Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Literary Fiction, Mystery, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Saga, Travel

A Mother’s Heart Carmel Harrington 5*#Review @HappyMrsH @HarperFiction @HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam #IrishFiction #LiteraryFiction #FamilyDrama #saga #relationships #love #grief #secrets #parenting #Ireland #NewZealand #AMothersHeart

Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand

While Rachel Butler likes her life in a pretty Dublin coastal village, her heart lies in Hawke’s Bay, where she grew up. Visiting for the first time since tragedy tore her family apart, she and her stepchildren fall for its beauty and outdoor lifestyle.

Malahide, Ireland

As Rachel picks up the threads of her life as a single parent, she can’t shake off the memories of her loving family in New Zealand – and her dream house, the villa on the bay. But it’s time to move forwards with their life in Ireland, close to the children’s grandparents, amid the familiar surroundings they all know well.

Until the children’s grandmother, still grieving, starts to interfere, questioning Rachel’s position as stepmother.

Until Rachel’s attempts to strengthen the family she loves so dearly backfires, pitting everyone against each other.

And until her late husband’s parents mend the rift that has existed as long as she’s been married – bringing with them an explosive secret . . .

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Rachel loses the man she loves but still has his children, who she loves dearly. Thankful that he had the foresight to make her an adoptive parent, she faces life without him. Born in New Zealand, she has a close relationship with her family, who adore the children. The children’s biological mother’s parents are not happy with things, and this story explores the conflict, emotion and love of Rachel’s determination to achieve the best family for her children.

Each believably flawed vibrant character enriches the story that shows how grief manifests itself differently and how this affects family relationships. Lyrical writing evokes the settings and adds depth to this character-driven story.

It is a heartwarming, poignant story with strong female characters. Rachel is a lovely woman who places the children’s welfare at the heart of everything she does, making this incredibly engaging to read.

Posted in Book Review, Espionage - Spy - Thriller, Historical Fiction, New Books, Political Thriller

Yesterday’s Spy Tom Bradby 5*#Review @tombradby @TransworldBooks #spy #1950s #1930s #espionage #politicalthriller #secrets #YesterdaysSpy #bookreview #publicationday

Nothing good ever comes from a midnight phone call, especially from Downing Street. For washed-up spy Harry Tower, it is the worst news at the worst possible time. His son, Sean, has gone missing in troubled Iran after writing an exposé about government corruption.

Their relationship has never recovered since Harry’s wife’s suicide, for which Sean holds his father responsible. And Harry, with his career on the verge of disintegration, needs to find him and put things right.

When Harry arrives in Tehran, he finds a city on the cusp of revolution. Foreign powers are jockeying for influence, money and, most importantly, oil. The CIA are conspiring to undermine the government with an impending coup, and there are dark mutterings about opium smuggling. But the reasons for Sean’s disappearance may be even more sinister than Harry first suspected.

Before long, he is on the run – not only from a faceless enemy but from his own past. Which will catch up with him first?

Yesterday’s Spy is Tom Bradby at his very best, delivering a cunning espionage novel rich in intrigue and history that will keep you guessing until the final pages.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Set in 1950s Iran, this is a complex political thriller. Retired spy Harry is searching for his journalist son at a time of political unrest. The plot is multilayered, and the historical details are fascinating, making this an original and intriguing story. As Harry considers his life, the story visits the 1930s, and the reader gets to know him, his wife and his previous role.

It immerses the reader in the characters and the story with a tangible sense of danger and a plot full of action, emotion, and intriguing mystery.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Thriller, Travel

One of the Girls Lucy Clarke 5*#Review @lucyclarkebooks @HarperFiction @HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam #BookReview #GreekIsland #HenWeekend #relationships #friendship #love #secrets #psychologicalthriller #psychological #suspense #OneoftheGirls #PublicationDay

WE WERE DYING FOR A HOLIDAY

The six of us arrived on that beautiful Greek island dreaming of sun-drenched beaches and blood orange sunsets, ready to lose ourselves in the wild freedom of a weekend away with friends.

On the first night, we swam under a blanket of stars.

On the second night, the games began on our clifftop terrace.

On the third night, the idyll cracked, secrets and lies whispering in the breeze.

And by the final night, there was a body on the rocks below . . .

WHO WOULD KILL FOR IT?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Six women spend a Hen weekend on a remote Greek Island, in an idyllic villa away from civilisation. Sounds lovely, and the island and coastal villa are, but not everyone wants to be there, and not everyone is what they first seem. Atmospheric and claustrophobic the tension deepens as the women’s secrets unravel. The villa’s setting is picturesque but close to an unforgiving cliff drop.

Told from the six women’s viewpoints, the reader learns about their pasts, motivations for being on the island, and relationship dynamics. Each character is believably flawed and unreliable in their perceptions of past events and present relationships. All have secrets, and the air of menace increases as proximity makes friendships falter.

