Wartime With the Tram Girls by Lynn Johnson @lynnjohnsonjots @HeraBooks @rararesources #excerpt #histfic

I am delighted to share an extract today for Wartime With The Tram Girls by Lynn Johnson . I wish I had got the time to read this rather than just offering an extract as this book sounds great. Many thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the tour and for arranging my extract for the final day of the tour.

This is the second book in the two book series.

July 1914: Britain is in turmoil as WW1 begins to change the world. While the young men disappear off to foreign battlefields, the women left at home throw themselves into jobs meant for the boys.

Hiding her privileged background and her suffragette past, Constance Copeland signs up to be a Clippie – collecting money and giving out tickets – on the trams, despite her parents’ disapproval.

Constance, now known as Connie, soon finds there is more to life than the wealth she was born into and she soon makes fast friends with lively fellow Clippies, Betty and Jean, as well as growing closer to the charming, gentle Inspector Robert Caldwell.

But Connie is haunted by another secret; and if it comes out, it could destroy her new life.

After war ends and the men return to take back their roles, will Connie find that she can return to her previous existence? Or has she been changed forever by seeing a new world through the tram windows?

Purchase LinksAmazon Kobo Apple

EXTRACT…

Preparations for Christmas were well underway at Holmorton Lodge. Mrs Williams had been working day and night in the kitchen. Alice had taken over much of the housework and day-to-day management under Mrs Williams’s tutelage and was doing a good job.

Constance and her mother were sitting in the morning room taking their tea. There was a knock on the door and Mrs Williams, along with a tearful Alice, entered.

‘Sorry to trouble you Mrs Copeland, but Alice here’s had a problem at the butcher’s.’

‘Whatever’s the matter, Alice?’ asked Constance.

‘They have put up the meat we ordered but won’t give it to me unless I pay for it. Oh Miss Constance, they say we’re behind with the bill. I dunno what to do.’

‘She’s right, ma’am, I have checked the book. Nothing’s been paid since October,’ said Mrs Williams.

Constance turned to look at her mother. ‘Surely that can’t be right?’

‘Mrs Williams, would you and Alice mind leaving us, and I’ll get it sorted?’ Mother asked.

When they were alone, her mother continued. ‘I will speak to your father immediately.’

‘Before you go, Mother, I would like to understand a little more about our finances. We have a very nice lifestyle, but I have no idea how it’s funded.’

‘Your father deals with all of that, but I can tell you a little. The proceeds from the sale of the business and our house in Manchester enabled us to buy this house,’ her mother waved her arms about her, ‘and renovate it.’

‘I remember, it looked very sad when we moved in. I imagined it to be haunted or fancied some other terrible event had taken place!’

‘It’s a substantial property and your father could see its merits. The remainder of the money was invested equally in Government Bonds and shares in solid British companies.’

‘What are Government Bonds?’

‘I believe it’s money lent to the government by people like ourselves. In return, we get guaranteed interest periodically. The shares pay dividends which are not guaranteed but the income we get is higher, so it makes sense to have a mix of both. We live on the interest and dividends.’

‘I think I understand.’

‘Things have not gone too well for us recently. The war has had a considerable effect on our income. Many companies are paying very low dividends or none at all.’

‘Is that why he hasn’t replaced any of the servants?’

‘In part. We would have had considerable difficulty finding anyone when factories are paying such high wages for women, and conscription has taken most able-bodied men.’

Constance’s cheeks felt tight. How could they be in such a predicament without her knowing? She might have helped in some way. ‘Why didn’t you tell me?’

‘We didn’t want to bother you. You had enough on your plate. Your father thought we could manage without selling investments which are perfectly sound and will pay out again once the war is over and things get back to normal. We didn’t think that the war would last so long and it is affecting all incomes. Add this to the increase in living costs and we are feeling the strain of it all.’

‘My wedding fiasco hasn’t helped, has it?’

‘In all honesty, no. But we shall manage.’ Her mother got to her feet. ‘I must talk to your father.’

Constance didn’t understand much of what her mother said, after all financial matters were the domain of the man of the house and her education had done nothing to change that. All this information about shares and bonds and equities was beyond her current understanding, but that could be resolved in time and Constance decided that would be her first priority.

She could understand now why her father had been so eager to see her married, but she was not and never would be another commodity to be bought and sold. She would get a job as soon as she possibly could, where she could start immediately, and get paid. She might not earn very much initially, but at least she would make a contribution.

