Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia #BlogTour #Extract

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Welcome to my turn on the blog tour for Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia. My thanks also to Quercus Books and Ella Patel for the opportunity to be part of the tour. I have an extract to share today of the initial meeting of the two main characters, speech-therapist Maya and Lucas, the boy who went missing with his father 10 years earlier. If this sounds as interesting to you as it did to me, then do read on!


There is a place in Minnesota with hundreds of miles of glacial lakes and untouched forests called the Boundary Waters. Ten years ago a man and his son trekked into this wilderness and never returned.

Search teams found their campsite ravaged by what looked like a bear. They were presumed dead until a decade later…the son appeared. Discovered while ransacking an outfitter store, he was violent and uncommunicative and sent to a psychiatric facility. Maya Stark, the assistant language therapist, is charged with making a connection with their high-profile patient. No matter how she tries, however, he refuses to answer questions about his father or the last ten years of his life.

But Maya, who was abandoned by her own mother, has secrets, too. And as she’s drawn closer to this enigmatic boy who is no longer a boy, she’ll risk everything to reunite him with his father who has disappeared from the known world.


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Mindy Mejia is an internationally acclaimed thriller writer, known for mixing compelling characters with page-turning suspense against the backdrop of the US Midwest. Her books have been chosen for People’s Best New Books Pick and listed in The Wall Street Journal’s Best New Mysteries. She lives and works in the Twin Cities.


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The patient faced the back of the room with his hands on the cement block wall in a push-up position. From the way he stood with his shoulders tensed and legs braced it looked like he was trying to move the entire wall. I took a step closer and noticed his hospital shirt was torn at the bottom and he’d used the missing strip to tie his hair back.

‘Hello, Lucas.’

He remained still for a second, but then surprised me by turning his head. I saw his face in person for the first time.

He wasn’t a boy.

My brain stuttered on that one thought for what felt like a stupidly long time as our eyes met and held. Why did all the media keep calling him a boy? Lucas Blackthorn looked at least as old as me and stood a foot taller. His cheeks were hollow and shaded with the beginning of a beard. His skin was a deep reddish tan, not the pasty white of most of our long-term patients, and his eyes conveyed things that no first session speech therapy could have drawn out: intelligence and caution mixed with undisguised curiosity.

Moving slowly and deliberately, I walked to the bare mattress between us. There was no table, so we’d have to start the flashcards on the bed. He watched my progress, studying my hair. The short, pixie-cut combined with its dyed color grabbed a lot of patients’ attention. One of the men in ward two, a lifer named Big George with a traumatic brain injury, even liked to touch the ends of it that swished in front of my ears. I made sure he stuck to the left side so he didn’t get distracted by the tiny silver hoop earrings along my right ear. Lucas noticed those, too. I watched him catalog every part of me, absorbing the appearance of this outsider to his room, like someone would analyze a newly discovered insect. His gaze paused on the blue fabric bag I carried, his expression unreadable now.

‘I’m Maya.’ Three syllables. Slow rate, distinct pronunciation.

I didn’t smile. I’d never trusted strangers who smiled at me – they always wanted something.

Patting the place where my pulse beat too fast, I nodded and said it again. ‘Maya.’

He swiveled back toward the wall, dismissing the insect. I glanced behind me where Stan was shaking his head through the lead glass. Shrugging, I started to pull out the flashcards when suddenly Stan’s face changed. His eyes widened and his mouth opened in a warning I couldn’t hear.

I hesitated and before I could turn around, a giant force threw me into the wall and something was being looped around my neck.

The metal door shrieked as Stan wrenched it open and I was pulled back, my body turned into a human shield. The thing around my neck tightened and I panicked, unable to breathe. Lucas had my arms locked behind me in an impossibly strong grip. I fought against it, desperate to free myself.

‘Keys,’ he said in a hoarse voice. I bowed my body against his,

trying to find some slack in the cord around my throat, but met only a column of unyielding muscle. If anything, the cord grew tighter.

My vision started to contract, black creeping in at the edges.

I kicked viciously, striking his shins so hard they should have snapped in half, and used the rest of my oxygen in the process. The last thing I saw before everything went dark was Stan’s hand, holding out his ring of keys.

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

Leave No Trace blog tour poster updated



Resin by Ane Riel #BookReview

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Liv died when she was just six years old. At least, that’s what the authorities think.

Her father knew he was the only one who could keep her safe in this world. So one evening he left the isolated house his little family called home, he pushed their boat out to sea and watched it ruin on the rocks. Then he walked the long way into town to report his only child missing.

But behind the boxes and the baskets crowding her Dad’s workshop, Liv was hiding. This way her Dad had said, she’d never have to go to school; this way, she’d never have to leave her parents.

This way, Liv would be safe.

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This novel was emotionally devastating! Yep I’m dropping that d-bomb right away. I feel it’s my duty to warn you right now that it’s totally going to creep up on you and shake you up by the end of it. Seriously, I didn’t know what I was diving into but this is quite a sensational story.

The very first sentence of the novel was instantly debilitating and I knew there was a captivating but harsh story between these pages to be discovered. The novel was very atmospheric, the remoteness, the isolation from the town and the mainland tangible between the pages. I mistakenly thought this novel was perhaps reminiscent of The Marsh King’s Daughter, a story involving an abhorrent dominant father but I couldn’t be further from the truth. Liv’s father didn’t punish her or used any kind of force and came across as a gentle soul and I forgave him for the lifestyle that he pushes upon his wife and child for quite a while. The author showed me his background, the seed that was planted for his actions in the present and that earned him some understanding. I also knew that even if Jens was doing wrong by keeping his daughter away from other children and by telling her things that weren’t necessarily true just to make it better, his actions were made out of a warped sense of love that made I couldn’t really hate him.

The blurb gave me the illusion that Liv was sort of held captive but she isn’t, at least not literally – she can move around – yet in a way she is because her world is confined and terribly limited, her view on the outside world small and distorted. She tells chapters in her own voice and I came to know her as a brave and resilient girl. My heart went out to her although I never heard her feel sorry for herself or cry. It’s only her brother who cries and the two of them acting together pulled on my heartstrings so hard.. it actually shredded my heart to pieces more than once!

Her father’s ideas and his mental health spiral out of control as the story progresses and there was one particular scene that will play in my mind many times over when thinking of this novel. You’ll certainly know what I’m talking about when you read this novel, it’s a completely non-violent scene but it made my heart thud quite loud. Even though it was quite reverant and written beautifully, it was also disturbing to read at the same time, especially because Liv is a witness to it as well and I felt how emotionally damaging that must have been for the child.

I was aware that the situation Liv was living in wasn’t normal but I felt like I was actually opening my eyes for real when it was presented by another person’s POV in the end. The tragedy really creeps on you and then suddenly it hit me real hard. I felt it in my gut.

You’ll do crazy things out of love and some might seem like the kindest thing to do but sometimes you just have to let people go. The horror of it all is that Jens, Liv’s father, just wants to keep, keep, keep..  A tragic and disturbing novel that you won’t possibly forget!

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

Author Spotlight: In Defense of Innocence by @DaveWickenden #QandA

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From time to time you come across a novel that piques your interest and In Defense of Innocence did just that. I think it’ll deliver some great conflicting feelings towards the person who’s avenging crimes and I already wonder what the main character, Janice Williams, will do in the end.

It doesn’t have a lot of reviews yet on Goodreads but I think it really deserves a spotlight so I’m very happy to have Dave Wickenden on the blog today. I have an interesting Q&A coming up but first some info about the novel:


In Defense of Innocence follows Janice Williams, head of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Child Sex Crimes Division, as she hunts child abusers only to be beaten to their capture by a vigilante who avenges the harms done to these innocent children.

When Janice uncovers the identity of the vigilante, she is faced with the dilemma to do her job to uphold the law or help this person escape a nation-wide manhunt.

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Customer Reviews IDOI


David Wickiden

Dave has lived the life of a protagonist. He spent time in the Canadian Armed Forces before the Fire Service, so is as comfortable with a rocket launcher as a fire hose. He has brought people back from the dead utilizing CPR and a defibrillator and has assisted in rescuing people in crisis. He has led men and women in extreme environments. He retired as Deputy Fire Chief to write full time.

Dave and his wife Gina are parents to three boys and three grandsons. His two youngest boys are busy with minor hockey and fishing, so you can guess where you’ll find Dave when he’s not writing. He is a proud member of the Sudbury Writers Guild and working on his fourth thriller novel.


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1. Defense of Innocence is a police procedural about the hunt on someone who targets child abusers. My first obvious question is:  How hard do we need to brace ourselves when starting this novel for graphic scenes? Should readers take caution about some disturbing scenes?

Although the story surrounds a very disturbing topic, there are no scenes of child abuse. There was no way I was going to sensationalize the horrors that played out by monsters within our society. Although I allude to and come close to tell the story, readers do not have to worry about graphic or gory details. In one scene, I go into the thoughts of a child abuser and a fair amount of readers told me that one scene spooked them good.

2. What gave you the idea to write a novel about this subject matter? Did your job have anything to do with it perhaps?

Although I have come across physical abuse of women in my career as a firefighter, I never had to deal with a child abuse incident. However, I personally know of some children who have been abused and of course we are inundated through the media with countless stories of animals preying on children. Each and every time though, the punishment did not fit the crime and that got me upset. The story had been growing in me for a number of years and finally I decided to write a story that brought attention to the issue while at the same time was an exciting read.

The vigilante in the story does what I think a lot of us contemplate in the darkest corners of our minds. What parent wouldn’t think about taking the law in their own hands if someone touched their child? I’ve listened to fathers, god fearing and law abiding citizens say so when the topic is raised.

3. What was the most challenging part when writing this book?

The hardest part is keeping it real. Although I write fiction, it has to be realistic. There is a scene where a mother comes to realize that her child is dead. As a parent, this had to be the hardest scene. I won’t lie, I bawled my eyes writing this part, because I had to put myself into the character’s head and imagine finding my own child. I also had to get into Janice’s head while dealing with this distraught parent. It hurt like hell.

4. What’s the most fun part of being a full-time writer?

The best part is having time. I have no idea how authors who work full time can write a book. Even working all day long, I’m still struggling to get all I want done completed. As I become more comfortable with the writing process, the stories are taking less time to complete, so I am able to produce more. And I have so many ideas.

5. The detective in Defense of Innocence is Janice Williams. Who is she? Can you compare her with another detective we might know?

Janice could be anyone of us. We all carry baggage, some more than others. We all struggle with our demons; some real, like her past and some circumstantial like overcoming a marriage breakup. How we deal with those demons defines us. By facing her biggest fear, Janice has become a strong successful police officer. She still has issues but she won’t quit.

As for comparisons, I think a good contender would be Detective Olivia Benson from Law and Order: SVU. Using her tortured past to help her understand what the victims have had to deal with.

6. Who is your own all-time favorite detective?

My favorite detective would have to be Batman. He’s been around forever uncovering and stopping the schemes of the world’s most evil villains. He uses a variety of techniques and technologies that are usually cutting edge. Hell if I was as buff as the Bat, I’d wear spandex too.

7. You write books about child abuse and ISIS, two very diverse novels. Is there a story in your head that you still really want to write in your life?

I have a number of ideas swimming in my head. One would deal with a cult that is involved in a scheme to take down the government. Another idea is an issue that is growing and surrounds itself with fresh water. Canada has it in abundance. I think in the future it will be fought over more viciously than oil (Next World War?)

Of course any important issue that is affecting the world like child abuse and the radicalization of young people by ISIS is always on my radar. My question is always – what would I do if…

8. What’s the current working title for your Work In Progress? 

My WIP is the sequel to IN DEFENSE OF INNOCENCE. I haven’t confirmed a title, but I am toying with DEADLY HARVEST. My main character is in Paris and fights an International Human Trafficking organization.

9. One final question to round up: You’re Canadian and I haven’t been to Canada yet but I would love to visit one day. Can you give me just one tip what not to miss when I visit (sights, food, anything)? 

When you visit Canada, make sure to try Poutin – this is a national treat that stems from Quebec. It is french-fries covered in cheese curds and gravy. Of course, if you’re American, try our Canadian beer just so you taste the difference – of course, this might cause an invasion on its own.

Thank you Dave for your answers. It was a pleasure to have you on the blog!

Keep Her Silent by Theresa Talbot #BlogTour #QandA

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Welcome to my turn on the blog tour for Keep Her Silent by Theresa Talbot. My thanks also to Vicky Joss and publisher Aria for the opportunity to be part of the tour.


Ooonagh O’Neil is back with another dark and chilling investigation…

‘Do that which is good and no evil shall touch you’

That was the note the so-called Raphael killer left on each of his victims. Everyone in Glasgow – investigative journalist Oonagh O’Neil included – remember the murder of three women in Glasgow which sent a wave of terror through the city. They also remember that he is still at large…

When the police investigation into the Raphael killings reopens, Oonagh is given a tip off that leads her straight to the heart of a complex and deadly cover-up. When history starts to repeat itself, it seems the killer is closer than she thinks. Could Oonagh be the next target…?

Authentic and gritty, Keep Her Silent is a gripping and page-turning thriller that will leave you breathless. Perfect for fans of Susie Steiner, and Karin Slaughter, Patricia Gibney.


Amazon: mybook.to/KeepHerSilent
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2KtnDBg
iBooks: https://apple.co/2KscfoZ
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2u0VxlQ


Theresa TalbotTheresa Talbot is a BBC broadcaster and freelance producer. A former radio news editor, she also hosted The Beechgrove Potting Shed on BBC Radio Scotland, but for many she will be most familiar as the voice of the station’s Traffic & Travel.

Late 2014 saw the publication of her first book, This Is What I Look Like, a humorous memoir covering everything from working with Andy Williams to rescuing chickens and discovering nuns hidden in gardens. She’s much in demand at book festivals, both as an author and as a chairperson.


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Can you tell me a little bit about this novel? Why do we need to pick this one up?

I could be cheeky and say please pick up & buy Keep Her Silent as my roof leaks & I need new shoes! But seriously, Keep Her Silent has been such a labour of love for me. The second in the Oonagh O’Neil series, there are three strands running through the narrative; a cold case going back to the 1970s when three women were murdered by The Raphael Killer, a women incarcerated in a secure unit for the slaying of her husband and son, and the tainted blood scandal, where thousands of patients were infected with Hep C & HIV through contaminated blood products. The tainted blood scandal has been described as the ‘worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS’ (Sir Robert Winston) and although Keep Her Silent is a work of fiction, this part of the story is based on real characters and real life events. I’ve worked closely with one of the victims, and his story is one of nightmares. I’m a journalist and although, yes I was aware of the scandal, I had no idea of the actual effect it has had on the victims.

I’m always really fascinated by institutionalised crime, or crime by the establishment, and the fact that few, if any, perpetrators are ever brought to justice. That’s how I feel about the tainted blood scandal. Google it and you’ll be led down a wormhole that beggars belief. I made that the central theme to my book, for me it’s the biggest crime of the 20th century and beyond, yet all committed by the establishment with the backing of the law. Pharmaceutical giants were making millions from these infected blood products, yet they put profit before the suffering of mankind. Threading that through a crime novel seemed natural to me – readers invest in characters and themes in works of fiction that make them sit up and take notice. That said, I was really nervous about the whole thing – I felt such a huge responsibility to everyone affected to get it right. Thankfully, so far, it’s had a very positive response.

This is the second novel in a series. Can it be read as a standalone?

Yes, it can be read as a standalone, but there are obviously references to ‘The Lost Children’, and my characters behave in certain ways because of their past and their experiences. One of my pet hates in any work of fiction (especially soaps) is that something awful, wonderful or earth shattering can happen to a character. They’re then the central storyline for six weeks before it moves on to another plotline and their experience is hardly mentioned. I’ve tried to develop my characters, make them real flesh & blood human beings. They change and grow as time moves on. One of my characters, Tom, has undergone (on the surface) quite a dramatic change, but I felt that that was right thing to do. He’d made a decision in the last book to change his life and follow it through. I’ve got a whole lot of respect for Tom..then I realise he’s not real and I made him up! So although it’s not necessary to read The Lost Children first, it may explain some of the character traits and background, but I was careful to ensure that readers who pick up this as their first taste of my novels won’t be left scratching their heads… unless they just happen to have a random itch!

Who is one of your favourite detectives and why?

No contest, Inspector Salvo Montalbano. Written by Andrea Camilleri, the stories are set in Sicily. He’s decent, honest & hard working … just like all good Sicilian Detectives (!) and operates in a rather murky world – there’s loads of humour too. I watch Young Montalbano on DVD to drool over the scenery and practice my Italian. He’s my favourite this week as I’m heading off to Italy soon – in a few months time when I’m stuck indoors and the rain is battering off my window it might be John Shaft again!

What is your favourite method of murder?

I just read an online post saying a Tupperware lid would be the best ever murder weapon as no-one would ever be able to find it again! I’m wracking my brains here trying to think what my ‘favourite’ method is… I have to say, an old episode of ‘Tales of The Unexpected’ keeps coming back to mind. ‘Lambs to The Slaughter’ was an adaptation of a 1953 short story by Roald Dahl. Mary Marney – played by Susan George – whacks her husband over the head with a frozen leg of lamb when he announces that he’s leaving her. She calls the police, claiming it was an intruder, and subsequently feeds the murder weapon to the detective who’s all smitten with her. It’s hilarious – and black too. I’m not sure I’d need to go to all that trouble if I wanted to kill someone – I’d just cook the lamb and watch them slowly lose the will to live as they chewed endlessly on a piece of gristle.

What are you reading right now?

I have far too many books on my TBR pile, and I need to be honest I’ve had to take a break from reading as I had so much writing to do it was interfering with my brain! But I’ve just started The Janus Run by Douglas Skelton (I have a review copy – on the shelves by the time you read this) and I have to say this is one bloody great read!

What’s on the cards in the future?

Book 3 in the Ooagh O’Neil series in now underway (if my agent or publisher is reading this then it’s finished and at the final edit stage!) I’ve grown so fond of Oonagh, she’s flawed and troubled and sometimes gets it wrong – but she’ll fight with her last breath to stick up for the underdog. I’m giving Jim McVeigh (detective) a bit more to say and do in this book too.

Thank you Theresa for answering the questions and having me on the blog tour!

Thank you for having me – it’s been such a pleasure xx

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*** Don’t forget to check the stops on the book tour ***

Keep Her Silent Blog tour Poster

Before Her Eyes by Jack Jordan #BlogTour #Guestpost

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Welcome to my turn on the blog tour for Before Her Eyes by Jack Jordan. Sincere thanks also to Kirsty Doole of Corvus Books for the opportunity to be part of the tour. I have already read and reviewed both of the novels Jack Jordan wrote this year so I’m sharing an amazing guestpost with you all today that is very touching but first and foremost let’s start with the book itself:


She can’t see the killer But the killer can see her…

Naomi Hannah has been blind since birth. Struggling with living in a small, claustrophobic town, Naomi contemplates ending her life. But then she stumbles across the body of a young woman who has been brutally murdered. She senses someone else there at the scene – watching her. Naomi may not be able to see the killer’s face, but she is still the only person who can identify him.

As the police begin hunting the person responsible and more victims are discovered, Naomi is forced to answer the question on which her fate hangs: why did the killer let her live?

In a town this small, the murderer must be close, perhaps even before her very eyes…

Click the links below for my book reviews on all of his books so far :

A Woman Scorned and Before Her Eyes, My Girl and Anything For Her.


Before Her Eyes is available in paperback and ebook (audio coming soon) from Waterstones, WHSmith Travel, Waitrose, and all good bookshops and online outlets, including all major e-retailers

amazon uk  and links to Anything for Her, My Girl, A Woman Scorned.


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Agoraphobia kept me prisoner, but ultimately set me free 

Most authors will tell you that they have wanted to be writers ever since they can remember, and have always imagined they would have their own stories on the shelves one day. My start, however, was a little different.

            I loved reading and writing as a child. English was one of my favourite subjects in school. I beamed whenever I had the opportunity to exercise creative writing in class and I’ve always loved reading, even if a little out of my age range (I was once told a book was too mature to bring to school… I can’t even remember what it was. All I knew was: it was a book and I was going to read it). But I never remember thinking that my love of reading and writing meant that I could have a book on the shelf too. I never thought that someone like me, a working class kid, could achieve something so monumental. I had put limitations upon myself from the very beginning: I wouldn’t even allow the idea of writing a book, let alone getting it published, to enter my mind, which stayed that way until one day, many years later, my dream finally clicked… but not without struggles along the way.

            Cut to me, aged seventeen. After moving four hours away from home in a wild, rebellious rush, I returned home utterly broken from a traumatic experience. I came home to feel safe, with no idea that the very same home I craved would become my prison for over a year.

            Anxiety is a powerful, intelligent thing. I’ve had it my entire life. Separation anxiety plagued every goodbye. Sunday nights were hell in my house, as my anxiety exploded from having to face another week of school. But even a lifetime of anxiety could not have prepared me for the debilitating power of agoraphobia and PTSD.

            Overnight, I became a recluse. I existed entirely behind closed doors. I gave windows a wide berth to avoid being seen, flinching whenever someone walked by. I shut myself away if there were visitors in the house, and lost all sense of night and day, sleeping in the day and living at night, which made me feel like I was the only person awake in the entire world, a unique breed of loneliness that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. My anxiety was triggered by everything and anything, however irrational they seemed. And then it got so bad that I couldn’t even leave my bedroom.

            I remember when this happened: I had walked down the stairs at the exact same moment the postman delivered our mail, and the shock of it brought on a horrendous panic attack. I collapsed on the stairs and stayed there, hyperventilating with my eyes on the glass in the door, too terrified to move. I stayed there for an hour. Just like that, I was confined to my bedroom, too scared to even look out of my own window.

            One morning, after another sleepless night, I lay in bed filled with unspent energy. Hiding away day and night takes very little physical exertion, and deprives a person of mental stimulation. The energy builds and builds and builds like traffic, and with nowhere to go, it ends up fuelling the anxiety, the very thing that was keeping me hidden in the first place – a never-ending cycle that I felt helpless to stop. So as the sun rose, I wrote a short story to pass the time. It was only a thousand words or so, written in the notes app on my Blackberry. I didn’t think anything of it, it was just something I did for fun, just another idea that had presented itself inside my mind that I had no idea what to do with or felt I had the right to act on. It was just to help me fall asleep.

            Except… when I woke up, I wrote another chapter. And another. And another. I had no idea that I was writing a book, only that I was creating characters who could exist outside of my prison. I was getting the stimulation I craved and a way out of my hell, even if my escape was only imaginary.

            For six months, I lived vicariously through my characters, escaping the confines of my home using my mind, my characters, the power of words, until one day I looked down and realised I had written a novel of one hundred thousand words. Without realising, I had fulfilled the dream I had never allowed myself to fathom. The second I wrote ‘The End’, I knew I was a writer, and that deep down, I had known all along.

            Writing ‘The End’ was only the beginning, but it unlocked a truth from within me, a realisation that might never have occurred, had it not been for my anxiety: I’m a writer. I always have been. All of those ideas that had plagued my mind for years not only had a way of being released, but they had a purpose.

            You’re not reading the words of a university graduate. I never even went to college. I dropped out of school at fourteen because of depression and anxiety (growing up attracted to the same sex is VERY fun, by the way). You’re reading the words of an author whose lifeline was the written word. As my peers moved around the country to study, I taught myself grammar, spelling, punctuation, how to format a novel, how to structure a story, how the whole publishing thing worked, all from the confines of my bedroom. I spent day and night making my dream a reality, and slowly put myself back together again through years of therapy and exposure. Five years later, I went on to publish my debut novel Anything for Her, followed by my second, My Girl, the year after. The two titles sold over one hundred thousand copies.

            So now, at twenty-five, as I prepare myself for the release of my traditional debut, Before Her Eyes, I look back with complete admiration for who I was at seventeen, and for all the strength it took to face and trust the world again, not only as a person, but as a writer, with my past and pain strewn over the pages of my books and dozens of rejections to my name.

Eight years have passed, but I will never forget how I started, and will always feel the same pride, the same overwhelming confirmation that being a writer is who I am, every time I write ‘The End’.

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

Before Her Eyes (Blog Tour)

The Fifth to Die by J.D. Barker #BookReview

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In the midst of one of the worst winters Chicago has seen in years, the body of missing teenager Ella Reynolds is discovered under the surface of a frozen lake.

She’s been missing for three weeks… the lake froze over three months ago.

Detective Sam Porter and his team are brought in to investigate but it’s not long before another girl goes missing. The press believes the serial killer, Anson Bishop, has struck again but Porter knows differently. The deaths are too different, there’s a new killer on the loose.

Porter however is distracted. He’s still haunted by Bishop and his victims, even after the FBI have removed him from the case. His only leads: a picture of a female prisoner and a note from Bishop: ‘Help me find my mother. I think it’s time she and I talked.’

As more girls go missing and Porter’s team race to stop the body count rising, Porter disappears to track down Bishop’s mother and discover that the only place scarier than the mind of a serial killer is the mind of the mother from which he came.

amazon uk amazon com



I’m reading some incredible novels this year and this rollercoaster of a read is definitely one of them. This is such an amazing series, you’re missing out if you’ve not sprung on the wagon!

There are not one, not two but three very different angles of investigation in The Fifth to Die that made this an extremely tense and high-speed read, where new things were constantly discovered and really keep the ball on rolling. Sam, the lead detective of the first novel, is on his own fairly soon when someone sets him up and they pull him off the case. He doesn’t start twiddling his thumbs though but continues on his own and follows a small lead that makes him team up with an unexpected but very welcome new sidekick who isn’t a detective. It really brakes the mould of so many clichés and I enjoyed their interactions very much. Then there’s FBI man Poole looking into the information about the Fourth Monkey Killer again and everything Sam left behind and finally the third team consists of Nash, Clair and IT guy Klotz who have technology and resources on their side.

Even with all this manpower splashed about, catching this guy who’s abducting girls is not evident at all. They believe they know the identity of the guy but where he is or determining why he’s doing it is unclear. The scenes of the girls held captive were soooo scary and disturbing. I looooved reading them and witnessing the different reactions but was equally horrified when reading about what they had to endure (nothing sexual thankfully although I wouldn’t boast about the alternative either).

I’m going to stop right here because it’s impossible to describe how wonderfully complex and cleverly plotted this novel was. It was very puzzling but so engaging to read that I did not want to end my reading sessions. So the only reason I didn’t give it five stars is because I was left with so many unanswered questions at the end of this novel and I mean big, important, fundamental questions that were there the whole time. I really don’t have a choice but to read the third (and final?) part of this series and I’m all too willing to do so but I wish it had given me some answers at least. You see things unfold in this novel but I can’t wait to hear the explanation of the why’s and how’s to so many questions I have.

If you’re interested in reading this novel then you definitely have to read The Fifth Monkey first. This is a trilogy where you have to start with the first novel, you simply can’t drop in mid-story, there’s too much backstory and character development that is detrimental to understanding and enjoying the sequel to the fullest. The diary entries of the first novel for example play an important role in The Fifth to Die as well and some of it suddenly seems different than before. You also can’t – I repeat – can’t walk away from this story after you finished this one. This was a crazily addictive read to me and J.D. Barker has so earned his stripes for me as a horror/thriller writer. I wish I could  read book 3 already!

I received a free copy of this novel from Booklover Catlady Publicity in exchange for my honest opinion.

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.


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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