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.




Friday, 7 January 2022

Bitter Flowers by Gunnar Staalesen BLOG TOUR #BitterFlowers #GunnarStaalesen @OrendaBooks #VargVeum #NordicNoir

 


PI Varg Veum has returned to duty following a stint in rehab, but his new composure and resolution are soon threatened when a challenging assignment arrives on his desk.

A man is found dead in an elite swimming pool and a young woman has gone missing. Most chillingly, Varg Veum is asked to investigate the ‘Camilla Case’: an eight-year-old cold case involving the disappearance of a little girl, who was never found.

As the threads of these apparently unrelated crimes come together, against the backdrop of a series of shocking environmental crimes, Varg Veum faces the most challenging, traumatic investigation of his career.


Bitter Flowers by Gunnar Staalesen is published in paperback by Orenda Books on 20 January 2022. It is translated by Don Bartlett.  
I am delighted to be able to offer one paperback copy of Bitter Flowers today as a giveaway. Entry is simple, just fill out the competition widget in this post.  UK entries only please.

GOOD LUCK! 













 
One of the fathers of Nordic Noir, Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway, in 1947. 

He made his debut at the age of twenty-two with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. 
He is the author of over twenty titles, which have been published in twenty-four countries and sold over four million copies. 
Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Espen Seim. Staalesen has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour) and Where Roses Never Die won the 2017 Petrona Award for Nordic Crime Fiction, and Big Sister was shortlisted in 2019. 
He lives with his wife in Bergen.




Don Bartlett completed an MA in Literary Translation at the University of East Anglia in 2000 and has since worked with a wide variety of Danish and Norwegian authors, including Jo Nesbø and Gunnar Staalesen’s Varg Veum series: We Shall Inherit the Wind, Wolves in the Dark and the Petrona award-winning Where Roses Never Die. 

He also translated Faithless, the previous book in Kjell Ola Dahl’s Oslo Detective series for Orenda Books. 

He lives with his family in a village in Norfolk.








Thursday, 6 January 2022

Wahala by Nikki May BLOG TOUR #Wahala @NikkiOMay @DoubledayUK @RandomTTours #BookReview

 


Ronke, Simi, Boo are three mixed-race friends living in London.

They have the gift of two cultures, Nigerian and English.

Not all of them choose to see it that way.

Everyday racism has never held them back, but now in their thirties, they question their future. Ronke wants a husband (he must be Nigerian); Boo enjoys (correction: endures) stay-at-home motherhood; while Simi, full of fashion career dreams, rolls her eyes as her boss refers to her urban vibe yet again.

When Isobel, a lethally glamorous friend from their past arrives in town, she is determined to fix their futures for them.

Cracks in their friendship begin to appear, and it is soon obvious Isobel is not sorting but wrecking. When she is driven to a terrible act, the women are forced to reckon with a crime in their past that may just have repeated itself.

Explosive, hilarious and wildly entertaining, this razor-sharp tale of love, race and family will have you laughing, crying and gasping in horror. Fearlessly political about class, colourism and clothes, the spellbinding Wahala is for anyone who has ever cherished friendship, in all its forms.


Wahala by Nikki May is published today; 6 January 2022 by Doubleday. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this #RandomThingsTours blog tour.



I adored this book, it's an education, an entertainment and for me, it was the absolute perfect read. 

I'm a fifty-something woman who has spent her life living in rural, northern England. Whilst my area does have a large Eastern European population, there are very few black people here. I don't think I've ever met anyone from a Nigerian heritage, but oh my goodness, Nikki May has taught me so much through the lives of her four main characters. 

Ronke, Simi and Boo are all mixed-race, with both English and Nigerian heritage, they live in London and are good friends. With varied personal backgrounds, their upbringings have been very different but they share an unbreakable tie to Nigeria, especially through food and language. Isobel and Simi went to school together and haven't really been in touch for years. Isobel's marriage has broken down and she's back, and the impact of her arrival on the other three women is astounding. 

