The Rumour by Lesley Kara

The Rumour by Lesley Kara

EXCERPT: It’s happening again. Don’t ask me how I know, I just do. I see it in the roll of the waves, the way they’re bearing in at a slant. Fast. Restless. I feel it in the nip of the air on my skin, smell it in the rotting leaves and damp earth, hear it in the silence of the watching crows. You’re coming for me again and there’s nothing I can do to stop you.

This is how it happens. One night I go to bed and everything’s fine. Everything’s under control. The story has ceased to be a story. It’s real. Solid. Unbreakable. Then I wake up and it’s changed. Cracks have appeared overnight and I realize that I’ve been fooling myself all this time, that I’ve only ever been the most fragile of constructions.

I ‘m the hunted. I’ll always be the hunted.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: When single mum Joanna hears a rumour at the school gates, she never intends to pass it on. But one casual comment leads to another and now there’s no going back . . .
Rumour has it that a notorious child killer is living under a new identity, in their sleepy little town of Flinstead-on-Sea.

Sally McGowan was just ten years old when she stabbed little Robbie Harris to death forty-eight years ago – no photos of her exist since her release as a young woman.

So who is the supposedly reformed killer who now lives among them? How dangerous can one rumour become? And how far will Joanna go to protect her loved ones from harm, when she realizes what it is she’s unleashed?

MY THOUGHTS: We have all been guilty of gossip, of spreading unsubstantiated rumours, with little thought of the lives we might be disrupting. ‘One casual remark. One whispered confidence. That’s all it takes to set the wheels in motion and change the course of a life.’ We may not intend to hurt anyone, we may just be desperate to fit in, as Joanna is. After all, they are only words, and if the person is guilty, then aren’t they getting their just desserts?

I have often been loud and vocal in my opposition to name suppression and the creation of new identities for criminals being released into an unsuspecting community. The Rumour gave me pause to reconsider my views but, ultimately, I have stood by them. I do love a book that makes me stop and think while still being a good entertaining read.

This is an incredibly well written debut novel that sucked me in and kept me captivated until it spat me out at the last page. I suspected everyone of being the child killer, everyone that is except the person who it actually was. . . And even then, it wasn’t over. Lesley Kara wasn’t finished with me. She had one final surprise that left me with my jaw dropped and wanting more.

Definitely an author I will be following closely.


THE AUTHOR: Lesley Kara is the author of THE RUMOUR, published in December 2018.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Random House UK, Transworld Publishers, Bantam Press via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Rumour for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my profile page or the about page on for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my page


Watching You by Lisa Jewell

Watching You by Lisa Jewell

EXCERPT: My Diary, September 20, 1996
I don’t know what to think. I don’t know what to feel. Is this normal? He’s an adult. He’s twice my age. There’s no way … No. There’s no way. But, OH GOD. I wish there was.

Dear diary, I think I’m in love with my English teacher. . .

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Melville Heights is one of the nicest neighbourhoods in Bristol, England; home to doctors and lawyers and old-money academics. It’s not the sort of place where people are brutally murdered in their own kitchens. But it is the sort of place where everyone has a secret. And everyone is watching you.

As the headmaster credited with turning around the local school, Tom Fitzwilliam is beloved by one and all—including Joey Mullen, his new neighbor, who quickly develops an intense infatuation with this thoroughly charming yet unavailable man. Joey thinks her crush is a secret, but Tom’s teenaged son Freddie—a prodigy with aspirations of becoming a spy for MI5—excels in observing people and has witnessed Joey behaving strangely around his father.

One of Tom’s students, Jenna Tripp, also lives on the same street, and she’s not convinced her teacher is as squeaky clean as he seems. For one thing, he has taken a particular liking to her best friend and fellow classmate, and Jenna’s mother—whose mental health has admittedly been deteriorating in recent years—is convinced that Mr. Fitzwilliam is stalking her.

Meanwhile, twenty years earlier, a schoolgirl writes in her diary, charting her doomed obsession with a handsome young English teacher named Mr. Fitzwilliam…

MY THOUGHTS: This was such a good read, a great read. Lisa Jewell always manages to suck me in, plays with my mind, has me suspecting everyone but the right one, and she has done it again with Watching You, which turned into something very different from what I was expecting.

There is a wonderful cast of characters – Tom Fitzwilliam, the man everyone loves, except for one or two crazy ladies. . . His wife Nicola who never quite fits in, anywhere. . . their son Freddie, in training to be a spy and who chronicles the movements of all the neighbours; Josephine who feels that perhaps she wasn’t quite ready for the marriage she made to Alfie and who develops a crush on Tom; her brother Jack, eminently successful surgeon and expecting his first child with wife Rebecca, and with whom Joey and Alfie live. Then there’s Tom’s pupils, Beth who also has a huge crush on Tom, and her best friend Jenna who may just be showing signs of the paranoia that afflicts her mum. What a wonderful melting pot!

If there was ever a case to be built for the adage ‘until you have seen it with your own eyes, don’t believe it’, it is here. Jewell has, as always, written a superb page turner that kept me hooked from beginning to end.


THE AUTHOR: Lisa was born in London in 1968. Her mother was a secretary and her father was a textile agent and she was brought up in the northernmost reaches of London with her two younger sisters. She was educated at a Catholic girls’ Grammar school in Finchley. After leaving school at sixteen she spent two years at Barnet College doing an arts foundation course and then two years at Epsom School of Art & Design studying Fashion Illustration and Communication.

She worked for the fashion chain Warehouse for three years as a PR assistant and then for Thomas Pink, the Jermyn Street shirt company for four years as a receptionist and PA. She started her first novel, Ralph’s Party, for a bet in 1996. She finished it in 1997 and it was published by Penguin books in May 1998. It went on to become the best-selling debut novel of that year.

She has since written a further nine novels, as is currently at work on her eleventh.

She now lives in an innermost part of north London with her husband Jascha, an IT consultant, her daughters, Amelie and Evie and her silver tabbies, Jack and Milly.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Atria Books via Netgalley for providing me with a digital extract ARC of Watching You by Lisa Jewell. I was so engaged in the story I acquired the audiobook version narrated by Gabrielle Glaister, published by Random House Audiobooks, which I listened to via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my profile page or the about page on for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my page

Friday Favorite – Where I Lost Her by T Greenwood

Looking for something to read over the weekend ?

Nothing on your book radar that is screaming ‘read me’?

Take a look at my Friday Favorite. It may be new. It may be old. It may be written by a famous author, or by someone you have never heard of. But wherever in the spectrum it falls, it will be a book that is special to me, one that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

Where I Lost Her

EXCERPT: I stand in the shadowed doorway, staring at the heavy wooden door. I feel the sweat trickling down my neck. The air is hot and fragrant, the smells unfamiliar. Strong. I think the sweetness comes from the Jacaranda, those trees that stand sentry along this street, an explosion of violet petals. The pavement is littered with their castoffs, like purple confetti after a parade. The impossible beauty of all that color, the cloying sweetness, brings tears to my eyes. But there is another scent, lingering beneath. Tainting it. It smells like something burned. Like something spoiled.

The phonecall came this morning, to the hotel, where we have been staying. Waiting. I have learned such tremendous patience in the last five years, though I worry sometimes that the line between patience and foolishness is a thin one. I have been made a fool of before. Believed promises. Paid dearly for my optimism and blind faith. And yet, trust is like an affliction. Hope overriding all sensibility. This has become my religion: my faith, like all other faiths, driven by the most simple and primitive, selfish want. Accompanied by a wilful and necessary blindness.

Our lawyer said to come right away.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Where I Lost Her follows one woman’s journey through heartbreak and loss to courage and resolve, as she searches for the truth about a missing child.

Eight years ago, Tess and Jake were considered a power couple of the New York publishing world–happy, in love, planning a family. Failed fertility treatments and a heartbreaking attempt at adoption have fractured their marriage and left Tess edgy and adrift. A visit to friends in rural Vermont throws Tess’s world into further chaos when she sees a young, half-dressed child in the middle of the road, who then runs into the woods like a frightened deer.

The entire town begins searching for the little girl. But there are no sightings, no other witnesses, no reports of missing children. As local police and Jake point out, Tess’s imagination has played her false before. And yet Tess is compelled to keep looking, not only to save the little girl she can’t forget but to salvage her broken heart as well.

MY THOUGHTS: 5 very sparkly stars for Where I Lost her by T Greenwood.

Tess and Jake are spending the weekend with their friends in rural Vermont. Although Tess has had too much to drink, she drives to the liquor store to buy another bottle of wine. On her way back to the camp, she sees a small girl dressed in a tutu and ladybug boots on the road. The child takes fright and disappears into the woods. Tess reports the incident and a search is reluctantly started. But no-one has reported a child missing, and there is no trace of her.

And Tess has a past……

This book was compelling and breath-taking reading. I did not want to put it down. I could not put it down. I was consumed by it.

Greenwoods writing is lyrical, beautiful and at the same time thrilling and suspenseful. I will be looking for more from this wonderful author.


THE AUTHOR: T. Greenwood is the author of twelve novels. She has received grants from the Sherwood Anderson Foundation, the Christopher Isherwood Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and, most recently, the Maryland State Arts Council. She has won three San Diego Book Awards. Five of her novels have been BookSense76/IndieBound picks. BODIES OF WATER was finalist for a Lambda Foundation award. Her twelfth novel, RUST & STARDUST, will be published in August 2018.

She teaches creative writing for San Diego Writer’s Ink and online for The Writer’s Center. She and her husband, Patrick, live in San Diego, CA with their two daughters. She is also a photographer.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for providing a digital ARC of Where I Lost Her by T Greenwood for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my profile page or the about page on for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my page

The Collector by Fiona Cummins

Merry Christmas to all! It is Boxing Day here in New Zealand, overcast, mild, a little drizzly. We had a superb Christmas Day with family, and the weather was much nicer than was forecast. At 20 months, our little grandson thoroughly enjoyed himself and provided much entertainment. He loved his new books, and went off to bed, somewhat later than usual, singing.

I debated posting about The Collector today, as I have started this series on the second book, but it is so good I simply cannot resist telling you about it.

The Collector by Fiona Cummins

EXCERPT: Detective Sergeant Etta Fitzroy. Her name rolls across his tongue. He conjures up her face, the opposing colors of her eyes. An eye for an eye. His fingers twitch.

Seven bones surround the orbital cavity. He wonders if they will splinter and break when he presses her eye from its socket.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: The Collector by Fiona Cummins is the gripping sequel to Rattle.

Jakey escaped with his life and moved to a new town. His rescue was a miracle but his parents know that the Collector is still out there, watching, waiting…

Clara, the girl he left behind, is clinging to the hope that someone will come and save her.

Life has fallen apart for Clara’s mother as she starts to lose hope.

The Bone Collector has a new apprentice to take over his family’s legacy. But he can’t forget the boy who got away and the detective who had destroyed his dreams.

Detective Etta Fitzroy’s life collapsed when the Collector escaped. With Clara still missing, and a new wave of uncannily similar murders beginning, will she be able to find him again?

The Collector is back and this time he has nothing to lose . . .

MY THOUGHTS: I was left breathless. I basically read The Collector in one sitting, interrupted only by the hours I was at work, and even then I read in my breaks.

I went cold into The Collector. I had not read Rattle. I had it on order, hoping to read it before I started The Collector. But I was almost finished before Rattle arrived. Not to worry. There was enough background information to give the reader some idea of what had happened, but not so much as to spoil it for those of us reading the first book after the second. Rattle is sitting on my bedside table ready to go.

The Collector is extremely well written. It is dark and deliciously creepy. I recommend you read it with all the lights on, and doors and windows locked. The author generates, then maintains, a high level of suspense. There is not one extraneous word in the book. The chapters are short and to the point. The characters are well crafted, their back stories cleverly woven into the fabric of the plot.

I am looking forward to more from this author. In the meantime, I have thrown my reading schedule out the window and am off to be Rattled!

😨😨😨😨😨 Definitely in my top ten books of 2018.

THE AUTHOR: Fiona Cummins is an award-winning former Daily Mirror showbusiness journalist and a graduate of the Faber Academy Writing A Novel course. She lives in Essex with her family. Rattle is her first novel.

DISCLOSURE: A huge and heartfelt ‘thank you’ to Kensington Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Collector by Fiona Cummins for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my profile page or the about page on for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my page


For Better and Worse by Margot Hunt

For Better and Worse by Margot Hunt

EXCERPT: I set my wine glass down on the granite counter. I suddenly remembered back to when we were remodeling the kitchen, and I had spent hours, days even, worrying about the countertops. Granite? Quartz? Butcher block? And what color – grey, white, the cool black swirly one Will had rejected immediately, but I thought would make a stylish choice? I had thought that if we had the perfect kitchen, it would create the backdrop for our perfect family life – eating meals together at the island, teaching Charlie how to make meatballs, rolling out pastry dough for summer peach pies. Looking back, it all seemed so naive. Who the hell cared what your countertops looked like when there were children out in the world right this minute being hurt? When my child had been hurt?

ABOUT THIS BOOK: On their first date back in law school, Natalie and Will Clarke bonded over drinks, dinner and whether they could get away with murder. Now married, they’ll put the latter to the test when an unchecked danger in their community places their son in jeopardy. Working as a criminal defense attorney, Nat refuses to rely on the broken legal system to keep her family safe. She knows that if you want justice…you have to get it yourself.

Shocked to discover Nat’s taken matters into her own hands, Will has no choice but to dirty his, also. His family is in way too deep to back down now. He’s just not sure he recognizes the woman he married. Nat’s always been fiercely protective, but never this ruthless or calculating. With the police poking holes in their airtight plan, what will be the first to fall apart: their scandalous secret—or their marriage?

MY THOUGHTS: I am still reeling from reading this! I went into this read blind. Having just now read the blurb, I am glad that I did because I got the full impact of the writing without the giveaways spoiling the plot for me.

I read Margot Hunt’s previous book, Best Friends Forever, and loved it, so reading For Better and Worse was a no-brainer. It is very different, but every bit as good. Hunt has a knack for being able to perfectly portray relationships – those between friends, husband and wife, lovers, workmates, acquaintances – of making them very real to the reader. And then there is the great moral dilemma, actions and consequences, the fear of being caught. I read with my heart in my throat.

This is not a murder-mystery. We know whodunit. The big question is, are they going to get away with it? Because despite her background, Nat makes some very basic mistakes. I was yelling at her in my mind, ‘What do you think you’re doing? You should know better!’

And that ending!!!!!

I devoured this book, hoovered it up. I sincerely hope that the author is already hard at work writing her next book. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!


THE AUTHOR: Margot Hunt is the pseudonym of a bestselling writer of twelve previous novels. Her work has been praised by Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist and Kirkus Reviews. BEST FRIENDS FOREVER is her first psychological thriller. Her new book, FOR BETTER AND WORSE, will be released in December 2018.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harlequin Mira via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of For Better and Worse by Margot Hunt for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my profile page or the about page on for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my page

Friday Favorite – All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Looking for something to read over the weekend ?

Nothing on your book radar that is screaming ‘read me’?

Take a look at my Friday Favorite. It may be new. It may be old. It may be written by a famous author, or by someone you have never heard of. But wherever in the spectrum it falls, it will be a book that is special to me, one that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

You may think Christmas is an odd time to talk about suicide, but like murder, the suicide rate rises alarmingly at this time of year. So please let’s all take a moment out of our busy lives to remember those who have taken their own lives, and another to reach out to someone who is alone. 💕 Bless you. 💕

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

EXCERPT: Is today a good day to die?

This is something I ask myself in the morning when I wake up. In third period when I am trying to keep my eyes open while Mr Schroeder drones on and on. At the supper table as I’m passing the green beans. At night when I’m laying awake because my brain won’t shut off due to all there is to think about.

Is today the day?

And if not today – when?

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

MY THOUGHTS: ‘ It is not what you take from this life, but what you leave behind.

There is not a person out there whose life is not touched by suicide at some point, most of us more than once.

This is a wonderfully touching tale of a boy who saves a girl, but is unable to save himself; a book that should be read by everyone.

I grew to love Violet, whose life has been shattered by the death of her elder sister Eleanor in a car accident; a death Violet feels responsible for, both because she survived the accident and because she had told her sister to take that particular road.

And Theodore, a selfless romantic in search of ‘the perfect day’; who each day plans to kill himself but each day is stopped by one small beautiful thing he discovers. Until one day he isn’t.

This book is beautifully written. It is sensitively written, but at the same time it doesn’t hold anything back. Survivor guilt, anger, bullying, the duplicity of teenagers, the ignorance of parents are all interwoven into this emotional story that will bring a tear to your eye.


THE AUTHOR: By the time I was ten, I had already written numerous songs, a poem for Parker Stevenson (“If there were a Miss America for men, You would surely win”), two autobiographies (All About Me and My Life in Indiana: I Will Never Be Happy Again), a Christmas story, several picture books (which I illustrated myself) featuring the Doodle Bugs from Outer Space, a play about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s sister entitled Blindness Strikes Mary, a series of prison mysteries, a collection of short stories featuring me as the main character (an internationally famous rock star detective), and a partially finished novel about Vietnam. I was also an excellent speller from a very early age.

In 2000, I started writing full-time, and I haven’t stopped… I’ve written nine books (#9 will be out Oct 4, 2016), and when I’m not working on the tenth, I’m writing the screenplay for All the Bright Places, contributing to my web magazine, Germ (, thinking up new books, and dabbling in TV. I am always writing.

DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of All the Bright Places, written by Jennifer Niven , narrated by Kirby Heyborne and Ariadne Meyers, published by Listening Library, via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my profile page or the about page on for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my page


Friday Favorite – Transcription by Kate Atkinson

Looking for something to read over the weekend ?

Nothing on your book radar that is screaming ‘read me’?

Take a look at my Friday Favorite. It may be new. It may be old. It may be written by a famous author, or by someone you have never heard of. But wherever in the spectrum it falls, it will be a book that is special to me, one that has captured both my imagination and my heart. This one definitely did both. 😍

Transcription by Kate Atkinson

EXCERPT: ‘Are you . . . intact, Miss Armstrong?’

‘Intact?’ She had to think for a moment what he meant by that. (She thought of the Latin. Untouched.) ‘Oh,’ she said eventually. ‘Yes, sir.’ She blushed all over again, dreadfully hot suddenly, despite the weather. It wasn’t a question you asked if you weren’t intending to do something about it, was it? Although in her imagination this act had involved dim lighting, satin sheets, perhaps flutes of champagne and a discreet veil drawn over the crude mechanics of the act, mainly because she still had little idea of what they were.

Also, on a practical level she had imagined a bed, not a hillocky field beneath a thundery sky that was the color of putty. An uncomfortable tussock was sticking into her left buttock. She could see dark clouds moving in from the west and thought, ‘we’re going to get rained on.’ Out of the corner of her eye she saw her hat blow away. ‘Oh,’ Juliet said again.

He leant closer. Very close. He did not look as attractive from this distance, in fact he looked not a little unlike an otter. She closed her eyes.

Nothing happened, so she opened them again and found him gazing steadily at her. She remembered that he had learnt mesmerisim when he was younger and she thought, Good Lord – was he hypnotizing her? She felt quite woozy all of a sudden, although she supposed she was now officially starving so it was no wonder. And then he was on his feet, pointing at the sky and saying, ‘Look, a sparrowhawk!’

Was that it then?

ABOUT THIS BOOK: In 1940, eighteen-year old Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings and goings of British Fascist sympathizers, she discovers the work to be by turns both tedious and terrifying. But after the war has ended, she presumes the events of those years have been relegated to the past forever.

Ten years later, now a radio producer at the BBC, Juliet is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past. A different war is being fought now, on a different battleground, but Juliet finds herself once more under threat. A bill of reckoning is due, and she finally begins to realize that there is no action without consequence.

MY THOUGHTS: If I could be any writer in the world, I would wish to be Kate Atkinson. I love her inconsequential thoughts, her irreverence, her wit. Her characters are so very real to me that I hesitate to close the book for fear of losing my new found friends (a hangover from my childhood). They have a depth and richness that is seldom seen, another trademark of Atkinson’s writing, and yet they are very ordinary people, stumbling through their lives much like most of us do.

Transcription is very much a character driven novel. If you are waiting for something to ‘happen’, you may well be very disappointed – after all, Juliet can’t even lose her virginity – although, of course, things do happen; mundane, everyday things that a naive eighteen year old imbues with perhaps more (or less) significance than they merit.

And underneath all the mind-numbing boredom of typing endless reports, in triplicate, of coping with carbon stained fingertips, of drinking endless cups of tea and the odd cocktail, there is slowly revealed a tale of espionage, counter-espionage, double agents, and a lot of people of whom we are never quite sure whose side they are on.

Classic Atkinson.

And please do read the author’s note. Transcription’s origin is rooted in reality, and Atkinson talks about the documents that started her on this wonderful journey, and the people behind them. She has also provided me with a whole raft of new reading material that I would never otherwise have heard of. Thank you Kate.


Kate Atkinson was born in York and now lives in Edinburgh. Her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award and she has been a critically acclaimed international bestselling author ever since.

She is the author of a collection of short stories, Not the End of the World, and of the critically acclaimed novels Human Croquet, Emotionally Weird, Case Histories, and One Good Turn.

Case Histories introduced her readers to Jackson Brodie, former police inspector turned private investigator, and won the Saltire Book of the Year Award and the Prix Westminster.

When Will There Be Good News? was voted Richard & Judy Book Best Read of the Year. After Case Histories and One Good Turn, it was her third novel to feature the former private detective Jackson Brodie, who makes a welcome return in Started Early, Took My Dog.

DISCLOSURE: I own my copy of Transcription by Kate Atkinson, published by Doubleday. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my profile page or the about page on for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my page