When a deadly explosion brings secrets and lies to light …
A city shaken to its foundations by a fire in a well-known music venue. A nightclub owner seemingly more concerned about money than the lives of the young people who fill the dancefloor at the end of every week. A dangerous bomber still on the loose.
All things that Detective Jen Garner must face in her first week of local level policing whilst trying to start afresh and finally make a break with her past.
Working alongside DI Chris Jackson, it’s crucial that Jen connects the dots to bring the culprit to justice. But it seems that everywhere Jen turns there is somebody with something to hide – and whilst she and her team attempt to unravel a web of lies years in the making, could the bomber be getting ready to strike again?
The 3rd in the Lisa Carter Files series, but easily read as a standalone and it’s another pulsating thriller from Claire Sheldon, as we follow the very likeable and relatable characters she’s created, as they struggle with a case that has left a music venue blown up and 22 victims.
DI Chris Jackson, and Detective Jen Garner team up again to solve the mystery in front of them, and all while dealing with their own personal issues. Chris Jackson has an illness hanging over him and he’s really struggling to come to terms with it and the impact it will have on him both personally and professionally. And Jen is facing the battle between raising a family and wanting to carry on working and trying to get the balance right of not bringing work home with her – very difficult when she’s involved in such time consuming cases.
And this case is a big mystery as initially there appear to be no motive so it’s a big case of ruling people in and ruling people out, interviewing everyone there and delving into their pasts. Who has got something to hide?! I love how well they work together and the meticulous approach to the issues in front of them eventually proves to be successful and the conclusion was shocking and thrilling in equal measures!!
I love the mix of personal and work life in these books, they make it seem more real and showing the human side of the police! Their lives don’t just go on hold because they’re working a big case! Hoping there’ll be more installments as I love keeping up with these characters!! A great read!!
Since the sudden death of her husband, Naomi has steadily rebuilt the life they shared in the village of Tilsham by the sea.
Her eldest daughter, Martha, is sensible and determined – just like her father was – and very much in control of where her life is going. If she could just get pregnant with her husband, life would be perfect.
Willow, the youngest, was always more sunny and easy-going, yet drifted through life, much to her father’s frustration. But now, with charming new boyfriend, Rick, she has a very good reason to settle down.
The three women are as close as can be. But there are things Naomi has kept from her daughters. Like the arrival of Ellis, a long-lost friend from way back, now bringing the fun and spark back into her life. And she’s certainly never told them that her marriage to their father wasn’t quite what it seemed…
The Sunday Times bestselling author Erica James returns with this gloriously compelling tale of mothers and daughters, secrets and love.
I loved this!! One of those stories when you’re sad to leave the characters as you immediately feel at ease with them and want to carry on watching over them as they come to terms with the loss in their lives, but begin to move on.
It’s a story about family relationships, mostly those between mother and daughters and the different personalities they have. Naomi is the mum, recently widowed, so trying to begin a new life for herself now that her main priority is herself. Martha and Willow are her 2 daughters, both very different in character but dealing with their own issues along with the grief of losing their father.
So the story revolves around the different positions they find themselves in – Martha, happily married and in control of her life, but unable to fall pregnant, and Willow who is really easy going and drifts through life, much to the horror of her big sister! Martha is a very strong character who likes to take control of every aspect, and she thinks it would be best for her mum to sell up and move nearer them. Not so easy for Naomi who has happy memories in her home, along with the fact that she’s now making a life for herself, and it’s fascinating to see how that relationship with her daughters plays out.
These are changing times for all of them and the author has done a wonderful job of capturing the different emotions that each family member goes through, and the impact on the other people in their life. I just adored the interaction between the family and the discovery of things that happened in the past that the mother kept from the girls really added to the drama.
This was one of those books that you totally lose yourself in. The main characters are really well crafted and the dilemmas they face never go OTT and it just gripped me as the drama played out, especially towards the end when they’re faced with some challenging times. Wonderful!
What do you do when your life becomes more dramatic than reality TV?
As the devoted carer for famous antique expert Harold Kershaw, Karrie Morgan was always happy to keep a professional distance from his four spoilt grown-up children, who rarely made time for their father. But then a surprise involving Harold’s Will means Karrie is flung headlong into a press scandal, and into the chaotic world of the surviving Kershaws. With the support of her trusted childhood friend Andrew, mild-mannered Karrie must face down ruthless ice queen Portia, master manipulator Gabriel, Botox fanatic Arabella, and ladies’ man Rafe, star of reality TV show Raised in Richmond … although perhaps not as fake and flashy as he initially seems?
As vicious rumours circulate and Karrie’s past comes back to haunt her, she struggles to know who to trust. Can she keep up with the Kershaws’ schemes?
Book 4 in Spotlight series but they can all be read as standalone stories.
This was such a fabulous read! Featuring characters that you only wish good things for, against those that make you tremble with rage at just how awful they are!!
Karrie has spent 7 years devoted to Harold Kershaw as his carer, whilst his adult children got on with their lives and didn’t want much to do with the old man….. that is until he dies, and there’s money to be had! Karrie is devastated when he passes as he’s family to her and she’s wondering what to do with her life next but it appears that Harold had her future in his thoughts when writing his will, and that upsets the Kershaw children!
So what transpires is Karrie and her best friend Andrew, doing all they can to survive the mudslinging and dirty tricks of the children – Portia, Gabriel, Arabella and Rafe. They look down on Karrie and think she must have tricked him into leaving her everything and want it stopped. The fact that they’re all well off and living comfortably doesn’t even seem to enter their heads! Greed rears its’ ugly head!
I loved the portrayal of the different character types in this novel! In Karrie you had someone who has had a genuinely tough life, but find happiness in caring for others, always putting them first over her own needs. And the characteristics of the Kershaw children showed what’s wrong with some in society – the ‘me first’ attitude and entitlement is staggering! And they’re not even afraid to badmouth members of their own family to get their own way!!
The more time Rafe spends with Karrie, he begins to see a different side to people that he normally hangs round with, and how there are ‘normal’ people out there genuinely interested in others and having no malice in their bones! It was great to see his eyes being opened to decent human behaviour, other than the fakeness he’d seen in the Reality TV show world he found himself living in.
I loved this story. It’s one of those that you totally lose yourself in and seeing how money brings out the worst in people just makes you cringe! The shock twists along the way add to the drama as well, but no spoilers from me!! A cracking read!!
The sequel to A. K. Larkwood’s stunning debut fantasy, The Unspoken Name, The Thousand Eyes continues The Serpent Gates series–perfect for fans of Jenn Lyons, Joe Abercrombie, and Ursula K. Le Guin.
Two years ago, Csorwe and Shuthmili defied the wizard Belthandros Sethennai and stole his gauntlets. The gauntlets have made Shuthmili extraordinarily powerful, but they’re beginning to take a sinister toll on her. She and Csorwe travel to a distant world to discover how to use the gauntlets safely, but when an old enemy arrives on the scene, Shuthmili finds herself torn between clinging to her humanity and embracing eldritch power.
Meanwhile, Tal Charossa returns to Tlaanthothe to find that Sethennai has gone missing. As well as being a wizard of unimaginable power, Sethennai is Tal’s old boss and former lover, and Tal wants nothing to do with him. When a magical catastrophe befalls the city, Tal tries to run rather than face his past, but soon learns that something even worse may lurk in the future. Throughout the worlds of the Echo Maze, fragments of an undead goddess begin to awaken, and not all confrontations can be put off forever…
This was a fitting end to an exciting duology and what a journey we’ve been on in the 2 books!! Thankfully there was a little refresh at the start of this book to help me get back on track with the characters, so it all came back to me and the story hits the ground running and doesn’t really let up until that final page!It’s 2 years on since the last book and life for Csorwe and Shuthmili still finding ways to earn a living with tomb raiding being their favourite way! but that also throws up a discovery that changes their lives – yet again! – and lets the story take you on a completely different journey to what you were expecting. The twists and turns again are epic and that’s all I can say about them! But they work! They don’t take away from the character dynamics, but allows growth and because you grow so attached to these characters it also becomes quite emotional, especially with all the drama they are to face.
