Review: Torment by Mark Tilbury @MTilburyAuthor

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Release date: August 5, 2019

Publisher: Bloodhound

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Blurb:

Who can you really trust?

Beth couldn’t be happier. She is eight weeks pregnant and married to the man of her dreams. But after returning home from a celebratory meal, she finds a wreath from her sister’s grave hanging above the bed and a kitchen knife embedded in her pillow. There are no signs of a forced entry. Nothing is stolen. And no one other than the cleaner has a key to the house.

Then a campaign of terror begins. Beth becomes increasingly paranoid as it becomes clear that someone close to the family is behind these disturbing events.

But who would want Beth dead?

Does the past hold the clue?

And can Beth find the answer before it’s too late?

Torment is a story of misplaced loyalty, revenge and sacrifice. 

Review:

When I’m in the mood for a fast paced, dark and twisted thriller I know I can always count on a Mark Tilbury book to deliver and this was no exception. I swear his books are all unputdownable, once I start I’m instantly sucked in and I have a hard time stopping for anything!

One of my favorite things about this one was that it was nonstop action, even in the more sedate parts of the story there was always a feel that something more was about to happen, there was a sense of menace and danger always lurking around the corner. Or the next page haha but seriously it was such an unsettling read, Beth was basically on pins and needles throughout which also made me anxious, a sure sign of a good psychological thriller.

This was definitely both twisted and twisty, Tilbury never shies away from exploring the dark and depraved depths of humanity, if you like very bold and dark crime reads you have to try his books. While I did predict a couple of the smaller twists, I definitely didn’t have everything worked out in the end, which was both clever and a bit shocking. Definitely recommended by me, but again it’s dark, don’t read this late at night.

Torment in three words: Menacing, Twisted and Dark

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the author for my review copy.

Review: The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

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Release date: July 30, 2019

Publisher: St. Martin’s

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

Vincent, Jules, Sylvie, and Sam are ruthlessly ambitious high-flyers working in the lucrative world of Wall Street finance where deception and intimidation thrive. Getting rich is all that matters, and they’ll do anything to reach the top.

When they are ordered to participate in a corporate team-building exercise that requires them to escape from a locked elevator, dark secrets of their team begin to be laid bare.

The biggest mystery to solve in this lethal game: What happened to Sara Hall? Once a young shining star—”now gone but not forgotten”.

This is no longer a game. 
They’re fighting for their lives.

Review:

I love a locked room mystery, there’s something old school about them for me, but this one had a cool, modern twist. I don’t know anyone would really likes elevators, but the thought of being trapped inside one is enough to make me anxious just imagining it! Throw in a group of pretty despicable people who all have secrets and I’m all in.

This flips back and forth between the elevator and the elusive Sara Hall as she begins her professional career. I found this to be a nice balance between the tense, claustrophobic atmosphere in the elevator and the more calm, sedate pace of Sara’s story. I was equally interested in both timelines, there was plenty going on and I was dying to know what could have possibly lead up to them all being trapped in an elevator together under such strange circumstances. There was so much hostility and intense anger swirling around the coworkers that you just knew some crazy shit must’ve went down in the past and I was SO here for that.

Was this plausible? Nope, but for a super fun summer thriller, it’s great! If you can suspend your disbelief and just go along for the ride this is really fun and makes for quite the page turner.

The Escape Room in three words: Entertaining, Suspenseful and Creative

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy

Review: The Closer I Get by Paul Burston @orendabooks @PaulBurston #TheCloserIGet

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Release date: May 11, 2019

Publisher: Orenda

Genre: Thriller

Blurb:

Tom is a successful author, but he’s struggling to finish his novel. His main distraction is an online admirer, Evie, who simply won’t leave him alone.
Evie is smart, well read and unstable; she lives with her father and her social-media friendships are not only her escape, but everything she has.
When she’s hit with a restraining order, her world is turned upside down, and Tom is free to live his life again, to concentrate on writing.
But things aren’t really adding up. For Tom is distracted but also addicted to his online relationships, and when they take a darker, more menacing turn, he feels powerless to change things. Because maybe he needs Evie more than he’s letting on.
A compulsive, disturbingly relevant, twisty and powerful psychological thriller, The Closer I Get is also a searing commentary on the fragility and insincerity of online relationships, and the danger that can lurk just one ‘like’ away…

Review:

Talk about a book that gets right under your skin! Social media has become firmly ingrained in all of lives and this book takes a hard look at the dark side and is a truly thought provoking read, full of paranoia, dread and just an overall feeling of uneasiness.

