Posted in Cover Reveal, Historical Crime Fiction, Saga

Rivals – Sam Michaels #CoverReveal #GeorginaGarrettSeries @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books @SamMichaelsGG #HistoricalCrime #Saga

Georgina Garrett is back and more daring than ever!

Follow Georgina as she builds up her own empire in the second thrilling instalment of the Georgina Garrett series.

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Sam Michaels lives in Spain with her family and a plethora of animals. Having been writing for years Trickster is her debut novel. Facebook Twitter

3 October 2019

Posted in Author Interview, Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Dreaming of Rome -T.A. Williams – 5* #Review @canelo_co @TAWilliamsBooks #Rome #Romance #Blog Tour #AuthorInterview

Rome is where the heart is… The heartwarming read of the summer

Jo has had enough of handsome men. After a painful break-up, she’s decided she doesn’t believe in love.

Then, while on a professional trip to the magical city of Rome, she meets Corrado, a scientist and her brother-in-law to be, who doesn’t believe in love either. To him, it’s just a biochemical reaction. So what’s the problem?

Well, he’s gorgeous for a start, as well as charming, generous, intelligent and attentive, and she feels herself immediately falling for him, despite her new outlook.

The majesty of the Eternal City brings them ever closer together. But is their relationship doomed, or will love, conquer all?

Amazon (UK)

Kobo (UK)

Google Books (UK)

Apple Books (UK)

I received a copy of this book from Canelo via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Like all T.A. Williams books, this story is atmospheric, authentic and absorbing. You quickly become immersed in the sights and sounds of Rome, the excitement of new possibilities and romance and the chance to escape for a little while.

The theme of this story is contemporary, climate change and both the main protagonists are scientists. both attribute their undeniable attraction to hormones and neural impulses, Jo, because she has been damaged by a previous relationship, ending badly and Corrado because he believes love is merely an illusion.

The reader experiences Rome with the protagonist and that alone makes it a wonderful read, but add in complex characters, a lovely balance of heartbreak and humour and it is the perfect beach read.

I’ve read lots or romantic comedy, many are set in far-flung places, but this series stands out and is always a pleasure to read. If you’re looking for a romantic, escapist read, this series is for you.

Author Interview – T. A. Williams – Dreaming of Rome

What inspired you to write this story? Are all your stories set in holiday destinations?

What I’m trying to offer in my books is escapism; the chance for the reader to forget everyday worries and lose herself (or himself) in a magical world of luxury, beauty and happiness. I make no excuses for writing easy-reading, feel-good books with a happy ending. We all need a bit of happiness from time to time, not least with the world in the mess it’s in at present (please don’t mention Brexit). In consequence, I try to set all my books in gorgeous locations. Not least as I insist upon doing a “research trip” to each in advance of starting to write (J).

The inspiration for “Dreaming of Rome” was to revisit a city I have loved all my life. After university, I lived in Italy for 8 years and the head office of my employers was in central Rome. I love it. As for the main thrust of the story – what happens when a girl who’s lost her belief in love meets a scientist who believes he can prove it doesn’t exist apart from as a biochemical reaction – who knows? It just came to me one day when I was out for a walk.

There are lots of similar stories in this genre, currently, what makes yours different?

I don’t really know. I have to confess that I hardly read any romance. I write it, but I don’t read it, so I don’t really know what else is out there. I suppose one thing maybe that makes me stand out from the crowd a little is the fact that I’m a man. Most romance these days is written by women, so maybe I can give a slightly different perspective. Of course, it wasn’t always so – take “Romeo and Juliet” for example.

When you write, what comes first, the characters, the plot or the setting? Why do you think this is?

Probably the setting, but this is as much down to the title as anything. So far I have written “Dreaming of…” books set in Venice, Florence, St-Tropez, the Austrian Alps, Tuscany and now Rome. Each time we are looking for a name on the cover that will appeal to a prospective reader. I’m afraid that “Dreaming of Huddersfield” (apologies to Huddersfield – no doubt a charming city) is unlikely to appear. After that it’s the main character. This tends to be a bright, competent woman, and readers have commented on how they like my girls because they are decisive and organised and know their own minds. If that is so, that probably comes from me – I’m a fairly well-organised character when I get going.

 Do you draw your characters from real life, your imagination, or are they a mix of both? How do you make your characters realistic?

I’ve never consciously set out to draw upon somebody I know. Inevitably there will be elements of real people in my characters, but they are pretty much an amalgam. As for making them realistic, I always make sure they aren’t perfect. At the moment I’m writing “Dreaming of Verona” and my heroine wears glasses and is chronically shy. Even the obligatory Labrador I slip into all my books isn’t ever perfect. They fart, they disobey and they insist upon shaking themselves dry right beside the main characters.

What sort of books do you enjoy reading and why?

I don’t read enough. Also, I almost never read romance. Normally I tend to go for historical novels or non-fiction. My all time favourite is probably “Wolf Hall” for fiction and “Saints and Sinners – A History of the Papacy” for non-fiction. By the way, if you want sex, violence and intrigue, you can’t beat the history of the popes.

 When did you start writing? What’s the best thing about being a writer and the worst?

I still have a 44 page (handwritten in pencil) story that I wrote when I was 14. I wrote my first full-length novel at 25 (never published) and then carried on ever since. It’s a drug. I can’t seem to be able to stop. The best thing about being a writer is that you are your own boss (unless you are unlucky enough to have a bossy editor – I have a wonderful editor) and you get to visit and write about places that most people can only dream of. The worst thing: sitting at the computer for hours on end had caused me all kinds of back problems. I have now invested in a sitting/standing desk that makes things easier. Mind you, this might just be because I’m very, very old.

What are you currently writing?

“Dreaming of Verona”. A Shakespeare scholar visits the city that was the setting of “Romeo and Juliet” and falls in love, but the course of true love is anything but easy for her.

I hope these answers are of interest to you. Thanks a lot for your support.

Trevor

T.A. Williams lives in Devon with his Italian wife. He was born in England of a Scottish mother and Welsh father. After a degree in modern languages at Nottingham University, he lived and worked in Switzerland, France and Italy, before returning to run one of the best-known language schools in the UK. He’s taught Arab princes, Brazilian beauty queens and Italian billionaires. He speaks a number of languages and has travelled extensively. He has eaten snake, still-alive fish, and alligator. A Spanish dog, a Russian bug and a Korean parasite have done their best to eat him in return. His hobby is long-distance cycling, but his passion is writing. Twitter: @TAWilliamsBooks

Posted in Book Review, Psychological Thriller, Thriller

Forget Me Not – Claire Allan @AvonBooksUK @ClaireAllan #PsychologicalThriller #PublicationDay #ForgetMeNot 5*#Review

I disappeared on a Tuesday afternoon. I was there one minute and the next I was gone. They’ve never found my body…

It’s six in the morning during the hottest summer on record when Elizabeth O’Loughlin, out walking her dog, comes across Clare, a victim of a horrific knife attack, clinging onto life at the side of the road.

Clare dies minutes later, but not before whispering her haunting last words to Elizabeth.

When it becomes clear that Clare’s killer has more than one murder on his mind, Elizabeth has to take drastic action or face losing everything.

But what if she can’t stop a killer determined never to be forgotten?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A strange, poignant beginning sets the scene for this psychological thriller set in Northern Ireland. The sense of loss draws you in and you want to know why this woman had to leave her baby.

Elizabeth, one of the main points of view in the story, is living a semi-reclusive life, she feels safe in her remote home but makes the effort to get out to walk her beloved dog. Her grisly discovery, leaves her shocked and fearful, wondering what the last words of the dying woman meant.

Rachel is the second main point of view, one of a group of three friends, who are all affected by Elizabeth’s discovery at the side of the road.

All of the protagonists, fall into the category of unreliable narrators, they are emotionally damaged, flawed and hiding secrets.

Each chapter reveals a little more of the truth, but also more questions and misinformation. Everyone appears guilty at some point in the story, but are they capable of killing?

The suspense is layered and relentless, increasing as the story progresses, this has an addictive quality that makes you read on, even though you may not like what is happening or how some of the protagonists behave and interact.

Well-written, this fast-paced story maintains its menacing quality, and keeps its most destructive secrets, until the final twist. as a good psychological thriller should.

Posted in Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship

Her Husband’s Mistake- 5* #Review Sheila O’Flanagan @headlinepg @HeadlineFiction @sheilaoflanagan #Family #Relationships #Life #PublicationDay

Roxy’s marriage has always been rock solid.

After twenty years, and with two carefree kids, she and Dave are still the perfect couple.

Until the day she comes home unexpectedly and finds Dave in bed with their attractive, single neighbour.

Suddenly Roxy isn’t sure about anything – her past, the business she’s taken over from her dad, or what her family’s future might be. She’s spent so long caring about everyone else that she’s forgotten what she actually wants. But something has changed. And Roxy has a decision to make.

Whether it’s with Dave, or without him, it’s time for Roxy to start living for herself…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Headline via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Living and then married to her school sweetheart, Roxy’s adult life has always been a partnership, she thought their marriage was strong, their family, all they both wanted. When her father became terminally ill, she expected, and received her husband Dave’s support, until she didn’t.

Arriving home unexpectedly after the funeral, she finds her loving husband committing the ultimate betrayal, with their attractive next-door-neighbour, and just like that everything changes for Roxy and her young children.

Even though this a soul-destroying discovery, it is written with self-deprecating humour, Roxy is restrained, her reactions even surprise herself, but she is a reflective thinker and doesn’t make life-changing decisions on impulse. She walks away to the safety of her childhood home, kids in tow, to decide on the future for all of them.

Grief for her father and her marriage rule her emotions, but she has responsibilities and moves forward, even though she wants to hide in a dark room and lick her wounds, like an injured animal. This story charts her journey of self-realisation, as she discovers new challenges and possibilities suddenly visible now she is released from the safety bubble of her marriage.

Dave wants his easy life back, even though he is the one who jeopardised it, It’s hard to feel any empathy for such a self-absorbed creature. Roxy is strong, giving and dependable, she is easy to empathise, many mothers will recognise something of themselves in her behaviour and personality traits, regardless of their circumstances.

Easy to read, with contemporary issues and believable, complex characters, this story of empowerment and family life is relatable, and that is why it’s so engaging to read.

Posted in Book Review, Friendship, Literary Fiction

The Woman Who Wanted More – 5*#Review – Vicky Zimmerman @ZaffreBooks @VickyZimmerman_ @stellanewman @bonnierbooks_uk #LiteraryFiction

Two lonely women.

An unlikely friendship.

And one big life lesson: never be ashamed to ask for more . . .

After a major life upheaval on the eve of her 40th birthday, a reluctant Kate Parker finds herself volunteering at Lauderdale House for Exceptional Ladies. There she meets 97-year-old Cecily Finn. Cecily’s tongue is as sharp as her mind but she has lost her spark, simply resigning herself to the Imminent End.

Having no patience with Kate’s plight, Cecily prescribes her a self-help book with a difference – it’s a 1957 cookery manual, featuring menus for anything life can throw at ‘the easily dismayed’. Will Kate find a menu to help her recover from her broken heart? If Kate moves forward, might Cecily too?

The cookbook holds the secrets of Cecily’s own remarkable past, and the story of the love of her life. It will certainly teach Kate a thing or two.

So begins an unlikely friendship between two lonely and stubborn souls – one at the end of her life, one stuck in the middle – who come to show each other that food is for feasting, life is for living and the way to a man’s heart is . . . irrelevant!

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Bonnier Zaffre via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The story of a lovely, yet unusual friendship between two women, one at the latter years of her life, the other at a crossroads, both are lonely, vulnerable and unhappy. Cecily the feisty ninety-seven years old deals with her unhappiness by withdrawing or criticising those around her, just for a reaction. Kate blames her own supposed inadequacies on herself, and accommodates the needs of others, at the expense of her own wellbeing.

Kate is dreading being forty. When Kate’s carefully nurtured, relationship with Nick and her job are threatened she falls apart spectacularly, blaming herself, and living on a diet of cigarettes, coffee and social alcohol to get her through the day. Volunteering brings her into Cecily’s realm, they are so different yet both at a time of their lives where nothing is as they want it. Kate’s dilemma gives Cecily a purpose.

Cecily gives Kate a cookery book, with pertinent life messages, it becomes the focus of their relationship, and the start of positive change for both of them.

The first few chapters of this story are so negative, you want to shake Kate out of her self-destructive cycle. I almost stopped reading, but when she meets Cecily the story’s positivity explodes and you are glad you persevered.

Well- written honest characters, a varied plot, especially with the flashbacks to Cecily’s life and a lovely balance of humour, poignancy and wit, making this a lovely reading experience.

Posted in Book Review, Historical Romance, Regency Romance

A Debutante in Disguise – Eleanor Webster 4* #Review @MillsandBoon @ewebsterauthor #HistoricalRomance #RegencyRomance #Historical

A society lady… 
…with a secret!

Determined to help people, Letty Barton has a double life – she’s a trained doctor! No-one must know ‘Dr Hatfield’ is actually a woman. Called to an emergency, she comes face to face with her patient’s brother, Lord Anthony Ashcroft… They’d once shared a spark-filled flirtation – now he’s a brooding, scarred war-hero. But how long will it be before he recognises her, beneath her disguise, and the sparks begin to fly once more…?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Women’s education was not the norm in Regency times, so a well-educated woman, either had to waste her skills, or use subterfuge to achieve her full potential. Letty is a medical doctor, who works under a pseudo name, disguised as a man. Her life is complex, two identities two lives and when she meets Lord Ashcroft, it becomes even more so.

There is intriguing chemistry between the Tony Ashcroft and Letty, in her female persona. Both sense a familiarity that they cannot pinpoint. The unlikely romance is full of intrigue, confusion and sensual heat. 

It is an entertaining quirky, romantic read, that highlights Regency society’s unforgiving conventions, in respect of both women and those of less than perfect countenance.

30th May 2019

Posted in Cover Reveal

Silent Night -Geraldine Hogan #CoverReveal @bookouture #GerHogan #Crime #Thriller #DetectiveIrisLocke1 #SilentNight

A baby is snatched from her pram in the garden. She’s never found. Thirty years later her sister, now a mother herself, is brutally killed.

When Anna Crowe is killed in her sleep alongside her children, the quiet local community of Corbally is shocked. It’s also a chilling reminder of when her sister, Janey, disappeared as a baby, twenty-nine years ago, never to be seen again.

Detective Iris Locke is assigned to the case and, after a year undercover which ended in failure when her cover got blown, she’s desperate to make her mark – and to live up to the reputation of her ex-cop father, the former head of the Limerick Murder Squad.

Jack Locke ran the investigation into the disappearance of baby Janey. But by reopening the old case, Iris is also reopening old wounds for the team. Can she untangle the dark secrets that lead to one sister vanishing and the other’s death – even if it means digging into the past of someone very close to her?

Fans of Patricia Gibney, Angela Marsons and L.J. Ross won’t want to miss this – the first book in a gripping and unputdownable new crime series.

Amazon UK

August 23rd 2019

Posted in Book Review, Espionage - Spy - Thriller, International Thriller, New Books, Political Thriller, Suspense, Thriller

Secret Service – Tom Bradby – 5* #Review @TransworldBooks @tombradby #NewBook #Espionage #SpyThriller #International #Suspense #politicalthriller 30 May 19

The world is on the brink of crisis.
The Cold War is playing out once more on the global stage.
And governments will do whatever it takes to stay at the top . . .

To those who don’t really know her, Kate Henderson’s life must seem perfectly ordinary. But she is, in fact, a senior MI6 officer, who right now is nursing the political equivalent of a nuclear bomb.

Kate’s most recent mission has yielded the startling intelligence that the British Prime Minister has cancer – and that one of the leading candidates to replace him may be a Russian agent of influence.

Up against the clock to uncover the Russian mole, Kate risks everything to get to the truth. But with her reputation to uphold, her family hanging by a thread and a leadership election looming, she is quickly running out of options, and out of time.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Random House UK – Transworld Publishers via NetGalley in return for an honest review,

My Thoughts…

They say if you live long enough, everything returns, or at least reinvents itself in a contemporary format. The ‘Cold War’ returns in ‘Secret Service’, set in the present day. This is less about checkpoints and walls, and more about social media exploitation, and global corporations influencing domestic economies and the political agenda and players.

Kate is a senior MI6 officer, part of the Russian desk, but also a mother, wife and daughter, she is the new breed of secret service personnel and faces the 21st-century battle familiar to every professional woman of balancing their work and home life. The inherent danger in Kate’s profession is something she tries to minimise, but when she discovers a political time bomb, the danger to her family seems inevitable.

Believable and complex characters, particularly Kate, her partner and her immediate team, spearhead this action-packed, suspenseful story, which visits the political hot spots, as Kate tries to discover which politician is the probable Russian asset, and who in her own organisation is the double agent…

The suspects are few, but the propensity for misinformation is vast, and as the conspiracy deepens, Kate realises she is vulnerable and may lose everything she holds dear.

Authentically detailed with a contemporary political agenda and background, you can see this being a realistic scenario. The ending is menacing and will be unexpected for most.

Adrenaline-fueled, atmospheric and authentic, this is a riveting read, for anyone who enjoys political thrillers and the secret world of spies.

Posted in Book Review, Romance

Untamed Billionaire’s Innocent Bride – Caitlin Crews @MillsandBoon @megancrane #Romance #Insiders #Modern 4*#Review #CombeFamilyScandals2

A long-lost billionaire…

…A virgin to tame him!

Dedicated personal assistant Lauren Clarke always does as she’s asked. Her latest task? To prevent a media scandal, she needs to find reclusive Dominik James—her boss’s estranged brother—and convince him to marry her! But in Hungary’s darkest forests she discovers more than just an untamed billionaire… Dominik’s brooding masculinity awakens Lauren’s long-dormant desire. Once they’ve exchanged their convenient ‘I do’s’, will innocent Lauren accept that their hunger can’t be denied…?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A fairytale inspired billionaire romance with great chemistry between the couple, a refreshing role reversal in the ‘Cinderella’ fairytale storyline, and a sexy yet fun take on ‘Red Riding Hood.

Initially, Lauren is portrayed as someone with little sense of self-worth, who is willing to cede to all her billionaire boss’ demands because she believes herself in love with him. Meeting Dominik in an enchanted Hungarian forest reveals the true woman, intelligent, independent and ingenious. This strength contrast with her innocence in matters of the heart.

Dominik is not what he seems, but everything he has achieved stems from his tragic childhood. He doesn’t want what Lauren has been tasked with achieving, but he does want her and is prepared to barter as only a man with a wolf nature can.

What results is a humorous, sensual adventure for Lauren and Dominik, which reveals why they are so emotionally damaged, and provides the possibility of a happy-ever-after, for them if fairytale magic really exists?

Lighthearted, and fanciful, this a modern fairytale marriage of convenience story, with strong characters and a quirky plot, perfect Summer escapist reading.

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Thriller

Their Final Moments- Jane Adams 5* #Review @JoffeBooks @janeadamsauthor #Crime #Thriller #DIMikeCroft3

HE WANTS TO CAPTURE THEIR FINAL MOMENTS ON FILM SO HE CAN WATCH THEM AGAIN AND AGAIN

DECEMBER: Detective Mike Croft is in pursuit of a serial attacker whose victims are all young blonde women. But forensics on the victims reveals an even more horrific scenario. Many miles away, in Wiltshire, a young woman dies in a burning car. In Norwich, an actress is found dead in her own home and a teenage boy runs away from a past he doesn’t know how to face. Can DI Mike Croft work out what links these events? Then a greater threat emerges. JAKE BOWEN: filmmaker and serial murderer. There is no pattern to his victims. He doesn’t care who dies, so long as their final moments make a good film, and Jake is very imaginative in deciding how his victims will die.

MIKE CROFT FACES A RACE AGAINST TIME TO STOP A KILLER. BUT THEN THE KILLER COMES FOR HIM.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Joffe Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This story was originally published as two books, but as the second story follows on after a few months time break, it reads well as a single book. The plot is relentless, lots of suspects, incidents, clues and false leads, that it is hard to keep track. However, this complexity adds to the story’s authenticity and makes you feel part of it.

Detective Inspector Mike Croft is a dedicated professional, with a tragic past that makes him empathise with the victims of the crimes he solves. He is gradually rebuilding his life with the help of Maria and retired detective John Tynan.

The crimes although terrible, are not overly graphic, just enough to give the story its menacing undercurrent, especially when the crimes impinge on Mike’s personal life. The police procedural element of this story is well written, and the slowness and amount of work involved in solving the crimes are portrayed in a believable way. This is an emotional story, you empathise with the victims and the detectives and abhor the antagonists.

The realistic ending is full of action and adrenaline, with a satisfying outcome. Hopefully, there is a more promising future for Mike Croft’s personal life too.