blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Purple Shadow – Christopher Bowden*

In the years before the war, Sylvie Charlot was a leading light in Paris fashion with many friends among musicians, artists and writers. Now she is largely forgotten.

Spending time in Paris during a break in his acting career, Colin Mallory sees a striking portrait of Sylvie. Some think it is a late work by Édouard Vuillard but there is no signature or documentary evidence to support this view.

The picture has some unusual qualities, not least the presence of a shadow of something that cannot
be seen. Perhaps the picture was once larger. Colin feels an odd sense of connection with Sylvie, who seems to be looking at him, appealing to him, wanting to tell him something.

Despite a warning not to pursue his interest in her portrait, he is determined to find out more about the painting, who painted it, and why it was rt this view.hidden for many years.

Colin’s search takes him back to the film and theatre worlds of Paris and London in the 1930s – and to a house in present-day Sussex. As he uncovers the secrets of Sylvie’s past, her portrait seems to take on a life of its own.

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Christopher Bowden lives in south London. He is the author of six colour-themed novels, which have been praised variously by Andrew Marr, Julian Fellowes, Sir Derek Jacobi, and Shena Mackay.

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My thoughts:

This was a really interesting mystery story, as Colin hunts for the missing half of an intriguing portrait. The trail leads from Paris to London and onto a family home in Sussex. He follows the brief career of an almost forgotten actor, reviving the spotlight.

I really enjoyed the story, the characters of Colin and Alice are great fun and feel realistic, their search for the missing portrait is enjoyable and fascinating.

*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 Inheritance Games – Jennifer Lynn Barnes*

A Cinderella story with deadly stakes and thrilling twists, perfect for fans of One of Us is Lying and Knives Out.

Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why–or even who Tobias Hawthorne is. To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man’s touch–and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes.
Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons: dangerous, magnetic, brilliant boys who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson Hawthorne is convinced that Avery must be a con-woman, and he’s determined to take her down. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather’s last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive.

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My thoughts:

This was really fun. Avery inherits a fortune – from a complete stranger and his family are far from happy.

There’s a puzzle to solve, and it’s upto Avery, and the Hawthorne boys, Grayson, Jameson, Xander and Nash, to help her solve it. Why did Tobias Hawthorne pick her to inherit almost everything?

Following a trail of clues around the Hawthorne estate, through secret passageways and the woods, will they solve the riddle or murder Avery?

I liked Avery, and felt a little sorry for her, as she attempts to adjust to suddenly being obscenely rich and having to live with people who hate her for existing. She’s still dealing with her mum’s death, her sister’s ex-boyfriend is a scumbag, her new schoolmates are awful (well, Thea is), there’s the dead girl everyone seems obsessed with and she can’t even get her best friend on the phone. It’s a lot.

The riddles and puzzles were fun, it reminded me of the Truly Devious books, and I love a mystery. I can’t believe I have to wait a whole year for the next book and more puzzles.

*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: Tales of Unexplained Mystery – Steph Young*

Tales of Mystery Unexplained….What happened to Elisa Lam, found dead in a water tower atop a hotel roof? Who were the two men who came to see her & what was in the mystery box they gave her? Why did the location of her gravestone match the zip code of a Bookstore, miles away?

Why was a man found in the same spot he disappeared, but 4 years later, with a hole in his head that no surgeons could explain? And what did this have to do with a séance, doppelgangers & the assassination of Abraham Lincoln? Why did a man write the Fibonacci sequence as a clue & tell a stranger he was “Looking for the Beast,” before he disappeared in the barren plains of a desert? Plus many more Tales of Mystery Unexplained.

Steph Young has appeared on national radio shows & podcasts including the UK’s The Unexplained, and Coast to Coast Am, talking about many of these mysteries.

You can also hear some of these Unexplained Mysteries on her podcast on iTunes ‘Tales of Mystery Unexplained.’

Steph Young has been a guest on National Radio shows including ‘Coast to Coast AM,’ as well as many more…

Steph’s Podcast on itunes; “Tales of Mystery Unexplained” discussing Creepy Mysteries of the Unexplained

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My thoughts:

I’m not really interested in conspiracy theories, but this selection of mysterious deaths that have never been solved were interesting. Bodies turning up months after they went missing without any obvious signs of cause of death, in places that had already been searched, 5 young men wandering off into heavy snowfall despite having a working car.

All very odd, and nothing about any of these deaths really seem to add up. While this book lays out the theories around each case, there are still no answers. Only the dead know what really happened.

*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: Falling Creatures & The Magpie Tree – Katherine Stanfield*

Cornwall is a county of myths and magic, the wildness seeps into every stone.

Inspired by a real murder case Falling Creatures introduces us to Shilly, a farm maid who senses the strangeness around her, and the mysterious Mr Williams who seeks the truth of Charlotte Dymond’s death on the remote moor land around the farm she and Shilly worked on.

Shilly is convinced the wrong man is behind bars and Mr Williams is the only one who believes her, but he is not all he appears to be…

The second book in the series continues with that Gothic feel, as Shilly and ‘Mr Williams’ find themselves investigating a missing child and the rumour that witches, two sisters living in the woods, are in fact to blame. There is a reward to claim which would allow the establishing of a detectives’ agency. However it is Shilly’s feel for the uncanny that once again comes to their aid, and the secrets of the women of Trethevy hold the key.

Shilly is an innocent and perhaps that is why she can see things others, including her closest allies, cannot. The myths and legends of Cornwall, like St Nectan, seep through the books, and add to the atmosphere of supernatural mystery.

I love Gothic romance novels and these do not disappoint, there’s a sense of Daphne DuMaurier’s Cornish set Gothic romances, like Rebecca and Jamaica Inn, that claustrophobia under open sky, to these. Not least because they are set in the same places, amidst the wildness of Bodmin and the close knit villages of the Cornish interior.

The third book in the series, The Mermaid’s Call is out in paperback next Spring and in hardback now.

*I was kindly gifted these books by the publisher but all opinions remain my own.

books, reviews

Book Review: Good Me Bad Me – Ali Land 


Written by a former Mental Health nurse, this psychological thriller is vivid and arresting. Milly is almost 16 and has lived a terrible life with her mother, a serial killer. Milly was also the one who turned her in. 
Documenting the lead up to her mother’s trial for 9 child murders, we see the world through Milly’s eyes as she tries to adjust to ‘normal’ life with her foster family. 

Her foster father is also her psychotherapist, preparing her for trial, going through the harrowing childhood she endured and the nightmares that haunt her, but is Milly telling him everything, and does the daughter take after the mother? 

Tightly written and with a nice little twist at the end, I really enjoyed this. I think I prefer more knotty thrillers like this, than the straightforward procedural ones. I want unreliable narrators and secrets, I want to never quite know for sure. 

I found this very satisfying a read. 

books, reviews

Book Preview: Red Sister – Mark Lawrence

This ARC was in Illumicrate 6 and I didn’t so much read it as devour it in one sitting. 

I liked Lawrence’s previous trilogy The Broken Empire so I knew his style but this book was just so good I couldn’t put it down. 

It’s fantasy but it’s also a thriller. Nona Grey is given to the child-seller and sent off to the capital where her life is saved by a rather unusual (by our standards) convent. 

Nona comes to see that what makes her different makes her special. 

I desperately don’t want to spoil this for anyone but it’s really good. Lots of mystery and intrigue, great plotting and characterisation. Well written and gripping. 

It’s properly published in April but I already can’t wait for the sequel which probably won’t appear till next year.