The Quaker by Liam McIlvanney #NetGalley #review

I have another review from the end of last year to share with you. Today it is for The Quaker by Liam McIlvanney. I received my e-copy from Harper Collins via NetGalley and I have had it sitting on my TBR for long enough. This book was released in June 2018.

Let’s see what the book is about…

Synopsis:

The Quaker is watching you…

In the chilling new crime novel from award-winning author Liam McIlvanney, a serial killer stalks the streets of Glasgow and DI McCormack follows a trail of secrets to uncover the truth…

Winner of the 2018 McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Book of the Year

A city torn apart.
It is 1969 and Glasgow has been brought to its knees by a serial killer spreading fear throughout the city. The Quaker has taken three women from the same nightclub and brutally murdered them in the backstreets.

A detective with everything to prove.
Now, six months later, the police are left chasing a ghost, with no new leads and no hope of catching their prey. They call in DI McCormack, a talented young detective from the Highlands. But his arrival is met with anger from a group of officers on the brink of despair.

A killer who hunts in the shadows.
Soon another woman is found murdered in a run-down tenement flat. And McCormack follows a trail of secrets that will change the city – and his life – forever…

My Thoughts:

Set in 1969 Glasgow with a serial killer on the loose. DI Duncan McCormack is drafted in to basically pull the plug on the investigation that has gone on for far too long with no sight of solving the case.

From the outset I found myself very quickly caught up in this story. It is grim, gritty and dark. I didn’t think it was overly fast in its pacing and this played very well into the slower paced and painstaking investigation of the time. Instead, it steadily built up a tense air around itself. McCormack definitely feel the tension from the rest of the squad, they had built up so many hours desperately trying to resolve it. I got a real sense of their feelings as this “boy wonder” was brought in. I felt sorry for both sides as I felt McCormacks unease as he knew what his remit was, but also for the tireless work that the squad had put in. It left me with a bit of a conundrum as to who I was going to root for. But as the story unfolded and other things started to come to light, my self imposed conundrum worked itself out.

There were several things I liked about this book. The gritty descriptive view of Glasgow at the time with its condemned blocks and tenements really showed a city struggling. There are a few 1960’s references that had also been included and scattered through the story, this added an extra dimension that worked very well for me.

As I said earlier, the pacing is slower and it really did suit the time of the plot. It is a police procedural that would have had a lot of footwork as well as paperwork, house calls and then the inevitable trawling through all the notes, reports and case files to find the leads. Very different to a modern day fast data and collation system. This slower pace really worked well for me on another level, it meant I was able to get a chance to know the characters and place names easier.

This is a really interesting read with various different elements being included. It has a bleak grittiness to it that really added to the atmospherics and helped it work for the era it was set. It is one I would definitely recommend.

Author Links:

Visit Liam on Twitter or on his Website

Purchase from Amazon UK

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Return To Hiroshima by Bob Van Laerhoven @ @rararesources #Giveaway (Open Int’lly) #review

Today I am delighted to be sharing my review for Return To Hiroshima by Bob Van Laerhoven. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invite and to Bob for my e-copy of his book.

Synopsis:

1995, Japan struggles with a severe economic crisis. Fate brings a number of people together in Hiroshima in a confrontation with dramatic consequences. Xavier Douterloigne, the son of a Belgian diplomat, returns to the city, where he spent his youth, to come to terms with the death of his sister. Inspector Takeda finds a deformed baby lying dead at the foot of the Peace Monument, a reminder of Hiroshima’s war history. A Yakuza-lord, rumored to be the incarnation of the Japanese demon Rokurobei, mercilessly defends his criminal empire against his daughter Mitsuko, whom he considers insane. And the punk author Reizo, obsessed by the ultra-nationalistic ideals of his literary idol Mishima, recoils at nothing to write the novel that will “overturn Japan’s foundations”….


Hiroshima’s indelible war-past simmers in the background of this ultra-noir novel. Clandestine experiments conducted by Japanese Secret Service Unit 731 during WWII become unveiled and leave a sinister stain on the reputation of the imperial family and the Japanese society as a whole.

Purchase Links

Amazon.comAmazon UKAmazon CAAmazon FrAmazon Es

My Thoughts:

I think the cover for this book is quite grim and sinister looking. The story inside is as equally as grim and definitely more sinister than I was expecting and also very intense. It did require a lot of concentration on my part for the beginning 25%. Characters were quickly introduced in rapidly alternating chapters. At times it was a struggle to keep up with who was who and what role they were going to play. Then suddenly I started to get a feel for them, starting to recognise them easier and started to be able to pay more attention to the story instead and then I really was able to enjoy it at a whole other level.

