Book Review: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

“It had never occurred to me that our lives, which had been so closely interwoven, could unravel with such speed. If I’d known, maybe I’d have kept tighter hold of them and not let unseen tides pull us apart.”

Originally published in 2005, Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro follows children Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy who were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were.

Now, years later, Kathy is a young woman. Ruth and Tommy have reentered her life. And for the first time, she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them special, and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together.

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Book Review: The Institution by Helen Fields

“They’re locked up for your safety.
Now, you’re locked in with them.”

Set to be published on 2nd March, The Institution by Helen Fields follows forensic profiler Dr Connie Woolwine who has five days to catch a killer. On a locked ward in the world’s highest-security prison hospital, a scream shatters the night. The next morning, a nurse’s body is found and her daughter has been taken. A ransom must be paid, and the clock is ticking. Connie is renowned for her ability to get inside the mind of a murderer. Now, she must go deep undercover among the most deranged and dangerous men on earth and use her unique skills to find the girl – before it’s too late. But as the walls close in around her, can Connie get the killer before The Institution gets her?

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Book Review: The House Share by Kate Helm

“Seven housemates. Seven lies. Would you join The House Share?”

Published in 2020, The House Share by Kate Helm follows Immi who thought she had found the perfect new home in central London: a shared warehouse with luxury accommodation, a rooftop terrace and daily yoga, all with a surprisingly affordable price tag. The Dye Factory is a ‘co-living’ community, designed to combat the loneliness of big city life.

But soon after she moves into her new haven, Immi realises that it’s not quite as idyllic as it appears. No one seems to know who is behind this multi-million-pound urban experiment. And her housemates may be hiding a dangerous secret…

Then, as a series of pranks escalate into something much darker, Immi is left questioning whether, in this group of strangers, she can ever really be safe. And when you’re sharing a house, you can’t always lock the danger out.

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BLOG TOUR: The Mother by TM Logan

“Framed for murder. Now she’s free…”

Set to be published on 2nd March, The Mother by TM Logan follows a woman who attends a funeral, standing in the shadows and watching in agony as her sons grieve. But she is unable to comfort them – or reveal her secret.

A decade earlier, Heather gets her children ready for bed and awaits the return of her husband Liam, little realising that this is the last night they will spend together as a family. Because tomorrow she will be accused of Liam’s murder.

Ten years ago Heather lost everything. Now she will stop at nothing to clear her name – and to get her children back . . .

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Book Review: The Close (Maeve Kerrigan #10) by Jane Casey

“The neighbours are always watching…”

Set to be published on 2nd March, The Close, the tenth book in the Maeve Kerrigan series by Jane Casey, is set on Jellicoe Close which, at first glance, seems to be a perfect suburban street – well-kept houses with pristine lawns, neighbours chatting over garden fences, children playing together. But there are dark secrets behind the neat front doors, hidden dangers that include a ruthless criminal who will stop at nothing.

It’s up to DS Maeve Kerrigan and DI Josh Derwent to uncover the truth. Posing as a couple, they move into the Close, blurring the lines between professional and personal as never before. And while Maeve and Josh try to gather the evidence they need, they have no idea of the danger they face – because someone in Jellicoe Close has murder on their mind.

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Book Review: Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson

“You have always thought if you opened your mouth in open water you would drown, but if you didn’t open your mouth you would suffocate. So here you are, drowning.”

Published in 2021, Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson follows two young people meet at a pub in South East London. Both are Black British, both won scholarships to private schools where they struggled to belong, both are now artists – he a photographer, she a dancer – trying to make their mark in a city that by turns celebrates and rejects them. Tenderly, they fall in love. But two people who seem destined to be together can still be torn apart by fear and violence.

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Book Review: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

“It was always going to end in tears, but no one thought it would end in murder…”

Published in 2014, Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty follows Jane who hasn’t lived anywhere for longer than six months since her son was born five years ago. She keeps moving in an attempt to escape her past. Now the idyllic coastal town of Pirriwee has pulled her to its shores and Jane feels as if she finally belongs. She finds friends in the feisty Madeline and the incredibly beautiful Celeste, two women with seemingly perfect lives – and their own secrets.

But at the start of a new term, an incident involving the children of all three women occurs in the playground, causing a rift between them and other parents. Minor at first but escalating fast, until the whispers and rumours become vicious and spiteful, and the truths blur into lies.

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Book Review: The Colour Purple by Alice Walker

“I think us here to wonder, myself. To wonder. To ask. And that in wondering bout the big things and asking bout the big things, you learn about the little ones, almost by accident. But you never know nothing more about the big things than you start out with. The more I wonder, the more I love.”

Published in 1982, The Colour Purple by Alice Walker

Set in the deep American South between the wars, The Color Purple is the tale of Celie, a young black girl born into poverty and segregation. Raped repeatedly by the man she calls ‘father’, she has two children taken away from her, is separated from her beloved sister Nettie and is trapped into an ugly marriage. But then she meets the glamorous Shug Avery – and magic-maker – a woman who has taken charge of her own destiny. Gradually, Celie discovers the power and joy of her own spirit, freeing her from her past and reuniting her with those she loves.

