Extract ~ Blog Tour ~ Deep Dirty Truth by Steph Broadribb #thriller

Deep Dirty Truth AW.indd

A price on her head. A secret worth dying for.

Just 48 hours to expose the truth…

Single-mother bounty hunter Lori Anderson has finally got her family back together, but her new-found happiness is shattered when she’s snatched by the Miami Mob – and they want her dead. Rather than a bullet, they offer her a job: find the Mob’s ‘numbers man’ – Carlton North – who’s in protective custody after being forced to turn federal witness against them. If Lori succeeds, they’ll wipe the slate clean and the price on her head – and those of her family – will be removed. If she fails, they die.

With North due in court in forty-eight hours, Lori sets off across Florida, racing against the clock to find him and save her family. Only in this race the prize is more deadly – and the secret she shares with JT more dangerous – than she ever could have imagined.

In this race only the winner gets out alive…

Brimming with tension, high-stakes jeopardy and high-voltage action, and a deep, emotional core, Deep Dirty Truth is an unmissable thriller by one of the freshest and most exciting voices in crime fiction.

Many thanks to author, publisher and blog organiser for the extract of Deep Dirty Truth being shared today on booksaremycwtches.

Extract

Deep Dirty Truth
Lori Anderson Book Three
Steph Broadribb

ORENDA
BOOKS

1
I never saw it coming. Got totally blindsided. That’s the God’s honest
truth.
See, we’ve gotten ourselves into a routine of sorts – me, JT and
Dakota. Living all together in my two-bed apartment at the Clearwater
Village complex, playing our version of house. It’s still a little
awkward, with each of us taking time to find our rhythm in the shared
space of each other’s lives. But, you know, all that domestic stuff? It’s
starting to feel real good, kind of natural. I should’ve known something
bad was lurking around the corner, and some kind of evil was about to
storm in and mess it all up.
Because that’s what happens when you’ve a dirty secret in your past,
and a price on your head from Old Man Bonchese – the head of the
Miami Mob crime family – because of something he’s discovered you
did ten years back. Someone you killed: a lying, cheating, murdering
mobster. Thomas ‘Tommy’ Ford; my wife-beating, son-of-a-bitch
husband.
First they thought JT was responsible. Nearly had him killed a
couple of months back – multiple stab wounds, busted ribs, punctured
lung and a heart attack. But he’s strong. A fighter. And he’s convalescing
well.
But they wouldn’t let it go. Word was they’d got new information
and were now gunning hard for me; raising the bounty, getting every
low-life, bottom-feeding asshole to think they should chance their
luck.
As it was, they waited until September 19th to make their move. The
day started with a shared breakfast of bagels and cream cheese, followed
by me taking Dakota to school and leaving JT to do the dishes before
his physical therapy appointment. It seemed like a regular day; just like
the day before, and the day before that. But the schedule got changed
up. Our rhythm violently disrupted. And by 08:29 that morning our
world was shot to shit.

2
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19th, 08:24
It’s mad busy outside the school, and I can’t squeeze the Jeep into the
drop-off area, so I continue along the street a ways before finding a
spot that’s clear. I glance in the rearview mirror at Dakota as I shove
the gear into park. She’s fiddling with her cellphone, brow creased and
front teeth biting her lower lip in concentration, playing whatever
game is the latest craze.
‘Come on, honey. You don’t want to be late.’
She nods, but doesn’t look up. Jumping out, I run around to her side
and open the door. She puts the cell into her bag and I gesture for her
to get out. She’s got a coy expression on her that usually means she’s
revving up to ask something.
She takes her time unfastening her belt and gets her bags together
real slow. Clears her throat. ‘So JT said it would be okay, Momma, and
you know how much I love the Tampa Bay Rays.’
Her love of the Tampa Bay Rays is new. It started the moment JT said
they were his favourite local sports team, second only to the Yankees.
I lift her science project – a papier-mâché model of the planets in the
solar system – out of the trunk.
‘Sweetie, hurry.’
She dangles her legs out of the Jeep. Her knee socks are scrunched
around her ankles, her shoes are new, but the toe of the right one is
already scuffed. ‘So can I?’
They’ve been talking about it the last three weeks. JT wants to take
her to a ballgame at Tropicana Field and she’s keen to go. I want them
to have some father-daughter time, even if we haven’t yet told her that
JT is her father, but I’m worried the trip is too soon. Not for their
relationship, that’s doing just fine, but for JT’s health. He’s still healing,
and although the external bruises have faded now, he’s no way close to
being back to full strength. Standing for any length of time makes him
dog-tired and he still can’t walk any kind of distance.
‘Maybe, honey.’
Dakota sits on the edge of the seat. She pushes her strawberryblonde
bangs out of her eyes and looks up at me through long lashes.
‘But why only maybe? Why not yes?’
I smile. She’s persistent. Determined, just like her momma. ‘How
about soon?’
She frowns. ‘It’s better than no, I guess.’
I laugh. ‘Yes, it is. Now, scoot.’
She grins, and slides out of the Jeep. Swinging her bags over her
shoulder, she takes the science project and trots towards the school
gates. I stand on the sidewalk in the morning sunshine, leaning on the
trunk, and watch her join the flow of kids rushing into school. She’s
been through so much in the past year, yet she seems happy. She’s been
abducted, seen men die and been in fear of her life. That’s stuff no nineyear-
old should ever have to experience.
As Dakota reaches the school gate she turns, waves and disappears
inside.
I watch her, daring to hope the psychological scars are fading. The
guilt that what happened to her was because of me, because of my job,
remains heavy in my chest, and I know I’ll never forgive myself for it.
But I have to push through. Move on and stay focused on the future.
We all do.
On the street close behind me, a vehicle brakes hard, pulling me
from my thoughts. I hear a door slide open and glance over my shoulder,
glimpsing a van with blacked-out windows that’s stopped, butted
up against my Jeep, blocking me in.
I start to turn. ‘Hey, what are you…?’
Two men with shaved heads jump out of the vehicle. Hands yank
me backwards. Fingers dig into my shoulders and hips, pinning my
arms. I kick back, fighting hard, but they’re pulling me off balance. I
can’t get any power into my blows.
The voice in my right ear is low, menacing. ‘You keep wiggling,
you’ll only die tired.’
I pay their warning no mind. As they haul me across the blacktop
I’m screaming, bellowing, frantically looking for someone who can
help. But there’s no one; the other parents are inside the school gate,
out of sight and oblivious. I’m too far away.
‘Let me go … get your goddamn hands off—’
Tape is slapped across my mouth, silencing my shouts. Trapped
inside, my screams and curses echo in my head. Rough hands hood
me. The black material turns the world around me dark.
Then I’m off the ground, lifted up and back. I’m still fighting,
punching, bucking against them, but I’m outnumbered and they’re
too strong. I’m losing the battle. Seconds later they release me. Gravity
drops me onto the floor of the van. Pain shoots through my hip, my
knee, my elbow. My face hits something solid and I hear my jaw crack.
I taste blood in my mouth.
The door slides shut. The engine fires, and we’re moving.
Less than fifteen seconds from start to finish.
I doubt anyone even knows I’m gone.

3
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19th, 08:31
Panic never helped no one, and I’ll be damned if it’ll get the better
of me.
Heart punching in my chest, double-speed, I take stock of the situation.
I’m on my back – not a good position as it leaves my stomach
exposed, my vital organs vulnerable to easy damage, so I arch my back,
turn myself over.
My captors have other ideas. One grabs me, pulling me across the
van floor. I kick hard at them. Feel my toe connect and hear a grunt.
The moment of triumph doesn’t last. I feel more hands on me, flipping
me onto my side and clamping me still. My arms are yanked behind
me and I feel tape against my skin, binding my wrists, then my ankles.
Next moment they’ve gotten me hogtied. They’re are fast, practised
and methodical. This isn’t their first time.
So I make a choice and quit fighting. Conserve energy. But I’m sure
as hell not giving up. I’m harvesting data; every sound, every bump in
the blacktop, every gradient in the terrain, is a clue about where they’re
taking me.
I close my eyes. Listen real hard. At first I mostly hear the thump of
my pulse gunfire loud in my ears, but as I force my breathing to slow,
clearing my mind of panic, more sounds start to register.
The muffler’s rattling and the air conditioning is dialled up high.
I hear low voices, male, up front. I can’t make out their words, but I
can tell that there are two of them. Wondering how many others there
are, I move about the van floor, act restless and try to push myself up
with my elbow. Rough hands on my shoulders and my hips force me
down hard. My face slams against the floor. Pain shoots through my
forehead.
A third hand presses down on me. The same voice as before snarls in
my ear, ‘Quiet down, bitch.’
I don’t appreciate his tone, but I’ve got me my answer: there are two
people riding in the back with me, so with the pair up front that makes
four in total. Four guys sent to grab one woman.
Numbers like that tell me these people take no kind of chances.
We come to a stop, at an intersection I’m guessing. Over the blowers
of the air conditioning, I hear a blast of Miley Cyrus. It’s to our left,
likely coming from another vehicle. Then the van’s engine guns hard,
and we take a left, leaving the music behind.
I need to get my bearings but it’s tricky without any visual references.
I think back to the route we’ve taken, run through each of the
turns made since leaving Dakota’s school. I feel about-faced, but figure
we’re maybe going north-east. Heading out of town. Question is why;
is this a random snatch, or am I their target?
Right now, there’s no way to know for sure.
My captors are silent. The blacktop is smooth, the turns minimal.
The van coasts on at a steady speed, doing nothing that might attract
attention.
I concentrate on my breathing. Try to ignore the musty stench of
the hood, the oppressive gag of the tape and the sweat running down
my back. I push away thoughts of Dakota and JT, and the fear that I’ll
never see them again. There might be four of these guys, but I’ll never
go down easy. I’ll wait it out, looking for my chance to fight back.
Minutes later the van brakes and we start to reduce speed.
I flinch as a hand grips the back of my neck. ‘No noise, no tricks.’
We’re almost at a stop. I hear the buzz of a window being lowered
and the clatter of coins hitting metal. The hand around my neck
squeezes harder.
‘Have a nice day.’ A woman says from outside the van. There’s a
pause, followed by an electronic ping. Then we’re moving again.
The window buzzes back up and the pressure on my neck releases. I
know where we are. The woman was in a teller booth. We’ve just passed
through a toll.
My captors used coins – they don’t have a resident’s sunshine pass
that would’ve allowed them to use the lane for automated toll payments,
and that means they’re most likely from out of town.
As the van reaches cruising speed two things are real clear: we’re on
the freeway, and we’re not in Clermont anymore.
Not a car jacking.
Not robbery.
Not rape, at least not yet.
Then what the hell is it that these men want with me?
Again I run through the turns we’ve taken since leaving Dakota’s
school. I concentrate hard on the direction we’re taking along the
freeway. I think about the enemies I’ve made during my time as a
bounty hunter, and the threats I’ve gotten since. The realisation of
who could be behind this slithers up my spine and into my mind like
a copperhead.
I clench my fingers together. Grit my teeth beneath the tape.
I’ve seen the faces of the two men with shaved heads, and I’m clear
about what they’re capable of. If I’m right, if these men work for who
I think they do, then my situation is way worse than a random abduction.
If I want to live, I have to figure out a way to get free. I need to be
ready. Stay vigilant for any opportunity. Because one thing’s for sure:
these men are playing this game for keeps.
If they get their way, I won’t get out of this alive.

******************

Orenda Books16 Carson Road
West Dulwich
London se21 8hu
http://www.orendabooks.co.uk
First published in the UK in 2019 by Orenda Books
Copyright © Steph Broadribb 2018
Steph Broadribb has asserted her moral right to be identified as the author of
this work in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988.
All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any
form or by any means without the written permission of the publishers.
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
ISBN 978-1-912374-55-7
eISBN 978-1-912374-56-4
Typeset in Garamond by MacGuru Ltd
Printed and bound by CPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon cr0 4yy
For sales and distribution, please contact info@orendabooks.co.uk
Deep

You can purchase the book from Waterstones and Amazon.

 

About the author

steph broadribb

Steph Broadribb was born in Birmingham and grew up in Buckinghamshire. Most of her working life has been spent between the UK and USA. As her alter ego – Crime Thriller Girl – she indulges her love of all things crime fiction by blogging at http://www.crimethrillergirl.com, where she interviews authors and reviews the latest releases. Steph is an alumni of the MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) at City University London, and she trained as a bounty hunter in California. She lives in Buckinghamshire surrounded by horses, cows and chickens. Her debut thriller, Deep Down Dead, was shortlisted for the Dead Good Reader Awards in two categories and a finalist in the ITW Awards, and hit number one on the UK and AU kindle charts, and the sequel, Deep Blue Trouble soon followed suit. My Little Eye, her first novel under her pseudonym Stephanie Marland, was published by Trapeze Books in April 2018.

You can follow the author on Twitter

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Book Review ~ Blog Tour ~ Changeling by Matt Wesolowski. #Thriller

Changeling AW.indd

On Christmas Eve in 1988, seven-year-old Alfie Marsden vanished in the dark Wentshire Forest Pass, when his father, Sorrel, stopped the car to investigate a mysterious knocking sound. No trace of the child, nor his remains, have ever been found. Alfie Marsden was declared officially dead in 1995.

Elusive online journalist, Scott King, whose ‘Six Stories’ podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the disappearance, interviewing six witnesses, including Sorrel and his ex-partner, to try to find out what really happened that fateful night. Journeying through the trees of the Wentshire Forest – a place synonymous with strange sightings, and tales of hidden folk who dwell there, he talks to a company that tried and failed to build a development in the forest, and a psychic who claims to know what happened to the little boy…

Review

I would like to thank the author, publisher Orenda Books and blog tour organiser Anne Cater for the ARC in return for an honest review.

How to sum up my feelings about this book, the last I read in the closing moments of 2018?

A series of words come to mind,

*Clever
*Bold
*Though provoking
*Addictive
*Outstanding
*Splendid
*Stunning

What a way to end a reading year, with a story so marvellous that you’re left feeling elated and the fireworks that are going off outside, seem to be celebrating with you as turn the final page.

So why is it so good?

It is highly original in its format for one, the story is told as a series of podcasts, as online reporter Scott King looks into the historical case of missing Alfie Marsden. Scott interviews those involved and seeks to solve the mystery behind the boy’s disappearance. It has the feel of a true crime investigation to it, even though it’s a work of fiction and plays to that idea held by many true crime investigators, that real life is way scarier than fiction; what the writer achieves in my eyes is to disprove that, leaving me too scared to walk through the woods alone. As a result I was on edge from page one to the very last word.

The other wonderful thing is that Changeling has a dark and edgy feel to it, created by the way the writer builds the tension up gripping you so tight, you feel like you’re listening to the podcasts in real time, that your very much part of the story as it evolves. On top of this there are events within the story that cannot be explained, that are out of the ordinary, eerie and spine chilling, that left me feeling so on edge, I kept reading to find a resolution and some explanation. The wonder of this book, is that not only was I wowed by the ending, which resolved questions I had had since book one in the series, but I was left feeling chilled over a week after reading the book. Now that is master story teller at work, if days after turning the last page your still delightfully unnerved by a story you have read! It really was utterly spell binding!

The characterisation is perfection. Over the three books I have come to love on-line journalist Scott King, he is the right mixture of flawed, determined and elusive. You never quite know who he is, so secretive is he, so paranoid of the repercussions from his investigations, that he remains hidden not only from his listeners, but in many ways from us as well. What this book does is flesh him out, help us to understand him, but leaves him still a little bit of a mystery to us and himself. I feel sad that this may be the last time we read about Mr King, because his mercurial nature remains very much open to more stories. Why not a stunning televised crime drama, because King and the podcasts are surely a screen writers dream come true? Even characters such as Sorrel and Alfie Marsden’s mum, challenged me as a reader not to judge characters by the initial impression, but to allow the story to tell their tale.

This is bold and clever story telling at its best and it fulfils that much used phrase ‘a must read novel’. I look forward to where Matt Wesolowski’s talents will take us next and I feel confident it will be one heck of a ride.

You can purchase this book from Waterstones and Amazon.

About the author

mattwesolowski (1)

Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor for young people in care. Matt started his writing career in horror, and his short horror fiction has been published in numerous UK- an US-based anthologies such as Midnight Movie CreatureSelfies from the End of the WorldCold Iron and many more. His novella, The Black Land, a horror set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013. Matt was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in 2015. His debut thriller, Six Stories, was an Amazon bestseller in the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia, and a WHSmith Fresh Talent pick, and film rights were sold to a major Hollywood studio. A prequel, Hydra, was published in 2018 and became an international bestseller.

You can follow the author on Twitter

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Book Review ~ Blog ~ The Convalescent Corpse by Nicola Slade. #HistoricalCosyMystery.

the convalescent corpsecover3plusshout

The Convalescent Corpse

A story of Family, Rationing and Inconvenient Corpses.
Life in 1918 has brought loss and grief and hardship to the three Fyttleton sisters. Helped only by their grandmother (a failed society belle and expert poacher) and hindered by a difficult suffragette mother, as well as an unruly chicken-stealing dog and a house full of paying-guests, they now have to deal with the worrying news that their late – and unlamented – father may not be dead after all. And on top of that, there’s a body in the ha-ha.

 

‘I love it. A delightfully unusual mystery with wonderful characterisation and historical detail.’ – LESLEY COOKMAN BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF
THE LIBBY SARJEANT MYSTERY SERIES

 

Review

I would like to thank the author and blog tour organiser for the ARC in return for an honest review.

The Convalescent Corpse is a fun and highly enjoyable who done it, set on the home front during World War one. The Fyttleton sisters have to contend with an eccentric mother, money worries and a murder, which all ads up to a cosy mystery in which strong female characters are front and centre of the story.

One of the things I loved about this novel was the characters, the indomitable Fyttleton sisters. They are beautifully written as all very different from each other, one practical, another fun loving but self sacrificing and the youngest as eccentric and intelligent as her mother! They give this story its strength and vitality, because you can’t help but love the way they unite to support each other, but never stop being individuals. At a time in history, where women were given the liberty to live fuller lives, they encompass that can do attitude, so prevalent during that time and their vibrancy fills the pages of this novel.

The other wonderful thing about The Convalescent Corpse is the story, its cosy and a really pleasing read. I found myself lost in the story for hours and can see it being adapted into a fantastic Sunday night drama! You know the type, sat with a hot drink, snuggled up under a blanket, simply enjoying an hour or two of relaxed TV. Don’t mistake me, this is a story that has plenty of drama, a murder to solve and a father who may not dead after all, but it feels like your reading a story that simply lets you enjoy it, without having to check all your doors and windows are locked. More Joan Hickinson as Miss Marple, rather than check under the bed for crazy psychopaths Luther and I loved it.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone that wants to read a very enjoyable book, filled with highly likeable characters. Cosy up with it, you won’t regret it.

You can purchase a copy of the book from Amazon

You can also enter a giveaway to win a paperback copy of another of the authors books The House of Ladywell (Open Internationally) by following the LINK.
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

 

the convalescent corpse

About the author

the convalescent corpse nickydiamondphotocropped

Nicola Slade lives in Hampshire where she writes historical and contemporary mysteries and women’s fiction. While her three children were growing up she wrote stories for children and for women’s magazines before her first novel, Scuba Dancing, was published in 2005. Among other jobs, Nicola has been an antiques dealer and a Brown Owl! She loves travelling and at one time, lived in Egypt for a year. The Convalescent Corpse is Nicola’s 9th novel. Nicola is also a member of a crime writers’ panel, The Deadly Dames.

You can follow the author on Twitter and Facebook.

The Convalescent Corpse Full Tour Banner.jpg

 

Favourite Reads of 2018 #fiction #nonfiction & #children’s.

It’s been a wonderful reading year and I would like to thank the authors and publishers for all the amazing books i read in 2018. I would also like to thank the amazingly tour organisers who brought reading pleasure into my life.

I hope you enjoy my end of year favourites list and I look forward to sharing more fabulous books with you in 2019.

Top Ten Fiction reads of 2018

1 The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech

 

 

Be careful what you wish for…

Long ago, Andrew made a childhood wish, and kept it in a silver box. When it finally comes true, he wishes he hadn’t…
Long ago, Ben made a promise and he had a dream: to travel to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally makes it, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…
Ben and Andrew keep meeting in unexpected places, and the intense relationship that develops seems to be guided by fate. Or is it?
What if the very thing that draws them together is tainted by past secrets that threaten everything?
A dark, consuming drama that shifts from Zimbabwe to England, and then back into the past, The Lion Tamer Who Lost is also a devastatingly beautiful love story, with a tragic heart…

Why is this my book of 2018? Because it’s  beautiful, exquisite, heart breaking and establishes Louise Beech as one of the best writers this country has to offer. 

2 Attend by West Camel

 

 

When Sam falls in love with Deptford thug Derek, and Anne’s best friend Kathleen takes her own life, they discover they are linked not just by a world of drugs and revenge; they also share the friendship of the uncanny and enigmatic Deborah.
Seamstress, sailor, story-teller and self-proclaimed centenarian immortal, Deborah slowly reveals to Anne and Sam her improbable, fantastical life, an exquisite history of hidden Deptford and, ultimately, the solution to their crises.
With echoes of Armistead Maupin, Attend is a beautifully written, darkly funny, mesmerisingly emotive and deliciously told debut novel, rich in finely wrought characters that you will never forget.

This is another stunning read from publisher Orenda Books and a close contender for book of the year.  Just like The Lion Tamer Who Lost its beauty lies in the exquisite story about friendship, love and the stories that connect us. 

3 The Lido by Libby Page

 

 

Meet Rosemary, 86, and Kate, 26: dreamers, campaigners, outdoor swimmers…

Rosemary has lived in Brixton all her life, but everything she knows is changing. Only the local lido, where she swims every day, remains a constant reminder of the past and her beloved husband George.

Kate has just moved and feels adrift in a city that is too big for her. She’s on the bottom rung of her career as a local journalist, and is determined to make something of it.

So when the lido is threatened with closure, Kate knows this story could be her chance to shine. But for Rosemary, it could be the end of everything. Together they are determined to make a stand, and to prove that the pool is more than just a place to swim – it is the heart of the community.

The Lido is an uplifting novel about the importance of friendship, the value of community, and how
ordinary people can protect the things they love.

This  is a charming story about friendship and community. Uplifting, gentle, a fine debut and a wonderfully generous read. 

4 Keeper by Johanna Gustawsson

 

 

Whitechapel, 1888: London is bowed under Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror.
London 2015: actress Julianne Bell is abducted in a case similar to the terrible Tower Hamlets murders of some ten years earlier, and harking back to the Ripper killings of a century before.
Falkenberg, Sweden, 2015: a woman’s body is found mutilated in a forest, her wounds identical to those of the Tower Hamlets victims.
With the man arrested for the Tower Hamlets crimes already locked up, do the new killings mean he has a dangerous accomplice, or is a copy-cat serial killer on the loose?
Profiler Emily Roy and true-crime writer Alexis Castells again find themselves drawn into an intriguing case, with personal links that turn their world upside down.
Following the highly acclaimed Block 46 and guaranteed to disturb and enthral, Keeper is a breathless thriller from the new queen of French Noir.

This is a superb and exciting sequel to Block 46. A dark and intelligent read, it’s one of the finest examples of the thriller genre currently available to read. 

5 Turning For Home by Barney Norris

 

 

‘Isn’t the life of any person made up out of the telling of two tales, after all? People live in the space between the realities of their lives and the hopes they have for them. The whole world makes more sense if you remember that everyone has two lives, their real lives and their dreams, both stories only a tape’s breadth apart from each other, impossibly divided, indivisibly close.’

Every year, Robert’s family come together at a rambling old house to celebrate his birthday. Aunts, uncles, distant cousins – it has been a milestone in their lives for decades. But this year Robert doesn’t want to be reminded of what has happened since they last met – and neither, for quite different reasons, does his granddaughter Kate. Neither of them is sure they can face the party. But for both Robert and Kate, it may become the most important gathering of all.

The reason I loved this book is the lyrical use of language which weaves a story about family, connections and the reality that separates our dreams and real lives. It’s a stunning read. 

6 Palm Beach Finland by Antti Tuomainen

 

 

Jan Nyman, the ace detective of the covert operations unit of the National Central Police, is sent to a sleepy seaside town to investigate a mysterious death. Nyman arrives in the town dominated by a bizarre holiday village – the ‘hottest beach in Finland’. The suspect: Olivia Koski, who has only recently returned to her old hometown. The mission: find out what happened, by any means necessary.
With a nod to Fargo, and dark noir, Palm Beach, Finland is both a page-turning thriller and a black comedy about lust for money, fleeing dreams and people struggling at turning points in their lives – chasing their fantasies regardless of reason.

Delicious, dark and very funny. It’s noir at it’s best.

7 Good Samaritan by Will Carver

 

 

Dark, sexy, dangerous and wildly listenable, Good Samaritans marks the scorching return of one of crime fiction’s most exceptional voices.

One crossed wire, three dead bodies and six bottles of bleach.

Seth Beauman can’t sleep. He stays up late, calling strangers from his phone book, hoping to make a connection, while his wife, Maeve, sleeps upstairs. A crossed wire finds a suicidal Hadley Serf on the phone to Seth, thinking she is talking to The Samaritans.

But a seemingly harmless late-night hobby turns into something more for Seth and for Hadley, and soon their late-night talks are turning into daytime meet-ups. And then this dysfunctional love story turns into something altogether darker when Seth brings Hadley home…. And someone is watching….

This wonderful novel not only made me wonder why my mother spends so much time selecting her bleach, it left me turning the pages because it is such a thrilling read. 

8 Mostyn Thomas and The Big Rave by Richard Williams

 

 

When Mostyn, an ageing Pembrokeshire farmer on the brink of bankruptcy, runs into Jethro, a young raver, his fortunes appear to take a positive turn. The pair secretly mobilise the locals of the village pub to help put on the greatest money-spinning event in the history of Little Emlyn: Lewistock. The tension ramps up as the clock ticks down to the August bank holiday rave and young revellers begin to pour in from all corners of the county. But things do not go to plan; moneylenders, drug dealers, the county council and the bank all set a collision course with Mostyn and Jethro. It’s not clear who will get out alive…

This is an incredibly moving, funny and exciting read, that left me sad that the story had to end. 

9 Overkill by Vanda Simon

 

 

When the body of a young mother is found washed up on the banks of the Mataura River, a small rural community is rocked by her tragic suicide. But all is not what it seems.
Sam Shephard, sole-charge police constable in Mataura, soon discovers the death was no suicide and has to face the realisation that there is a killer in town. To complicate the situation, the murdered woman was the wife of her former lover. When Sam finds herself on the list of suspects and suspended from duty, she must cast aside her personal feelings and take matters into her own hands.
To find the murderer … and clear her name.
A taut, atmospheric and page-turning thriller, Overkill marks the start of an unputdownable and unforgettable series from one of New Zealand’s finest crime writers.

This book is simply unputdownable, with a exciting story, fabulous characters and I’m excited to read the upcoming sequel. 

10 The  Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

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London, 1893. When Cora Seaborne’s controlling husband dies, she steps into her new life as a widow with as much relief as sadness. Along with her son Francis – a curious, obsessive boy – she leaves town for Essex, in the hope that fresh air and open space will provide refuge.

On arrival, rumours reach them that the mythical Essex Serpent, once said to roam the marshes claiming lives, has returned to the coastal parish of Aldwinter. Cora, a keen amateur naturalist with no patience for superstition, is enthralled, convinced that what the local people think is a magical beast may be a yet-undiscovered species. As she sets out on its trail, she is introduced to William Ransome, Aldwinter’s vicar, who is also deeply suspicious of the rumours, but thinks they are a distraction from true faith.

As he tries to calm his parishioners, Will and Cora strike up an intense relationship, and although they agree on absolutely nothing, they find themselves at once drawn together and torn apart, affecting each other in ways that surprise them both.
The Essex Serpent is a celebration of love, and the many different shapes it can take.

Such a beautiful read. The language is stunning and the story wraps itself around your very reading soul. 

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Top Ten Non Fiction Reads

1 This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay

 

 

Funny, moving and a warning to all of us of how much we stand to lose if we don’t act to protect the NHS and it’s staff. 

2 The Luckiest Thirteen by Brian Lavery

 

 

Social history writing at it’s very best. 

3 Reading Allowed – True Stories and Curious Incidents From A Provincial Library by Chris Palling.

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Funny, moving, a tribute to the importance of libraries and why their closing is such a tragedy. 

4 The Year of Reading Dangerously by Andy Miller

 

 

Such a wonderfully absorbing read.

5 Somebody I Used To Know by Wendy Mitchell

 

 

Powerful, uplifting and a must read book. 

6. The Princess Diaries – A Sort of Memoir by Carrie Fisher

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When I was young, Princess Leia became my Princess and so I had to read this book. Funny, touching and honest. 

7 I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzal with Christopher Lamb

 

 

This was an incredibly moving and powerful read about such an incredible young lady. 

8 Gypsy Boy by Mikey Walsh

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LGBT non fiction read and I loved it. The story is powerful and very moving. 

9 One Hundred Favourite Poems by Classic FM Listeners

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Truly a lovely and fun read.

10 The Light In The Dark by Horatio Clare

 

Depression can affect us all. Here the author opens up his experience for us and it’s both moving and inspiring. 

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Favourite children’s and YA reads

1 Julian Is A Mermaid by Jessica Love

 

 

 

The sweetest and most generous story of celebrating difference that I’ve ever read. Truly a book both adults and children should read. 

2 Go To Sleep by Marion Adams

 

 

I know a little girl that used to say she had forgotten how to go to sleep and so I passed this to her and we loved it. 

3 Sarah’s Shadow by Nick Jones

 

 

Bullying is wrong, it hurts and ruins lives. This powerful book for younger readers tells them why and how to overcome it.

4 The Lights of Time by Paul Ian Cross

 

 

 

One for older children, this tale is an exciting fantasy story, that made me hope the author soon published more YA books. 

5 The Seven Sisters by Sibel Beadle

 

 

6 Sleepless in Stonehenge by Sibel Beadle

 

 

7 The Golden Bunny of The Lake District by Sibel Beadle

 

 

8. Nessie’s Husband by Sibel Beadle

 

 

All the books in this series encourage the younger reader to travel and to believe that adventures can be made through reading. They charming and very enjoyable.

9 Star Jumpers by Zoe Baxter. 

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Another exciting children’s book that I really enjoyed reading in 2018.

10 Hemlock Jones and The Angel of Death by Justin Carroll

 

 

 

 

This was a fun, quirky read that I really enjoyed. I’m really hoping there will be more in the series. 

Well those were my favourite reads of 2018! I’m looking forward to more fabulous reads in 2019.

Thank you everyone for your support. It really meant the world 💕