blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Girl of Dorcha Wood – Kristin Ward

Treacherous. Evil. Dark. Dorcha Wood is all of these things. And none of them.

The people of Felmore talk of Dorcha Wood in whispers, if they speak of it at all, fearing the wrath of the Cú-Síth should their words be carried on the wind. Those murdering beasts still roam the darkness of the forest, the last remnants of the cursed Aos Sí, a race of elves, long since vanished from the world.

But to Fiadh, it is home. Haven. A forest whose secrets become known only when it chooses to reveal them. Her life is one of balance until the outside world shatters it.

From the moment Fiadh set eyes on Gideon, the peaceful rhythm of her life was lost. As a new path unfolds, Fiadh confronts the reality of old hatreds, the consequences of things hidden, and the truth of who she really is.

**Content Warning: medieval battle violence, blood, gore**

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Kristin Ward is an award-winning young adult author living in Connecticut. A science and math teacher for over twenty years, she infuses her geeky passions into stories that meld realism and fantasy. Kristin embraces her inner nerd regularly, often quoting 80s movies while expecting those around her to chime in with appropriate rejoinders. As a nature freak, she can be found wandering the woods – she may be lost, so please stop and ask if you see her – or chilling in her yard with all manner of furry and feathered friends. Often referred to as a unicorn by colleagues who remain in awe of her ability to create or find various and sundry things in mere moments. In reality, the horn was removed years ago, leaving only a mild imprint that can be seen if she tilts her head just right. A lifelong lover of books and writing, she dreamed of becoming an author for thirty years before publishing her award-winning debut in 2018. Her first novel, After the Green Withered, is one of many things you should probably read. Social Media & other links are all in one link: https://bit.ly/KWardAuthor

My thoughts: this is the beginning of a magical fairy tale, inspired by Irish mythology (and the author’s heritage) set in a wood full of creatures that most dismiss as folk tales to scare children. But at its heart is Fiadh, the girl of Dorcha Wood. She’s a healer like her mother and can communicate with the animals of the woods. Something very special. But she doesn’t belong in the world of men with their swords and violence and the wood protects its own.

Intriguing and mystical, the wood and Fiadh raise a lot of questions and it seems all the men in the story, from Gideon who wants to help and protect her, to the awful local lord who wants her captive, see nothing wrong with using force to get their way. Fiadh is alone and unused to this and puts herself at risk. Hopefully the second book in the series, Blood of the Lost Kingdom, will answer some questions.

*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 Bookseller’s Secret – Michelle Gable

From New York Times bestselling author Michelle Gable comes a dual-narrative set at the famed Heywood Hill Bookshop in London about a struggling American writer on the hunt for a rumored lost manuscript written by the iconic Nancy Mitford—bookseller, spy, author, and aristocrat—during World War II.

“Gable’s witty narrative effortlessly moves between two time periods and is enriched with cameos by historical figures and authentic, memorable characters. Historical fiction fans will be riveted from the first page.” —Publishers Weekly (STARRED REVIEW)

In 1942, London, Nancy Mitford is worried about more than air raids and German spies. Still recovering from a devastating loss, the once sparkling Bright Young Thing is estranged from her husband, her allowance has been cut, and she’s given up her writing career. On top of this, her five beautiful but infamous sisters continue making headlines with their controversial politics. Eager for distraction and desperate for income, Nancy jumps at the chance to manage the Heywood Hill bookshop while the owner is away at war. Between the shop’s brisk business and the literary salons she hosts for her eccentric friends, Nancy’s life seems on the upswing. But when a mysterious French officer insists that she has a story to tell, Nancy must decide if picking up the pen again and revealing all is worth the price she might be forced to pay. Eighty years later, Heywood Hill is abuzz with the hunt for a lost wartime manuscript written by Nancy Mitford. For one woman desperately in need of a change, the search will reveal not only a new side to Nancy, but an even more surprising link between the past and present…

MICHELLE GABLE is the New York Times bestselling author of A Paris Apartment, I’ll See You in Paris, The Book of Summer, and The Summer I Met Jack. She attended The College of William & Mary, where she majored in accounting, and spent twenty years working in finance before becoming a full-time writer. She grew up in San Diego and lives in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California, with her husband and two daughters. Find her at michellegable.com or on Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest, @MGableWriter.

My thoughts: like many I’m endlessly fascinated by the Mitford sisters, I’ve read several biographies, a collection of their letters, Nancy’s novels, a section of Debo’s memoirs (written when she was Duchess of Devonshire) and the Mitford Mysteries series (which features each sister solving crimes and is a bit silly). They’re just intriguing, even the fascist ones. They lived through an incredibly complex period of modern history and were very involved with many of the major figures of the day. So I jumped at the chance to be on the blog tour for this book, which features Nancy in wartime London.

