Book Review for THE HEATWAVE by Kate Riordan

the heatwave kate riordon

SYNOPSIS

Elodie was beautiful. Elodie was smart. Elodie was troubled. Elodie is dead.

Sylvie hasn’t been back to her crumbling French family home in years. Not since the death of her eldest daughter Elodie.

Every corner of the old house feels haunted by memories of her – memories she has tried to forget.

But as temperatures rise, and forest fires rage through the French countryside, a long-buried family secret is about to come to light.

Because there’s something Sylvie’s been hiding about what really happened to Elodie that summer.

And it could change everything.

MY THOUGHTS

Oh how I loved this book!

It had all the ingredients I like in a novel. A tense psychological thriller, a buried past, sun, heat and the South Of France.  What a great book to loose yourself in at the moment.

I was whisked off to the building heat and tensions of a heatwave gripping The South of France as we follow Sylvie, as she heads back to France, to her old family home after receiving a letter to say there has been some damage to the empty property after a small fire.  Born and raised in France, Sylvie has been living in London for over 10 years, seemingly leaving home after traumatic events.  Needing to take her daughter with her she reluctantly heads off with a view to sort things out and finally put the house on the market, where it can be sold and finally gotten rid of once and for all.

As we enter the house and dust off its cobwebs so too do we learn, via flashbacks, of the mysteries that surround Sylvie’s first daughter Elodie, a brilliantly created character. The fear, pain and love that Sylvie experienced back then is wonderfully written along with the day to day happenings, some compellingly mysterious, that take place as we stay at La Reverie.  Evocative and captivating, tiny details in the narrative superbly evoke time and place with wonderful characters and the gradual build of tension throughout the book.

We slowly learn of the story that surrounds Elodie and read the reactions of both family and locals as the truths begin to surface.  Like the summer fires that surround the village, enclosing in on the house, so does the past and bringing with it it’s present danger.

Wonderful smaller characters add even more to the novel, bringing with then their own perspectives and past actions.

I don’t want to give any more of the story line away and spoil it for another reader but I was utterly absorbed in this book and couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.  A sultry thriller that also had a wonderful dose of the french sun and way of life.  This has definitely gone into my top five reads of the year so far.  Loved it!!!

Available from BookShop.org https://uk.bookshop.org/a/1882/9781405922623

Amazon EBook https://www.amazon.co.uk/Heatwave-southern-gripping-psychological-suspense-ebook/dp/B08111P5CS/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3HEX5TP2I81CO&dchild=1&keywords=the+heatwave+kate+riordan&qid=1604425610&s=books&sprefix=the+heatwave%2Cstripbooks%2C173&sr=1-1

#blogtour #bookreview NICK BY MICHAEL FARRIS SMITH @noexitpress @oldcastlebooks #nicknovel @michael_f_smith

PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 25TH 2021

BY NO EXIT PRESS

AFFILIATED LINK https://www.blackwells.co.uk/?a_aid=babbageandsweetcorn Hardback £10.99

Book Trailer from No Exit Press https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEAyZoNl0xA

It’s my stop on the blog tour today and I’m delighted to share with you all my review. Many thanks to the publishers No Exit Press for my invite onto the tour.

The Great Gatsby is one of my all time favourite novels, having read it first when I was in my teens and falling in love with books set in this era. In this new novel by Michael Farris Smith he takes Nick Carraway, the narrator of The Great Gatsby, and imagines his life before he meets Jay Gatsby.

SYNOPSIS

Before Nick Carraway moved to West Egg and into Gatsby’s world, he was at the centre of a very different story – one taking place along the trenches and deep within the tunnels of World War I. An epic portrait of a truly singular era and a sweeping, romantic story of self-discovery, this rich and imaginative novel breathes new life into a character that many know only from the periphery. Charged with enough alcohol, heartbreak, and profound yearning to transfix even the heartiest of golden age scribes, Nick reveals the man behind the narrator who has captivated readers for decades.

MY THOUGHTS

This is a very different story from that of The Great Gatsby as we are introduced to Nick pre West Egg. We learn very little of Nick Carraway in the Fitzgerald novel, considering he is so central to the story, but here, in a raw and emotion fuelled account, we read of Nick and his time in and after the Great War with glimpses into his early years.

