blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: One Way Out – A.A. Dhand*

A bomb detonates in Bradford’s City Park.

When the alert sounds, DC I Harry Virdee has just enough time to get his son and his mother to safety before the bomb blows. But this is merely a stunt.

The worst is yet to come.

A new and aggressive nationalist group, the Patriots, have hidden a second device under one of the city’s one hundred and five mosques. In exchange for the safe release of those at Friday prayers, the Patriots want custody of the leaders of radical Islamist group Almukhtareen – the chosen ones.

The government does not negotiate with terrorists. Even when thousands of lives are at risk.

There is only one way out.

But Harry’s wife is in one of those mosques. Left with no choice, Harry must find the Almukhtareen, to offer the Patriots his own deal.

A.A. Dhand was raised in Bradford and spent his youth observing the city from behind the counter of a small convenience store. After qualifying as a pharmacist, he worked in London and travelled extensively before returning to Bradford to start his own business and begin writing. The history, diversity and darkness of the city have inspired his Harry Virdee novels.

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this novel, it’s a compelling, well paced thriller that has several unexpected twists. The characters of Harry and his wife Saima are brave, resilient people. Dhand mixes the traditional terrorist thriller with modern themes and worries – the friction between Muslims and the wider community being one of them.

I haven’t read any of the other books in this series but I will be looking out for them in my local library when I next want a thriller to read.

*I was gifted this book in return for taking part in the blog tour. However, all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Devil’s Equinox – John Everson

Austin secretly wishes his wife would drop dead. He even te ls a stranger in a bar, who turns out to be his new neighbor, Regina. One night he comes to find his wife dead. Soon he’s entranced with Regina, who introduces him to a world of bloodletting and magic. Can he save his daughter, and himself, before the planets align for the Devil’s Equinox?


John Everson is a staunch advocate for the culinary joys of the jalapeno and an unabashed fan of 1970s European horror cinema. He is also the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Covenant and its two sequels, Sacrifice and Redemption, as we l as six other novels, including the erotic horror tour de force and Bram Stoker Award finalist NightWhere and the seductive backwoods tale of The Family Tree. Other novels include The Pumpkin Man, Siren, The 13th and the spider-driven Violet Eyes. Over the past 25 years, his short fiction has appeared in more than 75 magazines and anthologies and received a number of critical accolades, including frequent Honorable Mentions in the Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror anthology series. His story “Letting Go” was a Bram Stoker Award finalist in 2007 and “The Pumpkin Man” was included in the anthology A l American Horror: The Best of the First Decade of the 21st Century. In addition to his own twisted worlds, he has also written stories in shared universes, including The Vampire Diaries and Jonathan Maberry’s V-Wars series, as we l as for Kolchak: The Night Stalker and The Green Hornet.

My thoughts:

I originally thought this would be a straightforward thriller, with an obvious murder and a search for justice. But it’s a much weirder, darker story. Aidan gets completely out of his depth with a Satanic cult, and loses his wife and almost his baby daughter. It’s a twisted plot, and definitely for adult readers.

Despite my ambivalence over some of the sex scenes the plot zips along and the short chapters make it an easy read.

*I was gifted this book in order to take part in this blog tour, however all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Horizontal Collaboration – Navie & Carole Maurel*

“Horizontal Collaboration” is a term used to describe the sexual and romantic relationships that some French women had with members of the occupying German forces during World War II. In this poignant, female-centered graphic novel created by writer/artist duo Carole Maurel and Mademoiselle Navie, the taboo of “sleeping with the enemy” is explored through the story of a passionate, and forbidden, affair. In June 1942, married Rose (whose husband is a prisoner of war) intervenes in the detainment of her Jewish friend and then accidentally embarks on a secret relationship with the investigating German officer, Mark. There is only one step between heroism and treason, and it’s often a dangerous one. Inside an apartment building on Paris’s 11th arrondissement, little escapes the notice of the blind husband of the concierge. Through his sightless but all-knowing eyes, we learn of Rose and Mark’s hidden relationship, and also of the intertwined stories and problems of the other tenants, largely women and children, who face such complex issues as domestic violence, incest, and prostitution. This fascinating graphic novel tackles the still-sensitive topic of who it is acceptable to love, and how, and the story’s drama is brought vividly to life by intimate and atmospheric illustrations.

