blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Wild Girls – Phoebe Morgan*

FOUR FRIENDS.
A LUXURY RETREAT.
IT’S GOING TO BE MURDER.

In a luxury lodge on Botswana’s sun-soaked plains, four friends reunite for a birthday celebration…

THE BIRTHDAY GIRL
Has it all, but chose love over her friends…

THE TEACHER
Feels the walls of her flat and classroom closing in…

THE MOTHER
Loves her baby, but desperately needs a break…

THE INTROVERT
Yearns for adventure after suffering for too long…

Arriving at the safari lodge, a feeling of unease settles over them. There’s no sign of the party that was promised. There’s no phone signal. They’re alone, in the wild.

THE HUNT IS ON.

My thoughts:

This was an interesting thriller from one of my favourite writers of the genre, Hannah, Grace and Alice all feel guilty about that night two years ago that blew up their long time friendship with Felicity and ended with her moving to New York.

Now she’s invited them to a swanky 30th in Botswana, but her messages are vague on plans and none of them have actually spoken to her about anything. Cue terror on the plains, an empty lodge, invisible staff, it’s all very creepy. I would have got out of there as fast as possible.

The way the back story unfolds and a suspect looms into view is nicely unsettling, the terrifying happenings at the glamorous lodge are suitably unnerving and that twist. No spoilers but it’s a good ‘un.

*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: Buried For Good – Alex Coombes*

Find links to all my previous reviews of this series here

On a remote island, everyone is a suspect…

When Private Investigator Hanlon is hired to protect famous yoga instructor Camille Anderson on her Scottish island retreat, she thinks this may be her simplest job yet.

But when an attack on Camille’s life goes wrong, it soon becomes clear that there is a murderer on the island – and Hanlon will stop at nothing to track them down.

With only a small group of guests the suspects are clear, but as the body count rises Hanlon must step up to find out who the killer is before it’s too late…

A tense, atmospheric page-turner from Alex Coombs. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons and Lisa Regan.

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Alex Coombs studied Arabic at Oxford and Edinburgh Universities and went on to work in adult education and then retrained to be a chef. He is the author of the highly acclaimed DCI Hanlon series.

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My thoughts:

I really like the Hanlon books, both as a police officer and the newer PI ones, they’re smart, engaging and enjoyable so I knew I was going to like this.

Playing with conventions of crime fiction, from the And Then There Were None style remote island setting, to the hidden killer and the old switcheroo, this is a clever piece of writing that throws up red herrings and sends Hanlon all over Scotland looking for clues.

I enjoyed the development of Hanlon too, her burgeoning relationship with Murdo adds some depth to her character, although obviously Wemyss the dog remains her first love.

*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: The Heretic’s Mark – S.W. Perry*

Read my reviews of The Serpent’s Mark and The Saracen’s Mark

The Elizabethan world is in flux. Radical new ideas are challenging the old. But the quest for knowledge can lead down dangerous paths…

London, 1594. The Queen’s physician has been executed for treason, and conspiracy theories flood the streets. When Nicholas Shelby, unorthodox physician and unwilling associate of spymaster Robert Cecil, is accused of being part of the plot, he and his new wife Bianca must flee for their lives.
With agents of the Crown on their tail, they make for Padua, following the ancient pilgrimage route, the Via Francigena. But the pursuing English aren’t the only threat Nicholas and Bianca face. Hella, a strange and fervently religious young woman, has joined them on their journey. When the trio finally reach relative safety, they become embroiled in a radical and dangerous scheme to shatter the old world’s limits of knowledge. But Hella’s dire predictions of an impending apocalypse, and the brutal murder of a friend of Bianca’s forces them to wonder: who is this troublingly pious woman? And what does she want?

My thoughts:

I think this might be my favourite in this series so far. Forced to hide out on the continent, Nicholas and Bianca head for Padua, and Bianca’s cheerful cousin Bruno.

They’re joined by a woman who claims to see Judgement Day and who becomes a wee bit too obsessed with Nicholas to be completely healthy.

He sees agents of doom everywhere and even Bianca is under a cloud.

Meanwhile back in Southwark Ned is getting into trouble and the delightful Rose is trying to get him out of it.

I loved having more Rose and Ned in the book, it was great them having their own storyline independent of the misadventures of everyone’s favourite Elizabethan doctor.

I also really liked seeing Nicholas out of his element, forced to learn Italian, having to rely on Bianca a bit more. I loved cousin Bruno, he’s just like a sort of puppy. And the inclusion of Galileo Galili as a drunken University professor, yelling at his students and planning to annoy the Florentines was an excellent touch.

All of the historical details, and the famous names and places add to the sense of time and place, grounding it in the Enlightenment’s early years – Galileo isn’t yet a heretic, Shakespeare’s still a jobbing playwright, the Earth is the centre of the universe.

These are such fun books and the conspiracy this time is not remotely what you expect – doom monger Hella isn’t an agent of one of England’s enemies, she’s a prophet of the apocalypse – or is she?

The curious state of Christianity in the 16th Century, with its mystics and pilgrims, hundreds of saints and apostates is given centre stage and it really is a strange place. I didn’t really think of the Netherlands as a hot bed of this sort of thing, but with a certain Heironymous of Bosch painting his nightmares, there’s a bit of an atmosphere.

*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: And Then She Ran – Karen Clarke*

How far would you go to keep your baby safe?

The fist flew past Grace’s face and smashed into the wall behind her. A switch flicked in her head. Grace bundled her eight-week-old daughter into her carry cot, opened the door and ran.

Her life in New York faded into the background. She needed to keep her baby safe. She needed to get as far away from Patrick as possible.

Now, staying in a remote cottage in Wales, Grace is trying to start again. But she can’t shake the uneasy feeling that she’s been followed.

And then she finds a note. Left on her bed. A tiny scrap of paper with scrawl in bright red pen.

Keep her close. Anything could happen.

She’s been found. Patrick wants his baby back.

But Grace will do everything to stop him.

My thoughts:

Talk about a stunning twist, this book was a cracker and a half. Everything, from the blurb, to the unfolding story suggests one thing, but then that gets flipped on its head and there’s so much more to it, a rather sinister set of events is revealed.

I enjoyed this a lot, the mix of thriller and family relationship style saga was interesting and the plots running concurrently – Grace’s flight to Wales, and her aunt’s past, blended together nicely.

*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: Dial A For Aunties – Jesse Sutanto*

What happens when you mix 1 (accidental) murder with 2 thousand wedding guests, and then toss in a possible curse on 3 generations of an immigrant Chinese-Indonesian family?

You get 4 meddling Asian aunties coming to the rescue!

When Meddelin Chan ends up accidentally killing her blind date, her meddlesome mother calls for her even more meddlesome aunties to help get rid of the body.

Unfortunately, a dead body proves to be a lot more challenging to dispose of than one might anticipate, especially when it is inadvertently shipped in a cake cooler to the over-the-top billionaire wedding Meddy, her Ma, and aunties are working at an island resort on the California coastline. It’s the biggest job yet for the family wedding business—”Don’t leave your big day to chance, leave it to the Chans!”—and nothing, not even an unsavory corpse, will get in the way of her auntie’s perfect buttercream flowers.

But things go from inconvenient to downright torturous when Meddy’s great college love—and biggest heartbreak—makes a surprise appearance amid the wedding chaos. Is it possible to escape murder charges, charm her ex back into her life, and pull off a stunning wedding all in one weekend?

My thoughts:

This was hilarious. I know all about aunties from my friends’ families, the meddling, the gossip, the one up man ship that goes on, and the fact that even though they seem to criticise everything you do, they love you completely.

Meddy’s aunts would literally kill for her, or at least hide the body. The family’s wedding business provides cover as they work at a very fancy celebration on a small island. Chaos ensues, as Meddy tries to stop anyone else finding out about the dead body her mum and aunts are lugging about in a cooler.

I loved this, I want more crazy auntie shenanigans!!


*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: The Lynmouth Stories – L.V. Hay*

Beautiful places hide dark secrets …
Devon’s very own crime writer L.V Hay (The Other Twin, Do No Harm) brings forth three new short stories from her dark mind and poison pen:
– For kidnapped Meg and her young son Danny, In Plain Sight, the remote headland above Lynmouth is not a haven, but hell.
– A summer of fun for Catherine in Killing Me Softly becomes a winter of discontent … and death.
– In Hell And High Water, a last minute holiday for Naomi and baby Tommy becomes a survival situation … But that’s before the village floods.
All taking place out of season when the majority of tourists have gone home, L.V Hay uses her local knowledge to bring forth dark and claustrophic noir she has come to be known for.

A pseudonym used by Lucy V Hay

Lucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. She is the associate producer of Brit thrillers Deviation (2012) and Assassin (2015), both starring Danny Dyer.

Lucy is also head reader for the London Screenwriters’ Festival and has written two non-fiction books, Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays, plus its follow-up Drama Screenplays.

She lives in Devon with her husband, three children, six cats and five African Land Snails.

My thoughts:

I’ve been to Lynmouth as my aunt and uncle live nearby, but I don’t recognise its dark side and the unpleasant people lurking in it.

These three very short stories leave a lot to the imagination – there’s no resolution to the situations the three women find themselves in, so you have to imagine what happens next, which is an interesting concept. And one I very much enjoyed.


*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: Jukebox Hero – Jason Stuart*

It’s Back to the ’80’s like never before!

Things aren’t all rainbows and cupcakes at the corner of Elm and E streets. Molly Slater just wants to forget everything she can’t remember and play heavy metal with her best friend in the garage. And maybe get a date for prom if he’s not a skeeze.

But someone in this ‘burb has been killing redheads, and Molly has the reddest hair of them all.

When a night of babysitting gone wrong gets her in the crosshairs of the local gang scene, Molly discovers fabulous secrets about herself.

The hunted becomes the hunter as she prowls the darkness that has crept into her sleepy town. But a far more sinister force, some thing from another world, has other plans in store for her…

Excerpt

“Sister Christian” 

—Night Ranger, 1983

Three standing grandfather clocks gazed down at her that morning, ten years to the day since they found her wandering alone with no memory—not even a name.

There, at the corner of Elm and E Street, Molly Slater (the name they’d given her) gripped her Fender Stratocaster like it were a weapon forged for her hands. Her fingerless gloves whispered at the strings, ready to saw down some serious noise. Jordache jacket with the sleeves ripped off at the shoulder. Purple lipstick and double-earrings. Corvette red hair. Bette Davis Eyes. 

The garage smelled like the early morning—no other sound but her Cons slapping the dewy concrete. She kicked away shorted out gizmos and various half-finished contraptions littering the cold slab floor. Hoyt, her foster dad, fancied himself the inventor. Any day now he’d invent their way into riches untold. Any day now.

Those grandfather clocks ticked at her as she plugged into the Peavey. More of Hoyt’s tinkering, thinking he could set his machines by them. Each triggered a different chain reaction every morning. One fed the dog. Another opened the garage to the day. A third…well it never worked anyway. She stared at them, as did they her in return. They held no judgment, only the looming doom of the impending hour. 

As the garage doors groaned, opening to the dim autumn light outside, she cranked up and twist-tuned her axe. She gave it a gooseneck and sliced right in. Mötley. Halen. Bowie. Duran. Whitesnake. Saxon. Maiden! Fluidly, she moved from one riff to another. She was totally, epically zoned. 

She lived in that fifteen minutes. 

Those granddads thundered their terrible news. 

The parentals shouted. 

“Shut that racket off! You’re gonna be late, I swear to every god,” the mother said. As if there were gods. Molly just shook her head, put up the guitar and grabbed her bag. “And put on a hat on that red hair. I don’t want you getting murdered by that maniac!” 

So dramatic. Like anything that interesting could ever happen. 

She always knew it would be like this.

Available on Amazon

Jason Stuart is from the ’80’s. He came through that cocaine-fueled fever dream and lived to tell this story. Find him on Twitter: @raiseaholler on IG @80sinsane and Facebook.com/raiseaholler. This is his 4th book. And, no, that’s not his real hair. 
Burnt Bridge

My thoughts:

This was a fun read, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect but between the 80s setting (and fashions), the music references, and Molly being absolutely kickass, whether fighting bad guys or rocking out hard, I really enjoyed it. Probably helps that I love 80s teen movies – especially John Hughes’ classics.

Molly’s friends, and her brother (and his friends) are a pretty cool bunch, I loved Lydia in her Goth get up driving her brother’s monster truck, that image really amused me.

Win a signed copy of the book plus two 80s movie nox sets (International) Enter by following the image link.

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

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Book Blitz & Giveaway: The 48 Laws of Happiness – Dr Rob Carpenter

The48Laws

During times like these finding ways to be happy seems like a no brainer! Check out The 48 Laws of Happiness by Dr. Rob Carpenter! Psst… There’s also a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card (International)

The 48 Laws of Happiness Front CoverThe 48 Laws of Happiness: Secrets Revealed for Becoming the Happiest You

Expected Publication Date: April 27th, 2021

Genre: Non-Fiction/ Self-Improvement

UNLOCK THE SECRETS TO HAPPINESS

  • Do you want to discover the untold secrets of happiness in a fun and uplifting read that could change your life?

  • Have you ever been told you should choose to be happy but then not taught how to be happy?

  • Is becoming the happiest possible version of yourself something you would like to achieve right now?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you have looked in the right place! In The 48 Laws of Happiness, Dr. Rob Carpenter will teach you how to be happier in every area of your life. Using practical, “how-to” approaches, easily digestible mini-chapters, cutting edge research, and inspirational stories of people from around the world, Dr. Rob will show you the secrets to happiness and what you can do to overcome the common traps preventing you from being the happiest and most confident, version of yourself.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

Dr. Rob Carpenter—known simply as Dr. Rob— miraculously survived a tragic accident and vowed to not only rebuild his life, but to help other people rebuild their lives too. He has become a transformational author, filmmaker, and CEO who now advises professional athletes, celebrities, business titans, and everyday people so they can become the best version of themselves.

Dr. Rob has been featured in the New York Times, Business Insider, and People Magazine, has been a former professor and filmmaker at the 2x Emmy Award Winning USC Media Institute for Social Change, and is host of The Dr. Rob show. He founded The School of Happiness and has countless resources available on his website DrRob.TV to help uplift humanity.

Dr. Rob is the first in his family to graduate from college.

Rob Carpenter

International Giveaway: Click the link below for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

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Book Blitz Organized By:

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blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: I Am Here To Kill You – Chris Westlake*

Charming. Charismatic. Beautiful.
And deadly?

The members of a local support group in a sleepy welsh town are captivated by the new arrival, Sheena Strachan. Each member of the group has a reason for attending. Some hide dark, sinister secrets, and for others it is the highlight of their week.
But what are Sheena’s motives for attending?
The group’s leader, Rose, unexpectedly stops attending meetings. She goes into hiding, and quickly becomes an outcast. And then she is arrested for her estranged husband’s murder.
Did Sheena really have no involvement in his killing?
With Sheena at the helm, the group goes from strength to strength, both in numbers and commitment. But their behaviour is changing. No story is to leave the room. They trust nobody. Men are the enemy. The residents of the previously peaceful town start turning against each other.
Was this Sheena’s plan all along?
One mystery, however, stands out more than all the others.
Who is here to kill who…?
I AM HERE TO KILL YOU is a compelling psychological thriller that explores the potential power and devastation of manipulation.

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After completing a Creative Writing course in 2010, Chris Westlake’s short story, Welsh Lessons, was awarded 1st place in the Global Short Story Award (not bad for the first writing competition he had entered). He followed this up with 1st place in the Stringybark Erotic Fiction Award and 2nd place in the HASSRA Literary Award.

Chris has written three novels. 30 DAYS IN JUNE is his first crime thriller. He is currently writing his second thriller, on schedule to be completed in 2020. He is determined to write many, many more – his main regret is that he didn’t start writing earlier.
Chris considers himself to be a developing author. He is always looking to improve, to make his next novel even better than the last. He is continuously experimenting with different styles, different genres.
You can contact Chris. He would love to hear from you.

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My thoughts:

This was a twisted trip of a book, set in a small Welsh village where the women meet up weekly to talk through their issues and find friendship. A newcomer seeks to tip the balance and change how things are done.

Sheena has a nasty plan and starts to enact, driving wedges between people – forcing women to carry out violent crimes, mostly against the men in their lives. None of the characters are particularly likeable, they all have nasty sides it seems and violence lurks under the skin. There’s a real twist at the end I just didn’t see coming.

*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: A Black Widow’s Web – Phil Martin*

Estate agent Lawrence Hennessey has his eyes firmly on the prize, a future away from the mother of his daughter and a multi-million-pound property deal to fund his new life.

His dreams are shot to pieces though when he is arrested for the most heinous sexual crimes against his seemingly embittered ex, Summer, and their seven-year-old daughter, April.
He claims his absolute innocence, but the evidence is so strong that his world quickly turns against him. Having breached his bail conditions, he is sent to prison awaiting a trial that, with his life now in constant danger, may never come. Only one person stands with him; his sister Grace.
Desperate to break the allegiance between mother and daughter, Grace vows to leave no stone unturned in her quest to clear her brother’s name before it is too late.
She unearths a web of vicious deceit in Summer’s turbulent past but nothing to prove her brother’s innocence. She is convinced though that if she keeps digging she’ll unearth something much bigger about her brother’s accuser to weaken the validity of her claims.
But as the evidence against Lawrence gets more sinister, his alcoholism, blackouts and activity on the Dark Web paint a much different story to the one her brother is telling.

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Phil Martin has published seven ebooks in the crime genre. He is a journalist in the global casino and sports betting sectors.

“I grew up in the creative cauldron of nineties Manchester when Madchester rocked the charts and the Hacienda ruled clubland. The city has shaped me as a writer. I write thrillers and crime stories based on the fine folk of Manchester and Salford and sell them online as ebooks.

The Amy Walker series is an international thriller taking in Manchester, London, Morocco, Barcelona, Monza, Zurich, Lake Como, Moscow, Chechnya, Buenos Aires, Georgia… and Milton Keynes.

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My thoughts:

Lawrence is accused of some of the most heinous crimes around and the evidence seems pretty solid, if incredibly grim but his resourceful, brilliant and determined sister Grace knows he could not have done any of the things criminal genius and probable psychopath Summer has accused him of.

Grace has an investigative mind but Summer is a monster, and the two of them have to try to outwit each other. What Grace goes through to try to clear Lawrence’s name, and what he suffers after the arrest are reprehensible and awful. It’s hard to imagine how someone could be so cold and calculating.

Truly clever and utterly gripping, this is a suspenseful and intelligent thriller that left me cold – after all anyone could be like Summer, couldn’t they?

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