Goodreads Monday [Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling]

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 am so looking forward to being a part of the blog tour for Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling – my review goes up 27 May! I’m reading this at the moment and it’s incredibly entertaining and very amusing, so I wanted to pick it as this week’s Goodreads Monday post:

Title: Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling
Author: Emer McLysaghtSarah Breen
Publish date: 3 May 2018

Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling


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



Turn a Blind Eye [review]

Turn a Blind Eye

Title: Turn a Blind Eye [audiobook version]
Author: Vicky Newham
Series: DI Maya Rahman
Publisher: HQ


A twisted killer has a deadly riddle for DI Maya Rahman to solve in this pulse-racing thriller, the first in an addictive new series set in East London.

A headmistress is found strangled in her East London school, her death the result of a brutal and ritualistic act of violence. Found at the scene is a single piece of card, written upon which is an ancient Buddhist precept:

I shall abstain from taking the ungiven.

At first, DI Maya Rahman can’t help but hope this is a tragic but isolated murder. Then, the second body is found.

Faced with a community steeped in secrets and prejudice, and with a serial killer on her hands, Maya must untangle the cryptic messages left at the crime scenes to solve the deadly riddle behind the murders – before the killer takes another victim.

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[My Review]

I really enjoyed this novel which had all the elements of a police procedural that I tend to enjoy, and plenty of mystery and tension too.

I really liked Maya – she’s an intelligent, quick, hard-working detective who also happens to be Bengali. This makes a bit of a change from other white-male-driven novels in this genre, and her background and family life growing up affects Maya’s way of thinking and policing in Tower Hamlets and the surrounding area, where a headmistress has been murdered.

The story is really well structured, allowing the reader to slowly piece together what has happened whilst revealing more about Maya and her colleagues, and also touching upon many issues and subjects that are incredibly relevant today. There’s plenty of clues and along the way, and I really enjoyed listening to this on audiobook. It’s an easy listen (narrated really well by Sonia Kaur) and very engaging. The plot is tight, the characters are (on the whole) likable and interesting, and the setting in London is great with its multicultural characters – I would definitely recommend this for anyone looking to discover a gripping new crime series with a strong and likable female lead.




Drift Stumble Fall by @MJonathanLee [review] @HideawayFall

Drift Stumble Fall

Title: Drift Stumble Fall 
Author: M Jonathan Lee
Publisher: Hideaway Fall


Richard feels trapped in his hectic life of commitment and responsibility. From the daily mayhem of having young children, an exhausted wife and pushy in-laws who frequently outstay their welcome, Richards existence fills him with panic and resentment. The only place he can escape the dark cloud descending upon him is the bathroom, where he hides for hours on end, door locked, wondering how on earth he can escape.

Often staring out of his window, Richard enviously observes the tranquil life of Bill, his neighbour living in the bungalow across the road. From the outside, Bills world appears filled with comfort and peace. Yet underneath the apparent domestic bliss of both lives are lies, secrets, imperfections, sadness and suffering far greater than either could have imagined. Beneath the surface, a family tragedy has left Bill frozen in time and unable to move on. As he waits for a daughter who may never return, Bill watches Richards bustling family life and yearns for the joy it brings. As the two men watch each other from afar, it soon becomes apparent that other peoples lives are not always what they seem.

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[My Review]

Wow – this is such a beautifully written, powerful novel which, though not action-packed, really made me feel like I was inside the head of someone feeling so trapped and unhappy. It really spoke to me, and I feel that this is such an important book to read.

Though ultimately about two men who seem to think each other’s lives are somehow better than their own, the novel explores so much more than that, and you really need to read this novel to fully appreciate it.

M Jonathan Lee creates completely convincing characters who also aren’t black and white, good or bad… Lisa and Richard both have their faults, and despite being inside Richard’s head we can see he isn’t perfect, and his wife Lisa isn’t always in the wrong (but let’s face it, she’s really not a likable character!)

I feel that, though this book is in essence just about everyday life, both as Richard, a father feeling trapped by responsibility and regular routines, and Bill, a man who is struggling with loss and ‘not knowing’ – in one of the most difficult ways.

Richard wants escape so badly, I can almost feel it with him, and this creates an effectively claustrophobic feeling in Drift Stumble Fall. Similarly, though we see less of Bill, we get a glimpse of what life is like without closure and I felt so much for him and wife Rosie.

I didn’t expect to be drawn in so much, but Drift Stumble Fall completely captured my attention and my heart. I really enjoyed Broken Branches but this novel is, to me, even better. Though it’s bleak at times, it’s incredibly powerful at creating a feeling of empathy, and is a novel I’ve continued to think about long after finishing.

[Rating: 5/5]

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


The Next Girl [review]

The Next Girl - Carla Kovach

Title: The Next Girl 
Author: Carla Kovac
Series: Detective Gina Harte (#1)
Publisher: Bookouture


She thought he’d come to save her. She was wrong.

Deborah Jenkins pulls her coat around her as she sets out on her short walk home in the pouring rain. But she never makes it home that night. And she is never seen again …

Four years later, an abandoned baby girl is found wrapped in dirty rags on a doorstep. An anonymous phone call urges the police to run a DNA test on the baby. But nobody is prepared for the results.

The newborn belongs to Deborah. She’s still alive.

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[My Review]

What a gripping, tense start to a new detective series which looks set to be a new favourite! Although it focuses on Detective Gina Harte, the book didn’t feel like your average crime novel – though a lot of it fits the ‘police procedural’ format (which, I should point out, I am a big fan of, so nothing to complain about there), a good portion of the story also takes place from the victim’s point of view and from that of missing person Deborah Jenkins’ husband, and this adds a fresh take on the story and, to me, makes it more of a crime thriller – and a really engaging one at that!

Gina herself is a great character – she has her faults and quirks but she adds a lot of interest to the story. The Next Girl is also a stark reminder of how hard the police have to fight to run certain tests; it really highlights the pressure they’re under due to cuts in funding which I found very interesting (though worrying too, of course, as I am aware this element is sadly not complete fiction).

I loved the way the story cuts between different people; it keeps you guessing and reading on, and add that extra element of who exactly is telling the truth. It has just the right balance between action, threat, and fast-paced detective work – all wrapped up into a great start to an exciting and promising new crime series!

[Rating: 4/5]

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


Two Steps Forward [review]

Two Steps Forward

Title: Two Steps Forward
Author: Graeme Simsion & Anne Buist
Publisher: Two Roads


Zoe, a sometime artist, is from California. Martin, an engineer, is from Yorkshire. Both have ended up in picturesque Cluny, in central France. Both are struggling to come to terms with their recent past – for Zoe, the death of her husband; for Martin, a messy divorce.

Looking to make a new start, each sets out alone to walk two thousand kilometres from Cluny to Santiago de Compostela, in northwestern Spain, in the footsteps of pilgrims who have walked the Camino (the Way) for centuries. The Camino changes you, it’s said. It’s a chance to find a new version of yourself, and a new beginning. But can these two very different people find themselves? Will they find each other?

In this smart, funny and romantic journey, Martin’s and Zoe’s stories are told in alternating chapters by husband-and-wife team Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist. Two Steps Forward is a novel about renewal – physical, psychological and spiritual. It’s about the challenge of walking a long distance and of working out where you are going. And it’s about what you decide to keep, what you choose to leave behind and what you rediscover.

[My Review]

This is definitely a very different book than The Rosie Project (which I loved); though it still focuses on slightly older characters, this time the novel tells the story of two people who meet whilst walking from France to Spain and the ‘rocky road’ (sorry) that is ahead of them. Though it’s entertaining in its own way, it’s not as funny as The Rosie Project and definitely has a more serious tone – I found it more of a thoughtful, contemplative novel, but still enjoyed reading it.

I found the information about the famous pilgrimage from France to Spain interesting and it made me want to try something like that myself (as often happens when I read books like this). The narrative is fairly slow in that not that much actually happens, which meant I didn’t quite get into it as much as I thought I would. However, the story reveals a lot of what both Zoe and Martin are thinking and saying as they keep bumping into each other along the way, instead of an all-action narrative. This novel also manages to avoid being at all cheesy or over the top, which is another plus for me!

The characters didn’t hugely resonate with me; I struggled to properly connect with either Zoe or Martin, but I did find the novel to be an interesting read and one that made me think a little. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a smart, well-written novel about literal and non-literal journeys… if that makes any sense!

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


[Blog Tour] Vicious Rumer by @JoshWinning – guest post!


Today I’m excited to introduce you to Joshua Winning’s new novel, Vicious Rumer – read on to find out more and see a special post by Joshua about the real-life inspiration behind the book!

Title: Vicious Rumer 
Author: Joshua Winning
Publisher: Unbound


Rumer Cross is cursed. Scraping by working for a dingy London detective agency, she lives in the shadow of her mother, a violent criminal dubbed the ‘Witch Assassin’ whose bloodthirsty rampage terrorised London for over a decade.

Raised by foster families who never understood her and terrified she could one day turn into her mother, Rumer has become detached and self-reliant. But when she’s targeted by a vicious mobster who believes she’s hiding an occult relic, she’s drawn into the very world she’s been fighting to avoid.

Hunted by assassins and haunted by her mother’s dark legacy, Rumer must also confront a terrible truth: that she’s cursed, because no matter what she does, everybody she’s ever grown close to has died screaming.

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[Real Life Inspiration for Vicious Rumer]

Vicious Rumer deals with obsession. As somebody who suffers from anxiety and depression, I often find myself obsessing over, shall we say, the less ‘fluffy bunny’ side of life. And that’s exactly what Rumer Cross does in this story.

Don’t get me wrong, Vicious Rumer is also a noir-ish, comic-book-esque, candy-pop thriller that moves along at a breakneck speed and is shot through with glimmers of dark humour. It’s inspired by things like The Craft and Jessica Jones and The Maltese Falcon, which hopefully gives it a unique texture. But at the book’s heart, there are serious questions about the (sometimes terrible and untrue) things we believe about ourselves, and whether or not we can ever change.

Rumer genuinely believes every bad thing she’s ever heard about herself. That she’s cursed. A waste of space. Invisible. Some of those things she’s managed to work to her advantage, which is something I admire. The fact that Rumer is able to blend into the background makes her a great shadow for a detective agency, and I love that she figured that out for herself.

On the flipside, though, Rumer really does believe she’s cursed. Her mother was a mob assassin and occultist who died shortly after Rumer was born. Even though her mother’s been dead for almost 20 years, Rumer lives with the guilt and shame of what her mother did, and thinks that her own sorry life is sort of a karmic punishment.

Perhaps because I identify with her so much, Rumer feels like a real person to me. She does some pretty shocking things that I don’t condone, but she’s also sarcastic, fragile, determined and unshakable. I absolutely loved writing her, and I’m only slightly afraid of her. Writing her story was a sort of exorcism – I was able to confront the dark things I sometimes obsess over, and funnel them into something I’m genuinely proud of. I couldn’t have done it without Rumer.

– Joshua Winning

[About the Author]

Joshua Winning Sentinel Shoot 2014Joshua Winning is an author and film journalist who writes for Total Film, SFX and Radio Times. He has been on set with Kermit the Frog, devoured breakfast with zombies on The Walking Dead, and sat on the Iron Throne while visiting the Game Of Thrones set in Dublin. Jeff Goldblum once told him he looks a bit like Paul Bettany.

A geek at heart, Joshua grew up watching Labyrinth and The Neverending Story on repeat, and was raised on a steady diet of Whedon, Cameron and Lucas. His literary heroes include Robin Jarvis, Stephen King and Daphne du Maurier. As a journalist, he has interviewed some of the most exciting names in the film industry, including Jodie Foster, Ryan Reynolds, Charlize Theron and Christopher Lee. He dreams of getting Sigourney Weaver to yell “Goddammit!” at him one day. Joshua’s dark fantasy series The Sentinel Trilogy is published by Peridot Press.

Find out more about Vicious Rumer and pre-order it on the Unbound website!

[Follow the Blog Tour]


A Breath After Drowning by @AliceBooks333 [blog tour review]

A Breath After Drowning

Today I’m really excited to be a part of the blog tour for A Breath After Drowning by Alice Blanchard! I’ve got a review coming up, so read on to find out what I thought (and make sure you follow the rest of the tour too)!

Title: A Breath After Drowning
Author: Alice Blanchard
Publisher: Titan Books


Child psychiatrist Kate Wolfe’s world comes crashing down when one of her young patients commits suicide, so when a troubled girl is left at the hospital ward, she doubts her ability to help. But the girl knows things about Kate’s past, things she shouldn’t know, forcing Kate to face the murky evidence surrounding her own sister’s murder sixteen years before, bringing Kate face to face with her deepest fear.

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[My Review]

Tense, engaging and intriguing, A Breath After Drowning captured my interest from the very first page. It starts out very focused on the characters, who I really liked (allowing me to become more invested in Kate and her life). Though it jumps backwards in time a little, the storyline is mostly focused on the here and now, which makes a nice change from many other books in this genre which tend to constantly flit between timeframes.

I enjoyed reading about Kate’s childhood, looking out for clues of what might have happened to her sister, but I preferred reading about Kate today, with her mental battles and her quest to find out what really happened all those years ago.

The mystery side of the story develops as the narrative continues, and I found myself completely absorbed – I really wanted to know what had happened; there’s something about ‘cold’ cases which, although they took place so long ago, really grab my attention.

Some parts are more dramatic than others, but overall I felt Alice Blanchard did a great job of not straying into the ‘too-ridiculous’ category. Though the story starts out a lot slower, the pace and tension ramps up as the story continues, ending in a conclusion which left me feeling satisfied and wanting to read more by this author!

[Rating: 4/5]

Many thanks to Philippa at Titan Books 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]

Alice BlanchardAlice Blanchard is an award-winning author. Her short story collection The Stuntman’s Daughter won the Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction. She has received a PEN Syndicated Fiction Award and a New Letters Literary Award.

Her thriller The Breathtaker was the official selection of NBC’s Today Show Book Club, presented by bestselling author Jacquelyn Mitchard. Her debut novel Darkness Peering was a New York Times’ Notable Book. Her work has been published in 16 countries.

Alice grew up in Connecticut, where she drew inspiration from New England’s thick morning mists and mythic woods. Her father was a well known sculptor and painter. Her mother and sister are poets and her brother is a screenwriter working in Los Angeles. Her husband is a photographer, writer, curator and musician.

[Follow the Blog Tour]

A Breath After Drowning_FINAL (1)


Deadly Secrets by @RobertBryndza [review] @bookouture

Deadly Secrets - Robert Bryndza

Title: Deadly Secrets
Author: Robert Bryndza
Series: Detective Erika Foster (#6)
Publisher: Bookouture


To commit the perfect murder, you need the perfect cover.

On a cold icy morning, a mother wakes to find her daughter’s blood-soaked body frozen to the road. Who would carry out such a horrific killing on the victim’s doorstep?

Straight off her last harrowing case, Detective Erika Foster is feeling fragile but determined to lead the investigation. As she sets to work, she finds reports of assaults in the same quiet South London suburb where the woman was killed. One chilling detail links them to the murder victim – they were all attacked by a figure in black wearing a gas mask.

Erika is on the hunt for a killer with a terrifying calling card. The case gets more complicated when she uncovers a tangled web of secrets surrounding the death of the beautiful young woman.

Yet just as Erika begins to piece the clues together, she is forced to confront painful memories of her past. Erika must dig deep, stay focused and find the killer. Only this time, one of her own is in terrible danger…

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[My Review]

Another fantastic, well-written release from Robert Bryndza and the Detective Erika Foster series, which has quickly climbed to one of my favourite detective/ crime series, and which never fails to draw me into Erika’s world so completely. I know once I pick up a novel in this series I won’t be able to do anything else until I’ve finished it!

As well as lots of gripping investigation and police work, plus glimpses into the life of a disturbing killer, we also see a bit more of Erika’s soft side as she helps her father in law and deals with some surprising news from a certain someone…

I love the police procedural element of the story – as always the plot is gripping, tight and excellently written, with the perfect mix of personal elements surrounding Erika’s team and the police work itself.

Deadly Secrets could be read as a stand-alone, but with five previous (brilliant) novels to get stuck into, I recommend starting from the beginning so you know as much as possible about Erika and her background, as this only enhances each story!

