blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Hunter’s Rules – Val Penny


When best-laid plans go awry…
Hunter and Meera’s romantic plans come to an abrupt end when they stumble into the scene of a crime.
A young woman was attacked in a hotel lift. She has traumatic injuries, but she clings to life. Hunter notes that her wounds are like those inflicted on two other women, who died from their ordeal.
Can Meera keep the injured woman alive long enough for her to identify the assailant? Is the same person responsible for all three crimes?
When Hunter is identified as a suspect, can he establish his innocence and lead his team to solve the crime and keep Edinburgh safe?

Amazon UK
Amazon US Hunter’s Chase Hunter’s Revenge Hunter’s Force Hunter’s Blood
Hunter’s Secret Let’s Get Published Dark Scotland The First Cut

Val Penny’s other crime novels, Hunter’s Chase Hunter’s Revenge, Hunter’s Force Hunter’s Blood and Hunter’s Secret form the bestselling series The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries. They are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by darkstroke. Her first non-fiction book Let’s Get Published is also available now and she has most
recently contributed her short story, Cats and Dogs to a charity anthology, Dark Scotland.
Val is an American author living in SW Scotland with her husband and their cat.

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My thoughts: the crime in this book is horrific, following two women found dead with their eyes gouged out and their blood full of Rohypnol, a third victim is found, thankfully alive but still brutally injured. Hunter and his team spare no time in searching for the monster doing this, it all seems wrapped in a mystery – who is this man who doesn’t want to be seen on camera, there’s several suspects, all of whom are up to no good. Can the team unravel this and stop another woman being blinded?

The pace is cracking, and from no suspects, there are suddenly quite a few, they all seem connected and all have plenty to hide from the police, even if they aren’t the killer. There’s plenty to keep the procurator fiscal busy once the arrests begin, and the police all have busy personal lives too. An enjoyable, if gory, crime 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.

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blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Finding Edith Pinsent – Hazel Ward

A moving story of love, loss and friendship that breaks and uplifts your heart.
Netta Wilde has a task to complete.
She’s agreed to go through the late Edith Pinsent’s diaries and possessions personally. The problem is, she’s been busy sorting out her own life. But she’s in a better place now. She’s free of her
manipulative ex, has a new love in neighbour, Frank and has reunited with her kids.
What better time to begin Edie’s story?
But the path to discovery is not easy.
There are missing diaries to contend with, boxes of memories to uncover and revelations that turn everything on its head. Revelations that make Netta question if her own life really is sorted.
Delving deeper into Edith’s history, Netta is overtaken by a need to revisit her own past and put things right, but to do that she has to find the two people who once meant everything to her.
As her two challenges intertwine, Netta realises that Edith had a purpose for her. One that she must fulfil.
Bit by bit, the house yields a lifetime of secrets and the real Edith Pinsent begins to emerge.
But will it be the Edith everyone thought they knew?

Amazon UK
Amazon US


Hazel Ward was born in inner city Birmingham. By the time the city council packed her family off to the suburbs, she was already something of a feral child who loved adventures. Swapping derelict
houses and bomb pecks for green fields and gardens was a bit of a culture shock but she rose to the occasion and grew up loving outdoor spaces and animals.
Strangely, for someone who couldn’t sit still, she also developed a ferocious reading habit and a love of words. She wrote her first novel at fifteen, along with a lot of angsty poems, and was absolutely
sure she wanted to be a writer. Sadly, it all came crashing down when her seventeen-year-old self walked out of school in a huff one day and was either too stubborn or too embarrassed to go back.
It’s too long ago to remember which.
Against all odds, she somehow managed to blag her way into a successful corporate career until finally giving it all up to do the thing she’d always wanted to do. Shortly after, she began to write her debut novel Being Netta Wilde.
Hazel still lives in Birmingham and that’s where she does most of her writing, although she spends a lot of time in Shropshire or gadding about the country in an old motorhome. Not quite feral
anymore but still up for adventures.
For updates on Hazel’s books, freebies and various other bits of stuff you can join Hazel’s Reader’s Club

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My thoughts: I really liked this book, I found the sections about Edie’s past really interesting and Netta was a great character to read about too. As she learns more about Edie and her life, she begins to rethink a few of her own past actions and look at what she really wants from her life now.

I liked the way the story moved between the different plots and the way my perception of Edie changed as the story unfolded – she was a lot more complex and lively than the old lady Netta thought she knew of. A really enjoyable read about learning to live your life the way you really want.

*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: A Nose for Mischief – K.T. Lee

When materials engineer Zoey Butler lands her dream job at Future State Energy, she believes her research in renewable energy will make headlines. Unfortunately for her, she’s right. Zoey is working on her latest experiment when FBI Special Agent Alexis Thompson and her K-9 partner, Waffle, raid Future State and arrest the head of the development for fraud. Zoey helps the FBI find answers in the aftermath, but she soon finds herself jobless and unemployable. Desperate and out of options, she reaches out to Alexis, the one person who knows Zoey was duped like everyone else.
Liam Graham is an FBI special agent and instructor at Riverbend K-9 Academy. When Alexis brings in a new recruit with an unusual background, Liam pairs her up with Tasha, a dog in need of a handler
to stay in their competitive program. Zoey is thrilled to put her past behind her and give the mischievous rescue dog her own second chance. However, shortly after she arrives, the FBI realizes the Future State case is far from closed. And Zoey may be the key to solving it.
Zoey offers to go back to Future State to help the FBI end things once and for all. Only this time, she’ll have Liam and Tasha for backup. But, the problems at Future State are more explosive than any of
them suspect.

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K.T. Lee is a writer, mom, and engineer who grew up on a steady diet of books from a wide variety of genres. She’s the author of multiple books, including those in the Riverbend K-9 Series and The
Calculated Series.
Find out more and get the latest updates (and a free prequel novella!) on the website.
or follow K.T. Instagram Twitter Facebook

My thoughts: this was a fun crime rom com, with dogs. Zoey is a scientist who worked for a company that was investigated by the FBI, she lost her job and decides that the Bureau needs to help her rebuild her life. With dogs.

Joining the K-9 training program, she gets the chance to go undercover at her old job and find the person who wrecked everything. With dogs.

I loved it, it was clever and funny and sweet, and did I mention there are dogs? And a hunky agent keeping Zoey safe, with dogs.

*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 Book of Sand – Theo Clare

Enter a world of simmering heat and shifting sands.

Where danger lies around every corner.

Where death lurks as night falls,

And you will kill – just to stay alive …

Outlines of several once-busy cities shimmer on the horizon. Now empty of inhabitants, their buildings lie in ruins. In the distance a group of people – a family – walk towards us. Ahead lies shelter: a ‘shuck’ the family call home and which they know they must reach before the light fails, as to be out after dark is to invite danger and almost certain death. To survive in this alien world of shifting sand, they must find an object hidden in or near water. But other families want it too. And they are willing to fight to the death to make it theirs.

It is beginning to rain in Fairfax County, Virginia when McKenzie Strathie wakes up. An ordinary teenage girl living an ordinary life – except that the previous night she found a sand-lizard in her bed, and now she’s beginning to question everything around her, especially who she really is …

Two very different worlds featuring a group of extraordinary characters driven to the very limit of their endurance in a place where only the strongest will survive.

THEO CLARE left school at fifteen. She worked as a barmaid, security guard, filmmaker, hostess in a Tokyo club, educational administrator and teacher of English as a foreign language in Asia. She had an MA in film from The American University in Washington, DC and an MA in creative writing from Bath Spa University, UK. She wrote crime novels under the name Mo Hayder, and her fifth novel Ritual was nominated for the Barry Award for Best Crime 2009 and was voted Best Book of 2008 by Publishers Weekly. Gone, her seventh novel, won the Edgar Allan Poe Award, and her novel Wolf was nominated for Best Novel in the 2015 Edgar Awards and is currently being adapted for the BBC.

Theo Clare was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in December 2020 and passed away in July 2021.

My thoughts: this is an incredibly moving, sad and beautiful book. It’s about family and love and death and what you would do for the people you care for. It mostly takes place in a seemingly endless desert filled with dead cities that resemble ones on Earth, haunted by djinni who suck the life from anyone they catch.

In this terrible place we follow Spider and his family as they scrabble to survive – searching for the mythical Sarkpoint, the vitally important thing they were gathered together to find. Only they don’t know what it is or where. And time is running out.

As the story unfolds and more details are revealed, we learn tiny bits of the characters lives before they came to be in the Cirque – as the desert is known, and they wait for their Scouts to return with clues to aid their desperate search.

A second narrative concerns McKenzie, who dreams of deserts and sees sand lizards in her Virginia bedroom – an impossibility. She tracks the weather and longs for answers to her dreams and hallucinations that feel so real.

