Operation Edelweiss by Justin Kerr-Smiley #JustinKerrSmiley @RandomTTours @UnicornPubGroup #action #histfic #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Operation Edelweiss by Justin Kerr-Smiley. This is a brilliant book and is one for those who like a cracking action, adventure and mystery thriller story.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my PB copy of the book via the Publisher – Unicorn Publishing Group

In 1976, Argentina is governed by a military junta bankrolled by former Nazis. It is the anniversary of a mysterious village fire in the jungle. The lone survivor, a Guaraní boy, is now a Jesuit priest. A Jewish journalist, Ariel Guzman, interviews him at his mission. The man claims Adolf Hitler escaped from Berlin with Eva Braun and made a secret camp near the Iguaçu Falls. The Führer ordered the village’s destruction, but the priest refuses to say why. He mentions the codename Edelweiss and will only reveal the person’s identity if he dies.
Argentina’s most powerful man is billionaire and Waffen-SS veteran Tiago Hecht. He is searching for Edelweiss so that he can establish a Fourth Reich. Hecht now has confirmation Hitler’s son is alive. But so does the Mossad and they have sent an agent to eliminate him. The only sanctuary for ‘Edelweiss’ is at the Vatican, but time is running out.
The hunt is on… 

MY REVIEW

When I first saw this book I knew it was one I wanted to read, there have been many conspiracies and theories following the death of Hitler. Did he really die? Did he get out of Germany? I do love a good conspiracy book and this one sounded right up my street.

The author has taken the concept that Hitler and Eva Braun did indeed survive and made a voyage to start a new life in South America. Many made this journey some for survival and some to escape any repercussions. Many stories have circulated over the years and there is something about a conspiracy that intrigues me.

The story is one that sounds plausible and one that I found extremely addictive. From a journalist taking a statement from a priest to discovering the whereabouts of a secret camp, the political, religious and moral aspects are covered. Set over several years from WWII to the 1970s the story fills in an action-packed adventure style read.

As the synopsis suggests. this book takes in various organisations, including Mossad, the Vatican and a newspaper. Politics are also woven into this as you would expect as well. The author has created a story that flows so well between the many characters and locations. It is one that is taken through scenarios that have implications for the world and for those immediately involved. While the story is about the search for Hitler’s son, the author also includes life in Argentina in the 70s, the political stage.

I found this book to be very well-paced and the tension was amazing not everything turned out as I thought it might. I did like the way the author finished this story, it answered questions raised and felt right in some ways.

This is one for those who enjoy a proper action and adventure style read with conspiracies, secrets, and mysteries that need to be revealed. A fabulous book to read and one that I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Justin Kerr-Smiley was born in 1965 and educated at Newcastle University.
As a journalist, he has reported from the Balkans, Northern Ireland, the West
Bank and South America. He has also written for the Guardian, The Times
and The Spectator. He is the author of two previous novels, including Under
The Sun. He lives in London

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May God Forgive by Alan Parks @AlanJParks #HarryMcCoy @RandomTTours @canongatebooks #crime #histfic #policeprocedural #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for May God Forgive by Alan Parks. This is a brilliant book and series, although I do still have the first two to read!!! I do have them and I really must get to them.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of the book via the Publisher –

Detective Harry McCoy returns in the suspenseful, atmospheric fifth instalment in Alan Park’s internationally bestselling thriller series.

Glasgow is a city in mourning. An arson attack on a hairdresser’s has left five dead. Tempers are frayed and sentiments running high.

When three youths are charged the city goes wild. A crowd gathers outside the courthouse but as the police drive the young men to prison, the van is rammed by a truck, and the men are grabbed and bundled into a car. The next day, the body of one of them is dumped in the city centre. A note has been sent to the newspaper: one down, two to go.

Detective Harry McCoy has twenty-four hours to find the kidnapped boys before they all turn up dead, and it is going to mean taking down some of Glasgow’s most powerful people to do it.

MY REVIEW

Wow! Wow! And Wow! This is a brilliant read and if you like your crime to be dark, murky and set in the 70s then you really need to pick up this book. In fact, pick up the series so far!

