Book Review: Hostage by Clare Mackintosh

“You can save hundreds of lives. Or the one that matters most.”

Set to be released on 22nd June, Hostage by Clare Mackintosh is a claustrophobic thriller set over twenty hours on one aeroplane flight. Mina is trying to focus on her job as a flight attendant, not the problems of her five-year-old daughter back home, or the fissures in her marriage. But the plane has barely taken off when Mina receives a chilling note from an anonymous passenger, someone intent on ensuring the plane never reaches its destination. Someone who needs Mina’s assistance and who knows exactly how to make her comply. It’s twenty hours to landing. A lot can happen in twenty hours.

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BLOG TOUR: Fragile by Sarah Hilary

“Everything she touches breaks…”

Published on 10th June, Fragile by Sarah Hilary follows runaway Nell Ballard, a former foster child with a dark secret. All Nell wants is to find a place she can belong. So when a job comes up at Starling Villas, home to the enigmatic Robin Wilder, she seizes the opportunity with both hands. But her new lodgings may not be the safe haven that she was hoping for. Her employer lives by a set of rigid rules and she soon sees he is hiding secrets of his own. But is Nell’s arrival at the Villas really the coincidence it seems? After all, she knows more than most how fragile people can be – and how easily they can be to break…

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BLOG TOUR: Murder By The Bottle by Ed Whitfield

“Homicidal Thoughts? Don’t bottle them up – buy the year’s most exciting psychological thriller. A killer read you’ll never forget.”

The debut book by Ed Whitfield, released on 17th June, Murder By The Bottle follows Keir Rothwell, an angry young man, spurned by his lover and mentor and removed from his art school for an inappropriate installation at the end of year show. Determined this will not be the end of his artistic endeavours, he gets a new job in a local wine shop that gives him a creative outlet, a chance to turn shop floor drudgery into an original work of art. But his wine critiques mock the shop’s clientele and tension builds on both sides of the counter. When his new project is threatened, conflict becomes murder and long-buried secrets threaten to destroy the artist. But Keir Rothwell will not be undone.

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Book Review: False Witness by Karin Slaughter

“You thought no one saw you. You were wrong.”

Set to be released on 24th June, False Witness by Karin Slaughter follows defence attorney Leigh Collier who has worked hard to build what looks like a normal life. She has a good job, a daughter doing well in school, and even her divorce is relatively civilised – her life is just as unremarkable as she’d always hoped it would be. But Leigh’s ordinary life masks a childhood that was far from average; a childhood tarnished by secrets, broken by betrayal, and finally torn apart by a devastating act of violence.

Then, a case lands on her desk – defending a wealthy man accused of rape. It’s the highest-profile case she’s ever been given – a case that could transform her career–if she wins. But when she meets the accused, she realises that it’s no coincidence that he’s chosen her as his attorney. She knows him. And he knows her. More to the point, he knows what happened twenty years ago. And unless they stop him, he’s going to tear their lives apart.

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Book Review: An Eye For An Eye (Detective Kate Young #1) by Carol Wyer

“A killer running rings around the police. A detective spiralling out of control.”

The first book in Carol Wyer‘s Detective Kate Young series which was released earlier this year, An Eye For An Eye follows DI Kate Young who is currently on leave from her job after experiencing a trauma at work after a bad judgement call leads to a narrowly averted public disaster. Her bosses know she needs a rest, but she’s the force’s best detective, and they need her input on a recent murder case. With a new ruthlessness, she sets about tracking down a clinical, calculating serial killer who is torturing victims and leaving clues to taunt the police. As she works to uncover the truth, she unravels a network of secrets and lies, with even those closest to her having something to hide. But with her grip on reality called into question, can she unmask the killer before they strike again?

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Book Review: The Vacation by John Marrs

“How far would you run to escape your past?”

The 2021 re-release of Welcome To Whoever You Are, The Vacation is set on Venice Beach, Los Angeles, where tourists flock to the golden coast and the promise of Hollywood. But for eight strangers at a beachfront hostel, there is far more on their mind than an extended vacation. All of them are running from something. And they all have secrets they’d kill to keep…

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Book Review: The First Day Of Spring by Nancy Tucker

“I killed a little boy today. Held my hands around his throat, felt his blood pump hard against my thumbs. He wriggled and kicked and one of his knees caught me in the belly, a sharp lasso of pain. I roared. I squeezed. Sweat made it slippy between our skins but I didn’t let go, pressed and pressed until my nails were white. It was easier than I thought it would be.”

