Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Detective, Murder Mystery, New Books, Noir, Nordic Noir

Bitter Flowers Gunnar Staalesen 4* #Review @OrendaBooks #BitterFlowers @RandomTTours #GunnarStaalesen #Translator Don Bartlett #BlogTour #BookReview #VargVeum #ChillingWinterReads

Fresh from rehab, PI Varg Veum faces his most complex
investigation yet, when a man is found drowned, a young woman disappears, and the case of a missing child is revived. The classic Nordic Noir series continues…

PI Varg Veum has returned to duty following a stint in rehab, but
his new composure and resolution are soon threatened when three
complex crimes land on his desk.

A man is found dead in an elite swimming pool. A young woman
has gone missing. Most chillingly, Veum is asked to investigate
the ‘Camilla Case’: an eight-year-old cold case involving the
disappearance of a little girl, who was never found.

As the threads of these three apparently unrelated cases
come together, against the backdrop of a series of shocking
environmental crimes, Veum faces the most challenging, traumatic
investigation of his career.

A stunning, sophisticated, tension-packed thriller – the darkest of hardboiled Nordic Noir – from one of
Norway’s most acclaimed crime writers.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The reader is drawn into Varg Veum’s world from the first page in the emotionally poignant Nordic noir. It’s the second book I’ve read in this series. Believably flawed, Varg Veum is a likeable protagonist. His struggle with his addictions contrasts with his desire to achieve justice and truth for victims.

It’s an atmospheric and claustrophobic story where even the simplest things hide a web of complexity.
The multiple plot strands draw together by the astute investigator. It’s a murder mystery within a disturbing environmental and political arena.

It’s easy to get absorbed into this distinctive, dark world.

Granite Noir fest 2017. Gunnar Staalesen.

One of the fathers of Nordic Noir, Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway, in 1947. He made his debut at the age of twenty-two with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over twenty titles, which have been published in twenty-four countries and sold over four million copies.

Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Espen Seim. Staalesen has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour) and Where Roses Never Die won the 2017 Petrona Award for Nordic Crime Fiction and Big Sister was shortlisted in 2019.

He lives with his wife in Bergen.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Detective, Family Drama, Mystery, Noir, Parenting and Famlies, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

Blood Games Liz Mistry 5*#Review @LizMistryAuthor @HQStories @rararesources #CrimeFiction #DSNikkiParekh #Detective #BlogTour #BookReview #noir #psychological #suspense #BloodGames #MondayBlogs

THREE MURDERS. ONE MISSING BOY. THE GAME IS JUST BEGINNING…

When a body is found at the edge of Chellow Dene reservoir Detective Nikki Parekh and DC Sajid Malik are quick to arrive.

This is the third murder in the space of a few weeks. Each murder has a completely different MO, but there is one common theme… all the victims are teenagers. The dead boy reminds Nikki of her nephew, and she feels more helpless than ever.

But then another boy goes missing. And this time his parents have been sent a threatening package too. The pattern is different again – is the killer just playing a game? Can Nikki find the strength to uncover the shocking truth before the killer strikes again?

Amazon UK Amazon

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

My Thoughts…

This deeply disturbing depiction of twenty-first-century Bradford is addictive reading. The multilayered plot draws the reader into a dark, almost dystopian world. It resonates because the story focuses on the young, the future, but everything is not what it appears from the outset.

Fortunately, a dedicated, effective detective team mitigates the evil. Nikki Parekh is the team’s lynchpin. When her mental health issues affect her ability to work, the team has to regroup. The characters are believable, the detective team dynamic realistic, and you want them to succeed.

The plot is complex but credible and explores contemporary issues with insight and sensitivity. Readable, as a standalone, but part of a relevant urban crime series, this is a book that will absorb you until its conclusion.

Liz Mistry

Born in Scotland, Made in Bradford sums up Liz Mistry’s life. Over thirty years ago she moved from a small village in West Lothian to Yorkshire to get her teaching degree. Once here, Liz fell in love with three things; curries, the rich cultural diversity of the city … and her Indian husband (not necessarily in this order). Now thirty years, with three children, two cats (Winky and Scumpy) and a huge extended family later, Liz uses her experiences of living and working in the inner city to flavour her writing. Her gritty crime fiction police procedural novels set in Bradford embrace the city she describes as ‘Warm, Rich and Fearless’ whilst exploring the darkness that lurks beneath.

Being a debut novelist in her fifties was something Liz had only dreamed of and she counts herself lucky, whilst pinching herself regularly to make sure it’s all real. One of the nicest things about being a published author is chatting with and responding to readers’ feedback and Liz regularly does events at local libraries, universities, literature festivals and open mics. She also teaches creative writing too.

In her spare time, Liz loves pub quizzes (although she admits to being rubbish at them), dancing (she does a mean jig to Proud Mary – her opinion, not ratified by her family), visiting the varied Yorkshire landscape, with Robin Hoods Bay being one of her favourite coastal destinations, listening to music, reading and blogging about all things crime fiction on her blog, The Crime Warp. 

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Giveaway to Win a signed copy of Dark Memories and a relaxation bundle (Open INT)

The contents are :

A signed copy of Dark Memories (Nikki Parekh book 3)

A Weekly Planner pad

A fruit infuser water bottle

Planet Spa face mask

Avon Footworks

Pomegranate and rhubarb bath salts

A Candle Bag

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the giveaway link above.  The winner will be selected at random via all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for the despatch or delivery of the prize.

Posted in Adventure Fiction, Blog Blitz, Book Review, Childrens Books, Fantasy, New Books, Travel

Finn and Fred’s Arctic Adventure 5*#Review #JocelynPorter #LeoBrown #illustrator @FullMediaLtd #FinnandFredsArcticAdventure #PictureBook #SavethePlanet #ChildrensBooks #Kidlit #BlogBlitz @rararesources #BookReview #CornishSealSanctuary

“My bus takes off with a sonic boom, straight through the wall and out of my room…”

Finn and Fred Octopus are off on a magical adventure to the Arctic. They meet a kindly seal, a hungry polar bear and an angry walrus. The whales sing to Finn, and Finn arrives home with an important message to share…

Amazon UK Amazon Full-media

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

My Thoughts…

Finn and Fred go on a fun adventure to the arctic. They meet various arctic creatures and see how global warming damages their habitats. The easy to read text, and bright illustrations, make it easy for children to understand environmental issues.

This story will appeal to young readers and is perfect for families to read together and discuss.

Jocelyn’s writing career began when she was asked to write a story for a preschool magazine. That story was the first of many. Jocelyn became the writer/editor of several preschool magazines and continued in that role for 15 years. Writing one new story every month, plus rhymes and activities was a tough gig, but very exhilarating. Time is the big difference between writing for a magazine and writing a book. You see your work on the supermarket shelves within a few weeks of completion. A book takes longer – a lot longer. Jocelyn has to be patient now – not something she’s good at. Before becoming a writer, Jocelyn worked in higher education as International Students Officer. It was a rewarding and interesting job even though she was on call 24/7. Jocelyn also trained as a counsellor and volunteered at drop-in centres. She never knew who would arrive for counselling and had to be prepared for anything. This work gave her insight into some of the darker corners of life. Motorsport was one of Jocelyn’s early loves, she had the spine-tingling thrill of taking part in a 24-hour national rally as navigator – those were the days when rallies were held on public roads! Jocelyn worked as an au pair in Paris in her teens. Having visited the city on a school trip, she fell in love with it, and always wanted to return. Jocelyn’s first book published by Full Media is The King Who Didn’t Like Snow, illustrated by Michael S Kane. Finn and Fred’s Arctic Adventure is her second book under Full Media and is illustrated by Leo Brown.

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Posted in Book Review, Literary Fiction, Mystery, New Books

The Christie Affair Nina de Gramont 3*#Review @NinadeGramont @MantleBooks #TheChristieAffair #BookReview #weekendreads

In 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days. Aside from the famous author herself, only I know the truth of her disappearance.

I’m no Hercule Poirot.

I’m her husband’s mistress.

Agatha Christie’s world is one of glamorous society parties, country house weekends, and growing literary fame.

Nan O’Dea’s world is something very different. Her attempts to escape a tough London upbringing during the Great War led to a life in Ireland marred by a hidden tragedy.

After fighting her way back to England, she’s set her sights on Agatha. Because Agatha Christie has something Nan wants. And it’s not just her husband.

Despite their differences, the two women will become the most unlikely of allies. And during the mysterious eleven days that Agatha goes missing, they will unravel a dark secret that only Nan holds the key to . . .

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This book’s storyline intrigues me, and I like the believably crafted characters. The writing style captures the 1920s ethos we meet historical characters alongside fictional ones. The story is complex and has elements of mystery but focuses on Nan’s life more than I expected. Her connection with Agatha puts her in the role of an unreliable protagonist. Her determination to achieve the life she wants makes her hard to like. This is more literary fiction than detective fiction but an engaging read.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Detective, New Books, Psychologist, Suspense, Thriller

Lost Graves S. A. Dunphy 5*#Review #BoyleandKeneally @dunphyshane1 @bookouture #BooksonTour #Bookouture #IrishCrimeFiction #CrimeFiction#Detective #CriminalPsychologist #Suspense #Folklore #CrimeNoir #BookReview #LostGraves #BlogTour

The only sound in the forest was the wind through the branches; the only light came from the campfire. Jessie stood up, suddenly gripped by a powerful sense of dread. There was something – someone – beyond the darkness, through the trees…

When single father Joe Keenan and his young son Finbar make camp for the night in the ancient forest of Leitrim, little do they imagine their rural escape is about to turn into a nightmare. For deep in the woods they find a corpse… As the remains of dozens more victims are uncovered by police, it becomes clear this is the burial site of a serial killer who has obviously been active, unnoticed, for years.

Arrested for the murders, while his beloved son is sent into care, Joe pleads his innocence to no avail. But criminal behaviourist Jessie Boyle is convinced the killer is still out there. Determined to reunite Joe and his son, Jessie’s investigation turns towards the local community. Who knows the shadowy depths of the forest well enough to hide not just one, but many bodies?

Then someone else goes missing, and the situation takes a terrifying turn: it’s clear the killer is escalating their gruesome spree. Forced to enter the woods alone to save a life, Jessie runs from a killer so skilled at hiding and so clever at hunting, it will take every ounce of her strength to make it out alive…

A gripping, nail-biting crime thriller that will have you hooked from the first page to the final line.

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

My Thoughts…

This story is an addictive mix of Irish crime and folklore. The detective team are complex characters and have a believable team dynamic. The themes in this story are disturbing and shrouded in mystery and the unexplainable.

Boyle and Keneally, part of an elite crime-fighting team, are sent to a remote area in Ireland to investigate the discovery of mass graves in a deeply wooded area. The bodies keep being uncovered as the team try to decipher the truth against a background of political interference and local prejudices.

The story is suspenseful and keeps the reader engaged throughout. This is the second book in a riveting series, and I am looking forward to the next one.

S.A.Dunphy

Shane Dunphy (S. A. Dunphy) was born in Brighton in 1973 but grew up in Ireland, where he has lived and worked for most of his life. A child protection worker for fifteen years, he is the bestselling author of seventeen books, including the number one Irish bestseller Wednesday’s Child and the Sunday Times Bestseller The Girl Who Couldn’t Smile. His bestselling series of crime novels (written under the name S. A. Dunphy) feature the criminologist David Dunnigan. Stories From the Margins, his new series of true crime books written for Audible, has been critically acclaimed and the second title in the series, The Bad Place, is an Audible True Crime bestseller. 

