Control by Hugh Montgomery

It’s my stop on the #blogtour for Control by Hugh Montgomery today, and I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on this fantastic medical thriller!

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Synopsis

Renowned surgeon Michael Trenchard locks his office door and prepares for a relaxing evening. But what follows is a living nightmare when later he is discovered in a locked-in coma, the victim of an auto-erotic asphyxiation.

It is left to Doctor Kash Devan, Trenchard’s young protégé, to uncover the truth. And what he discovers is chilling . . .

In his ruthless pursuit of wealth and success, Trenchard has left a trail of wrecked lives, and angry people, behind him. Which of Trenchard’s victims hated him so much that they wanted to ruin not only his reputation, but his life as well?

Not all doctors are heroes . . .

My Thoughts

Control is a compelling tale of greed and ambition.  It is well researched and uses the right balance of medical jargon, ensuring the reader is not alienated whilst remaining technically sharp.

Be warned!  This book is set in a hospital, and contains detailed and gruesome descriptions of various medical procedures, something I found fascinating but would certainly not be for the faint hearted! It tackles difficult and often distressing themes which Montgomery covers with clinical succinctness.  There are no hearts and flowers here.

Control is a terrifying medical thriller; an intelligent “whodunnit” oozing clever twists but with plenty of pace; a gripping page turner which kept me guessing right until the last page.

If you are looking for the ideal holiday read, something that will keep you on the edge of your seat in the heat, then look no further than Control.

Control is out now in paperback and you can buy it here

My thanks go to Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for my invitation to the #blogtour and also to Ellen Turner and Zaffre for my copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

If you liked my review, please do check out my other posts, and also the other stops on the #blogtour (see below).

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About the Author

Hugh Montgomery is a distinguished physician, known for his pioneering genetic research.  Outside the field of medicine, he was a founding member of the UK Climate and Health Council and is an endurance expert, who has run three ultra-marathons, scaled the world’s sixth highest mountain, jumped naked from a plane at 14,000 ft and holds the world record for underwater piano playing. Zaffre, Bonnier Books UK’s flagship adult fiction imprint, will publish Control in August 2019.

Until next time!

@mrscookesbooks

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Take it Back by Kia Abdullah

It’s my stop on the #blogtour for Take it Back by Kia Abdullah today and I’m SO excited about it!  There has been so much hype surrounding this book, and I’m here to say:  Believe it.  Buy it. You won’t regret it!

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Synopsis

The Victim: A sixteen-year-old girl with facial deformities, neglected by an alcoholic mother. Who accuses the boys of something unthinkable.

The Defendants: Four handsome teenage boys from hardworking immigrant families. All with corroborating stories.

Whose side would you take?

Zara Kaleel, one of London’s brightest young legal minds, shattered the expectations placed on her by her family and forged a glittering career at the Bar. All before hanging up her barrister’s wig to help the victims who needed her most. Victims like Jodie Wolfe.

Jodie’s own best friend doesn’t even believe her claims that their classmates carried out such a crime. But Zara does. And Zara is determined to fight for her.

Jodie and Zara become the centre of the most explosive criminal trial of the year, in which ugly divisions within British society are exposed. As everything around Zara begins to unravel she becomes even more determined to get Jodie the justice she’s looking for. But at what price?

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My Thoughts

This dark, sharp and disconcerting novel had me on edge for the entire two days it took to read it.  I was totally hooked from the first page and completely clueless as to who to believe until the very end.

Zara, the main protagonist, is forward and clever but finds herself caught up in violent clashes of culture, where battle lines are drawn but remain blurred.  She deals with hatred, fear and divisive situations whilst always trying to do what she thinks is right.  This story has heart-pounding pace and is uncomfortably conflicting; I was gripped by both the meticulous research and the painfully unsettling layers of evidence as they unfolded.

Abdullah’s writing is complex yet lucid, she delivers shocking twists like electrical pulses; in bursts with sheer power.  I was utterly captivated and read with baited breath, this book is compelling.

Take it Back is a crushingly intense, powerful and twisted novel that will have you on tenterhooks until the very last page.  Clear your diaries for when you pick it up, I promise you won’t be able to put it down!

This is a serious contender for my book of the year, which is a big shout, given my penchant for indecisiveness!  I urge you all to read it.

