Review: Degrees of Guilt ★★★★★

Trigger Warning: This book has mentions of self harm, and I will talk about this in my review.

About the Book

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Maria is on trial for attempted murder.

She has confessed to the crime and wanted her husband dead.

Lottie is on the jury, trying to decide her fate.

She embarks on an illicit affair with a stranger, and her husband can never find out.

You will think you know who is guilty and who is innocent.

You will be wrong.

My Review

This book was absolutely amazing. I’m a huge fan of Law & Order: SVU and this could definitely be the plot of an episode. I was completly hooked by the end of the first chapter. I read this on the train up to Aberdeen and it made the entire journey fly by (and coincidentally was the perfect length for the journey).

The story alternates between Maria, who’s only regret is that her husband didn’t die, and Lottie, a frustrated housewife who’s enjoying her role in something bigger.

To the outside world, Maria’s husband was the perfect gentleman, but Maria tells a darker tale of an abuse and manipulation.

Lottie is becoming frustrated with her role as wife and mother, and this jury duty seems like the perfect opportunity to add some excitement to her life. She slowly becomes enamoured with another jury member, but will she risk her marriage for him?

Throughout the book we get Maria’s story of her life with her husband, and how cruel he really was, and then the jury’s opinions on what they had heard. This tells the story of how hard it is for victims to convince the outside world when the abuser has spent years building up their reputation. Even without her husband in court, the jury want to believe his lies, because they’re a much nicer story than the truth.

Amongst all of this the reader gets a sense that there is something else going on we are not aware of. Is Maria telling the truth? Is this part of something bigger?

Part of this book deals with Maria’s self harm, and I thought this was handled incredibly well. As someone who has struggled with self-harm for years I thought the author managed to capture the thoughts and emotions around this world wonderfully. This is an extremely difficult topic to deal with and the author did so in a very respectful way.

Overall this book was an amazing read that I’ll recommend to anyone who’ll listen to me. I can’t wait for the next book.

Have you read Degrees of Guilt yet? What did you think?

Blog Tour: The Perfect Betrayal ★★★★★

A huge thanks to Emma for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour. The Perfect Betrayal is out in paperback today, so you should definitely go out to buy a copy if you haven’t already.

About the Book

After the sudden death of her husband, Tess is drowning in grief. All she has left is her son, Jamie, and she’ll do anything to protect him – but she’s struggling to cope.

When grief counsellor Shelley knocks on their door, everything changes. Shelley is understanding and kind, and promises she can help Tess through the hardest time of her life.

But when a string of unsettling events happens and questions arise over her husband’s death, Tess starts to suspect that Shelley may have an ulterior motive. Tess knows she must do everything she can to keep Jamie safe – but she’s at her most vulnerable, and that’s a dangerous place to be.

My Review

This book was astounding. The Perfect Betrayal starts with Tess in hospital, and her son, Jamie, missing. The story then jumps back to 55 days earlier. Tess is struggling to cope after the death of her husband, Mark, in a plane crash. Jamie’s mood reflects her own and she doesn’t know how to help him. On top of everything else, her brother in law is demanding money that Mark borrowed before his death. When Tess isn’t sure what to do next Shelley arrives on her doorstep to help. While Tess isn’t sure at first she quickly comes to rely on Shelly, who is also a huge help with Jamie.

There are chapters of Tess in the hospital being interviewed throughout the book, and she starts to question Shelley’s motives as she begs the police to find her son.

As you read this book you get a true sense of the grief that Tess is experiencing. The author does a wonderful job of giving us a real insight into her emotions and grieving.

The suspense and unease is built up throughout the book, in a very clever way. We read the events as Tess first experienced them, and then these events are given a different light when Tess talks about them in her interviews with the police. The reader is left not knowing who to trust, as even the kindest are seen as untrustworthy and manipulative as Tess tries to piece together what happened.

The ending of this book blew me away. The moment I realised what was going on I was completely gobsmacked and raced through the rest of the book. Looking back I could see the clues woven throughout the book, but they’re subtle enough that it doesn’t take away from the suspense by giving away the reveal too early.

I feel like I can’t say too much about this book as I don’t want to give anything away and spoil the book, but it is a stunning read. This is definitely something I’ll be recommending to anyone who’ll listen to me. I’m also eagerly anticipating the next release from Lauren North.

About the Author

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Lauren North writes psychological suspense novels that delve into the darker side of relationships and families. She has a lifelong passion for writing, reading, and all things books. Lauren’s love of psychological suspense has grown since childhood and her dark imagination of always wondering what’s the worst thing that could happen in every situation.

Lauren studied psychology before moving to London where she lived and worked for many years. She now lives with her family in the Suffolk countryside.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lauren_C_North

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LaurenNorthAuthor/

Review: The Sunday Girl Blog Tour

The Girl on the Train meets Before I Go to Sleep in this chilling tale of love gone horribly wrong …

“Some love affairs change you forever. Someone comes into your orbit and swivels you on your axis, like the wind working on a rooftop weather vane. And when they leave, as the wind always does, you are different; you have a new direction. And it’s not always north.”

Any woman who’s ever been involved with a bad, bad man and been dumped will understand what it feels like to be broken, broken-hearted and bent on revenge. Taylor Bishop is hurt, angry and wants to destroy Angus Hollingsworth in the way he destroyed her: ‘Insidiously. Irreparably. Like a puzzle he’d slowly dissembled … stolen a couple of pieces from, and then discarded, knowing that nobody would ever be able to put it back together ever again.’

So Taylor consults The Art of War and makes a plan. Then she takes the next irrevocable step – one that will change her life forever.

Things start to spiral out of her control – and The Sunday Girl becomes impossible to put down.

 My Review

This is my first blog tour, so I’m incredibly excited to be sharing my review of The Sunday Girl. Thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour

Taylor is hurt by Angus, and she’s determined to ruin him, they way he ruined her. But when he wants her back, has he really changed, or is it part of a larger plan.

The book starts with Taylor being hurt and humiliated by her boyfriend Angus after he puts a sex tape of her online. So Taylor starts to come up with a plan to get her revenge. She doesn’t want petty revenge, she wants to destroy his life.

There are references throughout this book to something that Taylor has done, but we’re not sure what. Tension builds up throughout as Taylor and Angus both become more determined to ‘win’, and their actions become more dark and twisted.

Neither of the characters are particularly likeable, but this doesn’t take away from the enjoyment. I was still fascinated througout the book as I wanted to know what happened, and I couldn’t help but root for Taylor.

I finished this book in one day, and had to take some time when I’d finished to process what I had just read, rather than starting something else straight away. I’ll be keeping a look out for future releases by this author.

About The Author

Pip Drysdale is a writer, actor and musician who grew up in Africa and Australia. At 20 she moved to New York to study acting, worked in indie films and off-off Broadway theatre, started writing songs and made four records. After graduating with a BA in English, Pip moved to London where she dated some interesting men and played shows across Europe. The Sunday Girl is her first novel and she is working on a second. She currently lives in Australia.

Review: Dead Inside ★★★★

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When three domestic abuse offenders are found beaten to death, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she is facing her toughest case yet.

The police suspect that Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood – who is connected to all three victims – is hiding a dark secret. Then a fourth domestic abuser is brutally murdered. And he is Lucy’s husband.

Now the finger of suspicion points at Lucy and the police are running out of time. Can Maggie and her team solve the murders before another person dies? And is Lucy really a cold-blooded killer?


I bought this after seeing dozens of reviews praising this book and it did not disappoint. This is a suspenseful book that kept me hooked throughout.

Dead Inside focuses on the story of Lucy, a probation worker abused by her husband, and DC Maggie Jamieson, who has just started work at a new team. You get to know these characters, and understand their thoughts and motivations, with chapters from other characters woven in beautifully.

This book gives a wonderful insight into abusive relationships. We get a real understanding of Lucy’s thought processes. She knows that she should leave her husband, but she can’t bring herself to do it. This doesn’t trivialise the abuse and instead demonstrates the struggle that domestic abuse victims go through. It also has some chapters from her husband’s point of view which gives more of an understanding of his character, rather than completely demonising him. It doesn’t excuse his behaviour, or make us like him anymore, but it does show the man behind the abuse, something not often seen.

Suspense and tension is built up throughout the book but a lot of this involves making us care about the characters. Even my cold, cynical heart started to care about Lucy and Mark.

My only complaint is I thought the blurb for this book gave too much away. Lucy’s husband isn’t murdered until 3/4 of the way through the book. I think I would have liked it more if this was a surprise, rather than waiting for it to happen.

I really enjoyed this book, and I’ve already ordered the next one.

Review: The Honeymoon ★★

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‘I’m your husband, Chloe. We’re a partnership now and we do what’s best for us as a couple. Staying here is going to be the best option.’ He picked up his drink and took a sip. ‘It’s not open for discussion. We’re not going home.’ 

Chloe had the dream wedding. Dan is her perfect man. They haven’t known each other for long, but as she walked down the aisle and saw him standing by the altar, tears glistening in his eyes, she knew this was forever. 

Later, as they relax on a beautiful island, settling in to their new married life together, they congratulate themselves on their lovely wedding day, and Dan jokes that he’d like them to stay there forever. 

But as the honeymoon goes on, he becomes increasingly adamant. They shouldn’t leave. In fact, he won’t let her… 

Chloe and Dan marry after knowing each other for only two months, and the book starts with them going on their honeymoon. Dan has cancelled Chloe’s dream honeymoon, and they’re flying to a different country. Chloe’s mad, but Dan’s just trying to be romantic, isn’t he?

I really wanted to like this book, but I couldn’t connect with the characters. I couldn’t understand why Chloe didn’t leave Dan early on, or why she kept trying to justify his behaviour.

There are secrets revealed throughout the book, both Chloe’s and her husband’s, to build up the tension as we try to understand what they’re both hiding. I also enjoyed the clues scattered throughout as to the twists in the book, but sadly I couldn’t get over my frustration with Chloe to fully engage with this.

I’ll admit that I’m not a very romantic person (and I don’t tend to enjoy romance in books and films) so if you’re a more romantic person you might find it easier to understand Chloe and enjoy this more than I did.

I will try other books by this author, but this one wasn’t my cup of tea.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for my copy of The Honeymoon. All opinions are my own.

Review: A Face In The Crowd ★★★.5

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Lucy gets the same bus every day.

She hopes to get a seat to herself, tries to avoid eye contact, and, if she’s really lucky, reads a chapter of her book. 

But it’s a Friday – and the bus is always crammed at the end of the week. Personal space doesn’t exist. She keeps her elbows close and clings to a pole at every juddering stop. 

When she gets off, something feels different. 

An envelope stuffed with thousands of pounds is in her bag. 

Is it the answer to her prayers, or the beginning of a nightmare? 

Because, in the end, everything has a price.

A Face in the Crowd starts with Lucy finding an envelope containing over £3000 in her bag after her usual bus trip home. This raises the interesting question of what you would do in this situation. Lucy knows she should hand it into the police but when unexpected living expenses come up, Lucy uses the money to cover the shortfall, and she’s soon spent over £1000. In this situation we’d all like to think we would do the right thing and hand the money in, but in a situation where you are struggling to make ends meet, would you be able to? It also made me think about at what point would you hand money in rather than keep it for yourself? If you find a pound coin on the floor you don’t think twice about pocketing in, but what if it was £20, £50? At what point as a society do we consider it stealing, rather than just good luck?

After Lucy has spent some of the money she begins to feel like she’s being followed. Is she just being paranoid, or is there someone watching her every move?

This was a bit of a slow build. For a while we see Lucy going about her life as normal, starting to spend the money as necessary before we get a sense that there’s something wrong (other than her finding thousands of pounds in her bag). It did build up the suspense well as there are plenty of suspects, and it’s not clear whether there really is a stalker, or if it’s just Lucy’s imagination. Finding large amounts of money generally means that there’s someone who wants it back, so is Lucy just feeling guilty?

This was an interesting read, but I would have liked to see the ending expanded on a bit more. It felt a bit rushed, and there were parts I thought could have been explained more. Overall I did enjoy the book, and I’ll look out for more from this author.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for my copy of the book. All opinions are my own.

Review: Murder Games

His victims appear to be total strangers. The only clue that links the crimes is the playing card left behind at each scene that hints at the next target.

The killer, known in the tabloids as the Dealer, is baiting cops into a deadly guessing game that has the city on edge. Elizabeth Needham, the tenacious detective in charge of the case, turns to an unlikely ally – Dylan Reinhart, a brilliant professor whose book was found along with the first playing card.

As the public frenzy over the Dealer reaches a fever pitch, Dylan and Elizabeth must connect the clues to discover what the victims have in common – before the Dealer runs through his entire deck.

I watched the first episode of the TV adaptation last year when it aired and didn’t enjoy it, but I did think that the plot was interesting and would have been better in the book. A year later I finally read the book, and I was right, it is much better.

The book gets straight into the story and I was immediately hooked. I read the entire book in one evening.

I loved the characters in this book, particularly Dylan, and I liked finding out more about him as the book went on. His relationship with Tracy was particularly adorable and made the character more likeable.

The plot in this book is really interesting. There’s a lot going on, but everything adds to the story, and keeps going to the last page of the book. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for an easy to read mystery. This would be a good rainy day read, an enjoyable read but doesn’t require a lot of concentration.

My rating: 4 stars. I don’t know that I’ll try the TV show again, but I’m looking forward to book two.