Thursday, 31 October 2019

#HalloweenTakeover The Lost Ones by Anita Frank


Welcome to the #HalloweenTakeover for The Lost Ones by Anita Frank. You don't want to miss this fantastic ghost story!

About the Author
Anita Frank was born in Shropshire and studied English and American History at the University of East Anglia. She lives in Berkshire with her husband and three children and is now a full-time carer for her disabled son. This is her first novel.

Follow @Ajes74 on Twitter, on Goodreads, on AmazonBuy The Lost Ones


About the book
England 1917
Reeling from the death of her fiance, Stella Marcham welcomes the opportunity to stay with her pregnant sister, Madeleine, at her imposing country mansion Greyswick - but she arrives to discover a house of unease and her sister gripped by gear and suspicion.

Before long strange incidents begin to trouble Stella - sobbing in the night, little footsteps on the stairs - and as events escalate, she finds herself drawn to the tragic history of the house.

Aided by a wounded war veteran, Stella sets about uncovering Greyswick's dark and terrible secrets - secrets the dead whisper from the other side...

Review
This is how you write a good ol' ghost story.
Set in 1917 in England, during one of the most devastating periods the world has gone through - the era of the Lost Generation. Husbands, sons, brothers and fathers struck down, whilst protecting their country. In an era where PTSD, shellshock were not recognised as genuine health conditions and trauma considered a weak personality trait, it's no surprise that grief is waved away as inconsiderate and inconsequential nonsense.

This is where the story starts with Stella. A brave young woman who has served her country and is drowning in grief since the loss of her childhood sweetheart. Grief that has driven her to attempt the last resort and in doing so has placed her firmly in the bracket of unstable.

To escape the prying eyes of her parents and the local head shrink she volunteers to keep her pregnant sister Madeleine company in Greyswick, the ancestral home of Madeleine's husband. She brings a maid called Annie with her - a young woman who has her own secrets.

The two of them find a distraught Madeleine, who is convinced she is being taunted or haunted by someone, which her mother-in-law and her companion find ridiculous. Is the hysteria catching or is there really something wrong at Greyswick?

That's as much information as I am willing to give, because readers should experience the read for themselves, both the creepy, the insidious and the moments that are guaranteed to make you angry at certain characters.

The story is set around the First World War, which plays a pivotal part in the characters lives and the storytelling, but for me it was also the only element of the book that was off-key in a way. Why, because it is written with the spellbinding magic of a slightly older era. The skirt-swishing Victorian era, the gothic atmosphere and sense of being taken back into time. I had to remind myself of the year it was actually set in.

It's an absolutely captivating ghost story, it's historical fiction, a plot written with a Christie crime vibe and executed with the same kind of precision. I very much hope this is the first of many stories by Frank - she is an excellent writer.

Buy The Lost Ones at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ; pub date  31 Oct. 2019. Hardback £12.99 - eBook £9.99 - Audio Download £12.99. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Waterstones.

#BlogTour Safe House by Jo Jakeman


Today it's the start of the massive BlogTour for Safe House by Jo Jakeman.

About the Author
Jo Jakeman was the winner of the Friday Night Live 2016 competition at the York Festival of Writing. Born in Cyprus, she worked for many years in the City of London before moving to Derbyshire with her husband and twin boys. Safe House is her second novel and Sticks and Stones was her debut thriller.

Follow @JoJakemanwrites on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Amazon, Visit jojakeman.comBuy Safe House


About the book
Charlie just wants to be forgotten but everyone else wants to know her story…
The morning after a terrible storm, a woman turns up in a remote Cornish village. She has bought the crumbling cottage that has lain empty for over a decade, and she’s going to make it her home. She calls herself Charlie, but it’s a name she’s only had for a few days. She keeps herself to herself, reluctant to integrate with the locals. Because Charlie has a secret.

Charlie was in prison for providing a false alibi for a murderer. But Lee Fisher wasn’t a murderer to her; he was the man she loved. Convinced of his innocence, Charlie said she was with him the night a young woman was killed. That lie cost her everything.

And now she has the chance to start again. But someone is watching her, waiting for her, wondering if she’s really payed the price for what she did.

Review
Charlie is a new person. Reinvented to keep herself safe and perhaps finally out from under the cloud of suspicion. New house, new friends and leaving the past behind is exactly what the doctor ordered, except someone with an agenda is hot on her trail.

I think the question of doubt hangs over Charlie throughout the entire book and with good reason I might add. Aside from the fact she actively helped him to hide his crimes, she is also the person who is the most intimate with him. How can she not have known what a monster he is? Or is she the monster?

I think this is the part of the story that drives the plot with such a force, the lingering doubt. There is also this atmosphere of blame regardless of whether she is actually guilty or not. It is hard to fathom how anyone can live with a killer or serial killer without being suspicious or noticing that something isn't quite right, but it does happen.

One can argue that without her lies Lee would have been stopped sooner, thereby saving a life. Charlie deserved to be in prison, but does she deserve to be punished for the rest of her life for his crimes?

It's a gripping psychological thriller that questions accountability in general and if justice is ever really served. Jakeman tells a good story, especially when it comes to casting a shadow of doubt over certain characters and the entire scenario.

A shout out to my favourite character, the cantankerous Aubrey. Perhaps he and Charlie should team up as a sleuthing duo?

Buy Safe House at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

The eBook will be £0.99 throughout the month of November.

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

#BlogTour Crazy For You by T.S. Hunter


Today it's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Crazy For You by T.S. Hunter. It's the fourth part in the Soho Noir series.

About the Author
Claiming to be only half-Welsh, T.S. Hunter lived in South Wales for much of his latter teens, moving to London as soon as confidence and finances allowed. He never looked back.