Tal was great again in this book especially the banter with Csorwe and you just felt like you were among friends as the characters have been so well fleshed out over these 2 books.
It flows really well, never lulls in action or snark, and I will miss the world created and the characters that inhabit it!!
my thanks to Tor Books and Black Crow PR for the advanced copy in return for a fair and honest review.
The powerful and heart-stirring new novel by the Sunday Times bestselling author of Unexpected Lessons in Love. ————————–
First, the clouds… Tara Hunter is a therapist on a mission to restore Longhampton’s community spirit after catastrophic flooding. But with her boyfriend AWOL, her family fragmented, and only a cat for company, Tara’s own life is crumbling.
Then the storm… On top of everything, Tara’s father – last seen as he walked out on her when she was ten years old – is suddenly back, with a surprising offer that could change everything.
And after the rain… Dr David Dalloway is Longhampton Wellness Centre’s new star counsellor. He’s charming, caring and has a knack for reading people’s minds – which is the last thing Tara needs right now. Will having David and her dad around make for a bigger storm on the horizon? Or is this Tara’s chance for a fresh start?
This was another wonderful story from Lucy Dillon that sums up the conflicting emotions of humans, especially when they find it easier to pick others up while their own crumbles around them!
Tara is a therapist who finds herself at the heart of the Longhampton community after the devastating floods wrecked the lives of so many. She’s there to help them make sense of it all and help in any way she can and that distraction helps her forget the problems in her own life!
When David, a fellow therapist at the Wellness Centre she works at, is seen as a miracle worker she’s sceptical to say the least! She’s very reluctant to open up about her own issues, even when he’s offering to help out! Add to the mix the return of her Dad who has been missing from her life since she was 10, you really get the sense that she needs to follow her own advice and get a different perspective on things and ask for help!
I loved the characters in this one, especially Tara. You could feel total empathy towards her and I found her struggles with reaching out for help really relatable. When emotions got in the way it really seemed to cloud her judgement, which made it so much easier helping others with their problems !
It’s full of family drama and you really get involved with the community issues and I love how the author always does a brilliant job of getting underneath the skin of the characters she creates, that allows you to put yourself in their position and wonder how you’d deal with all that life has to throw your way! Loved it!!
The most beguiling debut of 2022, perfect for fans of The Essex Serpent, The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock and The Binding. She is awake…
Norfolk, 1643. With civil war tearing England apart, reluctant soldier Thomas Treadwater is summoned home by his sister, who accuses a new servant of improper conduct with their widowed father. By the time Thomas returns home, his father is insensible, felled by a stroke, and their new servant is in prison, facing charges of witchcraft.
Thomas prides himself on being a rational, modern man, but as he unravels the mystery of what has happened, he uncovers not a tale of superstition but something dark and ancient, linked to a shipwreck years before.
Something has awoken, and now it will not rest.
Richly researched, incredibly atmospheric, and deliciously unsettling, The Leviathan is set in England during a time of political turbulence and religious zealotry. It is a tale of family and loyalty, superstition and sacrifice, but most of all it is a spellbinding story of impossible things.
I found this to be an enthralling piece of historical fiction, with some brilliant supernatural/witchcraft elements that didn’t feel too out of place considering the time period that the story was set in. It centres around a family whose life is torn apart by some strange incidents, leaving the cynical brother Thomas to start his own investigations as to what may have took place in his home while he was away fighting in the English Civil War.
The timeline does jump around a bit which does take a bit of getting used to, but definitely adds to the twists and turns throughout the story and keeps you on your toes as a reader trying to work out where the story will take you to next. With witchcraft the hot topic of the time, the focus of the intrigue always leads you down that path, but Thomas isn’t one to look so kindly on hearsay and he wants to see for himself and isn’t easily swayed by local gossip.
It’s a turbulent time in the country, and that turbulence plays out in his own family with his sister calling him home after their father is felled by a stroke and Thomas needs to be there to take over the farm. His sister tells him of the ‘evil’ servant who she blames for this and says her father was bewitched. There’s an awful lot of dead animals around too at the farm and the weirdness just overwhelms them.
There’s also a later timeline to follow when Thomas is married to Mary and he has a different kind of life now, but the past never seems to be so far away and I loved that different viewpoint and stage in his life. The intrigue throughout was really well pitched and you could sense the fear of the locals of the unknown.
I loved this story from start to finish – the darkness, the gasps it made me emit throughout and it really does a great job of keeping that historical feel, alongside the myths and faith that were at the fore of society. A stunning debut!!
When going back to your roots is the only way forward …
Raegan Kent-Walters is living the high life. Thanks to her husband’s salary, she enjoys the elite Surrey housewife existence of luxury holidays, exclusive gym memberships and skinny lattes. But then the high life comes crashing down, and, whilst reeling from the discovery that her husband wasn’t the man she thought he was, Raegan is also confronted with the reality that she and her daughter, Sabrine, will have to make some major life changes.
So, out goes the state-of-the-art Range Rover, and in comes the beat-up old Transit van to take them away; back to Raegan’s roots in Yorkshire and the life she abandoned. But perhaps by embracing who she used to be, Raegan can find the strength she never knew she had, building something unexpected – but truly special – to get her and Sabrine through to a brighter future.
I feel I’ve been on a real emotional rollercoaster with Ronni Fairweather in this story, and I loved every single minute of it!! It really does connect with the reader over the importance of reconnecting and finding hope in an unseemingly dire situation, and that determination and positive attitude was really inspiring and positive.
Ronni finds her perfect life crumble in front of her eyes as she learns the devastating news about her husband after his shock death. Her and her daughter, Sabrine, are left to pick up the pieces and try and start life all over again without all the trappings of money that they’ve become so used to, Sabrine especially.
What follows is a story that flits from the present to the past, as we get to understand more about Ronni and her background, her life with her husband and how she can try and move forward after hitting rock bottom.
Moving from affluent Surrey to her old stomping ground of Yorkshire, feels just like what Ronni needs to reconnect and reassess what she wanted from life, and often reality is a far cry from the dream. It’s a big change of lifestyle for her daughter too, but she seems to be more resilient than even she thought she was and it was wonderful to see these women flourishing by following their own dreams and taking control of their own lives.
I really loved this book. It showed the full devastating impact of secrets on other people, and how taking a step back can often be the push forward that people need to find their true happiness, free from the fakeness of trying to live to impress others and putting their own contentment at the fore.
Ronke, Simi, Boo are three mixed-race friends living in London. They have the gift of two cultures, Nigerian and English. Not all of them choose to see it that way.
Everyday racism has never held them back, but now in their thirties, they question their future. Ronke wants a husband (he must be Nigerian); Boo enjoys (correction: endures) stay-at-home motherhood; while Simi, full of fashion career dreams, rolls her eyes as her boss refers to her urban vibe yet again.
When Isobel, a lethally glamorous friend from their past arrives in town, she is determined to fix their futures for them.
Cracks in their friendship begin to appear, and it is soon obvious Isobel is not sorting but wrecking. When she is driven to a terrible act, the women are forced to reckon with a crime in their past that may just have repeated itself.
Explosive, hilarious and wildly entertaining, this razor-sharp tale of love, race and family will have you laughing, crying and gasping in horror. Fearlessly political about class, colourism and clothes, the spellbinding Wahala is for anyone who has ever cherished friendship, in all its forms. PUBLISHED BY DOUBLEDAY
This was a sparky and utterly enjoyable story of 3 mixed race women – Ronke, Simi and Boo – and all the trials and tribulations that life and female friendships bring their way! It was fascinating to see how the issue of race affected the women throughout their lives, especially with the culture clashes and expectations of their own families because of their heritage.
The women are in their 30’s and all living in London and all dealing with their own issues – from relationships to their professional lives – and how they’re dealing with it separately and with support from their friends. An old friend, Isobel, shows up from their past too and you get a real sense of an undercurrent with her attitude and motives. It adds a nice bit of spice to the mix and points towards trouble in the past that was never resolved.
It’s a story that zips along at a great pace – all the women are interesting characters and the challenges they face are all relatable so that makes you connect with them in an easy going way! A real fun read, with a dark twist or two!!
Delighted to be with you today as part of the Blog Tour for the wonderful THE VISITORS by CAROLINE SCOTT. My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!
ABOUT THE BOOK
From the highly acclaimed author of The Photographer of the Lost, a BBC Radio 2 Book Club Pick, comes a tale of a young war widow and one life-changing, sun-drenched visit to Cornwall in the summer of 1923…
Esme Nicholls is to spend the summer in Cornwall. Her late husband Alec, who died fighting in the war, grew up in Penzance, and she’s hoping to learn more about the man she loved and lost.
While there, she will stay with Gilbert, in his rambling seaside house, where he lives with his former brothers in arms. Esme is fascinated by this community of eccentric artists and former soldiers, and as she gets to know the men and their stories, she begins to feel this summer might be exactly what she needs.
But everything is not as idyllic as it seems – a mysterious new arrival later in the summer will turn Esme’s world upside down, and make her question everything she thought she knew about her life, and the people in it.
Full of light, laughter and larger-than-life characters, The Visitors is a novel of one woman finally finding her voice and choosing her own path forwards.
Praise for Caroline Scott:
‘A page-turning literary gem’ The Times, Best Books of 2020
‘A touching novel of love and loss’ Sunday Times
‘A beautifully written must-read’ heat
‘A gripping, devastating novel’ Sarra Manning,RED
‘A powerful novel’ Good Housekeeping
‘A heartbreaking read’ Anita Frank
‘Breathtaking exploration of loss, love and precious memories’ My Weekly, Pick of the Month
‘Achingly moving and most beautifully written’ Rachel Hore
‘This beautiful book packs a huge emotional punch’ Fabulous
‘Drew me in from the first line and held me enthralled until the very end’ Fiona Valpy
‘Quietly devastating’ Daily Mail
‘A compulsive, heart-wrenching read’ Liz Trenow
‘Powerful’ Woman & Home
‘Page turning, mysterious, engrossing and compelling’ Lorna Cook
‘A carefully nuanced, complex story’ Woman’s Weekly
‘Caroline Scott evokes the damage and desolation of the Great War with aching authenticity’ Iona Grey
‘Momentous, revelatory and astonishing historical fiction!’ Historical Novel Society
‘Wonderful and evocative’ Suzanne Goldring
‘Based on true events, this is a powerful story’ Bella
‘A poignant hymn to those who gave up their lives for their country and to those who were left behind’ Fanny Blake
‘I was utterly captivated by this novel’ Isabelle Broom
PUBLISHED BY SIMON & SCHUSTER
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Caroline completed a PhD in History at the University of Durham. She developed a particular interest in the impact of the First World War on thelandscape of Belgium and France, and in the experience of women during the conflict – fascinations that she was able to pursue while she spent several years working as a researcher for a Belgian company. Caroline is originally from Lancashire, but now lives in southwest France. The Photographer of the Lost was a BBC Radio 2 Book Club pick.
Caroline Scott has done it again!! Created a storyline and characters that captivate and affect you emotionally as you connect with their plight and watch the drama unfold as they try to make sense of the world, and do their best to move on.
Set in 1923 Cornwall, this is the story of Esme who is looking to try and come to terms with the grief she feels after losing her husband in the Great War. She comes to the area as that is where he grew up, and she wants to see if that will help her. She stays amongst a group of artists/soldiers who are all dealing with their own pain and suffering, but the community brings them some peace and comfort.
What stuck me most about this book was the link with nature. There are so many mentions that it just brings the surroundings to life and that healing feeling that only nature can bring to a soul.
One of the soldiers she meets is Rory, and he deals with his past by writing about it and that not only helps him, but helps Esme too as she reads his experiences of the war to help her connect with her husband.
The connection with nature is there again as you read about his experiences in the war – at times it feels like they’re on a birdwatching break, but it cleverly shows that by them noticing the nature around them, helps them to cope with the brutality of war that they are facing on a daily basis. It makes them feel more human – they’re just young men who have been sent off to be part of something so horrific and totally alien to the normal side of human behaviour. Watching the local wildlife helps them detach.
Esme is then rocked by a mystery visitor arriving in the area and you get the sense that maybe the past will never leave her, despite her desire to try and move on with her life.
This was a beautifully written story set over a few different timelines that blend seamlessly. The connection between characters was wonderfully touching and I adored it!!
A brilliantly inventive new novel about loss, growing up, and our relationship with things, by the Booker Prize-finalist author of A Tale for the Time Being
After the tragic death of his beloved musician father, fourteen-year-old Benny Oh begins to hear voices. The voices belong to the things in his house–a sneaker, a broken Christmas ornament, a piece of wilted lettuce. Although Benny doesn’t understand what these things are saying, he can sense their emotional tone; some are pleasant, a gentle hum or coo, but others are snide, angry and full of pain. When his mother, Annabelle, develops a hoarding problem, the voices grow more clamorous.
At first, Benny tries to ignore them, but soon the voices follow him outside the house, onto the street and at school, driving him at last to seek refuge in the silence of a large public library, where objects are well-behaved and know to speak in whispers. There, Benny discovers a strange new world, where “things happen.” He falls in love with a mesmerizing street artist with a smug pet ferret, who uses the library as her performance space. He meets a homeless philosopher-poet, who encourages him to ask important questions and find his own voice amongst the many.
And he meets his very own Book–a talking thing–who narrates Benny’s life and teaches him to listen to the things that truly matter.
With its blend of sympathetic characters, riveting plot, and vibrant engagement with everything from jazz, to climate change, to our attachment to material possessions, The Book of Form and Emptiness is classic Ruth Ozeki–bold, wise, poignant, playful, humane and heartbreaking.
Poignant, emotional, inventive – I think those words best sum up this reading experience! It has one of the most novel ways of telling the story via 2 narrators! Young Benny who is at the heart of the story, alongside the voice of ‘the book’! And Benny hears the book telling his story too which leads to some brilliant exchanges between the two of them and it just makes reading their story even more captivating.
Young Benny is dealing with the sudden death of his father and this trauma leads to him starting to hear voices. And not just any voices, but the thoughts and feelings of everyday items that crowd his mind leading to those around him worry as to what is wrong with him. His mother tries her best to be there for her son, but she’s dealing with her own grief and her hoarding starts to spiral out of control. There’s a lot of exploration of mental health in this story and the author has approached the subjects with compassion and care.
It is a very difficult book to review as there’s so many threads to it, but it all boils down to humans and their fragility. Their strength. Their quirks. And the ways that people find comfort, be that in the pages of a book or through connecting with others.
Your heart just breaks for Benny at times as there’s nobody around who understands what he’s going through. But he finds a strength somewhere deep down to try and make sense of it on his own, while watching his mother go through her issues. There’s a clear message throughout about decluttering/letting go of the past to help clear your mind and this comes across loud and clear in a very creative way.
It’s heartbreaking and heartwarming in equal measures and is one of those books where the characters stay with you long after the final page. Wonderful!