Bookish

I Can’t Sleep by J.E Rowney

Hello! Today I’m bringing you a spotlight on I Can’t Sleep by JE Rowney! Please check it out!

About the Book

“I can’t sleep. Not since June 16th, 2018.Not since what happened…”

Traumatised by the events of her past, exhausted by insomnia, Becky Braithwaite believes that a new start will help her to recover. She leaves home to fulfil her brother’s dreams, and honour the life he never had but she soon finds that escaping from the past is not as easy as she imagined.

Is her fatigued mind playing tricks on her, or is danger really lurking in the shadows?

This unputdownable psychological thriller will keep you turning the pages to find out the truth.

Bookish

The Seven Doors by Agnes Ravatn (GIVEAWAY!)

Hey you lovely bunch. Can you believe it’s almost OCTOBER? Eeeek. This year has been such a weird one. Anywhoo! Today I am on the Orenda tour for The Seven Doors by Agnes Ravatn, translated from Norwegian (Nynorsk) by Rosie Hedger. It’s out now in both Kindle and Paperback formats. BUT! You can win an e-book copy for free! Read on for the details… Be sure to check out the other wonderful tour stops!

Sounds good, right? If you want to win your very own copy for free, just head over to my Twitter @LizzumsBB and follow myself and @OrendaBooks, then like and retweet this tweet to be in with a chance! Open until the 18th October 2020 to anywhere in the world. Thank you kindly to the folks at Orenda for letting me host this giveaway and for giving away a copy to one of you lovely lot!

About the Book

University professor Nina is at a turning point. Her work seems increasingly irrelevant, her doctor husband is never home, relations with her difficult daughter are strained, and their beautiful house is scheduled for demolition.
 
When her daughter decides to move into another house they own, things take a very dark turn. The young woman living there disappears, leaving her son behind, the day after Nina and her daughter pay her a visit.
 
With few clues, the police enquiry soon grinds to a halt, but Nina has an inexplicable sense of guilt. Unable to rest, she begins her own investigation, but as she pulls on the threads of the case, it seems her discoveries may have very grave consequences for her and her family.
 
Exquisitely dark and immensely powerful, The Seven Doors is a sophisticated and deeply disturbing psychological thriller from one of Norway’s most distinguished voices.

book reviews · Bookish

A Song of Isolation by Michael J Malone (Review)

Hello! Today I am on the Orenda tour for A Song of Isolation by Michael J. Malone. I received a copy of this book for free as part of the tour. It is out on September 17th in Paperback format and available now in Kindle format. Please check out the other tour stops!

A Song of Isolation is a frustrating tale of greed. That’s what it boils down to in the end. Amelie once was the darling of the silver screen, however, an incident caused her to decide to give it all up. She was living a relatively normal life with her partner, Dave, when after Damaris, the next door neighbours child fell off her bike in the garden. Little did they know that this would turn their entire lives upside-down when Dave is accused of assaulting Damaris.

Tense and uneasy, this book takes you on a bit of a rollercoaster. We know a spade is a spade, but not everything is as it seems. The way the characters are written is incredibly important for a premise like this to be able to work and Michael J Malone really pulled it off. Right from the start, you get an impression about the main characters that will influence you later on. The characters develop well along side the story and the plot and as it unfolds, you can tell that something is not right. These are not the characters we know. Something is off.

Despite knowing something is right, nobody told the rest of the world as they’re easily influenced by the media and sent on a witch hunt against Dave and also Amelia who has chosen to stand by Dave when some serious accusations are thrown his way. They’re treated with nothing less than contempt and yet she stayed by his side until she was physically forced to leave, until another discovery led her to brave coming home. Little did she know, far more was waiting at home for her than she realised in time to come.

In the end, it all boils down to greed and a complete disregard for everyone else in order to get what one wants. This is tense and well paced, one of those books that carries you along and before you realise it, you’re over half way through and you’ve gotta see it through to the end. Or at least, that was the case for me. I felt angry and frustrated but also sympathetic to the cast of characters. I feel it important to note that this book is pretty dark, but not graphic, yet the tale still hits pretty hard. I had to take some time to process it once I had finished, rather than moving on to my next read. People can easily be led without them even realising it and some people will stop at nothing to achieve their own ends…

About the Book

Film star Amelie Hart is the darling of the silver screen, appearing on the front pages of every newspaper. But at the peak of her fame she throws it all away for a regular guy with an ordinary job. The gossip columns are aghast: what happened to the woman who turned heads wherever she went?

Any hope the furore will die down are crushed when Amelie’s boyfriend Dave is arrested on charges of child sexual abuse. Dave strongly asserts his innocence, and when Amelie refuses to denounce him, the press witch hunt quickly turns into physical violence, and she has to flee the country.

While Dave is locked up with the most depraved men in the country and Amelie is hiding on the continent, Damaris, the victim at the centre of the story, is isolated – a child trying to make sense of an adult world.

Breathtakingly brutal, dark and immensely moving, A Song of Isolation looks beneath the magpie glimmer of celebrity to uncover a sinister world dominated by greed and lies, and the unfathomable destruction of innocent lives … in an instant.

book reviews · Bookish

House of Straw by Marc Scott (Review)

Good afternoon! I hope everybody is keeping safe and well. Today I am pleased to be on the blog tour for House of Straw by Marc Scott. It’s available in Kindle and Papaerback formats. I received a paperback copy for free for review purposes.

Review

House of Straw follows two women, Bree and Poppy. Bree loses her brother in a tragic and brutal way, however, he becomes a hero in the process. The question is, was this tragedy truly an accident? People hound her about the possibility of a suicide note, but things really aren’t the situation they think it is. Bree ends up falling in to absolute despair and her friend Kayleigh tries her best to help her friend.

Meanwhile, Poppy is living in a flat, with an abusive, nasty piece of work that she calls her boyfriend, due to feelings of obligation. Poppy clearly has a lot of issues, however, she managed to get herself clean from drugs after some time at her majesty’s pleasure and manages to stay clean after that, despite her drug abusing boyfriend. It’s not surprising Poppy has a lot of problems. To say she was dealt a rough hand seems like an understatement.

It turns out, Bree and Poppy are half sisters. They share a parent. It turns out that they also share something else thanks to that parent. It’s clear the two of them are very troubled women. At first, it seems they are absolute polar opposites, Poppy having a rough upbringing and eventually going through the care system where Bree led a more privileged life. The book follows them through their current day struggles and tells us about their past. It feels wrong to say that their tales are fascinating but.. they are. Fascinating and disturbing.

Poppy had a horrible time. I found myself gasp out loud at one moment and wanting to cry because my heart hurt for her. This book is focused around the characters so it’s important that a good job is done with character building. Now, neither of these women are particularly likeable but I couldn’t help but root for them, even knowing what they’ve done, their characters and the bubbles they live in are incredibly well written and it makes their life stories enticing and interesting. I feel a bit like I was staring at a fish tank.

I think this is one of those stories that lingers in the mind, that will stay with you. I couldn’t often predict what would happen next, all I knew was “something bad is going to happen”, twists all over the place. The ending picked up pace and there were a lot of revelations in a short space of time, things I didn’t predict. When I finished, I had to sit for a moment and process what happened. The writing really evokes feelings for these two women, good and bad – or it did for me, personally. It feels wrong to say I enjoyed such a tragedy of a book, but it was a fantastic read and I’m interested to see what Marc Scott does next! House of Straw is a true psychological thriller that really hones in on the troubled minds of these women and I couldn’t put it down.

About the Book

Traumatised by the tragic death of her twin brother, Brianna falls into a state of deep depression, isolating herself from the world and all those that care about her. When a twist of fate reveals that she has a half-sister she finds a new purpose in her life and sets out to find her sibling, desperately hoping she can fill the void left in her world.

Poppy has not enjoyed the same privileged lifestyle as her sister while growing up. Abandoned into the care system at the age of eight, she has encountered both physical and sexual abuse for most of her life. Passing through the hands of more care homes and foster families than she can remember, the damaged product of a broken upbringing, Poppy has never found a place to feel truly safe. Kicking back at society, she turns to drug abuse and acts of extreme violence to escape from reality.

When the two siblings are finally united, they discover that they have much more in common than their DNA. Their paths are shrouded with sinister secrets of betrayal and regret and both girls share a deep-rooted hatred for one of their parents. As the dark truths of their lives are unveiled they realise that nothing can ever be the same again…  

book reviews · Bookish

The Bloodline Will by A.B Morgan (Review)

Hey guys! I hope you all had a wonderful bank holiday weekend! Today I’m on the tour for The Bloodline Will by A.B Morgan. It’s out now in both Paperback and Kindle formats and is available as part of Kindle Unlimited.

The Bloodline Will is the second book in the Second Chance Investigations series. I didn’t read the previous one, and while doing so would have provided a little more context for the situation in the start of the book – the main character being in psychiatric care, it reads perfectly fine as a standalone. I’d like to go back and read the first one now though.

Ella Fitzwilliam is in a facility, rather than prison after having her life blown up by Konrad Neale; a journalist who exploited her for his own career. He goes to visit her in the facility to apologise but also see’s Abigail Nithercott – the wife of a well known businessman, wealthy and usually kept out of the public eye. Konrad is obsessed with the family, convinced they’re hiding something and wants to unveil it. In that moment, he decides to once again, use Ella to achieve his goal.

The doctor overseeing Ella’s care doesn’t seem very professional nor does she treat her patients very well. It turns out, Konrad’s wife, Lorna, has decided she wants to help Ella and her case (Ella doesn’t want to be held indefinitely, she would rather go to prison and do her time) and in a way, make amends for what Konrad did to her. After hearing about Dr Yellnow, they uncover that her doctor is not who she says she is and it really changes the tide of things. Because of all of that, Ella is able to be released. The details aren’t really gone in to, but I don’t think they need to. However, the incident isn’t really revisited and I kind of wish it was. I want to know what happened with that doctor and the other patients that are mentioned early on in the book.

The pace is comfortable and steady and I find myself really taking a liking to Ella and the people she ends up surrounding herself with. Konrad seems like a terrible person at first, but I think morality catches up to him a little. It’s a really nice cast of characters, especially Mal; Ella’s new PI partner. I found myself drawn in, also fascinated to find out what the deal was with Abigail Nithercott. Did she actually have problems or was she putting it on? Or both? What was the big family secret? I got reeled in as more details came to light, including somethings I didn’t expect. One thing I knew of for sure though – I do not like the Nithercotts.

The pace picks up late in the book as several characters go to attend a pre-opening session of a new local venture. It turns out to be packed with drama and the truth is revealed. The Nithercotts big secret.

I really enjoyed this book, it was interesting and exciting. I always hesitate a little when I see that mental health patients will be depicted, but I trusted in the authors background (a former mental health nurse) and she didn’t disappoint. I was so pleased that Ella wasn’t depicted as a “crazy person” or that people with her diagnosis are unstable and dangerous. I feel a point was made that with the right treatment and medication, Ella could live a normal life, she just needed a chance and the right help and I feel this is very important. So often are mental health patients depicted as if manic episodes are the norm for everyone, it made me really happy that this wasn’t the case. There was a huge contrast between Ella and Abigail and quite a point about how Abigail did NOT get the help she should have, but nor did she seem to want it. I thought it was quite insightful. Waffling on a little here, I know, but I feel it was something worthy of acknowledging and noting.

Overall, I would indeed recommend this book, I’d also suggest reading the previous installment first to give that extra context to this book. I found this review a challenge to write without including spoilers because there’s a surprising amount of drama in this book and that really kept me interested.

About the Book

He made a mistake, and for the sake of his future career, investigative reporter Konrad Neale must apologise in person to Ella Fitzwilliam.

Detained under section in a secure forensic unit, she doesn’t foresee a bright future. And she despises Konrad for exploiting her and exaggerating the truth about what she really did.

All in the name of journalism

However, when he spots famous recluse Abigail Nithercott in the same facility, he cannot resist the chance to scoop the next big story.

But must use Ella to uncover the dark Nithercott family secret.

Blood. Thicker than water, it spills…

Some family trees have to die.

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Gone by Leona Deakin (Review)

Happy Wednesday! Today I am on the blog tour for Gone by Leona Deakin which is out on the 9th of August in eBook format and will be available as a paperback at the start of October. I received a copy of this book for my participation in the tour. If you would like to find out more about the book, check out the other tour spots on the poster below!

Four people receive a birthday card, then seemingly disappear from the face of the earth. Dr Augusta Bloom is pulled in by her investigative, former MI6 partner, who knows one of the missing people. Bloom is hesitant to take the case at first, but can’t help but be pulled in by the lure of the mystery and so down the rabbit hole she goes and discovers things are not at all as they seem. In the meanwhile, she sees an interesting patient, a young teenager named Seraphine, who attacked her schools caretaker…

Gone is an interesting psychological thriller which is well written with an excellent protagonist and her relationship with Marcus, the former MI6 guy was a fantastic dynamic. The book has a pretty slow-burn pace, which builds up the tension and intrigue nicely, though it does start off with a WOAH moment that grabs your attention.

There’s a lot of psychological elements, but they are explained simply enough that you don’t feel you need a degree to understand them. I was concerned early on that it would feel like it portrays people with mental health issues as dangerous but I didn’t feel as though it did that as I read on. I feel the authors expertise really shone through here as Leona has experience in psychology and working as a police psychologist.

I felt a little confused at times, though I’m not sure if that was just myself being tired but wanting to find out what happens next – but all in all, a really interesting thriller that has a stand-out premise, different from your typical psych-thriller and it’ll be interesting to see Dr Bloom’s next case.

About the Book

Four strangers are missing. Left at their last-known locations are birthday cards that read:

YOUR GIFT IS THE GAME.
DARE TO PLAY?

The police aren’t worried – it’s just a game. But the families are frantic. As psychologist and private detective Dr Augusta Bloom delves into the lives of the missing people, she finds something that binds them all.

And that something makes them very dangerous indeed.

As more disappearances are reported and new birthday cards uncovered, Dr Bloom races to unravel the mystery and find the missing people.

But what if, this time, they are the ones she should fear?

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

The Unmaking of Ellie Rook by Sandra Ireland (Review)

Hello! Today I am on the blog tour for The Unmaking of Ellie Rook by Sandra Ireland and I am bringing you a review! This book is out on July 11th 2019 and will be available in paperback and kindle editions. I received a copy of this book for free as part of the tour.

Finella, better known as Ellie, couldn’t wait to leave home. She was half way across the world when she received a phone call. Her mother is missing, presumed dead. Out walking with her Ellie’s brother, River, nearby a local waterfall, their mother suddenly vanished. They believed her to have fallen in and died, but with no body and no real answers, Ellie is not satisfied, however, her dad wants to plod on like normal and brushes over the entire thing.

It turns out, Finella is named after a huntress from folklore, and her mothers disappearance bears striking resemblance. Nobody seems to really know the truth about what happened.

The Unmaking of Ellie Rook is a tense and dramatic story with parallels to folklore, the like of which inspired Finella’s name and had a significant presence in her life growing up. There’s a significant theme of water throughout the book which I really liked. Water represents the life cycle, if I recall correctly, and so it seemed quite relevant. There is some wonderful imagery in this book! Nothing is completely clear cut and laid out, it’s like real life. It’s complex. The author really builds up the tension so beautifully right up to it’s crescendo, and I couldn’t put it down.

I wasn’t prepared for the truth about what happened to Ellie’s mum, it had me on tenterhooks wanting to see how things would play out. It’s kind of hard to explain it without spoilers, so I’ll just say this – it was incredible. The ending? It was not at all what I was expecting. It was fast and dramatic and I was loving it! Incredibly well written, this shorter read (200-ish pages) is perfect for this summer.

About the Book

A single phone call from halfway across the world is all it takes to bring her home . . . ‘Ellie, something bad has happened.’

Desperate to escape her ‘kid from the scrapyard’ reputation, Ellie Rook has forged a new life for herself abroad, but tragedy strikes when her mother, Imelda, falls from a notorious waterfall. Here, according to local legend, the warrior queen Finella jumped to her death after killing a king. In the wake of her mother’s disappearance, Ellie is forced to confront some disturbing truths about the family she left behind and the woman she has become. Can a long-dead queen hold the key to Ellie’s survival? And how far will she go to right a wrong?

Bookish · Life

My Publishing Journey – J.S Ellis (Guest Post)

Happy Humpday everyone! Today I am bringing you a guest post from J.S Ellis! This was meant to be part of a tour to promote her fab new book – In Her Words (out now); but I messed up and wrote July instead of June, missing my spot. Oops. I decided to wait until now as I didn’t want to steal someone else’s day. I didn’t want to waste the fantastic content she so kindly wrote for us! I’m including the tour poster anyway if you want to check out the other stops!

My Publishing Journey

My publishing journey has been a long one. I started writing at the age of sixteen and been writing ever since. I used to write by hand, until I got a computer. I had written several unpublished manuscripts one of them took me five years to write. When I finished it, I got in touch with an editor to look at it and she told me it wasn’t ready. I was crushed but she recommended a few craft books that I should read. At the time, I didn’t know about the show vs tell, info dumps etc. Thanks to her, I learnt a lot more about writing. I also learnt the hard way that when you finish the first draft, don’t show it to anyone not even to your dog, let alone to a professional editor. We live and learn. I also took a creative writing course, studied English Literature, and attended workshops.  

At the time, self-publishing hadn’t started yet and because of that, I took the time to learn about the craft, find my voice and writing style. If self-publishing was around at the time, I would have rushed to publishing and that book would have hurt me. So, I took my time, I believe publishing isn’t something to be rushed but to take time, be patient and get better at writing.

One Christmas of 2014, I got an idea of a woman who’s an accountant but has a drinking problem and writes in diary. She hides her drinking from her husband.  She hears the music of sax near her apartment and is always wondering who’s playing it. Meanwhile, one night she goes out with her friend and wakes up the next day by her husband with no memory of what happened to her and has bruises all over her body.

It took me five years to get the manuscript to what it is today. I wrote the book within four months but it took me a year to revise and self-edit. I had to put it on hold for personal reasons. Then, I was on the lookout for an editor. So, I asked around in Facebook groups and found my editor and I learned more about writing through editing.  

I’m currently working on one of the old manuscripts I had written, I recycled the characters but the story is completely re-written. Writing is hard it takes time and persistence. Now, after eighteen years “In Her Words” is going to published on May 7th and will available in all major online retailers.

About the Book

One night. One woman. One Man. One Mystery. 

When Sophie Knight wakes up and sees bruises on her body, she has no recollection of what happened to her, but she knows she has more to hide. Her alcoholism, something she tries to conceal from her husband, and resulting haze, has once again muddied the details of a night out.

Even though Sophie seems to have it all—she’s beautiful, lives in a swanky apartment, has a thriving career and a devoted husband—she’s looking for something more. When gorgeous and fun-loving Michael Frisk walks into her life, she can’t resist.

Then strange things start to happen—unsettling notes in her mailbox, mysterious phone calls, and she suspects that someone is following her. Is Michael the cause of her trouble? Or is he the only one she should trust?

About the Author

J.S Ellis is a thriller author. She’s currently working on an adult Dystopian series called the Chaperone. She’s also working on another thriller novel for now it’s called Opium, as it’s still a wip.

J.S always liked to scribble from a young age, but started writing by the age of sixteen. She spent all this time, enhancing and learning about the craft. Writing is her passion books are her obsession.

She has a degree in Creative Writing, English literature, and digital marketing. She works in an accountancy firm. She lives in Malta with her fiancé.

When she’s not writing or reading, she’s either cooking, eating cheese, and chocolate, or listening to good music and enjoying a glass of wine or two.

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Without a Trace by Carissa Ann Lynch (Review)

Today I am on the tour for Without a Trace by Carissa Ann Lynch and bringing you a review. The book is available now on Kindle. I received a copy of this book for free as part of the tour.

Nova has upped and left her husband, fleeing domestic violence, with her daughter Lily in tow. She moves to the middle of nowhere but is still anxious he will find her and Lily. When she wakes up and goes to check on her daughter one morning, it appears that may be exactly what had happened. Lily is gone. Naturally, she calls the police in hysterics.

Officer Ellie James is on the case upon investigating, it appears that Lily doesn’t even exist and Nova is the one with the criminal record, but to officer James, things don’t feel right and she’s determined to get to the truth. However, her job is made more difficult by uncooperative work colleagues who seem generally incompetent, but are also prejudiced against Ellie for a previous incident.

Clara is Nova’s new neighbour and landlady. She lives on a farm and owns the land and the building that Nova is renting. Things aren’t all they seem on the farm, and Clara is clearly hiding something.

Without a Trace is a fast-paced, psychological thriller which had me glued to its pages. The drama didn’t let up, and just when I thought I knew what was going on, the author would throw a curveball. I hate to use the common “twists and turns” trope but this book was it. So many twists. The outcome was not what I was expecting at all. I really really enjoyed this book. The only thing was the ending felt a little rushed and I found it a little unsatisfying, though I was pleased to get to the end of the case and find out the truth! This book really build up the tension and I couldn’t put it down. I really enjoyed it.

About the Book

Lily’s gone.
Someone took her.
Unless she was she never there…

A little girl has gone missing.

Lily was last seen being tucked into bed by her adoring mother, Nova. But the next morning, the bed is empty except for a creepy toy rabbit.

Has Nova’s abusive ex stolen his “little bunny” back for good?

At first, Officer Ellie James assumes this is a clear custody battle. Until she discovers that there are no pictures of the girl and her drawers are full of unused toys and brand new clothes that have never been worn…

Is Ellie searching for a missing child who doesn’t actually exist?

About the Author

Carissa Ann Lynch is a USA Today bestselling author. She resides in Floyds Knobs, Indiana with her husband, children, and collection of books. She’s always loved to read and never considered herself a “writer” until a few years ago when she couldn’t find a book to read and decided to try writing her own story. With a background in psychology, she’s always been a little obsessed with the darker areas of the mind and social problems.

book reviews · Bookish

Turbulent Wake by Paul E. Hardisty (Review)

Happy Sunday! Today I am on a Random Things tour for Turbulent Wake by Paul E. Hardisty and have a review for you. Please take a gander at the other tour stops if you’re interested too! I received a copy of this book for free as part of the tour.

Ethan has returned to his place of birth; his old man has passed away and his life is in disarray. While sorting out his fathers belongings, he discovers some manuscripts, but feels conflicted about them. In between his own life falling apart, he commits to reading them, seeking answers for questions he’s been wondering about for many years. It feels a bit weird outlining the book as it feels like I’m re-hashing the blurb. It’s a very good blurb.

This book takes you to many areas of the world. Some of the events seem crazy but not unauthentic. The author draws upon his own experiences and expertise to write a really great character and rich environments. I really felt for both Ethan and his father in this book and the people in their lives. Nothing ever seemed simple for them, for any of them. The title is incredibly apt.

I enjoyed this journey with Ethan, as he starts to find closure to things in his life. Why his father was the way he was? What happened to his little brother? Why did his mother leave? It feels like the book comes full circle and the ending I found to be satisfying. This is a wonderful piece of literary fiction that captivated me all the way through. I would highly recommend that you pick this one up.

About the Book

Ethan Scofield returns to the place of his birth to bury his father. Hidden in one of the upstairs rooms of the old man’s house he finds a strange manuscript, a collection of stories that seems to cover the whole of his father’s turbulent life.

As his own life starts to unravel, Ethan works his way through the manuscript, trying to find answers to the mysteries that have plagued him since he was a child. What happened to his little brother? Why was his mother taken from him?

And why, in the end, when there was no one else left, did his own father push him away?

Swinging from the coral cays of the Caribbean to the dangerous deserts of Yemen and the wild rivers of Africa, Turbulent Wake is a bewitching, powerful and deeply moving story of love and loss … of the indelible damage we do to those closest to us and, ultimately, of the power of redemption in a time of change.