blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: We Ride The Storm – Devin Madson*

In the midst of a burgeoning war, a warrior, an assassin, and a princess chase their own ambitions no matter the cost in Devin Madson’s propulsive epic fantasy.

War built the Kisian Empire. War will tear it down.

Seventeen years after rebels stormed the streets, factions divide Kisia. Only the firm hand of the god-emperor holds the empire together. But when a shocking betrayal destroys a tense alliance with neighboring Chiltae, all that has been won comes crashing down.

In Kisia, Princess Miko Ts’ai is a prisoner in her own castle. She dreams of claiming her empire, but the path to power could rip it, and her family, asunder.

In Chiltae, assassin Cassandra Marius is plagued by the voices of the dead. Desperate, she accepts a contract that promises to reward her with a cure if she helps an empire fall.

And on the border between nations, Captain Rah e’Torin and his warriors are exiles forced to fight in a foreign war or die.

As an empire dies, three warriors will rise. They will have to ride the storm or drown in its blood.

My thoughts:

This is an action packed fast paced novel, leaping between three first person narrators as the countries of Kisia and Chiltae go to war.

Without too much preamble or heavy back story, you’re thrust straight into the heart of the story, as Chiltae’s army captures Levanti soldiers and forces them into its ranks as it aims to conquer neighbouring Kisia.

I loved Cassandra, the whore turned assassin with a secret, annoying, passenger, who just wants to get paid, not dragged into politics. Snarky and grumpy, she’s easily the funniest character.

Miko is the most complex character, convinced she’s got to do the right thing for her family, her country, herself. Conflicted and never sure about her plans, she seems to just cross her fingers and hope it all works out.

I look forward to book two, We Lie With Death, as the ending to this gives absolutely no clues as to what might happen next.

*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: Deja Vu – Melody Saleh*


Happiness is finally within reach for best friends, Amber, Dominque, Debra and Zya. But fate has other plans…

Pregnant and widowed, Debra is engaged to suave and charming Italian heartthrob Roberto. So why does her heart race when she thinks about her therapist, Brian? Has she said yes to the wrong man?

Dominque has found the love and acceptance she always longed for with Tad. But devastating news soon threatens their future together.

Successful fashion designer Zya has discovered her own unexpected happily ever after with Tina . . . until her daughter, Ashanti is bullied and becomes the focus of a police investigation and the media. Now Zya suddenly stands to lose everything she holds dear.

Finally, together with the only man she’s ever loved, Amber is determined to not let anything come between her and Patrick—not even her jealous and vindictive identical twin sister. But someone is watching . . . waiting for the right moment to destroy her . . .

Will the women get their happy ending, or is it déjà vu all over again? Find out in the dramatic and suspenseful second book of the Unbroken series

Find out in the dramatic and suspenseful second book of the Unbroken series

After 35+ years in operations for various businesses (including her own), Melody pursued her dream of writing a novel. Having written for business publications, local magazines and even publishing a poem, Chemo’s not for Sissies, during treatment after her first cancer diagnosis, it was time to finish the novel that was started many years ago. When she started writing, “Facade: Things Aren’t Always as They Appear,” she had no idea where her characters were going to take her. “The story basically wrote itself. It was like a movie projector playing in my mind,” is how she describes her experience. It soon became apparent, their voices were not to be silenced… “The Unbroken Series” was born. “Deja Vu: Here We Go Again,” Book II, to be released June 23, 2020, followed by C’est la Vie, Book III, in December.

Melody lives with her husband in her native home state Florida. She’s blessed to be alive today after two cancer diagnoses and enjoys watching her grandchildren grow up; something she doesn’t take for granted.

My thoughts:

This book is definitely an improvement on the first book in that the reader knows the characters and there’s not so much background to fill in. The characters are trying to move on with their lives but spanners continue to be thrown in the works.

As with Facade a lot of things happen very quickly and all at once sometimes, which can be a little confusing. The author certainly packs a lot into the plot. It’s nice to see the younger characters get a bit more of the storylines, and characters like Tina and Tad who were a bit underwritten in Facade.