Rich in detail and highly emotive the story tells us of Nick’s account in the trenches of WW1 and really shows us the horrific and brutal experiences of the soldiers and the effects long term it has. Nick’s experiences and trauma are vividly written and the scenes taking place in the trenches are hauntingly described. This experience naturally effects him and we go on to read of his journey on to New Orleans where he almost stumbles into the violent lives of those that he meets.

His detachment and bewilderment with the world, after his experiences, is wonderfully portrayed not only in the dangerous chances he takes both in the trenches and later on, but also in the chapters which follow him, on leave in Paris, where he meets a women that he becomes romantically involved with. As he tries to hold on to himself, I felt some of the same hazy, dreamlike narration that can be found in The Great Gatsby, and that same mix of innocence and ‘what the hell you only live once’ attitude I got from him on my first encounter. I listened to the author talk about the book last night, and it was mentioned how little he talks in The Great Gatsby, instead telling us all that happens. Watching Gatsby and his friends all the time. I felt this also in Nick, watching his mother, watching and waiting during the war, and to those around him in New Orleans. Always in amongst great activity, but never really taking part.

A dark, moving and gripping story of a lonely and some what lost man, but one also not wanting to go home.

UNCOUPLING BY LORRAINE BROWN #review #blogtour #debut @orionbooks @LorraineBrown23 @AlainnaGeorgiou #Uncoupling

Published by Orion 18th February 2021

Hardback £14.99 Also available in eBook and Audio

Affiliated link for purchase from Blackwell’s https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/Uncoupling-by-Lorraine-Brown-author/9781409198383 Also available from other sites and your local bookshop.

It’s my stop on the blog tour today, and I’m delighted to share with you my review of this fantastic debut UNCOUPLING. Many thanks to Alainna Hadjigeorgiou of Orion Books for my wonderful proof pack and spot on the tour.

Cover Image

SYNOPSIS

Hannah and Si are in love and on the same track – that is, until their train divides on the way to a wedding. The next morning, Hannah wakes up in Paris and realises that her boyfriend (and her ticket) are 300 miles away in Amsterdam!

But then Hannah meets Léo on the station platform, and he’s everything Si isn’t. Spending the day with him in Paris forces Hannah to question how well she really knows herself – and whether, sometimes, you need to go in the wrong direction to find everything you’ve been looking for…

MY THOUGHTS

Hannah and her boyfriend Si are on an overnight train from Venice to Amsterdam to attend a family wedding. However, during the night the train carriages split, as European trains can do, and while Si continues to Amsterdam, Hannah finds herself on the way to Paris. Arriving with no passport, ticket or luggage, and very little money Hannah starts to panic. Not one for taking control of her life, she is out of her comfort zone.

Rushing through the Gard du Nord she trips over the bag of a fellow traveller called Leo, a resident of Paris, but who too was caught out by the splitting train, and so is also having now to wait for the next connection to Amsterdam. With a number of hours to fill before the train arrives, a confident Leo manages to persuade a reluctant Hannah, that not only is he willing to help her but could also show her the sights of the city before she has to leave. Oh…and how he does!

I flew through this utterly delightful book over a couple of days, losing myself in the well written, lovely story of how Hannah and Leo not only find each other but also themselves as they spend the day whizzing through the streets of Paris. This wasn’t just a romance story between two young people, but was very much a love story between Leo and Paris which oozed from the pages in his choices of destinations and the way they were described. I loved the way the author described each setting and used Hannah’s camera to capture it into the readers mind. I found it a delightful and delicious romance read, which whisked me away from this grey and anxious time, to the smells and sounds, sights and delights of a summers day in Paris. A reminder of being young and free, to be able to travel, to arrive at a bustling international train station, with the day ahead to drop in at cafes and restaurants, to enjoy the sun and sights. It really was just the ticket!

This is by no means a soppy love story, but a well written and believable tale. We learn of the back story to both characters, Hannah’s relationship with her boyfriend and watch as Leo and Hannah’s attraction grows. There is a good side story also taking place involving Si, and the pace and increase of intensity of ‘will they won’t they’ between Hannah and Leo was just right. I loved the character of Leo. He made my heart melt.

I heartly recommend this book and hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lorraine Brown previously trained as an actress and has just completed her final year of a postgraduate diploma in psychodynamic counselling. She lives in London with her partner and their 8-year-old son. Uncoupling is her first novel.

There is an interesting piece on how Lorraine became a published author here: http://booksbywomen.org/the-process-of-writing-uncoupling-from-school-secretary-to-published-author/

BLOG TOUR BANNER

#quickbookreview THE STRAYS OF PARIS BY JANE SMILEY Published Thurs 18th by @MantleBooks

PUBLISHED BY MANTLE IN HARDBACK

18TH FEBRUARY 2021 https://www.blackwells.co.uk/?a_aid=babbageandsweetcorn

Paperback Copy

SYNOPSIS

Paras is a spirited young racehorse living in a stable in the French countryside. That is until one afternoon, when she pushes open the gate of her stall and, travelling through the night, arrives quite by chance in the dazzling streets of Paris.

She soon meets a German shorthaired pointer named Frida, two irrepressible ducks and an opinionated crow, and life amongst the animals in the city’s lush green spaces is enjoyable for a time. But everything changes when Paras meets a human boy, Étienne, and discovers a new, otherworldly part of Paris: the secluded, ivy-walled house where the boy and his nearly-one-hundred-year-old great grandmother live quietly and unto themselves. As the cold weather of Christmas nears, the unlikeliest of friendships bloom among humans and animals alike.

But how long can a runaway horse live undiscovered in Paris? And how long can one boy keep her all to himself? Charming and beguiling in equal measure, Jane Smiley’s novel celebrates the intrinsic need for friendship, love, and freedom, whomever you may be . . .

MY THOUGHTS

When Paras the racehorse finds her stable door has been left open, she uses the opportunity to go on a little walk about, which leads her onto a much bigger and eye opening adventure.

In this dreamlike, fairy tale type read, we meet an eclectic array of characters, both animal and human, as their story unfurls exploring topics of friendship, adventure, belonging and survival. A gentle read, which many may find just the tonic at the moment, it reminded me of books I read when younger and therefore feel this book could be read and/or enjoyed by younger readers alike.

When Paras finds herself in Paris she meets the likes of a dog, a raven, 2 ducks, a rat and a young boy. The different characteristics of each animal are shown through their actions like Raoul’s somewhat superiority in the way he talks to the other animals and their past and recent lives are wonderfully shown through their personality like Frida’s fears and worries of other humans and cars. There isn’t a great deal of ‘plot’ to this novel, which is maybe why it felt a bit too long for me, but then I don’t think that’s what this book is about. It uses it’s characters to explore the themes of the book, yet at the same time keeping it nice and gentle. I did find myself wondering if this book was actually for younger readers, as the way it reads felt like that, but I have read many reviews from adults who thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

Many thanks to Camilla Elworthy for sending me a copy of this book.

https://www.blackwells.co.uk/?a_aid=babbageandsweetcorn

#quickbookreview #netgalley THE MARLOW MURDER CLUB BY ROBERT THOROGOOD

Published 7 Jan 2021 by HQ https://www.blackwells.co.uk/?a_aid=babbageandsweetcorn

SYNOPSIS

Judith Potts is seventy-seven years old and blissfully happy. She lives on her own in a faded mansion just outside Marlow, there’s no man in her life to tell her what to do or how much whisky to drink, and to keep herself busy she sets crosswords for The Times newspaper. 

One evening, while out swimming in the Thames, Judith witnesses a brutal murder. The local police don’t believe her story, so she decides to investigate for herself, and is soon joined in her quest by Suzie, a salt-of-the-earth dog-walker, and Becks, the prim and proper wife of the local Vicar.

Together, they are the Marlow Murder Club.

When another body turns up, they realise they have a real-life serial killer on their hands. And the puzzle they set out to solve has become a trap from which they might never escape…

MY THOUGHTS

A quick, light and easy read about three women living in Marlow who unexpectantly ‘club’ together to solve a mysterious murder.

Seventy seven year old Judith, crossword maker for a large newspaper lives in a large house on the river. One hot summer evening, as she takes her routine swim, she hears a shout followed by what sounds like a gun shot as she passes the nearby house on the other side of the river. She swims back home and calls the police. After some wait, the police call her back saying that after a routine sweep of the garden and property they can not find anything of interest. Adamant that something bad has happen she decides to investigate herself.

Grouping together with two other women she meets along the way, this somewhat unlikely trio set about investigating and as another body turns up their escapades turn a little dangerous but there is always an element of humour to their antics. We also learn a little of each of the characters back stories, and there is clearly something in Judith’s past that she wishes to keep hidden. With their friendship and confidence growing and along with the sometime reluctant help they give and receive from DS Tanika Malik, who has now taken on the case the book concludes in a somewhat dramatic finish.

A nice mix of characters and a complicated enough plot kept this story moving along. More Agatha Raisin than Agatha Christie but the humour and personalities within the story kept me reading and the growing friendship of the three women was described in a warm and amusing way. I liked how the inexperience and age of the women were remarked upon but that they were also intelligent and savvy. Marlow worked well as it’s setting and altogether I found this a nice enough quick escapist read.

https://www.blackwells.co.uk/?a_aid=babbageandsweetcorn

#quickbookreview #netgalley PEOPLE LIKE HER by ELLERY LLOYD @ElleryLloydAuthor @MantleBooks

Published 21st Jan 2021 by Mantle Books https://www.blackwells.co.uk/?a_aid=babbageandsweetcorn

Catching up on book reviews, so over the next few days I’ll be posting some short, quick and to the point reviews of some books I’ve enjoyed recently. First up is……………

SYNOPSIS

People like Emmy Jackson. They always have. Especially online, where she is Instagram sensation Mamabare, famous for telling the unvarnished truth about modern parenthood.

But Emmy isn’t as honest as she’d like the fans to believe. She may think she has her followers fooled, but someone out there knows the truth and plans to make her pay . . .

A smart and thrilling debut that delves into the darkest aspects of influencer culture, Ellery Lloyd’s People Like Her is about what you risk losing when you don’t know who’s watching . . .

MY THOUGHTS

In this story we follow Emmy, aka mamabare, an influencer and ‘insta mum’ with a very high number of followers. So high she has an agent and an assistant, to help with maintaining the site, replying to comments, sponsors and events.

From Emmy we hear of what it’s like to be someone like her, how much time it takes and exactly how real any of it really is. The story also focuses on the dangers there are putting yourself out there, on social media, as fully as someone like her does. Her day to day life, her home even her young children, and that, in this case, there is someone out there who doesn’t think she deserves any of the benefits she gets from this lifestyle, in fact doesn’t think she deserves happiness at all!

I enjoyed this book and found it a quick one to read. I liked the way we get to hear from 3 perspectives, including Emmy’s husband and ‘the stalker’. The story involves some very upsetting topics, which I really wasn’t expecting, so some triggers for some here fore sure. Loss of a child, miscarriage and suicide included. It made for a very startling contrast from one chapter to another. I liked the part narrated by the husband and that he struggled with Emmy’s job but at the same time, her success allowed him to carry on with his dream of writing another book. I also found the part which discusses the differences in what audiences want from Instagram in different countries interesting. As I’ve said, I wasn’t expecting the darkness that there was in the thriller element of the book, but found it well written and with a shocking ending.

Altogether a well written, unexpected and interesting read.

THE LONG LONG AFTERNOON BY INGA VESPER #bookreview #debut @wekesperos @bonnierbooks_uk #LongLongAfternoon

Published by Manilla Press

Hardback February 4th https://www.blackwells.co.uk/?a_aid=babbageandsweetcorn

416 pages

Many thanks to the publishers for sending me a wonderful proof pack which even including a G&T!

COVER IMAGE

SYNOPSIS

Yesterday, I kissed my husband for the last time . . .

It’s the summer of 1959, and the well-trimmed lawns of Sunnylakes, California, wilt under the sun. At some point during the long, long afternoon, Joyce Haney, wife, mother, vanishes from her home, leaving behind two terrified children and a bloodstain on the kitchen floor.

While the Haney’s neighbours get busy organising search parties, it is Ruby Wright, the family’s ‘help’, who may hold the key to this unsettling mystery. Ruby knows more about the secrets behind Sunnylakes’ starched curtains than anyone, and it isn’t long before the detective in charge of the case wants her help. But what might it cost her to get involved? In these long hot summer afternoons, simmering with lies, mistrust and prejudice, it could only take one spark for this whole ‘perfect’ world to set alight . . .

MY THOUGHTS

Set around a Santa Monica suburb called Sunnylakes and neighbourhoods of South Central in 1959, the book opens with a short first chapter, containing a somewhat uneasy narrative from one of the main characters, wife and mother Joyce Haney. We are introduced next, to Ruby, a young black woman, who wants to become a teacher and is working as ‘the help’ to a couple of houses within Sunnylakes. She is saving as much as she can for college. Ruby is a wonderful character but as you can imagine experiences a lot of racist remarks and actions from her employers, however, Joyce treats Ruby differently, she treats her like a human being and Ruby has become to regard her more as a friend. Next up is Detective Michael Blanke, recently transferred to the area under a cloud, which we later learn more about. It isn’t long before his and Ruby’s paths cross.

I was hooked to this story right from the very beginning. The setting is marvously portrayed, along with the Californian suburban life of the 1950’s. The racial tensions and social issues of the area make up a signifycant part of the book along with the sexist attitudes of men, both white and black, of these times and young Ruby most definatly gets her share of all of these injustices.

The mystery element of the book was gripping and the two themes ran well along side each other, making the book a rich, complex and highly enjoyable read. Is Joyce still alive? What are the secrets and longings of the other women of Sunnylakes? The characterisations were extremely well crafted and each came to life in their own distinctive way. I particularly liked the ‘friendship’ very slowly forming between the detective and Ruby and loved reading their conversations with each other. Wonderful vocabulary and great characters fit brilliantly in amongst this really absorbing and enjoyable ‘whodunit’. A fantastic debut! Would highly recommend.

THE AUTHOR

Inga Vesper is a journalist and editor. She moved to the UK from Germany to work as a carer, before the urge to write and explore brought her to journalism. As a reporter, she covered the coroner’s court and was able to observe how family, neighbours and police react to a suspicious death. Inga has worked and lived in Syria and Tanzania, but always returned to London, because there’s no better place to find a good story than the top deck of a bus.

BEFORE SHE DISAPPEARED BY LISA GARDNER #bookreview #blogtour @LisaGardnerBks @Rachel90Kennedy

COVER IMAGE

International Thriller Writers Award winner
Multiple  New York Times and Sunday Times bestseller  

Published by Century  | Hardback |
26th January 2021 | £12.99

SYNOPSIS

Frankie Elkin has dedicated her life to doing what no one else will: searching for missing people the world has forgotten.

When the police have given up, when the public no longer remembers, when the media has never paid attention, Frankie starts looking. She has found fourteen victims to date, but none yet alive. Traveling from city to city with more regrets than belongings, Frankie is drawn to a new case in Boston, and to a neighbourhood with a rough reputation.

Angelique Badeau, a local teenager and Haitian immigrant, vanished eleven months ago in the middle of the day from her high school.  No scrap of surveillance footage, no cell phone tracking;
Angelique simply disappeared.

Despite resistance from the Boston PD and the victim’s wary family, Frankie starts to unpick the truth of Angelique’s disappearance and starts to discover there are those that don’t want these questions answered. But Frankie will stop at nothing to find Angelique and bring her home, even if it means the next person to go missing will be herself……..

MY REVIEW

What a great book!

The author’s first standalone novel in ten years and she’s written a corker! I couldn’t put it down. I was immediately gripped by this novel. The author’s writing sucked me right in to the point when I could picture myself on the same sidewalk as our main character, seeing the same buildings, right down to smelling the delicious sounding patties and pastries in the local bakeries.

Frankie Elgin, a recovering alcoholic, has spent the last ten years travelling around the country, tracking down missing persons. So far she has a 100% success rate, finding all 14 victims, however, none of them still alive. Searching online for her next destination she finds the case of teenager Angelique ‘Angel’ Badeau, missing for nearly a year now. With only the bag on her back, for Frankie has enough ‘baggage’ already, she heads to Boston, to Mattapan, a neighbourhood that won’t be that pleased to see her, but she’s used to that.

As we follow Frankie on her search for Angel we are taken on a fast paced, thriller of a journey but also one full of compassion, heartbreak and rich, multi-layered characters that jump off the page. All with a story to tell including Frankie, but does she want anyone to know?

I loved the character of Frankie and indeed many more of the others in this story. She treats her unpaid job as if it is some kind of penance or atonement of which she doesn’t appear to be afraid if it even gets her killed, this is much to the annoyance of Detective Lothan.

The story of Angel is a multi-layered one and builds and grows as you read, with new leads, connections, twists and turns that kept me glued to the page. The pace was just right, making a suspenseful mystery, but this novel also allows for it’s characters to shine. Characters like Stoney and Viv who own/work at the bar where Frankie finds a room and work are brilliantly written, and even though they appear less than others their interactions with Frankie give the reader such a great picture of them. Plus of course Piper the cat, a match for Frankie herself.

The book touches on very serious issues that are relevant to the area and the people who live there, adding even more heart to this great plot and story.

