Never the Bride by Charlotte Fallowfield #onefrommytbr #romcom #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Never the Bride by Charlotte Fallowfield. This is a book that I bought in 2017 and it is the first book in the Dilbury Village series.

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From Charlotte Fallowfield, bestselling rom-com author, comes Never The Bride – A laugh out loud romantic comedy novel full of heart-warming friendships, romance, and quintessential British humour – Coming 28th February 2017.

Abbie Carter felt doomed as she clutched her bouquet and started walking up the aisle. Again. She felt like she was stuck in some kind of Groundhog Day wedding nightmare. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Eight dresses, most of them hideous, were already stuffed in her attic space. She had more bridesmaid dresses than relationships. Was she really that unlucky in love? She despaired of ever finding her soul mate and was convinced that if she packed away dress thirteen in her attic, she’d never get to wear the coveted white one and have her happy ever after.

That was until she locked eyes with one of the handsome ushers, whose wink turned her elegant and well-practiced glide up the aisle into a flailing Bambi-on-ice spectacle. Miller Davis was the first man in forever to make her heart skip a beat, as well as her legs turn to jelly. And, for once, her interest in a man didn’t seem to be one-sided. It was just a shame that the Atlantic Ocean separated them. Abbie couldn’t even make a relationship with her elderly fat pooch, Sumo, work, so what chance did she have with a permanent New Yorker? Her best friend, Georgie, told her to ignore the miles that separated her from Miller and to go for it, saying that true love knew no bounds.

Was Abbie fated to always be the bridesmaid, or would her wish for the perfect day with the man of her dreams ever come true?

While Never The Bride will be a standalone story, it’s the first in the Dilbury Village series of romantic comedy novels. All of them will be set in the quaint ficticious English hamlet in the Shropshire countryside, but feature a different village couples’ story.

My Review…

The synopsis gives a great idea as to exactly what this book is all about. Abbie, unlucky in the love department watches as her school friends gradually get married, she is always the bridesmaid and never the bride. Even when a gorgeous hunk rescues her it seems that fate has a hand to play as they live different side of the Atlantic.

I cannot believe I have only just discovered this book that has been sat on my kindle since I bought it in 2017. I was hunting for a light-hearted rom-com to lighten my reading mood as I had been on a crime reading-athon for a couple of weeks. Never The Bride more than filled the requirements for what I wanted.

The author has some absolutely brilliant characters and boy does she use to them to great and often humorous effect. There is a good deal of very British, close to the mark humour that had me sniggering and laughing as I was reading. Now don’t think this is all comedy because it isn’t, there are also some very sad moments.

This is a story about relationships and friendships in a small village near Shrewsbury. I adored the humour as well as the characters such as Daphne, Georgie, Abbie, Heath, Miller and the very flatulent Mr Sumo. The different ways Abbie finds herself in the midst of disaster, usually with Georgie in toe at some point is brilliant.

The book had me with tears in my eyes on several occasions mostly from the sniggering and laughing as well as from the occasional sad part. This was an absolutely brilliant read and if you are after a bok to lift your spirits then this is one I would defiantly recommend, I loved it.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

A Deadly Deal by Simon Fairfax @rararesources #corporatethriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for A Deadly Deal by Simon Fairfax, this is the first book in the Deal series and it was a cracking read.

My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book.

A Deadly Deal

Moneymakers are king, no matter their methods. When an honest man stumbles into their world of deceit, will they drag him down to destruction?

London, 1986. Rupert Brett is eager to make his mark. But even though he’s newly qualified to tackle jobs within the cutthroat property brokering industry, his ambitions are blunted when he must face off against ruthless competitors. And with his career on the line, he finds himself adrift in the murky waters of insider trading where knowledge is the real currency.

Clinging to his ideals but beginning to realize how deep the corruption goes, Rupert’s unprepared when a group of hard-nosed developers frame him for murder. With few friends and the law on his tail, his only way out may be a bargain with the devil.

Can the young surveyor thwart his enemies’ plans in time to save his reputation and his life?

A Deadly Deal is the immersive first book in the Deal Series of historical crime thrillers. If you like conflicted characters, rich period details, and complex plotting, then you’ll love Simon Fairfax’s gritty page-turner.