He has variously been a teacher, a cocktail waiter, a podium dancer and a removal man, but his passion for writing has been the only constant.

He's a confident and engaging speaker and guest, who is as passionate about writing and storytelling as he is about promoting mainstream LGBT fiction. He now lives with his husband in the country, and is active on social media as @TSHunter5.

Follow @TSHunter5 @RedDogTweets on Twitter, on Goodreads, Buy Crazy For You


About the book
The course of true love never runs smooth.
It’s 1987, and Soho is in the grip of another hot summer. While working part-time in The Red Lion, Joe finds himself agreeing to help a notorious gangster search for her missing girlfriend.

Antonia The Gecko Lagorio is daughter to the ruthless but ageing gang boss, Tony The Lizard Lagorio. When her girlfriend, Charlotte Fenwick, goes missing, Antonia turns to Joe for help, believing her to have been kidnapped by a rival gang.

Charlotte Fenwick is daughter to multi-millionaire, Charles Fenwick—who also happens to be one of Freddie Gillespie’s bigger clients. Keen to keep any hint of a scandal out of the public eye, Charles Fenwick had already asked Freddie to recruit Russell and Joe to help him find his daughter discreetly.

With both of them on the case, Joe and Russell find themselves trying to stop a turf war between the two rival gangs while uncovering all manner of dark secrets about the missing heiress and her troubled life.

Meanwhile Freddie Gillespie has a run in with an old foe that could see him lose both his job and his relationship with Russell.

Review
The inadvertent sleuthing duo is back. Joe and Russell, who both seem to fall into crimes with an alarming frequency. I think they need to worry about whether they have fallen into a Midsomer Murder postcode area. Their adventures or the crimes they get involved with tend to have a cosy feel, despite the fact Hunter combines that feeling with important historical topics, which are still relevant in our era.

It's what makes this series so readable, and the fact each book can be read as a standalone. Personally, and I can't say this enough, I really like the Quick Read feature of the Soho Noir series. It doesn't purport to be overly complex or long. Its strength is the fact it can be read anywhere and finished too. The perfect pocket read.

In this book Joe is asked to look for the missing girlfriend of The Gecko, the daughter of a local mobster. Then soon after he is asked to look for the missing daughter of a very wealthy and influential businessman. Same girl. Seems as if the young woman isn't as innocent as her father thinks she is or as sincere as her girlfriend thinks she is.

It's a cosy crime and LGBTQ read set in the 80s with memorable and often highly entertaining characters. I would definitely both recommend the series and buy the books or box set as a present.

There is one more thing I want to say about this series, which has beautiful covers by the way, and catchy 80s songs as titles. It might be because the 80s was my era, but every time I read one of the titles the soundtrack plays in my head. It's an automatic reaction - I blame Hunter for the earworms.

Buy Crazy For You at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Red Dog Press, pub date 22 Oct. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my reviews of Tainted Love (Soho Noir #1)Who's That Girl (Soho Noir #2) and Careless Whisper (Soho Noir #3) by T.S. Hunter.

Monday, 28 October 2019

Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett

Review
This is an incredibly poignant and full-on piece of writing. Garrett doesn't flinch before laying the cold bare truth on the table or pull any punches. She says it how it is and she wants you to hear it. This story about a young teenage girl who wants a boyfriends and to experience the sexual side of a relationship, although her parents would prefer she stay abstinent. That way she can't accidentally pass on her acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

I have to note that I found the level of scrutiny and lack of privacy Simone's parents give her is extreme, regardless of how worried they are about her. It is difficult enough to navigate the world of teenage angst without the added burden of a health condition everyone is scared of and parents who think it's okay to suffocate instead of empower their child.

I found the level of research into the topic of living with AIDS admirable both overall and in the context of the main character, a young teenage girl. It's described meticulously and in a way that makes sense to a layman and perhaps especially to a young reader.

Garrett confronts the invisible and yet very alive and kicking discrimination against people with AIDS and HIV. The fear that was sown and grown in the 80s, during the frightening pandemic which took many lives. Since those times medical research has come so far that an HIV or AIDS diagnosis isn't automatically a death sentence, as it once was. A very fixed and rigid regime of medication will allow a person with said diagnosis to live a long life.

The author takes readers into the world of white privilege and the institutionalised racism Simone is confronted with, and her world of secrecy. She is torn between staying under the radar and knowing that embarking upon a sexual relationship means disclosing her condition.

It's a YA read, but it's also one I recommend for readers of any age, mainly because this book will do a lot to allay irrational fears that still exist when it comes to this condition. Garrett has a strong voice she isn't afraid to use and I look forward to reading more by her.

Buy Full Disclosure at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Penguin; pub date 31 Oct. 2019. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Hive.

Follow @dancingofpens on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Amazon, Visit camryngarrett.com

#BlogTour The House that Alice Built by Chris Penhall


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour The House that Alice Built by Chris Penhall.
About the Author
Chris Penhall is a freelance writer and radio producer.
Her book, The House That Alice Built, won the Choc-Lit Search for a Star Competition 2019.
Born in South Wales, she has also lived near London and in Portugal, which is where The House That Alice Built is set. It was whilst living in Cascais near Lisbon that she began to dabble in writing fiction, but it was many years later that she was confident enough to start writing her first novel, and many years after that she finally finished it! She is now working on her second.

A lover of books, music and cats, she is also an enthusiastic salsa dancer, a keen cook, and loves to travel. She is never happier than when she is gazing at the sea. Chris has two grown up daughters and lives in the Essex countryside. Chris is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association.

Follow @ChrisPenhall on Twitter, on Facebook, on Goodreads, on Amazon,Visit chrispenhall.co.uk, Buy The House that Alice Built
About the book
Home is where the heart is …
Alice Dorothy Matthews is sensible. Whilst her best friend Kathy is living it up in Portugal and her insufferable ex Adam is travelling the world, Alice is working hard to pay for the beloved London house she has put her heart and soul into renovating.

But then a postcard from Buenos Aires turns Alice’s life upside down. One very unsensible decision later and she is in Cascais, Portugal, and so begins her lesson in ‘going with the flow’; a lesson that sees her cat-sitting, paddle boarding, dancing on top of bars and rediscovering her artistic talents.
But perhaps the most important part of the lesson for Alice is that you don’t always need a house to be at home.

Review
On the surface Alice appears to have all her ducks in a row. She is organised and a meticulous planner, but the truth is that the Alice deep inside is one filled with anxiety, a lack of confidence and fear. Her partner left a few years ago to travel the world and discover himself, whilst Alice was left to hold down the fort.

Now he is on his way back and he wants the house, her house. The house she built, the house she restored bit by bit to turn it into a beautiful home.

The picture that emerges slowly but surely is the way Adam left Alice a long time ago. That it isn't just an argument or battle about a house or money. It's about a relationship, a one-sided relationship that both have been deluding themselves about. Adam, because he is that self-involved, and Alice because she believes it is the norm. The truth doesn't dawn on her until she experiences something completely different in Portugal.

She suddenly comprehends the way he gaslights her, has ridiculed her dreams and dampened the person she used to be. The new setting and people help her to reassess her entire life.

Penhall pens a vulnerable and anxious main character, despite Alice being a career woman in control, which I think is the strength of this story. Admittedly I did find her quite annoyingly weak and well versed in denial and avoidance, however I think the author wants her readers to know that behind every apparently strong facade may lurk a vulnerable interior.

It's a romcom, women's fiction with an undertone of empowerment. I have to admit I snorted out loud at Ignacio and the phone scene. It is a blend of humour and the story of a woman on the search for herself.

Buy The House that Alice Built at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Ruby Fiction; pub date 20 Aug. 2019. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Ruby Fiction. At Kobo. At Barnes & Noble. Google Play.

Saturday, 26 October 2019

So Lucky by Dawn O' Porter

Review
To be completely frank I found it dark, depressing, I disliked it and it made me angry. Why? Because O'Porter is just spot on with the portrayal of her characters. Too real. She hits the nail on the head when it comes to the judgmental and toxic atmosphere women live in and with. Believing they have to adhere to physical, emotional and psychological standards set by a patriarchal society, and what's often worse when those standards are demanded of them by other women.

As the story evolved I found myself nodding and snarking at the words 'so lucky' throughout. It's what society tells us we are supposed to be and supposed to feel. The implication being that we shouldn't dare to want more than we have or dare to ask for the fulfillment of our needs, wishes, dreams and desires. No, we should be lucky with our lot, no matter how that may look and regardless of whether we are happy or not.

Ruby is caught in a vicious cycle of emotional neglect, which she is repeating with her young daughter Bonnie. She hates her body, has no self-esteem and spends her entire life pushing people away and battling anxiety.

Beth has to cope with a husband who seems to have lost interest in her since she gave birth to her baby. She is a working mother with a raging libido. Is it only a question of time until her marriage starts to implode?

Watch out for the mother-in-law in Beth's part of the story. I would be burying the woman in the back garden - no doubt about it.

Then there is Lauren, the Insta-famous and Insta-perfect celebrity living her best life and well on her way to marrying a global celebrity. Interjected intermittently are her Instagram feeds and comments, which really set the tone for the level of perfection everyone expects and simultaneously are willing to fake to get followers, likes and fame.

O'Porter has her hand on the pulse of femininity, women, sexuality and also how conflicted women are at times. It's not easy being pulled in so many different directions at the same time or being judged for every choice and decision.

It's pithy and brutally frank women's fiction. The author takes no prisoners, and kudos to her for the honest approach. It's a gritty, moving and sincere piece of fiction. There is never a dull moment when you read a book by O'Porter. She wants her readers to laugh, to cry and to get angry. It's pure empowerment, even if it doesn't appear to be anything like that at the beginning.

Buy So Lucky at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HarperCollins/HQ; pub date 31 Oct. 2019. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Hive.

Follow @hotpatooties on Twitter, on Amazon, on Goodreadson Instagram,Visit Dawnoporter.co.uk

Read my review of The Cows by Dawn O'Porter.

Thursday, 24 October 2019

#PaperbackPublicationDay The Conviction of Cora Burns by Carolyn Kirby


Today it's Paperback Publication Day for The Conviction of Cora Burns by Carolyn Kirby. You can get the ecopy for just 99p for a limited time! Don't miss out on this fantastic read!

About the Author
Originally from Sunderland, Carolyn Kirby studied history at St Hilda’s College, Oxford before working for social housing and then as a teacher of English as a foreign language.

Her novel The Conviction of Cora Burns was begun in 2013 on a writing course at Faber Academy in London. The novel has achieved success in several competitions including as finalist in the 2017 Mslexia Novel Competition and as winner of the inaugural Bluepencilagency Award. Carolyn has two grown-up daughters and lives with her husband in rural Oxfordshire.

Follow @novelcarolyn @noexitpress on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Amazon, Visit carolynkirby.com
Buy The Conviction of Cora Burns


About the book
With the power and intrigue of Jessie Burton's The Silent Companions and Sarah Schmidt’s See What I Have Done, Carolyn Kirby’s stunning debut takes the reader on a heart-breaking journey through Victorian Birmingham and questions where we first learn violence: from our scars or from our hearts.

Birmingham 1885 - Born in a gaol and raised in a workhouse, Cora Burns has always struggled to control the violence inside her. Haunted by memories of a terrible crime, she seeks a new life working as a servant in the house of scientist Thomas Jerwood. Here, Cora befriends a young girl, Violet, who seems to be the subject of a living experiment. But is Jerwood also secretly studying Cora…?

Review
This is an intriguing read, but it will keep the grey cells busy as you track each thread. The author has built the plot in a way that asks the reader to backtrack and follow the main character through many doors, years and supposedly unimportant connections. Cora takes us on a trip to learn the truth about herself and her life.

Born to a prisoner and raised as an orphan in a workhouse, Cora has always been on the rough and more unlucky side of life. The only happy memories are the ones she made with her fellow workhouse friend Alice. Together they bonded over their loneliness, their tears and fears, and the instinct to cause trouble and harm.

When Cora is released she is determined to find Alice and reconnect, and perhaps fill in the blanks about something awful Alice did when they were younger. Instead her journey takes her on a trip that confronts her with her own past and how she became the Cora Burns we learn to like, but perhaps mistrust.

Aside from the tragedy of how the mentally ill, especially women, were treated during the 19th century this is also about how society treated women and children in general. At the very core of the premise however is the debate about nature vs nurture in regards to a propensity for violence, and the type that leads to violent crimes and homicides.

Scientists have been able to find a high correlation between certain genes and violent acts. The question is whether the genetic coding in combination with an exposure to neglect, abuse, trauma and maltreatment as a child, is a definitive recipe for a violent offender. In this story the question is whether the evil or propensity to commit violent acts is passed down genetically.

The doctors and scientists used lunatic asylums as a place to try out a variety of inhumane methods to cure patients, so it's not unusual for David Farley, the Assistant Medical Officer in Birmingham Asylum, to be using a relatively new method to help patients. He is using, or trying to use, hypnotism to prove his theory that there is a correlation between mental health and the economic status of a patient. In a way his research helps to connect the dots in this story.

It's historical crime fiction, it's a mystery and it's also a story about whether we are driven by our genetic code and instincts or by what we experience in our lifetime. I think the truth is somewhere between the two.

Buy The Conviction of Cora Burns at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: No Exit Press; Paperback pub date 24 Oct. 2019. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at No Exit Press.

#BlogTour Deadly Silence by OMJ Ryan


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Deadly Silence by OMJ Ryan.
About the Author
Hailing from Yorkshire, OMJ Ryan worked in radio and entertainment for over twenty years, collaborating with household names and accumulating a host of international writing and radio awards. In 2018 he followed his passion to become a full-time novelist, writing stories for people who devour exciting, fast-paced thrillers by the pool, on their commute – or those rare moments of downtime before bed. Owen’s mission is to entertain from the first page to the last.

Follow @OMJRyan1 on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Facebook, on InstagramConnect with OMJ Ryan at Inkubator Books, Visit OMJRyan.com
Buy Deadly Silence


About the book
Some sins can never be forgiven.

DI Jane Phillips was a star detective driven by a relentless quest for justice. But then she stepped outside the law.

Now, demoted and suffering with PTSD, she finds herself facing the deadliest threat of her career -- a serial killer who is preying on vulnerable women, murdering them in a shocking and bizarre ritual.

A master of deception, he selects his victims at random. Or so it seems. But as Phillips investigates, she begins to see a method in the killer's madness. Perhaps these victims aren't random at all... 

As the pressure mounts, can Phillips find the link between these ritual murders before the killer strikes again -- or will her dogged determination to solve the case bring his deadly silence to her door?
Review
Detective Jane Phillips is on the search for a brutal serial killer who preys on vulnerable lonely women. There doesn't appear to be any direct connection between them, so maybe the killer just gets a thrill out of tormenting the weak and vulnerable of society.

But the killer does have an agenda. An agenda caused by betrayal, inner torment and a lifetime of pain. Somebody has to pay for the pain. Will Phillips be able to find the killer before they get through their long list of vengeance?

The main character is a strong female lead, however Ryan has written Detective Jane Phillips in a very specific way. She is aggressive, belligerent and doesn't think the rules apply to her. It's very androcentric, which suggests women have to act like one of the boys to be accepted as one of the boys.

In a way I think it is supposed to portray her as a rebel with a cause. Instead she comes off as rude and insubordinate. It does mean she always follows the crime and the clues, as opposed to what her superior thinks she needs to follow though. Perhaps there is method to her madness?

It's a police procedural, a crime read and a psychological thriller at the same time. Ryan delivers memorable characters, a pithy plot and a series to follow.

Buy Deadly Silence at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published in ebook format by Inkubator Books on 27th October 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

#BlogTour Darkest Hour by Rachel Churcher


Today it's the BlogTour for Book Three of The Battle Ground series, Darkest Hour, by Rachel Churcher.
About the Author
Rachel Churcher was born between the last manned moon landing, and the first orbital Space Shuttle mission. She remembers watching the launch of STS-1, and falling in love with space flight, at the age of five. She fell in love with science fiction shortly after that, and in her teens she discovered dystopian fiction. In an effort to find out what she wanted to do with her life, she collected degrees and other qualifications in Geography, Science Fiction Studies, Architectural Technology, Childminding, and Writing for Radio.

She has worked as an editor on national and in-house magazines; as an IT trainer; and as a freelance writer and artist. She has renovated several properties, and has plenty of horror stories to tell about dangerous electrics and nightmare plumbers. She enjoys reading, travelling, stargazing, and eating good food with good friends – but nothing makes her as happy as writing fiction.

Her first published short story appeared in an anthology in 2014, and the Battle Ground series is her first long-form work. Rachel lives in East Anglia, in a house with a large library and a conservatory full of house plants. She would love to live on Mars, but only if she’s allowed to bring her books.

Follow @Rachel_Churcher on Twitter, on Goodreadson Facebookon Instagramon Taller Books,
Buy Darkest Hour
About the book
Bex Ellman and Ketty Smith are fighting on opposite sides in a British civil war. Bex and her friends are in hiding, but when Ketty threatens her family, Bex learns that her safety is more fragile than she thought.

The Battle Ground series is set in a dystopian near-future UK, after Brexit and Scottish independence.

Review
This is part three in the Battle Ground series. I would definitely recommend reading Battle Ground and False Flag just to get a better overview of the characters and the series. Set in the near future, post-Brexit and post Scottish Independence, this dystopian tale is a worrying scenario. Why? Because a civil war in Britain doesn't seem like such a fantastical concept after the last few years.

The country is divided and the tactics being used are callous, despicable and often cross boundaries. The two main characters from the first two books, Ketty and Bex are back. Bex and her small gang of rebels connect with a bigger resistance group and end up in Newcastle. Meanwhile it is Ketty's job to find said resistance groups and in particular focus on how to find Bex and her group.

I enjoy the way Churcher has taken the complete chaos we find ourselves in at the moment in Britain and run with one of the worst case scenarios. I'd like to say it might make some people sit up and reflect upon how damaging the division is and the potential isolation, but I know it will fall on empty ears and eyes.

The use of propaganda to drive misinformation, false facts and malign the opposition plays a big part in the plot, as does the conforming of the law to apprehend said opposition. These aren't new techniques though, they have very much been in place here and adopted from the US in the post-911 era. Arresting, stopping or apprehending everyone under the new terrorism laws, also equates to the state/police being able to do so without probable cause. It's an interesting point to bring to the table.

It's a YA dystopian tale, actually it probably deserves its own genre - post-Brexit dystopia. Let's hope it stays a fictional series.

Buy Darkest Hour at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Taller Books; pub date 9 Oct. 2019. Buy at Amazon com. Buy the Battle Ground series at Taller Books.

Read my review of Battle Ground by Rachel Churcher

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

#BlogTour Traces of Her by Amanda Brittany


Today it's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for Traces of Her by Amanda Brittany.

About the Author
Amanda Brittany lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and two dogs. When she's not writing, she loves spending time with family, travelling, walking, reading & sunny days. She loves travelling, and visiting Abisko in Sweden inspired her to write ‘Her Last Lie’.

She began writing fiction nine years ago, and has since gained a BA in Literature, a Diploma in Creative Writing, and has had 200 stories and articles published in magazines globally.

When her younger sister became terminally ill, Amanda’s hope was to write a novel where her royalties went to Cancer Research. ‘Her Last Lie’ was that book and her debut novel, it reached the Kindle top 100 in the US and Australia and was a #1 Bestseller in the UK. All her eBook royalties for HER LAST LIE are being donated to Cancer Research UK, in memory of her sister who lost her battle with cancer in July 2017. It has so far raised almost £7,000.

Her third novel Traces of Her is due to be published on the 25th October 2019.

Follow @amandajbrittany @HQDigitalUK on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Amazon,
Visit amandabrittany.co.uk or writingallsorts.blogspot.co.uk follow amandabrittany2 on Facebook
Buy Traces of Her
About the book
An unsolved murder.

Rose isn’t surprised anymore when her free-spirited step-sister, Willow, decides to disappear off somewhere without notice. But something feels different this time. When Willow sends her a mysterious package containing photographs of suspects in a cold case she is obsessed with solving, Rose realises she needs to find her sister before things get out of hand.

A missing girl. - With no sign of Willow to be found, Rose takes up the search for answers about the deaths that shook a small Cornish village eighteen years before. But what is the connection between Willow and the two sisters marked by tragedy?

Time is running out. - Someone knows where Willow is and what happened all those years ago. And they will do anything to stop the truth from coming out.

Can Rose find Willow and the answers she needs, before it’s too late?

Review
Willow is hot on the trail of her mother's murderer. A young woman who was taken from her child in the most vicious way. Now her child is a grown woman and determined to get justice for herself and her poor mother. She calls her stepsister Rose to ask for her help and then mysteriously disappears. That leaves Rose with the job of finding a killer and her sister.

The story is written in the past and the present and from the perspective of multiple characters. The deaths in the past and the disappearance in the present go hand in hand and culminate with a shocking conclusion.

I thought the structure was a little convoluted at times, especially during the first half of the book. I found it a wee bit hard to follow the various characters, despite each chapter stating clearly which character was featured. It took a while to get the gist and where everybody belonged in the plot, perhaps too long. A complex plot doesn't have to outsmart the reader, it just has to keep them hooked.

Saying that, it is certainly a captivating mystery and thriller, however the execution could have been better.

Brittany is certainly someone to keep an eye on when it comes to crime and psychological thrillers. Having read her other two books I know she has an eye for some wicked twists and intriguing storylines.

Buy Traces of Her at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ Digital; pub date 25 Oct. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of Tell the Truth by Amanda Brittany.
Read my review of Her Last Lie by Amanda Brittany.


#PublicationDayPush The Wife's Revenge by Deirdre Palmer


Today it's a pleasure to take part in the Publication day Push for The Wife's Revenge by Deirdre Palmer.
About the Author
I live in Brighton with my husband and a tabby cat called Chester. After a career in public sector admin, most recently at the University of Brighton, it was time to stop dreaming about being a writer and actually do something about it!  Fast forward to the present, and now I’m both traditionally published and self-published, with five women’s fiction novels under my own name, and five ‘cosy’ reads, writing as Zara Thorne.  I’ve also published a book of short stories, most of which were previously published in The People’s Friend magazine. ‘The Wife’s Revenge’ is my first foray into the psychological suspense genre.

Follow @DLPalmer_Writer on Twitter, on Facebook, on Goodreads, on Amazon,Visit deirdrepalmer.comBuy The Wife's Revenge

About the book
Sometimes the lie is safer than the truth.
Fran made the biggest mistake of her life when she had an affair with Ben. Both families live in the village of Oakheart; their children are friends. Fran’s guilt shadows her days. But it’s no more than she deserves, or is it? At least she’s managed to protect her husband, Hector, from the harsh truth.
But for how long?

Tessa has left her troubles in the past and now has the perfect life. Ben might have his faults, but his life has not been easy. They need each other, and Tessa will do whatever it takes to eliminate any threats to her marriage.
Threats from women like Fran.

A cliff overlooks a disused chalk-pit. The locals call it High Heaven. It’s a place of secrets. And it’s where Oakheart newcomer Maria died. When Fran discovers a link between Maria and Ben, disturbing questions arise to which she has no way of knowing the answers.

Faced with an ultimatum from Tessa, time is running out for Fran. She’s scared, every minute of every day.
But where does the real danger lie?

Review
From the outside Fran has a great marriage, three beautiful children and a wonderful life. But this is Fran now and not then. Not so long ago Fran was so happy with her life that she needed to seek more pleasure outside of her marriage. Pleasure with Tessa's husband. That's right with someone else's husband.

Tessa isn't blind to all the carnal shenanigans though. In fact she knows exactly when Ben starts to look elsewhere and stray. He can look and he can play for a while, but as soon as it gets serious Tessa has to take steps to ensure her family doesn't fall apart. Even if that means doing the absolute worst and unthinkable.

Palmer keeps the reader guessing when it comes to a question of guilt, because there are quite a few characters who appear to have a screw loose or are sailing close to the precipice of disturbed. Tessa is the classic jealous wife with vengeance on her mind and hatred in her heart. Ben seems to have some sociopathic tendencies he is hiding well, because he performs daily as the perfect and caring husband, and yet there is a dark and insidious side to his character.

The author plays with the different levels of culpability and guilt. How each character deals with it or not as the case may be. Humans are fallible - there is no such thing as perfection.

It's a riveting psychological thriller, a story with multiple layers of guilt and accountability. Palmer writes a gripping story. The kind that reels you in and keeps you on the hook until the last page.

Buy The Wife's Revenge at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Crooked Cat/Darkstroke books; pub date 22 Oct. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Monday, 21 October 2019

#BlogTour Christmas at Pennington's by Rachel Brimble


It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Christmas at Pennington's by Rachel Brimble.

Enter the Giveaway below to Win a £15 Amazon Gift Card (UK Only)
About the Author
Rachel lives with her husband and their two daughters in a small town near Bath, England. Since 2007, she has had several novels published by small US presses, eight books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical.

In January 2018, she signed a four-book deal with Aria Fiction for a new Edwardian series set in Bath’s finest department store. The Mistress of Pennington’s released July 2018, A Rebel At Pennington’s February 2019 and Christmas At Pennington’s September 2019.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America and has thousands of social media followers all over the world. To sign up for her quarterly and new release newsletter, click here to go to her website: https://rachelbrimble.com/

Connect with @RachelBrimble @Aria_Fiction on Twitter, on BookBubon Goodreads, on Instagram, on Amazon, And with Rachel Brimble on FacebookRachel's Readers Group on Facebook,Visit rachelbrimble.blogspot.com
Buy Christmas at Pennington's


About the book
Gripping drama as Pennington's department store prepares for a glittering Christmas in 1911, but a killer stalks the women of Bath.

Christmas sees Pennington's at its most glorious, thronged with shoppers, its grand staircase and balcony adorned with holly, mistletoe, tinsel and lights. It should be the happiest time, but dramas are seething beneath the surface.

For Cornelia Culford, in charge of jewellery, a divorce hearing looms, where she could lose custody of her young sons to her overbearing and unfaithful husband.

For Stephen Gower, being head of security at Pennington's is the perfect refuge from a tragic past at Scotland Yard. But soon the past will call him back, as Joseph Carter and Elizabeth Pennington beg him to help solve the murder of Joseph's first wife, now that it seems as if the killer has struck again.
For Joseph and Elizabeth, their marriage depends on exorcising the past. But can it ever be laid to rest?

Review
Although this series is more of a cosy romance series that addresses important topics of the times, this book seemed to take it up a notch. The crime element of the story was a bit more gritty and full of emotional turmoil, and the domestic violence element played out quite well.

Brimble brings the confusion, behavioural issues and the blame game of the children to the plot, and shows the extreme situation Cordelia finds herself in.

There is a lot going on in this story, the murder, the domestic violence, the aspect of child abuse and women living in a patriarchal society, and much more. At times it seems as if one storyline has to be cut short to make room for another one, sometimes less is more.

Saying that, the author manages to maintain the feel of the Pennington books and the aura Elizabeth brings to the story. The elegance and atmosphere of the store, the struggle to claim her place in society because she has no rights as a woman. More importantly the strong friendships and bonds that form despite class and gender distinctions.

It's a cosy romance and crime with poignant social issues of the era woven into the plot. The author wants readers to take something away from the story, whilst simultaneously giving them a good read.

I enjoy the contradiction of the pleasant and controversial in the same plot - it makes for a good read.

Buy Christmas at Pennington's at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Aria pub date 19 Sept. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of Mistress of Pennington's by Rachel Brimble
Read my review of A Rebel at Pennington's by Rachel Brimble

Enter the Giveaway to Win a £15 Amazon Gift Card (UK Only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*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 Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.*

Saturday, 19 October 2019

#BlogTour Silent Money by G.D. Harper


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Silent Money by G.D. Harper.

About the Author
I was placed third in the 2015 Lightship Prize for first-time authors, won a 2016 Wishing Shelf Award Red Ribbon, been shortlisted at the UK Festival of Writing for Best First Chapter, longlisted in the 2017 UK Novel Writing Competition.

In 2017, I was one of twelve authors selected for Authors in the Spotlight at the Bloody Scotland book festival in Stirling, showcasing who they considered to be the best emerging talent in crime fiction, and was the only self-published author to be chosen. I have spoken at numerous other book events, including Blackwells' Writers at the Fringe at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe; a stand-alone slot at the Byres Road Book Festival in Glasgow, and the Aye Write! Book Festival, also in Glasgow.
I went to Glasgow University in 1975 and lived in the city’s West End, the time and place for the setting of the majority of Silent Money.

Follow @harper_author on Twitter, on Facebookon Goodreadson Amazon,Visit gdharper.com
Buy Silent Money
About the book
Glasgow, 1972. Michael Mitchell is ambitious, talented and determined to succeed. But he learns the hard way that he will never achieve his goals in life – unless he plays by a different set of rules.
He partners with a small-time crook to help the Glasgow underworld launder the proceeds of their crimes. As the operation grows, Michael is forced to become more and more ruthless to protect what he has built.

Shocked by who he has become, he vows to leave the criminal world behind and start a new life. But the past has a way of catching up. Finally, he gambles everything on one last desperate attempt to break free.

Review
This is the prequel to Love's Long Road, which tells the story of Michael's lover Roberta. This story is all about Michael Mitchell, and the third part in the trilogy, A Friend in Deed, features the story of Duncan. Although all three books in the trilogy are intertwined when it comes to the characters and the environment, each one of them can be read as a standalone novel.

There are certain career paths that are made easy and scattered with gold-plated nepotism and class snobbery. Where you come from, which school you went to and which social class you belong to matters more than talent and experience. Imagine being on the short end of the stick regardless of how hard you work and how much you deserve to climb up into the upper echelons of the career ladder.

That's exactly where Michael finds himself. Passed over again and again for promotions he deserves, and treated as if he were someone inferior and unworthy. The fact he can run rings around the privileged men who are handed the career opportunities that should be coming his way - well it makes him think twice about where he belongs.

The rejection makes him wander off the path of respectability and straight into the path of the criminal world. If his employers aren't going to embrace his talents then he will find someone who will.

Harper makes some intriguing points in this urban crime series. The way class structure works in a discriminatory way towards everyone below the upper and middle upper class. When there is no realistic option to rise to the top for said lower classes does that equal a valid excuse to take the road into criminal activity, or rather do they think it does?

It's an urban crime story with determined and driven characters. Harper keeps his characters realistic and down-to-earth, whilst giving the reader a gritty plot.

Buy Silent Money at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Matador; pub date 28 Sept. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of Love's Long Road by G.D. Harper

Friday, 18 October 2019

#BlogTour The Widow of Pale Harbour by Hester Fox


Today it's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Widow of Pale Harbour by Hester Fox.

About the Author
Hester Fox lives near Salem, the location of the historical Salem witch trials. She is a keen painter and has a masters degree in historical archaeology, as well as a background in Medieval studies and art history.

Follow @HesterBFox on Twitter, on Amazon, on Goodreads, Visit hesterfox.comBuy The Widow of Pale Harbour


About the book
A town gripped by fear. A woman accused of witchcraft. Who can save Pale Harbour from itself?

Maine, 1846. Gabriel Stone is desperate to escape the ghosts that hunt him after his wife's death, so he takes a position as a minister in the remote village of Pale Harbour.

But not all is as it seems in the sleepy town. Strange, unsettling things have been happening, and the townspeople claim that only one person can be responsible: Sophronia Carver, a reclusive widow who lives in the decaying Castle Carver. Sophronia must be a witch, and she almost certainly killed her husband.

As the incidents escalate, one thing becomes clear: they are the work of a madman inspired by the wildly popular stories of Mr. Edgar Allen Poe. And Gabriel must find answers, or Pale Harbour will suffer a fate worthy of Poe's darkest tales.

Review
Gabriel Stone is a man with many secrets. The kind of secrets that can destroy the life he is intent on carving out for himself in the community of Pale Harbour. Perhaps that is why he connects instantly with Sophronia Carver - a woman with secrets.

She has become the target of malicious rumours and a concentrated effort to malign her character and to scare her. Is she a witch? Did she have something to do with her husband's demise? Is someone in her inner circle guilty of the worst betrayal?

Gabriel is surprised when rumours and reputation don't line up with his personal experience and encounters with Sophronia. What is it about this woman that evokes such negative reactions and has set someone on a murderous course of action?

Fox uses the works and myth of Poe to insert a macabre and gothic vibe to the story. Each moment of fear or horror is woven through the fabric of his work. Although this isn't a new angle per se, I liked the idea of a perpetrator who is influenced by the words of an author, but in a historical context, ergo not a modern era. Nowadays criminals are allegedly influenced by what they watch, read and play, which is a common theme to us. Taking that perspective on criminality, and perhaps even accountability, and creating the same kind of stepping stone was interesting.

It's mystery, murder and crime, a psychological thriller in a historical setting. Fox balances romances, fear and mystery meticulously to create a gripping read.

Buy The Widow of Pale Harbour at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ; pub date 17 Oct. 2019.Paperback £7.99 - Available in eBook and Audio. Buy at Amazon com.


Thursday, 17 October 2019

#PaperbackPublicationDay The Rival by Charlotte Duckworth


It's the Paperback Release Day for The Rival by Charlotte Duckworth. To celebrate Paperback Publication Day you can win a copy of The Rival courtesy of Quercus Books!

To win a copy of The Rival just click this link to retweet and follow @charduck @QuercusBooks!

The Rival is an incredibly powerful novel. Let me just say that although it fits into the genre of psychological thriller it is also in its own way an empowering piece of women's fiction and a reminder to pay more attention to the people around us.
About the Author
Charlotte Duckworth is a graduate of the Faber Academy’s acclaimed six-month ‘Writing a Novel’ course. She studied Classics at Leeds University and then completed a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism. For the past 15 years she has worked as an interiors and lifestyle journalist, writing for a wide range of consumer magazines and websites. In 2011, she completed a postgraduate diploma in Screenwriting from London College of Communication. She lives in Surrey with her partner and young daughter.

Follow @charduck @Quercusbooks on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Amazon, Visit charlotteduckworth.comBuy The Rival

About the book
NOW:
Living in her home in the countryside Helena is a career woman without a job and a mother without a baby. She blames Ashley for destroying her life. But is what happened really Ashley's fault?

THEN:
When Helena hires Ashley to work with her, she's startled but impressed by her fierce ambition. They form a dream team and Helena is proud -maybe this is the protégé she's always wanted to have? But soon Helena realises that nothing will stand in the way of Ashley's drive to get to the top. And when Helena discovers she is pregnant, she quickly realises how vulnerable her position is, with devastating consequences.

The Rival is an addictive psychological suspense about ambition, female rivalry, mental health and motherhood and how far you'd ever go to get what you want.

Review
The reader is taken from the present to past and vice versa, as we meet Helena and her ambitious co-worker Ash. In the past Helena doesn't notice how Ash is encroaching on her terrain until it is too late to do anything about it. In the present the intelligent career woman has been reduced to a blubbering mess incapable of coping with life in general. Her job and career have disintegrated, and the house is now no longer filled with the sounds and smells of a baby.

Even when one takes the archaic patriarchal system into consideration and the fact there is still inequality between men and women, I still stand by the fact that women are often the greatest opposition to other women. The situation between Ash and Helena is an example of the way women think they should achieve and get rid of the competition in the workplace. Ash does what a lot of women do, especially in the world of business, she believes she has to be one of the men to succeed. Treating pregnant colleagues with disdain, judging their appearance instead of their professional capabilities, and being completely ruthless to get ahead.

Regardless of which aspect of this story you look at or connect with, it all comes back to support. The majority of us need support at some time or other during our lives, but I think the support women sometimes need is at the forefront of this read.

Motherhood is a topic that causes a lot of controversy, especially between women. Women who choose not to have children sneer at women who do, women who have children think childless women are missing out and aren't complete women. Women who have c-sections are told they aren't real mothers because only vaginal births count. Stay-at-home mothers are called lazy by career mothers, and career mothers are called neglectful by stay-at-home mothers. The author begins her story with a simple anonymous quote - Every mother is a working mother - and that is the truth. The above mentioned controversial and often hotly debated topics are just a few examples of how we degrade, demean and bring each other down instead of supporting and raising each other up.

This story is meticulously plotted, it doesn't go in the direction you think it will and ultimately doesn't focus on the element of the plot you think it might.I don't want to reveal the twist in the plot, although I would love to talk about the ending. Kudos to the author for highlighting the issues. It's an incredibly powerful and well thought out debut by Duckworth and I can't wait to read what she comes up with next.

Let me just say that although it fits into the genre of psychological thriller it is also in its own way an empowering piece of women's fiction and a reminder to pay more attention to the people around us.

Buy The Rival at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Quercus Books, Paperback pub date: 17 Oct. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

The Tenth Muse by Catherine Chung

Review
It takes a talented scribe to write about mathematics and keep non-maths enthusiasts captivated. Luckily Chung does so quite successfully by weaving the facts with the fiction and the complex theories of mathematics. Chung manages to take the world of numbers and meld it perfectly with history, and with the turmoil of emotions we humans bring to the table.

In essence this a story about a woman achieving recognition in a man's world and simultaneously about Katherine discovering her true past and heritage. Even in the face of pure talent the majority of her peers and tutors refuse to acknowledge said talent, which leads to betrayal, disappointment and defines her path in life.

Without giving too much of the plot away, there is a moment in this story, which is filled with gender inequality, misogyny and oppression of intelligent women and women in general, when the betrayal comes from someone who knows firsthand how hard it is to succeed as a woman in a patriarchal society. I think this moment is one of the most poignant, because Katherine bows down and accepts the oppression out of a false sense of loyalty towards a fellow woman.

In a way the fate of her parents becomes like one of the unsolved mathematical problems. Riemann's hypothesis becomes a metaphor for the unsolved mystery of Katherine's parents.

It's historical fiction, women's fiction and a mystery to boot. Chung wades through oppression and ventures into empowerment, whilst weaving in and out of the secrets of the past.

Buy The Tenth Muse at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group - ebook pub date June 2019 - Hardback pub date 7 November 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Follow @chung_catherine on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Amazon, Visit catherinechung.com