Monday, 24 January 2022

The Couple At The Table by Sophie Hannah BLOG TOUR @sophiehannahCB1 @HodderBooks @JennyPlatt90 #TheCoupleAtTheTable #BookReview

 


SIX COUPLES. ONE LUXURY RESORT. AND THE PERFECT MURDER . . .

You're on your honeymoon at an exclusive couples-only resort.

You receive a note warning you to 'Beware of the couple at the table nearest to yours'. At dinner that night, five other couples are present, and none of their tables is any nearer or further away than any of the others. It's as if someone has set the scene in order to make the warning note meaningless - but why would anyone do that?

You have no idea.

You also don't know that you're about to be murdered, or that once you're dead, all the evidence will suggest that no one there that night could possibly have committed the crime.

So who might be trying to warn you? And who might be about to commit the perfect murder?


The Couple At The Table by Sophie Hannah is published in hardback on 27 January 2022 by Hodder & Stoughton. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this blog tour. 



It's been a while since I read a Sophie Hannah novel and I went into this one with a sense of high anticipation, and finished it with a feeling of joy. It's a book that will make the reader grimace, smile, give a wry snort every now and again, and delivers a hugely enjoyable reading experience. What fun this has been! 

The style is very much Golden Age of Crime, but in an up-to-date and very modern setting. It's a kind of locked-room mystery, but there are no locks on the doors. It's packed with a cast of characters who are superbly crafted; not many of them are particularly likeable, but they are all individual and a bit odd! 

Set in Tevenden Estate, an exclusive resort where luxury is the norm and centring on a group of couples who are all there for different reasons, the actual story begins a few months after the events. 

Lucy, one of the guests at the resort writes a letter to the as yet, unknown killer of Jane - another guest. Jane was murdered whilst they were all staying at Tevenden. The intricacies of the relationships of some of the guests are finely wound. Jane was there on honeymoon, with her new husband. Lucy is the ex-wife of Jane's new husband ....
Also on holiday there are another married couple; police officers Simon Waterhouse and Charlie Zailer. 

Jane had received some threatening notes before her death, but who sent them?

Hannah expertly builds the story, nipping back and forth, bring the reader up to date with the current position in the investigations and then going back to the actual events, dripping clues and multiple red herrings along the way. The cast of characters are a bit bonkers, to put it politely. Lucy is like a dog with a bone and investigating officer Simon couldn't be more determined (and grumpy) if he tried!

Sophie Hannah always brings something a little different to her stories. She's the master of the quirky character and excels at creating a web of a plot that lures the reader in and traps them, right up to the final page. 

Hugely enjoyable and recommended by me.  





SOPHIE HANNAH is an internationally bestselling crime fiction writer. 

Her psychological thriller 
The Carrier won the Specsavers National Book Award for Crime Thriller of the Year in 2013.
Sophie is the author of the bestselling Poirot continuation mysteries.  
The Point of Rescue and The
Other Half Lives have been adapted for television as Case Sensitive, starring Olivia Williams and
Darren Boyd. 
Sophie is also a bestselling poet who has been shortlisted for the TS Eliot award.
Her poetry is studied at GCSE and A-level. Sophie is an Honorary Fellow of Lucy Cavendish
College, Cambridge. 
She lives in Cambridge with her family.






Friday, 21 January 2022

Anything Could Happen by Lucy Diamond @LDiamondAuthor @QuercusBooks #AnythingCouldHappen #BookReview

 


For Lara and her daughter Eliza, it has always been just the two of them. But when Eliza turns eighteen and wants to connect with her father, Lara is forced to admit a secret that she has been keeping from her daughter her whole life.

Eliza needs answers - and so does Lara. Their journey to the truth will take them on a road trip across England and eventually to New York, where it all began. Dreams might have been broken and opportunities missed, but there are still surprises in store...

Anything Could Happen is a warm, wise, funny and uplifting novel about love, second chances and the unexpected and extraordinary paths life can take us down.


Anything Could Happen by Lucy Diamond was published in hardback by Quercus on 6 January 2022. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 



This review was originally published in S Magazine (16 Jan 2022)

Eliza has just turned 18 and although she hasn't seen her father Steve in years, she now wants to reconnect with him. However, when they eventually meet, Steve drops a bombshell. Her real father is a man called Ben who her mother Lara spent a night with in New York, but never saw again. 

Lara didn't tell Ben about her pregnancy so, when headstrong Eliza determines to track him down, she dreads admitting the truth. 

When the three eventually meet, their lives change forever. They embark on a shared journey of discovery and revisit old haunts, culminating in mother and daughter taking a trip to the Big Apple where the story began - and where Lara and Ben thought it ended 18 years ago. 

With a stark contrast between Lara and Eliza's quiet life in Scarborough, and Ben's lively family life, there are poignant moments showing how differently Lara and Ben's story might have turned out. But these are balanced out by Lucy Diamond's funny and heartwarming storytelling. 

It's a touching, feelgood story to escape into, full of love, hope and joy. 



Lucy Diamond grew up in Nottingham and went to university in Leeds where she studied English
Literature. After graduating, she lived in Oxford, London and Brighton, working in publishing and at the BBC. She now lives in beautiful Bath where she writes full-time.

As a Sunday Times bestselling author with sixteen novels, two digital novellas and a Quick Read under her belt, Lucy writes with warmth and honesty about the joy and surprises, as well as the complications, that love, family and friendships can bring. Her seventeenth novel, Anything Could Happen, is out as an ebook this December and published in hardback January 2022.

Lucy's website is www.lucydiamond.co.uk She is on Twitter @LDiamondAuthor, has a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/LucyDiamondAuthor and is on instagram @lucydiamondwrites.






Thursday, 20 January 2022

Fairest Creatures by Karen Taylor BLOG TOUR @karen_taylor7 @leamingtonbooks #FairestCreatures @RandomTTours #BookReview


Looks to die for. A serial killer's dark obsession with the preservation of beauty sees him return to stalk the streets of Penzance in the summer of 2019. 

It's 23 years since his first victims went missing, setting DI Brandon Hammett on the hunt for the Sleeping Beauty Killer. 

A beautiful woman is being held captive in an unknown location. Although not physically injured, she is manacled to a chair in a darkened, sinister dining room. Her captor is polite but menacing. Her female companions silent spectators. 

When a glass box is found in Prussia Cove, containing a conch and the ear of a missing beauty, a murder investigation is launched. 

Is the Sleeping Beauty Killer back? Or is this a copycat killing? 

What's clear is an evasive, clever killer is at large, presenting DI Brandon Hammett with a deadly race against time


Fairest Creatures by Karen Taylor was published on 15 October 2021 by Leamington Books. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this #RandomThingsTours blog tour.



Fairest Creatures is a sinister, dark and very creepy serial killer story that is quite challenging in places, but always engrossing.

Penzance in Cornwall is a beautiful place and the discovery of bizarre and quite terrifying objects that point to a killer whose first victims were killed over twenty years ago darkens the mood of the community.  Is the Sleeping Beauty Killer really back? Is there someone out there who is copying the historical crimes? Where and when will he strike next?

I loved the structure of this novel. The author date stamps each chapter and these are narrated in turn by various characters. The most chilling of these is 'Creature'; where an unnamed woman is being held against her will, surrounded by dead women, and doing her very best to stay one step ahead of her captor. 

Also narrating is Brandon; the Detective Inspector in charge of the enquiry. Brandon was not around when the Sleeping Beauty Killer was originally on the loose, he's American, and only been in Cornwall for a few years. 

I've been really impressed by the construction of the novel; the plot is engaging and clever and the characters are really well drawn. The multiple narrators allows the reader to gain more insight into each character and what makes them tick. Coupled with the fabulous sense of place, with the Cornish seascape taking centre place at times, this really is an intelligently written thriller with a lot of depth.

Unpredictable, sometimes shocking, and with a hint of humour too. Recommended by me. 