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Posted in Book Review, Historical Romance, New Books, Regency Romance

The Return of Her Long-Lost Husband Joanna Johnson 5*#Review @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks @JoannaJoJohnson #BookReview #MillsandBoonInsiders #HarlequinHistorical #MillsandBoonHistoricalRomance #Romance #SecondChance #TheReturnofHerLongLostHusband

A husband’s redemption…

A second chance at love?

Nathaniel Honeywell returns from being presumed dead expecting to be welcomed home with open arms, but is shocked when his wife, Hester, isn’t pleased to see him! Nathaniel can’t blame Hester for believing he abandoned her when she needed him most. During their marriage, he’d foolishly valued money over his wife. But his experiences have left him a changed man, and as the simmering attraction between them grows, Nathaniel is determined to prove it!

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Hester is a widow whose short marriage gave her little to recommend it. When her husband, Nathaniel, returns unexpectedly, she is confused about her feelings. Nathaniel’s physical injuries belie deeper mental scars. Finally aware of his father’s manipulation, Nathaniel tries to win back his wife, but will she trust him again?

This engaging second chance historical romance is complex and immersive. Determined not to be ignored in her marriage, Hester cannot deny this new version of the man she married intrigues her. Nathaniel’s experiences have changed him, and he wants to make amends and reclaim the woman he cannot forget. The couple has emotional barriers and Nathaniel’s father’s malicious interference to overcome to achieve their happy marriage.

The angst, likeable protagonists and passionate attraction make this a rewarding historical romantic read.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Horror Fiction, New Books

Demon Matt Wesolowski 4*#Review @ConcreteKraken @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours #BlogTour #BookReview #Demon #Possession #ChillingWinterTales

In 1995, the picture-perfect village of Ussalthwaite was the site of one of the most heinous crimes imaginable, in a case that shocked the world.  Twelve-year-old Sidney Parsons was savagely murdered by two boys his own age. No reason was ever given for this terrible crime, and the  ‘Demonic Duo’ who killed him were imprisoned until their release in 2002, when they were given new identities and lifetime anonymity. 

Elusive online journalist Scott King investigates the lead-up and aftermath of the killing, uncovering dark and fanciful stories of demonic possession and encountering a village torn apart by this unspeakable act. 

And, as episodes of his Six Stories podcast begin to air, King himself becomes a target, with dreadful secrets from his own past dredged up and threats escalating to a terrifying level. It becomes clear that whatever drove those two boys to kill is still there, lurking, and the campaign of horror has just begun… 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is the first book I have read in the ‘Six Stories’ series. The story has a contemporary and distinctive podcast format that tells the story from six perspectives. The story explores a horrific crime involving children that is disturbing to read. Atmospheric and intense, it immerses the reader in events from all perspectives. It’s a seamless blend of crime, social dysfunction and prejudices with supernatural elements woven into the viewpoints. It’s a story that draws you in, one you read, even though many aspects are horrific to contemplate. It’s an addictive mix of criminal and mystical events that defy explanation.

Matt Wesolowski

Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor for young people in care. Matt started his writing career in horror, and his short horror fiction has been published in numerous UK- and  US-based anthologies such as Midnight Movie Creature, Selfies from the  End of the World, Cold Iron and many more. His novella, The Black Land, a  horror story set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013. Matt was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime  Writing Festival in 2015. His debut thriller, Six Stories, was a bestseller in the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia, and a WH Smith Fresh Talent pick,  and TV rights were sold to a major Hollywood studio. A prequel, Hydra, was published in 2018 and became an international bestseller, Changeling (2019), Beast (2020) And Deity (2021) soon followed suit. 

