Friends and Liars [review]

Friends and Liars

Title: Friends and Liars
Author: Kaela Coble
Publisher: Corvus

[Synopsis]

It has been ten years since Ruby left her hometown behind. Since then she’s built a life away from her recovering alcoholic mother and her first love, Murphy. But when Danny, one of her estranged friends from childhood, commits suicide, guilt draws Ruby back into the tumultuous world she escaped all those years ago.

She’s dreading the funeral – and with good reason. Danny has left a series of envelopes addressed to his former friends. Inside each envelope is a secret about every person in the group. Ruby’s secret is so explosive, she will fight tooth-and-nail to keep it hidden from those she once loved so deeply, even if that means risking everything…

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[My Review]

The premise for this book sounded really interesting, so I jumped at the chance at getting a review copy from Readers First (thank you) and was not disappointed!

I really enjoyed this mysterious, fun read which is filled with deceit, secrets and surprises. There are various elements to the plot, as everyone has their own secrets they’re keeping from eachother – and which Danny may have been alluding to in his notes to each friend – and I enjoyed reading the characters try to work out what each might be.

The book is laid out quite interestingly, as we read from the perspective of quite a few of the group but not all, and it mainly sticks to Ruby’s narrative. Therefore, we get to know her the best and find out more about her teenage years, where the secrets really began. I like her as a character; in fact I warmed to most of her friends as the novel went on too, but some have their irritating habits and there are definitely some who are less likable than others! I am also pleased that no one was portrayed as perfect; they each have their faults and positive points without needing to be too clear cut.

Though the ‘main’ storyline – the group dealing with their friend Danny’s suicide – sounds a little macabre and upsetting, the story revolves a lot around the earlier years, as I mentioned, and the element of mystery keeps things intriguing and stops the story from being all about death (though obviously that is a theme too). The secrets each person had aren’t too ridiculous or over-dramatic… without giving too much away, Kaela Coble keeps things believable and it’s a fairly easy, enjoyabe read.

Many thanks to Readers First for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.

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WWW Wednesday [20 June 2018]

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Sam at Taking On a World of Words.

Visit her blog to take a look, and get involved too if you can, even if you don’t have a blog yourself – as she says, you can leave your answers in the post comments. I’d love to see your answers too!

The three W’s are:

    1. What have you finished reading?
    2. What are you currently reading?
    3. What will you read next?

What have you finished reading? 

In Bloom – CJ Skuse 
Redemption
 by Candice Fox
Friends and Liars – Kaela Coble

>What are you currently reading? 

Your Closest Friend

Your Closest Friend – Karen Perry

What will you read next?

The Tall Man

The Tall Man – Phoebe Locke


What have you been reading recently? Any exciting books you’re looking forward to reading next?

If you do your own version of this tag please let me know in the comments below, I’d love to read your answers too!


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The Man on the Roof by Michael Stephenson [spotlight]

manonroofgabriolaToday I’m pleased to feature an exciting new release from author Michael Stephenson: The Man on the Roof. Read on for more information and an extract from the book!

Title: The Man on the Roof
Author: Michael Stephenson

[Synopsis]

Someone has been creeping in the dark while the others sleep, and they’ve done terrible, terrible things.

“There was a man on your roof,” claims curmudgeonly lane-hermit Herbert McKinney. Then, he initiates an unprovoked fight with a local punk. Drama escalates when that punk’s dead body is found hanging at mid-street one August morning—a boastful killer messaging their next prey. All fingers point to Herbert as the culprit. Soon, the five couples he calls neighbors come under suspicion, too. When detectives divine blackmail as the motive, eyes cross to find who hides the most shameful secret. Husband versus wife, friend versus friend, the shiny suburban veneer of innocence has been forever tarnished. As hidden deviousness boils from their pores, there lurks a thief, a pill addict and a sadist—secrets worth killing for.

Now, as the man on the roof helps guide justice and watches devious neighbors slip in and out of sleepy houses, confusion and questions persist. Who dies next? What have they learned? Who is becoming a monster? Who already is one? And just how many secrets can a small group of multi-ethnic Ohioans have? Only one cemented truth exists: the killer will kill again.

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[Extract: The Man on the Roof]

The shortest interview of them all, Jordan and Chante had no recorded run-in with Zach ever. Their house wasn’t egged, preliminary research showed they had no criminal history, no drug use, no errands he ran for them and no child he might have touched. Their spotless record was made even more bizarre by how they acted.

“Nice house,” Lambert said. Theirs was the third biggest on the entire street, eclipsed only by the Haggertys’ and the Walters’.

Before giving an answer, their heads swiveled like mechanized swing gates—slow and deliberate—toward each other. Who would answer? And why did Jordan seem not to fully open his eyes, his lids stuck forever in Droopy-the-dog mode.

Their heads clicking back to the detectives as they sat in the dining room, Jordan started to take the lead when Chante interrupted.

“Thank y—”

“Thank—oh! Sorry,” Chante said, feeling the cut of his eyes on her.

“Thank you,” Jordan finished.

“What do you do for work, Mr. Fletcher?” Lambert asked. All her focus on the couple, she gave no mind to Fitz’s gaze at Chante.

“Handyman.”

“You can afford this type of house on that money? Must do pretty well for yourself.”

“Very good handyman.”

“And what do you do for a living, Mrs. Fletcher?”

A smirking Jordan answered for her, “That’s easy: she lives off me.”

Chante cut her eyes at Jordan, then looked away to give no reaction.

“Anyway, did you know Zach Landon?” Cady asked.

“No,” Chante answered for the both of them.

“Did you ever interact with him?”

“No,” came from Jordan.

“How well do you know your neighbors’ children, how often do you interact with them?” Cady asked.

“Oh, I don’t touch their kids,” Jordan said before quickly correcting, “The subject, I mean. I don’t touch on the subject of their kids.”

“But you do touch them?” Cady asked.

Jordan chuckled alone. He caught a glimpse of Chante, then cleared his throat and returned to the seriousness of the subject and answered, “Of course not.”

“Where were you the night of the murder?”

“Home. Sleep,” Jordan said.

“And you, Mrs. Fle—”

“I said we were sleep,” Jordan said.

“Hm? So did you find anything out of the ordinary that night?”

“How could we, if we were sleep?” Jordan asked.

“Even better question, if both of you were too deep in sleep to know what was going on at night, how do either of you know if the other was actually asleep?”

Circle logic. A proverbial cat in a box. How did anyone ever know what went on as they slept? Jordan smirked. I wonder if I could take her if I needed to.

Lambert smirked back. Don’t even try it.

“Do you know of any reason why Zach Landon would want to blackmail you?”

“No, not that I can really think of. But we did make a… tape once,” Chante said.

Braidey finally spoke, the skin between his brows bunching as he got serious, “Tape? What kinda tape?”

“Of the personal, sorted variety,” Chante said. Jordan didn’t bother correcting her. She needn’t correcting.

A young, married couple taping themselves? Kinky but not revolutionary. Jordan wet his lips as he kept his eyes on Lambert.

“Well, we’ll be in touch,” Lambert said.

[About the Author]

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Michael cultivated his love for storytelling on a steady diet of film and TV, embracing the art across all genres and mediums. He believes that to tell a story is the greatest gift that humanity has ever received and hopes to connect through words both written and filmed. A thoughtful suburbanite, he enjoys writing in every genre and platform. Covering a wide range of subjects, ethnicities, socioeconomic classes, and ideals, his writing runs the gamut from silly and lighthearted to thought-provoking and sensual to horrifying and captivating. Offering everything from sci-fi to romance, he wishes to supply the reader with an indelible experience.

Privately, he seeks to accomplish great things with his writing in both popular culture and more niche genres. He hopes to soon write for film again, as he had briefly before, and aspires to write the screenplay for the film adaptation of Captain Planet as he loves the environment.

Pre-order The Man on the Roof on Amazon, and follow Michael Stephenson on Twitter: @filmbooksbball


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Snap [review]

Snap

Title: Snap
Author: Belinda Bauer
Publisher: Transworld Publishers

[Synopsis]

On a stifling summer’s day, eleven-year-old Jack and his two sisters sit in their broken-down car, waiting for their mother to come back and rescue them. Jack’s in charge, she said. I won’t be long.

But she doesn’t come back. She never comes back. And life as the children know it is changed for ever.

Three years later, mum-to-be Catherine wakes to find a knife beside her bed, and a note that says: I could have killed you.

Meanwhile Jack is still in charge – of his sisters, of supporting them all, of making sure nobody knows they’re alone in the house, and – quite suddenly – of finding out the truth about what happened to his mother.

But the truth can be a dangerous thing…

[My Review]

Punchy, atmospheric and addictive, Snap made me turn page after page in a quest to know more. It starts with an opening scene to really make you sit up and take notice, and made me care more about the characters introduced to us here. I found the people in this story to be convincing and, most importantly, interesting to read about – it doesn’t focus on the police or investigators but instead the people affected by the crimes beung investigated, and also those committing the crimes. This was a nice break from the usual detective/ police structure, and the various narratives begin to weave themselves together as the story goes on, so yoy slowly realize that certain people are connected. I love stories that do this, and certainly held my attention even in parts that were a little slower.

There’s a mix of emotions within these pages, with some people feeling like they’re beyond redemption and others I felt pity for; I enjoyed reading from the perspective of both Catherine and Jack and particularly liked the ever-present mystery of what exactly happened to Jack’s mother, all those years ago? It’s definitely bleak at times and sometimes uncomfortable reading, but definitely punchy and a great read.

I’d definitely recommend this cleverly plotted thriller, with plenty of emotion and just the right level of mystery to ensure that you won’t want to put it down!


Many thanks to Transworld for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.

Goodreads Monday [The Mystery of the Three Quarters]

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners . To take part, you simply choose a random book from your TBR and show it off. Don’t forget to check out her blog and link back to Lauren’s Page Turners, and add your own links!]

So this week’s pick is a book I’m hoping to get accepted to read on Netgalley, but if not I will definitely be buying it – so one way or the other, I’ll be reading this! I love anything by Sophie Hannah and her Poirot series has not disappointed so far!

Title: The Mystery of the Three Quarters
Author: Sophie Hannah
Publish date: 23 August 2018

The Mystery of the Three Quarters

[Synopsis]

Another fiendishly puzzling mystery for the great Hercule Poirot to solve…

Returning home after lunch one day, Hercule Poirot finds an angry woman waiting outside his front door. She demands to know why Poirot has sent her a letter accusing her of the murder of Barnabas Pandy, a man she has neither heard of nor ever met.

Poirot has also never heard of a Barnabas Pandy, and has accused nobody of murder. Shaken, he goes inside, only to find that he has a visitor waiting for him — a man who also claims also to have received a letter from Poirot that morning, accusing him of the murder of Barnabas Pandy.

Poirot wonders how many more letters of this sort have been sent in his name. Who sent them, and why? More importantly, who is Barnabas Pandy, is he dead, and, if so, was he murdered? And can Poirot find out the answers without putting more lives in danger?

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The Brighton Mermaid [review]

The Brighton Mermaid

Title: The Brighton Mermaid
Author: Dorothy Koomson
Publisher: Century

[Synopsis]

Brighton Beach, 1993: Teenagers Nell and Jude find the body of a young woman and when no one comes to claim her, she becomes known as the Brighton Mermaid. Nell is still struggling to move on when, three weeks later, Jude disappears.

Twenty-five years on, Nell quits her job to find out who the Brighton Mermaid really was – and what happened to her best friend that summer.

But as Nell edges closer to the truth, dangerous things start to happen. Someone seems to be watching her every move, and soon she starts to wonder who in her life she can actually trust…

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[My Review]

I am a huge fan of Dorothy Koomson, having loved the other novels I’ve read by her (including The Ice Cream Girls [my review here] and The Friend [my review here]), so I was incredibly excited to get the chance to read her newest release, The Brighton Mermaid. The premise sounded really interesting and I knew I’d be treated to Koomson’s excellent writing.

I wasn’t disappointed – once again, readers can enjoy some brilliantly convincing characters (people you can actually imagine meeting in real life) and an intriguing, just-one-more-page plot, as well as the great location of Brighton.

I really enjoyed reading about Nell and the two key narratives: one focussing on her time as a child – before, during, and after the discover of the mysterous murdered woman and the disappearance of her her best friend, Jude) – and one set in the present day, as Nell deals with her past and tries to work out who could be watching, following and slowly torementing her…

The narrative is fast-paced and kept me wanting to read on, and I love the element of mystery interwoven with topics around family, friendship and secrets. There’s a mix of emotions, with some quite disturbing themes cropping up alongside slightly more light-hearted parts. I loved the sense of time and place that Koomson always creates so well – I may only have been a very small child at the time this was set but I could picture myself there, in the early 1990’s, right there with Jude and Nell as they made their horrifying discovery.

Another addictive release from this brilliant author – definitely recommended!

[Rating: 5/5]

Many thanks to Century for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.

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Days of Wonder [blog tour review]

9780751563313 (1)

Today I’m excited to share my review of the brilliant Days of Wonder, as part of the blog tour! Read on to find out more and see what I thought…

Title: Days of Wonder
Author: Keith Stuart
Publisher: Sphere

[Synopsis]

Tom, single father to Hannah, is the manager of a tiny local theatre. On the same day each year, he and its colourful cast of part-time actors have staged a fantastical production just for his little girl, a moment of magic to make her childhood unforgettable.

But there is another reason behind these annual shows: the very first production followed Hannah’s diagnosis with a heart condition that will end her life early. And now, with Hannah a funny, tough girl of fifteen, that time is coming.

Hannah’s heart is literally broken – and she can’t bear the idea of her dad’s breaking too. So she resolves to find a partner for Tom, someone else to love, to fill the space beside him.

While all the time Tom plans a final day of magic that might just save them both.

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[My Review]

An emotional storyline, characters you really care about, an element of romance and some added drama to keep you turning the pages: Days of Wonder hooked me from the first page right through to the last.

I don’t want to give too much away about what happens, but I will say that this is an emotional read and you should prepare yourself with tissues if you’re anything like me (emotional and very quick to cry!).

As the synopsis reveals, single dad Tom’s daughter, Hannah, is suffering from a serious heart condition, and he’s struggling to cope with what they both know is coming – but he’s truly doing his best to try and keep an element of magic in her life. Day of Wonder is not just about this awful situation, though – there’s so much else going on. From the theatre in peril to Tom’s romantic life (or lack thereof), we’re there every step of the way with them, and I found by the end of the novel I really cared about what would happen – meaning every emotion felt even more intense! Their relationship is amazing, and Tom especially is such a great character, striking just the right balance between being lovably hopeless in some areas, and incredibly creative and capable in others.

There are humorous parts and really sad parts, but whatever was happening within its pages, I loved every second of it – it all felt real and convincing, and made me want to find out more about Hannah’s condition.

I read A Boy Made of Blocks, also by Keith Stuart, and hugely enjoyed it [see my review here] so was excited to give his newest novel a go. I certainly wasn’t disappointed, so I’d really recommend this to anyone looking for a heart-wrenching, wonderful read.

[Rating: 5/5]

Many thanks to Sphere for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review, and for inviting me onto the blog tour!

[About the Author]

keith_stuart_2015_copyright_ashley_bird_horizontal (2).jpgKeith Stuart is an author and journalist. His heartwarming debut novel, A Boy Made of
Blocks, was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick and a major bestseller, and was inspired by Keith’s real-life relationship with his autistic son. Keith has written for publications
including Empire, Red and Esquire magazine, and is the former games editor of the
Guardian. He lives with his wife and two sons in Frome, Somerset.

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Goodreads Monday [In Bloom]

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners . To take part, you simply choose a random book from your TBR and show it off. Don’t forget to check out her blog and link back to Lauren’s Page Turners, and add your own links!]

I absolutely loved Sweetpea by C.J. Skuse [read my review here] so could not jump any faster to review her new novel, continuing with the amazing character of Rhiannon as she continues her serial killing ways… this time with a baby on board!

Title: In Bloom
Author: C.J Skuse
Publish date: 9 August 2018

In Bloom - C J Skuse

[Synopsis]

If only they knew the real truth. It should be my face on those front pages. My headlines. I did those things, not him. I just want to stand on that doorstep and scream it: IT WAS ME. ME. ME. ME. ME!

Rhiannon Lewis has successfully fooled the world and framed her cheating fiancé Craig for the depraved and bloody killing spree she committed. She should be ecstatic that she’s free.

Except for one small problem. She’s pregnant with her ex-lover’s child. The ex-lover she only recently chopped up and buried in her in-laws’ garden. And as much as Rhiannon wants to continue making her way through her kill lists, a small voice inside is trying to make her stop.

But can a killer’s urges ever really be curbed?

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The Color of Bee Larkham’s Murder [review]

The Colour of Bee Larkham's Murder - Sarah J Harris

Title: The Color of Bee Larkham’s Murder
Author: Sarah J Harris
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

[Synopsis]

Whatever happens, don’t tell anyone what you did to Bee Larkham…

Jasper is not ordinary.
In fact, he would say he is extraordinary…

Synaesthesia paints the sounds of his world in a kaleidoscope of colours that no one else can see. But on Friday, he discovered a new colour – the colour of murder.

He’s sure something has happened to his neighbour, Bee Larkham, but no-one else seems to be taking it as seriously as they should be. The knife and the screams are all mixed up in his head and he’s scared that he can’t quite remember anything clearly.

But where is Bee? Why hasn’t she come home yet? Jasper must uncover the truth about that night – including his own role in what happened…

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[My Review]

This is a charming, unique story about Jasper, a boy with synesthesia – so he can can ‘see’ colours from sounds. It’s not a condition that I have any prior knowledge of so this made for interesting reading.

Jasper is a frustrating character in many ways, especially as the novel is narrated by him throughout – there are many points where you know you’re not getting the full picture but it’s just because Jasper doesn’t understand himself. You want to reach into the novel and ask the ‘grown ups’ what’s really happened, because they see things not necessarily in a more ‘truthful’ way, but in a way that most of us, as readers, can better understand.

I love the crime element to the novel – that kept me reading on when I might have got a little bored otherwise. I did really enjoy the story, but I felt it was a little long at some points. Wanting to find out what had really happened to Bee Larkham, and how they’d all got to the point they were at, was what kept me interested.

Most other reviews have raved about this book and, though I did enjoy it, I wasn’t blown away – however I can really appreciate the amazing writing of Sarah J Harris; it’s a beautifully written novel and definitely a unique premise too.

[Rating: 3/5]

Many thanks to Simon & Schuster for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.

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Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling [blog tour review]

Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling

Today I am really excited to be a part of the blog tour for Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling – read on to find out what I thought…

Title: Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling
Author: Emer McLysaghtSarah Breen
Publisher: Penguin

[Synopsis]

Everyone knows an Aisling:

Loves going Out Out, but secretly scared of liquid eyeliner.
Happy to drink the bar dry, but will bring her own coaster if necessary.
Would rather die than miss a cooked hotel breakfast, but can calculate the Points in a Snickers at fifty paces.

Aisling’s the girl with a heart of gold, but a boyfriend who still hasn’t made a peep about their Big Day even after seven years.

But then a disastrous romantic getaway shows Aisling that it’s time to stop waiting around and leave John behind for the bright lights of Dublin. After she’s wailed her way through Adele’s Greatest Hits, that is

Between glamorous new flatmates, a scandal at work and finding herself in a weird love square, Aisling is ready to take on the big city. So long as she has her umbrella with her.

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[My Review]

Fun, entertaining and, at times, a bit emotional, Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling is a fast-paced, funny read which I really didn’t want to put down!

The word ‘Aisling’ seems to be a term originally coined in an Irish Facebook group set up by Emer and Sarah, which has amassed many members who discuss the things they’ve noticed and observed about a certain type of Irish girl, known as an ‘Aisling’. I didn’t know this before I read the novel, so it’s not essential information, but I found it interesting that Aisling is a (seemingly fond, not cruel) term for a certain type of girl – and what an amusing character this novel’s Aisling is!

Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling made me smile and laugh, and though she’s odd in many ways, I really warmed to Aisling – seeing the world through her eyes is so entertaining, and left my hugely amused. Her observations on other people and their habits are brilliant. Some parts are ridiculous but that’s all part of the fun, and there are some much more serious moments too – it’s not all light and fluffy.

I wish there were more pages to this novel so I could spend more time with her (Emer and Sarah, write a second book asap please!). Definitely recommended.

[Rating: 5/5]

Many thanks to Penguin for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review, and for inviting me onto the blog tour.

Buy your copy here

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Complete Aisling Blog Tour


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