All about Books, Book review

Book Review: Suicide Thursday by Will Carver

It may be hurtling towards Christmas and my bookshelf is overflowing with cinnamon infused stories but today’s review is on the dark side. Several friends’ whose opinions I trust rave about Will Carver novels so I was excited to be invited to the tour for his new release, Suicide Thursday and share my unbiased opinion.

Book Review: Suicide Thursday by Will Carver

Book cover for Suicide Thursday by Will Carver. Dark blue cover, with title Suicide Thursday made up of typewriter keys.
Suicide Thursday by Will Carver

Title: Suicide Thursday

Author: Will Carver

Publisher: Orenda books

Genre: Thriller

Release Date: 24th November 2022

Blurb

If words could kill…

Eli Hagin can’t finish anything. He hates his job, but can’t seem to quit. He doesn’t want to be with his girlfriend, but doesn’t know how end things with her, either. Eli wants to write a novel, but he’s never taken a story beyond the first chapter. Eli also has trouble separating reality from fiction. When his best friend kills himself, Eli is motivated, for the first time in his life, to finally end something himself, just as Mike did…

Except sessions with his therapist suggest that Eli’s most recent ‘first chapters’ are not as fictitious as he had intended … and a series of text messages that Mike received before his death point to something much, much darker…

My Thoughts

Being new to Will Carver’s novels I wasn’t sure what to expect but I do know I wasn’t expecting such a dark, unnerving and thought provoking read that made me chuckle one minute with the cynical humorous observations and cringe in horror the next. It may not have been a fast paced thriller but I was hooked. Seen through the eyes of the main players, Eli, Jackie and Mike, it effortlessly hopped back and forth in time to reveal the truth behind Mike’s suicide.

All characters were flawed but Eli was horrid. Usually arrogant, entitled and shallow protagonists put me off a book making them destined to the ‘did not finish’ pile, but despite feeling sullied by witnessing his cold disregard to others I was compelled to know more. The unreliability in his narration added to the mystery of Mike’s suicide as did the sinister messages sent to Mike prior to his death. I had to admire Eli for his entrepreneurism of selling his first chapters for others to use and understood his difficulties putting words down to fulfil his author goal but as a person he’d be one to avoid. As a fictional protagonist, he lodged in my imagination making it impossible to put the book down.

Would I recommend?

Oh yes, Suicide Thursday is a sinister, unique and unforgettable novel trudging through the taboo subject of suicide and wider accountability as well as a study of the monotony of life and the decisions made. Cleverly written, I felt guilty for enjoying Eli’s dark take on life but it left me with a book hangover and the need to read Will Carver’s back catalogue.

Author Biography

Black and white photo on Will Carver. White man, shaved head and close cropped beard. Standing in front of old building. wearing tshirt and jeans
Will Carver

 Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series and the critically acclaimed, mind-blowingly original Detective Pace series that includes Good Samaritans (2018), Nothing Important Happened Today (2019) and Hinton Hollow Death Trip (2020), all of which were ebook bestsellers and selected as books of the year in the mainstream international press. Nothing Important Happened Today was longlisted for the Goldsboro Glass Bell Award 2020 and Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. Hinton Hollow Death Trip was longlisted for Guardian Not the Booker Prize, and was followed by three standalone literary thrillers, The Beresford, Psychopaths Anonymous (both optioned for TV) and The Daves Next Door. He lives in Reading with his family.

Thank you Random Thing Tours and Orenda books for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

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7 @JoannaLouisePar | @littlemissbook6 | @wildwritinglife
8 @Katerutherford6 | @melanie05783871
9 @cookiebiscuit | @alicetheunique
10 @skbookwormfever | @ClaireStibbe
11 @Lou_bookmarks | @handwritten | @thefirstelevenminutes (IG)
14 @AmandaLlywd | @maitaylor01
15 @booksbybindu | @ReadsMikaela | @CurlingUpWithaC
16 @ravencrime | @JenMedBkReviews | @cj_colbourn
17 @KellyVanDamme | @crimebookgrrl | @karlou
18 @murderjowrote (IG) | @annecater
21 @Tr4cyF3nt0n | @scintilla_info
22 @bluebookballoon | @atomicbooks1976 (IG)
23 @Sweeet83 | @calturner
24 @staceywh_17 (IG) | @ramblingmads | @dds_book_reviws (IG)
25 @kakenzie101 | @cats_herding
28 @johns_bookshelf (IG) | @bookslifethings | @Bibliotreasures
30 @SuzeCM | @AngiPlant
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All about Books, Book review

Book Review: The Silent Child by M J White

After loving The Secret Voices and newcomer to the crime solving genre, Dr Cora Lael, I was counting down the days for the next instalment to be released. When Rachel’s Random Resources invited me to the tour for The Silent Child by MJ White, I jumped at the chance to be involved.

