Chiller Review: The Foster Child by Jenny Blackhurst

Blurb:

When child psychologist Imogen Reid takes on the case of 11-year-old Ellie Atkinson, she refuses to listen to warnings that the girl is dangerous.

Ellie was the only survivor of a fire that killed her family. Imogen is convinced she’s just a sad and angry child struggling to cope with her loss.

But Ellie’s foster parents and teachers are starting to fear her. When she gets upset, bad things seem to happen. And as Imogen gets closer to Ellie, she may be putting herself in danger…

Foster Child

Bad things seem to follow little Ellie Atkinson around – dangerous things are happening to people who make her angry. Her teachers and fellow students believe she is evil and someone to be feared – but is there more to it?

Imogen Reid, a child psychologist agrees to take on the case of Ellie after recently moving back to her own town of Gaunt with her husband Dan. But as Imogen refuses to listen to people’s warnings about Ellie, she becomes increasingly more obsessed with her. But she hiding a secret of her own…

What I say:

What a wicked mind the author Jenny Blackhurst has!

This story had me gripped from the very beginning with a chilling opening and breath-taking twisty action which didn’t let up until the end.

The author does a fantastic job of capturing the voice of a troubled eleven-year-old girl, who slowly spirals out of control. Ellie is such a fabulous protagonist who becomes increasingly alienated for being ‘strange’ but as she fights back, the town has other ideas. Her voice is so compelling and quite frankly freaked me out. Some of the other characters in this book are just plain creepy and quite sadistic which just added to the horror elements in this story.

I particularly loved the setting of this book; the town of Gaunt, which Ellie is forced to live in and Imogen has moved back to. Gaunt is claustrophobic and suffocating, slowly forcing the characters to breaking point. Imogen is someone who views the town as a complete outsider, having escaped to London for years which gives the reader a glimpse into this creepy place.

The author manages to play with the readers misconceptions and stereotypes as the tale become darker and more terrible than even I could’ve guessed, showcasing the superb writing and wicked mind of Jenny Blackhurst.

The Foster Child definitely got under my skin and had me glued to the pages. This is a story full of chilling characters, a claustrophobic setting and a tightly woven plot full of twist and turns and a dash of horror mixed in. What’s not to love?

To find out more about Jenny Blackhurst follow her on twitter @JennyBlackhurst .

The Foster Child can be ordered from Amazon here or from Waterstones here.

Big thanks to Millie Seaward and Headline for my ARC.

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Blog Tour Review: The Missing Girl by Jenny Quintana

Today, I’m pleased to be hosting the next stop on the blog tour for The Missing Girl by Jenny Quintana, published by Mantle.

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First up the Blurb:

When Anna Flores’ adored older sister goes missing as a teenager, Anna copes by disappearing too, just as soon as she can: running as far away from her family as possible, and eventually building a life for herself abroad.

Thirty years later, the death of her mother finally forces Anna to return home. Tasked with sorting through her mother’s possessions, she begins to confront not just her mother’s death, but also the huge hole Gabriella’s disappearance left in her life – and finds herself asking a question she’s not allowed herself to ask for years: what really happened to her sister?

With that question comes the revelation that her biggest fear isn’t discovering the worst; it’s never knowing the answer. But is it too late for Anna to uncover the truth about Gabriella’s disappearance?

My thoughts:

The Missing Girl is a tale of a family who fall apart after Gabriella Flores suddenly goes missing as a teenager. The story is narrated through the eyes of Anna, both in the present day who has come home to deal with the aftermath of her mother’s death, and in 1982 as an eleven-year old girl leading up to the event when her sister disappeared.

I loved loved loved this story.  This is not your usual psychological thriller but is so much more. It does centre around the mystery of a missing girl but also has a moving story at it’s heart; a family who collapses in on itself as a way to cope with the loss. I especially loved the narrative which is set in 1982 where Anna is an inquisitive eleven-year old who seeks approval from her big sister, and wants to be the centre of her world. But when Gabriella starts pulling away and her parents whisper behind locked doors, Anna finds herself increasingly isolated from her family for reasons she cannot understand. This is a moving story of not only Gabriella’s disappearance but of Anna’s lost childhood.

The novel itself is very evocative and beautifully written, as well as being full of pace. I found myself drawn deeper into the world of Anna, her family and her pain which had me turning the pages as I was desperate to know what happened to Gabriella for as much as Anna’s sake as my own.

In this novel, the author does a fantastic job of capturing the voice of a young girl who looks up to her older sister vying for approval, while trying to understand what is going on in the world around her, without ever truly knowing.

I would recommend this to anyone who loves a compelling mystery with an emotive story at it’s heart.

About the Author:

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Jenny Quintana grew up in Essex and Berkshire, before studying English Literature in London. She has taught in London, Seville and Athens and has also written books for teaching English as a foreign language, alongside her fiction book The Missing Girl. She is a graduate of the Curtis Brown Creative writing course. She now lives with her family in Berkshire.

Big thanks to Annabelle Wright and Mantle for my ARC.

The Missing Girl by Jenny Quintana is out now, published by Mantle in hardback and priced at £14.99.

You can order The Missing Girl from Amazon here or from Waterstones here.

To find out more about Jenny Quintana follow her on Twitter at @jennyquintana95.

Don’t forget to visit the other stops on this blog tour!

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Chiller Review: Shame on You by Amy Henydenrych

51Oo4snyfiLBlurb:

You think you know her . . .
Meet Holly. Social media sensation. The face of clean eating. Everyone loves her. Everyone wants to be her.

Or do they?

When Holly is attacked by a man she’s only just met, her life starts to spiral out of control. Was she targeted because of her online wellness empire, or is there a darker reason behind the attack? He seemed to know her – but she doesn’t know him.

Or does she?

What if Holly isn’t who she seems to be? What if Holly’s living a lie?

But surely we all lie a bit online, don’t we . . .?

Meet Holly Evans, a cancer survivor and celebrity health food blogger who has a army of social media followers. One late afternoon, she meets a handsome, mysterious doctor in a Starbucks and agrees to go on a date with him. But the night ends in the worst way possible when she is attacked. Her attacker seems to know her, but does she know him?

Wow! I really enjoyed this novel which really showed the extent of which we are willing to share our daily lives online and exist in a virtual world to ‘bare’ our souls, as well as the damage this could have on others.

I knew this story would be an absolute corker as soon as I started it – the opening scene really captured my attention and hinted at the dark crime at the centre of this story.

The story is told from Holly’s point of view as she struggles to both rebuild her life and discover why she had been attacked, and her attacker Tyler. As the story unravels it is difficult to decide who I have more empathy for, which just shows the captivating way the author tells the story.

I liked the way this novel played on modern online culture, focusing on the pit-falls of how we portray ourselves online which could lead us open and vulnerable to attack, and the way in which nothing is a secret anymore.

The author creates a beautifully claustrophobic way of telling the story, which is very descriptive and fast-paced with two very distinctive point-of-view character’s. It is also very dark and chilling in places, which I of course loved, and took me as the reader in a very surprising direction.

This is a claustrophobic psychological thriller with a fast-paced, tightly woven plot with two characters slowly spiralling out of control – a brilliant recommended read!

About the author:

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Amy Heydenrych is a writer and book blogger based in South Africa. She has been shortlisted twice for the acclaimed Miles Morland African Writing Scholarship. Her short stories and poems have published in multiple anthologies including Brittle PaperThe Kalahari Review and the Short Sharp Stories anthologies. When she is not writing her own fiction, she ghost-writes books and columns for global tech and financial companies. She is currently working on her second novel.

Big thanks to Emily Burns at Bonnier Zaffre and Netgalley for my ARC.

You can order Shame On You on e-book from Amazon here or preorder the paperback here.

To find out more about Amy Heydenrych follow her on Twitter at @AmyHeydenrych.

Chiller Review: All The Wicked Girls by Chris Whitaker

All the wicked girls

Blurb:

Everyone loves Summer Ryan. A model student and musical prodigy, she’s a ray of light in the struggling small town of Grace, Alabama – especially compared to her troubled sister, Raine. Then Summer vanishes.

Raine throws herself into the investigation, aided by a most unlikely ally, but the closer she gets to the truth, the more dangerous her search becomes.

And perhaps there was always more to Summer than met the eye . . .

Summer lives in the dark, depressing small town of Grace, Alabama. She is a gifted student, the centre of her family’s hopes and dreams. Her twin-sister Raine is the complete opposite – a problem teenager who tends to get herself mixed up in all kinds of trouble, just like her father. But when Summer goes missing one day, Raine must push her troubled life to the side for Summer – because Raine vows to find her sister no matter the cost.

What I say:

I absolutely adored this book and can only describe it as a chillingly addictive masterpiece.

This story is told from Summer’s point of view in the weeks leading up to her disappearance, Raine’s view point set in the present day and Noah. I thought the author managed to capture the voice of each character and managed all three narratives very well.

One of the stand out things for me in this novel was the setting which had a very strong sense of place and really comes to life for me in this novel. The author does a fantastic job of creating a chilling, claustrophobic, bleak and religious backwater town in America. This also becomes apparent through the characters and the harsh climate they are in – there has been a steady decline in employment causing a lot of the townsfolk to survive on scraps of food and struggling to live as the area becomes more and more poverty-stricken. With nothing but their wits to survive, many of the characters in the town turns to religion which has them believing the down-turn in weather is really the apocalypse reeking vengeance.

Within this environment is Raine, Noah and his best friend Purv all trying to find Summer while hiding secrets of their own. I loved all three of these teenage characters who each have a really strong voice while facing up to the many secrets which are slowly revealed over the course of the book.

This is such a compulsive read, with its brilliant characterisation, dark themes and strong setting which really came to life for me. I would definitely recommend for anyone who loves a dark thriller.

Big thanks to Emily Burns and Bonnier and Zaffre Books for an ARC.

All The Wicked Girls is out now and be purchased via Amazon here.

Or Waterstones here.

To find out more about Chris Whitaker follow him on Twitter at @WhittyAuthor .

Blog Tour Exquisite by Sarah Stovell

Today I am part of the blog tour for Exquisite by Sarah Stovell, published by the wonderful Orenda Books, along with my counterpart Being Anne whose review you can check out here. Don’t forget to check out all the other fab stops on this epic blog tour!

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Blurb:

Bo Luxton has it all – a loving family, a beautiful home in the Lake District, and a clutch of bestselling books to her name.

Enter Alice Dark, an aspiring writer who is drifting through life, with a series of dead-end jobs and a freeloading boyfriend.

When they meet at a writers’ retreat, the chemistry is instant, and a sinister relationship develops… Or does it?

We are first introduced to Bo Luxton, a successful writer who is runs a writing course, is married to Gus, twenty-two years her senior with two daughters and lives in a beautiful house in the Lake District.

Alice Dark’s life seems to be at a standstill; she lives in a squalid bedsit in Brighton with a loser of a boyfriend who seems to drink and take drugs and works for cash in hand – she wants more from life.

When the two women meet at the writers retreat Bo is organising, they hit it off and end up staying in touch via email once the retreat is over. As their kinship develops and Bo invites Alice to stay with her a sinister relationship develops.

The novel is told from both women point of view, sometimes via email or telephone along with a characters view point from prison which immediately tells the reader that something bad will happen.

I adored the beautiful imagery and language the authors uses throughout this novel to draw the reader in and sets up a claustrophobic atmosphere which made the action even more chilling.

The author weaves an intricate plot with a brilliant ending I didn’t see coming and does a superb job of creating two such disturbing characters – even now I’m unsure who was telling the truth – or are they both liars?

This is a novel full of tension, toxic passion, breathless pace and disturbing characters – I loved it and cannot recommend this book enough! This is a psychological thriller at the top of its game.

Big thanks to Orenda Books and Anne Cater for allowing me to be a part of this blog tour and for my ARC.

About the author:

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Sarah Stovell was born in 1977 and spent most of her life in the Home Counties before a season working in a remote North Yorkshire youth hostel made her realise she was a northerner at heart. She now lives in Northumberland with her partner and two children and is a lecturer in Creative Writing at Lincoln University. Her debut psychological thriller, Exquisite, is set in the Lake District.

This novel is out now and can be purchased on Amazon here.

Or Waterstones here.

To find out more about Sarah Stovell follow her on Twitter at @Sarahlovescrime

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Thriller Review: Yesterday by Felicia Yap

When I received a shiny package a couple of weeks ago which contained this novel I couldn’t wait to get started. It’s a novel I’ve heard a lot about and it didn’t disappoint!

Blurb:

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There are two types of people in the world. Those who can only remember yesterday, and those who can also recall the day before.

You have just one lifeline to the past: your diary. Each night, you write down the things that matter. Each morning, your diary tells you where you were, who you loved and what you did.

Today, the police are at your door. They say that the body of your husband’s mistress has been found in the River Cam. They think your husband killed her two days ago.

Can you trust the police? Can you trust your husband? Can you trust yourself?

 

Humans are divided into two categories, they are either a mono or a duo.

Monos: Can only remember the day before

Duos: Can not only remember yesterday but the day before as well

When a women turns up dead in the River Cam the police suspect foul play. How can you solve a murder when everyone can only remember what happened yesterday?

I can’t actually describe anymore of this book without giving anything else away. I thought this novel was just CAPTIVATING and I actually read this in two sittings! It is a high-concept dystopian thriller which plays on the memories of the characters and sweeps the reader along on a complex and exciting narrative.

The story is told from the point of view of Hans, the police officer who is investigating  the murder, Mark who is a duo and had been having an affair with the dead woman, his wife Claire who is a mono and Sophia. It is also features many of the characters’ diary entries which I found fascinating.

The author Felicia, does a brilliant job of creating a realistic world where humans have to rely on technology to capture their memories otherwise they will be lost forever. I found the world of the novel refreshing and was so different from other books I’ve read recently it just sucked me in and I can tell you I loved every second of it!

Weirdly, one of my favourite characters was Sophia – a character with a very strange world view and whose thoughts and actions were very catatonic, I just couldn’t wait to read the chapters where I was in her head.

This is a book full of pace, has a number of clever twists and turns and is fraught with emotions. I found this such a refreshing and different read it kept me glued to the page. I also felt the themes of memory loss were explicit and very realistic and made me question how I would cope if this ever happened to me.

I’m not sure which one I would want to be – a mono or a duo, I think they both have their problems. Is it better to know more than others in your society or live in blissful ignorance? What one would you be?

This is one of those novel I would recommend looking out for and would rate this as one of my tops reads so far this year!

I would like to say a massive thank you to Millie Seaward, WildFire Books and Headline Publishers for sending me an advanced review copy.

This novel isn’t out until 10th August but the good news is you can preorder this book from Amazon just click here

Or to preorder this book from Waterstones click here.

To find out more about Felicia Yap follow her on Twitter at @FeliciaMYap.

Chiller Review: The One by John Marrs

As today marks the paperback publication of The One by John Marrs (hooray) I thought I would repost my original review. #MatchYourDNA

The Blurb:

How far would you go to find THE ONE?

51sLGvpEYQL._SX316_BO1,204,203,200_One simple mouth swab is all it takes. One tiny DNA test to find your perfect partner – the one you’re genetically made for. 

A decade after scientists discover everyone has a gene they share with just one person, millions have taken the test, desperate to find true love. Now, five more people take the test. But even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking – and deadlier – than others…

A psychological thriller with a difference, this is a truly unique novel which is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.

My Review:

Oh My – This was such a superb read which had me on the edge of my seat most of the time with all it’s twists and surprises I just didn’t see coming. It is definitely a psychological thriller with a difference.

The One tells the story of five characters who have all taken the Match Your DNA test, but what turns out as a simple DNA swab which millions of other have done previously, quickly turns into something more sinister. Something more shocking than they could ever have imagined.

  • Nick is content with his fiance Sally, or so he thinks, right up until the point she begs him to take the test. But what could possibly go wrong  when he is matched with a straight man?
  • Ellie is a successful businesswoman, closed off from the world but then she is matched. Can she open her heart? And what could go wrong when she does?
  • Jade is matched with a man halfway across the world, but does she have the guts to leave everything behind to meet the love of her life?
  • Mandy is ecstatic when she discovers she has been matched to the man of her dreams, after her past relationships but then she starts looking him up online…
  • Christopher is a psychopath who is so wrapped up in his own project that when he meets his match he is unaware of the effect she will truly have on him.

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I loved how the author superbly weaves each of the character’s story, giving equal weight to each one while ending each chapter with a smallish-cliffhanger, leaving me as the reader needing to read more. It was one of those books where because of the short chapters you could keep reading another and another, although because I did just that one morning it forced me to literally run to work.

It was a book which really built the tension up from the word go with the author trickling surprise after surprise until you thought you couldn’t take anymore, well until the author wacked me with yet another corker of a twist about halfway through – turning the story completely on it’s head.

I just loved every minute of this book which had me literally gasping out loud with the many surprises and twists I couldn’t keep up with! I’m still not sure whose story was the most disturbing which makes it all the better.

This was a novel so full of high drama which made for a fantastic read! I would recommend for all lovers of psychological crime.

Big thanks to Stephenie Naulls and Ebury Publishing for my ARC.

The One is out in paperback today and you can you get your hands on it from Amazon here

Or from Waterstones here.

To find out more about John Marrs follow him on Twitter at @johnmarrs1

I wonder, would you take the test? I’m not quite sure if I would anymore…