Posted in Book Review, New Books, Romance

Greek Heir to Claim Her Heart Jennifer Faye 5*#Review @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks @JenniferFaye34 #MillsandBoonInsiders #romance #heartwarming #MillsandBoonTrueLove #HarlequinRomance #BookReview #weekendreads

From Greek island fling to forever?

In this Greek Paradise Escape story, managing a luxury resort on a Greek island has been a lifeline for Hermione. So when new owner Atlas arrives—gorgeous, brooding, and set on selling the resort—she has just two weeks to change his mind. But as their Valentine’s Day deadline approaches it’s Hermione’s feelings for Atlas that are changing…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This story is a lovely sweet romance set on a Greek Island. The characters are believable and draw the reader into their lives. Hermione thrives in her people orientated role, Atlas is a loner. When he decides to sell his unexpected inheritance, Hermione is determined to change his mind. The romance develops realistically, with many obstacles for the couple to overcome. The setting and cast of characters give the story authenticity and depth. The chemistry between the couple is evident from their first encounter. The story has a Valentine theme, perfect for this time of year.

Posted in Book Review, Romance

Desert Prince’s Defiant Bride Julieanne Howells 4*#Review @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks @julieannehowel#MillsandBoonModern #HarlequinPresents #Romance #BookReview #MillsandBoonInsiders #weekendreads

A royal ruse…or a royal wedding?

A pretend engagement to Crown Prince Khaled wasn’t part of Lily’s plan to prove her brother’s innocence, but the brooding sheikh is quite insistent. Their simmering chemistry makes playing his fiancée in public easy—and resisting temptation in private impossible!

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This engaging contemporary romance has humour, mystery and passionate attraction. The physical attraction between Kahled and Lily has increasingly emotional commitment as they are drawn together in a fake engagement. The simple plot allows the romance to be the story’s focus. The couple’s interactions are often humorous and easy to imagine.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Literary Humour, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Heartcross Castle Christie Barlow 5*#Review @ChristieJBarlow @0neMoreChapter_ @rararesources #LoveHeartLane #BookReview #Humour #Romance #romcom #family #secrets #celebrity #HeartcrossCastle

Love Heart Lane – where friends are there for you no matter what.

A second chance…
When her grandfather Marley passes away Grace Power discovers she’s been left the beautiful but crumbling estate of Heartcross Castle. As a single mum of three, Grace has no idea what she’s going to do with it – but who can say no to a roof over their kids’ heads and a chance to get away from past hurts?

And a forever home
Heartcross Castle is full of secrets – especially a lost security deposit box that holds the truth to everything… But when celebrity chef Andrew Glossop sets his eyes on the castle and, to make matters worse mistakes Grace as the new housekeeper, Grace tells him there is absolutely NO CHANCE he is getting his hands on her home. Devastated to have got it so wrong, Andrew will do anything to make it up to her – but is she willing to listen?

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

My Thoughts…

Heartcross Castle is an engaging read. Grace is a likeable, strong character who puts her children first. The chance to escape from an abusive relationship takes her back to her hometown, and she soon finds support from friends despite her absence.

Believable characters and a vibrant setting immerse the reader in this story. The mix of humour and poignancy is perfect. Family secrets, renewal of old friendships and the chance of romance make this one of my favourite books in the Love Heart Lane series.

Christie Barlow

Christie Barlow is the number one international bestselling author of fifteen romantic comedies including the iconic Love Heart Lane Series, A Home at Honeysuckle Farm and Kitty’s Countryside Dream. She lives in a ramshackle cottage in a quaint village in the heart of Staffordshire with her four children and two dogs.

Her writing career has come as a lovely surprise when Christie decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. Christie’s dream was to become a writer and the book she wrote to prove a point went on to become a #1 international bestseller in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia.

When Christie isn’t writing she co-presents The Book Show on Radio Northwich, enjoys playing the piano, is a keen gardener and loves to paint and upcycle furniture.

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