The story is one of a dark and drug-fuelled nature with corruption and the search for power and dominance. There was a heavy feel of Japanese culture and society throughout and the expectations of the different generations. Expectations of themselves as well as others. I found the concept of anyone not being 100% Japanese and therefore seen to be an outcast, a hard one to read about, though I do understand it as part of the culture of the time.

Society clashes between the older generation and their demand of respect and obedience against the new younger culture seeking their own lives and enjoyments to be very interesting. It was a good blend and balance of the old and the new. There is some hard reading when dealing with the camps and research centres during WWII. Some horrific experiments and treatments tried and given to prisoners was appalling, but I understood its place in the story. This period in history, that includes the Atomic Bomb, is a hard part of human history.

This is definitely a book that you can say has a plot that is definitely multi-l;ayered. As I have mentioned the prison camps and atomic bomb have a part in this story, as well as the 1995 Sarin gas attack in Tokyo. Te author has mixed and intertwined fact with dark and disturbing fiction to create a intricate, mysterious and intense reading journey.

The characters are as intense as the plot itself. A Yakuza boss who believes he is a Japanese demon, a Police Officer who is of mixed race, A German Photographer, a Belgian diplomats son are just the tip of the iceberg. It seemed that each character had a secret or something to hide and I wondered who I could trust and if any of them were actually telling the truth. Even now I am not completely sure who was truthful or in fact were they believing their own idea of their own version of the truth.

There is no mistake this is a dark noir read, the descriptions and vivid imagery are amazing and do at times make for uncomfortable reading. This is not a book I would recommend to readers who are after a quick read. If however you are after a book that requires patience and concentration, especially at the beginning, then this is the one for you. I found myself taking regular breaks as I read to be able to absorb the details.

This is a book I would recommend to readers who like crime, thriller, and mystery that is dark and definitely on the noirish side. I did check to see if “noirish” was actually a word and checked out the Collins Dictionary and this is what they had as the definition for

Noirish “2…a genre of crime literature in which the characters are tough or cynical and the settings are bleak…” and that definitely applies to this book.

About the Author:

A fulltime Belgian/Flemish author, Laerhoven published more than 35 books in Holland and Belgium. Some of his literary work is published in French, English, German, Slovenian, Italian, Polish, and Russian. Three time finalist of the Hercule Poirot Prize for Best Mystery Novel of the Year with the novels “Djinn”, “The Finger of God,” and “Return to Hiroshima”; Winner of the Hercule Poirot Prize for “Baudelaire’s Revenge,” which also won the USA Best Book Award 2014 in the category “mystery/suspense”.

His collection of short stories “Dangerous Obsessions,” first published by The Anaphora Literary Press in the USA in 2015, was hailed as “best short story collection of 2015” by the San Diego Book Review. The collection is translated in Italian, (Brazilian) Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish.  “Retour à Hiroshima”, the French translation of “Return to Hiroshima,” is recently finished. In 2018, The Anaphora Literary Press published “Heart Fever”, a second collection of short stories. Heart Fever, written in English by the author, is a finalist in the Silver Falchion 2018 Award in the category “short stories collections”. Laerhoven is the only non-American finalist of the Awards.

Social Media Links –

Book Trailer on YouTube

Author social media links: Facebook Twitter Pintrest

Author websites

Website (NL/FR/EN)

Russian website for Месть Бодлера, the Russian edition of Baudelaire’s Revenge

GIVEAWAY – OPEN INTERNATIONALLY:

Giveaway to Win 2 x Return to Hiroshima Paperbacks (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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There’s Something About A Cowboy by Rich Amooi @RichAmooi @rararesources #review

Today I am delighted to be sharing my review for There’s Something About A Cowboy by Rich Amooi as part of the Blog Tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. My thanks to Rachel for the invite and to Rich for my e-copy.

Synopsis:

Rule #1: No Dating Cowboys.

A fake fiancé doesn’t count, right? Oh boy . . .

Amy Weaver is tired of her dad meddling in her love life. Fed up, she hires an actor to play the part of her fake cowboy fiancé when she goes home for her grandpa’s ninetieth birthday. Sure, Luke Jenkins has got looks, charm, and muscular legs, but this is business, pure and simple. Things are fine and dandy until she finds out he’s a real cowboy, not an actor. Now, she’s stuck between a rock and his chiseled jawline, falling faster than a sack of horseshoes. How the heck is Amy supposed to ignore the sparks between them and stick to her rule of not dating cowboys? All bets are off.

