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Sun Damage By Sabine Durrant

Sun Damage‘Sun Damage’ is the latest book by Sabine Durrant.

Nine guests arrive at a remote villa in the south of France. They know each other well. Or think they do. But at least one of them has plenty to hide – and nowhere to run. Under the relentless sun, loyalties will be tested, secrets revealed, and tensions pushed to the point of no return.

Yesterday I spent my day absorbed in this book and it’s an exciting thriller packed with deceit, drama and delicious food that literally had my mouth watering.

Set in France, Ali works with Sean, they are both con-artists taking advantage of vulnerable people but one day it all goes terribly wrong and Ali decides that she wants to go alone and manages to escape Sean. Using her skills and wits, Ali takes on a new identity as an aspiring actress called Lulu who will be a cook for a holidaying family. Whilst hiding from Sean, she finds herself connecting with the family and uncovering their secrets whilst falling for the charms of the family friend Rob.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a book by Sabine but like the name of her previous book, once you start, they really get under your skin. Ali is a great character, having had a troubled past, she’s had to hustle her way through life and to be honest, it really makes for fascinating reading as she explains her tricks. The family that she’s working with is an interesting mix of personalities, the mother Rebecca is a scatty character who’s constantly putting herself down whilst her teenage daughters are dealing with their own dramas.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story and it was so easy to get whisked away and caught up in the drama set against the sunny backdrop of France and packed with delicious flavours and exquisite descriptions of food. The story is a suspenseful one packed with anxiety and unreliable characters that made for gripping reading. Fast paced, dramatic and steeped in suspense, ‘Sun Damage’ is a great thriller that sizzles throughout!

You can buy ‘Sun Damage’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Red Monarch By Bella Ellis

The Red MonarchThe Red Monarch’ is the third book By Bella Ellis in Bronte Mysteries series.

The Brontë sisters’ first poetry collection has just been published, potentially marking an end to their careers as amateur detectors, when Anne receives a letter from her former pupil Lydia Robinson. Lydia has eloped with a young actor, Harry Roxby, and following her disinheritance, the couple been living in poverty in London. Harry has become embroiled with a criminal gang and is in terrible danger after allegedly losing something very valuable that he was meant to deliver to their leader. The desperate and heavily pregnant Lydia has a week to return what her husband supposedly stole, or he will be killed. She knows there are few people who she can turn to in this time of need, but the sisters agree to help Lydia, beginning a race against time to save Harry’s life. In doing so, our intrepid sisters come face to face with a terrifying adversary whom even the toughest of the slum-dwellers are afraid of . . . The Red Monarch.

The latest book in the Bronte Mysteries sees the Bronte sisters and their brother leave the Yorkshire wilds for the busy streets of London as they are asked to help find a missing man and missing jewell.

Once again Bella Ellis aka Rowan Coleman has delivered another deliciously atmospheric and compelling story about the Bronte sisters and their detecting skills.

The story sees them meeting some unscrupulous characters and putting themselves in danger as they try to solve mysteries. The various narratives give an interesting insight into the sisters as they find their places in world and experience new things, feelings and emotions as they try to be accepted as female detectives and writers, as well as deal with new loves.

In a time filled with discrimination, sexism and a deep resentment to women, Ellis writes wonderfully of the inspiring women who were brave and challenged dynamics and stood up for beliefs and weren’t afraid to stand up to be heard.

Wonderfully written and filled with charm and wit. This historical fiction book is a glorious story from the first page, this atmospheric and chilling story set in the theatric and scary streets of London. ‘The Red Monarch’ is another fantastic instalment in the
Bronte sisters.

You can pre-order ‘The Red Monarch’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 18th November 2021.

The Octopus By Tess Little

The Octopus‘The Octopus’ is Tess Little’s debut novel.

When Elspeth arrives at her ex-husband’s LA mansion for his 50th birthday party, she’s expecting a crowd for the British film director. Instead, there are just seven other guests and Richard’s pet octopus, Persephone, watching over them from her tank. Come morning, Richard is dead. In the weeks that follow, each of the guests come under suspicion: the school friend, the studio producer, the actress, the actor, the new boyfriend, the manager, the cinematographer and the ex-wife, Elspeth herself. As stories of Richard’s past surface, colliding with Elspeth’s memories of their marriage, she begins to question not just who killed Richard, but why these eight guests were invited, and what sort of man would want to trap this mysterious, intelligent creature.

This book is a quirky whodunnit tale with an unlikely lead in a shape of an octopus.

