Crossfire by RD Nixon @TerriNixon @RandomTTours @HobeckBooks #crime #mystery #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Crossfire by R.D. Nixon. This is a wonderful crime thriller read that kept me entertained for a couple of days. This is the first book in The Clifford-Mackenzie series.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my paperback of this fab book from the publisher, Hobeck Books.

To what depths would you sink to protect your own?

Hogmanay 1987

A prank robbery has fatal consequences.

Five Years Later

Highlands town Abergarry is shaken by the seemingly gratuitous murder of a local man. The case is unsolved.

Present Day

Ten-year-old Jamie, while on holiday in Abergarry with his mum Charis, overhears a conversation. To him, it is all part of a game. But this is no game and the consequences are far more serious than Jamie ever imagined.

Old wounds are about to be reopened

Struggling PI team Maddy Clifford and Paul Mackenzie find themselves involved by a chance meeting. How deep into those wounds will they have to delve to unravel the mystery?

Purchase Link – Amazon

My Review…

This was such an interesting book full of much intrigue. Charis and her son Jamie are on holiday in Scotland, Jamie overhears a conversation and his curiosity gets the better of him. An old robbery, followed years later by a murder, now this random conversation overheard by a young boy! What is the connection and why are the Private Investigators Clifford and Mackenzie interested?

I will say that this story took me a while to get going with. There are a few characters to get to know and then there are the differing timelines. It was several chapters before I felt I got to grips with it. By then I was already more than intrigued and I wanted to know more, what the links were, what was hidden, why the crimes were committed and also what all the players were doing.

The author weaves quite a complex story, but as I mentioned, once I started to get an idea who was who then I was able to settle into the story much more and found a gripping mystery, crime and thriller. I found the pace picked up and so did the feeling of suspense.

The characters are a really interesting bunch, some you get a good feeling about, others definitely give off bad vibes and then there are those that you are not so sure about. This range of characters have their roles, there is a surprise or two in store and there is a feeling of something much bigger afoot as the story progresses.

Because the story flits across the timelines it adds a real air of mystery and towards the later stage of the book, there is a really tense atmosphere that you have been gradually been drawn towards. Part of the synopsis mentions what a person would do to protect their family, this is something that is really put to the test for a couple of the characters.

This is a story for those who like a more grittier mystery, it is a procedural in some respects but not police based as such. The Investigating team of Clifford and Mackenzie I really liked, and I am glad to see there is going to be more from them in future books.

A complex story to start with but then it soon became addictive and I needed to know how things would resolve. It is a crime, thriller, mystery and it is one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Writing as R. D. Nixon. Terri Nixon was born in Plymouth, Devon, but during her childhood her family moved to the moorland village of North Hill in Cornwall. There, at the age of nine, Terri discovered a love of writing that has stayed with her ever since. She also discovered apple-scrumping, and how to jump out of a hayloft without breaking any bones, but no-one’s ever offered to pay her for doing those. Terri’s first commercially published novel was Maid of Oaklands Manor, in 2013, and since then she has published a further ten novels, with a twelfth due out December 2020. Terri also writes under the name T Nixon, and has contributed to anthologies under the names Terri Pine and Teresa Nixon. She has returned to Plymouth, and 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.

Twitter @TerriNixon

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This Fragile Earth by Susannah Wise @susannahwise @RandomTTours @Gollancz #dystopian #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for This Fragile Earth by Susannah Wise. I really enjoyed this dystopian book set in the near distant future.

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

Not long from now, in a recognizable yet changed London, Signy and Matthew lead a dull, difficult life. They’ve only really stayed together for the sake of their six year old son, Jed. But they’re surviving, just about. Until the day the technology that runs their world stops working. Unable to use their phones, pay for anything, even open the smart door to their flat, Matthew assumes that this is just a momentary glitch in the computers that now run the world.

But then the electricity and gas are cut off. Even the water stops running. And the pollination drones – vital to the world, ever since the bees all died – are behaving oddly. People are going missing. Soldiers are on the streets. London is no longer safe.

A shocking incident sends Signy and Jed on the run, desperate to flee London and escape to the small village where Signy grew up. Determined to protect her son, Signy will do almost anything to survive as the world falls apart around them. But she has no idea what is waiting for them outside the city…

My Review…

Beginning in London in the not too distant future machinery starts to fail. Everything is machine-based from water supplies and electricity to cars, computers, doctors and everything that makes everyday life easier.

Realising this may not be a glitch Signy with her son Jed decide to make the journey to her mother’s house. Pollution is something that is more advanced than today, special glasses to protect eyes, safe drinking water is just the very basics that have to be taken into consideration. Transport is down, no cars, trams, buses just an old heavy bike is all that is available to Signy as she makes her journey. Leaving London behind.

This is a very atmospheric book and one that involves futuristic science. The author has used the extinction of bees as being one of the important factors in her futuristic world, this is coupled with a computer system that controls everything from planting and growing of food, medical advice and treatment, pretty much everything.

As Signy and Jed make their journey, the author gradually fills in what has happened and what could potentially be happening as things change. It is a chance to pose questions, delve into living conditions, explore the science of this changing world.

As much as I really enjoyed this story and I did find it addictive, I did find that Jed did start to grate on my nerves. A child who is incredibly clever and one that doesn’t always have a sense of respect. While Signy does her best, I could feel her frustrations with the constant questions and felt the pressure building.

This is a book that I found interesting, there were some of the science things that I didn’t understand, but sort of got the gist of. There is a moralistic thread in this story as we look at how today’s environment is standing on a precipice. It is this that makes this sort of near-future story more believable. Advances in technology, reliance on machinery and gadgets all help to add an authentic feel.

This was a really good read, it is one for those who like atmospheric, slower-paced intriguing and thought-provoking reads. A dystopian novel set in the near future and one I would recommend reading.

About the Author…

Portrait. 2012, Credit Johan Persson/

SUSANNAH WISE is an actor and writer who grew up in London and the Midlands. The death of her
father in 2015 was the catalyst for THIS FRAGILE EARTH. His preoccupation with astronomy and the
beauty of the night sky formed the jumping-off point for the story. Susannah studied at the Faber
Academy, graduating in September 2018, during which time she wrote a second, more peculiar novel.
Both books have been longlisted for the Mslexia prize. She lives in London with her partner and son.

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Falling by T.J Newman @T_J_Newman @simonschusterUK @RandomTTours #debutauthor #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Falling by T.J Newman. My thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging for my copy of this book from the publisher Simon and Schuster.

56614951

You just boarded a flight to New York.

There are one hundred and forty-three other passengers onboard.

What you don’t know is that thirty minutes before the flight your pilot’s family was kidnapped.

For his family to live, everyone on your plane must die.

The only way the family will survive is if the pilot follows his orders and crashes the plane.

Enjoy the flight.

My Review…

When I saw the synopsis for this book I knew it was one that I wanted to read. I was so right about this book as I got a brilliant and adrenalin-fuelled psychological read from start to finish.

The first line of this book did it for me, what an opening line that was. That was the prologue, by the way.

the story is of Capt. Bill Hoffman, pilot of Coastal Airways flight from Los Angeles to New York. Not a scheduled flight for Bill, but an extra and one that his wife isn’t happy about him taking on. He should have been home, maybe if he was then the nightmare that ensues would not have happened.

When the plane is hijacked, it is Bill who is the only one on board that is aware of it. His wife and two children are not able to help as they have been kidnapped. His instructions are simple. Crash the plane or your family will die.

Once I started this book really couldn’t put it down. After the dramatic opening, the chapters that followed drew me further in. The author built an image of a family man who is loyal to his employers, who has a sense of duty and who has a sense of right and wrong. When his family are taken he has a choice, what his decision will be I will leave you to read and discover.

It is not only Bill but also Jo, Kellie and Big Daddy who have a part to play. They are flight attendants, Jo does have the larger role of the three. There is also a couple of key on the ground characters as well.
This gives a good around view of the event as it unfolds and gives differing perspectives as events unfold. Obviously, there is Bill in the cockpit, Jo and the crew with the passengers, the family, the kidnapper and also the FBI. While it may seem as there are many characters, they are introduced in such a way as they become memorable quickly.

The author, who by the way was a Flight Attendant brings her experience in the air to this book. There are little things that cropped up as I read that I didn’t realise. To be honest, I have never flown so it’s not like I am an expert, but there were times where I came across something that I was never aware of.

There are plenty of surprises along the way and several twists that I didn’t see coming. I did briefly give a passing thought about one person but then brushed that off! I do like how the author has used this scenario to try and exert pressure on the pilot. I mean, he is in the air but he can still control what happens to his family. But, what about the passengers on his flight, they are also his responsibility! Talk about a vicious circle!

I thoroughly enjoyed this adrenalin-packed roller coaster of a ride, or should I say flight! I am quite glad I like keeping my feet firmly on the ground after reading this book! It’s a fabulous debut that had me hooked and I think would be ideal for readers who enjoy a fast-ish-paced, psychological thriller. I would definitely recommend it.

About the Author…

T. J. Newman, a former bookseller turned flight attendant, worked for Virgin America and Alaska Airlines from 2011 to 2021. She wrote much of Falling on cross-country red-eye flights while her passengers were asleep. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Falling is her first novel.

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This Is How We Are Human by Louise Beech @louisewriter @RandomTTours @OrendaBooks #jubilantjune #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review for This Is How We Are Human by Louise Beech. This is an author who doesn’t stick to genres, she explores many emotions. She makes it impossible for me to write a review that comes anywhere close to doing her writing justice!

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

Sebastian James Murphy is twenty years, six months and two days old. He loves swimming, fried eggs and Billy Ocean. Sebastian is autistic. And lonely.

Veronica wants her son Sebastian to be happy, and she wants the world to accept him for who he is. She is also thinking about paying a professional to give him what he desperately wants.


Violetta is a high-class escort, who steps out into the night thinking only of money. Of her nursing degree. Paying for her dad’s care. Getting through the dark.


When these three lives collide, and intertwine in unexpected ways, everything changes. For everyone.


Both heart-breaking and heart-warming, This Is How We Are Human is a powerful, moving and thoughtful drama about a mother’s love for her son, about getting it wrong when we think we know what’s best, about the lengths we go to care for family and to survive.

“Though This is How We Are Human is fiction, the premise was inspired by my friends, 20-year-old
Sean, who is autistic, and his mum Fiona. Fiona had spoken to me about how much Sean longed to
meet a girl and have sex. No one talks about this, she said – the difficulties navigating romance often
faced by those on the spectrum. It ’s an issue that I wanted to explore. Fiona and Sean encouraged me
and guided me through the book; Sean regularly consulted on dialogue, rightly insisting that his voice
was heard, was strong, and was accurate. I cannot thank my extraordinary friends enough for their
help and support.” Louise Beech

My Review…

So here is my attempt at a review…

Whenever I pick up a book by this author I know I am going to be in for something special. even though I have not yet read all of her books, I have read enough to know that when I do read one it is going to leave me with tears, This Is How We Are Human is no exception.

The story explores the love a mother and what she will do to give her son as ‘normal’ a life as she can. The story gives a voice to Sebastian who has autism. This voice is the louder one, and opened up my eyes a lot. The story is about what a daughter will do to look after her father.

So, three main characters and each one unique, each one doing what they can, each one doing their best. Sebastian is 20, he has perfectly normal sexual desires, but as he doesn’t have a girlfriend his mother believes she is doing the right thing by hiring an escort for him.

The escort, is doing all she can to keep on top of her studies, look after her father and pay the bills. The only way she can do this is by taking on additional work in the evenings. It is not way she planned for her life to pan out, but needs must.

The three lives are very much intertwined as the author gradually weaves her story. She not only does a fantastic job of bringing them to life, but she also made me care about all three. The character and story of Sebastian is based on the experiences of people the author knew. As I read I was aware that Sebastian’s voice sounded genuine, it had some sort of real and authentic sound to it. This was because of Sean, the person behind the story.

Once again, the author has woven something special. While we try our best not to make assumptions, we try not to be prejudiced, we will and do fail at some point. As much as we try our best to right by other, or to help, there will be a time when we have to stand back. We have to allow life and the natural course of things happen.

This is a story that doesn’t really fit into a genre as such. It is a human interest story, it is a coming of age story, it is challenging the reader to see beyond the labels of society. It also gives some insight into autism, how not only those who are diagnosed with it live, but also how family and other people perceive autism.

This is a special story that has made me once again has me struggling to convey how unique this author and her writing is. I didn’t find this uncomfortable reading at all, I found it emotional and heartfelt. Warm and genuine. The author took a story and created something that was about the people rather than the sex or the autism.

Such an amazing book to read. It s a book that once I began I did not want to put down. I adored this and I would highly recommend it.

About the Author…


The author of Maria in the Moon, The Lion Tamer Who Lost and I Am Dust returns with a beautifully written, powerful and thought-provoking novel that will warm your heart.


Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. The follow-up, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Both of her previous books Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost were widely reviewed, critically acclaimed and number-one bestsellers on Kindle. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award in 2019. Her 2019 novel Call Me Star Girl won Best magazine Book of the Year, and was followed by I Am Dust.

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Threadneedle by Cari Thomas @Cari_Threads #Threadneedle @RandomTTours @HarperVoyagerUK #urbanfantasy #NetGalley #debutauthor #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review today for Threadneedle by Cari Thomas. I adored this book so much and I would like to thank Anne at Random Things Tours and Harper Voyager UK for my spot on the tour and for my e-copy of this gorgeous book.

Anna’s aunt has always warned her of the dangers of magic. Its twists. Its knots. Its deadly consequences.
Now Anna counts down the days to the ceremony that will bind her magic forever.


Until she meets Effie and Attis.


They open her eyes to a London she never knew existed. A shop that sells memories. A secret library where the librarian feeds off words. A club where revellers lose themselves in a haze of spells.


But as she is swept deeper into this world, Anna begins to wonder if her aunt was right all along.
Is her magic a gift…or a curse?


Told through spells created with knots and threads, this is a story that is both innovative and
based in traditional witchcraft.

My Review…

Wow-what an amazing book this was. I had such high hopes for this book as I was really in the mood for a witchy fantasy type story and this is what I got and so much more.

Anna has been warned about the dangers of magic and its use. Rather than risking the danger, it would be better if Anna had her magic bound, in other words, has it blocked so she cannot use it. Anna sort of goes along with this until she discovers that she is not alone in this magical world. That others have powers and that they do use them. They are not all of the same opinions as Anna’s guardian and Aunt. I have to say, thank goodness they don’t share her opinion.

Mysterious deaths are reported in the paper, with a range of far-fetched sounding rumours. I mean there are no switches, it is a myth, right? Well, as far as the author, Anna and her friends are concerned there are witches, they are not myths, they are just good at hiding themselves.

I adored everything about this book apart from one thing… it ended and I have to wait for more! This was such an easy book to get caught up in, the story of Anna and her Aunt is at times brutal. The author really does have a great way of expressing the term “tough love”, there is more to this than first meets the eye though. Safety, fear and danger have a large part to play.

I do like how the author brings a group of misfits together and how she uses them to good effect to deal with being a teen and the problems that come with it. In some respect, this is a story about a group of teens who are dealing with life, school and the whole rebel thing but this group has a little more up their sleeves than your average teen.

I also like how the way the author gave various traits and characteristics to the group but then challenges their characters. I am not revealing how this occurs, while it isn’t exactly a major part of the story it does show the progress that the group makes as a whole.

This is a coming of age story, it is about learning lessons in life and that actions have consequences. Yes, it is a young adult read that I do think that age group of readers would love, but also the older readers. I did at times feel a hint of A Discovery of Witches, as Anna learns more about the magic and (I love that series of books btw).

This is a wonderful fantasy book that mixes magic with a world of today. It is simply a brilliant book and as I read it over a couple of days I was hooked, addicted and didn’t want it to end. It really didn’t feel like a book over 500 pages long. It is one I would definitely recommend and I am eager to see more in this exciting new series. 

About the Author…

Cari Thomas has always loved magic, inspired by her upbringing among the woods and myths of Wales’
Wye Valley. She studied English and Creative Writing at Warwick University and Magazine Journalism at
The Cardiff School of Journalism. Her first job was at teen Sugar magazine where she ran the book club and
quickly realized she wanted to be the one writing the books instead. She went on to work at a creative
agency, spending her spare time researching magic and accumulating an unusual collection of occult books.
She wrote her debut novel Threadneedle while living in London, wandering the city and weaving it with
all the magic she wished it contained. She now lives in Bristol with her husband and son, who bears the
appropriately Celtic name of Taliesin.

A Note from the Author…

I remember the old family stories about my Great Aunt Mary. A fiercely independent, enigmatic woman who was said to be a witch. Perhaps it was these early stories seeping into my subconscious, perhaps it was devouring The Worst Witch, or growing up in rural Wales surrounded by myth and fairy tales, or maybe it was just me, but from a young age I developed a fascination for all things witches and magic.
But let’s not forget that the witch’s hut always sits outside of the village for a reason. In my research, I became just as obsessed with magic’s opposite forces – repression, fear, suspicion and prejudice. After all, if my Great Aunt Mary had been alive a few centuries earlier she may well have been burnt at the stake.
Witch hunts became an area of fascination for me and the more I read the more outraged I became – how powerful, outspoken women and men, or people of the pagan faith, or simply outsiders, have time and time again been suppressed, silenced and extinguished from society. How the power structure of the day meant that it was near impossible for them to have a voice and to defend themselves.
Why was it such people terrified those in power? Why were we not taught more about this dark period
of history? Why did the themes feel like they still resonated so strongly today?
I explore these tensions in Threadneedle- the freedoms of magic set against a fear of witches and feminine
power; schoolgirls forced to take on the injustices of the world one spell at a time.
The sheer joy of writing the book came in bringing these tensions into the modern world and particularly
into the London setting we think we know. Ultimately, this is where the heart of the story lies: in feminine power and sisterhood, bringing together
an unlikely set of outsiders, who together must navigate their way through the light and dark of being
a young woman in today’s world. A world that is more complex than ever and yet still plagued by many
of the same issues that my Great Aunt Mary would have faced, and all the witches who came before her.

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Sword of Bone by Anthony Rhodes @AngelaMaryMor @RandomTTours #wartimestories @I_W_M #historical #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Sword of Bone by Anthony Rhodes. This is one of the books that has been republished by the Imperial War Museum.

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

A reissue of Anthony Rhodes’s acclaimed 1942 novel detailing his own wartime experience during the evacuation at Dunkirk. 

It is September 1939. Shortly after World War II is declared, Anthony Rhodes is sent to France, serving with the British Army. His days are filled with the minutiae and mundanities of army life—friendships, billeting, administration—as the months of the “Phoney War” quickly pass and the conflict seems a distant prospect. 

It is only in the spring of 1940 that the true situation becomes clear. The men are ordered to retreat to the coast and the beaches of Dunkirk, where they face a desperate and terrifying wait for evacuation. 

Purchase from – IWM Online Shop

My Review…

This is a memoir and it is quite an easy read from the viewpoint of the author. His job in the British Army is to organise accommodation, supplies and help prepare for the rest of the troops behind him. There is a certain amount of camaraderie that comes across as he works out the logistics of getting things in place.

While he is out and organising it does appear that he is not in the thick of things, there is a certain amount of disbelief that Germany is really attacking as it is not seen first hand. In fact, they don’t get close to the enemy until further in the book and the retreat to Dunkirk is ordered.

There were times with this book that I did have to remind myself that is written and based on the authors own experiences. While it is a memoir it does read like historical fiction. This is written very much of the time and the language and style of writing have words or phrases that we would not use today. There were also a few french phrases that I didn’t understand, if I had read it on my kindle I could have checked quicker.

This is a book of the time and it does have a sort of reserve to it. There is some humour as tales are recounted. This is a book that at times I did struggle with as it didn’t hold my interest as much as I hoped it would. I did like it and I have rounded it up from 3.5 to 4 stars.

This is one for those who like memoirs set during WWII, I did enjoy it and therefore I would recommend it.

About the Author…

– Anthony Rhodes (1916 – 2004) served with the British Army in France during the
so-called ‘Phoney War’ and was evacuated from Dunkirk in May 1940. In the latter part of the war he was
sent to Canada as a camouflage officer and was invalided out of the Army in 1947 having served for 12 years.
After the conflict he enjoyed a long academic and literary career and wrote on various subjects, including the
1956 Hungarian Revolution for the Daily Telegraph and well-regarded histories of the Vatican.

About the Imperial War Museum…

IWM (Imperial War Museums) tells the story of people who have lived, fought and died in conflicts involving
Britain and the Commonwealth since the First World War.
Our unique collections, made up of the everyday and the exceptional, reveal stories of people, places, ideas
and events. Using these, we tell vivid personal stories and create powerful physical experiences across our
five museums that reflect the realities of war as both a destructive and creative force. We challenge people to
look at conflict from different perspectives, enriching their understanding of the causes, course and
consequences of war and its impact on people’s lives.
IWM’s five branches which attract over 2.5 million visitors each year are IWM London, which will open
extensive new Second World War and The Holocaust Galleries in autumn 2021; IWM North, housed in an
iconic award-winning building designed by Daniel Libeskind; IWM Duxford, a world renowned aviation
museum and Britain’s best preserved wartime airfield; Churchill War Rooms, housed in Churchill’s secret
headquarters below Whitehall; and the Second World War cruiser HMS Belfast.

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Where Crows Land by Paul McCracken @PaulMcCracken_ @TheConradPress @RandomTTours #crime #thriller #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Where Crows Land by Paul McCracken. This is a a gritty urban crime thriller read that I really enjoyed.

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

This gripping thriller is set in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and chronicles the dramatic events when a former detective, Joseph Carter, sets out to gain redemption from the consequences of an old case that cost him everything.

Carter is still haunted by the murders of his niece and brother-in-law at the hands of a serial killer he was trying to track down. One year on, the killer has returned and Carter, now a disgraced detective gone private, launches a personal vendetta to catch him this time around.

My Review…

Life isn’t easy for Carter. A former detective who is now a Private Investigator after going rogue. Not without just cause though. Deciding not to call in back up a year ago leads to the death of his brother in law and niece.

Being a PI sort of keeps him in the loop, keeping his finger on the pulse of the streets of Belfast. It seems the past is coming at him once again, he is being targeted. A recent case may give him a way back into investigating the murder of his family. A case that haunts him still.

This is a tough and gritty crime thriller and I really like the way the author has twisted this storyline every day possible. Creating a novel that is a mix of various plots and characters to provide a roller coaster ride through the streets of Belfast. The characters are a mix of family, friends and colleagues.

The story is one that has a good deal of intrigue and I found myself second-guessing so many times and was nowhere near to being right. As I said it is full of twists and they definitely caught me out many times.

The characters are such a mix, I did like the main character of Carter. He does seem to have loyalties and integrity, a loner to a point but more that he still hangs on to the hope that he will find those responsible for the deaths of his family. I didn’t particularly like all the characters, there is a certain amount of mistrust that the author has given them. As I read I found my doubts, in some cases were justified, but not in all cases.

This is a gritty and intriguing urban crime thriller that has a good mystery and suspense to it. One for those who like a deep plot with red herrings and one I would recommend reading.

About the Author…

Northern Irish novelist, Paul McCracken was born 16th January 1991 in the Ulster hospital, Dundonald, just outside of Belfast. He grew up in the Castlereagh area of east Belfast where he also went to school. Ever since he could hold a pencil, he wanted to be an artist and no-one, not even the school career advisor could tell him otherwise. He left education with only three GCSE’s and an Art diploma. He tried to make it as a fine artist whilst also trying to find any work to support himself financially. However, the more he learned about the commercial art world, the more he wanted no part in it. In spring 2011, he enrolled in a five day film making course through the Prince’s Trust charity. He always had a passion for storytelling. During the course, he impressed the owner of the studio at which the course was being held, through the raw creativity he displayed. The studio owner was the first to encourage Paul to write his own material, that material being screenplays. After leaving the course with new found confidence and ambition, Paul started to learn the craft of screenwriting and got to work writing his very first feature film. After securing full time work later that year, he found a renewed inspiration to write again and wrote a full length film script in the space of a week. Paul kept on writing other projects as well as continually editing the first script, but he kept the fact he was writing close to himself as he didn’t want to face any negativity if he were to tell anyone. The script would go on to score highly in an international screenplay competition, based out of Los Angeles. It would then place in the quarter-finals of the same competition for the next two years in a row, accompanied by another screenplay that Paul wrote next. Years later, after entering competitions, pitching, submitting and doing some occasional freelance scriptwriting, Paul wanted to find a way to get his work into the public eye. Writing a novel was a challenge that seemed daunting but also exciting. Having first thought of converting his best script into a novel, he decided to come up with a completely original story. In 2018, he self published his debut novel, Layla’s Song. In 2020 he secured two book deals with two different English publishers. The Conrad Press and PM Books (Imprint of Holland House Books). The first of these books was Where Crows Land, a detective thriller set in Belfast and published by The Conrad Press. His other novel, The Last Rains Of Winter is due out early 2021 with PM Books.

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Secrets of the Jam Factory Girls by Mary Wood @Authormary #panmacmillan @RandomTTours #histfic #saga #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Secrets of the Jam Factory Girls by Mary Wood. I am a huge fan of this author and her books and this is the second book in the series.

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

A heart-warming saga about female friendship from the bestselling author of The Jam Factory Girls.
Secrets of the Jam Factory Girls is a moving saga novel of friendship set in the heart of pre-WWI London from
bestselling author, Mary Wood.


Elsie’s worked her way up at Swift’s Jam Factory from the shop floor to the top, and now it’s her time to shine. But
when she’s involved in an incident involving her half-sister Millie’s new husband, she is forced to keep it secret – the
truth could threaten their sisterly bond.


Dot is dogged by fear, coming to terms with her mother’s rejection of her. She should be enjoying the happiness she
craves with her beloved Cess; instead, she’s trapped in an asylum, haunted by the horrifying cries of inmates. All she
wants is to get married, but what chance is there for her if she’s locked away?


Millie is trying to build a life with her new husband. But the man she loves is not all he seems . . .


Can the Jam Factory girls create the future they all deserve?


This historical saga series begins with The Jam Factory Girls.

My Review…

This is the second book in the Jam Factory Girls series and it does continue on from the previous book, but you could read it as a stand-alone, but you would miss out on a great story and intro to the girls.

Life has changed for Elise and Millie as their sisterly bond becomes closer. In fact, the bond between Cess, Bert and all the characters becomes closer. Within this closeness, there is still the feeling of not belonging as Millie has lived a very different lifestyle to that of her new fond family. These differences can be overcome and realisations are discussed as each person finds where they feel more at home.

This closeness is going to be tested, and not in a way I had ever envisioned. I don’t ever read the synopsis for any of this authors books, I just know I want to read them and that is just what I do. The Jam Factory is improving, and not just in the profits but also in production since Elsie and Millie have had more of an input. Working conditions and the health and well being of their mostly female staff has worked wonders.

With the slowly changing attitudes, things do have the appearance of looking up, there is however the old fashioned attitude that is still very strong, an attitude of ” this is how things have always been” still has a firm foothold. Challenging this attitude both on the work and homelife front is something that will be a strength of will.

This is a wonderful historical fiction that I adored, as I mentioned this is a continuation and it was great to catch up with the girls and their families. The author really does encompass so many things in the time of the setting. Hints and nudges towards working condition, family life, status, a little of the politics and of course it is all wrapped up in a wonderful story.

the author never makes things easy for her characters, or for that matter her readers as she does put us all through the wringer. I did find this book angered me a lot as the attitudes of the time and of particular characters are so bloody-minded and it is the strength of the writing that brings out the feelings.

A superb read as always from a fabulous author. If you are a fan of historical fiction, sagas and family dramas from a time gone by then you are going to get on so well with this author. I would definitely recommend this book.

About the Author…

Born the thirteenth child of fifteen to a middle-class mother and an East End barrow boy, Mary Wood’s family was poor, but rich in love. 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. She is the bestselling author of
numerous books, including The Abandoned Daughter and The Brave Daughters.

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Pathfinders by Cecil Lewis @I_W_M @angelamarymar @RandomTTours #wartimeclassics #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Pathfinders by Cecil Lewis. This is a wartime classis that is being republished by the Imperial War Museum.

I wish to thank Anne at Random Things tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of the book.

Here is some information about the Imperial War Museum…


IWM (Imperial War Museums) tells the story of people who have lived, fought and died in conflicts
involving Britain and the Commonwealth since the First World War.

Our unique collections, made up of the everyday and the exceptional, reveal stories of people, places, ideas
and events. Using these, we tell vivid personal stories and create powerful physical experiences across our
five museums that reflect the realities of war as both a destructive and creative force. We challenge people to
look at conflict from different perspectives, enriching their understanding of the causes, course and
consequences of war and its impact on people’s lives.


IWM’s five branches which attract over 2.5 million visitors each year are IWM London, which will open
extensive new Second World War and The Holocaust Galleries in autumn 2021; IWM North, housed in an
iconic award-winning building designed by Daniel Libeskind; IWM Duxford, a world renowned aviation
museum and Britain’s best preserved wartime airfield; Churchill War Rooms, housed in Churchill’s secret
headquarters below Whitehall; and the Second World War cruiser HMS Belfast.

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IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUMS TO PUBLISH ANOTHER NOVEL IN THEIR WARTIME CLASSICS SERIES FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE FAMOUS MEMOIR SAGITTARIUS RISING


In May 2021, IWM will publish two more novels in their Wartime Classics series which was launched in
September 2019 to great acclaim, bringing the total novels in the series to ten. Each has been brought back
into print to enable a new generation of readers to hear stories of those who experienced conflict firsthand.


First published in 1944 and set over the course of one night in 1942, the story follows the fate of six crew
members of a Wellington bomber ‘P for Pathfinder’ thrown together by chance from different corners of the
world. They each reflect on the paths of their own lives, as they embark on a fateful mission deep into the
heart of Nazi Germany. Cecil Lewis’ novel examines the life of every man in turn, rendering a moving
account of each as not merely a nameless crew member, but as an individual with a life lived, ‘a life precious
to some, or one… these men with dreams and hopes and plans of things to come.”


Cecil Lewis was a flying instructor for the RAF during the Second World War where he taught hundreds of
pilots to fly, including his own son. It was while doing this training that he wrote Pathfinders. Pupils were
graded by the time it took them to fly solo – the best became fighters and then bombers. The RAF’s Bomber
Command was the only branch of the armed forces that could take direct action against Germany and in
1942 the strategic air offensive changed from precision to area bombing where whole cities were targeted in
order to destroy factories as well as the morale of those who worked in them.


The ‘pathfinders’ of the story were needed because often the bombers could not find the towns and cities
they were destined to attack at night, let alone the industrial centres within. The crew used coloured marker
flares to guide the bombers to their targets and the crews selected (often from the USA, Canada and NZ as
well as Britain) were the best night flying crews who were able to find the target unaided. As a pilot who
took part in both World Wars, Cecil Lewis brings his unique experience to bear, shining a light on this vital
and sometimes contested aspect of Britain’s Second World War focusing on the sacrifice made by the Allied
airmen it depicts.


IWM Senior Curator, Alan Jeffreys, has written an introduction to each book that provides context and the
wider historical background. He says, ‘researching the Wartime Classics has been one of the most enjoyable
projects I’ve worked on in my years at IWM. It’s been very exciting rediscovering these fantastic novels and
helping to bring them to the wider readership they so deserve’.

My Review…

I am so glad that The Imperial War Museum has republished this book. Originally published in 1944 I was expecting a book that focused mainly on World WarII, instead, I got a great book that told me of individuals and their personal lives.

Pathfinders is a fabulous read and the focus is on the crew of P for Pathfinder, a Wellington bomber. The crew are of mixed nationalities from as far afield as Canada and Australia. The author begins this book with quite a sombre opening and gives details of where the war is at, or at what stage it is at. He then goes onto delve into the background of each of the crew.

Each crew member gets a chapter and the author gives a brief history of the parents and living conditions or lifestyles of the time. It then goes into more detail about the crew member and how or why they made the journey to join up.

This is a very insightful and quite a poignant book that has some wonderful descriptions and observations, at times it leans toward a literary fiction style and I found these sections to be such a pleasure to read. It is not an action-packed book as such but it does feel very personal.

There is an introduction at the beginning of the book from one of the historians of the museum. I didn’t read this as I just wanted to get straight into the story, but I did glance over it afterwards.

This is a book that I really enjoyed, it gives each crew member a face and a story rather than just being part of a bomber. It is a book that readers who like WWII accounts, stories and historical fiction readers will enjoy. Something a little different for me compared to my usual reads and one I would recommend.

About the Author…

Cecil Lewis (1898 – 1997) was a British fighter ace in the First World War and his
memoir Sagittarius Rising became a classic of the literature from that war, considered by many to be the
definitive account of aerial combat. He was a flying instructor for the RAF during the Second World War where he taught hundreds of pilots to fly, including his own son. After the war he was one of the founding
executives of the BBC and enjoyed friendships with many of the creative figures of the day, including George
Bernard Shaw, winning an Academy Award for co-writing the 1938 film adaptation of Shaw’s Pygmalion. He
had a long and varied career but retained a passion for flying all his life. In 1969 he sailed a boat to Corfu
where he spent the remainder of his life, dying two months short of his 99th birthday. He was the last
surviving British fighter ace of the First World War.

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Don’t Ask by Paul Carroll @paulcarrollink @RandomTTours #RandomTTours @matadorbooks #contemporaryfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Don’t Ask by Paul Carroll. This was a fabulous read and one that really caught my attention.

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

A DNA ancestry test opens up a Pandora’s Box of secrets.

When Elsa Watson takes a DNA ancestry test out of idle curiosity she little imagines the devastating consequences she is about to unleash.
Two families become reluctantly entwined as inconvenient truths and long suppressed memories resurface.

A #whodunnit with a difference, Don’t Ask visits the glam rock Seventies, Britpop, Operation Yewtree and #metoo within its alternating past and present chapter structure.

Purchase link – Amazon UK

My Review…

This really was a fabulous book to sit and read over a couple of days. The synopsis does mention some things that may be a trigger for some readers with the #metoo and Operation Yewtree, a police investigation into child abuse by TV personalities.

Given that this story does contain some hard to read themes, the author has approached it with care. For me, the story is about family and finding out the truth. A simple DNA test that you buy off the shelf to discover your ancestry is the catalyst for the story. A simple test to discover your heritage and where your roots hark back to. Sounds great until you discover that you have a close relationship with someone else.

Using this as the basis the author has woven a story that I found to be compelling reading. Family secrets are at the heart of the story and also embarrassment, shame and guilt. The author has taken the story to include many twists and turns that kept me guessing even when I knew some of the answers. Having the answers is not enough and the author has given an intriguing route for the reasons why. This does involve some unpleasantness, but it is kept in context and not embellished or over dramatised in my opinion.

The story involves different generations of two families, their backgrounds are told across a timeslip style. They flit back and forth between time and character. There is no warning or indication about these switches, but to be perfectly honest, once I got to know the characters I soon found it very easy to follow.

Discovering that you don’t know all about your family must be very hard. The author gives a feel of loss as the characters involved are discovering their truths. The story was a slow-paced one and this helped with getting to know the characters and how they have changed over the years, the memories that have been suropressed and their relationships with each other.

This is a novel that I really got on with and I do think the author has hit the balance well with the themes he has included. A mix of contemporary fiction and a mystery as the truth is finally revealed. The story of two families and their everyday lives is rocked by a simple and innocent DNA test. A sad story but one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Paul Carroll has been drawn to ink and the written word since launching a rock fanzine in his late teens.

Born and bred in Leeds, Paul crossed the Pennines in the mid-70s to study English Language and English Literature at the University of Manchester. 

Chasing a job in journalism he stumbled into the world of PR and ten years after starting his career set up his own PR consultancy, Communique PR, in Manchester.

There he worked on many well-known brands including Boddingtons, Heineken, Thorntons Chocolate, Chicago Town Pizza, Big D peanuts, Co-op Funerals and Manchester Airport.

These days, Paul concentrates on his writing.

Paul’s books are full of dark humour and satirical takes.  His writing has been compared to that of Ben Elton, Nick Hornby and Jonathan Coe in tackling serious contemporary issues in a highly engaging and entertaining way.

Don’t Ask (Matador 2021) is Paul Carroll’s fourth novel, following A Matter of Life and Death (Matador, 2012), Written Off (Matador, 2016), and Trouble Brewing (Matador, 2017).

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