The Blame by Kerry Wilkinson #Review

Thanks for stopping by! I’m delighted to be sharing my review for The Blame by Kerry Wilkinson today! With thanks to the publisher for my copy via netgalley. First things first let’s take a look at the description for the book…

Paige, Richard and me. We thought we’d be friends forever. But everything changed the day we took the short cut home from school along the old railway line. I wish we’d gone the long way. I wish we hadn’t seen our classmate, pale and still in the undergrowth. And I wish we hadn’t promised to keep one, awful detail a secret just between us…

Twenty years later, I have a brand-new life, and try never to think about my old one. 

But I’m dragged back when Paige calls out of the blue. Richard has been accused of something terrible. Everyone back home is whispering about the body we found years ago, and saying Richard deserves to be locked up…

Before I know it, I’ve returned to the small town I thought I’d never see again. Paige is almost the same as I remember ¬– jet black hair, slender frame – but why does she seem so nervous? She’s adamant the only way to clear our friend’s name is to tell the truth about what we saw twenty years ago. 

Can I really trust that Paige is on my side – or is she hiding her own dark secret? And if we clear Richard’s name, will the blame fall on me? 

When we find a strange note in Richard’s flat, one thing is for certain: someone else knows the truth too.

All three of us are in danger…

MY REVIEW

In this book we meet Harry who out of the blue receives a phone call from an old school friend asking for help. He soon finds himself home after years away but he finds the past isn’t staying there and neither are old secrets.

Harry has moved on, he hasn’t been home in ages and has made a new life for himself in a new country. However his connection with his friends is strong and he finds himself pulled back home. There are plenty of secrets hidden in the pages of this book. Secrets from the past and also secrets between this trio of friends that were once close. The book highlights the bond that can be shared when children make an important connection. Showing that even though you may have moved on you only have to hear your friends voice and be transported back to those days.

In a way I’m not quite sure what I was expecting when I first picked up this book. I will say that it didn’t necessarily go in the direction I was expecting. However it was interesting to see Harry and Paige’s back story revealed. I’m not sure I fully connected with them but to be honest the story probably worked a little better for it. As you are never quite sure about their motives or actions. The pace of the story was good for the most part although maybe a touch slower to begin with as the characters were introduced. There was a dark but quiet undercurrent running throughout which helped to keep my attention. The kind where you know something is coming but not quite sure exactly what. The Blame has a little bit of mystery and an even darker edge especially as the story reaches its conclusion!

The Island by C. L. Taylor #Review

Thanks for stopping by! I’m delighted to be sharing my review for The Island by C. L. Taylor today. With thanks to the publisher for my audiobook copy via Netgalley. First things first let’s take a look at the description for the book…

Narrated by Olivia Dowd; Sam Newton; Sarah Ovens.

Welcome to The Island.

Where your worst fears are about to come true…

It was supposed to be the perfect holiday: a week-long trip for six teenage friends on a remote tropical island.

But when their guide dies of a stroke leaving them stranded, the trip of a lifetime turns into a nightmare.

Because someone on the island knows each of the group’s worst fears. And one by one, they’re becoming a reality.

Seven days in paradise. A deadly secret.

Who will make it off the island alive?

MY REVIEW

The Island is where six teenage friends travel for a week of fun and escape. However things turn bad pretty quickly and their perfect holiday turns into something much more dangerous.

Now that my children are back at school I seem to be racing through audiobooks! Whether it’s when I’m walking or doing housework, an audiobook always seems to be playing. For this reason I managed to listen my way through The Island in a couple of days. There was a moreish quality to the story which definitely helped too. I found myself thinking about the group of teens even when I wasn’t listening. I had to know how it would all turn out for them. The pacing of the story is pretty good with a fair few tense moments that helped to keep the story teetering on a dark edge. The mystery over what was happening made me question the actions of this group of friends and ask myself. Could it really be one of the friends that is the cause of all the trouble? Or was there someone else on the island with the group?

The narration is split and we have two main characters in Danny and Jessie. Both pretty different characters which helped to keep things interesting. The narrator for Danny’s parts in particular did a great job of portraying the tense moments. Also bringing the character’s fears to the surface which helped to ramp up the tension. Jessie’s narration had a more quieter and calmer feel but with a sense that just below the surface this character is in turmoil due to her past. Her friends don’t quite know how to act around her anymore. The little snippets from her past were carefully placed and helped draw out her character. This helped to give her a bit more depth than the others. To begin with you see a guarded character in Jessie but with each new bit of information you realise how and why she has become this way. The other characters bring suspicion but I wouldn’t say that you really get to know them all that well. Danny and Jessie are the main focus and they are brought to life a little more clearly than the others. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but I guess I just didn’t manage to connect all that well with the others.

The Island was the perfect story to lose myself in and I thought that the audiobook worked really well. Maybe I wouldn’t have had the same experience if I had read the book. I guess I’ll never know but for me the audiobook came across really well and brought an extra layer of tension to the story. If you enjoy YA then why not give it a try and lose yourself on The Island for a few hours!

Little Bones by N V Peacock #Audiobook #Review

Thanks for stopping by! I’m delighted to be sharing my review for Little Bones by N V Peacock today. With thanks to the publisher for this audiobook via Netgalley. First things first let’s take a look at the description for the book…

Narrated by Stephanie Racine

I have three names: I was born Leigh-Ann. I became Cherrie. When I was a child, they called me Little Bones…

My father was Mr Bones – the notorious serial killer of 25 years ago.

As a child I witnessed his crimes.
Everything is different now. I have a new identity. I’m a mother. I am finally free.
Until that podcast. I should never have listened.

They’re linking a recent disappearance to the crimes of the past.

They know who I am. They’re calling me Little Bones again.

They say I’m a villain but I’m not. I’m a victim.

You believe me, don’t you?

MY REVIEW

In Little Bones we meet Cherrie who thinks her past is firmly locked away. However the events from Cherrie’s childhood are going to resurface and bring danger with it.

It took me a little longer than usual to finish listening to Little Bones but this was nothing to do with the story. I happened to be in the middle of listening when home schooling began again in January. So I could only listen for very short bursts and didn’t get very far at all. However I will admit that when I wasn’t listening I was still thinking about the characters. Along with wondering what was happening, who was behind it and if Cherrie would get to the bottom of things!

The pacing is pretty good, a few dips here and there but overall the story managed to keep my attention. The narrator did a brilliant job of showing the different aspects of Cherrie’s personality from ordinary mother to perhaps a darker edge that the reader is not quite sure of. The addition of the podcast to the plot brings another side showing the damage that revealing the truth can bring.

The characters all brought something to the story but most of all suspicion! I had a few theories along the way and kept changing my mind. I appreciated all the red herrings and false leads which helped make everything just that little bit more twisty. Some of the twists had an edge of predictability but on the whole I was very interested to see where it would all go. I will admit that Cherrie was a character that could come across like marmite. For me there were definitely times when I wanted to shout at Cherrie. To tell her to act differently but also there were times where I wanted to shout in agreement. Her character is definitely flawed but I found this to be the perfect way to draw me into the story even more.

I do think Little Bones worked very well as an audiobook. The podcast adds tension as Cherrie struggles to keep her cool with every new episode. Along with hearing all of Cherrie’s inner thoughts and feelings as she spirals deeper into a nightmare situation. The final part of the story especially came across so well through audio as it brought a dark touch that I loved.

Little Bones is a dark and intriguing tale!

The Big Ol’ Bike by Rachael Clarke #TheBigOlBike #BlogTour #Review @raclarkewrites @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours

Thanks for stopping by! I’m delighted to be sharing my review for The Big Ol’ Bike by Rachael Clarke as part of the blog tour today. With thanks to Emma at damppebbles blog tours for the invite to join the tour and to the author for my copy. First things first let’s take a look at the description for the book…

Big things are happening in Little Springs…

Everything about Oliver is small, from his footprint to his glasses-and a trio of bullies never let him forget it. When Oliver receives his grandfather’s old bike for his birthday, he rides tall for the first time. But the meanest bully in school doesn’t like that at all. Oliver quickly finds himself challenged to a race. Now, he’ll have to be bigger than he ever imagined in order to prove heroes come in small packages too.

The Big Ol’ Bike is a contemporary slice of life for ages 7-10. It’s filled with characters who could live down the street from you, or have a locker beside yours at school. Come hang out with Oliver, Austin, and Sue, as they experience excitement, setbacks, and adventure together. Themes of bullying, family, friendship, confidence, and community are all explored.

Longer than average for this age range, The Big Ol’ Bike is meant to be transitional between chapter books and middle grade novels. It’s an equally perfect choice for eager readers who fly through the pages, and kids who enjoy taking it chapter by chapter.

WARNING: Reading this book may cause an immediate and urgent need to ride your bike. Do not be alarmed-the feeling will pass soon enough. But don’t let it.;)

MY REVIEW

In The Big Ol’ Bike we meet Oliver who doesn’t have it easy thanks to a trio of bullies. For Oliver’s birthday he is given his grandfather’s old bike. This bike is big, red and unique. So much more different to the more modern bikes that everyone rides. What follows is a warm and uplifting story that all ages are sure to relate to.

With me having two children under nine I thought this would be an ideal book to enjoy together. When we first picked up this book we were aiming to read one chapter a day. However there were plenty of moments where we were enjoying the story so much we often read more than a chapter. I thought the age range of 7-10 was about right. Both myself and my 8 year old son took turns reading. He isn’t necessarily the most confident reader but he tries so hard. I think he managed really well throughout the book and was able to read most of the vocabulary used. My six year old daughter also enjoyed listening to us take turns reading the story. So it really was a family thing!

The story isn’t overly long and my son’s interest was kept throughout which is always a bonus! I thought that showing the bullying of Oliver was something that could be used as a talking point with children. We were all able to discuss how Oliver felt and how we would feel in his place. The messages throughout were very important and added an extra special touch to the story. It was great to reinforce how we should talk to someone if we have any worries. Along with showing positive friendships and a lovely community spirit. The Big Ol’ Bike also reminded me of how happy I used to be riding my bike when I was little. Thinking about the simple fun of riding around either in my back garden or out with friends. The way time would blur and in no time at all the day would be over.

The Big Ol’ Bike is a charming and heartwarming tale about how being different, kind and unique is actually a pretty wonderful thing. That is definitely something all of us could take to heart!

About Rachael Clarke:

Rachael Clarke is a former police officer turned stay-at-home mom living in Portage la Prairie, MB. She rides the twisty rollercoaster of life alongside her sport-obsessed husband, adorably mischievous boys, and two quirky dogs. Rachael likes to stay busy, constantly juggling writing projects from children’s books to novels. Besides writing and illustrating, she enjoys photography, the outdoors, acting, and sipping steaming cups of coffee. Oh, and cake—can’t forget cake.

Rachael also writes multi-genre short fiction under the pen name R.A. Clarke. Her work has been featured in various publications, and has won both Writer’s Weekly and Writer’s Games 

Social Media:

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/raclarkewrites

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rachaelclarkewrites

Website: www.rachaelclarkewrites.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachaelclarkewrites

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19916621.Rachael_Clarke

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC01v6Bd2br1UvzI7XIDQFQA?view_as=subscriber

Purchase Links:

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/39at5DK

Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/3ojZs7v

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/366Com8

Publishing Information:

Published in paperback and digital formats on 8th January 2021

An Eye for an Eye by Carol Wyer @carolewyer #Review

Thanks for stopping by! I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for An Eye for an Eye by Carol Wyer today. A big thank you to the author for my lovely copy. First things first let’s take a look at the description for the book…

A killer running rings around the police. A detective spiralling out of control.

DI Kate Young is on leave. She’s the force’s best detective, but her bosses know she’s under pressure, on medication and overcoming trauma. So after her bad judgement call leads to a narrowly averted public disaster, they’re sure all she needs is a rest.

But when Staffordshire Police summon her back to work on a murder case, it’s a harder, more suspicious Kate Young who returns. With a new ruthlessness, she sets about tracking down a clinical, calculating serial killer who is torturing victims and leaving clues to taunt the police. Spurred on by her reporter husband, Young begins to suspect that the murderer might be closer than she ever imagined.

As she works to uncover the truth, Young unravels a network of secrets and lies, with even those closest to her having something to hide. But with her own competence—and her grip on reality—called into question, can she unmask the killer before they strike again?

MY REVIEW

An Eye for an Eye is the first book in a brand new series from Carol Wyer and what a brilliant start it was! In this book we are introduced to DI Kate Young. Kate is summoned back to work after a period of absence due to a traumatic event. Is Kate ready though?

I thought Kate was a perfect combination of flawed and determined. For me the fact that she didn’t have a perfect personal life and had a kind of dark edge worked really well. Throughout the story you can see how Kate wrestles with both the case and her personal life. I think this definitely helped to connect the reader to her character. You see Kate struggling but also see how determined she is to get to the bottom of things.

The plot itself was well crafted with a good balance between showing Kate’s personal issues and the troubling case that she has been tasked to solve. No spoilers from me but I also enjoyed a certain thread that ran through the story. This added a different feel and made the story stand out even more for me. Although this part of the story may not have come as a huge surprise to me I still thought it played out very well. A few other shocks along the way really helped to keep things interesting. As Kate found the case even more complex with every new reveal.

An Eye for an Eye is dark at times especially when the crime scenes and the victims injuries are described. I loved trying to figure it out although at first I couldn’t quite seem to line up all the clues. It was great to be kept on my toes at times but also great to just sit back and enjoy the journey wondering how it would all end.

An Eye for an Eye was a wonderful start to the Detective Kate Young series and I am already looking forward to book two!

Rae Recaps… February 2021

Thanks for stopping by!

It still feels a little like Groundhog Day with every day a blur of home schooling and then reading in the evenings. However there was a slight change this month when I found all three series of Unforgotten on Netflix which I *may* have binged in a few days (reader, she did indeed binge watch it!) I’ve also watched the first episode of series 4 but have to wait every week now 🙄 please note I am not a very patient person 😂

A hot glue gun was bought for crafting, which my son in particular was over the moon about. He loves making things so we’ve been very busy creating a dinosaur for a school project. Two boats along with star decorations and bunting for above their beds. I have to admit it’s been lots of fun!

I’m still enjoying my lovely Callie cuddles. She is getting bigger and can be a little mischievous at times but she is so worth it. I love how the kids help to look after her and they are so lovely with her. She’s a joy! 🥰

Now onto…

It’s been another great month for reading and I also bought these fab audiobooks. I read the Bridgerton series a few years back and I’ve decided to buy the audiobooks too. So book three, An Offer from a Gentleman has been added to my collection! I also bought A House of Ghosts and last but not least a free audiobook of The Velveteen Rabbit which is narrated by Richard Armitage 🥰)

I also bought a children’s book that my little girl’s teacher read to her class during a zoom call. It’s a lovely story and went perfectly with their space topic this term.

This month I managed to read 15 books.

Sadly no audiobooks again this month. Although this should change when my children go back to school. Hopefully I will be able to listen while walking to pick them up.

Only 2 blog tours this month.

Last One at the Party by Bethany Clift

In a Deep Dark Wood by Tina Pritchard

I also posted the following reviews, one cover reveal and a guest review by my husband.

Mine by Kelly Florentia

Guest Review- The Qubit Zirconium by M Darusha Wehm

The Burning Girls by C.J. Tudor

The Silent Friend by Diane Jeffrey

Cover Reveal – Damage by Caitlin Wahrer

Well, I guess that’s it for today and for February. Take care and very best wishes.

Rae xx

#CoverReveal #Damage #TheDamageIsDone @MichaelJBooks @CaitlinWahrer

Thanks for stopping by! I’m thrilled to be taking part in the cover reveal for Damage by Caitlin Wahrer today. Before we get to the fabulous cover let’s take a look at the description for the book…

ONE NIGHT. ONE CRIME. ONE FAMILY TORN APART.


TONY has always looked out for his younger brother, Nick. So when Nick is badly hurt and it looks like he was the victim of sexual assault, Tony’s anger flares.

JULIA is alarmed by her husband Tony’s obsession with Nick’s case. She’s always known Tony has a temper. But does she really know what he’s capable of?

NICK went out for a drink. After that, everything’s a blank. When he woke up he found himself in a world of confusion and pain, and the man who hurt him doesn’t deny doing it. But he says the whole thing was consensual.

Three ordinary people; one life-shattering event. When the police get involved with this family in crisis, all the cracks will start to show…

Set to ignite debate and as gripping as your favourite box-set, Damage is a compulsive drama from an extraordinary new writer.

Here it is…

PRE-ORDER LINKS

Amazon: https://bit.ly/Damage_HB

Waterstones: https://bit.ly/Damage_ws

In a Deep Dark Wood by Tina Pritchard #InADeepDarkWood @inkubatorbooks @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours

Thanks for stopping by! I’m delighted to be sharing my review for In a Deep Dark Wood by Tina Pritchard as part of the blog tour today. With thanks to Emma at damppebbles blog tours for the invite to join the tour and to the publisher for my copy. First things first let’s take a look at the description for the book…

What she saw in the wood would change her life forever.

Walking in the wood one day, Fran witnesses the horrifying murder of local teen, Tyler.  She tells the police exactly what she saw, but their investigation doesn’t seem to make much headway.

Fran tries to settle back into a normal life, but is tormented by guilt – was there something she could have done to save the boy?  Fran can’t let it go and finds herself drawn to Tyler’s grieving mother, Mel, both finding some strange connection through this shared trauma.

Then someone launches a terrifying campaign of intimidation against Fran and her husband, Laurie. Could it be the killers? Are they letting her know she had better be careful what she says? Who she sees? And why is Mel acting so strangely? Does she know more about her son’s death than she is saying?

Fran can’t help herself – she needs to know the truth. But when she begins to dig, she uncovers the terrible secret of the deep, dark wood – a secret that will change her life forever.

In a Deep Dark Wood – a stunning psychological thriller with a nerve-shredding climax. Perfect for fans of K. L. Slater, Sarah A. Denzil and Miranda Rijks.

MY REVIEW

In this story we meet Fran who witnesses a shocking murder in the woods. Fran is trying to process what happened but can’t quite make sense of it all. Due to the circumstances and the unanswered questions, she can’t let things go. As Fran tries to get more information she finds herself pulled into a dark and dangerous situation. Unfortunately for Fran it really is a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I guess you could describe Fran as being a down to earth character. Which I think helped to show how scary and unpredictable things can actually happen to anyone. The way Fran’s simple walk with her dog turned into something much darker. I found Fran to have a likeable personality and it was easy to be pulled into her life. Although I have to admit that there were a few occasions where I wanted to shout out to Fran not to get involved and to stay well away. I guess if Fran had made completely sensible decisions there wouldn’t have been much tension in this book. So I’m glad Fran followed her own path even if it was a dangerous one!

The twists within the story helped to keep things interesting. Some of them didn’t necessarily come as that much of a surprise. However I will admit that there was one in particular that did. In a Deep Dark Wood the danger increases for Fran with every new fact and secret that she digs up. Especially as someone is determined to put pressure on Fran to stop her discovering the truth. This all combined to keep things moving at a good pace. Fran’s curiosity is definitely a dangerous thing in this book but let’s just say I was just as curious to see how it would all end!

About Tina Pritchard:

After a life dedicated to bringing up a family, taking a social science degree, working as a lecturer, a trainer and more recently an independent celebrant, Tina addressed her burning need to write a novel. In a Deep Dark Wood reflects her belief that scratching below the surface of ordinary lives can reveal a rich seam of material. She wrote the book after her interest was piqued by police investigations in the UK Midlands into County Lines Drugs operations. After researching she discovered just how prevalent the problem is in rural communities.

Like many women of her age, the main character Fran has lost a sense of who she is beyond being a wife and mother. She is an unlikely protagonist. In need of a purpose after a terrible year that has left her reeling, she finds it, albeit in a way that ultimately endangers her life.

Tina loves to write and has won competitions for some of her short stories and poetry. She lives in a beautiful part of the world and gains much of her inspiration from walking her badly behaved terrier Horace, in the Derbyshire countryside.

Published by Inkubator Books on 28th February 2021

The Silent Friend by Diane Jeffrey @dianefjeffrey #Review

Thanks for stopping by! I’m delighted to be sharing my review for The Silent Friend by Diane Jeffrey today. A big thank you to the author for my copy. First things first let’s take a look at the description for the book…

One night changed everything.

For Laura and Sandy, one tragic event changed the course of their lives forever.

Now they are the only ones who understand each another, drawn together by the night that changed everything.

But one of them is keeping a secret that could destroy their fragile friendship. Only she knows just how closely their lives are linked.

When the secret is revealed, will their friendship survive? Or will the truth tear them apart?

MY REVIEW

The Silent Friend is a really intriguing story. It’s actually pretty hard to talk about the plot without giving anything away so I’ll try and be as vague as I can. In this book we meet two women, Laura and Sandy and see how one terrible event takes its toll on their lives. Needing help and a feeling of connection Laura and Sandy begin a friendship but there are secrets between this pair that could destroy everything.

Diane Jeffrey has written a story about two very different women who are linked by a harrowing and dark event. There were lots of themes covered throughout that gave the story a dark and at times emotional edge. It was very interesting to see both sides shown and definitely made you think about the circumstances that the characters found themselves in.

I’m not sure I would class The Silent Friend as being a full on thriller. However there were moments where I felt on edge along with twists and turns to keep me intrigued. For me this book was at its heart all about the characters and the way their lives were altered forever. The way they tried to navigate their way through the difficult situations. Along with showing the emotional side and the devastating consequences of that one night.

The Silent Friend turned out to be something quite different and not necessarily what I was first expecting. What I found was a story that made me think and had a quiet but strong hold over me throughout.

The Burning Girls by C. J. Tudor @cjtudor #Review

Thanks for stopping by! I’m delighted to be sharing my review for The Burning Girls by C. J. Tudor today. With thanks to the publisher for my copy via Netgalley. First things first let’s take a look at the description for the book…

500 years ago: eight martyrs were burnt to death

30 years ago: two teenagers vanished without trace

Two months ago: the vicar committed suicide

Welcome to Chapel Croft.

For Rev Jack Brooks and teenage daughter Flo it’s supposed to be a fresh start. New job, new home. But, as Jack knows, the past isn’t easily forgotten.

And in a close-knit community where the residents seem as proud as they are haunted by Chapel Croft’s history, Jack must tread carefully. Ancient superstitions as well as a mistrust of outsiders will be hard to overcome.

Yet right away Jack has more frightening concerns.

Why is Flo plagued by visions of burning girls?

Who’s sending them sinister, threatening messages?

And why did no one mention that the last vicar killed himself?

Chapel Croft’s secrets lie deep and dark as the tomb. Jack wouldn’t touch them if not for Flo – anything to protect Flo.

But the past is catching up with Chapel Croft – and with Jack. For old ghosts with scores to settle will never rest . . .

MY REVIEW

Well, C.J. Tudor has done it again! What a fantastic story The Burning Girls is!

In this story we meet Jack and daughter, Flo. Newly arrived in Chapel Croft and looking for a new start. However things aren’t going to be that simple. Before long there are strange occurrences that can’t quite be explained and dark secrets look set to be exposed in this close-knit community.

The characters in this book had me enthralled from start to finish. Although let’s be honest C.J. Tudor accomplishes this in all of her books. Jack is not your ordinary, run of the mill vicar and I loved that. Then add in the relationship with daughter, Flo and I enjoyed every interaction between this duo. Even the minor characters brought something to this story whether it be a menacing presence or a mysterious edge.

I do love a dark story with an eerie touch and The Burning Girls captured that essence perfectly. With a solid, twisty plot and a hint of the paranormal. It just worked so well! I have to mention that I do love a cold case. So the mystery surrounding the two missing teenagers from 30 years ago also easily grabbed my attention. The past and present collide spectacularly in this book with a creepiness that increased throughout. The location itself added an eerie atmosphere especially with its ominous past.

The Burning Girls is full of surprises and at its heart is a mystery that held such intrigue. With every turn of the page all the little details came together to create those all important twists. Some that caught me a little off guard and some that hit like a ton of bricks when everything became shockingly clear.

The Burning Girls really is a brilliantly crafted story. One that had me questioning everything. Dark and twisty. I loved it!