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Cover Reveal: Nutmeg Street – Sherrill Joseph

Something different today, a cover reveal and sneak peek of a book due to be published next year.

World-famous Egyptologist Dr. Winston Thornsley died suddenly two months ago in disgrace. His widow, Ida Thornsley, remains convinced her husband was falsely accused of stealing an ancient burial urn he discovered in Egypt last summer, but local and federal law enforcement officers are stumped.

Mrs. Thornsley, desperate for answers, calls in her thirteen-year-old neighbors, the Botanic Hill Detectives—twins Lanny and Lexi Wyatt, Moki Kalani, and Rani Kumar. Their exciting mission? To find the urn and its real thief, bring the criminal to justice, and exonerate Dr. Thornsley so his spotless reputation can be restored.

A roomful of venomous snakes, the poisoned Egyptian pond, and Dragon Pit Man are just a few of the tests awaiting the four tech-savvy teenagers. As the detectives begin to unravel the sinister plot, the mystery takes a dangerous turn. Answers are at their fingertips—if they can only convince their parents to let them solve the case.

Goodreads due to be published February 1st, 2020

Sherrill Joseph’s debut novel, Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets, had been inside her head for decades. The mystery genre took hold of her as a fifth grader when she discovered Nancy Drew and Phyllis A. Whitney mysteries. Years later, it still hasn’t let go.

After graduating Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in English literature and a master’s in education, Sherrill spent the next thirty-five years as a K-12 literacy teacher. When she retired from teaching in 2013, the Botanic Hill Detectives and their mysteries finally sprang to life.

Forever inspired by her beautiful students in the San Diego public schools, the author has peopled and themed the Botanic Hill Detectives mysteries with children of various abilities, cultures, and interests. She strongly believes that embracing diversity is the key to a better world.

Sherrill is a native San Diegan where she lives in a ninety-year-old house in a historic neighborhood with her bichon frisé-poodle mix, Jimmy Lambchop. In addition to her dog, the city of San Diego, reading and writing, the author loves her daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter. She must also include dark chocolate, popcorn, old movies, staircases, the color purple, and daisies. She is a member of SCBWI and the Authors’ Guild and promises many more adventures with the squad to come.

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Sneak Peek

“Here we go again. An aftershock! I’ve been afraid this would happen,” said Dr. Kurtz. She rapidly surveyed the room full of terrariums. “And one of my assistants just called to say he’s found a somewhat hidden but large crack from this morning’s tremor on one of our venomous snake enclosure’s glass panes. It’s a major emergency. Come out with me quickly boys—now! I have to attend to this immediately,” she shouted behind her, as she grabbed her tool bag, yanked open the heavy door, and fled outside and down the breezeway to the enclosure.

Unfortunately, Moki and Lanny weren’t as fast as Dr. Kurtz. The door banged shut in their surprised faces and locked. They were trapped in a windowless room.

As if that weren’t bad enough, the power failed simultaneously, and the room went pitch black. Both boys froze, helplessly surrounded by three walls of venomous snakes they could still hear but no longer see.

Cover reveal organised by R&R Book Tours.

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Blog Tour: The Lost Ones – Anita Frank*

Some houses are never at peace.

England, 1917

Reeling from the death of her fiancé, 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 fear 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…

My thoughts:

Something suitably spooky for All Hallows’ Eve today, this gorgeous ghost story is set in fine Gothic tradition, in an old house with a dark past. Pretty much every resident has secrets and one in particular will do anything to keep them.

I loved this book, Gothic style novels set in big houses is so very up my street. I grew up in a hundred year old house with absolutely nothing creepy about it, which was very disappointing and I think that might be why I love books about sinister houses so much.

What I liked about this story though was that the tragedy in its past wasn’t in the distant past, the people living there were part of it, it happened only about 20 or 30 years before.

So many creepy houses have an ancient mystery so to have one that’s fairly recent and the people who know the truth still living and not just an old diary is interesting.

The period it’s set is interesting itself, 1917, a year before the end of a war the likes no one had ever seen before, the age of a fascination with the supernatural that began in the Victorian era, but that intersects with new leaps in science and knowledge. It’s a very interesting time to set this story in.

I am interested in the people who believed in ghosts and the existence of spirits (I don’t believe in ghosts fyi) like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini, and the attempts to use things like cameras and recording devices (all new scientific inventions) to capture these mystery beings.

The protagonist, Stella, is a sceptic, but even she starts to be affected by the strange goings on in her sister’s new home, and bravely decides to try to resolve things and lay angry spirits to rest.

This is an excellent addition to the spooky house canon, and another piece of evidence that we’re living through an excellent revival of Gothic fiction.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book but all opinions remain my own.

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Bookstagram Tour: War Girls – Tochi Onyebuchi*

Something a bit different today, I’m taking part in a Bookstagram tour so come join me on Instagram. Below is some info on the book but for my thoughts head over to see some photos I took and check out the rest of the tour too!

Two sisters are torn apart by war and must fight their way back to each other in a futuristic, Black Panther-inspired Nigeria.

The year is 2172. Climate change and nuclear disasters have rendered much of earth unlivable. Only the lucky ones have escaped to space colonies in the sky.

In a war-torn Nigeria, battles are fought using flying, deadly mechs and soldiers are outfitted with bionic limbs and artificial organs meant to protect them from the harsh, radiation-heavy climate. Across the nation, as the years-long civil war wages on, survival becomes the only way of life.

Two sisters, Onyii and Ify, dream of more. Their lives have been marked by violence and political unrest. Still, they dream of peace, of hope, of a future together.

And they’re willing to fight an entire war to get there.

Goodreads

Amazon

Tochi Onyebuchi is a writer based in Connecticut. He holds a BA from Yale, an MFA in screenwriting from Tisch, and a JD from Columbia Law School. Tochi is the author of Beasts Made of Night and Crown of Thunder.

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

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Blog Tour: Coming Home to Winter Island – Jo Thomas*

Wrap up warm and prepare to explore the breath-taking beauty of a remote Scottish island and an old house waiting to unlock enchanting family secrets.

Fans of Jill Mansell and Milly Johnson will love this irresistible new winter novel from Jo Thomas.

Do you need to find out where you’ve come from before you can know what the future holds?

Ruby’s singing career is on the verge of hitting the big time, when her voice breaks. Fearing her career is over, she signs up for a retreat in Tenerife to recover.

But an unexpected call from a stranger on a remote Scottish island takes her on a short trip to sort out some family business.

It’s time to go and see the grandfather she’s never met.

City girl Ruby knows she will be happy to leave the windswept beaches behind as quickly as she can, especially as a years-old family rift means she knows she won’t be welcome at Teach Mhor.

But as she arrives at the big house overlooking the bay, she finds things are not as straightforward as she might have thought.

There’s an unexpected guest in the house and he’s not planning on going anywhere any time soon …

Jo writes heart-warming and feel-good novels centred around gorgeous holiday destinations and the delicious local cuisine.

My thoughts:

This is a heartwarming tale of family, how our pasts affect our present and a gentle romance too, all set in scenic Scotland.

An excellent curl up under a blanket comfort read, perfect for the horrid wet evenings we’re having at the moment. I find books like these super at taking you away from your troubles and stresses and leaving you feeling warm and relaxed.

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

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Book Review: The Disappearance of Stephanie Mailer – Joel Dicker

In the summer of 1994, the quiet seaside town of Orphea reels from the discovery of two brutal murders.

Confounding their superiors, two young police officers, Jesse Rosenberg and Derek Scott crack the case and arrest the murderer, earning themselves handsome promotions and the lasting respect of their colleagues.

But twenty years later, just as he is on the point of taking early retirement, Rosenberg is approached by Stephanie Mailer, a journalist who believes he made a mistake back in 1994 and that the real murderer is still out there, perhaps ready to strike again. Before she can give any more details however, Stephanie Mailer mysteriously disappears without trace, and Rosenberg and Scott are forced to confront the awful possibility that her suspicions might have been proved horribly true.

What happened to Stephanie Mailer?

What did she know?

And what really happened in Orphea all those years ago?

My thoughts:

I got an advance copy of this book at Capital Crime, which is due to be published by Quercus translated into English in May next year.

This is a doorstop of a crime thriller, but one that cracks along at quite a pace. Fantastic characterisation, strong, tense plotting, an abundance of strange suspects, and a clever, knotty plot.

I raced through this book, desperate to know what was about to happen, to solve the various crimes – Stephanie Mailer’s disappearance and the murders from 1994. I’m often pretty good at solving the crimes in most thrillers but this one was so smartly done that I got completely tangled up in the various threads and could empathise with Rosenberg, who struggled to unravel it himself.

I’ve not read any of Dicker’s other books, but I did watch some of the TV adaptation of The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair, which I gave up on as too long and meandering. Hopefully that was just the adaptation and not the book, as if this is anything to go by Dicker’s books are definitely worth reading.

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Blog Tour: The Family Gift – Cathy Kelly*

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Freya Abalone has a big, messy, wonderful family, a fantastic career, and a new house.

But that’s on the outside.

On the inside, she’s got Mildred – the name she’s given to that nagging inner critic who tells us all we’re not good enough.

And now Freya’s beloved blended family is under threat. Dan’s first wife Elisa, the glamorous, manipulative woman who happily abandoned her daughter to Freya and Dan’s care and left the country, has elbowed her way back into their lives.

But Freya knows that when life gives you lemons, you throw them right back.

Can Freya put her family – and herself – back together? Find out in Cathy Kelly’s warmest, wisest and funniest book yet…

My thoughts:

I love these big hearted, warm and cosy books, especially as we head into winter. Kelly is one of those writers, like Marian Keyes, Lucy Diamond and Jojo Moyes, who writes clever, funny books with a lot of heart. It annoys me when these books are dismissed as “chick lit” and not seen as proper literature. There’s a lot to be said for books that offer comfort and speak to how a lot of readers feel about their own lives.

I completely identified with Freya’s having an inner critic, I suffer from anxiety and depression and my inner critic is a bitch too. However, unlike Freya I asked for help and it helps keep my inner critic quiet, something Freya feels unable to do.

Freya is the sort of woman I’d like to be friends with, she has a warm heart, is creative and clever, and loves her family with everything she has. Kelly is an immensely brilliant writer and this is her twentieth book, so is as accomplished as you’d imagine. I will be re-reading this curled up with a mug of hot chocolate this winter.

 

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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.

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Blog Tour: The Cobalt Sky – Keith Dixon*

Edward Ransome is one of England’s most famous artists – rich, a friend to celebrities and known for his devotion to his craft for almost fifty years.

Then someone steals his favourite painting – the painting that set Ransome on course to fame and fortune but was never sold and rarely seen.

Sam Dyke is hired to find the painting, and the thief, but quickly discovers that the loss of the painting is only one of the many losses suffered by Ransome, and his family.

What’s more, whoever stole the painting is keen to keep it a secret, and committing murder to do so is not out of the question.

Soon Dyke finds he has more than a simple burglary on his hands – it’s a case that spans generations and includes more than one ordinary crime.

The Cobalt Sky is a subtle but exciting exploration of the ways in which families can hurt each other over time … without even trying.

From the two-time winner of the Chanticleer Reviews CLUE Award in the private eye/noir category, for The Bleak and The Innocent Dead.

Amazon


Keith Dixon was born in Yorkshire and grew up in the Midlands.

He’s been writing since he was thirteen years old in a number of different genres: thriller, espionage, science fiction, literary.

Two-time winner of the Chanticleer Reviews CLUE First in Category award for Private Eye/Noir novel, he’s the author of nine full-length books and one short-story in the Sam Dyke Investigations series and two other non-crime works, as well as two collections of blog posts on the craft of writing.

His new series of Paul Storey Thrillers began in 2016 and there are now three books in the series.

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My thoughts:

This was quite interesting, a reclusive artist claims his most famous painting, one no one has seen in years, normally stored in his safe, has been stolen and replaced with a replica.

For PI Sam Dyke this case is a bit of a headache, as he realises the family has a lot of secrets and all of it is tangled up with the painting that’s gone missing somehow.

I found the writing quite dense at times and it took me a while to get into the plot, but once I did I enjoyed what I was reading. I know very little about the art world, much like Sam, so it was interesting to read about the rather incestuous (sometimes literally in this case) relationships between artists, dealers and gallery owners.

I felt the ending was nice and tight and tied all the characters and plot lines together very nicely. It was a clever take on the crime genre and reminiscent of some of the more genteel crime novels, but with lots of violent death and blood added in.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour.