blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Nothing to Hide – James Oswald*

Suspended from duty after her last case ended in the high-profile arrest of one of Britain’s wealthiest men, DC Constance Fairchild is trying to stay away from the limelight. Fate has other ideas . . .

Coming home to her London flat, Constance stumbles across a young man, bloodied, mutilated and barely alive. She calls it in and is quickly thrown into the middle of a nationwide investigation . . .

It seems that the victim is just the latest in a string of similar ritualistic attacks. No matter that she is off-duty, no matter that there are those in the Met who would gladly see the back of her, Con can’t shake her innate determination to bring the monsters responsible for this brutality to justice.

Trouble always seems to find her, and even if she has nothing to hide, perhaps she has everything to lose . . .

James Oswald is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling Inspector McLean series of detective mysteries, as well as the new DC Constance Fairchild series.

James’s first two books, Natural Causes and The Book of Souls, were both short-listed for the prestigious CWA Debut Dagger Award.

James farms Highland cows and Romney sheep by day, writes disturbing fiction by night.

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed this, I hadn’t read the first one but it really doesn’t matter, Oswald includes enough detail about the overarching case Con is involved in that you don’t miss having not read it.

The cases that a supposedly off-duty Constance Fairchild gets involved with are dark and grotesque, involving ritualistic mutilation and murder. So maybe not for the weak of stomach. However I don’t get bothered by fictional gore and found this really fascinating and a compelling read. I even found myself thinking about how all sorts of awful things could be going on right now behind the facade of civility on my own high street, while travelling on the bus the following day, so this is a book that lingers long in the mind.

The writing is concise, the plot and characters hook you from the first page. Con is a bit of a mystery woman herself and you find you’re drawn into her life and its various concerns and problems quickly. Set in London, Scotland and Northumberland, there’s a lot going on and not much of it good, if you’re a character, but great if you’re a reader!

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

books, reviews

Book Review: One Winter Morning – Isabelle Bloom

One Winter Morning: Warm your heart this Christmas with this uplifting and emotional family drama by [Broom, Isabelle]

Genie isn’t feeling very festive this December.

The frosty mornings and twinkling fairy lights only remind her it’s been a whole year since she lost her adoptive mother, who took her in as a baby and raised her as her own.

She’s never felt more alone – until she discovers her birth mother’s identity.

And where to find her: New Zealand, half the world away.

Travelling there could be her one chance to meet the woman who gave her up.

But will she find the answers she has been looking for? Or something she could never have expected?

My thoughts:

This is another cosy up under a warm blanket with a hot chocolate and all the better for it.

This book is all about family, the family you’re related to and the one that claims you. I can’t imagine losing my mum, I think that would be the absolute worse, so I could empathise with Genie, whose adoptive mother has died, and then she learns about her biological mother – all the way on the other side of the world.

They have things in common, mostly their love of horses, and the story is more complicated than Genie originally thinks.

I honestly loved curling up with this book, and recommend you pick it up for your Christmas reading.

Thank you to the publisher, who sent me this book, which is available now.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: 17 Church Row – James Carol*

Three years ago, Nikki and Ethan Rhodes suffered a devastating loss when their four-year-old daughter Grace was tragically killed in a road accident. Ethan, a radio personality, escapes into work, leaving Nikki to care for their remaining child, Bella, who hasn’t spoken since that day.

Seeking a fresh start, the family moves into a revolutionary new house designed by renowned architect, Catriona Fisher. The house features a state-of-the-art security system, along with every amenity you could dream of.

For the Rhodes’ this is a chance to finally pick up the pieces and get on with their lives in a place where they feel totally safe.

But what if 17 Church Row isn’t the safe haven that they think it is?

 

My thoughts:

Smart houses are becoming a thing of reality, though not to the extent of this particular one. It’s an interesting take on the Gothic creepy house genre in a way, where the house really is watching your every move.

The Rhodes family become victims of an unhinged AI system, Katy, which if you read my blog regularly, you will know is a favourite sci-fi trope of mine. I love it when the machines rise up and go after their creators – as long as that remains fiction, I don’t want my washing machine or phone to go rogue!

I found this fascinating and a little scary, technology is moving so fast that keeping up can be tricky.

The writing was fluid and gripping, I felt for the characters trapped in this nightmare, trying to recover from trauma and finding themselves in another terrible situation.

 

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*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour, but all opinions remain my own.

books, reviews

Book Review: The Sky is Mine – Amy Beashel

Izzy feels invisible. Trapped under the weight of expectation and censored by shame.

Her mum Steph and best friend Grace have always been there to save her. But with one under the control of her stepfather and the other caught in the throes of new love, Izzy is falling between the cracks.

As threats to her safety grow, Izzy wants to scream. But first she must find her voice.

And if the sky is the limit, then the sky is hers.

[This book contains material which some readers may find distressing, including discussions of rape, coercive behaviour, domestic violence and abuse.]

 

My thoughts:

One of the things a lot of people who don’t read YA think, is that it doesn’t tackle difficult topics and is too fantasy heavy. Well, not only is that not remotely true, but books like this, which tackles some very dark themes, help so many readers to deal with the situations they themselves are living with.

Just being told you’re not alone, that there are people out there who will support you, help you and care for you is a huge thing when you’re young and scared.

This is beautifully written and incredibly touching. It can be hard to read and if you are currently dealing with similar themes may be too much, but I think the subject matter is dealt with sensitively and the characters of Izzy and Steph are relatable and empathetic.

I was kindly sent a copy from the publishers as this book won’t be available till February 2020, which gives you plenty of time to read some reviews and decide whether you could comfortably read this.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Purple-Bellied Parrot – William Fagus*

Discover … The power of the ‘HhhuuuUUTTT!’Ever feel you are living the wrong life? Ever feel another life, your should-be life, is out there waiting for you, if only you had the courage to …Do you like tinned pineapple chunks? Have you answered yes to any of those questions?

Then follow the Purple-Bellied Parrot on a rip-roaring, globe-spanning adventure packed with unforgettable characters. His quest to live his should-be life.

It Begins: In the sterile apartment of a city executive with unruly nasal hair where the Purple-Bellied Parrot cannot even do the very thing he was born to do.

It Ends: On the shores of a distant land after an epic journey which tests his courage, his ingenuity and the bonds of friendship — to the limit.

The Purple-Bellied Parrot is a spell-binding, life-affirming tale, with the power to evoke laughter and tears from readers 11-100 years old. (Parental Note: contains occasional mild imprecations.)

Ever feel you are living the wrong life? Ever feel another life, your should-be life, is out there waiting for you, if only you had the courage to …Do you like tinned pineapple chunks? Have you answered yes to any of those questions?

Then follow the Purple-Bellied Parrot on a rip-roaring, globe-spanning adventure packed with unforgettable characters. His quest to live his should-be life.

It Begins: In the sterile apartment of a city executive with unruly nasal hair where the Purple-Bellied Parrot cannot even do the very thing he was born to do.

It Ends: On the shores of a distant land after an epic journey which tests his courage, his ingenuity and the bonds of friendship — to the limit.

The Purple-Bellied Parrot is a spell-binding, life-affirming tale, with the power to evoke laughter and tears from readers 11-100 years old. (Parental Note: contains occasional mild imprecations.)

Amazon

The publicity-shy William Fagus lives in a remote location in an upturned fishing smack with a parrot and sundry antique musical instruments and carpentry tools.

The redoubtable Mrs Lush, his cleaning lady and confidant, is his most frequent visitor.

William Fagus’s biography, of uncertain origin and dubious veracity, is available here.

My thoughts:

This is a very fun read, the titular bird finds himself far from home, not that he’s sure where that is, but none of the birds in the park are like him. Thus starts an epic journey to find out who he is and how to return to where he belongs.

There is a lot of feathery dialogue, from the chuggies who take him in to the marties who help him find part of his way home. Luckily the author has included copious footnotes to explain the bird world.

This is a light hearted, clever read that would make a great gift for the reader in your life, even if that’s you!

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Devil’s Horn – Anna Nicholas*

When 33-year-old Isabel Flores Montserrat quits a promising career with the Spanish police to run her mother’s holiday rentals agency in rural Mallorca, it seems that her crime-fighting days are far behind. Basking in the Mediterranean sunshine with pet ferret, Furì, she indulges her passion for local cuisine, swimming in the sea and raising her pampered hens. However, in just a few days, the disappearance of a young British girl, violent murder of an elderly neighbour, and discovery of a Colombian drug cartel threaten to tear apart Isabel’s idyllic life. Together with local chief Tolo Cabot, an old admirer of her unorthodox methods, Isabel must race against the clock to untangle a sinister web of crime and restore peace to the island once more.

 

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed this novel, it reminded me of The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency a little, as well as Agatha Raisin, in marrying a crime story to a laid back pace and comic moments.

Isabel is very clever, and somehow manages to find time to solve a series of crimes as an adviser to the Mallorcan police forces and run her mother’s holiday lets business. Although handily some of their renters seem a little dodgy…

This is a well written, smart, enjoyable book, the first in a projected series, and if you like your crime with a side dose of delicious sounding food (seriously I was hungry the whole time I was reading because of the descriptions) then this is the book for you.

I haven’t been to Mallorca, although it’s on my list, and I was interested to learn the main language there is Catalan not Spanish, the island not having always been part of Spain, and like Venice it has its own unique dialect that locals speak and clearly identifies anyone from the main land.

I look forward to the next book and may also dip into the author’s other books, based on her own experiences of moving to rural Mallorca and setting up home there.

The Devil’s Horn is fresh off the printing press and available now from all good bookshops and online in ebook and paperback formats.

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*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour, but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Love Detective Next Level – Angela Dyson*

On the heels of her successful debut, The Love Detective comes more misadventures and murder with Clarry Pennhaligan and her creator, author Angela Dyson.

Note to self: Do not screw this up. When Clarry Pennhaligan, rookie private detective and unlikely heroine, takes on her second case, she is determined to master the art of smart.

All she has been asked to do is to infiltrate a group of women who share a rather unusual way of spending their spare time. Shouldn’t be too demanding, she thinks, nothing to it.

But, after her first clumsy steps reveal secrets that may best be kept hidden, her investigation gains momentum and events take a bizarre and sinister turn.

Out of her depth and working above her paygrade, Clarry soon faces a very real danger. Things just got Next Level.

“The role of amateur detective has always appealed to me,” Angela Dyson explains. “The artless inexperienced meddler asking questions, stirring things up and getting in to a whole heap of trouble. But I’d never be brave enough to do it myself.”

Apart from the twists and turns of her crime caper, Angela has made sure to include some important messages to young and old. As she explains, “Twenty-six year old, Clarry Pennhaligan, is a modern heroine. She’s a generously proportioned size 14. She’s Body Positive and reflects the New Activism: Accept yourself …just as you are. Accept others…..just as they are.”

And then there’s her side-kick, the glamorous septuagenarian Flan. “I love Flan! She’s gloriously outspoken, and with a huge appetite for life. The inter-generational aspect of the novel sends a powerful message: We can do anything we want, no matter what our age.”

My thoughts:

This was a really fun romp of a book, Clarry is a great character and I loved her no nonsense approach to life. I also adore her retiree side kick Flan, who is just the best and totally who I want to grow up to be.

Searching for the truth as to what the strange group of women are up to uncovers a whole mess of scandal and lies. It’s a riot, with our fearless heroines clambering over roofs and attending unusual rituals in suburban Wimbledon.

I hadn’t read the first book, but I’m going to seek out a copy and hopefully there will be more Clarry and Flan to come!

This is a perfect read when you need some comfort, and a giggle, ideal now the night is drawing in and it’s raining non-stop.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.