I wanted to cry as the book neared its end, the desperation, the terrible losses they suffered, the heartbreak of Camel, the evil Elephant Family, the moments of joy. The writing is so powerful and knowing that this is the author’s last book, that she died in the summer, adds an element of melancholy to the story. Wonderful, lingering long after its final pages.

*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 on High – Paula Williams

Remember, abseiling is only the second fastest way down a church tower.’
The note pinned to the teddy bear lying at the foot of the church tower could have been a joke – if it hadn’t been for the body on the path next to it!
Somebody wants to make very sure that everyone knows this was not an accident or suicide. But why?
Suddenly, no one in the village has any enthusiasm for the Teddy Bear Abseil, planned to raise money for the children’s play area, as, once again, a murderer walks the narrow, twisty streets of
the small Somerset village of Much Winchmoor.
And, once again, Kat Latcham, reporter/dog walker/barmaid and occasional reluctant hair salon gopher, finds herself unwillingly dragged into a murder investigation.
This fourth Much Winchmoor mystery is spiked with humour and sprinkled with romance.
And, of course, one carefully planned, coldly executed murder.
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Paula Williams is living her dream. She’s written all her life – her earliest efforts involved blackmailing her unfortunate younger brothers into appearing in her plays and pageants. But it’s only in recent
years that she discovered, to her surprise, that people with better judgement than her brothers actually liked what she wrote and were prepared to pay her for it.
Now, she writes every day in a lovely, book-lined study in her home in Somerset, UK, where she lives with her husband and a handsome but not always obedient rescue dog, a Dalmatian called Duke.
She is very proud to be a member of both the UK Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Crime Writers’ Association.
Her Much Winchmoor Mysteries are based in a small Somerset village which bears in uncanny resemblance to her own – although none of her friends and neighbours have murderous tendencies –
as far as she knows! Her novels often feature a murder or two, a dog and cat or two and are always spiked with humour and sprinkled with a touch of romance.
Paula is, indeed, living her dream. But she worries that one day she’s going to wake up and find she still has to bully her brothers into performing ‘the play what she wrote’.

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My thoughts: I do enjoy these crime novels set in rural English villages where the suspects are probably people you know. They’re often a lot of fun – as this one is. I loved the idea of a Teddy Bear Abseil, shame about the dead body putting people off!

It is a bit worrying though how often these villages harbour murderers, though luckily in this case Kat is on hand to solve the crime for the local police and apprehend the killer. Bits of the book are also very funny, all in all a greatly enjoyable read. More please!

*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 Library – Bella Osborne

Two lonely bookworms. An unexpected friendship. A library that needs their help

Teenager Tom has always blended into the background of life. After a row with his dad and facing an unhappy future at the dog food factory, he escapes to the library.
Pensioner Maggie has been happily alone with her beloved novels for ten years – at least, that’s what she tells herself.
When they meet, they recognise something in each other that will change both their lives for ever.
Then the library comes under threat of closure, and they must join forces to prove that it’s not just about books – it’s the heart of their community.
They are determined to save it – because some things are worth fighting for.

Bella Osborne has been jotting down stories as far back as she can remember but decided that 2013 would be the year that she finished a full length novel. In 2016, her debut novel, It Started At Sunset
Cottage, was shortlisted for the Contemporary Romantic Novel of the Year and RNA Joan Hessayon New Writers Award. Bella’s stories are about friendship, love and coping with what life throws at
you. She likes to find the humour in the darker moments of life and weaves these into her stories.
Bella believes that writing your own story really is the best fun ever, closely followed by talking, eating chocolate, drinking fizz and planning holidays. She lives in the Midlands, UK with her lovely husband and wonderful daughter, who thankfully, both accept her as she is (with mad morning hair and a penchant for skipping).

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My thoughts: once upon a time I was a librarian, I practically lived in various libraries growing up so it made sense. I love libraries, I love the random hodge podge of books and the way they smell and the people who work in them (all of whom are incredibly interesting) and the fact that it’s all free. That you can read any book you like and never have to worry about whether you can afford it is wonderful. Whole worlds live in libraries.

Terry Pratchett wrote that book shops are genteel black holes that know how to read – so are most libraries. Even the small ones, like the one in this book.

Sadly the threatened closure of libraries is all too real, we live in a world now that doesn’t really value them properly. It’s not just a quiet place full of aging hardbacks; they’re vital and alive.

This book celebrates all of these uniquely wonderful places and brings Tom and Maggie together – a lonely teenage boy and an equally friendless old woman. They both have deep sadness inside them, and when they become friends, they start to heal. The fight to save their library, to protect what makes it special, helps them too. Both make new friends, and come out of their shells.

Tom’s unhappy home life starts to mend as Maggie encourages him to speak to his dad and gives him a place to stay when home isn’t safe anymore. In turn Tom helps Maggie face up to her past and confront the mistakes she made. There’s also lambs and puppies being born and a lot of cake. It’s a warm, gentle and hopeful book, people can change and can grow. They just need some love. Much like libraries.

*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: Double Pursuit – Alison Morton

She’s hunting arms smugglers. But who is hunting her?

One dead body, two badly injured operatives and five crates of hijacked rifles. 

In Rome, former French special forces intelligence analyst Mélisende des Pittones is frustrated by obnoxious local cops and ruthless thugs. Despite the backing of the powerful European Investigation and Regulation Service, her case is going nowhere. Then an unknown woman tries to blow her head off.

As Mel and fellow investigator Jeff McCracken attempt to get a grip on the criminal network as well as on their own unpredictable relationship, all roads point to the place she dreads – the arid and remote African Sahel – where she was once betrayed and nearly died. Can Mel conquer her fear as she races to smash the network and save her colleague’s life?

Amazon: KoboApple: B&N Nook: Books2Read:  Paperback:

Alison Morton writes award-winning thrillers featuring tough but compassionate heroines. Her nine-book Roma Nova series is set in an imaginary European country where a remnant of the ancient Roman Empire has survived into the 21st century and is ruled by women who face conspiracy, revolution and heartache but with a sharp line in dialogue. 

She blends her deep love of France with six years’ military service and a life of reading crime, historical and thriller fiction. On the way, she collected a BA in modern languages and an MA in history.  

Alison now lives in Poitou in France, the home of Mélisende, the heroine of her latest two contemporary thrillers, Double Identity and Double Pursuit. Oh, and she’s writing the next Roma Nova story.

Other works

The Carina strand
INCEPTIO where New Yorker Karen Brown is thrown into a new life in mysterious Roma Nova and fights to stay alive with a killer hunting her
CARINA, a novella, Carina’s first mission abroad. What could go wrong?
PERFIDITAS, six years on, where betrayal and rebellion are in the air, threatening to topple Roma Nova and ruin Carina’s life.
SUCCESSIO, where a mistake from the past threatens to destroy the next generation.

The Aurelia strand
AURELIA, in late 1960s Roma Nova, Aurelia Mitela battles her life-long nemesis, silver smuggling and is forced to choose between her love, her child and her country
NEXUS Mid 1970s, London, where a simple favour for a friend becomes a chilling pursuit across Europe
INSURRECTIO, where Aurelia Mitela struggles against a manipulative tyrant grabbing power. But it may already be too late to save Roma Nova…
RETALIO, a classic tale of resistance and retribution – the endgame between Aurelia and Caius

Extras
ROMA NOVA EXTRA, a collection of short stories from AD 370 to the present

Contributions
‘A Roman Intervenes‘ in 1066 Turned Upside Down
How Galla Mitela, Roma Novan imperial councillor, attempts to stop the Norman invasion of England. One of a series of possible alternative outcomes of 1066.

‘The Mystery of Victory’ in Rubicon (HWA/Sharpe Books)
What did happen to the Altar of Victory in the dusk of the Roman Empire?

‘The Idealist’ in Betrayal (Historical Fictioneers, 2020)

Non Fiction
Military or civilians? The curious anomaly of the German Women’s Auxiliary Services during the Second World War. 

The 500 Word Writing Buddy: 35 Inner Secrets for the New Writer

Memberships: International Thriller WritersHistorical Novel SocietyAlliance of Independent AuthorsSociety of AuthorsRomantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, Crime Writers’ Association

Connect with Alison on her thriller site: Facebook author page:  Twitter:Alison’s writing blog: Instagram:  GoodreadsAlison’s Amazon page: Newsletter sign-up:

My thoughts: having read the first Melisende book, I was pleased to get an early look at the sequel, and enjoyed it a lot. I like Mel, I like her no compromise, take no prisoners attitude and how she combines her military training with intelligence and teamwork to solve the case. I also like her colleagues, especially Joanna and Andreas. Even her boss, Stevenson, with all his secrets, is interesting.

In this adventure, Mel and Jeff are on the trail of missing weapons, ones meant for the French military but somehow in the hands of terrorists. Mel has some suspicions around her ex-fiance’s overly meddlesome sister, especially when she catches someone following them.

This case will take her out of Europe and into Africa, but not before she goes to Rome, the UK and all over France and Belgium. They put in a lot of travel time tracking leads and interviewing suspects, with the sometimes begrudging help of local law enforcement.

Mel’s feelings for Jeff complicate things after he’s injured and puts himself in danger – his hard headedness is no match for serious concussion. But Mel always gets her man – even if it is someone from her past.

*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 Shop of Hidden Treasures – Holly Hepburn

When Hope loses her husband, she fears her happiest days are behind her. With her only connection to London broken, she moves home to York to be near her family and to begin to build a new life.  
 
Taking a job at the antique shop she has always admired, she finds herself crossing paths with two very different men. Will, who has recently become the guardian to his niece after the tragic death of her parents. And Ciaran, who she enlists to help solve the mystery of an Egyptian antique. Two men who represent two different happy endings.
 
But can she trust herself to choose the right man? And will that bring her everything she really needs?

My thoughts:

This was lovely, I cried, I laughed and I thoroughly enjoyed reading Hope’s story. I want a sequel! I want to know what happens next with Hope and Will and how Brodie grows up and the kittens and the wonderful shop that brought them together.

Originally published as a 4 part ebook, this is a sweet, charming story about grief and love and moving on. Hope has moved to York, closer to her family, following her husband’s early death, and applies to work at a wonderful antiques shop – The Ever After Emporium. There she meets Will and Brodie and discovers a mystery. Unravelling it introduces her to more new friends and a wonderful romantic love story from the 1930s.

She begins to live again, finally feeling happy and content. She starts to date, takes up belly dancing and develops new skills at her work, but it’s the friendships that take centre stage, and could lead to more. The characters are so well written and the book feels infused with joy and love. Something Holly Hepburn is very good at doing.
 

*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

Book Blitz: Anything Could Happen – Lucy Diamond

Your big secret is out. What next?

For Lara and her daughter Eliza, it has always been just the two of them. But when Eliza turns eighteen and wants to connect with her father, Lara is forced to admit a secret that she has been keeping from her daughter her whole life.

Eliza needs answers – and so does Lara. Their journey to the truth will take them on a road trip across England and eventually to New York, where it all began. Dreams might have been broken and opportunities missed, but there are still surprises in store…

Anything Could Happen is a warm, wise, funny and uplifting novel about love, second chances and the unexpected and extraordinary paths life can take us down.

My thoughts: this was a lovely, fun read about family and not having any regrets. Eliza wants to find her biological dad, Laura isn’t so sure about digging in the past, she thinks she’s moved on, but she does have some questions.

Ben has no idea about any of this, he’s living in Cambridge and blissfully unaware of how much his life is about to change.

This book cut right through the winter gloom, it’s upbeat and everyone in it gets their lives stirred up but not in necessarily bad ways, maybe it’s time to make some changes in their lives.

*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: We Watch You – N.S. Ford

FOUR FRIENDS. THREE ENEMIES. TWO TRAGEDIES. ONE TERRIBLE TRUTH.

A small English town is rocked by the disappearance of a local woman, Tina. As the search continues, someone is targeting her former best friends for revenge. Lauren, Jess, Claire. They all hide secrets. Who knows what they did? Who’s watching them? The truth is stranger and far more sinister than they can ever imagine.

A dark, twisty thriller which will grip you until the very last page.

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N S Ford is a book fanatic, blogger and cat lover who lives in the UK with her family. She has a First Class degree in English. When not reading or blogging, she juggles her writing time with parenting, working in heritage and playing the piano.

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My thoughts: this was an interesting thriller about secrets and friendship. Lauren and her friends know something about the missing Tina – something they’ve held over her since they were teenagers. Are they responsible for her disappearance?

As Lauren digs into where her former friend has gone, someone from her past resurfaces and she’s pretty sure she’s being followed. Then Jess is in a car accident, Lauren’s flat is broken into and Claire is fired – are these connected?

There’s a very odd twist at the end, one that jarred somewhat with the rest of the book, and definitely needs more explanation. However it also fills in a few gaps in the preceding narrative too, as the reader pieces together all the differing perspectives that form the story.

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