I like the detailed characterisations and the dynamic between the women. It explores themes of bullying, parenting and self-realisation through the characters, and all develop in complex ways as the story progresses. The intensity is palpable and keeps the reader riveted. The twists are dramatic, and the ending is impactful and perfectly paced.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Detective, Friendship, Mystery, New Books, Noir, Political Thriller, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller

The Dark Sharon Bolton 5* #Review #LaceyFlint @AuthorSJBolton @orionbooks #crimefiction #psychological #suspense #noir #bookreview #TheDark

When a baby is snatched from its pram and cast into the river Thames, off-duty police officer Lacey Flint is there to prevent disaster. But who would want to hurt a child?

DCI Mark Joesbury has been expecting this. Monitoring a complex network of dark websites, Joesbury and his team have spotted a new terrorist threat from the extremist, women-hating, group known as ‘incels’ or ‘involuntary celibates.’ Joesbury’s team are trying to infiltrate the ring of power at its core, but the dark web is built for anonymity, and the incel army is vast.

Pressure builds when the team learn the snatched child was just the first in a series of violent attacks designed to terrorise women. Worse, the leaders of the movement seem to have singled out Lacey as the embodiment of everything they hate, placing her in terrible danger…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

My first encounter with Lacey Flint resonates. The characterisation is so complete with snippets from the past illuminating the present that it reads well as a standalone book. It’s fast-paced, contemporary and has a dystopian vibe, but given the current climate, it’s believable, making it so dark and disturbing. There is a believably created investigating team dynamic with a good balance of investigation and personal experiences. Lacey’s extraordinary secret past threatens to destroy her present, and this is cleverly woven into the investigation, making Lacey vulnerable.

I love the complex characters, the contemporariness of the plot and the atmospheric setting; interwoven with the menacing, mysterious ethos, this is a riveting read.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Parenting and Famlies, Romance, Travel

Beach House Summer Sarah Morgan 5*#Review @SarahMorgan_ @HQStories #BlogTour #BookReview #BeachRead #Summer #Family #Love #friendship #media #celebrity #HolidayFiction #relationships #secrets #publicationday #paperback #California #BeachHouseSummer

When Joanna Whitman’s famous ex-husband dies in a car accident, she doesn’t know what to feel. Their dysfunctional marriage held more painful secrets than she cares to remember. But when she discovers that the young woman with him in the crash is pregnant, Joanna feels compelled to act, knowing exactly how brutal the media spotlight will be on celebrity chef Cliff Whitman’s ex-wife and his mysterious female friend.

Ashley Blake can’t believe it when Joanna shows up in her hospital room and suggests they hide away at her beach house on a sleepy stretch of the California coast. Joanna should be hating her, not helping her. But alone and pregnant, Ashley can’t turn down Joanna’s offer. Yet she knows that if Joanna ever found out the real reason Ashley was in that car, their tentative bond would shatter instantly.

Joanna’s only goal for the summer is privacy, but her return causes major waves in the local community, especially for the man she left behind years ago. All Ashley wants is space to plan for her and her baby’s future, and to avoid causing any trouble for Joanna. But as secrets spill out under the hot summer sun, this unlikely friendship is about to be put to the test.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

The death of celebrity chef and serial cheater Cliff draws two unlikely women together in an unexpected friendship. When his ex-wife Joanna decides to help pregnant Ashley, escaping to Joanna’s beach house to avoid the media means she has to face her past and the friends she left behind.

I love the emotion and the vivid characterisation in the multilayered story. Past loves and secrets all have to be faced, and friendship endures. The Californian coastal setting and the glamour of the beach house give the story vibrant, sensual imagery, adding authenticity.

This story has believably flawed characters, a great holiday setting and a complex set of relationships that deliver an engaging story.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Detective, Friendship, New Books, Noir, Thriller

To the Grave John Barlow 5*#Review @John_Barlow_LS9 @HQStories #CrimeFiction #Leeds #BlogTour #BookReview #noir #PublicationDay #TotheGrave

When DS Joe Romano first meets Ana Dobrescu she’s nervous, in serious danger, and clearly needs help. The next time Romano sees her, she’s dead.

There was nothing more he could have done, but that’s cold comfort for Romano. He’s determined to catch Ana’s killer. Although the prime suspect, her millionaire boyfriend, is in a coma.

With the help of his larger-than-life partner Rita Scannon-Aktar, Romano begins to piece together a puzzle that places Ana at the centre of something much bigger than they could have imagined.

But while they’re hunting a murderer, those higher up are more concerned about the money. So it’s up to Romano to get justice for Ana. And whatever she knew, he’ll just have to pray that she didn’t take her secrets to the grave

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

The return of DS Joe Romano in this second book in the series sees him witnessing a vicious attack on a man outside a notoriously rough pub, he helps, and the man survives. Joe knows Stefan needs help, and when he meets Ana, he knows that he will help them both. Set in Leeds, this is a dark contemporary thriller exploring the darker side of humanity in a complex plot. DS Joe Romano’s family’s experiences make him sensitive to the plight of immigrant workers and the victims of people trafficking. Disturbing themes contrast with lighter moments in the investigating team’s lives. They have a believable dynamic, and all are vibrant characters.

The ending is impactful and completes this addictive read perfectly.

Read my review of Right to Kill