But Heidi doesn’t remember any of that. She’s lived her life since then with little memory of her friends and family and no recollection of the crime.
Now, it’s all starting to come back.
As Heidi begins retracing the events that lead to the assault, she is forced to confront the pain and guilt she’s long kept buried. But Heidi isn’t the only one digging up the past, and the closer she gets to remembering the truth, the more danger she’s in.
When the truth is worse than fiction, is the past worth reliving?
(Trigger warning – Monstrous Souls dives into the troubling world of child abuse and coverups.)
Monstrous Souls is the debut novel from Rebecca Kelly and is a throughly good read. It follows the aftermath of a traumatic event which left its one known survivor with a fractured life and fractured memory.
Fifteen years after the event, fragments of memory start to align and the lid is slowly lifted on a system of organised abuse of children, covered up and hidden at the highest levels.
At times the book can be hard to read, as the subject matter is disturbing, but the author does a wonderful job of drawing you though the story.by
When a stranger saves Luke’s life, he knows he’s been given a second chance. He’s going to make it count – and, determined to live each day to its fullest, he starts by saying yes to everything life has to offer.
Slowly but surely, Luke learns that a little bit of blue-sky thinking can go a long way, and things start to look up.
But when Luke’s new resolve is tested, will he return to his old ways? Or can one fateful moment truly save a life?
If any of S.D. Robertson’s previous novels are anything to go by, I knew that How To Save a Life was going to be an emotional rollercoaster before I even began. And yes, it was.
Oh Luke. He’s such a complex and compelling character. On the first few pages, he’s not the most likeable of characters. He reminded me a little of Scrooge in that he is cynical, a loner and has no interest in the world around him.
The author throws the reader straight into Luke’s life and the more I got into the story, the more empathy I felt for him. As you start to get to know his history, you begin to understand his choices and his demeanour. Also, as a character, he really does develop and evolve over the course of the novel.
The supporting characters are also strong, Meg and Nora especially. I felt so sorry for Rita. Grief presents itself in so many different ways and I had nothing but sympathy for her. There were moments I could empathise with and parts I could relate to.by
After a simple mistake causes an unintended role swap, she becomes the one seeking advice from an unlikely source!
When reading the blurb, I was immediately drawn to the premise of this novel and indeed, from the first page, I was drawn into the plot.
This book, told as narrative and a series of e-mails, focuses on Fliss and Ellie. I like how it’s told from the point of view of both and it goes between the two effortlessly.
Fliss is an agony aunt. It is not what she dreamed of being. It’s more a profession she fell into but, having been married for eighteen years, she has always believed that the sacrifices she made in her own career was worth it in exchange for her happy marriage.
However, when she gets an e-mail from Ellie, a woman who asks for advice in talking to the man she loves but has never spoken to, it forces Fliss to take a look at her own relationship with her husband, Jasper. She realises things are not so perfect.
I felt an enormous wave of love and empathy for both characters but especially Fliss. I’ve never really considered that this stranger offering advice is also a human being with their own complexities. Their lives can be as messy and beautiful. I had never considered that side of the coin before.
These women are at different stages in life and I liked the juxtaposition of the two. Most of all, I loved the relationship that developed between these two women and that it begins through the written word.by
Jemima Dewberry wears her heart on her sleeve. Her weakness for bad boys, coupled with her track record for making bad decisions has led to endless heartbreak. The only trouble is, she can’t seem to kick the habit.
On top of that, her “dream” job at Yorkshire Portions magazine hasn’t turned out to be what she’d hoped, and she seems to have developed the knack of annoying her boss without even trying. It doesn’t help that the new girl seems to have taken an instant dislike to her. All that’s keeping her there are her best friends Anna-Lisa and Aidey, who have picked up the pieces of her shattered heart more times than they care to remember.
When Jemima’s latest boyfriend turns out to be no better than the rest, the hurt and humiliation is almost unbearable. She declares she’s finally through with love, and swears off men for life. But when charismatic Caspar De Verre walks into the office with his dangerous good looks and mesmerising smile, she’s utterly captivated, and her promises to Anna-Lisa and Aidey not to let her heart rule her head are soon forgotten.
But is Caspar all he seems? Anna-Lisa and Aidey have their doubts. And Herbert, the happy-go-lucky black Labrador Jemima’s looking after, doesn’t seem to like him either.
As Jemima falls for Caspar’s charms she finds herself being forced to confront the struggle between her head and her heart. But which one will prove the most powerful?
And will Jemima get the happy-ever-after she so desperately craves?
Tell That To My Heart is the first novel in the Heartshaped series. I loved Eliza’s previous series, Life on the Moors, so I have been looking forward to getting stuck into a new book from her.
Mim Dewberry should be enjoying the fact that she has the job of her dreams. In reality, she hates where she works. Also, having had her heart broken by her ex, she has sworn off men. Well, that’s until Casper begins work at her office. Even when her friends, Anna and Aidey share their misgivings about him, she doesn’t listen to their advice. Whether it’s advice she should heed, I am hoping you’ll find out for yourself.
Mim felt like a sister and I became very protective of her. I wanted to hug her. Casper gave me a Daniel Cleaver/Jasper from The Holiday vibe and, like Herbert, I couldn’t quite decide if I liked him.
The plot is paced well and I couldn’t figure out how it would end. As normal, I am not going to say much more about the plot and what happens as I don’t want to spoil it but what I will say is that there are some very bad characters in this book. There was one in particular that I didn’t even try to like.by
After the tragic loss of his wife, Helen, Luke Hansard is desperate to keep her memory alive. In an effort to stay close to her, he reaches out to an online friend Helen often mentioned: a reclusive photographer with a curious interest in beautiful but broken objects. But first he must find her—and she doesn’t want to be found.
Orla Kendrick lives alone in the ruins of a remote Suffolk castle, hiding from the haunting past that has left her physically and emotionally scarred. In her fortress, she can keep a safe distance from prying eyes, surrounded by her broken treasures and insulated from the world outside.
When Luke tracks Orla down, he is determined to help her in the way Helen wanted to: by encouraging her out of her isolation and back into the world. But Orla has never seen her refuge as a prison and, when painful secrets and dangerous threats begin to resurface, Luke’s good deed is turned on its head.
As they work through their grief for Helen in very different ways, will these two broken souls be able to heal?
From the moment I started reading The Beauty of Broken Things, I knew it was going to be a rollercoaster of a novel.
These characters find themselves in a rather unique situation and I immediately warmed to them. I felt so sorry for Luke and wanted to give him a big hug. His grief for the loss of his wife is palpable.by
Sometimes the best holidays are the ones you least expect…
After a long and turbulent year, Sarah is dreaming of the five-star getaway her sister has booked them on. White sands, cocktails, massages, the Caribbean is calling to them.
But the sisters turn up to tatty beaches, basic wooden shacks, a compost toilet and outdoor cold water showers. It turns out that at the last minute Amy decided a conservation project would be much more fun than a luxury resort.
So now Sarah’s battling mosquitos, trying to stomach fish soup and praying for a swift escape. Life on a desert island though isn’t all doom and gloom. They’re at one with nature, learning about each other and making new friends. And Sarah is distracted by the dishy, yet incredibly moody, island leader she’s sure is hiding a secret.
To celebrate the release of The Summer Island Swap, Samantha and Aria have shared an extract with us today. Enjoy.
***** beginning of extract*****
‘Being a veterinary nurse alone is more challenging than I ever imagined,’ she continued, ignoring my comment. ‘Look, Sarah – two other members of the lottery syndicate are also taking holidays. One of the surgeons is going on a cruise… I wish you would trust me on this.’
I opened my mouth to protest but the stiffness that had taken hold of her shoulders stopped me. We shouldn’t argue. It was rare that we both had a Saturday off. Tonight we were going to the cinema. My chest glowed at the prospect of Amy’s usual excitement over a blue slush drink and ketchup slathered hot dog. Sometimes it was hard to believe she was twenty-three.
But then I was twenty-seven and hadn’t even been kissed. Not properly. One-night stands and short relationships didn’t count. I meant proper kissing like you saw in the romantic movies I loved watching, where it was savoured on a bench or under a lamppost. I should have had that with Callum but looking back, the spark wasn’t there; I never got the sense of wanting a kiss with him to last forever.
‘A trip away is exactly what we both need,’ continued Amy as tentative rays of sunshine that had snuck through the blinds retreated behind assembling April clouds. ‘Especially you.’ Her voice sounded thick. ‘You’ve worked your guts out all these years, giving me a roof over my head and so much more – like funding my training to become a nurse at Paws & Claws. Words can’t explain how much it meant to me, having this flat, your home to move into when I turned eighteen and could finally get away from him.’
‘This has always been our home – even when you weren’t here.’
Her eyes shone. ‘Well, this is my small way of paying you back.’
‘There’s no debt.’ I rubbed her arm and crouched down by her side.by
TWO WRITERS, ONE HOLIDAY. A ROMCOM WAITING TO HAPPEN…
January is a hopeless romantic who narrates her life like she’s the lead in a blockbuster movie.
Gus is a serious literary type who thinks true love is a fairy-tale.
But January and Gus have more in common than you’d think:
They’re both broke.
They’ve got crippling writer’s block.
And they need to write bestsellers before summer ends.
The result? A bet to swap genres and see who gets published first.
The risk? In telling each other’s stories, their worlds might be changed entirely…
January has just lost her father, she’s facing a publishing deadline and then she realises that her nemesis, Gus, is her new neighbour.
I love this novel and found it so addictive. I couldn’t stop reading and when I wasn’t, I couldn’t wait to get back to it.
Gus and January are enthralling characters and an interesting couple. Both felt so real and normal. They were flawed, layered, unique and each carry their own emotional baggage. I loved them as a potential couple. What actually happens, I am not going to tell.
The plot was compelling and unlike books i’ve read before. However, at the same time, it held the same charm that my favourite romantic comedies hold. In fact, I could see this as a movie. The setting was so vivid and I wanted to jump into the novel.by
Ursula, Gareth and Alice have never met before.
Ursula thinks she killed the love of her life.
Gareth’s been receiving strange postcards.
And Alice is being stalked.
None of them are used to relying on others – but when the three strangers’ lives unexpectedly collide, there’s only one thing for it: they have to stick together. Otherwise, one of them will die.
Three strangers, two secrets, one terrifying evening.
I have become such a big fan of C.L. Taylor’s books so I was excited to be involved in the blog tour for her latest book, Strangers.
Alice is being stalked and this thought becomes more terrifying by the moment. Even a new man doesn’t make things better.
Ursula used to be a teacher but, after losing her boyfriend, she is carrying around so much guilt. She is now a courier, just trying to get through each day.
Gareth is a security guard in a shopping centre. He cares for his elderly mother who is suffering from dementia. When he begins to find postcards from someone he thought was long gone, it becomes a worry.
C.L. Taylor is one of my favourite authors of psychological thrillers and this book didn’t disappoint. It plays mind games with the reader.
Strangers does take a while to build in terms of pace. It is told from the point of view of Alice, Ursula and Gareth and yes, because of this, it does jump around a little. The stories all seem disconnected but that is the genius of this book. I spent the whole book wanting to turn the page to find out what was going to happen to these three people and how they were going to end up all together by the end – an end I didn’t see coming. It was plotted and developed well.by
Would you take the second chance you’ve always dreamed of?
It’s been ten years since Emma Stevens last laid eyes on Jake Murray. When he left the small seaside village of South Quay to chase the limelight, Emma’s dreams left with him.
Now Emma is content living a quiet and uneventful life in South Quay. It’s far from the life she imagined, but at least her job at the local hotel has helped heal her broken heart.
But when Jake returns home for the summer to escape the spotlight, Emma’s feelings quickly come flooding back. There’s clearly a connection between them, but Jake has damaged her heart once already – will she ever be able to give him a second chance?
To celebrate the release of The Summer of Taking Chances, Lynne has shared an extract with us today.
***** beginning of extract*****
Emma Stevens and Jake Murray grew up in the small seaside village of South Quay, both of them dreaming of glittering careers on the stage. Ten years ago, Jake left the village, and is now a successful actor living in London, while Emma is still living a quiet life in South Quay, renting a room in her best friend Lizzie’s cottage, working in a local hotel, and barely remembering the dreams she and Jake once shared. Then Jake returns to South Quay for the summer…
The day after she learns that Jake is back, Emma goes for a walk along the beach…
Calling out to let Lizzie know where I was going, I left the cottage, turning out of Saltwater Lane onto the appropriately named Shore Road. Heading past the shops selling beach-balls, sunblock, postcards and flip flops, and through the car park – empty now of day-trippers’ cars – at the end of the road, I came to the stones at the top of the beach.
The expanse of sea in front of me was as still as a mill-pond, and the sun was sinking towards the horizon, streaking the sky with red and gold. Two teenage girls were sitting on the stones sharing a portion of chips, while a family, mother, father, and two boys, were playing cricket on the strip of sand between the stones and the incoming tide, which had yet to reach the end of the breakwaters. I went down onto the sand and started walking westwards towards the headland, glancing up occasionally at the large houses, built in a variety of styles that lined this part of the shore. Gradually, the houses became fewer and further apart. I passed a woman walking a dog, and a fisherman in waders casting a line, and then, as I rounded a particularly high breakwater, I saw Jake Murray, standing on the water’s edge, with his back to me, throwing stones into the sea.by
When Eleanor waves her daughter off for a gap-year trip, she finds herself stuck as a satellite wife, spinning in faithful orbit around her domineering husband, with only her clever but judgmental father Conrad for comfort.
Andrew isn’t mastering the art of growing up either. But when he finds his belongings dumped in bin bags on the drive, even he can see that his girlfriend is hinting he should move out. With no other options, he moves back in with his parents.
Backing onto their garden lives artist Cecilia, living in chaotic clutter and dreaming of her ex-lovers, still acting like a stroppy teenager at the age of 66.
Four lives are drawn together by long-buried secrets of the past, and it is time for them all to grow up… before it’s too late.
The premise for this novel intrigued me so I was excited to be a part of the blog tour.
Eleanor has just seen her daughter off for her gap year trip and more than ever, things seem to revolve around her husband, Roger. He cares little for her opinions.
Andrew is not fairing much better. He has found himself back at his parents house after splitting with his girlfriend. When he meets Olivia, he likes her but it isn’t long before he gets in his own way.
Cecelia has two grown up daughters but refuses to see herself as old.
Conrad has many regrets in life, the biggest one is letting the love of his life go.
This book for me was very much about the characters. All of them are at various stages of their lives, trying to figure out who they are and what they want. All of them have internal struggles and regrets which I think many readers can find relatable. All were very well thought out and developed. I couldn’t predict where it was going to go.
I really couldn’t like Roger. He was so infuriating and unfortunately felt realistic. As for what he does with Eleanor’s books, I know where I’d be sticking those torn out pages. I wanted to give Eleanor a shake and Andrew a hug.by
Cara has officially run out of men. Her most recent dates have gone from bad to worse, and when her dating app informs her there is no one left in her area to choose from, she is at a dead end.
But with a summer of events ahead of her, she needs to find a solution, fast; someone to keep her company at the never-ending weddings, family gatherings and gender reveal parties that she can’t face going to alone.
So when she meets handsome, confident, Millsy on a night out she may be in luck. They could not be more different in personality, but he too has a summer of events ahead and is desperate to get his family off his back about finding a ‘nice girl’. What if they made a pact to help each other out and be a plus one for the summer? Just as friends of course…?
Cara has officially run out of men. Having rejected every man on her dating app, she’s unsure what her next move should be.
Not to mention that her ex boyfriend has been invited to her cousin’s wedding and she has no-one to go with.
Then she meets Joe. Millsy to his friends. He also has a wedding to attend and just like that, they make the plus one pact. What could go wrong?
Cara for me was instantly likeable and she felt realistic. She’s strong, independent and fights for what she believes in, even if it means her cousin has more incentive to hate her.
I wasn’t so sure about Millsy to begin with. He seemed a little shallow but as the book progressed, you get to know more about him and first impressions are not always correct. Or are they?by
Recent MBA grad Bronwyn Crewse has just taken over her family’s ice cream shop in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and she’s going back to basics. Win is renovating Crewse Creamery to restore its former glory, and filling the menu with delicious, homemade ice cream flavors—many from her grandmother’s original recipes. But unexpected construction delays mean she misses the summer season, and the shop has a literal cold opening: the day she opens her doors an early first snow descends on the village and keeps the customers away.
To make matters worse, that evening, Win finds a body in the snow, and it turns out the dead man was a grifter with an old feud with the Crewse family. Soon, Win’s father is implicated in his death. It’s not easy to juggle a new-to-her business while solving a crime, but Win is determined to do it. With the help of her quirky best friends and her tight-knit family, she’ll catch the ice cold killer before she has a meltdown…
Brownyn is excited for opening day. She’s just taken over the family business which is making and selling ice cream. Her grandparents legacy is in her hands and she can’t wait to get started.
Opening day doesn’t go as planned though. When the snow keeps people away, Brownyn takes a walk and ends up finding a dead body; not how she expected the day to go.
OK, Abby, you had me at ice cream. Hahaha.
I was immediately drawn into the mystery of this book, made even harder to put down as the story progressed. I am fast becoming a fan of cozy mysteries.
I loved the intrigue. I was continuously trying to guess what had happened but kept running into plot twists. I suspected everyone at some point. So much drama in such a small town.
This small town sounds adorable and is full of interesting and loveable characters. Bronwyn is such a relatable person and I really cared what happened to her and her family. I had a special soft spot for Pop Pop. Plus, it goes without saying, the cat.by
No one would call David Rose – or ‘Rosie’ as he’s known to one and all – a star, but he’s good at his job and proud of his work as a sportswriter for a national newspaper. He’s used to seeing flashier talents come and go – both on the field, and in the competitive world of the press. Football comes first in the way he spends his working life, but he’s happy to pitch in whatever the sport – from Formula 1 to Test cricket in the West Indies, the Olympics to a heavyweight championship bout in Japan.
He’s used to the ups and downs of a journalist’s life and has learned to keep his own head safely down – until an especially venal boss pins his own misdemeanours on the entirely innocent Rose. Rosie’s revenge is slow but sweet, as he manoeuvres through a world where egos clash, money talks and you’re only as safe as your latest by-line.
David Rose or ‘Rosie’ as he is known is a sports writer for a national newspaper. He’s not a star but he’s good at what he does, he puts the work in and he takes pride in what he does.
Books relating to sport is not usually something I would pick up. However, I am pleased to have taken part in the blog tour for this book. As an Audible original, it was narrated by Colin Mace and he did this very well. I felt he really helped bring over the various personalities of the characters.
This book reminded me of Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch in style but Simon Barnes covers a wide range of sports. I could tell that he brought a vast amount of personal experience to this story.
I have to admit, at the beginning of the book, I didn’t like many of the characters. Even Rosie grated on me a little, mostly down to comments about women. The Game’s Gone does well to shine a light on how it would have been. As a result of this, it took a while for me to settle into the narrative but what I found as I progressed were very intriguing and interesting characters, especially David Rose.by
If you could change time to save your first love—even if it meant turning your back on the universe—would you?
It is time for the Vechey youth to earn their place as time-guardians. The near-immortal Vechey protect the universe from the devastating Manipulators—devourers of souls, mindless seekers of chaos. First, the youth must survive a mysterious and deadly ritual created by the all-powerful clan leader Eterili. Having regenerated thousands of times with the birth of each universe, Eterili is taking this one as hers and bending all in it to her grand designs.
Catha’s time-slipping skills are underdeveloped. She is time-blind—unable to see through time, unable to protect herself from the ritual. The Vechey shun her for being different. Her parents ignore her as if she were already dead.
Aithagg loves Catha unconditionally and will do anything to save her. He tries desperately to unlock the ritual’s mysteries and find a way to help Catha survive with him. Or will saving Catha enable the Manipulators to destroy the universe?
Ahead of its publication on 28th May, Tina has shared an extract from When Darkness Begins with us today. It sounds great and I hope you enjoy it.
*****beginning of extract*****
The six youths each straightened and in unison, or near it, began to articulate, “I will go forth and find my time, my place, my home. Turning away from my family and my friends, I will dedicate my eternity to keeping the universe whole. Should another adjust my time, my place, my home I will defend it until my last thought, through all eternity.”
Eterili called from her squatted position, “What do you protect?”
“Time.” The answer—cracking adolescent voices. “Why?” An aged croak.
“Lest the sky pull my bones apart as the tribe is lost across all of time.” Whispers.
“Who do you protect time from?”
“The Manipulators who would destroy time, the universe, and all in it.”by
‘He’s back, Carrie. The Scribbler is back.’
DI Gayther and his rookie colleague DC Carrie have been assigned a new caseload. Or rather, an old one… cold cases of LGBTQ+ murders dating back to the 1980s and beyond. Georgia Carrie wasn’t even born when the notorious serial killer began his reign of terror across the East of England. Roger Gayther was on the force that failed to catch him and remembers every chilling detail. Now, after all these years, there’s a sudden death featuring The Scribbler’s tell-tale modus operandi. Can Gayther and Carrie track the murderer down and bring him to justice before the slaughter starts again?
Iain has shared an extract with us today.
‘Inside the Mind of a Killer.’
*****beginning of extract*****
The man with the gloves knew this moment had been coming for a long time now. Had known, one way or the other, for almost half his lifetime. He had thought, on and off, how it might all end. Being overpowered by someone stronger than him, most likely. Or spotted with somebody who was later reported missing. His van seen, the registration noted down carefully. Two and two put together. The knock on the front door late one night.
And he had thought about what he would do when it did. He’d rush out of the kitchen through the living room to the back door by the vegetable garden to get away. But he knew there would be other police out there, maybe armed, just waiting, in hiding for him.
There were other possible endings. He would fight back if he were overpowered and held down by his planned victim as they called the police on their mobile phone. He’d struggle endlessly for the chance to escape. He’d never give up.
But, of all the various permutations, he had never imagined it would end this way. A police patrol car on his tail, playing with him, toying, as they closed in on his van.
He looked again at the wing mirror, saw the police car was still there, so close to him now that if he braked, it would be sure to crash into his van.
Did not know what to do. A sense of helplessness.
He could accelerate away, racing for his life. But they would most likely keep pace, forcing him off the road. An unseemly scramble as he tried, unsuccessfully, to get out of the van and run. Even if he got away, where would he go? They had his registration number, knew who he was, where he lived.
Brake sharply then. The police driver and passenger, taken by surprise, shaken by the crash. Dazed and bewildered, he could take his chances with them, armed with his screwdriver and Stanley knife. Up and out of his van fast, to the police car, tugging open doors, slashing and stabbing them. It was quiet here, on this road. No one around. Nobody to see. No one to interrupt him. If he were quick, could brace himself for the crash, have the element of surprise on his side, he could just about manage it.by