A Lover of Books

Archive for the category “Book Reviews”

Blog Tour – ‘The Jansson Tapes’ by Colin Garrow ~ @colingarrow @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours

I am thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour and would like to thank the lovely Emma Welton of damppebbles blog tours for inviting me to participate and both the author and Emma for my review copy.

‘The Jansson Tapes’ by Colin Garrow is the third book in the Terry Bell Mysteries series.  It was self-published by the author last month and is available in paperback and as an eBook.

I will tell you in a minute exactly what I thought about ‘The Jansson Tapes’.  First though here’s the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

When a familiar leggy blonde slides onto the back seat of his cab with the offer of work, taxi-driver and amateur sleuth Terry Bell isn’t keen. However, compared to the tedium of driving a cab all day, the lure of another mystery is too strong to resist, and Terry agrees to help. Tracking down a missing writer and his tape recorder sounds simple enough, but following the clues to a remote village, the case takes a dangerous turn when the man turns up dead. After the police take over, Terry and his sidekick Carol return home to find their flat ransacked—and that’s not the only surprise. Caught between a suspicious detective inspector and the machinations of a mysterious woman, can the wily investigator unravel the mystery before the killer strikes again?

In this murder/mystery series set on England’s northeast coast, The Jansson Tapes is book #3 in the Terry Bell Mystery series.

 

My Review

‘The Jansson Tapes’ is the first book I have read in the Terry Bell Mysteries series and I absolutely loved it. I thought it worked well as a standalone novel. There was the occasional mention of previous investigations and characters within the story.

Oh My Goodness! This was such an exciting and entertaining read. I literally feel like I’ve been on an adventure. It was full of suspense and it kept me on my toes. This book is a bit shorter than the average novel, but it had so much packed into it. It was also laced with humour throughout.

I really liked how the story began and I loved how just about every chapter ended with a cliff-hanger. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant! This book had all the ingredients I wanted and much more besides. It really helped me to escape.

Terry Bell, taxi driver and amateur sleuth finds himself getting involved in another investigation. His job is to try and track down a missing writer. There is much more to things than meets the eye though as he is about to find out and he soon finds himself in danger, together with his girlfriend and his friend.

I really liked Terry and I think he makes a good sleuth. He was quick thinking which helped especially with the dilemma he found himself in. He had to literally think on his feet with not much time to waste. On a couple of occasions, I was really quite scared for him.

I am sure all Terry will want now is a peaceful life. Okay, maybe for a week or so.

So, having now read ‘The Jansson Tapes’ will I be reading the first two books in this series? You bet I will! My curiosity has been piqued you see.

If you like crime fiction which is gripping and fast-paced then I truly recommend this book.

I look forward to reading much more by this author.

 

About Colin Garrow

True-born Geordie Colin Garrow grew up in a former mining town in Northumberland and has worked in a plethora of professions including taxi driver, antiques dealer, drama facilitator, theatre director and fish processor, and has occasionally masqueraded as a pirate. Colin has published three stage plays, six adventures for middle grade readers, two books of short stories, the Watson Letters series and the Terry Bell Mysteries. His short stories have appeared in several literary mags, including: SN Review, Flash Fiction Magazine, The Grind, A3 Review, Inkapture and Scribble Magazine. These days he lives in a humble cottage in North East Scotland where he writes novels, stories. poems and the occasional song.

 

Links

Social Media

Twitter: https://twitter.com/colingarrow

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/colingarrowthewriter/

Website (adults): https://colingarrow.org/

Website (childrens): https://colingarrowbooks.com/

Website (The Watson Letters): https://thewatsonletters.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/colinngarrow/

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/colingarrow

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B014Z5DZD4

 

Purchase Links

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jansson-Tapes-Terry-Bell-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B088DC5G7Z/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=the+jansson+tapes&qid=1590325607&sr=8-1

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Jansson-Tapes-Terry-Bell-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B088DC5G7Z/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=the+jansson+tapes&qid=1590325731&sr=8-1

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1021372

 

Blog Tour – ‘My Perfect Sister’ by Penny Batchelor ~ @RedDoorBooks @penny_author

It is an absolute pleasure to be taking part in this blog tour today.  ‘My Perfect Sister’ is Penny Batchelor’s debut novel and it is being published in paperback on the 18th June 2020 by RedDoor Press.  It is also available as an eBook.

I would like to thank Lizzie Lewis of RedDoor Press for inviting me to participate in this tour and for my review copy.

You will find out in a minute what I thought about ‘My Perfect Sister’.  First though here is the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

How can you ever live up to the memory of someone you hardly remember?

Annie is five when her sister Gemma leaves for school one day and never returns. The family’s lives are changed forever with Gemma’s disappearance and Annie feels neglected and unloved. When she is just sixteen, she decides she can no longer live in the shadow of her perfect but absent sister and she leaves home, falling in and out of jobs and relationships, her resentment for Gemma always there, bubbling under the surface.

Many years later she reluctantly returns home to care for her mother, ill with cancer. Her anger only grows when she sees Gemma’s room still kept as a shrine while hers is now her mother’s sewing room, but as she cares for her mum she begins to soften and egged on by her best friend Priti she realises she has to uncover what happened to Gemma, for all their sakes.

Her research puts her in danger but with the help of a fabulous cast of characters and a satisfying twist in the tale, she finally discovers the truth but can she ever accept it?

 

My Review

I really did like the sound of ‘My Perfect Sister’ and was very much looking forward to reading it. I liked the author’s style of writing and the shortish chapters which had me turning the pages.

I found myself drawn to the story almost immediately. This was such an intriguing read and there were just so many questions going through my mind. I knew I would have to be patient though.

For Annie it must have been really difficult going back to look after her mother after years of hardly any contact. I cannot even begin to imagine all the emotions she must have felt. I would say it was definitely meant to be.

I think revisiting her past really opened Annie’s eyes and made her realise quite a few things. She was only five years old when her sister disappeared after all and she didn’t really have an easy childhood. But maybe things were not as she thought they were.

Throughout the story the reader is given an insight into what happened on the day Gemma disappeared. This I felt really spiced things up and added to the mystery.

I didn’t know what to expect with regards to Gemma’s disappearance and I found myself mentally making a list of who if anyone could have been involved. There were so many possibilities and at least two or three explanations as to what happened to Gemma.

There were some great characters in this story, some of whom were flawed. I really liked Aunty Lena, Annie and her best friend, Priti. They were my favourites.

‘My Perfect Sister’ looks at a number of topics including mental health. It is a thought-provoking read and has a lot of meaning. If you like family drama with a twist, then I highly recommend this book.

I will definitely be following this author’s work and I look forward to reading her next book.

 

‘The Perfect Sister’ can be pre-ordered/purchased from:-

RedDoor Press – https://reddoor-book-shop.myshopify.com/collections/new-releases/products/my-perfect-sister

Amazon UK – https://amzn.to/2U4KKVj

 

About Penny Batchelor

Penny Batchelor previously had careers as a Content Producer at the BBC and Web Editor at various educational institutions but due to ill health now works at home as a freelance journalist and award-winning knitting blogger. She is physically disabled and is keen to bring disability into mainstream literature. She lives with her husband in Warwickshire.

 

Links

Website – http://www.pennybatchelor.co.uk/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/penny_author

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pennyauthor

Blog Tour – ‘Just My Luck’ by Adele Parks ~ @HQstories @adeleparks

Congratulations to Adele Parks whose new book, ‘Just My Luck’ was published in hardback, as an eBook and Audiobook on the 14th May 2020 by HQ.  This is her 20th novel.

It is a real pleasure to be taking part in this blog tour along with loads of other book bloggers.  I would like to thank the publisher for inviting me to participate and for my proof copy.

I will tell you all in a minute what I thought about this book.  First though here is the book blurb.

 

 

Book Blurb

What if winning means losing everything?

It’s the stuff dreams are made of – a lottery win so big, it changes everything.

For fifteen years, Lexi and Jake have played the same six numbers with their friends, the Pearsons and the Heathcotes. Over dinner parties, fish & chip suppers and summer barbecues, they’ve discussed the important stuff – the kids, marriages, jobs and houses – and they’ve laughed off their disappointment when they failed to win anything more than a tenner.

But then, one Saturday night, the unthinkable happens. There’s a rift in the group. Someone doesn’t tell the truth. And soon after, six numbers come up which change everything forever.

Lexi and Jake have a ticket worth £18 million. And their friends are determined to claim a share of it.

Sunday Times Number One bestseller Adele Parks returns with a riveting look at the dark side of wealth in this gripping take on friendship, money and betrayal, and good luck gone bad…

 

My Review

Wow! Well, I never expected that. Never expected that at all.

I was really looking forward to reading ‘Just My Luck’. Having now read it I have to say that Adele Parks certainly knows how to weave a good tale. I loved the style in which the book was written and thought the author was very descriptive. This was such an addictive and exciting read and it was pretty hard to put down.

I absolutely loved the storyline. It was much more complex than I imagined it would be. There were shocks galore and, in the end, I didn’t really know who I could trust. Surely nothing else could happen I thought, but I was proved wrong again and again.

I didn’t like the majority of the characters apart from Lexi, her children, Toma and Gillian. Lexi came across as a really lovely person. She wanted to be able to help as many people as she could and was definitely in the right job. I could understand her frustration at not being able to do more for others.

Lexi was the most level-headed person as far as the lottery win went which is more than could be said for the rest of her family. She was sensible about what she wanted to spend the money on.

I have always thought that I would like to win the lottery. We all have dreams after all. I would hopefully put the money to good use after the initial excitement. After reading this book though I think I would have to be careful how I went about things. It is quite a scary situation to be in really.

‘Just My Luck’ is a story about greed, secrets, betrayal and lies. It will leave you shocked, and you will never think about winning the lottery in the same way again. It is definitely not all it is cracked up to be.

Go buy a copy of ‘Just My Luck’. It is superb and is an eye-opener of a read.

 

‘Just My Luck’ can be purchased from:-

HarperCollins – https://www.harpercollins.co.uk/9780008410575/just-my-luck/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Just-Luck-bestsellers-including-bestseller-ebook/dp/B081D4N6T3/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1589608334&sr=8-1

Waterstones – https://www.waterstones.com/book/just-my-luck/adele-parks/9780008410575

Hive – https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Adele-Parks/Just-My-Luck/24893081

 

About Adele Parks

I was born in Teesside, NE England. Since graduating from Leicester University, where I studied English Language and Literature, I’ve worked in advertising and as a management consultant. In 2010 I was proud to be awarded an honorary doctorate of Letters from Teesside University.

I’ve always dreamed of being a writer and my first novel – Playing Away – was published in 2000; that year the Evening Standard identified me as one of London’s ‘Twenty Faces to Watch’, which was very nice of them!

I like to keep busy and am pretty flattered when I’m described as one of the most-loved and biggest-selling women’s fiction writers in the UK, (who wouldn’t like that?!) Three and a half million copies of my UK editions have been sold and I’m translated into 26 different languages. I’ve published nineteen novels in nineteen years, and I’m lucky that they’ve all hit the bestseller lists. I have written 16 contemporary novels and two historical ones, Spare Brides and If You Go Away, set during and after WW1. All my novels examines issues that are important to us all. I like to scrutinize our concepts of family, our theories on love, parenting and fidelity with (I hope) honesty and humour. Whatever period I set my novels I’m known for examining the thorny issues of the lives people lead with my trademark, up-front, tell-it-as-it-is style.

I write numerous articles and short stories for national magazines and newspapers and often appear on radio and TV talking about my work and related matters. You know, basically a talking head. This works well for me as I’m very chatty and fairly opinionated. I think it’s true to say once I get going, it’s quite hard to shut me up.

I passionately believe that reading is a basic right. I’m a proud Ambassador for the National Literacy Trust and The Reading Agency’s Six Book Challenge, a scheme that encourages emerging adult readers who are becoming passionate about books. In 2008 I wrote a Quick Read, Happy Families as part of the celebrations of World Book Day, which went on to win Quick Read Learners’ Favourite Award, as voted for by the public.

I am a judge for the Costa Book Awards and The British Book Awards which is a great privilege and an amazing experience. During my career I’ve lived in Italy, Botswana and London. Now I live happily in Guildford, Surrey with my husband, teenage son and cat. I guess, that’s it, so far…

 

Links

Website – https://www.adeleparks.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/adeleparks

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/OfficialAdeleParks

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/adele_parks/

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Scribbler’ by Iain Maitland ~ @RKbookpublicist @SarabandBooks @iainmaitland

I am beyond thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour today.  ‘The Scribbler’ by Iain Maitland was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 7th May 2020 by Contraband and is the first of a series.

I would like to thank Ruth Killick for inviting me to participate and both Ruth and the publisher for my review copy.

You will find out in a minute exactly what I thought about ‘The Scribbler’ after the all important book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

“He’s back, Carrie. The Scribbler is back.”

DI Gayther and his rookie colleague DC Carrie have been assigned a new caseload. Or rather, an old one… cold murder cases of LGBTQ+ victims.Georgia Carrie wasn’t even born when the notorious serial killer began his reign of terror across the East of England, but Roger Gayther was on the force that failed to catch him and remembers every chilling detail.

Back in the Eighties, Gayther’s team hadn’t been assigned sufficient resources. But now, after all these years, there’s a sudden death featuring The Scribbler’s tell-tale modus operandi. Gayther and Carrie have to find and bring him to justice to stop the killing once and for all.

 

My Review

Oh My Goodness! How did I not know about Iain Maitland and his work before now? I mean what planet have I been living on all this time? I feel like I have just made one of the greatest discoveries on Earth. Literally I do. What a mind this author has.

I thought ‘The Scribbler’ was a fantastic read. I really liked the author’s style of writing and I could almost feel the atmosphere at times.

This was one of those books I could not wait to get back to, especially as I got deeper and deeper into the story. It was like falling into a hole and wanting to get to the bottom to find out what was there.

There were certainly some interesting characters, many of whom I just didn’t take to. I liked DI Gayther and DC Carrie and I thought that they had a really good working relationship. Together with Thomas and Cotton they made a good team. I was most interested to see how far they got with the cold murder cases of LGBTQ+ victims.

The Scribbler was just so evil and twisted. How he could live with himself I really do not know. There was another side to him though surprisingly and it seemed that he did have a heart somewhere. He was very protective of his family, especially his sibling. As I read on it became apparent as to why The Scribbler had become the way he had, not that murdering people was any excuse. I couldn’t help but feel a tiny bit sympathetic for him and his brother.

‘The Scribbler’ is a dark, gripping, creepy and tense read. It deals with a number of issues including mental health, homosexuality, abuse and loss.

If you are a fan of crime fiction, then I highly recommend that you get yourself a copy of ‘The Scribbler’ now.

I was over the moon when I discovered that this was the first book in a series, and I will wait patiently for the next one. In the meantime, I will definitely be buying Iain Maitland’s first two novels, there is no doubt about that at all.

I think this is another book to add to my favourites of the year.

 

‘The Scribbler’ can be purchased from:-

Saraband – https://saraband.net/sb-title/the-scribbler/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1912235803?pf_rd_r=F917907HFJGYKDDY0DCR&pf_rd_p=e632fea2-678f-4848-9a97-bcecda59cb4e

 

About Iain Maitland

Iain Maitland is the author of thrillers: The Scribbler (2020) Mr Todd’s Reckoning (2019) and Sweet William (2017) as well as two non-fiction books on mental health: Dear Michael, Love Dad (2016) and Out of the Madhouse (2018). An ambassador for Stem4, the teenage mental health charity, Iain also speaks on mental health issues in the workplace. A writer since 1987, he is a journalist and has written more than 50 books, mainly on business, which have been published around the world.

 

Links

Website – http://www.iainmaitland.net/home

Twitter – https://twitter.com/iainmaitland

Blog Tour – ‘Mentoring Mr Singleman’ by Kim Sancreed ~ @Bookollective @kimsancreed

I am absolutely delighted to be taking part in this blog tour today.  ‘Mentoring Mr Singleman’ was published as an eBook on the 26th January 2020 by Wildword and is also available as a paperback.

I would like to thank Bookollective for inviting me to participate in this blog tour and the publisher/author for my review copy.

Before I tell you what I thought about ‘Mentoring Mr Singleman’ here is the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

A witty, off-beat romance set in Cornwall. New member of faculty Kate finds herself living below one of her colleagues in a converted engine house on the cliffs. Everyone can see they are made for each other, but he’s a little too in love with his surfing, and she’s a little too focused on her career. Under the merciless gaze of their students, Dave and Kate dance around each other through the highs and lows of a school term. Will they manage to get out of the way of their own happy ending?

 

My Review

I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Mentoring Mr Singleman’ and I loved the writing style. I really liked how the story opened. This was such a light-hearted and humorous read and it was one I couldn’t wait to get back to.

In the first couple of chapters I was introduced to some of the teachers and students. I also got a good feel for St Petroc’s and the daily routine and lessons. I felt I was given a behind the scenes look at the work that goes on in a school which was good.

I liked reading about Cornwall especially the beach and the café. How lucky to have that virtually on your doorstep.

There were some quite interesting characters in this story. I liked Dave and thought he had such a nice personality. He was a bit laid back sure, but there was nothing wrong with that at all. I did feel if anything that he needed a bit of encouragement as he was actually really good at what he did. I also liked Kate and felt from the beginning that she would be good for the school. I absolutely loved Frances as well.

When Dave and Kate met, they didn’t exactly get off to a flying start. There was definitely some chemistry there though and I couldn’t wait to see what if anything would happen between them.

It was interesting reading about the students and learning about their various backgrounds and their personal lives. I really think Kate did wonders with one of them in particular and I was actually quite amazed at what she managed to achieve.

Some parts of the story were predictable, but it was all good. There was one thing I couldn’t get into and that was the golf playing though what happened afterwards was I thought quite spectacular in its own way.

If you are looking for a relaxing read then, I recommend ‘Mentoring Mr Singleman’. It is certainly worth investing your time in. I really hope there is more to come from the author.

 

‘Mentoring Mr Singleman’ is available to purchase from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mentoring-Mr-Singleman-feelgood-Cornish-ebook/dp/B0847RVVL9/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1588517086&sr=8-1-spell

 

About Kim Sancreed

Kim Sancreed is a writer who lives in Cornwall and blogs on living, writing and enjoying the Arts in West Cornwall.

 

Links

Website – https://www.wildword.co.uk/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/kimsancreed

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/kimsancreed/

 

Book Review – ‘I Am Dust’ by Louise Beech ~ @OrendaBooks @LouiseWriter

I hope everyone is well and having as lovely a weekend as you can.

This is a bit later than planned, but I now have my review of ‘I Am Dust’ by Louise Beech.  For ease of reference here is the book blurb again.

 

Book Blurb

When iconic musical Dust is revived twenty years after the leading actress was murdered in her dressing room, a series of eerie events haunts the new cast…

The Dean Wilson Theatre is believed to be haunted by a long-dead actress, singing her last song, waiting for her final cue, looking for her killer…

Now Dust, the iconic musical, is returning after twenty years. But who will be brave enough to take on the role of ghostly goddess Esme Black, last played by Morgan Miller, who was murdered in her dressing room?

Theatre usher Chloe Dee is caught up in the spectacle. As the new actors arrive, including an unexpected face from her past, everything changes. Are the eerie sounds and sightings backstage real or just her imagination? Is someone playing games?

Not all the drama takes place onstage. Sometimes murder, magic, obsession and the biggest of betrayals are real life. When you’re in the theatre shadows, you see everything.

And Chloe has been watching…

 

My Review

Wow! Just Wow!! ‘I Am Dust’ was such an amazing read and I really hope I can do it justice with this review.

Louise Beech has written a book so wonderful that it has left me in total awe. The writing is simply beautiful and very descriptive, and I loved the style of it. The words have a way of catching hold of you and tantalising you so that you become totally caught up in the story.

I really did like the storyline and found it to be extremely gripping. Bringing back the iconic musical ‘Dust’ after twenty years was bound to spark a lot of interest from the press because of what had happened the first time it played at the theatre. Was there any truth about the actress who was murdered in her dressing room haunting the theatre? What if history were to repeat itself?

Through Chloe, an usher at the theatre and the main character in this story, we learn about what happened when she was just a teenager along with Jess and Ryan. It made for quite disturbing reading at times, especially with the message they received, a warning you could say.

Chloe came across as a really lovely and genuine person. All she ever wanted was to be loved and she couldn’t even have that. One thing she did have though was a gift, whether she wanted it or not.

There were a few shocks later on in the story which left me totally gobsmacked. I also found the song that was sung by the actress who had been murdered to be pretty haunting. I thought the ending was very poignant. It is such a shame the way things worked out.

‘I Am Dust’ is haunting, mesmerising and chilling. It is a story of obsession, greed and betrayal and at the same time it is a love story of sorts.

This is not a book I will forget very easily, and it will definitely be going on my list of favourites. I think this could even be my most favourite book of the year.

If any book deserves to win an award it is this one. Louise Beech is an exceptionally talented writer.  I highly recommend that you read ‘I Am Dust’. It is everything and more besides.

 

‘I Am Dust’ can be purchased from Amazon:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/I-Am-Dust-Louise-Beech-ebook/dp/B07X8SSJV7/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1586503297&sr=8-1

 

Thank you to the publisher for my review copy.

 

Blog Tour – ‘Cherry Slice’ by Jennifer Stone ~ @farragobooks @missjennystone

I am absolutely thrilled to be closing this blog tour.  I was actually down as taking part in it today and would like to thank the publisher for letting me stick to my original date.

‘Cherry Slice’ by Jennifer Stone is the first book in the Cherry PI Mystery series.  It is being published tomorrow the 2nd April 2020 in paperback and as an eBook by Farrago Books and will also be available as an Audiobook and Audio CD.

I would like to thank the publisher for inviting me to participate in this tour and for my review copy of ‘Cherry Slice’.  You will find out what I thought about this book in a minute.  First though here’s the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

In Cherry Hinton’s first case, she discovers that it takes a reality TV star to catch a reality TV murderer.

When Kenny Thorpe, a contestant on Expose TV’s Big Blubber, the hot new celebrity weight-loss show, is murdered on live television in front of three million viewers, the case seems pretty watertight. After all, everyone saw Martin do it, didn’t they?

Cherry Hinton knows there’s more to this than meets the eye. As an investigative reporter, she went undercover on dating show Caravan of Love…but after getting in too deep with one of the other contestants, she was caught knicker-less in front of the nation. Humiliated, fired and heartbroken, she has fled to Brentwood, where she opens a cake shop and tries to forget all about Expose.