Purchase Links – Amazon UK or USDraft 2 DigitalKOBO

My Review…

I am so glad I read this book without really reading the synopsis properly. It meant I went into this story almost blind, I knew it would be about corporate espionage and that it would feature the ruthless deal makers set in the mid-1980s and that is about it.

So, corporate espionage, the means of using underhand techniques to get the deal done! Ok, I have simplified it but that is basically what it is. The deal makers, small print readers, lawyers, backers, money men and the power-hungry are portrayed so well in this story. The author, for me, nailed the ruthlessness, the underhanded deals, the backhanders and the swagger that the characters in this story have about them. They are the best at what they do and they know it. This adds such a wonderful sense of excitement and suspense to the story that it makes it such a page-turner

Rupert Brett is the main protagonist of the story and he soon realises that what he thought his new job would be like, the reality is very different. He gets caught up in the work hard play hard scenario along with his colleagues. When the synopsis mentions that “knowledge is the real power”, it really is true, this is something that Rupert is a little late to fully appreciate until he finds himself in very serious and deep water.

This is such a brilliant read that I found well-paced, it moves along at a good rate and doesn’t let up. I got the impression of Rupert starting to spiral but still be aware enough to hold his own. The author does mention some phrases, but nothing that you need a degree to understand. It kept me well and truly rooted in the story and the tactics of this world.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it is a series I am looking forward to. I would definitely recommend this one.

About the Author…

As a lover of crime thrillers and mystery, I turned what is seen by others as a dull 9 – 5 job into something that is exciting, as close to real life as possible, with Rupert Brett, my international man of mystery whose day job is that of a Chartered Surveyor.

Rupert is an ordinary man thrown into extraordinary circumstances who uses his wit, guile and training to survive.

Each book is written from my own experiences, as close to the truth as possible, set against world events that really happened. I go out and experience all the weapons, visit the places Rupert travels to, speak to the technical experts and ensure that it as realistic, as possible allowing you to delve deep in to the mystery, losing yourself in it for a few hours.

Social Media Links – Website Facebook LinkedIn

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Last Star Standing by Spaulding Taylor @astmcveigh1 @Unbound_Digital @RandomTTours #scifi #dystopian #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Last Star Standing by Spaulding Taylor. This is a sci/fi – speculative fiction story, I haven’t read any sci-fi for a while so this book made a wonderful change. My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for my e-copy of this book.

Dystopian/speculative fiction for readers of sci-fi, fantasy, thrillers and
dystopian fiction. Aimed at readers of novels by Neil Gaiman, J.G. Ballard (or
Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go)


It is the 23rd century. Aiden, imprisoned, stares up into a tiny square of sky. A
prominent member of the rebellion, he expects to be executed. Aiden is
battling the Xirfell rulers, whose King oppresses many planets, the Earth
included.

But the Xirfell have executed their king and installed a new ruler. The populace
riots. Amid the tumult, Aiden is sworn in, the leader he’s always longed to be.
Never one to fit in, he must re-discover himself, as an indigenous Australian, as
a fighter, as a lover – and as a leader.

My Review…

Aiden Tenten is the main narrator for this sci-fi /dystopian story. It did feel more sci-fi than dystopian but I still enjoyed it, I found it highly entertaining as I followed Aiden from predicament to predicament. The synopsis indicates that earth has been taken over by aliens, Aiden feels it is his job to help overthrow this alien regime and be the person he wants to be.

This is a highly entertaining read, I am not sure if the author had meant this or not. I did find some of the predicaments that Aiden found himself left me sniggering to myself. He is quite a fun character although he does have a serious nature, I mean after all saving the world from aliens is a serious task. It did take me a few chapters to get into this book as I got to grips with the various creatures, the unusual names, places and general feel of the story. It is quite a while, I might add that I sat and read a sci-fi book.

If you break this down to the basics this is a story of a man finding his place, he has beliefs and is true to the cause. He knew life before and can see how the earth has been destroyed more since the aliens took over. Battling against the odds he does a magnificent job of reeling from one situation to the next. He is in essence a loner, but gradually he gains a few loyal friends. Working out who can be trusted and how far others can infiltrate systems keeps him on his toes.