Purchase LinksAmazon USAmazon UKAmazon AUAmazon CA

My Thoughts:

Now I have seen various reviews mention fake dates being a popular theme over the years, but as a reader who is relatively new to contemporary romance and Rom-com I cannot make any comment on that. It is great to be able to find a genre that has no real prior expectations. So let’s get onto what I thought…

Amy Weaver has a thing about Cowboy’s for boyfriends, but does not have the best track record. She meets Luke Jenkins in a local bar and a challenge for a bronco bull riding is set. Amy is expected home and she is getting fed up with her father going on about how she should go back to her ex-boyfriend. Amy in her wisdom decides the only thing to do is take along a fake boyfriend and Luke just so happens to fit the stereotype bill.

This is a book I quite happily sat and read in one sitting. I really liked Amy, she is feisty, stubborn and a naturally competitive 40 something. She was such a good character to pit against the handsome and rough around the edges cowboy looking Luke, who also has a competitive streak. Amy believes Luke to be an actor who had been hired by the bar to help add to the atmosphere, well he definitely added atmosphere…

The author did a great job of capturing my attention from the first few pages as I was introduced to the main characters. Others were added along the way as the story required and by the end of the book I knew exactly who was who and a bit about them. I found them easy to remember and this gave me the opportunity to enjoy the story.

As the story unfolds there are some surprising revelations for Amy to deal with. Not everyone has had her best interests at heart and they shock her. They also give her a new sense of direction and a focus that maybe she had lost in her earlier years before she moved away.

This book should come with a literary health warning… Do Not Read On An Empty Stomach… the food and recipes that are mentioned throughout, yes throughout the story are fabulous. Wonderful culinary creations and delights are laid across the pages spare ribs, barbecues, fire pits, pies, crumbles and breads are just some of the delights. They sounded as yummy as Luke himeself…

This is a book that would appeal to contemporary romance and rom-com readers. It has a great storyline and cast and there are some surprises along the way. This is the first time I have read anything by this author and I will definitely be buying more. Ideal if you are looking for an escape into a pleasant, charming, at times humorous story. One I would recommend.

About the Author:

Fun, Quirky Romantic Comedies from a Guy’s Perspective. Rich Amooi is a former radio personality who now writes romantic comedies full-time. He is happily married to a kiss monster imported from Spain. Rich believes in public displays of affection, silliness, infinite possibilities, donuts, gratitude, laughter, and happily ever after.

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The Road to Alexander by Jennifer Macaire @jennifermacaire @rararesources #review

Today I am delighted to be sharing my review for The Road To Alexander by Jenny Macaire as part of the Blog Tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. My thanks to Rachel for the invite and to Jennifer for my e-copy of this book.

Synopsis:

What do you do when the past becomes your future?

The year is 2089, and time-travelling journalist Ashley Riveraine gets a once in a lifetime opportunity to interview her childhood hero, Alexander the Great. She expects to come out with an award-winning article, but doesn’t count on Fate intervening.

Alexander mistakes Ashley for Persephone, goddess of the dead, and kidnaps her, stranding her in his own time. Being stuck 3000 years in the past with the man of her dreams wouldn’t be so bad if the scientists of the Time Institute hadn’t threatened to erase Ashley from existence if she changes history.

Ashley must now walk a tightrope, caught up in the cataclysmic events of the time, knowing what the future holds for the people she comes to love but powerless to do anything to influence it.

Join Ashley on her hilarious, bumpy journey into the past as she discovers where her place in history truly is…

Purchase  Link – Click Here

My Thoughts:

This is the story of Ashley and how she travels back in time to meet one of her heroes, Alexander the Great, to interview him. Alexander unwittingly prevents Ashley from returning back to her time and she is left stranded in history and decides to embrace the predicament in which she finds herself.

Now I did wonder how I would get on this story, time travel and ancient history. I really should not wonder when it comes to reading as this author did an absolutely cracking job with the story and completely won me over. I will mention that the author stated in her notes at the end, that she has moved somethings and people around to help with her story. I am aware of something from the days of Alexander but I am not au fait with much of it so I just enjoyed the story as the author saw it.

I would definitely say this is a historical romance as well as being a historical fiction read. It is about two people from very different times, backgrounds, interests, and experiences. The author has managed to inject some humorous aspects into the story that had me smirking, Ashley uses phrases and words that would not have been around at that time, and it gets some of the historical characters scratching their heads. For them, it adds to the mystery behind who or what they believe her to be.

I really liked the way a lot of historical facts has been mixed in with the fiction it made reading details much more interesting. Essentially turning a list of dates, people and places into something a lot lighter reading. There are mentions of battles, gods, religion, philosophy and the beliefs of the time. There is so much from the daily life, health, hygiene pretty much everything you would expect and a lot I didn’t even think about.

While Ashley is the main part of the story, her focus is on Alexander, the man, and the legendary historical figure. By the end of the story, I realised that this author really knows her stuff and has an obvious love of this time period, as it really does show in her writing. I came away knowing so much more than when I started this book, that is a big bonus for me.

I did mention it had a romantic aspect to it. Ashley initially is a little aloof and comes across as cold, where as Alexander is definitely a hot blooded male… thats all I am saying at this point, it does make for some very interesting reading! As the story develops Ashley then seems to thaw a little and others start to see a change in her, she becomes more emotionally engaged.

This is the first book in a series and I cannot wait to see what comes next. This is a really good book and one that I think would definitely appeal to readers of historical fiction and romance readers. It is one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

Jennifer Macaire is an American living in Paris. She likes to read, eat chocolate, and plays a mean game of golf. She grew up in upstate New York, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. She graduated from St Peter and Paul High School in St Thomas and moved to NYC where she modelled for five years for Elite. She went to France and met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories

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Kiss Me, Kill Me by J. S. Carol #Netgalley #review

Today I have my review for Kiss Me, Kill Me by J. S. Carol. I received this book from Bonnier Zaffre via Netgalley. It was released on 31st May 2018 and has been sitting on my TBR for far too long but I did manage to finally read it.

Lets see what the book is about…

Synopsis:

FOR FANS OF THE MARRIAGE PACT AND CLARE MACKINTOSH COMES A TWISTING PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER THAT WILL MAKE YOU QUESTION EVERYTHING YOU THINK YOU KNOW.

‘Will hook you from the very first page. It’s a dark, twisty tale that will keep you guessing. You will think you know where it’s going – but you’ll be wrong’ RACHEL ABBOTT

‘Truly sinister domestic noir’ LEE CHILD

‘Dark, uncomfortable, head-spinny and I loved it’ CAZ FREAR, author of Sweet Little Lies

When Zoe meets Dan, he’s everything she is looking for in a man – intelligent, charming, supportive.
It’s only after they’re married that she realises that he’s controlling, aggressive, paranoid.
And there’s no way out.

Or is there?

Zoe knows she has to escape, but Dan’s found her once before, and she knows he can find her again.
But Dan has plans of his own. Plans that don’t necessarily include Zoe.

Be careful who you trust . . .

PURCHASE LINKAmazon UK

My Thoughts:

This is the story of Zoe, a normal Uni student working as a waitress. She meets rich, good looking Daniel when he walks into the place she works and sweeps her off her feet. She seems to have landed herself the perfect life but she did not expect it to turn into a dangerous, controlled, manipulated and heartbreaking one.

This author does a fantastic job of showing the way Daniel manages to completely controls Zoe’s life. It starts off subtly and gradually as he starts to achieve what he wants really does turn on the pressure. Zoe initially falls for his charms and is excited to be in a relationship with such a catch. He is a master manipulator and of that, there is no doubt. When she finally starts to see him for what he is, it is too late to get help. He has absolute control over her movements, eating, social life and finances.

There is such a good sense of suspense that comes from reading this book. I was suspicious of Daniel from the outset due the what the synopsis gives away, but the story shows the suspense from the angle of Zoe. It is easy to see how she was gradually cut off from her friends and her life. The treatment of her, by Daniel, was very easy to believe and was also shocking.

As the synopsis implies, she has escaped from Daniel’s clutches before and this is discussed withing the back story of the characters. The suspense of how she tries and if she succeeds this next time is one that had me rooting for Zoe.

This is a story that really did work well for me, it had the right amount of suspense and drama that had a real sense of controlling power to it. I found myself quickly siding with and willing Zoe on in her life. The manipulation was done in such a way that it blindsided Zoe and it shows how she was oblivious to the signs.

The story took some unexpected twists and turns and definitely kept me hooked. If you like crime, thriller, and suspense reads that focus on spousal manipulation then this is one you should read.

About the Author:

James Carol is the bestselling author of BROKEN DOLLS, the first in a series featuring former FBI profiler Jefferson Winter. The novel was released in the UK in January 2014 to rave reviews and reached number 1 on the Amazon fiction and thriller charts. In addition James is writing a series of eBooks set during Winter’s FBI days. PRESUMED GUILTY is the first of these. Under the pseudonym J.S. Carol, he has also written a number of standalones. KISS ME KILL ME is the latest.

Visit James on his – Website Twitter Amazon Author Page

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A Christmas Gift by Sue Moorcroft @SueMoorcroft #review

I am still playing catch-up on my festive fiction reads and today I am sharing my review of The Christmas Gift by Sue Moorcroft.

Lets see what the book is about…

Synopsis:

One Christmas can change everything…

Georgine loves Christmas. The festive season always brings the little village of Middledip to life. But since her ex-boyfriend walked out, leaving her with crippling debts, Georgine’s struggled to make ends meet.

To keep her mind off her worries, she throws herself into organising the Christmas show at the local school. And when handsome Joe Blackthorn becomes her assistant, Georgine’s grateful for the help. But there’s something about Joe she can’t quite put her finger on. Could there be more to him than meets the eye?

Georgine’s past is going to catch up with her in ways she never expected. But can the help of friends new and old make this a Christmas to remember after all?

Purchase link – Amazon UK

My Thoughts:

This is the story of Georgine and Joe. Georgine is strugglingto make ends meet and hiding from debt collectors, they are after her ex-boyfriend by the way. Joe has just been taken on as Georgine’s assistant at Acting Instrument, a college that provides dance, music, acting and backstage education and experience.

A story that is about two people who cross into each other’s lives, the highs and lows, the ups and downs and how roles can be reversed so very quickly is how I would probably sum this up. The author has created two characters and a series of events conspire against them.

There is so much in this story that I would love to tell and I have had to edit this review several times as I would have given important details away that would ruin it if you have not read this book.

Even though this is a Christmas book, it is not overly Christmassy in itself, though it does have a Christmas theme… how convoluted does that sound? But it makes sense to me! The students have a Christmas show to put on and Joe soon proves his worth and seems to have invaluable patience and experience.

This is a book of surprises, hence the very sketchy review, but it is one that when I started I really could not put down. The plot had me hooked as I found myself wanting to know more about the elusive Joe, as well as more about the families of the main characters. It had a sort of dramatic suspense that kept me page turning.

A book that would appeal to readers of general fiction, festive fiction, romantic fiction who are after a heartwarming and uplifting read. One I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times bestselling author, an international bestselling author and has held the #1 spot in the UK Kindle chart. She writes contemporary fiction with sometimes unexpected themes.

Sue has won a Best Romantic Read Award, received two nominations at the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards and is a Katie Fforde Bursary winner. Her short stories, serials, articles, columns, courses and writing ‘how to’ have sold around the world.

An army child, Sue was born in Germany then lived in Cyprus, Malta and the UK. She’s worked in a bank, as a bookkeeper (probably a mistake), as a copytaker for Motor Cycle News and for a digital prepress. She’s pleased to have now wriggled out of all ‘proper jobs’.

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Bells and Bows on Mistletoe Row by Emily Harvale @emilyharvale #review

Yes this is a Christmas book and I am aware that we are now in a new month and a new year but I am playing catch up on some of my reviews. Before Christmas, I was lucky enough to win a copy of Bells and Bows on Mistletoe Row by Emily Harvale. Not only did I win a copy of her book but I also won lots of other festive goodies.


A big Thank You to Emily for sending me this wonderful prize xx

Before I get to my review lets have a look at the…

Synopsis:

It’ll take a miracle to make Juliet’s Christmas merry, but Mistletoe Row is the place to be when you need some Christmas magic. 

The last person Juliet Bell expects to see when she returns home for Christmas is Harrison Bow.Especially with the most beautiful woman in the world by his side. Twenty years ago, Juliet and Harrison had the shortest romance in history, consisting of one date – and one blazing row. But Juliet will never admit when she’s wrong, and Harrison doesn’t forgive easily, so they haven’t seen, or spoken to one another since.

Harrison Bow vowed he’d never visit his grandfather at The Grange, again, or drive along Mistletoe Row, the scene of one of the unhappiest times of his life. He hasn’t been back for twenty years and he’s only here now because his brother pleaded with him to come. At least with his executive assistant joining him, he’ll be able to do some work. 

But Juliet’s sister, Zoe and Harrison’s brother, Luke have some surprises in store for their elder siblings, and so it seems does Fate. After Harrison risks his life to save Juliet, the least she can do is be nice. The problem is, Harrison is hotter than the log fire in The Mistletoe pub, and when she’s surrounded by twinkling lights and softly falling snow, it doesn’t take long for her to realise she’s in love with the man she thought she hated. Even if he doesn’t appear to be in love with her. 

What readers and reviewers are saying about this book: 

What an utter delight this book is, yet again Emily Harvale has written a Christmas book to be truly cherished and enjoyed. – Gilbster – TOP 500 REVIEWER

This is a beautiful romantic book that will make you feel jolly – Whispering Stories Book Blog – TOP 500 REVIEWER

Bells and Bows on Mistletoe Row is another alluring, heartwarming, delightfully magical tale by Harvale that is without a doubt one of my favourite holiday reads this year! – 
Zoe (whatsbetterthanbooks)

I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of my time spent on Mistletoe Row with such a charming and magical book. – stacyisreading

Fabulous festive romance – can’t recommend highly enough! – Splashes Into Books

A must-read!!!! – Books Of All Kinds

A Cosy Festive Romance, I Highly recommend! – dash fan

Puchase link via Amazon UK

My Thoughts:

The synopsis gives a wonderful indication of what this festive romance story holds. When I entered the world this author has built I was immediately whisked away into a wintery wonderland.

The story focuses on two families, the Bells and the Bows, yes a little tongue in cheek but as it happens the names feel just right for this book. Sisters Juliet and Zoe Bell and brothers Harrison and Luke Bow have similarities, the elder siblings had moved away and the younger ones remained. A seemingly coincidental invitation for the elder ones to return soon bring things to a head.

Twenty years ago Juliet and Harrison had a falling out based on a misunderstanding. The story reveals the Bell’s and the Bow’s have more than a passing acquaintance, they have a shared history and one that on the surface seems to be continuing its acrimonious course.

In the background a cantankerous family member makes their feelings felt. A Scrooge-like character came to mind as I read, mean selfish and rather moody.

This is a story that I sat and read in front of my fire and what better place to read while the cold wet wintery weather was doing its thing. This is definitely one for festive romance and general fiction lovers. It is enchanting, heartwarming, cosy and wonderful that evokes a Christmas feel. One that I would definitely recommend.

Let’s learn a little more about the Author:

EPSON scanner image

Emily Harvale is a bestselling author and a member of the SoA, RWA PAN and a Pro Member of ALLi. Emily writes romantic comedy and women’s fiction and her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart. Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings (famous for the battle of 1066) where she now writes full-time.

Emily says, “I write about friendship, family and falling in love. I believe in happing endings.” When she isn’t writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies – and will do anything to avoid both. Emily has two mischievous rescue cats, and says they spend almost as much time sprawled across her keyboard, as she does typing on it.

Follow Emily on – Twitter Website Facebook Amazon UK Page

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The Greek Affair by Linn B Halton @LinnBHalton @rararesources #Giveaway (UK) #Review

I am delighted to be sharing my review for The Greek Affair by Linn B Halton as part of the Blog Tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. My huge thanks to both Rachel and Linn for my e-copy of this book. I can honestly say it was nice to read something set in a warmer environment as I sat in a chilly Cornwall.

Synopsis:

More than just a holiday romance?

Her daughter, her job and divorcing her untrustworthy ex are Leah’s main priorities. She isn’t really bothered that her life might be missing a few things. But after winning a prestigious travel blogger award, she’s inundated with offers to review glamorous holiday destinations. Lying around drinking exotic cocktails and being paid for it! What could be better?

Perhaps a romantic trip to idyllic Greece to find the one man who might make Leah risk her heart again…

Purchase Link Click Here.

My Thoughts:

When she wins the Travel Blogger Award doors open for Leah and her daughter Rosie. A short solo cruise for Leah and a meeting with Harrison makes her realise that she has never really dealt with the emotions of being a single parent. Harrison is the perfect gentleman and a wonderful friendship builds up. A trip to Greece with Rosie during half term is another eye-opener for Leah as she meets another single parent in the form of Daniel. Rosie strikes up a friendship with his daughter Belle and it gives Rosie a chance to realise that she is also missing something in her life.

This is a fabulous mix of travel, family, home-life, separation and difficult pasts. As I read, especially the sections that gave descriptions about Greece, I couldn’t help but think that this author has surely been here as her descriptions were wonderful. I have never been to Greece and I loved the quirky little asides about structures, doorways, a little about the architecture and foods. It had such a great feel to it and it was easy to lose myself in the vivid imagery that she had created.

I really liked that the young daughter had a say in her mum’s blog and in fact had her own segment. Working together and encouraging each other really stood out for me with this mother and daughter team.

The story has its emotional up’s and down’s as things progressed at a pace that felt very appropriate. Again this was where the author really got it right as far as how she portrayed the dilemma’s, anxieties and uncertainties when entering relationships where children are involved. Mixing various scenarios and giving things priorities for the main characters made for a really interesting read, with a few surprises along the way for good measure.

It is a romance but not the slushy lovey-dovey type and this made for a more realistic read. The main characters are 30 something parents who lead very different lives, I felt the romance had a more practical, no-nonsense approach with the adults dealing with not only their own possible futures but also that of their children and families. It played out very well indeed.

This is a book that has a good selection of things that I enjoy in this style of book, yes there is drama and romance but it is nicely balanced with the more practical everyday feeling of life in the real world and with a tantalising Greek backdrop. One I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

From interior designer to author Linn B. Halton – who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman – says ‘it’s been a fantastic journey!’

Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and is excited to be writing for both Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus) and Harper Impulse (Harper Collins); she’s represented by Sara Keane of the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.

When she’s not writing or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture or working in the garden.

Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards.

Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she freely admits she’s an eternal romantic.

Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love, and relationships.

Follow Linn on her: WebsiteFacebookTwitter

Giveaway :

Giveaway to Win Rose Wine and Chocolates (UK only)

If you would like to be in with a chance to win a lovely rose wine and chocolate gift set, click on the link below and follow the instructions. Good luck!

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway **HERE**

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfillment of the prize, afterwhich time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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#Reckoning by J.B. Turner #AmericanGhost #NetGalley #Review

Reckoning (American Ghost #2)

Today I am sharing my review for Reckoning by J.B. Turner. This is actually the second book in the American Ghost Thriller series. My thanks to the publishers, Thomas & Mercer and Amazon Publishing UK for my e-copy via NetGalley.

Synopsis:

A sister kidnapped. A journalist in danger. A killer out for revenge.

After taking out a covert facility run by the Commission, a deep-state syndicate, Nathan Stone has made powerful enemies. He’s a black-ops asset—and he’s gone rogue.

But the organization wants payback. Kidnapping Stone’s sister from a Florida psychiatric hospital, the Commission have their asset exactly where they want him. They instruct him to neutralize journalist Mark Mahoney, to whom Stone had previously leaked documents about the Commission and their deadly conspiracy. Now, Nathan Stone has a choice: neutralize Mahoney and kill the story for good, or lose the only family he has left.

Stone knows that these men will stop at nothing to get what they want. Killing Mahoney is just the beginning. And when Stone learns the identity of their final target, he knows he has to stop the Commission once and for all—no matter the cost.

Purchase Here

My Thoughts:

As is the norm with me and reading a series in order, I started with Book 2, and so I can honestly say that “yes this works well as a stand-alone, but you would benefit from reading these in order”.

If you are a fan of Jason Bourne or Jack Reacher style books then this one will be right up your street. The main protagonist is Nathan Stone, an ex-military man who has definitely stood on some toes and made some very powerful enemies. These enemies have hit Nathan hard when they kidnap his sister and use her in a blackmail attempt.

The scenarios that play out are fast paced, violent and action-packed and I really liked the variety in these scenarios as they were not too samey or stereotypical. They were used in such a way as to keep the speed of the read at a breakneck tempo.

With Nathan being backed into a corner he comes out fighting and kicking, stabbing… I think you get the idea. Yes, he is a man who has gone rogue there is no argument about that, but underneath this dangerous exterior there resides a man who has a soul and morals but only towards those who deserve them.

As I mentioned this is fast paced and if you are someone who likes mysteries, corruption and double dealings then this is a great book to read. I have bought the first so I can back track to learn more about the origins and what makes this character tick and look forward to reading more in the series.

One I would definitely recommend to readers.

About the Author:

J. B. Turner is a former journalist and the author of the Jon Reznick series of conspiracy action thrillers (Hard Road, Hard Kill, Hard Wired, Hard Way, and Hard Fall), as well as the Deborah Jones political thrillers (Miami Requiem and Dark Waters). He loves music, from Beethoven to the Beatles, and watching good films, from Manhattan to The Deer Hunter. He has a keen interest in geopolitics. He lives in Scotland with his wife and two children.

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The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery #review

Todays review is for a childrens classic The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

Synopsis:

When a pilot crash-lands in the Sahara Desert he meets a stranger – a little prince – who has arrived on Earth from an entirely different planet. By listening to the prince’s stories and his questions about the world, it becomes clear to the pilot that truths about life can reveal themselves in the most unlikely of places.

Translated into 180 languages and selling over 80 million copies, this beautiful and wise tale of childhood innocence will delight readers of all ages. This edition also includes Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s charming original illustrations.

My Thoughts:

This book is one that definitely shows its age. What I mean is how technology has advanced since its original publication in April 1943. This is something that is very obvious and actually adds something to the reading experience. It has an old charm and almost twee-ness to it.

The book has a few moralistic types of messages to it and while they may not always clear during the reading, by the end I think I  found them. What I thought was that things are not missed until they are gone. As the world has moved forward with advances in science, medicine, and technology it is the basic things in life that we do not realise are around. Another is how the world is perceived through the eyes of a child, being simple, basic and without all the noise of life getting in the way. Also the message of everyone being unique, yes we are part of a society of other people, but we all have our own special qualities that make us special to other people. I think different readers would probably get their own ideas of what this book was trying to tell, but these are my thoughts.

I found the story itself to be interesting as I followed The Little Prince from his home to other places before finally meeting a stranded pilot on earth. The pilot is the narrator of this story and recounts what the Prince tells him. At times I did feel a little bit confused as I felt I was missing some of the points that were being made, but as I started to get towards the end things started to become clear.

The story has quite a sombre feel to it as it explains how we do not see what is around us as we are so busy rushing around, jobs, shopping meetings all take time. I think this is something most of us can relate to.

I did enjoy this story and thought it was very thought provoking. It was easy to get caught up into as I followed the Prince on his travels. The end is open to the readers interpretation of what happened to The Little Prince, I have my own thoughts as to what happened to him in my mind and where I think he went, others may think differently. This possible difference in a readers own interpretation is something that makes this book special. I have read other reviews from other readers and while they do have some similarities, there are some differences.

Overall I would recommend this book as I did really enjoy it.

About the Author:

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was born in Lyons on June 29, 1900. He flew for the first time at the age of twelve, at the Ambérieu airfield, and it was then that he became determined to be a pilot. He kept that ambition even after moving to a school in Switzerland and while spending summer vacations at the family’s château at Saint-Maurice-de-Rémens, in eastern France. (The house at Saint-Maurice appears again and again in Saint-Exupéry’s writing.)

Later, in Paris, he failed the entrance exams for the French naval academy and, instead, enrolled at the prestigious art school l’Ecole des Beaux-Arts. In 1921 Saint-Exupéry began serving in the military, and was stationed in Strasbourg. There he learned to be a pilot, and his career path was forever settled. 

After leaving the service, in 1923, Saint-Exupéry worked in several professions, but in 1926 he went back to flying and signed on as a pilot for Aéropostale, a private airline that flew mail from Toulouse, France, to Dakar, Senegal. In 1927 Saint-Exupéry accepted the position of airfield chief for Cape Juby, in southern Morocco, and began writing his first book, a memoir called Southern Mail, which was published in 1929. He then moved briefly to Buenos Aires to oversee the establishment of an Argentinean mail service; when he returned to Paris in 1931, he published Night Flight, which won instant success and the prestigious Prix Femina. 

Always daring, Saint-Exupéry tried in 1935 to break the speed record for flying from Paris to Saigon. Unfortunately, his plane crashed in the Libyan desert, and he and his copilot had to trudge through the sand for three days to find help. In 1938 he was seriously injured in a second plane crash, this time as he tried to fly between New York City and Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. The crash resulted in a long convalescence in New York. 

Saint-Exupéry’s next novel, Wind, Sand and Stars, was published in 1939. A great success, the book won the Académie Française’s Grand Prix du Roman (Grand Prize for Novel Writing) and the National Book Award in the United States. At the beginning of the Second World War, Saint-Exupéry flew reconnaissance missions for France, but he went to New York to ask the United States for help when the Germans occupied his country. He drew on his wartime experiences to write Flight to Arras and Letter to a Hostage, both published in 1942. His classic The Little Prince appeared in 1943. Later in 1943 Saint-Exupéry rejoined his French air squadron in northern Africa. Despite being forbidden to fly (he was still suffering physically from his earlier plane crashes), Saint-Exupéry insisted on being given a mission. On July 31, 1944, he set out from Borgo, Corsica, to overfly occupied France. He never returned. 

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