blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Jagged Edge – A.J. Frazer*

A thriller with a conscience, The Jagged Edge does for climate change what John Grisham has done for the law, cutting to the heart of humanity’s greatest threat.

The harrowing loss of a woman and child in a Californian wildfire. A madman hellbent on revenge. A former British war correspondent, desperate to find his old edge. A clandestine meeting somewhere in the Austrian Alps. A devastating missile attack on an Italian steel mill. A nail-biting standoff in the Australian Outback. Merciless government agents willing to do anything to stop a weapon that has already been set in motion. And the countdown to the end of the world as we know it begins.

Action, technology and the might of Mother Nature come together in a heart-stopping thrill ride that you won’t be able to put down.

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Born and raised on New Zealand’s South Island, AJ experienced raw nature at its most sublime. Later, as a volunteer bush firefighter in Sydney, he saw firsthand nature at its most destructive. Something that too many people in Australia and California have had to endure.

His writing intent is simple: to bring thriller (non)sensibilities to the serious, though often dry, science of climate change.
He now lives on the Sapphire Coast of Australia with his wife and their two children. He admits to being a lazy activist who avoids confrontation. Writing is his form of environmental activism.

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My thoughts:

This was a heck of a ride, from Mont Blanc to genteel Surrey, the Austrian Alps to the wild Australian Outback, to the middle of the ocean.

Contacted by a notorious eco-terrorist, media titan, ex-Marine and former journalist Dominic is wildly out of his depth as an electronic weapon, Biblical, is unleashed and takes down society, without caring about the human cost.

Earth Ghost claim this is needed, a hard reset to remind humanity that the planet is at risk, that global warming, pollution levels, melting ice caps and growing numbers of pandemics are all signs of Earth in crisis. They’ve moved on from blowing up refineries and factories, if needed, they’ll destroy all infrastructure and force us back to pre-industrial times.

Dominic’s media company, Jagged Edge, is the only one apparently unaffected by Biblical, the sole voice in the wilderness of a world dependant on the Internet. But he’s seen the dark side of Sagen, Earth Ghost’s founder and prophet, as well as the lengths some government agencies are willing to go.

He appreciates the need for change but doesn’t agree that the rampant chaos of Biblical is the way to go.

A thriller that touches on recent events such as our current pandemic and of course the terrible climate emergency we’re not reacting to fast enough. While things need to change, a massive terrorist attack like this is not the way to go.

Instead maybe we need to use the technology at our fingertips to effect change, to hold our leaders accountable and to do communicate globally ways to support and aid those most affected by climate change.

This is certainly a timely reminder wrapped in a smart and gripping 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 Wife Who Knew Too Much – Michele Campbell*

Meet the first Mrs. Ford
Beautiful. Accomplished.
Wealthy beyond imagination.
Married to a much younger man.
And now, she’s dead.

Meet the second Mrs. Ford.
Waitress. Small-town girl.
Married to a man she never forgot,
From a summer romance ten years before. And now, she’s wealthy beyond imagination.

Who is Connor Ford?
Two women loved him. And knew him as only wives can know.
Set amongst the glittering mansions of the Hamptons, The Wife Who Knew Too Much is a decadent summer thriller about the lives of those who will do anything for love and money. Who is the victim? Who is the villain? And who will be next to die?

My thoughts:

I wasn’t entirely sure which wife knew too much – both Nina and then Tabitha don’t know enough really. And that’s what gets both women into trouble. There’s a revenge plot boiling away that hardly anyone seems to be aware of. But everyone has secrets and those secrets are dangerous.

I felt bad for Tabitha, her whirlwind romance with her teen love now all grown up, has ended up putting her and her unborn baby in danger and the fact that her husband is either absent or yelling at her, keeping things from her, makes him suspicious.

*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 Metal Bone – Lindsay Cummings*

Her destiny was death. The shadows brought her back.

Wrongly accused of her brother’s murder, Sonara’s destiny was to die, sentenced to execution by her own mother. Punished and left for dead, the shadows have cursed her with a second life as a Shadowblood, cast out and hunted by society for her demon-like powers.

Now known as the Devil of the Deadlands, Sonara survives as a thief on the edge of society, fighting for survival on a quest to uncover what really happened to her brother and whether he is even dead at all…

My thoughts:

This was really interesting and clever, starting of as a typical fantasy novel, suddenly there’s a space ship and it’s like a completely different book. And such a good one.

I really enjoyed my first fantasy/sci-fi read of 2021 and thought the characters were brilliantly drawn and I cheered for Sonara and her crew as they took on an invading force and an ancient evil. Tremedously fun and with a wyvern and horse sidekick team too!

*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: Get a Grip, Love – Kate Lucey*


A candid book that uses a mix of colloquial chat, peer and personal experience, and expert advice to talk about tackling mental illness as part of the generation so often poked fun at for having feelings – and who often call themselves out for it, too.

A record-breaking number of anti-depressants are being prescribed each year. While positive steps are being taken and we are speaking more about our problems, in this new age of having conversations about mental health, everyone and their neighbour has a ‘miracle cure’ to throw at those of us who are struggling. There’s an enormous gap in the knowledge and understanding of what depression is and isn’t – not least in that it doesn’t look the same on every person.

Exploring the science behind mental illness and its treatment, and including stories from a number of sufferers of depression and anxiety disorders, Get a Grip, Love provides a witty, razor-sharp exploration of mental health, and a no-nonsense guide that explains where the advice to ‘go for a run’, ’stay off social media’ or ‘make some new friends’ comes from. It separates the facts from the fiction about what could work, speaks openly about how it feels to live with a mental health disorder, and demonstrates that it’s ok to feel the way that we do when we’re struggling, and that we certainly don’t need to get a grip.

Funny, irreverent, and understandable, Get a Grip, Love recognises that depression sucks, but that together, we can get through it.

My thoughts:

I have depression and have been living with it for some time now so it was interesting to see how someone else deals with their own illness and finds a way through it.

I dipped in and out of this book, not all of it was easy reading when it feels a little close to the bone but it was an interesting and informative 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: Victoria Park – Gemma Reeves*

A playful, lyrical novel about otherness, change, and the gap between generations in a London community.

Mona and Wolfie have lived on Victoria Park for over fifty years. Now, on the eve of their sixty-fifth wedding anniversary, they must decide how to navigate Mona’s declining health. Bookended by the touching exploration of their love, Victoria Park follows the disparate lives of twelve people over the course of a single year.

Told from their multiple perspectives in episodes which capture feelings of alienation and connection, the lingering memory of an acid attack in the park sends ripples of unease through the community. By the end of the novel, their carefully interwoven tales create a rich tapestry of resilience, love and loss.

With sharply observed insight into contemporary urban life, and characters we take to our hearts, Gemma Reeves has written a moving, uplifting debut which reflects those universal experiences that connect us all.

Gemma Reeves is a writer and teacher who lives and works in London.

My thoughts:

Told month by month from the perspectives of different local residents living around East London’s Victoria Park, this is a beautiful and moving series of snapshots of life in London. From the elderly Jewish couple who built their lives there after being evacuated, to the teenage boy fascinated by women’s fashion.

As the seasons pass and the year turns, lives change and people deal with loss and change, you catch glimpses of the other characters from different angles, building a complex and fascinating image of one small community.

This is a truly lovely book and deserves a spot on your reading list.

*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: Optimise Your Immune System – Marie Ruggles, RD, CN*

Many people think that it’s normal to come down with an illness each year and, for some, two or three times a year. Yet researchers have proven that nutrition and lifestyle factors can boost your immune system.

Learn how to build a kitchen pharmacy of whole foods, superfoods and nutrients to provide a stable foundation for your health. And when you’re at an increased risk of infection, know what to do to derail a virus before it takes hold.

Follow this immune-boosting roadmap to a healthier diet, making you less prone to viral infections and more resilient after an illness.

In Optimize Your Immune System, you’ll read about the three phases of immune support.

Phase I: Everyday immune strengthening and care

Phase II: After exposure to an unhealthy person or environment

Phase III: Immune-boosting support to prevent an illness when you feel like you’re coming down with something

For each of these phases, Marie Ruggles, M.S., R.D., C.N., C.D.E., draws upon over forty years of experience within the wellness arena.

The book begins with her explaining how the immune system works and what it does. From there, she discusses the foods that help and hinder our immunity. She even gives a whole foods quick start guide for those who aren’t too certain where to start.

She also shares the concept of juice bathing, and how to use that to minimize the fuss and mess of juicing while maximizing its benefit.

Optimize Your Immune System makes specific recommendations for how to fortify and stimulate your body’s natural defenses using a simple kitchen pharmacy, no matter which phase of immune support you are facing.

Diving deep, the book looks closely at whole foods, superfoods, nutrients and supplements, even giving specific product recommendations for those brands and products the author personally loves most.

The final chapter of the book pulls everything together in an easy-to-reference format sharing phase-specific recommendations, as well as how to eat more nutritious foods even if you’re on a limited budget.

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Marie Ruggle’s teaching focus is on coaching others to take back their power by developing a home inventory of natural wellness solutions. She is obsessed with searching for the healthiest products and bringing nutrition science (eating for prevention) into the kitchen by sharing easy hacks for getting real food on the table with minimal effort. Her background is in Nutrition & Public Health. She has a master’s degree from Columbia University where she started her career in research. She also has a certification in Essential Oil Safety and has been a Certified Diabetes Educator for many years.

