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Sunday, 24 December 2017

Top 3 Reads in 2017

There have been some amazing books out this year, but many of them were added to my toppling TBR pile because I have so many others to try and get to first. So, when considering my Top 3 Reads, I didn't think about what year they were published but as it happens the ones I've chosen are from 2017! It's been a slow reading year for me, and one of my New Year's resolutions is to read more. 

I also asked Elisabeth Carpenter, author of 99 Red Balloons - a stand out novel in 2017 and one which I loved - and Sanjida Kay, author of Bone by Bone and The Stolen Child, plus new novel to come in 2018 My Mother's Secret (which is on my TBR list!) their Top 3 choices too (not necessarily ones that were published in 2017). 

Here's what Elisabeth chose:

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

This is such a page-turner! During a chance meeting in an airport lounge, Ted meets a stranger: Lily. He tells her his wife is having an affair. After a few too many drinks, he says he wants to kill her; Lily says, ‘I think you should.’ 
This is such a great book – it kept me gripped. It goes back and forth in time, with narratives from Lily and Ted, and kept me guessing until the end.

Lies by T.M. Logan

This is another book I raced through. I read a lot of psychological thrillers and LIES has a male main character, which I thought was refreshing. It starts with a bang - a situation so intriguing that I couldn't help but read on until it unravelled. 

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

This is a beautifully written book that really got into the heads of the characters. It's also really dark - I love it when a character's hiding a dark secret. Great story - I raced through this one.

Other books I enjoyed this year
Perfect Remains by Helen Fields 
The Doll House by Phoebe Morgan
Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney 
Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land.

One to look out for in 2018: The Rival by Charlotte Duckworth.

Here are Sanjida's Top 3:

The Dry by Jane Harper 

'Flies swarmed as the blood pooled black over tiles and carpet. A child’s scooter lay abandoned on the stepping stone path. Just one human heart beat within a kilometre radius of the farm.' Policeman Aaron Falk returns to his hometown of Kiewarra for the funeral of his best friend. Luke Hadler is thought to have committed suicide after murdering his wife and six-year-old son. Australia is in the grip of the worst drought for a century and the town is like a powder keg: it hasn’t rained for two years and tensions are running high. Aaron Falk is unwillingly drawn into the investigation, but Falk may not be as innocent as he looks, for he and Luke share a twenty-year old secret. You can feel the crackle of the heat from the pages in this blisteringly well-told tale. 

The Girls by Emma Cline 

'I looked up because of the laughter, and kept looking because of the girls.' It’s 1969, California. Evie Boyd, the daughter of a wealthy woman going through a turgid divorce, is fourteen, sad, lonely and unloved. When Evie sees the girls in the park and, at their centre, Suzanne, black-haired and beautiful, she’s drawn to them, desperate for affection. She follows them back to the decaying ranch and their cult, led by the charismatic and amoral Russell. The consequences will be savage and haunt Evie for the rest of her life. The prose is achingly poetic; The Girls is based on the serial killer, Charles Manson; at its heart it’s about women’s desire for love and acceptance and the casual and cruel abuse men inflict upon them. 

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
'You bring a child into this fractious, chaotic world out of the heat of your womb, and then spend the next ten years walking beside them while they figure out how to be a person.' When a private jet plunges into the sea off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, in the States, the only survivors are artist Scott Burroughs, and the four-year-old child he rescues. The boy is the son of a wealthy TV executive and, at first, Scott is a hero. But quickly, the media turns against him. Why was an impoverished artist flying with some of the richest men in America? This is a gripping thriller about art, motherhood, wealth and the power of the media. The language is sublime. 

Honourable mentions - Behind her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough via Audible - Sarah’s latest thriller has been reviewed elsewhere on this blog, so you’ll already know it’s a fantastically well-written psychological thriller, but the audiobook is an outstanding piece of performance. 
I’m currently reading An Act of Silence by Colette McBeth, which opens with a mother discovering her son has been accused of murder and broadens into a taut political thriller. 
I’ve heard rave reviews about AJ Finn’s The Woman in the Window, a Hitchcockian homage to Rear Window, and have pre-ordered it.

Great picks, Elisabeth and Sanjida! Thank you for sharing them. Behind Her Eyes was also one of my favourite reads this year! 

My Top 3 are:

The Killer on the Wall by Emma Kavanagh
From the opening line: 'It began with the bodies' - I was drawn in and had to keep reading. Having Hadrian's Wall as a backdrop to the murders was a great hook and I loved every bit of this novel. It really gave some fascinating insights into the mind of a psychopath and was a dark, intriguing read.

In a Cottage, In a Wood by Cass Green
Cass Green delivered a clever opening to this novel - one which played on my mind and kept me turning the pages.This was a creepy and atmospheric read and had a complex, believable protagonist. The tension bubbled beneath the surface, which set my nerves on edge as I read!  

The Surrogate by Louise Jensen
An emotive subject matter, a dark undertone running through the narrative and the 'now' and 'then' chapters, all gave this novel the edge! Packed full of twists, it was a real page-turner. Just when you think you've figured it all out...bam! Brilliant.

Other books I enjoyed:
Obsession by Amanda Robson
Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear
Copycat by Alex Lake
Beneath The Skin by Caroline England

One to look out for in 2018: The Echo Killing by Christi Daugherty

I'm sure there will be many great novels to come in 2018!

Hope you all have a fabulous Christmas, I probably won't be posting again this year so just want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support, I'm hugely grateful.
Here's hoping 2018 brings good things!

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

How I spent publication day!

It's almost a week ago that BAD SISTER was released in paperback.

Seeing my second novel on the shelves was a fabulous moment. With my debut, Saving Sophie, the thrill was in that it was the first time - we all know how special the first time is! 😉 I wasn't sure whether I'd be as excited to see Bad Sister.

Spoiler: I was!

My first sighting was unexpected as it was the day prior to its release. When I spotted a pile of my books on the 'Crime Table' at my local Waterstones, I know I gave an audible gasp! I was also on my own, so couldn't even turn to anyone and share the excitement. I did manage to surreptitiously take a photo though!

Then, when I popped into Asda and saw it on the shelves there too, I failed to contain the excitement and ended up chatting about Bad Sister to the lovely woman who was stocking the shelves! Bless her, she agreed to have a photo taken holding the book, and then said if she bought it, would I sign it for her there and then. Well, of course I said yes, and continued to crouch in the aisle, leaning on my shopping to sign it. Quite a surreal moment. Thank you, Tracey! 

To celebrate the day of publication, the 14th December, I spent the evening at my local pub with some family and friends. I was bought some gorgeous bouquets of flowers and we raised a few glasses of fizz! (The best way to celebrate in my opinion).

I almost forgot to take photos, but managed this one just as the evening was ending - shame I didn't get one when everyone was there, I think I was too busy enjoying the bubbly!

Here are my stunning flowers:

I would like to thank everyone who has supported me and enabled me to continue writing. Thanks to my family and friends who celebrated with me, and to those who weren't there, I hope to do something grander next time!

As ever, Mum and Dad - hope you are still watching over me. Wish you were here xx

Bad Sister is available in Asda, Tesco and some Waterstones (as well as Amazon).

I've had some fabulous reviews and feedback and am thrilled people have enjoyed it. Thank you to everyone who has bought it. 

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

2 days to go!

Two more sleeps until BAD SISTER paperback is out in the wild!

Will it be under your Christmas tree?

The book will be available at Asda, Tesco, some Waterstones and Amazon.

In the meantime, there are some amazing opportunities to get your hands on the brand new novel as well as some goodies in these great competitions! 

You have all these chances to win:

1) On this blog - HERE - (which includes Facebook and Twitter) you can win this fab Bad Sister package:

2) Avon/HaperCollins are running two fantastic competitions, one on Twitter and one on Facebook.

You can win this via Twitter (click HERE):

And on Facebook you can win a *Proof* of BAD SISTER!
Check it out HERE

But that is NOT all! 

3) THE SUN are also running a giveaway. They said that Bad Sister is "Tense and dark, you’ll be gripped by this thrilling read" - and are giving away 10 copies!
Just click HERE for details.

Go, go, GO!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas! 

Friday, 1 December 2017

Celebrating BAD SISTER paperback release with a fab competition!

Happy 1st December!

I can't believe that in 13 days, BAD SISTER will hit the shelves. I've had some fantastic feedback from readers and reviewers and the ebook, which was published on 5th October, got to number one in its category, which was really exciting. I'm thrilled that people have enjoyed reading about psychologist Connie Summers and returning favourites (from Saving Sophie), DI Lindsay Wade and DS Mack!

To celebrate the paperback coming out on the 14th December, I've put together a fabulous bundle of goodies that one lucky person* can win!

*UK only

Here's the bundle:

It includes the following great items:

  • A Bad Sister notebook
  • A Bad Sister mug
  • A signed paperback of Bad Sister
  • Bad Sister bookmarks
  • A mini bottle of cava
  • A box of Lindor chocolates
  • and... a packet of relaxing bath crystals!


You can enter via Twitter, Facebook and this blog (you can do all 3 if you want more chances!) by doing the following:

1 - Twitter - Retweet my post (click HERE) and comment on the post telling me why you'd like to read BAD SISTER

2 - Facebook - Like my author page and share my post (click HERE) commenting why you'd like to read BAD SISTER

3 - Or, at the end of this blog post, comment why you'd like to read BAD SISTER and click to 'follow' my blog

The competition will run until the publication day, 14th December and I will chose a winner at random on that day.

Good luck!

You can get Bad Sister now as ebook HERE

If you've already read and enjoyed Bad Sister, I would love it if you left a brief review on Amazon, thank you!