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Carole Maurel cut her teeth on animated films before devoting herself to illustration, in particular, graphic novels. Her 2017 book The Apocalypse According to Magda was awarded the Artémisia Avenir award, which celebrates women in comics.

Navie is a screenwriter for press, cinema and television. She has a degree in history from The Sorbonne in Paris, where she specialized in the history of fascism – making Horizontal Collaboration an excellent fit for her first graphic novel

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This is a beautifully drawn story, translated into English by Margaret Morrison from the original French. The beating heart of the book is the love affair between Rose and Nazi officer Mark. But there are other stories in every apartment, of hiding Jews, and resistance, of love and loss, art and pain.

I loved this, told through the lives of women; a period where so often much of the focus is on men at war and not those left behind or under siege.

Part of my family originally came from France and I was raised by Francophile parents so I have a deep affection for the country and its people, as well as a fascination with its history, so linked are Britain and France. This year I want to read more French writers (especially women) and so this book slots beautifully into that aim.

*I was kindly gifted this book to take part on the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Tulip Taylor – Anna Mainwaring*

Challenged to go on a `survival’ reality TV show, fifteen-year-old make-up vlogger Tulip only accepts to escape her mother’s money-making schemes and protect her younger brother and sister. Set up to fail, can she prove to the TV show, to Harvey – the cute but annoying boy who got her on there – and most importantly to herself, that she’s more than just a pretty face? As Tulip puts down her phone and heads for the hills, she finds she has both the courage and insight to take on each new challenge. But as ‘reality’ gets ever more crazy, will either teen escape their families and their time in the spotlight unscathed?

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Anna Mainwaring read ‘The Lord of the Rings’ at the age of seven and hasn’t stop reading since. After studying English at university, she took the bizarre decision to follow a career in corporate banking. This made her sad so she left, went travelling and trained to be a teacher. When not teaching, writing or hiding from her children in the study, Anna can be found in bookshops, cafes or walking slowly up big hills.

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My thoughts:

This was a funny, wry contemporary YA novel through the lens of one teen’s determination to be more than just what she posts on social media.

Tulip is every 16 year old girl I’ve ever met; they are so much more than the stereotype (I used to work with children and young people). She’s funny, loyal, smart and brave. Her family are all over the place and she’s often driven to parenting her parents.

She’s also much more resourceful than she’s given credit for. And yes, she makes mistakes but so do we all. Anyone who says they have it all together at 16 is lying.

I am going to recommend this book to some of the teens I know (and their parents) to remind them how it’s ok to love Instagram and also learning, how it’s ok to make mistakes and not know everything. Tulip has a big heart and is a fantastic protagonist.

*I was gifted this book to review but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Missing Years – Lexie Elliott*

She thought she would never go back…

Ailsa Calder has inherited half of a house. The other half belongs to a man who disappeared without a trace twenty-seven years ago. Her father.

Leaving London behind to settle her mother’s estate, Ailsa returns to her childhood home nestled amongst the craggy peaks of the Scottish Highlands, accompanied by the half-sister she’s never taken the time to get to know.

With the past threatening to swallow her whole, she can’t escape the claustrophobic feeling that the house itself is watching her. And when Ailsa confronts the first nighttime intruder, she sees that the manor’s careless rugged beauty could cost her everything…

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Lexie Elliott has been writing for as long as she can remember, but she began to focus on it more seriously after she lost her banking job in 2009 due to the Global Financial Crisis. After some success in short story competitions, she began planning a novel. With two kids and a (new) job, it took some time for that novel to move from her head to the page, but the result was The French Girl, which will be published by Berkley in February 2018 – available to pre-order on Amazon now!

When she’s not writing, Lexie can be found running, swimming or cycling whilst thinking about writing. In 2007 she swam the English Channel solo. She won’t be doing that again. In 2015 she ran 100km, raising money for Alzheimer Scotland. She won’t be doing that again either. But the odd triathlon or marathon isn’t out of the question.

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My thoughts:

There are a few things I really enjoy in a book; creepy houses, families full of mysteries, legends and myths that vary depending on the teller.

The Missing Years have all this.

This book was just the right amount of sinister and weird for a thriller, there is something about the more remote regions of Scotland that is made for twisted narratives.

The ending’s twist I definitely didn’t see coming and I’m usually pretty good at spotting them.

This is the author’s second book and I think if she keeps writing like this, there’s a great career headed her way.

* I was kindly gifted the book to review but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Serpent’s Mark – S. W. Perry*

A smart and gripping tale of conspiracy, murder and espionage in Elizabethan London, ideal for fans of CJ Sansom, Rory Clements and SG MacLean.

Treason sleeps for no man…

London, 1591. Nicholas Shelby, physician and reluctant spy, returns to his old haunts on London’s lawless Bankside. But, when the queen’s spymaster Robert Cecil asks him to investigate the dubious practices of a mysterious doctor from Switzerland, Nicholas is soon embroiled in a conspiracy that threatens not just the life of an innocent young patient, but the overthrow of Queen Elizabeth herself.

With fellow healer and mistress of the Jackdaw tavern, Bianca Merton, again at his side, Nicholas is drawn into a dangerous world of zealots, charlatans and fanatics. As their own lives become increasingly at risk, they find themselves confronting the greatest treason of all: the spectre of a bloody war between the faiths…


S. W. Perry was a journalist and broadcaster before retraining as an airline pilot. He lives in Worcestershire with his wife.

My thoughts: I do love a historical crime novel, it combines a lot of my favourite, deeply nerdy things. And Kit Marlowe pops up in this one.

Do read the first book, The Angel’s Mark, first. It helps situate the characters and the backstory so The Serpent’s Mark can just get on with the cracking plot rather than explain who everyone is, especially if English history isn’t one of the things you know a bit about.

Set towards the end of Elizabeth I’s reign there are spies, conspiracies, medical malfeasance, mischief, gore, bodies, taverns and players galore.

I really enjoyed this (if you’re not sure how I feel). It was fun, gripping, clever and felt just as though S.W. Perry had been skulking around the back of the Jackdaw making notes on the sort of real life schemes that happened in the period.

Check out the rest of the tour.

*I was gifted a copy of this book (and its predecessor) for review but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Lost in Vegas/North of the Rock – Ian Jones

John Smith is a man who solves problems, just don’t try to stop him.

He is in Las Vegas trying to track down a missing woman, which should be a simple job. But he soon discovers he is not welcome, and there are those who want to make sure he leaves the city fast, in one way or another.

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John Smith is a man who solves problems, just don’t try to stop him. As a favour to an old friend in the FBI John returns to West Texas. But there is now a whole new town and way of life that has sprung up since he was last there ten years previously. He soon finds out he is in the middle of some very rich men who will stop at nothing to get what they want.

As a favour to an old friend in the FBI John returns to West Texas. But there is now a whole new town and way of life that has sprung up since he was last there ten years previously. He soon finds out he is in the middle of some very rich men who will stop at nothing to get what they want.

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About the author

Residing in London, Ian Jones lives with his wife and daughter, a cat Gloria, tortoise Gary and three fish; Daphne, Velma and Scooby. He currently works at a Taiwanese hardware company, looking after Europe and works as an Electrician in his spare time. Ian Jones has been writing since he was twenty years old, though he mostly wrote black comedies and seemed unable to finish a complete novel. Fortunately, ten years ago, Ian Jones tried his hand at writing thrillers and published his very first novel, The Handsome Man. Since then he has had many other books published via Kindle Direct. Lost in Vegas is actually the second book that he wrote.

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My thoughts:

I enjoyed North of the Rock more than Lost in Vegas. LiV was more of a formulaic missing person with gangsters story but NotR was really intriguing as PI John Smith gets drawn into a complex conspiracy in small town Texas. It was really twisty turny, with moments where I really couldn’t figure out what might be going on. Theres a real web of lies and money criss crossing back and forth and shadowy figures manipulating everything. The writing is sharp and pacey, the story clever and surprising. If you like complex thrillers full of people with their own agendas then these books will suit you.