim.

But it’s a New Year, a new leaf and all that. Polly’s determined that over the next 365 days she’ll remember to shave her legs, drink less wine and generally get her s**t together. Her latest piece is on the infamous Jasper, Marquess of Milton, undoubtedly neither a plus one nor ‘the one’. She’s heard the stories, there’s no way she’ll succumb to his charms…

 

THE PLUS ONE is one of these books that should be on everyone’s reading list. It has an enjoyable and captivating plot, a cast of colorful and engaging characters, and a likable and funny heroine. I laughed a lot and I couldn’t get enough of Polly’s adventures.

The protagonist of the novel is Polly. She is a journalist working for Posh, a magazine that focuses on the English royalties, their pets, their children, and their weird quirks, so she finds herself going to orgies attended by politicians, dukes, and princes, organizing photoshoots involving five hundred avocados, and trying Russian detox treatments all for the sake of an article. She also finds herself mixing with lords, marquess, and sheiks, all obsessed with their animals (mostly dogs, horses, and chickens). On the personal side, Polly is worried about her mother who has been on her own since her husband died twenty years earlier. Her two best friends are with people she doesn’t really like and one of them is getting married in a few months. Tired of being just “Polly” on wedding invitations, Polly hopes that this time she will find her plus one, her Mr Willoughby (her idea of romance is the love story between Marianne and Mr. Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility). This novel made me laugh not only for the weird situations Polly get herself in, but also for the personality of the protagonist. She is down-to-heart, realistic, and loyal. She is entertaining and witty and I wished she was my friend.

I like the author’s writing style, flawless and clear, which, together with the compelling and refreshing plot, made it almost impossible for me to put it down (if it wasn’t for my job, I would have read this in less than a day). I am already looking forward to whatever Sophia Money-Coutts writes next, but, in the meantime, I would like to thank HQ and Joe Thomas for providing me with a proof of this immersive, brilliant, and sexy novel.