Posted in 2021, ARC, Contemporary Fiction, Crime Fiction, NetGalley, Novel, Richard Osman, thriller

#TheManWhoDiedTwice by @richardosman

It’s the following Thursday.

Elizabeth has received a letter from an old colleague, a man with whom she has a long history. He’s made a big mistake, and he needs her help. His story involves stolen diamonds, a violent mobster, and a very real threat to his life.

As bodies start piling up, Elizabeth enlists Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron in the hunt for a ruthless murderer. And if they find the diamonds too? Well, wouldn’t that be a bonus?

But this time they are up against an enemy who wouldn’t bat an eyelid at knocking off four septuagenarians. Can The Thursday Murder Club find the killer (and the diamonds) before the killer finds them?

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‘I was talking to a woman in Ruskin Court and she said she’s on a diet’ says Joyce, finishing her glass of wine.

PART 1, 1

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(@VikingBooksUK, 16 September 2021, ebook, 432 pages, #ARC from the publisher via #NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed)

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I really enjoyed the first book, The Thursday Murder Club and took part in the blog tour when it was launched last year. I couldn’t wait to read the club’s next adventure. I wasn’t disappointed. This was everything I expected and I look forward to the next adventure. The Man Who Died Twice like the previous book is a blend of cosy mystery and thriller with a group of elderly amateur sleuths finding themselves in the middle of a real crime involving spies, stolen diamonds and grisly murders. I love the characters, especially Joyce. Due to their age they are assumed to be feeble and doddery and I love it when they kick ass and show they are more intelligent than the criminals and police combined. This is a delight.

Posted in 2021, Contemporary Fiction, First Read, Leslie Wolfe, NetGalley, Novel, thriller

#TheAngelCreekGirls by Leslie Wolfe

Her chestnut hair, long and shiny, fanned around her head, moving gently in the wind. Her eyes, still open, stared at the back door, and her hand stretched out in a pleading gesture. Her lips, pale under the rosy lip gloss, were parted slightly as if to whisper one last word, to draw one last breath.

9 HOURS AGO: In a sleepy mountain town, widow Cheryl Coleman stares anxiously out of her kitchen window while a storm rages outside. When the knock comes, she glances back at her daughters before opening the door with trembling hands…

NOW: Detective Kay Sharp vows to get to the bottom of a heart-breaking murder that has rocked Mount Chester. A single mother has been brutally killed in front of her three daughters. The youngest, three-year-old Erin is lying inches from the body, her pigtails loose, her face tear-stained. Eight-year-old Heather is discovered hiding under her bed. Sixteen-year-old Julie is nowhere to be found.

The first twenty-four hours are critical in child abductions, and the girls are the key to saving their missing sister. But Heather is in shock, unable to communicate, and all tiny Erin can say is “A monster came”. When Kay finds three suitcases lined up in the hallway, it’s clear that the family were about to run away. But why? And who were they trying to escape?

Thanks to her own past, Kay knows all about traumatic childhoods shrouded in tragedy, and she works around the clock to get justice for the orphaned girls. Turning the town upside down, she uncovers the shocking truth about their peaceful community: it’s home to a serial killer who preys on helpless girls. Faced with the most twisted case of her career, can she catch the monster before another innocent life is lost?

Think you know the meaning of gripping? Think again! Leslie Wolfe takes gripping to a whole new level. Fans of Lisa Regan, Robert Dugoni and Kendra Elliot will be totally addicted to this twist-filled page-turner.

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A quick rap against the dark window startled Cheryl.

1 – THE GUEST

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(@Bookouture, 19 August 2021, ebook, 352 pages, #ARC from the publisher via #NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed)

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This is a new author for me. I was gripped from the start. It’s clear after only a few pages that something very sinister is going on. Cheryl is packed and ready to leave. She knows someone is coming for them and they need to be gone. Who? Why? Julie has grown up with her mother’s paranoia and thinks it’s all just nonsense until someone comes to the door and darkness enters their lives. The book is told from different narrative points of view as Kay and her team try to solve Cheryl’s strange murder and discover if it’s linked to the body of a man, shot to death, found on the interstate not far from the crime scene. As the investigation gets going, Kay learns of a strange local legend about first daughters being taken and discovers many cases of kidnappings and disappearances similar to Julie’s going back more than fifty years. Just what the hell is going on in the town Kay grew up in?

Posted in 2021, ARC, Contemporary Fiction, Erin Kinsley, NetGalley, Novel, thriller

#Missing by @KinsleyErin

A MOTHER WALKS INTO THE SEA . . . AND NEVER COMES BACK. WHY?

