Sunday, 11 March 2018

Book Review - Walls of Silence Ruth Wade - twisty historical psychological thriller

My Review

Oh My Goodness!

This book packs a powerful punch that smacked me in the gut, there's a real shocker of a twist that I really didn't anticipate until just a chapter or two before it is to be revealed I began to have a nauseous sense that there was something coming that I hadn't been expecting .... then wham!

But I digress, it's hardly surprising that my thoughts are a little muddled having just spent several days locked in the mind of a woman incarcerated in a lunatic asylum.

This woman is Edith Potter, daughter of the renowned Dr Potter leader in the field of examining the psychological impact of shell shock following the first world war.

Spinster Edith lives alone, since her father was murdered by an unknown intruder, no wonder she is jumpy and nervous living in the very house where he was killed.

It's clear from the onset that Ediths mind is a little disturbed, she has secrets and has built a wall to keep them away, but this is to become her undoing and one day she flips completely and ends up an inmate in a cruel and uncaring mental asylum where she is catatonic and unresponsive.

In comes Dr Stephen Maynard, young and ambitious he hears of Edith and her plight and decides she will be the perfect subject for him to test his theories using the new-fangled psychoanalysis to try and help her. But is he about to unleash more than he can cope with? As he starts to break down the walls that surround Edith and she begins to respond we realize that she is harbouring a few terrible secrets which she needs to keep buried at all costs.

There is quite a lot of detail about psychoanalysis as we delve inside the mind of this deeply disturbed yet very intelligent woman and at several points throughout the book I really thought it was me that was going inasne, so deeply does the author make us feel the despair and confusion of a deeply damaged psyche.

The story is rather disjointed but this all adds to the feel of unease, uncertainty and a terrible sense of madness. When I discovered the final secret she is keeping hidden, it both shocked and saddened me. It's a real twist I wasn't expecting, though the clues and hints are there.

This is a thoroughly great historical look at mental health issues and a twisty psychological thriller combined. It is dark and scary and despite the despair I loved it. Highly recommended.

The Blurb:

The patient has a story that isn’t told and which no one knows of. It is the secret, the rock against which he is shattered. Carl Jung

The Great War is over but for Edith Potter an equally devastating conflict is about to begin. 

She is unhinged by a secret so terrible her conscious mind doesn’t acknowledge it.

It is 1927 and Dr Stephen Maynard is using the new science of psychoanalysis to restore her sanity.

From his first meeting with her in the lunatic asylum, Dr Stephen Maynard is determined to bring her back to reality. During the long challenge, her disturbed behaviour forces him to confront his limitations – already severely stretched by the presence of someone prepared to use whatever weapons they can to ensure she maintains her silence.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Blog Tour and Review - Among the Branded - Linda Smolkin

Among the Branded – Linda Smolkin

Today I am taking part in the Blog Tour for the new debut novel by Linda Smolkin, arranged by RandomthingsTours.

My Review:

Among the Branded is a very modern and contemporary novel with historical connections to the fairly recent past.

In it, we meet Stephanie, a 40 something Mum who is a dedicated career woman juggling family life. This busy art director is planning a family day out, and ends up spending a day out at a world war 2 re-enactment day. Whilst there, she chances on a bundle of old letters she can’t resist buying. Little does she know they are going to draw her in completely and possibly even put her hard earned career in jeopardy. Even though time is one thing she doesn’t really have to spare she can’t resist a mystery to get her teeth into. These faded letters contain a real puzzle to solve at the same time as fostering an unlikely friendship.

One of the letters really connects with her, it’s from a desperate young mother who is imprisoned in a German concentration camp, who is writing to try and save her young son’s life. Her little boy is called Isadore, shortened to Izzy and Steph eventually decides to seek him out. 

Her research leads her to a sprightly 75 year old man she is instantly drawn to and with whom she develops a strong bond of friendship when she takes on the task of trying to re-unite him with the person who eventually did save him from the concentration camps. She plans to hopefully discover what happened to his parents who were last heard of headed towards the dreaded Auschwitz, after all this time.

What sounds as though it could make for grim and dark reading is, in the most part, actually quite light and refreshing, There’s a strong vein of humour running through the book, and it will undoubtedly appeal to fans of chick lit and contemporary womens fiction as well as lovers of WW2 history. 

The writing style does remind me very much of the books I’ve read by Liane Moriarty where a very dark subject is handled with such charm that it makes for a light and amusing book which nevertheless engaged my emotions and gave me much to think about. 

With it's themes of friendship, moral dilemmas and career choices it resonates with every day life for a career woman of the noughties as well as painting memories of the awful historical events which led to the incarceration of thousands of innocent people in the terrible war to end all wars WW2.

With a mystery at heart, and friendship at the centre of the story it should have wide appeal. 

The Author.

Linda Smolkin always wanted to be a writer—ever since she saw her first TV commercial and wondered how to pen those clever ads. 
She got her degree in journalism and became a copywriter. Linda landed a job at an ad agency, where she worked for several years before joining the nonprofit world. She's currently working on her second novel, which will be released in Spring 2018. When not in front of the computer, she's behind the drums (slightly) annoying her husband, son, and their 70-pound dog. 
For more information, visit her website at and follow her on Twitter @lindasmolkin and Facebook @AuthorLindaSmolkin.

The Blurb:

What if a 70-year-old letter from World War II changed the course of your life?

While attending Valor of the ’40s, art director Stephanie Britain stumbles upon a flea market selling letters from the war. She buys a handful, hoping they’ll inspire the redesign for a client’s website at her branding and design firm. She’s at first drawn by the lost art of penmanship, but soon discovers a hidden treasure nestled inside declarations of love from homesick soldiers. 

Stephanie enlists a coworker to translate one and realizes it’s not a love letter after all. When a shocking discovery about a client causes Stephanie to question her principles and dedication to her firm’s business, she’s forced to make a difficult decision—one that could give her peace of mind, yet ruin her career in the process.

Contemporary fiction with a historical touch, AMONG THE BRANDED explores family life, an unexpected friendship, and moral conflicts that make us wonder what’s more important: our livelihood or our beliefs. 

This moving debut novel by Linda Smolkin is a great addition for readers who enjoy books by Jodi Picoult, Kristin Hannah, and Liane Moriarty. 

Monday, 5 March 2018

BLOG TOUR Tell No lies by Lisa Hartley

BLOG TOUR for Tell No Lies by Lisa Hartley

Hello, pull up a chair and join me on the blog tour for the tense new thriller Tell No lies from Canelo books.

The Author has kindly provided this fascinating insight about her thoughts when asked, who IS your favourite character from all the ones you've created?

I hadn’t really considered whether or not I had a favourite amongst my characters. 

When I began to think about it, it felt a little strange, almost like considering which of your children was your favourite. It seemed off limits. All of the characters in a book have their part to play, otherwise they wouldn’t be there. Can one be more important than another? Probably. The protagonist seems an obvious choice, but is the main character always the most likable? The person you’d want by your side if you were in trouble? Not necessarily.

Still, I would guess most authors would say their main character is their favourite. They’re usually the person you know the best, the one whose story you’re telling. If you write a series of books, your main character is the one whose life you’re watching play out. 

Even so, they might not be your favourite. 

My protagonist is Detective Caelan Small. TELL NO LIES is the sequel to ASK NO Questions, the book in which Caelan was introduced. As an undercover police officer, Caelan is, by necessity, something of a chameleon. I thought about the sort of person who would be drawn to working undercover, and the traits and attributes a woman who spent much of her working life pretending to be someone else would need to have. I thought she would be brave, resourceful, quick thinking. Confident. She would need nerves of steel.

In the first book, Caelan is caught up in the aftermath of a case that was never really solved. Then people connected to that investigation begin to die, and Caelan realises she has been fooled, lead to believe certain things which weren’t true. In TELL NO LIES, as well as telling a new story, I wanted to begin to explore how these events have impacted on Caelan, both personally and professionally. How would pretending to be someone else affect a person? What about their relationships with their family, with their friends? What about romantic relationships? How could you fall in love with someone who could never tell you the truth about who they were, where they were going, or what they were doing?

Above all, I wanted to get inside Caelan’s head and see how she would cope with all of this. Caelan is probably my favourite character because I feel I’m beginning to know her so well. She’s brave, loyal, and occasionally frustrating, both to the reader and to her colleagues. She makes mistakes, and sometimes she doesn’t listen. In TELL NO LIES, she goes above and beyond what she has been initially instructed to do, and has to face the consequences.

I also wanted to take the reader undercover with Caelan, to stand beside her as she prepares to to walk into a situation she knows might become deadly. She will be alone and unarmed. I wanted to think about the emotions coursing through her in that moment. The adrenalin, the fear, the beginnings of regret? How would she feel? How would you feel?

Thankyou Lisa, Caelan sounds a complex and intriguing woman and I'm sure my blog readers are looking forward to meeting her already.

Here's the Book Blurb to whet your appetite:

Now they’re coming after Caelan’s team…

A tortured body is found in a basement. Drug dealing and people smuggling is on the rise. Then police start going missing.

There seems to be no connection between the crimes, but Detective Caelan Small senses something isn’t right.
Plunged into a new investigation, lives are on the line. And in the web of gangs, brothels and nerve-shattering undercover work, Caelan must get to the truth – or be killed trying.
And then there’s Nicky...

Utterly gripping, written with searing tension and remarkable dexterity, Tell No Lies is a blistering crime novel for fans of Angela Marsons, Rebecca Bradley and Faith Martin. 

Links to Book:
Author Bio: 

Lisa Hartley lives with her partner, son, two dogs and several cats. She graduated with a BA (Hons) in English Studies, then had a variety of jobs but kept writing in her spare time. She is currently working on the next DS Catherine Bishop novel, as well as a new series with Canelo.

Twitter: @rainedonparade

Saturday, 3 March 2018

My Review of Bring Me Back by B A Paris twisty and clever

My review of Bring Me Back by B A Paris

This is a very twisty and twisted, psychological thriller. If you love to be puzzled by cryptic clues and teeny hints that might not all be what they seem this is a must read book for you.

Narrated mostly by Finn, the main male protagonist who is engaged to be married to Emma. He used to be passionately in love with Emmas sister Layla who mysteriously disappeared 12 years ago, when the couple were on their way back from a holiday and has never been seen since.

But suddenly messages begin to appear which would seem to indicate that Layla is back, or soon plans to be back in Finn's life. He gets very confused and terribly frustrated and begins to find clues everywhere which disturb and worry him, many of these clues are deliberately placed tiny Russian dolls, which show up at every turn. They have a particular significance to Finn and Layla. He finds on on the garden wall and one on his plate when he goes to the pub ( a pub which is owned and run by yet another ex-girlfriend Ruby. Confused? You will be, you're meant to be, the author very neatly and cleverly fills the story with dainty little red herrings, which you keep sniffing out and thinking Ahh, then realizing you've been coerced into heading off up the wrong garden path, hence the twistyness which ensures you won't sleep a wink whilst this clever, dark and very gripping thriller is on your bedside table.

I must confess I disliked Finn he's a pretty flawed character, he was sparing with the truth when Layla went missing omitting some pertinent facts, even when telling the police what happened, now that's never a good thing is it? Oh and he seems to have a bit of a hot temper does Finn and I find it impossible to love a man who lashes out with his fists whatever the reason, but the main reason I just couldn't warm to him is, his past is lettered with ex girlfriends who he seems to think are all desperate to get back with him (when I fail to see how he ever managed to attract any woman in the first place!)

So - he's a bit of a fibber, who likes to lash out and he's really, really self obsessed. But would we wish what is going to happen to Finn on our worst enemy?

To find out you'll have to read it and see and while you're reading it #ForgetSleep because you won't rest easy until you uncover the mystery of where Layla went and what is going on. Get your copy from Amazon here.

Or see what people are saying about it on Twitter.

@HarperCollinsUK @HQStories @BAParisAuthor

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...