Blog Blitz: Her Dark Retreat by J A Baker

Welcome to one of today’s stops on the blog blitz for Her Dark Retreat by J A Baker.

Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the tour.

BLOG BLITZ (5)

Synopsis

21752117_10214226756167987_3932665672794896677_nThe coastguard’s residence Chamber Cottage, which sits high up on the North Yorkshire cliffs, overlooking The North Sea, holds many dark secrets.

Alec and Peggy are struggling to overcome their marital problems. Both damaged by issues from their childhoods, they are trying to get on with their lives. But this is hard for them to do when they both believe they are being watched. As a result, Peggy, who has terrible scars on her face, becomes more agoraphobic.

To make matters worse, Peggy discovers her estranged mother is stalking both she and Alec, claiming she has a dark secret that is putting Peggy in danger.

What caused the scars on Peggy’s face? Is Alec really the monster Peggy’s mother believes him to be? And what secrets does Chamber Cottage hold?

Review

The opening chapter of this book grabbed my attention immediately and kept me hooked until the very end. The details in the prologue definitely set the scene for this dark thriller.

Told from multiple perspectives you are never truly sure who is telling the truth and where the story will lead. The characters were extremely well written, if not particularly likeable, and I found myself following their actions closely trying to piece together the crumbs left by the writer.

I had an inkling of what had happened, although I was still totally shocked by the final scenes as the truth began to unravel.

The chilling setting was easy for me to imagine, especially as I’m from Yorkshire, and I found myself picturing the scene vividly in my mind. The bleakness of the cliffs comes through in the writing and leaves you with the feeling of isolation from the location.

Her Dark Retreat was a quick and enjoyable read with a different take on the usual psychological thrillers. The short chapters, which overlapped in places, made it easy to read and keep up with the cast of characters involved.

 

Many thanks to Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books for organising this blog blitz. Thanks also to the author for giving me the opportunity to read and review this superb book.

Amazon UK | Goodreads Amazon US

About the Author

dmiimlbpigiilldgBorn in Middlesbrough too many years ago to mention, J A Baker developed a deep appreciation of literature and reading from a young age after being introduced to it by her parents. Weekly visits to the library were the norm and after being handed a collection of Edgar Allen Poe stories by her father, her love for the darker side of fiction slowly grew. She is an avid reader of all books but is drawn in particular to psychological thrillers.

After many rejections (too many to mention!) her debut novel, Undercurrent, was published by Bloodhound Books in March 2017 and made it into the top 100 Amazon chart in both the UK and Canada. She is currently putting the finishing touches to her third novel and working on her fourth one.

J A Baker has four grown up children and lives in a village on the outskirts of Darlington with her husband Richard, and Theo, their barking mad dog.

LINKS:

Facebook: click here

Twitter: click here

Goodreads: click here

Website: click here

 

 

 

Advertisements

Blog Tour: The Stories She Tells by L K Chapman

I am delighted to be able to share with your a guest post from L K Chapman, as part of the blog tour for her latest book, The Stories She Tells.

There are still a few remaining stops on the tour, here’s where it’s heading next.

The Stories She Tells banner.jpg

Synopsis

51BhtPU+WPL.jpgWhen Michael decides to track down ex-girlfriend Rae who disappeared ten years ago while pregnant with his baby, he knows it could change his life forever. His search for her takes unexpected turns as he unearths multiple changes of identity and a childhood she tried to pretend never happened, but nothing could prepare him for what awaits when he finally finds her.

Appearing to be happily married with a brand-new baby daughter, Rae is cagey about what happened to Michael’s child and starts to say alarming things- that her husband is trying to force her to give up her new baby for adoption, that he’s attempting to undermine the bond between her and her child, and deliberately making her doubt her own sanity.

As Michael is drawn in deeper to her disturbing claims he begins to doubt the truth of what she is saying. But is she really making it all up, or is there a shocking and heartbreaking secret at the root of the stories she tells?

A day in the life of Tamsin Quinnell

..1Tamsin wakes up when her baby daughter Madeline starts to cry. Her husband Paul is still asleep and she reluctantly gets out of bed to make up a bottle for the baby, feeling tired and withdrawn. She wants to have an easy day with Madeline but doesn’t hold up much hope that that will be the case as she finds being a mum very challenging and draining. She always seems to be forgetting things and getting confused, so in the kitchen she concentrates very hard as she measures out scoops of baby formula into the bottle.