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My thoughts:

I have a terrible immune system and pick up every bug going, which was the worst when I worked with those delightful germ factories known as children – I had a permanent cold!

I’m always looking for ways to boost my system and stay healthy (Vitamin C and Zinc are a good starting point) so this book was really interesting – there were lots of useful and practical ideas about eating better and managing your health without breaking the bank and buying endless gadgets.

*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 Kompromat Kill – Michael Jenkins*

Read my review of The Failsafe Query here.

‘They were preparing for decades – now it’s time to take them down……’

Hiding overseas with a price on his head, Sean Richardson is tasked to lead a deniable operation to hunt down and recruit an international model and spy. Moving across Asia Minor and Europe, Sean embarks on a dangerous journey tracking an Iranian spy ring who hold the keys to a set of consequences the British Intelligence Services would rather not entertain.

As Sean investigates deeper, he uncovers dark secrets from his past and a complex web of espionage spun from the hand of a global master spy. As he inches closer to the truth, the rules of the game change – and the nerve-wracking fate of many lives sits in his hands.

The second in a set of spy thrillers that have been expertly crafted with stunning plot lines, magnificent locations, and twists that leave you gasping for air. Perfect for fans of Frederick Forsyth, Robert Ludlum, Tom Clancy, and Scott Mariani.

*Each book is a standalone adventure

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This is a crucial scene that sets the backstory to the novel, and the mission that Sean, the main character, will ultimately be tasked by Jack to undertake. Jack, the head of counter terrorist operations for MI5, begins to explain to the Director of MI5, what he had unravelled at a murder scene that took place in Chelsea the night before. The scene shows the emotion of D and the real concerns that Iranian state sponsored terrorists had mobilised, and were now committing their first assassinations on the UK mainland. The scene leads to Jack setting a plot to flush out an international model and spy….. An Iranian by the name of Nadege.

The Court was D’s very own cabal of hand-picked officers who ran the office and its much larger intelligence fusion centre located out of the city, together with a set of core staff who ran what D called his own active-measures campaigns around the globe. It employed a mixture of freelance ex-intelligence officers in the UK, as well as veteran special forces operators and a mix of former MI6 and MI5 specialists, all highly vetted and sworn to keep The Court’s operations fully secret.

‘Jack, good to see you. Sit down my boy. Did you put the Old Bill straight on all this?’ D asked, standing behind a 1970s vintage President desk that was empty except for a large ink blotter and two pens standing to attention in a wooden stand. His half-moon glasses sat at the edge of the curved desk, with a light blue swivel chair contributing nicely to the vibrant colours of the room.

Jack sat on a pale green seat opposite the desk, a battered and beaten high-back chair, its arms now decaying from D’s guests gripping them and fiddling with its material.

‘What have we got then?’

‘A vicious attack. Definitely Iranian and a professional hit.’

‘Jesus Christ,’ D remarked, slumping into his seat and giving the underside of his desk a fierce kick. ‘The Home Secretary’s going to be chuffed to bollocks with all this happening on our patch. It’s bad enough with the Russians running riot. Now this.’

Jack sat forward to show D a photograph on his phone, which he placed on the desk. ‘I think its Department 15 that’s been activated. What I saw today had all the hallmarks of an MOIS assassination with a bit of Nizari ideology thrown in.’

D grabbed his glasses and took a look. ‘By fuck Jack. This is brutal. Nizaris you say?’

Jack took a few moments to explain that Department 15 of the Iranian MOIS were a team of brutal regime enforcers who, like the ancient Nizaris, carry out assassinations abroad. He explained that victims of MOIS assassins tend to be Iranian dissidents who pose a threat to the regime or key opponents of the regime. The murders carried out are brutal, designed to instil fear into the hearts of any dissenter brave enough to speak out against the regime, and some of the victims of these hit squads had died in the most barbaric way.

D tutted and ran a hand across his chin. ‘Iranian assassins. Sleepers waking. Russian chemical attacks and cyber-attacks. All on my bloody turf Jack. Now a missing diplomat to boot as well.’ There was a pause while D pinched his nose before bloating his suited posture like a kangaroo puffing out its chest. ‘Bloody hell Jack. We’re in the shit here you know.’

I started climbing at 13, survived being lost in Snowdonia at 14, nearly drowned at 15, and then joined the Army at 16. Risk and adventure was built into my DNA and I feel very fortunate to have served the majority of my working career as an intelligence officer within Defence Intelligence, and as an explosive ordnance disposal officer and military surveyor within the Corps of Royal Engineers.

I feel privileged to have served for twenty-eight years in the British Army as a soldier and officer, working in Defence Intelligence and Counter-Terrorist Bomb Disposal operations, rising through the ranks to complete my service as a major. I served across the globe on numerous military operations as well as extensive travel and adventure on many major mountaineering and exploration expeditions that I led or was involved in.

I was awarded the Geographic Medal by the Royal Geographical Society for mountain exploration and served on the screening committee of the Mount Everest Foundation charity for many years. It was humbling after so many years of service when I was awarded the MBE for services to counter-terrorism in 2007.

Michael Jenkins

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Giveaway – win a print copy of the book – open internationally.

My thoughts:

Another cracking spy thriller from Michael Jenkins, this time Sean and his team are hot on the heels of a deadly Iranian agent, one Sean has personal history with.

A British diplomat has been kidnapped, a prominent Jewish couple assassinated and someone’s planning a terror attack. How this all ties together and what connection Sean’s late mother has to it is very cleverly revealed as the book unfolds.

Racing against time and trying to get close enough to stop the bomb being built, Sean is often on his own in hostile territory in the Middle East and Asia, with the UK side of things in the hands of Jack and MI6.

Thoroughly enjoyable, gripping, clever and compelling, this was an excellent 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: A Sparrow Alone – Mim Eichmann*


1890s. Colorado. Following her mother’s sudden death, thirteen-year-old Hannah Owens is hired as domestic help by a wealthy doctor’s family in Colorado Springs. When the doctor declares bankruptcy and abandons his family to finance his mistress Pearl DeVere’s brothel,

Hannah is thrown into a world of gold mining bonanzas and busts, rampant prostitution and the economic, political and cultural upheavals of the era.

Two of Cripple Creek’s most colorful historic characters, Winfield Scott Stratton, eccentric owner of the richest gold mine in Cripple Creek, and Pearl DeVere, the beautiful madam of The Old Homestead come to life as this old-fashioned, coming-of-age saga unfolds, a tribute to the women who set the stage for women’s rights.

My thoughts:

This was really interesting, I’m always fascinated by stories of women’s lives through history and to be honest, the Colorado gold rush isn’t something I know much about, being British. My cousin and her family now live there though, so this added a little extra interest for me.

Hannah Owens is a brave and resourceful woman, she doesn’t expect much from her hard scrabble life on the fringes of the mining community of Cripple Creek. She’s willing to work hard and fight.

She finds herself raising a child, the daughter of her friend Abigail, and singing at events hosted in the fanciest brothel in town. None of this is easy, and despite her youth she is level headed and wise beyond her years.

The story was fascinating and I cheered Hannah on as she fought to live her life on her own terms and survived some truly horrible things. The ending made me cross, just as everything was finally working out and I can only hope that in the sequel Hannah doesn’t have to suffer too much.

*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: The Last Resort – Susi Holliday

I read this via NetGalley, thank you to the publisher Thomas & Mercer for approving my request.

Seven strangers. Seven secrets. One perfect crime.

When Amelia is invited to an all-expenses-paid retreat on a private island, the mysterious offer is too good to refuse. Along with six other strangers, she’s told they’re here to test a brand-new product for Timeo Technologies. But the guests’ excitement soon turns to terror when the real reason for their summons becomes clear.

Each guest has a guilty secret. And when they’re all forced to wear a memory-tracking device that reveals their dark and shameful deeds to their fellow guests, there’s no hiding from the past. This is no luxury retreat–it’s a trap they can’t get out of.

As the clock counts down to the lavish end-of-day party they’ve been promised, injuries and in-fighting split the group. But with no escape from the island–or the other guests’ most shocking secrets–Amelia begins to suspect that her only hope for survival is to be the last one standing. Can she confront her own dark past to uncover the truth–before it’s too late to get out?

My thoughts:

This has an Agatha Christie for the tech age feel – a bit And Then There Were None, which is my favourite Christie novel. Stranded on an island, not entirely sure what’s happening and then people start getting sick and possibly dying in accidents.

The island seems designed to work against them and Amelia is the only one who might have a clue about where they are.

With clever writing and an increasingly creepy and weird plot as the worst things people did are being shared to the group. And then they start dying.

This was really enjoyable and smart, I was thoroughly gripped and spotted the Famous Five motif running throughout. The ending was quite strange and maybe not what I was expecting, but it tied up some things while leaving others as question marks.

books, reviews

Book Review: The Geeky Stitching Co’s Little Book of Cross Stitch – Jess Payne

You will find over thirty of our bestselling designs in this book as well as seven new patterns to stitch up, we have everything from rainbows to fluffy animals and not a country cottage in sight!

A great book for beginners as well as experienced stitchers who are fans of stitching cute stuff and fun puns.

My thoughts:

I’m not very crafty but I’d like to be and cross stitch looks like something I could probably manage, not as complicated as knitting, which just had me all tangled up.

These patterns are super fun and cute and it seems very follow the pattern and you can’t go wrong. Which is good.

As we’re going to be locked down for the foreseeable future, it’s probably a good time to try to learn a new skill and this seems an excellent place to start.

Thanks to Blue at Clink Street for my copy.