The Reach Of Shadows by Tony J Forder @TonyJForder #review

I am absolutely delighted to be bringing you my review of the 4th DI Bliss book, The Reach Of Shadows by Tony J Forder. I am a big fan of this author, I eagerly await the next book and one that I would automatically buy without reading the synopsis.

I was delighted to be chosen as a winner for a signed copy of this latest book in the series. I had already got this one on pre-order but waited until I had the actual paperback in my hand before reading it.

So let’s see what this latest book is all about…

Discover a bestselling crime series that will have you gripped from the explosive start to the heart-pounding conclusion.

Recovering from injuries sustained in a road collision, DI Bliss is taken directly from hospital to a fresh crime scene and ordered to investigate the vicious stabbing and murder of Jade Coleman.

When Bliss realises the victim had reported being stalked, and that two of his own team had been drafted in to take her statement, he is given the unenviable task of interviewing both of his detectives.

Increasingly it appears that the stalker may be their killer. However, several other people soon become part of the team’s suspect list.

Bliss also finds himself being questioned about his own past and has to battle to defend himself whilst continuing to investigate the murder.

Soon more questions arise.

Why would anybody target Jade Coleman?

Why are the team unable to identify the victim’s close female friend?

And why did Jade recently leave her job without any explanation?

With his work cut out, and his team under pressure, can Bliss solve the case before more victims show up?

Or will the shadows of his own past reach out and drag him under before he can succeed?

As this is the 4th in the DI Bliss and DC Chandler series I would say you really should read the previous books, though it could be read as a stand-alone. This series has gradually developed in terms of the characters and their own individual storylines. This book not only deals with a current investigation for the Peterborough based team it also delves into Bliss’s past, in fact delves, doesn’t even come close to it…

Bliss and Chandler are a great pair of characters and the author really does like to put the middle-aged DI through the wringer. Bliss is battered and bruised after a collision with a car, I have to say the banter that he received from his colleagues made me chuckle… sorry Bliss, but it did. Chandler is younger and really does look to Bliss for advice and I love that she is not averse to dishing out her own where he is concerned, especially when his personal life and past is called into question.

There are several other officers in this cast, they are making their mark in their own way, and while they are not in the forefront they do have their parts to play. Little snippets are gradually coming out about them, and also the build-up of respect and more importantly trust is ever increasing. I really do like Bliss and his “old timer” ways.

The investigation into the murder victim previously being in touch with the police is something that adds to the case. The “what if we could have prevented it” and also the “who can we blame” is present. It also has the whole team stumped as they have very little to go on with this somewhat of a lone woman, with very few friends to give valuable information to help the investigation move forward.

While this is going on there is another investigation, one that has its roots in the past of Bliss. It is an area of his past that he really does not want to get into again and to be honest I don’t blame him for wanting it left alone. But it does beggar the question…Does someone have it in for him? The answer…well Read the book and discover for yourself!

As this series goes on I get to know more and more about its 2 main characters. They have their own story to tell, they have been mentioned in the past and I now know more. By the end of the story, I felt as if the characters had actually got a chance to move forward, this is such a vague thing to say but I don’t want to give anything away. There have both had part of themselves hidden in the shadows and now they are starting to see some light, I do wonder how long this will last though…

This is a police procedural, murder mystery book. It has a pace that really suits the story, it is not fast paced, blood and guts flying type, it is slower as the head-scratching and information gathering sort as pieces of the puzzle are put together. I like how it is woven around the personal side of the main characters and I feel that both sides complement each other and I liked both of the stories equally.

So would I recommend? Oh yes absolutely!

Would I advise anyone who has not read the series to get it now? Damn, right I would!

In fact, here there are links below to all of Tony’s books. Happy reading folks!

Also available in the bestselling DI Bliss Series:

Bad to the Bone

The Scent of Guilt

If Fear Wins

The Reach Of Shadows

Or buy the 1st three-book set – (correct at time of writing ) 99p

Other books

Degrees of Darkness

Scream Blue Murder

Cold Winter Sun

Tony J Forder is the author of the critically acclaimed and best-selling crime thriller series featuring detectives Jimmy Bliss and Penny Chandler. The first three books, Bad to the Bone, The Scent of Guilt, If Fear Wins and The Reach of Shadows.

Tony’s dark, psychological crime thriller, Degrees of Darkness, featuring ex-detective Frank Rogers, was also published by Bloodhound Books. This is a stand-alone novel, and delves into the mind of a serial-killer.

Scream Blue Murder was published in November 2017, and received praise from many, including fellow authors Mason Cross, Matt Hilton and Anita Waller. The sequel, Cold Winter Sun, will be published on 1 November 2018.

Tony is now a full-time writer and lives with his wife in Peterborough, UK.

Visit Tony on – Twitter Website Facebook

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Marked For Death by Tony Kent @TonyKent_Writes #review

I was lucky enough to win a proof copy of this book August last year on TBC, and yep I am kicking myself for not reading it sooner.

Marked For Death is the second book in the series by Tony Kent. In my usual style, I have still got the first book Killer Intent to read, it is now sat glaring at me from my TBR. I bought Killer Intent before I had even got through the first few chapters of Marked For Death, that gives you an indication as to how much I enjoyed reading it.

Now let’s see what Marked For Death is all about…

A thrilling follow-up to one of 2018’s hottest debuts, Killer Intent

When London’s legal establishment is shaken to its foundation by the grisly crucifixion of a retired Lord Chief Justice, Detective Chief Inspector Joelle Levy is tasked with finding his killer. With fifty years of potential enemies to choose from, only the identical murder of former solicitor Adam Blunt offers a ray of hope: what is it that connects these victims who met such a gruesome end?

Assigned to the story from the start, news reporter Sarah Truman sets out to investigate on her own, not suspecting that the trail will lead straight back to her own front door and her fiancé Michael Devlin. A criminal barrister determined to prove the innocence of his own client, Michael is at first oblivious to the return of the murderous figure from his past – until tragedy strikes closer to home.

Struggling with his grief and guilt, and now caught up in a madman’s terrible quest for revenge, Michael must race to bring the killer to justice – before it’s too late.

I am not one for reading the synopsis immediately before I start reading a book or the author bio for that matter, I usually leave it till the end. For some reason, I decided to read both beforehand. It made me wonder how much of the authors’ experiences would show in his story and also how would they come across to me as a reader. He is a Barrister, Ex-Boxer and Crime Writer, well that’s an impressive resume! Well, I immediately felt that the author had an advantage, the legal stuff (stuff is not very technical I know!) had extra details, not that I am knowledgable in this area, but they had that extra something to them. The boxing details again showed themselves and added the air of someone who really knows what they are talking about. The writing well if I say I loved this book I think that will give a pretty good indication of how much I enjoyed it. I think 3 out of 3 is pretty spot on.

Right to the story itself then… this is a thriller that is fast paced, it has brilliant courtroom scenes, an intense investigation and if that is not enough, there are friendships and relationships that intersperse and link the various different characters.

The characters themselves are brilliant and it did not take me long to become familiar with them, they have interesting traits that make them stand out from each other. Many come across as strong and have their own determined presence, they really suit and complement this style of story. A weaker character just wouldn’t cut it in this powerful cast.

The plot or I should say plots are carefully entwined and full of surprise. They are clever and twist their way through the story, full of red herrings and blind alleys. I loved that I could keep up with all these without feeling confused or lost and it left me to thoroughly enjoy this intense story. The courtroom scenes I really enjoyed, especially while witnesses where being interrogated, sorry questioned, especially when those cocky, so sure of themselves ones, got so tangled up they fell flat on their faces.

The police investigation that is part of the story is also linked in with a news reporter. The pressure that DCI Levy is under to solve the case is evident and believe me when I say she is not a woman to be messed with, I really liked her tenacity and principles, but she is a woman with a past and would love to get to know her a bit more.

I have to give mention to the bad guy, Oh he is a real nasty piece of work and such a cleverly put together character.

So, a mix of courtroom drama, police investigations, thriller, crime and full of action from start to finish. For me, this was an absolutely brilliant read with so many aspects that hit the mark for me. It is one I would Highly Recommend.

Photo Credit – taken from the authors Goodreads Page.

Tony Kent’s first novel, KILLER INTENT, was one of the ‘must reads’ of 2018. It was selected for the Zoe Ball Book Club and is now to be adapted for television, directed by the award-winning filmmaker Duncan Jones.

Tony Kent grew up in a close-knit Irish family in London and studied law in Scotland.

A top-ranking barrister, Tony’s case history includes prosecuting and defending many high-profile, nationally reported trials.

Before his legal career, Tony boxed internationally as a heavyweight and won a host of national amateur titles.

Tony’s love of crime thrillers was inspired by powerhouse writers like Lee Child, Robert Ludlum, John Grisham, David Baldacci and Frederick Forsyth.

Follow or visit Tony on FacebookTwitterWebsite

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The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah @HarperCollinsUK #NetGalley #review

Today I am delighted to be sharing my review for The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah. My thanks to the publisher Harper Collins for accepting my request to review this book.

