Magpie Lane by Lucy Atkins #BookReview

I am delighted to share my review for Magpie Lane by Lucy Atkins and what an absolutely brilliant read this was.

Let me show you what it is all about…

When the eight-year-old daughter of an Oxford College Master vanishes in the middle of the night, police turn to the Scottish nanny, Dee, for answers.

As Dee looks back over her time in the Master’s Lodging – an eerie and ancient house – a picture of a high achieving but dysfunctional family emerges: Nick, the fiercely intelligent and powerful father; his beautiful Danish wife Mariah, pregnant with their child; and the lost little girl, Felicity, almost mute, seeing ghosts, grieving her dead mother.

But is Dee telling the whole story? Is her growing friendship with the eccentric house historian, Linklater, any cause for concern? And most of all, why was Felicity silent?

Roaming Oxford’s secret passages and hidden graveyards, Magpie Lane explores the true meaning of family – and what it is to be denied one.

What an absolutely amazing read this book was. Occasionally books are referred to as being memorising and for me, Magpie Lane was just that.

The story is told from the perspective of Dee, she is answering questions at the police station in Oxford regarding the disappearance of her charge Felicity Law. This is a little girl who has been through a lot. Her father Nick and Stepmother Mariah both have intensive jobs and Dee seems to be the right fit.

The story of Dee’s past, her job with the Law family is gradually teased out through Dee’s memories as she is being interviewed. The quotations she is asked is the spark for each of these memories.

A bigger picture is gradually revealed in a very atmospheric, haunting and heartbreaking tale. A picture of a dysfunctional, hardworking and stress filled family emerges. It is an intricately woven plot that was easy to follow.

This is a slow burner of a tale that just wrapped itself around me, it was a sombre and subtle read that was so well written. I suppose you could call it a domestic thriller and yes it is but in an almost understated way. It is a story of lives hit by grief, expectations, worry and hurt but it also has a strong feeling of friendship, trust and acceptance.

I adored this book from the first few pages and as much as I wanted to discover how the book would end, I didn’t want it to. It is a book that was so beautifully written and had such an atmospheric feel to it.

This is a book that readers who like a quieter read that at the same time has a tense and dramatic edge to it. It slowly unwraps and tells the story and is a gripping read. I absolutely adored it and I would Highly Recommend it.

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

Death Unleashed by Steve McHugh @StevejMchugh @annecater #randomthingstours #fantasy #BookReview

I am delighted to be sharing my review for Death Unleashed by the fabulous Steve McHugh. I think I may have just read my favourite book by this author… yet.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and also a huge thank you to Steve for sending me a sighned copy of his latest book.

Let me show you what it is all about…

A deadly venom. A looming rebellion. A vicious siege. And the clock is ticking.

For sorcerer Nate Garrett, the stakes have risen. If Asgard falls, he may lose much more than his home—he may lose the thing dearest to him. To stand a fighting chance against Avalon, he must be ready to go to war. But when his best friend and father are poisoned, Nate must race against the clock in a desperate quest to find a cure.

Layla Cassidy is tasked with gaining the aid of the Valkyrie in Valhalla, but once there, she finds herself involved in another rebellion and must pick a side.

Meanwhile, Mordred finds himself on a hunt for Excalibur, a weapon of incredible power that would aid the rebellion in their fight against Arthur and his allies. But to retrieve it, Mordred must face uncomfortable truths about himself.

War looms over the rebellion, and the battle for Asgard is at hand. Time is running out as Avalon’s forces threaten total destruction. But Nate can’t be in two places at once. Can he find the cure, and can he, Layla, and Mordred save the realms before it’s too late?

WOW! What an amazing read, I have been a fan of this authors books and I first came across his writing with the first book in The Avalon Chronicles when I read A Glimmer of Hope. Death Unleashed is the latest book in The Rebellion Chronicles and continues on from Sorcery Reborn. If you are a fan of fantasy books and have not yet come across this author then shame on you!

The synopsis mentions Avalon, Mordred, Excaliber and Asgard, this is only the tip of the iceberg for all the other names from legend that are mentioned.

Death Unleashed continues a few months after the events of Sourcery Reborn. The ongoing battle against Arthur are more intense and friends and family of the main characters are threatened. Things are getting very close to home as the battles become more and more personal. Allies are being sought out to help bolster the armies fighting Arthur. Enter the Valkyries… they bring a great addition to the story line!

The story lines for this book are focused on three of the main characters, Nate, Layla and Mordred. They each have their own thread but they are linked to the overall bigger picture. It was great to meet Mordred and get to know him, and what a tale the author has woven for this character.

