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The Family Retreat by Bev Thomas – a review Blog Tour

I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Family Retreat by Bev Thomas which is out on the 25th August.

Screenwriter Rob and his wife Jess are going away for the summer after a year that has pushed Jess to the edge as she’s struggled with her job as a GP. Rob is convinced that this will be the perfect holiday they all need and their children are excited to be able to spend the summer at the beach. The family are staying in a rented cottage in a small village in Dorset and soon start to meet the neighbours in the close-knit community. Jess is particularly drawn to the slightly standoffish Helen, with her perfect husband and two well behaved children. However as the summer plods on it soon become clear that Helen isn’t quite what she seems!

The Family Retreat was a really good story that I read over a couple of evenings as it was absolutely gripping.

Bev Thomas’ debut novel was A Good Enough Mother which I also loved. When I reviewed that, at the time I said that it was part mystery and part emotional drama and the same goes for The Family Retreat. This is a book that makes you think and question people’s attitudes to others. It deals with some big issues including abuse and mental health, in fact my only slight criticism was that there seemed to be almost too many issues towards the end, however that was just a very small point as the story is excellent.

The Family Retreat was a really well written book, and I felt that the way that really sensitive topics were dealt with was very sympathetic and well researched. The characters were all interesting and well rounded, and without giving too much away the reveal when it comes is shocking and although all the clues are there I didn’t put them together. I particularly felt for Jess as we find out what happened in her life to lead to her sabbatical, and her tendancy to get too emotionally involved with others.

This was a engaging novel with the tension building slowly throughout with a sense of foreboding from the start. I would most definitely recommend this and it was a perfect hot weather read.

To find out what others thought of The Family Retreat visit the other stops on the blog tour.

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Quarter to Midnight by Karen Rose – a review BLOG TOUR


I’ve been lucky enough to be invited onto some fantastic blog tours recently and the latest for the new novel by Karen Rose is no exception.

Quarter to Midnight by Karen Rose is the start of a brand new series featuring a band of private investigators led by Burke Broussard. Rocky Herbert has seemingly killed himself, however his son Gabe is certain that his dad wouldn’t do that and has a private autopsy done before hiring the Broussard agency. PI Molly Sutton soon realises that ex policeman Rocky was working on his own investigation. An investigation that threatens to expose corruption within the police force and bring down some high ranking individuals. A phonecall leads them to Xavier, a young lad who is the key witness to the case. Unfortunately they are not the only people who know that Xavier is the key and soon they are all running for their lives.

This is a great start to a cracking new series that was full of action and twists from the start. The series is set in New Orleans which is a fascinating city that Karen Rose managed to portray all sides of, from the terrible devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina to the diverse musical heritage the place is known for to the amazing sounding food and drink.

I enjoyed this story although it was not a quick read at over 600 pages and for me it did seem to drag on a bit in the middle but that’s probably because I was impatient to find out what was going to happen.

There were a lot of characters to keep track of but I found the story was so engrossing that it’s simple to keep everyone straight. I really enjoyed the characters of Xavier’s Mum and her friend Willa Mae. Their light hearted banter in the midst of some dark scenes was a real highlight.

As with a lot of the author’s stories this has a romance element and the budding relationship between PI Molly and her charge Gabe is interesting, although as I was keen to get back to the thriller element. The mix of thriller, romance and old fashioned adventure story was a mix that worked really well and creates a riveting read.

I have always been a big fan of Karen Rose, and despite it’s length this is a great start to a new series and I would definitely be looking out for the next in the series.

Find out what others thought on the tour:

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The Long Weekend by Gilly McMillan – a review BLOG TOUR

The Long Weekend is sadly not a description of a nice few days away, instead it’s the focus of the latest  blog tour that I was lucky enough to be invited on to.

The Long Weekend by Gilly McMillan starts with three friends arriving for a weekend away at an isolated farm house in the middle of the Moors. When they arrive they find a note that has been left telling them that one of their husbands is going to be murdered. As a storm hits they are stranded in the farm house with no phone signal and no way of contacting their families to find out what is happening. As the three friends become increasingly desperate to find out what is going on their friendship starts to fracture and the tension boils over.

The Long Weekend was a good story that I read over a weekend. What started off as a seemingly ‘run of the mill’ wild weekend story soon became something more intriguing as the stranded wives start to fear for their husbands and you start to find out about their backgrounds and their relationships.

The characters were not particularly likeable, in fact other than the daughter they are all pretty unpleasant. However I felt that this gave the story a different edge. You weren’t really rooting for any of the main characters, yet still I was compelled to see how it all played out. The story is told from multiple points of view not only the main characters but also a mysterious third voice who is clearly unhinged. There was also a third strand to the story which was that of the farmer and his wife trying to make a living against the odds which was quite moving.

I found this quite a clever twisty story. The numerous unreliable narrators did get a little confusing at the start, but it soon became clear. I have a read a few of the novels by Gilly Macmillan and have always found them to be very enjoyable and this was no exception.

To find out what others thought of The Long Weekend look out for the next stops on the blog tour.

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Demon by Matt Wesolowski – a review BLOG TOUR

I am a huge fan of the Six Stories series by Matt Wesolowski so was pleased to be invited onto the blog tour for his latest novel – Demon.

Demon sees podcaster Scott King investigating the murder of 12 year old Sidney Parsons, who in 1995 was killed by 2 school friends. The ‘Demonic Duo’ were released from prison under new identities but refused to ever give any reason or explanation for what had happened on that terrible night. Ever since then the quiet village has been plagued with stories of superstition and supernatural behaviour. As Scott begins to investigate the circumstances surrounding the crime he soon realises that this is an investigation that is leading him towards danger.

Demon was another fantastic read from Matt Wesolowski. As with all this series, the book follows the traditional podcast structure and so is split into six ‘episodes’. Each episode focusses on the interview of one central character and their take on the so called Demonic Duo. I really enjoy this style of writing. The six episode structure gives it a unique feel, and I find it really does move the story along easily.

One of the clever things about this series is the mix of horror and crime. It can be a tricky balance to pull off but it’s a balance that Matt Wesolowski manages expertly. Throughout the story the demons are at the forefront, but the crime element is still perfectly executed. The sense of foreboding created by the writing is palpable, with menace and fear pouring off the page. Yet at it’s heart this is not a supernatural story but an investigation into human behaviour and the consequences of actions and reactions.

There are a range of characters within this story and they all have their flaws yet the human elements also come across to the reader with all of them having secrets and guilt that influences the way they act. Another big part of this novel is the setting. Demon is set in a small fictional village called Ussalthwaite. This is a place filled with folklore and stories and based in North York Moors which give it a bleakness that adds to the menace bubbling under the surface.

I think this is one of the best series I have read for a long time and each novel feels like it’s just getting better. Whilst this would work as a stand alone, I would recommend starting at the beginning (Review of the second in the series Hydra is here) and enjoying them all.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story and would recommend the whole series to anyone who hasn’t yet read them.

Don’t forget to find out what others on the tour thought of the book:

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