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Book Review: The Babysitter by Phoebe Morgan

“Where is the baby?”

Published in 2020, The Babysitter by Phoebe Morgan follows Caroline Harvey who, on the hottest day of the year, is found dead. Her body is left draped over a cot – but the baby she was looking after is missing.

Hundreds of miles away, Siobhan Dillon is on a luxurious family holiday in France when her husband, Callum, is arrested by French police on suspicion of murder. As Siobhan’s perfect family is torn apart by the media in the nation’s frantic search for the missing baby, she desperately tries to piece together how Callum knew Caroline. What happened that night? Was Caroline as innocent as she seemed – or was she hiding a secret of her own?

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Book Review: A Discovery Of Witches (The All Souls Trilogy #1) by Deborah Harkness

“It begins with absence and desire.
It begins with blood and fear.
It begins with a discovery of witches.”

Published in 2011 and the first book in the The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness, A Discovery Of Witches follows historian Diana Bishop who, when she opens an alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library, it’s an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordered life. Though Diana is a witch of impeccable lineage, the violent death of her parents while she was still a child convinced her that human fear is more potent than any witchcraft.

Now, Diana has unwittingly exposed herself to a world she’s kept at bay for years; one of powerful witches, creative, destructive daemons and long-lived vampires. Sensing the significance of Diana’s discovery, the creatures gather in Oxford, among them the enigmatic Matthew Clairmont, a vampire genticist. Diana is inexplicably drawn to Matthew and, in a shadowy world of half-truths and old enmities, ties herself to him without fully understanding the ancient line they are crossing. As they begin to unlock the secrets of the manuscript and their feelings for each other deepen, so the fragile balance of peace unravels…

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BLOG TOUR: Make Me Clean by Tina Baker

“She will leave your surfaces sparkling.
But she may well leave you dead…”

Released today, Make Me Clean by Tina Baker follows Maria, a good woman and a good cleaner. She cleans for Elsie, the funny old bird who’s losing her marbles, with the terrible husband. She cleans for Brian, the sweet man with the terrible boss. She cleans for the mysterious Mr Balogan, with the terrible neighbours.

If you’re thinking of hiring her, you should probably know that Maria might have killed the terrible husband, the terrible boss and the terrible neighbours. She may also have murdered the man she loved.

She didn’t set out to kill anyone, of course, but her clients have hired her to clean up their lives, and she takes her job seriously – not to mention how much happier they all are now. The trouble is, murder can’t be washed out. You can only sweep it under the carpet, and pray no one looks too closely…

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Book Review: Broken (Will Trent #4) by Karin Slaughter

“Never underestimate the power of a shared history.”

The fourth book in the Will Trent series by author Karin Slaughter, Broken, which was originally released in 2010, follows the investigations of detective Lena Adams and her often drunk boss, interim Chief of Police Frank Wallace, after the body of a female student is discovered deep beneath the icy waters of Lake Grant. With a note left under a rock beside her body, the evidence initially points to suicide. But within minutes, it becomes clear that this was a brutal, cold-blooded murder.

When the prime suspect, Tommy Braham, commits suicide in his jail cell, Dr Sara Linton, back in town for Thanksgiving with her family, is put on the case. Still incredibly angry with Lena over her role in Sara’s husband’s death and convinced that Lena’s callous and reckless behaviour has led to the possibly innocent suspect’s death, Sara calls in back-up from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and is introduced to Agent Will Trent. Despite the roadblocks, he unveils serious errors and deliberate cover-ups in the investigation that definitively points to a murderer still on the loose.

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Book Review: A Walk To Remember by Nicholas Sparks

“It was, I remembered thinking, the most difficult walk anyone ever had to make. In every way, a walk to remember.”

Published in 1999, A Walk To Remember by Nicholas Sparks follows Landon Carter who looks back at his last year at Beaufort High. It was 1958, and Landon had already dated a girl or two. He even swore that he had once been in love. Certainly the last person in town he thought he’d fall for was Jamie Sullivan, the daughter of the town’s Baptist minister. A quiet girl who always carried a Bible with her schoolbooks, Jamie seemed content living in a world apart from the other teens. She took care of her widowed father, rescued hurt animals, and helped out at the local orphanage. No boy had ever asked her out. Landon would never have dreamed of it. Then a twist of fate made Jamie his partner for the homecoming dance, and Landon Carter’s life would never be the same.

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Book Review: The School For Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan

“Every mother has a bad day.”

Published in 2022, The School For Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan follows struggling mother Frida Liu. She remembers taking Harriet from her cot and changing her nappy. She remembers giving her a morning bottle. They’d been up since four am. Frida just had to finish the article in front of her. But she’d left a file on her desk at work. What would happen if she retrieved it and came back in an hour? She was so sure it would be okay.

Now, the state has decided that Frida is not fit to care for her daughter. That she must be re-trained. Soon, mothers everywhere will be re-educated. Will their mistakes cost them everything?

