#BlogTour A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell.

About the Author

Michele Campbell is a graduate of Harvard University and Stanford Law School. She worked at a prestigious Manhattan law firm before spending eight years fighting crime in NYC as a federal prosecutor. Her debut novel It’s Always the Husband was a Sunday Times top ten bestseller.

Follow @MCampbellBks on Twitter, on Goodreadson Amazon, Visit MicheleCampbellBooks.com

About the book

There is a stranger outside Caroline’s house.

Her spectacular new beach house, built for hosting expensive parties and vacationing with the family she thought she’d have. But her husband is lying to her and everything in her life is upside down, so when the stranger, Aidan, shows up as a bartender at the same party where Caroline and her husband have a very public fight, it doesn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary.

As her marriage collapses around her and the lavish lifestyle she’s built for herself starts to crumble, Caroline turns to Aidan for comfort…and revenge. After a brief and desperate fling that means nothing to Caroline and everything to him, Aidan’s obsession with Caroline, her family, and her house grows more and more disturbing. And when Caroline’s husband goes missing, he life descends into a nightmare that leaves her accused of her own husband’s murder.

Review

Poor Caroline is being played for a fool by her supposedly loving hubby. Not only is he straying from the marital bed he also has the audacity to bring the harlot to their home and parade her in front of their friends and family.

In her despair Caroline ends up having a drunken fling with a younger man. She has no idea that he has a dark and volatile past, and that he might be dangerous. He starts to stalk, threaten and scare her. It’s all too much to deal with as she has to watch the life she loves slowly disintegrate.

Then the coin is flipped and the reader follows Aiden and his perspective on the story, which can in all honesty often come off as stalkerish, possessive and creepy. Simultaenously you get short moments of the desperation he feels to be accepted by family, friends and society in general. Is his connection to and concern for Caroline real? He certainly seems to be unusually invested in keeping her safe. Or is it keeping her to himself?

The story is very much a he said/she said scenario. Should the reader believe Caroline or Aiden? Their stories are so different and yet at times very similar. It’s hard to determine who is telling the truth or who is telling great big fat lies. Well I’m not telling you – you will have to read it and find out.

It’s a psychological thriller, a tense game of half-truths and betrayal. Campbell keeps the narrative of both parties flowing seamlessly – with only tiny glimpses of the actual truth here and there.

Buy A Stranger on the Beach at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ; eBook £2.99 pub date 23 July 2019 – Paperback £7.99 pub date 9 Jan 2020 – Audiobook £12.99. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of It’s Always the Husband by Michele Campbell

#BlogTour The Secret Sister by K.A. Clarke and A.J. Brittany

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour The Secret Sister by K.A. Clarke and A.J. Brittany. These are pseudonyms for the successful writers Karen Clarke and Amanda Brittany.

About the Author/s

Amanda Brittany lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and two dogs. She loves spending time with family, travelling, walking, reading & sunny days. Amanda has also written 3 psychological thrillers: Traces of Her, Tell the Truth and Her Last Lie. Published by HQ Digital/HarperCollins.

Karen Clarke lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband and three grown-up children where she writes romantic comedy novels published by Bookouture and psychological suspense for HQDigital/HarperCollins.

The Secret Sister is a psychological suspense co-written by K.A. Clarke and A.J. Brittany and is out in January 2020.

Follow @amandajbrittany on TwitterA.J. Brittany on Goodreads, on Facebook, on Instagram, Visit amandabrittany.co.uk

Follow @karenclarke123 on TwitterK.A. Clarke on Goodreads, on Facebook, on Instagram, Visit karenclarkewriter.com,

Buy The Secret Sister 

About the book

Can you trust a sister who is a stranger?

Ella Matthews has it all. A beautiful house, a charming husband and a precious baby daughter – her life has pretty much turned out exactly as she planned.

But when Ella’s mother tragically dies, her perfect life starts to crack. Her mother had been harbouring a life-long secret. Ella has a sister – an older sister – called Colleen. Excited by the thought of no-longer being an only child, Ella can’t wait to find her.

But Colleen has a whirlwind past of her own. Desperate to escape her troubles, she is ready to go to any length to start afresh.

As their paths collide, someone is keeping secrets… and when Colleen mysteriously disappears without notice, Ella can’t help but question if she should have started looking for her at all…Review

Imagine life as you know it being turned completely upside down by the revelation that your mother had another child. A child she chose to give away and keep secret for the entirety of her lifetime. Ella is thrown for a loop, and yet part of her feels drawn to find this stranger, who is part of her mother and part of her.

Colleen has had a turbulent and painful life, which hasn’t been made easier by a partner who appears to be a loving person to the outside world. The truth is that Gabriel has another face completely – a persona that only Colleen gets to experience.

In a way Colleen has made similar choices to Anna without being aware of it. The need to be loved overshadows the negative aspects of the relationships they have with men. They both have or had a tendency to pick men with possessive, jealous streaks, which ultimately ends up defining the lives they lead.

The difference is where one gave in and subjected herself to the wishes of her man and thereby ignoring her needs and those of her loved ones – can the other woman break the cycle and be free to determine her own path in life?

It’s a moving tension filled psychological thriller which draws from the complex relationship structures of mothers and daughters. If this collaboration is anything to go by the writing duo Clarke and Brittany is off to a fantastic start and I hope this is the first of many more.

Buy The Secret Sister at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour A Year of Chasing Love by Rosie Chambers

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour A Year of Chasing Love by Rosie Chambers.

About the Author

Rosie Chambers loves writing uplifting, feel-good stories set in sun-filled locations around the world. Her stories are filled with fun, friendship and foodie treats, which Rosie hopes will bring a smile to her readers’ faces.

She’s always in the market for quirky stationery and is never happier than with a pen in one hand and a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit in the other. A Year of Chasing Love is her debut novel.

Follow @RosieCbooks on Twitter, on Goodreadson AmazonBuy A Year of Chasing Love

About the book

One moment can change a lifetime…

The last thing top divorce lawyer Olivia Hamilton ever expected was to be served her own divorce papers! To escape her marriage troubles, she agrees to go on a year-long trip to find the ultimate guide to love.

Travelling the world, surrounded by stories of love and happiness, it’s not long before her thoughts turn to Nathan, her soon-to-be ex-husband, and she starts to take note of her own lessons in love…

But with Nathan over a thousand miles away, will it be too late?

Review

Olivia is a highly successful divorce lawyer, so it comes as a bit of a slap in the face when she is served divorce papers by her own husband, rather viciously in fact, in front of her entire firm.

After being asked to take a long sabbatical Olivia goes on a long trip to research why people divorce and why they stay together. It’s a journey that opens her eyes to everything that led to the demise of her marriage. It also helps her to understand that she has neglected herself, her family, her friends and her husband.

This is a contemporary romance with an Eat, Pray, Love vibe. A journey of self-discovery and exploration. The main character believes her research is a way of distracting herself from her pain and disappointment and doesn’t realise she is about to dissect her own failed relationship by looking inwards from the outside.

I think the premise is rather interesting from a work-life balance and gender perspective. Women who work are often received and treated quite critically for putting their careers first, and yet a man can neglect family, friends and themselves without drawing the ire of the same critics.

I enjoyed the way Chambers made this story into a learning experience of sorts and not just a good read. Learning about the divorce statistics and the statistics on marriages with longevity, especially the differences depending on the country, was interesting.

It makes you take a long hard look at what is really important in life, and perhaps in a way also throws in a friendly suggestion about enjoying what life has to offer.

Buy A Year of Chasing Love at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ Digital; pub date 6 Jan. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Dilemma by B.A. Paris

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for The Dilemma by B.A. Paris.

About the Author

B.A. Paris is the internationally bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors, The Breakdown and Bring Me Back. Now approaching 1.5 million copies sold in the UK alone, she is a Sunday Times bestseller, New York Times bestseller as well as a number one bestseller on Amazon and iBooks. her books have sold in 38 languages around the world. having lived in France for many years, she recently moved back to the UK.

Follow @BAParisAuthor on Twitter, on Goodreadson AmazonBuy The Dilemma

About the book

It’s Livia’s 40th birthday. She’s having the party of a lifetime to make up for the wedding she never had. During the day, her husband, Adam, hears some terrible news. He needs to tell Livia, because how can the party go on? But she’s so happy – so excited – and the guests are about to arrive…Review

This has the same layer of emotions on which As Far as the Stars by V. MacGregor is built, but Paris takes that layer adds the tension and builds a moral dilemma into the mix. The result is spectacular read, which will leave readers wondering whether it was the right decision or not.

Livia has been planning her 40th birthday party for a long time. It is going to be a huge expensive shindig. She never had her dream wedding, so this party is her do-over. I found her very superficial at times. She has a wonderful life, a loving husband and two healthy children. She has a good life, despite being rejected by her parents for her choices in life, and yet a party becomes more important than anything and anyone. It explains why Adam waits.

Adam knows, somewhere deep in his heart he thinks he knows, but denial gives him an escape route of sorts. For a few hours he can pretend and push the inevitable to the side.

When you find out something shocking or out of character about a loved one or a friend you have a choice – you keep it to yourself or put it out there into the world. As soon as you put it out there it changes the way that person is perceived. Every action, thought, word and conversation is replayed, which in turn changes the interpretation of the information one already has. The nice, loving bright shiny star becomes an irresponsible, vindictive liar.

This is a compelling contemporary read – it packs a visceral punch. It’s really quite clever how the author ends the story and yet leaves it open-ended at the same time. Paris leaves her readers with the emotional dilemma.

I can imagine readers will find the dilemma quite divisive. The fear, the denial and the constant hold on a slither of hope is emotional torture. Do you say something and every moment from that point forward is tainted by the finality of the news or do you let your loved ones have one final night of peace? Either way the facts don’t change or do they?.

Buy The Dilemma at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for an other retailer. Published by HQ, pub date 9 January 2020. Hardback – ebook – Audiobook. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Hive.co.uk

Read my review of The BreakdownBring Me Back and the new explosive ending of Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris.

#BlogTour Her Last Secret by P.L. Kane

I mixed up my days and missed my slot on the tour yesterday, probably because I am still in the ‘what day is it’ time of the year and thought it was a completely different day, so a day late and a dollar short – here is my post for the BlogTour Her Last Secret by P.L. Kane.

About the Author

P.L. Kane is the pseudonym of a #1 bestselling and award-winning author and editor, who has had over ninety books published in the fields of SF, YA and Horror/Dark Fantasy. In terms of crime fiction, previous books include the collection Nailbiters and the anthology Exit Wounds.

Kane has had work optioned and adapted for film and television (including LionsGate/NBC, who picked up a story for primetime US network TV). Several of Kane’s stories have been turned into short movies and Loose Canon Films/Hydra Filma have just adapted ‘Men of the Cloth’ into a feature, The Colour of Madness.

Kane’s audio drama work for places such as Bafflegab and Spiteful Puppet/ITV features the acting talents of people like Tom Meeten (The Ghoul), Neve McIntosh (Dr Who/Shetland), Alice Lowe (Prevenge) and Ian Ogilvy (Return of the Saint). Visit plkane.com for more details.

Follow @PLKane1 on Twitter, on GoodreadsBuy Her Last Secret

About the book

Jordan Radcliffe is found stabbed to death. Her boyfriend’s finger prints are on the knife and his clothes are covered in her blood. Case closed… Or is it?

When Jordan’s estranged father Jake learns of his only daughter’s death, he is convinced that there is more to her murder than he is being told. But Jake hasn’t seen Jordan for over three years and, with secrets of her own, she was far from the child he abandoned all those years ago.

Jake’s ex-wife Jules, is reluctant to let him waltz back into her life. But with a question mark hanging over the case, Jake knows that he must piece together the fragments of evidence before it is too late. Will he ever discover the truth?

Review

The death of a child, your own child, is the worst possible experience a parent can go through, even more so when your child is brutally murdered.

Jake and Jules are completely devastated by the murder of their daughter Jordan. The only comfort is the fact the police already have the murderer in custody. Bobby was found covered in his girlfriend’s blood, but he still insists that he is innocent.

Her parents, in particular Jake, find it difficult to reconcile their present with their past. Jake has to deal with the new man in her life and the new father figure in his daughters life. A man he takes an instant dislike to – is it just jealousy?

One of the most poignant elements of this story is guilt. Jake realises that there is no going back – no do over as a father to his daughter. He wasn’t there to protect Jordan or to give her advice. Instead the separation from wife and home also resulted in the father and daughter relationship being severed.

He points the finger straight at his ex-wife. Why didn’t she pay more attention to what Jordan was doing and who she was seeing? It’s an easy way to deal with your own sense of guilt I suppose. Blame someone else, because the reality is so much more painful than Jake wants to acknowledge.

It’s an emotionally charged domestic noir – fraught with guilt and regret. Kane plots a crime, but turns the story into a compelling tale about relationships, broken homes and families.

Buy Her Last Secret at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ Digital; pub date 8 Jan. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Move by Felicity Everett

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Move by Felicity Everett.

About the Author

Felicity Everett grew up in Manchester and studied English Literature at Sussex University. She worked in children’s publishing in London, whilst raising a family and is the author of more than twenty works of children’s fiction and non-fiction.

After a short career break, Felicity returned to writing full-time and in 201 published her debut novel, The Story of Us, a funny and touching account of the friendships forged between five women at University in the 1980s. Her second novel, The People at Number 9, was published in April 2017, is a dark satire on sex, envy and betrayal in the suburbs. Felicity has recently returned from a few years living in Melbourne, with her husband and now lives in Gloucestershire.

Follow @Ittymay on Twitter, on Goodreadson AmazonBuy The Move

About the book

Karen is driving through a strange landscape into a new life. Always a city girl, now she is on her way to an idyllic country cottage, refurbished for her with impeccable taste by he husband Nick. They’re making a fresh start.

But something is awry in the new house – it’s not just the fact that Karen and Nick are ill at ease in one another’s company – that their recent history is far from picture perfect, it’s the whole vibe. The landscape is breathtaking by day, eerie by night. If the countryside is supposed to be a place of peace, far away from curtain-twitchers, who is the person watching them from the hill? And who are their new neighbours?

With Karen only recently emerging from a dark place in her life, can she find the trust in her husband Nick to let go of events that have followed them to their new house?

Review

What’s interesting about The Move is the way Everett gives it the vibe of a psychological thriller and yet at the end you realise it’s something else entirely. Around every corner, in every nook and cranny, and behind every hedge and window, there is this suggestion of menace. Something evil this way comes.

The author writes the story in a way that invites the reader to imagine more than actually happens by describing scenarios and people that leaves everything open to interpretation or more than one possibility.

There is this scene at the very beginning with Karen in the car – I swear till the very last word I expected some revelation about what had really happened. It’s quite clever really, because there is this suggestion that people in general have the tendency to assume, imagine and pad out their experiences. Karen for instance tends to jump straight to paranoia, which is sparked by jealousy and low self-esteem.

Her husband Nick loves to gaslight his wife, despite the fact he is a cheat and an abusive parent, he likes to play the innocent hard-done by hubby. Poor Nick who has to put up with the crazy wife and the loser son. Perhaps he has a point though?

For me this is a story about discovery of self, empowerment and setting yourself free from oppressive emotional bonds. As soon as you recognise them you can set yourself free by severing the ties.

The author shows the emotional recovery of Karen and epiphany she has. It’s all about comprehending that just because someone points the finger of blame at you it doesn’t mean you are actually to blame. When someone tells you who they are – believe them the first time.

Buy The Move at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ; pub date 23rd January 2020 – Hardback £12.99. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Hive.co.uk.

#BlogTour A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum

Today it’s an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum. It’s a poignant tale of oppression and also women’s empowerment.

About the Author

Etaf Rum was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, by Palestinian immigrants. She teaches college English literature in North Carolina, where she lives with her two children. A Woman is No Man is her first novel.

Follow @EtafRum on Twitter, on Facebookon Instagramon Goodreadson Amazon, Visit etafrum.comBuy A Woman is No Man

About the book

Palestine, 1990. Seventeen -year-old Isra prefers reading books to entertaining the suitors her father has chosen for her. Over the course of a week, the naive and dreamy girl finds herself quickly betrothed and married, and is soon living in Brooklyn. There Isra struggles to adapt to the expectations of her oppressive mother-in-law Fareeda and strange new husband Adam, a pressure that intensifies as she begins to have children – four daughters instead of the sons Fareeda tells Isra she must bear.

Brooklyn, 2008. Eighteen-year-old Deya, Isra’s oldest daughter, must meet with potential husbands at her grandmother Fareeda’s insistence, though her only desire is to go to college. Deya can’t help but wonder if her options would have been different had her parents survived the car crash that killed them when Deya was only eight. But her grandmother is firm on the matter: the only way to secure a worthy future for Deya is through marriage to the right man.

But fate has a will of its own, and soon Deya will find herself on an unexpected path tht leads her to shocking truths about her family – knowledge that will force her to question everything she thought she knew about her parents, the past, and her own future.

Set in an America at once foreign to many and staggeringly close at hand, A Woman is No Man is a story of culture and honour, secrets and betrayals, love and violence. It is an intimate glimpse into a controlling and close cultural world, and a universal tale about family and the ways silence and shame can destroy those we have sworn to protect.

Review

Why wasn’t this on some of the best book and prize lists of the year in the Uk? It has seriously remained almost invisible, despite winning recognition and accolades in the US. It should be compulsory reading for all girls and women, regardless of their background.

It speaks truth to the lies that are spoken by both men and women defending tradition, culture and religion. Tell us again how you revere women. How they aren’t treated like sub-humans and second class citizens. Tell us again how keeping women silent and submissive is simultaneously cementing and honouring their place in society.

I came away a few times from this read, but ultimately when I finished it I was both enraged and saddened.

I think what many of us forget, and that includes the families who put children, and especially girls, in this position, is the difficult position they end up in when they grow up in Western cultures. The two contradicting cultures must be incredibly difficult to navigate at the same time. One culture is steeped in medieval and oppressive traditions and rules, whereas the other culture allows freedom in all areas. How are children and young people supposed to be true to both?

The story begins with Isra, a young Palestinian Arab girl who is married off to a family and moved to Brooklyn. Then we hear the story of her eldest daughter Deya as her grandmother Fareeda starts to pressure her into upholding the family honour and her duties by accepting a suitor.The stories of the two women play out at the same time as Deya discovers the truth about the parents she believes were killed in a car crash.

It’s women’s fiction and a poignant contemporary read about empowering women in a culture of systemic abuse and oppression. The author gives us a compelling and infuriating look behind closed doors. Girls born and bred to be nothing more than brood-mares, cleaners, cooks and objects of abuse – that’s if they are allowed to live at all. No wonder Isra sinks into despair.

I think it’s particularly tragic that her love of reading is what ultimately destroys what is left of her hope that there is more out there for her and her daughters other than pressure, oppression and pain.

I loved and hated this book in equal measures. It is an incredibly tragic and beautiful story, but it is also indicative of the systemic abuse and oppression of women in certain cultures.

One last thing – although it pains me to say this – the role other women play in both the oppression and abuse shouldn’t be underestimated. Fareeda plays a leading role in this story, as do other mothers, wives, sisters and daughters who condone and contribute to the never-ending cycle of oppression. Excusing it by labeling it tradition, culture or part of a devout upbringing is a farce and makes a mockery of any culture that sustains, welcomes and continues to uphold oppressive and abusive behaviour.

This is an excellent read.

Buy A Woman is No Man at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ: Published on 12th December 2019 – Paperback £8.99 – Available in eBook and Audiobook. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Hive.co.uk Buy at Waterstones