#BookReview: STRANGERS by C. L. Taylor @callytaylor @AvonBooksUK

StrangersPublication: 2nd April 2020 – Avon

Ursula, Gareth and Alice have never met before.

Ursula thinks she killed the love of her life.
Gareth’s been receiving strange postcards.
And Alice is being stalked.

None of them are used to relying on others – but when the three strangers’ lives unexpectedly collide, there’s only one thing for it: they have to stick together. Otherwise, one of them will die.
 
Three strangers, two secrets, one terrifying evening.
 
The million-copy bestseller returns with a gripping new novel that will keep you guessing until the end.

**********

Thrilling, riveting, heart-pounding suspenseful… I am talking about the new novel by C. L. Taylor. What a rollercoaster of a read! It kept me on edge the entire time I was reading and full of questions when I took a break from reading. If you’ve read the author’s previous novels, you know how good she is to creating well-crafted plots that keep you glued to the pages and, with this new novel, she didn’t disappoint.

As the titles implies, this is the story of strangers, three people who don’t now each other. but whose path somehow crosses and becomes intertwined. There is Alice, a divorced mother who is trying to figure out the world of dating, but there someone is watching her. Gareth is a security guard who, when not a work, spends his time looking after his elderly mother and wondering who is leaving her mysterious postcards. And Ursula, a low-paid courier who found her own way to battle with her grief, a way that may get her into trouble. How are they connected? What are they hiding? And how will it end?

I adore this author. She manages to drag you into the story and keep you completely engrossed. Even though I didn’t always liked them, the characters are engaging, complex and well-developed. The story is twisty and you never know what to expect. What more would you want?

So to recap, in Strangers you will find fantastic characterization, brilliant writing, a gripping plot, slowly-building tension, and unexpected twists. It’s literally impossible to put this book down.

A huge thank you to Avon and Netgalley for providing me with a proof copy of the novel.

 

#BookReview: TO KILL A MAN by Sam Bourne @hannah_robbo @QuercusBooks

To Kill A ManPublication: 19th March 2020 – Quercus

Natasha Winthrop is a rising star in American politics, strongly tipped as a future candidate for president. One night she is violently assaulted in her home by an intruder. She defends herself and minutes later, the intruder lies dead. Winthrop is hailed as a #MeToo heroine: the woman who fought back.

But inconsistencies emerge in Winthrop’s story, suggesting that the attack might not have been as random as it first seemed.

When former White House troubleshooter Maggie Costello is drafted in to investigate, she finds intriguing gaps, especially over Winthrop’s early life. She likes this woman, who she believes could – and should – be president. But she can’t shake off the question: who exactly is Natasha Winthrop?

A cat-and-mouse conspiracy thriller of rare intelligence, To Kill a Man explores an unsettling world in which justice is in the eye of the beholder and revenge seems to be the only answer.

**********

If, like me, you regularly watched every episode of the TV series Scandal, then you are going to love this new novel by Sam Bourne. The protagonist is Maggie Costello who, like Olivia Pope on TV, is hired to solve the problems of Washington elite. She is the best at her job so when rising star Natasha Winthrop is arrested for killing an intruder in her house, she has no choice but to ask for Maggie’s help. As Maggie investigates, a darker and more complex truth comes to light, a truth that puts her in danger.

Let me give you a fair warning. As the author addresses themes of rape and sexual assault and highlights the holes in the American justice system when it comes to prosecuting rapists, some of the scenes may result thought-provoking, uncomfortable, and not easy to read (although they are not detailed). The plot is intriguing, twisty, complex, and, above all, timely: the author writes about fake news, #metoo movement, behind the scene of a presidential campaign, and how social media can easily influence people.

I really liked the character of Maggie Costello. She is a wonderful and brilliant character, determined to find out the truth. This is my first novel by this author, but I am really looking forward to read the other novels featuring this character.

To Kill A Man is a refreshing and fast-paced political thriller full of suspense and surprises with vivid and intriguing characters and a fantastic and unexpected ending that make this novel a must-read. Highly recommended!!!

A huge thank you to Hannah, Quercus, and Netgalley for providing me with a proof copy of this novel.

 

#CoverReveal: THE SUMMER ISLAND SWAP by Samantha Tonge @SamanthaTongeAuthor @aria_fiction @VickyJoss1

Happy Friday everyone!!!

Excited to take part in a fantastic cover reveal. THE SUMMER ISLAND SWAP, the new summer novel by Samantha Tonge, published by Aria on 4th June 2020.

What is THE SUMMER ISLAND SWAP?

Sometimes the best holidays are the ones you least expect…

After a long and turbulent year, Sarah is dreaming of the five-star getaway her sister has booked them on. White sands, cocktails, massages, the Caribbean is calling to them.

But the sisters turn up to tatty beaches, basic wooden shacks, a compost toilet and outdoor cold water showers. It turns out that at the last minute Amy decided a conservation project would be much more fun than a luxury resort.

So now Sarah’s battling mosquitos, trying to stomach fish soup and praying for a swift escape. Life on a desert island though isn’t all doom and gloom. They’re at one with nature, learning about each other and making new friends. And Sarah is distracted by the dishy, yet incredibly moody, island leader she’s sure is hiding a secret.

About Samantha Tonge

Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK with her husband and children. She studied German and French at university and has worked abroad, including a stint at Disneyland Paris. She has travelled widely. When not writing she passes her days cycling, baking and drinking coffee. Samantha has sold many dozens of short stories to women’s magazines. She is represented by the Darley Anderson literary agency. In 2013, she landed a publishing deal for romantic comedy fiction with HQDigital at HarperCollins and in 2014, her bestselling debut, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook award. In 2015 her summer novel, Game of Scones, hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category. In 2018 Forgive Me Not, heralded a new direction into darker women’s fiction with publisher Canelo. In 2019 she was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association romantic comedy award.

Follow Samantha:   

Facebook: @SamTongeWriter

Twitter: @SamanthaTongeAuthor

Buy links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/38xIJFD

Google Play: https://bit.ly/2IuyI1q

Kobo: https://bit.ly/333XuPn

iBooks: https://apple.co/39x8VS9

Follow Aria

Website: www.ariafiction.com

Twitter: @aria_fiction

Facebook: @ariafiction

Instagram: @ariafiction

And now let’s look at this beautiful cover…

 

Summer Island Swap_final

#BookReview: MY ONE TRUE NORTH by Milly Johnson @millyjohnson @simonschusterUK @BookMinxSJV @TeamBATC

My One True NorthPublication: 5th March 2020 – Simon & Schuster UK

Laurie and Pete should never have met.
But fate has pushed them together for a reason.
 
Six months ago, on the same night, Laurie and Pete both lost their partners.
Struggling to manage the grief, they join the same counselling group – and meet each other.
 
From their sadness, Pete and Laurie find happiness growing and they sense a fresh new beginning. 
Except, the more they talk, the more they begin to spot the strange parallels in their stories.
Then Pete discovers a truth that changes everything.
 
But, as surely as a compass points north, some people cannot be kept apart.
 
My One True North is a story of friendship and what love means, of secrets uncovered, teashops on corners and the northern lights.

**********

Grab your tissue and settle down because you’re in for a treat. Milly Johnson is back with a beautiful and emotional story that will break your heart and warm it at the same time. The protagonists are Pete and Laurie and we meet them at the worst time of their lives. What do they have in common? They both lost their partners in a car accident. They meet at a supporting group where, over cake and tea, people share their grief. Pete and Laurie are drawn to each other, but is their grief the only thing they have in common or is there something more?

One thing that I like about Milly Johnson’s novels is how lovable her characters are. Pete and Laurie feel authentic, entertaining, warm, and generous. Their story is moving and engaging and I loved how the perspectives switched between these two characters. Pete and Laurie are surrounded by a cast of characters that are mostly good and likable and who supported them through their grief. Friendship, family, love, honesty, and loyalty are all important themes in the story.

There is laughter and there is sadness, there is grief and there is happiness. The author describes in so much details the protagonists’ sorrow that I shed a few tears, but then she inserted the hilarious snippets from the local newspaper that made me laugh out loud (and made me shed a few tears of joy).

Milly Johnson is one of these authors I will never get tired of reading and My One True North is a fantastic, absorbing, and refreshing addition to her collection of already brilliant novels.

A huge thank you to SJ and Simon and Schuster UK for providing me with a copy of this novel.

#BookReview: RULES FOR PERFECT MURDERS by Peter Swanson @FaberBooks

Rules For Perfect MurdersPublication: 5th March 2020 – Faber & Faber

If you want to get away with murder, play by the rules

A series of unsolved murders with one thing in common: each of the deaths bears an eerie resemblance to the crimes depicted in classic mystery novels.

The deaths lead FBI Agent Gwen Mulvey to mystery bookshop Old Devils. Owner Malcolm Kershaw had once posted online an article titled ‘My Eight Favourite Murders,’ and there seems to be a deadly link between the deaths and his list – which includes Agatha Christie’s The ABC Murders, Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train and Donna Tartt’s The Secret History.

Can the killer be stopped before all eight of these perfect murders have been re-enacted?

**********

Who doesn’t enjoy a book about books? I adore them and if you add the suspense and the shocking revelations that you won’t see coming you have the new gripping novel by Peter Swanson.

How are a bookshop owner and a serial killer connected? The Old Devils is a mystery bookshop in Boston. One of its owners, Malcolm Kershaw is an expert on crime novels and a few years ago he published on a blog a list of novels depicting the perfect murder. The list included works from Agatha Christie, Donna Tart, James M. Cain, Patricia Highsmith and more. One day, a FBI agent knocks on his door because it seems that someone is using his list to commit the perfect murders. Soon, Malcolm finds himself deep in the investigation, chasing a killer before he strikes again.

The story is told in first person by the protagonist, Malcolm Kershaw. This is a brilliant character. It is well-developed, multi-layered, and as his past slowly unravels he takes you completely by surprise.

Every bookworm out there will love this novel. I already made a list of all the novels mentioned in the story that I want to read and there are many. The plot unravels slowly and it is twisty and unique. You never know what to expect and the surprises just keep coming and coming until the final shocking revelation that made me gasp in surprise and say a bit too aloud in a train full of people “OMG! REALLY?!?”

I found myself racing through the story and, even though I told myself to slow down and take a break, I couldn’t stop reading because I needed to know how it was going to end and that was quite an ending.

Would I recommend Rules for Perfect Murder? Of course I would, over and over again. It is thrilling, engaging, clever, and completely addictive, the perfect read for all crime readers out there.

A huge thank you to Faber & Faber and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this delightful novel.

#BlogTour: ROBERT LUDLUM’S THE TREADSTONE RESURRECTION by Joshua Hood @HoZ_Books @midaspr

image005Publication: 25th February 2020 – Head of Zeus

Working as a cabinet-maker in rural Oregon, Adam thinks he has left Treadstone – the CIA Black Ops programme – in the past, until he receives a mysterious email from a former colleague, and soon after is attacked by an unknown hit team at his job site.

Operation Treadstone has nearly ruined Adam Hayes. The top-secret CIA Black Ops programme trained him to be a nearly invincible assassin, but it also cost him his family and any chance at a normal life, which is why he was determined to get out. Everything changes when he receives a mysterious email from a former colleague, and soon after is attacked by an unknown hit team at his job site rural Oregon.

Adam must regain the skills that Treadstone taught him – lightning reflexes and a cold conscience – in order to discover who the would-be killers are, and why they have come after him now. Are his pursuers enemies from a long-ago mission? Rival intelligence agents? Or, perhaps, someone inside Treadstone? His search will unearth secrets in the highest levels of government and pull him back into the shadowy world he worked so hard to forget.

Coinciding with the much-anticipated return of the Treadstone series – released by Amazon in January 2020 in the UK – and with the 40th anniversary of the first Bourne book, The Treadstone Resurrection is the latest instalment of the franchise. Picking up the baton from Robert Ludlum, Joshua Hood is an author and former Airborne Division fighter, whose real-world experience and combat training makes him the perfect writer for The Treadstone Resurrection.

**********

Happy weekend everyone and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Treadstone Resurrection, the new novel by Joshua Hood.

If you are looking for an action-packed heart-racing spy novel, then this is it. The Treadstone Resurrection introduces a new hero in the Bourne universe, former CIA agent Adam Hayes. I have read enough spy novels to know that you may leave the CIA, but that doesn’t mean that the CIA leaves you. Adam Hayes has retired and he is leading a quiet and normal life which is interrupted when a hit team tries to kill him. Why do they want to kill him? And what does it have to do with the email he received from a former colleague? Adam knows that to go back to his quiet life and his family he needs to go back to the world he had hoped to leave behind.

All fans of the Jason Bourne series will love The Treadstone Resurrection, although don’t expect it to be a Jason Bourne novel because, except for a few references, this novel stands on its own. The chasing, the shocks, the revelations are never enough and the protagonist never rest. Adam Hayes is a very likable hero. The author craftily inserts his backstory in the narrative making the protagonist feel more authentic and less like a killing machine. I am sure there is much more to it and I am already looking forward to reading it.

