Dead Inside by Noelle Holten- review.


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?

My thoughts:

What a debut and what a brilliant start to a brand new crime series. This novel had me chewing through my fingernails, tensely reading on to find out who the murderer was. It isn’t for the faint-hearted. Anyone reading will know that as they finish the first chapter. The tone is set from the start and the story continues it gets grittier and grittier.

It is written in a very believable way, tackling the domestic violence theme with an honesty that was so immersive. My heart was breaking for Lucy all the way through. I wanted to wrap her up and take her away from her horror. She has the career; she’s financially self-sufficient – on the outside she looks like she has the perfect life, but behind closed doors, we see how vulnerable and trapped she is.

Maggie is a great character and I loved the police team, especially Mark. The team dynamics felt authentic and the novel gave great insight to how probation staff and police work together.

It’s also thought provoking. The murder victims were the evilest of the evilest but did they deserve to be brutally murdered? Love, love, love the vigilante feel to it. The police, all professional, showed how they have to leave their own personal views behind when investigating a case.

If you’re looking for a read as gritty as an eye full of sand, as honest as a toddler reaching for the cookie jar in full view and as heart-thumping as a boat in a storm, then this is your page turner!

By Carla Kovach – author of Amazon and iBooks bestseller, The Next Girl. 💕💕💕

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The Woman Next Door by Sue Watson – review.


I suppose everyone has regrets, wonders what if? People all have their reasons for living here. Who knows what lies behind the pretty curtains and the well-groomed lawns of Mulberry Avenue?

Lucy has a lovely husband, a job she adores as a teacher, and a house on Mulberry Avenue that she’s decorated just the way she wants – from the floaty curtains and the softest bed linen, right down to the perfectly-chosen velvet cushions on their comfortable sofa. Life isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty close.

She’s also got Amber. Her newest friend and neighbour. They’ve got so much in common. Even if Amber’s life sometimes seems a lot more glamorous and exciting, she shares Lucy’s down-to-earth sense of humour, and Amber seems so interested in Lucy and her life, it’s like they never run out of things to talk about.

But then Amber starts acting strangely, claiming her life isn’t all it seems, talking about how she thinks she might be pregnant, and confiding in Lucy that she’s started getting threatening messages.

She’s scared, and the only person she can turn to is Lucy. She wants to stay at Lucy’s house until things calm down.

Lucy wants to protect her friend. But can she really trust Amber? Because sometimes other people are not all that they seem. Sometimes they have secrets. And they’d do anything to keep them…

My thoughts:

The Woman Next Door instantly had a different feel to the usual psychological thrillers I read. I enjoyed the openings of this domestic drama. New glamorous neighbour meets needy, established-in-the-neighbourhood, Lucy the maths teacher. Slowly and surely, the joviality of the tone shifted, leading me, the reader, into the lobster pot – boiling me before I realised I was baked to the bottom of a dry pan, with the fire alarm screeching!

I read this book in two sittings. Why? Because, like a nosy neighbour drawn to curtain twitching, I needed to keep abreast of what was going on in the street. I felt as though I was a member of the Mulberry Avenue book club, awaiting the next instalment of street goss! I’m not really a gossiper – haha, but fictional gossip – yes please.

With a limited cast of characters, I’d say it should’ve been easy to guess who might have been the spanner in the works. The stalker? The voice from the past? One of the book club gossips? The self-obsessed stalkee? My perception of who the culprit was bounced around all over the place.

As with any good domestic noir/psych thriller, the sinister element ramped up. I loved how the tone changed. This book is a real insight into human nature – neediness and manipulation feature in abundance. It is a fantastically fast and fab read!

By Carla Kovach – author of Amazon and iBooks bestseller, The Next Girl. 💕💕💕

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The Women by SE Lynes – review.


The night she moves in with Peter, she’s so happy, so exhilarated, so in love. Later, she will remember a much smaller feeling, a tiny one percent in her gut. And she will remember pushing that feeling aside…

Samantha Frayn doesn’t know why Peter Bridges picks her – a nobody with bitten fingernails and a troubled childhood behind her – but she falls quickly. He’s older, charming, likes fine wine and French films, and his beautiful home has real art on its walls.

Peter transforms Samantha’s life in an instant. He sees the better version of herself – the one she’s always wanted to be. It’s only normal that there’s a little friction, when she moves in, over domestic matters like where things are kept, or the proper times to eat, sleep and shower. She’s lucky to be with someone who can help her find a new job, move on from childish friends, and speak with greater sophistication.

But as Samantha notices, more and more, Peter’s temper, she starts to wonder if there might be consequences to breaking the rules of the world he has so quickly built around her.

And then she receives an anonymous note that makes her ask: is she the first woman to feel trapped by Peter? Is she being paranoid, manipulated, or could she be in danger?

You can tell the truth about your life, but someone needs to be listening. Someone needs to trust you. And someone needs to save you from the man you thought you loved.

My thoughts:

Wow – this book is totally gripping! As someone who loves a psychological thriller, I couldn’t ask for more. I love SE Lynes’s writing, not a word is wasted and The Women was an absolute pleasure to read.

Main character, Samantha, is a young woman many people will be able to identify with to some degree as it is, after all, an exploration of the human condition and what it’s like to be a woman. I’m sure many readers would have been a Samantha at some point in their lives. And the action? It’s tense! When Samantha receives the notes (no spoilers) that culminate in an, ‘oh my goodness’ moment – I found myself gripping my Kindle, feeling Samantha’s pain.

The Rome scenes were brilliantly researched and I felt as though I was there with the characters, enjoying Rome while experiencing Samantha’s frustrations.

This is a fantastically well-written psychological thriller, that will leave the reader thinking about its themes and the ending for long after. A must read!

At time of reviewing, it was only 99p! Even more of a bonus.

By Carla Kovach – author of Amazon and iBooks bestseller, The Next Girl. 💕💕💕

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Big holiday giveaway!

GIVEAWAY! (Worldwide entries accepted). 🎉

I have just arrived back from a fab holiday and found this gorgeous lacy shawl that is perfect wear for a balmy summer evening, and I brought it all the way back from Mallorca for one lucky winner.



1. Leave a comment, gif, photo or emoji under the Facebook post.

2. Make sure you like my page/like my page.

3. Share this post to your wall, page or group.


The prize is an essential holiday kit. 😂

It includes:

A signed copy of Her Pretty Bones.

Two bookmarks.

A fridge magnet.

A beaded, textile notebook.

A lacy summer shawl.


Winner will be randomly drawn and announced on Sunday evening! Head to FB now (link below)! Best of luck. 😉

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The Secret by Katerina Diamond – review.



Can you keep a secret? Your life depends on it…

Bridget Reid has a secret, one that could get her killed… If she can escape the man who is keeping her locked in a basement bedroom.

DS Imogen Grey is good at keeping secrets – truths she’d never reveal to her colleagues at Exeter Police. She worked hard to get where she is – she nearly died for it. Now her past is catching up with her…

As DS Grey and her partner DS Adrian Miles search for Bridget, they uncover a terrifying web of abuse, betrayal and murder. And they realise that some secrets are better left buried…

My thoughts:

This is the first book I’ve read in the DS Grey and DS Miles series and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s not the first in the series but this didn’t matter one bit.

The chapters flit between past and present, and the story is told from multiple perspectives. This is a dark, brutal, gritty read and not for anyone who prefers cosy. Be warned, this book had me flinching at times but that definitely added to the tension.

I eagerly lapped up the pages, racing to read more from Bridget’s perspective. The book starts with a bang, introducing her dire situation to us at breakneck speed, taking me as the reader by surprise, and I really felt for her. There is more than one compelling thread running through this book, but I’ll say no more. Fab and fast read!

By Carla Kovach – author of Amazon and iBooks bestseller, The Next Girl. 💕💕💕

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The Shape of Us by Drew Davies – review.


In a city of 8.8 million people, you’d be surprised. Surprised at how many times your path crosses with that stranger you spotted on the other side of the street. Surprised at how lonely living in a busy city can feel. Surprised that falling in love – against all the odds – is just about possible.

One day in London…

Daisy is rushing to work when a stranger on a bicycle almost knocks her over – and then asks for her number.

JoJo, a wife in her sixties, is trying desperately to win her beloved husband back from his mistress.

Adam has recently lost his job and lies to his housemate about where he goes every day.

Dylan, a teenage boy, lives with an illness which means he can’t leave his bedroom – but which hasn’t stopped him falling in love.

These four total strangers – whose paths cross in the charming and crazy city of London – have one thing in common. They’re all looking for love and they’re totally hopeless at it. But that’s about to change.

A hilarious, uplifting and heartfelt novel about love, life and finding happiness. If you’ve ever made a mistake, suffered a break-up, waited by your phone for it to ring or loved someone from afar, then The Shape of Us is for you.

My thoughts:

What a surprise! I don’t know what I expected when I started reading this book, but I didn’t expect to spend half of it rolling around in laughter. It’s witty, fast-moving and endearing. I loved the characters, the insights into their lives and such an honest slice-of-life – or should I say, four slices of life? Why stop at one, when you can have four? I feel like I’ve eaten all the cake (#stuffed)! Chocolate, lemon drizzle, red velvet and spotted dick. This book gave me that level of variety without compromising on quality.

Each of the four main characters had a story to tell, baring their hopes and fears, and as the description says, they are all looking for love in their very individual ways. I can very much see this being made into a film, sort of ‘Love Actually.’ Different stories all crossing paths at a moment in time.

If hilarious romantic comedy is what you seek, you won’t be disappointed. There was one scene, I’m struggling to write about it without chuckling, where Daisy’s date is prepping his body (just in case he’s to get lucky) and it involves shaving (not his face), I’ll say no more – you’ll just have to read this laugh-out-loud novel for yourself. (Giggles to self, one last time).

By Carla Kovach – author of Amazon and iBooks bestseller, The Next Girl. 💕💕💕

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What She Saw by Wendy Clarke – review.


She lied to her daughter to save her family.

Everyone knows Leona would do anything for her daughter Beth: she moved to Church Langdon to send Beth to the best school, worked hard to build a successful business to support them and found them the perfect little cottage to call home. Leona and Beth hike together, shop together, share their hopes and fears with one another. People say they’re more like best friends than mother and daughter.

It’s the relationship every mother dreams of.

But their closeness means that Beth struggles to make friends. Her mother has kept her sheltered from the world. She’s more reliant on her mother’s love. More vulnerable.

When Beth finds an envelope hidden under the floorboards of their home, the contents make her heart stop. Everything she thought she knew about her mother is a lie. And she realises there is no one she can turn to for help.

What if you’ve been protected from strangers your whole life, but the one person you can’t trust is the person closest to home?

What She Saw is a gripping psychological thriller with an incredible twist that will make your jaw drop. If you love The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl or anything by B. A. Paris you’ll be consumed by this.

My thoughts:

I absolutely loved this suspenseful psychological thriller. The way the author teases the reader with just enough information at the right time, was perfect and kept me glued to the book. I had at least a couple of coffees go cold on me while absorbed in the story! Thank goodness for microwaves.

The Lake District setting started the novel in an idyllic way but soon had the desired effect of providing a bleak and dangerous backdrop for what was to come. The Beth chapters were really intriguing. The portrayal of the teenage girl, hormones alight and flushed with angst, were so realistic. The dynamics of the whole family were cleverly interwoven, each one of them playing a crucial part In the story.

Leona’s character maintained my interest with ease and I turned each page with anticipation, needing to know what was coming next and it wasn’t what I was expecting at all! Wendy Clarke is certainly great at surprising the reader, and I must add, with great plausibility.

I loved this psychological thriller and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone who enjoys this genre. Just don’t put the kettle on and pour a cuppa, it may just go cold on you too – haha!

Carla Kovach – author of Amazon and iBooks bestseller, The Next Girl. 💕💕💕

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