Let’s see what it is all about…

The world’s most beloved detective, Hercule Poirot – the legendary star of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express and most recently The Monogram Murders and Closed Casket—returns in a stylish, diabolically clever mystery set in 1930’s London.

Returning home after lunch one day, Hercule Poirot finds an angry woman waiting outside his front door. She demands to know why Poirot has sent her a letter accusing her of the murder of Barnabas Pandy, a man she has neither heard of nor ever met.

Poirot has also never heard of a Barnabas Pandy, and has accused nobody of murder. Shaken, he goes inside, only to find that he has a visitor waiting for him — a man who also claims also to have received a letter from Poirot that morning, accusing him of the murder of Barnabas Pandy…

Poirot wonders how many more letters of this sort have been sent in his name. Who sent them, and why? More importantly, who is Barnabas Pandy, is he dead, and, if so, was he murdered? And can Poirot find out the answers without putting more lives in danger?

Hercule Poirot is accused by four different people of writing letters that accuse them of murder. The problem is that Poirot did not send the letters, he has no idea how sent them, but he does think that something more sinister and dangerous could be afoot…

I have not read the previous two books in this series and to be honest this one reads very well as a stand-alone. I think this mirrors the way Christie herself wrote, each of her books could be picked up and read in any order.

So did this mysterious tale feel right? Actually yes it did, there was a lot of misdirection, clues that only came clear at the end, a series of possible characters who could have dunnit and who had the motive and of course there is a body.

I enjoyed the slower pace of this mystery novel and felt that the author did a really good job of creating a story with the infamous Poirot. Various mannerisms, quirks, and phrases felt right.

The plot is one that I was happy to sit back and watch (so to speak) as it worked its way through to the grand unveiling of the guilty party and the reasons why.

I have read all of Agatha Christie’s books, though it was several years ago now, and I found there were some good similarities between Sophie Hannah’s Poirot and the original. It was an enjoyable read and ones that I think would appeal to fans of cosy mystery and also of Christie fans as well.

Sophie Hannah
Photo taken from the authors Goodreads Page.

Sophie Hannah is an internationally bestselling writer of psychological crime fiction, published in 27 countries. In 2013, her latest novel, The Carrier, won the Crime Thriller of the Year Award at the Specsavers National Book Awards. Two of Sophie’s crime novels, The Point of Rescue and The Other Half Lives, have been adapted for television and appeared on ITV1 under the series title Case Sensitive in 2011 and 2012. In 2004, Sophie won first prize in the Daphne Du Maurier Festival Short Story Competition for her suspense story The Octopus Nest, which is now published in her first collection of short stories, The Fantastic Book of Everybody’s Secrets. 

Sophie has also published five collections of poetry. Her fifth, Pessimism for Beginners, was shortlisted for the 2007 T S Eliot Award. Her poetry is studied at GCSE, A-level and degree level across the UK. From 1997 to 1999 she was Fellow Commoner in Creative Arts at Trinity College, Cambridge, and between 1999 and 2001 she was a fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford. She is forty-one and lives with her husband and children in Cambridge, where she is a Fellow Commoner at Lucy Cavendish College. She is currently working on a new challenge for the little grey cells of Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie’s famous detective.

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The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley @lucyfoleytweets @HarperCollinsUK #NetGalley

Today I am delighted to be sharing my review for The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley. It is hard to miss a cover this bright and also there has been a lot of publicity for this book on social media. These two things are what attracted me to read the synopsis and then to request a review e-copy from the publisher Harper Collins via NetGalley.

For fans of Ruth Ware and Tana French, a shivery, atmospheric, page-turning novel of psychological suspense in the tradition of Agatha Christie, in which a group of old college friends are snowed in at a hunting lodge . . . and murder and mayhem ensue.

All of them are friends. One of them is a killer.

During the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of thirtysomething friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands—the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves.

They arrive on December 30th, just before a historic blizzard seals the lodge off from the outside world.

Two days later, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead.

The trip began innocently enough: admiring the stunning if foreboding scenery, champagne in front of a crackling fire, and reminiscences about the past. But after a decade, the weight of secret resentments has grown too heavy for the group’s tenuous nostalgia to bear. Amid the boisterous revelry of New Year’s Eve, the cord holding them together snaps.

Now one of them is dead . . . and another of them did it.

Keep your friends close, the old adage goes. But just how close is too close? 

The synopsis for this book does a really great job. A story of friendship that once held these people together through their younger days but now appears to be heading towards its best by date.

I really enjoyed the style this book has been laid out in. It has quick chapters that flit back and forth between the groups’ arrival at a Scottish Lodge, there pasts and then forward to the day that a body is discovered.

Another alternating factor is that of the characters, as their chapters also change as sections are told from them and fro their own perspective. The gave additional insights into each character, so I got to see them as they think they are seen and also how they are actually seen. The characters give memories, events, relationships and also interactions that gradually builds up a picture of how this group came together and what keeps them in touch with each other.

With all the toing and froing, you would think it would get a little bit confusing, but this is really not the case. I soon discovered that I was able to easily keep up with this and the reading was understandable.

I really liked the way the author kept the ID of the victim secret all the way through the story. This gave me a chance to try and work out who the victim was. I could say that I worked out who it was, but the truth of the matter is that there were several people who I guessed, so in actual fact, I didn’t really guess at all. Oh and the perpetrator, well I didn’t guess that one either.

This is a story that had a feel of Agatha Christie about it, I say this because of its isolated setting and that it was closed off to outsiders which meant it had to be one of the group. Also, there were the pieces of the puzzle being brought together at the end.

I really enjoyed this story, the style in which it was written and it worked really well for me. It is a murder/ mystery/ whodunit/ who was the victim style that I think would appeal to a variety of readers. It isn’t a hard crime book but more towards a cosy mystery. It is one I would definitely recommend.

Lucy Foley
Picture Credit
From the Authors Goodreads Page

I live in London, but love traveling – both in real life and on the page (hence the appearance of some far flung locations in my writing). 

My latest novel is The Invitation – set in the film world of the 1950s, along the Italian Riviera. 

My debut novel, The Book of Lost & Found, published in early 2015.

You can find me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter

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No Further Questions by Gillian McAllister #MeAndMyBooks #NetGalley @MichaelJBooks #review

I am delighted to be sharing my review today for No Further Questions by Gillian . My thanks to the Publisher Michael Jospeh for accepting my request to review this ebook via NetGalley.


The police say she’s guilty.
She insists she’s innocent.

She’s your sister.
You loved her.
You trusted her.
But they say she killed your child.

Who do you believe?

Original, devilishly clever and impossible to forget, this is a thriller with a difference. You won’t be able to tear yourself away from the trial that will determine both sisters’ fates.

The synopsis for No Further Questions is perfect, it has the right amount of tension and intrigue to make me want to pick and read. In fact it did such a good job that not only did I originally request it via NetGalley, but I also bought the ebook from Amazon, then forgetting that I already had it, I also bought a paperback copy from the supermarket when I went shopping 🙂 I am gutted this has been on my TBR for this long as it is a cracking read.

It is a mix of courtroom drama and revisited memories that kept me eagerly turning the pages. To be honest, if work wasn’t essential I would have read this in one sitting.

So where to start? Okay, the sisters, Martha and Becky, both married, both have a child, and both sisters are very different from each other. One of the sisters needs help as she tries to run her business and look after her 8 week old, in steps the other sister and they work out a plan that in theory will fit them both. Being sisters this seems to be the ideal choice.

Now to the parents of the sisters, how the mind boggles with this aspect. Wanting to be supportive of both daughters and yet one is in the dock being accused of murdering the daughter of the other sister… Was the sister guilty, she professes her innocence, was it an accident or murder?

The story is told in thought-provoking daily chapters from the perspective of the sisters and some of the other characters. There are subchapters as well  that give details from those involved each day, including those that have been called to give evidence.

It was so easy to get into this story and the further I read the more engrossed I got. I was never sure if the sister was guilty, part of me wanted her to be innocent, but there was also a seed of doubt that hovered in the background. Then further in I started to get this horrible nagging feeling, a “What if” moment. It was a feeling I hoped I was wrong about, but by the end of the story, I was right. Now this really didn’t matter, yes I worked it out, but it was all about the story getting me to that point. Even when the truth was revealed I was still shocked as I was so caught up with the story on such an emotional level, I really did not want to be right.

This is a wonderfully gripping story that explored many emotions and dilemmas for the main characters. A story of a family that are dealing with a tragic loss and could be potentially ripped even further apart. This is a tense, powerful, heartbreaking and thought-provoking read that I would definitely recommend.

Image and Bio taken from the Authors Page on Amazon UK

Gillian McAllister is the Sunday Times Top 10 bestselling author of Everything But The Truth, Anything You Do Say, and No Further Questions. They are all standalone and can be read in any order. She is published in ten countries around the world. The Good Sister is her US debut, coming June 2019 from Penguin USA, and is the American title for No Further Questions. The Evidence Against You is her next novel, out April 2019 in the UK. 

You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @gillianmauthor. She also blogs at http://www.gillianmcallister.com.

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Tempests And Slaughter by Tamora Pierce #MeAndMyBooks #NetGalley #review

Today I have my review for Tempests And Slaughter by Tamora Pierce. My thanks go to Harper Collins UK for accepting my review request for this e-book that I received via NetGalley.

Arram. Varice. Ozorne. In the first book in the Numair Chronicles, three student mages are bound by fate . . . fated for trouble.

Arram Draper is a boy on the path to becoming one of the realm’s most powerful mages. The youngest student in his class at the Imperial University of Carthak, he has a Gift with unlimited potential for greatness–and for attracting danger. At his side are his two best friends: Varice, a clever girl with an often-overlooked talent, and Ozorne, the “leftover prince” with secret ambitions. Together, these three friends forge a bond that will one day shape kingdoms. And as Ozorne gets closer to the throne and Varice gets closer to Arram’s heart, Arram begins to realize that one day soon he will have to decide where his loyalties truly lie. 

In the Numair Chronicles, readers will be rewarded with the never-before-told story of how Numair Salmalín came to Tortall. Newcomers will discover an unforgettable fantasy adventure where a kingdom’s future rests on the shoulders of a talented young man with a knack for making vicious enemies.

Act fast! The first printing of the hardcover includes a collector’s edition poster!

This is the 8th book in the Tortall series, but book 1 in the Numair Chronicles. This book, as it happens, turned out to be the right choice for me as I had not read anything in the series or by this author before.

In the Imperial University of Carthak there are three students who are ahead of others in their age group and also those older in terms of their abilities. They are Varice, often referred to as the “kitchen witch”. Prince Orzone was known as the “left-over Prince” and then the youngest Arram Draper. It is Arram’s story that is experienced in this book. The three students form a friendship that is needed, singly they would probably stand out more and be loners, open to bullying, insult, and attack. Together they are strong.

The story follows their progress through their studies. It focuses mainly on Arram and how he and his fellow students’ magical gifts are developing. Arram’s magic stands out more as it seems to be more natural, wild and if not careful, uncontrollable. Yes, this is a story about magical abilities but it has so much more to it than that. At times it has a historical fiction feel to it with mentions of Emperors, Royalty, Slavery, Gladitorial battles, and traitors.

The three friends have very different backgrounds and ideas, they have different subjects that will help them in their respective futures, whatever their futures may be…

This is a fair paced story and I found it really easy to get into, the characters were very quick to become memorable as I read. Mixed in amongst the learning, magic and daily life are mentions of various gods. Some make themselves known and in their respective forms, and if I were to meet one I wouldn’t hang around. The story has a very nice flow to it, I guess what I mean is that it is very easy to involved in, relate to some of the dilemmas of the students and just to be able to follow the story and enjoy.

As I said earlier, this is the first time of reading anything by this author and I can definitely say it will not be the last, I am looking forward to reading further books in this series and then I am eager to reading the follow on series. It does have the feel of a new series to it, groundwork, history, all the building blocks are being laid down, as many first in a series books do. It is a series I am very interested in and will continue with. I think this is one that readers who don’t often read fantasy would get on very well with, yes there is magic, but there are other things as well. Ideal for fantasy readers and I think general fiction readers as well, and one I would definitely recommend.

Image and Bio from the Author’s Page on Amazon UK

Tamora Pierce was born in South Connellsville, Pennsylvania and her parents were originally going to call her Tamara, but the nurse who filled out her birth certificate had never heard of that name before and accidentally misspelled it. However, Tamora likes her name and in case you’re wondering how to pronounce it, it sounds just like a camera. She was a passionate reader from an early age, devouring encyclopedias, Dr. Seuss books, and J.R.R. Tolkien. Writing helped Tamora get through her parents’ divorce and in her junior year at college she sold her first story and went on to publish The Song of the Lioness, originally with adult readers in mind, but found success when she turned it into a quartet for teenagers. The rest, as they say, is history! Tamora lives in New York with her husband.

Author Links – Amazon Author Page

Purchase Link – Amazon UKTwitterWebsite

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The Lost Daughter by Gill Paul #MeAndMyBooks #NetGalley #review

Today I am sharing my review for a fabulous book, The Lost Daughter by Gill Paul. I would like to thank the publisher Headline for accepting my request to read an e-copy of this book.

A Russian princess. An extraordinary sacrifice. A captivating secret….

From the number one best-selling author of The Secret Wife, The Lost Daughter is a sweeping, moving story of the tenacity of love and the power of forgiveness. Spectacular, enthralling and romantic, Gill Paul’s latest novel will stay with you forever.

1918. With the country they once ruled turned against them, the future of the Romanov family hangs in the balance. When middle daughter Maria captures the attention of two of the guards, it will lead to the ultimate choice between right and wrong….

Fifty-five years later…

‘I didn’t want to kill her’. With these cryptic words Val’s father dies, leaving her to unravel a mystery which unites two families who have faced unspeakable tragedy and perhaps to finally offer an explanation which has been long overdue. 

I am going to start by saying that this is a stunning historical fiction read that has been sat on my digital TBR for far too long. I really wish I had picked it up sooner.

It has two timelines, one in 1918 and the other in the 1970s. I was curious how these two would eventually link up as they also span two different continents. A story of tragedy, love, betrayal, and heartbreak amongst the turmoil of 1918 Russia, and in the 70s a daughter trying to discover the meaning behind her fathers’ mysterious ramblings.

What an absolutely fabulous read, full of emotion and completely addictive. From the start, I noticed the details that showed the evidence of a well-researched book. I was immediately transported with the authors take on the story of the Romanov family. Maria is one of Tsar Nicholas II daughters. At 19 Maria is taken from the opulent lifestyle. Russia is in a period of transition, a period of turmoil and suffering that many experienced for many years to come.

In the 70s I met Val, she is confused with her father. He has dementia and is dying, but she wonders if his mysterious conversations have anything to do with his past. They are troubled words and she finds herself unable to leave them alone. She sets out to discover the truth and also finds herself making decisions about her own future.

There is something about the history of the Romanovs and Russian history of this era that really does pique my interest. It may seem a morbid thing to be interested in, but my interest lies in the social class and structure of the time. A time in history that is tragic as people of all classes are persecuted, depending on who is in power. But it is the human resilience and inventiveness of trying to stay alive, rather than bowing down to an authority that would rather you were dead than oppose them. The Author has done an amazing job of mixing fact with fiction to give a glimpse into Russian life at the time.

The story between the two times was one that had me hooked. I found the characters were very easy to follow and recognisable. The alternating timelines were again very easy to keep up with. I found a story that was heartbreaking and hopeful. Heartbreaking because of what had happened, but hopeful towards the possibility of a better future. It had a dramatic and at times tense atmosphere to the reading, I found myself constantly wondering and worrying about the fate of some of the characters. I was totally caught up and mesmerised by the whole story.

The story of Val is a gradual one, she slowly starts to unravel a decades-old mystery that has kept its grip on her father. Her story really did compliment that of Maria. I was unsure how they would link, but when I started to see little things coming together I was even more compelled to read. By the end of the story I was a bit of an emotional wreck… enter the box of tissues…I found the concluding chapters brought everything together beautifully and completely, although I was gutted to have finished the story.

This was an absolutely wonderful read, it has an amazing balance of human endurance to overcome heartwrenching odds. In case you have not guessed it yet, I absolutely adored this story and it is one I would Highly Recommend. Also, it has left me wanting to read more by this author.

Image and Bio taken from the Author’s Page at Amazon UK

Gill Paul is an author of historical fiction, specialising in relatively recent history. Her new novel, The Lost Daughter, is about Maria, the third of the Romanov daughters, who befriended the guards in Ekaterinburg, and a Sydney woman called Val Scott, who is trapped in an abusive marriage. 

Gill’s other novels include Another Woman’s Husband, about links between Wallis Simpson and Princess Diana, and The Secret Wife, about the romance between cavalry officer Dmitri Malama and Grand Duchess Tatiana, the second Romanov daughter, who first met in 1914. Women and Children First is about a young steward who works on the Titanic. The Affair was set in Rome in 1961–62 as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton fell in love while making Cleopatra. And No Place for a Lady is about two Victorian sisters who travel out to the Crimean War of 1854–56 and face challenges beyond anything they could have imagined.

Gill also writes historical non-fiction, including A History of Medicine in 50 Objects, and a series of Love Stories, each containing fourteen tales of real-life couples: how they met, why they fell for each other, and what happened in the end. Published around the world, this series includes Royal Love Stories, World War I Love Stories and Titanic Love Stories.

Gill was born in Glasgow and grew up there, apart from an eventful year at school in the US when she was ten. She studied Medicine at Glasgow University, then English Literature and History (she was a student for a long time), before moving to London to work in publishing. She started her own company producing books for publishers, along the way editing such luminaries as Griff Rhys Jones, John Suchet, John Julius Norwich, Ray Mears and Eartha Kitt. She also writes on health, nutrition and relationships.

Gill swims year-round in an open-air pond – “It’s good for you so long as it doesn’t kill you”– and is a devotee of Pilates. She also particularly enjoys travelling on what she calls “research trips” and attempting to match-make for friends.

Purchase Link – Amazon UK

Visit the Author on – TwitterWebsiteFacebook

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A Brush With Death by Ali Carter #MeAndMyBooks #NetGalley #review

Today I have my review of A Brush With Death by Ali Carter. This book has been on my TBR for a little while now. I would like to thank Oneworld Publications for approving my request to read this ebook via NetGalley.

Agatha Christie meets Downton Abbey in this delightful new series introducing pet portraitist and amateur super-sleuth, Susie Mahl

In the village of Spire, murder is afoot. Rich landowner Alexander, 9th Earl of Greengrass is caught with his trousers down in the village graveyard before meeting a gruesome end.

Luckily Susie Mahl happens to be on hand. With her artist’s eye for detail and her curious nature she is soon on the scent of the murderer…

Susie Mahl paints portraits of peoples pets. Her latest commission is of a Deerhound called Situp…I love this as a name for a dog. During a weekend stay at pet owners home in the village of Spire, one of Sophie’s friends is murdered.

This is a cosy mystery and the first in the Susie Mahl Mystery series. From the very outset, was quickly engaged as I discovered the main characters. It was found numerous mentions and references to art, painting and the processes and while I did find them interesting I felt it slowed the telling of the main story down a bit. Once the painting sections started to diminish the story itself started to come to the forefront again and the pace quickened. Susie was able to embark on her own truth-finding mission.

While reading I found myself surprised when mentions of mobile phones, internet etc were mentioned. I think this is due to having comparisons with Downton Abbey and Agatha Christie who I associate with 1920’s/30’s. I think this is my own assumption, but as there were only the occasional technology mentions it didn’t really matter that much.

Susie paints for those who have money and status, they are Lords, Ladies, Earls and Countesses. She stays for weekends to get to know the pet she is going to paint, it gives her a chance to explore and try to discover various truths. The plot itself is nicely laid out as Susie’s investigations are being delved into. It has a gentle pace rather than a full pelt race to the end.

If you like cosy mysteries then I think this is one readers of the genre will enjoy. I am looking forward to reading more about Susie in this series and will be buying more as they are available. This is one I would recommend.

Image from the Author Page on Amazon UK

Ali Carter was born in Scotland and read art history at St Andrews. There followed an eclectic career in investment management, retail and technology; then in 2011 she had a catastrophic bicycling accident. After major brain surgery and a long recovery, Ali set herself a challenge to walk alone from Canterbury to Rome, a three-month pilgrimage she wrote about in her book, An Accidental Jubilee by Alice Warrender. From then she decided to follow her passion and become a fine artist, specialising in oil paintings from life with an emphasis on colour. Ali works from her studio in East Sussex and also draws pet portraits to commission. A Brush with Death is her first novel.

Visit Ali on her Amazon Author Page

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

The 13th Witch by Mark Hayden #MeAndMyBooks #review

Today I am sharing my review for The 13th Witch by Mark Hayden, and this is the first book in The King’s Watch Series. This book came to my attention during a recent Blog Tour organised by Anne at Random Things Tours.

Did you know that the gods can use mobile phones?
They can, and Odin has a message for Conrad

Conrad Clarke, former RAF pilot and alleged gangster gets a text – and a visit – from The Allfather.
Odin has a challenge for Conrad: sign up to protect England from wild magick and get a commission in the King’s Watch.
All he has to do is find a missing witch. Simple.
Conrad never could resist a challenge. Before you can say “Ragnarok”, he’s plunged into a world of gods, mages, witches, dwarves and one very aggressive giant mole.
But the witch doesn’t want to be found, and powerful mages will kill to keep her hidden. Going back isn’t an option. Going forward looks a lot like death.
Armed with nothing but a sense of humour and a willingness to cheat, Conrad has to find the Witch and save his life.
Treat yourself to a copy now and experience a whole new universe of magick. And moles…

The synopsis gives a very good idea as to what this book is about. It definitely caught my eye enough to go and buy a copy. What I discovered was a book with an eclectic mix of characters from old legend and folklore with a modern setting.

Conrad seems to take these random mythological characters in his stride, not phased by them at all. He decides to accept the mission to find a missing witch and so enters a world of magik. The mission itself appears straight forward but I felt it turned into a mission of trying to work out who to trust.

As this is the first book in the series it does have the feeling of getting to know the characters to it. There are backstories for the main characters and some of the facts about magik. It is like setting down the base for following books in the series.

As well as magik based characters there are also humans as well. These are just as interesting and I am curious to see where the story goes with them. It does have a slower pace to it, but I would expect this to a certain extent with this being the first, but it does start to pick pace in the second half of this story.

I found this to be an interesting and enjoyable read, I do have the 2nd book in the series on its way. I would say this is more of a light fantasy read and it is a really good introduction into what I think will be a good series to follow, and one I would recommend.

Image taken from Mark’s Author Page on Amazon UK

Mark Hayden is the pen name of Adrian Attwood. He lives in Westmorland with his wife, Anne.

He has had a varied career: working for a brewery, teaching English and being the Town Clerk in Carnforth. He is now a part-time writer and part-time house-husband.

You can find Mark on Goodreads and on the Paw Press website.

Purchase Link Amazon UK

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

Dark Pines by Will Dean #MeAndMyBooks #bookreview

Today I have my review for Dark Pines by Will Dean. I have had this book on my TBR for quite a while now and with the release of Red Snow, that I also have on my TBR I thought it was about time I delved into the Swedish Forests with Tuva Moodyson.

Let’s see what the book is all about…

An isolated Swedish town. A deaf reporter terrified of nature. A dense spruce forest overdue for harvest. A pair of eyeless hunters found murdered in the woods.

It’s week one of the Swedish elk hunt and the sound of gunfire is everywhere. When Tuva Moodyson investigates the story that could make her career she stumbles on a web of secrets that knit Gavrik town together. Are the latest murders connected to the Medusa killings twenty years ago? Is someone following her? Why take the eyes? Tuva must face her demons and venture deep into the woods to stop the killer and write the story. And then get the hell out of Gavrik.

This is the first in the Tuva Moodyson Mystery Series and it was a chance to meet Tuva. She has moved back to Sweden to be closer to her mother. Gavrik is a forest village in the isolated Swedish forest filled with bugs, bogs and lots of pine trees, Oh and a 20-year-old unsolved murder. Tuva works on the local paper and so her interest in not only the old murders but the new one gives her a chance to meet up with residents.

Doesn’t it sound like a fabulous place to live…lol

I can see why this book has favourable reviews and now I have read it I am eager to get into the new one. Tuva is a fabulous character and I loved that she is a little unexpected. She has the dogged determination that I kind of expect in a reporter, but she is also wary and comes across in a nervy way. By the end of the book, I did realise that she is quite determined and tenacious as she uncovers the truth.

The truth and the discovering the suspect is one of the main focuses of the story. Tuva gets to meets some…let’s call them “interesting” characters. A line from the book that summed up, some, of the personalities was said by one of Tuva’s friends as she described the residents of the remote village as being “the creme da la fucking creme of Gavrik’s rednecks and perverts” I have to say I did nod in agreement with this line.

As for discovering the truth, well I had no idea and I was glad that Tuva did all the legwork. There were so many possibilities as to who could have done it and why. The author did a fabulous job of throwing red herrings right left and center, but this was done in such a subtle way, he sowed seeds of doubt into the characters so, in the end, I had no idea who to trust.

Trying to discover the perpetrator of the crime takes Tuva into some very creepy and lonesome areas. The possible suspects are not the sort of people I would want to visit, this builds up the tension and suspense as she follows her trail of clues.

While Tuva is investigating she is also trying to visit her mother. Mentions of both Tuva’s mother and father give a bit of an insight into Tuva herself. The importance of truth and writing the truth is something that is in the core of who she is. The truth is something that Tuva has to tread very carefully with as she risks alienating the local community if she gets it wrong.

There is another thing that stood out for me in this book, apart from the plot and cast, and that was the wonderful descriptions. This author has a real way with the words for sights, sounds, and smells, they are definitely atmospheric and at times appear to have a sense foreboding to them. The vivid imagery that this brought to the story was this readers dream. Admittedly some of them left me screwing my face up and feeling yuck.

Tuva is a character I really liked and I am really looking forward to getting to know her a little better and meeting her again in Red Snow.

If you like atmospheric mystery reads with a female lead then have a read of Dark Pines. It is a crime, mystery and thriller read that I would recommend.

Will Dean grew up in the East Midlands, living in nine different villages before the age of eighteen. He was a bookish, daydreaming kid who found comfort in stories and nature (and he still does). After studying Law at the LSE, and working in London, he settled in rural Sweden. He built a wooden house in a boggy clearing at the center of a vast elk forest, and it’s from this base that he compulsively reads and writes. He is the author of Dark Pines.

Visit Will on Twitter

The books in The Tuva Moodyson Mystery Series.

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