The writing is fantastic, the characters are complex and engaging, and the story is intense, fast-paced, and adrenaline-filled. Do you want more? There are twists that just keep coming and a gripping and surprising ending that will leave you wanting for more. Highly recommended!

A huge thank you to Midas PR for inviting me to join the blog tour and providing me with a copy of this fantastic book!

**********

The Treadstone Resurrection Blog Tour

Robert Ludlum (1927 – 2001) was the author of twenty-seven novels, each one a New York Times bestseller. There are more than 225 million of his books in print, and they have been translated into 32 languages in 50 countries. Among his best-sellers were The Scarlatti Inheritance (1971), The Osterman Weekend (1972), The Matarese Circle (1979). He is most famous for the Jason Bourne series – The Bourne Identity (1980), The Bourne Supremacy (1986) and The Bourne Ultimatum (1990). The series was adapted for TV in 1988, for a film featuring Matt Damon in the lead role in 2002, and for a brand-new TV production from the writer behind Heroes and Chicago Hope in January 2020.

Joshua HoodJoshua Hood is the author of Warning Order and Clear by Fire. He graduated from the University of Memphis before joining the military and spending five years in the 82nd Airborne Division. He was a team leader in the 3-504 Parachute Infantry Regiment in Iraq from 2005 to 2006, conducting combat operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. From 2007 to 2008, Hood served as a squad leader with the 1-508th Parachute Infantry Regiment in Afghanistan for which he was decorated for valour in Operation Furious Pursuit. On his return to civilian life he became a sniper team leader on a full time SWAT team in Memphis, where he was awarded the lifesaving medal. Currently he works as the Director of Veteran Outreach for the American Warrior Initiative.

#BookReview: MESSY, WONDERFUL US by Catherine Isaac @CatherineIsaac_ @simonschusterUK @TeamBATC @BookMinxSJV @ed_pr

A few months ago, I spend two days completely immersed in Catherine Isaac’s beautiful latest novel. Messy, Wonderful Us is a fantastic and emotional journey of self-discovery that will keep you glued to the page. It’s out today in paperback and I am delighted to share again my review.

Messy Wonderful Us

In late 1983, a letter arrives from Italy, containing secrets so unthinkable that it is hidden away, apparently forever. More than three decades later, it is found . . . by the last person who was ever supposed to see it.

When Allie opens an envelope in her grandmother’s house, it changes everything she knows about her family – and herself.

With the truth liable to hurt those she loves most, she hires a private detective to find out what happened to her late mother in the summer before Allie was born. Taking leave from her job as a research scientist, she is led to the sun-drenched shores of Lake Garda, accompanied by her best friend Ed.

But the secrets that emerge go far beyond anything they were expecting. Now, Allie must find the courage to confront her family’s tangled past and reshape her own future.

**********

What would you do if you find out that everything you believed in about your birth and your family is a lie? Would you look for the truth even if it could hurt everyone you love? That’s a hard decision to make for Allie, the protagonist of Catherine Isaac’s beautiful new novel, Messy, Wonderful Us.

When Allie goes through her grandmother’s drawers what she finds is not at all what she expected. The discovery of a photo and a letter from Italy turns her world upside down. Allie decides to travel to Italy in search of truth without saying anything to her father or her grandparents. Accompanying her is her best friend Ed. Wealthy, handsome, and with a beautiful wife, Ed’s life should be perfect. Yet, he can’t sleep and he is depressed and, in need to take some serious decisions, he decides to take a break from his life and go with Allie to Italy. Travelling from Lake Garda to Portofino, secrets come to light, secrets that could change their lives forever.

The characters are not perfect. They are flawed, but they are also authentic, relatable, and very likable (at least, most of them because there is also a villain). There is also a third character’s point view, with their own secrets and whose identity is revealed towards the end so I am not going to tell much about them. My favourite character was Allie’s father, Joe. So sweet and good and I loved reading about their father-daughter close relationship.

I loved the beautiful descriptions of Italy, so evocative and detailed that it was almost like being there. It’s a fantastic setting for this heart-warming and immersive story. Catherine Isaac masterfully explores themes of grief, second chances, self-discovery, family, and friendship. I was tense as the secrets are slowly revealed and I didn’t relax until the very ending of the story. There are many emotional moments, but I also had a few laugh at Allie and Ed’s witty exchanges and I loved how easy their relationship is.

Messy, Wonderful Us is a brilliant and thought-provoking novel and I can’t wait to read more by Catherine Isaac.