Karen Taylor is a University of East Anglia alumni crime writer whose latest novel Fairest Creatures was long listed for the 2020 Crime Writers' Association Debut Dagger.

Before turning to crime, Karen wrote a series of children’s books and short stories. Her middle grade Sci-Fi novel Turbulence was shortlisted at the Winchester Writers Festival, alongside a novella and a short story. Her YA thriller Off The Rails won her a place in the Dragon’s Den at the London Book Fair in 2016.

Born and based in London, Karen is also a journalist and editor with wide ranging experience, covering anything from business to lifestyle. She's worked on trade, corporate and association publications, run international news teams, and contributed to newspapers and magazines including The Financial Times, The London Evening Standard, The London Magazine, The Independent, and The Far Eastern Economic Review. Her first thriller The Trade, published by Endeavour Press, was inspired by her globe-trotting years as a commodity markets reporter.





Should I Tell You? by Jill Mansell #PublicationDay @JillMansell @headlinepg #ShouldITellYou #BookReview


Amber, Lachlan and Raffaele met as teenagers in the Cornish seaside home of kind-hearted foster parents. Years on, the bond between them is unbreakable

But Amber has a secret. She's in love with Lachlan. She can't tell him, because that would never work - he's definitely not the settling-down type. Surely it's better to keep him as a friend than to risk losing him for good?

Raffaele has his own dilemma. He had the dream girlfriend in Vee, until it all went horribly wrong . . . and he still can't understand why. Is Vee hiding something from him?

Now their widowed foster dad Teddy has found new love. Younger, charming and beautiful, Olga seems perfect. But is she? Or will she break Teddy's fragile heart?

Against a backdrop of sparkling seas and sunny skies, the unexpected is always just around the corner. Welcome to Lanrock!


Should I Tell You? by Jill Mansell is published in hardback today; 20 January 2022 by Headline. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 


This review was originally published in S Magazine (16 Jan 2022)

Amber, Lachlan and Raffaele were fostered by the loving May and Teddy and grew up in Lanrock, Cornwall. Now in their thirties, all three are back living in the idyllic seaside town.

Amber owns a stained-glass studio, Raffaele has opened a hair salon and Lachlan is wowing the locals with his fine-dining restaurant. 

Their beloved foster mother May has sadly died, but, after much encouragement, Teddy books a cruise around the Mediterranean. Not only does he see new countries, also meets Olga. Since this glamorous Russian is much younger than Teddy, his foster children fear she's more interested in his wallet than his heart. 

Amber, Lachlan and Raffaele have their own romantic complications to deal with too. Raffaele is trying to get over a difficult break up. Amber has fallen hard for Lachlan and yearns to tell him how she feels. But she's scared of ruining their friendship and, anyway, he's tangled up in 'friends with benefits' relationships. Will any of them find the courage to declare their feelings?

Jill Mansell is the queen of feelgood romance but, while this is a book to make readers smile, she also tackles serious issues such as how past trauma affects present lives.

This is a witty, heartwarming story of friendship, family and enduring love. 



Jill Mansell’s books are full of love, life and friendship and have been bringing joy to readers for twenty-five years. She started writing fiction while working in the NHS, after joining a local creative writing class. She has since written over twenty Sunday Times bestsellers, including MAYBE THIS TIME, THIS COULD CHANGE EVERYTHING and YOU AND ME, ALWAYS, and her books have sold over 11 million copies around the world.

Jill's hobbies include buying stationery, particularly magical new colours of ink for the fountain pen she uses to write all her books – Jill is one of the few authors who still write their books by hand. Jill also loves people-watching and finding new characters to put in her novels. So when you’re out, make sure to always be on your best behaviour. And beware of beady-eyed authors carrying notebooks . . .

Jill keeps in touch with her readers on Twitter - @JillMansell - and Facebook - /OfficialJillMansell - Instagram @jillmansell





Wednesday, 19 January 2022

The Queen's Lady by Joanna Hickson #TheQueensLady @joannahickson #Giveaway @HarperCollinsUK @SusannaPeden #Prize #Win

 


Raven-haired and fiercely independent, Joan Guildford has always remained true to herself.

As lady-in-waiting and confidante to Queen Elizabeth, wife of Henry VII, Joan understands royal patronage is vital if she and her husband, Sir Richard, are to thrive in the volatile atmosphere of court life.

But Tudor England is in mourning following the death of the Prince of Wales, and within a year, the queen herself. With Prince Henry now heir to the throne, the court murmurs with the sound of conspiracy. Is the entire Tudor project now at stake or can young Henry secure the dynasty?

Drawn into the heart of the crisis, Joan’s own life is in turmoil, and her future far from secure. She faces a stark choice – be true to her heart and risk everything, or play the dutiful servant and watch her dreams wither and die. For Joan, and for Henry’s Kingdom, everything is at stake…



The Queen's Lady by Joanna Hickson is published in hardback on 20 January 2022 by HarperCollins.

I'm delighted to offer one hardback copy of the book as a prize in this giveaway today. Entry is simple, just fill out the competition widget in this blog post. UK entries only please. 

Good Luck! 


One copy of The Queen's Lady by Joanna Hickson





Joanna Hickson spent twenty five years presenting and producing News and Arts programmes for the BBC. 

Her first published book was a children’s historical novel Rebellion at Orford Castle but more recently she has turned to adult fiction, concentrating on bringing fifteenth century English history and some of its fascinating principal characters to life.

She is married with a large family and gets inspiration from her Wiltshire farmhouse home, which dates back to her chosen period.










Friday, 14 January 2022

Unfaithful by J L Butler BLOG TOUR #Unfaithful @tasminaperry @fictionpubteam @RandomTTours #BookReview

 


A FATAL attraction…

Rachel Reeves has it all. The perfect family, a rich husband, and a gorgeous home. But when her only child flies the nest, Rachel feels lost – and succumbs to a mind-blowing one-night stand.

With a DEADLY twist…

Instantly regretting her infidelity, Rachel cuts ties with Chris. But he won’t let her go that easily. She erases him from her life – until a text changes everything.

And an UNFORGETTABLE end…

Someone knows what she did.

And they’re ready to destroy her entire life because of it.


Unfaithful by J L Butler was published in paperback on 6 January 2022 by HarperCollins. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour 


JL Butler is the pseudonym for Tasmina Perry, well known for her steamy novels that have kept me company on many a beach holiday. I've always enjoyed her writing, it reminds me of the greats from days past; Judith Krantz, Shirley Conran et al.

I hadn't realised that JL Butler is the same author writing psychological thrillers, and was really interested to se just how she would do this. 

Unfaithful is a rollicking ride of a story and kept me totally entertained throughout. It's a tale of betrayal and obsession, set amongst the privileged and wealthy people in London. It moves at a decent pace, although I did feel that there were parts that could have moved faster. However, the final few chapters are utterly nail biting and I had a definite jaw dropping moment, more than once. 

Rachel Reeves seems to have the perfect life, with her wealthy husband, a daughter who is off to university and a beautiful home.  However, she's restless. Rachel gave up her job as an editor when she had Rachel and has not worked out of the home since then. She's ready to go back out there and her well-connected friend Serena engineers an invitation to a publisher launch party, in the hope that Rachel can get a foot back in the door. 

She certainly does. She's offered a job, on the strength of her previous publishing success, almost immediately. The party was a good idea. However, a new job is not all that Rachel gets that night. She also comes across an old flame and it becomes clear that it doesn't take much for their fire to reignite.

Rachel immediately regrets her hasty decision and does all that she can to forget. It's not so easy though, as she begins to receive texts and messages. All sorts of strange things begin to happen to her. She's scared (so was I), and she's not sure what to do. 

I didn't really like Rachel!  I'm not sure if the reader is supposed to, and it makes no difference to me at all, I'm a fan of a flawed character to be fair. She makes some strange and hasty decisions, she hides things and she panics, but oh my goodness, the author has created her so well. The tension builds quickly and we are never sure who is behind Rachel's terror. All I can say is that I had no inkling of the truth, and Rachel certainly doesn't either! 

I particularly enjoyed the setting and getting a glimpse into the world of publishing; the sales meetings, the tactics, the parties, the authors to be cosseted and the constantly changing world of books. I think this adds another level to what is a entertaining and well structured story. 

Thrills, twists, glamour and red herrings a plenty. Enough to please any reader. 


J.L. Butler trained as a lawyer and journalist. 

J.L. Butler is the pseudonym for
international and Sunday Times bestseller, Tasmina Perry. 

Her books have been translated into seventeen languages and sold over two million copies worldwide.









Monday, 10 January 2022

Remember My Name by Sam Blake BLOG TOUR #RememberMyName @samblakebooks @CorvusBooks @RandomTTours #BookReview

 


If she'd turned off her phone, instead of listening in, perhaps no one would have died...

When Cressida Howard catches her entrepreneur husband playing away from home, she hires security expert Brioni O'Brien to get the evidence she needs for a speedy and financially rewarding divorce.

But what Brioni uncovers goes beyond simple infidelity. Because Laurence Howard is also in bed with some very dangerous people. Bribery and blackmail are the least of his worries as someone comes after the women in his life - someone who is out to destroy Laurence and his empire, whatever the cost.

And Cressida and her teenage daughter could soon be collateral damage, if she and Brioni don't act fast.


Remember My Name by Sam Blake was published in paperback on 6 January 2022 by Corvus Books. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour 



This is the first book by Sam Blake that I've read, but it certainly won't be the last! It's a tense, exhausting at times, roller-coaster of a thriller that I enjoyed so very much. 

At first, this appears to be a regular 'domestic noir' story as wealthy Cressida Howard overhears her husband speak affectionately to a woman only known as Nina. This is not the first time that Cressida has had her suspicions about Laurence. He's handsome, very wealthy, smart dressed and a smooth talker. However, this time, she is determined that she will find out the truth and ensure that if he is being unfaithful, she will get exactly the settlement that she deserves. After all, Cressida has been there from the beginning, supporting Laurence as he's built up the mega bucks business, creating a comfortable home and raising their seventeen-year-old daughter almost single handedly. 

Cressida engages the help of Brioni O'Brien; a security expert and sister of one of her friends. If anyone can find out the truth, Brioni can. She's adept at hacking and finding out information, and despite Laurence's own tech-based business, he's not the best when it comes to personal online security. 

Brioni finds out so much more expected. Laurence is not just a philanderer in regards to a pretty face, he's also up to his eyes in sleaze and corruption. There are big players involved here, from all over the globe, just not from Ireland, where they are based. It soon becomes clear that any woman who may be associated with Laurence is in danger, and that includes both Cressida and her daughter. 

Packed with tension, this is a story that takes the reader to places that they really don't expect. Mixed in with the wealth and the glamour, there's a grubby and quite dirty cast of players involved and most of them will stop at nothing to get what they want. 

Blake creates some fabulous female characters here, even those who are not on the right side of the law are difficult not to admire. Feisty, bold and not afraid to see a job through, they really take over the story. 

Remember My Name is an addictive read, it's certainly one of those 'just one more chapter' type of reads. It's a compelling, twisty story that kept me gripped. Recommended by me. 



Sam Blake has been writing fiction since her husband set sail across the Atlantic for eight weeks and she had an idea for a book. 

Her debut novel, Little Bones, was No 1 in Ireland for four weeks, and was nominated for Irish Crime Novel of the Year. 

Her standalone psychological thriller, Keep Your Eyes On Me, went straight to No 1 and its follow-up, The Dark Room was an Eason Ireland No 1 for three weeks. 

Sam is originally from St. Albans in Hertfordshire but has lived at the foot of the Wicklow mountains for more years than she lived in the UK.

Follow her on social @samblakebooks

Visit www.samblakebooks.com for news and events and get a bonus free short story in audio & text when you subscribe to her newsletter.