blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Just Between Friends – Rosie Nixon*

Aisha Moore is eight months pregnant. She’s thrilled, and a little scared. Not least because her husband Jason hasn’t quite wrapped his head around the fact.

Lucy is having her first child too. She has finally got her wish – although the circumstances aren’t quite what she had hoped. Oscar will be a great dad though, won’t he?

When the two women join the same baby group, they quickly become friends and before long they’re confiding in each other.

Only there’s one thing Lucy hasn’t told Aisha. And while a baby may turn your life upside-down, a secret this big will change everything.

My thoughts:

At first this seems like a rather traditional cosy slice of fiction, but then it develops into something a little darker, a little less cuddly.

When Aisha joins the local group for expectant mothers, she hopes to make a friend or two in the same boat as her. She and her husband have recently moved back from Hong Kong and she’s a bit adrift.

Lucy seems glamorous and funny, rolling her eyes at the over the top group leader, and bringing delicious salads for the group lunches. Aisha bonds quickly with her, and is thrilled to have a new friend.

But Lucy is keeping secrets, and they could destroy Aisha’s happiness. As the women’s pregnancies continue, the secrets start to trouble Lucy more and more.

Building up to something that could be truly awful, but none of these people are truly monstrous, they’re just people, who are fallible and make stupid mistakes.

This is a clever, almost thriller, that doesn’t quite take the turns you expect but is instead something much more enjoyable and realistic.

*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 Love Curse of Melody McIntyre – Robin Talley*

Read my review of Music From Another World here

Perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli and Nina LaCour, this #ownvoices romantic comedy from New York Times bestselling author Robin Talley has something for everyone: backstage rendezvous, deadly props, and a seemingly insurmountable obstacle to True Love.

Melody McIntyre, stage manager extraordinaire, has a plan for everything.

What she doesn’t have? Success with love. Every time she falls for someone during a school performance, both the romance and the show end in catastrophe. So, Mel swears off any entanglements until their upcoming production of Les Mis is over.

Of course, Mel didn’t count on Odile Rose, rising star in the acting world, auditioning for the spring performance. And she definitely didn’t expect Odile to be sweet and funny, and care as much about the play’s success as Mel.

Which means that Melody McIntyre’s only plan now is trying desperately not to fall in love.

My thoughts:

I loved, loved, loved this book. Be still my theatre nerd, bisexual heart. Honestly, it’s freaking adorable. Funny, silly and very realistic to the stress of putting on a show.

If this book had been around when I was a teen theatre geek, it would have been my go-to read. I loved the characters, Melody and her friends are so charming and snarky and funny.

The relationship between Melody and Odile is sweet and romantic, their sneaking around less so, but we all make mistakes when we’re young.

The triumphant staging of Les Mis is a joy, when all the disasters of rehearsal (as any theatre kid knows, a terrible dress makes for a great run) finally come together, and if you can get through this book without breaking into One Day More, you’re dead inside (and as someone who is dead inside, I mean really dead inside).

*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 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: Betrayed – Joseph Lewis*

Integrity is protecting someone who betrayed you. Courage is keeping a promise even though it might mean death.

A late-night phone call turns what was to be a fun hunting trip into a deadly showdown. Fifteen-year-old brothers George Tokay, Brian Evans and Brett McGovern face death on top of a mesa on the Navajo Nation Reservation in Arizona. They have no idea why men are intent on killing them.

Betrayed is a contemporary psychological thriller and an exploration of the heart and of a blended family of adopted kids, their relationships to each other and their parents woven into a tight mystery-thriller.

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After having been in education for forty-four years as a teacher, coach, counselor and administrator, Joseph Lewis has retired. He uses his psychology and counseling background in crafting psychological thriller/mysteries. He has taken creative writing and screen writing courses at UCLA and USC.

Lewis has published six books, all available on Amazon and each to excellent reviews: Taking Lives (August 2014) the prequel to the Lives Trilogy; Stolen Lives (November 2014) Book One of the Lives Trilogy; Shattered Lives (March 2015) Book Two of the Trilogy; and Splintered Lives (November 2015) Book Three of the Trilogy each from True Visions Publications; Caught in a Web (April 2018) from Black Rose Writing, which was a PenCraft Literary Award Winner for Crime Fiction and named “One of the Best Crime Fiction Thrillers of 2018!” by Best Thrillers; Spiral Into Darkness (January 2019) from Black Rose Writing, which was named a Recommended Read by Author’s Favorites. His newest, Betrayed will debut November 2020, also from Black Rose Writing.

Born and raised in Wisconsin, Lewis has been happily married to his wife, Kim. Together they have three wonderful children: Wil (deceased July 2014), Hannah, and Emily. He and his wife now reside in Virginia.

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Blog Amazon Author PageMy thoughts:

My thoughts:

This is a powerful and emotional book that packs a punch, I’m not ashamed to say the ending made me cry.

The relationships between the boys are so strong and loving, the tenderness and affection they show one another, especially Brian and Brett, is innocent and full of love. We don’t talk often enough about expressing love physically between boys, brothers or not. All of the boys have been through some serious trauma and their strong bonds are what helps them heal.

While the novel is ostensibly about the corruption and murder on Navejo lands, it really is about relationships between men. The friendship of the adults and the pure love between the brothers, adopted or not.

Well written and with real heart and honesty this is a beautiful and moving story about survival and kinship.


*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 Running Wolf – Helen Steadman*

When a Prussian smuggler is imprisoned in Morpeth Gaol in the winter of 1703, why does Queen Anne’s powerful right-hand man, The Earl of Nottingham, take such a keen interest?

At the end of the turbulent 17th century, the ties that bind men are fraying, turning neighbour against neighbour, friend against friend and brother against brother. Beneath a seething layer of religious intolerance, community suspicion and political intrigue, The Running Wolf takes us deep into the heart of rebel country in the run-up to the 1715 Jacobite uprising.
Hermann Mohll is a master sword maker from Solingen in Prussia who risks his life by breaking his guild oaths and settling in England. While trying to save his family and neighbours from poverty, he is caught smuggling swords and finds himself in Morpeth Gaol facing charges of High Treason.

Determined to hold his tongue and his nerve, Mohll finds himself at the mercy of the corrupt keeper, Robert Tipstaff. The keeper fancies he can persuade the truth out of Mohll and make him face the ultimate justice: hanging, drawing and quartering. But in this tangled web of secrets and lies, just who is telling the truth?

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About the Author

Helen Steadman lives in the foothills of the North Pennines, and she particularly enjoys researching and writing about the history of the north east of England. Following her MA in creative writing at Manchester Met, Helen is now completing a PhD in English at the University of Aberdeen to determine whether a writer can use psycho-physical techniques to create authentic fictional characters.

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My thoughts:

This was really interesting, I don’t know a huge amount about this period of history and this book, based on real people and events, was enjoyable and engaging.

The characters are well rounded and skillfully brought to life, Hermann in particular is vivid and realistic. His family felt like people you might know and their struggles are familiar to anyone who knows someone who has moved countries for work.

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

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Phoenix Project – Michelle Kidd*


How long can the past remain buried?
A simple message in a local newspaper. A set of highly sensitive documents left in the back of a London black cab. Both events collide to cause Isabel Faraday’s life to be turned upside down.

Growing up believing her parents died in a car crash when she was five, Isabel learns the shocking truth; a truth that places her own life in danger by simply being a Faraday.

Detective Inspector Jack MacIntosh of the Metropolitan Police races against time to save her, and at the same time unravels long forgotten secrets involving MI5, MI6, the KGB and NASA.

Secrets that have lain dormant for twenty years. Secrets worth killing for. With kidnap, murder and suicides stretching across four continents, just what is the Phoenix Project?
The Phoenix Project is the first Detective Inspector Jack MacIntosh novel.If you like a gripping page turner, with plenty of surprising twists, buy The Phoenix Project today to discover its secrets.

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Michelle Kidd is a self-published author known for the Detective Inspector Jack MacIntosh series of novels.

Michelle qualified as a lawyer in the early 1990s and spent the best part of ten years practising civil and criminal litigation.

But the dream to write books was never far from her mind and in 2008 she began writing the manuscript that would become the first DI Jack MacIntosh novel – The Phoenix Project. The book took eighteen months to write, but spent the next eight years gathering dust underneath the bed.

In 2018 Michelle self-published The Phoenix Project and had not looked back since. There are currently three DI Jack MacIntosh novels, with a fourth in progress.

Michelle works full time for the NHS and lives in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. She enjoys reading, wine and cats – not necessarily in that order.

Bibliography:

The Phoenix Project (DI Jack MacIntosh book 1)

Seven Days (DI Jack MacIntosh book 2)

The Fifteen (DI Jack MacIntosh book 3)

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My thoughts:

This is a fast paced thriller, racing back and forth across the Channel to Paris from London and Cambridge, with implications stretching to the US and Russia as the mysterious villain attempts to destroy all traces of the Phoenix Project and net himself a tidy sum in the process.

DI MacIntosh is tasked with protecting a very bewildered Isabel Faraday, who isn’t sure who to believe or trust, from these unknown criminals, who will stop at nothing to complete their aims, and would happily kill to get what they want.

As he races against time to unravel the truth and the body count rises, can he prevent more tragedy?

A clever, twisting and involving story, with great characters and a cracking plot. Oh, and it involves space!

*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 Silent Stars Go By – Sally Nicholls*

Seventeen-year-old Margot Allan was a respectable vicar’s daughter and madly in love with her fiancé Harry. But when Harry was reported Missing in Action from the Western Front, and Margot realised she was expecting his child, there was only one solution she and her family could think of in order to keep that respectability. She gave up James, her baby son, to be adopted by her parents and brought up as her younger brother.
Now two years later the whole family is gathering at the vicarage for Christmas. It’s heartbreaking for Margot being so close to James but unable to tell him who he really is. But on top of that, Harry is also back in the village. Released from captivity in Germany and recuperated from illness, he’s come home and wants answers. Why has Margot seemingly broken off their engagement and not replied to his letters? Margot knows she owes him an explanation. But can she really tell him the truth about James?My thoughts:This is a lovely, bittersweet story of young love, war, family, hope and redemption. Having given her son James to be raised by her parents as theirs, Margot’s heart is breaking. Her fiancé Harry has somehow survived the war, despite being reported as missing, and now she must decide whether to tell him the truth about James.Margot returns home for Christmas, seeing James happily ensconced as the baby of the family and coming face to face with Harry for the first time.She wrestles with her decision, spends time with her siblings, parents and friends, trying to decide what the right thing to do is.This was a truly lovely book, the story was moving and a little heartbreaking, it was also educational – I didn’t know adoption was legal until the 1926 Adoption Act – and the thought of all those young women forced into giving away their babies before then were wronged.Although James is one of the lucky ones, his grandparents love him and treat him as they do the rest of their children, which makes Margot worry even more – will this destroy his happiness, if she and Harry married and took him with them?I was gifted a copy of this book by the publisher and if you’d like to see the special edition I received, I’ve shared it over on Instagram.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The City That Barks & Roars – J.T. Bird*

Animals rule the world. They hit cafes for breakfast then nine to five at the office, and fritter away evenings at jazz clubs. But paradise is still a distant dream, for there are devils amongst the angels.

Lucas Panda is missing; clues on the riverbank suggest he was probably kidnapped.
Enter Frank. Who else you gonna call? Hard-boiled penguin and the finest detective in town.
And meet his new partner, Detective Chico Monkey – yeah, the wisecrackin’ kid with all the snappy suits.

But the stakes have been raised; three more creatures are missing and the citizens of Noah’s Kingdom are faced with possible extinction. Can the grouchy bird and plucky young ape save the city from doom? Or, will evil prevail and escape the claws of justice?

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J T Bird is an award-winning stand-up comedian from North London, where he lives with his wife and child. His humble abode sits neatly between the former homes of HG Wells and Robert Louis Stevenson…so there’s no pressure to write something utterly successful and wonderful. He runs a comedy show for fresh new acts but has taken a break from performing to focus on writing novels – because it’s much more relaxing, and there’s far less chance of being heckled or struck by a bar stool.

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My thoughts:

This was a hardboiled detective noir style story with a twist – all the characters are animals. Walking on two legs and talking animals.

