Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Romance

Reunited with her Blue-Eyed Billionaire Barbara Wallace 4* #Review @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks #MillsandBoonTrueLove #HarlequinRomance #Romance #BlogTour #BookReview @rararesources

For billionaire Whit Martin, Jamie Rutkowski is the one who got away. Now his college girlfriend is back to celebrate their best’s friend’s marriage. As their chemistry reignites into an even greater passion, Whit’s determined that this time their relationship will work. But are they ready to unlock the secrets of their past…if it means a chance at forever?

Amazon UK   Amazon  Mills & Boon Harlequin

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

I like the originality of this story. Whilst the story has the expected glamorous setting, the situation the couple find themselves is unusual. Both have changed since their college romance, and Whit has a story to share that only Jamie can write.

The proximity and memories satisfyingly build chemistry. The issues raised are topical and give the story authenticity. This story takes both protagonists on an emotional journey with romantic interludes and a happy ending.

Barbara Wallace is the best selling author of over two dozen romance and cozy mystery novels.  Her books can be found world-wide, including the UK, France, Germany, Canada, Italy and Australia.

A native New Englander, Barb lives in the suburbs with her husband of thirty-one years. Their only son is married and lives on a farm in the middle of nowhere. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her hard at work at her other job, that of an unappreciated caretaker to two demanding rescue cats. For some reason they seem to think laps are for petting, not laptop computers.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Crime Fiction, Murder Mystery, Mystery

To the Dark Chris Nickson 4*#Review A Simon Westow Mystery @ChrisNickson2 @SevernHouse #TotheDark #historical #crimefiction #mystery @RandomTTours

Winter is about to take a chilling twist…

Thief-taker Simon Westow is drawn into a deadly puzzle when the melting snow reveals a dark secret in this gripping historical mystery, perfect for fans of Anne Perry and Charles Finch.

Leeds, 1822. The city is in the grip of winter, but the chill deepens for thief-taker Simon Westow and his young assistant, Jane, when the body of Laurence Poole, a petty local thief, emerges from the melting snow by the river at Flay Cross Mill.

A coded notebook found in Laurence’s room mentions Charlie Harker, the most notorious fence in Leeds who’s now running for his life, and the mysterious words: To the dark. What was Laurence hiding that caused his death? Simon’s hunt for the truth pits him against some dangerous, powerful enemies who’ll happily kill him in a heartbeat – if they can.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This historical crime mystery is atmospheric, menacing and realistic. It brings the crime-filled streets of nineteenth-century Leeds vividly to life. The third book in the series it provides adequate character backstory and relationship dynamics to make it readable as a standalone. The characters are shady even the protagonists have pasts and secrets. The story has many twists.

Seamlessly woven historical details immerse the reader in the place and time of this enjoyable story.

Chris Nickson

Chris Nickson has published 28 novels, all historical crime, most of them set in Leeds, whose people and history are his passion. The Richard Nottingham series began things, taking place in the 1730s, followed by the Tom Harper novels, which begin in 1890 and have now moved to the 20th century. Between them, Lottie Armstrong, Urban Raven and Dan Markham cover Leeds from the 1920s to the 1950s.

The three books featuring thief-taker Simon Westow explore a changing Leeds, growing rapidly in the 1820s as industry – the factories and mills and belching chimneys – comes to dominate the town. The Hocus Girl, the second in the series, received starred reviews from Kirkus, which called it a “tour de force,” and Publishers Weekly, which declared “historical mysteries don’t get much better than this.’

Chris grew up in Leeds, but lived in the US for many years, making his living as a music journalist. He still reviews occasional releases, but his focus these days is fiction.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Extract, Family Drama, Noir, Suspense

The Missing Husband Alex Coombs 4*#Review @AlexHowardCrime @BoldwoodBooks #CrimeFiction #DIHanlon #TheMissingHusband #noircrime #BlogTour #BookReview @rararesources #Extract #boldwoodbloggers

A security officer is assassinated. 

A small child grieves for his father. 

A psychopath commits their first crime…
A frightened Russian woman seeks DCI Hanlon’s help in finding her missing husband. Hanlon’s not keen on the case. Until she hears a name she recognises only too well. Arkady Belanov, sadistic owner of an exclusive brothel in Oxford is involved.

And when DCI Enver Demirel, her former partner and friend, disappears, Hanlon is determined to solve the case.

Forced into an uneasy alliance with the London underworld, the race to him from the blood-stained hands of the Russian mafia is underway…

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

My Thoughts…

This is an edgy and exciting series. Hanlon sidelined from the vibrant Metropolitan police arena, still attracts danger and responds with gritty determination. Best read chronologically this is a memorable series.

Working in a missing persons’ unit Hanlon conflicts violently with the Russian mafia. Whilst not having the team dynamic of the first two books, it retains its contemporary focus, strong characters and suspense.

Hanlon edges closer to self destruct yet manages to be an effective investigator. I am looking forward to the final book in this series.

Extract from The Missing Husband – Alex Coombs

Claudia Liebig looked at the young boy’s picture. Serg was frowning hard in concentration as he drew. In five years of teaching Claudia had never met such an intense child. Everything Serg did was coloured with the same remorseless focus. 

Claudia had rebelled against the tenets of her art school, which was ultra-liberal, focused on the idea that theory was as important, or maybe more so, as technique. Claudia disagreed and here at the small, international private school near Alexanderplatz in central Berlin where she was the art teacher, figurative work featured highly. By all means, she said, be abstract, but before you do me a series of coloured rectangles or Cubist faces, or before you display an everyday object as art, show me you can paint like Mondrian, Picasso or Duchamp could. 

Today her pupils were drawing their parents at work. Desks and rudimentary offices were the main themes – most of the parents worked in offices and some of the children’s parents were in TV, so there was a smattering of cameras and monitors depicted in the paintings. 

Serg was drawing some tanks; they looked scarily real. She admired them. 

‘T-80s,’ said Serg. He spoke flawless German even though Russian was his mother tongue.

He had an amazing vocabulary too, thought Claudia. Teachers shouldn’t have favourites, but they do. Serg was hers. Despite being Russian. Not a popular thing to be in Nineties Berlin. 

‘That’s nice,’ said Claudia. Serg bowed his head over his painting, colouring in the tanks battleship-grey. ‘Are they good tanks?’ Serg lifted his head and looked steadily at her with his startlingly green eyes. He was a child of almost unearthly beauty, thought Claudia, like his mother. 

‘My father says that remains to be seen.’ 

‘Is that your father in the tank?’ Claudia pointed to the picture. 

Serg shook his head and indicated a figure in a jeep. It was astonishingly well drawn. Claudia had met Serg’s dad once, rumoured to be head of the FSB, the former KGB, at the Russian Berlin embassy, the Stalinist-style palace in the Unter den Linden, in the heart of the city. She could recognize his powerful bull-like neck and physique, the angry energy that the hunched figure seemed to radiate. 

‘That’s him,’ Serg said. 

Alex Coombs

Alex Coombs studied Arabic at Oxford and Edinburgh Universities and went on to work in adult education and then retrained to be a chef. He has written four well reviewed crime novels as Alex Howard.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Travel

Villa of Sun and Secrets Jennifer Bohnet 5* #Review @jenniewriter @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodblogtour #multigenerational #familydrama #SouthofFrance #audiobook #VillaofSunandSecrets @rararesources

It’s never too late to live the dream…

Carla Sullivan’s 50th birthday is fast approaching when her whole world is turned upside down. Discovering her feckless husband is having yet another affair and following her mother’s death, she is in need of an escape. Finding an envelope addressed to her mother’s estranged sister Josette in the South of France gives Carla the perfect plan.

Seizing the moment, she packs her bags and heads to Antibes to seek out the enigma known as Tante Josette. But as the two women begin to forge a tentative relationship, family secrets start to unravel, forcing Carla to question her life as she has always known it.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this audiobook from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

I read the digital book in 2019. The audiobook edition brings the characters to life in an engaging way. Carla’s character is easy to empathise, as she comes to terms with her family’s secrets. The narrator differentiates between the different characters and genres believably. This story is easy to listen to and perfect to escape with.

The author’s knowledge and love of France come through clearly in this story. The setting is vivid, beautiful, and sometimes in sharp contrast to the revelations at the villa.

This is a multi-generational family drama. Carla’s life isn’t easy, an unfaithful husband, looking after her sick mother, and an empty nest, something needs to change. Uncharacteristically she takes an opportunity to visit Antibes and her estranged aunt.

Forgiveness, love, relationships and secrets, are interwoven into this engaging story. It’s a chance to see an ending as a new beginning. The issues explored are emotionally draining, but the outcome is hopeful and makes the angst worthwhile.

The characters are flawed, sometimes they lack the courage to take the first step to something better, but they are easy to empathise and believable. The setting is a lovely contrast to the drama and emotions, and the story’s ending is heartwarming.

Jennifer Bohnet is the bestselling author of over 14 women’s fiction titles, including Villa of Sun and Secrets and A Riviera Retreat. She is originally from the West Country but now lives in the wilds of rural Brittany, France.

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