*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: Crossing in Time – DL Orton*

The past isn’t over, it’s an opening. The future isn’t hidden, it’s a trap.
If she ever wants to see him again, she’ll have to take the risk…

Publishers Weekly Starred Review: “Funny, Romantic & Harrowing!”
When offered a one-way trip to the past, Iz sacrifices everything for a chance to change her dystopian future—and see her murdered lover one last time.
After a perilous journey through a black hole, she wakes up on a tropical beach, buck naked and mortally wounded—but twenty years younger! With only hours to live, she must convince an enraptured but skeptical twenty-something guy to fix their future relationship and thereby save the planet (no one is quite sure why.)
But it’s easier said than done, as success means losing him to a brainy, smart-mouthed bombshell (her younger self), and that’s a heartbreaker, save the world or not.

Across the infinite expanse of space and time, love endures…

(Unfortunately, it’s not going to be enough.)
FALL INTO THIS EDGY, action-packed, darkly comedic, dystopian love story, and be prepared to encounter a finicky time machine, a mysterious seashell, and a very clever dog (some sex, some swearing, some violence, but no vampires and absolutely no ditzes.)

Content Warning!
This book contains material that may be disturbing to some, and in movie form, would be rated NC-17 for strong language, nudity, sexual situations, and violence (including attempted sexual assault, abduction, intense danger, miscarriage, confinement, a pandemic, religious fanaticism (Christian), government malevolence, and death).
Reader discretion is advised.

Author

DL ORTON, THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR of the BETWEEN TWO EVILS series, lives in the foothills of the Rockies where she and her husband are raising three boys, a golden retriever, two Siberian cats, and an extremely long-lived Triops.♂‍

In her spare time, she’s building a time machine so that someone can go back and do the laundry.

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My thoughts:

This was an interesting, if at time slightly confusing, read. Starting as a love story, it becomes a bit post-apocalypse-y, then a time travel story, then a sort of survivalist story, then a love story.

Basically it contains elements of a lot of genres and at times perhaps too many. However it is very readable and enjoyable if you don’t think about it too much (like if you’re reviewing it).

Diego and Isabel make engaging protagonists and the team inside the mountain are also well realised characters.

Hopefully as the series continues it all becomes clearer and the time travelling solves the end of the world.

*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: Blood Red City – Rod Reynolds*

A witness with no victim. A crime with no crime scene…

When crusading journalist Lydia Wright is sent a video of an apparent murder on a London train, she thinks she’s found the story to revive her career. But she can’t find a victim, much less the killers, and the only witness has disappeared. Wary she’s fallen for fake news, she begins to doubt her instincts – until a sinister call suggests that she’s not the only one interested in the crime.

Michael Stringer deals in information – and doesn’t care which side of the law he finds himself on. But the murder on the train has left him exposed, and now he’ll stop at nothing to discover what Lydia knows.

When their paths collide, Lydia finds the story leads through a nightmare world, where money, power and politics intersect … and information is the only thing more dangerous than a bullet.

A nerve-shattering and brutally realistic thriller, Blood Red City bursts with energy and grit from the opening page, twisting and feinting to a superb, unexpected ending that will leave you breathless.

Reynolds is the author of four novels, including the Charlie Yates series. His 2015 debut, The Dark Inside, was longlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger, and was followed by Black Night Falling (2016) and Cold Desert Sky (2018); the Guardian have called the books ‘Pitch-perfect American noir.’

A lifelong Londoner, in 2020 Orenda Books will publish his first novel set in his hometown, Blood Red City.

Rod previously worked in advertising as a media buyer, and holds an MA in novel writing from City University London. Rod lives with his wife and family and spends most of his time trying to keep up with his two young daughters.

My thoughts:

This was a clever, twisty turny story, with lots of smart writing and a compelling plot. As Wright and Stringer get drawn into a dangerous conspiracy and risk their lives to uncover the truth about the man on the tube, who is behind it all and how far will they go?

I gobbled this book down in one sitting, it really gripped me and the familiar settings (I live on the Northern line and know most of the places, like Brent Cross, pretty well) helped me visualise the events.

*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 First Lie – A.J. Park*

A freak accident. An impossible choice. But what was…

THE FIRST LIE

When Paul Reeve comes home to find his wife in the bathroom, bloodied and shaking, his survival instinct kicks in.

Alice never meant to kill the intruder. She was at home, alone, and terrified. She doesn’t deserve to be blamed for it. Covering up the murder is their only option.

But the crime eats away at the couple and soon they can’t trust anyone – even one another…

My thoughts:This was a lot more twisted and complicated than it first appeared. As the secrets and lies stack up and the mental states of both Paul and Alice appear to deteriorate things become more complex and a conspiracy comes to light.*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: Before I Die – Jackie Morrissey*

She’ll care for you. Until you’re dead.

Maureen might be getting on in years but she’s fiercely independent and smart as a whip.

But when she falls and injures her ankle, her daughter Alva is convinced Maureen can no longer take care of herself and is determined to get her some help – which comes in the shape of local caregiver, Dolores.

Maureen tries to say no, she’s fine on her own, but it’s not so easy to get rid of Dolores. She seems to be everywhere, poking her nose into every corner of Maureen’s life, implying to Alva that her mother is getting senile and will soon need constant care.

Maureen feels as if she’s under siege 24/7. And she knows in her heart that there’s something not right about Dolores… But no one will listen.

Then one of Dolores’s other charges dies in mysterious circumstances and Maureen realises she may be fighting for a lot more than her independence.

Because once Dolores has you in her care, death may seem like a sweet release.

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Jackie Morrissey lives in County Dublin and worked for many years in adult education. Her job took her into colleges and prisons all around Ireland, and introduced her to a range of interesting people. She loved the buzz of teaching, but came to hate the tyranny of correcting assignments. She has written throughout her adult life and has had many short stories published, one of which won the Molly Keane Short Story award. She has also been a regular contributor of short pieces for the Irish radio program Sunday Miscellany. About four years ago, she took the decision to write full time. The psychological thriller Before I Die is her first published novel.

My thoughts:

This is something I genuinely worry about – the carer who’s out for whatever they can get. As someone with mental health issues, married to a disabled person I fear being left, like the elderly victims in this book, with someone who presents a different face to the outside world.

That being said, most people in the caring professions are nice and would never turn into Dolores.

I liked that the heroine is an older woman – Maureen is in the Miss Marple mold of a sleuth who many overlook due to her age.

There were some genuinely chilling moments and a satisfying denouement, a very impressive debut novel all round.

*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 Miseducation of Evie Epworth – Matson Taylor*

Cold Comfort Farm meets Adrian Mole in the funniest debut novel of the year.

Yorkshire, the summer of 1962. Sixteen year-old Evie Epworth stands on the cusp of womanhood. But what kind of a woman will she become? Up until now, Evie’s life has been nothing special: a patchwork of school, Girl Guides, cows, milk deliveries, lost mothers and village fetes.

But, inspired by her idols (Charlotte Bronte, Shirley MacLaine and the Queen), she dreams of a world far away from rural East Yorkshire, a world of glamour lived under the bright lights of London (or Leeds). Standing in the way of these dreams, though, is Christine, Evie’s soon to be stepmother, a manipulative and money grubbing schemer who is lining Evie up for a life of shampoo-and-set drudgery at the local salon.

Luckily, Evie is not alone. With the help of a few friends, and the wise counsel of the two Adam Faith posters on her bedroom wall (‘brooding Adam’ and ‘sophisticated Adam’), Evie comes up with a plan to rescue her bereaved father, Arthur, from Christine’s pink and over-perfumed clutches, and save their beloved farmhouse from being sold off. She will need a little luck, a dash of charm and a big dollop of Yorkshire magic if she is to succeed, but in the process she may just discover who exactly she is meant to be.

Matson Taylor grew up in Yorkshire but now lives in London. He is a design historian and academic-writing tutor and has worked at various universities and museums around the world; he currently teaches at the V&A, Imperial College, and the RCA. He has also worked on Camden Market, appeared in an Italian TV commercial, and been a pronunciation coach for Catalan opera singers.

My thoughts:

This was a funny, wry take on the wicked stepmother story. Evie is a determined person as she battles the loathsome Christine for her father and the family farm.

With her loyal friends and her belief in herself, despite Christine’s many attempts to do her down, Evie can accomplish anything.

A funny, smart heroine and an enjoyable, clever plot.

*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: Cut to the Bone – Roz Watkins*

A beautiful young social-media star goes missing.

But who took her?

When controversial internet celebrity Violet Armstrong vanishes in the middle of a scorching Peak District summer, the case sparks a media frenzy.

The clock is ticking for DI Meg Dalton and her team to find Violet before online threats explode into real-life violence. And then the blood and hair of a young woman are found in an empty pig trough at the local abattoir…

The more Meg finds out about this unnerving case, the more she becomes convinced that something very, very bad has happened to Violet. With temperatures rising and the press demanding answers, the case is about to take a terrifying turn…

My thoughts:

One of the grimmest things I’ve seen on TV was a drama where human remains were found in a pig pen. Pigs will eat literally anything, including each other.

Which is why I was a bit perturbed by this starting at a pig farm – disposal by pig being very efficient.

Roz Watkins is a cracking writer and this was a gripping read, her characters are believable and realistic, the Peak District a backdrop to twists and turns taking in animal rights campaigners, social media and farmers.

*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: Fall Out – C.G. Moore*

I am Cal Adams what does that mean?

Sixteen years old.

Black hair.

Blue eyes.

Short.

Gay.

For Cal, coming out is explosive, but that is nothing compared to the fallout from his family, friends and foes. When events in Cal’s life reach critical, he is shaken to his core. Can he rely on his loved ones to help avoid meltdown?

My thoughts:

This is not an easy read, Cal’s life is not happy, a victim of extreme bullying at school and dealing with issues at home, his life is bleak and heartbreakingly sad. He’s struggling to find a place in the world and becomes increasingly depressed due to these struggles.

While coming out can be traumatic for some young people, there is hope. Cal’s best friend Em, and Em’s feisty grandmother accept him for who he is and support him.

As he asks for help, which is so important, his life begins to improve and his family relationships start to heal.

I feel like pressing a copy of this book into the hands of teachers, mental health teams and parents to help them understand how hard some LGBTQ+ youth are struggling.

For anyone planning to read this, a trigger warning – there are some scenes of violence, abuse, self harm and suicide.

This is well written, moving and timely.


*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: Ari’s Adventure – Elle Sweet*

Finding out her husband of over twenty years is cheating on her? Check.
Laid off from her job the very same day? Check.

Ari had a very bad day and flees to Moonshire Bay to relax, heal and figure out what she really wants. At least she knows what she doesn’t want – a relationship.Jack Callahan has been playing it safe in all aspects of his life after a failed business and a horrible misjudgement of someone’s character. Living in Moonshire Bay allows him to coast through life with his shields up and blinders on. So what happens when Jack and Ari start working on a project together? Can their newfound friendship and attraction overcome their lack of trust?

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Elle Sweet is the pen name of mystery author Laina Turner.

I started writing ten years ago, and it was always my intent and desire to write romance. However, in my first book, someone died. It just happened and turned the romance into a mystery.Twenty-some books later, and I decided enough was enough. I was going to do what I’d initially set out to do at the start of my writing journey. Write a book where no one died (It’s not as easy as you think). I can’t tell you how much fun I had writing Finding Rachel and the three others set in the small town of Moonshire Bay. Finding Rachel is out now and Ari’s Adventure will release in spring of 2020 with the third book set to follow in the early summer of 2020. How did I come up with my pen name? Elle for the “L” in Laina and Sweet was my grandfather’s last name. I wanted something that had a story. I originally wanted to call myself LuluBell after a pet cow I once had, but the family shot that one down.Born and raised in the midwest, I live in Indiana with my husband, three amazing children, and our dogs Duke and Macy.

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My thoughts:

This was a sweet and short read about finding your feet and moving on after the things you thought were secure end. Ari loses her job and her cheating husband at the same time, but a summer spent at a friend’s house in a small town bring new opportunities in love and life.

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