blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Sleep Well, My Lady – Kwei Quartey*

Hard-hitting talk show host Augustus Seeza has become a household name in Ghana, though plagued by rumours of lavish overspending, alcoholism, and womanising. He’s dating the imposing, beautiful Lady Araba, who leads a self-made fashion empire.

Araba’s religious family believes Augustus is after her money and intervenes to break them up. A few days later, just before a major runway show, Araba is found murdered in her bed. Her driver is arrested after a hasty investigation, but Araba’s favourite aunt, Dele, has always thought Augustus Seeza was the real killer.

Almost a year later, Dele approaches Emma Djan, who has finally started to settle in as the only female PI at her agency. To solve Lady Araba’s murder, Emma must not only go on an undercover mission that dredges up trauma from her past but navigate a long list of suspects with solid alibis. Emma quickly discovers that they are willing to lie for each other – and that one may still be willing to kill.

My thoughts:

This was a really good read, moving back and forth in time from Lady Araba’s death, the book slowly reveals the motives the people around her had, and why they might have killed her. Emma and the team make more headway on the case than the corrupt and inept police did at the time, despite it being almost a year later.

So engrossing and compelling, with its scorn for Ghana’s inefficient and easily manipulated systems, and its ribbing of the 1% who are oblivious to how much they’re observed by those around them. Money smooths the way but as younger Ghanaians rise up into positions and change the way things are done, the ability to bribe and blackmail people has less power.

Exposing the underbelly of society and, through Emma and Detective Boateng, showing a smarter, more honest new broom, the author points the way for a better society, one where the poor driver doesn’t get arrested and the real killer receives justice swiftly and through good policing and hard evidence.

*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 Little Swiss Ski Chalet – Julie Caplin*

It’s time to pack your bags and head to the breathtaking, snow-covered peaks of the Swiss Alps for
velvety hot chocolates, delicious cheeses and a gorgeous love story…

Food technician Minna has always believed that chocolate will solve everything – and it’s just what she needs when her latest relationship mishap goes viral!

So with her bags packed and a new determination to sort her life out, Minna decides to drown her sorrows with the best hot chocolate in the world at her godmother’s cosy Swiss chalet. Chocolate: yes. Romance: no. Until she has a run in on an Alpine train with a mysterious but oh-so-gorgeous stranger…

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Julie Caplin, formerly a PR director, swanned around Europe for many years taking top food and drink writers on press trips (junkets) sampling the gastronomic delights of various cities in Italy, France, Belgium, Spain, Copenhagen and Switzerland. It was a tough job but someone had to do it.

These trips have provided the inspiration and settings for her Romantic Escapes series which have
been translated into fifteen different languages.

The first book in the seven strong series, The Little Café in Copenhagen, was shortlisted for a Romantic Novel of the Year Award.

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My thoughts:

I’ve never wanted to go skiing, but I would love to hit Switzerland for the food, and this book is a foodie dream of cake and chocolate. Not being able to travel at the moment due to gestures *all this* it was a real treat to travel with Mina to her godmother’s delightful chalet to eat cake, cross country ski and fall in love! (With cake, obvs).

Honestly this book was a delight, and the Mini Eggs I ate while reading were almost enough to stop me chewing the edges of my ipad in hunger at all the delicious things Mina got to enjoy.

*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: Murder: It’s All in Your Head – Cynthia Hilston*

Someone has been getting away with murder for over 100 years in the small town of Hurston, Ohio.
But the wrong person has been convicted of those murders every time.

In 2018, Cassie Meadows is
on her way to school when a bright flash comes out of nowhere, and she wakes in millionaire Randy Davis’s body with blood on her hands…the blood of Randy’s wife, who lies in a pool of crimson in the bathtub with her throat slit.

Meanwhile, an old man everyone calls Jimmy Williams raves that he’s
the real Randy Davis as he lives out his days in a ward for the criminally insane.

In 1914, young Helen Hawkins is unloved and repetitively abused by her father, who is also the town’s pastor. Her only escape is in her dreams, where she wakes in others’ bodies, living other lives, but when her dreams turn out to be reality, the tables are turned on her father.

In a story where no one is who they seem, how can Cassie, the latest victim accused of a murder she didn’t commit, end the cycle?

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Cynthia Hilston is a stay-at-home mom of three young kids, happily married, and lives in the Cleveland, Ohio, area.

Writing has always been like another child to her. After twenty years of
waltzing in the world of fan fiction, she stepped away to do her debut dance with original works of fiction.

In her spare time – what spare time? – she devours books, watches Supernatural and Outlander, pets
her orange kitty, looks at the stars, drinks wine or coffee with good friends, and dreams of what other stories she wishes to tell.

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My thoughts:

This was a clever, twisted thriller, which gave me of a sort-of Quantum Leap, Killer Bob from Twin Peaks with its body jumping twist and trouble explaining exactly what’s happening when you wake up in the wrong body covered in blood.

With multiple victims (both murdered and just not where they’re meant to be) and a clever denouement, this was an intriguing and enjoyable read.

*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: Networking for Writers – Lizzie Chantree*

Are you swamped with book marketing and looking for a way to find new sales? Learn simple and
effective networking techniques, to grow your readership and connect with other authors and book lovers, today!

Whether you are a new or experienced writer, self-published or traditionally published, this book
will show you how to grow your readership and author network, through some of the most powerful
of all marketing tools – word of mouth and recommendation.

This book will show you:
How networking can help you sell more books.
Why author branding is important.
How networking hours work.
Specific Facebook groups for writers
How to utilise social media to grow your readership.
How not to waste valuable writing time.
How to make our marketing more effective.

Throughout Networking for Writers, we will explore running or attending book signings, hosting seminars, finding a writing buddy or mentor, author networking groups, social media planning and so much more.

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International bestselling author and award-winning inventor, Lizzie Chantree, started her own business at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year in 2000.

She discovered her love of writing fiction when her children were little and now works as a business mentor and runs a popular networking hour on social media, where creatives can support to each other. She writes books full of friendship and laughter, that are about women with unusual and adventurous businesses, who are far stronger than they realise.

She lives with her family on the coast in Essex.

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My thoughts:

This slim book is full of useful information for writers, both aspiring and established, on how to market yourself and your work. Chapters cover different social media platforms and how to get the most out of them as well as tips on using software and connecting with fellow writers and readers.

Lizzie Chantree self published her first few books and knows a lot about building your own readership through savvy use of existing tools and networks, and I’ve read some of her books having seen them mentioned on social media – so it does work!


*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: Trobairitz The Storyteller – Celia Micklefield*

Trobairitz were female troubadours of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. They brought news and sang songs about love, tradition and the role of women in society.

Feisty truck driver, Weed, a twenty first century Trobairitz never gives personal details to other drivers. She avoids the intimacy of real friendship.

Instead, she entertains the truckers by telling the story of ex-courtesan, seventy-six year old Catherine Joubert and the mysterious hold she has over young mayor, Henri-Claude Noilly and his grandfather.

Weed’s themes are those of the original Trobairitz but these are the very subjects causing problems in her own life.

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After living in Languedoc for nine years I returned to Norfolk where I live surrounded by beautiful countryside and wildlife.

I’m ageing faster than I used to, but I’ve still got ambitions.
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My thoughts:

This was a really interesting book with a story within a story as Weed tells her fellow truckers the tale of a village that no one can find on a map and its inhabitants. Over several months she weaves them a tale in a truck stop cafe, tugging at their curiosity about the grand dame Catherine Joubert and the pompous mayor. We as readers also slowly learn Weed’s story, meet her family and spend time on the road together.

I felt a particular attachment to the book as Weed passes through Bezier in Southern France, where my younger sister was born and my neighbour is a real life female truck driver, though now retired. These little connections were a surprise and made me smile, as did both Weed’s own story and the one she told the other drivers.

A clever book about the power of stories and their tellers, perfect for travelling in your mind while staying safe on your sofa.

*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

The Stolen Child & The Innocent Girl – Alex Coombes*

Over two days I’m going to be reviewing four books by Alex Coombes – today it’s The Stolen Child and The Innocent Girl. Then on the 25th it will be The Missing Husband and The Silent Victims.

Meet DI Hanlon. A woman with a habit of breaking the rules and a fierce loyalty to the few people she respects.
Her boss, Corrigan. Looks like a street copper promoted above his ability. Underestimate him at your peril.
Enver Demirel. Known in the boxing ring as Iron Hand. Now soft and gone to seed. But he would do anything for Hanlon.

When the kidnap of a 12-year-old boy blows the case of some missing children wide apart, the finger is pointing at the heart of the Met.
Corrigan sends in the only cop in his team who is incorruptible enough to handle it – Hanlon.
And then he sends Demirel to spy on her…

Once you start the DI Hanlon series, you won’t be able to put it down. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Lisa Regan and Mark Dawson.

This book was previously published as Time To Die by Alex Howard.

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DCI Hanlon is going undercover.
Oxford Philosophy lecturer Dr Gideon Fuller is in the frame, but Hanlon is not convinced.
From the specialist brothels in Oxford and Soho, to the inner sanctum of a Russian people trafficker with a taste for hurting women, the trail leads Hanlon deeper and deeper into danger – until she herself becomes the killer’s next target…
Can Hanlon track down the killer before it’s too late?

A thrilling new case for DCI Hanlon. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Lisa Regan and Mark
Dawson.

This book was previously published as Cold Revenge by Alex Howard.

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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 has written four well reviewed crime novels as Alex Howard.

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My thoughts:

The Stolen Child – any book that covers violence against children is going to be shocking, and this is. A group of vile men are having children kidnapped to order and their bodies are dumped for the police to find. DI Hanlon is tasked with looking into this and what she uncovers is horrific. But she’s hard as nails and determined to put a permanent stop to the ruthless criminals behind these appalling crimes. I was totally gripped and while Hanlon isn’t an easy character to like, her DS, Enver Demirel is. A British-Turk, he’s a former boxer with the heart of gold, he’s loyal, brave, and endeavors to follow where Hanlon leads.

The Innocent Girl – Hanlon and Demirel are drawn into the world of S&M after a young woman is found murdered in her bed. Another gripping and brutal thriller unfolds, this time with added Russian mafia, and a new character, Oxford detective Huss, who starts out disliking Hanlon but then finds a grudging respect for the maverick detective. And more than that for Enver.

Both books were totally gripping, excellently written and while dealing with some very dark subject matter, managed some levity and lightness of tone that made them a pleasure to read. The characters are well written and don’t feel like stereotypes, as can happen with police procedurals. Hanlon is a bit of a mystery, her inability to do as she’s told and the extreme violence she’s capable of speak to someone with issues beyond the usual and we get a hint of those in The Innocent Girl, when she almost learns more information about the parents she lost as a child. The relationship that develops between Enver and Huss serves as a counterpoint to Hanlon’s determined aloneness – even Corrigan, who knows her better than most, can’t get under her skin.

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

books, reviews

Book Review: Shiver – Allie Reynolds*

They don’t know what I did. And I intend to keep it that way.

How far would you go to win? Hyper-competitive people, mind games and a dangerous natural environment combine to make the must-read thriller of the year. Fans of Lucy Foley and Lisa Jewell will be gripped by spectacular debut novel Shiver.
When Milla is invited to a reunion in the French Alps resort that saw the peak of her snowboarding career, she drops everything to go. While she would rather forget the events of that winter, the invitation comes from Curtis, the one person she can’t seem to let go.
The five friends haven’t seen each other for ten years, since the disappearance of the beautiful and enigmatic Saskia. But when an icebreaker game turns menacing, they realise they don’t know who has really gathered them there and how far they will go to find the truth.
In a deserted lodge high up a mountain, the secrets of the past are about to come to light.

My thoughts:

This was a clever and intense thriller set on a glacier at an empty ski lodge out of season. Saskia’s disappearance ten years ago during an international competition was never solved, and now her friends and her brother have been lured back to the scene of the crime to answer some questions. One of them is a killer, but who?

Moving between the events ten years previously and the present, the plot slowly unravels the petty jealousies and competitive viciousness between the group as they prepare to compete in a big snowboarding competition.

But who lured them to the lodge and what secrets are they keeping?

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Island – C.L. Taylor*

Welcome to The Island.

Where your worst fears are about to come true…

It was supposed to be the perfect holiday: a week-long trip for six teenage friends on a remote tropical island.

But when their guide dies of a stroke leaving them stranded, the trip of a lifetime turns into a nightmare.

Because someone on the island knows each of the group’s worst fears. And one by one, they’re becoming a reality.

Seven days in paradise. A deadly secret.

Who will make it off the island alive?

My thoughts:

We’ve all read the books where the main characters meet at an NCT class or similar and swear to be BFFs and then over the years it goes off the boil or is The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants. Well these are the kids who wish their parents would stop with the group holidays.

Dragged off on yet another holiday, no longer fun like when they were kids, are 6 teenagers who don’t really have much in common anymore.

Sent to a private island for a survivalist style camp as a ‘treat’, things go badly sideways as their guide dies and they realise they don’t have the skills for this.

A stupid conversation about fear becomes a nightmare as everyone’s biggest phobia starts coming true. And with only the six of them there, someone is playing a nasty game…

Creepy, compelling and ultimately rather sad, this is a fascinating study in friendship and trauma.

*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: It Will Be Quick – Karl Drinkwater*

Read my reviews of Karl’s previous books; Lost Solace Chasing Solace Grubane

A single decision can save – or ruin – a life.
An opportunistic baby theft by a young woman in pain. Two strangers shipwrecked on a lifeless rock,
unable to speak the same language. An isolated cycling holiday descends into terror. One woman seeks the courage to destroy her life. A miracle unites a community, and teenagers take a stand against hypocrisy.

Karl Drinkwater presents characters to root for – and characters to dread – in sixteen tales of humanity, endurance, and spirit.

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Karl Drinkwater writes thrilling SF, suspenseful horror, and contemporary literary fiction. Whichever you pick you’ll find interesting and authentic characters, clever and compelling plots, and believable worlds.

Karl has lived in many places but now calls Scotland his home. He’s an ex-librarian with degrees in
English, Classics, and Information Science. He also studied astrophysics for a year at university, surprising himself by winning a prize for “Outstanding Performance”.

Karl is an active member of the
British Science Fiction Association (BSFA), the Horror Writers Association (HWA), and the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi).

When he isn’t writing he loves guitars, exercise, computer and board games, nature, and vegan cake.
Not necessarily in that order.

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My thoughts:

This was an interesting mix of short stories, some just over a page long, about people making decisions, good and bad, and consequences. My favourites were Fire in the Hole even though it was very sad and the miraculous The Potential which again was quite sad but was ultimately rather lovely. I think sometimes we need bittersweet and these stories definitely are 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: Blood Will Have Blood – Thomas H. Carry*

As an actor in New York City in the late ‘80s, Carry knew at some point he’d write about that unusual yet transformative experience which inspired the setting for Blood Will Have Blood. Carry explains he was intrigued by the idea of seemingly normal people who find themselves in abnormal contexts, where unanticipated aspects of themselves are revealed, often resulting in violent, dangerous, and subversively funny situations.

Struggling actor and inveterate pothead Scott Russo is tired of performing in terrible Off-Off Broadway productions, hopping from one soul-crushing job to the next. He contemplates throwing in the towel altogether on making it as an actor but the only thing that keeps him going is the humiliation of returning back home to Baltimore as a failure. That and his current theatrical gig: an idiotically bad production of Macbeth. Broke and jobless, Scott jumps at his friend’s offer to work for a pot delivery service, only to get caught in a web of dangerous Irish gangsters, a charismatic psychopath, ruthless prosecutors, and clueless actors. When his theatrical and criminal worlds collide in mayhem, murder, and betrayal, Scott finds himself morphing into a bumbling and blood-stained Macbeth, on stage and off. If he can just make it to opening night…

My thoughts:

This was a lot of fun, a blackly comic book about an actor who gets completely out of his depth with gangsters and lawyers in 80s New York. He has a go at playing both sides, but it seems there’s a lot more going on in the shadows even a ridiculous version of Macbeth can’t compete with the insanity Scott finds himself embroiled in.

Scott is the everyman caught up between psychopathic Irish gangsters and dodgy Ivy League types claiming to be the good guys. Also there’s some cats and a charming transwoman called Juanita. Like I said, lots of fun.

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