Set to be released in hardback on 24th June, The First Day Of Spring by Nancy Tucker follows eight-year-old Chrissie who has just killed a two-year-old boy. Her playmates are tearful and their mothers are terrified, keeping them locked up indoors. Her secret gives her a fizzing, sherbet feeling in her belly. She doesn’t get to feel power like this at home, where food is scarce and attention scarcer.

Fifteen years later, Julia works in a fish and chip shop and tries to mother her five-year-old daughter, Molly. She is always worried – about affording food and school shoes, about what the other mothers think of her. Most of all she worries that the social services are about to take Molly away. That’s when the phone calls begin. Julia is too afraid to answer because it’s clear the caller knows the truth – that Julia is Chrissie, living under the new name given to her when she was released from prison eight years before.

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Book Review: The Binding by Bridget Collins

“We take memories and bind them. Whatever people can’t bear to remember. Whatever they can’t live with. We take those memories and put them where they can’t do any more harm. That’s all books are.”

Published in 2019, The Binding by Bridget Collins is set in a fantasy world, vaguely reminiscent of 19th-century England, in which people visit bookbinders to rid themselves of painful or treacherous memories. Once their stories have been told and are bound between the pages of a book, the slate is wiped clean and their memories lose the power to hurt or haunt them. After a mental collapse and no longer able to keep up with his farm chores, Emmett is sent to the workshop of one such binder to live and work as her apprentice. Leaving behind home and family, Emmett slowly regains his health while learning the binding trade. He is forbidden to enter the locked room where books are stored, so he spends many months marbling end pages, tooling leather book covers, and gilding edges. But his curiosity is piqued by the people who come and go from the inner sanctum, and the arrival of the lordly Lucian Darnay, with whom he senses a connection, changes everything.

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Book Review: Half A World Away by Mike Gayle

“Strangers living worlds apart. Strangers with nothing in common. But it wasn’t always that way…”

Released in 2019, Half A World Away by Mike Gayle follows Kerry Hayes, a single mum, living on a tough south London estate. She provides for her son by cleaning houses she could never hope to afford. Taken into care as a child, Kerry cannot ever forget her past. She decides to reach out to her brother who she lost on the day that they were torn apart as children. Noah is now a successful barrister with a beautiful wife, daughter and home in fashionable Primrose Hill. When Kerry reaches out to him, she sets in motion a chain of events that will have life-changing consequences for them both.

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BLOG TOUR: This Book Has Alpacas and Bears by Emma Perry (Author) and Rikin Parekh (Illustrator)

This Book Has Alpacas and Bears by Emma Perry (Author) and Rikin Parekh (Illustrator) follows Alfonso the Alpaca who wants to prove that everyone has something to be proud of. Alfonso loves nothing more than relaxing with a good book. Until one day, it dawns on him that there is not a single alpaca in any of them – just wall-to-wall bears! Something must be done, so Alfonso takes it upon himself to write a story about alpacas. But before long he realizes that it’s not so easy (especially when you only have feet) and soon he has to enlist the help of his friend Colin. A bear!

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Book Review: The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

“Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek Tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike—particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens.”

Set to be published on 10th June, The Maidens by Alex Michaelides follows Mariana, a group therapist struggling through her private grief, who returns to St Christopher’s College, Cambridge, the place where she met her late husband, to support her niece, Zoe, at the tragic scene of her best friend’s murder. As memory and mystery entangle Mariana, she grows curious about an exclusive set of students known as The Maidens. A group under the sinister influence of the enigmatic professor Edward Fosca. A man who seems to know more than anyone about the murders – and the victims. And the man who will become the prime suspect in Mariana’s investigation – an obsession which will unravel everything…

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Book Review: The Heatwave by Kate Riordan

“The place feels like an old lover I shouldn’t trust, trying to win me over again.”

The 2020 book by Kate Riordan, The Heatwave follows Sylvie Durand who receives a letter calling her back to her crumbling family home in the South of France. In the middle of a sweltering 1990’s summer marked by unusual fires across the countryside, she returns to La Reverie with her youngest daughter Emma in tow, ignoring the deep sense of dread she feels for this place she’s long tried to forget. As memories of the events that shattered their family a decade earlier threaten to come to the surface, Sylvie can’t escape the spectre of Elodie, her first child, and struggles to shield Emma from the truth of what really happened all those years ago.

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Book Review: The Street Party by Claire Seeber

“The party was supposed to be the highlight of the summer. If only I’d known that night would destroy our lives…”

Set to be released on 8th June, The Street Party by Claire Seeber focuses on the events leading up to, including and following a community party. All the neighbours are laughing, drinking, and getting along, as the night finishes with a spectacular fireworks show. But when most of the neighbours have returned home and gone to bed, something happens, and everyone saw something different. It’s one person’s word against another. But how can these neighbours find out what really happened that night without everyone finding out their own secrets?