Harry McCoy, well what a brilliant character he is. He is the epitome of the 70s style copper. He drinks too much and smokes too much and he is suffering because of it. When he is given a case there are those who don’t think he is up to it due to his health. If you have read the previous books you will understand more of McCoy as a character, this latest book however does delve a little further into his past. Does it have connections with his present case? Well, you know what? Read the book and you’ll find out!

This is set in Glasgow in 1974. Three young men, as the synopsis states, have just been taken from a prison van. They had been charged with arson and the death of five people. Tempers are high within the community and the city. When one of their bodies is found there isn’t much sympathy for them. Just what they deserve, is the overall opinion.

Whatever the opinion is though, McCoy has a job to do, discover where the remaining men are, discover the motives and also deal with an apparent suicide. Not bad considering McCoy has just come out of the hospital!

I really enjoy this author’s writing, he does slip in some dialect, but nothing that is not understandable btw. He also does such a brilliant job of showing the reader the darker, murkier side of Glasgow. The tenements, the alley and back streets are not the places anyone would want to be, especially a copper. But McCoy is different, he knows these streets and while he isn’t afraid to walk them he is very wary.

Using his knowledge of the area and the locals he gradually pieces things together, well he thinks he does! This is the part of the book I adored, as the author teases the reader just as much as he does McCoy. It feels like things are just in grasp, but the answers are just out of reach, tantalisingly close but slippery and elusive. As I was r4eading this book I kept thinking, “I wonder if it’s…” and ” Oh what if…”. It definitely kept me turning the pages.

The way the author moves in between procedural and, well let’s say, slightly off the book, is great. It introduces the criminal and gangs to the reader. Some very nasty characters to say the least. It is a credit to the writing skill of the author who managed to give a sense of unease, danger and doubt as McCoy carefully walked the grey line between legal and illegal activities on the streets.

This book, in case you haven’t realised by now, is brilliant. I didn’t want it to end. The story is so addictive and draws in some worthy moral dilemmas. McCoy isn’t alone in his search for the truth, he has Wattie, at times a bit of a hapless character, but one who does have McCoys back. He also keeps an eye on McCoy, and yes, he does need a bit of looking out from time to time.

If you are looking for a series or a book that allows you to wander vicariously, yet safely through the underworld of Glasgow during the 70s then you need to have a look at these books. I started this series with the March one (Bobby March Will live Forever) but I did buy the previous two… I still have them to read! So, yes you can read it as a stand-alone but I for one, wish I had started this series at the very beginning.

Gritty, with some not altogether likeable characters, dark, murky, full of tensions, public opinion and an all-in-all amazing book to read. I would highly recommend it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ALAN PARKS captures the dark beating heart of 70s Glasgow in his highly acclaimed Harry McCoy series.
Parks has spent most of his working life dealing with the production of images for Musical Artists, as
Creative Director at London Records in the mid-1990’s then at Warner Music. From cover artwork to
videos to photo sessions, he created ground-breaking, impactful campaigns for a wide range of artists
including All Saints, New Order, The Streets, Gnarls Barclay and Cee Lo Green. He was also Managing
Director of 679 Recordings, a joint venture with Warner Music. For the past few years, he has worked as
an independent visual and marketing consultant.
Alan was born in Scotland and attended The University of Glasgow where he was awarded an M.A. in
Moral Philosophy. He still lives and works in the city as well as spending time in London.

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How to Spot a Psychopath by M.Q. Webb @marswebb1 @RandomTTours #psycological #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for How to Spot a Psychopath by M.Q. Webb. This is a very good psychological thriller, the title does kind of give this away 🙂

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.

We’ve all wondered about someone… are they… how do I know?

How to Spot a Psychopath is a thoughtful, intelligent, psychological thriller full of conflicting accounts and sharp turns. How to Spot a Psychopath will keep you questioning who is hiding what, and why.

When four-year-old Mia Edwards goes missing on a play date, everyone suspects that Jessica Green knows what happened to her, especially Mia’s mother, Holly, but Jessica isn’t talking.

Psychiatrist, Dr Oscar de la Nuit, is determined to save Jess from the same mistakes he’s living with.

Will Jess lead to his redemption, or will she be his downfall?

Is Mia safe, and will Jess be able to return to the life she had before?

MY REVIEW


What a great introduction to Oscar de la Nuit the author has created with this first book in the series. It is a series I am looking forward to reading more of.

Oscar is a psychiatrist and he transfers a high profile person into his care as he believes he can help her. The person is Jess, she is accused of killing the missing child Mia, but won’t talk about it. Public opinion and the police have already decided on her guilt, but what exactly is she guilty of, or is she guilty of nothing at all?

This is a wonderfully intriguing and twisted psychological thriller. It is one that is told in a now and then format and I do like this method of storytelling. Information is given from the past when it is relevant to what is happening in the now.

As well as this being a story about Jess, this is also a story of what happened in Oscar’s life. This becomes relevant as he tries to help Jess.

There are several characters in this book and some have a larger part to play than others. There are a couple that felt a little clunky in being there but were needed for part of the story development. On the whole, the characters bring their own traits and agendas, but not everyone plays the role they are supposed to. Not all professionals act professionally.

There is a strong sense of mistrust for many of the characters and I do think this is what really helps the story move along at a good pace. The constant doubting and second-guessing yourself as a reader is brilliant. By the end of the book, I didn’t know who I could completely believe or trust, but I had hoped for a certain outcome.

I really liked this book, it felt full of suspicion quite early on and this carried on through the story. It is a good pace and I did feel it quickened over the latter half. This is one for those who like suspense riddled psychological thrillers and one that I would happily recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

MQ Webb enjoys writing thrillers, suspense, mysteries and horror. They once worked in an office in a building that was actually an old goal.


How to Spot a Psychopath is the first book in the Oscar de la Nuit series.

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Welcome to Your Life by Bethany Rutter @bethanyrutter @RandomTTours @fictionpubteam #debut #contemporaryfiction #romance #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Welcome to Your Life by Bethany Rutter. This is the first time I have read a book by this debut author and it was a fabulous one to read.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for squeezing me on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of the book.

52 weeks.
52 dates.
52 chances to find love.

Serena Mills should be at her wedding.


Instead, she’s eating an ice cream sundae and drinking an obscenely large glass of wine in a
Harvester off the M25.


Everyone thinks she’s gone mad. She’s jilted the man everyone told her she was ‘so lucky’ to find.
But Serena wants to find love. A love she deserves – not one she should just feel grateful for.
So, she escapes to the big city and sets herself a challenge: 52 weeks. 52 dates. 52 chances to find
love.

It should be easy, right?

MY REVIEW

This is the first time I have read anything by this author and that is because Bethany is a Debut Author, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I really liked the sound of the synopsis. The story is of Serena, and she has just left her wedding and is eating ice cream in a chain restaurant. Oh, and she is by herself!

This is the start of a wonderful story about how Serena tries to decide who she is and what she actually wants from her life. Not being the most confident of people and not willing to go out on a limb means she settles for what she knows. Thank goodness she realised in time that what she thought she wanted in life isn’t actually what she was willing to settle for.

This is a very modern feeling romance, that does have some chuckles but also has a more serious side to it. That serious side is one that many of us have had issues with and that is weight. I love how the author has created characters that are happy in their own skins, but still show how hurtful people can be. It doesn’t matter how confident you come across, the comments do still hurt.

So, for Serena changing not only her future but by taking a look at how she perceives what she should settle for is a huge eye-opener for her. It is hard to see herself as others see her and take compliments that are seriously meant. Serena is 28 and is starting to take steps out of her comfort zone. Living in London has opened up a different world to her, giving her some amazing and tantalising new experiences.

This was such a wonderful read. It is light and fun but also deals with some serious issues and the balance was great. This is a romance with a good amount of humour and there are some rather interesting scenes!!

I was definitely interested in how Serena was changing her attitude and also for those around her to support her when she needed it. I really enjoyed this and it is one I would definitely recommend. I am really looking forward to reading more from this author.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bethany Rutter is a writer, podcaster and plus-sized influencer. Her adult
debut, Welcome To Your Life, came to life through conversations with her
friends over drinks in London. Swapping stories of toe-curling online dates,
workplace harassment, new crushes, fashion discoveries and workout
classes, she wanted to write a heroine who turns her life upside-down just
ahead of her thirtieth birthday and is plunged into the wonderful chaos of
contemporary urban life.


In her words: ‘My heroine Serena Mills makes huge decisions. She wants
things for herself, she has Big Feelings, she desires people and is desired in
return. And… she’s fat. Of course, so much about her story has little or nothing to do with her body,
and I hope Welcome To Your Life resonates with you, whatever your body looks like and whatever
you feel towards it. This is just one story that I wanted to tell, where a fat girl gets to be the
protagonist of her own story, rather than a silly footnote in someone else’s.


Welcome To Your Life is dedicated to ‘anyone who’s ever held themselves back’ and encourages
us all to shake off our insecurities and wholeheartedly embrace everything that life has to offer.

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Fair Game by R.D. Nixon @TerriNixon @RandomTTours @HobeckBooks #crime #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Fair Game by R.D. Nixon. This is the second book I have read in this Clifford & MacKenzie series. It’s nice to occasionally step away from police procedurals and read a book about an Investigating Agency.

My full review for the first book Crossfire can be found HERE

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 Hobeck Books.

It’s autumn in Abergarry.
The nights lengthen, the weather turns, and the atmosphere darkens as the community is rocked by a brutal roadside murder: a loan shark’s ‘bag man’, Craig Lumsden, is found bludgeoned to death in his car in the early hours of the morning.

The season for murder.
The case seems simple enough. and the fingers quickly point to the most obvious suspect. But things are rarely as simple as they seem…

A murder that’s too close to home.
Too close for comfort, and definitely too close for complacency for private investigators Maddie Clifford and Paul Mackenzie. Delving into the case brings at least one of them face-to-face with danger… Will life in Abergarry ever be the same again?

MY REVIEW

This is the second book in the Maddie Clifford and Paul Mackenzie series, I have read and thoroughly enjoyed the previous book, Crossfire. While Maddie and Paul are part of an investigation agency, they are also caught up in something closer to home. A 25-year-old prank with fatal consequences starts this story off. It then gets dangerous and lives are on the line as the author turns up the tension.

This is a story that I really enjoyed, but I did need my wits about me for the many characters in this one. I did occasionally forget who was who, and thankfully I could remember the name Paul MacKenzie as he is referred to in both his first name and surname.

The other thing that kept me on my toes with this story was the complexity of the plot, it was one I could follow while I was reading it, but given the larger cast, it would be very confusing trying to summarise it. This is not a bad thing as it meant for me I had to concentrate more and therefore found myself more immersed in the story.

The storyline is mainly present day, it involves close friends, relatives, family and acquaintances. Thinking back on the story I do believe pretty much everyone has a part to play and I there is one or two characters that I really did have a soft spot for. Not main characters as such, but very definitely important to the story.

You will have to forgive my vagueness for this review, I did mention that it was complex but at the same time I don’t want to give anything away.

The author has created a wonderfully tense story, it is full of danger, apprehension, doubt, mistrust and it takes time for the whole truth to come out. The storyline itself is slow to completely reveal itself, but the pacing increases as I got further and further into it.

The ending was interesting, it did answer the questions and also raised eyebrows. I really enjoyed this one, as I write this review I can see this one being very good if it was made into a TV mini-series. I do think that there are many details that would transfer so well. This is an atmospheric crime thriller, tense, dark, devious and one that I would happily recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

R.D. (Terri) Nixon is a prolific writer, with thirteen books under her belt now. In
addition to this crime series, she also writes historical fiction, family sagas and
mythical fiction. When she’s not writing, Terri works in the Faculty of Arts,
Humanities, and Business at Plymouth University, where she is constantly
baffled by the number of students who don’t possess pens.

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Crow Court by Andy Charman @AndyCWriter @unbounders @RandomTTours #historicalfictoin #mystery #paperbackrelease #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Crow Court by Andy Charman. This is a mysterious historical fiction story that I very much enjoyed.

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

Spring, 1840. In the Dorset market town of Wimborne Minster, a young choirboy drowns
himself. Soon after, the choirmaster—a belligerent man with a vicious reputation—is found
murdered, in a discovery tainted as much by relief as it is by suspicion. The gaze of the
magistrates falls on four local men, whose decisions will reverberate through the community
for years to come.


So begins the chronicle of Crow Court, unravelling over fourteen delicately interwoven
episodes, the town of Wimborne their backdrop: a young gentleman and his groom run off to
join the army; a sleepwalking cordwainer wakes on his wife’s grave; desperate farmhands
emigrate. We meet the composer with writer’s block; the smuggler; a troupe of actors down
from London; and old Art Pugh, whose impoverished life has made him hard to amuse.
Meanwhile, justice waits…

MY REVIEW

This is a fabulous debut by the author and it was one that I really enjoyed. It is historical fiction with a mystery surrounding events between 1840 – 1863 set in Wimborne, Dorset. A young choirboy drowns himself and the choirmaster disappears. Rumours about the horrible and vile way the master treats the boys are all around the community. No one knows for sure what happened to the master, but several others have left the country. This adds fuel to fire about who was involved in the disappearance.

This is a slower-paced mystery and a historical fiction story. It deals with some awful actions from the choirmaster. There are some in denial, some think justice may have been served but over the course of the next 23 years, there is always a suspicion hanging over people.

The author has done a great job with this story and I did enjoy the local dialect, a list of these words can be found at the end of the book, but most of them can be worked out from the context they are set in.

This is a story that really involves many people from the local community, you get an insight into certain people’s lives and how they have carried on over the years. The chapters are laid out as the year’s change, so a quick glance will show you how many years have lapsed with each new chapter.

There is a wonderful simmering speculative suspicion throughout this tale and it does have an impact of differing degrees over the various people. The author uses social class and culture to show how the disappearance affects or implicates. The story started with a suicide and a disappearance, it raised its head again towards the end, but, in the middle, it did get lost a bit. While at the time I did wonder about this, now as I write this review up it seems to me that the story just lay dormant for a few years. It is only when other things come to pass that it is reignited.

There are many characters in this story, only a few of them I can honestly say made an impact for me. Others were there and while they did have their roles I didn’t feel any connection to them. There are, however, some good descriptions of the characters and I did like the use of the dialect for the more manual workers, and this was something that I enjoyed a lot.

This is one for those who like a slower-paced more literary style of historical fiction. It has a strong leaning towards the feel of a classic as well. It is a story of a community and of a mystery that spans over two decades. It is one I would happily recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy Charman was born in Dorset and grew up near Wimborne Minster,
where Crow Court is set. His short stories have appeared in various
anthologies and magazines, including Pangea and Cadenza. Crow Court
is his first novel, which he worked on at the Arvon course at The Hurst in
Shropshire in 2018. Andy lives in Surrey and is available for interview,
comment and events

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The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen @greerkh @sarahpekkanen @panmacmillan @RandomTTours #psychologicalthriller #domesticthriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. This is a fabulous psychological thriller that is twisted and full of secrets. This writing duo definitely do make a Golden Couple!

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

If Avery Chambers can’t fix you in ten sessions, she won’t take you on as a client. She helps people overcome everything, from domineering parents to assault. Her successes almost help her absorb the emptiness she feels since her husband’s death.


Marissa and Mathew Bishop seem like the golden couple until Marissa cheats. She wants to repair things, both because she loves her husband and for the sake of their 8-year-old son. After a friend forwards an article about Avery, Marissa takes a chance on this maverick therapist, who lost her license due to controversial methods. When the Bishops glide through Avery’s door and Marissa reveals her infidelity, all three are set on a collision course. Because the biggest secrets in the room are still hidden, and it’s no longer simply a marriage that’s in danger.

MY REVIEW

I have just read the synopsis for this book and it reminded me what a concise and interesting one it is. It is definitely what attracted me to this book. It implies secrets, not just from the couple but also from the maverick therapist that they go to see. Why would a couple who appear to be a perfect match, or “Golden Couple” need to see a therapist and why choose one that has lost her license?

I really don’t know who to start with for this review, the Bishops or the Therapist. The therapist is Avery Chambers, and yes she does have secrets, she lives alone and she checks around her very carefully. All the why’s will soon become apparent as the story progresses.

The Bishops, Marissa and Matthew have a son. Both parents work, have an affluent lifestyle, they need to have money to pay the fee to see Avery. Their lifestyle is almost choreographed into things that are “Instgramable”, you know the perfectly decorated house with the right decor. Always dressed smartly and holiday in the best locations. So, what is their secret, who has the secret, and are they willing to let their secret be known?

This was a fabulous read and a first for me from this writing duo. This is a domestic thriller that had me hooked. The authors started the story calmly, made the introductions and then came the first meeting for the Bishops and Avery.

From this point on the pacing gradually picks up, details are given and hints of the past are teasingly dropped onto the pages. I soon started to see the dynamics between this golden couple, Matthew so busy with work, meetings and trips with Marissa being the home organiser and also running her own shop, although she does have help from Polly in the shop. A non-stop world of family, business and travel doesn’t always leave much time for husband and wife time.

I really like the character of Avery, she comes across as being a no-nonsense woman, she doesn’t beat around the bush and wants to get to the bottom of the secrets. She is strong enough in herself to decide which people she will take on, it is almost like people have to pass her interview for her to then see them. She has her own treatment plan, 10 steps that are guaranteed to work!

There are some other players who have smaller roles, and rather than spoil it I will leave them to introduce themselves. Let’s see if you work out the liars from the truth-tellers, the cheaters from the good’uns. I thought I had people sussed! That’s all I am saying about me and my pathetic theories.

This is a tense and tight thriller, it is brilliantly paced and it added an exciting addictiveness to it. I needed to know all the details, the juicy bits, the why’s and wherefores. The author’s collaboration is fabulous and the story flows s well. There is some back and forth between characters and also timelines, this fills in details and makes for some incredible jaw-dropping moments. I didn’t see the final few chapters coming, that caught me on the hop.

If you are a fan of a domestic thriller that is tense and teasingly addictive then you really do need to pick up The Golden Couple. It is a cracking read and one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUHTORS

Greer Hendricks spent two decades as an editor. Prior to her tenure in book
publishing, she earned her Master’s in journalism from Columbia University. Her
writing has appeared in the New York Times, Allure and Publishers Weekly. Greer
lives in Manhattan with her husband and two children.


Sarah Pekkanen is the internationally and USA Today bestselling author of eight
solo novels. A former investigative journalist and feature writer, she has published
her work in The Washington Post, USA Today, and many other publications. She is
the mother of three sons and lives just outside Washington, D.C.


Together, they have written the New York Times bestselling novels The Wife
Between Us, An Anonymous Girl, and You Are Not Alone. The Golden Couple is their
fourth novel.

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Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter by Lizzie Pook @LizziePook @RandomTTours @MantleBooks #historicalfiction #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter by Lizzie Pook. This is a wonderful historical fiction set in 1886 in Western Australia.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my copy of this book from Mantle Books.

Fortune favours the brave . . .
It is 1886 and the Brightwell family has sailed from England to make their new home in
Western Australia. Ten-year-old Eliza knows little of what awaits them in Bannin Bay beyond
stories of shimmering pearls and shells the size of soup plates – the very things her father has
promised will make their fortune.


Ten years later, as the pearling ships return after months at sea, Eliza waits impatiently for
her father to return with them. When his lugger finally arrives, however, Charles Brightwell,
master pearler, is declared missing. Whispers from the townsfolk point to mutiny or murder,
but Eliza knows her father and, convinced there is more to the story, sets out to uncover
the truth. She soon learns that in a town teeming with corruption, prejudice and blackmail,
answers can cost more than pearls, and must decide just how much she is willing to pay, and
how far she is willing to go, to find them.


A gloriously rich and wonderfully assured debut, Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter is set
in a mesmerising yet unforgiving land, where both profit and peril lie deep beneath the
ocean surface rendered with astonishing clarity, it is a novel that marks Lizzie Pook
as a name to watch.

MY REVIEW

Eliza Brightwell starts a new life with her parents and siblings in Bannin Bay, N.W region of Australia. Her father is hoping to make his fortune from pearl diving. The voyage from the UK to Australia has been long and arduous. It is 1866.

This is a historical fiction that tells of Eliza and her arrival in Bannin Bay at the age of 10 and back and forth to her life in her 20s. The earlier years tell of sadness, filling in the details of how her father has successfully made a living as a Pearler. It also tells of the hardships of those in the Bay. A mix of cultures, classes and backgrounds. The author builds a wonderful image of this desolate, dusty and dry region, and it is easy to see how quickly one could fall into poverty.

Eliza is a little bit of an enigma, she isn’t interested in the frivolity and frippery as some women are. She is more interested in the natural world, in plants, animals and about what she sees around her. Life is very different from where she first began.

When the boats return from their latest trips her father’s boat is the last one in. It is without her father, her brother is dismissive as are the rest of the crew. She is bewildered, confused and concerned. Not one for being fobbed off she decides to discover what happened herself.

Well now, there is no doubt that this is a headstrong and determined character who knows her own mind. She will take advice but she is also willing to follow what she believes is right. When she senses that there is more to her father’s disappearance she just has to go with her gut.

In this era of history, slavery is common, a time of British Colonialism and of discovery. The pearling industry is something I don’t think I have read about before so this was a really interesting read. There was enough of the basics to make me more curious for further reading.

Eliza was a character I wasn’t sure about at the beginning, but the more I read the more I started to understand her. She would be seen as a feminist and therefore not really accepted into certain circles. In fact, she is her own circle and the author has done a brilliant job with her.

This is a story that ebbs and flows at its own pace. Sometimes it is faster like the storm in the ocean, other times it is slower more languorous and this slower pace gives a chance for the literary side to tease itself out. This at times has a really lovely literary fiction flow, as well as being a mystery and historical fiction in genres. It didn’t take me long to get into this story and I did find the book nagging for me to be picked back up when I had put it down. A fabulous debut from this author and one I would happily recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lizzie Pook is an award-winning journalist and travel writer contributing to The Sunday
Times, Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, Condé Nast Traveller and more. Her assignments have
taken her to some of the most remote parts of the planet, from the uninhabited east coast of
Greenland in search of roaming polar bears, to the foothills of the Himalayas to track
endangered snow leopards.


She was inspired to write Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter, her debut novel, after
spending time in north-western Australia researching the dangerous and
fascinating pearl-diving industry. She lives in London.
You can find Lizzie on Twitter and Instagram.

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Unhinged by Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger Translated by Megan Turney @LierHorst @EngerThomas #NordicNoir @RandomTTours @OrendaBooks #crime #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Unhinged by Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger Translated by Megan Turney. This is a fabulously tense Nordic Noir, crime thriller and I adored it.

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

His colleague is dead. His daughter may be next. It’s time to do things his way…
Two of Nordic Noir’s most accomplished writers return with the explosive, staggeringly complex and
unbearably emotive third instalment in the international bestselling Blix & Ramm series
.

When police investigator Sofia Kovic uncovers a startling connection between
several Oslo cases, she attempts to contact her closest superior, Alexander Blix,
before involving anyone else in the department. But before Blix has time to
return her call, Kovic is shot and killed in her own home – execution-style. And
in the apartment below, Blix’s daughter Iselin narrowly escapes becoming the
killer’s next victim.


Four days later, Blix and online crime journalist Emma Ramm are locked inside
an interrogation room, facing the National Criminal Investigation Service. Blix
has shot and killed a man, and Ramm saw it all happen.


As Iselin’s life hangs in the balance, under-fire Blix no longer knows who he can
trust, and he’s not even certain that he’s killed the right man…

MY REVIEW

I have read a few books by Thomas Enger and I have seen some great reviews about the collaboration between him and Jørn Lier Horst so I was definitely intrigued when I saw this book.

This is the 3rd book in the Blix and Raam series and even though it works perfectly well as a stand-alone but I do wish I had read the two previous books as this 3rd one was so good.

The death of Kovic, an Oslo Investigator sends shock waves through the department. It is also personal for her boss, Blix, as his daughter lives in the same apartment as Kovic. As Blix is involved personally in the case he is not given the job of running the investigation. Good job Blix wants answers and calls in blogger Emma Raam for help. As a journalist, she has access to information and is a real asset to Blix.

This really is a fabulous read and one that I read over one evening. Once started I could not leave it until I discovered the answers. The case is twisted and takes some very bizarre turns leading to such an intriguing read. From hearing a colleague has been killed to ending up being questioned for his role, this is addictive.

There is some interesting information that crops up about Blix, I am not sure if this is something that has been part of previous stories or not, but it gave some valuable insights into Blix. AS it is his daughter that is part of the investigation, it makes sense that he will want to be involved and that he may cut a few corners. It all adds to the excitement of the book.

The working relationship he has with Raam is good, they can bounce ideas off each other. This relationship becomes very strained though. I do like the character of Raam, she is willing to take risks, but is also a little more reserved compared to Blix. I think this is a good balance, it felt as she kept the story grounded.

AS I mentioned earlier, I do wish I had read the previous books, not for previous cases, or details, but because this one was so good.

If you are looking for a new crime thriller series then I would recommend giving this one a go based on how good I think this 3rd book is. This is a book by two Nordic Crime writers and it is brilliant. It is gritty, brutal and such an exciting fast-paced read. It is one I would definitely recommend.

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The Embroidered Book by Kate Heartfield @kateheartfield @RandomTTours @fictionpubteam @HarperVoyagerUK #histfic #histfantasy #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for The Embroidered Book by Kate Heartfield. This is an amazing read and is definitely one for fans of historical fiction and fantasy.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my gorgeous paperback of this book from the publisher Harper Voyager UK.

‘Power is not something you are given. Power is something you take. When you are a woman,
it is a little more difficult, that’s all

1768 – Charlotte, daughter of the Habsburg Empress, arrives in Naples to marry a man she has
never met. Her sister Antoine is sent to France, and in the mirrored corridors of Versailles, they
rename her Marie Antoinette.


The sisters are alone, but they are not powerless. When they were only children, they discovered
a book of spells – spells that work, with dark and unpredictable consequences.


In a time of vicious court politics, of discovery and dizzying change, they use the book to take
control of their lives.


But every spell requires a sacrifice. And as love between the sisters turns to rivalry, they will send
Europe spiralling into revolution.

MY REVIEW

If you are looking for a historical fiction based on fact but with a fantasy reimagining to it then look no further than The Embroidered Book. This is based in Europe and concentrated on one generation of the Hapsburg family.

How does a little insignificant-looking book that has an unfinished embroidered cover lead to the rise and fall of some of the most famous monarchs of Europe? Well, this book is one that has something rather special in it and it opens up a fantastical world of magic. Where there is magic there is greed, there is the hunt for more power and not everyone has access to it, in fact, most people don’t even know that there is magic in Europe.

This story is set in the late 1700s when a young woman leaves her family and home in Austria to marry the king of France. She will have her name changed to help her fit in, she will have to change her style and her whole way of presenting herself. She will be known as Marie Antoinette. Her sister, Charlotte is her closest sibling and they have always been close. The Hapsburgs have been arranging marriages to bolster their own heritage, remain in power and always look to improve or stabilise countries through marriage. They are the power family of the time.

The author has picked such an interesting time in history, it is turbulent and there are revolutions and uprisings to come. Using this period makes the weaving of the fantasy element work so well. There is already a sense of distrust and of poverty. While the Kings and Queens of Europe are living lavish and opulent lifestyles, the common people are starving. So adding this twist into the story is just a great way of not only showing Europe at the time but of giving the reader an exciting alternative.

As this is a historical-based novel there is a lot of historical and political references to events. This has been done in a great way and is very much part of the story rather than a dry narrative. The author really brought the characters to life, rather than being figures from history she gave them thoughts, personalities and opinions. Even though this is an age of mistrust from regular people, it was also interesting to read the authors take on how the thoughts of the monarchs could have also been.

This is an absolutely fascinating read, the magical aspects are such a good inclusion and for me worked really well. The balance of it felt right within the contest so even if you are not a reader of fantasy I think you will get on well with this.

I adored this book and it ticked many, many boxes. It is riveting, exciting, mysterious, politically charged, has loads of research, a touch of magic, mistrust, infighting, double-crossing, treachery and treason, I could go on! It shows the wranglings and machinations of the powerful leading historical figures and thought it was done brilliantly. This is a book I would absolutely recommend. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kate Heartfield is the author of The Embroidered Book, a historical fantasy novel out in February 2022.

Her debut novel won Canada’s Aurora Award, and her novellas, stories and games have
been shortlisted for the Nebula, Locus, Crawford, Sunburst and Aurora awards. A former
journalist, Kate lives near Ottawa, Canada.

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