After Detective Lucas Panda goes missing, Chico Monkey is transferred to the city of Noah’s Kingdom to assist Panda’s partner, Frank Penguin, in searching for the missing cop. The unlikely duo, and their colleagues, uncover a conspiracy that goes right to the heart of the Kingdom.

This was a lot of fun and once I moved past the fact of everyone being animals, it’s a great crime caper, the characters pop off the page and the plot is clever and engaging.

*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: Into the Void – Christina O’Reilly*

How easy is it for a man to simply disappear?

When rural banker Richard Harper is reported missing, DSS John (Archie) Baldrick and DC Ben Travers are drawn into the tangled details of the man’s life. Would Harper really have chosen to leave his seriously ill wife, and abandon his pregnant girlfriend?

Or is there a real threat behind the
abusive emails he’d been receiving from desperate clients in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis?

On the home front, Archie’s marriage is rocky and his two teenage daughters are giving him all sorts
of trouble. The frail but beautiful Helena Harper and her magnificent house offer an oasis of calm as Archie struggles to discover who is responsible for her husband’s disappearance. Has he really been
abducted, tortured or killed? Or is Richard Harper himself behind everything that has happened?

Archie and Travers ultimately face a race against time as the case descends into a bewildering morass of obsession, violence and murder.
Longlisted for the 2019 Michael Gifkins Memorial Prize for an Unpublished Novel Finalist in the 2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards for Best First Novel.

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Or readers can email Christina via her website or her Facebook page Christina O’Reilly – Author for a paperback copy.

Christina is an author and proofreader living in the Waikato region of New Zealand. Several of her short stories have been published in anthologies, most recently in Fresh Ink: A Collection of Voices from Aotearoa New Zealand 2019.

Into the Void is her first crime novel and was longlisted for the Michael Gifkins Memorial Prize in 2019. It is also a finalist in the 2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards for Best First Novel.

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My thoughts:

Considering this is a first crime novel, it is very accomplished, with its cast of possible suspects, red herrings and dead ends, as Archie and his team try to solve a missing person case that has more to it than it first appears.

Clever, gripping and with a chilling psychopath at its core, this is 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: Fifteen Coffins – Tony J. Forder*

From the bestselling author of the DI Bliss series comes an enthralling mystery thriller.

The truth can set you free – or bury you.

When FBI Agent Sydney Merlot returns to her home town in northern California to wind down her late father’s PI business, she soon finds herself on the wrong side of the aftermath of a high school shooting.

Sydney’s childhood friend – who is now county sheriff – plus the local PD, the mayor’s office, and most of the town’s inhabitants, are convinced the horror ended when the gunman was killed. Now they just want to be left alone to mourn. But Sydney has other ideas – and she is not alone.

While having to work through her own personal grief, Sydney is openly intimidated and receives anonymous threats. After discovering she is under surveillance, she begins to fear for her life. During her investigation she gains several allies, but as the days pass, Sydney doesn’t know who to trust, and which new friends might actually turn out to be foes…

Tony J Forder is the author of the bestselling DI Bliss crime thriller series. The first seven books, Bad to the Bone, The Scent of Guilt, If Fear Wins, The Reach of Shadows, The Death of Justice, Endless Silent Scream, and Slow Slicing, were joined in December 2020 by a prequel novella, Bliss Uncovered.
Tony’s other series – two action-adventure novels featuring Mike Lynch – comprises both Scream Blue Murder, and Cold Winter Sun.
In addition, Tony has written two standalone novels: a dark, psychological crime thriller, Degrees of Darkness, and a suspense thriller set in California, called Fifteen Coffins which was released just last November.
Tony lives with his wife in Peterborough, UK, and is now a full-time author. He is currently working on Bliss #8, The Autumn Tree.
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Tony can also be found on Instagram.

My thoughts:

This was a really clever thriller, with lots of distractions, possible suspects and dodgy dealings, events being manipulated from the very top.

As FBI agent Sydney Merlot attempts to pack up her late father’s life, she becomes embroiled in the possibility that the supposed school shooter was in fact not the real killer at all – but a harmless boy tricked into playing a role that made him the fifteenth coffin.

The plot races along, with dangers around every corner, people trying to throw Sydney off track and a vicious cabal who will stop at nothing to keep their secrets protected.

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