Book Review: Truth Be Told (Zara Kaleel #2) by Kia Abdullah

“What would happen if appeasement were offered earlier? If society treated men more gently, perhaps they would be gentler. Instead of placing them in the hard, small case of masculinity, could we allow them to feel more deeply?”

Set to be released on 4th March, Truth Be Told by Kia Abdullah follows Kamran Hadid, a wealthy, happy teenager who attends Hampton school, an elite all-boys boarding school in London. With a place at Oxford next year, he has the world at his feet. But when a night of revelry leads to a drunken encounter, his future plans are stopped in their tracks. With the help of assault counsellor, Zara Kaleel, Kamran reports the incident in the hopes that will be the end of it. But it’s only the beginning…

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Book Review: The Castaways by Lucy Clarke

“A secret beach. A holiday of a lifetime. Wish you were here? Think again…”

Set to be released on 1st March, The Castaways by Lucy Clarke follows sisters Lori and Erin who about to take a trip to a luxury resort in Fuji. But after an argument the night before, Lori ends up boarding the plane alone. Two years later, Erin is desperate to find out what happened to her sister after the plane failed to reach its destination and the aircraft and passengers still haven’t been found. Erin has had no luck with her research and the police have long since given up. But when the pilot of the plane is admitted to a hospital in Fuji after a fall and it is discovered that he’s been living under an alias this whole time, it’s time for Erin to get some answers.

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BLOG TOUR: One Perfect Grave (Nikki Hunt #2) by Stacy Green

“She didn’t see the patch of black ice until it was too late. The car started to spin, and as it veered off into the deep ditch and the mounds of snow beside the road, she saw him. The little boy frozen in the ice.”

The second book in Stacy Green‘s Nikki Hunt series, One Perfect Grave sees Special Agent Nikki Hunt investigate a new cast when the remains of two bodies are found in an open grave along a desolate highway in Stillwater, Minnesota. And she knows exactly who they are. The bright blue jacket lying on the frozen earth belongs to Kellan Rhodes, the missing boy she’s desperately been trying to find for the last two days. The other body is his mother Dana, who had been Nikki’s lead suspect. Although the wounds on Dana’s body suggest she murdered her son and took her own life, Nikki finds evidence that suggests she was a victim too. Dana was desperately trying to regain custody of Kellan, and Nikki finds boot prints at the scene that belong to someone else. When another child is reported missing, local journalist Caitlin Newport claims the cases are linked: Zach Reeves was taken away from his own mother in a custody battle, just like Kellan was. Caitlin once helped Nikki find out the truth about her own parents’ murders, but her desire for a story nearly cost Nikki her life. Now, Nikki must decide if she can trust Caitlin again, before time runs out to find the killer and bring Zach home alive.

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Book Review: Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell

“I move from my hiding place in the shadows. I stride out, towards the man, towards danger, my actions my own but my fate left wide open.”

The 2020 book by Lisa Jewell, Invisible Girl follows a group of people whose lives intersect when a young woman disappears. The Fours, headed by mom Cate, a physiotherapist, dad Roan, a child psychologist, and their two teenage children have recently moved into the area; Owen, who lives across the road, has just been suspended from work after accusations of sexual misconduct; and young Saffyre Maddox who spent three years as a patient of Roan has now disappeared is feeling abandoned now that her therapy has ended. The Fours have a bad feeling about their neighbour, Owen, as he’s a bit creepy and there has been a surge in attacks in the area. Their lives collide when one Valentine’s night, Saffyre disappears. The last person to see her? Owen. But is there more to the story?

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Book Review: The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

“I know as well as you do that only the individual has the key to change themselves. It’s buried deep inside each and every one of us and although someone else can help us to find the key, we’re the only ones who can use it.”

The House We Grew Up In is Lisa Jewell‘s 2013 book which follows the Bird family – Lorelei is the hippy mother who lives in the moment, Colin is the sweet and caring father, Meg is the eldest daughter who is very pragmatic, Beth is the beautiful one but a bit of a dreamer, and twins Rory and Rhys are each other’s opposites. They live in a honey-coloured house in a picture-perfect Cotswolds village, but life inside isn’t so appealing. One Easter weekend, tragedy comes to call. The event is so devastating that it begins to tear the family apart. Years pass as the children become adults, find new relationships, and develop their own separate lives. Soon it seems as though they’ve never been a family at all. But then something happens that calls them back to the house they grew up in, and to what really happened that Easter weekend so many years ago.

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Book Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

“People think that intimacy is about sex. But intimacy is about truth. When you realize you can tell someone your truth, when you can show yourself to them, when you stand in front of them bare and their response is ‘you’re safe with me’- that’s intimacy.”

The 2018 book by Taylor Jenkins Reid, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo follows ageing and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo who is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. When she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds — revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love — Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

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Book Review: Stardust by Neil Gaiman

“You have to believe. Otherwise, it will never happen.”

Originally published in 2005, Stardust by Neil Gaiman tells the story of young Tristran Thorn and his adventures in the land of Faerie. One fateful night, Tristran promises his beloved that he will retrieve a fallen star for her from beyond the wall that stands between their rural English town and the Faerie realm. No one ever ventures beyond the Wall except to attend an enchanted flea market that is held every nine years (and during which, unbeknownst to him, Tristran was conceived). But Tristran bravely sets out to fetch the fallen star and thus win the hand of his love.

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BLOG TOUR: Her Perfect Bones (Rockwell And Decker #2) by Ellery Kane

The second instalment in Ellery Kane‘s Rockwell And Decker series, Her Perfect Bones picks up in Fog Harbor, California, with Detective Will Decker and Criminal Psychologist Olivia Rockwell when the body of a young girl is found in a barrel. Her body is curled up like a shell and almost completely buried in sand, with only her fingertips reaching helplessly out of the top towards an escape she will never find. The local police are at a loss, until Olivia recognizes the ragdoll in one of the girl’s last photographs. She used to own one just like it, and it can only mean one thing: if she doesn’t dig deep into the mind of a deadly killer from her past — her own father — more innocent lives will be in danger.

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Book Review: The Dare by Lesley Kara

“As a child, it was just a game. As an adult, it was a living nightmare.”

Set to be released on 18th February, The Dare by Lesley Kara follows teenage friends Lizzie and Alice who decide to head off for a walk in the countryside, blissfully unaware that this will be their final day together – and that only Lizzie will come back alive. Lizzie has no memory of what happened in the moments before Alice died, she only knows that it must have been a tragic accident. But as she tries to cope with her grief, she is shocked to find herself alienated from Alice’s friends and relatives. They are convinced she somehow had a part to play in her friend’s death. Twelve years later, unpacking boxes in the new home she shares with her fiancé, Lizzie is horrified to find traumatic memories and paranoia suddenly surfacing. Is the trauma of the accident finally catching up with her, or could someone be trying to threaten her new-found happiness? Twelve years is a long time to wait when you’re planning the perfect revenge…

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Book Review: The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

Due to be published on 18th February, The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson follows DI Angelica Henley who is tasked with finding a killer when body parts are found on the banks of the River Thames in Deptford. Echoings of a previous crime lead Henley to question Peter Olivier, aka The Jigsaw Killer, who is currently serving a life sentence for a series of horrific murders. When a severed head is delivered to Henley’s home, she realises that the copycat is taking a personal interest in her and that the victims have not been chosen at random.

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Book Review: The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey

“The way I see it, you mostly stop loving a person the same way you stop respecting them. It can happen all at once, if something enormous and terrible falls over the two of you. But for the most part, it happens by inches, in a thousand tiny moments of contempt that unravel the image you had of the person you thought you knew.”

The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey is set to be released on 18th February and follows Evelyn Caldwell who should be enjoying an evening in her honour, celebrating her award-winning scientific research. But Evelyn has things on her mind. Things like Nathan, her husband, who has left her for a younger, better woman. A woman who shouldn’t exist. A woman who is now pregnant, but shouldn’t be. A woman who is strikingly familiar. Too familiar to be a coincidence.

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Book Review: The One by John Marrs

“If you’ve got the opportunity to love someone as much as they love you, then grab it with both hands and hold on to it for dear life.”

John Marrs‘ 2018 book, The One, is set in a future where a simple DNA test is all it takes to find ‘The One’. Just a quick mouth swab and soon you’ll be matched with your perfect partner the one you are genetically made for. That’s the promise made by Match Your DNA. A decade ago, the company announced that they had found the gene that pairs each of us with our soul mate. Since then, millions of people around the world have been matched. But the discovery has its downsides: test results have led to the breakup of countless relationships and upended the traditional ideas of dating, romance and love. Now, five very different people have received the notification that they’ve been “Matched”. They’re each about to meet their one true love. But “happily ever after” isn’t guaranteed for everyone. Because even soul mates have secrets, and some are more shocking than others.

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Book Review: The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

“When you’re in love, you’ll forgive almost anything. It’s a trait that I’ve carried with me into adult life, unfortunately. I always fall in love with people who hate me.”

The 2019 book by Lisa Jewell, The Family Upstairs follows Libby Jones who, soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am. She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but that she’s also the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighbourhood. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well, and she is on a collision course to meet them.

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Book Review: The Girls In The Snow (Nikki Hunt #1) by Stacy Green

“In the remote forests of Stillwater, you can scream for days and no one will hear you.”

The first book in Stacy Green‘s Nikki Hunt series, The Girls In The Snow follows Special Agent Nikki Hunt who returns to her hometown of Stillwater, Minnesota for the first time in twenty years, when the bodies of two fifteen-year-old girls are discovered frozen in the snow. Nikki is sure the killer is local: someone knew where to hide them and thought they’d never be found. But when Nikki arrives at the Sheriff’s office, she’s confronted by protesters eager to see the man in prison for the murder of her parents freed. With new evidence that could clear his name, Mark has appealed his conviction. His brother, Rory, begs Nikki to take a look at what they’ve found. Nikki knows she must focus on the killer at large, but Rory makes her wonder if she put her trust in the right people all those years ago. Are Madison and Kaylee’s deaths connected to her parents’ murders? And can she face up to her past before another life is taken?

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TV Review: The Bay (ITV) – Season Two

Written by Daragh Carville, The Bay first aired on ITV in 2019. The second season sees D.S. Lisa Armstrong (Morven Christie) of the West Lancashire Police Service who, now that her suspension is over, has been demoted. Now working under D.C Ahmed ‘Med’ Kharim (Taheen Modak), the team are investigating the shooting of a solicitor who is shot on his doorstep. To complicate Lisa’s life further, her ex-husband Andy (Joe Absolom) reappears.

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Book Review: Northern Lights (His Dark Materials #1) by Philip Pullman

“You cannot change what you are, only what you do.”

The first book in Philip Pullman‘s His Dark Materials series and originally published in 2011, Northern Lights (also known as The Golden Compass) follows Lyra Belacqua and her animal daemon, Pantalaimon, who reside at Jordan College, Oxford. The destiny that awaits her will take her to the frozen lands of the Arctic, where armoured bears fight to rule their own kingdoms, and clans of witches flying through the night’s sky.

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TV Review: The Ripper (Netflix) – Documentary

The Ripper is a true-crime series directed by Jesse Vile and Ellena Wood that was released on Netflix in December 2020.

The four-part miniseries recounts the events and investigation surrounding the murders of 13 women that took place in West Yorkshire and Manchester between 1975 and 1980.[2] It would eventually be determined that these incidents were inextricably linked by the man carrying out the killings- English serial killer, Peter Sutcliffe.[2] Dubbed the Yorkshire Ripper by the press, journalists were taken with the similarities to the murders conducted by the notorious Jack the Ripper and used the name to spark interest in the public. This series follows the chronology of events and is told through interviews with investigators, journalists, survivors, and family members of victims.

For five years, between 1975 to 1980, the Yorkshire Ripper murders cast a dark shadow over the lives of women in the North of England. 13 women were dead and the police seemed incapable of catching the killer. No one felt safe – and every man was a suspect.

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Book Review: Everything Is Going To Be Okay by Samantha Baldwin

Everything Is Going To Be Okay by Samantha Baldwin follows Amanda, who led a fairly ordinary life until she met Damian. He swept her off her feet, whisked her away on exotic holidays, wined and dined her at expensive restaurants and showered her with compliments. But lurking beneath the charming exterior were sinister secrets Damian had been carrying since childhood, secrets that slowly began to surface. Two sons and a failed marriage later, nothing could have prepared her for the extent of her ex-husband’s deception. The truth starts to emerge one December evening, when Amanda’s eldest boy Lewis reveals why he is so scared of his father.

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TV Review: Bridgerton (Netflix) – Season One

Based on Julia Quinn‘s novels and created by Chris Van Dusen, Bridgerton premiered on Netflix in December 2020. The series centres on the eldest daughter of the powerful Bridgerton family, Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor) as she makes her debut onto Regency London’s competitive marriage market. Hoping to follow in her parent’s footsteps and find a match sparked by true love, her prospects initially seem to be unrivalled. Enter the highly desirable Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page), a committed bachelor and the catch of the season. Despite proclaiming that they want nothing the other has to offer, their attraction is undeniable.

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Book Review: The Dry by Jane Harper

“The rumors were fed well, and grew fat and solid. They sprouted legs and heads, and they never died.”

Originally published in 2017, The Dry by Jane Harper follows Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk who reluctantly returns to home to the small Australian town of Kiewarra, a farming community in the grip of the worst drought in a century. Falk is loath to face the townsfolk who turned their backs on him twenty years earlier, but must make his way back to attend the funeral of his childhood friend, who has been shot along with his wife and child. Forced to probe deeper into the deaths of the Hadler family, Luke’s death threatens to bring to the surface a secret that Falk and Luke Hadler shared. A secret Falk thought was long buried.

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