#BookReview: PERFECT TEN by Jacqueline Ward @JacquiAnnC @Corvusbooks

Perfect TenPublication: 6th September 2018 by Corvus Books

Caroline Atkinson is powerless and angry. She has lost more than most – her marriage, her reputation, even her children. Then one day, she receives an unusual delivery: lost luggage belonging to the very man who is responsible, her estranged husband Jack.

In a leather holdall, Caroline unearths a dark secret, one that finally confirms her worst suspicions. Jack has kept a detailed diary of all his affairs; every name, every meeting, every lie is recorded. He even marks the women out of ten.

Caroline decides it’s time to even the score. She will make this man pay, even if it means risking everything…

 

You know the saying “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”? Well, it perfectly applies to this novel. I was initially attracted to this novel by the intriguing blurb and I quickly found myself immersed in this story about revenge and psychological abuse.

The protagonist of the novel is Caroline Atkinson, an acclaimed researcher, good at her job and respected by her colleagues. However, on the personal side, things are not so good. Her husband, the man she thought she was going to spend the rest of her life with, has left her and he’s taken their children with him. Now, all Caroline has left is late-night shopping and wine. Until, one day, a mistake delivers to her door something that could change her life. She gets her hands on something that can destroy her husband and she sets in motion a plan that not only will destroy his reputation and his life, but she makes it so that he knows she is behind all of it but there is nothing he can do about it.

As the truth about her marriage slowly comes out, as the author describes in details the pain not only of a woman betrayed by her husband but also of a mother desperately missing her children, I couldn’t help but sympathize with Caroline and her plan of revenge. She could appear cold and emotionless, but she is humanized by her guilt and doubts as she continues with her plans, by her heartbreak over her children, and by her constant emotional dependence to her husband.

I loved that most of the novel is an internal dialogue that Caroline has with her ex-husband in which she explains to him all the ways she is going to make him pay. The multi-layered and complex characters and the gripping and twisty plot kept me completely hooked, from the first to the last page. PERFECT TEN is a dark and thrilling novel about domestic abuse, revenge, and privacy, it kept me glued to the page.

 

#BlogTour: AFTER HE DIED by Michael J. Malone @michaelJmalone1 @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours

thumbnail_AFTER HE DIED coverPublication: 30th September 2018 by Orenda Books

You need to know who your husband really was…

When Paula Gadd’s husband of almost thirty years dies, just days away from the seventh anniversary of their son Christopher’s death, her world falls apart. Grieving and bereft, she is stunned when a young woman approaches her at the funeral service, and slips something into her pocket. A note suggesting that Paula’s husband was not all that he seemed…

When the two women eventually meet, a series of revelations challenges everything Paula thought she knew, and it becomes immediately clear that both women’s lives are in very real danger. Both a dark, twisty slice of domestic noir and taut, explosive psychological thriller, After He Died is also a chilling reminder that the people we trust the most can harbour the deadliest secrets…

 

This is my first Michael J. Malone’s novel and I am happy that I got the chance to read it because now I can’t wait to read everything else this author wrote. AFTER HE DIED is a twisty and suspenseful domestic noir, but it’s not just that because the author focuses not only on the mystery of the story, but also on the grief of a woman who just lost the man she spent the last thirty years with. Her pain, her emotions, and her sense of loss are very-well described and it’s almost heartbreaking reading about it.

The protagonists of this novel are two women and they are completely different from each other. The first one is Paula Gadd. She met her husband, Thomas, when she was 16 years old and they have been together ever since. Thomas was a successful businessman so Paula had led an easy and sheltered life that, at times, makes her look a bit naïve. The novel opens during Thomas’s funeral. Paula is wondering how a fit and healthy man like her husband could die of a heart attack when a woman she’s never seen before approaches her and slips a note into her pocket. That woman is Cara Collins. Unlike Paula, Cara grew up in one of the poorest part of Glasgow, raised by an addicted single mother. Despite her difficult childhood, Cara grew up to become a tough and smart woman who wants to help and improve her community. Both women are strong and determined and, as they look for the truth, things spiral out of control. I admired Paula’s loyalty to her husband. Despite what people told her, despite the evidence, she refused to think that the man she had spent most of her life with was anything other than a good man.

I liked the setting of Glasgow. With its slums, gangs, corruption, and with its dark and claustrophobic atmosphere it is the perfect frame to this compelling and beautifully written novel. Add the multi-layered characters with secrets and dark sides that lead to a final surprising twist that I really didn’t see coming and you have a gripping and immersive novel.

I’d like to thank Anne Cater and Orenda Books for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

After He Died Blog Tour Poster

thumbnail_Michael MaloneMichael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize from the Scottish Association of Writers. Other published work includes: Carnegie’s Call; A Taste for Malice; The Guillotine Choice; Beyond the Rage; The Bad Samaritan and Dog Fight. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number-one bestseller, and the critically acclaimed House of Spines soon followed suit. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller.

 

#BlogTour: A FATAL MISTAKE by Faith Martin @FaithMartin_Nov @HQstories @izsmith95

180728-FCXPublication: 5th September 2018 by HQ

Summer 1960, Oxford

In the glorious sunshine of Oxford, on a day when everyone should be celebrating, tragedy strikes when a university student is found floating in the river, dead.

Probationary WPC Trudy Loveday finds herself paired with coroner Clement Ryder to investigate and it soon becomes clear that this case is not going to be easy.

The witnesses all refuse to give a straight answer, each new lead sends them in a new direction and tales of other missing youngsters add further mystery to the investigation.

One thing is certain though, something doesn’t seem quite right about the university’s most popular student….

 

On a beautiful sunny day in Oxford, the body of Derek Chadworth, a student of St. Bede’s College, was found floating on the river. Was it an accident? Or was he killed? Coroner Dr. Clement Ryder is convinced that the young student was murdered and when he asks for the help of WPC Trudy Loveday, DI Jennings is happy to give away the only woman in his team. As witnesses and other students don’t cooperate in the investigation, Dr. Ryder sends Trudy under cover among the students to find out more about the victim.

I still haven’t had the pleasure to read the first book in the series featuring WPC Loveday, but I am going to as I really liked the character of Trudy. While her mother wants her to find a man, get married, and have children, she wants to prove herself even if there are dukes, chiefs of police, and men in general who try to put her in her place. The only one who seems to support her ambitions is Dr. Ryder. I loved her enthusiasm and she is smart, determined, and resourceful, even though sometimes her initiatives get in her in trouble.

A FATAL MISTAKE is a nice change from the crime novels I am used to. First of all, the novel is set in the 1960s so there is no forensic, DNA tests, or technology to help in the investigation. Also, I enjoyed the multiple-character point of view. Although the story is told mainly from Trudy’s points of views, we get glimpses into other characters’ lives, from Dr. Ryder to witnesses, from students to characters somehow connected to the victim, so that by the end of the book the reader has the whole story. This doesn’t mean that there are no surprises. There are many twists and revelations and the ending and solution of the case was unexpected.

Between secret clubs, arrogant dukes, and shocking truths, A FATAL MISTAKE is an entertaining, well-written, and captivating read and I’d like to thank HQ and Izzy Smith for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

Follow the rest of the blog tour:

FatalMistake_BlogTour

#CoverReveal: WHO I AM by Sarah Simpson @sarahrsimpson @aria_fiction

Let’s start the week (and the month) with something intriguing. It is my absolute pleasure to reveal the cover of WHO I AM by Sarah Simpson.

Published on November 6th by Aria Fiction, I am fascinated by the blurb and I find the cover is gripping and mysterious.

ARIA_SIMPSON_WHO I AM_E

I know everything about you.

And you know everything about me…

…except WHO I AM

Andi met Camilla at university. Instantly best friends, they shared everything together. Until their long-planned graduation celebration ends in tragedy…

Years later, Andi is living a seemingly perfect life on the rugged Cornish Coast with her loving husband, happy children and dream home. Yet Andi is haunted by a secret she thought only she knew. Someone out there is bringing Andi’s deepest fears to life. And she knows there’s no escaping the past that has come back to haunt her…

You trusted me with your secrets, you told me everything, you thought I was your best friend… but you have no idea WHO I AM.

Gripping, unputdownable and packed with twists and turns from the first page to the very last, this stunning psychological thriller will make you question whether we can ever really trust the ones we love.

 

Sarah Simpson has a first-class honours degree in Psychology and has experienced working at a Brain Rehabilitation Hospital. She has spent time as a family consultant for Warwickshire and Oxfordshire solicitors and gained knowledge of the Family Court System. She now lives in Cornwall with her husband, three children and animals.

 Follow Sarah:

Facebook: @sarahsimpsoncornwall

Twitter: @sarahrsimpson

Pre-order link:

Mybook.to/WhoIAm-Simpson

Follow Aria 

Website: www.ariafiction.com

Twitter: @aria_fiction

Facebook: @ariafiction

Instagram: @ariafiction

#BlogTour: DEATH IN PROVENCE by Serena Kent @SerenaKentBooks @orionbooks @AlainnaGeorgiou

isbn9781409182009Publication: 23rd August 2018 by Orion Publishing

When Penelope Kite swaps her humdrum life in Surrey for a picturesque farmhouse in the south of France, she imagines a simple life of long lunches and chilled rosé. What she doesn’t imagine is a dead body floating in her swimming pool.

Convinced that the victim suffered more than just a drunken accident, Penelope plunges headlong into local intrigue and long-simmering resentments in order to uncover the truth.

But with a meddling estate agent, an unfriendly Chief of Police, a suspiciously charming Mayor, and the endless temptation of that second pain au chocolat, life in the delightful village of St Merlot is certainly never simple…

 

This was such an entertaining and refreshing read. With eccentric characters and a twisty but, at the same time, hilarious plot, you just need to sit down and enjoy this captivating mystery set in the beautiful South of France.

Now that she is single and her children are grown-ups and have their own families, Penelope Kite decides it is time to think about herself. So she leaves England and her selfish family behind and she moves to a small village in Provence where she’s bought an old farm in need of renovation, Le Chant d’Eau. But the start of her new life is quickly disturbed by the appearance of a dead body in her pool. The local police doesn’t seem to be very interested in finding out the truth about the murder or who is causing a series of incidents against her life, so Penelope starts investigating on her own with the help of her best friend Frankie. Between secret love affairs, misunderstandings, and feuds, everyone in the small Provençal village seems to be hiding something and Penelope turns into Miss Marple to find out the truth.

I am always excited when I discover a new author and I am already a fan of Serena Kent (the pen name for the husband and wife author team Deborah Lawrenson and Rob Rees). I found myself completely immersed in this charming and well-planned out novel. From Clemence Valencourt, the estate agent who refuses to eat croissants, to Didier, the electrician obsessed with James Bond and Pink Floyd, from the handsome and charming mayor of the village to the unhelpful and arrongant chief of police, this novel has a cast of colourful characters who made me laugh out loud with their quirks. Add evocative descriptions that make you dream of the warmth of the South of France, of orchards and vineyards, of tasty food (those croissants!) and good wine and you have an entertaining and witty novel.

DEATH IN PROVENCE is such a fun and enjoyable read and I’d like to thank Alainna Hadjigeorgiou and Orion for inviting me to take part of the blog tour.

Blog-tour-poster

Serena Kent is the pen name for the husband and wife author team Deborah Lawrenson and Rob Rees. Deborah has previously published eight novels including The Art of Falling, The Lantern, The Sea Garden and 300 Days of Sun.

#BlogTour: FRIENDSHIP FAILS OF EMMA NASH by Chloe Seager @ChloeSeager @HQstories @ninadouglas

FriendshipFailsPublication: 9th August 2018 by HQ

Emma Nash is back….and determined to work out the world of friendships and relationships once and for all (…ish).

Now she’s in the sixth form, Emma’s expecting life to be a breeze but when her best friend Steph suddenly has a boyfriend who she’s spending more time with Emma’s not sure what to do with herself.

So Emma’s got a mission in mind: making new friends. Signing up for the school fashion show seems like the perfect opportunity. Although soon, through a series of mishaps that are absolutely not Emma’s fault (well, sort of), her world is teetering on the edge of disaster again.

Would going back to creating a life for herself online really be so bad?

 

I don’t often read YA novels, but Emma Nash is one of my favourite heroine and I am so happy she is back with more hilarious and engaging adventures. I was so engrossed in the novel that I read it in one afternoon and I didn’t get up from the couch until I finished reading it.

Emma is funny, honest, mature and innocent at the same time, and completely likable. She has her own fashion blog where she posts pictures of the clothes she creates. She was raised by her hypochondriac single mother. She loves watching Gilmore Girls and Pretty Little Liars (which, by the way, is one of the many reasons I like this character).

In this new novel, Emma’s two best friends are busy with their new relationships and she is often left alone. So Emma makes two resolutions: take part in the school fashion show (which causes a few hilarious reactions from her friends and teachers) and find new friends. This last one proves more difficult than Emma thought and she finds herself in awkward and comic situations that made me laugh out loud.

FRIENDSHIP FAILS OF EMMA NASH is written as diary entries and the conversational and clear tone make for an easy and entertaining read. Cat abductions, octopus dancing, mutilated stuffed animals, Matrix coats, and bathroom stalking, there is never a dull moment in Emma’s life. From cyber bullying to today’s obsession with social media, from sex to periods, the author tackles on topics that are typical but sometimes taboo in YA novels and make the book and the characters feel real and relatable.

If you are looking for a funny, captivating and refreshing novel, FRIENDSHIP FAILINGS OF EMMA NASH should be at the top of your list. I’d like to thank HQ and Nina Douglas for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

Follow the rest of the blog tour:

FF tour

Chloe-Seager-Author-PicChloe Seager grew up in East London with her Mum and much-loved cat, Katie. She studied English Literature and Drama at the University of East Anglia, where she sadly realised she couldn’t act, but did rediscover her love of children’s books. Children’s Literature was one of her favourite modules, and it made her wonder why grown-ups ever stopped reading them. She now works as a YA and children’s literary agent. Chloe lives back in East London with her boyfriend and pet fish. Editing Emma was her debut novel, and the story continues with Friendship Fails.

#BlogTour: ONE THOUSAND STARS AND YOU by Isabelle Broom @Isabelle_Broom @MichaelJBooks @lcnicol

coverPublication: 23rd August 2018 by Michael Joseph

One spark will light up both their lives

Alice is settling down. It might not be the adventurous life she once imagined, but more than anything she wants to make everyone happy – her steady boyfriend, her over-protective mother – even if it means a little part of her will always feel stifled.

Max is shaking things up. After a devastating injury, he is determined to prove himself. To find the man beyond the disability, to escape his smothering family and go on an adventure.

A trip to Sri Lanka is Alice’s last hurrah – her chance to throw herself into the heat, chaos and colour of a place thousands of miles from home.

It’s also the moment she meets Max.

Alice doesn’t know it yet, but her whole life is about to change.

Max doesn’t know it yet, but he’s the one who’s going to change it.

 

I love Isabelle Broom’s novels. With her flawless writing style, she creates heart-warming and entertaining plots that keep you glued to the page. But what I really love about her books is that they take the readers always in some beautiful and exotic place. In this novel, she takes us to Sri Lanka, where the two protagonists, Alice and Max, are on a journey of self-discovery.

Alice is on holiday with her two best friends, Steph and Maureen “Maur”, to celebrate together their thirtieth birthdays. Alice is a free and adventurous spirit, but a childhood accident has left her a scar on her face and leading a restricted and dull life surrounded by her overprotective mother and boyfriend. Sri Lanka is her way to freedom, it is the place where Alice can find herself again. It is also the place where she meets Max. Like Alice, Max’s life has been marred by a tragic event that has left him with emotional and physical scars, but his friendship with Alice may bring him back to life.

Alice and Max are two characters who are easy to like. They are engaging and they feel real and sincere. I was completely captivated by these characters and I enjoyed reading how their relationship and their stories develop throughout the novel. With its suggestive wildlife and excursions, it’s exotic food, and its friendly and warm inhabitants, Sri Lanka becomes a character itself under Isabelle Broom’s pen. The detailed and vivid descriptions make you feel (and wish) as though you were there visiting these beautiful locations.

Isabelle Broom did it again and wrote a fabulous novel. ONE THOUSAND STARS AND YOU is a vibrant, refreshing, and romantic story about love and loss, about family and friendship, and I’d like to thank Laura Nicol and Michael Joseph for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

Follow the rest of the blog tour:

One Thousand Stars and You Blog Tour

Isabelle Broom was born in Cambridge nine days before the 1980s began and studied Media Arts in London before joining the ranks at Heat magazine, where she remains the Book Reviews Editor. Always happiest when she off on an adventure, Isabelle now travels all over the world seeking out settings for her novels, as well as making the annual pilgrimage to her true home – the Greek island of Zakynthos. Currently based in Suffolk, where she shares a cottage with her dog Max and approximately 467 spiders, Isabelle fits her writing around a busy freelance career and tries her best not to be crushed to oblivion under her ever-growing pile of to-be-read books.

If you like pictures of dogs, chatter about books and very bad jokes, you can follow her on Twitter or Instagram @Isabelle_Broom or find her on Facebook under Isabelle Broom Author. To find out more about her books, visit her website www.isabellebroom.com