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BLOG TOUR: Just Being Ted by Lisa Sheehan

Released in May 2021, Just Being Ted by Lisa Sheehan follows Ted the dragon who lives all alone in a big house, deep in the woods. He LOVES making things, spending his days baking cakes, painting pictures and creating costumes. There’s just one problem: he doesn’t have anyone to share his amazing creations with. Ted tries so hard to make friends with the other animals, but there’s something about his fiery breath and fearsome-looking claws that keeps putting them off. One day Ted notices a sign for a summer picnic party in the forest. The only trouble is that it’s for BEARS ONLY. Perhaps if he dresses up as a bear for the day they’ll let him in and he’ll make lots of new friends. What could possibly go wrong?

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Book Review: The Last Girl by Goldy Moldavsky

“The brain does curious things when suddenly presented with something it cannot comprehend.”

The Last Girl by Goldy Moldavsky, originally titled The Mary Shelley Club in the US, follows new girl Rachel Chavez who turns to horror movies for comfort, preferring them to the bored rich kids of her fancy New York High School. But then Rachel is recruited by the Mary Shelley Club, a mysterious student club that sets up terrifying Fear Tests; elaborate pranks inspired by urban legends and horror movies. But when a sinister masked figure appears, Rachel realises that her past has caught up with her. It’s time for the ultimate prank to play out…

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Book Review: The Boy From The Woods by Harlan Coben

“Memory makes demands that you often can’t keep. Memory is faulty because it insists on filling in the blanks.”

The 2020 book by Harlan Coben, The Boy From The Woods follows a man with a mysterious past who must find a missing teenage girl. Thirty years ago, Wilde was found as a boy living feral in the woods, with no memory of his past. Now an adult, he still doesn’t know where he comes from, and another child has gone missing. No one seems to take Naomi’s disappearance seriously, not even her father. Wilde can’t ignore an outcast in trouble. But in order to find Naomi, he must venture back into the community where he has never fit in, a place where the powerful are protected even when they harbour secrets that could destroy the lives of millions… secrets that Wilde must uncover before it’s too late.

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Book Review: The Perfect Wife by JP Delaney

“Perhaps the real test of someone’s humanity, you think, is how tenderly they treat those like Danny. Whether they blindly try to fix them and make them more like everyone else, or whether they can accept their differentness and adapt the world to it.”

Originally published in 2019, The Perfect Wife by JP Delaney begins as Abbie awakens in a daze. She has no memory of who she is or how she landed in this unsettling condition. The man by her side claims to be her husband. He’s a titan of the tech world, and tells Abbie that she had a terrible accident five years ago and that, through a huge technological breakthrough, she has been brought back from the abyss. She is a miracle of science. But as Abbie pieces together memories of her marriage, she begins questioning her husband’s motives. Can she trust him? And what really happened to Abbie half a decade ago?

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Book Review: The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton

“Two women. A dying wish. And a web of lies that will bring their world crashing down.”

The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton, published in 2020, follows two best friends, Nina and Marie. When Nina is diagnosed with a terminal illness, she asked Marie to fulfil her final wishes. But her mistake was in thinking Marie was someone she could trust. What Nina didn’t know was that Marie always wanted her beautiful life, and that Marie has an agenda of her own. She’ll do anything to get what she wants. Marie thinks she can keep her promise to her friend’s family on her own terms. But what she doesn’t know is that Nina was hiding explosive secrets of her own…

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BLOG TOUR: The Stranger Next Door by Adam Southward

“She was the perfect neighbour. Until she made a terrible accusation…”

Published on 27th May, The Stranger Next Door by Adam Southward follows Matt and Imogen who move out of the city in hope for a much-needed fresh start. Matt throws himself into his new job, but Imogen struggles to adjust to life in the suburbs. She’s grateful for the kind welcome from her new neighbour Nancy, and they soon become close friends. So when Nancy makes a shocking accusation, Imogen doesn’t know who to trust. This isn’t the first time Matt has found himself on the wrong end of a false accusation, but is Nancy hiding secrets of her own? As simmering tensions threaten to boil over, Imogen is in more danger than she realises. Can she uncover the truth before she loses everything?

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Book Review: Mother by Laura Jarratt

“Two Girls. One Chance.”

Released in February 2021, Mother by Laura Jarratt sees Lizzie driving home from a family break when her car crashes with her two daughters inside, facing her with a terrible choice. When she recovers from her injuries, Lizzie not only has to deal with the events of that night, but also the police investigation into it. Soon, things take an even darker turn. Just what did happen on that remote country road? Who is responsible? And can the family get through this together? Or will the truth finally tear them apart?

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