blog tour, books

Cover Reveal: Death in Smoke – Barbara Elle

She stumbled on a bloodied body buried in a snowbank. Will a cold case in Kansas lead her to the killer?

Against a canvas of crime and murder, artist and detective Leila Goodfriend investigates two brutal murders that happened a thousand miles—and decades apart.

As she unravels the truth about these two violent killings, she tracks a trail of blood and revenge, littered with smoke screens and stone relics of a perilous past. From Cape Cod to a casino in Kansas, Leila has to trust her instincts. And her developing relationship with Detective John Grace is put to a new, dangerous test.

Despite the detective’s warnings, Leila puts her life at risk, obsessed with proving her friend’s innocence, at least of murder.

She exposes new suspects and clues, and in the end, reveals a dark, deadly secret from her own past.

Death In Smoke, the new psychological thriller from acclaimed author Barbara Elle, takes readers on an inner and physical journey across time, challenging your assumptions about what is truth—what remains a mystery.

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In her stunning debut thriller, Death In Vermilion (The Cape Mysteries Book 1), acclaimed author Barbara Elle paints a clever and twisted picture of women and sisters, whose lives are entwined by a brutal murder in a Cape Cod town. Who can you trust?

Now, Death In Smoke (The Cape Mysteries Book 2) asks what’s the connection between a bloodied body buried in a snow bank on a remote island off the Cape and a cold case in Kansas? Can artist and amateur sleuth Leila Goodfriend solve this new mystery?

Barbara Elle fell in love with books and writing at a young age, honing her writing chops as a copywriter at major publishers publishers and as a freelance journalist.

Growing up in Boston, but she became a New Yorker as an adult. Her writing draws on people and places she remembers, setting The Cape Mysteries on Cape Cod, a place of memories.

Barbara Elle continues collecting characters and plots, often traveling the world with her touring musician husband, bass player and musical director for rock and roll icon Cyndi Lauper. In her travels, Barbara has explored Buddhist temples in Beijing, crypts in Vienna and Kabuki Theater in Tokyo.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Zodiac – Anamaria Ionescu*


When investigator Sergiu Manta is handed the investigation into a series of bizarre murders, he can’t sure what he’s getting involved in as he has to work with regular detective Marius Stanescu, who has his own suspicions about the biker he has been told to work with, and wants to get to the truth. The twists and turns of their investigation takes them from the city of Bucharest to the mountains of rural Romania, and back.

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My thoughts:

This was a really interesting, twisty, clever thriller. I really enjoyed it. One of the joys of translated literature is getting to read more widely but also see how tropes translate in other cultures. I’d really like to read more from this author, with her great grasp of narrative and suspense. It also gave me a tour of parts of Romania, which was really interesting too.

*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 Twisted Ones – T. Kingfisher

When a young woman clears out her deceased grandmother’s home in rural North Carolina, she finds long-hidden secrets about a strange colony of beings in the woods in this chilling novel that reads like The Blair Witch Project meets The Andy Griffith Show.
When Mouse’s dad asks her to clean out her dead grandmother’s house, she says yes. After all, how bad could it be?
Answer: pretty bad. Grandma was a hoarder, and her house is stuffed with useless rubbish. That would be horrific enough, but there’s more–Mouse stumbles across her step-grandfather’s journal, which at first seems to be filled with nonsensical rants…until Mouse encounters some of the terrifying things he described for herself.
Alone in the woods with her dog, Mouse finds herself face to face with a series of impossible terrors–because sometimes the things that go bump in the night are real, and they’re looking for you. And if she doesn’t face them head on, she might not survive to tell the tale.

My thoughts:

I found this book super creepy. The weird appearance of the twisted things and the deeply sinister implications of life in their hands made me shudder.

Well written, gripping and perfectly capable of giving you bad dreams.

I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher with no obligation to review.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Blackwood – Michael Farris Smith*

In this timeless, mythical tale of unforgiving justice and elusive grace, rural Mississippi townsfolk shoulder the pain of generations as something dangerous lurks in the enigmatic kudzu of the woods.

The town of Red Bluff, Mississippi, has seen better days, though those who’ve held on have little memory of when that was. Myer, the county’s aged, sardonic lawman, still thinks it can prove itself — when confronted by a strange family of drifters, the sheriff believes that the people of Red Bluff can be accepting, rational, even good.

The opposite is true: this is a landscape of fear and ghosts — of regret and violence — transformed by the kudzu vines that have enveloped the hills around it, swallowing homes, cars, rivers, and hiding a terrible secret deeper still.

Colburn, a junkyard sculptor who’s returned to Red Bluff, knows this pain all too well, though he too is willing to hope for more when he meets and falls in love with Celia, the local bar owner. The Deep South gives these noble, broken, and driven folks the gift of human connection while bestowing upon them the crippling weight of generations. With broken histories and vagabond hearts, the townsfolk wrestle with the evil in the woods — and the wickedness that lurks in each and every one of us.

Michael Farris Smith is the author of The Fighter, Desperation Road, Rivers, and The Hands of Strangers. His novels have appeared on Best of the Year lists with Esquire, Southern Living, Book Riot, and numerous others, and have been named Indie Next List, Barnes & Noble Discover, and Amazon Best of the Month selections. He has been a finalist for the Southern Book Prize, the Gold Dagger Award in the UK, and the Grand Prix des Lectrices in France, and his essays have appeared with the New York Times, Bitter Southerner, Writer’s Bone, and more. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi, with his wife and two daughters.

My thoughts:

This was a strange book, in a good way. The blurb implies a straightforward crime thriller but it isn’t quite that.

Colburn has returned to the town his father died in, still dealing with his feelings about his parents.

Three strange drifters also arrive in town, never named, they live in their car till they, and three local residents, go missing.

It’s like a weird, anti fairy tale, with the creeping vines gradually eating up the town and its inhabitants. A town that’s slowly dying, with its empty store fronts and dwindling population.

The writing is lyrical, drawing you into the Mississippi haze.

*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: Hypnos – Jon Biddle*

What if the unthinkable became a reality? What if technology could be used against you?

A software program has been stolen from the digital vaults of the CIA. It is capable of bridging the gap between A.I. and human consciousness, making a person do whatever the controller wants, creating a potentially terrifying new world. The organisation responsible has racist, right-wing views and a perverted desire to reduce population growth by culling it using the software. Only the rich and the powerful can be part of Asclepius. The software is uploaded to the brain via eye movement using a smartphone, leaving open the possibility for entire countries to be controlled remotely.

Alex Brown, newly-appointed to the B5 Intelligence cell of British intelligence while hunting for the serial killer Dale Broc who has kidnapped her daughter, has been assigned to the case and now has to choose. Will she save the country or her daughter?

Hypnos is the second novel in the Alex Brown series. Author Jon Biddle brings extensive medical knowledge coupled with military and law enforcement experience that combines to produce an exciting sequel to The Harvester.

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Jon spends his days smashing out people’s hip and knee joints, and his nights writing medical thrillers.

A veteran and a medical professional who spends 45 hours a week in the OR, Jon brings considerable medical and military/law enforcement expertise to the crime thriller genre, evident by the attention to detail in his six books.

Jon’s writing is dark and eclectic, provoking and deviant. He surrounds himself in the white glow of pureness, with one foot always in the dark. The dark always surrounds us, but Jon has a knack of making his readers ask “Could this happen to me?”

There is nothing too dark for Jon to write about. He has no level, base, or filter, and will get into your head and “scare the living daylights” out of you.

Jon lives in the south-west of England with his childhood sweetheart, Sam, and two Springer Spaniels. With full-time medical responsibilities in his day job, Jon spends 15-20 hours a week writing for his growing online audience. His new medical thriller, The Harvester, was released in 2019 as the first of six books in the Dale Broc series.

Find out more about Jon Biddle, including his new releases and regular short stories, by going to http://www.jonbiddle.uk and joining the mailing list.

My thoughts:

This is a weird, and at times, confusing, thriller. There’s a lot going on, plots that don’t really go anywhere, details that don’t add anything to the story and I got a bit annoyed with some of it.

Now, that may be because I haven’t read the previous book and the continuing storylines from that meant nothing to me. It may also be that two of the male characters had the same first name and I got a bit confused by that.

However, it was a clever, deep state conspiracy, intelligence service thriller with lots of guns and explosions, as well as complicated high tech doomsday software.


*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: You Never Told Me – Sarah Jasmon*

A year ago, Charlie’s life seemed to be following a plan: she had a beautiful house, a lovable dog and an upcoming wedding. But she felt trapped. A few months before the big day, ignoring the warnings from her family, she abandoned her life and fled to the other side of the world in a bid for freedom.

But when her mother unexpectedly falls ill, Charlie has to cut her trip short. She flies home, but by the time she gets to the hospital, it’s too late.

Her mother is gone, but she’s left a mystery behind. Why did she buy a canal boat, and where did the money for it come from? As Charlie attempts to work through her grief and pick up the pieces of her life, she follows the threads of her mother’s secret past – but has she missed her chance to learn the truth?

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Sarah Jasmon lives on a canal boat near Manchester with her children. She has had several short stories published, is curating a poetry anthology, and has recently graduated from the Creative Writing MA course at Manchester Metropolitan University.

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My thoughts:

This is a gentle meditation on grief and secrets. Charlie’s inheritance sofa narrow boat her mother kept a secret, and the web of secrets it holds about her mother’s life slowly begin to unravel as Charlie looks into the past and learns about her mother’s history.

Evocative and moving, this is an enjoyable and comforting read, perfect for curling up on the sofa.

*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 Girl with the Amber Comb – Linda Finley*

Orphaned at birth, Eliza lives with her beloved Grandparents in a waterlogged Somerset cottage surrounded by willow beds where she ekes out a living making laundry baskets and eel traps. Although poor she is content, until childhood friend Clem, regales her with tales of his adventures along the river and she begins to wonder what life is like beyond the Droves.

When fate brings handsome, wealthy Theo to her workshop she is instantly attracted and a rosy future beyond the Droves beckons. Only things don’t go to plan and naive Eliza finds herself in Lavender House where she is expected to care for gentlemen in a way she never imagined. Forced to flee for her life, she ends up in a woollen mill run by a corrupt foreman, working for crumbs and pennies with only her grandmother’s comb in her pocket.

Now she knows what matters in life – but is it too late? And will she ever be able to return home to those who love her?

My thoughts:

This was a different sort of read for me, I don’t generally go for books with covers like these, but I’m glad I took a punt on this.

My grandmother was born in Devon, and so I feel a connection to the West Country of this novel, a place where people work hard and live in beautiful, but sometimes remote landscapes.

Eliza’s life is not easy, and as the book opens she has just lost her grandmother and must take on the role of running the household as well as weaving the willow baskets her family earn their living from.

In a way I quite understood her reasons for running away; a revelation rips her world apart, she finds herself alone and she feels uncertain about her future.

But her experiences in the larger towns she visits all remind of her of how much she misses her small home and the safety of the Droves.

As a love story, it’s more one of Eliza’s love for her home than of any man. Which was somewhat refreshing, no man rescues Eliza from any of her predicaments, she rescues herself.

The title is a bit long and unwieldy and certainly obscures any hint at the plot – Eliza saves herself in this one!

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