[BLOG TOUR: BOOK REVIEW] A Good Enough Mother by Bev Thomas @FaberBooks @BevThomas20

A Good Enough Mother is Faber’s lead debut which comes out on 4th April. When I got the blog tour invite I jumped right in because after reading that synopsis I couldn’t resist! It ticks all the boxes when it comes to a book for me.

What’s it about? A Good Enough Mother follows Dr. Ruth Hartland who is a director in a well-known trauma unit. Ruth’s job consists of seeing different patients and helping them through their traumas and she’s quite a good therapist. Our main character Ruth has a few issues of her own – her son Tom disappeared without a word and that is something that haunts her daily [understandably so]. On one particular day Ruth is assigned a new case, a boy called Dan Griffin who resembles her son a lot. This is where the line between professional and personal intertwine. Ruth, who has years of experience in her practice knows what is to be done in these scenarios but something in her is stopping her from doing the right thing. She cannot get the likeness out of her head and so she begins treating him. Was that the right choice or the greatest mistake? Well, you have to read the book to find out..

Whenever I come across a book where our main character is a therapist or someone in the field of mental health I immediately add it to my TBR because I can’t resist those books. I love finding out about human psyche and what influences most of our behaviour. The author of this book, Bev Thomas, was a clinical psychologist who worked for the NHS and who’s now a consultant when it comes to mental health. I love how her knowledge as well as many years of practice influenced the book and she even mentioned Winnicotts theory of ‘Good Enough Parent/Mother’ which I wasn’t familiar with before. The characters in the book were well crafted and Ruth’s character had a lot of flaws which made her relatable. Now, when it comes to Ruth’s decisions I wanted to yell at her a few times but I have to take into account that she has went through hell with Tom’s disappearance and that’s something very very stressful and can cloud someone’s judgement. I did find issues with a few of her decisions that I couldn’t credit to her trauma and I seriously wanted to shout ‘WHAT ARE YOU DOOOING!!? NOO!’. The book is very readable and it has a nice pace so you can actually fly through it and experience a lot of emotions. Did I feel for Dan? No, I didn’t. I just didn’t like him as a character although I understood Ruth’s ‘pull’ towards him. This book doesn’t jump straight into the action so if you’re someone who wants a fast-paced read you won’t find it here [although the end is wild]. It’s a slow burner which I enjoyed and I especially loved finding out about Ruth’s job and what she did. Although I didn’t like Ruth’s decisions I enjoyed this book a lot and the last few pages were quite hopeful  which was a bonus for me.

A Good Enough Mother is an interesting look into a life of a therapist who while battlng her own demons tries her best to help her patients and a good study of what happens when personal and professional  lives mix.

I would like to thank the publisher Faber & Faber for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions written here are my own and weren’t influenced by the fact that I got this book from the publisher.

My rating:

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Bev Thomas was a clinical psychologist in the NHS for many years. She currently works as an organisational consultant in mental health and other services.  She lives in London with her family.

Her upcoming novel A Good Enough Mother will be published by Faber & Faber in Spring 2019.

Find her on: Goodreads and Twitter

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[BLOG TOUR: BOOK REVIEW] Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson @FaberBooks @PeterSwanson3

Whenever I see a new Peter Swanson book coming out I immediately get excited. Swanson is that author you just love and whose writing pulls you in – he’s seriously one of my favourite thriller writers ever. When I saw that he had a new book coming out I got so excited! When I see a Swanson book I just get so excited because his books are something I love getting lost in.

Before She Knew Him follows Hen who moves in with her husband Lloyd to a new home. One night at a neighbourhood party Hen and Lloyd meet Matthew and Mira Dolamore, a couple with who they can most relate since they’re the only childless couple in the neighbourhood. Both couples agreed to meet up one night for dinner at the Dolamores so they can get to know each other better. While staying at dinner Hen gets a tour of the house from Mira and sees something that shocks her – a fencing trophy. She immediately gets chills because it can’t be! From this point on Hen starts suspecting that Matthew – a seemingly normal professor – is hiding a dark secret. Hen tells her concerns to her husband who dimisses this insane thought but she isn’t sure she’s being irrational in this situation. Hen begins getting interested in Dolamores more and more and this obsession will spark up an unusual bond with Matthew.

Before She Knew Him is out now in both US and UK! Swanson has a way of engaging the reader when it comes to his books. I have to say that of all the works I’ve read by him nothing can top The Kind Worth Killing which amazed me and made me fall in love with Swanson.