As Arthur increases the brutality of his attacks he also increases the levels of deviousness. He is such a good baddie and I love to hate him and his methods, but at the same time I marvel at his ingenuity. I realise that I am actually referring to these characters as real people and this is all down the amazing writing ability of this author.

The author has taken various characters from legend, mythology and folklore from different cultures and woven them together brilliantly. While at first glance you would not necessarily link werecats, knights of the round table and gods of ancient times together on the same page, the author does, has and he makes it work, and he seems to do it effortlessly. He mixes characters from the past and places them in a modern day setting. I have to say that having a character of legend wandering around with a sword while humming the theme tune to a video game made me smirk.

The story took me right into the battles, the rescues and the heartbreak that comes when conflict on such a large scale occurs. There is so much intrigue as I was catapulted into the story. It is a fantasy story and series that is epic, it is huge and it is bloody brilliant.

The Epilogue had my brain jumping up and down with excitement as I discovered where the author is going next! OMG I cannot wait for the next one!

If you are a fan of fantasy that combines, folklore, legend, mythology and slams them into a modern setting then you need to get this book, hell get the series. A brilliantly woven, action read that is just awesome and one I would highly recommend.

Steve’s been writing from an early age, his first completed story was done in an English lesson. Unfortunately, after the teacher read it, he had to have a chat with the head of the year about the violent content and bad language. The follow up ‘One boy and his frog’ was less concerning to his teachers and got him an A. It wasn’t for another decade that he would start work on a full length novel, the result of which is Crimes Against Magic. He was born in a small village called Mexborough, South Yorkshire, but now lives with his wife and three young daughters in Southampton.

Follow Steve on TwitterWebsite

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

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

Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds – Living The Dream in rural Ireland by Nick Albert @Nickalbertautho @rararesources #memoir #recommendedreading #Bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds by Nick Albert. This is a brilliant book to read and I would like to thank Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this fabulous book.

Let me show you what it’s all about…

Nick and Lesley Albert yearn to leave the noise, stress and pollution of modern Britain and move to the countryside, where the living is good, the air sweet, with space for their dogs to run free. Suddenly out of work and soon to be homeless, they set off in search of a new life in Ireland, a country they had never visited. As their adventure began to unfold, not everything went according to plan. If finding their dream house was difficult, buying it seemed almost impossible. How would they cope with banks that didn’t want customers, builders who didn’t need work, or the complex issue of where to buy some chickens?

Buying links for UK – Kindle Paperback Audible (all via Amazon UK) or for Amazon US readers – Kindle Paperback Audible

Oh my goodness what a fabulous book this is. Following a diagnosis from his Doctor, Nick needs to drastically change his lifestyle. Stress had been a major part of his job and it has taken it’s toll. Along with his wife Lesley, decide to sell up and start somewhere new with a slower paced lifestyle.

Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds is a fabulous account of the journey this couple made to finally discover a new home and they decide on the move Ireland. This book is great fun to read and it had me smirking so many times. It was great to follow their journey around rural Ireland as they become the latest “blow ins” (newcomers) to a life in rural Ireland.

The first half of the book was great and is written in such an honest way. Mistakes, mishaps and misunderstanding are all laid out. The quirky workings of a different legal system, buyers market and trying to find builders are all really interesting.

The second half of the book had me in hysterics and laughing out loud so many times as I read about the antics of Nick, Lesley and also their dogs and chickens. There were actually a couple of moments where I actually had tears running down my face with laughter! Nick has recounted so many moments so vividly that as a reader I could see what he was telling me.

This book is brilliantly written and I loved the open and honest style in which it was presented. This is a wonderful read about a couple starting afresh in Ireland, getting used to the local flow and way of life. In some ways it is their innocent naivety as they start this new stage in their lives that adds such a wonderful feel to the book and it also had me willing them to succeed. I have never been to Ireland and so I could very much empathise with the couple as they came across many different things. Ireland is a place I would love to visit with my husband, and reading this book has made this a trip change from want to visit, to definitely must visit.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who likes a real life stories, and memoirs. To be honest I think this book would appeal to many readers and I would highly recommend it. It is amusing, honest, funny and heartfelt.

I enjoyed it so much that immediately after reading this first book I then immediately bought the second one and I can’t wait to see what happens to them next 🙂

Nick Albert was born in England and raised in a Royal Air Force family. After leaving College he worked in retail management for several years before moving into financial services where he quickly progressed through the ranks to become a training consultant. As a very passionate and reasonably talented sportsman, Nick had always wanted to use his training skills towards creating a parallel career, so in the mid 1980’s he qualified and began coaching sport professionally. After a health scare in 2003 and in search of a simpler life, he and his wife Lesley, cashed in their investments, sold their home and bought a rundown farmhouse in the rural west of Ireland – a country they had never before even visited. With little money or experience and armed only with a do-it-yourself manual, they set about renovating their new home, where they now live happily alongside a flock of chickens, two ducks and several unruly, but delightful dogs.
In 2017 Nick was signed to Ant Press to write a series of humorous memoirs about his life in rural Ireland. Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds (book one) was published in September 2017 and soon became an Amazon bestseller. Book two in the series was published on 1st June 2018 and book 3 in August 2019. Book four is due out in early 2020.
Nick is also the author of the twisty thriller, Wrecking Crew, the first in a series of books featuring reluctant hero Eric Stone.

Visit Nick on his Website Twitter Facebook InstagramYouTube

See what other Bloggers think by checking out the Tour…

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

Dreaming of Verona by TA Williams @tawilliamsbooks @rararesources BookReview

I would normally start a blog post by saying how delighted I am to share my review, I am today, however going to start it with an apology!… My apologies to the author, Trevor, and also to the Blog Tour Organiser Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources because this post should have gone out at the beginning of the week. I had it in my diary and then discovered I had put in down for next month!!!!

Now then, I am delighted to share my review for Dreaming of Verona by TA Williams, this was a terrific book and I would like to show you what it is all about…

Verona is the City of Love. But will Suzie find romance there or, like Romeo and Juliet, will it all end in tears?

When Suzie is hired to accompany spoiled, abrasive Lady Alexandra Tedburn on an all-expenses paid holiday to Italy, she fears the trip will be a disaster.

But she soon discovers there’s more to Alex than shopping and tantrums, and she’s determined to help her realise her potential – against Alex’s authoritarian father’s wishes.

As they settle in Verona, Suzie can’t stop thinking about local artist Michael, who is still mourning the tragic death of his wife. With Suzie’s future uncertain, and Michael’s past
holding him back, it seems there’s no hope for romance in the city of
star-crossed lovers… or is there?

A gorgeously uplifting and moving story, Dreaming of Verona is the perfect read for fans of Holly Martin, Tilly Tennant and Jenny Oliver.

You can purchase this book from Amazon UK or US

The synopsis for this book sounded fabulous and right up my street. Just after I finished it I hopped over to Goodreads so I could mark it as being “Read”, and had a look at the other books by this author. I was delighted to find quite a few that I will be adding to my TBR in the very near future. It is the first time I have read one of Trevor’s books and he is now well and truly on my ‘reading radar’.

Dreaming of Verona was a book that when I began I felt right at home with. I met the ‘rich girl’ Lady Alexandra Tedbury and she came across as aloof and spoilt. I also met the lady that was to accompany her on a holiday to Italy, the Vicars daughter Suzie. The author did a brilliant job with these characters and had me thinking that my slightly stereotypical views were right, by the end of the book I was so way off with what I had initially thought about them!

The story was a stunning read, the sights and sounds of the area were such a pleasure to read and I liked the contrast between how the wealthy live and also the delights of the back street cafe’s and restaurants. It was a mesmerising picture that was built up through words.

The story line flowed very easily and it made for a very difficult book to put down once started. The initial chilly first meeting between the two girls was not great and even the start of the holiday led to the odd dramatic moment, but gradually as the girls got to know each other things mellowed.

I was gutted to turn the last page of this book as it had been such a wonderful read, there were surprises aplenty, some giggles, some heartwarming moments as well as some indecision as to how things would pan out. I have to say that from when I first read the synopsis to the completion of the book I was very pleasantly surprised.

The auhtor managed to weave a lot of other things int the story and they fitted in so well. There was some history, Shakespeare (well it is Verona after all), food, wine, items of interest and then there friendships, a touch of romance, art, more wine and food and , well I think you get the picture.

This was a book that I thoroughly enjoyed and I am looking forward to read more by the author. Ideal for fans of romance, rom-com, women’s fiction, and those who like me would love to visit Italy and also for those who like to disappear into a really good escapism read. I highly recommend it.

I’m a man. And a pretty old man as well. I did languages at university a long time ago and then lived and worked in France and Switzerland before going to Italy for seven years as a teacher of English. My Italian wife and I then came back to the UK with our little daughter (now long-since grown up) where I ran a big English language school for many years. We now live in a sleepy little village in Devonshire. I’ve been writing almost all my life but it was only seven years ago that I finally managed to find a publisher who liked my work enough to offer me my first contract.

The fact that I am now writing romantic comedy is something I still find hard to explain. My early books were thrillers and historical novels. Maybe it’s because there are so many horrible things happening in the world today that I feel I need to do my best to provide something to cheer my readers up. My books provide escapism to some gorgeous locations and, as a writer, I obviously have to go there in person and check them out first. I love my job…

Follow Trevor on his – Website Twitter Facebook

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

Going Dark by Neil Lancaster #BookReview

I am delighted to share my review for Going Dark by Neil Lancaster. This is the first book in the Tom Novak Thriller series. I read this book as I am on the Blog Tour for book 2 in the series and wanted to read this in order.

Let me show you what Going Dark is all about…

Tom Novak is a troubled soul with a dark and bloody past.

A former refugee, Royal Marine, and member of the elite Special Reconnaissance Regiment, he now finds himself struggling with the deadening routine of day-to-day policing.

When he is deployed undercover to infiltrate a gang of people-traffickers, things go badly wrong. Faced with an impossible choice, his cover is blown and he finds himself on the run from the Serbian mafia and even his fellow police colleagues.

With no-one to trust, and his enemies using all the resources of the state against him, Tom has only one option: to Go Dark.

Who are the police traitors feeding the Serbian mafia his every move? Is there anyone he can trust? Can Tom prove his innocence before it’s too late?

Going Dark is the debut crime thriller from former covert specialist Detective Sergeant Neil Lancaster, and the first in the Tom Novak series. If you enjoy gritty suspense, thrilling action and flawed heroes battling against the odds, then you’ll love Going Dark.

The synopsis for this book does a great job of giving you an idea about what the story is about. This is the first book in the Tom Novak series and it is nothing if engaging and fast paced.

The author has done such a great job of creating a character that I immediately liked. He is moody, quiet, emotionless and an absolute force to be reckoned with if you are on the wrong side of the law. He has a past that has in some ways denied him the things many of us take for granted and this has moulded him into the man he is now.

Given the fact that Tom is a dangerous man he is not a danger, he has a focus that is absolute and also has a range of ex-servicemen who he can call on, and call on them he has to. These are loyal people and they would not give their loyalty if it was not deserved.

The case that Tom works is a brutal and topical one and is the start of something far deeper than he ever expected it to become. The author has successfully, in my opinion, woven a story of corruption and trafficking. As I was reading this story I was acutely aware that the author seems to know his stuff, there were many details that are known through experience. It wasn’t until I read a bit about the author that my thoughts were proven to be true.

The story is so well paced and for the style, it is action all the way from the start to the end. There are a few characters that become memorable for all the right, or wrong reasons and I soon found several I immediately liked. The author got the balance right on so many levels for me and made this story a fabulous read.

I have to say I loved this book a huge amount. A bit of a mix of Jason Bourne, James Bond and Jack Reacher… What is it with all the “J’s”! Well forget the names startling with a ‘J’ look for the one that starts with a ‘T’ for Tom Novak! This was a brilliant action, thriller fast paced and brilliantly worked story that I thoroughly enjoyed. I am really looking forward to the next book in the series and seeing where the author takes me next. This booik is one I would Highly Recommend.

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

Deadly Harm by Owen Mullen @OwenMullen6 #BookReview

I am delighted to share my thoughts on Deadly Harm by Owen Mullen. My huge thanks to Owen for sending me a copy of this book for me to read.

Let e show you what it is all about…

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It’s been five years since Mackenzie Darroch was abducted and held captive in a derelict house.

She thought she’d found her way out of the darkness. She was wrong.

When she witnesses a car crash and saves the driver’s life, it sets in motion a chain of events that will alter both their futures.

The two women get involved in a high profile police case and draw the attention of a ruthless reporter. Gina Calvi is convinced Mackenzie is not what she appears and is prepared to do anything to prove it.

Meanwhile, across the city, Kirsty McBride, a young single mother, is persuaded to leave a violent relationship. Her partner, Malkie Boyle a Glasgow hardman, is due to be released from prison. Once back on the street and bent on revenge, Boyle is determined to find the people responsible for stealing his family from him.

Can Mackenzie save them or will Boyle get his revenge?

As I sit and think about writing my thoughts up about this book there are a few words that spring to mind, hard-hitting, intriguing, brutal, gritty and violent. The synopsis skims and suggests what the story contains, a story that is not simply one but a series of interconnected stories and of events that are brought together.

Meeting Mackenzie is something that has saved many women in the refuge that she runs. She herself is the survivor of a brutal crime and one that still haunts her. The refuge takes in people from different walks of life and backgrounds, domestic abuse isn’t isolated to one type of person or a certain class of person, it is something that can affect anyone.

The author has created a story that shows how relationships can go so wrong for some people. Whether it is stress from work or having no job, having plenty of money or having none. The author has given perspectives from the victims and also the abusers. Getting into the mind of a man who is hell-bent on finding out why his girlfriend didn’t meet him, or why a neighbour called the police is quite unsettling reading. But the author tackles it in a compelling way.

As I read the story I got what I felt was an insight into various perspectives from different people. Overworked police, victims of abuse, abusers, criminals, and a reporter. All these people and the role they play in this story have been so well worked to create a book that is very difficult to put down. Loyalties have a lot of meaning in the story and some are very easy to appreciate and then there are those that are based on fear.

Now, this is a crime, thriller mystery read that has various angles. The first is right at the beginning of the story and the twists and turns just don’t stop. They get deeper and more entwined as you read. Often you find yourself drawn further and further into a story, Deady Harm had me hooked from the very beginning and left me stunned by the end.

If you want a hard-hitting crime thriller read that is gritty and very well written then I suggest you grab a copy of this book. It is a cracking read and I Highly Recommend it.

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

When Stars Will Shine: Helping Our Heroes, One Page At A Time #WhenStarsWillShine @emmamitchellfpr #Bookreview

I am so delighted and honoured to share my thoughts on When Stars Will Shine. This book is very special for many reasons, the main one however is that every penny from the sale goes to helping our troops. Every part of this book from the stories to the final edited product has been done on a voluntary basis. I thank you all for your hard work in creating a fabulous read.

Before I get carried away with how amazing this book is let me show you what it is all about…

When Stars Will Shine is a collection of short stories from your favourite authors who have come together to deliver you a Christmas read with a twist.

With true war tales that will break your heart, gritty Christmas crimes that will shake you to your core, and heart-warming tales of love lost and found, this anthology has something for everyone. And, with every penny made being sent to support our troops, you can rest assured that you’re helping our heroes, one page at a time.

From authors such as Louise Jensen, Graham Smith, Malcolm Hollingdrake, Lucy Cameron, Val Portelli, and Alex Kane, you are in for one heck of a ride!

When Stars Will Shine is the perfect Christmas gift for the bookworms in your life!
 

A Note from Emma Mitchell:

As the blurb tells us, When Stars Will Shine is a multi-genre collection of Christmas-themed short stories compiled to raise money for our armed forces and every penny made from the sales of both the digital and paperback copies will be donated to the charity.

Working closely with Kate Noble at Noble Owl Proofreading and Amanda Ni Odhrain from Let’s Get Booked, I’ve been able to pick the best of the submissions to bring you a thrilling book which is perfect for dipping into at lunchtime or snuggling up with on a cold winter’s night. I have been completely blown away by the support we’ve received from the writing and blogging community, especially the authors who submitted stories and Shell Baker from Baker’s Not So Secret Blog, who has organised the cover reveal and blog tour.

There isn’t a person in the country who hasn’t benefited from the sacrifices our troops, past and present, have made for us and they all deserve our thanks.

It has been an honour working on these stories, and I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have.

So when you hear people say ” There is something for everyone” this is where I go “Oh OK!” but I have to say… This collection of stories REALLY DOES “have something for everyone!”!

This is an amazing book, and I admit that I really enjoyed every single one of them, though there are some that really did stand-out for me.

I did expect to see some stories that would be about troops and war, as well as some with a Christmas theme, and yes there were several that did indeed cover these topics. But also there were some that didn’t. Each author has their own style and their own story to tell.

This book is fabulous for introducing several authors who I had not read as well as including some that I already know and who’s books I have enjoyed. This actually makes this book very special for the less obvious reason of discovering new authors.

I sat and read the first story in the book and by the end of it I was in tears. Rob Ashman shared a story called Frederick Snellgrove, Private 23208, a short story that really did pack a punch. I will admit here and now this is my favourite story of the whole collection, so much so that once I had finished and had wiped my tears away, I immediately read it again. Yes, even though I knew how it ended I still cried.

I made a brief note for every story and I will share them with you…

Four Seasons by Robert Scragg is a powerful and beautifully written story and had such an unexpected ending. Fabulous story.

The Close Encounter by Gordon Bickerstaff Oh Wow! This story was a mind twister and was excellent, what a cracking ending.

Believe by Mark Brownless Oh the lies parents tell their children about Father Christmas, this is a a dark twisted read and is fabulously devious and made me very glad I my fire was in!

What Can Possibly Go Wrong by Lucy Coleman I gradually warmed to the main character in this story and by the time I read the last sentence I had a smirk on my face. Poor chap!

Mountain Dew by Paul T Campbell an amazing read that blew me away, great twist.

The Art of War and Peace by John Carson was a little different from the other stories I had read to this point. This was a detective style story and was a dark twisted read. Fabulous!

A Gift for Christmas by Kris Egleton oh this was heartwarming story and an absolutely lovely short story.

Free Time by Stewart Giles Wow this was a hard hitting and emotional read. This gives such a different aspect of the phrase “free time”!

Died of Wounds by Malcolm Hollingdrake starting in 1915, this is a story that mixes fact with fiction. An emotional read to say the least and very poignant a slightly longer story than some, and it made an impact.

The Christmas Killer by Louise Jensen Oooh what a sneaky story this one was, a mini thriller that was fabulous.

The Village Hotel by Alex Kane another thriller of a different kind, it was very atmospheric and a great read.

A Present of Presence by HR Kemp fabulous descriptions and a story of family and loss, an emotional read that I loved.

The Invitation by Billy McLaughlin a wonderful heartwarming story that had a surprise tucked up it’s sleeve. Get the tissues for this one.

Brothers Forever by Paul Moore Wow! What to say about this one! Brilliantly written and a fabulous story.

Girl in a Red Shirt by Owen Mullen Very different to the other stories, but at the same time it did have some similarities. Very moving and poignant.

Pivotal Moments by Anna Osborne This is a wonderful story about life, living and family and a wonderful read.

Uncle Christmas by Val Portelli Oh I did enjoy this. There is a line that starts the third paragraph “Count your blessings,” it is a line that is very poignant for this story.

Time For A Barbecue by Carmen Radtke Oh I did feel for poor James, but I also did smirk as things became clear in the story.

Christmas Present by Lexi Rees A story of pressure, from family, work and your own expectations that was very moving.

Inside Out by KA Richardson a story that has an important message about PTSD, a great story that shows someone struggling and has a hidden strength not to fall further. Amazing read.

Penance by Jane Risdon Oh I didn’t expect that! Great story.

New Year’s Resolution by Robert Scragg A helping hand has consequences, this story was wonderful.

Family time by Graham Smith Oh what a wonderful finale. This was one that surprised me and left me as I started this collection… yep in tears!

This was a fabulous collection of stories. I was so surprised at the range of different styles. I have discovered new authors and some of the stories I would love to know more about. I was going to try and pick out just a few that I really liked, but in all honesty I liked them all.

When Stars Will Shine is a fabulous collection of short stories that I would Highly Recommend indeed.

See what other Book Bloggers think by following the Tour…

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

The Poker Game Mystery by Peter Bartram @PeterFBartram @annecater #Bookreview

I am so delighted to share my thoughts on The Poker Game Mystery by Peter Bartram. I have read a few books by this author before and I have always enjoyed them. My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of this brilliant book.

Let’s have a look at what it is all about…

Poker is a game for the dead lucky…

Crime reporter Colin Crampton discovers nightclub bouncer Steve Telford murdered. Colin can’t understand why five cards of a poker hand are laid out next to the body.As Colin investigates, he becomes entangled with three former special forces soldiers from the Second World War. All have motives to kill Telford. But Colin’s probe is derailed when a shock change at the Evening Chronicle puts the paper’s – and Colin’s – future in peril.The tension ratchets higher when the life of a young girl is on the line. Colin is forced to go head-to-head in a poker game with sinister newspaper owner Quentin Pell to save her.There are laughs alongside the action as Colin and his feisty girlfriend Shirley shuffle the cards and play the most dangerous game of all – with their own lives at stake.

Purchase LinkAmazon UK

Right from the off I am going to say that I am a big fan of this author’s main protagonist Colin Crampton and his side kick Shirley. Together they are brilliant and the author manages to create a very humorous dynamic between the two.

Colin is the Investigating reported for The Chronicle, a Brighton newspaper. Colin is in the front for getting the scoop when a body is discovered. The more Colin digs for more information the more he discovers. His girlfriend, Aussie model, Shirley is a brilliant wing man woman and, together they find themselves in the thick of things.

The thing I really like about these books is how even though there is a serious nature to the crimes that Colin investigates, the author injects a very dry old style sense of humour. This humour is very appropriate for the mid 1960’s setting of the book. There are many witty one liners that are the sort of jokes that make you roll your eyes at there cheesiness, but at the same time have you smirking.

As the crime is investigated it deepens, it takes various routes before the finale is finally reached. There are various leads that the dogged reporter has to follow, and let’s just say some of them are a little shady. But for Colin, the ends justifies the means and it could be a life changer for a young girl.

The author uses his experience as a journalist into his story so well. There are little things that have found there way naturally into the story that I found so interesting. Mentions of printing, paper and war time newspapers make an appearance. There were things that I was completely unaware of, but the experience and knowledge the author brings really does show.

This is a cosy mystery that I loved. I have read several of these books in the past and really enjoyed this old style sleuthing of the story. The stories are wonderfully worked out and have a good pace to them. There are some characters that make regular appearances and I have some definite favourites. Each book can be read as a stand-alone because each case Colin works on is followed from start to finish.

I think this series works really well as they are not entirely serious and because they have a reporter as the investigator it gives them a credible edge. It is also a really good way of getting a glimpse into the way newspapers and reporting was done in the 60’s.

This is a fabulous series with an inventive reporter who is prepared to take a risk. Who, along with his girlfriend, find themselves in the midst of danger and of bodies on a regular basis. How poor Shirley puts up with Colin I will never know, but I am so glad she does as they are fabulous.

If you are after a well written cosy mystery that will leave you with a grin on your face from the humour, that has a serious crime to be solved and is really well written then pick up the latest edition of one of Peter’s books. The Poker Game Mystery was brilliant and I highly recommend it.

Peter Bartram brings years of experience as a journalist to his Crampton of the Chronicle crime mystery series. His novels are fast-paced and humorous – the action is matched by the laughs. The books feature a host of colourful characters as befits stories set in Brighton, one of Britain’s most trend-setting towns.

You can download Murder in Capital Letters, a free book in the series, for your Kindle from www.colincrampton.com.

Peter began his career as a reporter on a local weekly newspaper before editing newspapers and magazines in London, England and, finally, becoming freelance. He has done most things in journalism from door-stepping for quotes to writing serious editorials. He’s pursued stories in locations as diverse as 700-feet down a coal mine and a courtier’s chambers at Buckingham Palace. Peter is a member of the Society of Authors and the Crime Writers’ Association.

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The Wronged Daughter by Mary Wood @Authormary #Bookreview

I am delighted to share my thoughts on The Wronged Daughter by Mary Wood. Any regulars to my blog will be aware that I am a huge fan of this author and I have enjoyed every one of her books whether she writes as Mary Wood or Maggie Mason.

The Wronged Daughter is part of a series and is the third book, though all can be read as stand-alones… though I would suggest reading them in order.

Let me show you what this one is all about…

Can she heal the wounds of her past?
Mags has never forgotten the friendship she forged with Flora and Ella, two fellow nurses she served with at the beginning of World War I. Haunted by what she experienced during that time, she fears a reunion with her friends would bring back the horror she’s tried so desperately to suppress.

Now, with her wedding on the horizon, this should be a joyful time for Mags. But the sudden loss of her mother and the constant doubt she harbours surrounding her fiancé, Harold, are marring her happiness.

Mags throws herself into running the family mill, but she’s dealt another aching blow by a betrayal that leaves her reeling. Finding the strength the war had taken from her, she fights back, not realizing the consequences and devastating outcome awaiting her.

Every time I pick up a but by this author I am hoplessly addictied within the first page or two, The Wronged Daughter was another one that I immediately felt invested in.

This is the third book in the series and yes you could read it as a stand-alone! But why would you? The series has followed three friends Flors, Elle and Mags, this latest instalment focuses on Mags.

Mags is a fabulous character who showed her resolve when she trained as a nurse and then went to help in Belgium during World War I. On her return she went back to her home and to help in the running of the family business. She is also being swept off her feet by Harold. He is the brother of Flors, and her friend has warned her to be careful of him, but love is blind and he is Oh so charming!

Oh Mags! What a fabulous character she is, one minute I am watching on awe inspired as she deals with the mill and looking after peoples welfare and then the next minute I want to shout into the book to tell her to stop and listen to what other peoples hinting at! My goodness she infuriated me at times! All credit to the Author who brought out such a range of emotions in me while I was reading.

It didn’t take long for me to become interested in the world that had been created for Mags. I got to meet her family and her friends, Betsy, by the way was another brilliant character and in some ways this story was as much about Betsy as it was Mags. Both are entwined in each other as long term friends and so they know each other so well.

Both women have tragedy befall them, while what happens to the women is horrid it is also something that was believable for the time and so it worked well. How vague is that? Oh the pain of not giving out spoilers!

There are various things that happen in the story that are relevant for the time and also the way of things. Even though things have changed, it still annoys me that women became an asset or possession of their husband when they marry. Thank goodness for her forward thinking father! There you go another vague sentence!

The trials and tribulations of Mags seems never ending, when you think she may just find what she wants, the author then does what she does best, and that is to side step the reader and take another unexpected route.

If you have read this author before you will know exactly what I mean. She has a wonderful ability of throwing so much at her characters, it makes the reader care about them but she gets the balance just right. The author delivers a plot that her character can deal with without giving them too much, it keeps the believe-ability of the story flowing.

While the author does put Mags through an awful lot of pain, it has been carefully balanced so that there is also a glimmer of hope and that Mags will indeed have a happy life. Each time you think she will achieve it there is something else to rock the boat. Mixing in other characters and their own problems gives a good perspective of things going on in the lives of others. So it is not just about Mags, I liked how the author mixes various other in as well and it gives different opinions and viewpoints.

I have read a few of Mary’s books, and also books under her other name of Maggie Wood. Whenever I come to write a review I struggle to find the right words to convey just how good her books are. Simply put her books are fabulous, addictive, emotional and definitely fall into the “Must Read” category every time.

With The Wronged Daughter, the author has woven a story that delves into the heartbreaking side of loss within families, also manipulation within marriage and also some surprises from slightly minor characters. She has successfully created a story that shows how women of the 1920’s had to deal with discrimination and stigma.

If you like historical fiction then you will love The Wronged Daughter. It is a book and series I would Highly Recommend.

Born the thirteenth child of fifteen to a middle-class mother and an East End barrow boy, Mary Wood’s family were poor, but rich in love. Over time, she developed a natural empathy with the less fortunate and is fascinated by social history. Mary raised four children and has numerous grandchildren, step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren. An avid reader, she first put pen to paper in 1989, and is now a full-time novelist.

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Dark Deception by Amanda James @amandajames61 @Bloodhoundbook #Bookreview


I am absolutely delighted to share my thoughts on Dark Deception by Amanda James. Regulars to my blog will know that I am a big fan of Mandy’s books and they just get better and better.

Let me show you what here latest book is all about…

Who can you trust when the past won’t let you go?

Kerensa and Leo are a happily married young couple who live in Cornwall. Leo works part-time in London as an investment advisor to wealthy businessman, Paul Donaldson. The couple hope to start a family soon and life couldn’t be better.  

But Leo has been stealing from Paul and Paul isn’t the sort of man you steal from.  

When Leo realises that Paul knows what he’s done, he has no choice but to resort to drastic measures.  

Meanwhile, after discovering she is pregnant, Kerensa can’t wait for her husband to return home so she can share her news. But she soon discovers he’s gone missing.  

After receiving a threatening phone call from Paul, Kerensa realises how much trouble her family are in.  

Just how far is Paul prepared to go to get revenge? And will Kerensa ever be happy or safe again? 

Amanda James is also the bestselling author of novels including Another Mother and The Cornish Retribution. Dark Deception is a twisty and suspenseful psychological thriller which will appeal to fans of authors like C.L. Taylor, Claire McGowan and Louise Jensen. 

Well, Mandy James! What a devious lady you are! This is a very deceptive book with a very devious story line. You completely reeled me in with this tale and it was such an addictive read!

The synopsis does a great job of letting you know the basics of this story. The author then weaves a fabulous tale of deception, intrigue and mystery. What starts as a basic story about a married couple gradually turns into something far deeper, each chapter seems to add more intrigue and the suspense is slowly and surely ramped up.

I did have a couple of theories as I was reading, I will admit one of those theories turned out to be right. But the journey to whittle my theories down to the right one was fabulous. Even when I proven right there was more to come, more twists and turns than one of our Cornish lanes!

This author lives in Cornwall and to me this is very obvious in the reading of the setting descriptions. The little inlets, bays, cliffs and beaches all have cameo roles. I know the various places mentioned, and for me this adds the extras that I like in books that have a setting in the county I live.

As I mentioned this is a story of intrigue, deception and suspense. These elements give a fabulous psychological thriller feel. As the past is slowly pieced together the threads get more riveting as the depth of deception is realised.

This is such a brilliant read and I think the author has definitely created a fabulous psychological thriller. The story lines are wonderfully interwoven with the characters involved. Even when I thought I had a handle on the story the author deftly sidestepped me and had me avidly turning pages to discover what was going to happen next.

As I have mentioned, I have read a few books by Mandy, and this is my favourite one to date. It has an edgier feel to it and I feel the author has stepped up her writing. I have always really enjoyed her writing style, but this one just has that extra something to it.

A fabulous book and Amanda James is an author that I will automatically read. When I saw this book being offered as an advanced reader copy I requested it without even looking at the synopsis, for me this author is that good! Dark Deception is, as its title suggests, dark and deceptive, and it is a book I would Highly Recommend.

P.S… if you follow Mandy on Facebook you will know of the long awaited blooming of her Agapanthus,poor Aggie was a little shy at all the attention and it did seem to take forever. Why, I hear you ask, am I mentioning flowers? Well, I chuckled when I saw mention of an agapanthus in Dark Deception! A glimpse into an authors daily life! 🙂

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