A job that was different, where the pay was the same for men and women. A job that gave her some freedom.

About the Author…

Lynn Johnson was born in the Staffordshire Potteries and went to school in Burslem, where the novel is set. She left school with no qualifications and got a job as a dental nurse (and lasted a day), a nursery assistant, and a library assistant before her ambition grew and she enrolled at the Elms Technical College, Stoke-on-Trent and obtained six O’levels. She obtained a Diploma in Management Studies and a BA Hons in Humanities with Literature from the Open University while working full-time.

Most of her working life was spent in Local Government in England and Scotland, and ultimately became a Human Resources Manager with a large county council.

She started to write after taking early retirement and moving to the north of Scotland with her husband where she did relief work in the famous Orkney Library and Archives, and voluntary work with Orkney’s Learning Link. Voluntary work with Cats Protection resulted in them sharing their home with six cats.

She joined Stromness Writing Group and, three months after moving to Orkney, wrote a short story which would become the Prologue to The Girl From the Workhouse.

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Bobby March Will Live Forever by Alan Parks @AlanJParks @blackthornbks @RandomTTours #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Bobby March Will Live Forever by Alan Parks. My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of this fabulous book from Black Thorn Books.

Harry McCoy investigates the suspicious overdose of a rock legend and the disappearance of a young girl in this gripping thriller

WHO IS TO BLAME WHEN NO ONE IS INNOCENT?

There’s a heatwave in Glasgow and the drugs trade is booming. The whole force is searching for missing thirteen-year-old Alice Kelly. All except Harry McCoy, who has been taken off the case after a run-in with the boss, and is instead sent alone to investigate the death of rock-star Bobby March, who has just overdosed in the Royal Stuart hotel.

The papers want blood. The force wants results. McCoy has a hunch. But does he have enough time?

  • Themes include inner-city poverty, gang warfare, the rise and fall of rock & roll stardom, illegal narcotics distribution and the growth of the IRA, seen through the eyes of his good-cop-in-a-gray-world, Detective Harry McCoy.
  • Will appeal to fans of Ian Rankin, Denise Mina, Peter May, William McIlvanney and
    Val McDermid, as well as TV series such as Idris Elba’s Luther

My Review…

This is the 3rd book in the Harry McCoy series and the first time I have read a book by this author. This book does work really well as a stand-alone, but I do wish I had read the previous 2 books. I have got them on order, so it kind of shows how much I enjoyed Bobby March Will Live Forever!

So, let’s start with the basics. This is a police procedural set in Glasgow during the early 70s. McCoy is a DI who in theory should be heading the investigation for a missing girl but instead has been pushed out to investigate other crimes being committed. The reason for him being pushed out, well let’s call it a rather nasty power-hungry DI. The reasons for the animosity are made clear.

As this series focuses on McCoy, it is his cases that take a more prominent relevance in the story. While Bobby Fisher is mentioned in the title, and McCoy does investigate, the story is secondary in some respects to all the other things that are going on. The author does such a great job of weaving various threads of various subplots into a really addictive story.

The other great thing the author achieved int his story was really encompassing the era of the story and of the region of its setting. Giving an atmospheric, smoky, crime-ridden world where the line between bent and straight is fine. I do like the fact that he used the local vernacular during conversations, again it helps to cement the area well in the reader.

This is a book that has a noirish feel to it, atmospheric with great characters that I soon either liked or loathed. Although it is a police procedural it didn’t always feel like it as there were a few “off the books” things going on as well. I know, another vague-ish review but I really don’t want to give anything away.

This is a cracking read and I cannot wait for my first two books in the series to arrive. I already have the 4th book sat waiting to be read as well!

Brilliant characters, cracking storyline and one that I would definitely recommend if you like crime and thriller reads that have a police presence with some dodgy dealers then this is a series you want to take a serious look at.

About the Author…

Alan Parks has worked in the music industry for over twenty years. His debut novel Bloody January was shortlisted for the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière. He lives and works in Glasgow.

Bobby March Will Live Forever is the third Harry McCoy thriller.

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Seven Days (DI Jack MacIntosh #2) by Michelle Kidd #SevenDays #DIJackMacIntosh @AuthorKidd @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #PublicationDay #crime #bookreview

I am delighted to be one of the Book Bloggers to be opening the Blog Tour for Seven Days by Michelle Kidd. This is the 2nd book in the DI Jack MacIntosh series and is a cracking read. The first book was The Phoenix Project and you can read my full review HERE.