Before She Knew Him is such a fast-paced book and I loved spending every hour and every minute reading it. The characters in it have depth and even the side-characters are given a voice which I found to be excellent when it came to this story. I love how Swanson created Hen who even though has mental health problems still stays true to what she believes and doesn’t let it stop her from finding out the truth. The Dolamores as characters were amazing especially Matthew whose mind was so complex. When it comes to the plot I just loved it – especially the last twenty pages which had me gasping! Now, since I’m on the subject of the ending I kind of felt that it was rushed and would’ve loved that it was more thought-out because the whole idea was so amazing but cut abruptly. Something I love about Swanson is the Hitchcock-ian feel that he adds to his stories and this one had that as well – I mean that twist at the end! As I’ve mentioned, the characters are something I loved finding out more about and Swanson did that perfectly [getting into their psyche] but the ending felt a bit rushed for my taste. Although I had an issue with the ending of this book I still found it thoroughly enjoyable and something I would definitely recommend you pick up if you’re a fan of brilliant psychological thrillers!

I would like to thank the publisher Faber&Faber for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions written here are my own and weren’t influenced by the fact that I got this book for free from the publisher.

My rating:

Add ‘Before She Knew Him‘ to your TBR:  

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**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

Peter Swanson is the author of four novels: The Girl With a Clock For a Heart, an LA Times Book Award finalist; The Kind Worth Killing, winner of the New England Society Book Award, and finalist for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger; Her Every Fear, an NPR book of the year; and his most recent, All the Beautiful Lies. His books have been translated into 30 languages, and his stories, poetry, and features have appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, The Atlantic Monthly, Measure, The Guardian, The Strand Magazine, and Yankee Magazine. A graduate of Trinity College, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Emerson College, he lives in Somerville, Massachusetts with his wife and cat.

Find him on: Website, Goodreads, Facebook and Twitter.

[BLOG TOUR: BOOK REVIEW] The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup @MichaelJBooks #TheChestnutMan

I was very excited when I opened Twitter and saw a message about joining the blog tour for The Chestnut Man. Having loved The Killing TV series I couldn’t wait to dive into this one and I’m happy to say that I wasn’t disappointed!

The Chestnut Man follows Naia Thulin and Mark Hess in their quest to solve the mystery and murder of Laura Kjaer, whose murder appears to be routinely executed but upon looking at the details both Thulin and Hess begin to see that something isn’t right. We are also introduced to Rosa Hartung who is a Minister for Social Affairs and who carries a horrible loss behind her. Rosa’s loss is the murder of her daughter whose killer has been caught but his testimony doesn’t make sense. Laura Kjaer’s murder contains a piece of evidence which is linked with Rosa‘s horrible loss – this discovery sets both Thulin and Hess in search of the truth behind the Chestnut Man.

Reading the first few chapters I felt shivers because of how dark and gruesome they were! What an opening! From the beginning we are introduced to Naia Thulin, a detective in the Homicide’s Murder Squad who feels like this job isn’t thrilling her and challenging her anymore so she plans on moving to the Cyber Crime Unit. Mark Hess has been kicked out of Europol for causing many issues and has made his way to Homicide’s Murder Squad. We can see that Hess doesn’t want to be there at all and already has plans to move quickly. Hess and Thulin have been partnered together in solving the case of Laura Kjaer and although not standing each other they have to do their best in solving it. Sveistrup has an amazing ability at writing gruesome scenes because I felt unsettled whenever I stumbled upon them. Naia Thulin’s character has to be my favourite because of how interesting she is and how her psyche worked. In the beginning Mark Hess wasn’t someone I liked but throughout the book we saw his flaws and that gave him depth and a somewhat understanding of why he is who he is. There are many voices in this book and at times I did feel lost because it didn’t keep my attention. Compared to the first part of the book the last part kept me much more entertained and although I found it a bit weak at times I felt that the ending made up for that. Sveistrup is someone who can write and I got reminded why I love these sort of books.

The Chestnut Man is a fantastic debut I highly recommend you pick up if you like dark and interesting thrillers.

I would like to thank the publisher Penguin Random House UK (Michael Joseph) for inviting me on the blog tour and providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for a review. All opinions written here are my own and weren’t influenced by anything.

My rating: 

Make sure to check out other book bloggers’ reviews on this tour!

Add ‘The Chestnut Man‘ to your TBR:  

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**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

Søren Sveistrup is an internationally acclaimed scriptwriter of the Danish television phenomenon The Killing which won various international awards and sold in more than a hundred countries. More recently, Sveistrup wrote the screenplay for Jo Nesbø’s The Snowman. Sveistrup obtained a Master in Literature and in History from the University of Copenhagen and studied at the Danish Film School. He has won countless prizes, including an Emmy for Nikolaj and Julie and a BAFTA for The Killing.