Once I got to grips with the story I found this quite a compelling read. In someway it did remind me of a couple of books I read several years ago. As I mentioned this is more sci-fi, but there are mentions of things that do give it a dystopian feel. An entertaining book with a good pace and one I would recommend reading.

About the Author…

Alice McVeigh (writing as Spaulding Taylor) was born in Seoul, South Korea, and
grew up in Southeast Asia. After surviving her teenage years in McLean,
Virginia, and achieving an undergraduate degree in cello performance at the
internationally renowned Jacobs School of Music, she came to London to study
cello with William Pleeth. There she worked for over a decade with orchestras
including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and
Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s Orchestre Revolutionaire et Romantique. Alice was first
published in the late 1990s when her two contemporary novels (While the Music
Lasts and Ghost Music) were published by Orion to critical acclaim.

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Degrees of Darkness by Tony Forder @TonyJForder #crime #bookreview

Today it is my absolute pleasure to re-share my review for Degrees of Darkness by Tony J Forder. I have read all of Tony’s books and he is one of my favourite authors. He has relaunched this book along with new synopsis and a fabulous new cover. This is an author who has made a big impact, his DI Bliss series is so good and I always look forward to reading the next one in the series. He has also written a couple of stand alone books as well as two books featuring Mike Lynch. He has been a very busy chap over this past year as he is now self publishing his books.

From the bestselling author of the addictive DI Bliss series and the compelling standalone novel, Fifteen Coffins, comes a dark, psychological journey into the nightmare world of a serial killer.

Nothing is ever entirely black or white.

Pre-teen girls are being abducted from their homes and their families murdered. When Frank Rogers, ex-DI with the Metropolitan Police, is told that his own daughter is missing, his son a victim, he sets aside his grief to help old colleagues investigate the case. 

Soon Frank’s face is all over the news. And in an unexpected turn of events, the killer contacts the police to say he is willing to talk. But only to Frank.

When the body of the first abducted girl is discovered, Frank realises the investigation has become a race against time to save his daughter’s life. 

In order to solve the case, Frank must work out how the killer is choosing his victims. To do that, he must first enter the killer’s mind. But is Frank able to drag himself into its darker reaches? And if so, will he be able to pull himself back?

First published by Bloodhound Books in 2017. Republished by Spare Nib Books February 2021.

Purchase Link – HERE

My Review…

I was hooked on this book pretty quickly, literally a few pages and there I was, Hooked! It was as I read about a killer being in the house of the victim. What unfolds after that is a brutal psychological game of cat and mouse between an ex-cop and the killer.

Frank is the ex-cop and it is his own daughter that is the latest missing victim, his son is one of the murdered victims, along Frank’s ex-wife. This killer is very clever at leaving no evidence for the police to go on, due to this he is able to taunt Frank and the police, feeding titbits of information on his own terms. The media have taken up the story and this just adds to fuel the game the killer plays.

This book is simply brilliant from start to finish. I loved everything about it, from the memorable, unique and identifiable characters to the wonderfully deep, twisted and well thought-out plot. The characters I could almost imagine off the pages, some I loathed some I really liked. The pacing fits this story perfectly, keeping the pressure on the reader to read and not pause, at times the pace slows at the more descriptive sections, it was almost as if these were breathing stops and I was given a chance to arrange my thoughts.

Yes this is a psychological thriller and it fits perfectly into this genre. The plot is very well laid out and leads you through the story to a satisfactory ending. There was no point in the story that I had any idea of identities until the author allowed me to know, there were a couple of red herrings, that made my heart sink when I came across them, I was so glad I was wrong. Also added into this murder and abduction story, is the story of the killer and his history, experiences, ideologies and outlook on life, it gives the reader a glimpse into a the mind of the killer.

I would highly recommend this book to readers who like their psychological thrillers to be dark and sinister, with layers of plots. If this is you …..Get this book, you will not be disappointed.

About the Author…

Tony J Forder is the author of the bestselling DI Bliss crime thriller series. The first seven books, Bad to the Bone, The Scent of Guilt, If Fear Wins, The Reach of Shadows, The Death of Justice, Endless Silent Scream, and Slow Slicing, were joined in December 2020 by a prequel novella, Bliss Uncovered.