My thanks go to Lucy Richardson and HQ Stories for the invitation to the #blogtour and my stunning finished copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

Take It Back is out now in hardcover and ebook format and you can buy it here

If you enjoyed my review, please do check out my other posts and the other stops on the #blogtour.

Until next time!

@mrscookesbooks

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Old Bones by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

It’s my stop on the #blogtour for Old Bones by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles today and I’m thrilled to be sharing an extract of this book with you!  What’s more, I am hosting a giveaway too!  To be in with a chance of winning a copy of Old Bones, read the extract below, follow me on twitter and retweet my #blogtour tweet and answer the question in the comments!  The competition closes at 6pm on 09 August and is only open to those with UK addresses. Good luck!

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Synopsis

‘You can’t upset anyone looking into old bones.’

DCI Bill Slider’s out of favour in the force – for accusing a senior Met officer of covering up an underage sex ring. As a punishment, he’s given a cold case to keep him busy: some old bones to rake through, found buried in a back garden, from a murder that happened two decades ago, and with most of the principal players already dead.

Surely Bill Slider can’t unearth anything new or shocking with these tired old bones?

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Extract

Monday morning began with bones. McLaren took the phone call, breaking off from hand-to-mouth combat with a bacon baguette.

‘You’re disgusting,’ Swilley said as he sprayed crusty flakes in the attempt to say ‘CID room. ‘What would your girlfriend think if she could see you now?’

McLaren put down the baton carefully, balancing it across the top of his coffee mug, said, ‘Yeah, I’ll hold,’ into the receiver, and had the leisure to answer Swilley. ‘Nat wun’t care,’ he told her. ‘She likes a bloke with an appetite. She’s only little, but she can put it away herself all right.’

‘Ah,’ Atherton murmured on his way out. ‘A gastro-gnome.’

But McLaren was now listening to the call. He didn’t generally catch Atherton’s witticisms anyway. He thought wit was a description of the weather in New Zealand.

A garden contractor starting to dig out foundations for a shed had unearthed a large bone and called the police. Uniform decided it ought to be investigated and Mackay from Slider’s team went out. When he reported back that he thought the bone was human, Slider sent McLaren to assist while the SOC diggers were sent for, carefully to uncover whatever else might be there.

Mid-morning, Swilley appeared at Slider’s door. ‘The bones, boss,’ she said. ‘Mackay says they’re definitely human.’
Slider looked up. ‘How definitely?’

‘The whole skeleton’s there. Doc Cameron’s on his way. The builder had the sense to stop when he uncovered the first one, so there’s not too much damage. Uniform’s got the owners corralled in the house – yuppie couple. The husband’s kicking up blazes, apparently – wants to be let go to work.’

‘All right, send someone down to keep him happy.’

‘I’ll go, boss.’

Slider eyed her. Tall, athletic, blonde and attractive. ‘No, you might inflame the wife,’ he said. ‘Send Gascoyne – he’s got an emollient personality.’

‘If you say so,’ said Swilley, though Slider didn’t know whether she was doubtful about the man or the vocabulary.

He returned to the sea of paperwork that these days covered his desk. It never grew any less, because every time he left the room for a moment, elves would come and deposit some more. There had always been annoying paperwork, but of recent years, what with political correctness, pressure groups and the increasing litigiousness of the British Public, it had seemed to become not an adjunct, but the whole purpose of The Job. Sometimes he made an attempt at sorting the stuff into piles, butsearching for something specific just spread them out again. It was an intractable mass. There were layers at the bottom that were turning into peat.

On a trip to the loo, to get away from it for a minute or two, he bumped into Detective Superintendent Porson, his boss, coming out, shaking his big chalky hands to dry them.

‘Out of paper towels again,’ he said irritably, glaring at Slider as though it were his fault. ‘I hate them bloody blower things.’ Slider whimsically pulled out his handkerchief, but Porson, with a stern look, advanced one hip and said, ‘Get mine out of my jacket pocket.’ And while he wiped his hands dry, still staring at Slider, he said, ‘Got anything on?’

Slider repressed the facetious answer that sat up like a dog smelling sausage, and said, ‘Human remains unearthed this morning in a garden in Laburnum Avenue.’

‘Laburnum?’

‘On the Trees Estate.’ It was the officially unofficial name for a small development off the Uxbridge Road.

‘Right. Laburnum. What sort of remains?’

‘A whole human skeleton, apparently.’

Porson looked pleased, for some reason. ‘Old bones. Lovely. Something for you to get your teeth into.’

‘Sir?’ Slider said with an effort. Down, Fido!

‘Keep you busy,’ Porson explained. ‘Usefully employed and out of everyone’s hair. You can’t upset anybody looking into old bones.’

‘You mean—?’

Porson took on a worrying hint of kindness. ‘You know you aren’t Mr Popular in some circles. Now this won’t put anyone’s toes out of joint. Sort it out, it’s good publicity for The Job, bit of bon for you.’

‘You want me to prioritize it?’ Slider queried innocently.

‘Get stuck in!’ Porson invited, with a nod of his massive head, and strode on.

‘Roger that sir,’ Slider murmured. Direct order from the boss. Bye bye paperwork, hello fieldcraft. He returned via the CID room, where his minions were toiling over their various routines. ‘I’ll give it half an hour more for Doc Cameron to do his stuff, then I’ll go over to Laburnum myself,’ he announced. Eyes were raised in hope. DS Atherton, his friend and usual bagman, wasn’t there – out on some business with the sergeant’s envied freedom. He thought of the indignant yuppie couple and Fido grinned and wagged again. ‘Hart, you can come with me.’ Hart was black and sassy with a gorblimey London accent. Emollient she was not.

‘Right, boss,’ Hart said with a happy grin. ‘Old bones. Lovely!’

Odd that Porson had used the same words, he thought.

Gripping stuff!  Old Bones is out now in paperback and you can buy it here

My thanks go to Holly Domney and Blackthorn Books for the invitation to the tour and for my copy of the book.  If you enjoyed my post, please do check out my others, and also the other stops on the #blogtour (see below).

Until next time!

@mrscookesbooks

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The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves

I am thrilled to be stop on the #blogtour for The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves – I adored this book and suspect that many others will too.

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Synopsis

Annika Rose likes being alone.

She feels lost in social situations, saying the wrong thing or acting the wrong way. She just can’t read people. She prefers the quiet solitude of books or playing chess to being around others. Apart from Jonathan. She liked being around him, but she hasn’t seen him for ten years. Until now that is. And she’s not sure he’ll want to see her again after what happened all those years ago.

Annika Rose likes being alone.

Except that, actually, she doesn’t like being alone at all. And she just might have a second chance at first love.

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My Thoughts

Well THAT was unexpected! This really is the PERFECT not-so-perfect love story; a lesson that there is someone for everyone and that in life there is love, hope and maybe a second chance.

Annika is someone who, by her own admission, looks on the outside like she fits in, but inside feels that she doesn’t belong.  She is slow at picking up on social cues and thus constantly worries about what to say and do in any situation; having anxiety as her constant emotional companion. She is straight-talking, blunt, and painfully honest but she is also smart and funny, and is absolutely beautiful.

Jonathan is besotted with Annika, there is chemistry between them as soon as they meet and they make an enviable couple.  Jonathan is everything that Annika thought she would never have; a rock; a companion; a soulmate.  He has never once made her feel stupid for the weird things that she blurts out, and he understands her completely.  In turn Annika is Jonathan’s reason for existing; a concept which is totally alien to her as she is incapable of believing that she could be a saviour whilst being saved herself.

After being forced apart, they meet by chance a decade later and the story unravels through these two timelines. One charting their college years in the early 90’s and the other when they reconnect in 2001.  The narrative is dark and morose at times and Garvis Graves tackles some difficult themes.

Without giving too much away, there is a sudden change of pace towards the end of this book; everything steps up a gear and I found myself reading quickly, urgently and breathlessly.  It was emotionally draining yet SO compelling! I even shed a tear as I turned the final pages!

Garvis Graves has written a story with so much heart and sensitivity I found myself wanting to post-it a quote in almost every chapter of this novel!  One particularly memorable part has Annika describing herself as being in a foreign country, asking for orange juice but constantly being given milk because no one understands her.

I tore through this book in only a couple of days and looking back I wish I’d savoured it a bit more – I’ve quickly grown a fond attachment to Annika and Jonathan and I shall miss them dearly.

The Girl He Used To Know is an emotional yet uplifting journey which blew me away.  I have already recommended it to several people and shall be searching out Garvis Grave’s previous titles whilst I eagerly await her next offering.

This is definitely a book for fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (by Gail Honeyman), The Cactus (by Sarah Haywood) and Needlemouse (by Jane O’Connor).

The Girl He Used to Know is out now in ebook format and will be published as a paperback on 08 July 2019 – you can pre-order it here

My thanks go to Tracy Fenton and Compulsive Readers for the invitation to the #blogtour and to Alainna Georgiou and Trapeze for my proof copy in exchange for my honest review.

If you liked my review, please do check out my other posts, and also the other stops on the #blogtour (see below).

Until next time!

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@mrscookesbooks

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Canongate Blogger of the Month

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It’s been a hectic month in the Cooke household and I can’t believe I’ve left it ‘til the penultimate day in July to write a blogpost about the honour of being picked as July Blogger of the Month by the lovely people at Canongate!

I can’t tell you how thrilled I was when Katie Huckstep emailed me at the end of June to let me know – what a lovely surprise! And as for the lovely things they have said about me and my blog! Far too kind!

I keep a particularly close eye on Canongate as they really do release some quite remarkable literature.  I’ve recently finished The Little Snake by A.L. Kennedy which is published on 1st August and it is simply wonderful! A veritable fairytale for grownups – there will be more on that when I post my review later this week!

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I have just started the Booker Prize long-listed book; Night Boat To Tangier by Kevin Barry and it is SPECTACULAR.  I am currently rushing this post just so that I can get back to it – it’s that good!

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I’m looking forward to sharing my review of it with you next week but in the meantime, I’d like to say a huge thank you to Canongate for choosing my humble blog to showcase; I am so thrilled and would urge you all to head on over to their website.  It contains a plethora of unique and truly fascinating reads; many of which have been nominated for various literary accolades.

I’d also like to thank the lovely book blogging community for the outpouring of messages of love and support.  Book people really are the best people!

Now I must get back to my reading!

Until next time!

@mrscookesbooks

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Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie

It’s my stop on the #blogtour for Nightingale Point today I am BEYOND thrilled to be hosting some original content by the author herself!  SO EXCITED!!!  So without further ado, lets find out what happens in the book that EVERYONE is talking about!

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Synopsis

On an ordinary Saturday morning in 1996, the residents of Nightingale Point wake up to their normal lives and worries.

Mary has a secret life that no one knows about, not even Malachi and Tristan, the brothers she vowed to look after.
Malachi had to grow up too quickly. Between looking after Tristan and nursing a broken heart, he feels older than his twenty-one years.
Tristan wishes Malachi would stop pining for Pamela. No wonder he’s falling in with the wrong crowd, without Malachi to keep him straight.
Elvis is trying hard to remember to the instructions his care worker gave him, but sometimes he gets confused and forgets things.
Pamela wants to run back to Malachi but her overprotective father has locked her in and there’s no way out.

It’s a day like any other, until something extraordinary happens. When the sun sets, Nightingale Point is irrevocably changed and somehow, through the darkness, the residents must find a way back to lightness, and back to each other.

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Luan Goldie’s inspiration for the novel

Nightingale Point is my debut novel and comes out with HQ, HarperCollins this summer. It’s commercial book club fiction, and while the setting of an east London council estate in the nineties may not be that familiar to many, the themes in the book are universal.

Nightingale Point starts on a normal Saturday morning and follows a large group of characters as they go about their everyday lives. So you see them doing really quite normal stuff, like shopping for peanut butter, frying too many spring rolls, arguing with their siblings over smoking weed indoors and so on. Then something happens, something completely out of their control, which first threatens and then changes their lives forever.

The book follows the characters as they face the incident head on and the reader gets to watch them as they escape (or not).

The book was inspired by the 1992 Bijlmer air disaster, in which a cargo plane flying over Holland crashed into a block of flats just outside of Amsterdam. It was an awful, tragic accident in which up to forty-seven people lost their lives. But even all these years, there still remains debate about the official death toll from the accident. Some argue that the flats were home to illegal immigrants and not everyone was officially documented as tenants. The aftermath disaster also sparked controversy, the victims didn’t feel like they had been treated well and rehousing was slow.

