WWW Wednesday [30 August 2017]

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!

It’s been a good few weeks since I last did a WWW post (inconsistent as always!) so I’ll just focus on the last week in this post…

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? 

Trying to catch up on books published in August, failing miserably particularly as I’ve been busy the last week with other events and activities so haven’t had a huge amount of free time to read. However here’s what I finished in the last week:

Dead Girls Can’t Lie – Carys Jones [I was on the blog tour for this – read my review here]
Hush Little Baby – Joanna Barnard [review coming soon]
Got You Back – Jane Fallon  – audiobook [review coming soon]

 

What are you currently reading? 

I’m listening to the audiobook of Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica

Also reading The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel.

What will you read next?

I’m not sure – there are a lot of options, but perhaps either 31 Days of Wonder by Tom Winter or The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse… I’m off on holiday from Friday for 2 weeks (Malaysia!) so I’ll probably get through lots of books then!

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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Our Bright Dark Summer [spotlight]

 obds cover revised (1)
Today I’m so pleased to have Richard Daniels on the blog to talk about his new book, Our Bright Dark Summer, and the inspiration behind it!

Title: Our Bright Dark Summer
Author: Richard Daniels
Publisher: Wild Boar Books

[Synopsis]

Nails always said that Summer Land was cursed from the very beginning. Maybe he was right. A dead theme park, slowly rotting away is the perfect place to hide ghosts and traumas and kidnap victims.
Jimmy Benson knows the past is always your shadow and the older you get the darker the shadows become. That’s why he will return to Summer Land. It might be the only chance he has for redemption – if he can keep the kidnapped girl safe. Safe from Nails, safe from ghosts, safe from the past.
Fun and thrills by the sand. It’s waiting for you at Summer Land.

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“My Inspiration”

Richard Daniels
My name is Richard Daniels and my latest novel, Our Bright Dark Summer, is published by Wild Boar Books.

My inspiration for writing comes from anything that kicks against the tedium of everyday life – I like books that suggest weird and strange possibilities. A book I’ve read just recently which is a good example of this is Giallo Fantastique, edited by Ross E. Lockhart. It’s an anthology of strange stories that are a blend of crime, horror and science-fiction and take inspiration from the films of Mario Bava and American pulp noir.

Other recent favourites are Shit Luck by Tiffany Scandal and Every Fox is a Rabid Fox by Harry Gallon.

Our Bright Dark Summer is a tale about a kidnapping that goes wrong and ghosts of the past emerging into the present. In parts it flashes back to the 90s and is set in a crumbling theme park at the British seaside. It’s had some really positive reviews on Amazon and I love the cover – it was designed by a very talented guy called Tom Wickstead.


 

OTS image

Want to know more…?

You can find more information about me at www.richardthewriter.com. I also help to run a spoken word night for fiction and poetry which is put out as a podcast. It’s called Out the Snout. It’s always chaotic and fun and well worth a listen. You can find it on iTunes and here: Out the Snout

See other books by Richard Daniels on Goodreads here.

Our Bright Dark Summer is out now!

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Dead Girls Can’t Lie [blog tour review]

Today I’ve got a review of Dead Girls Can’t Lie as part of the blog tour! The novel is out in paperback and ebook formats, so read on for my thoughts!

Title: Dead Girls Can’t Lie
Author: Carys Jones
Publisher: Head of Zeus

[Synopsis]

Best friends tell each other the truth – don’t they?

When North Stone’s best friend Kelly Orton is found hanging lifeless in a tree, North knows for certain it wasn’t suicide. Kelly had everything to live for – a loving boyfriend, a happy life, and most importantly of all, Kelly would never leave North all by herself.

The girls have been friends since childhood, devoted to each other, soul sisters, or at least that’s what North has always believed. But did Kelly feel the same way, or was she keeping secrets from her ‘best friend’ – deadly secrets…

When the police refuse to take North’s suspicions seriously, she sets out to investigate for herself. But her search soon takes her to a glamorous world with a seedy underbelly, and before long North is out of her depth and getting ever closer to danger. Determined to find the truth, she soon wishes that dead girls could lie, because the truth is too painful to believe…

[My Review]

Dead Girls Can’t Lie is an intriguing story about friendship and secrets.