Until Kenny Thorpe’s sister walks into her shop with a letter that turns Cherry’s world upside down. Is Martin innocent? How is infamous gangster Leon Solent involved? Is Expose to blame, and is there a killer still on the loose?

Cherry is the only one in a position to find out.

 

My Review

The first thing that caught my eye was the cover. Isn’t it just pure gorgeousness? I love the bright pink and as for that cake. Heaven! I could quite easily lust over it. Now, I’m not really a fan of reality TV, although I did watch two series of a certain show many years ago now. Why then did I want to read this book? Well, apart from the fact that I loved the cover and could spend literally hours staring at that delicious looking cake, I was intrigued when I saw that murder was involved.

What an entertaining and light-hearted read this was. I knew within the first couple of pages that I was going to enjoy this book. It is just what I needed with all that is going on at the moment and it actually helped me to take my mind off things. I loved the author’s style of writing and the humour throughout the story.

I absolutely adored Cherry Hinton. To me she was pure class. After losing her job as an investigative reporter Cherry decides to make a fresh start. She opens a bakery and creates the most wonderful and mouth-watering sounding cakes, her mind working overtime with new ideas. A woman with many talents, she soon finds herself involved in investigating a murder. Was the wrong person convicted and will she discover the truth?

I was most interested to see where Cherry’s investigation would take her and admired her skills and how she worked things out with a bit of assistance from others.

I didn’t really take to any of the contestants who took part in Big Blubber as such. The only person I remotely liked was Jodrell Banks.

If you are looking for something to take your mind off the current world situation and you like cosy crime, then I highly recommend ‘Cherry Slice’.  It is like a breath of fresh air reading this book. I am so excited that there will be a second book in this series and am very much looking forward to reading it.

This is the first title by Farrago Books that I have read, and I am seriously impressed. I will definitely be checking out more of their books.

‘Cherry Slice’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cherry-Slice-PI-Mystery-Book-ebook/dp/B07R1PY7R7/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1585726831&sr=1-1

 

About Jennifer Stone

Jennifer Stone was born in Essex and spent her formative years living within its borders and enjoying the delights of the multiple night clubs and alcopop-swigging opportunities available. After a stint in North Wales acquiring a degree and a further spell in Leeds, training to be a teacher, she returned to the south of England to teach English in a variety of schools. She is currently head of English at a boarding school in Suffolk and has just completed her MA in Creative Writing (Crime) at UEA. She lives with her wife and their small son.

 

Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/missjennystone

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/220958.Jennifer_Stone

Blog Tour – ‘The Waxwork Corpse’ by Simon Michael ~ @SapereBooks @simonmichaeluk

I am absolutely thrilled to be kicking off this blog tour along with Steph’s Book Blog and Linda’s Book Bag.  ‘The Waxwork Corpse’ by Simon Michael is the fifth book in the Charles Holborne series.  It was published on the 23rd December last year in paperback and as an eBook by Sapere Books.

I would like to thank Caoimhe O’Brien of Sapere Books for inviting me to participate in this blog tour and for my review copy of ‘The Waxwork Corpse’.  I literally cannot wait to tell you what I thought about this book.  First though here’s the blurb.

 

Book Blurb

Charles Holborne is back – with his strangest case to date! Perfect for fans of John Grisham, Robert Bailey, Michael Connelly and Robert Dugoni.

A deadly crime has been dragged to the surface…

London, 1965

Charles Holborne, maverick barrister, will never fit in at the Bar; he is too working-class, too Jewish and too dangerous.

But that makes him the perfect outsider to prosecute a shocking murder case which has already made its way to the press. By chance, a body was found, dumped in a lake.

It had clearly been there for some time, but the conditions in the water have meant that it was nearly perfectly preserved.

The police have managed to match this ‘waxwork corpse’ to a missing woman and if her husband — a senior judge — was the one who killed her, the scandal threatens to rock the British justice to its foundations.

The waxwork corpse is not the only thing to be raised from the past. The investigation also dredges up a violent mistake made by Charles in his youth which, if revealed, could put his own life at stake…

THE WAXWORK CORPSE, based on a real Old Bailey case, is the fifth crime novel in an exciting historical series, the Charles Holborne Legal Thrillers — gritty, hard-boiled mysteries set in 1960s London.

 

My Review

What a superb read this was. I absolutely loved ‘The Waxwork Corpse’. I haven’t actually read the full series yet but that didn’t spoil things for me in the least and I would say this book can definitely be read as a standalone novel.

I found myself engrossed in the story from the very start. It was really quite easy to get into. By the time I read the prologue I was intrigued. I kept trying to work out where exactly it fitted in with the story. I really do like Simon Michael’s style of writing. He was very descriptive throughout and I was actually able to picture things. I loved reading about the Temple and Chambers and wished I could have been there exploring.

This is such an intelligent and thought-provoking legal thriller. I thought the case itself was really quite unusual and was surprised to find that it was actually based on a real one. I was totally gripped during the trial and I almost felt as if I was there sitting in Court with everyone else. I didn’t want to have to put down the book until the verdict was read.

I really like Charles Holborne as a character. He comes across as a really good barrister and I would say nothing much gets past him. He knew when things were amiss. I enjoyed reading about Charles and his family and it was nice to see how things developed there. I could actually see both sides. His father, Harry, is such a lovely man and I’m glad that Charles got to spend some quality time with him.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the Charles Holborne series, but I think the author has surpassed himself with this one and has come a very long way with his writing since then. I am overjoyed that there is going to be another book.

If you are a fan of legal thrillers, historical and crime fiction, I highly recommend that you read ‘The Waxwork Corpse’.

This book gets all the stars from me and is definitely one of my favourite books of the year so far.

 

‘The Waxwork Corpse’ can be purchased from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Waxwork-Corpse-thriller-chilling-Thrillers/dp/1913335836/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1583694598&sr=8-1

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Waxwork-Corpse-thriller-chilling-Thrillers-ebook/dp/B07ZTHJVG3/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+waxwork+corpse&qid=1583696157&sr=8-1

 

About Simon Michael

Simon Michael is the author of the best-selling London 1960s noir gangster series featuring his antihero barrister, Charles Holborne. Simon writes from personal experience: a barrister for 37 years, he worked in the Old Bailey and other criminal courts defending and prosecuting a wide selection of murderers, armed robbers, con artists and other assorted villainy. The 1960s was the Wild West of British justice, a time when the Krays, the Richardsons and other violent gangs fought for control of London’s organised crime, and the corrupt Metropolitan Police beat up suspects, twisted evidence and took a share of the criminal proceeds. Simon weaves into his thrillers real events of the time, the cases on which he worked and his unusual family history in the East End.

Simon was published here and in America in the 1980s and returned to writing when he retired from the law in 2016. The Charles Holborne series, The Brief, An Honest Man, The Lighterman, Corrupted and the latest, The Waxwork Corpse, have all garnered strong reviews for their authenticity and excitement.

 

Links

Website – http://www.simonmichael.uk/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/simonmichaeluk

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/simonmichael.uk/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15798010.Simon_Michael

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Home’ by Sarah Stovell ~ @annecater @OrendaBooks @sarahlovescrime

‘The Home’ by Sarah Stovell was published in paperback on the 23rd January 2020 by Orenda Books and is also available as an eBook and Audiobook.  It is a real pleasure to be taking part in this blog tour today along with a fellow book blogger.

I would like to thank Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to participate in this tour and the publisher for my review copy.

You will find out what I thought about this book after the blurb.

 

Book Blurb

A dark and emotive thriller which shines a light on the troubling issue of children in care, The Home marks the return of Sarah Stovell, author of the 2017 international bestseller Exquisite.

When the body of pregnant, fifteen-year-old Hope Lacey is discovered in a churchyard on Christmas morning, the community is shocked, but unsurprised. For Hope lived in The Home, the residence of three young girls, whose violent and disturbing pasts have seen them cloistered away.

As a police investigation gets underway, the lives of Hope, Lara and Annie are examined, and the staff who work at the home are interviewed, leading to shocking and distressing revelations … and clear evidence that someone is seeking revenge.

A dark and devastating psychological thriller, The Home is also a heartbreaking and insightful portrayal of the underbelly of society, where children learn what they live … if they are allowed to live at all.

 

My Review

I really enjoyed reading ‘The Home’. I was hooked from the very start not wanting to put the book down for too long. I loved the short chapters and the way they drew me in. I was literally left with bated breath needing to know then and there what was going to happen next. Beautifully written, I found this story to be chilling, shocking and heart-breaking. I liked the author’s descriptions of the mountains, the tarn and the woodland. Very atmospheric but at the same time rather bleak sounding.

This story is split into five parts. It goes back and forth between the past and present right from when Hope is found dead to events leading up to her death. In between we learn about all three children’s childhoods and how they eventually ended up in the home. I really liked how the author keeps the reader waiting to find out exactly what happened to Hope.

Those poor young children. Each story was just as heartbreakingly tragic and didn’t make for very easy reading at all. No child should have to endure what Hope, Annie and Lara went through. Sadly, it’s a fact of life that these things happen. Sometimes it’s the parents and other times it’s various addictions like drugs and alcohol which as we all know can ruin lives.

Out of all the characters I really liked Helen, the manager of the children’s home. She came across as very caring. Apart from her and the children I didn’t really warm to any of the other characters.

‘The Home’ deals with a number of issues including relationships, mental health, alcohol, drugs, sex and death. If you like psychological thrillers, then I really recommend that you read this book.

I look forward to more from this author.

 

‘The Home’ is available to purchase from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Home-Sarah-Stovell/dp/1912374730/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1580152996&sr=8-1

 

About Sarah Stovell

Sarah Stovell was born in 1977 and spent most of her life in the Home Counties before a season working in a remote North Yorkshire youth hostel made her realise she was a northerner at heart. She now lives in Northumberland with her partner and two children and is a lecturer in Creative Writing at Lincoln University. Her debut psychological thriller, Exquisite, was called ‘the book of the summer’ by Sunday Times.

 

Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/sarahlovescrime

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1030004.Sarah_Stovell

 

Blog Tour – ‘Three Hours’ by Rosamund Lupton ~ @VikingBooksUK @RosamundLupton

I am thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour today.  ‘Three Hours’ is Rosamund Lupton’s brand new book.  It was published in hardback on the 9th January 2020 by Viking and is also available as an eBook and Audiobook.  It will be released in paperback on the 1st October 2020.

I would like to thank the publisher for inviting me to participate and for my review copy of ‘Three Hours’.  You will find out my thoughts on this book in a minute, after the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

Three hours is 180 minutes or 10,800 seconds.

It is a morning’s lessons, a dress rehearsal of Macbeth, a snowy trek through the woods.

It is an eternity waiting for news. Or a countdown to something terrible.

It is 180 minutes to discover who you will die for and what men will kill for.

In rural Somerset in the middle of a blizzard, the unthinkable happens: a school is under siege. From the wounded headmaster in the library, unable to help his trapped pupils and staff, to teenage Hannah in love for the first time, to the parents gathering desperate for news, to the 16 year old Syrian refugee trying to rescue his little brother, to the police psychologist who must identify the gunmen, to the students taking refuge in the school theatre, all experience the most intense hours of their lives, where evil and terror are met by courage, love and redemption.