..2Madeline’s room is decorated in soft pinks. There is a pile of clean, folded sheets and baby clothes on top of the chest of drawers. Tamsin sits on a chair in the nursery with the baby on her lap and before long she hears Paul get up and go downstairs to make some coffee. She joins him in the kitchen and he gives her and the baby a slightly odd, sad look that sends a feeling of unease through her, but then he kisses both her and Madeline and everything seems normal again.

..3Once Paul has gone out to a business meeting and she has spent a fraught hour or so of trying to calm a fussing and crying Madeline, Tamsin has a long bath while the little girl is sleeping. Afterwards she sits down at her mirrored dressing table to carefully apply her makeup, then she spends a while choosing an outfit. She hears the front door open downstairs and her housekeeper calls out a greeting, but Tamsin doesn’t reply straight away, she’s concentrating on getting dressed and styling her hair. She finally says hello to her housekeeper Sally when she feels peckish and goes downstairs to find something to eat. She looks around for a while for some food she fancies and settles on a handful of blueberries, which she eats in a few big mouthfuls, while Sally chatters away cheerfully to her.

..4Later on, Tamsin goes out for a walk to the farm shop down the road, taking Madeline with her in her pushchair. She spends a long time walking around the shop looking at all the produce, but buys very little and makes her way slowly back to the house again. She feels listless, and is looking forward to Paul coming back home. She opens the fridge to find something to snack on and she sees that Sally has left a dish of pasta bake for them to heat up for their dinner later on. Briefly it feels surreal to her to have nice, home-cooked food in the house but she shakes the feeling away.

..5When Madeline goes for a nap again, Tamsin pours herself a glass of wine and goes down to her art studio in the garden, taking the baby monitor with her. There is a cosy sofa against the wall in the studio and she sprawls out across it taking sips of wine and looking out of the window, watching the sun across the fields behind the garden. Before long she falls asleep and wakes up when Paul finds her and tells her that Madeline is crying, and Tamsin realises that although she has the baby monitor with her, it hasn’t actually been on.

..6During the evening Tamsin drinks more wine with Paul and forgets for a while about her struggles caring for Madeline as the pair laugh and talk together. She snuggles close to Paul in bed and tells him that she loves him. He says that he loves her too but that he wishes things weren’t so hard for her, but she has already fallen asleep.

 

Many thanks to Louise and Emma for inviting me on the tour!

Amazon UK | Goodreads Amazon US

About the Author

LKChapman

Louise Katherine Chapman was born in Somerset, UK, in 1986. She studied psychology at the University of Southampton and has worked as a psychologist creating personality questionnaires for a consultancy company. She has also spent some time volunteering for mental health charity Mind.

Chapman loves to write because she loves learning about people and she loves stories. A major turning point in her life was the day she realised that no matter how strange, cruel or unfathomable the actions of other people can sometimes be, there is always a reason for it, some sequence of events to be unravelled. Since then she is always asking “why” and “what if” and she is fascinated by real life stories capturing the strength, peculiarities or extremes of human nature.

L K Chapman’s first novel, Networked, was a sci-fi thriller but now she’s turned her attention to writing psychological suspense. She lives in Hampshire with her husband and young family, and enjoys walks in the woods, video games, and spending time with family and friends.

LINKS:

Facebook: click here

Twitter: click here

Goodreads: click here

Website: click here

 

 

 

Blog Tour: A Time To Change by Callie Langridge

Today I’m part of the final stop on the blog tour for A Time To Change by Callie Langridge.

If you want to check out the other stops, you can find them here.

BLOG TOUR.jpg

Synopsis

9781912175628.jpg

“I would rather love passionately for an hour than benignly for a lifetime.”

In a house full of history and secrets, the past will not stay where it belongs…Lou has always loved Hill House, the derelict manor on the abandoned land near her home. As a child, the tragic history of its owners, the Mandevilles, inspired her dream to become a history teacher. But in her late twenties, and working in a shop to pay off student debts, life is passing her by.

That changes when a family disaster sends Lou’s life into a downward spiral and she seeks comfort in the ruined corridors of Hill House. The house transforms around her and Lou is transported back to Christmas 1913. Convinced she has been in an accident and is in a coma, Lou immerses herself in her Edwardian dream. With the Mandevilles oblivious to her true identity, Lou becomes their houseguest and befriends the eldest son, Captain Thomas Mandeville, a man she knows is destined to die in the First World War.

Lou feels more at home in the past than the present and when she realises the experience is real she sets out to do everything in her power to save her new friends.

Lou passes between 1913 and 2013, unearthing plots of murder and blackmail, which she must stop no matter the cost.

On her quest to save the Mandevilles by saving Thomas, Lou will face the hardest decision of her life. She will learn that love cannot be separated by a century.

Review

Although not my usual choice of book, there was something about this one that captivated me completely. I was a little wary of the time-lapse element of the story, in part because time travel in general has a tendency to confuse the life out of me. However, this book deals with it perfectly and I was able to follow the story with ease.

A Time to Change is an amazing story of  family, love, loss and sacrifice. It had me hooked from the beginning and by the end had me wanting more.

The story is beautifully written with characters that enthral you from the moment you are introduced. It flows perfectly and the transitions between eras are handled excellently.

The characters are well written and their personalities shone through. Even the less likeable characters had you feeling a little sorry for them at times. I especially loved Lou and found myself willing her on every step of the way.

I loved the magic surrounding the Mandeville house and it’s occupants and how it chose Lou to enter into it’s story. Callie Langridge’s portayal of everyday life for the people within the house was so well written that I found myself being transported back in time with them.

A Time to Change is an absolutely stunning book from start to finish. It is a fantastic debut novel by an author who will definitely be going on my favourites list.

Many thanks to Callie, Sarah and Bombshell Books for my advanced reader copy and inviting me on the tour!

Amazon UK | Goodreads Amazon US

About the Author

FullSizeRender

Callie was born and brought up in Berkshire. After a brief teenage spell in the depths of Lancashire, she moved back to London.

Having left school at 16, she studied drama before embarking on a career in marketing. This saw her work in music marketing in the heady days of Britpop in the nineties. She unleashed her creativity in the design of window displays and marketing campaigns for the leading music retailer. More recently she has followed her passion for social history and currently works in marketing for a national historical institution, promoting projects and running events.

On hitting her thirtieth birthday, she decided finally to take her A levels and gained A’s in English Literature and Language, and Film Studies – not bad when working full time! – and this spurred her on to take the first of many creative writing course. A few years later and she has had a number of short stories published and plays performed at theatres and venues across London.

Callie lives in London with her long-term partner and an ever-growing collection of antique curiosities.

LINKS:

Facebook: click here

Twitter: click here

Goodreads: click here

FullSizeRender.jpg

Blog Tour: The Daughter by Billy McLaughlin

I am delighted to be one of today’s stops on the blog tour for The Daughter by Bill McLaughlin.

There are still a few remaining stops on the tour, here’s where it’s heading next.

The Daughter Banner .jpg

Synopsis

51MILpOVsTL.jpgSometimes a killer comes along who will make your blood run cold…

When the body of a young woman is found with her hands and teeth missing, Detective Inspector Phil Morris struggles to identify her.

The evidence initially suggests she is local missing girl, Alex Waters, whose mother, Tricia, comes armed with a psychic gift she would rather not possess.

As Phil and his partner, Detective Donna Barclay, try to untangle the web of mystery surrounding the body, it appears that Alex had more secrets than even her psychic mother knew.

As the hour glass empties, Phil and Donna are pushed to their limits trying to unravel the disturbed mind behind the sick game playing out around them.

Welcome to a new chapter in domestic noir.

Review

This was the third book in a series, which I hadn’t realised when I started, so there was an element of trying to catch up with the storyline and fill in the gaps. However it is still possible to read as a standalone book.

I found the book a little difficult to get into at first, but as the story began to unfold it became easier to figure out who everyone was.

The setting was really good and the writing was brilliant. There was a superbly dark undertone with some extremely chilling descriptions throughout the story. There was plenty of suspense throughout the book and, although I had a idea of what was happening, it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the book. In fact I kept me reading to see how everything fit together.

I would definitely recommend this book, however for the full reading experience I would maybe suggest starting from the beginning of the series.

Many thanks to Billy McLaughlin and Emma Mitchell for my advanced reader copy and inviting me on the tour!

Amazon UK | Goodreads Amazon US

About the Author

Billy.jpgBilly McLaughlin is a Glasgow born author who released his first novelette Invisible in March 2016. Receiving glowing customer reviews, he followed up with the gritty novel Lost Girl which introduces readers to the mainstay characters Phil & Kate. In September 2016, his third book In the Wake of Death was released, re-uniting audiences with Phil & Kate as well as throwing a brand-new mystery that has been praised for its unique twist.

McLaughlin welcomed 2017 in celebrating that Lost Girl peaked at number 2 in the crime thriller charts the previous August and gained the coveted number 1 slot in the Scottish crime charts with In the Wake of Death. His fourth book The Dead of Winter arrived in March 2017 to glowing reviews. One reviewer likened the novel to a series of Broadchurch. Kate and Phil returned for a brand-new mystery in The Daughter which also sees the return of Donna Barclay.

Work has now begun on the sixth book which will be a new stand-alone project. More information coming soon.

LINKS:

Facebook: click here

Twitter: click here

Goodreads: click here

Blog Tour: A Justifiable Madness by A B Morgan

I am delighted to be one of today’s stops on the blog tour for A Justifiable Madness by A B Morgan

There are still a few remaining stops on the tour, here’s where it’s heading next.

BLOG BLITZ (1).jpg

Synopsis

madness1Bebanus+applegothic.jpgA fast-moving psychological thriller you won’t be able to put down

Can you really tell the difference between madness and sanity? 

Mark Randall goes to great lengths to get himself admitted to an acute psychiatric ward and, despite being mute, convinces professionals that he is psychotic. But who is he and why is he so keen to spend time in a psychiatric hospital?

When Mark is admitted, silent and naked, the staff are suspicious about his motives.

Dealing with this, as well as the patients on the ward, Mark’s troubles really begin once he is Sectioned under the Mental Health Act. When decisions about his future are handed to Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Giles Sharman, Mark’s life goes from bad to worse.

Drugged, abused and in danger, Mark looks for a way out of this nightmare. But he’s about to learn, proving that you are sane might not be easy as it sounds…

Review

I have to be honest, when I first began reading this I did wonder whether it would be my cup of tea. The entire concept seemed bizarre and I wasn’t sure if it would how well it would work. Well, I’m pleased to say that I loved it. I devoured this book in two sittings, all within 24 hours.

We initially meet Mark as he disembarks from the train, completely naked apart from a pair of worn leather sandals. He wanders around the station, blessing people he meets and muttering in an unknown language.

Understandably he is detained under the Mental Health Act and transferred to a local psychiatric hospital for further evaluation. Whilst there he attracts the attention of the other patients and one of the nurses who all notice that he’s a little different but can’t put their finger on why.

As the book progresses we find out more about Mark and why he was trying to get himself sectioned. As the pieces start to fall into place you begin to wonder if he will get out.

This story is completely different to anything I have read before and it made a refreshing change. The sensitive subject matter was dealt with perfectly whilst retaining an element of mystery to keep the reader hooked.

The characters were well thought out and although I liked the main characters of Mark and Maria, I must admit my favourite was Phil, one of the patients on the ward.

Whilst reading I found myself willing the characters on and hoping things would work out for them. However, there are no spoilers here so you will have to find out for yourself.

All in all A Justifiable Madness is a very enjoyable read with an insightful look at psychiatry in the 1990’s. I’m definitely looking forward to the next book by this author.

Many thanks to Alison, Sarah and Bloodhound Books for my advanced reader copy and inviting me on the tour!

Amazon UK | Goodreads Amazon US

About the Author

gegbhkdlhdejihjh.pngMarried to an overgrown child with a beard and too many motorbikes, Alison Morgan lives in a corner of a field in North Bedfordshire and is making the most of a mid-life crisis. The Morgans are determined not to grow old gracefully or to be seen wearing beige and can be found exploring life through a love of live music, anything with an engine, the sea, mountains, rugby, proper pubs and fascinating people.

Alison has worked for the NHS for nearly thirty years, twenty of those within mental health services, at the front line, where she eventually became the manager of a countywide community service for people experiencing their first episode of psychosis. Much to her frustration, her heart decided to develop an electrical fault, which forced her to sit down for more than five minutes, and her career temporarily juddered to a halt. Not one for thumb twiddling, she took up position in front of a computer with a plan to write a set of clinical guidelines for assessment of psychosis, but instead a story, which had been lurking in her mind for several years, came tumbling out.

With her health steadily improving thanks to the staff at Papworth Hospital, Alison hopes to return to nursing part-time, but is determined to keep writing fiction. Her debut novel A Justifiable Madness is inspired by her life and career as a psychiatric nurse, and her fascination with the extremes of human behaviour. Her second novel, Divine Poison, also published by Bloodhound books is due for release in January 2018.

LINKS:

Facebook: click here

Twitter: click here

Website: click here

Blog Tour: Degrees of Darkness by Tony J Forder

I am delighted to be one of today’s stops on the blog tour for the latest book by Tony J Forder, Degrees of Darkness.

There are still a few remaining stops on the tour, here’s where it’s heading next.

BLOG BLITZ.jpg

Synopsis

Degrees 1 apple neo goth + gnuolane (1)Pre-teen girls are being abducted from their homes and their families murdered. When Frank Rogers, once a DI with the Met and now running his own debt collection agency, is told that his own daughter is missing, his son murdered, he naturally wants to become involved with the case.

Soon Frank’s face is all over the news. In an unexpected turn of events, the killer contacts the police and says he is willing to talk, but only to Frank.

When the body of the first abducted girl is discovered, Frank realises it is a race against time to save his daughter.

In order to solve the case, Frank must work out how the killer is picking his victims.

But how do you catch a murderer who is hiding in plain sight? And can Frank solve the mystery, when he has so much to lose?

Review

The title of the book, Degrees of Darkness, definitely sums the book up perfectly.

The opening set a decidedly chilling scene, one which had my maternal senses tingling and made me double check the locks and my children before going to bed.

Ex-cop Frank Rogers is building up his new debt collecting business when he received a visit from his friend and ex-colleague DCI Nicky Loizou. Frank immediately knows the news is bad; just how bad he has yet to find out.

Despite the gruesome nature of the story, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s hard to to into too much detail without spoiling the plot. However I will say that it’s extremely well written. Forder steadily draws you deeper and deeper into his web of horror until you find yourself wondering how you would deal with the situation if you were in Frank’s place. All you initial preconceptions about right and wrong begin to blur as you follow Frank on his fight to save his daughter.

I loved Frank’s character. In fact, I loved all the characters, they were expertly written and all fit perfectly into the storyline. Laura, Frank’s daughter, is intelligent, brave and wise beyond her years but this alone is not enough to keep her from the darkness surrounding her kidnapper. Debbie, the family friend, is a fantastic woman. She is so strong despite everything she is faced with. Finally, Nicky, Frank’s best friend; he hates to see his friend being drawn further into the darkness and would do almost anything to help it, even at the detriment to his career.

As with many books of this genre, it raises the question of upbringing and nature versus nurture. Are people pre-disposed to commit murder or is it something they learn through their upbringing? Maybe it’s both. Regardless of your opinion, this book offers a slightly alternative twist on the subject.

I would highly recommend Degrees of Darkness to anyone who loves a slightly dark crime thriller and I will definitely been keeping this author on my radar for future books.

Many thanks to Tony, Sarah and Bloodhound Books for my advanced reader copy and inviting me on the tour!

Amazon UK | Goodreads Amazon US

About the Author

TJF05On 1st February 2017, Tony signed to Bloodhound Books, who published his edgy crime thriller Bad to the Bone in spring. It is the first in a series.

Later this year, Tony’s second novel for Bloodhound Books, Degrees of Darkness, featuring ex-detective Frank Rogers, will be published.

Tony has been writing stories since childhood, but it was only when he won a short story competition judged by an editor from Pan Books, that he realised he might actually be half decent at this writing business.

The story, Gino’s Bar and Grille, went on to be published in Dark Voices 2, part of the celebrated Pan Book of Horror series. Three further short story sales followed: Book End, published in Dark Voices 4, Character Role, in FEAR magazine, and finally A Grim Story, which featured in A Rattler’s Tale.

During a book singing for Dark Voices 2, Tony was seated next to author Brian Lumley. At one point, Tony revealed to Brian that he felt out of place alongside all the proper writers. Brian then told Tony something he has never forgotten: “The moment you sat down and pulled a story out of your imagination and put it to paper, you became a proper writer.”

Subsequently, Tony began to focus on novel writing. He admits that his initial attempts were exploratory and somewhat derivative, although there was some interest from an agent – who oddly enough turned out to be Brian Lumley’s wife, Dorothy.

Tony wrote Degrees of Darkness, which he was happy with. He wasn’t so happy with a follow-up, so that never saw the light of day.

As a part-time writer with a full-time job, plus some ill-health, life got in the way and, although Tony continued writing, it took a back seat to making a living.

This year, however, Tony has been inspired by new ideas, and has been working hard on two new books, both of which should be completed in 2017.

LINKS:

Facebook: click here

Twitter: click here

Goodreads: click here

Blog Tour: Deadly Burial by Jon Richter

Today is my stop, and also the final one, on the blog tour for Deadly Burial by Jon Richter

Tour Banner

Synopsis

Book Cover (1)When DI Chris Sigurdsson is assigned a grisly murder case on remote Salvation Island, he knows that it might be his strangest yet.
A forgotten wrestling star of the 1980s has been poisoned whilst in the ring, and amidst the slippery lies of his dangerous opponents, unravelling the victim’s murky past is almost impossible.
And as a storm threatens to cut Salvation Island off from the mainland, the race is on for Sigurdsson to find the ruthless killer before he strikes again…

 

 

Review

As someone who can’t understand the fascination with wrestling I was a little apprehensive when I first began reading. However I soon found myself getting engrossed in the life of Vic Valient and his adversaries.

Deadly Burial is totally different from the crime thrillers I’ve been reading recently. Firstly we have a main character, DI Chris Sigurdsson, who suffers from panic attacks at various points throughout the story following a family tragedy.  Then we have the wrestlers; a mix of new and upcoming stars working with the big names from years ago. Also added into the mix is Carina Mason, the leading police officer on the island who isn’t very please to have DI Sigurdsson checking up on her.

The story follows the investigation into the murder of aging wrestler, Vic Valient. Even though he is no longer on the scene we learn a lot about him in cleverly placed chapters which contain excerpts from his would be memoirs.

I loved the setting of Salvation Island as it gave the book a somewhat creepy feeling, especially at the mention of it nearly been overrun by rabbits. The island was once a thriving tourist destination which, over time had become almost forgotten about. I felt this fit really well with the character of Vic Valient.

There are the usual red herrings in the storyline as well as a few surprise moments which made me catch my breath. I also have to admit that I didn’t see the ending coming one little bit.

I would still recommend this book even if, like me, you like crime thrillers but don’t like wrestling as it has everything a good police procedural novel should have and more.

Since this book is a debut novel, yet also billed as a DI Chris Sigurdsson story I’m assuming that Jon Richter has more to come when DI Sigurdsson is concerned. Given the ending, which I won’t spoil, I’m extremely interested to see where this will lead.

Amazon US – Amazon UK – Goodreads

Many thanks to Jon, Jenny and Neverland Blog Tours for my advanced reader copy and inviting me on the tour!

Giveaway

If you would like to win a copy of this book, then please enter the giveaway

About the Author

Author PhotoJon Richter lives in London and spends most of his time hiding in the guise of his sinister alter ego, an accountant called Dave. When he isn’t counting beans, he is a self-confessed nerd who loves books, films and video games – basically any way to tell a good story.

Jon writes whenever he can and hopes to bring you more disturbing stories in the very near future.

If you want to chat to him about this, or about  anything at all, you can find him on Twitter @RichterWrites, or at his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/richterwrites2.