#BlogTour #TheAbandoned by Sharon Thompson

Thanks so so much to Sarah from Bloodhound Books and Sharon Thompson herself for allowing me to be part of the book tour for The Abandoned, which is out now and, at time of posting, only £0.99 on Kindle!

9781912175901

What they say: Peggy Bowden has not had an easy life. As a teenager her mother was committed to an asylum and then a local priest forced her into an abusive marriage. But when her husband dies in an accident Peggy sees an opportunity to start again and trains as a midwife.

 

In 1950s Dublin it is not easy for a woman to make a living and Peggy sees a chance to start a business and soon a lucrative maternity home is up and running. But when Peggy realizes that the lack of birth control is an issue for women, she uses their plight as a way to make more money. Very soon Peggy is on the wrong side of the law.

 

What makes a woman decide to walk down a dark path? Can Peggy ever get back on the straight and narrow? Or will she have to pay for her crimes?

 

Set against the backdrop of Ireland in the 1950’s The Abandoned tells the story of one woman’s fight for survival and her journey into the underbelly of a dangerous criminal world.


The Review: I can’t even tell you how long I’ve waited to see Sharon Thompson appear on this blog! Sharon, a member of Carmel Harrington’s ‘Imagine Write Inspire’ Writing group, has to be one of the most inspirational, hard working people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing in the writing world. Her work has always been of the standout variety, with characters that are bold and brazen with flaws, quirks and imperfections and yet morals and beauty and an incredible story to tell. And there is always, always a nice layer of dark humour to grab you too! And so here we stand with Peggy Bowden. From the second I met Peggy I was hooked. She is strong with sass and backchat ever present, but with a multitude of worries and fears. The thing is she tries to hide anything that could be seen as a weakness from her girls, the women who work for her in a brothel in number thirty four in Mountjoy Square, Dublin, in the 1950’s. (The most special mention for the innocent Molly, who stole my heart and made my stomach ball up with nerves on more than one occasion.)
 This is the story of Peggy’s journey as she tries to get out of said house and her life as she knows it. We are shown where Peggy came from, via beautiful scenes of her mother, who farmed and tended lands and then thrown into the harsh reality of how hard it was for women of the time and how men were seen as saviours for all women. This was a running theme, which Peggy battled sometimes successfully, sometimes not as we learned and saw some of the things Peggy did to make money, always justifying her actions, even when she doubted her motives.
This is a gritty, rise to power, revolutionary type of book, that shows what men do to keep their strongholds and how women do what they can purely to keep alive. It is filled with sorrow, angst, hope, love and a wealth of characters, some that disgust you, some who make you cheer, some that give you hope and others that disappoint when you least expect it. It’s gritty, dark, vivid and sometimes very very brutal (see blurb for her job descriptions, throw in some violence and you’re halfway there), but always gripping, with dark laughs in there to keep your head above water. I have to admit I was terrified that this wouldn’t be my cup of tea, as to me it sounded more like historical fiction, but to be honest I’m not sure that this can be put into any category (I’ve seen it described as a thriller but personally I wouldn’t put it there), it seems different to anything in the charts out there at the moment, and is very much a standout. Ridiculously highly recommended!
Rating: 5/5
Author Profile: 

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Sharon Thompson lives in Donegal, Ireland. She is a member of Imagine, Write, Inspire. This is a writing group, under the mentorship of HarperCollins author Carmel Harrington. Sharon’s short stories have been published in various literary magazines and websites. #WritersWise is her collaboration with writer, Dr Liam Farrell. This is a trending, fortnightly, promotional tweet-chat with corresponding Facebook page and website (www.writerswise1.wordpress.com). Its mission is to encourage and support writers to reach as wide an audience as possible. Although she mostly writes crime fiction, Sharon does have a fun-side and she writes the quirky Woman’s Words column for the Donegal Woman websiteSharon Thompson. Writing Fun is her writing page on Facebook and she tweets @sharontwriter.

Connect with her online

Website    
twitter   @sharontwriter        

 

Now, How about you check out the rest of the blog tour?

BLOG TOUR

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The Missing Ones by Patricia Gibney

themissingones

Length: 434 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: The hole they dug was not deep. A white flour bag encased the little body. Three small faces watched from the window, eyes black with terror.

The child in the middle spoke without turning his head. ‘I wonder which one of us will be next?’

When a woman’s body is discovered in a cathedral and hours later a young man is found hanging from a tree outside his home, Detective Lottie Parker is called in to lead the investigation. Both bodies have the same distinctive tattoo clumsily inscribed on their legs. It’s clear the pair are connected, but how?

The trail leads Lottie to St Angela’s, a former children’s home, with a dark connection to her own family history. Suddenly the case just got personal.

As Lottie begins to link the current victims to unsolved murders decades old, two teenage boys go missing. She must close in on the killer before they strike again, but in doing so is she putting her own children in terrifying danger?

Lottie is about to come face to face with a twisted soul who has a very warped idea of justice.

Fans of Rachel Abbott, Karin Slaughter and Robert Dugoni will be gripped by this page-turning serial killer thriller, guaranteed to keep you reading late into the night.

The Review: I read a review quite a while ago from a blogger who gushed about an author who lived in her locality, saying that everything was a billion times more real because she knew she lived in the area that the book was loosely based around. I remember thinking how great that would be, but, being outside the box in terms of irish fiction (romantic comedies and thrillers are most definitely trumped here by literary fiction that I can’t always get my head around), I didn’t think it would ever happen. And then it did! One day, I was speaking to my son’s teacher, and she mentioned that a friend of hers had gotten a major book deal. She said that she was with a publisher that was different to other publishers, but were huge. That evening  our internet was down (this was back in the day of our non existing internet, before we moved house), and I totally forgot about it until she asked me was I going to the book launch and that’s when I went googling and oh my word!

‘She’s with Bookouture!!’ I squealed at her when I met her the following day. The poor lady just nodded and I began to gush about how much I ADORED Bookouture and how they’d put out some of the best books for me of the past few years. I then gushed about her friend (Ms. Gibney), who I’d seen on Twitter and the fact that she was writing thrillers. A writer from westmeath putting out thrillers! The gushing continued at home, where I’m sure my husband wanted to stuff his fingers in his ears and sing ‘la, la, la, la, la’ until I left the room. I downloaded the first two of her books and requested the third and a few days later headed over to her book launch for ‘The Stolen Girls,’ where I bought it as a beautiful paperback, which I will share pics of with you when I get to it (very soon). So I’ll leave the lead in at this, amazing author with amazing publisher puts out an amazing book and it’s supposedly set around here, but with the name Ragmullin (not Mullingar, isn’t that ingenious?!) Okay. I’m stopping. Honest.

So we start off with a dark prologue that features a group of children seeing things that they cannot and should not get their heads around. I have to admit that already I was so shocked that I nearly forgot to highlight. Then there’s the meeting of a lady with someone from her past in a cathedral and a murder (this sounds so wrong but I have to admit I loved the modern twist in terms of the murder weapon!). Actually as an aside I have to admit when I heard that it was largely based around the catholic church my heart lurched a little. Ireland has a horrifically sordid past in terms of how mothers and children were treated, and I think it’s one of the most tawdry and wrong in the world and I have to admit there’s times I wonder how we don’t hang our heads more but then saying that I do try to go to mass when I can (I’m a cherry picker Catholic if you will, sorry if that offends people, but I choose to go by the nicer parts of catholicism, those that are inclusive and teach being nice, helpful and loving, and disapprove of anything that isn’t fair on people or that excludes people for any reason). Takes breath (yes I know this is an odd review, I’m sorry, I’ll get back to it now!!!).

So DI Lottie Parker has been called to investigate. I loved her straight away and, as the book unfolded, enjoyed finding out about her family life, which is tough going, the kids have lost their father and the love of Lottie’s life, Adam, and she’s struggling to cope. The kids were lovely, Lottie was real and I loved reading about their family life as much as the case, which is something that always draws me in and keeps my eyes flying over the screen. Then there was the dynamics of the station, and her colleagues was brilliantly done (I have to admit I truly hearted Boyd, who was by her side when she needed him).

This book is enshrouded in dark and mystery, with shifty, weak characters, and terrifyingly sinister looming figures that fill you with dread. It jumps between past at St Angel’s children’s home and present, shocks and makes you grimace. It is not always outwardly graphic(sometimes it is), but gives you enough to leave imagery in your head that shouldn’t be there. It is a memorably book for me, not just because of it’s origins, but because it’s probably one of the most unputdownable books I’ve read since I’ve started blogging. Beyond recommended and cannot wait to get to the next of this series.

Rating: 5/5

EXCERPT, COVER REVEAL and GIVEAWAY: DON’T CLOSE YOUR EYES by Holly Seddon

I am beyond delighted to share a brilliant, bite size excerpt for the paperback edition of Don’t Close Your Eyes by Holly Seddon, which is available on the 4th January 2018, and also to reveal its brilliant cover AND to let you be in with a chance to win a signed copy!!!! COVER IMAGE LEADS TO A UNIVERSAL AMAZON BUY LINK FOR THE PAPERBACK.

First though, What They Say:

Robin and Sarah weren’t the closest of twins. They weren’t even that similar. But they loved each other dearly. Until, in the cruellest of domestic twists, they were taken from one another. 

Now, in her early 30s, Robin lives alone. Agoraphobic and suffering from panic attacks, she spends her days pacing the rooms of her house. The rest of the time she watches – watches the street, the houses, the neighbours. Until one day, she sees something she shouldn’t…

And Sarah? Sarah got what she wanted – the good-looking man, the beautiful baby, the perfect home. But she’s just been accused of the most terrible thing of all. She can’t be around her new family until she has come to terms with something that happened a long time ago. And to do that, she needs to track down her twin sister.

But Sarah isn’t the only person looking for Robin. As their paths intersect, something dangerous is set in motion, leading Robin and Sarah to fight for much more than their relationship…

 

The Excerpt: Present day ROBIN

Robin drags in the stuffy air with thin breaths, puffs it out quickly. Dust dances in the foot of a sunbeam. Robin tries not to imagine those tiny specks filling her lungs, weighing her down.

Outside, the Manchester pavement is grey and wet but the air has a freshness, a flirtation with spring. Robin won’t feel this. She won’t let the damp tingle her skin. It won’t slowly sink into the cotton of her faded black T-shirt.

A bus rushes past the window, spraying the front of her house and its nearest neighbours with a burst of puddle water temporarily turned into surf. But Robin doesn’t see this. She only hears the gush and the disappointment of the woman whose jeans got ‘fucking soaked‘.

Robin did not go out yesterday and she will not leave her house today. Bar fire or flood, she’ll still be inside tomorrow. Just as she has been inside for these last years. Until a few weeks ago, everything in Robin’s world had been fine and safe. A cosy shell. She spends her days clocking up the recommended ten thousand steps a day on her pedometer, watching television, lifting a metal graveyard of weights and aimlessly searching the internet.

Robin is careful and controlled. She only answers her door by prior appointment. Online groceries arriving outside of designated slots get lumped back to the depot by irritated drivers. Unexpected parcels are unclaimed. There is an election soon, but Robin is not interested in discussing politics with earnest enthusiasts in bad suits shuffling on her doorstep.

Someone is knocking on her door right now. They were polite at first but now they’re building to a crescendo of frustration. Robin stares forward at the television in grim determination, jaw jutting ahead. The screen is filled with bright colours and mild voices. Television for toddlers. The minutes are filled with stories of triumph in simple tasks, of helping friends or learning a cheerful new skill. There is no baddie, there is no guilt or fear. Everyone is happy.

As the knocks grow a little more frantic, Robin deliberately takes a deep breath. She focuses on her chest filling and expanding and the slow seeping of air back out between her teeth. Still she stares doggedly at the screen.

 

And now for the cover (remember it leads to an Amazon buy link for the paperback of the book out 4th January 2018!)!!

DCYE PB cover high res

Isn’t it great? Now, if you can’t wait for the paperback release, you can buy the Kindle edition here!

TO WIN A SIGNED COPY JUST ENTER THE GIVEAWAY  here

Best of Luck!!

About the author

Holly Seddon bw

Holly Seddon is a full time writer, living slap bang in the middle of Amsterdam with her husband James and a house full of children and pets. Holly has written for newspapers, websites and magazines since her early 20s after growing up in the English countryside, obsessed with music and books. 

Her first novel TRY NOT TO BREATHE was published worldwide in 2016 and became a national and international bestseller. 

Her second novel DON’T CLOSE YOUR EYES was published in July 2017. 

Holly’s website

Holly on Facebook

Holly on Goodreads

 

The Breakdown by @BAParis @StMartinsPress

 

thebreakdown

Length: 337 pages

As usual the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: It all started that night in the woods.

Cass Anderson didn’t stop to help the woman in the car, and now she’s dead.

Ever since, silent calls have been plaguing Cass and she’s sure someone is watching her.

Consumed by guilt, she’s also starting to forget things. Whether she took her pills, what her house alarm code is – and if the knife in the kitchen really had blood on it.

Bestselling author B A Paris is back with a brand new psychological thriller full of twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

The Review: To this, and a book that is probably on every single review website that I follow. I had heard so much about this book,  mixed reviews, with a lot of people saying it was a standout book for them and so I pounced. I have to say I did really enjoy this. This is very much a book for those who don’t like too much toughness or gore but enjoy their suspense. The beginning of the book IS probably a standout for me, despite all the thrillers I’ve read since I can still remember the weather, the torrential rain pouring as Cass tries to get home to her husband, Matthew. You know when the rain gets so bad that you’re staring in horror at the windscreen, thinking that anything could happen because you can’t see a thing? Well this is what happened to Cass, in the dark of night, and so she makes a choice that will change everything for her.

‘I veer off to the left, taking the shortcut that Matthew didn’t want me to take. A horn blares angrily behind me and as the sound chases me down the pitch- black lane into the woods, it feels like an omen. Even with my headlights full on, I can barely see where I’m going and I instantly regret the brightly lit road I left behind. Although this road is beautiful by day-it cuts through bluebell woods- its hidden dips and bends make it treacherous on a night like this.’

Hook, line and sinker. I was totally in. What happens then is horrible but so realistic (in a way, if you know what I mean, I don’t come across this sort of stuff myself, but it could happen!) Cass sees a girl sitting in a car at the side of the road. She wonders should she get out, is the car broken down or is the girl just waiting out the rain like herself? and has that pull of conscience we all experience at times, she wants to get home to the safety of her own house, but doesn’t think it’s right that she should leave. Of course she justifies driving off (with justifications I’d have used myself) and everything trickles into motion for a book thats ridden with guilt and uncertainty. As you can see from the blurb above, Cass is what you call an unreliable narrator, we don’t know if we can believe her version of events and to cement this we get a story that deserves a special mention, that of her mother, which had me shed a tear at the story of Cass’ mother and which gave it an added edge over other thrillers.

I really really enjoyed this book, with its many characters, that did keep you guessing. I had an idea what had happened earlier on, but didn’t guess the finer details. I did think it could have been slightly shorter, there was a bit of repetition for me in the middle, and conversely the ending felt like it was thrust at you too quickly and to be honest was just an ickle bit far fetched. Saying that, as a read in its totality I didn’t want to put it down, I was glued in a way I’ve only been for a handful of reads. All in all very much recommended (and I will be recommending it!) and I look forward to reading Behind Closed Doors. Thanks to the lovely people at St Martins press and Netgalley for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: Even with my issues, I think it’s got to be a 5/5 !

 

About the author

baparis

B.A. PARIS is the New York Time, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors. She grew up in England but has spent most of her adult life in France. She has worked both in finance and as a teacher and has five daughters.

Find her on twitter @BAParisAuthor

Remember Me by @Lyndarenham

rememberme

Length: 292 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: A new neighbour becomes a new friend. She looks up to you. She admires you, but is it you she wants? You begin to wonder if she wants your husband, or even your child. But then you realise, she wants your life.

When Sharni and Tom move into 24 The Pines, it seems like Clare and Chris have the perfect neighbours. Sharni is always there to help, especially with childcare for Clare’s two-year-old, Ben. But Clare can’t shake off the feelings of anxiety that assail her whenever Sharni is near. Is Clare just being overprotective, or are her feelings justified? As Sharni‘s influence touches everyone around her, Clare finds herself fighting for her sanity as well her family.

The Review: First off, I must direct you to my past experiences with Lynda Renham books (hint, I enjoyed them all!). You will note that these are all of the romantic comedy variety so I was surprised, and excited of course, to see this jump into my inbox one day. 

Little Perran Book  2, A Village Romance here  and Book 3 A Summer Romance here

Phoebe Smith’s Private Blog review here

Rory’s Proposal review here

Perfect Weddings review here

Oh and there was an author interview too … (here!)

I must say I really enjoyed this book. As you can see it’s the story of Clare, a lady who with her husband Chris, and beautiful son Ben. When Sharni and Tom move in next door they quickly become friends although rather quickly it’s apparent that Sharni perhaps looks up to Clare too much, beginning to seemingly copy her appearance and interior design. It was nicely done that we had in Clare a character who was so nervous and on edge, and this, coupled with her being on prescription medication meant that we weren’t sure if what was real and what was paranoia. Add to this that you’re also getting Sharni’s point of view and it made for a real page turner!

The friendship of the two women, and the trust that was built up was great, with Clare’s questioning and self doubt very believable and I liked that anything time-line wise that people may have questioned was quickly put to bed. I also like how you questioned everything, in particular the husband’s part in the story. My only issue was that the ending seemed rather abrupt, but it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story. I think this is another one for people who don’t read thrillers a lot and want to slip into the genre without having to read anything too tough. All in all I’m beginning to be a big fan of the big switch from rom com to psychological thriller with such a well done ‘debut’ and I look forward to more of same from Ms. Renham.

Thanks to the author and Raucous Publishing for the book in return for an honest review

Rating: 4.5/5

About the author

thumbnail_pKTCLgh8_400x400LyndaRenham

Lynda’s books on Amazon

Lynda’s website

Lynda on Facebook

Lynda on Twitter   (@Lyndarenham)

Witness by Caroline Mitchell

witness

Length: 338 pages

Note: As always the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: To Rebecca it was a brave decision that led to her freedom from domestic abuse. To Solomon it was the ultimate betrayal.

It’s been ten years since Rebecca’s testimony saw Solomon locked away. Enough time for the nightmares to recede, the nerves to relax; enough time to rebuild her life and put the past behind her.

Then one day a phone rings in her bedroom—but it’s not her phone. Solomon has been in her home, and has a very simple message for her: for each of the ten years he has spent in jail, Rebecca must witness a crime. And, to make matters worse, she has to choose the victims.

Fail to respond and you get hurt. Talk to police and you die. Ready to play? You have sixty seconds to decide…

As the crimes grow more severe, the victims closer to home, Rebecca is forced to confront a past she had hoped was gone forever.

The Review:  You’ll remember I read The Silent Twin by Caroline Mitchell (read review here) and loved it, saying I had to get onto her other books. I’m afraid that didn’t go to plan, but this book has only cemented that I’m going to be reading her amazing thrillers for some time to come!

Now before I start I need to make sure you’ve read the blurb above. Impressed? Excited? Ready? Okay-let’s go!!!

We begin this tale in 2005 where a girl, Rebecca, is cradling a severely injured man on her lap. When the police say they’re there to help, she says they can’t, because the attacker’s father is one of them (jumps around the place excitedly!)  …

The book moves between diary extracts from ten years ago to a non diary narrative of modern day in a small Welsh town of Ponty Ferry where Rebecca is now married with a young child. The diary extracts contained some beautiful details about Rebecca and her mother and we were introduced to Solomon, her ex boyfriend. Back to modern day and Rebecca receives a message saying she has to nominate a person for a crime, and then witness it. This will happen a further nine times …
The story revolves around the ex, Solomon, and what a character he is! If I’m honest the only other character of this nature that remains as memorable to me is ‘Oliver’ from ‘Unraveling Oliver’ by Liz Nugent. Solomon has a back story that stays in your mind and makes you realise the impact a lack of parental love can have on someone. His thought processes are horrendous but pure genius, as is his revenge.

I highlight as I read, and make notes too, and as I went through this book I highlighted line after line, passage after passage, totally engrossed in every single detail but then, as soon after the crimes that Rebecca is forced to witness began,  I stopped as I was too engrossed.

The storyline was a great experiment on what someone will do to keep themselves and their family alive, although I have to admit there were so many things I’d have done differently(!) The drama builds and builds, the pages turn, and the numbers on the chapters, which I found to be deliciously short, climbed. There was also the nice touch that at times the diary extracts interrupted you, you had been notified as to who the person and the crime was, and just as you were ready to ‘see’ the crime, you got the diary extract with an equally important and riveting backstory. Saying all of this I have to warn you that although it’s not the toughest out there there is violence and a theme of domestic abuse. And, well that’s all I’m going to tell you except Id be shocked if this wasn’t in my top ten books at the end 2017.

Excellent plot, pacing and characters, a mesmerising book that has got me ready to work my way through all of Caroline Mitchell’s books.
Rating:5/5

All Fall Down by Tom Bale

 

allfalldown

Length: 359 pages

Note: The cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link

What they say:

It’s the perfect Sunday. Summer sunshine, a barbecue with the kids.
But a knock on the garden gate and two words, ‘HELP ME’, changes everything.

When loving parents Rob and Wendy Turner let a dying man into their home, and do their best to help him, they think pure chance led him to their house. But soon their lives are threatened in ways they could never have imagined … and then the first anonymous letter arrives, forcing them to question all they know.

Someone is watching.
Someone is waiting.
They will stop at nothing.

Rob and Wendy will do anything to keep their family safe, but their children Georgia, Josh and Evan are teenagers now, with their own hidden lives.

Everyone has secrets, but how can you save your family, if you don’t really know them?

The Review: I had seen this book on so many blogs and was chomping at the bit to get to it. From the start I was excited. There’s so many thrillers out there where whatever happens takes place when the lead is alone, and it was nice for it to take place at a family barbecue, when everyone was together and so there were witnesses. The ‘it’ is the stumbling of a homeless man who has been tortured into the garden. This more than set the scene and I was ready for a rough ride. I enjoyed Mr Bale’s storytelling, after worrying at the start that the writing wasn’t my cup of tea, as Rob, the lead, was too paranoid and wondered a bit too much about the homeless man, leading me to think that the ‘was there a message to all of this’ line of thinking was trying too hard to lead us. This flew in the face of times where we weren’t told things about the past that could have been alluded to earlier.  My other issue was that I found the story to be a bit disjointed at times, and I had to make notes on the many minor characters, although that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Saying that, this all quickly faded to grey as we followed Rob and his family away and came face to face with a group of nut jobs (well, they were!), who felt they had the right to do as they pleased to get all the power they felt they deserved. I had that muzzy feeling and tension headache that comes from being so deep into a book that you are walking alongside the characters absolutely terrified of what is going to happen next. This group of people wanted to push boundaries by seeing how they can physically hurt people and I knew the author was over a line that most of the thriller and crime writers that I read would toe, and it had me nervous of what I could actually read. I had some relief when some things DIDN’T happen but it was still a tough one. Saying that it was excellent, the story, the characters, the tension, and I read it in just two sittings (would have read in one but, you know, kid stuff;)) and couldn’t stop thinking about it. Highly recommend if you like the grit of a tough hostage situation where anything can go. Special mention for Tom Bale’s letter to the reader at the end-it will most definitely drive me on to his next book. Thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for this book in return for an honest review.
Rating:5/5