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[BLOG TOUR: BOOK EXTRACT] Who I Am by Sarah Simpson @sarahrsimpson @aria_fiction

Today is my stop on the WHO I AM blog tour. I am sharing an extract from the book and will soon post a review of the book.

BOOK EXTRACT

‘Yes, you could, it’s Christmas and I’d really like you to stay on. I’ll be leaving tomorrow.’

A worried expression shot across her face. ‘Oh? What leaving Uni? For good?’

I laughed, feeling flattered, she appeared genuinely upset. ‘No, course not. For Christmas I mean. I’ve the rest of next year to get through yet. How about you, what year are you in, you didn’t say?’

‘Yeah, the same. Well it should be anyway, but the way things are looking, what with the accommodation,’ she shrugged, ‘I might not be graduating at all.’

I curled my arm around her and squeezed. ‘Try not to worry. Thing’s always turn up, there’s always something to be worked out.’ It felt like a silly thing to say. Why do we say these things? ‘Come on choose your cocktail. I’m buying, I insist.’ It’s funny, I hardly know Camilla, but sitting here I feel a real affinity to her, there’s a sadness behind her eyes, something unsaid, but also there’s – life and excitement.

My head spins, my legs have other ideas, when I stand to make my way to the ladies, stumbling back, I collapse on to Camilla’s lap. ‘Woah, sorry,’ I giggle, ‘these cocktails are potent.’ With Camilla’s help I lever myself back up, the room wobbling around me, ‘I’d better come with you,’ she laughs.

Clara gathers herself to stand, ‘I’ll go, I’m used to her atrocious drink tolerance,’ she practically spits at Camilla.

‘It’s fine, Clara, stay put, I’m hardly blotto, just stood up too quickly.’ I tell her, as soon as the words leave my mouth, I realise I’ve offended her in some way. Camilla smiles at her warmly, then arm in arm we make our way across the room. Pushing our way through the heavy bathroom door into a woman, giggling at her affronted face as we pushed past her in the doorway.

‘It’s Christmas. Tis the season to be merry.’ Camilla calls after her. Her tongue finally loosening as she relaxes. Practically falling through the second door into the spacious bathroom, gilt mirrors and floral displays in abundance, a strong whiff of pot pourri. ‘Wow,’ I hear through the cubicle door, ‘these loos are better than anything I’ve ever lived in.’ I can’t help but laugh out loud. ‘Think I could stay here next year? D’you think they’d notice if I moved my stuff in?’ When I exit the cubicle, she’s padding around in wonderment before turning her attention to the complimentary toiletries. ‘Look at this stuff. It’s really expensive, wish I’d brought a bigger handbag now.’

I giggle at her expression through the elaborate gold-leaf mirror as I wash my hands. ‘You’re hilarious Camilla, you’ve not been here before tonight then?’

She bolts herself upright. ‘Of course I have, only pulling your leg.’ She throws her hands up. ‘I’m not kidding you, am I?’ She nods. ‘This is the first time, and it’s completely amazing. But, I’ll definitely be coming back, that’s for sure. As often as I can.’

She reminds me of an awestruck child, so refreshing and charming, makes me feel as though I’m missing out on something special, too much in my life taken for granted. ‘Are you serious then?’ I ask, reaching for the folded cotton hand towels. Camilla spins on her heals, all eyelashes. ‘About not having anywhere to stay next year, I mean. Surely, you won’t really need to defer, will you?’

Twinkling dark eyes cloud, ‘deadly,’ she says. ‘I can’t pull the funds together, so I can’t see that I’ll have a choice. I’m trying not to think about it but it’s a strong possibility.’

‘So what about your student loan?’

She regards the vanity size moisturiser in her hand, ‘ah well, that’s another story. Probably not for tonight, I don’t want to burden you with my crap, I mean bad stuff, it’s not fair.’

‘No, go on, please. I’d like to understand.’

‘Nothing to it really. I’ve used up all my allowance, so, can’t afford to support myself. Simple as that.’ She sighs heavily, shoulders noticeably slumping. ‘I’m all, as they say – spent up. Skint.’

‘How come? Sorry, do you mind me asking? You don’t have to tell me, if you think I’m being nosey.’

‘It’s fine, feels like I’ve known you for ages anyway,’ I smile at her, I totally understand what she means, it does. ‘Thing is, I had to pay for my dad, he’s sick, really sick, in a home he is.’

As she hangs her head, I could kick myself for making her feel so dejected on a night like this, I brush her hand, ‘I’m sorry, Cam, I’d no idea things are so bad, I shouldn’t have pushed you, feel awful now.’

‘It’s fine really. It’s his own fault really, Dad, I mean. Korsakoff’s syndrome they call it?’ Her voice rises as if she’s uncertain. ‘Dementia to me. That’s how I get my head round it.’

‘Korsakoff’s? Isn’t it associated with too much alcohol?’ God, I wish I hadn’t guzzled all those cocktails, in particular that I hadn’t practically forced them on Camilla too.

‘Yeah, he’s a pisshead basically,’ she cups her mouth with a delicate hand. ‘Excuse my language,’ she says, ‘but, he always has been – a drunk. You’ve heard of it then, can’t say I ever had before. Could hardly even pronounce it, never mind understand it. The doctor tried to say, it isn’t always caused by the booze, but we both understood, in Dad’s case, it was. I’m gob-smacked you’ve even heard of it.’

‘Only because we had a talk on the long term effects of alcohol last year. Think they were trying to dry some of the students out. Warn them off with a list of potential deadly outcomes. Wasting their time, obviously. I don’t really understand the full ins and outs of it, other than it’s a really cruel illness, as dementia always is. I’m so sorry, that’s really tough on you too.’

‘Hmm. Like I said, it’s his own fault. But anyhow that’s where my money went. All of it. But what was I to do?’

‘What about your mum?’ Words I wished I could rein back in on noticing her physically congeal.

‘Dead.’ She says.

I gasp out loud before I can stop myself, then grab her hand and squeeze, words failing me.

‘Same way, before you ask.’ She gives a reciprocal squeeze then releases my hand, to place the moisturiser back in the basket next to her. ‘Not the Korsakoffs stuff, but still a… drunk, amongst other stuff. Again, all her own doing.’

Despite now feeling completely sober, I feel my legs quiver. ‘Look, I appreciate you hardly know me, so please tell me if I’m offending you. But the three of us,’ I nod towards the bathroom door, ‘me, Clara and Jo, we share a house in Stockbridge, Daddy rents it for us, then we share the rent. My bedroom is huge, plenty big enough for two and I’ve a spare bed already in there, you could always share with me, until you sort yourself out at least.’

‘But…’

‘No, you don’t need to say anything, not just yet. Have a think about it. I’m off back home tomorrow, won’t be back until January, so you’ve some time to mull it over. Please don’t feel obliged or anything though, it’s only a thought.’ I pick up our bags and hand her hers as we walk towards the exit door. ‘You have my mobile number so let me know, any time.’ The raucous laughter hits us as we push at the door, joyfulness and drunken exchanges circling the domed ceiling. I pull her back before we reach our table. ‘Please tell me – I haven’t offended you, been a little too forward. I didn’t mean to be. I only want to help if I can.’

Newly perfectly painted lips turn upwards. ‘No, of course you haven’t,’ she reassures me, ‘but obviously, I’ll need to think it over. It’s very sweet of you but I like to pay my way usually and it’s all a bit embarrassing. I’ve always been a believer, nothing is free in life, everything comes with a price list. Something Dad did teach me.’

‘Accept good friendships, Cam, they shouldn’t come at a cost. I know we’ve only just met but like you said, feels more like we’ve known each other for ages. If I can help you, you’ll let me know, won’t you?’

‘Thanks Andi, I’ll think about it, promise.’ She rubs my arm.

Maybe, I’ve lifted some of the weight sitting incongruently on a petite frame. Life can be so unfair sometimes, so cruel and as Grandma always told me, there but for the grace of God go I.

Thanks for stopping by and reading this extract. Make sure to check out my review which will be posted soon.

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*I am in no way compensated by this site. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

Sarah Simpson has a business degree and a first class honours degree in psychology with appropriate post-graduate qualifications. Her background, working privately within mental health for many years; within the collaborative family law arena and with additional experience within the family court system has gifted her an invaluable understanding of life and people. Thus, Her Greatest Mistake is a cocktail of professional and personal experiences stirred vigorously by the imagination.

She is relatively late to the writing scene, despite a love of books and writing from when she was very young, it wasn’t until 2016 that she sat down to put pen to paper. Her Greatest Mistake was then some twelve months in creation, followed by some vigorous re-writing. In June 2017, she signed with her current agent Broo Doherty and shortly after was offered a three book publishing contract with Aria, Head of Zeus…

Find her on: Website, Twitter and Goodreads.