It also has a modern day plot featuring a novelist going through a bit of a slump, like Nancy in the 1940s, Katie. She’s an American who arrives in London to stay with her best friend, and finds herself drawn into intrigue at the sane bookshop Nancy once worked in. She’s also a huge Mitford nerd and can’t resist trying to find a supposedly lost manuscript.

I really enjoyed the dual narratives, both Nancy and Katie are delightful characters, clever and interesting women in search of a story. Nancy will eventually find it in the form of the classic The Pursuit of Love, but will Katie also locate a new book and find love?

And then there’s Clive, who’s eight, madly in love with Katie, I want a whole book about him and all the trouble he gets into, £100 an hour IT support and all. I think he might be my favourite character.

I got a bit fed up with Simon for all he’s part of what drives Katie forward, teasing her with tiny parts of his family story, breadcrumbs when he could just be more upfront. It just seemed a bit mean. But I suppose if he did just give Katie everything he knew, there’d be no story!

This was tremendously enjoyable, fun, witty and entertaining, much like Nancy’s novels. A real pleasure to read. The characters come to life on the page, you’re right there with Nancy and her friends, camped out in the bookshop with nowhere else to go.

*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 Hapless Husband & His Curious Wife – Helen E. Field

A hilarious modern day social comedy.

Follow the madcap lives of the sassy Brooke and her anxious husband Dean, as they navigate the chaos caused by their double lives: secrets, syndicates and stress… money, madness and McDonald’s… political incorrectness, punters and posh people… betting, blood pressure and ballet… haves, have nots and horseracing…diversity, dilemmas and days out…gender, gyms and gentility. TRIGGER WARNING: If you are easily offended, ‘woke’ or work in human resources you may be traumatised by this author’s irreverent sense of humour.

Essex girl Brooke secretly works for Lady Townsend, who’s attempting to transform her into a lady, by offering her an eye-opening education. She exposes Brooke to some mind-boggling experiences and a class of people a million miles away from her own, resulting in some seriously funny social faux pas along the way. Brooke’s outlook changes as she takes advantage of these opportunities to better herself, with often comic results! Meanwhile her husband Dean is clueless as to why his normally ditsy wife appears to be acting so weird.

Meanwhile, Dean has been set a challenge by his boss. He’s been tasked with making their workforce the most diverse in the industry, but Dean’s unorthodox approach to recruiting, reveals that he struggles with the very concept of what he considers a ‘woke’ request. In addition, he’s still keeping his mystery shopping side hustle a secret from his demanding wife, ensuring he gets some ‘me time’ away from her and their boisterous toddler Paige.

The farcical situations they find themselves in as a result of their lies, cause off the scale stress for them both. How much longer can they withstand the deceit? Will Brooke’s transformation make her long-suffering husband feel left behind? Or will it improve all their lives? It’s that or even more chaos…

The story pokes fun at a myriad of people and institutions and is a wonderfully eclectic mix of Gavin & Stacey, Pygmalion and Legally Blonde!

Helen Field is a business woman, writer, publisher of greetings cards, funny poet, speaker, traveller and author of The Mystery Shopper & The Hot Tub.

She was born and brought up in Waltham Abbey in Essex and currently lives in a small village in North West Essex, so it would be fair to say she has earned her “Essex girl” badge!

Helen has had a varied and interesting career in retail and hospitality in UK, Europe and USA, including setting up and running her own restaurant. She runs her own training consultancy to the hospitality industry. One element of her business has been designing and implementing mystery shopper programmes all over the UK for some of the most well-known organisations. With inside knowledge of the industry and armed with thousands of funny mystery shopping incidents, she was inspired to write her debut novel, The Mystery Shopper & The Hot Tub.

Helen has recently spent time combining work and writing with travelling with her husband, including four months in Europe in a 20 year old campervan, a completely wild four-month ride round India by train and a month in an isolated log cabin in Finland. 

She rides a motorbike and has three talented and amazing grown up children.

P.s. She doesn’t have a hot tub… yet!

My thoughts: I felt sorry for Brooke, she’s clearly very clever and all she wants is to expand her horizons and see what else there is beyond the Essex girl stereotypes her husband is so keen on her sticking to.

Her friendship with Lady Townsend is opening her eyes and allowing her to learn new things, like Latin, and experience a whole other world. But her controlling husband doesn’t want her to work, have her own bank account and expects her to respond to his every message immediately.

Meanwhile he’s busy acting like an idiot at work, recruiting people for one characteristic, like their ethnicity, instead of hiring the best people for the job, all to win a stupid award. I can’t believe none of his recruits have told him off, although Chloe’s mum just might! He’s also being ridiculous with his secret shopper gig, keeping it from Brooke and tying himself in knots to carry out the assignments.

They both need to sit down and have a long, long conversation about things. There’s no way all this secrecy and silliness can be sustainable. And they need to stop shoving lollipops in their daughter’s mouth or her teeth will rot as she grows them!

Bits of this were very funny, bits made me slightly uncomfortable. I know a Brooke or two and the occasionally Pygmalion-esque moments (the horse racing straight out of My Fair Lady) made me cringe for her. Being working class isn’t a crime or the worst thing ever – being a snob is definitely less appealing. She just wants to educate herself and be more independent and take an interest, there’s no harm in that.

*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: You’ll be the Death of Me – Karen McManus

From the author of One of Us Is Lying comes a brand new addictive thriller.

Ivy, Mateo and Cal used to be close – best friends back in middle school.
Now all they have in common is a bad day. So for old time’s sake they skip school together – one last time.
But when the trio spot Brian ‘Boney’ Mahoney ditching class too, they follow him – right into a murder scene.
They all have a connection to the victim. And they’re ALL hiding something.
When their day of freedom turns deadly, it’s only a matter of time before the truth comes out . . .
It’s Ferris Bueller’s Day Off with murder, perfect for fans of One Of Us Is Lying and A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder. This explosive new thriller is impossible to put down.

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Karen M. McManus is the #1 New York Times and international bestselling author of young adult thriller/mystery novels, including One of Us Is Lying, One of Us Is Next, Two Can Keep a Secret, and The Cousins. You’ll Be the Death of Me will be her next novel, publishing December 2021. Her work has been translated into more than 40 languages worldwide. Karen lives in Massachusetts and holds a master’s degree in Journalism from Northeastern University, which she mostly uses to draft fake news stories for her novels. For more information, visit www.karenmcmanus.com or @writerkmc on Twitter and Instagram.

My thoughts: I am a massive fan of Karen McManus’ writing, her books are cracking, so I was really excited to read this one. Skipping school for the first time, three teens find themselves embroiled in murder, drug dealing and a series of burglaries. It’s up to them to solve the case and find the killer, before they become victims too. It’s also laced with Karen’s trademark dry dark humour and lessons about friendship and honesty. I’ve actually read it twice, having enjoyed it so much, I wanted more!

This feels very cinematic at times, I think it’s the Ferris Bueller vibes, I could definitely see it on Netflix next year. I highly recommend this one.

*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: Chicago May – Harry Duffin

Fleeing an abusive father in Ireland, peasant-girl, May Sharpe chases her dream of a new glamorous life.

    Arriving penniless in 1919’s America, beautiful May is charmed by successful con-man, Eddie. With her new lover’s guidance, teenage May becomes the city’s ‘Queen of Crooks’.

    Joe, a tenacious local cop, has fallen for the beautiful, feisty May and is determined to save her from herself. In the midst of her glitzy life, he urges May to make a decision; a decision which would threaten, not only her new-found fame and fortune, but, her young life…

    Inspired by a true story.

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I am an award-winning British screenwriter, who was on the first writing team of the BBC’s EASTENDERS, and won the Writers’ Guild Award for Best TV serial for CORONATION STREET. I was Head of Development at Cloud 9 Screen Entertainment Group, producing seven major television series, including ‘Swiss Family Robinson’ starring Richard ‘John Boy’ Thomas, and ‘Twist in the Tale’, featuring William Shatner. I was co-creator of the UK Channel Five teen-cult drama series ‘THE TRIBE’, which ran for five series.

I have written two novels, CHICAGO MAY and BIRTH OF THE MALL RATS [an intro to the TV series THE TRIBE].

CHICAGO MAY is the first book of a two-part series.


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My thoughts: this was interesting, a slice of historical fiction inspired by a true story, set during the early 20th century. May is an Irish girl, running away from her abusive father and she heads to New York, full of hope.

Unfortunately she falls in with ‘Society’ Eddie, a small time crook and his gang. He soon has her robbing men and shoplifting. But there’s an honest soul, Joe Perski, looking out for her. He’s a cop, but he doesn’t really want May to go to prison, he’s after bigger fish – Eddie. If May helps him perhaps they can both be free.

May, like so many other impressionable young women falls for Eddie’s flash, but he has a very dark side and once she sees it, things have to change. She’s very brave in how she goes about getting things sorted, she puts her life on the line and she’s lucky she’s so clever, it could all go wrong at any moment, but she’s planned for that.

*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: King of Battle & Blood – Scarlett St Clair

Danger. Darkness. Insatiable romance. Get ready for your new obsession.

Their union is his revenge. Isolde de Lara considers her wedding day to be her death day. To end a years-long war, she is to marry vampire king Adrian Aleksandr Vasiliev, and kill him. But her assassination attempt is thwarted, and Adrian threatens that if Isolde tries kill him again, he will raise her as the undead. Faced with the possibility of becoming the thing she hates most, Isolde seeks other ways to defy him and survive the brutal vampire court. Except it isn’t the court she fears most―it’s Adrian. Despite their undeniable chemistry, she wonders why the king―fierce, savage, merciless―chose her as consort. . . The answer will shatter her world.

Scarlett St Clair is the author of the Hades x Persephone saga, the Hades saga, King of Battle and Blood, and When Stars Come Out. A former librarian, she also has a master’s degree in Library Science and Information Studies and a Bachelors in English Writing. She is obsessed with Greek Mythology, murder mysteries, and the afterlife. You can find pictures of her adorable dog Adelaide on her Instagram (@authorscarlettstclair) and updates about her books at http://www.authorscarlettstclair.

My thoughts: Isolde agrees to marry the vampire king Adrian to save her father’s kingdom, a sort of Beauty & the Beast with royalty, she doesn’t intend on falling heavily in lust and then in love with him. But she does. The sex is quite graphic, and a reminder that not all fantasy is YA. As well as that, there’s an evil witch hellbent on destroying everything, monsters keep attacking people and even Isolde’s dear old dad can’t be trusted.

Isolde realises that she can only rely on a handful of people, and most of them drink blood. But she is loyal and fierce, a warrior before a queen. She will fight and she will get answers to what is happening in Revekka. The things she learns change everything. There’s lots of fighting and blood everywhere, nothing ever seems peaceful in the vampire kingdom, some of your enemies are your own council, and it’s getting worse. The undead seem to live at a faster, more frenetic pace and few mortals can keep up. Can Isolde hold the kingdom together and help Adrian deal with the evil in his past that’s determined to destroy it?

*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: Don’t Speak – A.J. Park

A MURDER. 

A SUSPECT. 

AN IMPOSSIBLE CHOICE.

What do you do when the one person you thought you could trust might just be the killer you’ve been hunting…?

DS Amelie Davis is utterly devoted to her husband, Edward. Having suffered in silence through years of abuse at the hands of her father, she thought she would never trust another man. Then Edward came along and proved her wrong.

But in the middle of the night, Amelie receives a phone call from an unknown number. The voice at the other end asks: Do you really think you know your husband?

Struggling to separate her past trauma from a case at work in which a series of teenage girls have been found murdered, and watching her husband’s every move with increasing paranoia, Amelie grapples with the fear that her husband is not the man she thought she knew at all. In fact, he might just be the man she’s been hunting…

But what do you do when the man you love might be a killer? Turn him in? Or help him hide…

 After studying Spanish at university, A.J. Park trained as an English teacher and actor. He has edited magazines, and taught English, Media Studies and Drama in secondary schools across England. He was also a competitive fencer for seven years. His debut novel, The First Lie, was published in 2019. 

My thoughts: terrible murders of young teenage girls, social media, trust, and love all entangle in this clever and complex crime thriller. Amelie keeps losing chunks of time, she’s been told by a strange caller not to trust her husband, and her paranoia is having a terrible effect on her work.

As more young women are found raped and murdered, Amelie realises she has to make an impossible choice and does something really bad, though not as bad as what her husband is up to. If you can’t trust the person you married, who can you?

*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 Cold Killer – Ross Greenwood

It’s hard to live when you think you deserve to die…
When a tired old inmate is found dead in his cell, the prison is obligated to investigate and so DI Barton attends. The men he interviews have been convicted of some of the worst things a human being can do, but it appears likely that the death was due to natural causes.
When the house of the dead man is burgled and that crime is followed by a suspicious fire, Barton desperately needs to speak to his widow, but she’s nowhere to be found.
In the space of twenty-four hours, everyone he wants to talk to has vanished. Then he receives some post which makes him believe he could be the next to disappear.
Barton’s investigation goes full circle, through a series of brutal murders, back to the prison, and all signs are pointing to the fact that he’s made a terrible mistake.
There’s a violent killer on the loose, who wants everyone to learn that some people deserve to die.
DI Barton is back as Ross Greenwood continues with his bestselling series, perfect for fans of Mark Billingham and Ian Rankin.
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Ross Greenwood is the bestselling author of eight crime thrillers. Before becoming a
full-time writer he was most recently a prison officer and so worked everyday with murderers, rapists and thieves for four years. He lives in Peterborough.

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My thoughts: this was clever, dark and twisty, I was honestly not sure who our unreliable narrator was at all, I thought it was one man but maybe it was another?

I go to Peterborough a fair bit across the year as my husband plays para-ice hockey there, but thankfully I’ve never stumbled across any terrible things like in this book, I don’t think I’d feel the same about it if I did, the cathedral’s nice if you’re over that way, Katherine of Aragon is buried there.

Back to the book – as well as hunting down a revenge killer, DI Barton is dealing with his mum’s increasing dementia, slowly losing her bit by bit. It’s a horrible disease and awful for the family to go through. He’s overtired and stressed, but chugs down the coffee and McDonald’s breakfast muffins in a bit to keep going. The killer might be murdering terrible people – but no one is above the law.

It’s all very well done, and kept me guessing, especially as a crucial witness is absent for pretty much the entire time and I kept wondering where they were, but it’s all worth it in this compelling and cold as ice book.

*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 Arcane – Andrew S. French

Orphaned science nerd and maths prodigy Alice Valentine wants to ace her studies. She’s spent all her life struggling to make friends, passed between foster families and care homes, isolated and lonely. Losing herself in academia from an early age, she becomes the first sixteen-year-old at her local university. Her whole world changes, but nothing can prepare Alice for the night she’s attacked by a werewolf.
But even that isn’t as strange as discovering she has an identical twin sister, Cassie.
And Cassie kills werewolves. And all the other monsters Alice didn’t believe existed.
Alice and Cassie set off to discover what happened to their parents, a journey that takes them from northern England to the edge of the apocalypse, unsure if they will save the world or destroy it.

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Andrew French is a man of no wealth and little taste. He lives amongst faded seaside glamour on the North East coast of England. He likes gin and cats but not together, new music and old movies, curry

and ice cream. Slow bike rides and long walks to the pub are his usual exercise, as well as flicking through the pages of good books and the memoirs of bad people.

My thoughts: this was a fun supernatural novel about sisters, monsters and finding out who you are.

After being raised in the foster system, Alice is sent to university at 16, she’s super intelligent and the organisation that has looked after her since childhood has sponsored her early admission. Having possibly made her first friend, she’s attacked by a werewolf and rescued by a girl who looks just like her. And that isn’t the strangest thing that happens to her.

Cassie, Alice’s doppelganger, fights monsters. She’s very aware that they exist and some aren’t human. Her experience of foster care isn’t quite like Alice’s, and she’s a lot more worldly wise. And now the two girls want to find out who they really are, and why all of monster-dom is after them.

Alice is a scientist, and keeps trying to rationalise everything, even a vampire, while Cassie just accepts that these things are real, and kills them. But as they travel to Whitby and beyond in search of answers, even Cassie is in for a few surprises.

*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 Return of Hester Lynton – Tony Evans

Victorian England’s most celebrated lady detective returns in ten new brain-teasing mysteries.

With scheming fraudsters, corrupt doctors, devious forgers and terrible murderers afoot, Hester Lynton, and her trustworthy assistant Ivy Jessop, have their work cut out for them. But amidst the dirt and deprivation of 1800s London, our investigative duo will stop at nothing to catch their criminals.

The Return of Hester Lynton is a collection of ten absorbing cosy detective stories, perfect for fans of Sherlock Holmes, Mrs Gladden and the Lady Hardcastle mysteries.

Tony Evans is a full-time writer. His print publications include eighteen adaptations of classic novels published by Real Reads Ltd. His eBooks include the Hester Lynton mystery series and the Jonathan Harker mystery series. Tony has also written student guides for Hamlet, Dracula and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd: all published by ZigZag Education. He lives with his wife in the Yorkshire Dales.

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My thoughts: this was lots of fun as lady detective Hester Lynton and her assistant Ivy Jessop solve a series of crimes, from kidnap to bribery, theft to blackmail. Some of their clients are familiar names, Bram Stoker, who they meet in Whitby (of course) and one Mr Oscar Wilde, celebrated writer and wit, who might have been a little indiscreet.

However Hester and Ivy are always discreet, whether helping a Lady, a celebrity or a housemaid. In the manner of Sherlock Holmes, Hester uses deductive reasoning, disguise and observation to solve these mysteries and her Dr Watson, Ivy, keeps close records and even solves a mystery or two herself.

There were lady detectives in 1800s London, so Hester is in good company as she tackles crimes that have at times baffled Scotland Yard. Very enjoyable stuff.

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