If you like thrillers, police procedurals or mystery novels I would highly recommend this book. Hey! If you like an engaging read full of great characters, read this book!

AUTHOR INFO

AUTHOR LISA GARDNER

New York Times #1 bestselling crime novelist Lisa Gardner began her career in food service, but after catching her hair on fire numerous times, she took the hint and focused on writing instead. A self-described research junkie, she has parlayed her interest in police procedure, criminal minds and twisted plots into a streak of bestselling suspense novels. Her 2010 novel, THE NEIGHBOR, won Best Thriller from the International Thriller Writers. Most recently, she was honoured with the Silver Bullet Award for her work with at-risk children and homeless animals. Lisa loves to hike, travel the world, and yes, read, read, read!

THE SHAPE OF DARKNESS BY LAURA PURCELL #bookreview #blogtour @BloomsburyRaven @spookypurcell @annecater @RandomTTours

It’s my stop on the blog tour today for the wonderful Laura Purcell’s new novel The Shape Of Darkness.

This is Laura’s 4th novel and as a local author and having read all 3 of her previous novels I jumped at the opportunity to not only read this new book but to support her on this blog tour. Thanks to Anne Cater and the publishers Raven Books, for my proof copy and to Anne for the invite onto this tour.

cover image

SYNOPSIS

Wicked deeds require the cover of darkness…

A struggling silhouette artist in Victorian Bath seeks out a renowned child spirit medium in order to speak to the dead – and to try and identify their killers – in this beguiling new tale from Laura Purcell.

Silhouette artist Agnes is struggling to keep her business afloat. Still recovering from a serious illness herself, making enough money to support her elderly mother and her orphaned nephew Cedric has never been easy, but then one of her clients is murdered shortly after sitting for Agnes, and then another, and another…

Desperately seeking an answer, Agnes approaches Pearl, a child spirit medium lodging in Bath with her older half-sister and her ailing father, hoping that if Pearl can make contact with those who died, they might reveal who killed them. But Agnes and Pearl quickly discover that instead they may have opened the door to something that they can never put back…

What secrets lie hidden in the darkness?

MY REVIEW

I have thoroughly enjoyed all of Laura Purcell’s books and this is yet another to add to that list.

Set in 1854 Bath, it has all of the author’s trade marks. Victorian Gothic, dark, cold houses, sickness, plus in this new novel Spiritualism, which gripped the country at this time.

Agnes Darken lives with her mother and much loved orphaned nephew Cedric. She works as a silhouette artist, bringing in little but much needed money. Her only support is Simon, a doctor and widow of her late sister.

To Agnes’s horror she is drawn into a series of murders, as one by one, her most recent clients are found dead. She is much concerned for her already small business that could be harmed by these connections. Harm that she must avoid as things are already in decline with the tastes for new technology like photography and daguerreotypes In an attempt to find out if there is someone out to get her, she makes contact with Pearl a young spirit medium and her controlling sister Myrtle, asking them to contact the victims in hope of finding out the identity of the murderer.

Threads of chilling and ghostly Victorian gothic like the supernatural, seances, mesmerism are wonderfully intertwined with the diseased, dirty and dangerous streets of Bath as we read of the stories behind Agnes, Pearl and Myrtle.

I particularly liked the descriptions of Agnes’s home. I literally felt the cold and damp blow over me each time she entered through the front door from the muddy, smelly street as the recently fallen snow melts to a dirty slush. There were some wonderful social observations and the parts which included the vivid description of Pearl’s father, as he lies suffering from Phossy Jaw highlighted a condition suffered from workers in the matchstick industry at this times.

As the story progresses I was engrossed within it’s twists and turns ending in a great conclusion. Another enjoyable read.

#bookreview #blogtour WHAT I DID by KATE BRADLEY

COVER IMAGE

It’s my stop on the blog tour today and I’m delighted to share with you my review. What I Did is the second suspense novel from Kate Bradley following her debut To Keep You Safe. Thanks to Jenna Petts at Bonnier Books for my proof copy and invite onto the tour. WHAT I DID is released on January 21st.

SYNOPSIS

Lisa is running.
She has taken her child, Jack, and she has run from his father.

Lisa thinks she’s safe.
She’s found a remote house where no one will be able to find them.

Lisa is about to wake up in her worst nightmare.
And now she must face what she’s tried to escape.

Risking everything to protect her little boy, Lisa knows that in order to survive she will have to fight, but it’s hard to face someone you loved, especially someone you still love, who knows who you really are – and what you are really capable of.

Family is everything. What would you do to protect it?

REVIEW

Lisa, husband Nick and son Jack look like a normal happy family, but only on the outside. At home things are far from good. Lisa has been trying so hard to keep things under wraps, but when one of the other ‘school mums’ meets with her to tell her that Lisa’s many bruises have been noticed and that a group of them are very worried about her, she knows, deep down, that somethings have to change.

She starts to formulate a plan of action, but as an horrific incident occurs at home, the story begins to unfurl a complex, dark, twisting and totally unpredictable plot.

Gosh! There are so many twists and turns in this novel, it really keeps you on your toes! After a steadily paced build it throws such an almighty twist that I was turning back pages to see if I had missed something. Afterwards there is no sitting back or predictable story lines here, as there is still more to come. More and more the characters are shown in different lights and with the continued dual time line narrative, this novel reveals revelation after revelation that I really didn’t see coming.

There are a number of dark themes to this novel but with the rollercoaster of events that take place I was whipped around like a cats toy on a string, keeping my attention moving forward.

If your looking for an unpredictable, twisting domestic thriller this is one to try.

#bookreview SHIVER BY ALLIE REYNOLDS

Delighted to share with you today my review of Headline’s lead debut for 2021, Shiver by Allie Reynolds.

Released January 21st and with TV rights for a chilling drama series based on the book snapped up by the commissioners of Bodyguard, Luther and The Cry, it’s a chilling locked room mystery set in the dangerous and highly charged world of competitive snowboarding.

cover image

SYNOPSIS

They don’t know what I did. And I intend to keep it that way.

How far would you go to win? Hyper-competitive people, mind games and a dangerous natural environment combine to make the must-read thriller of the year. Fans of Lucy Foley and Lisa Jewell will be gripped by spectacular debut novel Shiver.

When Milla is invited to a reunion in the French Alps resort that saw the peak of her snowboarding career, she drops everything to go. While she would rather forget the events of that winter, the invitation comes from Curtis, the one person she can’t seem to let go.

The five friends haven’t seen each other for ten years, since the disappearance of the beautiful and enigmatic Saskia. But when an icebreaker game turns menacing, they realise they don’t know who has really gathered them there and how far they will go to find the truth.

In a deserted lodge high up a mountain, the secrets of the past are about to come to light.

MY REVIEW

Shiver tells the story of 5 friends, Milla (our lone narrator), Curtis, Brent, Dale and Heather, who met 10 or so years ago when they were all, bar Heather, competitive snowboarders. This suspenseful, dual time line novel flips back and forth from present day, as they gather together for a reunion, of which none are overly enthusiastic to attend, in a remote lodge, off season, in the area of the French Alps they once all gathered, 10 years previously for the British Championships.

With chapters headed Present Day and Ten Years Ago, we go back and learn of these athletes highly competitive nature, dangerous sport and what happened to Curtis’s sister, Saskia. Soon on arriving however, they find out that it wasn’t Milla or Curtis who sent out the invites and as a deserted lodge greets them, mobiles disappear and cable cars stop running a much more threatening chill than that of the snow descends.

As we learn of the friends dynamics and past secrets, tensions back then and now increase and the present soon becomes an escape to survive.

I enjoyed reading this debut by Allie Reynolds. The past chapters moved at a good pace, the competitiveness and dynamics of the snowboarders interactions were very well written, as well as the description and feel of the book’s cold and dangerous setting. The author, being once a competitive freestyle snowboarder herself, brilliantly adds information on the sport and does a good job of conveying how dangerous it must be.

The characters are all very different, with some more likeable than others and as they meet again in present time, there is a real sense of fear with the author using the lodge to great effect in portraying the mounting tension and suspense never knowing who to trust. With the present day chapters only covering around 3 days they felt a lot slower moving than those from the past but with events speeding up considerable with the conclusion of the book.

I have read 2 other books recently, which cover a similar story line, but this was my favourite out of them all.

Many thanks to Alara at Headline for the great sprayed edge proof copy I received in exchange for an honest review.

About The Author

Allie Reynolds is a former freestyle snowboarder who spent five winters in the mountains of France, Switzerland, Austria and Canada. For those five years, snowboarding was Allie’s life. She competed in the British Championships and was once in the UK top ten. British-born from Lincoln, Allie now lives by the beach in Queensland Australia. #Shiver Twitter: @AuthorAllieR