One perfect summer day, mother of two Alice walks into the sea . . . and never comes back.

Her daughters – loyal but fragile Lily, and headstrong, long-absent Marietta – are forcibly reunited by her disappearance.

Meanwhile, with retirement looming, DI Fox investigates cold cases long since forgotten. And there’s one obsession he won’t let go: a tragic death twenty years before.

Can Lily and Marietta uncover what happened to their mother? Will Fox solve a mystery that has haunted him for decades? As their stories unexpectedly collide, long-buried secrets will change their lives in unimaginable ways.

A gripping and emotional new thriller perfect for fans of Cara Hunter, Heidi Perks, Claire Douglas and Linda Green.

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Ash grey on white, a herring gull drifts against the clear June sky.

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(@headlinepg, 24 June 2021, ebook, 352 pages, #ARC from the publisher via #NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed)

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I thought Missing was terrific. Missing starts in a dramatic fashion with tragedy at sea and I knew I was going to enjoy the book. Just why did Alice go into the sea that day? Is what happened an accident or by intent? I loved the way Lily and Marietta are reunited by grief as they try to understand exactly what happened to their mother and why. The author does a great job of exploring their complex relationship. Interwoven with their story are chapters that revolve around Fox involving a cold case, a chilling infanticide 20 years before. Just what does this have to do with Alice and her daughters? The author keeps you guessing until both stories collide and long hidden secrets shatter everything they knew about Alice, their own childhood and the man known as Uncle Simon. This is a terrific thriller.

Posted in 2021, Contemporary Fiction, Elizabeth Enfield, First Read, NetGalley, Novel

#AfterBeth by @lizzieenfield

On a beautiful late-summer’s morning, Cate Challoner’s daughter, Beth, heads to the beach with her best friend. The girls will spend the day flirting with boys and enjoying the thrill of being young. Beth is eighteen and soon leaving home for college. Her mother is already missing her.

That afternoon, the doorbell rings. Cate immediately knows something is wrong. CPR. Resuscitation. What do these words have to do with two teenagers enjoying an afternoon at the beach?

Cate’s daughter is her everything. Beth’s presence at home is inescapable. How can a child stop existing? How can a mother survive such loss? Can a shattered world be put back together?

***

‘I’m off now. See you later,’ Mum.

EVENTS UNFOLDING

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(@MichaelJBooks, 5 August 2021, ebook, 341 pages, copy from the publisher via #NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed)

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This is a new author for me. I really enjoyed After Beth; it tugged my heart in all the right places. The premise of the book isn’t new; a mother loses her barely-out-of-her-teens daughter in a tragic accident and the book focuses on a resulting grief and chaos. What makes After Beth stand out is that the whole book is told from Care’s POV, the mother so the readers gets close and intimate to her grief and loss and the devastating impact on her life. We are right with her as she stumbled through the aftermath and tries to find a way to heal. This is a real tear-jerker.

Posted in 2021, Camila Lackberg, Contemporary Fiction, NetGalley, Novel, thriller

Silver Tears by @camillalackberg

A gripping new novel from No. 1 international bestseller and Swedish crime sensation Camilla Lackberg

She is safe…

Faye Adelheim deserves the life she has. After fleeing from a violent marriage, she has built her business into a global brand and is living in a beautiful villa in Italy with her daughter.

Or so she thought…

But Faye’s life is turned upside down when her murderous ex-husband escapes from prison. Faye has no choice but to return home to confront him.

This will be the fight of her life…

Faye will do anything to keep her family safe. But when the dark secrets of her childhood come back to haunt her, she will have to battle like never before to stop her deepest fears from coming true…

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Faye switched on the Nespresso machine.

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(@HarperCollinsUK, 6 July 2021, ebook, 327 pages, copy from the publisher via #NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed)

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I’m a rabid fan of the author since I discovered her crime novels set in Fjällbacka. I enjoyed Faye’s first book, The Gilded Cage and wanted to find out what happened next. This book reveals Faye grew up in Fjällbacka which I can’t remember being in the first book. This delighted me for some reason. I love it when author’s link their books, even indirectly. Stephen King is a genius at this. The book moves between the present as Faye discovers that she hasn’t been as cautious as she believes she was and some of her actions have come gunning for her and her past in Fjällbacka when terrible events force her to take terrible actions. Like the author’s other novels, this is fast paced and engrossing.

