Life Ruins – Blog Tour

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Blurb:

A body, briefly glimpsed at the bottom of an abandoned mineshaft, vanishes when the police investigate. Jared, recovering from an almost fatal injury and addicted to painkillers, knows he saw something terrible in that mine… but he has no evidence, and fears he’s losing his grip on reality.

A girl is attacked so savagely she can’t be identified, and dumped late at night in an isolate campgroud. She’s alive, but only just. Becca, tossed out of university and just let go from her dead-end job, is certain she knows who the victim is. But no one will believe her, and she can hardly even trust herself.

Kay, recently widowed and coming to terms with life on her own, suddenly finds herself forced to get involved. For years she and her husband fostered diccicult children – including Becca, whom trouble follows like a stray puppy. Now Becca seems to be in the worst trouble of her life.

And then Jared and Becca meet. Becca, strong-minded and fiercely independent, is confident they can figure out what’s going on. She pulls Kay into the mix, knowing they’ll need all the help they can get… because the police don’t believe them. And more girls are vanishing.

Book Information:
Publishing Date: July 25, 2019
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781471175930
Price: £8.99

 

My Review

A lot of times a thriller needs to be shorter on the page count for me, there are exceptions of course and Life Ruins is one of them because it’s not just a thriller, it’s about the three characters, their lives, the towns, the corruption flowing underneath everything. So, Danuta Kot has successfully written a slow burning thriller which I particularly enjoyed.

It’s a great variety when it comes to the three MCs, we have Becca the girl who had been fostered by Kay and her now-deceased husband. She appears to be a success story until things start to unravel for her and it harkens back to her troubled youth but is she still troubled or is it more than that?

Then you have Jared who has been through his own rough times but as a young adult instead. And after a terrible accident, his way of life just can’t continue but he struggles to and the painkillers help. In a way. He’s not beholden to anyone but he after the strange happenings lately he finds himself entangled in something greater than himself and there are lives at stake.

Lastly, we have Kay, she’s the widowed ex-foster mum who always worked alongside her husband to help the children. They had to ‘retire’ and now she’s left in the house they bought while Matt, her husband, is no longer there to fill in the silence of the countryside.

They were all unique in personalities and quirks, I have to say, I loved how patient Jared was and how caring and protective Kay was while not being overbearing to Becca. Then there is Becca and she is the most unique of the three in my opinion. She’s just gone through so much and there’s a reason for her temper, for her ‘troubles.’ Becca is just a young girl who has gone through too much and did what all of us do, she made a mistake.

The corruption of the crimes and assaults were fascinating to unearth and I didn’t want to put the book down after about page 230. I thought it really was unique with its use of the abandoned mining shaft, Jared and Becca’s pasts and the way things were connected. Still, though there was so much in the book that spoke of the truth about the situation for fostered kids, or kids who hare underprivileged in general and you can tell that Kot knows what she’s talking about and it’s appreciated in this day and age. So while the book was great and fun, it also made you remember how things still need improving in society.

As far as issues go, I think I was only bothered by what I perceived to be loose threads at the end, I wanted a couple of things to be tied up, it almost felt anticlimactic.

However, there were other aspects of the ending I really appreciated, such as Becca’s life where it stands at the end of the book, and obviously I can’t go into more because you know, spoilers, but suffice to say I thought a lot of things were realistic instead of being magically fixed and I really liked and appreciated that.

Overall 3.5 huge cups of coffee from me, I plan on lending this one out to all my friends. Definitely a great summer thriller read.

Thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours and Simon & Schuster for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author

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Danuta Kot grew up with stories. For many years, she worked with young people in Yorkshire who were growing up in the aftermath of sudden industrial decline. She uses this background in her books to explore some of the issues that confront moder, urban society: poverty, alienation and social break down, using the contexts of the modern crime novel. She had previously written under the names, Danuta Reah and Carla Banks. Danute was also a former char of the Crimer Writers’ Association.

 

The Rest of the Tour Schedule

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The Last Word – Blog Tour

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Synopsis:
Set against the smoky, gaslit allure of Victorian London, this sweetly romantic historical debut is full of humor and stars a whip-smart female heroine ahead of her time.

Where one story ends, another begins.

1861. Miss Lucinda Leavitt is shocked when she learns the author of her favorite serialized novel has died before completing the story. Determined to learn how it ends, Lucinda reluctantly enlists the help of her father’s young business partner, Mr. David Randall, to track down the reclusive author’s former whereabouts.
David is a successful young businessman, but is overwhelmed by his workload. He wants to prove himself to his late father, as well as to himself. He doesn’t have the time, nor the interest, for this endeavor, but Lucinda is not the type to take no for an answer.
Their search for the elusive Mrs. Smith and the rightful ending to her novel leads Lucinda and David around the country, but the truths they discover about themselves—and each other—are anything but fictional.
Chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, The Last Word by debut author Samantha Hastings is a fun yet intellectual romp through Victorian London—the perfect book for book-lovers.

Book Information:
Title:The
Last Word
By: Samantha Hastings
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: July 9th 2019
Genres: Historical, Romance, Young Adult

Where to Buy

Amazon B&N iBooks Kobo

 

My Review

 

Do you like adorable love stories, mathematically gifted Victorian girls, or swoon-worthy cinnamon roll young men? Great.

Now, go buy The Last Word. I suppose if you want more details I’ll go ahead and tell more reasons why I completely love this book!

In this day and age, I really think it’s important to highlight girls in STEM for YA (and anyone between the ages of like 0-100) and Samantha Hastings gives us a ‘feminine’ girl who is talented in numbers and it makes my heart so happy. Not only that but our MC is a girl who likes to have answers, whether to a numbers ledger or to an unfinished story and I can truly relate to that.

Another thing I truly value is historical accuracy, Hastings has done her research and it’s obvious. Yes, of course, there should always be leeway for the imagination in works of fiction but Lucinda is a woman in Victorian times and as such she is faced with boundaries put in place because of her gender and her class. The fact that Lucinda still manages to weave her way around all of that and in a realistic manner is superb. Not only that but she gives us and Lucinda the ending that is deserved, and manages to make it perfect and within the suspense of disbelief.

This is also not a story without sadness, though it’s full of adventure, fun, and a quest for answers on an unfinished story it also contains loss, heartbreak [and not of the romantic kind], and the will of a young woman who wants to prove her worth, to be just as she is. In Victorian times women rarely got that chance and even now it’s still hard for many.

I continually love the banter between Lucinda and David, I ship them, I will die on their hill. There’s obvious chemistry there without being too mushy for my old cold heart.

Not to mention the deeper we get with Lucinda, the reasoning behind her wanting to find out the end is even more important than simply wanting to know the last word(s). This is a quest for Lucinda, and I’m so glad she goes on this adventure for it.

Honestly, this book was perfection and the only reason I gave it 4 instead of 5 is because I didn’t want it to end. But the pacing is great, the storyline fulfilled, and I was completely satisfied with it. Hastings has given us a true delight in this book and I look forward to reading anything else she ever writes after this.

**Thanks to Xpresso Tours, NetGalley, Swoon Reads, and Samantha Hastings for a chance to read and give an honest review of this.**

 

[PS: LUCINDA AND DAVID FOREVER!!!!]

 

About the Author

 

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Samantha Hastings has degrees from Brigham Young University, the University of Reading (Berkshire, England), and the University of North Texas. She met her husband in a turkey sandwich line. They live in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she spends most of her time reading, eating popcorn, and chasing her kids. The Last Word is her debut novel.

Author Links

Website GoodReads Facebook Twitter

 

GIVEAWAY

To win a print copy of The Last Word [US/CAN only] please click the link below.

THE LAST WORD RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY LINK

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The Closer I Get – Blog Tour

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Tom is a successful author, but for the first time in his life, he has writer ’s block. His main distraction is an online admirer, Evie, who simply won’t leave him alone. Evie is smart, well read and unstable; she lives with her sick father and her social media friendships are not only her escape, but everything she has. When she’s hit with a restraining order, her world collapses, whilst Tom is free to live his life again, and to concentrate on writing.
But things aren’t adding up. For Tom is also addicted to his online relationships, and when they take a darker, more menacing turn, he’s powerless to change things. Because maybe he needs Evie more than he’s letting on.
PRAISE FOR THE CLOSER I GET
‘A terrifying portrayal of the online world and the blurred lines into real life, the characters are top notch, the writing sublime, and the storyline chillingly plausible. This is dark twisty fiction at its very best.’ -Susi Holliday, author of The Lingering

‘The kind of book you read in one breathless gulp.’ – Cass Green, author of Don’t You Cry

Danger is just a like away…

Book Information:
PUBLICATION DATE:
11 JULY 2019
PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
| £8.99 | ORENDA BOOKS

 

My Review

This was certainly a solid read as far as thrillers go. Fatal Attraction meets social media, haha, I loved it. A little too plausible and creepy which is what made it such a good read. Tom is a man who likes flattery, it’s a vice of his and it leads to him indulging an online friendship with Evie. [Please note that though I mentioned Fatal Attraction there is no romantic relations/relationship between Tom and Evie] It starts out innocently enough, but when Tom realizes he’s in over his head, it’s a bit too late.

In enters Tom going to the police to file for harassment and eventually to Evie being found guilty and slapped with a restraining order. It’s clear that Evie’s mind is different, her logic not that of what you would assume of a ‘normal’ person, but, does all the blame rest on Evie?

Tom finds out the hard way what keeping secrets can mean.

All the while trying to escape Evie, Tom’s thoughts keep leading him back to her, he’s a writer, he has writer’s block and possibly a source of inspiration now. But what happens when secrets unravel and the truth works against the author?

I loved how Tom was not just a clearly innocent character, he didn’t deserve harassment and I do respect his decision to go to the police in a world where we sometimes judge men for not being able to ‘handle’ women on their own or are seen as weak for going to authorities. What made Burston’s tale so creepy was that it was just that believable.

Tom used people, and when called out upon it, it doesn’t seem to phase him. He’s not here to be the innocent victim, in fact despite being a victim of harassment, Tom strongly hates being labelled as such.

I had no sympathy for most of the characters, which was refreshing, sometimes you just want to dislike people [or maybe that’s just the Slytherin in me] and this gave me the perfect opportunity to do so.

He wrote with a talent for giving you characters you just weren’t sure were right or wrong and with a pacing that left you wondering just when everything would ‘hit the fan.’ I really didn’t want to put the book down once I started it, and that ending! Oh, that ending!! Brilliant and so unexpected!!!

I would say more, but, spoilers. If you enjoy thrillers and are looking for a creepy and fun summer read I would strongly suggest Paul Burston’s The Closer I Get.

PS: You may be afraid to use Twitter after reading this.

Thanks to Anne Cater, Orenda Books, and Paul Burston for a chance to read this chilling thriller and to honestly review it!

 

About the Author

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Paul Burston is the author of five novels and the editor of two short story collections. His most recent novel The Black Path, was a WHSmith bestseller. His first novel, Shameless, was shortlisted for the State of Britain Award. His third novel, Lovers & Losers was shortlisted for a Stonewall Award. His fourth, The Gay Divorcee, was optioned for television. He was a founding editor of Attitude magazine and has written for many publications including Guardian, Independent, Time Out, The Times and Sunday Times. In March 2016, he was featured in the British Council’s #FiveFilms4Freedom Global List 2016, celebrating “33 visionary people who are promoting freedom, equality and LGBT rights around the world.” He is the founder and host of London’s award-winning LGBT+ literary salon Polari and founder and chair of The Polari First Book Prize for new writing and the newly announced Polari Prize.

 

About Orenda Books

Orenda Books is a small independent publishing company specialising in literary fiction with a heavy emphasis on crime/thrillers, and approximately half the list in translation. They’ve been twice shortlisted for the Nick Robinson Best Newcomer Award at the IPG awards, and publisher and owner Karen Sullivan was a Bookseller Rising Star in 2016. In 2018, they were awarded a prestigious Creative Europe grant for their translated books programme. Three authors, including Agnes Ravatn, Matt Wesolowski and Amanda Jennings have been WHSmith Fresh Talent picks, and Ravatn’s The Bird Tribunal was shortlisted for the Dublin Literary Award, won an English PEN Translation Award, and adapted for BBC Radio Four’s Book at Bedtime. Six titles have been short- or long-listed for the CWA Daggers. Launched in 2014 with a mission to bring more international literature to the UK market, Orenda Books publishes a host of debuts, many of which have gone on to sell millions worldwide, and looks for fresh, exciting new voices that push the genre in new directions. Bestselling authors include Ragnar Jonasson, Antti Tuomainen, Gunnar Staalesen, Michael J. Malone, Kjell Ola Dahl, Louise Beech, Johana Gustawsson, Lilja Sigurðardóttir and Sarah Stovell.

Orenda Books Twitter

 

The Rest Of The Tour

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Thriller Thursday

 

 

Hey Guys! So, I’ve decided that with all the thrillers I’ve been reading lately I will use Thursdays when I feel like it to highlight and recap/review some of my favorite thriller reads.

That being said, I am going to do TWO this week. Why? Because I can. It’s my blog. I do what I want.

 

 

Also I read both of these ARCs and LOVED them, and since they came out this month, I want to share them both.

**Thank you to the publishers, Point Blank – OneWorld Publications for the ARC of The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone and to Hodder & Stoughton for a copy of The Starter Wife. I received these in exchange for my honest review(s).**

First up?

 

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Blurb: ‘We lost all three girls that summer. Let them slip away like the words of some half-remembered song and when one came back, she wasn’t the one we were trying to recall to begin with.’ 

Tikka Molloy was eleven years old during the long hot summer of 1992, growing up in an isolated suburb in Australia surrounded by encroaching bushland. That summer, the hottest on record, was when the Van Apfel sisters – Hannah, the beautiful Cordelia and Ruth – mysteriously disappeared during the school’s ‘Showstopper’ concert. 

Did they run away? Were they taken? While the search for the sisters unites the small community, the mystery of their disappearance has never been solved. 

Now, years later, Tikka has returned home and is beginning to make sense of that strange moment in time. The summer that shaped her. The girls that she never forgot. 

Brilliantly observed, spiky, sharp, funny and unexpectedly endearing, THE VAN APFEL GIRLS ARE GONE is part mystery, part coming-of-age story – a perfect summer chiller with a dark shimmering unexplained absence at its heart. 

My Review

 

Want an amazing summer thriller read?? This is pretty much it, I read this in a night, I couldn’t put it down and it was brilliant.

Three girls have gone missing, and in their wake they leave unanswered questions and one friend struggles I accept their disappearance. Going home again, will she unravel the mystery, will anything change after so long?

The ending to this is really what struck me the most. I won’t give anything away but it was not at all expected and Felicity McLean really impressed me. The story she weaves for us is quite the tangled web and in the end, there’s no black and white, just the facts as they are. I really love things that delve into the morally gray and better yet they have no clear answers. The point of this book wasn’t as much to solve a mystery as it was for Tikka to face her past.

The Van Apfel girls are all different and though they may all have blond hair, the similarities stop there. They are sisters and have to rely on each other more than their parents who are too embedded in their church and religion and only care about the daughters also becoming as ‘holy’ as they are. Except for the fact that our middle Van Apfel girl Cordelia who seems to attract her Father’s special attention.

Cordelia is complex, mature for her age and yet still ver much a young teenager (really a child at 13) and when you delve more into her own particulars you understand her more. I thought she was brilliantly written.

Even Ruth, the youngest, is so well fleshed out and McLean gives amazing descriptions for her (and the others). In fact as you read this, it’s hard not to imagine Australia, she paints a picture of the landscape and the suburbia perfectly.

McLean does a great job presenting all of the characters and describing what makes them all different, there are no hollow characters, even the side characters are given depth and everyone plays their part in this unsolved mystery.

Great debut novel and I can’t wait to see what else she has in store for us!

Content/Trigger Warning: Child Molestation/Rape (though not detailed, very very strongly hinted at), Child Abuse, death of a child.

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About the Author

FELICITY MCLEAN was born in Sydney Australia. She graduated at Sydney University with a BA in English and Australian literature and worked as a book publicist before embarking on a freelance career. Her journalism has appeared in the Daily Telegraph, the Courier Mail and the Big Issue, among others, and she has ghost-written celebrity autobiographies. She lives with her English husband and two young children in Australia. THE VAN APFEL GIRLS ARE GONE is her debut novel. 

 

Next…

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Blurb:

Can you ever really know what goes on between a husband and wife? 

Claire Westcott tries to be the perfect wife to Byron but fears she will never measure up to his ex, Colleen. After all, it’s hard to compete with the dead. 

Colleen went missing eight years ago. Her body was never found but the police ruled it a suicide. So when Claire receives a phone call from a woman she believes is Colleen, it opens up a million terrifying questions. 

Claire discovers the couple weren’t as happy as they would have people believe. And now she’s worried Byron hasn’t been completely honest with her. 

There are secrets in every marriage, but Claire is about to find out that sometimes those secrets are deadly. 

My Review

I love creepy reads, and this, this was a brilliant and creepy read.

A true thriller with a fabulously well done antagonist. So, be prepared. There was a nice twist that slowly worked its way in, you may be able to spot it early on but it doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. Laurin also doesn’t give too much away, at the end you’re still left wondering with a couple of questions and I absolutely love that, though, all the important things are answered so don’t worry about having an unsatisfying ending.

There’s something about having a character that you just can’t quite tell if they’re the hero or the villain that just makes it great, and Laurin gives you more than one character to wonder about! The little ‘cut’ scenes are brilliant as Laurin uses them for her own benefit, and continually manipulates the reader and I absolutely love that! I think it speaks for a writer, especially a thriller writer if they can twist and turn a story to their liking and throw a reader off track, even if it’s only for a moment. For those who read this sort of book more often it may be an easy guess for you, but I think you’ll still enjoy the read. I know I really did.

This was another book I consumed in a night, I actually tried to put it down too! I saw it was getting late, set the book to the side and turned off the light. 30 minutes later, I was still awake and wondering what in the world was going to happen next, so I made my way to the living room to finish the book without disturbing the husband with the light, and it was completely worth it!

I love that even the ‘good’ characters aren’t even that good, like McLean, Laurin is giving us this sort of gray area, and you’re left wondering ‘what could this person have done to make things better.’ Honestly, I enjoyed Claire as a character, and thought Laurin did a great job hashing her out.

Content/Trigger Warning: Violence, deaths, psychological manipulation, drugged drinks, stalking.

About the Author

 

Nina Laurin studied creative writing at Concordia University in Montreal, where she currently lives. She arrived in Montreal when she was just twelve years old, speaks and reads in Russian, French, and English but writes her novels in English. 
Nina is fascinated by the darker side of mundane things, and she’s always on the lookout for her next twisted book idea.

 

Alright there we have it! My first thriller Thursday! Both of these books are out now, so go check out your local bookstore/book depository/amazon/whatever you cool cats use these days!

Toodles!