Thursday 31 August 2023

The Confession Room by Lia Middleton | Book Review

[ad/gifted - I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.]

The Confession Room by Lia Middleton
My rating: 5/5
Publisher: Penguin Michael Joseph
Publication date: 31st August 2023

An online forum for admitting your sins.

Some people confess to affairs, others to stealing. Some admit deep, dark wishes. And former police officer Emilia Haines, reading strangers' secrets is the perfect distraction from the past.

But one day, Emilia stumbles on the darkest confession yet:


At first, it seems like a hoax. But when a body is found, then another victim is named, Emilia can't look away.

How are the victims linked? Who is confessing to murder to publicly?

And how do you catch a serial killer who is hiding in plain sight?

I absolutely FLEW through this one but I knew I would because Lia Middleton's books just have that effect on me.

Emilia Haines is a former police officer, leaving the force after blaming herself for her sister's death. If only she'd answered Sophie's worried phone calls, maybe she would still be alive. 

Of course, Emilia can't just forget about all the skills and abilities she had acquired as an officer and becomes obsessed with checking a forum called The Confession Room. It begins with people posting simple confessions such as them cheating on partners but it soon turns sinister. Someone is kidnapping forum users, two at a time, and uploading videos of them in a real life confession room. By the end, one of the two will be dead.

Emilia fully inserts herself into finding out what is going on, much to the chagrin of her ex-colleagues. There were so many times where I wanted to give her a shake and tell her to leave well alone. I was desperate to get to the end of this book to see how it would all pan out. My heart was racing and my eyes went wide by the ending. Fantastic! 

Monday 28 August 2023

The Silent Man by David Fennell | Blog Tour Book Review

[ad/gifted - I received an ebook copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

The Silent Man by David Fennell
My rating: 5/5
Publisher: Zaffre
Publication date: 31st August 2023

A father is murdered in the dead of night in his London home, his head wrapped tightly in tape, a crude sad face penned over his facial features. But the victim's only child is left alive and unharmed at the scene.

Met Police detectives Grace Archer and Harry Quinn have more immediate concerns. Notorious gangster Frankie White has placed a target on Archer's back, and there's no one he won't harm to get to her.

Then a second family is murdered, leaving young Uma Whitmore as the only survivor.

With a serial killer at large, DI Archer and DS Quinn must stay alive long enough to find the connection between these seemingly random victims. Can they do it before another child is orphaned?

I gave The Art Of Death and See No Evil, Fennell's previous two novels in the DI Grace Archer & DS Harry Quinn series, both five stars and The Silent Man is an easy five star too.

If you haven't read any books in this series before, enough information is given to you to learn a bit about the backstory of Archer and Quinn, but I would highly recommend giving the other ones a read as they are so good.

In The Silent Man, Archer and Quinn are tasked searching for a serial killer whose MO is to taser their victims before wrapping their heads in tape and drawing an emoji style face on them. All of the victims seem to be parents too.

Alongside this, we have the story that runs across all three books, a crime family who are intent on harming Archer. They had previously been the reason for her father's death too.

The pacing is fantastic and I literally did not want to put this down. I just gel with Fennell's writing style and I like this chase. I have to say, as a Belfast native I cackled with laughter at Quinn's line " head's poundin' like an Orangeman's drum"! It has everything I want in a police procedural/thriller and a great, diverse host of characters too.

If you haven't read this series yet, you need to!


A massive thank you to Compulsive Readers for having me on the tour and Zaffre for supplying me with a copy of the book. You can find information about the other bloggers taking part in the tour in the graphic below.

Monday 21 August 2023

What Lies Between Us by John Marrs | Book Review

[This post contains affiliate links.]

What Lies Between Us by John Marrs
My rating: 5/5
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication date: 15th May 2020

Nina can never forgive Maggie for what she did. And she can never let her leave.

They say every house has its secrets, and the house that Maggie and Nina have shared for so long is no different. Except that these secrets are not buried in the past.

Every other night, Maggie and Nina have dinner together. When they are finished, Nina helps Maggie back to her room in the attic, and into the heavy chain that keeps her there. Because Maggie has done things to Nina that can’t ever be forgiven, and now she is paying the price.

But there are many things about the past that Nina doesn’t know, and Maggie is going to keep it that way―even if it kills her.

Because in this house, the truth is more dangerous than lies.

