Blog Tour: The Confession by Jo Spain #TheConfession @SpainJoanne

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: January 25, 2018

Publisher: Quercus

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Blurb:

Late one night a man walks into the luxurious home of disgraced banker Harry McNamara and his wife Julie. The man launches an unspeakably brutal attack on Harry as a horror-struck Julie watches, frozen by fear.

Just an hour later the attacker, JP Carney, has handed himself in to the police. He confesses to beating Harry to death, but JP claims that the assault was not premeditated and that he didn’t know the identity of his victim. With a man as notorious as Harry McNamara, the detectives cannot help wondering, was this really a random act of violence or is it linked to one of Harry’s many sins: corruption, greed, betrayal?

This gripping psychological thriller will have you questioning, who – of Harry, Julie and JP – is really the guilty one? And is Carney’s surrender driven by a guilty conscience or is his confession a calculated move in a deadly game?

I’m so pleased to be one of the stops on the blog tour for The Confession today!

Review:

It’s getting harder and harder to find a book with something original, a uniqueness that sets it apart from its counterparts, but I had a feeling after reading the description of The Confession that this would provide something new. Holy smokes was I right!!

Right from the first page you understand that you’re reading something exciting, a brutal crime has been committed and the perpetrator is no secret, so where’s the mystery? In the why, the actions that led up to this brutal attack and Spain reveals the truth in a slow, meticulous unraveling that left me reeling by the end. You hear from Julie, the wife of the victim, JP the perpetrator and Alice the police officer working the case. It also flips back and forth between present day and both Julie and JP’s histories. Of the three Alice was my clear favorite, she was a fantastic character and I would love to see her again!

This was my first time reading a Spain book and it will not be my last, she has a real way with words, a piercing writing style that grips you all the way through. The pacing was spot on and the characterization was superb, I can’t recommend this one enough.

The Confession in three words: Remarkable, Engrossing and Finely Honed.

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Burial Society by Nina Sadowsky

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: January 30, 2018

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Blurb:

A woman running from a dark past stumbles upon a tangled nest of seductions and family secrets in this psychological thriller of obsession and betrayal.

When Natalie discovers her father dead in a luxury hotel room in Paris, she’s terrified that his death–or is it a murder?–will open up a history she’d rather forget. Years before, her mother went missing from their home in a wealthy Connecticut suburb, triggering a chain of violence that echoed through the years. Now Natalie is set on a collision course with her brother, who has secrets of his own. And watching from the shadows is a mysterious and alluring woman with a talent for making people in trouble disappear, who holds more answers than anyone would guess.

Review:

If you’re looking for a lighter style suspense that’s pure entertainment and a completely addictive page turner, allow me to introduce you to The Burial Society. I devoured this book in just a few hours because I simply could not put it down, it was one of those reads where I had planned on starting before bed and reading only a couple of chapters and before I knew it I was halfway finished!

One of the things that sucked me in and compelled me to keep flipping pages was the set up. There are several points of view and the chapters are super short, sometimes they’re just a single paragraph propelling you forward over and over again. I’m sure some will be put off by so many POV in addition to a lot going on, especially in the beginning but that only served to intrigue me and I didn’t find it confusing at all. Sadowsky has a sharp writing style that fit this structure to perfection and the setting of Paris was an amazing backdrop.

The description tells you just what you need to know and I’m hesitant to go any further than that, half of the entertainment of this one was not knowing exactly what I was getting into. There was a certain amount of sex appeal in this book, a racy little edge that sort of reminded me of The Girl Before. There was also a plot thread with a spy thriller vibe that I enjoyed, maybe it’s because most of it is set internationally but it was all very cloak and dagger and really added something clandestine that I think worked great!

(Quick side note, I’m trying something new at the end of my reviews, I want to sum up a book in three words to give you an overall, super quick feeling! Let me know what you guys think of this)

The Burial Society in three words: Enthralling, entertaining and sharp.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly post to share what you recently finished reading, what you’re currently reading, and what you plan on reading this week. It’s hosted by Kathryn at Bookdate.

What I Read Last Week:

Keep Her Safe was a well written romantic suspense that unfortunately missed the mark for me.

The Girlfriend was a slow burning, character driven thriller that I liked.

Let’s Talk About Six was a fun, saucy read.

The First One to Die was an awesome audiobook.

The Start of Something Wonderful was an uplifting read with a fun heroine.

Hydra was SO freaking good, straight onto my top books of 2018 list! Yes, I realize it’s only January but it’s that amazing.

Currently Reading:

Up Next:

No idea what else I’ll pick up this week but lord knows I have plenty to choose from 😂

What are you reading this week? Read anything great last week?

Review: Look for Me by Lisa Gardner

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: February 6, 2018

Publisher: Dutton

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

The home of a family of five is now a crime scene: four of them savagely murdered, one—a sixteen-year-old girl—missing. Was she lucky to have escaped? Or is her absence evidence of something sinister? Detective D. D. Warren is on the case—but so is survivor-turned-avenger Flora Dane. Seeking different types of justice, they must make sense of the clues left behind by a young woman who, whether as victim or suspect, is silently pleading, Look for me.

Review:

As you can tell even from the short to the point description of this book this has a dark plot, the brutal murder of an entire family (minus one) does not make for light reading but I wouldn’t expect, nor would I want, anything less when I’m diving into a new LG book. She has a knack for writing about tough subjects while showcasing human emotion and behavior that isn’t seen very often in crime fiction all the while coming up with fresh plot lines that never fail to engage me.

Anytime I’m able to catch up with D.D. Warren I’m a happy camper and since she’s teaming up with Flora Dane who made her first appearance in Find Her I was even more excited. These two are quite the pair and since they don’t exactly see eye to eye it adds an additional layer of friction and tension to an already highly intense, emotional plot. Since D.D. became a parent we’ve seen a softer, gentler side to her and this case hits close to home, at times it’s almost too much for her to bear. I’m a fan of seeing this side of D.D. and I think long time fans of this series will agree. She’s not totally mushy by any means, she’s still that fast talking, snarky woman we all love, but she does have a sweet side, who knew?!

Per usual I won’t be discussing the plot, Gardner’s books are too well executed and I wouldn’t be able to describe much without spoilers and that’s not my thing, it’s best to discover this on your own. I will say that sometimes she uses flashbacks in her novels and this time it switches between Flora and D.D. in the present day to a collection of personal essays from Roxy, the teenager who was the only member of her family left when someone murdered the rest. This structure worked incredibly well for me and as much as Roxy’s essays were a difficult read, they were just SO well written that I couldn’t get enough. Her story was utterly heartbreaking, this poor kid has had a rough time and there are mentions of abuse towards children, so heads up on that. Gritty, entertaining and a police procedural with depth and heart, if you haven’t read this series I can highly recommend each book, they’re all fantastic!

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Hydra by Matt Wesolowski @ConcreteKraken @OrendaBooks

Goodreads|Amazon US|Amazon UK

Release date: December 24, 2017

Publisher: Orenda Books

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

One cold November night in 2014, in a small town in the north west of England, 26-year-old Arla Macleod bludgeoned her mother, father and younger sister to death with a hammer, in an unprovoked attack known as the “Macleod Massacre.” Now incarcerated at a medium-security mental-health institution, Arla will speak to no one but Scott King, an investigative journalist, whose Six Stories podcasts have become an internet sensation. King finds himself immersed in an increasingly complex case, interviewing five witnesses and Arla herself, as he questions whether Arla’s responsibility for the massacre was a diminished as her legal team made out. As he unpicks the stories, he finds himself thrust into a world of deadly forbidden “games,” online trolls, and the mysterious Black-eyed Children, whose presence extends far beyond the delusions of a murderess.

I’m absolutely thrilled to be one of the stops on the blog tour for Hydra today!

Review:

I spent much of my time last year raving about Six Stories which is Wesolowski’s debut. This book truly blew me away, it was unlike anything I’ve ever read before so to say Hydra was one of my most anticipated reads of 2018 is an understatement. Once again, this book knocked me out and just proves that Wesolowski is a powerhouse and one of the strongest, most unique voices in crime fiction today.

While Hydra is technically the second book in a series you don’t have to read SS first, but you would be missing out if you didn’t. Both books feature Scott King the host of a podcast and each book tackles a new case. The format of these books is one of the best parts, they’re delivered podcast style, broken up into six sections with a new interviewee each time. If you’re a fan of crime podcasts like Serial this is a must read. There’s something so current and timely about the structure that makes this series a real standout.

One of my favorite things about SS was how creepily atmospheric it was and Wesolowski takes things to the next level here. I am not a wimp, I read some pretty disturbing books but this scared the daylights out of me! I was at about the halfway point late one night and had no intention of stopping until I finished but I did have to pause a few times because I was so scared!! His writing is that good, there is no escaping the menace that is lurking between the pages and the setting is so immersive you are absolutely consumed by it.

The plotting is meticulous, every section is laying the groundwork for what’s ahead and with each gasp worthy reveal I was shocked. This doesn’t hinge on one massive twist but rather has several moments of surprise that will astound you and make you applaud the author for his craftiness, I still can’t get over the resolution, bravo Mr. Wesolowski, bravo.

Overall rating: 5/5 (ALL THE STARS!!)

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Start of Something Wonderful by Jane Lambert @janelambert22 @HQDigitalUK

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: January 5, 2018

Publisher: HQ Digital

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Blurb:

Previously published as Learning to Fly

It’s never too late to follow your dreams…

Forty-year-old air stewardess, Emily Forsyth, thought she had everything a woman could wish for: a glamorous, jet-set lifestyle, a designer wardrobe and a dishy pilot boyfriend. Until he breaks up with her…

Catapulted into a mid-life crisis she wishes she’d had earlier, she decides to turn her life upside-down, quitting her job and instead beginning to chase her long-held dreams of becoming an actress!

Leaving the skies behind her, Emily heads for the bright lights of London’s West End – but is it too late to reach for the stars?

Don’t miss this heartwarming and uplifting debut, perfect for fans of Colleen Coleman and Cate Woods!

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Start of Something Wonderful!

Review:

This was such a refreshing read, maybe because the heroine isn’t your typical twenty something chick lit lead or maybe it was Lambert’s easy, flowy writing style, but whatever it is I wholeheartedly enjoyed this one and found it to be uplifting, inspiring and full of heart.

Emily is a forty year woman who decides it’s never too late to follow your dreams so she flips her life upside down to pursue an acting career. I really liked Em, she’s bright and bubbly and is willing to take risks, a quality I always admire in a person as I am not the risk taking type. There is a colorful and entertaining cast of characters that add humor cheer to the story and I genuinely laughed out loud several times while reading this delightful book.

You can tell Lambert has a personal connection to the story, it shines through and is heartfelt and honest. I loved the overall message of hope and encouragement that it really is never too late to start over, it’s a lovely thought and quite meaningful for such a fun loving book.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

#Audiobook Review: The First One to Die by Victoria Jenkins @vicwritescrime @bookouture

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: November 15, 2017

Publisher: Bookouture

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Narrator: Katie Villa

Blurb:

Four friends. A house full of secrets. And a killer picking them off one by one…

She tried to break her fall, twisting desperately, but there was nothing to catch hold of, nothing with which she could stop herself. Her single scream cut through the night air.

Keira North falls to her death at a party. It initially seems like an accident, but Detectives Alex King and Chloe Lane suspect foul play: they are convinced they are dealing with a murder.

When the detectives start to investigate, they soon find that all of Keira’s closest friends have secrets that someone might kill to keep.

And as Alex and Chloe are fighting their own demons and struggling to stay on top of the case, Keira’s killer is circling the group of friends, who one by one find that their lives are in danger…

The First One to Die is a heart-stopping and shocking detective thriller that will have you gripped until the very last page. Perfect for fans of Patricia Gibney, Angela Marsons, and Val McDermid.

Review:

This is the second in a series following the dynamic duo of Alex and Chloe, I really enjoyed the first book The Girls in the Water and was eager to catch up with them again. I think one of the things that I love the most about this series is the fact that you have two strong women working as partners, it’s unique and I’m all about the girl power! I also enjoyed diving deeper into their personal lives and finding out more about what motivates them and seeing what Alex in particular is dealing with in her personal life was heartbreaking and really helped to explain some of her behavior.

The case they’re working is certainly intriguing, a group of friends seem to be harboring plenty of secrets and the further Alex and Chloe investigate, the more darkness they uncover. Though the list of suspects is on the smaller side I still couldn’t pin down a culprit, Jenkins definitely plotted this one well and kept me guessing and then second guessing over and over again. I found this to be set at a quicker pace than the previous book and I’m always down for a high speed, exciting story and this surely delivered.

Villa was an amazing narrator, her nuances for expressing various emotions or different characters was outstanding. I’m always enraptured by listening to someone with an accent and I swear Bookouture has the BEST narrators around, every single one of their audiobooks has a fantastic narrator as well as a fantastic story, so if you’re a fan of audiobooks I can highly recommend them!

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Let’s Talk About Six by Aine Toner @aineltoner @BooksManatee

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: January 11, 2018

Publisher: Manatee Books

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Blurb:

Love and relationships are tough in 21st century Dublin, as six characters, bound by circumstance are about to find out…

Beth – in love with boyfriend Adam, Beth thinks life coupled up is great – sex on tap, and no worries about regularly shaving your legs…but when Adam no longer seems interested and an unexpected web history shows he might be looking for something else, Beth starts thinking of revenge.

Adam – Adam loves Beth. Very much. But there’s something he’s hiding from her – something’s been wrong for quite a while and he’s scared to face up to the truth. Thankfully, he has support from his other woman…but how long can Adam keep his secret?

Declan – forty-something, shy, and ruled by his militant mother, Declan owns sex shop Firm to the Touch. Desperate for a romantic love affair, all he wants is for his dream woman to notice him…OK, so they have nothing in common, but opposites attract, right?

Lily – a woman who does things her own way, Lily leaves a trail of broken-hearted men whenever she goes. Only now, Kristian is on the scene, and Lily wants him – for good. With a reputation for making bad life decisions and being a fickle seductress, can Lily change her ways and get her man?

Johnny – the ultimate ladies man, Johnny leaves notches on every bed post, so when one night stand Kate falls pregnant with his baby, his whole world turns upside down. Now it seems, Johnny feels more for Kate than just lust…but will he get the opportunity to show everyone that a (saucy) leopard can change their spots?

Kate – a paediatric nurse who can’t remember the last time she had a five-minute shower, permanently tired Kate is juggling work, being a mammy to Matthew, and now the attentions of gorgeous doctor, PJ O’Malley. But is a serious relationship really what she wants…and is PJ O’Malley really The One?

Just because you’re a grown up doesn’t mean you always make the right decisions…

Review:

This was a saucy little read, a really fun one full of inappropriate humor and naughty jokes. I appreciate that sort of thing and found it to be hilarious and a real breath of fresh air. Toner isn’t afraid of pushing the envelope a little and she wrote sexy book that follows an outrageous group of people that are interconnected in some way.

Each of the six characters, Kate, Bethany, Adam, Declan, Lily and Johnny all narrate and each has a distinct voice and unique point of view. The chapters are snappy and I found the pacing to be brisk and engaging, I was always interested in what each of them were doing and saying. Of the six main characters I found myself liking Declan the most, he’s utterly clueless in the most lovable way and there was something endearing about his odd behavior. I enjoyed the rest of them as well, even the ones making shady decisions and behaving badly. Pick this one up if you’re having a bad day and need a laugh, the combination of sugar and spice makes for a racy read with softer, gentler moments to balance it all out.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances #MeetTheGirlfriend

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: January 30, 2018

Publisher: Kensington

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Blurb:

Laura Cavendish can’t wait to meet the woman who’s won her son’s affection. Despite a successful career in television and a long, prosperous marriage, Laura’s world revolves around kind, talented Daniel. She pictures his new girlfriend, Cherry, becoming a close friend and confidante . . . one day, even a daughter-in-law.

But although Cherry is beautiful and amiable, Laura can’t warm to her. There’s something about the possessive way she touches Daniel, the little lies Laura detects. Cherry seems to resent Laura, driving a wedge between mother and son—until one day Daniel is injured in a terrible accident. Six months later, with Daniel still in a coma and facing death, Laura makes a fateful decision—and carries out an astonishing deceit.

A handsome doctor for a husband, with a trust fund and a family villa in St. Tropez—it was all supposed to be Cherry’s. Now, instead of living with Daniel in his impeccable home, she’s jobless and broke. And then Cherry discovers Laura’s stunning deception. But Cherry is too clever, too ambitious to let her get away with it. She’s already transformed herself into Daniel’s dream woman. Now she’ll become Laura’s worst nightmare.

Review:

This book was not was I was expecting but I don’t mean that in a negative way, I guess I was thinking it would be fast paced, intense and twisty and instead it was slower, with a subtle intensity and while it definitely had some surprises it wasn’t as twisty as I had imagined it would be. I do think it’s best to go into this knowing as little as possible about the plot so I won’t be delving into that too much, you really need to discover things on your own to fully appreciate this book.

This is a slow burn, it opens with an intriguing beginning and then it flips back in time. You hear from Laura, her son Daniel and his new girlfriend Cherry and there sections sometimes overlap and aren’t clearly labeled which is usually a popular choice. This wasn’t an issue for me, I actually found myself appreciating this structure and found the switches in narratives to be smooth and uncomplicated. I didn’t find either woman to be likable but they were very entertaining, there was a real feeling of cat and mouse and I was always wondering who would do what next, that aspect was unpredictable though there were some minor plot points that I saw coming. I wasn’t bothered by this though as the writing was so strong and there was a powerful, palpable sense of anticipation and apprehension that steadily increased as the story unfolded.

Read this if you’re looking for a character driven drama about manipulation with chilling moments and are able to be patient enough to wait awhile before the story really heats up. There was something intoxicating about being drawn in slowly instead of hit in the face with a crazy, action packed plot that worked well for me. As strong as things were by the last quarter of the book I do have to admit that I was a tiny bit disappointed by the ending, it was a little weak. But I can overlook it this time because I was addicted and throughly entertained by most of it.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher and the Great Thoughts Ninja review team for my review copy.

Review: Keep Her Safe by K. A. Tucker

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: January 23, 2018

Publisher: Atria

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Blurb:

Noah Marshall has had a privileged life thanks to his mother, the highly decorated chief of the Austin Police Department. But all that changes the night she reveals a skeleton that’s been rattling in her closet for years: she doesn’t deserve her commendations or her medals—in fact, she deserves to be locked behind bars for what she did to a fellow officer to save her own reputation. When she finally succumbs to the guilt of destroying an innocent family’s life, she leaves Noah alone to carry the burden of this shocking secret, which she makes him vow never to share.

Gracie Reynolds wasn’t born into trailer park life, but after ten years of learning how to survive in The Hollow, it’s all she knows anymore. At least here people don’t care that she is a byproduct of a white mother and a black father. And they certainly don’t care that her dad was a corrupt Austin cop. Here, she and her mother can almost forget the shame he brought upon them…until a man who clearly doesn’t belong shows up on her doorstep one night, asking questions.

Together, Noah and Gracie set out to uncover the truth about the Austin police department’s dark and messy past­—but the scandal they uncover is bigger than they bargained for, and goes far higher up than they ever imagined.

Complex, gritty, sexy, and suspenseful, We Sold Our Souls solidifies K.A. Tucker’s reputation as one of today’s most talented new writers of romantic suspense.

Review:

I didn’t pick up on the fact that this one is labeled as a romantic suspense novel before I read it and that’s completely my fault, somehow when I first read the description I assumed it was a mystery police procedural type of read even though it says romantic suspense in the blurb! All of that to say, my expectations were not correct when I started this and I think it had an impact on my overall feelings about this one so keep that in mind when reading this review.

This is told using various timelines and several viewpoints and that portion of the book was very well done. The switches back and forth were seamless and the writing was fluid and engaging. The core of the plot was interesting and I always love a cold case type of mystery with an unsolved crime being unearthed years later. Noah and Grace were both well drawn and the secondary characters were as well and there were quite a few here, this was a well though out plot but I think veteran mystery readers will have a fairly easy time sussing things out.

Now for how my expectations effected my enjoyment and overall feelings about this. It really felt like I was reading a new adult romance and I totally wasn’t in the mood for that when I started this. It wasn’t too over the top but there is definitely romance and I could’ve done with less of the kissy stuff and more action and intensity. Again, totally my fault but I do want to make sure anyone eyeing this knows romance plays a pretty big role and the suspense takes a backseat. I also felt like parts of this were drawn out, maybe it’s because I could see where things were heading early on but I had a few moments where I was thinking, come ON already!

If you’re into RS this is a solid read, if you’re looking for a mystery without gore and graphic details, this is a good one. If you’re like me and prefer gritty, dark thrillers with tense moments and surprising twists this is probably not the book for you, however I can see it working for many people as long as they know what to expect.

Overall rating: 3/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.