Return To Hiroshima by Bob Van Laerhoven @ @rararesources #Giveaway (Open Int’lly) #review

Today I am delighted to be sharing my review for Return To Hiroshima by Bob Van Laerhoven. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invite and to Bob for my e-copy of his book.

Synopsis:

1995, Japan struggles with a severe economic crisis. Fate brings a number of people together in Hiroshima in a confrontation with dramatic consequences. Xavier Douterloigne, the son of a Belgian diplomat, returns to the city, where he spent his youth, to come to terms with the death of his sister. Inspector Takeda finds a deformed baby lying dead at the foot of the Peace Monument, a reminder of Hiroshima’s war history. A Yakuza-lord, rumored to be the incarnation of the Japanese demon Rokurobei, mercilessly defends his criminal empire against his daughter Mitsuko, whom he considers insane. And the punk author Reizo, obsessed by the ultra-nationalistic ideals of his literary idol Mishima, recoils at nothing to write the novel that will “overturn Japan’s foundations”….


Hiroshima’s indelible war-past simmers in the background of this ultra-noir novel. Clandestine experiments conducted by Japanese Secret Service Unit 731 during WWII become unveiled and leave a sinister stain on the reputation of the imperial family and the Japanese society as a whole.

Purchase Links

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My Thoughts:

I think the cover for this book is quite grim and sinister looking. The story inside is as equally as grim and definitely more sinister than I was expecting and also very intense. It did require a lot of concentration on my part for the beginning 25%. Characters were quickly introduced in rapidly alternating chapters. At times it was a struggle to keep up with who was who and what role they were going to play. Then suddenly I started to get a feel for them, starting to recognise them easier and started to be able to pay more attention to the story instead and then I really was able to enjoy it at a whole other level.

The story is one of a dark and drug-fuelled nature with corruption and the search for power and dominance. There was a heavy feel of Japanese culture and society throughout and the expectations of the different generations. Expectations of themselves as well as others. I found the concept of anyone not being 100% Japanese and therefore seen to be an outcast, a hard one to read about, though I do understand it as part of the culture of the time.

Society clashes between the older generation and their demand of respect and obedience against the new younger culture seeking their own lives and enjoyments to be very interesting. It was a good blend and balance of the old and the new. There is some hard reading when dealing with the camps and research centres during WWII. Some horrific experiments and treatments tried and given to prisoners was appalling, but I understood its place in the story. This period in history, that includes the Atomic Bomb, is a hard part of human history.

This is definitely a book that you can say has a plot that is definitely multi-l;ayered. As I have mentioned the prison camps and atomic bomb have a part in this story, as well as the 1995 Sarin gas attack in Tokyo. Te author has mixed and intertwined fact with dark and disturbing fiction to create a intricate, mysterious and intense reading journey.

The characters are as intense as the plot itself. A Yakuza boss who believes he is a Japanese demon, a Police Officer who is of mixed race, A German Photographer, a Belgian diplomats son are just the tip of the iceberg. It seemed that each character had a secret or something to hide and I wondered who I could trust and if any of them were actually telling the truth. Even now I am not completely sure who was truthful or in fact were they believing their own idea of their own version of the truth.

There is no mistake this is a dark noir read, the descriptions and vivid imagery are amazing and do at times make for uncomfortable reading. This is not a book I would recommend to readers who are after a quick read. If however you are after a book that requires patience and concentration, especially at the beginning, then this is the one for you. I found myself taking regular breaks as I read to be able to absorb the details.

This is a book I would recommend to readers who like crime, thriller, and mystery that is dark and definitely on the noirish side. I did check to see if “noirish” was actually a word and checked out the Collins Dictionary and this is what they had as the definition for

Noirish “2…a genre of crime literature in which the characters are tough or cynical and the settings are bleak…” and that definitely applies to this book.

About the Author:

A fulltime Belgian/Flemish author, Laerhoven published more than 35 books in Holland and Belgium. Some of his literary work is published in French, English, German, Slovenian, Italian, Polish, and Russian. Three time finalist of the Hercule Poirot Prize for Best Mystery Novel of the Year with the novels “Djinn”, “The Finger of God,” and “Return to Hiroshima”; Winner of the Hercule Poirot Prize for “Baudelaire’s Revenge,” which also won the USA Best Book Award 2014 in the category “mystery/suspense”.

His collection of short stories “Dangerous Obsessions,” first published by The Anaphora Literary Press in the USA in 2015, was hailed as “best short story collection of 2015” by the San Diego Book Review. The collection is translated in Italian, (Brazilian) Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish.  “Retour à Hiroshima”, the French translation of “Return to Hiroshima,” is recently finished. In 2018, The Anaphora Literary Press published “Heart Fever”, a second collection of short stories. Heart Fever, written in English by the author, is a finalist in the Silver Falchion 2018 Award in the category “short stories collections”. Laerhoven is the only non-American finalist of the Awards.

Social Media Links –

Book Trailer on YouTube

Author social media links: Facebook Twitter Pintrest

Author websites

Website (NL/FR/EN)

Russian website for Месть Бодлера, the Russian edition of Baudelaire’s Revenge

GIVEAWAY – OPEN INTERNATIONALLY:

Giveaway to Win 2 x Return to Hiroshima Paperbacks (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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There’s Something About A Cowboy by Rich Amooi @RichAmooi @rararesources #review

Today I am delighted to be sharing my review for There’s Something About A Cowboy by Rich Amooi as part of the Blog Tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. My thanks to Rachel for the invite and to Rich for my e-copy.

Synopsis:

Rule #1: No Dating Cowboys.

A fake fiancé doesn’t count, right? Oh boy . . .

Amy Weaver is tired of her dad meddling in her love life. Fed up, she hires an actor to play the part of her fake cowboy fiancé when she goes home for her grandpa’s ninetieth birthday. Sure, Luke Jenkins has got looks, charm, and muscular legs, but this is business, pure and simple. Things are fine and dandy until she finds out he’s a real cowboy, not an actor. Now, she’s stuck between a rock and his chiseled jawline, falling faster than a sack of horseshoes. How the heck is Amy supposed to ignore the sparks between them and stick to her rule of not dating cowboys? All bets are off.

Purchase LinksAmazon USAmazon UKAmazon AUAmazon CA

My Thoughts:

Now I have seen various reviews mention fake dates being a popular theme over the years, but as a reader who is relatively new to contemporary romance and Rom-com I cannot make any comment on that. It is great to be able to find a genre that has no real prior expectations. So let’s get onto what I thought…

Amy Weaver has a thing about Cowboy’s for boyfriends, but does not have the best track record. She meets Luke Jenkins in a local bar and a challenge for a bronco bull riding is set. Amy is expected home and she is getting fed up with her father going on about how she should go back to her ex-boyfriend. Amy in her wisdom decides the only thing to do is take along a fake boyfriend and Luke just so happens to fit the stereotype bill.

This is a book I quite happily sat and read in one sitting. I really liked Amy, she is feisty, stubborn and a naturally competitive 40 something. She was such a good character to pit against the handsome and rough around the edges cowboy looking Luke, who also has a competitive streak. Amy believes Luke to be an actor who had been hired by the bar to help add to the atmosphere, well he definitely added atmosphere…

The author did a great job of capturing my attention from the first few pages as I was introduced to the main characters. Others were added along the way as the story required and by the end of the book I knew exactly who was who and a bit about them. I found them easy to remember and this gave me the opportunity to enjoy the story.

As the story unfolds there are some surprising revelations for Amy to deal with. Not everyone has had her best interests at heart and they shock her. They also give her a new sense of direction and a focus that maybe she had lost in her earlier years before she moved away.

This book should come with a literary health warning… Do Not Read On An Empty Stomach… the food and recipes that are mentioned throughout, yes throughout the story are fabulous. Wonderful culinary creations and delights are laid across the pages spare ribs, barbecues, fire pits, pies, crumbles and breads are just some of the delights. They sounded as yummy as Luke himeself…

This is a book that would appeal to contemporary romance and rom-com readers. It has a great storyline and cast and there are some surprises along the way. This is the first time I have read anything by this author and I will definitely be buying more. Ideal if you are looking for an escape into a pleasant, charming, at times humorous story. One I would recommend.

About the Author:

Fun, Quirky Romantic Comedies from a Guy’s Perspective. Rich Amooi is a former radio personality who now writes romantic comedies full-time. He is happily married to a kiss monster imported from Spain. Rich believes in public displays of affection, silliness, infinite possibilities, donuts, gratitude, laughter, and happily ever after.

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The Road to Alexander by Jennifer Macaire @jennifermacaire @rararesources #review

Today I am delighted to be sharing my review for The Road To Alexander by Jenny Macaire as part of the Blog Tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. My thanks to Rachel for the invite and to Jennifer for my e-copy of this book.

Synopsis:

What do you do when the past becomes your future?

The year is 2089, and time-travelling journalist Ashley Riveraine gets a once in a lifetime opportunity to interview her childhood hero, Alexander the Great. She expects to come out with an award-winning article, but doesn’t count on Fate intervening.

Alexander mistakes Ashley for Persephone, goddess of the dead, and kidnaps her, stranding her in his own time. Being stuck 3000 years in the past with the man of her dreams wouldn’t be so bad if the scientists of the Time Institute hadn’t threatened to erase Ashley from existence if she changes history.

Ashley must now walk a tightrope, caught up in the cataclysmic events of the time, knowing what the future holds for the people she comes to love but powerless to do anything to influence it.

Join Ashley on her hilarious, bumpy journey into the past as she discovers where her place in history truly is…

Purchase  Link – Click Here

My Thoughts:

This is the story of Ashley and how she travels back in time to meet one of her heroes, Alexander the Great, to interview him. Alexander unwittingly prevents Ashley from returning back to her time and she is left stranded in history and decides to embrace the predicament in which she finds herself.

Now I did wonder how I would get on this story, time travel and ancient history. I really should not wonder when it comes to reading as this author did an absolutely cracking job with the story and completely won me over. I will mention that the author stated in her notes at the end, that she has moved somethings and people around to help with her story. I am aware of something from the days of Alexander but I am not au fait with much of it so I just enjoyed the story as the author saw it.

I would definitely say this is a historical romance as well as being a historical fiction read. It is about two people from very different times, backgrounds, interests, and experiences. The author has managed to inject some humorous aspects into the story that had me smirking, Ashley uses phrases and words that would not have been around at that time, and it gets some of the historical characters scratching their heads. For them, it adds to the mystery behind who or what they believe her to be.

I really liked the way a lot of historical facts has been mixed in with the fiction it made reading details much more interesting. Essentially turning a list of dates, people and places into something a lot lighter reading. There are mentions of battles, gods, religion, philosophy and the beliefs of the time. There is so much from the daily life, health, hygiene pretty much everything you would expect and a lot I didn’t even think about.

While Ashley is the main part of the story, her focus is on Alexander, the man, and the legendary historical figure. By the end of the story, I realised that this author really knows her stuff and has an obvious love of this time period, as it really does show in her writing. I came away knowing so much more than when I started this book, that is a big bonus for me.

I did mention it had a romantic aspect to it. Ashley initially is a little aloof and comes across as cold, where as Alexander is definitely a hot blooded male… thats all I am saying at this point, it does make for some very interesting reading! As the story develops Ashley then seems to thaw a little and others start to see a change in her, she becomes more emotionally engaged.

This is the first book in a series and I cannot wait to see what comes next. This is a really good book and one that I think would definitely appeal to readers of historical fiction and romance readers. It is one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

Jennifer Macaire is an American living in Paris. She likes to read, eat chocolate, and plays a mean game of golf. She grew up in upstate New York, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. She graduated from St Peter and Paul High School in St Thomas and moved to NYC where she modelled for five years for Elite. She went to France and met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories

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Kiss Me, Kill Me by J. S. Carol #Netgalley #review

Today I have my review for Kiss Me, Kill Me by J. S. Carol. I received this book from Bonnier Zaffre via Netgalley. It was released on 31st May 2018 and has been sitting on my TBR for far too long but I did manage to finally read it.

Lets see what the book is about…

Synopsis:

FOR FANS OF THE MARRIAGE PACT AND CLARE MACKINTOSH COMES A TWISTING PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER THAT WILL MAKE YOU QUESTION EVERYTHING YOU THINK YOU KNOW.

‘Will hook you from the very first page. It’s a dark, twisty tale that will keep you guessing. You will think you know where it’s going – but you’ll be wrong’ RACHEL ABBOTT

‘Truly sinister domestic noir’ LEE CHILD

‘Dark, uncomfortable, head-spinny and I loved it’ CAZ FREAR, author of Sweet Little Lies

When Zoe meets Dan, he’s everything she is looking for in a man – intelligent, charming, supportive.
It’s only after they’re married that she realises that he’s controlling, aggressive, paranoid.
And there’s no way out.

Or is there?

Zoe knows she has to escape, but Dan’s found her once before, and she knows he can find her again.
But Dan has plans of his own. Plans that don’t necessarily include Zoe.

Be careful who you trust . . .

PURCHASE LINKAmazon UK

My Thoughts:

This is the story of Zoe, a normal Uni student working as a waitress. She meets rich, good looking Daniel when he walks into the place she works and sweeps her off her feet. She seems to have landed herself the perfect life but she did not expect it to turn into a dangerous, controlled, manipulated and heartbreaking one.

This author does a fantastic job of showing the way Daniel manages to completely controls Zoe’s life. It starts off subtly and gradually as he starts to achieve what he wants really does turn on the pressure. Zoe initially falls for his charms and is excited to be in a relationship with such a catch. He is a master manipulator and of that, there is no doubt. When she finally starts to see him for what he is, it is too late to get help. He has absolute control over her movements, eating, social life and finances.

There is such a good sense of suspense that comes from reading this book. I was suspicious of Daniel from the outset due the what the synopsis gives away, but the story shows the suspense from the angle of Zoe. It is easy to see how she was gradually cut off from her friends and her life. The treatment of her, by Daniel, was very easy to believe and was also shocking.

As the synopsis implies, she has escaped from Daniel’s clutches before and this is discussed withing the back story of the characters. The suspense of how she tries and if she succeeds this next time is one that had me rooting for Zoe.

This is a story that really did work well for me, it had the right amount of suspense and drama that had a real sense of controlling power to it. I found myself quickly siding with and willing Zoe on in her life. The manipulation was done in such a way that it blindsided Zoe and it shows how she was oblivious to the signs.

The story took some unexpected twists and turns and definitely kept me hooked. If you like crime, thriller, and suspense reads that focus on spousal manipulation then this is one you should read.

About the Author:

James Carol is the bestselling author of BROKEN DOLLS, the first in a series featuring former FBI profiler Jefferson Winter. The novel was released in the UK in January 2014 to rave reviews and reached number 1 on the Amazon fiction and thriller charts. In addition James is writing a series of eBooks set during Winter’s FBI days. PRESUMED GUILTY is the first of these. Under the pseudonym J.S. Carol, he has also written a number of standalones. KISS ME KILL ME is the latest.

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A Christmas Gift by Sue Moorcroft @SueMoorcroft #review

I am still playing catch-up on my festive fiction reads and today I am sharing my review of The Christmas Gift by Sue Moorcroft.

Lets see what the book is about…

Synopsis:

One Christmas can change everything…

Georgine loves Christmas. The festive season always brings the little village of Middledip to life. But since her ex-boyfriend walked out, leaving her with crippling debts, Georgine’s struggled to make ends meet.

To keep her mind off her worries, she throws herself into organising the Christmas show at the local school. And when handsome Joe Blackthorn becomes her assistant, Georgine’s grateful for the help. But there’s something about Joe she can’t quite put her finger on. Could there be more to him than meets the eye?

Georgine’s past is going to catch up with her in ways she never expected. But can the help of friends new and old make this a Christmas to remember after all?

Purchase link – Amazon UK

My Thoughts:

This is the story of Georgine and Joe. Georgine is strugglingto make ends meet and hiding from debt collectors, they are after her ex-boyfriend by the way. Joe has just been taken on as Georgine’s assistant at Acting Instrument, a college that provides dance, music, acting and backstage education and experience.

A story that is about two people who cross into each other’s lives, the highs and lows, the ups and downs and how roles can be reversed so very quickly is how I would probably sum this up. The author has created two characters and a series of events conspire against them.

There is so much in this story that I would love to tell and I have had to edit this review several times as I would have given important details away that would ruin it if you have not read this book.

Even though this is a Christmas book, it is not overly Christmassy in itself, though it does have a Christmas theme… how convoluted does that sound? But it makes sense to me! The students have a Christmas show to put on and Joe soon proves his worth and seems to have invaluable patience and experience.

This is a book of surprises, hence the very sketchy review, but it is one that when I started I really could not put down. The plot had me hooked as I found myself wanting to know more about the elusive Joe, as well as more about the families of the main characters. It had a sort of dramatic suspense that kept me page turning.

A book that would appeal to readers of general fiction, festive fiction, romantic fiction who are after a heartwarming and uplifting read. One I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times bestselling author, an international bestselling author and has held the #1 spot in the UK Kindle chart. She writes contemporary fiction with sometimes unexpected themes.

Sue has won a Best Romantic Read Award, received two nominations at the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards and is a Katie Fforde Bursary winner. Her short stories, serials, articles, columns, courses and writing ‘how to’ have sold around the world.

An army child, Sue was born in Germany then lived in Cyprus, Malta and the UK. She’s worked in a bank, as a bookkeeper (probably a mistake), as a copytaker for Motor Cycle News and for a digital prepress. She’s pleased to have now wriggled out of all ‘proper jobs’.

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Bells and Bows on Mistletoe Row by Emily Harvale @emilyharvale #review

Yes this is a Christmas book and I am aware that we are now in a new month and a new year but I am playing catch up on some of my reviews. Before Christmas, I was lucky enough to win a copy of Bells and Bows on Mistletoe Row by Emily Harvale. Not only did I win a copy of her book but I also won lots of other festive goodies.


A big Thank You to Emily for sending me this wonderful prize xx

Before I get to my review lets have a look at the…

Synopsis:

It’ll take a miracle to make Juliet’s Christmas merry, but Mistletoe Row is the place to be when you need some Christmas magic. 

The last person Juliet Bell expects to see when she returns home for Christmas is Harrison Bow.Especially with the most beautiful woman in the world by his side. Twenty years ago, Juliet and Harrison had the shortest romance in history, consisting of one date – and one blazing row. But Juliet will never admit when she’s wrong, and Harrison doesn’t forgive easily, so they haven’t seen, or spoken to one another since.

Harrison Bow vowed he’d never visit his grandfather at The Grange, again, or drive along Mistletoe Row, the scene of one of the unhappiest times of his life. He hasn’t been back for twenty years and he’s only here now because his brother pleaded with him to come. At least with his executive assistant joining him, he’ll be able to do some work. 

But Juliet’s sister, Zoe and Harrison’s brother, Luke have some surprises in store for their elder siblings, and so it seems does Fate. After Harrison risks his life to save Juliet, the least she can do is be nice. The problem is, Harrison is hotter than the log fire in The Mistletoe pub, and when she’s surrounded by twinkling lights and softly falling snow, it doesn’t take long for her to realise she’s in love with the man she thought she hated. Even if he doesn’t appear to be in love with her. 

What readers and reviewers are saying about this book: 

What an utter delight this book is, yet again Emily Harvale has written a Christmas book to be truly cherished and enjoyed. – Gilbster – TOP 500 REVIEWER

This is a beautiful romantic book that will make you feel jolly – Whispering Stories Book Blog – TOP 500 REVIEWER

Bells and Bows on Mistletoe Row is another alluring, heartwarming, delightfully magical tale by Harvale that is without a doubt one of my favourite holiday reads this year! – 
Zoe (whatsbetterthanbooks)

I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of my time spent on Mistletoe Row with such a charming and magical book. – stacyisreading

Fabulous festive romance – can’t recommend highly enough! – Splashes Into Books

A must-read!!!! – Books Of All Kinds

A Cosy Festive Romance, I Highly recommend! – dash fan

Puchase link via Amazon UK

My Thoughts:

The synopsis gives a wonderful indication of what this festive romance story holds. When I entered the world this author has built I was immediately whisked away into a wintery wonderland.

The story focuses on two families, the Bells and the Bows, yes a little tongue in cheek but as it happens the names feel just right for this book. Sisters Juliet and Zoe Bell and brothers Harrison and Luke Bow have similarities, the elder siblings had moved away and the younger ones remained. A seemingly coincidental invitation for the elder ones to return soon bring things to a head.

Twenty years ago Juliet and Harrison had a falling out based on a misunderstanding. The story reveals the Bell’s and the Bow’s have more than a passing acquaintance, they have a shared history and one that on the surface seems to be continuing its acrimonious course.

In the background a cantankerous family member makes their feelings felt. A Scrooge-like character came to mind as I read, mean selfish and rather moody.

This is a story that I sat and read in front of my fire and what better place to read while the cold wet wintery weather was doing its thing. This is definitely one for festive romance and general fiction lovers. It is enchanting, heartwarming, cosy and wonderful that evokes a Christmas feel. One that I would definitely recommend.

Let’s learn a little more about the Author:

EPSON scanner image

Emily Harvale is a bestselling author and a member of the SoA, RWA PAN and a Pro Member of ALLi. Emily writes romantic comedy and women’s fiction and her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart. Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings (famous for the battle of 1066) where she now writes full-time.

Emily says, “I write about friendship, family and falling in love. I believe in happing endings.” When she isn’t writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies – and will do anything to avoid both. Emily has two mischievous rescue cats, and says they spend almost as much time sprawled across her keyboard, as she does typing on it.

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Godlefe’s Cuckoo by Bill Todd @williamjtodd #damppebblesblogtours #review

I am delighted to be sharing my review today for Godlefe’s Cuckoo by Bill Todd as part of the Blog Tour with Emma at #damppebblestours My thanks to Emma for the invite and also to Bill for my e-copy of his book.

Synopsis:

Danny Lancaster has been missing since the fishing boat exploded. Police are closing their inquiry but Wanda Lovejoy continues her campaign to find the truth. An evil man kept alive by machines nurses a corrosive hate. As drugs and disease pull his dying mind apart he throws his crime empire into a scorched earth quest to find one man. If Danny Lancaster isn’t dead he soon will be.

Purchase link – Amazon UKAmazon US

My Thoughts:

This is set around Brighton and provides a dramatic backdrop to an action-packed read. A book with a fair sized cast of characters with individual roles that you will soon come to recognise as the story unfurls and the how’s and why’s of each character becomes more obvious.

A good amount of concentration was required by me and my so very tired brain when I started this book. The author really does lay down the groundwork for this book well, it involves the characters and describes various aspects of who they are, what they do. Any connections to each other are tenuous at best and it is not until the second half of the book that the author gradually starts pulling these connections together. This builds up a real sense of intrigue and initially caught me unawares until I realised the style of the writing.

The chapters are quick and flit between the characters, this was actually really good for me as it meant I was able to remember them,  rather than focusing on one then moving on. I did find the first half slower paced, but as I had mentioned being tired, but then suddenly the author seemed to kick up a gear, or my brain felt slightly better and awake. The vagaries and groundwork of the first half started to come together and things started to add up and it really did turn into a fast action riddled read. It is at this point I realised how important the groundwork was in the first half. 

I am not going into the plot as the synopsis does a great job in a very small space of a few lines. These few lines do give a sense of what to expect, drugs, evil man, missing person, search for the truth with a threat of death. The plot involves all of the above and then some. It had me hooked and turned an already interesting and intriguing good read into a great action read.

This is a book that I think readers of crime, thriller and mystery books would really enjoy. Even though it is part of a series it can definitely be read as a stand-alone, although I am intrigued by Danny Lancaster and I am looking to get the earlier books to discover more about him and what makes him tick. It is one I would happily recommend.

About the Author:

Bill with grandson Theo

I’m a journalist and travel writer who has visited more than 40 countries from the white wastes of Arctic Finland to the ancient deserts of Namibia. Love a good wilderness. I received the Ed Lacy travel award in 2007.
I’ve written six crime thrillers featuring soldier-turned-investigator Danny Lancaster and was startled and delighted to be voted one of the 100 best crime authors in the WH Smith readers’ poll in 2015. I’ve also written three short factual military histories. I live to write although keyboard time has been cut lately with the arrival of grandson Theo.

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Murder In The Dark by Betsey Reavley @BetsyReavley @Bloodhoundbook #review

I am delighted to be sharing my review today for Murder In The Dark by Betsy Reavley as part of the Blog Tour with Emma at Bloodhound Books. Huge thanks to Emma for the invite and for organising my e-copy of this book 🙂

Synopsis:

Without a motive, how do you identify the killer?

Imagine a quaint little bookshop. Outside the snow is falling. Inside the shelves are stacked with books by authors waiting to be discovered. What could be better?

When Tilly Edgely lands a position working at Ashton’s bookshop in Cambridge she thinks she’s found her perfect job. But one winter’s morning, when she arrives to open up, she discovers the body of her boss suspended from the ceiling, hanging by a rope around his neck.

DCI Barrett and DI Palmer are called to the scene and quickly find themselves searching for a twisted killer whose identity and motive are nearly impossible to trace.

But just when they think they have the murderer in their sights, another body shows up throwing the case wide open…               

Who is behind the killings and why?

The police have their work cut out and key to unlocking the gruesome mystery might be found right under their nose.

But one thing is for certain, this killer will leave you hanging…

My Thoughts:

Tilly didn’t expect to find her boss hanging when she arrived to work. The police detectives soon realise that the position of the body meant this wasn’t a suicide. The murderer taunts the police with another body and a mysterious trail begins as they piece information together.

This is my first time reading a book by this author and I spent a cold wintery afternoon reading this one, and it was in one sitting, so that kind of gives you an idea of how much I liked it. I really enjoyed this style of murder/mystery, yes it has police procedural aspects, but also a lot more other things. I think what I am trying to say is that it was more a sense of seeing the bigger picture from various perspectives. Yes, there is a body, but also the person the found it, the police investigating, the family connected to the body and also any other people who might be directly involved with all the previously mentioned people. Each person was introduced at the right time and in the right order for me to be able to remember them. No needless bystanders, each person there for a reason.

The plot itself I thoroughly enjoyed as it took me on a murder/mystery tour and I enjoyed getting to know more about the characters. I will say that there was no way of me guessing the killers’ identity until the author started to give me the pieces and put them together. This was something that Agatha Christie used to do with her books and is something that I personally like. The other great thing was that the author didn’t just stop the story at the arrest stage, instead adding a further step that for me left the story with a definite feeling of being finished in a very satisfactory way.

This is a story of murder, mystery and suspense that I really did enjoy. This is one that I think would appeal to many readers and is one I would recommend.

A great introduction for me to this author and an added bonus is that there are a few books already published for me to buy and read.

About The Author

Author of The Quiet Ones, The Optician’s Wife, Murder at the Book Club, Frailty, Carrion, Beneath the Watery Moon and the poetry collection The Worm in the bottle. Betsy was born in Hammersmith, London.

As a child she moved around frequently with her family, spending time in London, Provence, Tuscany, Gloucestershire, and Cambridgeshire.

She showed a flair for literature and writing from a young age and had a particular interest in poetry, of which she was a prolific consumer and producer.

In her early twenties she moved to Oxford where she would eventually meet her husband. During her time in Oxford her interests turned from poetry to novels and she began to develop her own unique style of psychological thriller.

Betsy says “I believe people are at their most fascinating when they are faced by the dark side of life. This is what I like to write about.”

Betsy Reavley currently lives in Cambridge with her husband, 2 children, dog and quail.

Betsy’s Social Media Links: Twitter  –  Facebook –  Amazon UK –  Goodreads

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Start by Graham Morgan #GrahamMorgan @FledglingPress #LoveBooksGroupTours #review

Today I am delighted to be sharing my review for Start by Graham Morgan as part of the Blog Tour with Kelly at Love Books Group Tours and Fledgling Press.

Synopsis:

Graham Morgan has an MBE for services to mental health and helped to write the Scottish MentalHealth (2003) Care and Treatment Act. This is the Act under which he is now detained. 
Graham’s story addresses key issues around mental illness, a topic which is very much in the public sphere at the moment. However, it addresses mental illness from a perspective that is not heard frequently: that of those whose illness is so severe that they are subject to the Mental Health Act.
Graham’s is a positive story rooted in the natural world that Graham values greatly, which shows that, even with considerable barriers, people can work and lead responsible and independent lives; albeit with support from friends and mental health professionals. Graham does not gloss over or glamorise mental illness, instead he tries to show, despite the devastating impact mental illness can have both on those with the illness and those that are close to them, that people can live full and positive lives. A final chapter, bringing the reader up to date some years after Graham has been detained again, shows him living a fulfilling and productive life with his new family, coping with the symptoms that he still struggles to accept are an illness, and preparing to address the United Nations later in the year in his new role working with the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland.  

Buy Link Amazon UK

My Thoughts:

This for me was a real eye-opener of a book. A book about mental illness. A book about the author and his own experiences.

The book is full of so many high and low points as you would expect, as he tries to find a balance in his own life. It is full of details that give an insight into his thoughts and also actions as well as those actions of those around him.

The author describes how mental illness affects not only the sufferer but also how those around him deal or do not deal with it. As I read I got a real sense of loneliness and sadness as Graham described his life. There are points in his life where he has no memories, this actually hit me as quite a shocking revelation. I know we all laugh and joke about not remembering things, but to not actually remember whole conversations, family get-togethers and various other things made me pause and think for a while. As an adult, he speaks to his family about their memories of him as a child. Again not the usual conversations as they fill in various gaps that he cannot remember.

The book does not follow any sort of obvious timeline and to be honest it really didn’t matter. I don’t think anyone can recount their own lives in order without flitting back to a distant memory that has been triggered. This flitting style actually added something to the telling and worked well for me.

Even though there are the obvious sad and low parts there is also something else. Even within these parts there is an optimism that comes across. This optimism comes in the way of hope. I think this comes from the very open and frank honesty that the author tells his story.

The book takes in different aspects of treatments, procedures, and protocols that are in place and with an interest in mental health whatever their reason. It is insightful, honest, candid and also positive, educational and insightful. A book I would recommend.

About the Author:

Graham was born in 1963 in York. He went to university as an angst-ridden student and was quickly admitted to one of the old mental asylums, prompting the work he has done for most of his life: helping people with mental illness speak up about their lives and their rights. He has mainly worked in Scotland, where he has lived for the last thirty years, twenty of them in the Highlands. In the course of this work, he has been awarded an MBE, made Joint Service User Contributor of the Year by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and, lately, has spoken at the UN about his and other peoples’ experiences of detention. He has a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia and has been compulsorily treated under a CTO for the last ten years. He currently lives in Argyll with his partner and her young twins. Start is his first book.
Reviews Graham Morgan’s START is a remarkable and engrossing read. It buttonholed me and held my attention with its fervour, modesty, wit, self-questioning, its generosity amid corrosive fear, loss, and pain. Andrew Greig, author of Electric Brae, That Summer, Fair Helen A compelling read, from the beautiful prose, the wonder of the natural world to the depths of despond of living with schizophrenia. The roller coaster of a life laid out on the page for all of us to learn from will enhance any family members, friend or professionals understanding of the journey people take through mental illness. Ruth Stark MSc, CQSW, MBE – Immediate Past President, International Federation of Social Work

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The Uninvited by J.A. Baker @thewriterjude @Bloodhoundbook #BookReview

Today I am delighted to be sharing my review for The Uninvited by J.A. Baker as part of the Blog Blitz with Bloodhound Books. My huge thanks to Emma for the invite and also the author for my copy of this book.

Synopsis:

A fragile woman. An unwelcome intruder. A house full of secrets.

Faye and her husband Hugh have had a traumatic year. Wanting to start again, the couple decides to buy a large rundown property, Cross House in a village in NorthYorkshire, hoping to leave the past behind them.

However, the tranquillity is soon ruined when Faye begins to awake, every night, to the sound of somebody creeping around the bedroom. She tries to explain it to Hugh, frightened for the safety of their children Aiden and Poppy, but Hugh dismisses her claims, thinking she is heading for another breakdown.

But when Faye discovers some diaries that contain secrets about the family that lived in the house before them, she starts to wonder if the intruder might be closer to home than she first thought.

Obsessed with finding answers, Faye is determined to learn about the Wentworth family, a fractured family with a tragic past.

And when she discovers that Hilary Wentworth fell to her death down the stairs in CrossHouse, Faye realises she is in mortal danger…

To purchase :- Amazon UK

My Thoughts:

Faye and Mark, with their children Aiden and Poppy, move into an old, rundown house called Cross House. They have moved here because of past troubles, with a hope that a new house will give them the much needed new start they need. Faye is looking for a place to heal herself emotionally and mentally after being stalked and harassed and wishes to live a normal happy life with the past well and truly behind her.

With a setting of an old and unloved house that has been abandoned and neglected, this story had all the right vibes, and then there is the name of the property… Cross House… It is not long before a nervous Faye starts to hear and feel things, something she is reluctant to share with her husband given her past track record. It is understandable that she would be wary of broaching him given her previous experiences. She herself wonders if she is paranoid and second guesses herself at times, but there are things that cannot be overlooked. When things come to a head it is her husband that that tells her she needs to talk to someone about it, yep… the good old supportive husband and his delusional wife routine… Oh, but how the tables are turned and it was a real pleasure to see him experience things as well. Yes, I admit to taking great delight in this role reversal, maybe it is a bit of a mean streak in me, but I liked the way the author gave a balance and also a sort of support to Faye with this turn of events as things get a little spookier.

There are quite a few snippets and bits of information about other characters and their stories and this is one of those books that I felt that the house itself was a key character. Various revelations come to light that are woven together to provide a story that gave me a sense of chills and suspense in an atmospheric and slightly sinister spooky way.

I really enjoyed the descriptions of the property and its gardens and the author made it very easy to visualise aspects from the descriptions given. I do have to admit that as much as I would love to get my hands on the house and bring it back to its full potential, I would be too much of a scaredy-cat to even step foot in it.

Gradually things are teased out and the links and connections are made, it tells a tale of its past inhabitants. A really good hauntingly atmospheric story with a lot of suspense and mystery, One I would recommend.

About The Author:

J.A.BAKER was born and brought up in North East England and has had a love of language for as long as she can remember.

She has a love of local history and genealogy and enjoys reading many genres of books but is an addict of psychological thrillers.

In December 2016 she was signed by BloodhoundBooks who published Undercurrent. 
Her second novel, Her Dark Retreat was published in October 2017 and The Other Mother was published in December 2017. Her fourth novel, Finding Eva was published in August 2018

J.A. Baker has four grown up children and one grandchild. She lives in a village near the river with her husband and madcap dog and when not working part time in a primary school, she spends her days trying to think up new and inventive ways of murdering people.

She can be reached on any of the links below and loves hearing from readers.

Twitter – Facebook – Website


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