#BlogTour | #BookReview: The Family by Louise Jensen @HQstories #TheFamily #damppebbles

the family.jpg

ONCE YOU’RE IN, THEY’LL NEVER LET YOU LEAVE.

Laura is grieving after the sudden death of her husband. Struggling to cope emotionally and financially, Laura is grateful when a local community, Oak Leaf Organics, offer her and her 17-year-old daughter Tilly a home.

But as Laura and Tilly settle into life with their new ‘family’, sinister things begin to happen. When one of the community dies in suspicious circumstances Laura wants to leave but Tilly, enthralled by the charismatic leader, Alex, refuses to go.

Desperately searching for a way to save her daughter, Laura uncovers a horrifying secret but Alex and his family aren’t the only ones with something to hide. Just as Laura has been digging into their past, they’ve been digging into hers and she discovers the terrifying reason they invited her and Tilly in, and why they’ll never let them leave…”

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the blog today and to my stop on The Family blog tour. The Family is the latest release from one of my very favourite authors, Louise Jensen and was published by HQ in paperback on Thursday 3rd October. I received an ARC copy of The Family but that has in no way influenced my review.

Louise Jensen is an incredible writer. If you haven’t discovered her books yet then you and I need to have serious words. They’re perfectly plotted family-driven psychological thrillers that leave you on the absolute edge of your seat. Only for Jensen to throw something completely unexpected and deliciously twisty your way, leaving the reader gasping and wanting more. They’re insanely good and the release of a new Louise Jensen book is a highlight of my year. So you can imagine how much I was looking forward to reading The Family. And oh boy, it didn’t disappoint.

The Family does have a slightly different feel to Jensen’s other books. There are twists and turns galore and a family is at the forefront of the action, as I have come to expect from this author. I found the pace to be quite different though. This is a slow and intoxicating unravelling of a clever and well-plotted story which held my attention from start to finish. I really felt for our main protagonist, Laura. Recently bereaved and on the brink of losing her livelihood, she is barely holding things together. Wanting to make sure she and 17-year-old daughter, Tilly, still had somewhere to call home she reaches out to her deceased husband’s family – only for them to shun her. Rapidly running out of ideas, Laura turns to charismatic Alex, asking for help. Alex has the legal know-how she needs and he and the Oak Leaf Organics community welcome Laura and Tilly with open arms. But not everything at Oak Leaf Organics is as perfect as it first appears. How does Alex know everything about Laura’s life? And exactly how close are Tilly and Alex becoming?

There are so many secrets for the reader to get their teeth into in this book. And secrets are what Jensen is the master of. Laura’s story is beautifully presented to the reader. You feel you have a fairly good idea of who is who and what is going on. Only for Jensen to pull one of her brilliant sleight of hand moves on you. Actually, in reality, you know nothing. And that is why Louise Jensen’s books are a joy to read. The Family is another example of how adept Jensen is at what I would assume is a difficult skill to master. You think you’ve got the measure of these characters, but you haven’t.

One of the things I enjoyed the most about The Family is the way Jensen puts a mother/daughter relationship under the microscope. This book was all about Laura and Tilly for me. I had several moments of ‘what if this was MY 17-year-old daughter? What would I do in Laura’s situation?’. There are some really powerful emotive parts to the story. Some I can understand because I’m a mum too. Some I thankfully will never understand. And there’s one twist, towards the end of the book, which very nearly broke me. That’s going to stay with me for a while to come.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. In fact, I suggest you just go and purchase every book Louise Jensen has written because they are all outstanding. Jensen remains one of my absolute favourite authors and I am now counting down the days until her next book is released. The Family is a very compelling, very real read that draws you in until the very final page. Highly emotive, chock full of delicious secrets and another incredibly readable book from the pen of Ms Jensen.

I chose to read and review an ARC of The Family. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

The Family by Louise Jensen was published in the UK by HQ on 3rd October 2019 and is available in paperback, audio and ebook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | Goodreads |

The Family - Blog Tour Banner.jpg

about-the-author3

louise jensen.jpeg

Louise Jensen has sold over a million English language copies of her International No. 1 psychological thrillers The Sister, The Gift, The Surrogate and The Date. Her novels have also been translated into twenty-five languages, as well as featuring on the USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestseller’s List. Louise’s fifth thriller, The Family, will be published in Autumn 2019 by Harper Collins.

The Sister was nominated for the Goodreads Debut Author of 2016 Award. The Date was nominated for The Guardian’s ‘Not The Booker’ Prize 2018. The Surrogate has been nominated for the best Polish thriller of 2018. The Gift has been optioned for a TV film.

Louise lives with her husband, children, madcap dog and a rather naughty cat in Northamptonshire. She loves to hear from readers and writers.

Author Links: | Twitter | Facebook | Website |

#BlogTour | #BookReview: Lies Between Us by Ronnie Turner (@Ronnie__Turner) @HQDigitalUK #LiesBetweenUs #WhereIsBonnie?

Lies Between Us.jpg“Will they ever learn the truth? 

Three people, leading very different lives, are about to be brought together – with devastating consequences . . .

John has a perfect life, until the day his daughter goes missing.

Maisie cares for her patients, but hides her own traumatic past.

Miller should be an innocent child, but is obsessed with something he can’t have.

They all have something in common, though none of them know it – and the truth won’t stay hidden for long . . .

A gripping psychological thriller for fans of Clare Mackintosh, Shari Lapena and Lisa Jewell.”

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the blog today and to my stop on the Lies Between Us blog tour (‘epic’ blog tour, I should say!).  Lies Between Us is Ronnie Turner’s debut and oh my, what a debut it is!  Published by HQ Digital at the start of October, Lies Between Us is available to purchase in eBook and audio formats NOW!

Full disclaimer here, Ronnie Turner is not only a fabulous debut author she’s also a fabulous book blogger who I consider to be a friend via my book blogging circles.  That, however, has not influenced this review at all.  I may have been a little more excited to read the book, what with knowing the author, but that’s where it ends.  And I WAS excited, really really excited.

What a book!  What an emotive, chilling read. I became totally engrossed in it.  Many of you will know that I am mummy to two small people.  My daughter is around the age of Bonnie in Lies Between Us which makes what happened to her all the more horrifying for me.  Turner’s writing made me want to hold my children tighter at night to keep them safe from the world.  It made me want to relish every single moment I spend with them and it made me realise how utterly grateful I am that they are safe.  The despair emanating from the pages as the reader experiences John’s hopelessness and fear for missing daughter, Bonnie, was palpable.  I really couldn’t believe I was reading a debut!

I like a darker feel to my novels, it’s true.  I’m often left disappointed though as what I want from a novel and what others want is quite different.  I want authors to push it that extra notch and make their characters so despicable they make my flesh crawl (I may be in the minority on this one though).  Turner has created a character that surpassed all expectations.  Miller.  Miller made my skin crawl and called out to my black heart.  He is so unlikable that I actually loved him!  By far the stand out character of the book for me and one that will stay in my mind for a long time to come.  The story is told from three separate points of view; John, Maisie – an ICU nurse and Miller.  The Miller chapters were my favourite and I looked forward to reading them more than the other characters.  He made me feel so uncomfortable, and I loved it!

I’m sorry to say there is a ‘but’ though.  I was really enjoying this book until I got to the end of the story.  When I reached the end all I felt was confusion.  I had my suspicions throughout but even with this in mind, the ending felt odd.  I would have like a little more explanation.  Maybe I missed something obvious (it’s very possible).  The following morning after finishing the book I was still chewing the ending over, trying to put the pieces in the right order and come up with something that worked for me.  But I’ve failed.  I can’t get my 40-year-old brain to fathom this one out, sorry Ronnie.

Would I recommend this book?  I would.  As debuts go it’s really rather outstanding.  I absolutely loved 95% of this book (it’s just the ending which has thrown it a little for me).  It’s full of raw emotion and so deliciously chilling.  If you love to hate characters then Miller is the boy for you!  Brilliantly creepy, I would pick up another book by Ronnie Turner without a second thought!

Four out of five stars.

Lies Between Us by Ronnie Turner was published in the UK by HQ Digital on 1st October 2018 and is available on eBook and audio formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | Goodreads |

LiesBetweenUs_BlogTourBanner2.jpg

about-the-author3

Author Photo 2.jpgRonnie Turner grew up in Cornwall, the youngest in a large family. At an early age, she discovered a love of literature and dreamed of being a published author. Ronnie now lives in Dorset with her family and three dogs. In her spare time, she reviews books on her blog and enjoys long walks on the coast. She is currently working on her second novel.

Ronnie’s debut novel, Lies Between Us, will be published by HQ Digital in October 2018.

Author Links:TwitterFacebookInstagramWebsiteGoodreads |

#BookReview: Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney (@alicewriterland) @HQStories

sometimes I lie.jpgMy name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me: 
1. I’m in a coma. 
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore. 
3. Sometimes I lie. 

Amber wakes up in a hospital. She can’t move. She can’t speak. She can’t open her eyes. She can hear everyone around her, but they have no idea. Amber doesn’t remember what happened, but she has a suspicion her husband had something to do with it. Alternating between her paralyzed present, the week before her accident, and a series of childhood diaries from twenty years ago, this brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something really a lie if you believe it’s the truth?”

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney was such a huge book with an impossible to ignore buzz about it earlier this year.  I bit NetGalley’s hand off when I realised it was up for request.  Little did I know at the time that I would have to wait MONTHS before finding the time to read it.  My FOMO* really kicked in when, stood with a very good friend at Harrogate during the Dead Good Reader Awards I happened to mention my suspicion that the lady stood to my left was the author, Alice Feeney.  Well, my friend came over all giddy and went up to Alice immediately to introduce herself and commend her on Sometimes I Lie.  Yup, FOMO sucks.  I shall also mention that just behind Alice stood C. L. Taylor and to our right was the incredible Karen Sullivan of Orenda Books with one of my all-time favourite authors, Steph Broadribb!  This is the only time in my life I will ever get to namedrop so please let me have my moment, will you?

But I digress.  What I’m trying to get across (and probably failing) is that I was so very keen to read this book but time was against me.  That was until I was caught waiting for what seemed like hours at the dentist without a book.  And there, sat on my Kindle, was Sometimes I Lie.  The responsible book blogger would have opted for their next January blog tour read, but I couldn’t remember what was next so I went with what I wanted to read instead.  Plus I was at the dentist and it felt like I was being kind to myself ahead of the agonising filling which was coming my way!

I was immediately suspicious of the main protagonist, Amber Reynolds.  Before the reader turns to the first page they are made aware by the cover, by the blurb, that Amber sometimes lies.  Now, I am a naturally suspicious person – not helped by mostly reading books about people doing bad, underhand things in order to save their own skin or to enhance their own enjoyment of life.  So much so that when my husband was asked as a favour to take a couple of items of clothing to a meeting he was attending overseas for a colleague, I asked him if he’d checked the lining of the suit for any hidden drugs.  Am I weird?  Maybe.  So I was on high alert, trying to work out what, in Amber’s case, was true and what was not.  I totally failed.  All I did was over analyse everything instead of just relaxing and enjoying the book.  My advice to you if you intend on picking up a copy of Sometimes I Lie is don’t scrutinise every little thing – just enjoy it because it’s a corking story.

Amber Reynolds is in a coma.  She cannot move, cannot speak, cannot blink but she hears nearly everything that happens in her hospital room.  I really enjoyed the way the author has provided the reader with three different viewpoints; Amber’s as she lies uncommunicative in her hospital bed, a look at the events leading up to the accident and diary entries from a somewhat sinister, unknown child 20 years or so ago.  Amber cannot remember what happened to put her in the coma.  She overhears conversations which confirm she was in a car accident but she was the only victim.  So until Amber wakes up and remembers, the incident will remain a mystery.

Chock full of twists that seem to come out of nowhere and leave you wondering ‘how did that happen?’, or ‘gosh, I really didn’t see that coming!’, this is a complex psychological thriller which leaves the reader feeling both a little mystified but also fully satisfied.  I loved the character of Amber, even when she was doing odd, unexplainable things.  I was still rooting for her.  I did manage to work out one aspect of the book about half way through but until my suspicions were confirmed, I did frequently doubt myself.

Would I recommend this book?  I would.  Fans of the unreliable narrator will adore this twisty, turny read.  I spent the entire time I was reading Sometimes I Lie wondering exactly how much I actually knew about Amber and her story.  The answer in hindsight, ‘not a lot!’.  Complex, intricate, highly original and difficult to put down.  I can’t wait to read more from Alice Feeney.

Four stars out of five.

*FOMO = Fear of Missing Out

I chose to read and review an eARC of Sometimes I Lie.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney was published in the UK by HQ on 23rd March 2017 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats (please be aware that the following Amazon links are affiliate links) | amazon.co.uk | amazon.comWaterstones | Goodreads |

about the author3

alice feeney.jpgAlice Feeney is a writer and journalist. She spent 15 years at the BBC, where she worked as a Reporter, News Editor, Arts and Entertainment Producer and One O’clock News Producer.

Alice is has lived in London and Sydney and has now settled in the Surrey countryside, where she lives with her husband and dog.

Sometimes I Lie is her debut thriller and is being published around the world in 2017.

Author Bio © https://www.alicefeeney.com/

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter |

#BookReview: The Doll House by Phoebe Morgan (@Phoebe_A_Morgan) @HQDigitalUK

The Doll House.jpg“You never know who’s watching…

Corinne’s life might look perfect on the outside, but after three failed IVF attempts it’s her last chance to have a baby. And when she finds a tiny part of a doll house outside her flat, it feels as if it’s a sign.

But as more pieces begin to turn up, Corinne realises that they are far too familiar. Someone knows about the miniature rocking horse and the little doll with its red velvet dress. Someone has been inside her house…

How does the stranger know so much about her life? How long have they been watching? And what are they waiting for…?

A gripping debut psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming. Perfect for fans of I See You and The Widow.”

I was a very lucky little blogger recently as I won a copy of The Doll House by Phoebe Morgan on Twitter.  I had seen this book mentioned in booky circles over the Summer and had picked up several flyers about it in Harrogate, waaaay back in July.  Regular readers of the blog will know that I love a scary tale and The Doll House, with that striking cover and intriguing blurb grabbed my attention and sank it’s dastardly teeth in. I just HAD to read this book!  So much so, I suggested the author take out a restraining order when she asked those who were keen to win a copy to comment on her Twitter feed!

I must also say a very happy publication day to Phoebe Morgan and the team at HQ Digital!  Please accept my most humble apologies for sort of, kind of, suggesting I would stalk you otherwise.  Whoops…

The Doll House is a tale of two sisters; Corinne and Ashley.  The story focusses mainly on Corinne and her boyfriend Dominic, with her sister, Ashley and husband, James playing a smaller yet necessary part in proceedings.  I want to get this out there as early on as possible and say that I found Corinne hard to like.  She felt a little…weak and whiny to me.  She couldn’t be in an unexpected situation without the support and reassurance of her boyfriend.  Others won’t, of course, feel the same as I do.  In fact, I’m pretty sure she will be loved by many readers.  At times I wanted to give her a good shake and remind her that we live in the 21st century and woman do not need a man riding to their rescue on a white steed.  As I progressed through the book though, I got the impression that the author had written Corinne’s character to be exactly as I had experienced her.  She certainly lacked a backbone…until it was needed.  Until everything she believed in and loved was on the line.  Then, and only then, did Corinne shine for me.  Saying that, if I found myself in some of the situations Corinne does, then who knows how I would cope!

I found it much easier to relate, and like Corinne’s older sister, Ashley.  Ashley is the mother of three children; one baby, one eight-year-old and one sulky teen.  In order to ‘adult’ she works part-time in the local cafe, which is pretty much the only grown-up conversation she has, as her husband works from dawn till night in publishing.  Or that’s what he tells her anyway (NB. my husband does not work such long hours nor do I suspect him of extra-marital doings so I may relate, but not totally, lol!).  I liked Ashley. She didn’t moan, she wasn’t a daddy’s girl like her younger sibling.  She just got on with life and that made her my favourite character in this great book.

Corinne and Dominic’s life is controlled by the need for a baby.  After several failed IVF attempts the couple are reaching the end of their very worn tether.  Whilst this subplot was interesting I did feel it took over the story a little at times.  I wanted a little more threat and impending doom, a little less longing and heartache.  But that’s just me and my bloodlust!  I did enjoy the way in which Corinne’s fear built as she started to receive the tiny doll house furniture pieces.  I loved the way she was the only character in the entire book to see something wrong and sinister with them whilst her loved ones fobbed her off, thinking she was being over-sensitive and hormonal.

The Doll House contains some chapters which are split into the present and the past.  I loved the ‘past’ sections as they had a sinister edge to them.  You weren’t sure who was narrating these sections but you were fully aware that they were doing something they shouldn’t have been.  I loved the way the narrator of these sections aged throughout the book.  It’s obvious to the reader that they are very young to start with but as you approach the end, this character is no longer a child and is hellbent on one course of action.  Brilliant, and wonderfully intense!

Would I recommend this book?  I would.  I promise I’m not being derogatory when I say the end of this book was my favourite part.   It was action packed, a little bit violent (but not too violent for the squeamish readers) and incredibly satisfying.  I can’t go into details but oh my gosh, what a gratifying conclusion.  Phoebe Morgan is certainly an author to watch out for based on this, her debut.  I’m looking forward to reading more.

Four stars out of five.

I chose to read and review an ARC of The Doll House.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

The Doll House by Phoebe Morgan was published in the UK by HQ Digital and is available in eBook format | amazon.co.uk | Goodreads |

about the author3

 

phoebe morgan.jpg

Author photo and bio taken from https://www.goodreads.com

Phoebe Morgan is an author and editor. She studied English at Leeds University after growing up in the Suffolk countryside. She has previously worked as a journalist and now edits crime and women’s fiction for a publishing house during the day, and writes her own books in the evenings. She lives in London and you can follow her on Twitter @Phoebe_A_Morgan. The Doll House is her debut novel.

 

Author Links: | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook |