Degrees of Guilt by HS Chandler #BookReview #BlogBlitz @HSCinkpen @orion_crime @TrapezeBooks

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I’m changing up my schedule guys, there won’t be a review on Sunday because this beauty releases today in e-book and I just couldn’t resist getting involved. I’m super happy I did because Degrees of Guilt is absolutely brilliant!

Happy publication day to HS Chandler!

Degrees of Guilt blogblitz

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When you read this book, you will think you know every twist in the tale.

Maria is on trial for attempted murder.

She has confessed to the crime and wanted her husband dead.

Lottie is on the jury, trying to decide her fate.

She embarks on an illicit affair with a stranger, and her husband can never find out.

You will think you know who is guilty and who is innocent.

You will be wrong.

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I enjoy stories that involve morals and put you on the spot. I adore novels that provoke a reader and make you question the side you’re on. I love novels that secretly make you want to cheer the bad guy on..  it’s wrong to do so and you feel guilty but ok not all that much because sometimes, you know, it just can’t be helped. Degrees of Guilt is exactly this kind of brilliant novel, it hits all the high notes. In hindsight, I have to admit the title kind of gives it away but I was still very much unaware of it when I started reading this novel. I was ready to judge and condemn but I’ve never felt so torn.

The novel did start chillingly, with a woman, cold and rational, standing beside her dead husband. She also admits to the crime right away. How could this court case go then, it’s all rather clear cut, right? Awful crime, no remorse, big sentence to be expected. Well you might be mistaken there. There was a lot of background story that explains her current predicament. The novel massively challenged me to take mitigating circumstances into consideration. How much can be excused and can you ever understand why someone would murder someone else? I don’t know if I could say it out loud but eh deep down I understood why she did it for one hundred percent. What the outcome, the verdict would be was a big mystery though, and what I wanted it to be and how the jury saw it and if we were on the same page at all, I can’t say.

At first there wasn’t a bone in my body that made me consider her innocent but as the days progressed it was obvious that she was a victim too, trapped in a loveless marriage. I have read plenty novels with disturbing content and domestic abuse before but the author detailed her daily horrors so perfectly, it was such a quiet venom that poured from the pages, it would melt the coldest of hearts. A big tipping point and a scene that had a big impact on me was when I read about the tampons. I don’t know why that stood out but I think it’s something that is just completely our (a woman’s) business and everyone else should keep out of it.

Even though I knew what she had done and saw the damage together with the jury, I couldn’t help sympathise with Maria almost from the beginning. I believed her, I wanted to believe her, although I didn’t really know why she felt the need to lie about parts of her story. Why would she do that? A tiny part of me did feel a moment’s hesitation there about her. I didn’t know what to think.

Degrees of guilt is a domestic drama mixed with fantastic scenes in the courtroom and let’s not forget the sizzles between Lottie and hottie Cameron. Gawd there’s electricity crackling in the air! Their game was tantalising to watch unfold and he was sooo hot I could feel my own cheeks burn ;-). I found it a bit odd to insert this into such a novel but then it did help to lighten up the story a little and in the end it just worked out brilliantly.

Degrees of Guilt is definitely one of the best releases of the year for me. The novel demands to take a stance about the justice in this case and what you think is fair, it is so heartfelt, you just can’t not think about it when you’re not reading it. What would you do if you were on the jury? I can tell you it’s a difficult one because our heart and our head speak a different language when reading this novel! I can’t believe this is the first novel by Helen Fields I read but it most definitely won’t be the last.

I received a free ecopy via Netgalley from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

 

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Night by Night by Jack Jordan #BlogTour #BookReview @JackJordanBooks @CorvusBooks

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I’m thrilled to be hosting the Night by Night blog tour today! Massive thanks to Kirsty Doole of Corvus Books for inviting me on the blog tour and the free e-copy!

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If you’re reading this, I’m dead.’

Rejected by her family and plagued by insomnia, Rose Shaw is on the brink. But one dark evening she collides with a man running through the streets, who quickly vanishes. The only sign he ever existed – a journal dropped at Rose’s feet.

She begins to obsessively dedicate her sleepless nights to discovering what happened to Finn Matthews, the mysterious author of the journal. Why was he convinced someone wanted to kill him? And why, in the midst of a string of murders, won’t the police investigate his disappearance?

Rose is determined to uncover the truth. But she has no idea what the truth will cost her…

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Author

Author Jack Jordan

Jack Jordan is the global number one bestselling author of Anything for Her (2015), My Girl (2016), A Woman Scorned (2018), and Before Her Eyes (2018). He wrote his first novel at seventeen and self-published his first two e-book bestsellers by the age of twenty four. He lives in East Anglia.

To find out more about Jack and be one of the first to hear of new book releases and news, follow him here:

Facebook | Twitter  | Instagram

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Yay a new Jack Jordan novel and what a thoroughly absorbing thriller “Night by Night” is! When I read Jordan’s first novel My Girl, I was impressed with its intensity and how it made me ‘feel’. Night by Night did very much the same thing, and took me much by surprise. I was expecting a pretty straightforward mystery but it turned out to be such an emotional read, it nearly broke me in the end.

In the first chapters the author already sets the tone by making me feel very, very sorry for Rose who suffers from a tragedy she really didn’t deserve. I already choked up there for the first time and I wasn’t even 50 pages in. Rose feels alone and lonely and one night she bumps into a man who drops his journal at her side. She doesn’t know who he is but at the very first page she reads a startling message. It turns out that even though he’s in an entirely different situation, he’s feeling frightened and lonely as well and the community isn’t welcoming him either. Rose knows what she has to do, what she can’t do for herself she’s determined to do for this man called Finn Matthews. Even though she doesn’t know him she cares and wants to know he’s ok, she doesn’t want him to be all alone and is determined to help. The police don’t take her missing person’s report serious though and Rose feels forced to make her own inquiries. She’s treading on very thin ice.

There were a few tough issues included in this novel, homophobia being the most prominent one I might say and I think the author handled this brilliantly. It was at times tough to read about the things that happened and call me a fool but I really wanted Rose to find Finn in time and see that he had escaped the hardships of his peers and the stalking and that he was leading a good life somewhere else. Some little voice inside of me warned me not to expect too much though and protect my little heart. I also absolutely had no idea who he was afraid of, it was such a mystery and I really didn’t have any suspect in mind, it kept my mind whirring when I should have been asleep.

The novel really amps up the tension towards the end and I didn’t only fear for Finn but for Rose too! I couldn’t turn those pages in the final chapters fast enough, I felt the danger coming closer and it was so emotional to hear the truth and see what happens. I tell you, when you reach those final chapters you better hold on to your hats and hope to finish it unscathed! Night by Night holds an unbelievably tense ending in store. Jack Jordan is a wonderful author and this novel is definitely one of his best works!

Follow the blog tour: 

Night by Night blog tour

The Passengers by John Marrs #BlogTour #BookReview @johnmarrs1 @Tr4cyF3nt0n @EburyPublishing

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Eight self-drive cars set on a collision course. Who lives, who dies? You decide.

When someone hacks into the systems of eight self-drive cars, their passengers are set on a fatal collision course.

The passengers are: a TV star, a pregnant young woman, a disabled war hero, an abused wife fleeing her husband, an illegal immigrant, a husband and wife – and parents of two – who are travelling in separate vehicles and a suicidal man.

Now the public have to judge who should survive but are the passengers all that they first seem?

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Author

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John Marrs is the author of #1 Best Sellers The One, The Good Samaritan, When You Disappeared, Welcome to Wherever You Are and Her Last Move. The One has been translated into 20 different languages and is to be turned into a a ten-part Netflix series in 2019.
After working as a journalist for 25-years interviewing celebrities from the world of television, film and music for national newspapers and magazines, he is now a full-time writer.

Connect

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Do you want the long version or the short one? For those who don’t want to wait for the punchline: put it on your readlist, now!

This novel is legit one of the best thrillers I’ve ever read, it’s brilliant, timely and I loved it 100%. If you enjoyed reading The One then it’s guaranteed that you’ll love The Passengers too. Even though the subject in the novel is completely different, it follows the same format again, involving multiple (8!) characters with alternating POV’s. Each person has secrets to hide, secrets you’d never EVER thought of and will catch you completely off guard!

I have to be honest, I was completely pro the idea of driverless cars. You see, I don’t have a driver’s license myself so the thought of a stress-free ride where you don’t have to navigate yourself (there’s not even a steering wheel in level 5 cars so you have all the time in the world to eat breakfast, apply makeup or, oh yes, read a book) sounded more than wonderful but what happens to The Passengers was anything but stress-free. There’s a hacker who controls the cars and don’t think he doesn’t mean it! If I had any doubts in the first minutes it becomes clear right away that he is dead serious!

The entire novel is high on tension and plays on the reader’s moral compass. Who would you choose to survive a collision? The pregnant woman? The police woman with two children? The foreign woman who doesn’t speak English? Marrs plays this so well, he even adds the opinions of jurors and those on social media as well, leaving us even more hesistant to pledge our loyalty to one specific person. And then, just when you’ve almost decided he shuffles the deck of cards and secrets come out that might change your thoughts, again and again… The people I felt most loyal to suddenly find themselves ranked quite differently when I had to consider which secret was the worst to have.

Marrs really doesn’t let up until the end, he always seems to have another twist up his sleeve. I don’t know how he can be so imaginative but I really fell from one surprise into another and even when I thought it was finally all over, there was still more to come.

I can’t find any fault in The Passengers, it gets my golden buzzer! The novel is original, fresh and shows a frightening glimpse of what the future might hold. In case you didn’t get it yet: put it on your readlist, now!

My thanks to Tracy Fenton for the blog tour invitation and to the publisher for the paperback review copy.

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Now You See Her by Heidi Perks #BookReview

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Charlotte is looking after her best friend’s daughter the day she disappears. She thought the little girl was playing with her own children. She swears she only took her eyes off them for a second.

Now, Charlotte must do the unthinkable: tell her best friend Harriet that her only child is missing. The child she was meant to be watching.

Devastated, Harriet can no longer bear to see Charlotte. No one could expect her to trust her friend again. Only now she needs to. Because two weeks later Harriet and Charlotte are both being questioned separately by the police. And secrets are about to surface.

Someone is hiding the truth.
So what really happened to Alice?

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Now You See Her by Heidi Perks is also published as Her One Mistake. After reading the novel I think both titles are appropriate and quite fitting although I have a slight preference for the first one which makes me silently complete the sentence with Now You Don’t :-).

I enjoyed the author’s writing style from the very beginning. I knew the book was about a missing child and right from the start she had me highly anticipating that moment of the disappearance of four year old Alice. I was seeking out opportunities for someone to snatch a child and I had a few moments of relief but I knew it was inevitable. I know you have to have eyes on your back when it comes to small children but still, it’s frightening to see how quickly it can happen. The aftermath was so tragic, I felt strongly for both Charlotte and Harriet and it pained me to see that this also caused the loss of their friendship and the support in these tough times when they both need it the most.

In chapters told in the present and the past the women share everything leading up to that moment and the plotline was seriously addictive. I did enjoy a novel with a plot similar to this one not so long ago so I naturally made a connection and I can’t say I was surprised with the first big twist but it definitely wasn’t the only one in the novel so I still had my fair dose of surprises. What troubled me perhaps most was the fact that the novel begins two weeks after Alice’s disappearance with Charlotte and Harriet being questioned at the police station. It raised a big red flag in my head. What had happened, did they find Alice, and most of all why were they both being questioned? I had to wait quite a while to get my answer to that one and I loved being kept in the dark for so long.

I got much, much more than a straightforward abduction and solving of the case. The novel had two great characters and their stories made the story so very compelling. Now You See Her is a wonderfully gripping read. The ending was really high on tension too and it really made me wonder how it was going to end. Will all secrets be revealed and will they find Alice alive? I can only say the best books just don’t let you leave emotionally unscathed 🙂

I can highly recommend this novel where nothing is as it seems at first sight. There are false appearances, lies and deceit to be found in this novel, but friendship and love as well.

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

 

Never Tell by Lisa Gardner #BookReview

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A man is dead, shot three times in his home office. But his computer has been shot twelve times, and when the cops arrive, his pregnant wife is holding the gun.

D. D. Warren arrives on the scene and recognizes the woman–Evie Carter–from a case many years back. Evie’s father was killed in a shooting that was ruled an accident. But for D.D., two coincidental murders is too many.

Flora Dane sees the murder of Conrad Carter on the TV news and immediately knows his face. She remembers a night when she was still a victim–a hostage–and her captor knew this man. Overcome with guilt that she never tracked him down, Flora is now determined to learn the truth of Conrad’s murder.

But D.D. and Flora are about to discover that in this case the truth is a devilishly elusive thing. As layer by layer they peel away the half-truths and outright lies, they wonder: How many secrets can one family have?

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This novel is on fire! It has a burning hot cover and there are actually quite a few fires to put out in this novel as well ;-).

I read a few of the previous books in the series (nrs. 5 and 6 and one in her other series too) and looking back on those reads (I gave Love You More five stars) I was very tempted to read Never Tell even though I didn’t know if it was a good idea to jump in at book 10 again. I took the plunge though and I’m so happy I did. Never Tell is another strong and fabulously suspenseful thriller and can be read as a standalone perfectly. The only thing you won’t really fully experience is the story of Flora at the time when she was held captive in a present narrative (which is a plotline in another novel). In Never Tell she’s looking back on it which was chilling and unsettling to read but makes me want to hear even more as well so I think I’ll go back and pick up that novel later.

The story itself is told in alternating chapters by the woman who is suspected of killing her husband, a detective and this Flora. The latter helps D.D. Warren professionally as an informant but she’s also an important link to the murder because she saw the victim, Conrad Jones, when she was held captive in conversation with her abductor. She tried to bury what happened to her but now she’s feeling strong enough and is determined to unearth Jacob Ness’ secrets and lies with the help of one of those true crime buffs on the internet and to find out who Conrad Jones was and what he was hiding from his wife.

I loved all three characters although Flora, whip-smart and headstrong, is probably my favorite. I don’t think one of them was less than the other two though, they were quite evenly matched. Evie was mysterious and I felt a little unsure about her. She’s the underdog of course, suspected of murdering her husband but on the other hand she might be holding some secrets too. I knew she was smart and resourceful right away, the way she was trying to find out what her husband was hiding in the months leading up to his death and I couldn’t help finding her initial reaction, shooting a computer, quite strange too and certainly enough to raise my eyebrows. I loved hearing about her past as a young girl and how she loved her brilliant father so much but at the same time it also made me wonder even more about his death. What lead to his death, and was it an accident after all?

If you enjoy reading police procedurals then you should definitely put this one on your list, there is excellent investigative work in Never Tell. 

The story is one spidery web of secrets and lies, taking you deep into Flora’s history and Evie’s past and as I said already, it sets quite a few fires alight along the way to the action-packed ending. Surprising twists and a great cast make this a brilliant page-turner that I can recommend to everyone.

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

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides #BookReview

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I love him so totally, completely, sometimes it threatens to overwhelm me.
Sometimes I think-
No. I won’t write about that.

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Alicia Berenson writes a diary as a release, an outlet – and to prove to her beloved husband that everything is fine. She can’t bear the thought of worrying Gabriel, or causing him pain.

Until, late one evening, Alicia shoots Gabriel five times and then never speaks another word.

THEO
Forensic psychotherapist Theo Faber is convinced he can successfully treat Alicia, where all others have failed. Obsessed with investigating her crime, his discoveries suggest Alicia’s silence goes far deeper than he first thought.

And if she speaks, would he want to hear the truth?

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‘Grasping at vanashing snowflakes is like grasping at happiness; an act of possession which instantly gives way to nothing.’

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If you haven’t heard about this novel by now, I really don’t know where you’ve been hiding. The Silent Patient is promised to become one of this year’s bestsellers and I think they are RIGHT, this novel really has bestseller written all over it!

Alicia Berenson was a very intriguing character because she kept quiet from the start, not saying another word after she’s been caught and arrested for the murder on her husband Gabriel in flagrante delicto. We know the facts, her husband was shot 5 times in the head and he was tied to a chair but what we don’t know is WHY she did it. I wanted to, no needed to know why she did it so badly in the end! The author kept me very much in suspense though and the slow build only added to the story.

The fact that she’s not talking forced me to guess her motive constantly. Her profile just didn’t fit with the murder but I knew she did it. It was very conflicting and I couldn’t flip those pages fast enough to find out more. I also couldn’t understand why she wasn’t talking, the only clue she left was a painting she made. I’m not a big art lover or expert but I was quite fascinated about the meaning behind this painting which name refers to an old Greek tragedy; it made it even more intriguing.

Before there were answers there’ll be a lot more questions and silence though and luckily psychotherapist Theo Faber comes along and is determined he can make her talk after 6 years of silence. In other novels the therapist often remains an authority but in this novel I really got to know Theo, I heard his own thoughts and became familiar with the struggles he’s facing in his personal life as well. I liked him, it was easy to connect with him and it was there from the start. I wished that he would be successful and would be able to get Alicia to talk. As a reader you’re sooooo waiting for that moment to happen!

To help the story along he’s aided by Alicia’s diary entries and this clever literary tool let me hear from Alicia even when she’s keeping quiet. Layer after layer there’s more to be discovered about her life but I was still totally blindsided in the end and I almost had a whiplash inducing shock when all the puzzle pieces fell into place without much of a warning. I was stunned. What the… how the hell did this happen? It all makes sense though when you think about it and I loved the twist. My initial outrage at her was gone, just like that. I understood why she did it, how she was pushed over the edge. It was a brilliant end scene.

If you enjoy psychological thrillers I’d definitely put it on the list like NOW! This is an absolutely amazing debut with an unbelievable stunner of twist! It’s perfect for fans of Jo Spain who read The Confession (also not a who but a why dunnit novel).

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

The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup #BlogTour #BookReview @JennyPlatt90 @MichaelJBooks

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Welcome to my blog stop on the book tour for The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup. My thanks to the author, to Jenny Platt and publisher Michael Joseph for the opportunity to be part of the tour. I can’t wait to tell you more so let’s go!

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One blustery October morning in a quiet suburb of Copenhagen, the police make a terrible discovery. A young woman is found brutally murdered in a playground and one of her hands is missing. Above her hangs a small doll made of chestnuts.

Ambitious young detective Naia Thulin is assigned the case. Her partner, Mark Hess, is a burned-out investigator who’s just been kicked out of Europol. They soon discover a mysterious piece of evidence on the chestnut man – evidence connecting it to a girl who went missing a year earlier and is presumed dead – the daughter of politician Rosa Hartung.

The man who confessed to her murder is behind bars and the case is long since closed.

Soon afterwards, another woman is found murdered, along with another chestnut man. Thulin and Hess suspect that there’s a connection between the Hartung case, the murdered women and a killer who is spreading fear throughout the country. But what is it?

Thulin and Hess are racing against the clock, because it’s clear that the murderer is on a mission that is far from over . . .

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Author

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Søren Sveistrup is an internationally acclaimed scriptwriter of the Danish television phenomenon The Killing which won various international awards and sold in more than a hundred countries. More recently, Sveistrup wrote the screenplay for Jo Nesbø’s The Snowman. Sveistrup obtained a Master in Literature and in History from the University of Copenhagen and studied at the Danish Film School. He has won countless prizes, including an Emmy for Nikolaj and Julie and a BAFTA for The Killing.

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I was surprised when I received this novel and saw it had a whopping 515 pages to read. It was so captivating though that not even for one millisecond I considered this a disadvantage, I raced through it!

Frankly, I wasn’t nearly prepared enough when I started reading this as this novel had my heart nearly beating out of my chest after turning those first pages. Even though nestled cosily in my chair I felt a deep fear for what was coming. The start of the novel is heads-on disturbing and brutal (yeah just the way I like it). The tension eases slightly when the investigation starts but returns with lightening speed every so often and definitely ramps up towards the end when it gets more gruesome again. I have to say the assaults in this novel were quite brutal and an attack on my senses as well with their vivid imaginary descriptions.

Detectives Thulin and Hess were a great team even if they are quite different. The one green and one blue eyed detective Hess is a bit of an Einzelgänger and was dropped in Copenhagen while they’re investigating his past actions in The Hague. He doesn’t want to be there of course so at first he doesn’t want to invest any time or energy until it comes to his attention that there might – or must – be a link between the present murder and a murder that happened a year earlier which the killer confessed and was arrested for. The killer’s calling card leaves everyone baffled and he can’t help but take an interest after all.

The novel had a brilliant plot and I loved how the storyline was built. Even though I felt that the key to unlocking the mystery had to lie with Ministery of Social Affairs Hartung and her missing daughter Kristine, I wasn’t quite able to figure out how and why she fit into the story and the truth left me gobsmacked. Even though as a reader you know a bit more than the detectives, it’s impossible to stay far ahead of them so you reach the same conclusion almost at the same time, leaving you quite speechless about the outcome.

If you twist my arm about anything I didn’t like about this book it might be that it sometimes took a few moments to know whose POV I was reading at the start of a chapter but that’s really all I can think of. It’s such a minor detail though and I’m still giving The Chestnut Man all the stars. One other thing I want to mention is that the Dutch version of the book is called Oktober (yes the month October) which is in my opinion nowhere near as great a title as The Chestnut Man.

This novel is definitely one of the best thrillers I read of late. I recommend it especially to the readers who read and enjoyed The Fourth Monkey Killer and who don’t mind a bit of torture now and then. You definitely want to add this one to your readlist! It does feel obvious that the author is in the movie business and I really want to see this made into a series or a movie. I know now when to look away after all :-).

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

*** Don’t forget to check out the other blogs stops on this book tour ***

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