 

My Review

Wow! All I can is what a book. This was an extremely tense, mesmerising and powerful read and is one I won’t forget for a very long time. I thought ‘Three Hours’ was beautifully written with the scene perfectly set. I loved how the chapters were arranged and the way they continued to add to the tension right to the very end.

I found it hard to put the book down, but at the same time I wanted to put it down purely because of the subject matter. It made for quite disturbing reading at times. There you are just getting on with your life not imagining that anything will happen and then in the blink of any eye all hell can break loose. Scary!

The students were absolutely amazing, as were the teachers. They were so courageous and tried to keep positive in their own way despite what was happening. They were literally staring death in the face. The character who really stood out for me was Hannah and the way she did her best to help the headmaster who was badly wounded.

I found Rafi and Basi’s story heart-breaking. They had already been through so much together. They deserved to live a proper life without fear.

I liked Detective Inspector Rose Polstein and admired the way she dealt with things together with the rest of the team. Their theories when trying to work out who the gunmen were and what they would do next were really interesting

The thought about what would happen to those young children just didn’t bear thinking about. It’s enough to make you shiver. Good thinking on the teacher’s part, that’s all I can say.

‘Three Hours’ is a very relevant and thought-provoking book. It will have you asking yourself a number of questions and it will make you realise how precious life is.

This is definitely a must-read.

 

‘Three Hours’ is available to purchase from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Three-Hours-Rosamund-Lupton/dp/0241374499/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1579543239&sr=8-1

 

About Rosamund Lupton

 

Rosamund Lupton’s new novel “Three Hours’ is out in hardback and ebook.

Her debut novel ‘Sister’, was a BBC Radio 4 “Book at Bedtime”, a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller, winner of the Strand Magazine critics award and the Richard and Judy Bookclub Readers’ Choice Award. Her next two books ‘Afterwards’ and ‘The Quality of Silence’ were Sunday Times bestsellers. Her books have been published in over thirty languages.

 

Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Rosamundlupton

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/RosamundLuptonAuthor

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3953740.Rosamund_Lupton

 

 

Blog Tour – ‘Payback’ by R.C. Bridgestock ~ @DomePress @RCBridgestock

I am delighted to be taking part in this blog tour today.  ‘Payback’ was published in paperback on the 9th January 2020 by The Dome Press and is also available as an eBook.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending me a review copy of the book.

I will tell you in a minute what I thought about ‘Payback’.

 

Book Blurb

Charley Mann left Yorkshire for the Met and a fast-track career – but now she’s back, she’s in charge and the area’s first young, female DI.

Her hometown, the Yorkshire countryside, and her old friends all seem unchanged but appearances can be deceptive.

When a brutal murder is discovered, Charley is forced to question everything, and the interest of her ex – reporter Danny Ray – doesn’t make it easier.

 

My Review

I have been hearing so much about R.C. Bridgestock’s books but have never read any of them. So, when I saw that there was a new series being published, I jumped at the chance of reading ‘Payback’. The verdict? I LOVED it. It was everything I expected and much more.

I really liked the writing style. I found ‘Payback’ to be a gripping and fast-paced read with quite a few shockers.

I enjoyed meeting DI Charley Mann and her team and getting to know them all. I actually felt as if I was there in the incident room with them at times watching them working and listening to the occasional banter. I thought the murder investigation was excellent and the police procedurals were really quite fascinating.

DI Charley Mann is officially my new favourite detective. She’s feisty and doesn’t take any nonsense whatsoever. I really admired the way she dealt with one of her officers. I felt like cheering her on and saying good for you! The other thing I liked about her was her open mindedness.

My other favourite character was Annie and then of course there was dear Winnie. She was just lovely.

Out of all the characters I really didn’t like the journalist, Danny Ray. Something about him just gave me the creeps. He was so pushy and didn’t like to take no for an answer.

I can’t wait to read the next book in the series and am looking forward to catching up with DI Charley Mann and her team again. I am excited to know what their next investigation will be.

If you are a fan of crime fiction and police procedurals, then I highly recommend that you read ‘Payback’. You won’t be disappointed. I will definitely be checking out R.C. Bridgestock’s earlier novels.

 

‘Payback’ is available to purchase from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Payback-Charley-Mann-Novel-Bridgestock/dp/1912534177/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1579201353&sr=8-1

 

About R.C. Bridgestock

R.C. Bridgestock is the name that husband and wife co-authors Robert (Bob) and Carol Bridgestock write under. Between them they have nearly 50 years of police experience, offering an authentic edge to their stories. The writing duo created the character DI Jack Dylan, the ninth book of which was published by The Dome Press in 2019, along with their backlist.

Bob was a highly commended career detective of 30 years, retiring at the rank of Detective Superintendent. During his last three years, he took charge of 26 murders, 23 major incidents, over 50 suspicious deaths and numerous sexual assaults. He was also a trained hostage negotiator with suicide interventions, kidnap, terrorism and extortion. Bob was seconded to a protracted enquiry investigating alleged police corruption in another force. He worked on the Yorkshire Ripper and Sarah Harper murder, and received praise from Crown Court Judges and Chief Constables alike for outstanding work at all ranks, including winning the much-coveted Dennis Hoban Trophy.

As a police civilian supervisor, Carol also received a Chief Constable’s commendation for outstanding work.

The couple are the storyline consultants / police procedural on BAFTA-winning BBC1 police drama Happy Valley and series 3 of ITV’s Scott and Bailey, and are presently working with Scott Free Production scriptwriters on two commissioned TV drama series.

The couple pride themselves on being up-to-date on past and present day UK police procedures, and as a result, Bob is regularly sought by UK television, radio and national and local newspapers for comment on developing major crime incidents etc. They have also taken part in BBC Radio 4 (Steve) PUNT P.I.

Carol and Bob are also patrons and ambassadors for several charities.

 

Links

Website – http://www.rcbridgestock.com/

Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/rcbridgestock

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/rcbridgestockauthor

Instagram – http://www.instagram.com/rcbridgestockauthor

 

Blog Tour – ‘Mix Tape’ by Jane Sanderson ~ @annecater @TransworldBooks @SandersonJane

It is a real pleasure to be taking part in this blog tour today.  ‘Mix Tape’ is being published in hardback and as an eBook on the 23rd January 2020 by Bantam Press and will also be available in audiobook.

I would like to thank Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to participate in this blog tour.  Thanks also to the publisher for my review copy.

I will tell you all in a minute what I thought about this book.  First though here’s the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

We all remember the soundtrack to our first love. 

Daniel was the first boy to make Alison a mix tape. But that was years ago and Ali hasn’t thought about him in a very long time. Even if she had, she might not have called him ‘the one that got away’; she’d been the one to run away, after all.

Then Dan’s name pops up on her phone, with a link to a song from their shared past. For two blissful minutes, Alison is no longer an adult in Adelaide with temperamental daughters; she is sixteen in Sheffield, dancing in her too-tight jeans. She cannot help but respond in kind. And so begins a new mix tape.

Ali and Dan exchange songs across oceans and time zones, across a lifetime of different experiences, until one of them breaks the rules and sends a message that will change everything…

Full of heartache and promises, joy and disappointment, Mix Tape asks the biggest question of them all: what if ‘what could have been’ is still to come?

Packed with music – some old, some new –  and featuring playlists of songs you’ll want to discover for yourself.

 

My Review

I first want to mention the cover which I really like. It’s so cleverly designed with the tape from the cassette tape forming a man and woman. It instantly made me think of a music video I sometimes see on television.

I found ‘Mix Tape’ to be a very enjoyable read and I thought it to be beautifully written. It was really quite hard to put this book down. I was lost within the pages and didn’t want to find my way back. Music played a huge part in this story and I would say that’s what made it work.

Set in the past and present, this story takes you from Sheffield where Ali and Dan lived as children to Edinburgh, Adelaide and London. I loved reading about Australia and the wildlife there, especially the cockatoos. They are such lovely birds.

There were some really interesting characters in this story. I absolutely adored Sheila and Dora and thought they were such fun. They are the sort of people I wouldn’t mind spending time with.

Ali’s story was heart-breaking. Things could have been so very different for her, but circumstances meant she had to decide what to do quickly even if it meant leaving the people she loved behind. As it goes, she didn’t really have any choice in the matter.

It’s amazing to think that years later the mix tape Dan made still meant something to Ali. I loved how music brought them together once again together with the amazing power of Social Media.

‘Mix Tape’ is a story about love, loss, joy, grief and heartache. I think a number of people will be able to relate to it in one way or the other. You are sure to be left feeling nostalgic.

I look forward to more from this author.

 

‘Mix Tape’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mix-Tape-Jane-Sanderson-ebook/dp/B07YBGMB2Y/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=mixtape+by+jane+sanderson&qid=1578847232&sr=8-1

The paperback version will be out on the 9th July 2020.

 

About Jane Sanderson

Jane Sanderson is a writer and journalist. She has worked as a producer for BBC Radio 4, first on the World at One, and then on Woman’s Hour. She lives with her husband and children in rural Herefordshire.

Jane has poured much her own story into this book; from the boyfriend who gifted her a mix tape introducing her to the likes of Van Morrison, to the carefully curated playlist (featured in the book) which includes songs that have helped to shape her life and pay homage to her own youth.

 

Links

Website – http://janesanderson.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/SandersonJane

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4909104.Jane_Sanderson

 

 

Blog Tour – ‘A Dark Matter’ by Doug Johnstone ~ @annecater @OrendaBooks @doug_johnstone

I am absolutely thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour today.  ‘A Dark Matter’ by Doug Johnstone is the first book in the Skelfs series.  It is being published in paperback on the 23rd January 2020 by Orenda Books and is also available as an eBook.

I would like to thank Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to participate in this tour.  Thanks also to the publisher for my review copy of this book.

I will tell you all in a minute what I thought about ‘A Dark Matter’.

 

 

Book Blurb

After an unexpected death, three generations of women take over the family funeral-home and PI businesses in the first book of a brilliant, page-turning and darkly funny new series.

The Skelfs are a well-known Edinburgh family, proprietors of a long-established funeral-home business, and private investigators. When patriarch Jim dies, it’s left to his wife Dorothy, daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah to take charge of both businesses, kicking off an unexpected series of events.

Dorothy discovers mysterious payments to another women, suggesting that Jim wasn’t the husband she thought he was. Hannah’s best friend Mel has vanished from university, and the simple adultery case that Jenny takes on leads to something stranger and far darker than any of them could have imagined.

As the women struggle to come to terms with their grief, and the demands of the business threaten to overwhelm them, secrets from the past emerge, which change everything… It’s a compelling and tense thriller and a darkly funny, warm portrait of a family in turmoil.

 

My Review

It has been a long while since I have read anything published by Orenda Books but this year I will be changing that for sure.

I totally loved ‘A Dark Matter’ and I am so very happy that this is the start of a new series otherwise I would probably be in mourning by now. This is the first book by Doug Johnstone I have read, and I am seriously impressed. What an ingenious storyline. The writing flowed easily, and I was able to follow the story without any problem. I also liked the way the chapters were set out.

I found this to be an extremely dark and intriguing read. The further I got into the book the more addicted I became. There were shocks and surprises aplenty throughout. There just seemed to be so much going on and it was really interesting to see how things unfolded. The author kept me guessing which was a good thing.

This story is narrated by the main characters Dorothy, Jenny and Hannah; three generations of a family. I thought this worked really well. They all came across as very strong women. Despite the grief they were understandably going through they took hold of the reins and kept both businesses going between them.

I really liked the main characters. My other favourite was Indy who was such a lovely and caring person.

You would think that reading about a funeral-home business and death would be morbid, but it actually wasn’t. It anything it was fascinating and thought-provoking if not a bit grisly at times.

I will definitely be reading more of Doug Johnstone’s books and am already really looking forward to the second book in the series. I can’t wait to find out how the Skelf family are getting on.

I highly recommend you read ‘A Dark Matter’.

‘A Dark Matter’ is available to pre-order/buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-Matter-Skelfs-Doug-Johnstone-ebook/dp/B07X9X2J4X/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1578597834&sr=8-1

 

About Doug Johnstone

Doug Johnstone is the author of ten novels, most recently Breakers (2018), which has been shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year. Several of his books have been bestsellers and award winners, and his work has been praised by the likes of Val McDermid, Irvine Welsh and Ian Rankin. He’s taught creative writing and been writer in residence at various institutions – including a funeral home – and has been an arts journalist for twenty years. Doug is a songwriter and musician with five albums and three EPs released, and he plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He’s also player-manager of the Scotland Writers Football Club. He lives in Edinburgh.

 

Links

Website – https://dougjohnstone.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/doug_johnstone

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/758942.Doug_Johnstone

 

Blog Tour – ‘Stay Mad, Sweetheart’ by Heleen Kist ~ @RedDogTweets @hkist

I am delighted to be taking part in this blog tour today.  ‘Stay Mad, Sweetheart’, Heleen Kist’s new book, was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 19th November 2019 by Red Dog Press.  I would like to thank the publisher for my review copy of this book.

You will find out what I thought about ‘Stay Mad, Sweetheart’ in a minute.  First though here’s the book blurb.

 

 

Book Blurb

THERE’S A FINE LINE BETWEEN INNOCENCE AND GUILT. AN EVEN FINER LINE BETWEEN JUSTICE AND REVENGE.

Data scientist Laura prefers the company of her books to the real world – let alone that cesspit online. But when her best friend Emily becomes the victim of horrific cyberbullying, she makes it her all-engulfing mission to track down the worst culprits.

Petite corporate financier Suki is about to outshine the stupid boys at her firm: she’s leading the acquisition of Edinburgh’s most exciting start-up. If only she could get its brilliant, but distracted, co-founder Laura to engage.

Event planner Claire is left to salvage the start-up’s annual conference after her colleague Emily fails to return to work. She’s determined to get a promotion out of it, but her boss isn’t playing ball.

As the women’s paths intertwine, the insidious discrimination they each face comes to light. Emboldened by Emily’s tragic experience, they join forces to plot the downfall of all those who’ve wronged them.

But with emotions running high, will the punishments fit the crimes?

 

My Review

Gosh! How do I even begin to review this book? It’s virtually impossible. I am just blown away.

This was such an amazing read. I really liked the author’s style of writing and the way the story began was just great. The chapters were clearly set out showing which character was the narrator. I found ‘Stay Mad, Sweetheart’ to be extremely gripping. There were just so many shocks and surprises, so many twists and turns. I also liked the dark humour throughout.

As the storyline developed, I found myself reading on with bated breath. I was totally intrigued and was dying to know what would happen next. I had all sorts of scenarios running through my head. Luckily, I was patient and didn’t skip to the end.

I have to say I found it very hard to warm to any of the characters. Out of all of them I really only took to Laura and Suki. I could somehow imagine spending hours with Laura talking about books and hopefully getting the chance to admire her collection. I think both her and Suki would be great fun.

I really think a number of women will recognise themselves in this book. In a world where women should be treated equally, i.e. the same as men this unfortunately doesn’t always happen. I really didn’t blame Laura, Suki and Claire for wanting to plot their revenge. They were all one way or the other discriminated against and it just wasn’t fair.

Social media and cyberbullying played quite a big part in this story. It is actually quite scary what can happen online, and I thought the author did a good job of portraying this.

If you like thrillers set in the financial world then ‘Stay Mad, Sweetheart’ could be for you. I definitely recommend you give this book a go.

 

‘Stay Mad, Sweetheart’ is available from:-

Amazon UK – http://mybook.to/StayMad

Hive – https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Heleen-Kist/Stay-Mad-Sweetheart/24474068 – You can buy this book from Hive and have it delivered to your local indie bookstore

Publisher’s Website – https://www.reddogpress.co.uk/product-page/stay-mad-sweetheart

 

About Heleen Kist

Throughout her life, Heleen Kist has been fondled, patronised and ordered to smile by random men. So she wrote ‘Stay Mad, Sweetheart’, a feminist tale of revenge, out November 19th 2019.Whilst her professional knowledge of technology start-ups fed the novel’s setting, its theme of insidious harassment and discrimination required no research: it is familiar to all women.

Heleen was chosen as an up and coming new author at Bloody Scotland 2018. Her first novel, ‘In Servitude’ won the silver medal for Best European Fiction at the Independent Publishers Book Awards in the USA and was shortlisted for The Selfies awarded at London Book Fair.

A Dutch strategy consultant living in Glasgow and married to a Scotsman, she’s raising their son to be a good man and their daughter to kick ass.

 

Links

Twitter:

Red Dog Press – https://twitter.com/RedDogTweets

Heleen Kist – https://twitter.com/hkist

Facebook:

Red Dog Press –  https://www.facebook.com/reddogassociates

Heleen Kist –  https://www.facebook.com/heleenkistauthor

Instagram:

@Red_Dog_Press

 

Blog Tour – ‘A Deathly Silence’ by Jane Isaac ~ @Legend_Press @JaneIsaacAuthor

I am absolutely delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for ‘A Deathly Silence’ by Jane Isaac.  The third book in the DCI Helen Lavery series, it was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 15th October 2019 by Legend Press.

I would like to thank both the publisher and the author for my review copy of ‘A Deathly Silence’.  You will find out in a minute exactly what I thought about this book.  First though here’s the all important book blurb.

 

 

Book Blurb

When the mutilated body of a police officer is found in a derelict factory, the Hamptonshire police force is shocked to the core.

DCI Helen Lavery returns from injury leave and is immediately plunged into an investigation like no other. Is this a random attack or is someone targeting the force? Organised crime groups or a lone killer?

As the net draws in, Helen finds the truth lies closer than she could have imagined, and trusts no one.

But Helen is facing a twisted killer who will stop at nothing to ensure their secrets remain hidden. And time is running out…

A gripping thriller perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn, S.J. Watson, B A Paris and Sophie Hannah

 

My Review

This is the first book I have read in the DCI Helen Lavery series and oh my goodness, was it a cracker or what. I absolutely loved Jane Isaac’s writing style. The words practically leapt off the pages and I was totally engrossed. I really didn’t want to have to put the book down.

I thought ‘A Deathly Silence’ worked extremely well as a standalone. There were mentions of a previous investigation throughout which had me intrigued. I hope one day soon to be able to read the first two books in the series.

I liked DCI Helen Lavery right from the start. She was very professional and appeared to have a good working relationship with her colleagues, which of course is always very important when spending a number of hours with them. The murder of one of their own shocked them to the core. Who could do such a thing? The time bomb was ticking, and they needed to find the killer fast before he or she struck again.

This really was an excellent police procedural. It always fascinates me to see how the pieces of the puzzle fit together when trying to solve a crime. I imagine it’s a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack. Just one small clue can lead to something big.

It was obvious from reading this book that the author has done her research. So much time and effort appears to have been put into this work of art. There wasn’t one dull moment.

If you like crime fiction and police procedurals, then I highly recommend that you read ‘A Deathly Silence’. I guarantee that you will be hooked.

Jane Isaac is now officially on my list of favourite authors and I hope there will be many more books to come from her.

 

‘A Deathly Silence’ is available from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deathly-Silence-DCI-Helen-Lavery/dp/1789550718/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1573673274&sr=8-1

 

About Jane Isaac

Jane Isaac is married to a serving detective and they live in rural Northamptonshire, UK with their daughter, and dog, Bollo. Jane’s debut novel, An Unfamiliar Murder, introduces DCI Helen Lavery and was nominated as best mystery in the ‘eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook awards 2013.’

The Truth Will Out, the second in the DCI Helen Lavery series, was nominated as ‘Thriller of the Month – April 2014’ by E-thriller.com and winner of ‘Noveltunity book club selection – May 2014’.

Jane’s seventh novel, Presumed Guilty, is the second in the highly acclaimed DC Beth Chamberlain (Family Liaison Officer) series.

The third DC Beth Chamberlain novel is scheduled for release in 2019, along with a new DCI Helen Lavery novel.

 

Links

Website – https://janeisaac.co.uk/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/JaneIsaacAuthor

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/JaneIsaacAuthor/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/janeisaac

Book Review – ‘Merde and Mandarins’ by Pete Adams ~ @damppebbles @nextchapterpb @Peteadams8

Earlier in the week I took part in the blog tour for ‘Merde and Mandarins’ with a book spotlight post.  Here is the link to it:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2019/10/28/blog-tour-merde-and-mandarins-by-pete-adams/

I now have my review of this book and would like to thank both Emma Welton of Damppebbles Blog Tours and the author for my proof copy of this book.  For ease of reference here is the book blurb again.

 

Book Blurb

A Defence Secretary shooting. The collapse of the Home Office Secretary. London’s high-ranking civil servants are being targeted, and DCI Jack Austin is drawn out of retirement.

When his wife is kidnapped, inept savant DCI Austin leads the rescue mission while trying to solve the recent mystery, and discover the motives of the master conspirator.

Racing towards the chaotic conclusion, can he find solace in a welcome retirement, and uncover the supreme Machiavellian plot?

 

My Review

I very much enjoyed ‘Merde and Mandarins’. The writing is of consistently high quality which is what I have come to expect from the author. I found this to be an extremely gripping read and I was totally on tenterhooks at times as to what was going to happen to a couple of the characters. There were also quite a few twists and turns throughout.

The storyline as a whole is rather complicated and you really do need to take the time to digest it all properly. I never get fed up of the humour and believe me there is a lot of it which might not be to everyone’s taste. Underneath the slapstick comedy though there are extremely serious matters afoot of which Jack Austin continues to play a big part.

I must mention Amlodd and Daphne who really appealed to me. I found both of them quite interesting and my heart literally went out to them. Daphne was a beautiful woman both inside and out. I think it would be great if they could be given a story of their own, i.e. a standalone novel.

I have always liked it when animals are included in stories as I think they play a big part in everyday life. Martin is such a lovely dog and as proved in ‘Merde and Mandarins’ is worth his weight in gold. It’s actually really uncanny how much like Jack he is. I guess that comes from spending so much time with him. He seems to have developed his mannerisms and everything and is just as hilarious.

‘Merde and Mandarins’ and in fact the whole series is a winner in my eyes along with some winning covers. Pete Adams is a pure genius. It would be so nice if this series could be televised.

Having now read all five books in the Kind Hearts and Martinets series, I still say that they should be read in order and not just as standalone novels in order to get the full benefit of the ongoing storyline. If you love crime and don’t mind a bit of mad humour, then I recommend you read this whole series from start to finish.

I am totally over the moon that there is to be a new series featuring Jack and Mandy and I cannot wait to read The DaDa Detective Agency.