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Audiobook Review: Unnatural Causes by Richard Shepherd

“I am no stranger to joy. I know that joy can be truly experienced only by those who have known adversity. And adversity is an inevitability.”

Published in 2018, Unnatural Causes: The Life and Many Deaths of Britain’s Top Forensic Pathologist by Richard Shepherd is a non-fiction book which follows Dr Richard Shepherd’s life spent uncovering the secrets of the dead. When death is sudden or unexplained, it falls to Shepherd to establish the cause. Each post-mortem is a detective story in its own right – and Shepherd has performed over 23,000 of them. Through his skill, dedication and insight, Dr Shepherd solves the puzzle to answer our most pressing question: how did this person die?

From serial killer to natural disaster, ‘perfect murder’ to freak accident, Shepherd takes nothing for granted in pursuit of truth. And while he’s been involved in some of the most high-profile cases of recent times, it’s often the less well-known encounters that prove the most perplexing, intriguing and even bizarre. In or out of the public eye, his evidence has put killers behind bars, freed the innocent and turned open-and-shut cases on their heads.

But a life in death, bearing witness to some of humanity’s darkest corners, exacts a price and Shepherd doesn’t flinch from counting the cost to him and his family.

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Book Review: The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

“If there is one thing I’ve learned in more than seven decades of life, it’s that the world is a completely fucked-up place. You never know what’s around the corner and it’s often something unpleasant.”

Published in 2017, The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne follows Cyril Avery over seven decades of his life. But Cyril isn’t a real Avery. At least, that’s what his adoptive parents tell him. And he never will be. But if he isn’t a real Avery, then who is he?

Born out of wedlock to a teenage girl cast out from her rural Irish community and adopted by a well-to-do if eccentric Dublin couple via the intervention of a hunchbacked Redemptorist nun, Cyril is adrift in the world, anchored only tenuously by his heartfelt friendship with the infinitely more glamourous and dangerous Julian Woodbead.

Over the years, he will spend a lifetime coming to know himself and where he came from, as he struggles to discover an identity, a home, a country and much more.

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Audiobook Review: Meet Me In Hawaii (Meet Me #2) by Georgia Toffolo

“Where an ocean of love awaits.”

The second book in Georgia Toffolo‘s Meet Me series and published in 2021, Meet Me In Hawaii follows Malie Pukui who doesn’t believe in happy ever after. After a tragedy caused her to flee her family and friends in Devon, she found a fresh start in Hawaii. Here, working at a surf school, she can give back to those in need and try to overcome the greatest loss in her life.

Moved around foster homes throughout his childhood, Todd Masters has worked hard to be able to offer a brighter future to young disadvantaged children. Now he has his own charitable foundation working with a surf school in Hawaii, a job he loves, but he still can’t put his past behind him.

When Malie rescues Todd from the sea, a spark ignites between them, and the two wounded souls find a common ground. But amidst the surf, sunsets and sizzling kisses, can Malie let go of her past and risk something she’d locked away forever… her heart.

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Book Review: The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda

“Her best friend is dead. Now everyone thinks she’s a killer.”

Published in 2019, The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda is set in Littleport, Maine, a town split in two. One side is a vacation paradise for wealthy holidaymakers, and the other is a simple harbour community for the residents who serve them. Friendships between locals and visitors are unheard of – but that’s just what happened when Avery Greer and Sadie Loman meet.

Each summer for a decade, the girls are inseparable – until Sadie is found dead. When the police rule the death a suicide, Avery can’t help but feel there are those in the community, including a local detective and Sadie’s brother Parker, who blame her. Someone knows more than they’re saying, and Avery is intent on clearing her name before she’s branded a killer.

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Book Review: The Fear by CL Taylor

“Sometimes your first love won’t let you go…”

Published in 2018, The Fear by CL Taylor follows Lou Wandsworth who, when she ran away to France with her teacher Mike Hughes, thought he was the love of her life. But Mike wasn’t what he seemed and he left her life in pieces.

Now 32, Lou discovers that he is involved with teenager Chloe Meadows. Determined to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself, she returns home to confront him for the damage he’s caused. But Mike is a predator of the worst kind, and as Lou tries to bring him to justice, it’s clear that she could once again become his prey…

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Book Review: Daughter Of Darkness (House of Shadows #1) by Katharine Corr

“Enter the Underworld in an epic new fantasy, where the Gods of ancient Greece rule everything but fate.”

Published in 2022 and the first book in Katharine Corr‘s House of Shadows series, Daughter Of Darkness follows one of the Soul Severers serving the god Hades on earth, Deina, who is trapped. Her future is tied to the task of shepherding the dying on from the mortal world – unless she can earn or steal enough to buy her way out.

Then the tyrant ruler Orpheus offers both fortune and freedom to whoever can retrieve his dead wife, Eurydice, from the Underworld. Deina jumps at the chance. But to win, she must enter an uneasy alliance with a group of fellow Severers she neither likes nor trusts. So begins their perilous journey into the realm of Hades… The prize of freedom is before her – but what will it take to reach it?

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