Scroll down to see if this was all I wanted it to be.

Book Review: The Silent Child by M J White

Book cover for The Silent Child by M J White. A bleak landscape with small building in distance. Woman in green coat and yellow hat walking into the distance
The Silent Child by M J White

Title: The Silent Child

Author: M J White

Publisher: Hera

Genre: Crime, psychological thriller

Release Date: 3rd November 2022

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3yiWXZT

Blurb

When a body is discovered at an abandoned Suffolk farm, DS Rob Minshull and the squad believes it’s the latest casualty of the drugs war terrorising rural communities. But when the victim is identified as a well-respected local teacher, the case is thrown wide open.

While they hunt the murderer, the South Suffolk CID team face a new threat. A brutal vigilante group dispensing their own twisted justice puts the investigation in grave danger, as well as the detectives.

Educational psychologist, Dr Cora Lael, is called in to work with Lottie Arundel, a troubled teen who stopped speaking a year ago.

As Cora enters Lottie’s world, it seems that the teen’s silence might hold the key to the case. But as Cora and Rob work together to find a vicious killer, it’s clear that uncovering Lottie’s secrets will take Cora and Rob into the most dangerous of places – where the price to pay for the truth might be death…

My Thoughts

The Secret Voices was one of those books which not only gave me a book hangover, but the voice of Hannah and Cora remained with me. I desperately wanted to read The Silent Child but after such a strong beginning would this one live up to my high expectations? I needn’t have worried, MJ White’s writing and strength of characterisation shone. Her style lends itself to a series because the extended time frame allows the relationships between the CID team and Cora seen in The Secret Voices to slowly evolve. The strong connections I already felt for them were built on and cemented, engaging me in not only the case but there personal lives. These added layers give a fuller and deeper experience so while this book can be read as a standalone, I’d recommend reading The Secret Voices first. You won’t be disappointed.

Meeting the CID team again was like switching on the tv series, Vera and seeing how her life and the others had developed. This may only be book 2 but already I felt an attachment for them especially Anderson and Ellis. Like good detective series, there is much story potential in each member and it will be fun witnessing them develop in the future.

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The story jumped into the action with the discovery of a dead body and I was hooked. A year had passed since Cora was involved in a police case and she was now working as an educational psychologist. Her talent for hearing voices from objects were being used in different ways. It was lovely to catch up with her and DS Rob Minshull as their cases collide and see how their relationship has deepened. The ‘maybe more than good friends’ chemistry between them along with the gallows banter in the team gave some welcome relief against the traumatic case.

Told in several points of view, the reader sees an overview of the case adding to the fear and tension as the story unfolded. This book delved deep into the dark places of society so it’s not for the faint hearted but it is told with care and sensitivity despite being a tense, gripping read. With unexpected twists and revelations, I couldn’t put this down leading to another sleepless night but it was so worth it.

Would I recommend?

Oh yes. The cases of Dr Cora Lael and the Suffolk CID under DS Minshull are ones to follow and read. It’s perfect for these darker nights and for fans of crime procedural books and tv shows like Vera. Once you’ve met Cora and Rob Minshull you’ll never forget them and like me will be counting down the days until the next case.

Author Biography

Black and white photo of MJ White
White woman smiling, long dark hair wearing a baker boy hat
MJ White

MJ White is the pseudonym of bestselling author Miranda Dickinson, author of twelve books, including six Sunday Times bestsellers. Her books have been translated into ten languages, selling over a million copies worldwide. A long time lover of crime fiction, The Secret Voices is her debut crime series. She is a singer-songwriter, host of weekly Facebook Live show, Fab Night In Chatty Thing..

Social Media Links

https://twitter.com/wurdsmyth

https://www.instagram.com/wurdsmyth/

Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

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All about Books, Book review

Book review: The Sleepover by Keri Beevis

It seemed to have been ages since I had read a thrilling psychological thriller so when an invite for this book landed in my inbox I had to say yes. The Sleepover by Keri Beevis’s blurb sounded creepy and promised to be an exciting read. Scroll down to see if it fulfilled its potential.

Book review: The Sleepover by Keri Beevis

Book cover for The Sleepover by Keri Beevis. A brooding dark sky with a desolate farmhouse in the foreground with an abandoned child's bike nearby
The Sleepover by Keri Beevis

Title: The Sleepover

Author: Keri Beevis

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Genre: Psychological thriller, crime

Release Date: 24th October 2022

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3o2ugfb

Blurb

When you’re a kid, you imagine monsters to have horns and fangs. That they hide under the bed or in the wardrobe. And you believe they can only come after you when it’s dark.

You don’t expect them to look like everyday people or that they may be someone you already know…

The summer in question started out with hot, fun-filled days and new friendships.

We had just turned thirteen and had our whole lives ahead of us.

But that was before her…

Before we became known as the Hixton Six and our lives become defined by one night.

It’s hard to believe twenty years have passed since she was locked away.

But now she’s free and strange things have started to happen.

When I close my eyes, the creeping anxiety and fear is overwhelming and all too real.

Because the monster is back, and I know she has a score to settle with us.

My Thoughts

This was a thrilling and tense read with unexpected twists and a surprise conclusion. As a page turner, I couldn’t put it down. Luckily, I was in hospital so had the perfect excuse to just keep reading. I read it in a day and it surpassed my all expectations.

It was creepy and held its sinister undertone throughout. Told in three different points of view with seemingly unreliable narrators, it was hard to know who to trust as the story unfolded and the truth of what happened on the fateful night was revealed. This suspicion and twists kept me gripped.

The present dealt with the aftermath of a traumatic event and the effect on adult lives. In some cases, relationships imploded and others the shared event forged deeper bonds. It felt realistic making me engage with the characters more even when their decisions made no sense to outsiders. The threat of vengeance added the tension between the group and was cleverly broken up by the memories of childhood friendships and idyllic summer. Knowing that something terrible would occur to the six children made me fearful for them. I needed to know the inciting event for all the horror and I wasn’t disappointed with the ending.

Would I recommend?

Oh yes, it was a tense page turner where children’s lives were turned upside down by a danger hidden in plain sight and shows how childhood trauma has ramifications into adulthood. The childhood chapters were reminiscent to Stephen King’s Stand by Me in the emotions it evoked.

Keri Beevis is a talented writer and I need to catch up with her other books.

Author Biography

Photo of Keri Beevis. White woman, smiling with silvery long blonde hair wearing a red top.
Keri Beevis

Keri Beevis is the internationally bestselling author of Dying To Tell, Deep Dark Secrets, Trust No One, Every Little Breath and The People Next Door. Dying To Tell reached no. 1 in the Amazon chart in Australia and was a top 25 hit in the UK. Keri wrote her first novel at age twenty, but it was a further twenty years before she was published, after winning a contract in a competition run by a small press. She lives in Norfolk, along with her two naughty kitties, Ellie and Lola, and a plentiful supply of red wine (her writing fuel).

Social Media Links

Facebook: Keri Beevis – Author | Facebook

Twitter: Keri Beevis (@keribeevis) / Twitter

Instagram: Keri Beevis (@keri.beevis) • Instagram photos and videos

Bookbub profile: Keri Beevis Books – BookBub

Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

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Book Review: The Maids of Biddenden Hall by GD Harper

As soon as I saw this book on social media I was intrigued. Like many people, I’ve always been interested in the relationship between twins – blame Sweet Valley High – but co-joined twins take this unique connection to a different level. My curiosity piqued when I discovered this was also based on a true story.

Scroll down to see my thoughts on this unusual book.

Book Review: The Maids of Biddenden Hall by GD Harper

Book cover for The Maids of Biddenden by GD Harper. A dark background with pale gold decorative pattern drawn on it similar to the designs you'd find in old manuscripts drawn by the Church. The typeface is a brighter gold. In the centre of the cover is a golden lyre. It has the tagline One shared body, two separate minds
The Maids of Biddenden by GD Harper

Title: The Maids of Biddenden Hall

Author: GD Harper

Publisher: Ginger Cat

Genre: Historical fiction

Release Date: 16th June 2022

Blurb

‘There is no I, there is no you. There is only us.’

Joined at the hip, Eliza and Mary Chulkhurst overcome fear and hostility to grow into gifted and much-loved women – one a talented musician and song-writer, the other a caring healer and grower of medicinal plants.

Entangled in the struggles for power and influence of the great Kent nobles of the time, they achieve much in their lifetimes and leave behind a legacy that survives to this day. This is the heart-warming inspirational story of two remarkable women leading one joint life, challenging adversity to become the best they can be.

My Thoughts

From the start, I was thrown into the life and thoughts of the time as I was introduced to the girls as young children. As a disabled person, I found the beginning chapters hard to read, as anything unusual was classed as evil and life was expendable. Throughout the novel, it highlighted the hate, suspicion and bigotry that plagued the girls but also showed love, acceptance and their ability to flourish in their community and beyond.

As someone who has little knowledge of the era, the politics and social norms outside their farm was as mind-boggling to me as them at the beginning, but they used their intelligence and determination to make their mark as something more than a curious exhibit. It was refreshing to read. They were distinct individuals with Eliza being an accomplished musician and Mary, a healer. The detailed descriptions of the daily life made it easy to slip into their world especially Mary’s physica gardens. I knew nothing about them but could see Mary’s ambition reflected in community gardening projects nowadays.

This is a well written, unforgettable and uplifting story of two formidable women whose legacy lives on.

Would I recommend?

Yes, the twin’s lives drew me into the 12th century to discover a political and social landscape I knew nothing about. This fascinating novel followed two unique women as they made a place in a world beyond anyone’s expectations against a backdrop of stigma and patriarchy. Their story is as relevant now as it was then. It’s an ideal read for fans of historical fiction and stories based on little known personalities from the past.

Author Biography

GD Harper

GD Harper became a full-time author in 2016, publishing three novels under the pen name GD Harper. I have been both a Wishing Shelf Book Award finalist and Red Ribbon winner, been shortlisted for the Lightship Prize, longlisted for the UK Novel Writing Award and longlisted for the Page Turner Writer Award. The Maids of Biddenden was a finalist in this year’s Page Turner Book Award for unpublished manuscripts, longlisted for the Exeter Novel Prize and the Flash 500 Novel Award, and shortlisted for the Impress Prize.

Twitter: @harper_author

Website: www.gdharper.com

 Facebook: @gdharperauthor

Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

All about Books, Book review

Book Review: Retreat to the Spanish Sun by Jo Thomas

Happy July! Summer is here in Yorkshire but like many summers the weather can be hit and miss so I’m excited to share my review for Retreat to the Spanish Sun by Jo Thomas. It promised to be the perfect escape novel. Scroll down to see if it met my high expectations.

Book Review: Retreat to the Spanish Sun by Jo Thomas

Cover for Retreat to the Spanish Sun by Jo Thomas. Orange cover with blue title. At the bottom is a Spanish villa and trees with a lady having a picnic with wine
Retreat to the Spanish Sun by Jo Thomas

Title: Retreat to the Spanish Sun

Author: Jo Thomas

Publisher: Penguin

Genre: Romance

Release Date: 23rd June 2022

Blurb

Will a summer escape be the answer she’s looking for?

Eliza has a full house! When her three children grew up and moved out, she downsized to a smaller property… but now they’re all back. Every room in the house is taken and Eliza finds herself sharing her bed with her eldest daughter and her daughter’s pug. Combined with the online course she’s trying to finish, plus her job to fit in, there just isn’t the peace and quiet that Eliza needs.

So when an ad pops up on her laptop saying ‘house-sitters wanted’, Eliza can’t resist the chance to escape. She ends up moving to a rural finca in southern Spain, looking after the owner’s Iberico pigs, learning about secret gastronomic societies… and finding a new zest for life and love along the way. From the bestselling author of Escape to the French Farmhouse comes a deliciously feel-good new story…

My Thoughts

Eliza’s life was very relatable and the chaos in her flat and the demands from her grown children leapt from the page. I needed a break with her. The retreat was a delight and immersive. The Spanish Conversation group were a fun and warm addition and made me feel connected to the place and story.

I’ve never considered pigs as something adorable once they have grown past the cute piglet stage but Banderas changed this. His personality shone and I fell in love with him as much as Eliza did. With the descriptions of food my taste buds tingled and I longed to drink wine and eat the tapas mentioned. This is always a good sign of a good book but usually only happens in Christmas novels so it was a pleasant surprise to fancy salad.

The plot requires you to suspend reality in places but like all good romcoms, it makes you feel that while you’re in their world, anything goes and everything makes sense.

It could easily be adapted to a summer feel good movie and hits all the points for a good, uplifting summer read.

Would I recommend?

Yes, it achieved everything I wanted. Whether you are lying on the beach abroad or in your garden at the weekend, this is an ideal escape to Spain with laughter, adventure and gastronomic delights.

It’s a while since I’ve read a Jo Thomas book but now need to backtrack and add her back catalogue to my TBR pile.

Author Biography

Author Jo Thomas. Woman smiling with dark hair in a orange shirt
Jo Thomas

Jo Thomas worked for many years as a reporter and producer, first for BBC Radio 5, before moving on to Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and Radio 2’s The Steve Wright Show. Jo’s debut novel, The Oyster Catcher, was a runaway bestseller and won both the RNA Joan Hessayon Award and the Festival of Romance Best eBook Award. Her recent book Escape to the French Farmhouse was a #1 bestselling eBook and in every one of her novels Jo loves to explore new countries and discover the food produced there, both of which she thoroughly enjoys researching. Jo lives in Pembrokeshire with her husband and three children, where cooking and gathering around the kitchen table are a hugely important and fun part of their family life

Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love