Tony’s other series – two action-adventure novels featuring Mike Lynch – comprises both Scream Blue Murder, and Cold Winter Sun. These are currently unavailable, but will be back in 2021.

In addition, Tony has written two standalone novels: a dark, psychological crime thriller, Degrees of Darkness, and a suspense thriller set in California, called Fifteen Coffins, released in November 2020.

Tony lives with his wife in Peterborough, UK, and is now a full-time author. He is currently working on Bliss #8, The Autumn Tree.

Links – Website Facebook Twitter Amazon Author PageGoodreads Fantastic Fiction

Tony can also be found on Instagram.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

My Week In Books (w/e 31st January) #booklove #MeAndMyBooks

Welcome to the final round up of the books I read in January. One of the longer months that seems to have flown by suddenly. I’ve not really watched much in the way of TV, to be fair I don’t really watch that much anyway, and I am up to date with a couple of series I watch Not been really in the mood for films so I have done some reading instead.

Here’s what I read last week…

Danger Close (A Breed Thriller Book 1) by [Cameron Curtis]

Danger Close by Cameron Curtis was a cracking action adventure book that features ex-military sniper, Breed, trying to discover why his friend was killed. A great pace to this story and I am really pleased to see it is the first in a planned series. Keep an eye out for my review as part of the Blog Tour at the end of the week.


Last Star Standing by [Spaulding Taylor]

Its been a while since I read any sci-fi and Last Star Standing by Spaulding Taylor is set on a future Earth after being taken over by aliens. I really enjoyed this book as I followed the main character Aiden from one situation to another. He is almost a walking bad luck charm who manages to find a way through some entertaining situations. A sci-fi with a slight dystopian feel that I really enjoyed. My full review will be the following week as part of the Blog Tour.


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I was going back through my kindle when I came across Never the Bride by Charlotte Fallowfield, I bought this back in 2017, nothing like keeping up to date with purchases lol! I was looking for a light-hearted rom-com and this book definitely did fit the bill. A cracking read and one I thoroughly enjoyed.


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Another first in a series book was A Deadly Deal by Simon Fairfax, although I didn’t realise it was one until after I had read it. This is a thriller about corporate espionage and murder set in the 1980s, I can remember being intrigued whe I initially read the synopsis for the Blog Tour sign up, but I never re-read the synopsis before I start actually reading a book. So this was akin to going in blind and I found myself very quickly caught up in the power hungry, double dealing, working hard playing hard society that the author has woven. A cracking read from start to finish and I am really looking forward to reading more in this series.


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This is not the final cover!!!!! But look… Its a new Jo Thomas book… well it will be!!!!!!

Yeah, I do love this authors writing and I actually did do a little dance around the kitchen when I read the email from Transworld to let me know I had been auto-approved for Chasing the Italian Dream, due for release around June this year. It is an amazing read involving a lovely Italian village, handmade pizza’s, traditional values and as always mouth watering food and a stunning descriptions. I am not going to much about the story at the moment, but I loved it.


That’s me done for another week.

Take Care and Happy Reading

Yvonne xx

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The Mist by Ragnar Jónasson , Andreas Jäger (Translator), Victoria Cribb (Translator) #IcelandicNoir #crime #trilogy #bookreview

I am delighted to be sharing my review today for The Mist by Ragnar Jónasson. This is the final book in the Hidden Iceland Trilogy and I am absolutely gutted to have come to the end of it. This has been such a brilliant literary journey.

Here is more about the final instalment…

1987. An isolated farm house in the east of Iceland.

The snowstorm should have shut everybody out. But it didn’t.

The couple should never have let him in. But they did.

An unexpected guest, a liar, a killer. Not all will survive the night. And Detective Hulda will be haunted forever. 

My Review…

This is sadly the final book in the Hidden Iceland Trilogy. This has been an absolute corker of a series and it has been set out very differently. The series runs back in time, so the first book is set in the present, and the final book set back in time. Running the series this way gives the reader a chance to experience a character from a slightly different perspective. I would advise reading them in the order they are meant to be and the way they have been published.

The main character is Hulda Hermannsdottir, a Detective. Her husband is Jon and they have a daughter Dimma. Family life is strained especially in the run up to Christmas. Hulda is called to a crime scene and then the story goes back in time to just before the events.

I really like the way the author has laid this series and especially this story out. If you are after blood and guts then you are not going to get it. This is a wonderful example of Icelandic noir, its atmospheric, has flawed characters and has a bleakness to it that adds to the overall subtle sense of suspense.

It is in a small part a police procedural, but this is not the main concept of the story. The author gradually builds up a scene, adds characters, develops them, adds a little tweak to them and then develops and adds more as the story progresses. I really enjoy this style and I have to say this author does this so well. The story is more about the interaction of the characters, there are not many but the author uses them so well. He drops links that I didn’t expect and it all works so very well.

The flow is quiet, patient and yet totally gripping from the first few pages. The series has been a wonderful journey and I have absolutely l loved each one. They do have an emotional side to them, not the gushy sort but a more heartbreaking sort, although the first book did have me blubbering.

This is a trilogy that fans of noir, crime, mystery and human relationships and interaction would love. I thought all three books were excellent and I would definitely recommend them all.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse @SarahVPearse @RandomTTours #TheSanatorium #mystery #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to be sharing my review today for The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse. I had been looking forward to reading this one for ages and it didn’t disappoint.

My huge thanks to Anne for my spot on the Blog Tour. Here is more about this excellent book…

You won’t want to leave…until you can’t.

An imposing, isolated hotel, high up in the Swiss Alps, is the last place Elin Warner wants to be. But she’s taken time off from her job as a detective, so when she receives an invitation out of the blue to celebrate her estranged brother’s recent engagement, she has no choice but to accept.

Arriving in the midst of a threatening storm, Elin immediately feels on edge. Though it’s beautiful, something about the hotel, recently converted from an abandoned sanatorium, makes her nervous – as does her brother, Isaac.

And when they wake the following morning to discover his fiancée Laure has vanished without a trace, Elin’s unease grows. With the storm cutting off access to and from the hotel, the longer Laure stays missing, the more the remaining guests start to panic.

But no-one has realized yet that another woman has gone missing. And she’s the only one who could have warned them just how much danger they’re all in…

Pre-order Link – Amazon UK Publication Date 4th February

My Review…

This is such a good book. It has the isolation of the mountains and that danger of an avalanche to add to the atmospherics. There is a nervous tension and eeriness to what is inside as well. Elin and her other half Will are at the Swiss sanatorium that has been remodelled into a luxury hotel.

Elin is a character who is struggling with life at the moment. She is a Detective from the UK who has been on leave due to a bad case and bad decisions. This has dragged up, memories from the past that she is struggling to get past and hopes that seeing her brother at the hotel will help. As she is trying her best to remain calm and to control her feelings there is something about the sanatorium that is unsettling. It is confirmed when a body is found, and then another person goes missing.

This really does have all the chilling, sinister vibes and I do think the author does a cracking job of bringing the sinister and intriguing history of the sanatorium into the story. It ups the tension and the isolation gives the feeling of a locked-in story.

As I was reading this I did give the odd feeling of The Shining coming through, a story I do love by the way. Sanatorium had that similar feeling of isolation, the feeling of something more going on than meets the eye, that there is a hidden agenda and something really bad has happened.

Without giving anything away there is definitely more to this than meets the eye. While it is a crime thriller it is also a mystery thriller, Elin’s character as the detective in this story is an interesting angle. She has no jurisdiction as such as she is a detective on leave in a foreign country.

Overall this is a fabulous read and one that definitely captured my attention. I did like the locked-in eeriness and the intriguing storyline. One for readers who like a suspense-filled, intriguing mystery, thriller read and one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Sarah Pearse lives by the sea in South Devon with her husband and two daughters. She studied English and Creative Writing at the University of Warwick and worked in Brand PR for a variety of household brands. After moving to Switzerland in her twenties, she spent every spare moment exploring the mountains and still has a home in the Swiss Alpine town of Crans Montana, the dramatic setting that inspired her novel. Sarah has always been drawn to the dark and creepy – remote spaces and abandoned places – so when she read an article in a local Swiss magazine about the history of sanatoriums in the area, she knew she’d found the spark of the idea for her debut novel, The Sanatorium. Her short fiction has been published in a wide variety of magazines and has been shortlisted for several prizes. You can find Sarah on Twitter @SarahVPearse and Instagram @sarahpearseauthor

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The Stranger Times by C.K McDonnell @TransworldBooks #fantasy #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Stranger Times by C.K. McDonnell. This is a brilliantly mad and quirky book and was ideal for a bit of pure escapism. My huge thanks to Bantam Press for accepting my request to read via NetGalley.

Here is more about the book…

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There are dark forces at work in our world (and in Manchester in particular), so thank God The Stranger Times is on hand to report them . . .

A weekly newspaper dedicated to the weird and the wonderful (but mostly the weird), it is the go-to publication for the unexplained and inexplicable.

At least that’s their pitch. The reality is rather less auspicious. Their editor is a drunken, foul-tempered and foul-mouthed husk of a man who thinks little of the publication he edits. His staff are a ragtag group of misfits. And as for the assistant editor . . . well, that job is a revolving door – and it has just revolved to reveal Hannah Willis, who’s got problems of her own.

When tragedy strikes in her first week on the job The Stranger Times is forced to do some serious investigating. What they discover leads to a shocking realisation: some of the stories they’d previously dismissed as nonsense are in fact terrifyingly real. Soon they come face-to-face with darker forces than they could ever have imagined.

The Stranger Times is the first novel from C.K. McDonnell, the pen name of Caimh McDonnell. It combines his distinctive dark wit with his love of the weird and wonderful to deliver a joyous celebration of how truth really can be stranger than fiction.

My Review…

This is one of those weirdly, quirky, slightly eccentric, mad-cap books and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It one that was highly entertaining.

Hannah has left her husband, she is has gone from being a socialite as such married to a man with plenty of money but who doesn’t know how to keep it on his pants. She now searches the bargains in the food aisles and hoping she will soon find a job.

One interview is at The Stranger Times newspaper, a paper that reports weird and wonderful stories. Alien abductions, Elvis being alive, you know the sort! More esoteric rather than mainstream to say the least. But, it is a job. If the paper wasn’t weird enough then the other employees are definitely filling the void that is left, in a rather fun way.

The story itself is of two deaths. The first is that of a homeless man, the second is a suicide. Both are quickly dealt with by the police. One officer, however, is not convinced and neither are the staff at the paper. What follows is a mix of chases, strange occurrences, weird events and even weirder circumstances as the hunt for the truth pans out.

This is such a fun read and it was one that caught me by surprise as I didn’t read the synopsis before picking it up. I mean I did read it when I first looked at the book, that was several weeks before I started reading it though. The surprise was one that had me wondering what on earth was happening and wondering where the story was going, but through this, I still found myself eagerly turning the pages of this quirky and bizarre story that is a mix of urban fantasy and mystery.

I completely enjoyable read that had me sniggering to myself on several occasions. It has characters that I adored and I am really looking forward to seeing what this series hold in the future. A fun read and one that I would defiantly recommend.

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Forgotten Lives (A DCI Stirling Investigation #2) by Ray Britain #Forgotten_Lives @ray_britain @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Forgotten Lives by Ray Britain. This is a fantastic crime, police procedural book that I thoroughly enjoyed. My huge thanks to Emma at damppebbles blog tours for my spot on the tour and also for my e-copy of the book.

Here’s more about it…

A man is murdered with quiet efficiency on his doorstep. A strange emblem left behind suggests a gang killing but when more bodies are found with the same emblem, and one of them a cop, DCI Doug Stirling’s investigation takes a sinister turn.


But what linked the victims in life, and now in death?


When more deaths are uncovered, miles away and years apart, but all with the same emblem left behind, pressure mounts on Stirling. Is it the work of the same person? If so, why are they killing again, and why here? One thing is clear. The killer is highly skilled, ruthless, and always one step ahead of the investigation. Is someone feeding information to them?


Working in a crippling heatwave with too few investigators, too many questions and not enough answers, when wild media speculation of a vigilante at work sparks copycat attacks, demonstrations for justice and with politicians fearing riots, Stirling needs a result – fast!


Meanwhile, Stirling’s private life is falling apart, not helped when Lena Novak of the National Crime Agency is assigned to his team. But is she all that she seems? Things could not get worse. Stirling takes a call from a retired cop. Things just got worse!


As Stirling closes in on the killer he finds the killer’s trademark inside his home – he is being targeted.

Purchase Links – Amazon UK US

My Review…

This is the 2nd book in this series, but the first one I have read so I can say it works very well as a stand-alone. I didn’t feel I was missing out on too much, but I do wish I had read the first beforehand.

So, DI Doug Stirling. Seems like a pretty decent guy, a workaholic who seems to spend more time awake and working than he should. But the demands of the job are as such that it cannot be helped. His home life is hit and miss with a relationship in the balance.

A body is reported, then another and another. There is no apparent link, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one. What Stirling and the team don’t realise is that when this link is discovered things really get serious. Crimes from the past are starting to emerge leaving the reader wondering how far and for how long this enigmatic killer has been on the loose.

This book is a fair lump a book and I did a double-take when I realised how long it would take me to read. It turned out that this book needed to belong to get the questions answered from a series of long-running events, things needing to link up and to be done in such a way as to not falling place too conveniently.

There was something about the way this book has been written that struck me as slightly different from other crime books. This one seemed to have more of a technical, interagency, knows how things work set of feel. When I mention it has a technical feel, don’t think computer tech, but instead think of a more procedural line. There are several aspects that made me think that the author is someone that knows his stuff. Indeed, when I checked out his bio I could see straight away I was right. This definitely shows in the writing, the plot, the story and also how the interaction between hierarchy and other agencies have been worked.

The author has definitely taken a hard subject for a reader to read about, but I do think he has done it in a way that does not edge to the graphic, more insinuating events. I much prefer this approach when reading, in this case, less is more. It was the reactions, comments, and emotions of officers that gave the gravity of the crimes.

This is one of those books that has a lot going on in it if you tried to explain it, but makes perfect sense while reading. It is laid out in a way that makes it compulsive reading, it nagged at me when I put it down! It does have more of a slower pace as there is a lot of detail, but this really works well in this case, although the pacing did pick up.

The way this is laid out is in days, with subchapter of hourly breakdowns. Giving the reader a time frame adds to the tension, the working pattern, the out of hours calls and the long working days. Again this and also mentions of budgets, cuts, not enough resources, all adding to the fact that the author has an experience. In fact, some of his bio does have similarities to that of his main character.

This really is a book that shows the pressures of the job, the stress on home life, the working pressures under tense and media-frenzied scrutiny. A brilliant read and one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Ray Britain’s second novel ‘Forgotten Lives’ follows closely on from ‘The Last Thread’ (2017) with a new investigation for DCI Doug Stirling, the toughest of his career.

As a police Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) Ray led specialist investigations. He was also a Hostage & Crisis Intervention Negotiator – a voluntary role –  responding to hostage situations, many firearms incidents and numerous suicide interventions, not all of which ended happily. His roles took him to the USA, India, Europe, Australia and elsewhere, receiving Commendations in recognition for his work.

Ray’s real-world experience puts the reader at the heart of a complex, fast moving investigation with all of its uncertainties, stresses  and frustrations, and of the dark, bitter sadness’s of people’s lives.

Ray also worked with the Serious Fraud Office and the Home Office, London, and with the City of London Police’s Economic Crime Directorate.

When not writing, Ray might be found mountain hiking, following rugby, skiing, reading, sailing, or generally keeping fit..

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Alex Cohen Series Books 1-3 by Leopold Borstinski #AlexCohenSeries @borstinski @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours

I am absolutely delighted to be taking part in the Blog Tour today for a fabulous Alex Cohen Series by Leopold Borstinski. I have been a fan of this series from the very start and when the lovely Emma at damppebbles asked for bloggers to share reviews I immediately jumped on board.

Today I am sharing snippets of my reviews for books 1-3 and the books are The Bowery Slugger – East Side Hustler – Midtown Huckster. They chart the rise of Alex Cohen in the early part of the 1900’s in America.

Three decades in the life of Jewish gangster, Alex Cohen, as he arrives in the US and forges a life for himself and his family using the blood, sweat and tears of those who stand in his way. 

This digital box set contains the first three books in the saga of Alex Cohen’s life: 

THE BOWERY SLUGGER

When Alex Cohen arrives in 1915 America, he seizes the land of opportunity with both hands and grabs it by the throat. But success breeds distrust and Alex must choose between controlling his gang and keeping his friend alive. What would you do if the person you trusted most is setting you up to die at your enemies’ hands?

PART OF MY REVIEW…

I do like historical fiction and when I love it when I come across something new or I learn something I didn’t know before. This book gave me loads of new words, they are Yiddish words and I thought there inclusion was a great addition to the story. Using them as part of conversations adds an authenticity to the story, it also keeps various characters voices in the style and speech of the time. It may be a stereotype that I hold in my head, but for me it gives a character life. This is where reading a digital copy came in very handy as I was able to use the dictionary as I read.

There are so many good things about this book that I liked, the characters were great enough for the story and it would have been easy to add too many as the story feels quite big, but the author got the numbers just right. The story line is one that I really enjoyed, in some respect Alex should be a baddie, but I actually liked him a lot.

EAST SIDE HUSTLER…

Alex returns from the Great War almost destroyed by the horrors he has experienced. When he is plucked from certain death by an old friend, he commits to making so much money he’ll never know that agony again. But the route to the top is filled with danger and every time he helps one of his powerful friends like Al Capone, he acquires more enemies who want to see him dead. The turmoil caused by the death of organised crime financier, Arnold Rothstein means Alex must once more fight for his life. How far would you go to seize the American dream? And could you protect your family along the way from the fellas who want to see you dead?

PART OF MY REVIEW…

Things are getting more dangerous for everyone in 1920’s America and as Prohibition looms things are getting tense. Prohibition strains all gangs and they are often at odds with each other, but also alliances are made. The meeting of new allies inevitably sees one of the most infamous names making an appearance in the story, that is one Al Capone.

This is a book that really does exude the roaring 20’s with mobs, gangs, prohibition and illegal drinking and gambling. While this is all going on Alex also has a family to take care of and like many other families, his also becomes a target.

The Bowery Slugger saw Alex Cohen starting his journey into the gangs, East Side Hustler sees him making his mark as a major player and they are both excellent reads.

MIDTOWN HUCKSTER…

Alex runs Murder Inc for Lucky Luciano. After the death of Prohibition he must find a new way to make money, just as the cops are baying at his heels. When Luciano goes down for racketeering, Alex loses his protection and is arrested for tax evasion-he must decide between saving his skin and ratting out his friends. If he chooses prison time then his gang will fall apart and he will end up with nothing. If he squeals then he will have to flee the city he loves and the family he once adored. What would you do in a world where nobody can be trusted and you have everything to lose?

PART OF MY REVIEW…

The book once again uses various points of history to keep the story in the right period, with mentions of Thomas Dewey who was a New York City prosecutor in the 1930’s and whose aim was to beat organised crime. I like these historical mentions as it makes for great additional reading outside of the story.

Times are changing and not necessarily in Alex’s favour. As he has had his fingers in many pies and looks for more ways to earn a living, the more the investigators have to go on, and what they can’t find well…

OVERALL – THE STORY SO FAR…

I absolutely love this series and even though Alex is essentially a bad guy, I do have a soft spot for him. The author has shown the growth of Alex through the decades and keeps it in line with historical events. Alex is one who will find himself in deep water given the nature of his business, but how he emerges out the other side, is always something that me as a reader on my toes. This is a series that has been brilliantly written and really does feel right for the period of history it is set in. Book 4, The Casino Chiseler is the next one and is also an excellent read with Book 5 due out soon.

If you like American Historical Fiction then you really should look to pick this series up. You will not be disappointed!

PURCHASE LINKS – AMAZON – UK US

About the Author…

Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.

There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.

He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.

Many thanks for reading my post, like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx