books, reviews

Book Review: The Breach – M.T. Hill

Freya Medlock, a reporter at her local paper, is down on her luck and chasing a break. When she’s assigned to cover the death of a young climber named Stephen, she might just have the story she needs. Digging into Stephen’s life, Freya uncovers a strange photo uploaded to an urban exploration forum not long before he died. It seems to show a weird nest, yet the caption below suggests there’s more to it.

Freya believes this nest – discovering what it really is and where it’s hidden – could be the key to understanding the mysteries surrounding Stephen’s death.

Soon she meets Shep, a trainee steeplejack with his own secret life. When Shep’s not working up chimneys, he’s also into urban exploration – undertaking dangerous ‘missions’ into abandoned and restricted sites. As Shep draws Freya deeper into the urbex scene, the circumstances of Stephen s death become increasingly unsettling – and Freya finds herself risking more and more to get the answers she wants.

But neither Freya nor Shep realise that some dark corners are better left unlit.

My thoughts:

I’m still not 100% sure what happened at the end of this book, it was so strange and slightly confusing. I’m also not sure exactly what Freya and Shep encountered underground.

But that seems to be intentional, designed to create the same woozy confusing sense within the reader that the characters are dealing with.

I was kindly sent this book with no obligation to review.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Don’t Blink – Vanessa Robertson*

A stolen painting. A gangster intent on revenge. And nothing is what it seems.

Art consultant Kate Carpenter has an off-the-books sideline in art recovery, dealing with thieves, gangsters and the occasional war criminal to reunite priceless artworks with their owners. But when she refuses a request from the owner of one missing painting, Yuri Sokolov isn’t prepared to take no for an answer.

Her knowledge has cost him millions, he wants revenge, and he isn’t planning to show any mercy. The only way that Kate can get Yuri Sokolov to keep his distance is to find out exactly what happened to his painting, but when she starts scraping away at the surface, she finds that nothing is exactly as it appears.

Don’t Blink is the first book in the Kate Carpenter series.

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Vanessa Robertson has lived in Scotland for over twenty years. A former publisher and bookseller, she won the Pitch Perfect event for unpublished writers at the Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in Stirling in 2015.

Death Will Find Me, a crime novel set in 1920s Edinburgh featuring former spy, Tessa Kilpatrick, was her first novel, and Don’t Blink, the first in a series set in the world of art crime investigator Kate Carpenter was published in May 2020, with the second, Trace Evidence, scheduled for later in the year. Vanessa has also published a short novella, Vanishing Point, introducing the character of Kate, which is available on Amazon and free via her website at www.vanessarobertson.co.uk.

Vanessa lives in a cottage in the middle of a Scottish wood with her family and ridiculously large dog. Currently, she’s editing the third Kate Carpenter thriller, researching the next Tessa Kilpatrick 1920s novel, and trying not to be distracted by new plot ideas. Vanessa loves windswept beaches, the coffee-scented fug of Venetian cafes and wandering around art galleries.

My thoughts:

This was a really fun crime thriller with a twist – the “detective” isn’t a cop but an art expert and dealer who can spot a fake Rothko with no problems at all.

Unless that fake belongs to a rather dodgy millionaire who doesn’t like to lose and isn’t afraid to set his goons on anyone who shows him up.

I really enjoyed this and Kate is a great protagonist, the supporting cast was interesting as well, not least the hunky Russian ballet dancer lover, can’t wait for book two!

*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: We Begin at the End – Chris Whitaker

‘You can’t save someone that doesn’t want to be saved . . .’
Thirty years ago, Vincent King became a killer.
Now, he’s been released from prison and is back in his hometown of Cape Haven, California. Not everyone is pleased to see him. Like Star Radley, his ex-girlfriend, and sister of the girl he killed.
Duchess Radley, Star’s thirteen-year-old daughter, is part-carer, part-protector to her younger brother, Robin – and to her deeply troubled mother. But in trying to protect Star, Duchess inadvertently sets off a chain of events that will have tragic consequences not only for her family, but also the whole town.
Murder, revenge, retribution.

How far can we run from the past when the past seems doomed to repeat itself?

My thoughts:

Occasionally you come across a book that does the unexpected and rips your heart out. This book does just that.

Duchess Day Radley, outlaw, sister, broken hearted child; such a compelling and moving protagonist, so young but life has been brutal and happiness will be ripped away from her over and over.

The adults around her are stuck in the past, suffering from events thirty years ago, dragging their guilt and pain around with them.

This whole book is a treat to read but also one that leaves you breathless, the prose is so crisp and precise, a masterclass in imagery and creating in its readers a deep empathy and understanding.

I was kindly gifted a copy of this book with no obligation to review but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Daisy Cooper’s Rules for Living – Tamsin Kelly*

Daisy Cooper’s life has been pretty uneventful – until the moment it suddenly ends. Unfortunately, her death is (literally) an accident: Daisy wasn’t meant to die for another fifty years. One terrible, embarrassing clerical error is behind it – and Death himself is to blame.

As Daisy battles against her new reality, she starts to learn that letting go isn’t just a challenge faced by those left behind. And while she learns how to survive this impossible new reality, friendship, hope and even love begin to come alive in the most unexpected ways.