You hear from both Evie and Tom as this flips back and forth between them both in alternating chapters and I questioned how reliable they both were the entire way through, it kept me on my toes for sure. At times they both come across as slightly unhinged and desperate and as the details of their relationship are slowly and methodically revealed it’s unclear who is victim and who is villain, maybe both of them? As I said earlier, this one makes you think, not only was I thinking about the characters use of social media and how deeply this effected their lives, you can’t help but think about how your own behaviors online as well.

This was a very timely read and made all the more unsettling because it’s something that could easily happen and already does I’m sure. Totally recommended by me, this was an excellent and dark read that consumed me.

The Closer I Get in three words: Unsettling, Obsessive, and Engrossing

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Last Summer by Kerry Lonsdale

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Release date: July 9, 2019

Publisher: Lake Union

Blurb:

Lifestyle journalist Ella Skye remembers every celebrity she interviewed, every politician she charmed between the sheets, and every socialite who eyed her with envy. The chance meeting with her husband, Damien; their rapid free fall into love; and their low-key, intimate wedding are all locked in her memory. But what she can’t remember is the tragic car accident that ripped her unborn child from her. Ella can’t even recall being pregnant.

Hoping to find the memories of a lost pregnancy that’s left her husband devastated and their home empty, Ella begins delving into her past when she’s assigned an exclusive story about Nathan Donovan, a retired celebrity adventurer who seems to know more about her than she does him. To unravel the mystery of her selective memory loss, Ella follows Nathan from the snowcapped Sierra Nevada to the frozen slopes of southeast Alaska. There she discovers the people she trusts most aren’t the only ones keeping secrets from her—she’s hiding them from herself. Ella quickly learns that some truths are best left forgotten.

Review:

I’ve been a huge fan of KL’s books since her debut and this book is such a big departure from her books, but in a really awesome way! Her other books have been solidly Women’s Fiction and this was much edgier and much sexier than her previous books and I loved every single page.

This was basically the definition of a binge read for me, I was supposed to be buddy reading it with my friends Chelsea and Jamie and ended up tearing through it because I seriously could NOT put it down! It was such a fast and well paced read, full of shocks and surprises that I finished it on record time because I was just as eager to learn what happened last summer as Ella was.

Memory loss is nothing new in books but KL manages to put her own unique spin on it that was totally unexpected and incredibly fascinating. Besides that angle, you have this surprisingly steamy side that I wasn’t expecting at all, but I really loved it and felt like it gave the whole thing a really cool edge. I’m always impressed when authors try something new from their usual style and I’m so impressed by what KL did here. This was a highly entertaining and wildly addictive read that is perfect for summer!

Last Summer in three words: Compulsive, Sexy and Tense

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Child’s Play by Angela Marsons @bookouture @writeangie

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Release date: July 11, 2019

Publisher: Bookouture

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

Finally we’re playing a game. A game that I have chosen. I give one last push of the roundabout and stand back. ‘You really should have played with me,’ I tell her again although I know she can no longer hear.

Late one summer evening, Detective Kim Stone arrives at Haden Hill Park to the scene of a horrific crime: a woman in her sixties tied to a swing with barbed wire and an X carved into the back of her neck. 

The victim, Belinda Evans, was a retired college Professor of Child Psychology. As Kim and her team search her home, they find an overnight bag packed and begin to unravel a complex relationship between Belinda and her sister Veronica.

Then two more bodies are found bearing the same distinctive markings, and Kim knows she is on the hunt for a ritualistic serial killer. Linking the victims, Kim discovers they were involved in annual tournaments for gifted children and were on their way to the next event. 

With DS Penn immersed in the murder case of a young man, Kim and her team are already stretched and up against one of the most ruthless killers they’ve ever encountered. The clues lie in investigating every child who attended the tournaments, dating back decades.

Faced with hundreds of potential leads and a bereaved sister who is refusing to talk, can Kim get inside the mind of a killer and stop another murder before it’s too late?

The addictive new crime thriller from multi-million copy, number one bestseller Angela Marsons explores the dark side of child prodigies and will have you absolutely hooked.

Review:

If over the years my raving and gushing over this superb series hasn’t somehow already convinced you to read them, let me try and persuade you one more time. This is the eleventh book in the incomparable Kim Stone series, and yes you could technically read any of them as standalones, but I don’t recommend doing so because every single dang book is phenomenal. This is quite the feat because usually after only a handful of books a series can get boring but there is absolutely none of that here. Each installment raises the bar somehow and just solidified Marsons spot as one of my favorite crime writers on the planet.

As usual Kim and her team have several things going on at all once. Of course they have the main investigation where someone is killing people linked to child prodigies which is a subject that I found endlessly fascinating and was obviously well researched by the author. All of the members of the team has separate personal issues cropping up as well, Penn is called back to his old team during a trial leaving Kim and crew a man down, Stacey is having some sort of issue at home but is keeping quiet, Bryant is just good old Bryant, driving Kim and his wife crazy, and then a new temporary member joins the team just to keep things interesting. It may sound like a lot, and it is, for sure, but it’s not too much. In fact, it’s the perfect balance between personal and professional life that makes these characters feel like my own dear friends.

Marsons is one of the few crime writers left who always, without fail, manages to surprise me. I never work out what direction the case will take, much less who the actual killer is and the excitement and action is nonstop. You cannot put one of her books down once you get started and this was no exception, another highly impressive addition to a fantastic series that I cannot recommend highly enough!

Child’s Play in three words: Thrilling, Complex, and Pacey

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

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Release date: July 9, 2019

Publisher: Berkley

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Blurb:

The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book. 

When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is?

Nina considers her options.

1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likesher hair.) 
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
 
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)

It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.

Review:

You know the feeling you get when you meet a person, or if you’re lucky, a whole group of people that just gets you? That whole, yassss I’ve found MY people feeling?! I experienced it when I found my fellow book bloggers and bookstagrammers and it was the best thing ever, it’s like finding a home. Well, I had that exact warm, fuzzy and safe feeling reading this delightful book! Nina is basically me, if you’re a hardcore bookworm she’s all of us and I absolutely adored every single second of this book.

Clearly I adored Nina as a character, she was so very relatable for me and if I could pick on book character to hang out with for a day, it would be her. Sure, maybe we would just sit quietly and read, but still. But besides her this was chock full of an eccentric cast of supporting characters that made this even more funny and entertaining than it already was. There are also a ton of amazing pop culture references and of course too many hilarious literary references to count, I need to go back and mark my favorite ones, because between the references and the spot on one liners I just know I’ll be wanting to quote this one myself!

Highly recommended as a fantastic summer read, it was just plain fun and exactly the type of book everyone wants to read this time of year.

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill in three words: Quirky, Adorable and Wry

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: One Summer in Santorini by Sandy Barker @sandybarker

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Release date: June 24, 2019

Publisher: Avon

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

There was something in the air that night. . .

Sarah has had enough of men. It’s time to rekindle her first true love – travel – so she books a sailing trip around the Greek islands with a group of strangers.

The very last thing Sarah wants is to meet someone new… But then a gorgeous American man boards her yacht and she knows she’s in trouble. And when she also encounters a handsome silver fox who promises her the world, she realises that trouble really does come in twos.
 
Will Sarah dive into a holiday fling, embark on a relationship, or stick to her plan – steer clear of men, continue her love affair with feta, and find her own way after all?
 
The perfect holiday read to escape with this summer for fans of Annie Robertson’s My Mamma Mia Summer and Mandy Baggot’sOne Last Greek Summer.

