Do No Harm by L V Hay #BlogTour #BookReview

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Welcome to my turn on the blog tour for Do No Harm by L V Hay. Sincere thanks also to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours and Orenda Books for the opportunity to be part of the tour.

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Till death do us part…

After leaving her marriage to jealous, possessive oncologist Maxwell, Lily and her six-year-old son have a second chance at happiness with headteacher Sebastian. Kind but vulnerable, Sebastian is the polar opposite of Maxwell, and the perfect match for Lily. After a whirlwind romance, they marry, and that’s when things start to go wrong…

Maxwell returns to the scene, determined to win back his family, and events soon spiral out of control. Lily and Sebastian find themselves not only fighting for their relationship, but also their lives…

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Author

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Lucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. She is the associate producer of Brit Thrillers Deviation (2012) and Assassin(2015), both starring Danny Dyer. Lucy is also head reader for the London Screenwriters’ Festival and has written two non-fiction books, Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays, plus its follow-up Drama Screenplays. Her critically acclaimed debut thriller The Other Twin was published in 2017.

Connect

Website: https://linktr.ee/lucyvhayauthor

Facebook: Lucy V Hay Author

Twitter: @LucyVHayAuthor

Instagram: Lucy V Hay Author

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I wanted to read this novel as soon as I saw the cover. Doesn’t it look great and doesn’t it sound menacing? You already expect the exact opposite when you read such an imperative.

This novel was so freaking develish! Do No Harm is a wonderful addictive story about someone’s obsession and the unwillingness of letting go. Obsession and revenge are the best ingredients in any book plot so I was very pleased this novel centers all around these two promising words :-).

It’s obvious that Maxwell, Lily’s ex-husband, can’t get over the fact that they’re not together anymore and that she’s marrying another man, not even a year after they seperated. When strange events start to occur everything points to Maxwell, but the question remains: is he the culprit?

Do No Harm concentrates on 5 characters – if you leave little 6-year old Denny, the sixth main character of the novel, aside – and each character is even more dubious than the next. Do any of them have anything to do with what is happening in Lily and Sebastian’s life? There’s nothing I can share about the plot of this novel, except that it includes a string of red herrings that you’ll walk into with open eyes.

Do No Harm was an exciting and addictive novel to read and L V Hay did a magnificent job with all the characters she created, I couldn’t rely on anyone being honest. An engrossing read that you won’t want to put down!

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

DO NO HARM BLOG TOUR

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Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager #BookReview

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Welcome to my turn on the blog tour for Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager. My thanks also to Anne Cater and Penguin Random House UK, Ebury Publishing for the opportunity to be part of the tour.

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Have you ever played two truths and a lie?

Emma has. Her first summer away from home, she learned how to play the game. And she learned how to lie.

Then three of her new friends went into the woods and never returned . . .

Now, years later, Emma has been asked to go back to the newly re-opened Camp Nightingale. She thinks she’s laying old ghosts to rest but really she’s returning to the scene of a crime.

Because Emma’s innocence might be the biggest lie of all…

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I really loved how original and suspenseful Riley Sager’s first novel, Final Girls, was. It was in my top 10 of 2016 for good reason. Well the impossible is possible, he’s done it again! Riley Sager wrote a brilliant follow up novel that holds one’s own phenominally. If you liked Final Girls, you will like this one too, and that’s no lie!

When girls are disappearing without a trace, you can color me intrigued! Last Time I Lied was eerie, sinister and very very atmospheric thanks to the setting of Camp Nightingale. The summer camp mentioned in the novel is buried in the woods (think no cell phone reception!) with wooden cabins planted here and there and each cabin houses 3-4 summer guests. Lake Midnight, situated on the domain, was so ominous and dark, it felt like a character all on its own and I loved its own interesting and legendary past.

One night, Vivian, Natalie and Allison disappear without a trace, leaving 13 year-old Emma behind in the cabin. They disappear into the night, never to be seen again and it’s funny yet a genius idea to resurrect the feel of his first novel by making Emma a Final Girl or sole surivor in his sequel. Now – 15 years later – camp Nightingale is reopened. Some come back to forget what happened in the past and replace it with more pleasant memories but Emma comes back to remember, find out what happened and get rid of some of her guilt. Guilt for what exactly is something that’ll certainly eat at you as well when you’re following in Emma’s wake. I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt, she’s easy to sympathise with when they look at her like she’s a pariah, but I had to hold back a little bit and couldn’t give her my all because she didn’t show all the cards in her hand either.

Sager then expertly weaves two time periods with unmistakable similarities together. Before she knows it Emma is bunking with 3 young girls, Miranda, Krystal and Sasha and history seems to be repeating. Just like Vivian in the past, Miranda is also a leader type and the other two seem to parallel the girls from the past as well. There are 6 girls to keep track of apart from Emma but I didn’t have any problem following sporty spice and the others. It was pretty obvious as well who was really important and who wasn’t.

The author managed to keep the mystery going for a very long time without letting my attention wane for even a second. Last Time I Lied is a spooky story with suspects and red herrings aplenty. I was led astray numerous times and just when I thought I could reach my own conclusion, he had me tick off another name from my suspect list without a pardon. This happened multiple times and with every new suspect exonerated, I actually worried who would be the last one standing. I thought I knew better all the time and I actually knew nothing at all :-). I shouldn’t have been so surprised that I was completely unprepared for the way it ended. I was hit so hard when I found out what happened to the girls. The denouement came with a pretty big bang and I hung onto every word!

Riley Sager definitely knows what he’s doing and how it’s done right. He knows how to write a novel that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat!

I liked how the story was written but I loved the setting and the atmosphere. Last Time I Lied wasn’t too scary but I still consider it as bordering the horror genre. It’s so easy to imagine yourself at that summer camp yourself. If you enjoyed reading Six Stories, you should definitely add this one to your readlist.

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

*** Don’t forget to check out the other stops of the blog tour ***

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Never Go There by Rebecca Tinnelly #BookReview

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What if you found out that you’d been married to a stranger?

‘Never go there, Nuala. Please, never go there.’

Nuala knows nothing of her husband James’s past. He made her swear that she would never contact his family and never, EVER visit the place he was from.

But now James is dead, and Nuala is alone. Grieving and desperate, she decides to ignore his warning.

Nuala is about to find out that some secrets are better left buried – and that uncovering the truth about the man she married will have terrible consequences…

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After a brutal prologue, the intensity fortunately relented for a small stretch with Nuala’s arrival into James’ home town, looking for a place to stay and stumbling into Maggie’s pub, meeting Emma, Maggie’s help and niece. She doesn’t know it yet but I’m guessing she’d have made other choices in hindsight.. nobody wants her there :-). The plotline gives a different perspective from Emma, Maggie, Lois and grieving widow Nuala in turn and it’s kind of sad but all four of these women have had their own share of grief and heartache.

When Nuala meets James’ mother Lois she doesn’t find the comfort she expected to find though. As it turns out, she’s a bitter old woman. Enough for me to dislike her instantly BUT my perception of her started to change as I turned the pages and by the end of the novel I even felt a little guilty of being so prejudiced. Nobody is born a bitter person right.. you don’t just choose to be like this, you become bitter and the author gradually divulged what made Lois the woman she is today and how all she had to deal with changed her so drastically. It really made my heart bleed.

This is not a happy novel, it’s in fact pretty dark and there was so much that happened in the past that have consequences in the present. Sadness, secrets and revenge all play their part. There is plenty of tragedy to go round but I liked Maggie, who never really recovered from her own husband’s death and hits the bottle every night, most of all. She was described so perfectly that I could really see her before me. She’s such a good person, raising her niece Emma since she was fourteen when her stepmother died. Unfortunately, she won’t be able to stop everything from coming out. When the train has left the station there’s nothing you can do :-).

Never Go There already made me hungry with its brilliant title and really, that title was perfectly chosen.. she bloody well shouldn’t have gone :-). The story was very twisted, with a lot of sensitive themes and triggers and yes I’m going to say it again, it’s very tragic. It’s dark, disturbing and the complex backstory made it a very compulsive read.

This book made me feel anger, hatred, heartache and pity. I can’t find any faults, the characters were wonderfully fleshed out and my conclusion is that I can highly recommend this read if you like to unearth secrets of the past. Impressive debut!

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Chosen Ones (DI Robyn Carter #5) by Carol Wyer #BookReview

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On a hot summer’s morning, a young father is found murdered in a cornfield, outside the quiet town of Colton. Tied to a post, arms spread wide; Detective Robyn Carter is reminded of the crucifixion, and she knows she’s looking for a killer with a twisted sense of right and wrong.

The victim’s girlfriend is devastated, unable to fathom how she will tell her sick little boy. Still reeling from her own loss, Robyn vows she will find the killer – no matter what.

But then a local doctor – a popular woman with a young family of her own – is found dead outside her surgery. There are similarities between her and the first body and Robyn must take another look at the picture-postcard town, where no one has any enemies.

Can Robyn untangle the hidden web of secrets, lies, and smouldering grudges, at the heart of this close-knit community, before another life is lost?

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I genuinly love every single novel in this series. Each one is a true book-sized treasure trove because it never fails to surprise you when you see where the story takes you. You know where it starts but boy you can never predict where it’ll end. So yes, I stayed up far past my bedtime to know how this one was going to be resolved.

The Chosen Ones was a tad more hard-hitting than the previous one and that makes my reader’s heart beat just a little faster. The crimes committed seemed just a little more graphic and violent than usual and I quite liked the darker tone. I also loved reading the snippets set in the past even if they were cruel and disturbing. I was frantically searching my mind who the little boy who had to endure such unfair punishment from his pious mother could be in the present but I failed to figure out who was so mistreated as a child. I can’t pinpoint the moment exactly when I finally caught on but somewhere over halfway I had a pretty good idea. I still didn’t understand why though. The author can brilliantly steer you in the right direction but still take its time to let all the puzzle pieces fall into place and it wasn’t any differently here.

The plotline went this way and that and the unwillingness of the first victim’s father to disclose his whereabouts at the time of death of his son certainly raised my suspicions but I also knew that it wouldn’t just be as simple and straightforward as that. Carol Wyer never makes it easy and it’s always deeper and more complex so I was anticipating an extraordinary resolve and I wasn’t disappointed at all, she delivered another brilliant whoddunit.

Even with the killer’s revelations, I have to admit the biggest shock for me in this novel came from an entirely other direction. How the, why the… ? I literally gasped and luckily nobody was around to see my state of distress. I couldn’t quite believe my eyes about what was happening and what she’d written but it was seriously jaw-dropping. It’s very daring what she did and I love the author for that, what a bold move! It made me suddenly love someone I grew to hate :-).

The Chosen Ones can be read as a standalone, but there’s a subplot running from book 1 all through the rest of the series, which is addressed in this novel again right at the end, giving another big jolt of excitement. The author just gave us a finger though and I’m ready to grab her whole hand now. I hope she’ll reveal more in the next novel because the details about what happened with her husband Davies and how she’ll carry on now are really killing me!

I was hooked from the first novel in the series, Little Girl Lost, but The Chosen Ones is definitely standing out in the whole series because it made me FEEL. It’s wonderfully mistifying. Overall it’s a cracking crime novel that I can highly recommend.

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

The perfect summer read: In Search Of Us by Ava Dellaira #BookReview @avadellaira @HotKeyBooks @imosebba

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Because the missing pieces always matter . . .

Marilyn is in search of freedom. She grew up as a child actor, her mother’s meal ticket out of mediocrity. But it’s been a long time since she booked a job, and she and her mother have no choice but to move in with her volatile uncle.

Marilyn is counting down the days until she can escape to college, and the promise of her own future. That is, until she falls in love with James, the boy downstairs, who shows her that her life is worth living in the present. At 17, Marilyn is about to learn that everything can change in an instant.

Angie is in search of answers. She is mixed race and has never met her father, but she knows she looks and thinks a lot like him. Though Angie grew up with her devoted mother, Marilyn, she’s always felt the absence of the man she never knew.

But after discovering that her mother has been lying to her, Angie sets off on a road trip to Los Angeles, in search of an unknown uncle – and maybe even her dad. At 17, she hopes to finally find out the truth about where she came from so she can discover who she truly is.

Told from the perspective of these two young women, Marilyn’s in the late 90s, and Angie’s today, IN SEARCH OF US is a sweeping inter-generational story about mothers and daughters, love and loss, holding on and letting go.

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This is just one of those books that really fill your heart and makes you sad and smile and it’s all happening at the same time you know. There’s a mystery and a love story at the base of this novel. They’ll meet in the proverbially perfect and heart-shattering middle.

The novel switches between Angie wanting to know more about her father and trying to find out if  he’s dead or alive, and how it all started with her father and Marilyn, Angie’s mother. I loved seeing the romance between Marilyn and James develop and how she was welcomed into his warm family. You know that they’re not together any more and Marilyn still can’t think of him without tearing up so I was prepared for something terrible to happen but when I came to that part of the novel the impact was still bigger than I anticipated. I knew it was coming, couldn’t avoid it try as I might, and still was quite in shock.

Both plotlines, Angie’s search in the present and Marilyn’s encounter with James, at the same age but 17 years earlier, were very engrossing and it was actually fun and engrossing to read this dual timeline. Angie might have started out alone in her desire for answers but as the story progressed and the connection between Marilyn and James became bigger, we both ended up longing to know and even I hoped he was still alive.

But even if 16 year-old Angie had all my sympathy and understanding and I adored Dellaira’s skilled writing that made her turn to her favorite songs whenever she felt the need in time of worries and trouble, I loved her mother Marilyn in her younger version most of all. She’s such a good person and the attraction and romance with James was nothing other than perfect. They have such a sweet connection, I was already dreading the moment it would end. They seemed so right for each other so I couldn’t wrap my head around it, until I actually read the words.

In Search Of Us was such a lovely novel with beautiful people (the only exception being Uncle Woody who grudgingly shares his house with Marilyn and her mother), lots of cool 90’s music references  and a whole lot of love. This novel is going to steal your heart, just like it did mine :-).

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

A Steep Price by Robert Dugoni #BookReview

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Called in to consult after a young woman disappears, Tracy Crosswhite has the uneasy feeling that this is no ordinary missing-persons case. When the body turns up in an abandoned well, Tracy’s suspicions are confirmed. Estranged from her family, the victim had balked at an arranged marriage and had planned to attend graduate school. But someone cut her dreams short.

Solving the mystery behind the murder isn’t Tracy’s only challenge. The detective is keeping a secret of her own: she’s pregnant. And now her biggest fear seems to be coming true when a new detective arrives to replace her. Meanwhile, Tracy’s colleague Vic Fazzio is about to take a fall after his investigation into the murder of a local community activist turns violent and leaves an invaluable witness dead.

Two careers are on the line. And when more deadly secrets emerge, jobs might not be the only things at risk.

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I really like the Tracy Crosswhite series and I was so happy when a new addition to the series popped up. I couldn’t wait to catch up with all of the characters again. A Steep Price is another solid read in the series but yet again a very different type of novel compared to the previous one, and the one before that. There’s no mistaking his signature style though, it certainly contains his typical cheeky humour again, and I especially love the way he references – quite ironically –  lawyers at least once in every novel.

‘We tan the way lawyers tell the truth, never on purpose and never very well’

One of the strengths of this series and why I came to enjoy reading this one so much as well is definitely the cast of Del, Faz, Kins and Tracy, the four members of the A team. I really don’t know any other team of detectives that have such warm and tight dynamics. They can quip and bitch to each other but they can also just as easily cry in front of one another if something’s troubling them, which is exactly what is happening in this novel. Health issues lay at the base and although it is justified, it is a sight unseen. I’m not used to detectives having doubts and fears but this series makes me realise they are only human too and I appreciate that they are more than just a detective, they are actually friends of each other as well and they know each other’s families like their own.

This time the foursome is divided into two teams working separately. I foolishly thought the storylines would cross at some point but you’ll see that they don’t run in the same circles so the chance was practically nihil. Tracy starts off at court giving testimony but while waiting for the verdict she’s called about a missing student which she pursues with Kins. At the same time Del and Faz look into the murder on a woman who fought for a better community, after-school lessons and only wanted a drug-free neighbourhood.

I enjoyed the setting of this novel more than I did the previous one, which was situated on a military base. This time the author provides an insight into the Indian way of life. He chose two Indian girls with divided opinions about arranged marriages, the girl who went missing had no contact with her parents anymore, she received no money from them and she was very much on her own by choosing not to marry someone chosen for her. Both investigations were interesting but the disappearance of this student felt just a bit more mistifying and unsettling and I felt myself drawn to this plotline a little more.

Another excellent novel to add to your list if you enjoy reading police procedurals, but start with novel 1 to get properly addicted!

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

 

Everything is Lies by Helen Callaghan #BookReview

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NO-ONE IS WHO YOU THINK THEY ARE

Sophia’s parents lead quiet, unremarkable lives. At least that is what she’s always believed.

EVERYONE HAS SECRETS

Until the day she arrives at her childhood home to find a house ringing with silence. Her mother is hanging from a tree. Her father is lying in a pool of his own blood, near to death.

ESPECIALLY THOSE CLOSEST TO YOU

The police are convinced it is an attempted murder-suicide. But Sophia is sure that the woman who brought her up isn’t a killer. As her father is too ill to talk it is up to Sophia to clear her mother’s name. And to do this she needs to delve deep into her family’s past – a past full of dark secrets she never suspected were there . . .

What if your parents had been lying to you since the day you were born?

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This novel baited me with its wonderful title and I can only say that it really lived up to its promise! It’s funny how it turned out to be completely different from what I expected when I read the blurb though. I thought it would be a novel weaving some lies into a story, getting all out of proportion in the end and with big consequences perhaps yes but not that it would be about lying in an up front and into your face fashion, and that someone would find herself smack dab in the middle of this web of lies like a little fly.

Everything Is Lies turned out to be a real page-turner. This is practically a story within a story and it was written so perfectly that the switch between both storylines went seemless and fluent. Of course I was very curious right away about the truth surrounding Sophia’s mother’s death and if it was an attempted murder on her father by her mother and a suicide or not. I found myself completely taken in by her mother, Nina’s story, however, when I started reading her diary entries. The past thread is actually Nina’s story and she tells everything that happened to her from her arrival that first day at university. She made a friend in Rosie, went to her first party, made some more friends and then.. let herself in with a bad crowd who showed an interest in her which she wanted to believe was real. Nina’s character, her shyness, her lack in confidence and her naivity were written so well that although I knew she was foolish, I could understand her all too well when she reacted the way she did.

The lies continue and they are spun delicately around little Nina and she doesn’t even know what’s going on. She doesn’t realise how she’s manipulated and played with, which made it even more disturbing to read about. I bristled all the while and wanted to reach out and protect her and whisk her away from those people she calls her friends and tell her that boy was not worth her love but she obviously wouldn’t have listened anyway. I was very much kept in suspense, almost losing hope myself, about how the lies would stop.

The only reason I’m not giving it a full five star rating is because I was able to predict some of the twists. I don’t think they’re actually too easy to spot but I just had a feeling about it. It didn’t spoil my enjoyment in any way though as I was still eagerly anticipating the reactions once the twists became obvious. I also really couldn’t predict the consequences or future for Sophia once she knows everything her mother tried to hide for so long. I liked how the story showed how everyone faired long after the facts too and suddenly the scales tipped over and the present had me in its grip and I was just hoping history wouldn’t repeat itself and Sophia wouldn’t let herself be manipulated by anyone. You’ll have to read to find out more ;-).

I’m very happy now that I didn’t know what this novel was exactly about because I’m normally the first to say that this type of novel isn’t really my thing and I’m quite sure I’d not have taken the chance to read it and in doing so I would have missed out on such a great read and a wonderful journey with Sophia and Nina. I can highly recommend this one!

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.