For Daisy Cooper, death was the perfect time to start making sense of life…

My thoughts:

A funny, touching and bittersweet novel about life and death.

Daisy dies suddenly and at the wrong time, at least according to Death’s filing system. As she becomes Death’s assistant, and pops back to Earth to visit her loved ones, she learns a few hard lessons about relationships and living.

Some parts of this book are really sad and quite hard to read, which feels apt as life is full of difficult moments.

As Death becomes more human and Daisy learns to embrace her death (and maybe Death?!?!), her need for the living starts to fade and she understands why most of the dead don’t pop back to see the living.

It’s a really sweet and charming debut and perfect for a little summer time reading.

*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: Black 13 – Adam Hamdy

Black 13 is the brilliant first novel in the Scott Pearce series from Adam Hamdy. In this addictive and fast-paced thriller, ex-MI6 officer Pearce is about to show us that in a world where there is no loyalty to the nation state, it’s time to burn the espionage rule book.

An exiled agent. A growing threat. A clandestine war.

The world is changing beyond recognition.
Radical extremists are rising and seek to enforce their ideology globally.
Governments, the military and intelligence agencies are being outmanoeuvred at every step. Borders are breaking down. Those in power are puppets.
The old rules are obsolete. To fight this war a new doctrine is needed.
In a world where nothing is at it seems, where trust is gone, one man will make the difference.
Meet Ex-MI6 agent and man in exile, Scott Pearce.
It’s time to burn the espionage rule book.
Watch Pearce light the fire.

My thoughts:

The action kicks off from the first page and doesn’t let up, racing from London to Thailand, in hot pursuit of the shadowy figures manipulating world events from behind the scenes.

Pearce and his team of former intelligence operatives take it upon themselves to delve deep in the dark underbelly of politics and power to seek out the dangerous men hidden behind money and influence.

This is a high octane ride, I can easily see it as a modern take on James Bond, swapping black tie for biker jeans and Q for a genius refugee with more than a few tricks up her sleeves.

Adam Hamdy sent me a copy of this book to see me through self-isolation, which was very kind of him, but I think I would have picked up a copy somewhere as it’s a cracking read and I will certainly be looking out for the next in the series to hit the shelves.

I was not asked to review this book but I chose to in order to say thank you to Adam for sending me a copy.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Catalyst – Tracy Richardson*

Dallas, TX – There is more to this world than meets the eye in science fiction author Tracy Richardson’s newest installment in her young adult series, Catalyst.

The story features returning characters from the series’ first book, The Field, but centers on Marcie, who has a sixth sense. She feels a sort of knowing about certain things that can’t be explained – an intuition that extends beyond normalcy. This summer, Marcie is spending time working at Angel Mounds, the archeological dig her mother heads, along with her brother, Eric, and his girlfriend, Renee.

The dig is the site of an ancient indigenous civilization, and things immediately shift into the paranormal when Marcie and her teammates meet Lorraine and Zeke. The two mysterious dig assistants reveal their abilities to access the Universal Energy Field with their minds – something Marcie knows, only vaguely, that her brother has also had experience with.

Marcie learns how our planet will disintegrate if action is not taken. She and her team must decide if they are brave enough to help Lorraine and Zeke in their plan to save Mother Earth, her resources, and her history. It looks like the summer just got a lot more interesting.

“[Catalyst is] based in present-time Earth dealing with the real issues we face while also exploring the possibilities of what and who might be out ‘there’ and what our relationship with them can be,” said Richardson. “It also explores our evolution as a species.” Inspired by a desire to protect and sustain the planet, Richardson wrote Catalyst not only to entertain readers but to encourage them to think. “We can make the world a better place,” Richardson also said. “We don’t have to go with the status quo. Each and every one of us can be a catalyst for positive change.”

TRACY RICHARDSON wasn’t always a writer, but she was always a reader. Her favorite book growing up was A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. In a weird way that book has even shapedher life through odd synchronicities. She has a degree in biology like Mrs. Murry, and, without realizing it, she named her children Alex and Katie after Meg’s parents.

Tracy uses her science background in her writing through her emphasis on environmental issues, metaphysics, and science fiction. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her doing any number of creative activities — painting furniture, knitting sweaters, orcooking something. She lives in Indianapolis, and, in case you’re wondering, yes, she’s been to the Indianapolis 500.

My thoughts:

I agree with the underlying message of the book – our planet needs us to save it. The book was interesting – I got a bit confused by the whole Universal Energy Field, psychic beings part of it – mostly because this isn’t really in my wheelhouse but it added a different dynamic to the environmental angle and the archeological dig the characters are working on.

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

reviews, books

Book Review: The Hunted – Gabriel Bergmoser

Frank owns a service station on a little-used highway. His granddaughter, Allie, is sent to stay with him for the summer, but they don’t talk a lot.

Simon is a dreamer and an idealist, in thrall to the romance of the open road and desperately in search of something.

Maggie is the woman who will bring them together, someone whose own personal journey will visit unimaginable terror on them all.

My thoughts:

This hits the ground running and doesn’t stop, a real horror story that unfolds with a lot of blood and violence.

It made me think of some of the Australian Outback horror films like Wolf Creek, with two young women’s lives at risk in the middle of nowhere.

I was kindly sent a copy of this book with no obligation to review.