Review:

If you’re ever looking for a book to help escape your own life then look no further, because Barker truly made me feel like I was in Greece myself! This was pure fun, and the ideal read for this time of year, if you aren’t taking a vacation yourself this is the next best thing.

Sarah is the kind of character that I liked right away, she’s fun and has a fantastic sense of humor and is easily the type of friend I would like to have myself. Besides a fabulous protagonist her boat family was also an endearing bunch as well. Then on top of all that she finds herself in a bit of a love triangle which is always fun and interesting. There’s Josh, a younger man who also happens to be a passenger on the boat and then there’s also James, an older and more established gentleman. Both men are charming in their own way and she’s facing a pretty tough choice, but it was highly entertaining to watch her flirt with them and try and decide what she really wanted.

Definitely recommended by me, as I said before it has an amazing setting that will sweep you away to an exotic place, it has plenty of romance and is also infused with humor and friendship, what more could a girl want?! Another book about Sarah if you’re me, because this ended on a cliffhanger and I need to know what will happen next!!

One Summer in Santorini in three words: Picturesque, Fun and Cute

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Summer of Sunshine and Margot by Susan Mallery

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Release date: June 11, 2019

Publisher: HQN

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Blurb:

The Baxter sisters come from a long line of women with disastrous luck in love. But this summer, Sunshine and Margot will turn disasters into destiny…

As an etiquette coach, Margot teaches her clients to fit in. But she’s never faced a client like Bianca, an aging movie star who gained fame—and notoriety—through a campaign of shock and awe. Schooling Bianca on the fine art of behaving like a proper diplomat’s wife requires intensive lessons, forcing Margot to move into the monastery turned mansion owned by the actress’s intensely private son. Like his incredible home, Alec’s stony exterior hides secret depths Margot would love to explore. But will he trust her enough to let her in?

Sunshine has always been the good-time sister, abandoning jobs to chase after guys who used her, then threw her away. No more. She refuses to be “that girl” again. This time, she’ll finish college, dedicate herself to her job as a nanny, and she 100 percent will not screw up her life again by falling for the wrong guy. Especially not the tempting single dad who also happens to be her boss.

Master storyteller Susan Mallery weaves threads of family drama, humor, romance and a wish-you-were-there setting into one of the most satisfying books of the year!

Review:

I’m always a fan of stories about sisters and if they’re twin sisters, I’m even more interested. I’ve read quite a few books by Susan Mallery about sisters and this one may be my new favorite, she has a true gift for writing about sibling relationships in a really realistic and authentic way and the family dynamics between Sunshine and Margot were both interesting and also sweet, a perfect combination for a summer read.

Like many siblings, Sunshine and Margot are polar opposites both in their appearance but also in their personalities. Sunshine is carefree and vivacious and has been known to abandon everything on a whim. Margot is more serious and reserved, she thrives on structure and a routine and takes her professional life very seriously. What they do have in common is their rotten luck with men, they say the Baxter family is cursed, but over the course of the story they both meet men who may end that string of bad luck for good. I loved both of these women, they’re far from perfect, therefore making them easy to relate to. They both undergo some pretty heavy character development by the end and it was really nice to see them grow and mature by the end.

True to form, this book had a little bit of everything, there was romance (and things do get pretty spicy 🔥), humor, and family drama, basically everything that I love in a book! Definitely recommended by me, especially to anyone looking for a book full of lovable, relatable characters.

The Summer of Sunshine and Margot in three words: Delightful, Genuine and Sweet.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: His Guilty Secret by Helene Fermont @helenefermont @botbspublicity #HisGuiltySecret

Goodreads

Release date: November 27, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Blurb:


Secrets & Lies Are Dangerous.

When Jacques’s body is discovered in a hotel room his wife, Patricia, suspects he has been hiding something from her.

Why was he found naked and who is the woman that visited his grave on the day of the funeral? Significantly, who is the unnamed beneficiary Jacques left a large sum of money to in his will and what is the reason her best friend, also Jacques’s sister, Coco, refuses to tell her what he confided to her?

Struggling to find out the truth, Patricia visits Malmö where her twin sister Jasmine lives and is married to her ex boyfriend. But the sisters relationship is toxic and when a family member dies shortly after, an old secret is revealed that shines a light on an event that took place on their tenth birthday.

As one revelation after another is revealed, Patricia is yet to discover her husband’s biggest secret and what ultimately cost him his life.

His Guilty Secret is an unafraid examination of the tangled bonds between siblings, the lengths we go to in protecting our wrongdoings, and the enduring psychological effects this has on the innocent…and the not so innocent.

Review:

The premise for this hooked me instantly, I’m always down with a book about secrets and boy were there some whoppers here! Patricia’s husband Jacques passing away naked and alone in a hotel room is just the beginning of questionable happenings and as she grieves her loss Patricia is forced to simultaneously face up to her own past as well as the lies her husband died protecting.

I read one of Fermont’s books last year and really enjoyed it, it was very different from the types of books I’m typically drawn to, but made for an engrossing read. She has a skillful and lovely way with words that draws you in and she creates characters that are relatable, they seem like women that I would want to approach in real life. I felt so much sympathy for Pat, I can’t imagine being blindsided the way she was and admired the grace and dignity she maintained while trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life.

This was on the lighter side despite it dealing with some heavy topics, it read like a true drama and was full of interesting secondary characters giving it an almost soap opera vibe. There were so many secrets being kept, it seemed like all of them were hiding something and I always like that uneasy sense of not knowing who to trust in a book. This was an emotional journey following Pat and I was wholly invested in her life and that of her family and friends, pick this up if you’re in the mood for something different that’s written in a really beautiful and unique way.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the author for my review copy.

Review: The Honeymoon by Roma Halsall @bookouture @RonaHalsallAuth

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Release date: June 7, 2019

Publisher: Bookouture

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Blurb:

I’m your husband, Chloe. We’re a partnership now and we do what’s best for us as a couple.’ 

Chloe finally feels like she’s got her life together. After a difficult childhood and losing both parents, she worked hard for the life she loves in lively Brighton, helping people as a physiotherapist. And then she meets the perfect man.

It’s a whirlwind romance, but Dan is handsome, funny, and simply the kindest man she’s ever met. When she sees him standing by the altar, tears glistening in his eyes, she knows this will be for always.

As they sunbathe on their honeymoon island, laughing over drinks, planning their future with their feet in the sand, Dan jokes that he’d like them to stay there forever.

At first, Chloe couldn’t agree more. It’s tempting to imagine truly leaving her troubled past behind. But as the honeymoon goes on, he becomes increasingly adamant. They shouldn’t leave. In fact, he won’t let her…

Is he protecting her, as he claims? Or is it something more sinister? An utterly gripping psychological thriller for fans of Gillian Flynn, Clare Mackintosh, and The Wife Between Us.

Review:

Can we have a moment of silence in appreciation of that absolutely stunning cover?! Take me there! Actually, maybe not because Chloe’s dream honeymoon may not actually be as picturesque as that cover depicts. People often joke that they wish they could stay on their vacation indefinitely but what if you wanted to go home to your life and your new spouse wouldn’t allow you to leave? That’s exactly what happens to Chloe and is just the tip of the iceberg of what turns out to be a nightmare.

This was one of those books that had my full attention immediately, it was fast paced, things moved along almost as quickly as Chloe and Dan’s whirlwind engagement and marriage. Both Chloe and Dan hiding things from each other and I was desperate to know what their secrets were. There was a great sense of paranoia and doubt running throughout and I found this to be highly unpredictable, which is truly difficult to pull off lately. I was totally wrapped up in the story and read it in two sittings, I would’ve read it in just one but my family needed my attention. (How rude!)

Definitely recommended by me, it was a great read and full of surprises, the twists just kept coming and they were all well executed! Add this one to your summer TBR but maybe don’t read it if you yourself are involved in a whirlwind courtship 🤪

The Honeymoon in three words: Twisty, Quick and Tense

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.