Oh my God. As someone who reads a lot of thrillers, I find that they can get a bit samey and I can guess what is coming. I was craving a five star thriller and this was it.

What Lies Between Us follows the story of 36-year-old Nina and her mother Maggie. We discover that Nina is keeping her mother chained up in the attic with her luxuries taken away but they do eat dinner together occasionally. 

The chapters alternate between the present and twenty-five years earlier when Nina was a teenager. We learn a lot about their relationship with one another and Nina's mental state. In all honesty it felt chaotic but it all makes perfect sense. It is amazingly written, fantastically paced and I did not want to stop reading. I would probably go as far as to say that it is a perfect thriller. 

I don't want to give any of the plot away because the less you know going in, the better, but there are a few trigger warnings for miscarriage, cancer, grooming. 

Tuesday 15 August 2023

Sad Girl Novel by Pip Finkemeyer | Blog Tour Book Review

[ad/gifted - I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

Sad Girl Novel by Pip Finkemeyer
My rating: 4/5
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication date: 10th August 2023

An Australian expat in Berlin, Kim is jobless, rootless, and - as she's slowly discovering - somewhat useless.
That is until a chance encounter with Matthew, a hotshot New York literary agent, gives Kim the direction she's been craving. This year she will:

* Finally write her novel
* Decide what said novel is actually about
* Romantically pin down the increasingly flighty Matthew
* Be less jealous of best friend Bel's baby
* Convince her therapist that the amount of artichokes she eats doesn't classify as an eating disorder
* Stay sane in the process of achieving the above

Because Kim's story will not become a sad girl novel.
Definitely not.

I saw a creator on Tiktok (@bookrvws) recently talk about a genre that she calls Existential Millennial Malaise and this is exactly how I would describe this book.

Our main character, 27-year-old Kim, moves to Berlin in the hopes of writing a novel. She quickly becomes best friends with Bel, falls in love with a man named Matthew who seemingly doesn't love her back and all the while she is struggling to find herself and the confidence to write her novel. She essentially has an existential crisis, falls into drugs and partly loses her relationship with Bel who she has convinced to have a baby on her own.

Firstly, this was funny but not in the "belly laughing hilarious the whole way through" way. There are golden nuggets planted throughout that had me smiling or laughing out loud. She is super witty and I loved reading her thoughts. We aren't supposed to like Kim, I certainly didn't love her, but I couldn't help but feel everything she felt as I read. 

It is a gorgeous novel on exploration, finding yourself and comparing yourself to others. Very character-driven rather than plot but I really enjoyed this one! 


Thank you so much Hodder & Stoughton for having me on the blog tour. You can find information on the other bloggers taking part in the tour in the graphic below.

Monday 14 August 2023

Just Another Missing Person by Gillian McAllister | Book Review

[ad/gifted - I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.]

Just Another Missing Person by Gillian McAllister
My rating: 5/5
Publisher: Penguin Michael Joseph 
Publication date: 3rd August 2023

22 years old.
Last seen on CCTV, entering a dead-end alley.
And not coming back out again.
Missing for one day and counting...

Julia is the detective heading up the case. She knows what to expect. A desperate family, a ticking clock, and long hours away from her husband and daughter. But Julia has no idea how close to home it's going to get.

Because there's a man out there. And his weapon isn't a gun, or a knife: it's a secret. Her worst one.

He tells her that her family's safety depends on one thing: Julia must NOT find out what happened to Olivia - and must frame somebody else for her murder...

What would you do?

Oh my God. OH MY GOD. I always know when I read a Gillian McAllister book that I am about to be blown away but, wow. Right from the very first chapter I knew I wouldn't want to put this down. Damn being an adult and having responsibilities because I definitely would have read this entire thing in one sitting if I didn't have a job to go to or children to keep alive. 

In Just Another Missing Person, DCI Julia Day is tasked with looking into the disappearance of Olivia Johnston. Julia has a teenage daughter and her marriage to her husband Art is at breaking point, with him sleeping with someone else. As much as she loves her family and will do her best for them, it plays second fiddle to her job as a police officer. But the lines are blurred when she is forced between her job that she is good at and protecting her family. 

I am not going to give too much away because you need to just read this book to really feel the impact. There are a lot of POV and time changes but it's so easy to follow along. On numerous occasions, the plot twists made me stare at the wall and say "what the F". 

If you liked the TV show 'Line Of Duty', I feel like you would love this! Bravo Gillian, you've done it again!