The toxicity that can pervade female friendships is rife in this story. Isobel is a manipulator who has her own hidden agenda, and the damage that she causes whilst pursuing her goal is immense. 

At times this is hilarious and at others it is achingly sad. There were scenes that make for very uncomfortable reading, especially for white readers, as the women recall times when the colour of their skin has made white people jump to pretty ignorant conclusions about them. We have a lot to learn and a lot to change in this country! 

Each of the characters are beautifully and sensitively portrayed, from the leads, right through to those who only have a minor role in the story. I felt as though I had become part of the gang and I would relish a night out with these girls .. the food, the laughs, the honesty and the loyalty. Although, I'll pass on a date with Isobel! 

May writes with a precise sharpness that is so damn good. She manages to combine an overwhelming air of tension with a modern, totally relevant story of women, London, class, race and food. 

I cannot wait to see this one on screen and am desperate to read more from this very talented author. Highly recommended. 




Born in Bristol and raised in Lagos, Nikki May is Anglo-Nigerian. 

At twenty, she dropped out of medical school, moved to London, and began a career in advertising, going on to run a successful agency.
Her debut novel WAHALA was inspired by a long lunch with friends.

It will be published around the world and is due to be turned into a major TV serial.

Nikki lives in Dorset with her husband and two standard Schnauzers.

www.nikki-may.com

Twitter @NikkiOMay

Instagram @nikkimaywriter




Tuesday, 4 January 2022

Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka #NotesOnAnExecution @danyakukafka @Phoenix_Bks @alexxlayt @orionbooks #BookReview

 


Ansel Packer is scheduled to die in twelve hours.

He knows what he's done, and now awaits the same fate he forced on those girls, years ago. Ansel doesn't want to die; he wants to be celebrated, understood.

But this is not his story.

As the clock ticks down, three women uncover the history of a tragedy and the long shadow it casts. Lavender, Ansel's mother, is a seventeen-year-old girl pushed to desperation. Hazel, twin sister to his wife, is forced to watch helplessly as the relationship threatens to devour them all. And Saffy, the detective hot on his trail, is devoted to bringing bad men to justice but struggling to see her own life clearly.

This is the story of the women left behind.

Blending breathtaking suspense with astonishing empathy, Notes On An Execution presents a chilling portrait of womanhood as it unravels the familiar narrative of the American serial killer, interrogating our cultural obsession with crime stories, and asking readers to consider the false promise of looking for meaning in the minds of violent men.


Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka is published by Phoenix (an imprint of Orion) on 3 February 2022. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

It's the beginning of January but I know for certain that I've just read one of my top books of this year. This novel is extraordinary, it's sharp and gripping, filled with an empathy and understanding for the women who are so often forgotten in the cases of serial killers. 

Danya Kukafka makes it clear in her introduction to the novel that she is tired of the constant 'celebration' of serial killers. The names of the many many men who kill woman have become enshrined in our history. In the US there is Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy amongst others, whilst here in the UK, we all recognise the names of Peter Sutcliffe, Levi Bellfield and Fred West. What about the women? Not only the victims of these men, but the other women whose lives were shattered by the crimes?

Ansel Packer is a serial killer. He sits in his cell on death row, awaiting his execution. He is due to die in twelve hours. Ansel does not want to die and is certain that he will escape his fate. Once again, as has been the norm throughout his life, he has manipulated a woman who he thinks will ensure his safety. 

Lavender is Ansel's mother. Hazel is Ansel's wife's twin sister and Saffy is the police detective who has dedicated her career to finding and imprisoning men who damage women. This is their story, this is a raw, unflinching account of how Ansel became the man that he is and how these three woman were part of that. 

There are parts of this narrative that are profoundly shocking, that may upset some readers, it is visceral and will invoke the strongest of reaction, but this is not done to shock. Ansel's behaviours, and the way he was treated, and has treated others is the hugest part of this story and needs to be told. 

The writing is exceptional, the tension is palpable and the creation of character is genius. This is totally different take on the usual serial killer crime novel and one that left me breathless by it's ingenuity and incredible compassion. 

Highly recommended by me. I urge everyone to pick this one up, you will not be disappointed. 


Danya Kukafka is the bestselling author of the novels NOTES ON AN EXECUTION and GIRL IN SNOW. 

She is a graduate of New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study. 

She works as a literary agent.



Instagram @danyakukafka








Monday, 3 January 2022

The Book of Sand by Theo Clare #TheBookOfSand @TheoClare1 @centurybooksuk #BookReview

 


SAND. A hostile world of burning sun.

Outlines of several once-busy cities shimmer on the horizon. Now empty of inhabitants, their buildings lie in ruins.

In the distance a group of people - a family - walk towards us.

Ahead lies shelter: a 'shuck' the family call home and which they know they must reach before the light fails, as to be out after dark is to invite danger and almost certain death.

To survive in this alien world of shifting sand, they must find an object hidden in or near water. But other families want it too. And they are willing to fight to the death to make it theirs.

It is beginning to rain in Fairfax County, Virginia when McKenzie Strathie wakes up. An ordinary teenage girl living an ordinary life - except that the previous night she found a sand-lizard in her bed, and now she's beginning to question everything around her, especially who she really is ...

Two very different worlds featuring a group of extraordinary characters driven to the very limit of their endurance in a place where only the strongest will survive.


The Book of Sand by Theo Clare is published in hardback by Century on 6 January 2022. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

Theo Clare is the name that the late Mo Hayder chose to write The Book of Sand, the first in a fantasy trilogy. I have to admit that this story really took me out of my comfort zone, I very rarely read fantasy fiction and am not best placed to compare this with others from the genre. However, I was intrigued enough to continue to read this and there is no doubt that it is an incredible achievement. The writing pulls the reader in, it is such a cleverly created story, with characters who entranced me at times.

It's a huge book, the hardback copy has 600 pages and I do think that I would have preferred it to be cut a little, but I know that fantasy readers love a fat juicy tome and I think the target audience for this will love it. 

The story begins with two separate time lines. The first is set in 'the sand', where a group of people who consider themselves a family, although not related are trekking through a desert. Each member of this family is created well, with their own thoughts and background memories for the reader to learn about. 

In an alternative time line, Mackenzie, a young American girl spends time in her bedroom, visited by lizard like creatures, becoming obsessed by the elements of the desert and worrying her family. 

I had no idea how these two stories would blend together, but they do, in the end and it's really quite cleverly done. 

There's such a lot to take in throughout this novel. Whole new worlds to learn about, and to remember and a plot that often veers toward the spiritual. It's a book that obviously took a long time to create and one that needs a lot of concentration, it's something of a challenge at times. 

However, I'm not a regular fantasy reader, and it's fair to say that my experience of this book will differ from that of others. I'm certainly glad that I read it, it's been something of an adventure! 


THEO CLARE left school at fifteen. 

She worked as a barmaid, security guard, filmmaker, hostess in a Tokyo club, educational administrator and teacher of English as a foreign language in Asia. 
She had an MA in film from The American University in Washington, DC and an MA in creative writing from Bath Spa University, UK. 

She wrote crime novels under the name Mo Hayder, and her fifth novel Ritual was nominated for the Barry Award for Best Crime 2009 and was voted Best Book of 2008 by Publishers Weekly. 
Gone, her seventh novel, won the Edgar Allan Poe Award, and her novel Wolf was nominated for Best Novel in the 2015 Edgar Awards and is currently being adapted for the BBC. 

Set primarily in an alternate universe, her most recent novel, The Book of Sand, is published posthumously in early 2022. 

Theo Clare was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in December 2020 and passed away in July 2021. 

She leaves behind a husband and daughter, a powerful legacy of books, and an incredible number of people who loved and admired her.