The Secret Keeper by Amanda James @amandajames61 @OneMoreChapter_ #NetGalley #contemporaryfiction #romance #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Secret Keeper by Amanda James. I didn’t realise that this was previously published as Summer In Tintagel, it is one of the authors’ earlier books and one that I had not read so I was delighted to read it. I am aware that some of the earlier titles are being republished by One More Chapter, a branch of Harper Collins. I did get an early copy of this book via NetGalley and I also have it on pre-order 🙂

Today also happens to be the publication day for The Secret Keeper and I would like to wish Mandy a very Happy Publication Day xx

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When journalist Rosa Fernley’s ailing gran, Jocelyn, passes on a long-held secret of her past in her dying days, Rosa embarks on a quest to Cornwall to find answers and resolution to free her grandmother from guilt and pain as she leaves this earth.

But in the wild, beautiful landscape of Tintagel, Rosa encounters something she could never imagine as the past comes to life and walks the beaches once more. Unravelling the truth of what happened to the man her grandmother once loved and left leads Rosa on an unexpected journey, one which unlocks not only her gran’s secrets but the secrets of who – and what – Rosa truly is…

This book was previously published as Summer in Tintagel

MY REVIEW

This author is one of my favourites and her latest offering is a mystery that reaches back to an earlier generation. This particular book has a mystery to it and also a supernatural vibe that works so well within the story and also the setting of Tintagel in Cornwall.

Tintagel is a place that is of legendary tales, mysticism and magic. The seat of King Arthur and a welcoming place for all. Although when Rosa first arrives she doesn’t make a great impression, a visitor who doesn’t understand the essence of what makes a place special and then dismisses it is always going to receive a slightly chilled welcome.

Rosa is on a bit of a mission for her elder Grandmother who had visited Cornwall when she was younger and it had left its impressing in more ways than one. It is her Grandmother that tells Rosa she must visit the area and discover what she needs to know about her Grans story and also make headway into her own story.

This tale starts with a young child, it then skips forward to a present-day setting and leads the reader through the area around Tintagel, the shops, the locals and the sights around. As much as Rosa wants to enjoy her time she is also aware of her Grans wishes an also that her Gran is coming towards the end of her time. Life and death are linked, and the link that the author has sued for her story is one that is full of heartbreak but also of something wonderful.

The story is one that deals with the past and the present and in doing so also leads to potential futures filled with optimism, hope and excitement. Unexpected revelations and meetings prove hard at times but others give the nudge that Rosa needs to continue her quest. I did mention romance is part of this story and this is something that the author has woven in wonderfully. Not straightforward but it gives a great sense of hope to the reader.

This is a gorgeous written story that encapsulated the mysticism of Cornwall and also gives the reader a wonderful glimpse into village life in Cornwall. I adored this story and it was one that I had to read from start to finish in one sitting. It is one for those who like contemporary fiction and romance story that brings secrets of the past to the forefront and it is a book I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amanda James/A.K. James has written since she was a child, and as an eight-year-old, she asked her parents for a typewriter for Christmas. She never imagined her words would ever be published however. Then in 2010, after many twists and turns, the dream of becoming a writer came true when she had her first short story published for a Born Free anthology. She left teaching in 2013 to pursue her dream full-time.

Originally from Sheffield, Amanda now lives in Cornwall and is inspired every day by the wild and beautiful coastline near her home. She loves writing uplifting books with a twist of magic, as she thinks the world needs more joy in it right now. Amanda can usually be found playing on the beach with her family, or walking the cliff paths planning her next book.

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The Highland Girls at War by Helen Yendall @HelenYendall @rararesources #WWII #saga #historicalfiction #Giveaway #historicalromance #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Highland Girls at War by Helen Yendall. This is the first book I have read by this author and I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to reading more from her.

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

Can the Highland girls prove everyone wrong? Don’t miss this poignant and heartwarming WW2 novel for fans of Rosie Clarke, Dilly Court and Rosie Archer, from the author of A Wartime Secret.

Scotland, 1942.
The Lumberjills, the newest recruits in the Women’s Timber Corps, arrive in the Scottish Highlands to a hostile reception from doubtful locals. The young women are determined to prove them wrong and serve their country – but they’re also all looking for something more…

Lady Persephone signed up to show everyone she’s more than just a pretty face – but it’ll take more than some charm and her noble credentials to win handsome Sergeant Fraser over.

Tall, strong Grace has led a lonely life working on a croft, with just her mother for company. All she wants is to find her place in the world – even if that’s a thousand miles from home.

And Irene misses her husband terribly, so until he returns home from the frontline, she’s distracting herself with war work. But one distraction too far leads to devastating consequences…

Can the Lumberjills get through their struggles together – even when tragedy strikes?

PURCHASE LINKS – AMAZON – UK US

MY REVIEW

This is the first time I have read anything from this author and this book was a wonderful one to read. The setting is Scotland during WWII. As some women join the WVRS or become LandGirls, there is another group they can enlist with, this is The Womens’ Timber Corp. I seem to remember something about this but I am not sure from where. The WTC was set up in 1942, the aim was for women to take over the forestry jobs of the men who had to go to war.

The story focuses on a small group of women, you couldn’t get a much different group as they come together to do what they can to help. A mix of Scottish women, a couple are married, some are engaged, some come from other jobs and there is even an English Lady!

The author brings this group of women together and over the course of the story, they start to form friendships. The work is tough, some that have come from crofts or small holding are more used to the physical work, whereas others come from shop or factory backgrounds. Each of them though odes brings their own personality and it seems that all have a reason to be there.

The women are not the only ones in the forest, there are some Candian Lumberjacks that have been stationed close by. The girls much prefer their own nickname, the Lumberjills. Living in close proximity there are dalliances between the two groups. There is going to be heartache somewhere down the line.

The author has woven a group of strangers that have a job to do, it also turns out they have a point to prove. Working a very tough job that is seen as being “men’s work” gives the girls a push to do the best they can. As the months roll on the camaraderie between the women grows, and solid friendships are formed.

This was a wonderful glimpse into a group that I had heard about and it definitely made me search for more information about the WTC. The author has mixed a factual group that played its part in their service to the war effort and worked some wonderful storylines into the story. This was a wonderful one to read and if you are a fan of WWII historical romances and sagas then you are really going to enjoy this one. A story of friendship, support and overcoming the odds. A great cast of characters and I was sorry to get to the end of the story. It is one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Helen Yendall has had dozens of short stories and a serial published in women’s magazines over the past twenty years and now writes female-focused WW2 novels. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.
She studied English and German at Leeds University and has worked in a variety of roles: for a literary festival, a university, a camping club, a children’s charity and in marketing and export sales. But her favourite job is the one she still has: teaching creative writing to adults.
Although a proud Brummie by birth, Helen now lives in the North Cotswolds with her husband and cocker spaniel, Bonnie. When she’s not teaching or writing, she likes reading, swimming, tennis and walking in the beautiful countryside where she lives.

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Giveaway to Win a £15 Amazon Voucher & a Scottish Goodie Giftbag (worth £37) from Highland Fayre (Open to UK Only)


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*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 Rachel’s Random Resources reserves 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 fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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The Cruise by Catherine Cooper @catherinecooper @RandomTTours @fictionpubteam #mystery #suspense #NetGalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Cruise by Catherine Cooper. I have read one of her other books, The Chalet and her latest one is fabulous as well.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

A glamorous ship. A mysterious cast of passengers. And a New Year’s Eve party that goes horribly wrong…

During a New Year’s Eve party on a large cruise ship in the Caribbean, the ship’s dancer, Lola, disappears. The ship is searched and the coastguard is called, but there is no sign of her, either dead or alive.

Lola was popular on the ship but secretive about her background, and as the mystery around her deepens, each passenger becomes a suspect. Who was she arguing with the night she vanished? Why did she come aboard the cruise in the first place? What was she running from?

Find out in the twisty new thriller from the queen of glamorous crime, Catherine Cooper.

MY REVIEW

The synopsis gives the basics for part of this novel, there is however another side to it that isn’t mentioned. So, I am going to focus on the part of the story that is mentioned in the synopsis.

The story has a brief intro with the death of a man, then there is a prologue then the story starts. The death of Lola a dancer on a large cruise ship is a shock. When she was last seen she was visibly upset, when she was last heard she was arguing. Why was she upset and who did she argue with?

The author has given a story that had me addicted as I discovered this was one that had a split timeline. The now part deals with Lola, the past is something else entirely. I didn’t work out the connections, yes not A connection, but several connections, until the author dropped the literal bombshells.

The idea of working on a cruise ship is one that has never appealed to me. Being close to people you work with and never having a moment to yourself, always being on call just never appeals to me. The author does give some great info about living aboard a cruise ship and also drops in some really interesting facts that I hadn’t even considered.

The story is one that flits between the timelines and it gradually builds up a picture but one that is not complete until much later in the book. There is a sense of distrust and when a certain few seem to be suspect in the death of Lola the suspicion and suspense of the story build.

There was a lot I didn’t see coming in this story, it is one that took me by surprise and had me eagerly turning the pages to discover the full truth. It soon became obvious to me that this would be a one-sitting read as I needed to know the answers to all the questions.

This is a fabulous story that I adored, full of mystery and intrigue, tension and suspense. It is one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Catherine Cooper is a freelance journalist writing for many national newspapers and magazines,
specialising in travel. She also makes regular appearances as a talking head on daytime TV. She lives
in France with her husband and two teenage children.
Her debut thriller THE CHALET was a top five Sunday Times bestseller and spent three weeks in the
Kindle top 100. THE CRUISE is her third novel

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We All Have Our Secrets by Jane Corry @PenguinUKBooks #NetGalley #contemporaryfiction #psychological #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for We All Have Our Secrets by Jane Corry. I really enjoy this author’s books and this latest one is fabulously addictive and has some wonderful dilemmas that would make for great book club questions.

I received my e-copy of this book from the publisher – Penguin UK that I requested via NetGalley.

Emily made a mistake, a mistake midwifes can’t afford to make. Escaping to her dad’s home in Devon to regroup and check in on him – his dementia has been worsening, and her guilt along with it – she is surprised when a beautiful stranger answers the door. Francoise is her dad’s new carer, but Emily’s father seems to have deteriorated under her care.

Emily doesn’t trust Francoise – but she doesn’t trust herself either. Each has a secret. And one of them will kill to keep it . . .

A suspenseful, darkly emotive domestic thriller from the Sunday Times bestseller about what happens when family ties are pushed to breaking point.
 

MY REVIEW

I have read all of this author’s books and I have always enjoyed the unexpected twists that she adds to her stories. This latest book I think may be the most twisted one yet!

Emily has returned to her family home in Cornwall. She is a midwife and there has been a mistake, taking a break at her home and catching up with her elderly father. She is surprised when she is greeted by a young woman. Things have changed since her last visit and it is with the suspicion that she tries to work out why this young French woman is a carer for Harold, her dad.

Francoise is a caring woman and has experience looking after the elderly. She is used to their mood swings and has learnt to be patient with them. She soon realised that Emily doesn’t seem to like her and is on her case.

This was a fabulous read and it is one that does at times flit back from present-day to 1945, this fills.in gaps in Harold’s life while continuing in the present time. The story also alternates between Emily and Francoise. This is a great way of seeing different sides to the women and seeing things from their perspective. Do I g this means the author can sow seeds of doubt for the reader. As I thought one thing, the author successfully turned things on their head and I found myself reevaluating, this is where the twists become more evident and sneaky.

The author does a very good job of going through the various aspects of midwifery and also adult care while weaving in her story of the past and the present. The levels of suspicion increase throughout the story and kept drawing me further and further in. No one is quite what they seem and so the title is very appropriate, yes we all have secrets but some are of can have serious repercussions.

This is a fabulous story and became a one-sitting read for me. It has a good psychological angle as well as mysteries. There is also a nice bit of romance running through this story and again it has roots in the past, with more secrets that are to be revealed. I really enjoyed this and would definitely recommend it.

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

A Most Private Bank by Andreas F Clenow @clenow @cameronpmtweets @RandomTTours #thriller #finance #crime #coverlove #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for A Most Private Bank by Andreas Clenow. This is a thrilling read that mixes the world of finance, banking, organised crime and so, so much more.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my fabulous PB copy of this book from the publisher – Equilateral Publishing

I love the cover of this book, it’s a bit noirish, classic crime, gang-related, and just looks fabulous for the story inside.

“In this world, you either become a shark, or you become lunch.”
– Jim Dixon

A decade after Jim Dixon’s fall from grace, after the events that burnt his career on Wall Street, his past is catching up to him. Zurich had been the perfect place for a fresh start, a place where he could be a big fish in a small pond. The secretive world of Swiss high finance, a world of deception, greed, and excess, where everyone lies for one or another reason, provided the perfect cover. Until she showed up.

Meeting the socialite daughter of his former client was just a courtesy, nothing more. Another spoiled princess looking for VIP tickets to the opera, or a private shopping session at Louis Vuitton. So he thought. But Christina Rosenbaum was not the typical second-generation heiress. This was the meeting that would set it all in motion.

Caught between unscrupulous bankers, hedge fund managers, organized crime, state actors, and law enforcement, Jim is left with no choice. One way or another, it will be over before the end of the week. This week would see careers destroyed, lives lost, and fortunes made. 

MY REVIEW

This is quite a tense and intensive foray into the world of Swiss banking and how the system works. I am not familiar with the world of multi-million/billion-pound world of investments, corporations, banking and the like. So when I pick up a financial thriller I am always a little dubious as to how much jargon there will be, and of course, if it disrupts the flow of the story. I am glad to say that this was not the case for this book, enough jargon but not too much to be overbearing.

Jim Dixon is approached by a wealthy heiress, Christine Rosenbaum who wants to buy a bank. Before reading this book I had never considered that banks are something that could be purchased as such. Takeovers I am aware of, but not the buying or selling of a bank! The story is one that follows some very interesting routes through the finance of Swiss banks and some of the rules and laws that must be followed. While these are important to a novel like this the author doesn’t linger too much on them.

What the author does concentrate on is the thriller aspect of the story, it is a nicely twisted one and it kept me on my toes. Like many people, I do have suspicions when it comes to fictional books about bankers, wealthy businessmen and very wealthy individuals. It makes for interesting reading when there is suspicion and doubt in a novel and there is plenty of that in this book.

This book also brings in more. criminal gangs, police and some very dodgy characters indeed. These are all brilliantly worked into the novel and while some are dangerous not all of them are unlikeable. Even in the ruthless world of money, there are still apparently some things that still mean something and so there is still some trust and respect.

The one thing that makes this stand out is the way the author details the cars, the outfits and the watches. It is not something I expected, but the way this is done is really very good, while a certain car may look good and appear to be the car of a star, it isn’t all that. The same goes for the clothing and especially the watches. This made the more important characters stand out rather than just being one of the wealthy. There is a certain mindset that the author uses, that there is the American way and then there is the Swiss way, again not something I was aware of but certainly makes some interesting reading.

I really enjoyed this book, it is a tense and intense thriller, but one that has a great flow and pace to it. Many unexpected turns and nothing is as it first appears. This is a book that I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ANDREAS F. CLENOW Andreas Clenow is a Swedish Swiss author, asset manager and
an entrepreneur based in Zurich, where he oversees investment strategies of a nine-figure
portfolio.
After running his own IT firm in Sweden, he founded his first hedge fund in 2006 in
quantitative finance and moved to Zurich. Since he has been part of a number of hedge
funds and ventures, he is serving on the board of directors of multiple companies.
Over the years, Andreas has authored three international best-sellers on finance, each
hitting the number one slot on their respective Amazon top lists, and he is translated into
eight languages.
A Most Private Bank is published by Equilateral Publishing and is available in paperback
(£11.25) and ebook (£4.50) at all good bookshops and online retailers. Find out more at
http://www.clenow.com

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Bad Penny by Michele Gorman @MicheleGormanUK @rararesources #romance #rom-com #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Bad Panny by Michele Gorman. This was a wonderful romance, rom-com to disappear into and I am looking forward to reading more by this author.

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

Penny’s life is one big, fat secret… and everyone is about to find out

Penny isn’t the girl she used to be, or the woman everyone thinks she is now. At 19, she bolted for London and never looked back. Nobody there knows who she was – not her care home colleagues, her boss, her clients or even her best friend and flat-mate. Auntie Mags is her only connection to her past, and she’s keeping schtum.

Oli can’t believe his luck. Not only is he about to fulfil his dream of really making a difference (assuming he wins his seat in the upcoming general election), now he’s met the perfect woman. Within a few dates he’s sure he wants to spend the rest of his life with Penny, and it’s all he can do not to shout it from the rooftops.

But Penny has hidden her secret by not shouting from any rooftops. In fact, the quieter, the better. So when Oli’s campaign swings into gear and the reporters start circling, it’s not only her future that’s about to come crashing down.

How can she find a happy ending with Oli when her past will definitely ruin his future, yet living with the lie will ruin their future together?

Then Penny’s past gets out of prison, and he’s about to turn up like a… bad penny.

Purchase Links Amazon UK or US

MY REVIEW

If you are after a romance with some humour, mismatched characters and secrets then you really should consider picking up Bad Penny. The title is rather intriguing as the impression you get of Penny is far from bad, so what is going on here!

What a great job the author has done with Penny, she is just a lovely character and one that seems to go out of her way to help people, especially those she cares for. Penny lives with her total opposite, Fi. Where Penny is happy in dungarees and flats, Fi wouldn’t be seen dead in them – well unless they had a designer label on them. Even though this pair are very different they are also the best of friends.

It is Fi that pushes Penny out of her comfort zone and into a dress, heels and make-up for a fundraiser that she has been invited to. There is a candidate for election there, Oli, he runs a charity shelter for dogs and isn’t quite sure how or why he was chosen to run for election. The chance to help those in need though should benefit from the additional publicity.

The characters of Penny and Oli are pushed together by well-meaning friends, and while there are sparks, neither thinks they are worthy. Why these two are so down on themselves is gradually told in their back stories. Parents are not the go-to people for either of them, instead, it is friends and other family members that are sought for solace and advice. These also make for some more brilliant characters that you will get to meet.

The author has created such a wonderful story around the two main characters, and also their families. It does make for some heartwarming and also sad moments. These are balanced brilliantly with some great shenanigans, one-liners and mishaps. The author has brought together many different traits to her characters and blended them so well within one another that there is a natural flow and banter between them.

A story where the rich rub shoulders with the working class and with no obvious stereotypes. I really enjoyed this story and if you are a fan of family dynamics, romance, heartwarming and also fun reads then this is one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michele writes comedies packed with lots of heart, best friends and girl power. She is both a Sunday Times and a USA Today bestselling author, raised in the US and living in London.
Michele also writes cozy comedies under the pen-name Lilly Bartlett. Lilly’s books are full of warmth, quirky characters and guaranteed happily-ever-afters.

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Life’s A Catastrophe by Kirstie Pelling @EmblaBooks #NetGalley #romcom #contemporaryfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Life’s a Catastrophe by Kirstie Pelling. This was a humorous rom-com that I really enjoyed.

My huge thanks to Embla Books for my e-copy that I read via NetGalley.

What if thinking like your cat could solve your problems?

Aly Meadows is a self-proclaimed ‘catfluencer’ using her two beloved pets to earn thousands of likes on Instagram. But behind the lens, Aly is broke, facing eviction and living a life that’s a million miles away from the glamourous world of social media stardom.

Rick Harvard, the CEO of talent agency Glimmer, has the power to change her life, but only if Aly agrees to dive in at the deep end. Can Aly come out of her shell and channel the confidence of her insta-famous cats? And if so, will she finally find the love and laughter she deserves?

MY REVIEW

Life’s a Catastrophe is an entertaining and fun read, but does have a more serious side to it. Aly Meadows is an influencer, her fans are in awe of her cat Instagram site ‘Alycat’. Aly is a ‘catfluencer’ and uses her spare as a carer to build her influence and her followers. This has led to her being offered a real game-changer as she has been head-hunted.

While this is a fun and really entertaining read, there are also some serious sides to this story. A disjointed and not warm home life growing up and living in a flat full of boxes isn’t a situation anyone wants to be in. But for Aly though, it is all hers – for the time being!

It really loved the humour of this story and Aly is a bit of a clutz, a walking catastrophe really does sum her up. She manages to get herself into some random predicaments, and with not altogether negative effects. It does make for some chuckling moments throughout the story.

I am going to admit to being more of a dog person than a cat person, but the author has done such a wonderful job with the feline characteristics and traits with the cats. Also, some really interesting things that I never knew about the care of a hairless Sphynx cat.

\You don’t have to go far on any of the social media sites to find vids and posts of pets and this is what appealed to me about this book when I first saw it. I really liked the balance of fun and seriousness and there is of course a romantic element to this book.

It is a slow-burner of a romance, but one that has Aly in a bit of a quandary. But it definitely does add a steamy extra to this story.

It is an entertaining read and one that I really enjoyed, ideal for lovers of fun and humorous as well as rom-coms and of course everything cat. It is one I would definitely recommend.

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

The Huntsmen by Tony J Forder @TonyJForder #TheHuntsmen #DSChase #crime #thriller #newseries #bookreview

Any regular visitors to my blog will probably be aware that Tony Forder is one of my favourite authors. I am always eager to read any of his new books, but more so when it is the start of a new series. So I am delighted to join with other Book Bloggers to open the Blog tour and to share my review.

The Huntsmen is the first book in the DS Royston Chase series and what a start to a series this one is!!!

ABOUT THE BOOK…

The Huntsmen, by Tony J Forder, is the first book in a new UK crime series, based in Wiltshire.

The opener introduces the reader to DS Royston Chase and his new partner, DC Claire Laney. Chase is a family man and good at his job, but his lack of filter when speaking (caused by a brain injury sustained on the job) can cause problems. Laney is winding down towards her retirement, is bitter about having risen to the rank of DI only to see herself demoted back down again. She presents as a copper who no longer cares, but we find out otherwise. The two are supported by PCSO Alison May, who is ambitious and keen to join the force as a PC or preferably a DC.

Multiple deaths following a road collision are hard enough to deal with. That the man responsible was the ex-Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police and a Knight of the Realm is worse still for those tasked to investigate the incident. But the real question they have to answer is: who was the now deceased naked female minor alongside him at the time?

DS Royston Chase is living life as an outcast in a small Wiltshire village, and is called to the scene. Paired with the bold and strident DC Claire Laney, Chase is given the task of closing the case quickly and quietly.

But when the minor’s DNA provides a familial link to a girl who vanished from her home twenty years earlier at the age of eight, Chase and Laney refuse to accept the coincidence. The pair start looking harder at the ex-cop’s life, at which point they encounter serious opposition. Perhaps deadly serious.

Because the establishment looks after its own, and soon it’s not only their bosses getting in the way of a thorough investigation. Chase and Laney find themselves seemingly at odds with everyone, fighting to save their own reputations as well as the case. But neither will rest until they identify their young victim, no matter what the cost…

MY REVIEW…

So when one of my favourite authors decides to write a new police procedural series, I automatically want to read it. I was nervous because I wondered if I would like DS Royston Chase as much as I do the character of DI Jimmy Bliss. I have to say right from the off that I do like this character and he is very different.

When DS Chase is called to attend a road accident, it is unusual. This is not the usual and the accident is not one anyone would want to attend. As the synopsis suggests the accident is just the start of a complex case. A case that reaches far, further than Chase would ever have believed.

Chase is a DS, he has been pushed sideways, into a rural station, he runs the show with help from PCSO May. As he is first on the scene as far as detectives go, and that he has already started the ball rolling by starting interviewing, his superiors decide that he will lead. This is not something they are too happy about, as a compromise they give him a partner.

Oh my days, DC Claire Laney has Chase wondering what planet she has just arrived from. Talk about opposites, bolshy, loud, blunt, borderline obnoxious or what! This first meeting of two people who are supposed to work together is not, well, is not how first meetings should go. This is a fabulous meeting that had me absolutely stunned and highly amused. Making an entrance or an impact is definitely what happened here. It is actually also quite clever because even though it should be a bit of a volatile combination, it really becomes an ice-breaker.

As for the case they are about to start out on, well they and I for that matter never imagined for one moment what the author had in store for us. This story is brutal, it is dark and it shows human depravity and how people think they have a right to do what they want. It was like going down a rabbit hole, the further I went the darker it got, and believe me there is no wonderland at the bottom of this rabbit hole.

I know the author can go into dark places with his writing, but this one takes it to a whole other level. The story introduces various characters, on the whole, they are not the nicest bunch, some are rich, powerful or successful and therefore believe they are above the likes of Chase and Laney and their investigation. Calling in expensive solicitors, trying to dodge questions or name dropping. This does not stop the investigation, it may hinder them, but Chase and Laney are too involved to let this get away from them. It seems they have more obstacles and doors closing in from of them, but tenacity and sheer bloody-mindedness from both of them keep it going forward.

Given that the case is one that is very hard reading at times, and also one that is heartbreaking and emotional, the author has managed to find a balance with some well-timed humour. It doesn’t detract from the case but does give the reader a chance for a pause, before getting right back into it.

This is a hard story, it is brutal and it is also very well written. Addictive and well-paced. If you are looking for a new crime series to start that is definitely on the darker side then this is one you really need to consider. A brilliant start to a new police procedural series and one that I am very excited about. It is definitely recommended. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR…

Tony J. Forder

Tony J Forder is the author of the bestselling DI Bliss crime thriller series. The first seven books, Bad to the Bone, The Scent of Guilt, If Fear Wins, The Reach of Shadows, The Death of Justice, Endless Silent Scream, and Slow Slicing, were joined in December 2020 by a prequel novella, Bliss Uncovered. The series continued with The Autumn Tree in May 2021.

Tony’s other early series – two action-adventure novels featuring Mike Lynch – comprises both Scream Blue Murder and Cold Winter Sun. These books were republished in April 2021, and will be joined in 2022 by The Dark Division.

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

The Huntsmen, released on 4 October 2022, is the first book in a new crime series, set in Wiltshire. It features DS Royston Chase, DC Claire Laney, and PCSO Alison May.

Tony lives with his wife in Peterborough, UK, and is now a full-time author. He is currently working on the first book of an intended new crime series, whose working title is The Huntsmen.

Links
All of Tony’s links can be found on Linktree

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The Lion and The Unicorn by Tom Ward @TomWardWrites @unbounders @RandomTTours #dystopian #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Lion and The Unicorn by Tom Ward. This is a dystopian speculative fiction story that was very atmospheric.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of this book from Unbound.

A literary dystopia – speculative fiction rooted in the tradition of P. D.
James’s Children of Men, Orwell’s 1984, Blade Runner and The Plague Dogs, for
fans of Rachel Heng’s Suicide Club, Emily St John Mandel’s Station Eleven, and
John Lanchester’s The Wal
l

London, 2054. After a devastating global pandemic and a bloody revolution,
Britain’s new government imposes peace by stringently dictating the nation’s
cultural intake. In the quest to create better citizens, everything from the
television we watch to the clothes we wear is strictly policed. As part of the unit
tasked with upholding these so-called ‘Bad Taste Laws’, H. and his partner,
Bagby, have their work cut out.


When former reality TV star Caleb Jennings is found murdered, some suspect it
could be a simple vigilante slaying. But, as H. digs deeper into the killing,
Bagby’s association with old revolutionary figureheads is called into question.
With the help of Caleb’s estranged sister, the museum curator Kate Faron, H.
must navigate a Britain in which paranoia and suspicion of the unknown are
rife, all the while dealing with the mysterious tech behemoth Vangelis, new
revolutionary murmurings, and the legacy of Kate’s biologist parents.
Compelled by what he uncovers, H. begins to question his loyalty to the state at
a time when national stability couldn’t be more precarious.

MY REVIEW…

This is a story that is set in 2054, so not really that far in the future. A pandemic has struck and there has been a revolution. The author has built up a dystopian England where things are banned that are considered to be bad taste. A political thriller where citizens are dictated to, where certain clothes, music, film and alcohol are illegal.

This was a story I took my time over, there were various aspects of this story that did sort of remind of other novels or films. I think because of this the story came across being set in a darker, gloomy era. This does have quite a strong political aspect to it in regards to what is seen as being politically correct.

There are elements of Big Brother, global catastrophe, potential genocide, loss of habitat and wildlife. So not the most cheery of stories but my goodness it was very addictive. The story is set in this grim future with the main character of H. He and his partner work for the department that upholds the law regarding bad taste. As the synopsis mentions, Bagby does have connections to those involved in the past revolution, therefore eyes and fingers point his way when a body is discovered.

The story is one that reminded me of the old style PI stories of the 1930’s, for me H became someone in the style of Phillip Marlow or Sam Spade, it is just the atmospheric and style of the character that made me think this. It may seem quite odd that for me I got the dystopian vibe through some of the gadgets, but I still found myself thinking of the older style.

This is a mix of mystery, politics, thriller, dystopian and police procedural. Not too heavy on the future as such but enough to remind that it is indeed set in the near future. This is quite an accessible novel and one that may well dip into the sci-fi genre but please don’t be put off by it. I really enjoyed this, the pacing was great and it had quite an suspicious nature to it as I wasn’t sure who I could entirely trust. I liked H as a character and I really felt for him as he tried to put many different pieces of this everchanging puzzle together. As he found one piece the puzzle changed and he found himself on the back foot once again.

A riveting and very captivating story that I got on with so well. It is one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR…

Tom Ward is an author and features writer, writing for publications including
Wired, Esquire and National Geographic.


He has won the GQ Norman Mailer Award, the PPA New Consumer Magazine
Journalist of the Year Award, and has been shortlisted for The People’s Book
Prize. He is also a graduate of the Faber Academy.

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Three Words for Goodbye by Hazel Gaynor & Heather Webb @Hazelgaynor @msheatherwebb @Harper360UK @RandomTTours #historicalfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Three Words For Goodbye by Hazel Gaynor & Heather Webb. This is a beautiful and gorgeous read and one I absolutely adored.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for arranging m advanced copy and for my spot on the Blog Tour.

Three cities. Two sisters. One chance to correct the past.


Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb have reunited for the third time with another unforgettable historical novel following
their award-winning bestseller Meet Me in Monaco. In THREE WORDS FOR GOODBYE, estranged sisters Clara and
Madeleine Sommers take a journey across Europe inspired by Nellie Bly, one of the first investigative journalists, who set out to circumnavigate the globe in less than eighty days. This inspired co-written novel is already earning top praise from Kristin Harmel, who said: “I loved being swept away to 1930s Paris, Venice and Vienna” while Gill Paul compares the novel to “reclining in a comfortable beach chair with warm sun on your skin and a glass of champagne at your elbow.”


New York, 1937: When estranged sisters Clara and Madeleine Sommers learn their grandmother is dying, they agree to
fulfil her last wish: to travel across Europe—together. They are to deliver three letters, in which Violet will say goodbye
to those she hasn’t seen since traveling to Europe forty years earlier; a journey inspired by famed reporter, Nellie Bly.
Clara, ever-dutiful, sees the trip as an inconvenient detour before her wedding to millionaire Charles Hancock, but it’s
also a chance to embrace her love of art. Budding journalist Madeleine relishes the opportunity to develop her
ambitions to report on the growing threat of Hitler’s Nazi party and Mussolini’s control in Italy.


Constantly at odds with each other as they explore the luxurious Queen Mary, the Orient Express, and the sights of Paris and Venice, Clara and Madeleine wonder if they can fulfil Violet’s wish, until a shocking truth about their family brings them closer together. But as they reach Vienna to deliver the final letter, old grudges threaten their reconciliation again. As political tensions rise, and Europe feels increasingly volatile, the pair are glad to head home on the Hindenburg, where fate will play its hand in the final stage of their journey.


Perfect for fans of Jennifer Robson, Beatriz Williams, and Kate Quinn, Gaynor and Webb have written a meticulously
researched narrative filled with colourful scenes of Europe and a stunning sense of the period. This unstoppable
historical fiction author duo will have readers enthralled as the sisters explore the luxurious Queen Mary and ride the
long-haul rail to take in the sights of Paris and Venice.

Purchase from – Amazon UK Book DepositoryKobo Waterstones

MY REVIEW…

A couple of years ago I read and absolutely adored Meet Me in Monaco, when I saw Three Words For Goodbye I immediately wanted to read it.

This is the story of sisters Clara and Maddie, they were close growing up but they are drifting as adulthood takes them in slightly different directions and they discover their own interests. Their Grandmother, Violet decides that the girls need something they can do together. A trip to Europe to hand-deliver three letters will give the sisters a chance to get to know each other again and hopefully rekindle their bond.

This is such a poignant and heartfelt story. the letters are the last thing Violet wants to achieve, her health is failing but she wants the girls to have the adventure she and her sister had. The letters are important to Violet as they are to people who have a special place in her heart, the girls will also discover more about themselves and their family along the way.

The chapters are alternated between Clara and Maddie, and it doesn’t take long to see the different personalities that emerge as I got to know them. There is also the occasional chapter from Violet, and she just fills in small details and kept me up to date with her health.

Alternating the chapters between two different personalities was a great way of seeing things from different perspectives. Clara sees the world as an artist, while Maddie as a journalist. One has a dreamy sort of look, the other more as it is. Clara is more reserved while Maddie is the impulsive one. It is easy to see how their personalities have caused issues for the sisters, but there is still a closeness to them, while it may be subtle, it is there.

This story was an absolute pleasure to read, there was the occasional lump in the throat moment, but I adored following the women on their travels and experiencing the world just before the outbreak of WWII. Opinions and expectations are brought into the story and this adds a nice touch to it, especially with the differences of the girls.

Set in 1937 it is one for fans of historical fiction and if you have read any of either authors books then you know you are in for a treat. I adored it and I would definitely recommend it.

ABOUT THE AUHTORS…

HAZEL GAYNOR is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of When We Were Young & Brave, A Memory of Violets and The Girl Who Came Home, for which she received the 2015 Romantic Novelists’ Association Historical Romantic Novel of the Year award. Her third novel, The Girl from The Savoy, was an Irish Times and Globe and Mail bestseller, and was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year. In 2017, she published The Cottingley Secret and Last Christmas in Paris (co-written with Heather Webb). Both novels hit bestseller lists, and Last Christmas in Paris won the 2018 Women’s Fiction Writers Association Star Award. Hazel’s novel, The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter, hit the Irish Times bestseller list for five consecutive weeks. Hazel was selected by Library Journal as one of Ten Big Breakout Authors for 2015. Her work has been translated into fourteen languages and is published in twenty-one countries worldwide. She lives in Ireland with her husband and two children.

HEATHER WEBB is the USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of The Next Ship Home, Rodin’s Lover, Becoming Josephine, and The Phantom’s Apprentice, as well as two novels co-written with Hazel, Last Christmas in Paris , which won the 2018 Women’s Fiction Writers Association Star Award, and Meet Me in Monaco, a finalist in the 2020 RNA Awards as well as the 2019 Digital Book World Fiction awards. To date, Heather’s works have been translated
into fifteen languages worldwide. She is also passionate about helping writers find their voice as a professional freelance editor, speaker, and adjunct in the MFA in Writing program at Drexeul University. She lives in New England with her family and one feisty bunny.

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