[Rating: 5/5]

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


Spotlight on: Whippoorwill by Robert Bartam

Today on the blog we welcome Robert Bartram’s new book, Whippoorwill, “a thrilling tale of espionage set in the American Civil War” with glowing reviews! Read an extract and find out more about the book below…

Whippoorwill - Robert Bartram

Title: Whippoorwill
Author: R.L. Bartram
Publisher: Matador


Barely fourteen, Ceci Prejean is a tomboy running wild in the hot Louisiana summer. After breaking the nose of a local boy, her father decides to enlist the aid of Hecubah, a beautiful Creole woman, with a secret past, who takes Ceci in hand and turns her into a lady.

Now, eighteen-year-old Ceci meets and falls passionately in love with a handsome young northerner, Trent Sinclaire. Trent is a cadet at the West Point military academy. He acts as if he knows Ceci. They begin a torrid affair, even as the southern states begin to secede from the Union.

Only weeks before their wedding, the Confederate army attacks Fort Sumter and the civil war begins. Trent is called to active service in the north, leaving Ceci heartbroken in the south. Swearing vengeance on the union, after the untimely death of her family at the fall of New Orleans, Ceci meets with infamous spy master, Henry Doucet. He initiates her into the shadowy world of espionage. After her failure to avert the catastrophe at Gettysburg, Ceci infiltrates the White House.

There, she comes face to face with Abraham Lincoln, a man she’s sworn to kill. Forming a reckless alliance with the actor, John Wilkes Booth, she is drawn deeper into the plot to assassinate the President of the United States. A Confederate spy in love with a Union officer, her next decision will determine whether she lives or dies…

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Trent was lucky. The Confederate musket ball that was intended to kill him merely grazed his brow. He lurched violently back in his saddle. His horse reared wildly, throwing him, unconscious to theground, directly into the path of his own cavalry advancing only yards behind him.

At the far end of the field, Sergeant Nathanial Pike and his men, engaged in the hasty formation of a skirmish line, watched helplessly as the scene unfolded. As Trent hit the ground, a Confederate soldier appeared out of the shadows. Small and slight, little more than a boy, he lunged forwards, grabbed the officer by the lapels of his coat and dragged him out of the path of the galloping horses. Throwing himself across the man’s prone body, he shielded him from the pounding hooves. The cavalry thundered past oblivious, in the half-light, to the fate of their captain.

As the danger passed, the rebel rose to his knees and appeared to search the unconscious man.

“God damn thieving rebs,” Pike snatched his pistol from its holster, his thumb wrenching back the hammer. Before he could take aim, the rebel stopped searching. He leaned forwards and, cradling the officer’s face in his hands, bent down and kissed him, full on the lips, long and hard. Pike’s pistol, arm and jaw dropped simultaneously.

Something, some noise, some movement, made the rebel look up and glance furtively around. He jumped to his feet and, with a final backwards glance at the fallen man, melted into the shadows, like a wraith.

It was some moments before Pike’s jaw snapped shut, his teeth meeting with an audible click. He rounded on his men. “Did you see what I just saw?” he demanded.

His question was answered with shrugs and scowls. Not one man there could swear he hadn’t dreamed it. Then suddenly, they heard it, far off, plaintive and eerie, the cry of a whippoorwill.

Rob PHOTO[About the Author]

With Historical Romance as his preferred genre, Robert has continued to write for several years.

Many of his short stories have appeared in various national periodicals and magazines.
His debut novel “Dance the Moon Down”, a story of love against adversity during the First World War, gained him considerable critical praise, being voted book of the month by “Wall to Wall books”.

His second novel “Whippoorwill” tells of a passionate affair between a young southern woman and a northern man at the beginning of the American Civil War.

He is single and lives and works in Hertfordshire.

Visit Robert on Goodreads and buy Whippoorwill on Amazon.


WWW Wednesday [11 April 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? 

The Next Girl – Carla Kovach [review to follow]
Anna – Amanda Prowse [read my review here]
Deadly Secrets – Robert Bryndza [review to follow]

What are you currently reading? 

Skin Deep - Liz Nugent

Skin Deep – Liz Nugent

What will you read next?

A Breath After Drowning – Alice Blanchard (I’m on the blog tour on the 17th April!)
…then probably Two Steps Forward – Graeme Simsion & Anne Buist

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!