My huge thanks to Emma at damppebbles blog tours for my spot on the Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this fabulous book. I would like to wish Michelle a very happy Publication Day 🤗

One killer. One city. One week.

July 2012 and a serial killer is terrorising the streets of London. With the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympic Games in just seven days time, Detective Inspector Jack MacIntosh and his team at the Metropolitan Police have one week to find him. With the killer’s motives unknown, and a mysterious clue being left at each scene, the case takes on a menacing and personal twist. Distracted by his own demons, will DI Jack MacIntosh solve the case before it is too late?

The clock is ticking.
Tick.
Tock.

Purchase Link – Amazon UK or US

My Review…

This is the second book in the DI Jack MacIntosh series and it is another excellent crime thriller read. A serial killer is leaving bodies of women around London, nothing seems to connect them, there are no real similarities apart from some marks left on their bodies, and a random item left near the body.

The story is set just before the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics, time is not on Jack and the team’s side as those higher up want the case wrapped up before the prestigious event. The added pressure of a time constraint, as well as a case with very little clues, is bad enough, but add in a new team member who is vague, distant and at times elusive really doesn’t help.

If you have read the previous book then you will have some idea about Jack, Stu and Isabel. These three are returning characters whose stories are woven into each other. The author has continued their individual stories, well more Jack’s, into this second book. These three characters are interesting and are being developed further. If you haven’t read the first book then you will miss some detail, but the author does a good job of providing a recap. In my opinion, though they are better read in order.

The author weaves a story that has the in=vestigating team scratching their heads, they clutch at straws at times as they try to progress with their hunt for the killer. The killer also relates his actions in this novel and this adds a wonderful sense of intrigue. It also allows for some wonderful red herrings to be dropped along the way. There is a psychological aspect to the story, and again it adds another element.

I really like the characters in this series, and there are the obvious new introductions. The continuation of existing characters backstories is good and I like getting to know them more. Another good aspect was the time limits that had been placed on the case, giving the team a sense of urgency and this is added to further in the story.

This is a fabulous crime thriller read that had me hooked very quickly. Even though this is still a new series I was delighted to find how quickly a couple of the main characters came back to me. This is one for crime fans, who like their police procedurals and it is one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Michelle Kidd is a self-published author known for the Detective Inspector Jack MacIntosh series of novels.

Michelle qualified as a lawyer in the early 1990s and spent the best part of ten years practising civil and criminal litigation.

But the dream to write books was never far from her mind and in 2008 she began writing the manuscript that would become the first DI Jack MacIntosh novel – The Phoenix Project. The book took eighteen months to write, but spent the next eight years gathering dust underneath the bed.

In 2018 Michelle self-published The Phoenix Project and had not looked back since. There are currently three DI Jack MacIntosh novels, with a fourth in progress.

Michelle works full time for the NHS and lives in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. She enjoys reading, wine and cats – not necessarily in that order J

Bibliography:

The Phoenix Project (DI Jack MacIntosh book 1)

Seven Days (DI Jack MacIntosh book 2)

The Fifteen (DI Jack MacIntosh book 3)

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The Good Wife by Eleanor Porter @elporterauthor @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers @rararesources #histfic #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Good Wife by Eleanor Porter. This is a follow on book from The Wheelwright’s Daughter that I read last year. You can read my full review HERE.

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

Where will her loyalty lead her?

Once accused of witchcraft Martha Spicer is now free from the shadow of the gallows and lives a safe and happy life with her husband, Jacob. But when Jacob heads north to accompany his master, he warns Martha to keep her healing gifts a secret, to keep herself safe, to be a good wife.

Martha loves Jacob but without him there to protect her, she soon comes under the suspicious eye of the wicked Steward Boult, who’s heard of her talent and forces her to attend to him. If she refuses, he promises to destroy the good life she has built for herself with Jacob.

Desperate and alone, Martha faces a terrible decision: stay and be beholden to Boult or journey north to find Jacob who is reported to have been killed.. The road ahead is filled with danger, but also the promise of a brighter future. And where her gifts once threatened to be her downfall, might they now be the very thing that sets Martha free…?

The brilliant follow-up to Eleanor Porter’s first novel of love, betrayal, superstition and fear in Elizabethan England. A story of female courage, ingenuity and determination , this is perfect for fans of Tracy Chevalier.

Purchase Link – HERE

My Review…

This is the second book that follows the story of Martha, she was once accused of being a witch. After her marriage to Jacob Spicer, they both move and start a new life together, a fresh start with a chance of a good life and where they are unknown.

Life is indeed good until Jacob is asked to travel with his master and this means he will be away for a couple of months. Martha tries her best to continue as normal, but it seems her reputation for healing has followed her and she is called to heal again. Something that Jacob didn’t want there doing again. She gradually gets drawn into a situation that she can see no good end to. She also hears that Jacob has been killed and her only option is to stay or to leave to find Jacobs body.

The author takes Martha on a journey that sees her in a dangerous predicament. A woman travelling alone is not good, it is full of danger and yet the author has a plan for our main protagonist. While this plan is not without its own danger it is a very good option and one that allows Martha more freedom than she has had before.

She finds a companion of sorts, not completely trust-worthy but one that is at times more help than a hindrance. Martha’s travels take her into villages and towns and she is made aware of how naive she really is.

This is a story not just of love and finding the truth but also one that is bound up in superstition and the use of natural ingredients to heal. Set in the Elizabethan era when witchcraft is definitely frowned upon, it lends itself to the story of Martha.

This is a historical fiction novel that I really enjoyed, it continues on from The Wheelwright’s Daughter and shows the world through the eyes of a young woman. It has a feel of being caught between the devil and the deep blue sea as Martha is caught between two choices. The author creates a story that I found to be very addictive and while there is a desperation to Martha there is also a glimmer of hope. A lovely read and one that I would recommend reading if you like good historical fiction.

About the Author…

Eleanor Porter has lectured at Universities in England and Hong Kong and her poetry and short fiction has been published in magazines. The Wheelwright’s Daughter was her first novel.
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Stormy Days on Mulberry Lane by Rosie Clarke @AnneHerries @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers #historicalfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Stormy Days on Mulberry Lane by Rosie Clarke. This is an author who I absolutely adore, I have read several of her books and featured my reviews on here. For me, this is a must-read author for those who love historical fiction and romance sagas.

Here is more about her latest book…

Stormy Days On Mulberry Lane

London 1950
Peggy Ronoscki is happily settling into life running her guesthouse on Mulberry Lane, surrounded by close friends and family. Life just seems too good…
But then disaster strikes.
Pip, her beloved son is left in a coma following a devastating car crash and a young girl collapses in the market leaving Peggy no option but to nurse her back to health.
As things begin to go awry, Peggy worries she has brought trouble to her doorstep?
Can her life ever return to normal? Or has Peggy’s good nature led her astray?

Purchase Link – HERE

My Review…

Stormy Days on Mulberry Lane continues the story in the series, the focus is again on “Peggy of the Lanes” and her family and friends.

Life is starting to return to normal after the end of WWII, but certain things still remind them that things still have a way to go. Some things are still in short supply, but things are moving forward. Peggy and Abe are settled into running the guest house, cakes, pies and pastries are made on a daily basis.


The community who live in the Lanes or visit are made very welcome by this close-knit community. Peggy and Abe are well thought of and respected, and both work all hours. Peggy’s return to the Lanes has been a godsend for some and the warm, friendly reputation that he had is once again there for all to see. She meets people new and old.

The author has once again written a story that continues with the thread of family, friends, community and spirit. It is great to return to the series with this new book and catch-up with the old characters as well as meeting the odd new one.

The series has moved on and is set in the ’50s, things are moving forward as characters grow up, new babies are born and different challenges are to be overcome. The author has created such a wonderful and heartwarming series that really does feel like reuniting with old friends. I do think you could read any of these as stand-alone books, but to be perfectly honest I would advise reading in order to get the full impact of what each of the main characters has been through.

This is a book that would definitely appeal to readers of sagas, historic fiction and want a read that is full of warmth, hospitality and a sense of belonging. A gorgeous read and one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Rosie Clarke is a #1 bestselling saga writer whose most recent books include The Mulberry Lane series.  She has written over 100 novels under different pseudonyms and is an RNA Award winner.  She lives in Cambridgeshire.

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The Conspiracy (DC Jake Tanner Crime Thriller #1) by Jack Probyn #TheConspiracy #DCJakeTanner @jackprobynbooks @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #crime #bookreview

I am delighted to be joining the Blog Tour and sharing my review today for The Conspiracy by Jack Probyn. My huge thanks to Emma at damppebbles blog tours for my spot on the tour and for arranging my copy of this very fast-paced crime novel.

Here’s more about it…

Candice Strachan can’t breathe. 

A small jewellers is raided in Guildford High Street and leaves police chasing their tails. Reports suggest that it’s The Crimsons, an organised crime group the police have been hunting for years. 

The device wrapped around her neck is suffocating her, crushing her chest.

But for rookie detective, Jake Tanner, something doesn’t seem right. The heist doesn’t fit any of their previous patterns. And the last time Jake met them, he was staring down the barrel of their gun, bargaining for his life. 

The men who put it there have left her to die.

When the shop owner is kidnapped and a collar bomb is attached to her neck, Jake learns one of his own is involved – a police officer. 

Her life now rests in Jake Tanner’s hands. 

As Jake follows the group on a wild goose chase, he questions everything he knows about his team. Who can he trust? And is he prepared to find out?

The Conspiracy by Jack Probyn is a tense crime thriller full of hooks and twists that will leave you guessing to the end. If you like Luther and Line Of Duty, you’ll love this series that combines tension, gripping plots, and police corruption.

(Warning: This book is intended for mature audiences and contains disturbing and potentially offensive material.)

Purchase Links – Amazon UK US

My Review…

The author certainly doesn’t hang around in The Conspiracy. This is #1 in the CID Case series and it definitely has a fast pace to it.

Jake Tanner has just started with the Guilford Police as a Temporary Detective Constable, he’s a rookie and appears to be very eager to impress. At least that is how some see him, he definitely gets a break in an armed robbery when he recognises the gang responsible. I have to say that initially, I thought Jake came over a little bit cocky and over-eager so I didn’t really warm to him that much. Luckily for me, this did change as I realised he is actually like a dog with a bone who cannot and will not let things drop. He knows that he is right for somethings and this does mean he goes out on a limb on more than one occasion.

A robbery, a kidnap, guns and a shot fired is not the usual modus operandi of this gang. This leaves Jake with a slight uphill battle as he tries to convince his superiors that he does know what he is on about. They need to take him at his word and not see him as just a rookie.

The story goes along at breakneck speed and this does really work well for the story as it is very much a race against time for a couple of reasons. There are quite a few characters but I didn’t think there were too many so that I struggled to keep up. They have been worked well into the plot of the story and do bring there own style and traits. I do admit there were a couple of favourites as well as the odd one I really wasn’t so keen on.

Overall this is a really good start to a new series, with a further 5 more books planned and due out. It is a police-procedural that is fast, well-plotted and has a very good addictive aspect to it. It does have a feeling of things falling in to place a little too conveniently at times. A one-sitting read for me that has left me eager to read more. There is a smallish cliff hanger that I am keen to see developed further and I am curious as to what the author has in store for Jake. It is one I would recommend.

About the Author…

Jack Probyn is the author of the DC Jake Tanner series. He hasn’t spent much time on the planet, but he knows what he wants: to entertain and enthral readers across the globe with his stories. Growing up as an only child and never owning a pet – something he reminds his parents of constantly – Jack spent a lot of time reading and writing. 


After just about completing an English degree, he decided to turn his passion from a hobby into a career. When he’s not writing, he’s usually enjoying sudoku or a true-crime drama on Netflix. He lives in Surrey with his partner – who also one daydreams of owning a pet. Preferably a dog.

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The Darkness Within by Graeme Hampton @GHam001 @BOTBSPublicity @HeraBooks #BOTBSPublicity #crime #policeprocedural #bookreview

I am delighted to day to share my review for The Darkness Within by Graeme Hampton. This is the first time I have read anything by this author and I would like to say a huge thanks to Sarah at Book On The Bright Side Publicity for my spot on the Blog Tour and for my e-copy of the book.

Here is more about the book…

You can run… but death will always find you

A man is discovered on a leafy North London street, fighting for life after a brutal beating. DI Matthew Denning and his team are quickly called in to to track down the monster responsible.

Except the victim is hiding secrets of his own. His name shows that he was reported missing two decades ago – but it’s clear that the missing person is not the same man lying broken in a hospital bed.

A visit to a squalid East London flat unearths a victim with his throat slit, his body left to decompose. A sad end to any life – but when it is identified as former DCI Frank Buckfield, star of the Met police, the case takes on a new significance.

Two seemingly unrelated cases – but as Denning, along with DS Molly Fisher, investigates further, they uncover links between the two victims that lead back to a ring of silence cloaking the blackest of crimes.

But as Denning and Fisher try to track down a killer with revenge on their mind, they find themselves pitted against a psychopath who will kill to keep their secrets hidden. Can they uncover the truth, before they end up the latest victims?

The latest in the gripping London crime series featuring DI Matthew Denning and DS Molly Fisher, The Darkness Within is a must-read if you like Angela Marsons, L.J. Ross or Joy Ellis.

My Review…


This the first time I have read a book by this author, starting part way through a series is never the best idea but I do have to say that this book well as a stand-alone. The obvious benefit of reading in order means that you get to know the characters traits and how they interact, I soon found myself getting to grip with these as I read.

This story starts with the discovery of a body, that of an ex DCI. The crime is murder, the reasons for it are not easy to come by for DI Denning and his team. This case will test them all and when results are slow to come the hierarchy do what they do best and add unnecessary pressure. Another similar murder and some accusations and rumours start to emerge of historic crimes that may have been covered-up start to emerge.

I really enjoyed this book, it is not a fast-paced story and this was good for me as I got to know more about the characters as while they were dealing with the cases before them. Sometimes it is nice to get into a more detailed book as far as the investigation, the characters and the storyline goes. As the characters are new to me I did occasionally forget who was who, but this didn’t stop any enjoyment. The investigation is a slower more dogged one, knowing that something isn’t right and proving it are two very different things and this kind of sums up the story in a way. Finding the evidence, connecting the dots and proving that your gut instinct is correct provides a very gripping read.

I really liked this and yes I do wish I had read the previous books, this is a series I will keep going with. I really enjoyed the mix or current crimes with links to historical ones, the power struggles and how the case was worked through and sorted. A crime, with a strong police procedural and more of mystery aspect rather than a full-on crime thriller and one I would definitely recommend it.

About the Author…

Graeme Hampton was born in Paisley, and grew up in Stirling. After leaving school,
he trained as a stage manager and worked in London for a number of years. He
returned to Scotland in his late twenties to study for a BA in English Literature at
Stirling University. His first novel, Know No Evil – featuring Met detectives DI Matt
Denning and DS Molly Fisher – was published in 2019 by Hera Books. This was
followed by Blood Family in January 2020. The Darkness Within is the third novel in
the series.
Graeme lives in Hastings, East Sussex.

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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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The Lake House by Christie Barlow @ChristieJBarlow @rararesources #contemporaryfiction #bookreview

What an absolute pleasure to share my review today for The Lakehouse by Christie Barlow. This is part of the Love Heart Lane Series and I have loved every book. My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for my e-copy of Christie’s latest book.

Here is more about it…

There’s a newcomer to the village of Heartcross and she’s never been more in need of a friend. Ella is ready to start afresh ––and that could mean there’s love on the horizon in the form of the gorgeous Roman, the local water taxi driver. Every day Roman is there to ferry Ella to the restaurant on the other side of the lake and every night he makes sure she gets home safe. But Roman has secrets of his own…
Can the Love Heart Lane community offer Ella a chance of a new life? Or will the ghosts of her past catch up with her?

Purchase Links Amazon UKUS

My Review…

What an absolute treat to be back in the village of Heartcross in the 5th book in the Love Heart Lane series. The focus for this story is on Ella. After losing her parents, her fiances disappearing, her inheritance all gone she is definitely on a low. She is struggling with life and it takes her good friend Callie to give her a hand up. Callie insists that Ella comes to live in Heartcross with her.

As anyone who has read any of these books knows, Heartcross looks after those who are struggling and it wraps them in its fabulous embrace. The author really does nail the sense of community and friendship.

Callie has lined Ella up with a job in The Lakehouse, a bistro that is accessible by boat only. Enter the gorgeous Roman as he ferries visitors, friends and workers to and fro from the island. Like Ella, he has had his problems, while Ella’s seem to be settling, Roman’s are still causing heartache. Becoming friends is something that both characters gravitate to and as they say, a problem shared is a problem halved.

Now as much as I adored these two characters I have to mention the fabulous Delores. Wow! She is a brilliant character and I absolutely adored her, she could have very easily taken over as she is definitely a handful, in a very good way. I am impressed by how the author kept her under control. The emphasis is on Roman and Ella, and as is appropriate in love stories there are some choppy times.

I love this series and the sense of coming back to friends I get whenever I pick a new book up. The author really has made the village of Heartcross something special and the characters are definitely unique. The only problem with this book is that I didn’t wan tit to stop, I finished it far too quickly!

I am going to say that all of the books work well as stand-alone, but read in the order you get so much more out of them. There are relationships and events that have happened in previous books that show the links between friends and community and it is this that makes the books very special. Also, you would be missing out on more fabulous reads.

Another book in the series that I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Christie Barlow is the author of ten bestselling romantic comedies including A Home at Honeysuckle Farm, Love Heart Lane and Clover Cottage. She lives in a ramshackle cottage in a quaint village in the heart of Staffordshire with her four children and two dogs.
Her writing career has come as a lovely surprise when Christie decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. Christie’s dream was to become a writer and the book she wrote to prove a point went on to become a #1 bestseller in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia.
When Christie isn’t writing she enjoys playing the piano, is a keen gardener and loves to paint and upcycle furniture.
Christie is an ambassador for the @ZuriProject alongside Patron of the charity, Emmerdale’s Bhasker Patel. They raise money and awareness for communities in Uganda.
Christie loves to hear from her readers and you can get in touch via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland @JessicaRedland @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers #contemporaryfiction #bookreview #PublicationDay

I am delighted to be one of the Blogger to open the Blog Tour and share my review today for New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland. This is the second book in this gorgeous series and I adored it. My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my e-copy of this book and for my spot on the Blog Tour.

I also want to wish Jessica a very Happy Publication Day xx

Here is more about it…

With new arrivals comes new responsibilities…
The sun is shining, wild flowers are blooming and Hedgehog Hollow is officially open for business.

For Samantha, the proud owner of this beautiful rescue centre, life has never been busier. But with an influx of new hogs and hoglets to take care of, not to mention a full-time job and ongoing family issues, can she accept the possibility that she has taken on more than she can handle?

Fortunately, she has the love of her life, Josh, by her side for support and encouragement. But Josh has his own family troubles to deal with. And soon he must decide if he’s ready to do the one thing he swore he’d never do – forgive his father.

For both Samantha and Josh it’s a season of change and for figuring out whether the past can ever truly be forgotten.

Escape back to wonderful Hedgehog Hollow with top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for the perfect uplifting read full of love, hope and forgiveness.

Purchase Link – HERE

My Review…

If you have already read the first book in this series, then you know that Samantha is going to run a Hedgehog Sanctuary, and continue the dream of Gwendolen and Thomas. This second book begins on the official opening day of the sanctuary, although there are already a few prickly residents being looked after.

Samantha is not alone in this venture, she has the lovely Josh by her side. These two work well together and while this book sees them taking a step forward together in their relationship. But stepping forward is difficult when there are things that make you uncertain, that make you doubt yourself.

I adored the first book, it had a wonderful warmth to it, this second book continues that heartwarming theme, that also has some very anxious moments and definitely throws up more than a surp[rise or two. Things that have happened in the past for Josh and Samantha individually is still around, things do need sorting properly but they have to find the time, patience and courage. Everything happens in its own time.

I really enjoyed the way the backstories of these two characters still had more to share. It added a sense of intrigue to the story as well as filling in pieces that help to give more of an understanding to the characters.

As this is not just about people but also hedgehogs, there are some gorgeous little stories about some of those that need help. There are also some moments that make you frown and also get sad. I do like how the author has kept things realistic with the rescues, not every rescue is going to have a happy ending, but I have to say the way the book finished left me with a lump in my throat.

The author has once again given me a gorgeous book to read, filled with wonderful characters and has developed them further. I know there is still more to come and there are some other characters that have more to tell. I know I have focused on Samantha and Josh, and in some ways, this is very much their story, but there are also many other brilliant characters. After all, you can’t run a sanctuary by yourself, can you?

A gorgeous story that if you really must read as a stand-alone would work, but you would be missing out on such a wonderful start to a series that should be read to get the full picture. Once again I came away from this book learning more about hedgehogs.

A stunning story, with fabulous characters and, is just a gorgeous book to settle down with. I adore this series and can’t wait for the next book. I would definitely recommend it.

About the Author…

Jessica Redland is the bestselling author of ten novels, including The Secret to Happiness, which are all set around the fictional location of Whitsborough Bay. Inspired by her hometown of Scarborough she writes uplifting women’s fiction which has garnered many devoted fans.

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