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.

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The Cottage on Winter Moss by Allie Cresswell @Alliescribbler #fiction #historicalfiction #contemporaryfiction #dualtimeline #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Cottage on WInter Moss by Allie Cresswell. I have read some of Allie’s books previously and I do like her writing style a lot. When she contacted me to see if I wanted to read her latest book, there was no hesitation, of course, I would. My views are my own.

Burned-out author Dee needs fresh inspiration. Impetuously, she abandons London and her good-for-nothing boyfriend to go wherever her literary quest takes her. Journey’s end is a remote village on the shores of a wild estuary, overshadowed by a ruined pele tower. She rents Winter Cottage and waits for a story to emerge.

The bleak beauty of the whispering dunes, the jacquard of colour and texture of the marsh and a romantic tree in a secluded glade—The Trysting Tree—all seduce Dee. Nevertheless, the secretive behaviour of a handsome neighbour, lights across the marsh, a spurious squire and a bizarre, moonlit encounter all suggest there is something odd afoot.

Local gossip and crumbling graveyard inscriptions give Dee the opening she needs. She begins to weave hints about the tragic history of a local family, feuding brothers and a fatal fire into a sweeping historical saga. Her characters clamour for a voice as the tale spools effortlessly onto the page—demanding to be told. Dee feels more like its instrument than its instigator.

As she becomes enmeshed in the local community, Dee is startled to find her fiction unnervingly confirmed by fact, her history still resonating in the present-day.

Is she being guided by echoes of the past?

Purchase Link – AMAZON

MY REVIEW


I really enjoy this author’s books, her latest one was such a wonderful read. Dee, an author who has just split from her boyfriend decides to go on a road trip to… well… she drives until she runs out of road. She finds herself in a small community and there is a cottage available to let through the winter months.

The residents of this out-of-the-way village and the remote cottages where she stays give her something for her next story. Using people from the past she discovers her story just seems to want to be told. The truth of the past, the mistakes of the past, and the hurt of the past are still felt by today’s families. Bickering and feudal families from the past have set the scene for the atmosphere of the present.

This author writes some amazing descriptive passages, bringing a bleak, barren, and weather-worn area out of the shadows. She gives it a sense of being, like a character in its own right. In fact, the surrounding area in this story has secrets, just as the families do. How often do we wonder what the walls of old houses have seen, well the author gently brings this out in this story.

The story is actually a story within a story. The present-day one is of Dee and how she comes to be in the cottage on Winter Moss, the few people she meets, and how she feels drawn to the mysteries of the past. The past is something that wants to be told. As I was reading this story I felt a certain atmospheric air, one that has a nervous feeling. What if the truth is something that will cause harm or upset, how would you feel if the people from the past had their story told and it could potentially change how you perceive others or they perceive you?

Using a duel timeline was a great way to get to know the families and discover what happened many years ago. It is a story of the time, of family loyalty and of marrying into the right family. As the author leads us through the generations attitudes change but the animosity remains.

This is a gorgeous story, the author describes the setting with beauty and danger. Wind and wave-swept areas are open to the elements and are often deluged in rain. The mists and fog make it treacherous, and the water makes it dangerous. The author however weaves a wonderful tale that shows how a community has its opinions, and how the past sets a precedent for the present.

Gorgeously written, wonderful characters, heartbreak, hope, and an addictive read from start to finish. If you like dual-timeline stories that deal with families, troubles, feuds, and a chance to restart then this is one you really should look at. I would definitely recommend this book, it was fabulous reading.

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Echo by Thomas Olde Heuvelt @HodderBooks #NetGalley #suspense #horror #psychological #PublicationDay #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Echo by Thomas Olde Heuvelt. This is a slow burner but gradually increases in speed. Mesmerising, dangerous and tense. I enjoyed it so much I ordered a copy of his previous book, Hex 🙂

My thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for the e-copy that I requested via NetGalley. I love the cover of this book. That mountain… 🥶😨

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It’s One Thing to Lose Your Life
It’s Another to Lose Your Soul

When climber Nick Grevers is brought down from the mountains after a terrible accident he has lost his looks, his hopes and his climbing companion. His account of what happened on the forbidden peak of the Maudit is garbled, almost hallucinogenic. Soon it becomes apparent more than his shattered body has returned: those that treat his disfigured face begin experiencing extraordinary and disturbing psychic events that suggest that Nick has unleashed some ancient and primal menace on his ill-fated expedition.

Nick’s partner Sam Avery has a terrible choice to make. He fell in love with Nick’s youth, vitality and beauty. Now these are gone and all that is left is a haunted mummy-worse, a glimpse beneath the bandages can literally send a person insane.

Sam must decide: either to flee to America, or to take Nick on a journey back to the mountains, the very source of the curse, the little Alpine Village of Grimnetz, its soul-possesed Birds of Death and it legends of human sacrifice and, ultimately, its haunted mountain, the Maudit. 

MY REVIEW

When I read the synopsis for this book ages ago I thought it sounded great. When I started to read it though I didn’t feel it until about a quarter of the way through. Then I think I started to grasp the characters, the basics of the storyline, and the style. By the end of the book, I was so glad I had persevered as it became more and more addictive.

Nick is the adventurous one, he likes the mountains. His other half Sam, not so much, he prefers shopping and the little luxuries. Together they make a great couple. Nick and friend Augustine take on the challenging Maudit Peak in the Mont Blanc region of Switzerland. It was once known as the “cursed mountain” as I discovered after an internet search. This makes the story so appropriate as it gives the sinister vibe that makes up a large part of the story. Nick and Augustine went up Maudit, only Nick returned. He was not the same, he suffered severe facial injuries and he came back with something else. Is it survivors guilt or worse?

Guilt is something that Sam knows all about. He has a secret that he has lived with since he was a young boy. Something he has never told anyone.

The story of Nick’s recovery and the feelings he has after coming back from the mountains are something that he feels haunts him. Sam is aware of this change, but it is darker than he could ever imagine. A series of events leave catastrophic and fatal consequences for those around Nick. It is only when Nick, joined by Sam return to the Maudit, that things become more real, some answers are found and the real horror of the mountain comes to light.

From the slower and for me slightly confusing start, this book then turned into something very addictive. The beginning flitted around a little too much and at times left me feeling a bit confused. As I mentioned earlier, I did persevere and for that, I was definitely rewarded with a story that suddenly started to make sense. Some of the things mentioned at the very beginning started to fit into place, some not until near the end.

The story of the relationship between Nick and what happened on the mountain is so atmospheric, it is haunting and gives some nice horror vibes. It does also have a really good psychological edge to it. Another relationship is that between Nick and Sam, this is one that is sort of like the heart of the story, their love for each other comes through so well amidst the chaos and misery that overshadows them from the mountain.

There is a nice local, village presence to this story, one that is easy to imagine from films, you know the ones where the pub suddenly goes quiet when a stranger walks in. Or where the villagers don’t speak to you, or if they do it is only in menacingly doom and gloom tones. Talking of films, I could see this as being a good idea for a film. I will say that I am not a fan of horror films, so it is a good job it’s in a book format!

This was a really good read, it has a threatening menace that gave a feel of foreboding and danger. It did have the chills for a horror or suspense novel and there is a smidgen of superstition from the local village. An unexpected but satisfying ending and a story that I would happily recommend.

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Whitesands by Johann Thorsson @johannthors @Tr4cyF3nt0n #compulsivereaders #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Whitesands by Johann Thorsson. This is a wonderfully atmospheric and chilling thriller that I really enjoyed.

My huge thanks to Tracy at Compulsive Readers for my spot on this Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this fabulous book.

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THE BREAKOUT SUPERNATURAL THRILLER FROM ICELANDIC WRITER JOHANN THORSSON

Detective John Dark’s daughter has been missing for two years. In his frantic and unfruitful search for her two years ago, John Dark overreached and was reprimanded and demoted.

Now suddenly back into the homicide department, Dark is put on a chilling case – a man who killed his wife in their locked house and then dressed the body up to resemble a deer, but claims to remember none of it. A few days later an impossibly similar case crops up connecting the suspects to a prep school and a thirty-year-old missing persons’ case.

Just as he is getting back into his old groove, a new lead in his daughter’s disappearance pops up and threatens to derail his career again.

Time is running out and John Dark needs to solve the case before more people are killed, and while there is still hope to find his daughter.

In the style of True Detective and Silence of the Lambs, WHITESANDS is a thrilling supernatural crime novel.

MY REVIEW

What a cracking read this book was. This is a book that threw me initially as I was kind of expecting this to be set in Iceland. Once I got my head around that and moved continents I found myself gradually getting to know the characters and started to see a larger more complex case than is originally set up.

This is the first book in the John Dark series and it is one that I am very excited about. It is a crime, thriller mystery and it has a fabulous supernatural twist incorporated into it. I am kind of partial to a crime or thriller story that has something a little different and this one certainly does.

There is a back story for Dark, and I am thinking that this is developed more as the series progresses, it definitely has the potential for it. By the time I had finished this book, I found myself with a few unanswered questions, nothing that felt like a huge cliffhanger but there is a final twist!

I do like this authors style of writing. There are some wonderful chilling and eerie atmospherics going on in this book and it makes for a gripping read. It has a good pace to it and even though there are quite a few threads, I did find it relatively easy to keep up with the story and the plots.

I thoroughly enjoyed this and I cant wait to see where the author goes with this series next. Ideal for those who like a grittier, atmospheric crime thriller with some great twists and eerie vibes. It is one I would definitely recommend. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Johann Thorsson is a writer of fiction with a supernatural slant, mainly short stories, mainly in English.

He was born in 1978 in a small town in Iceland (dark and cold, close to the sea). When he was nine he moved to Israel, and later to Croatia. He now resides in the Reykjavik area with his beautiful wife and two little kids.

His work has appeared in numerous publications, including Every Day Fiction, eFiction Magazine, eFiction Horror and Fireside Fiction.

Most recently, a story of his was selected for in the forthcoming anthology Apex Book of World SF 4 and Garden of Fiends

His favourite books are 1984, Flowers for Algernon, I am LegendThe Things They Carried and Neil Gaiman’s Sandman graphic novels. Oh, and Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient. Daniel Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone. Romeo and Juliet. (This could go on for a while).

Visit Johann’s Website HERE

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The Lost by Simon Beckett @BeckettSimon @Tr4cyF3nt0n @orionbooks #compulsivereaders #crime #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Lost by Simon Beckett. This is the first time I have read anything by this author, so what better way to start than with this #1 Jonah Colley

My thanks to Tracy at Compulsive Readers for arranging my copy of this book and for my spot on the Blog Tour.

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A MISSING CHILD

Ten years ago, the disappearance of firearms police officer Jonah Colley’s young son almost destroyed him.

A GRUESOME DISCOVERY

A plea for help from an old friend leads Jonah to Slaughter Quay and the discovery of four bodies. Brutally attacked and left for dead, he is the only survivor.

A SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH


Under suspicion himself, he uncovers a network of secrets and lies about the people he thought he knew – forcing him to question what really happened all those years ago…

MY REVIEW

10 years separate two crimes, but what and is there a link is a question that Jonah Colley and other detectives want to know.

An old friend calls Jonah for help. Little does Jonah know what is to come. It will open old wounds and put him in the firing line as far as an investigation is concerned. How innocent is Jonah and what happened all those years ago?

This is the first time I have read a book by this author but I knew when I read the synopsis it was one I wanted to read. I do love a short synopsis and the one for this story is short, it is also very intriguing.

The author doesn’t hang about with this story and it progresses at such a good pace, it works so well with the story where time is something that is important. As the main investigation gets going it feels as if Jonah has to try and stay one step ahead.

I like how the author has woven the two timelines together so well, it has helped build a larger picture and it is also a way to gradually learn more details. The major details are trickled out and rather than being one large eureka moment, there are a series of realisations, that is until you get towards the end of the story and the final piece of the puzzle is placed.

This is a story that is quite complex as I now start to try and write my review, but while reading it there wasn’t a point where I felt lost or out of my depth. Instead, the author carefully laid the story out and it was full of double-crossing, lies, secrets and twists.

The story of Jonah is a heartbreaking one, it has tormented him for years and it gives such a brutal backstory which the author has used to build his character. There are dark and emotional themes in this story, there is cruelty that gradually unearths itself and it gives this a grittier edge.

This is one for those who like an intense, edgy, dark and atmospheric story. I thought it was an excellent read with some fabulously sneaky characters and also one that I found extremely addictive, so much so that this was a one-sitting read. I would definitely recommend it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Simon Beckett is the No.1 International Bestselling author of the David Hunter series. His books have been translated into 29 languages, appeared in the Sunday Times Top 10 bestseller lists and sold over 10 million copies worldwide. A former freelance journalist who has written for The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Independent on Sunday and The Observer, the inspiration for the first David Hunter novel came after a visit to the world-renowned Body Farm in Tennessee introduced him to the work of forensic anthropologists.

As well as co-winning the Ripper Award in 2018/19, the largest European crime prize, Simon has won the Raymond Chandler Society’s ‘Marlowe’ Award and been short-listed for the CWA Gold Dagger, CWA Dagger in the Library and Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year.

In addition to the six David Hunter titles, the most recent of which is The Scent of Death, he has written five standalone novels, one of which, Where There’s Smoke, was adapted into a major ITV two-part drama.

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The Farmhouse by L.B. Simpson @stimsonink @QuestionPress @zooloo2008 #TheFarmhouseOfPeaceandPlenty #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to be one of the Book Bloggers opening the Blog Tour today for The Farmhouse by L.B. Simpson. This is an atmospheric, gothic, mystery story that I really enjoyed.

My huge thanks to Zoe at Zooloo’s BookTours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book via Question Press.

The house, for all of its solitude, seemed incredibly noisy

The Farmhouse, having stood against time and history for nearly 160 years in the Virginia countryside, was forgotten and abandoned until Kyle and Jenny Dowling moved in during the summer of 1972.

The Dowlings, married just a year, were struggling to repair their broken marriage. It was to be the perfect place, away from it all, to heal their relationship. Jenny would write and Kyle would tend to minor renovations. The rent was cheap.

The realtor warned them, however, against staying beyond the final days of fall.

Purchase Link – AMAZON UK US

MY REVIEW…

This was a wonderfully atmospheric, slightly eerie story that was a quick read at just 125 pages long. The author didn’t hang about with setting the tone, right from the off, there is unease to the house that Kyle and Jenny first view.

For this couple it is the chance to try to rebuild their marriage, Kyle found this run down and unloved farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, a rural property that they plan on renting cheaply and decorate so an acceptable level for it to be sold on.

Jenny is a writer and Kyle is an ex-schoolteacher. Jenny is the more sensitive of the two and does notice things, movements on the periphery of her vision, shadows, noises and unexplained things. This adds to the atmospherics as the author focuses on Jenny and the story that the house is seemingly trying to get out.

The isolation of the farmhouse and the general run down and old decor certainly add to the story. The house is actually a character in its own right. I know if this was me, I wouldn’t agree to live here if my husband had suggested it. I wouldn’t have quite said on your bike, I would have grabbed the bike and pedalled away as fast as I could!

While this is a spooky story, I didn’t find it too far up the scare scale, it is a good medium and I think I would say there is more intrigue to the mystery. With a house that is very old, there is going to be a rumour or two. The area is devoid of additional characters so in some respect this does give it the feel of a locked-in mystery and it has been done well.

This was a wonderful read and one that I happily sat and read over 2-3 hours. It has a good suspense feel and is full of mystery. It is one I would happily recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR…

L.B. grew up in a one stop-light town in central Idaho. After earning a Bachelor of Art’s degree in cultural anthropology from California State University-Chico, she uprooted herself to begin a new life in Washington, D.C., where she began a varied career in professional communications in private business and education.

“I’ve always had a passion for photography, travel, writing, and history. I am thrilled to now be creating works of fiction that allow me to share these passions with others. One of my favorite parts of the writing process is the historical research required to bring authenticity to my characters’ lives.”

This is her fifth book and the second in her standalone series: Tales from the Parlor Room–a collection of gothic and ghostly tales.

She currently resides in Virginia where she enjoys cemetery walks, visiting abandoned and haunted places and working on more ghostly tales.

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The Crazy Season by Jim Ody @Jim_Ody_Author @zooloo2008 @QuestionPress

I am delighted to share my review today for The Crazy Season by Jim Ody. This is the first time I have read a book by this author and after reading his latest book, it will not be the last time! It was a brilliant read.

Joel Baxter is infamous for solving weird and bizarre cases that others avoid. So, when he receives an email from a teenage boy Tim saying his town is cursed, he cannot turn it down.

“…I will more than likely be dead when you read this. There is nothing I can do about it. It’s the curse, and we’ve hit The Crazy Season.” Every 20 years, there are a handful of unexplained teenage deaths and it’s started again.

With the help of his straight-talking friend Melody, they set out to get to the bottom of the alleged curse. Everybody in Black Rock has secrets and nobody wants to speak.

The closer they get to truth the more Joel and Melody realise that their involvement is far from coincidental.

Purchase Links – AMAZON UK US

My Review…

This is the first time I have read a book by this author and I loved the tense and suspense ridden atmosphere he has created in this first book in the Joel Baxter series. I do own several of this author’s books and it is only now that I have got around to reading one. Yes, I am kicking myself for this lapse!

A journalist, Joel is used to strange and unusual events, it’s what he is known for. So the email he receives really catches his attention. With the help of his best friends sister Melody, they go off in search of the truth behind the curse of The Crazy Season not realising what exactly they are walking into.

Right from the start, this author caught my attention and what a start it was. It sort of sets the feel of the story that follows. It is one with more to it than first meets the eye. As the chapters progressed I discovered more not only about Joel and his wife Cherry but also got more of a glimpse into what exactly Joel does. He is a journalist as such but not the manic story hungry one looking for the latest headlines. He is more about trying to help find the truth and in turn, it helps others. This also helps him. Melody, well Melody is Melody, she is blunt and outrageous in what she says, but underneath her bluster, there is a caring and thoughtful women. I liked her a lot and she made me laugh several times!

The story of the curse is one that was intriguing and the author really knows how to spin a tale. More questions than answers and false leads with the feeling of Joel and Melody going around in circles, hearing similar stories but not quite getting anywhere as far as the truth goes. It’s a mysterious story with plenty of intrigues, to say the least.

The answers, or really that should be the breadcrumbs are not revealed until a lot further into the story. Up until this point, the author gives plenty for the reader to discover and think about. Introducing new characters and adding subtle hints along the way. Once things start to connect you begin to realise how well this story has been thought about. Not only that but there is something else lurking in the background.

This was such a wonderful story to read, mysterious, full of suspense and quite atmospheric. At times it had a noirish tinge to it and I really enjoyed the slower pace of the journey. It is one I would definitely recommend and I will be keeping an eye out for the next one in the series.

About the Author…

Jim writes dark psychological/thrillers, Horror and YA books that have endings you won’t see coming, and favours stories packed with wit. He has written over a dozen novels and many more short-stories spanning many genres.

Jim has a very strange sense of humour and is often considered a little odd.  When not writing he will be found playing the drums, watching football and eating chocolate. He lives with his long-suffering wife, three beautiful children and two indignant cats in Swindon, Wiltshire UK.

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