Thursday, 21 September 2017

Friend Request - Laura Marshall - creepy

#FriendRequest - Laura Marshall @laurajm8 #Bookreview

My Review:

Friend Request is a term most of us will take for granted, you use Social Media you connect with people you know and sometmes you get a friend request from someone you haven't seen in a while. It's happened to me ....

Usually it's a pleasant surprise ....

But not for single Mum Louise Williams it isn't!

The friend request she receives is a bit of a shock - it's from her old classmate Maria Weston. She hasn't heard a thing from Maria since leaving school, unsurprisingly, because Maria died, 25 years ago, didn't she?

Louise can't resist having a little peek at her profile though, because Maria has never strayed very far from Louise's thoughts. Not when she was married to Sam who subsequently left her for another woman, even throughout her struggle to conceive her only child Henry, now 4 years old and the centre of Louise's universe, Maria was there in her deepest thoughts and fears.

Because Maria disappeared the night of the leavers ball at High School and Louise was one of the last people to speak to her.

Louise's school days weren't the happiest, they were filled with trying to fit in, making an effort to be accepted and make friends and impress the people she wanted to be seen with and amidst the bullying and, lies, the duplicity and drugtaking she managed to create her own little niche.

Now she is older, she has made a successful business and she's a good Mum. But following the friend request, nothing's ever going to be quite the same again. Sinister messages and veiled threats begin to haunt her and secrets she has kept buried for years emerge to haunt and taunt her and she gets reluctantly drawn back into a circle of acquaintances she'd hoped were firmly behind her, which isn't great for Louise but makes for tense and gripping reading.

The tension cranks up, its a very fast paced book with lots of dark deeds just waiting to burst forth. The big mystery is - Could Maria still possibly be alive? and if not just who is posting messages and why?

This exciting and mystery filled who-dunnit thriller is deserving of the description "grip-lit" I ripped through it in no time because I just kept wanting to know if the secret Louise has been concealing is in fact as bad as she feels it to have been or has she allowed it to build up out of all proportion and dominate her inner peace? You'll have to read it to find out, there are some very clever twists and red herrings along with some rather dark and unpleasant characters. Even the main protagonist with her dark secrets and distinct flaws, makes it hard to sympathise fully with her.

This novel grabs you and keeps you held tightly in its grip throughout and its very relevant to todays reader, though the dual storylines of "then and now" create appeal for a wider audience than purely the Facebook generation.

A brilliant read I feel will appeal to fans of Ruth Ware and Julia Crouch.

The blurb


1989. When Louise first notices the new girl who has mysteriously transferred late into their senior year, Maria seems to be everything the girls Louise hangs out with aren't. Authentic. Funny. Brash. Within just a few days, Maria and Louise are on their way to becoming fast friends.

2016. Louise receives a heart-stopping email: Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook. Long-buried memories quickly rise to the surface: those first days of their budding friendship; cruel decisions made and dark secrets kept; the night that would change all their lives forever.

Louise has always known that if the truth ever came out, she could stand to lose everything. Her job. Her son. Her freedom. Maria's sudden reappearance threatens it all, and forces Louise to reconnect with everyone she'd severed ties with to escape the past. But as she tries to piece together exactly what happened that night, Louise discovers there's more to the story than she ever knew. To keep her secret, Louise must first uncover the whole truth, before what's known to Maria--or whoever's pretending to be her--is known to all.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

#MariaInTheMoon by Louise Beech @Louisewriter - BLOG TOUR and review @OrendaBooks

Maria in the Moon by Louise Beech

Follow the blog tour by visiting my fellow bloggers too.

I’m made up to have been selected to be part of the blog tour to launch this wonderful heart-warming book from the amazing selection of beautiful, readable and unforgettable books from Orenda books the wonderful British publishing company whose titles nearly always ring my bell.

If you haven't discovered their titles yet you must have a peek at their website - HANG ON, not yet, please read my review before dashing off.

The cover

My review:

Not having read either of the two previous highly acclaimed novels by this author I opened it without any preconceptions ... and was immediately captivated by the authors easy and engaging writing style, which absorbed me deep into the story instantly.

The main protagonist is Catherine, a 31 year old woman who has recently been affected by locally devastating floods which wrecked her home and affected the lives of many local folk.

Catherine (or Katrina as she becomes known) used to be called Catherine-Maria when she was little, but like many of the fuzzy events of her childhood, she is unable to remember quite why she had a sudden name change when she was 9. In fact a lot of her life is shrouded in fog and her memories have a huge gaping hole in them.

Catherine likes to help other people. Smarting from a recent, broken relationship, living in a flat share whilst her flooded out home is renovated and repaired, doing a job she finds pretty unrewarding, she volunteers to work on a telephone help line set up to enable victims of flooding (and loneliness and despair) to phone in and chat. Whilst she listens and counsels and cares for others it becomes apparent that it’s not just the helpline callers who have problems.

Catherines father died when she was young, her Mum died at Catherines birth and her beloved Nanny Eve died too and now she is left with an uncaring stepmother to rival Cinderella's and the snarling step sister bitch from hell, together with her lovely “Aunt Hairy” whom I adored. Yes I did say Hairy – read it and you’ll find out!

All Catherine’s ever wanted is to be loved, but she's learnt that "if it doesn’t hurt it’s not love" and she just can’t take much more pain, so she puts up a wall, developing a snippy snappy persona and a swear word for every occasion, yet she finds catharsis in listening to other folks woes.

Giving folks secret nicknames is just one way of keeping them at arms length and we will meet Jangly Jane and Robin who’s not called Robin at all.

Just as the incoming helpline calls from actress Kate with which she deals, reveal it’s not really about the trees, I was quite surprised that, being based around a flood help line, it’s not really about the floods either!

Skilfully painted with a deft hand this highly emotional read has a lovely touch of humour, interspersed with some terribly dark and emotive topics.

To say any more would be to be guilty of spoilers and this amazing book doesn’t deserve that. But enough to say some sensitive readers may find parts of the story upsetting to read as dark deeds are revealed and there is definitely something nasty in the woodshed alright.

I loved this novel, suffice to say that I galloped through it, found it wonderful and moving harrowing and uplifting and funny all at the same time, so prepare to have your emotions wrung tightly out and hung up to dry.

I cried so much near the end I was nearly sick – Oh I’m a glutton for a good old sob-fest me!

It's proving rather difficult to find the right words to explain how superb this book is, so I'll leave you with a thought,
THIS thought .....

READ THIS BOOK! (Oh yeah, I think I got that across alright)

Now that I’ve discovered how delightful an author Louise Beech is I will be adding her other books – How to be Brave and The Mountain in my shoe to my to be read list forthwith. I suggest this may be a good course of action for you too.

The Author - Louise Beech

NOW you can dash over to Orenda and drool over their books.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Lost in the Lake – A J Waines - review and Blog Tour

Lost in the Lake – A J Waines - review and Blog Tour

It’s great to be part of the blog tour for this new title, the second book in the Samantha Willerby series of psychological thrillers.

For readers who have read the first in the series “Inside the Whispers” this will be a welcome return to the life of Dr Samantha Willerby, an engaging and professional clinical psychologist.

If you haven’t yet read that you can read my review here although it will make great reading as a stand-alone I highly recommend reading them in order.

My Review

The story begins when Dr Sam Willerby meets her new client Rosie Chandler, who seeks out Samantha to help her remember the events surrounding an accident she was involved in where the vehicle she was travelling in plummeted into a lake. Narrowly escaping with her life has left Rosie, a Viola player in a quartet shaken, traumatised and with amnesia about the accident. Sam has the skills and experience to help Rosie piece together the missing memories and deal with whatever the past throws up.

But as she gets more deeply involved with her client, who seems to develop an almost unhealthy attachment to Sam it grows evident that the young womans past has left its mark on her and she is a deeply troubled individual.

All Sam wants to do is help people but it’s never quite that straightforward. As we discovered in Inside the Whispers, her family life is a little strained, she is trying to build bridges with her only sister Miranda but never seems able to say quite the right thing at the right time and difficult relationship aside, Miranda seems to be keeping something from Sam. She’s also recovering from a broken relationship and feeling a little lonely and vulnerable herself but it’s the old case of healer, heal thyself and she just has to battle her own demons alone.

Wow Sam is such a realistic character I really felt I was back in the company of an old friend. It’s also very easy to sit on the sidelines and see what’s going on under someone else’s nose.

We are treated to the story in a dual narrative, hearing both the thoughts of Sam and of her client the difficult Rosie and at several points I wanted to shout a warning, but had to silently observe, whilst hoping things don’t go quite as badly as they look as though they are going to …

But it wouldn’t be a thriller if everything went smoothly would it? and A J Waines is the mistress of the twisty moral conundrum who paints a picture of mental distress with a creeping sense of menace to satisfy the most demanding reader.

A great book in a brilliant series.

What are you waiting for? Go get your copy now!

The Author

AJ Waines has sold over 400,000 books worldwide and topped the UK and Australian Kindle Charts with her number one bestseller, Girl on a Train. Following fifteen years as a psychotherapist, she is now a full-time novelist with publishing deals in France, Germany, Norway, Hungary and USA (audiobooks).

Her fourth psychological thriller, No Longer Safe, sold over 30,000 copies in the first month, in thirteen countries. AJ Waines has been featured in The Wall Street Journal and The Times and ranked a Top 10 UK author on Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). She lives in Hampshire, UK, with her husband. Visit her website, blog, on Twitter, Facebook or sign up for her Newsletter.  

Blog tour The Museum of Lost Love by Gary Barker a #Randomthings #BlogTour

Blog tour The Museum of Lost Love by Gary Barker a #Randomthings #BlogTour Hello blog readers and book lovers. Today I am joining in t...