Blog Tour | Review: The Safe Word by Karen Long


There are rules that every player of every game must abide by, no matter how dangerous the sport.

Toronto has become the backdrop to a macabre set of artistic installations: women kidnapped, tortured and horrifically displayed by a killer with a vision. 
Only someone capable of understanding the killer’s creative desire will be able to stop the murders and D I Eleanor Raven is uniquely qualified. Driven by a complex personality she pursues only the facts, only the things she can see, but never casts a judgement. 

But she also has a dark and dangerous secret – one that will threaten her very survival.

I’ve heard quite a lot about this book so when I got the chance to sign up for the blog tour I couldn’t type quick enough to say yes!

I really enjoyed this novel, it’s unusual for me to be engrossed in a crime novel from the first page but this one grabbed me straight away and I didn’t want to put it down.

I found it really refreshing to read a detective novel where the lead character doesn’t seem to have relationship or alcohol problems, as seems to be par for the course in many novels like this. I really liked Detective Eleanor Raven – she is who she is and she doesn’t apologise for it. She seemed like a strong female who doesn’t yield when she know she’s right, she also seems really interesting and I want to know more about her.

I enjoyed seeing how Eleanor interacted with a new partner after her long-standing colleague was off on sick leave. I get the feeling that she will warm to Laurence as time goes on but I loved the dynamic between them – she didn’t make things easy for him but at the same time it felt like deep down she was giving him a chance to prove himself.

The murder scenes in this book are sinister and gruesome but are so intriguing that I couldn’t stop reading as I wanted to find out who was killing these people and what their motivation was. It was a fascinating crime story.

I rated this novel 4 out of 5 and am happy to discover that this is the first book in a series and am now very much looking forward to reading the second book.

I received this book through Brook Cottage Blog Tours in exchange for an honest review.

The Safe Word is out now and available from:



B & N

About the Author


Karen Long was born and raised in the English midlands, educated at Bangor University and taught English and Drama for fifteen years. During her teaching years she studied biology and neurology with the Open University and this interest in medicine, forensics and forensic psychology is reflected in her writing. She is an enthusiastic traveller and has spent time in Toronto, which became the backdrop and inspiration for The Safe Word.

She is a keen amateur naturalist with a deep and abiding love for the crow family. She has dedicated time, love and several fingers in an effort to rehabilitate crows, magpies, rooks and ravens.

Karen is happy to correspond with readers and can be contacted through her website, where she posts regular blogs.

The Safe Word is Karen’s first novel and was an Amazon bestseller, soon to be joined by the second in the Eleanor Raven series, The Vault. Karen is working on the third novel in the series.







All author or review enquires please contact Karen Long’s Personal Assistant J.B. Johnston –


Check out Book 2The Vault


WWW Wednesday (18 May)

WWW pic

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

What I’m reading now:

The Treachery of Trains by Sylvia Ashby

The Treachery of Trains by Sylvia Ashby

I spent most of yesterday afternoon reading this novel as once I got into it I didn’t want to stop reading it. I’m on the blog tour for it tomorrow and will be posting my review then so please look out for that.


Sky has made an abominable mistake at work. Something so awful she doesn’t dare stay in the HR office of XIM Technics for fear of being lynched by her colleagues.

So she gets on a train…

What happens when it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year?

Sky Candy is about to find out.


SockPuppet by Matthew Blakstad

Sockpuppet by Matthew Blakstad

I started this book last week and am sure if I hadn’t had a rough week health-wise that I would have read it in a day or so as it’s such a great read. It’s different to anything else I’ve read in a long while and it’s very much a tale of the modern age. I hope to be able to read more of this book this week.


Twitter. Facebook. Whatsapp. Google Maps. Every day you share everything about yourself – where you go, what you eat, what you buy, what you think – online. Sometimes you do it on purpose. Usually you do it without even realizing it. At the end of the day, everything from your shoe-size to your credit limit is out there. Your greatest joys, your darkest moments. Your deepest secrets.

If someone wants to know everything about you, all they have to do is look.

But what happens when someone starts spilling state secrets? For politician Bethany Leherer and programmer Danielle Farr, that’s not just an interesting thought-experiment. An online celebrity called sic_girl has started telling the world too much about Bethany and Dani, from their jobs and lives to their most intimate secrets. There’s just one problem: sic_girl doesn’t exist. She’s an construct, a program used to test code. Now Dani and Bethany must race against the clock to find out who’s controlling sic_girl and why… before she destroys the privacy of everyone in the UK.

This Secret We're Keeping by Rebecca Done

This Secret We’re Keeping by Rebecca Done

I have to be honest and say that I’m finding this novel to be much slower-paced than I’d expected and because of my current short attention span I’m struggling with it. I feel sure if I could sit and read it in bigger chunks that I would enjoy it more so the issue is definitely with me. I’m going to pick this back up as soon as my brain is in gear again.


A pupil and a teacher. Is it ever right to break the rules?
Jessica Hart has never forgotten Matthew Landley.
After all, he was her first love when she was fifteen years old. But he was also her school maths teacher, and their forbidden affair ended in scandal with his arrest and imprisonment.
Now, seventeen years later, Matthew returns to Norfolk, with a new identity and a long-term girlfriend and a young daughter, who know nothing of what happened before. Yet when he runs into Jessica, neither of them can ignore the emotional ties that bind them together.
With so many secrets to keep hidden, how long can Jessica and Matthew avoid the dark mistakes of their past imploding in the present?
From debut author Rebecca Done, This Secret We’re Keeping is a powerful and provocative novel about the ties which can keep us together – or tear us apart.

My Favourite Manson Girl by Alison Umminger

My Favourite Manson Girl by Alison Umminger

I’m enjoying this novel but it’s a bit different to what I was expecting and I’m not sure yet where it’s going. I’m looking forward to reading more soon.


Anna has had a miserable year. Everything feels wrong with her life. And rather than stay and face the mess, she steals a credit card and books herself a seat on the first flight out of town to Los Angeles, to crash with her sister. But soon after she lands, cold reality soon dawns on her: Hollywood isn’t the escape she needs. She is trapped in a town full of lost souls and wannabes, with no friends, no cash and no return ticket.

When she’s offered a job researching the murderous Manson girls for a dubious film, she reluctantly accepts – she needs the money. But soon enough, among the fake smiles and glitter-fuelled parties, things turn from strange, to dark, to dangerous . . .

This is not going to be the summer Anna had in mind.

Where Did I Go by Polly Williamson

Where Did I go? by Polly Williamson

This is an interesting and inspiring novel about a woman recovering from a brain injury.  It’s a tough read in places because I can empathise with some of what she went through but it’s a good read.


“8 December 2011: I went to a small horse competition in the morning. That much I do remember. After that absolutely nothing …”

Polly Williamson’s life changed the day a dramatic incident with a young horse left her with a horrific head injury. She was a horse trainer and former Junior European Champion eventer. She was a wife and mother to two young boys. The accident severed her connection to this former life. It stole away her ability to care for her children and left her struggling to rediscover who she was.

Surviving a near fatal brain injury brings a person face to face with the very basis of their identity. Some will be lucky and pick up their former lives with barely a missed step. Others will have everything that holds them to who they were stripped away by brain damage.

Polly has had her world shattered and seen the fragments of her identity laid bare. Where did I go? is her powerful record of her efforts to pick up the pieces and put her life back together again.

What I recently finished reading:


Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

This novel is incredible and I feel sure it’ll be in my top books of the year! I’m struggling to write my review due to the fact I loved it so much but I hope to get my thoughts in order in the next few days. I can’t recommend this book highly enough though!


When war is declared, Mary North leaves finishing school unfinished, goes straight to the War Office, and signs up.

Tom Shaw decides to give it a miss – until his flatmate Alistair unexpectedly enlists, and the conflict can no longer be avoided.

Young, bright and brave, Mary is certain she’d be a marvelous spy. When she is – bewilderingly – made a teacher, she instead finds herself defying prejudice to protect the children her country would rather forget.

Tom, meanwhile, finds that he will do anything for Mary.

And when Mary and Alistair meet, it is love, as well as war, that will test them in ways they could not have imagined, entangling three lives in violence and passion, friendship and deception, inexorably shaping their hopes and dreams.

In a powerful combination of both humour and heartbreak, this dazzling novel weaves little-known history, and a perfect love story, through the vast sweep of the Second World War – daring us to understand that, against the great theatre of world events, it is the intimate losses, the small battles, the daily human triumphs, that change us most.

Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard

I bought this book on release day and decided to read it straight away as a little treat to myself; I’m so glad I did as it was such a compulsive read that it got me out of my little reading slump. It’s one of those books that once you start reading it’s near impossible to stop because it’s got lots of little twists and turns running all the way through it. I hope to get my review up in the next few days.


Did she leave, or was she taken?

The day Adam Dunne’s girlfriend, Sarah, fails to return from a Barcelona business trip, his perfect life begins to fall apart. Days later, the arrival of her passport and a note that reads ‘I’m sorry – S’ sets off real alarm bells. He vows to do whatever it takes to find her.

Adam is puzzled when he connects Sarah to a cruise ship called the Celebrate – and to a woman, Estelle, who disappeared from the same ship in eerily similar circumstances almost exactly a year before. To get the answers, Adam must confront some difficult truths about his relationship with Sarah. He must do things of which he never thought himself capable. And he must try to outwit a predator who seems to have found the perfect hunting ground…

The Boy with the Board (Meet Cute) by Katey Lovell

The Boy with the Board by Katey Lovell (Meet Cute series)

I love the Meet Cute short stories, they never fail to be a wonderful pick-me-up. This one was so gorgeous! I’ll be reviewing this on Friday.


When her beloved mum dies suddenly, Helena escapes to sunny California. Determined to live for the moment, she puts aside her fears and signs up for the surfing lessons she’s always dreamed of – with the added distraction of hunky instructor Ashton. 

The Boy with the BBQ by Katey Lovell

The Boy with the BBQ by Katey Lovell (Meet Cute series)

As I’ve just said above, I love this series of short stories. This one was as lovely as all the others. I’ll be reviewing this very soon.


Betsy and Seb spent their early childhood playing together in the sandpit at the park, but lost touch when Seb’s family moved away. Since he moved back to the area Betsy’s developed quite the crush on him, but she’s not even sure he knows she exists…

What I plan on reading next:

The Girls by Emma Cline

The Girls by Emma Cline

I was thrilled to be approved for this book last week and I really can’t wait to read it.


California. The summer of 1969. In the dying days of a floundering counter-culture a young girl is unwittingly caught up in unthinkable violence, and a decision made at this moment, on the cusp of adulthood, will shape her life….

‘This book will break your heart and blow your mind.’ Lena Dunham

Evie Boyd is desperate to be noticed. In the summer of 1969, empty days stretch out under the California sun. The smell of honeysuckle thickens the air and the sidewalks radiate heat.

Until she sees them. The snatch of cold laughter. Hair, long and uncombed. Dirty dresses skimming the tops of thighs. Cheap rings like a second set of knuckles. The girls.

And at the centre, Russell. Russell and the ranch, down a long dirt track and deep in the hills. Incense and clumsily strummed chords. Rumours of sex, frenzied gatherings, teen runaways.

Was there a warning, a sign of things to come? Or is Evie already too enthralled by the girls to see that her life is about to be changed forever?

The Safe Word by Karen Long

The Safe Word by Karen Long

I’m on the blog tour for this book later this month so I definitely plan to start reading it very soon. I’m looking forward to it.


There are rules that every player of every game must abide by, no matter how dangerous the sport.
Toronto has become the backdrop to a macabre set of artistic installations: women kidnapped, tortured and horrifically displayed by a killer with a vision.
Only someone capable of understanding the killer’s creative desire will be able to stop the murders and D I Eleanor Raven is uniquely qualified. Driven by a complex personality she pursues only the facts, only the things she can see, but never casts a judgement.

But she also has a dark and dangerous secret – one that will threaten her very survival.

All is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker

All is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker

This book intrigues me for quite a few reasons and I can’t wait to read it!


You can erase the memory. But you cannot erase the crime.

Jenny’s wounds have healed.
An experimental treatment has removed the memory of a horrific and degrading attack.
She is moving on with her life.

That was the plan. Except it’s not working out.
Something has gone. The light in the eyes. And something was left behind. A scar. On her lower back. Which she can’t stop touching.
And she’s getting worse.
Not to mention the fact that her father is obsessed with finding her attacker and her mother is in toxic denial.

It may be that the only way to uncover what’s wrong is to help Jenny recover her memory. But even if it can be done, pulling at the threads of her suppressed experience will unravel much more than the truth about her attack.

What are you reading at the moment? Have you finished any good books recently? Any books you’re looking forward to reading soon? Please feel free to join in with this meme and share your link below, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below.

Stacking the Shelves (14 May)



(Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week – ebooks or physical books, and books you’ve bought or borrowed or received an ARC of.)

This week I’ve bought some new books:

As If I Were A River by Amanda Saint

I’ve read a couple of reviews of this book recently and it sounds like such a good read so I treated myself to it. I hope to read it very soon.

Lying About Last Summer by Sue Wallman

This is another book that I discovered through blog reviews and I can’t wait to read it.

When I Lost You by Kelly Rimmer

I really enjoyed Kelly’s previous novel and so this was a must buy for me!

Books I received for review:

How To Find Your (First) Husband by Rosie Blake

I was thrilled to get the chance to read and review this for Corvus books. I love Rosie Blake’s novels, especially her Christmas one, so I can’t wait to read this one. I just know I’ll love it!

The Girls by Emma Cline 

I requested this one NetGalley a little while ago but had forgotten about it so when I got the approval email this week I was really pleased. This book definitely won’t be on my TBR pile for very long because I’m so keen to read it!

The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armantrout

I was offered the chance to review this book and I couldn’t accept quick enough, it sounds like a brilliant read and I plan to read it soon!

Paris Mon Amour by Isabel Costello

I was offered this book for review this week too and it was another one that I absolutely couldn’t say no too, it sounds like such a great read and I hope to read it very soon!

My Favourite Manson Girl by Alison Umminger

This was a book I spotted on Net Galley when I logged on to give feedback for another book and I couldn’t resist hitting request! I’m reading it now and enjoying it so far.

The Safe Word by Karen Long

I’m going to be on the blog tour for this book so plan on reading it soon so I can review it on my date. I’m looking forward to starting it in the next week or so.


I was also thrilled to win a signed copy of These Days of Ours by Juliet Ashton recently and it arrived in the post yesterday.


So, that’s all of my new books from the past week. Have you bought any new books recently? Tell me all in the comments below, or if you have a stacking the shelves post on your blog feel free to post the link below too.:)

My weekly wrap up post will be on my blog tomorrow so please look out for that.