Blog Tour: The Retreat – Sarah Pearse

Blog Tour: The Retreat – Sarah Pearse


Series:
Detective Elin Warner #2
Release Date: July 21st 2022
Publisher: Bantam Press
Pages: 368
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Most are here to recharge and refresh.
But someone’s here for revenge . . .

An eco-wellness retreat has opened on an island off the coast of Devon, promising rest and relaxation – but the island itself, known locally as Reaper’s Rock, has a dark past. Once the playground of a serial killer, it’s rumoured to be cursed.

DS Elin Warner is called to the retreat when a young woman’s body is found on the rocks below the yoga pavilion, in what seems to be a tragic fall. But the victim wasn’t a guest – she wasn’t meant to be on the island at all.

When a man drowns in a diving incident the following day, Elin starts to suspect that there’s nothing accidental about these deaths. But why would someone target the retreat – and who else is in danger?

Elin must find the killer – before the island’s history starts to repeat itself…

Review

The Retreat is the newest twisty thriller from Sarah Pearse, author of The Sanatorium. Featuring the same protagonist, the story follows DS Elin Warner as she is called to a remote wellness retreat on an island. A body has been found and the death looks like a horrible accident, however, the woman wasn’t a guest and wasn’t supposed to be there. As Elin dives deeper into the retreat, she discovers the island has a dark past and the deaths might not be so accidental.

I really enjoyed Sarah Pearse’s The Sanatorium and was really intrigued to pick up The Retreat. The story is just as addictive and I found myself turning pages long into the night. Pearse has a brilliant way of keeping the reader hooked and the short chapters definitely had me reading longer and longer. The story is full to the brim with twists and turns – there were more than a few moments I didn’t see coming. The story is really well plotted and are plenty of heart-pounding, edge of your seat moments too.

I absolutely loved the setting for the story and it really provided that tense, remote atmosphere. The vivid descriptions really brought the island to life and there were some moments that sent a shiver up my spine. The characters were also well developed and I enjoyed seeing Elin’s character growth as she grows in confidence. The story is multi-perspective, giving the reader an insight into those on the island too. The Retreat is a compelling tale, one that will absolutely keep you on your toes. If you’re looking for a clever, compelling thriller that you won’t be able to put down, definitely add this to your reading list.

Book Review: Sundial – Catriona Ward

Book Review: Sundial – Catriona Ward


Release Date:
March 10th 2022
Publisher: Viper Books
Pages: 352
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

You can’t escape the desert. You can’t escape Sundial.

Rob fears for her daughters. For Callie, who collects tiny bones and whispers to imaginary friends. For Annie, because she fears what Callie might do to her. Rob sees a darkness in Callie, one that reminds her of the family she left behind. She decides to take Callie back to her childhood home, to Sundial, deep in the Mojave Desert. And there she will have to make a terrible choice.

Callie is afraid of her mother. Rob has begun to look at her strangely. To tell her secrets about her past that both disturb and excite her. And Callie is beginning to wonder if only one of them will leave Sundial alive…

From the bestselling author of The Last House on Needless Street comes a stunning thriller exploring the toxicity of the mother-daughter bond, and the power of the past to twist the present.

Review

Sundial is the newest twisty thriller from Catriona Ward, author of The Last House on Needless Street. I read Needless Street last year and found it incredibly gripping so I was really intrigued to see what Ward would do next. The story follows Rob, a teacher trapped in a bitter marriage. She worries about her daughters, namely Callie who collects bones and talks to herself. When Rob feels she has no choice left she embarks on a mission to Sundial, the place where she grew up. Callie knows her mother is acting strangely and is worried about what might happen when they reach Sundial. As Rob starts to reveal the truths about her upbringing, Callie beings to suspect they might not leave Sundial alive.

Sundial hooked me right from the very beginning. It’s a rollercoaster of a book, with plenty of surprise twists and turns that I could not begin to guess. The story was engaging and well-paced – I read the last third of the book in one sitting because I just had to know how it was going to end. Ward is excellent at creating atmosphere and that really shines through in Sundial. The dark, uneasy feeling continued to build as the story raced to its conclusion.

Sundial is an incredibly addictive read and thriller fans will absolutely adore this one. I really liked the way the story was written – we get both Rob and Callie’s point of view as well as Rob in the past and chapters set in Rob’s fictional world of Arrowood. Ward has crafted some really complex and fascinating characters and I was so fascinated by the exploration of childhood and that mother-daughter relationship. I actually think I might have enjoyed Sundial even more than The Last House on Needless Street so if you’re looking for a compulsively readable thriller to sink your teeth into, Sundial is absolutely it.

Book Review: Reckless Girls – Rachel Hawkins

Book Review: Reckless Girls – Rachel Hawkins


Release Date:
February 3rd 2022
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 312
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

When Lux McAllister and her boyfriend, Nico, are hired to sail two women to a remote island in the South Pacific, it seems like the opportunity of a lifetime. Stuck in a dead-end job in Hawaii, and longing to travel the world after a family tragedy, Lux is eager to climb on board The Susannah and set out on an adventure. She’s also quick to bond with their passengers, college best friends Brittany and Amma. The two women say they want to travel off the beaten path. But like Lux, they may have other reasons to be seeking an escape.

Shimmering on the horizon after days at sea, Meroe Island is every bit the paradise the foursome expects, despite a mysterious history of shipwrecks, cannibalism, and even rumors of murder. But what they don’t expect is to discover another boat already anchored off Meroe’s sandy beaches. The owners of the Azure Sky, Jake and Eliza, are a true golden couple: gorgeous, laidback, and if their sleek catamaran and well-stocked bar are any indication, rich. Now a party of six, the new friends settle in to experience life on an exotic island, and the serenity of being completely off the grid. Lux hasn’t felt like she truly belonged anywhere in years, yet here on Meroe, with these fellow free spirits, she finally has a sense of peace.

But with the arrival of a skeevy stranger sailing alone in pursuit of a darker kind of good time, the balance of the group is disrupted. Soon, cracks begin to emerge: it seems that Brittany and Amma haven’t been completely honest with Lux about their pasts––and perhaps not even with each other. And though Jake and Eliza seem like the perfect pair, the rocky history of their relationship begins to resurface, and their reasons for sailing to Meroe might not be as innocent as they first appeared.

When it becomes clear that the group is even more cut off from civilization than they initially thought, it starts to feel like the island itself is closing in on them. And when one person goes missing, and another turns up dead, Lux begins to wonder if any of them are going to make it off the island alive.

Review

Reckless Girls is the dark and addictive story of Lux McAllister, a young woman who followed her boyfriend Nico to Hawaii. Planning to fix up his boat and sail the world, Nico is hired by two women to take them to Meroe Island, a mysterious place with a tragic history. Lux agrees to go along and soon hits it off with the two women. When they arrive they join another couple and spend time exploring the island. As the group spends more time together they begin to realize that not everyone is what they seem and the arrival of a third boat brings tension to the remote island. As things take a dark turn Lux begins to wonder if they are ever going to make it off the island alive.

This was such a fun and fast-paced story. I sat down to read a few chapters and it was so readable and engaging that I didn’t put it down for the next few hours. The story is really easy to get into and I was completely fascinated by this mysterious island and its dark past. I really liked the inclusion of short chapters from the perspective of others that have been there, it really added another layer to the story. We mainly get things from Lux’s point of view but there are some chapters set in the past with Eliza and Amma. The story had plenty of twists and turns and the ending was definitely not something I could have predicted.

Reckless Girls has a slow, creeping atmosphere that builds as the story goes along. This is my first book from Rachel Hawkins but I am absolutely going to pick up more from this author. If you love addictive mystery stories with compelling characters, you’re sure to love Reckless Girls.

Book Review: Home Before Dark – Riley Sager

Book Review: Home Before Dark – Riley Sager


Release Date:
September 17th 2020
Publisher: Hodder Books
Pages: 402
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this from my local Waterstones
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

In the latest thriller from New York Times bestseller Riley Sager, a woman returns to the house made famous by her father’s bestselling horror memoir. Is the place really haunted by evil forces, as her father claimed? Or are there more earthbound – and dangerous – secrets hidden within its walls?

“What was it like? Living in that house?” Maggie Holt is used to such questions. Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent three weeks there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a non-fiction book called House of Horrors. His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling The Amityville Horror in popularity – and skepticism.

Today, Maggie is a restorer of old homes and too young to remember any of the events mentioned in her father’s book. But she also doesn’t believe a word of it. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist. When Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father’s death, she returns to renovate the place to prepare it for sale. But her homecoming is anything but warm. People from the past, chronicled in House of Horrors, lurk in the shadows. And locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous thanks to Maggie’s father. Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself – a place filled with relics from another era that hint at a history of dark deeds. As Maggie experiences strange occurrences straight out of her father’s book, she starts to believe that what he wrote was more fact than fiction.

Review

Riley Sager is one of my go-to authors for fun and fast-paced thrillers. Home Before Dark sounded like exactly the kind of book I was going to love and it had the most intriguing premise. Maggie Holt is famous around the world because her Dad wrote a non-fiction book claiming their house was haunted. Everywhere she goes she is asked what it was like to live in that house. When her father dies and she learns he still owns the infamous Baneberry Hall, Maggie decides to restore the house to sell it on and while she’s there she’ll try and get some answers – but what really happened all those years ago?

Home Before Dark is an addictive read. I picked it up one evening and found myself turning pages long into the night. It has some genuinely creepy, sending a shiver up your spine moments and there were a whole bunch of twists that I absolutely did not see coming. Like all Riley Sager books, you have to suspend your disbelief a little bit, but it was a really fun and compelling read. I loved the way chapters from House of Horrors were included in the book and I found these chapters to be particularly engaging.

Home Before Dark has probably become my favourite Riley Sager book (though Lock Every Door is a close second). It was easy to read with really interesting characters. If you’re looking for a fun, addictive thriller to hook you in right from the beginning – look no further.

Book Review: The Dark – Emma Haughton

Book Review: The Dark – Emma Haughton


Release Date:
August 31st 2021
Publisher: Hodder Books
Pages: 384
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Synopsis

ONE DEAD BODY
TWELVE SUSPECTS
TWENTY-FOUR-HOUR DARKNESS

In the most inhospitable environment – cut off from the rest of the world – there’s a killer on the loose.

A&E doctor Kate North has been knocked out of her orbit by a personal tragedy. So when she’s offered the chance to be an emergency replacement at the UN research station in Antarctica, she jumps at the chance. The previous doctor, Jean-Luc, died in a tragic accident while out on the ice.

The move seems an ideal solution for Kate: no one knows about her past; no one is checking up on her. But as total darkness descends for the winter, she begins to suspect that Jean-Luc’s death wasn’t accidental at all. And the more questions she asks, the more dangerous it becomes for them all…

Review

The Dark is one of those novels where you sit down to read a chapter or two and then look up to find hours have passed and you haven’t even noticed. The story has a really intriguing premise – Kate North is a doctor who has taken up a new post at a remote research station in Antarctica after the previous doctor has died from an accident on the ice. When Kate arrives she soon learns the job might not be all that she hoped, with the entire winter spent in darkness, tensions soon become frayed. Kate begins to suspect that Jean-Luc’s death might not have been the accident it appeared to be – but is there a killer amongst them and will they strike again?

The Dark is a clever, twisty story and one I could not put down. I loved the remote, claustrophobic setting. It was dark and tense and the scenes out on the ice were incredibly gripping. There were plenty of surprise moments I didn’t see coming and I think I suspected just about everyone at one point. Haughton kept me guessing till near enough the end and the final few chapters had me right on the edge of my seat. The story is fun and fast-paced and I think mystery fans will devour this one.

The Dark has some pretty interesting characters and it was fascinating watching the dynamics between the group change as they spent months in the dark. Kate has an addiction to pills and it keeps the reader guessing – is there something suspicious going on or is Kate paranoid from the pills? It was a fascinating read and while this is my first from Emma Haughton, it absolutely will not be my last. The icy landscape of this book makes it perfect winter reading but be warned, it is addictive.

Book Review: For Your Own Good – Samantha Downing

Book Review: For Your Own Good – Samantha Downing


Release Date: August 19th 2021
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Teddy Crutcher won Teacher of the Year at the prestigious Belmont Academy. Everyone thinks he’s brilliant.
Only you know the truth.

They all smile when he tells us his wife couldn’t be more proud.
But no-one has seen her in a while.

They’re impressed when he doesn’t let anything distract him – even the tragic death of a school parent.
Even when the whispers start, saying it was murder.

You’re sure Teddy is hiding something about what happened that day.

You’re sure you can prove it.

But you didn’t stop to think that when it comes to catching a killer, there’s no place more dangerous than just one step behind . . .

Review

For Your Own Good is the latest novel from thriller writer Samantha Downing. I’ve always wanted to try a book by Samantha Downing but hadn’t had the chance to pick one up. This sounded like a really intriguing read and I ended up being hooked immediately. This is a fast-paced story, full of twists and turns. The short chapters had me turning pages faster and faster and I ended up reading late into the night to finish this in one sitting.

The story follows Teddy Crutcher. A teacher at Belmont Academy. Teddy has one teacher of the year and will let absolutely nothing distract him – not even the sudden death of one of the pupil’s parents on school grounds. Even when one of the pupils is arrested for murder. Is the pupil really responsible or does Teddy Crutcher know much more than he seems to?

This was such a fun book to read. It’s one of those stories that hooked you right from the very first page and I found myself squeezing in an extra chapter whenever I could. Teddy Crutcher is a fascinating character, he does what he thinks is best and absolutely no one will stand in his way. It was so compelling reading from his point of view and I had no idea what he was going to do next. I loved the setting of the elite school that really came to life in Downing’s writing. For Your Own Good is definitely one of those one-sitting kind of books and there are some incredibly well-crafted characters. If you’re looking for a thriller to keep you reading long into the night this Autumn, this should absolutely be your next read.

Book Review: That Night – Gillian McAllister

Book Review: That Night – Gillian McAllister


Release Date:
June 10th 2021
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Pages: 464
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

What would you do to protect your family?

ANYTHING.

That night everything changed.

The night Frannie committed a murder, but she didn’t mean to…

That night we helped her bury the body, what else could we do?

One hot summers night in Italy, Joe and Cathy Plant receive a phone call that will change their lives forever.

Their sister Frannie has killed a man, and she needs their help.

They were always close, some might say too close, siblings who worked together, lived next door to each other

And now they’ve buried a body together…

But when they return to England, Frannie, Joe and Cathy become tangled in lies in they’ve been telling,

to the police, to their friends, to each other…

But if you can’t trust your family, who can you trust?

Review

That Night is the newest dark and twisty thriller from Gillian McAllister and follows the Plant family. Whilst on holiday in Italy, Joe and Cathy receive a phone call – their sister Frannie has killed a man and needs their help. They decide to bury the body, pretend nothing ever happened. But as the police start asking questions, Joe, Cathy and Frannie must do everything they can to keep the truth from spilling out. But can you trust your family?

This was my first time reading a Gillian McAllister book and I absolutely raced through this one. The short, snappy chapters had me turning pages late into the night and there were so many tense, cliffhanger moments that I just had to keep reading. There is a brilliant atmosphere in the story, and I really enjoyed the way the tension climbed higher and higher as the story progressed. The story is pretty fast-paced and whilst I did guess a couple of the twists there were more than a few I didn’t see coming.

That Night has such an intriguing premise – how far would you go to protect your family? I thought it was fascinating seeing how one night could change so much for a group of siblings, particularly as the guilt and paranoia set in. I thought the characters were well crafted and I loved the way McAllister portrayed the sibling dynamic. That Night is a compelling read, one that physiological thriller fans are sure to devour. If you’re looking for something to keep you hooked right until the very last page, this one is a must-read.

Book Review: A Narrow Door – Joanne Harris

Book Review: A Narrow Door – Joanne Harris


Release Date:
4th August 2021
Publisher: Orion Books
Pages: 448
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Now I’m in charge, the gates are my gates. The rules are my rules.

It’s an incendiary moment for St Oswald’s school. For the first time in its history, a headmistress is in power, the gates opening to girls.

Rebecca Buckfast has spilled blood to reach this position. Barely forty, she is just starting to reap the harvest of her ambition. As the new regime takes on the old guard, the ground shifts. And with it, the remains of a body are discovered.

But Rebecca is here to make her mark. She’ll bury the past so deep it will evade even her own memory, just like she has done before. After all…

You can’t keep a good woman down.

Review

A Narrow Door is the brand new novel by acclaimed author Joanne Harris. A return to the world of St Oswald’s the story follows Rebecca Buckfast – the first female headteacher of the school. She’s determined to take down the old regime and she’s doing it by allowing female students for the first time in the school’s history. As plans are made to create new state of the art facilities on the premises, human remains are uncovered in the construction work. As Rebecca works to protect everything she has built, secrets that have long stayed buried will soon be revealed.

Joanne Harris is one of my favourite authors so as soon as I heard about this I was incredibly excited to pick it up. Harris weaves a complex and exhilarating story, one that hooked me from the very first chapter. A Narrow Door is well crafted and I loved the prickling sense of unease that continued to build and build as the story progressed. Joanne Harris has such a beautiful writing style and the excellent descriptions of the hallowed halls of St Oswald’s and King Henry’s really came to life. The story was well-paced and I ended up reading the second half of the book in a single afternoon. There were some surprising moments that I definitely didn’t expect and while this is the third book set around St Oswald’s, it can absolutely be read as a standalone.

The thing that fascinated me most was the complex and multi-layered characters that Harris has created. Rebecca Price is a fascinating character and I really enjoyed reading the story of her life. She is a determined and ambitious woman and will do anything to succeed in the man’s world she finds herself in. She made for a really compelling protagonist, even more so as the story grew darker. A Narrow Door is an incredibly gripping and clever read, one you absolutely won’t want to put down.

Book Review: The Last Girl – Goldy Moldavsky

Book Review: The Last Girl – Goldy Moldavsky


Release Date:
April 15th 2021
Publisher: Electric Monkey Books
Pages: 430
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Synopsis

When it comes to horror movies, the rules are clear:
– Avoid abandoned buildings, warehouses, and cabins at all times.
– Stay together: don’t split up, not even just to “check something out.…
– If there’s a murderer on the loose, do NOT make out with anyone …

New girl Rachel Chavez turns to horror movies for comfort, preferring them to the bored rich kids of her fancy New York High School. But then Rachel is recruited by the Mary Shelley Club, a mysterious student club that sets up terrifying Fear Tests; elaborate pranks inspired by urban legends and horror movies.

But when a sinister masked figure appears, Rachel realises that her past has caught up with her. It’s time for the ultimate prank to play out…

Review

I’m a big horror movie fan so when I heard about The Last Girl I was immediately intrigued. The story follows Rachel, a young girl that attends a fancy school full of rich kids. Rachel finds comfort in the horror movies she loves, but when she stumbles across the Mary Shelley Club – a group of students who carry out clever pranks designed to make their classmates scream. But Rachel soon learns everyone in the group has secrets, including her.

This was such a fun read and is absolutely perfect for getting swept up in over the Summer. I loved the premise of this book, the idea of a group of horror movie fanatics getting together to design these spine-tingling fear tests. The tests were probably the bit of the story I enjoyed most, seeing the way the group pull of the pranks and get away with it. I really enjoyed the writing style in this and I found some of the scenes really quite scary. It’s a fast-paced read and one that will have you reading past bedtime.

The characters in this were really fascinating and I was so intrigued to find out who the masked figure was. Pretty much everyone in the group is not what they seem and there were a couple of twists that I guessed and a few I definitely did not. The Last Girl is an entertaining and creepy read and if you love books like One Of Us Is Lying or Harrow Lake this will definitely be your cup of tea. This is my first book from Goldy Moldavsky and I will definitely be picking up more from them in the future.

Blog Tour: The Family Tree – Steph Mullin & Nicole Mabry

Blog Tour: The Family Tree – Steph Mullin & Nicole Mabry


Release Date:
June 10th 2021
Publisher: Avon Books
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

The DNA results are back. And there’s a serial killer in her family tree…

Liz Catalano is shocked when an ancestry kit reveals she’s adopted. But she could never have imagined connecting with her unknown family would plunge her into an FBI investigation of a notorious serial killer…

The Tri-State Killer has been abducting pairs of women for forty years, leaving no clues behind – only bodies.

Can Liz figure out who the killer in her new family is? And can she save his newest victims before it’s too late?

A gripping, original thriller for fans of My Lovely Wife, Netflix’s Making a Murderer, and anyone who’s ever wondered what their family tree might be hiding…

Review

The Family Tree is the gripping story of Liz Catalano, a young woman living in New York with her cousin Andie. When Andie gets her a DNA ancestry kit as a present Liz signs up only to discover she’s adopted. As she goes in search of her biological family she is contacted by the FBI and becomes entangled in an investigation to discover the Tri-State Killer – a serial killer who has been abducting and murdering pairs of women for forty years. Can Liz uncover the truth behind her family, and can she do it in time to save his latest victims?

This was such a compelling read and I ended up reading it in one day. I thought this was such a unique concept and it was so well executed. It was a dark and engrossing read and I definitely did not want to look away. I loved the way the story was told from Liz’s perspective and from all the different victims of the Tri-State Killer. This definitely added to the suspense as we learn more about how the killer is getting away with his crimes all these years. As you would expect this story has plenty of twists and turns and there were more than a few creepy scenes that sent a shiver up my spine.

The Family Tree contains some really compelling characters and it was fascinating seeing Liz attempt to cope with learning about her birth family and what happened to them. I really liked the close bond between Liz and Andie and their portrayal felt really realistic. I loved the short chapters that had me turning pages faster and faster and the ending definitely wasn’t what I expected. The Family Tree is an inventive and chilling read, unlike any thriller I’ve read before. If you’re looking for something to keep you completely hooked on a long summer day, The Family Tree is exactly what you’re looking for.