The author develops the characters as the novel goes on and you feel like you really get to know North as her desperate search to find out what happened to Kelly continues – and both she and Kelly do not always come across too well, I have to say,as they both have their faults! The flashbacks reveal a lot of problems between the two characters (I liked the element of mystery that this brought to the story – what DID happen between them?) and it makes you question their supposedly ‘amazing’ friendship. What went wrong?

Though it took a little while for me to get into it it, there are some surprises along the way and I thought I had the ‘whodunnit’ element figured out but I was definitely wrong! I felt the story was different from other novels in this genre as it doesn’t, to me, really fit into the fast-paced ‘thriller’ category that it seems to be often put in – to me it felt like more of a considered and character-driven story which may not have been quite as dark in terms of plot as I expected it to be – I would have liked a bit more grit. However I really enjoyed Carys Jones’s writing; it’s an enjoyable and fun (as well as an easy) read which kept me turning the pages.

Thanks to Head of Zeus and Netgalley for the ARC on which I chose to write an honest review, and thanks for the chance to be a part of the blog tour!

 

Dead Girls Can’t Lie is out now!

DON’T FORGET… FOLLOW ME ON: INSTAGRAM @SNAZZY_BOOKS / GOODREADS LAURA / AND TWITTER @LAURANAZMDEH!

Check out the other stops on the blog tour below!

Our Little Secret [review]

Our Little Secret

Title: Our Little Secret
Author: Darren O’Sullivan
Publisher: HarperCollins UK

[Synopsis]

A deserted train station: A man waits. A woman watches.

Chris is ready to join his wife. He’s planned this moment for nearly a year. The date. The time. The train. But he hadn’t factored in Sarah.

So when Sarah walks on to the platform and sees a man swaying at the edge she assumes he’s just had too much to drink. What she doesn’t expect is to stop a suicide. As Sarah becomes obsessed with discovering the secrets that Chris is clearly hiding, he becomes obsessed with stopping her, protecting her.

But there are some secrets that are meant to stay buried forever…

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[My Review]

Our Little Secret’s premise is what drew me to this book as it sounded rather intriguing, and the novel is definitely an interesting read.

I enjoyed that fact that it has the elements of a thriller mixed in with a more character-driven narrative. Part of the story is set in Peterborough, which I always find interesting to read novels about (I’m originally from Peterborough) and so I recognised a lot of the places featured.

The writing itself isn’t what I’d call amazing; it’s engaging enough and an easy read but the writing style didn’t strike me as anything special. That said, the story itself is an easy read and it touches upon some important issues in a sensitive and interesting way.

I have to say that I worked out part the twist from quite near the beginning of the story, which barely ever happens, but I still quite enjoyed it – it was a good twist – and I would read other novels by Darren O’Sullivan in the future.

[Rating: 3/5]

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

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The Upstairs Room [review]

the-upstairs-room-kate-murraybrowne

Title: The Upstairs Room
Author: Kate Murray-Browne
Publisher: Pan Macmillan

[Synopsis]

Eleanor, Richard and their two young daughters recently stretched themselves to the limit to buy their dream home, a four-bedroom Victorian townhouse in East London. But the cracks are already starting to show. Eleanor is unnerved by the eerie atmosphere in the house and becomes convinced it is making her ill. Whilst Richard remains preoccupied with Zoe, their mercurial twenty-seven-year-old lodger, Eleanor becomes determined to unravel the mystery of the house’s previous owners—including Emily, whose name is written hundreds of times on the walls of the upstairs room.

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[My Review]

The Upstairs Room is a beautifully crafted, eerie novel which wriggles its way into your mind, slowly developing into much more than your average thriller/mystery – more character driven and focusing on their relationships.

One successful element to the story is the characters, and how well developed they are. Though many aspects of their personalities got on my nerves, I did feel for them – especially Eleanor – as things started getting weird! The story feels like it’s more about the characters themselves, and the house which is almost a character in itself, than the occurrences – they act as a catalyst for developments and incidences between characters and the story focuses more on Eleanor, Richard and Zoe and the way they interact with each other and deal with the increasing feelings of unease – or disbelief – among themselves.

The story is actually fairly slow paced but has plenty of really strange, unsettling moments that created a truly spooky atmosphere. Some parts definitely reminded me of films I’d seen, but executed really well without feeling cheesy or over-dramatic. The feeling of unease slowly creeps through the book and you’re never sure if you believe that there is anything supernatural about the house or not.

The Upstairs Room is a slow burner but one which really drew me in and focuses on character development as much as any thrills or creepiness… aA really great read!