Posted in 2021, Anna Stuart, ARC, Blog Tour, historical fiction, NetGalley, Novel

#TheSecretDiary by @annastuartbooks

Two women. One house. And a secret that spans decades…

The past merges with the present in an unforgettable, poignant story of love, loss and courage in this beautifully written story set between World War Two and the present day.

She steps into the room and it’s like going back in time.

Catapulting her right into the heart of the 1940s.

The spindle of the record player frozen and ready to play. The flowery wallpaper faded but intact. A soldier’s uniform pressed and hung on a door, coal still in the fireplace.

A floorboard creaks beneath her and she notices a small desk in the corner of the room. She opens the top drawer and runs her hands along the edges, something catching at her fingertips. A hidden compartment. And behind it, the soft edges of a book.

As she dusts it off, she can see it has a red leather covering, the pages yellowing with age. She realises it’s a diary. Some of the pages have been torn out. The first entry has 16th June 1945 printed in neat little letters at the top. Below it, in hurried, untidy script are the words:

‘My name is Nancy Jones. And I have a secret…’Fans of The Tattooist of AuschwitzThe Alice Network, and Lilac Girls will love this incredible tale of the amazing bravery and inspiring friendships of everyday women during World War Two that had the power to change history.

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Nancy sets down her hairbrush and looks at herself curiously in the elegant triple mirror.

PROLOGUE

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(@Bookouture, 3 August 2021, 337 pages, ebook, #ARC from the publisher via #NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed, #BlogTour 5 August 2021)

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I’ve read and loved other historical fiction by the author so was really looking forward to The Secret Diary. Thankfully, this is just as good as I hope it would be. I’ve become a real fan of historical fiction recently especially set in or around WWII. I loved the way the book moves through time and gradually reveals the links between past, present, both women and the house. I love books that use this kind of non-linear narrative and the author does a fantastic job of weaving both stories and gradually pulling them together. This is the kind of book where I couldn’t stop turning the pages because I was so engrossed. I had a great time with this.

Posted in 2021, ARC, Contemporary Fiction, Elizabeth Strout, NetGalley, Novel

#OhWilliam by @LizStrout

The Pulitzer Prize-winning, Booker-longlisted, bestselling author returns to her beloved heroine Lucy Barton in a luminous novel about love, loss, and the family secrets that can erupt and bewilder us at any point in life.

Lucy Barton is a successful writer living in New York, navigating the second half of her life as a recent widow and parent to two adult daughters. A surprise encounter leads her to reconnect with William, her first husband – and longtime, on-again-off-again friend and confidante. Recalling their college years, the birth of their daughters, the painful dissolution of their marriage, and the lives they built with other people, Strout weaves a portrait, stunning in its subtlety, of a tender, complex, decades-long partnership.

Oh William! captures the joy and sorrow of watching children grow up and start families of their own; of discovering family secrets, late in life, that alter everything we think we know about those closest to us; and the way people live and love, against all odds. At the heart of this story is the unforgettable, indomitable voice of Lucy Barton, who once again offers a profound, lasting reflection on the mystery of existence. ‘This is the way of life,’ Lucy says. ‘The many things we do not know until it is too late.’

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I would like to say a few things about my first husband, William.

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(@VikingBooks, 21 October 2021, ebook, 256 pages, #ARC from the publisher via #NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed)

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I’m a fan of the author and had read other books. I really enjoyed Lucy Barton so was looking forward to this. I thought it was a great book. The structure took a while to get used to as there are no chapters, just paragraph breaks and the past and present blend into each other in a sort of stream-of-consciousness style. Lucy is the narrator and carries the story of her life with William from the moment they met until now and the memories they share. You could say nothing really happens in the book but everything actually happens. I thought it was great.

Posted in 2021, ARC, Contemporary Fiction, NetGalley, Novel, samantha downing, thriller, Top Books

#ForYourOwnGood by @smariedowning

Double Sunday Times bestseller Samantha Downing, author of My Lovely Wife and He Started It, is back with a deliciously twisted new novel…

Teddy Crutcher has won Teacher of the Year at the prestigious Belmont Academy. Everyone thinks he’s brilliant. Only you know the truth.

They all smile when he tells us his wife couldn’t be more proud – though if they stopped to think, they would realise no-one has seen her in a while.

They’re impressed when he doesn’t let anything distract him – even the tragic death of a school parent. Even when the whispers start, saying it was murder.

You’re sure Teddy is hiding something about what happened that day. You’re sure you can prove it.

You just didn’t stop to think that when it comes to catching a killer, there’s no place more dangerous than just one step behind…

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Entitlement has a particular stench.

1

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(@MichaelJBooks, 19 August 2021, ebook, 400 pages, #ARC from the publisher via #NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed)

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I’ve enjoyed other books by the author so was looking forward to For Your Own Good. This is different from her other books, in a good way. I had a fantastic time reading it. This is the kind of intense, fast paced twisty thriller I love. I thought I knew what was going on and who the killer actually was but then something seemingly random would happen and my theory was blown out of the water. I loved the way there were so many suspects in the tragedies even though it’s clear fairly early on who the guilty party is, this knowledge didn’t retract from my enjoyment, in fact watching the killer discombobulate while trying to ‘fix’ the mess they made and only making it worse was a pleasure. I loved this book.

Posted in 2021, ARC, Blog Tour, Contemporary Fiction, First Read, Kerry Fisher, NetGalley, Novel

#OtherPeoplesMarriages by @KerryFSwayne

As I stood at my own birthday party, listening to my husband’s speech about me, I could no longer silence the thought that had started as a low-level hum five years ago and built until I could no longer ignore it… I had to leave him.

After decades of putting her family first, Steph has realised that the only way to complete her own happiness is to break her family apart. As she stands amongst friends, celebrating her birthday, she knows that she cannot stay with her husband Mal. But she is painfully aware that the one friend missing from the party is the most important one: Evie. The one who could give Steph the support she needs to embark on a new chapter of her life. The one she hasn’t spoken to for over twenty years since a sunny weekend on a holiday beach, when Steph and Evie said things to each other that could never be unsaid.

As Steph considers whether or not she can leave Mal, she receives a letter from Evie, seeking a reunion and a way to repair the friendship. But this reunion threatens to reveal a secret that could destroy two families.

From the bestselling author of The Silent Wife and The Woman I Was BeforeOther People’s Marriages is a heart-breaking and redemptive read about the lies we tell to keep our loved ones close. Perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult, Liane Moriarty and Diane Chamberlain.

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There’s a special art of melancholy that comes with big milestone birthdays.

STEPH, 5 MAY 2018

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(@Bookouture, 16 July 2021, 294 pages, ebook, #ARC from the publisher via #NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed, #BlogTour 16 July 2021, #booksontour)

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This is a new author for me. This is a bit different from the books I usually read and I felt like a change of pace. This is a family drama about three women who meet at a baby group in 1984 and the paths their lives take across the following years. The book opens with Steph who starts to question her life, her marriage and the choices she’s made as her 60th birthday approaches. I enjoyed the way the book moves between past and present across different timelines. These shifts are signposted well so I never got lost. I was impressed by the characters in the novel and how they are developed. They were complex and well written so really came to life for me. I found this a well-written and compelling read. It’s well worth a look.

Posted in 2021, Claire McKenna, Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, NetGalley, Novel, Steampunk

Deepwater King by @mckenna_claire

The sensational follow up to MONSTROUS HEART, a magical tale of intrigue on dark waters and a love story for the ages. The perfect gothic, gaslamp fantasy – ideal for fans of V.E. Schwab and China Mieville.

Since losing her great love to the Queen of the Sainted Isles, Arden must fulfil an impossible promise before she can return home – she must complete the dangerous Rite that will return Jonah’s spirit to the abyssal Court of the Deepwater King.

This sets her off on a journey far out at sea to find believers of the old religion on the oil-slick and mysterious islands beyond the horizon. But such a responsibility will not come without sacrifice, for the Deepwater folk who worship the King require the most desperate payments the soul, and with one man Arden may have to pay the greatest price of all…

Astonishingly original, with world-building to rival the depths of the ocean, McKenna has drawn a rich tale of longing and courage – penning the perfect oceanic steampunk fantasy.

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The history goes like this.

THE SAINT OF THE ISLANDS

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(@HarperVoyagerUK, 24 June 2021, ebook, 352 pages, copy from the publisher via #NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed)

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I loved the first book, Monstrous Heart and couldn’t wait to read this next volume and now I look forward to the conclusion of the trilogy. Deepwater King picks up not long after the first book ends with Arden determined to perform the ritual to return Jonah’s spit to the court of his Deepwater King. After what happened in the first book it doesn’t take a genius to realise it’s not going to be as simple as that with so many forces aligned against Arden not least his wife Bellis, gone mad with power determined to bring the whole world to it’s knees before her or Jonah’s cousin, the only person Bellis fears. I loved the impressive world building in the book which carries on from the first book. I had a great time with this book.