Liar by Lesley Pearse

Liar cover

I have been a fan of Lesley Pearse’s writing for years but I can’t believe it’s almost two years since I last featured her on Linda’s Book Bag here when we were celebrating 25 of her books in 25 years! That’s too big a gap and I’m delighted to be part of this blog tour for Lesley’s latest book Liar by sharing my review today. My thanks to Megan at EDPR for inviting me to participate.

Published by Michael Joseph on 26th June 2020, Liar is available for purchase through the links here.


Liar cover

In a Shepherd’s Bush bedsit, Amelia White dreams of being a reporter. The closest she’s come is selling advertising in the local paper.

Until the fateful day she stumbles on a truly shocking scoop.

Round the corner from her home, she discovers the body of a murder victim, dumped among the rubbish. When the police and reporters descend, Amelia is horrified at the assumptions made and lies soon to be spread about this poor young woman.

Determined to protect the victim from these smears and help her grieving family, she convinces her paper’s editor to allow her to take up her pen and tell the true story.

But when another body is found and the police investigation stalls, Amelia – uncovering new witnesses and suspects in her search for clues – discovers that she may be the only one with any chance of learning the truth and stopping more killings.

If only she can work out who the liar is . . .

My Review of Liar

Amelia’s life is about to take an exciting turn!

Picking up a book by Lesley Pearse is always a pleasure because I know I’m going to have an entertaining story with interesting characters. Liar is another of those books and I enjoyed it.

There’s a good, twisting plot to Liar that begins in dramatic fashion to hook the reader straight away. I did have to suspend belief a little when following Amelia’s exploits as she investigates murders in her locality, but I think that probably says more about my own lack of bravery in comparison and it certainly didn’t spoil my engagement with the narrative. Indeed, I think Liar would make an excellent Sunday night television series because there are carefully placed dramatic points balanced well by the romantic element of the story, making something for any reader in Lesley Pearse’s customary accessible style.

One aspect that I found incredibly evocative was the sense of the era Lesley Pearse creates. Through reference to real events, the music, clothes and especially the social attitudes there is a definite sense of the time in Liar. I found this aspect surprisingly thought-provoking too as it made me wonder just how much attitudes and lives have really changed.

I thought Amelia was a super heroine. She’s feisty as well as vulnerable and can hold her own even when events conspire against her. She has a level of humanity that is a pleasure to read and yet she isn’t too good to be true. In fact I was occasionally surprised at some of her language! It’s tricky to say too much about the other characters because they are so tightly bound into the plot and I don’t want to spoil the story but let’s just say there is an engaging and compelling cast to get to know.

However, for me, although I was entertained by the narrative it was the themes of Liar that I enjoyed most. Love and relationships, social attitudes and upbringing, policing and wealth and so on, mingle through the prose so that Liar is almost a social study. Reading Liar made me think carefully about what home and safety really mean.

I thought Liar was a great beach style read. I was delighted to lose myself between its pages and very much enjoyed it.

About Lesley Pearse


Lesley Pearse was told as a child that she had too much imagination for her own good. When she grew up she worked her way through many jobs – from corsetry sales in Cooks of St. Pauls (featured in Dead to Me), to bunny girl to nanny; from gift shop owner to dressmaker – finally finding her true vocation when she became a published author age 49. Since then Lesley has become an internationally bestselling author, with over 10 million copies of her books sold worldwide.

A true storyteller and a master of gripping storylines, there is no set formula for a Lesley Pearse novel although strong heroines and difficult circumstances are pervasive. Whether historical adventures such as Gypsy or Never Look Back or the passionately emotive Trust Me, Lesley is inspired by stories of courage and adversity and often gives voice to women lost in history. She is passionate about her research and her stories have taken her far and wide; from Alaska to the Crimea. Lesley now lives just outside Torquay in Devon where she loves to spend time walking on the beach with her grandchildren and dogs.

A fantastic speaker and committed and passionate fundraiser for the NSPCC, Lesley is a much sought after guest at literary lunches, library events and festivals up and down the country. Lesley was also selected as the first Ambassador for National Libraries Day in 2014.

You can follow Lesley on Twitter @LesleyPearse, and find her on Facebook.

There are more celebrations with these other bloggers too:

LIAR Blog Tour Banner

Monstrous Souls by Rebecca Kelly

Monstrous Souls eBook Cover

My enormous thanks to Peyton Stableford at Agora Books for inviting me to participate in the blog tour for Monstrous Souls by Rebecca Kelly. I’m delighted to share my review today.

Monstrous Souls is was published by Agora on 25th June and is available for purchase here.

Monstrous Souls

Monstrous Souls eBook Cover

What if you knew the truth but couldn’t remember?

Over a decade ago, Heidi was the victim of a brutal attack that left her hospitalised, her younger sister missing, and her best friend dead. But Heidi doesn’t remember any of that. She’s lived her life since then with little memory of her friends and family and no recollection of the crime.

Now, it’s all starting to come back.

As Heidi begins retracing the events that lead to the assault, she is forced to confront the pain and guilt she’s long kept buried. But Heidi isn’t the only one digging up the past, and the closer she gets to remembering the truth, the more danger she’s in.

When the truth is worse than fiction, is the past worth reliving?

An addictive thriller about a case gone cold and the dangers lurking on our doorsteps, Monstrous Souls will have you gripped to the very end.

My Review of Monstrous Souls

Heidi’s memory is beginning to return.

I can’t in all honesty say I enjoyed reading Monstrous Souls because it has such dark themes that are so authentically and convincingly conveyed by Rebecca Kelly that I feel highly disturbed and affected by my reading. Monstrous Souls is an important book that transcends entertainment into an incisive and uncomfortable commentary on life for so many children.

The plot of Monstrous Souls is an absolute cracker because the reader is able to uncover the truth at the same time as Heidi, making it a very personal narrative. There’s a brilliantly depicted sense of menace and threat so that I felt quite tense as I read. This darkness and atmosphere is enhanced further by the very vivid descriptions of setting, particularly the beautiful natural images that contrast so well with the more restrained descriptions of violence and abuse. What Rebecca Kelly does so well is to suggest rather than provide all the darker details so that the reader’s imagination runs riot. I thought this technique was excellent.

The cover image represents the themes of the book perfectly. People, places and events are altered by refracted memory and duplicity. Characters have their lives and their identities reassembled by others more powerful in the same way the photograph of the cover appears sliced and manipulated. The themes of Monstrous Souls are not easy ones. Emotional and sexual abuse, control, loyalty, friendship and corruption weave like poison ivy through the plot and they are particularly unsettling because Rebecca Kelly presents then so convincingly. I have finished Monstrous Souls feeling real grief for many of the characters because their stories felt so genuine to me.

I may have felt uncomfortable with the content and themes of Monstrous Souls but I am so glad I have read it. It is, one one level, a cracking crime thriller, but I feel Rebecca Kelly has provided such an understanding of the human psyche too that it is more important a book than an entertaining story. I will be thinking about it for a very long time. I thought it was brilliant.

About Rebecca Kelly

Rebecca Kelly Author Photo

Rebecca Kelly was brought up with books but denied the pleasure of a television. Although she hated this at the time, she now considers it to have contributed to a life-long passion for reading and writing.

After a misspent education, Rebecca had a variety of jobs. She’s spent the last years raising her children but has lately returned to her first love – writing.

Rebecca lives in the UK with her husband and youngest son and an over-enthusiastic black Labrador, who gives her writing tips.

You can follow Rebecca on Twitter @RKellyAuthor1.

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#ChristmasInJuly Cover Reveal: The Christmas Killer by Alex Pine

The Christmas Killer

It always frustrates me when people tell me they can’t contemplate a book with Christmas in the title before December. For me it’s a bit like saying I can’t read a book set in a country I don’t live in, or that I can’t read crime thrillers because I’m law abiding. Therefore I’m delighted to participate in sharing the details for Alex Pine’s The Christmas Killer as I think it looks a corker of a book.

You can follow all the Twitter excitement about The Christmas Killer with by using the hashtag #ChristmasInJuly!

Lets’s find out what’s in store for us:

The Christmas Killer

The Christmas Killer

The Christmas Killer by Alex Pine is the first in new crime series that is sinister, dark and addictive reading! If you love Val McDermid, Ross Greenwood or LJ Ross then you’ll LOVE this thriller!


DI James Walker is ready for a quiet family Christmas in the sleepy village of Kirkby Abbey.

But when he opens an early Christmas present left on his doorstep, he soon realises it is no gift. Inside is a gruesome surprise, and a promise – twelve days, twelve murders. Not long after, the first body is found, half frozen in the snow.

As the blizzards descend, panic spreads through the remote Cumbrian village – there’s a killer amongst them, and with eleven more victims to go, anyone could be next….

Can James stop the killer before they strike again?

Why not watch the promotional video for The Christmas Killer too:

Published by Harper Collins imprint Avon on 29th October 2020, The Christmas Killer is available for pre-order through the links here.

Into the Tangled Bank by Lev Parikian

into the tangled bank

I love the natural world and whilst my wildlife holidays to far flung places are on hold it has been a real pleasure to discover wildlife through my reading instead. My grateful thanks to Alison Menzies at Elliot and Thompson for sending me a copy of Into the Tangled Bank by Lev Parikian in return for an honest review.

Into the Tangled Bank will be published by Elliot and Thompson on 9th July 2020 and is available for pre-order through these links.

Into the Tangled Bank

into the tangled bank

Lev Parikian is on a journey to discover the quirks, habits and foibles of how the British experience nature. Open a window, hear the birds calling and join him.

It’s often said that the British are a nation of nature lovers; but what does that really mean? For some it’s watching racer snakes chase iguanas on TV as David Attenborough narrates, a visit to the zoo to convene with the chimps; for others it’s a far-too-ambitious clamber up a mountain, the thrilling spectacle of a rare bird in flight.

Lev Parikian sets out to explore the many, and particular, ways that he, and we, experience the natural world beginning face down on the pavement outside his home, then moving outwards to garden, local patch, wildlife reserve, craggy coastline and as far afield as the dark hills of Skye. He visits the haunts of famous nature lovers reaching back to the likes of Charles Darwin, Etta Lemon, Gavin Maxwell, John Clare and Emma Turner to examine their insatiable curiosity and follow in their footsteps.

And everywhere he meets not only nature, but nature lovers of all varieties: ramblers, dog-walkers, photographers; loving couples, striding singles, families; kite-flyers, den-builders, grass-loungers; young whippersnappers, old codgers, middle-aged ne’er-do-wells; beginners, specialists, all-rounders; or just people out for a stroll in the sun.

Warm, humorous and full of telling detail, Into the Tangled Bank puts the idiosyncrasies of how we are in nature under the microscope. And in doing so, it reveals how our collective relationship with nature has changed over the centuries, what our actions mean for nature and what being a nature lover in Britain might mean today.

My review of Into the Tangled Bank

One man’s foray into the world of British nature.

I genuinely think Into the Tangled Bank should be put on prescription for anyone suffering depression or loneliness because it is an absolute tonic of a book that creates happiness in the very soul of the reader. I adored it. My strength of emotional reaction comes partly because it made me feel closer to my much missed Dad. He would have loved every word of Into the Tangled Bank. Dad introduced me to the natural world and he’d have delighted in this book as much as I have. I especially enjoyed the When Nature Changes chapter because John Clare’s Helpston is the next village along from where I live in one direction and Northborough is the next along in another. Reading Into the Tangled Bank gave me a personal, human connection of the kind we all need in these uncertain times.

Into the Tangled Bank is enormously enlightening. I learnt all kinds of facts, not just about wildlife, but people from history, places and  so on – quite frequently through the hugely entertaining footnotes. I think my poor husband wished I’d shut up as I kept reading snippets of information out to him that I’d found unusual, that resonated with me or that I felt described him, never mind Lev Parikian, with absolute precision. I felt I got to know the author as an individual too – and I liked him very much. His frustrations with other humans like ‘Massive Lens Guy’, his conversational style, his self-awareness and his absolutely brilliant writing made me wish I could meet him in real life and chat with him about the book.

Lev Parikian’s writing style is, quite frankly, sublime. It’s beautiful and poetic. It’s realistic and dramatic. He has the ability to convey as much meaning in a two word paragraph as he does in longer sections. It’s engaging and I hadn’t been prepared for how funny it is too. Again the footnotes come into play here where his wry observations, direct appeals to the reader and asides are fabulous. I must confess that I know little about cricket, and the Interlude is less in keeping with the other chapters in Into the Tangled Bank, but I laughed until I wept reading its ending, despite the stark description of the state of the planet.

Into the Tangled Bank is the perfect antidote to the ills of the world because it’s funny, enlightening and very entertaining. It would make a glorious present for any nature lover because it brings alive the world in which we live. It would appeal to any observer of humanity as Lev Parikian’s observations are pithy and insightful and he manages to articulate exactly what so many of us think and feel. Into the Tangled Bank is a glorious book. Don’t miss it.

About Lev Parikian


Lev Parikian is a writer, birdwatcher and conductor. His book Why Do Birds Suddenly Disappear? was published by Unbound in 2018. He lives in West London with his family, who are getting used to his increasing enthusiasm for nature. As a birdwatcher, his most prized sightings are a golden oriole in the Alpujarras and a black redstart at Dungeness Power Station.

For more information, follow Lev on Twitter @LevParikian or visit his website.