The story is seen solely through the narrative of Elspeth and begins at the moment that she arrives at her ex husband’s 50th birthday. The party is a small one for the the narcissist and cruel man containing old and new friends and and old and new lovers. It’s whilst at this party that Richard dies and all 8 friends find themselves suspects in a crime.

The story flows back and forth in past and present tense. Flashbacks to when Elsapeth meets Richard and falls in love with the handsome director but only she knows his cruelty and need for perfection and when he hurts her one too many times, she flees with their only daughter called Lillie. Even though Richard subjected her to physical and mental abuse, Elsapeth always maintained that he was the perfect father and husband. Flashbacks not only feature the relationship between Elsapeth and Richard but also the night when Richard died and how everyone who attended that night all had motive to kill Richard.

Randomly in the background of all this drama, there lurks a huge Octopus called Persephone and her eerie presence throughout the story, really adds a chilling atmosphere to the story. She’s the only creature that really knows what happens that night.

The story is well crafted, fill a room with 8 people all with motives and throw in a great big hulking octopus and this will certainly grab the readers attention. Tess’s attention to detail is prevalent throughout the story and the level of research dedicated to octopus, was truly fascinating.

The past and present tenses to the story make for great reading, as Elsapeth deals with her own hatred for Richard and coming to terms with others, all whilst living in the public eye.

A story of murder, drama and suspense, with a stunning cover, The Octopus’ is an unique debut about the abuse of power and how easily a person can snap when forced.

You can pre-order ‘The Octopus’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 20th August 2020.

Beta By Rebecca Holman

Beta‘Beta’ is the first book by ‘The Debrief’ editor, Rebecca Holman.

‘Beta’ celebrates the collaborators, the pragmatists, and the people who believe that being nice works and getting your own way isn’t always the most important thing. It is a call-to-arms that explores the unsung workforce of Beta women who are being great bosses, great leaders and are still living their own lives: having relationships, making time for friends, having families.

When I initially started to read ‘Beta’, I was in a bit of a strange place. I was trying to figure out my place in my life, particularly my career.

I had just been in a job where I was surrounded by alphas and my voice and myself had become lost and I was unsure as to where to travel next.

But, in this brightly coloured book, I found an reassuring solace, that I wasn’t alone and just because I didn’t always shout the loudest, there are other ways that I can be heard.

In ‘Beta’, Rebecca Holman, writes about being successful in her career as a beta pretending to be an alpha. She’s speaks frankly off her success without being overpowering and domineering and puts her success down to the right leadership and team.

I genuinely loved this book and found it to be quite an insightful and fascinating book that I stumbled upon at just the right point in life. I found myself to have a kinship with Rebecca. Like her, I’m reluctant to give orders and voice opinions, incase this causes people to dislike me, but in ‘Beta’ Rebecca has addressed these issues with solutions, that have not only helped me but also helped improve my confidence and self worth.

A life affirming, well written and thoroughly researched book, ‘Beta’ is a fun and entertaining book, packed with anecdotes and interviews, that really delves into women’s roles in the workplace and helps us find our voices without having to raise them.

You can Beta: Quiet Girls Can Run the World: There is more than one way to be the boss from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Roanoke Girls Book Tour – Extract

The Roanoke GirlsToday on the book tour for Amy Engel’s seriously twisted and eerily sexy debut, ‘The Roanoke Girls’, I’ve an extract from the book that will leave you bursting to read more!


The first time I saw Roanoke was in a dream. I knew little of it beyond its name and the fact it was in Kansas, a place I had never been. My mother only ever mentioned it when she’d had too much wine, her breath turned sweet and her words slow and syrupy like molasses.

So my subconscious filled in the rest. In my dream it stood tall and stately, tucked among a forest of spring-green trees. Its red-brick facade was broken up by black shutters, white trim, delicate wrought-iron balconies. A little girl’s fantasy of a princess castle.

When I woke, I started to tell my mother about it. Talking through a mouthful of stale Cheerios drowned in just-this-side-of- sour milk. I got only as far as the name, Roanoke, before she stopped me. “It was nothing like that,” she said, voice flat. She was sitting on the wide windowsill, knees drawn up into her cotton nightgown, smoke from her cigarette gathered around her like a shroud. Her ragged toenails dug into the wooden window frame.

“You didn’t even let me tell you,” I whined. “Did you wake up screaming?”

A dribble of milk ran down my chin. “Huh?”

She turned and glanced at me then, her skin pale, eyes red- rimmed.

The bones of her face looked sharp enough to cut. “Was it a nightmare?”

I shook my head, confused and a little scared. “No.”

She looked back out the window. “Then it was nothing like that.”

Check out my review of the book to hear my thoughts on this gripping tale.