The Skeleton Key by Erin Kelly @HodderBooks #NetGalley #mythery #thriller #psychologicalthriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Skeleton Key by Erin Kelly. This is the first time I have read a book by this author and it will not be the last. I am aware that this book is one that is dividing readers!

My thanks to Hodder & Stoughton Publisher for my eARC of this book via NetGalley.

THIS REUNION WILL TEAR A FAMILY APART…

Summer, 2021.
 Nell has come home at her family’s insistence to celebrate an anniversary. Fifty years ago, her father wrote The Golden Bones. Part picture book, part treasure hunt, Sir Frank Churcher created a fairy story about Elinore, a murdered woman whose skeleton was scattered all over England. Clues and puzzles in the pages of The Golden Bones led readers to seven sites where jewels were buried – gold and precious stones, each a different part of a skeleton. One by one, the tiny golden bones were dug up until only Elinore’s pelvis remained hidden.

The book was a sensation. A community of treasure hunters called the Bonehunters formed, in frenzied competition, obsessed to a dangerous degree. People sold their homes to travel to England and search for Elinore. Marriages broke down as the quest consumed people. A man died. The book made Frank a rich man. Stalked by fans who could not tell fantasy from reality, his daughter, Nell, became a recluse.

But now the Churchers must be reunited. The book is being reissued along with a new treasure hunt and a documentary crew are charting everything that follows. Nell is appalled, and terrified. During the filming, Frank finally reveals the whereabouts of the missing golden bone. And then all hell breaks loose.

MY REVIEW

I adored this book and the twisted mystery that the author had woven into it. The basic premise of the story is one that the author explains at the beginning. She refers to the Kit Williams book, Masquerade. The idea of this book was that the reader had to solve clues to discover the location of a golden hare. The book was published in 1979 and I do have a copy of it, I never worked out locations but I adore the artwork.

Frank and Lal have known each other for years. The Golden Bones is a book that Frank is credited with coming up with, but there is more to it than that. The idea is that there are 7 jewels that when found will form a miniature skeleton of Elinore. The book is made up of clues, puzzles, equations and various other brain teasers that lead the treasure hunters to the locations of each of the bones. It has been 50 years since the publication of the book and as interest has dwindled, what better time to spark a resurgence? The final bone is still missing.

The story focuses not so much on the treasure hunt but on how the book has affected the families of Frank and Lal. Both men have had their highs and lows and the author does show these within this timeslip story. She also looks in detail at Nell’s story, she is the daughter of Frank and someone that has been on the negative side of the publicity that the book has had.

The families live side by side, and their children have grown up together and known each other all their lives. But Nell is one that has become more of an outsider, she moves constantly and is always looking over her shoulder. The reasons for this are made apparent in the story.

The author has woven a very twisted and mysterious tale around the book and the families. Things really come to a head when a grand unveiling does not go to plan and old secrets finally start to come out. This is when you finally realise how twisted the older generations in the families are willing to go, and little others are thought about.

This is a glimpse into two very dysfunctional families, based on secrets, fear and control. I really found this to be an addictive read and it was great to be able to see differences of opinion, and how things changed over the years as the author flits back and forth over timelines.

This was a fabulous read and one that I soon found myself very much wrapped up in. It is devious, sneaky and riveting. The pages just disappeared and I didn’t realise how long this book was until I came to write my review, it is 500+ pages and it took me two sittings. Brilliant book and one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Erin Kelly was born in London in 1976 and grew up in Essex. She read English at Warwick University and has been working as a journalist since 1998.

She has written for newspapers including The Sunday Times, The Sunday Telegraph, the Daily Mail and the Express and magazines including Red, Psychologies, Marie Claire, Elle and Cosmopolitan.

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The Temple House Vanishing by Rachel Donohue #mystery #literaryfcition #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Temple House Vanishing by Rachel Donohue. This is a book that has divided opinions when you look at the reviews. So I bought a copy and gave it a go as it did sound interesting to me.

Twenty-five years ago, a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl and her charismatic teacher disappeared without trace…

In an elite Catholic girls’ boarding-school the pupils live under the repressive, watchful gaze of the nuns. Seeking to break from the cloistered atmosphere two of the students – Louisa and Victoria – quickly become infatuated with their young, bohemian art teacher, and act out passionately as a result. That is, until he and Louisa suddenly disappear.

Years later, a journalist uncovers the troubled past of the school and determines to resolve the mystery of the missing pair. The search for the truth will uncover a tragic, mercurial tale of suppressed desire and long-buried secrets. It will shatter lives and lay a lost soul to rest.

The Temple House Vanishing is a stunning, intensely atmospheric novel of unrequited longing, dark obsession and uneasy consequences.

MY REVIEW

I have seen a few reviews for this book and it is one that seems to divide opinions. It is a slower-paced story and it does have a literary fiction lean to it, I think this is why it appealed to me.

A teacher and a student go missing from a boarding school run by nuns. The student, Louisa, doesn’t fit in. She has been accepted via a scholarship and is not afforded the same respect as those who have rich parents willing to pay the fees. The teacher is Mr Lavelle, a young teacher, who inspires and is open to his students, encouraging them to explore their minds further. Not a conventional teacher but one that is well-liked.

It is 25 years after the disappearances, and no one knows the whereabouts of Louisa or Lavelle. As the anniversary is coming up a local journalist picks the story back up and tries to look for those who may be able to shed new light on this old case.

The story is told from the perspectives of Louisa and the Journalist.

This is a very slow and yet very atmospheric novel that really hit the right notes for me. There is the mystery of the missing persons and this is told in a then and now timeline. Reading from Louisa’s perspective as she joins this new school you soon realise that there is a difference in how a student is perceived and therefore accepted. Louisa gained her place on merit, clever awarded a place because of her excellent exam results. And not, as some others are, students of rich parents. The hierarchy is evident, but not all the students think this way. Louisa is befriended and made to feel welcome by a fellow loner, Victoria.

The author gradually tells of the school, the students and the classes. All the time building on the relationships and friendships made. When the Journalist is introduced other details are brought to light, and her role in revisiting this story means she gets to seek out those who were part of it. Slowly and gently the author teases and weaves a tale that comes across with a slight gothic edge to it, some of the characters almost have an ethereal presence and this adds to the atmosphere. Some of the characters are very daydreamy and they seem to flutter through the story while others feel very real.

I really enjoyed this one and I found it very absorbing. I do like a slow burner of a story and this is definitely that. For me, the story had atmosphere, tragedy, and mystery and at times I did think it had a Du Maurier style to it.

I am aware that this book has split opinions, but for me, I adored it and thought it was beautifully written. It does fall into literary fiction, suspense, friendship and mystery and it is one I would definitely recommend.

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The Couple at Causeway Cottage by Diane Jeffrey @dianefjeffrey #publicationday #thriller #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share my book review today for The Couple at Causeway Cottage by Diane Jeffrey. The author contacted me a few weeks ago to see if I wanted to read her latest book, it was an easy decision and an immediate Yes Please!

I would like to wish Diane a happy Publication Day for this book 🙂

Kat and Mark move to an island off the Northern Irish coast for a new beginning. Far away from their frantic life in London, it’s the perfect place to bring up the family they’re longing to start.

But as soon as they arrive, cracks begin to appear in their marriage. Mark is still texting his ex-wife. Kat is lying about a new friendship. And one of them is keeping an explosive secret about the past.

The couple in Causeway Cottage are hiding something – and the truth can be deadly…

MY REVIEW

I do like a story that has a good mystery behind it, The Couple at Causeway Cottage is a story that has a mystery and is atmospheric and completely addictive reading.

Kat and Mark have moved to a small island off Ireland, the cottage is ideal as it is close enough for Mark to be able to visit his ailing mother. For Kat, the location is the opportunity to take photos and build her website sales. The land is rugged and wild, windswept and alluring. But there is a feeling that lurks around the periphery of the story. A secret and a lie that is not fully known until much later in the story.

Unbeknown to her husband, Kat is aware of one of the residents of the island, it is around an event when Kat was in her teens. This is tentatively approached through the story for those involved, and it adds a wonderful vibe to the story.

While Kat does come across as trustworthy, this little secret of hers means she starts to be elusive about things. This distrust is added to when she starts to doubt her husband, this is an easy thing to accept given that he does work away quite often.

The island is isolated, Kat has left her friends behind and it seems that the friends she meets on the island have hidden messages or meanings behind their conversations. This does leave Kat feeling alone and it is a chance for her mind to work overtime.

The ending of this story shocked me, there were little things hinted at but it wasn’t until the final chapters that I suddenly got the whole thing. The secrets of the past are the foundation for the present and I do think they were very well woven together.

I do like this style of story, it has brooding darkness to it that mirrors the location, it works very well and it gives the overall mysterious atmosphere to it. A fabulous read and one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Image and info from Author Website

I was born in 1973 and grew up in the UK: in North Devon and Northern Ireland. I spent a lot of my childhood in the water: either in the swimming pool or the Atlantic Ocean, as I swam competitively and also did surf life saving for several years. I was actually the first female lifeguard to work on the beaches in the UK. This is probably my main claim to fame!

After obtaining a BA joint honours degree in French and German from the University of Nottingham, I decided to become a teacher. As I felt that I wasn’t fluent enough in French or German to teach either subject, I moved to France, where I became an English teacher. I now live in Lyon with my husband and our three children, black Labrador and cat.

I’ve always wanted to be an author and I started writing poems and short stories at about five years of age. After lots of rejection letters and emails over the years from agents and editors, my debut novel was published when I was 43, which just goes to show: you should never give up!

I have written five psychological thrillers, all published by HQ, an imprint of HarperCollins, and all bestselling ebooks: Those Who Lie (2017), He Will Find You (2018), The Guilty Mother (2019), a USA Today bestseller, The Silent Friend (2020), A Karin Slaughter Killer Reads pick for ASDA, and The Couple at Causeway Cottage (2022). I am currently working on my sixth novel.

When I’m not teaching or writing, I run (a little) and swim (a lot). I devour chocolate, books and beer. I love holidays and travelling. Above all, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends.

Social Media – Website Twitter Facebook

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The Sanctuary by Andrew Hunter Murray #mystery #20booksofsummer #NetGalley #PenguinUKBooks #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Sanctuary by Andrew Hunter Murray. I had requested this book from Penguin Books via NetGalley as the title and synopsis interested me.

This is the 9th book I have read in my #20booksofsummer reading challenge.

In a disintegrating and increasingly lawless land, a young man is travelling north.

Ben is a young painter from the crowded, turbulent city. For six months his fiancée Cara has been living on the remote island of Sanctuary Rock, the property of millionaire philanthropist Sir John Pemberley. Now she has decided to break off their engagement and stay there for good.

Ben resolves to travel to the island to win Cara back. But the journey there is a harsh and challenging one, and when he does arrive, a terrible shock awaits him.

As Ben begins to find his way around Pemberley’s perfect island, he knows he must also discover – what has made Cara so determined to throw her old life away? And is Sanctuary Rock truly a second Eden, as the mysterious Sir John claims – or a prospect of hell?

MY REVIEW

When Ben’s fiance Cara doesn’t return from her work trip, Ben gets worried. She works on an island with no phone signal and communication is by letter. Cara likes her job a lot and she likes the importance that it offers her.

This story is set around a two-tier society, those that can afford to live in Villages, and those that can. The Villages are a new way of living. The main island is known as Sanctuary Rock, a remote island that has a strict and limited access system.

For Ben, this is a society or system that doesn’t quite sit well with him. He has visited Villages to paint portraits for the wealthier residents. He however is happier in the city in his small flat. There are benefits to these hubs as those who cannot afford to live in them can work in them. Travel and work are via permits.

Ben finally has enough of waiting for Cara so decides to make his way to The Sanctuary. A dangerous journey to undertake with no idea what he will find when he gets there.

Once there he is surprisingly welcomed as it seems that Cara is respected there. While he still waits for her to return from another job he is shown and welcomed to the island. It has a good feel, almost like a utopian society where everyone works together. There is however an underlying ominous feel, is everything as good as it seems or is it too good to be true?

This is quite an addictive story and it does have a dystopian feel to it, but not overly so and this makes it more accessible. THere are ethical questions raised within the story and this is a great way of interacting with the reader and made me think about options, dilemmas and principles.

The story unfolds further and you start to notice the cracks, things are not as they seem but quite what they are I wasn’t able to put my finger on, following Ben in this story finally led me to a truth that I didn’t expect.

This is a mystery novel that has a sci-fi or dystopian twist to it. The plot was a slower one but it gave all the information and explanations to set the reader up for the revelations to follow. I really enjoyed this one and I would be happy to recommend it.

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Equinox by David Towsey #NetGalley @HoZ_Books #fantasy #20booksofsummer #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Equinox by David Towsey. This was a title that caught my eye while I was on NetGalley. My huge thanks to Head of Zeus for approving my request to read and review this fantasy story.

Everyone is not as they seem in this fantasy novel, replete with war, witchcraft and secrets.

Christophor Morden lives in a world where everybody changes with the rising and setting of the sun. For every person contains two distinct identities – a day brother and a night brother. One never sees the light, the other nothing of night.

One evening Christophor, one of the king’s special unit of witch hunters, is woken early by a call to the city prison. A young woman has torn her own eyes out, and the police suspect supernatural causes. The investigation takes Christophor far from home, to a village on the edge of the kingdom.

There he will find his witch – and his night brother will find himself desperate to save her. And as this battle of the self rages, the witch’s ancient and apocalyptic ritual comes ever closer to completion… 

MY REVIEW

It was the cover that first caught my eye for this book, now I can see how well it works after reading it.

This is a story of night and day. Alexsander and Christorpher share a body, one is the night brother the other the day brother. One an investigator for the King, the other likes a drink, plays music and is not as studious.

I like this idea of one body with two identities that change over at the rising and setting of the sun. It makes for an interesting read and one that gives two distinct personalities. The author has very cleverly given the perspective of both and done it well so as not to get confusing.

Christopher works hard and has built a good reputation for himself, so he is personally asked, well ordered to go to the edge of the kingdom to work out why a young girl is missing her eyes. This is something that Christopher can deal with, he has experienced, but when the day comes his brother doesn’t have the skills, but in his way is able to help, well most of the time.

This was an interesting story of good versus evil, but for the investigation, it is about trying to find the truth. It is also a chance for the brothers to experience a little of each other’s life as memories, reminders, and prompts are left for the following change.

An interesting concept that I really enjoyed, is a good fantasy novel that does have some magic and evil shenanigans and well paced. Not so much war but skirmish, but overall an enjoyable and quite addictive read. It is one I would happily recommend. 

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Hide by Kiersten White #NetGalley #mystery #thriller #20booksofsummer #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Hide by Kiersten White. This is a mystery thriller that has a supernatural twist to it. My thanks to the publisher Del Rey Books for approving my request to read this title via NetGalley.

This is book 6 of 20 in my #20booksofsummer reading challenge.

The challenge: spend a week hiding in an abandoned amusement park and don’t get caught.

The prize: enough money to change everything.

Even though everyone is desperate to win–to seize their dream futures or escape their haunting pasts–Mack feels sure that she can beat her competitors. All she has to do is hide, and she’s an expert at that.

It’s the reason she’s alive, and her family isn’t.

But as the people around her begin disappearing one by one, Mack realizes this competition is more sinister than even she imagined, and that together might be the only way to survive.
Fourteen competitors. Seven days. Everywhere to hide, but nowhere to run.

Come out, come out, wherever you are.

A high-stakes hide-and-seek competition turns deadly in this dark supernatural thriller from New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White

MY REVIEW

It was definitely the cover that stood out for me when I requested this title to read via NetGalley. Very distinctive and also quite ominous looking!

 The basics of the story are a game of hide and seek, but this version is not the happy one, this one is sinister and it also brings back memories for one of the contestants.

The story is one that flits back and forth through the decades, it is done various times throughout and it is ideal for filling in the history and the timeline of the old abandoned amusement park. Straight away I would be heading in the opposite direction, I mean those places look really creepy and ominous when you see images on the Internet! Thank goodness the author ran with the idea as it turned out to be a cracking read.

The characters are from various backgrounds, some you will get to know better than others, and some you wish you didn’t know at all. But there is a small group that does seem to be ok despite how they are looked upon by others.

The reason for the game of hide and seek is told, but not until later on in the story and definitely not in full, you will have to wait a bit longer for the full details to emerge. There are two sides to this story and what the sides are and what that means for everyone is something that the author has done well. Think of it as like “the have’s” and “the have nots” and then you realise that there are more serious tones that have roots back in the history of the story.

This is partly a horror-style story, and yes there were some eerie and creepy scenes, and this kept up the tension and added to the overall mystery of the tale. It is one of those stories that you can imagine being told by a campfire to scare others at night. Definitely atmospheric and nicely paced as well, with a slower beginning that gradually sped up until a full run for the finale.

I really enjoyed this book and it is the first time reading anything by this author so I am pleased to see there are many other titles for me to read. This is one for those who like a supernatural horror-style story, with some blood, some guts and some eerily creepy moments, It is also a mystery, crime thriller story so I do think it would appeal to many different readers. I really enjoyed this and I would happily recommend it. 

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No Escape by Robert Crouch @robertcrouchuk #crime #mystery #murder #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for No Escape by Robert Crouch. This is the 8th book in the Kent Fisher Mysteries series and I have loved each one. The series is brilliant as it follows Kent during his time as an Environmental Health Officer who also owns an animal sanctuary and is also a sleuth in his “spare time”. The series is best read in order as you do get a full image of Kent’s character and his life.

One reckless moment, so many lives

Gemma Dean goes missing one chilly October morning, leaving behind her phone. Texts hint at secrets far darker than Kent Fisher could ever imagine.

When a body is found in his burned-out car over a hundred miles away, murder brings the past crashing into the present with the first in a chain of painful discoveries.

Struggling to make sense of a past that threatens to devastate his future, Kent faces his most personal and challenging investigation so far.

But how will he deal with the fallout from one reckless moment that cost so many lives?

PURCHASE LINK – HERE

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE – HERE

MY REVIEW

Over the course of this series, Kent Fisher has dealt with murder and the mysteries that surround them. This latest book however brings murder and mystery to his doorstep. It leaves him questioning the past and the future especially when it is Gemma Dean that is missing.

Gemma is a character that has popped up before, Kent is smitten with her but not everyone is a fan of Gemma. Kent’s nearest and dearest offer their sympathies and are obviously worried about how Kent is dealing with the disappearance, others are not surprised. But when a body is found in his car there is obviously something more to this than a woman who has disappeared.

Turning to a personal side of this latest book, the author shares more of Kent’s past and also the enigma that is Gemma. Snippets and only a very small amount of information is known about Gemma. This leaves Kent stumbling around trying to discover more about her to see if he can find leads and also trying not to get in the way of the Investigating officers.

Having read every book in this series I liked how the author brings this more personal touch. Kent’s former job as an Environmental Health Officer gave him opportunities and access to databases. Now, he has nothing to go on as he no longer works for the EHO. Instead, he has to use his wits and a few trusted contacts to try to find any tiny details.

Seeing Kent in new circumstances was really interesting. He has become more vulnerable as he is more reliant on the information of others rather than discovering it himself. Frustration and the occasional outburst of anger are seen and again this is something that was interesting to read. I have the image of Kent as being more detached from his investigations, determined and focused, whereas now he is a little obsessive, abrupt and is taking far too many risks. This makes sense given the close nature of this mystery.

This story had a different vibe from the others, the characters are still around but the focus is well and truly on finding Gemma. The animal sanctuary is mentioned, but this does take a more understandable back seat, thank goodness he has a great group around him to keep him propped up and supported.

This was a very tense murder mystery for me, after all, it does involve one of my favourite fictional characters. The author has taken Kent on a dangerous road and there are repercussions for him and those around him. Things feel fragile as secrets and confessions are told and I am eager to see how the author deals with these as well as Kent’s next move into Private Investigator. A cracking read, one for crime, murder, and mystery readers and one I would absolutely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Do you love complex murder mysteries?

Do you enjoy a backstory and characters that develop as a series progresses?

Do you like a contemporary setting and humour?

Robert Crouch incorporates all three in his novels, drawing on his own experience in environmental health to create a sleuth for today’s world. Being neither a police officer nor a private investigator, he brings an original twist to the murder mystery genre.

To find out more please take a look at Robert’s website HERE

Or sign up for his newsletter HERE and receive a free copy of Fisher’s Fables.

Also on Twitter

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The Ballad of Perilous Graves by Alex Jennings @Magicknegro @orbitbooks #compulsivereaders @Tr4cyF3nt0n #mysterious #urbanfantasy #magick #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Ballad of Perilous Graves by Alex Jennings. This is a brilliant read set in New Orleans with a wonderfully magical, musical and dangerous vibe.

I also want to add that the author did include a playlist for Spotify, this was so good to listen to. A mix of Jazz and Blues, some remixes and some that were new to me, and some rather modern ones!

My huge thanks to Tracy at Compulsive Readers for my PB copy of the book from the Publisher – Orbit Books

In a fantastical version of New Orleans where music is magic, a battle for the city’s soul brews between two young mages, a vengeful wraith, and one powerful song in this vibrant and imaginative debut.

Nola is a city full of wonders. A place of sky trolleys and dead cabs, where haints dance the night away and Wise Women keep the order, and where songs walk, talk and keep the spirit of the city alive. To those from Far Away, Nola might seem strange. To failed magician, Perilous Graves, it’s simply home. Then the rhythm stutters.

Nine songs of power have escaped from the magical piano that maintains the city’s beat and without them, Nola will fail. Unexpectedly, Perry and his sister, Brendy, are tasked with saving the city. But a storm is brewing and the Haint of All Haints is awake. Even if they capture the songs, Nola’s time might be coming to an end.

MY REVIEW

This is a book that I adored. A mix of urban fantasy, music, family friends and enemies. They are wrapped around songs and music. New Orleans is an area that has a mix of races, nationalities and ethnicities. Each brings its own traditions, religions, faiths, legends and myths. In this book, the author has mixed all of these together to create a slightly weird, oddball, wacky and wonderful story.

Music is magic and magic is music. In this story, it is what makes Nola a special place to live. It keeps the city thriving, in check and safe, that is until a vengeful spirit decides to cause chaos. It will be down to a group of children and some of their relatives to try to work out what is happening to the magic and the songs.

This is a story that I occasionally wondered ‘what on earth is going on!’ as it flitted from one person to another, and from one group to another. Even though I had trouble following where the author was going I found myself sticking with the book. I didn’t once think of putting it down because I wanted to know the outcomes. I am really glad I did because things gradually started to merge, make sense and become more clear. Did I fully understand everything about the story? No, probably not, but that doesn’t take away the entertainment value of the story. I also really enjoyed the music references such as Stagger Lee, Buddy Bolden and songs from the old Jazz and Blues eras. There are also mentions of spirits, haints, dead cabs, and so many different other things.

Essentially this is a story that starts out as a mystery. Jaylon and Daddy Deke have gone missing. Their respective families or friends are trying to find them and discover that not everything is as they think it is. There is another side that is separated by a thin layer. There is a storm coming, one that could be catastrophic unless the main characters can work out exactly what, how and when to do what they need to do.

I do think this is one of those books that may well divide the readers. It is quirky but I do love quirky, and when it is mixed in with urban fantasy, a rich setting and has some good music vibes running through it then it makes it a book that will catch my eye. In fact, it was the cover that did it for me, it made me think of voodoo, magic and death!

This is a fabulous read, I have been wavering between giving it a 4 or a 5 star. Five for the fact that I really enjoyed the style of the story but a four because I did feel a little lost at times.

This is one for those who like adventure, to take a risk and maybe for those looking for something a little bit different. I really enjoyed it and I would definitely recommend it. 

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour

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The Forgotten Beach by Amanda James @amandajames61 @OneMoreChapter_ #NetGalley #contemporaryfiction #20booksofsummer #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Forgotten Beach by Amanda James. This is an author who writes some fabulous books, and I am really enjoying her latest ones that have a nice twist to them.

This is 2 of 20 in my #20booksofsummer reading challenge.

For Cornish artist Sennen Kellow that moment comes with the discovery of her late gran’s epic love story – a story that happened years before she ever met Sennen’s grandfather.

Now, as Sennen digs into her grandmother’s past and discovers a forgotten beach, a hidden poem, and a love that blazed brightly before Fate intervened, her search for answers leads her on a fated journey of her own. One which sees history repeating itself, and Sennen faced with a chance at the kind of once-in-a-lifetime love her gran experienced…but only if she’s willing to risk everything.

On the forgotten beach at the edge of the land,
lies a forgotten treasure beneath the sand.
A cup of kindness for Auld Lang Syne,
Sweeter than the finest wine.
In a parting glass from years gone by,
Dwells a magic strange to you and I.
Sup it down before you part,
to find the truth within your heart.
 

MY REVIEW

Oh, Amanda James, you have once again written a wonderful book. This one was absolutely fabulous.

Sennen Kellow is a local artist and shop owner. She is given a poem that her grandmother had written, there is a secret beach local to her. The only way to get to it is through the grounds of an old property, when her curiosity finally gets the better of her, Sennen decides to have a look and see what she can find out.

This is where she meets the rather abrupt, aloof and brusque owner of the property. A London lawyer who isn’t exactly charming, but does grant her a tour of the house and grounds. Not wanting to discuss why she actually has an interest in visiting as he doesn’t appear to be very open or pleasant.

The author has woven a tale that spans the generations and gives a wonderful account of families of the past. A time when money and status were paramount and marriage for love was worth nothing. The story gradually emerges and it is one that has some wonderful heartwarming moments as well as moments marred by grief.

While the situation for Sennen is intriguing, the author twists a wonderful comparison between the past and the present. It drew me further into the story and at times left me nervously turning the pages wondering if history would repeat itself.

I loved this sense of tension and the uncertainty that the author injects into this story. Using the past and the present, with mystery and romance and then twisting certain things to create a captivating story.

This is one for readers who love to read a contemporary fiction style story, that has echoes of the past, with a complicated and not necessarily straightforward romantic angle. I have to say this is a fabulous read and I loved to see mentions of characters from other books mentioned. While this is part of a series, you could read this as a standalone. But, if you did you would miss out on some wonderful storytelling from one of my favourite authors.

A cracking read from the first to the last page and also the author’s notes add a wonderful touch at the end. I would definitely recommend this book. 

The books in the series are…

Each of these can be read as stand-alone books as they are stories in their own right.

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The Game by Scott Kershaw @HQstories #NetGalley #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Game by Scott Kershaw. The cover and the snappy synopsis definitely caught my eye when I requested it.

My huge thanks to HQ for granting my request to review this book via NetGalley.

The rules are simple. To save their life, you have to play.

[text message]

DEAR PLAYER,

THE PERSON YOU LOVE MOST IS IN DANGER.

TO SAVE THEM, YOU MUST PLAY THE GAME.

THE RULES ARE: THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE WINNER.

IF YOU LOSE, YOUR LOVED ONE WILL DIE.

ALL PLAYERS ENTER ALONE.

DO NOT SHARE THIS MESSAGE. DO NOT SEEK HELP.

WELCOME TO THE GAME.

YOU’VE JUST STARTED PLAYING.

[end of message]

MY REVIEW

I have to admit it was the cover that first caught my eye with this book. Snappy title, simple graphic and the line – The rules are simple. To save their life, you have to play.

This is a mystery thriller, that does have a crime element to it, but it is more about the mystery of The Game. What is The Game, who runs it, why is this being done and what would you do to keep those you love safe and alive!

There are 5 players in this game, they are unconnected, they are oblivious to each other and they have travelled from the US, France and Uk to meet up so they can learn more about The Game. The consequences are not as clear cut as I originally thought they might be. There was a curiosity to both stories but I was never fully aware of what was occurring until further into the story. The author does pace this story so well, it is one where some players are on a time limit, and this increases the tension of the story.

There is a lot more to this story than the synopsis gives away. The suspense of wondering if any of the players will do something stupid or brave is an ever[present one.

The players are normal people, with normal lives. Because they have been drawn from different countries it makes any connection unlikely. I liked how the author introduced each player and then kept referring back to things in the past. I soon found that I got to know who was who especially when they do meet up to actually continue The Game.

This is intriguing, I liked the time element and the mystery that was underlying all the way through. It is a thriller and I really enjoyed the story. The characters are not all likeable, but this is down to how the author portrays them. I look forward to reading more by this author and I would happily recommend this book.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx