Blog Tour Q&A: 29 Seconds by T.M. Logan

Today, I’m delighted to be hosting a stop on the blog tour for 29 Seconds by T.M Logan, published by Bonnier Zaffre Books. For the tour, I have a fun character interview with Sarah Haywood, the main protagonist from this novel who I must say keeps her cards close to her chest….

The Blurb:

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Give me one name. One person. And I will make them disappear . . .

When Sarah rescues a young girl in trouble, she expects nothing in return. But her act of bravery puts a powerful and dangerous man in her debt. He lives by his own brutal code, and all debts must be repaid – in the only way he knows how.

He offers Sarah a way to solve a desperate situation with her intolerable boss. A once-in-a-lifetime deal that will make all her problems disappear.

No consequences. No comeback. No chance of being found out.

All it takes is a 29 second phone call.

BECAUSE EVERYONE HAS A NAME TO GIVE. DON’T THEY?

 

Interview:

Location: Queen Anne University, north London

Interviewer: Rachel Emms, (RE), Reporter.

Interviewee: Dr Sarah Haywood, (SH), junior lecturer.

RE: How did you get into your chosen field of research? It’s pretty niche.

SH: I’ve always loved books, so literature was a natural choice for me when I went to university. Then in my final year I did a module on the works of Christopher Marlowe, and just found him totally fascinating – born in the same year as Shakespeare, a playwright and poet during Elizabethan times, also a drinker and a duellist who was killed in a bar fight at the age of 29, in murky circumstances. Some said he was actually a spy and was assassinated on the orders of the Crown. Marlowe wrote a number of plays including Dr Faustus, about a man who makes a deal with the Devil, which is probably my favourite book.

RE: I decide to ask a hard hitting question first, before getting to the juicy bits. You work in a very male dominated sector, does this make you feel disadvantaged at all?

SH: To be honest I try not to think about it, I just want to get on with my job and do the best that I can. But it’s a fact that there are more male professors than female at my university, and the overall rates of pay for men are higher than for women, and progression through the hierarchy is generally faster for men. Things are changing, but it’s happening quite slowly. You just have to trust the system and believe that your turn will come.

RE: It must be a joy to work with the renowned Professor Lovelock. He is amazing at what he does. How do you feel about working with him? I look up from my notepad to watch her reaction.

SH: He’s… one of a kind. In terms of our area of research, on Marlowe’s works, he’s one of the most accomplished academics in the world. He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of Elizabethan literature, and of the period, and he knows everyone there is to know in academia. So working with him is really important for my career. Of course he’s quite famous as well, through his TV documentaries, books and appearances on chat shows and the like.

RE: Would you say you’re quite close? I’ve heard talk about Sarah in a not so professional sense…

SH: You mean, in a professional sense? I suppose so. He’s my line manager so we work together on a regular basis, he oversees my work and does my performance reviews, all of that kind of thing. We also collaborate sometimes on bids for new funding, and research projects. But we don’t have any contact outside of work.

RE: His parties are also legendary, have you been to one? I’ve only ever been thrown out of one.

SH: I’ve only been once. It was at his house – he holds them every year to raise money for his charitable foundation. Very plush, no expense spared, it’s quite an honour to be invited. Although the one time I did go along, there was an unexpected guest and things got a bit heated…

RE: Oh yes, I heard about that trouble maker. She’s my next job actually. Anyway, back to Sarah and the real reason I want to talk to her. I hear you recently rescued a young girl. Quite the heroine. Is this true? How did it happen?

SH: Yes, it is true although ‘rescued’ seems a bit strong. It was on my drive home from work, but all I did was try to help a girl who was in trouble – there was a man chasing her so I hit him with my car before he could get to her (I only gave him a bump, enough to slow him down). I don’t really feel like a heroine, I was only trying to help. I hope someone would do the same for my children if they were ever in that situation.

RE: I lean across the table and whisper. Finally, how did you feel when you received that offer of a phone call? Were you tempted?

SH: I’m sorry, I don’t know what you mean. What did you say your name was again? I should go. I have to get to my next lecture…

RE: I watch as Sarah Haywood gathers up her pile of books and papers, before rushing out of the room. Great, that blows my chance…

A massive thank you to T.M. Logan for answering my questions for Sarah, a woman who gives nothing away…

About the Author:

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TM Logan was born in Berkshire to an English father and a German mother. He studied at Queen Mary and Cardiff universities before becoming a national newspaper journalist. He currently works in communications and lives in Nottinghamshire with his wife and two children. LIES is his first novel – published by Bonnier Zaffre in January 2017. His next thriller, 29 SECONDS, comes out in January 2018.

To find out more about T.M Logan, follow him on twitter @TMLoganAuthor.

29 Seconds is out in Ebook now and paperback on 8th March, and can be ordered from Amazon here. Or Waterstones here.

Don’t forget to check out all the other fabulous stops on this blog tour!

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Blog Tour: The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton

Today, I’m super excited to be kicking off the blog tour for The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton, published by Wildfire, part of Headline Publishing.

First up the Blurb:

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Meet Juliette. She’s intelligent, driven, committed – and in love.

Juliette loves Nate.

She will follow him anywhere. She’s even become a flight attendant for his airline, so she can keep a closer eye on him.

They are meant to be.

The fact that Nate broke up with her six months ago means nothing. Because Juliette has a plan to win him back.

She is the perfect girlfriend.

And she’ll make sure no one stops her from getting exactly what she wants.

True love hurts, but Juliette knows it’s worth all the pain….

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What I say:

There is not one word I can choose to sum up this novel and do it justice.

Juliette is a girl out to win her ex-boyfriend, Nate. She wants to be the perfect girlfriend to him and knows he is the one for her. So deciding to give Nate his space, she watches him from a close distance as she slowly manipulates and transforms herself into the perfect person she thinks he would fall in love with. Because Juliette is a woman scored and will show him what exactly he is missing. Nate shouldn’t have let her go, surely?

The novel is told from the perspective of Juliette, as she goes to great lengths to win Nate back. As the novel progresses, she slowly  adapts her plans to win back the love of her life, while showing us snippets of her childhood giving the reader a glimpse into what makes her tick.

I loved Juliette, even though she came across a psychotic and even catatonic at times her seemingly erratic behaviour made for breath-taking reading. I kept thinking surely this is it, she would get caught – I even read with my hand over my mouth at one point. Weirdly I rooted for her throughout the story, even after all the things she did. I could really empathise with her character, especially when her true motives are revealed (which quite frankly spun the whole story on it’s head). But I will say no more….

One of the stand out things for me is the setting of this novel, which was quite unusual having quite a bit of the action set on an airline and just showed the skill of the author who gave us a flavour of each different country Juliette visited, drawing me deeper into the story.

I mean this book was just hypnotic and actually really disturbing. The lengths Juliette would go kind of freaked me out as it felt very realistic, especially as I was reading this at night so I probably only had myself to blame.

This novel is packed full of pace, tension, disturbing characters filled with passion and psychotic love. What’s not to love? This was a stand out psychological thriller and would urge you to read. I am very much looking forward to seeing what else Karen Hamilton publishes in the future.

About the author:

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Karen Hamilton spent her childhood in Angola, Zimbabwe, Belgium and Italy, and developed a love of travel through moving around so much. This led her to a career as a flight attendant, and it was in the air that she thought of the idea for her debut thirller THE PERFECT GIRLFRIEND, which aims to explore not only obsession, but also the true faces behind those who go to work in uniform.

Karen is a recent graduate of the Faber Academy, and has now put down roots in Hampshire to raise her young family with her husband.

To find out more about Karen Hamilton, follow her on twitter @KJHAuthor.

The Perfect Girlfriend is out now on Ebook or released on 22nd March in hardcopy and can be preordered from Amazon here or from Waterstones here.

Big thanks to Anne Cater and Becky Hunter for allowing me to be a part of this tour.

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

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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…

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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.

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

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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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