[Rating: 4/5]

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

DON’T FORGET… FOLLOW ME ON: INSTAGRAM @SNAZZY_BOOKS / GOODREADS LAURA / AND TWITTER @LAURANAZMDEH!

Where She Went [review]

Where She Went - B.E. Jones

Title: Where She Went
Author: B.E. Jones
Publisher: Little Brown Book Group UK

[Synopsis]

TV journalist Melanie Black wakes up one morning next to a man she doesn’t recognise. It’s not the first time – but he ignores her even though she’s in his bed. Yet when his wife walks in with a cup of tea he greets her with a smile and to her horror, Melanie comes to realise that no one can see or her hear her – because she is dead.

But has she woken up next to her murderer? And where is her body? Why is she an invisible and uninvited guest in a house she can’t leave; is she tied to this man forever? Is Melanie being punished in some way, or being given a chance to make amends?

As she begins to piece together the last days of her life and circumstances leading up to her own death it becomes clear she has to make a choice: bring her killer to justice, or wreak her own punishment out to the man who murdered her.

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[My Review]

Where She Went is an intriguing novel which centres much more on character development and relationships rather than focussing on a ‘mystery’ as such. It’s not exactly what I expected but I hugely enjoyed reading it, from first page to last. Told from the point of view of Melanie, we (and Melanie herself) soon realise that she’s actually dead, and viewing the life of her murder Peter and his family, as they seem to carry on with their lives. What follows is a really interesting and rather unique story which lets us peek into Peter’s through Melanie’s eyes.

We learn more about what happened in the run up to her death, and see as she tries to lead the police to him in their investigation. I’m not usually a huge fan of novels with a supernatural element, but this is written really well, with Melanie as a ghost allowing us all access into their home life – Peter is such a horrible, despicable character and I hated him so much! We also see news reports through Melanie’s perspective, and her comments on what’s happened can be quite amusing. In a way I wish we didn’t know that Peter was her murderer right from the start, as I’m always a fan of the ‘whodunnit’ elements in crime novels, but the fact that we did know meant this novel was more of a different read for me.

Melanie herself seems a bit unlikable a times, to be honest, but she certainly didn’t deserve to die the way she did – and the story of how that happens actually unfolds in a way I wasn’t expecting, leading to some surprises (despite us knowing who killed her) and therefore keeping me hooked. I found myself wanting to keep picking up this novel whenever I had time to read, and it offers a fresh take on the usual crime novel format!

[Rating: 4/5]

Many thanks to Little Brown Book Group UK and Netgalley for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.

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Perfect Prey [audiobook review]

Perfect Prey - Helen Fields

Title: Perfect Prey
Author: Helen Fields
Publisher: Avon

[My Review]

As I haven’t read the first in the series, I was approaching this (which I listened to on audiobook) from the point of view of someone new to the series.

The D.I. Callanach series seems like a solid, interesting and – at times – very dark crime/ thriller series. It’s grim in places, which I have to say I really enjoyed; on the whole I do like my crime novels gritty and hard-hitting – and this certainly fits the bill!

The main character, Luc Callahan, is a rather attractive (as we are told at various points in the novel) French Detective who is certainly switched on, and the case he’s faced with is both gruesome and puzzling. More bodies appear and other people are under threat, and I really liked some of the red herrings. His relationship with colleagues and those around him is interesting to read about and enhanced him as a three dimensional character who I wanted to read more about.

The narrator did a great job on reading this novel; Luc’s French accent got a bit annoying after a while, to be honest, but the story was presented in an interesting way which kept me listening, as I can often struggle to stay focussed on audiobooks.

I would definitely read others in the series, and having seen excellent reviews of the first in the series, Perfect Remains, I feel like I should go back and give that a go too!


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Then She Was Gone [review]

Then She Was Gone - Lisa Jewell

Title: Then She Was Gone
Author: Lisa Jewell
Publisher: Century

[Synopsis]

THEN
She was fifteen, her mother’s
golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her.
And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.

NOW
It’s been ten years since Ellie
disappeared, but Laurel has never given up
hope of finding her daughter.
And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a café and sweeps Laurel off her feet.
Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine year old daughter.
Poppy is precocious and pretty – and meeting her completely takes Laurel’s breath away.

Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age.
And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.

What happened to Ellie? Where did she go?
Who still has secrets to hide?

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[My Review]

Then She Was Gone is a fairly different novel to the one I was expecting. Having read The Girls and hugely enjoying it [read my review here], and also seeing many reviews for the much-loved I Found You, I was expecting a thriller/ mystery-style novel which focussed more on the investigation. This was not at all that type of novel – but I really enjoyed it!

The novel focuses much more on the characters and family dynamics between Laurel and her son and daughter in the years since the disappearance of her other daughter, Ellie. There are parts which are quite sad and emotional and there’s definitely still the element of mystery – it just didn’t feel like the main narrative in this book. I did, however, really enjoy finding out what had happened to Ellie.

The characters in this novel cover a wide range of personality types, from the weird and annoying through to those lovely, helpful  people  – and everything in between. Some people I wanted to scream at Laurel not to trust. There are various parts of this novel which seem, as Lisa Jewell says in her introduction, pretty crazy. You have to suspend your disbelief slightly for some elements, and I saw some parts coming a mile off, but I didn’t feel it impaired my enjoyment of the book and I found myself racing through this novel, finishing it in a few hours. I have to say I absolutely love a good police procedural/ thriller, but in Then She Was Gone I enjoyed reading more about Laurel and her family, and their experiences, instead of just focussing on the investigation – it felt like something a little different, too.


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

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Close To Me [review]

Close To Me - Amanda Reynolds

Title: Close To Me
Author: Amanda Reynolds
Publisher: Headline

[Synopsis]

Close To Me is a gripping debut psychological drama that will appeal to fans of Liane Moriarty’s bestselling The Husband’s Secret, Clare Mackintosh’s I Let You Go, and Linda Green’s While My Eyes Were Closed.

She can’t remember the last year. Her husband wants to keep it that way.

When Jo Harding falls down the stairs at home, she wakes up in hospital with partial amnesia-she’s lost a whole year of memories. A lot can happen in a year. Was Jo having an affair? Lying to her family? Starting a new life?

She can’t remember what she did-or what happened the night she fell. But she’s beginning to realise she might not be as good a wife and mother as she thought.

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[My Review]

Close To Me is an intriguing read that kept me guessing. It’s not exactly what I was expecting – I thought it would be more focused on why and how Jo fell down the stairs, but actually that ‘occurrence’ sort of acts as a starting point for other aspects – and in a way, the more interesting aspects – of the story: her and husband’s Rob’s relationship, and the relationship between her and her children and those around her, too.

Close To Me is less of a thriller-type story, instead focussing on the family dynamics between characters, and despite being a crime/thriller addict I found I really enjoyed finding out more about the life Jo led before her accident. The characters themselves are interesting and well-developed – though that’s not to say I liked all of them straight off. Obviously, Rob’s views and opinions on many things really grated on me, but we’re obviously not supposed to like him anyway! Jo, however, was a tough cookie  to crack – she seemed a bit unreasonable at the start, but as the story develops I warmed to her and started to understand more of why she was behaving the way she was. It’s unclear throughout the novel whether she is a reliable narrator or not, and there are parts which made me think strongly in one direction, and parts which turned me the other way, and I really enjoy books that do this.

The writing is great, and really skilful, and though the story itself – a wife losing her memory and unsure if she can trust those around her, particularly her husband – isn’t  particularly different or original, it is written in an engaging, enjoyable way and so I found myself engrossed in the story!

A recommended read, particularly if you like interesting character development and a good dose of drama!

[Rating: 4/5]

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

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Goodreads Monday [The Word Is Murder]

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!


Today I’m going to pick a book I’m SO EXCITED to read. I’ve always been a huge Anthony Horowitz fan and I really enjoyed Magpie Murders [read my review here], so was excited to see he’s coming out with a new novel this month – and then even more excited to get a review copy! (‘Excited’ is a word used a lot here…)

The Word Is Murder - Anthony Horowitz

Title: The Word is Murder
Author: Anthony Horowitz
Publisher: HQ Digital

Publish date: 24 August 2017

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[Synopsis]

A wealthy woman strangled six hours after she’s arranged her own funeral.

A very private detective uncovering secrets but hiding his own.

A reluctant author drawn into a story he can’t control.

What do they have in common?

Unexpected death, an unsolved mystery and a trail of bloody clues lie at the heart of Anthony Horowitz’s page-turning new thriller. 

SPREAD THE WORD. THE WORD IS MURDER.

Have you heard anything about this book, or have you got it on your TBR list? 

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