I was so interested in how the people of the Bijlmer carried on with their lives after going through such a tragedy. I thought it was completely inspiring to read about how they helped each other in the days, months and years which followed the crash. Surviving the accident was only the first challenge for the residents, for they were now also homeless and without a single possession to their name. Still, when I watched videos of these people they were energised and focused, ready to talk to the media about their treatment and to challenge the authorities who were slow to rehouse them, all this while looking after each other’s children and mourning loved ones. It was completely inspiring.

I love stories about people overcoming difficult situations, we all do, it’s a testament to the human spirit. So once I started looking into the Bijlmer I couldn’t get it out of my head. Then these characters came to me, they just started talking and I could see their whole lives in each of their flats in the tower block. There was Mary, a nurse from the Philippines, who I could see cooking for the husband she couldn’t stand. Then I had Tristan, who is your stereotypical estate teenager, loud, anti-social and rapping along to Tupac in the stairwells. Tristan was a really important character for me because I wanted him to fit a lot of those negative stereotypes about young black males, but also be completely lovable. His brother Malachi was the most challenging character to write, mainly because he goes through so much and says so little. Then there was the hero of the story, and I knew from the start that it would be Elvis, a big, friendly giant. At first he seems needy but you quickly get to see him as brave and strong. Finally, there’s Pamela, the heartbroken teenager with the strict dad. Each of the characters came to me so clearly and I loved them all instantly, but I knew they had to go through this awful thing.

Everyone who has read the book so far has a firm favourite and I love hearing who they like and why. When people talk about the book they talk the characters before they talk about the tragedy and that’s exactly what I wanted. Because it’s not really about the event, it’s about the people.

Wow, thank you so much, Luan for writing such an interesting and informative piece for my blog! Thank you also to Lucy Richardson and HQ Stories for the invitation to the tour and for my proof copy of this gritty and compelling novel.

Nightingale Point has been chosen for the BBC Radio 2 Book Club and is out now in both hardcover and ebook format and you can buy it here

If you enjoyed my post, please do go check out my others and also the other stops on the #blogtour (see below).

Until next time!

@mrscookesbooks

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The Holiday by TM Logan

Good morning! It’s my stop on the #blogtour for The Holiday today and I am delighted to share my review with you!

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Synopsis

Seven days. Three families. One killer.

It was supposed to be the perfect holiday, dreamed up by Kate as the ideal way to turn 40: four best friends and their husbands and children in a luxurious villa under the blazing sunshine of Provence.

But there is trouble in paradise. Kate suspects that her husband is having an affair, and that the other woman is one of her best friends.

One of these women is willing to sacrifice years of friendship and destroy her family. But which one? As Kate closes in on the truth in the stifling Mediterranean heat, she realises too late that the stakes are far higher than she ever imagined.

Because someone in the villa is prepared to kill to keep their secret hidden.

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My Thoughts

What. A. Book.  The Holiday has recently been chosen as a Richard and Judy Summer Book Club pick and this is no surprise; I devoured it in no time at all.

Logan’s prose is beautifully written with lush descriptions of the stunning scenery of Provence (the idyllic setting for his story), one could be forgiven for being lulled into a false sense of security and mistaking this book for a gentle, soothing, read. Yet behind every adjective that he uses to describe the sunny south of France and the palatial villa in which our families find themselves there is a dark tension.

Complete with a cast of flawed characters (of whom one could be a killer!) plus some other terrifying dangers to boot (fancy accidentally running off a sheer cliff without any barriers anyone?), it was hard to tear myself away from The Holiday.  I was totally hooked.

This book had me on edge.  Feelings of doubt and mistrust began to settle around me after reading only a few pages and continued right to the end, culminating in a shocking finale.

Kate’s prevarication over whether or not she should confront them all, together with the quiet yet creepy isolation of the villa created suspense aplenty and it was killing me!

Tense and gripping, with a jaw dropping twist; The Holiday is the the perfect Summer read.

The Holiday is out now in paper back and ebook format and you can buy it here

My thanks go to Tracy Fenton and Compulsive Readers for the invitation to the #blogtour and to Zaffre for my copy of the book which was given in exchange for my honest review.

If you enjoyed my review, please do check out my other posts and also the other stops on the #blogtour (see below).

Until next time!

@mrscookesbooks

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