Thank you for giving me the most wonderful experience.

 

‘Merde and Mandarins’ is available to buy from:-

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Merde-Mandarins-Kind-Hearts-Martinets/dp/1686656793/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1571128530&sr=8-1

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Merde-Mandarins-Kind-Hearts-Martinets-ebook/dp/B07S9BJ6L4/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=merde+and+mandarins&qid=1571128910&sr=8-1

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Merde-Mandarins-Pete-Adams/9781686656798?ref=grid-view&qid=1566372440893&sr=1-21

Blog Tour – ‘Rewrite the Stars’ by Emma Heatherington ~ @fictionpubteam @emmalou13

I am delighted to be taking part in this blog tour.  ‘Rewrite the Stars’ is Emma Heatherington’s new book and it was published in paperback on the 17th October 2019 by HarperCollins.  It is also available as an eBook and in audiobook.

I would like to thank the publisher for inviting me to participate in this tour and for my review copy along with the other treats.  You will find out in a minute what I thought about ‘Rewrite the Stars’.  First though here is the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

From the moment they meet one December day there’s something between Charlotte Taylor and her brother’s best friend, Tom Farley. But Tom’s already taken and Charlie has to let him go…

It’s another five years before their paths cross again only a secret from the past forces Charlie to make a choice. She promises herself she’ll never look back…

The years pass and Charlie moves on with her life but she can never forget Tom. He’s always there whispering ‘What if?’.

Can Charlie leave the life she has built for one last chance with Tom?  Or is the one that got away not really the one at all…?

 

My Review

I can’t tell you just how much I loved ‘Rewrite the Stars’. It was a book I found extremely hard to put down, the sort where you are just tempted to stay on the sofa all day and forget about real life. If only I could! I thought the writing was absolutely exquisite. I really liked the author’s note at the beginning of the book, and I got the feeling from that that I would enjoy the story.

You would be forgiven for looking at the gorgeous cover and thinking that this is nothing more than a love story. In fact, ‘Rewrite the Stars’ is so much more than that. It has a lot of meaning to it and is very thought provoking. There’s definitely a message or two in there.

There were some truly unforgettable characters in this story who will stay with me for quite a long while. I absolutely loved Charlotte and was eager to see what path she decided to take. I found myself routing for her all the way and at one point I really wanted to cheer her on. I thought what she did was great, and I can’t say I blame her for doing it either. I also really liked Charlie’s family and the way they were all there for each other, a proper support network. Jack was lovely too and I think he brought out the best in Charlie. He was very encouraging.

I really liked how music played a big part throughout the story. I can’t play any musical instruments or anything like that, but music itself is very important to me and I just couldn’t imagine a life without it.

‘Rewrite the Stars’ is a must read. It looks at a number of issues including mental health, sexuality, family and love. I am look forward to more from this author.

 

‘Rewrite the Stars’ can be purchased from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rewrite-Stars-Emma-Heatherington/dp/0008355630/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1571765883&sr=8-1

 

About Emma Heatherington

Emma Heatherington is a bestselling author from Donaghmore, County Tyrone.

Her novels include the Amazon UK Top 10 bestseller and Amazon US hit, The Legacy of Lucy Harte, and A Part of Me and You, which reached the USA Kindle Top 100 and the UK Top 40.

Her latest novel, A Miracle on Hope Street is a heartwarming Christmas themed story of love, kindness and friendship.

As well as novels, Emma has written scripts for over 70 educational short films and plays and was ghostwriter for country legend Philomena Begley on her autobiography, My Life My Music My Memories (The O’Brien Press, 2017) and Nathan Carter’s life story, Born For The Road (Penguin Ireland) which was shortlisted for the An Póst Irish Book Awards 2018.

She also regularly contributes to the Belfast Telegraph and Sunday Life newspapers and has appeared on chat shows on RTE, TV3 and UTV.

Emma is a mum of five, aged from 23 to 4 years old and her partner is Irish artist and singer/songwriter Jim McKee.

 

Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/emmalou13

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/emmaheatheringtonwriter/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1245032.Emma_Heatherington

Blog Tour – ‘Effin’ Birds’ by Aaron Reynolds ~ #RandomThingsTours @annecater @aaronreynolds @EffinBirds @unbounders

It is a real pleasure to be taking part in this blog tour.  I first heard about this book when Anne Cater of Random Things Tours was organising the tour and being that I love birds I naturally jumped at the chance to participate.  ‘Effin’ Birds’ is being published in hardback and as an eBook on the 17th October 2019 by Unbound.  I would like to say thank you to both Anne and the publisher for my review copy and I can tell you now that it is an absolute beauty.

I really cannot wait to tell you what I thought about ‘Effin’ Birds’.  First though the important bit.

 

 

Book Blurb

With Effin Birds, the most eagerly anticipated new volume in the noble avocation of bird identification, you can venture into nature with confidence. This farcical field guide will help you identify over 200 birds, but more importantly, for the first time in history, it will also help you understand what these birds are thinking:

  • The vainglorious grebe is acutely aware of its own magnificence.
  • The hipster pelican thinks the world is a sh*tbarge.
  • The overbearing heron wishes you better luck next time, f*cknuts.
  • The counsellor swallow wants you to maybe try not being a d*ckhead.

Alongside beautiful, scientifically accurate illustrations and a whole lot of swearing is incisive commentary on modern life and the world we, as humans, must navigate. Or maybe it s just some pictures of effin birds, okay?

 

My Review

I was really looking forward to reading ‘Effin’ Birds’. I am totally fascinated by birds and have always wondered what exactly they are saying when they talk. I love all the different sounds and the way they communicate with each other. I actually used to wish that I could take a course in bird language so that I could understand their language and maybe even communicate with them. It would make my trips to the park so much more worthwhile. I could talk to the ducks and the herons.

I found this to be a very amusing and light-hearted read. I really liked the cover and I thought the pictures of the birds were lovely. I especially loved the pages that were in colour. Beautiful, absolutely beautiful. What a great idea for a book.

This book is split into two parts with descriptions of the birds including their habitat and identifying characteristics. To me it was as if different people were being described and a lot of it actually rang true. I never even realised that birds can be found literally anywhere including in supermarkets or in offices and now I will be keeping an eye out for them. Perhaps I should carry this guide around with me so that I can identify the birds quickly.

It seems that virtually every bird when they are talking are basically saying to go away in one way or another, only their language is much more colourful. Naughty birds! Where did they learn those words I wonder? Perhaps it was when they started going to school or hanging around with their mates. This guide actually has got some very good tips because I’m sure we all feel like the birds do at times.

I read this book from cover to cover, but it is the sort that can be dipped into at any time and is a great stress reliever.

‘Effin’ Birds’ may not be for you if you don’t like swear words. However, if that doesn’t bother you then I can guarantee that you will enjoy it.

 

‘Effin’ Birds’ can be pre-ordered from:-

Amazon UKhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1783526955/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0

Waterstones – https://www.waterstones.com/book/effin%20birds/aaron-reynolds/9781783526956

 

About Aaron Reynolds

Aaron Reynolds is the writer of @EffinBirds and @swear_trek and the curator of @BatLabels.  He is also a software instructor, which is where most of his elfin’ inspiration comes from.

 

Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/aaronreynolds and https://twitter.com/effinbirds

Unbound – https://unbound.com/

 

Blog Tour – ‘Ghost and Ragman Roll’ by Pete Adams ~ #damppebblesblogtours @damppebbles @nextchapterpb @Peteadams8

I am beyond thrilled to be kicking off this blog tour.  ‘Ghost and Ragman Roll’, the fourth book in the Kind Hearts and Martinets series, was published as an eBook on the 10th August 2019 by Next Chapter Publishing and is also available in paperback.  I would like to thank Emma Welton of Damppebbles Blog Tours for inviting me to participate and both Emma and the author for my review copy.

You will find out in a minute what I thought about ‘Ghost and Ragman Roll’.  In the meantime here is the book blurb.

 

 

Book Blurb

His French honeymoon continually interrupted by a series of misdeeds, DCI Jack Austin returns to Portsmouth to find the missing link.

When an ambitious new detective infringes on his territory – and his ego – Austin resorts to illogically effective tactics to protect those that matter most.

With a corpulent gangster gone missing and a banker murdered in Paris, can Austin reveal the perpetrator and bring him to justice?

 

My Review

Wow! Was that a great read or what!! I have totally loved this series and it has received all the stars from me, but I have to say ‘Ghost and Ragman Roll’ is my absolute favourite book so far. I also love the cover. It is just fantastic; so atmospheric and so very chilling. Well done to the designer.

‘Ghost and Ragman Roll’ along with the rest of the series has been cleverly plotted. Although this is the fourth book, the story still remains fresh and the writing if anything gets stronger.

I loved how the book started and was delighted for Jack and Amanda. It’s so nice to see how much they love each other. There were twists and turns aplenty and some real shockers as well throughout.

I love how Jack often speaks his thoughts out loud and how this has rubbed off on to other people. It’s a bit of a worry really. Imagine if something really bad came out in front of the wrong person.

I thought Seb who has Asperger’s on the autism scale was very well portrayed by the author. He is highly intelligent and likes routine and things have to be done in a certain way. Lists feature very heavily too.

I enjoyed meeting Detective Inspector Delores Lovington and thought she was a real laugh.

I literally could read this series forever and I so wish there were hundreds more books to come. I really do look forward to my regular doses of Jack Austin.

The Kind Hearts and Martinets series is outstanding and is well worth investing in. I would like to think that people will still be reading Pete Adams books in years to come, even when we are no longer of this world.

 

About Pete Adams

Pete Adams is an architect with a practice in Portsmouth, UK, and from there he has, over forty years, designed and built buildings across England and Wales. Pete took up writing after listening to a radio interview of the writer Michael Connolly whilst driving home from Leeds. A passionate reader, the notion of writing his own novel was compelling, but he had always been told you must have a mind map for the book; Jeez, he could never get that.

Et Voila, Connolly responding to a question, said he never can plan a book, and starts with an idea for chapter one and looks forward to seeing where it would lead. Job done, and that evening Pete started writing and the series, Kind Hearts and Martinets, was on the starting blocks. That was some eight years ago, and hardly a day has passed where Pete has not worked on his writing, and currently, is halfway through his tenth book, has a growing number of short stories, one, critically acclaimed and published by Bloodhound, and has written and illustrated a series of historical nonsense stories called, Whopping Tales.

Pete describes himself as an inveterate daydreamer, and escapes into those dreams by writing crime thrillers with a thoughtful dash of social commentary. He has a writing style shaped by his formative years on an estate that re-housed London families after WWII, and his books have been likened to the writing of Tom Sharpe; his most cherished review, “made me laugh, made me cry, and made me think”.

Pete lives in Southsea with his partner, and Charlie the star-struck Border terrier, the children having flown the coop, and has 3 beautiful granddaughters who will play with him so long as he promises not to be silly.

 

Links

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Peteadams8
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pete.adams.9256

 

Purchase Links

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ghost-Ragman-Roll-Spectre-Martinets-ebook/dp/B07RSYDC32/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1570027489&sr=8-1

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Ragman-Roll-Spectre-Martinets-ebook/dp/B07RSYDC32/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=ghost+and+ragman+roll&qid=1570027733&s=gateway&sr=8-1

 

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Seagull’s Laughter’ by Holly Bidgood ~ #LoveBooksTours @WildPressed @HollyBidgood

It is a real pleasure to be taking part in this blog tour today.  A couple of months back I helped with the cover reveal and I really liked the sound of this book and somehow just knew that I had to read it.  ‘The Seagull’s Laughter’ is being published in paperback on the 7th November 2019 by Wild Pressed Books.  I would like to thank Kelly Lacey of Love Books Tours for inviting me to participate in this tour and both the publisher and Kelly for my review copy.

I will tell you in a minute what I thought about ‘The Seagull’s Laughter’.  First though here is the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

Born in 1973 to a Greenlandic mother and an English-Explorer father, Malik has always been something of a misfit. He has one black eye and one blue. As a child his mother’s people refused to touch him and now his own baby daughter’s family feel the same way.

On his own now, Malik’s only companion is a guiding spirit no-one else can see, but one day a white man with a nose like a beak and a shadow like a seagull appears on his doorstep and invites him to England.

Martha has had enough of living with domestic abuse. She compares bruises with her friend Neil, who regularly suffers homophobic attacks. With Martha’s baby, they go on the run to Shetland, where Martha has happy childhood memories of summers spent with her aunt.

On their way up north in a camper van, they come across a dejected Malik, alone again after a brief reconciliation with his father’s family.

They arrive safely together in the Shetland Isles, but Malik still needs answers to the identity of the beak-nosed man who casts a shadow over his life, and must now embark on a further journey of his own.

 

The Seagull’s Laughter is an immersive read, intertwined with nature and the magic of Greenlandic folk tales.

 

My Review

I thoroughly enjoyed ‘The Seagull’s Laughter’. The author has written such a wonderful story and I thought it was simply sublime. The descriptions throughout including of Greenland were magical. I really liked how the story was set out and thought that it worked very well indeed.

Split into parts, this story is told by Malik, Rasmus and Martha. I was mesmerised by it, especially Malik’s tale and I found myself following him throughout his journey from Greenland to England. He had so many different experiences and these shaped him to grow as a person. Everything that happened to him was for a reason.

There were a number of interesting characters throughout the story. As well as Malik, I liked Martha and her Auntie Jeanie a lot as well. I was also very interested in Malik’s helping spirit who was there to guide him.

I took an instant dislike to Birdie although if it hadn’t been for him Malik might not have made a better life for himself.

I was totally hypnotised by the story and didn’t want to stop turning the pages. I loved the folk tales and felt as if I was there listening to them. I had a good idea about what would happen in the end and I was so happy when it did.

‘The Seagull’s Laughter’ is an enchanting and beautifully told story which you will not want to put down.

 

‘The Seagull’s Laughter’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Seagulls-Laughter-Holly-Bidgood/dp/1916489656/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+seagull%27s+laughter+by+holly+bidgood&qid=1570259664&sr=8-1

 

About Holly Bidgood

Holly grew up in Derbyshire but has always been drawn to the sea. She has written from a young age. Her love affair with island landscapes was kick-started on a brief visit to the Faroe Islands at the age of eighteen, en route to Iceland. She was immediately captivated by the landscape, weather, and way of life and it was here that she conceived the idea for her first novel, The Eagle and The Oystercatcher.

Holly studied Icelandic, Norwegian and Old Norse at University College London. She also studied as an exchange student at The University of Iceland (Háskóli Íslands) and spent a memorable summer working in a museum in South Greenland.

She decided to start a family young, and now has three small children. Holly helps run Life & Loom, a social and therapeutic weaving studio in Hull.  She likes to escape from the busyness of her life by working on her novels and knitting Icelandic wool jumpers.

The Seagull’s Laughter will be published in November 2019.

 

Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/HollyBidgood

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/HollyBidgoodAuthor/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15720934.Holly_Bidgood

Publisher

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Wildpressed

Book Review – ‘A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza’ by Pete Adams ~ @damppebbles @nextchapterpb @Peteadams8

On Monday I took part in the blog tour for ‘A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza’ by Pete Adams and did a spotlight post.  You can see it here:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2019/09/30/blog-tour-a-barrow-boys-cadenza-by-pete-adams/

I now have my review of this book for you all.  It was originally planned for Wednesday but that wasn’t to be.  I would like to thank both Emma Welton of Damppebbles Blog Tours and the author for my review copy.  Before you find out what I thought about ‘A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza’ here is the book blurb again.

 

Book Blurb

Surviving a terrorist explosion, a tutu incident, and a night of celebratory drinking, hungover hero DCI Jack Austin proposes an ill-advised alliance with a newly-turned criminal informant.

After a string of high-profile murders is committed, Austin goes deep undercover – and uncovers a villainous scheme that threatens the Star Chamber.

His world turned upside down, Austin needs to rely on courage, skill and improbable luck. But can he bring the perpetrators of the far-reaching scheme to justice?

 

My Review

Having read the first two books in the series I was really looking forward to getting stuck into ‘A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza’. I love the author’s style of writing; the words just jump off the pages. I also find that I never quite know what to expect next.

I felt as if I was meeting up with old friends again. I really couldn’t wait to catch up with Jack and Amanda as things seemed to be hotting up for them. OMG! Jack is just totally hilarious. The things he comes out with and seems to get away with.

There was just so much packed into ‘A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza’ and things seemed to happen at full speed. I really feared for Jack when he went and did what he felt he had to do. It showed how dedicated he was though in both his work and his beliefs. I would describe Jack as a cat with nine lives, although he would probably say he is more like a dog. So much has happened to him in such a short space of time and he is still living to tell the tale.

Some very interesting revelations came to light in this book, one of which I think the author was hinting at all along. I have so many questions though and can’t wait to see how things progress for Jack, Amanda and their families.

Pete Adams has done a good job of introducing a number of the characters and has mentioned various parts of the storyline from the previous books for the benefit of new readers. However, I would still advise to read the series from the start to get the full picture.

I really do not want this series to end and am just so glad that there are two more books to read. After that I don’t know what I’ll do.

 

Purchase Links

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Barrow-Boys-Cadenza-Hearts-Martinets-ebook/dp/B07RLTXLFY/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1568113734&sr=8-1

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Barrow-Boys-Cadenza-Hearts-Martinets-ebook/dp/B07RLTXLFY/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=a+barrow+boys+cadenza&qid=1568113857&s=gateway&sr=8-1

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Barrow-Boys-Cadenza-Pete-Adams/9781077738805?ref=grid-view&qid=1568113887010&sr=1-1

 

Book Review – ‘Irony in the Soul’ by Pete Adams ~ @damppebbles @nextchapterpb @Peteadams8

Earlier in the week I took part in the blog tour for ‘Irony in the Soul’ by Pete Adams with a spotlight post.  You can see that post here:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2019/09/16/blog-tour-irony-in-the-soul-by-pete-adams/

I now have my review of this book and would like to thank both Emma Welton of Damppebbles Blog Tours and the author for my review copy.  For ease of reference here is the book blurb again.

 

Book Blurb

Recuperating from his past mission, disturbed but driven D.I. Jack Austin returns to work amid a personality clash with a retired colonel – who happens to be his new Chief Constable.

When the Constable is kidnapped – and returned in pieces – DI Austin’s hapless hunt for the culprit begins. He investigates a string of cryptic murders including a beheaded minister, a drowned woman in a Hijab, and a band of terrorists with explosives.

Meanwhile, Austin battles a grievous inner conflict. Will he thwart the perpetrator, or become a conspirator himself?

 

My Review

The first book in the Kind Hearts and Martinets series, ‘Cause and Effect’, left me wondering what was going to happen next. I really couldn’t wait to read ‘Irony in the Soul’. Pete Adams has definitely penned a winner, no doubt about that.

There was more of the same in this book and much more besides. I found myself looking forward to catching up with DCI Jack Austin again. The author is so descriptive, and I could actually picture Jack in his deckchair as well as in other positions.

Amongst the seriousness there was lots of hilarity which I guess was needed, especially when investigating the latest murders. Thank goodness for Jack Austin I say. He had so much of an effect on people that his humour started to rub off on others. The storyline itself and the cases the police found themselves involved in were actually quite complicated.

In ‘Cause and Effect’, DCI Jack Austin started dating Detective Superintendent Amanda Bruce and it was really lovely to see how their relationship developed in this book. Their love for each other made them behave like teenagers again but it was all good.

There is definitely a lot more to Jack Austin than meets the eye. People could easily think that he is just a joker, but he is actually a very deep person with a lot going on in his mind.

I enjoyed meeting the other characters again too, especially Amanda, Jo-Jums, Nobby, Frankie and Connie. I do like how the author has included gay characters in this series and how open they are with each other.

‘Irony in the Soul’ isn’t a book that can be read as a standalone. You really do need to read the series from the start to get the full benefit of it as the storyline is ongoing.

Pete Adams has a brilliant mind and an extremely vivid imagination. He has created such a wonderful and unique series. I would say there is no other writer like him out there. I hope to read much more by this author. I am just so thankful that there are three more books in this series.

 

Purchase Links

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Irony-Soul-Nobody-Listens-Martinets-ebook/dp/B07RKSZFDW/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=irony+in+the+soul+pete+adams&qid=1567504752&s=gateway&sr=8-1

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Irony-Soul-Nobody-Listens-Martinets-ebook/dp/B07RKSZFDW/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=irony+in+the+soul+pete+adams&qid=1567505144&s=gateway&sr=8-1

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Irony-Soul-Pete-Adams/9781076813374?ref=grid-view&qid=1567505170007&sr=1-1

Google Books: https://bit.ly/2kiaZcp

 

Blog Tour – ‘Plenty Under the Counter’ by Kathleen Hewitt ~#RandomThingsTours @annecater @I_W_M @angelamarymar

I am beyond thrilled to be kicking off this blog tour together with Short Book and Scribes.  ‘Plenty Under the Counter’ was originally published in 1943 and has now been published in paperback by the Imperial War Museum along with three other wartime classics to mark the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War.

I would like to thank Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to participate in this tour.  Thanks also to Anne and the publisher for my review copy.

You will find out my thoughts on ‘Plenty Under the Counter’ in a minute.

 

 

Book Blurb

London, 1942. Flight-Lieutenant David Heron, home on convalescent leave, awakes to the news that a murder victim has been discovered in the garden of his boarding house. With a week until his service resumes, David sets out to solve the murder. Drawn into a world of mystery and double-dealing, he soon realises that there is more to the inhabitants of the boarding house than meets the eye, and that wartime London is a place where opportunism and the black market are able to thrive. Can he solve the mystery before his return to the skies?

Inspired by Kathleen Hewitt s own experience of wartime London, this new edition of a 1943 classic includes a contextual introduction from IWM which sheds light on the fascinating true events that so influenced its author.

‘With a dead body on the first page and a debonair RAF pilot as the sleuth, this stylish whodunit takes you straight back to Blitzed London and murder most foul. Several plausible suspects, a femme fatale, witty dialogue, memorable scenes and unexpected twists it boasts everything a great whodunit should have, and more.’ ANDREW ROBERTS, author of Churchill: Walking with Destiny

 

My Review

I really enjoyed reading ‘Plenty Under the Counter’. I thought the introduction to this story was just wonderful. I also loved the cover and spent quite a while looking at it. I think that this book being republished along with three other wartime classics by the Imperial War Museum is such a good idea.

I found it very interesting reading a story that was originally published in 1943. I love fiction that is set during or after the war, but to read a book that was actually written all those years ago was actually pretty amazing, especially as the author herself experienced life in London during the Second World War. I really liked the style of writing and the way the words just flowed.

The story opened with Flight-Lieutenant David Heron waking up to the news that a murder had taken place in the back garden of where he was staying. From then on, his interest was piqued, and he was determined to help solve the crime before his service resumed.

There was much more to things than just the murder and I felt that I got quite a lot out of this story. The black market played a big part as well.

There were quite a number of interesting characters in the story. My favourites were David and his girlfriend, Tess. I found it hard to like many of the others though.

This was a classic whodunnit and it had me trying to work out who the murderer was. It was nice seeing all the pieces of the puzzle coming together and as David’s investigations progressed, I started to suspect at least a couple of people. I wasn’t overly surprised at who the killer turned out to be I have to say.

If you like classic crime, then I recommend you read ‘Plenty Under the Counter’. You will find yourself hooked.
 

‘Plenty Under the Counter’ is available to purchase from Amazon UK:-

https://amzn.to/2lOgzUn

 

~~~~~

I hope my review has left you wanting to read ‘Plenty Under the Counter’.  Below is some information about all four titles.

 

The Four titles are:

From the City, From the Plough by Alexander Baron – A vivid and moving account of preparations for DDay and the advance into Normandy. Published in the 75th anniversary year of the D-Day landings, this is based on the author’s first-hand experience of D-Day and has been described by Antony Beevor as ‘undoubtedly one of the very greatest British novels of the Second World War.’

Alexander Baron was a widely acclaimed author and screenwriter and his London novels have a wide following. This was his first novel.

 

Trial by Battle by David Piper – A quietly shattering and searingly authentic depiction of the claustrophobia of jungle warfare in Malaya described by William Boyd as ‘A tremendous rediscovery of a brilliant novel. Extremely well-written, its effects are both sophisticated and visceral. Remarkable’, and VS Naipaul as ‘one of the most absorbing and painful books about jungle warfare that I have read’ and by Frank Kermode as ‘probably the best English novel to come out of the Second World War.’

David Piper was best known as director of the National Portrait Gallery, the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. The novel is based on his time serving with the Indian Army in Malaya where he was captured by the Japanese and spent three years as a POW. His son, Tom Piper, was the designer of the hugely successful Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation of ceramic poppies at the Tower of London to commemorate the First World War Centenary.

 

Eight Hours from England by Anthony Quayle – A candid account of SOE operations in occupied Europe described by Andrew Roberts as ‘As well as being one of our greatest actors, Anthony Quayle was an intrepid war hero and his autobiographical novel is one of the greatest adventure stories of the Second World War. Beautifully written and full of pathos and authenticity, it brings alive the terrible moral decisions that have to be taken by soldiers under unimaginable pressures in wartime.’

Anthony Quayle was a renowned Shakespearean actor, director and film star and during the Second World War was a Special Operations Executive behind enemy lines in Albania.

 

Plenty Under the Counter by Kathleen Hewitt – a murder mystery about opportunism and the black market set against the backdrop of London during the Blitz. ‘With a dead body on the first page and a debonair RAF pilot as the sleuth, this stylish whodunit takes you straight back to Blitzed London and murder most foul. Several plausible suspects, a femme fatale, witty dialogue, memorable scenes and unexpected twists – it boasts everything a great whodunit should have, and more.’ Andrew Roberts.

Kathleen Hewitt was a British author and playwright who wrote more than 20 novels in her lifetime. She was part of an artistic set in 1930’s London which included Olga Lehman and the poet Roy Campbell.

 

 

IWM

IWM (Imperial War Museums) tells the story of people who have lived, fought and died in conflicts involving Britain and the Commonwealth since the First World War.

Our unique collections, made up of the everyday and the exceptional, reveal stories of people, places, ideas and events. Using these, we tell vivid personal stories and create powerful physical experiences across our five museums that reflect the realities of war as both a destructive and creative force. We challenge people to look at conflict from different perspectives, enriching their understanding of the causes, course and consequences of war and its impact on people’s lives.

IWM’s five branches which attract over 2.5 million visitors each year are IWM London, IWM’s flagship branch that recently transformed with new, permanent and free First World War Galleries alongside new displays across the iconic Atrium to mark the Centenary of the First World War; IWM North, housed in an iconic award-winning building designed by Daniel Libeskind; IWM Duxford, a world renowned aviation museum and Britain’s best preserved wartime airfield; Churchill War Rooms, housed in Churchill’s secret headquarters below Whitehall; and the Second World War cruiser HMS Belfast.

 

 

Blog Tour – ‘Cause and Effect’ by Pete Adams ~ #damppebblesblogtours @damppebbles @nextchapterpb @Peteadams8

I am thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour today.  Pete Adams has been a guest on my blog a number of times now but I have never got around to reading his books, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity.  ‘Cause and Effect’, the first book in the Kind Hearts and Martinets series, was published as an eBook on the 28th June 2019 by Next Chapter Publishing and is also available in paperback.  I would like to thank Emma Welton of Damppebbles Blog Tours for inviting me to participate in this tour and both the author and Emma for my review copy.

I will tell you my thoughts on ‘Cause and Effect in a minute after you have read the book blurb.

 

 

Book Blurb

A self-labelled enigma, Detective Inspector Jack Austin is at once miserable and amusing, melancholy and motivated. Running the Community Police Unit from his deck chair, D.I. Austin is known for his ability to solve crimes out of the blue.

Trying to work cases while struggling with his mental issues, Austin deals with a variety of major crimes, including bicycle theft. But when the case of an executed police officer lands on his desk, he accidentally uncovers a malevolent scheme.

Can he discover who is behind it all – and keep what’s left of his sanity?

 

My Review

I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘Cause and Effect’. The storyline was just fantastic, and I really did like the style of writing. Humorous from the very start this book had me laughing quite a lot and kept me amused. Before I go on though, I just want to mention the cover which I think is really well designed and fits in well with the story.

The prologue had me extremely intrigued as it suggested there were several different things happening in the story. A great way to tantalise the reader. I spent quite a while trying to work out where exactly they fitted in. I did actually think that this was more of a comedy but then found that really wasn’t the case at all.

It took me quite a while to get used to Detective Inspector Jack Austin and his ways. He was just so funny but at times I found him that little bit too annoying and wondered how his team could put up with him for so long. However, he soon grew on me and as I found out more about him my heart just melted. He hadn’t exactly had it easy. Jack wasn’t embarrassed to show his emotional side even in public and was actually a really lovely man. I loved the nicknames he gave to virtually everyone.

I was shocked at what D.I. Jack Austin and the team uncovered. Some of the crimes were just unspeakable. I thought the police procedurals were great, and it was good that the team got on with each other. They were quick thinking and fast on their toes.

I liked that there was a bit of romance in the story as well which spiced things up.

Now that I have read the first book in the Kind Hearts and Martinets series, I can’t wait to get stuck into the rest. If you are a fan of crime thrillers and police procedurals, ‘Cause and Effect’ could well be for you.

 

About Pete Adams

Pete Adams is an architect with a practice in Portsmouth, UK, and from there he has, over forty years, designed and built buildings across England and Wales. Pete took up writing after listening to a radio interview of the writer Michael Connolly whilst driving home from Leeds. A passionate reader, the notion of writing his own novel was compelling, but he had always been told you must have a mind map for the book; Jeez, he could never get that.

Et Voila, Connolly responding to a question, said he never can plan a book, and starts with an idea for chapter one and looks forward to seeing where it would lead. Job done, and that evening Pete started writing and the series, Kind Hearts and Martinets, was on the starting blocks. That was some eight years ago, and hardly a day has passed where Pete has not worked on his writing, and currently, is halfway through his tenth book, has a growing number of short stories, one, critically acclaimed and published by Bloodhound, and has written and illustrated a series of historical nonsense stories called, Whopping Tales.

Pete describes himself as an inveterate daydreamer, and escapes into those dreams by writing crime thrillers with a thoughtful dash of social commentary. He has a writing style shaped by his formative years on an estate that re-housed London families after WWII, and his books have been likened to the writing of Tom Sharpe; his most cherished review, “made me laugh, made me cry, and made me think”.

Pete lives in Southsea with his partner, and Charlie the star-struck Border terrier, the children having flown the coop, and has 3 beautiful granddaughters who will play with him so long as he promises not to be silly.

 

Links

Social Media:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Peteadams8
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pete.adams.9256

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1074457587/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07R7KDZHL/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0
Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Cause-Effect-Pete-Adams/9781074457587
Google Books: https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Cause_And_Effect.html?id=FZSvxgEACAAJ&redir_esc=y

Blog Tour – ‘Home Truths’ by Susan Lewis ~ @fictionpubteam @susanlewisbooks

I am delighted to be taking part in this blog tour today.  ‘Home Truths’ was published in hardback, as an eBook and audiobook on the 22nd August 2019 by HarperCollins.  It will also be out in paperback on the 9th January 2020.

I would like to thank the publisher for my review copy of this book which I received via NetGalley.  You will find out what I thought about ‘Home Truths’ in a minute after the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

Angie Watts used to have everything. A new home. A beloved husband. Three adored children.

But Angie’s happy life is shattered when her son Liam falls in with the wrong crowd. And after her son’s bad choices lead to the murder of her husband, it’s up to Angie to hold what’s left of her family together.

Her son is missing. Her daughter is looking for help in dangerous places. And Angie is fighting just to keep a roof over their heads.

But Angie is a mother. And a mother does anything to protect her children – even when the world is falling apart…

If home is where the heart is, what happens when it breaks?

 

My Review

‘Home Truths’ is the first book I have read by this author and I have to say I am seriously impressed. Susan Lewis has written a truly wonderful and genuine story which I think will touch the hearts of many readers. I found myself getting heavily involved in it and the characters and I felt really quite sad when I finished the book.

Out of all the characters I thought Angie was just the loveliest person going. She certainly didn’t deserve to go through what she did. There she was working as hard as she could to bring more money in and doing the best for her children and things just seemed to get worse and worse for her. My heart literally broke for Angie and all the time I found myself wishing that something good would happen.

Despite what Angie was going through she never stopped trying to help people who were also badly or worse off. I had nothing but admiration for her. I also loved her family. Hard times brought them even closer together and it was nice to see them all bonding.

There were a number of unsavoury characters throughout the story too, the type who preyed on the innocent and vulnerable. Not people I would ever want to meet.

‘Home Truths’ is a beautifully written story which I highly recommend. It deals with a number of issues including debt, gangs, drugs, love and loss. There are some very important messages throughout.

I am looking forward to more from Susan Lewis.

 

‘Home Truths’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Susan-Lewis-Untitled-Book-2/dp/0008286787/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1566928587&sr=1-1-spons

 

About Susan Lewis

Susan Lewis is the bestselling author of over forty books across the genres of family drama, thriller, suspense and crime. She is also the author of Just One More Day and One Day at a Time, the moving memoirs of her childhood in Bristol during the 1960s. Following periods of living in Los Angeles and the South of France, she currently lives in Gloucestershire with her husband James, stepsons Michael and Luke, and mischievous dogs Coco and Lulu.

 

Links

Website – http://www.susanlewis.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/susanlewisbooks

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/SusanLewisBooks

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7142.Susan_Lewis

 

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: