Posted in Audiobook Review, Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Noir, Thriller

20/20 Carl Goodman #TwentyTwenty 5* #Review @Carl201010 @AudibleUK #Narrator Louise Brealey #CrimeFiction #Techno #Thriller #NoirCrime #Audiobook #Review @MidasPR @amberachoudhary #AudibleOriginal

A vicious killer and a traitor on the team – can DC Harris see the truth before it’s too late?

On the first day of her new job, rookie cop DI Eva Harris is called to a chilling crime scene – a body drained of blood, with the eyes removed. It’s only the first of several similar murders, reminiscent of a series of bloody killings several years ago. Is the same killer back, or is a new threat menacing the area? As the bodies mount up, Harris must uncover the truth. But, the threat doesn’t only come from outside. Within her own team, there is a traitor at work… A heart in the mouth crime-thriller that is perfect for fans of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this audiobook from Audible UK via Midas PR in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

After an impactful opening, the threat level in this techno crime thriller intensifies with every chapter. DI Eva Harris, a fast-tracked officer is thrown in at the deep end, horrific murder, a new team and something in her personal life that haunts her.

Technology is an important theme and Eva is a gifted cybercrime officer. There is lots of detail in this complex thriller, which initially seems to slow the pace, but it’s necessary to understand Eva’s character and motivations. Subplots, including one from Eva’s past and one that illuminates the real reason Eva’s presence in Surrey, make this story authentic and multilayered. Eva’s humanity, sense of justice, and tenacity make her easy to empathise as the story progresses. The police team dynamic is realistic and gradually supportive of Eva.

The suspense, violent crime and Eva’s vulnerability make this thriller both addictive and immersive. As the different plot strands converge, there are some surprising outcomes and more than one antagonist.

An easy to listen to narrator so good you forget her presence, as you become immersed in the characters and plot.

Carl Goodman is a designer and media consultant who has worked with everything from hot-metal type to computer animation and virtual reality. His interactive projects have twice won BAFTA awards. He has worked with companies and universities across Europe and the US on government-funded R&D programmes, and with major international brands on new product development, but he absolutely draws the line at commuting. He loves writing, both crime and science fiction, and enjoys stories that have both a technological edge and a dark, visceral theme. He enjoys research, although sometimes the material he unearths worries the living daylights out of him. Carl lives in Surrey with his wife and has an adult son.

Posted in Audiobook Review, Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, International Thriller, Political Thriller, Suspense, Thriller, Travel

Red Desert Paddy Magrane 5*#Review #AudioBookReview @PaddyMagrane @audibleuk @midaspr #RedDesert #Narrator Joe Jameson #International #Thriller #PoliticalThriller #ConspiracyThriller #BlogTour #BookReview

When his girlfriend is violently attacked, Tom’s life falls apart and escape makes perfect sense. Taking a role as a therapist for staff on an oil camp in southern Iraq seems like the perfect solution. But upon his arrival, an explosion leaves four men dead. Tom starts to ask questions, and his curiosity soon gets him into trouble. An attack on the camp sees Tom shipped home, where he works with a journalist to continue his investigations. But when the journalist falls beneath a tube train, Tom is left wondering whether his search for the truth could end in his death, too…

Amazon UK Audible UK

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

My Thoughts…

This audiobook is a gripping thriller with a complex plot and a believable protagonist. The various settings are authentic and vividly described. You can feel the heat, smell the dust and the sweat in the Iraq sequences.

Tom is easy to empathise with his tragic past and his keen sense for justice. His courage is relatable. He’s fearful but wants to find the truth and is prepared to risk his safety to achieve this.

Flawed and realistic each of the cast of characters make the story more relevant and real.Well-paced the plot enthrals right to the end. The believable ending is positive.

The narration is well balanced and professional. You forgot it is just one person as the characters come to life with subtle voice changes.

A riveting, realistic novel perfect as an audiobook.

Paddy Magrane

Paddy Magrane is a Psychotherapist, journalist and the Kindle #1 ranked thriller writer of The Sam Keddie thrillers. Born in the Middle East, Paddy then grew up on army bases in Germany, Northern Ireland and England. Paddy was an artist for ten years in the UK before working as a journalist for The Guardian, The Observer and The Telegraph. Paddy has travelled extensively, having visited Syria before the civil war and recently worked in Israel and the West Bank. In 2006, Paddy retrained as a psychotherapist and practices at home in rural Devon where he lives with his wife and two daughters.

Joe Jameson

Joe Jameson is a London based actor and voice-over artist. He graduated from the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in 2010 and has since become one of London’s most in-demand voice-over artists.With an excellent ear for accents, and an extensive range, Joe has narrated more than 200 audio-books for Audible, Strathmore and Penguin, among others.

Posted in Audiobook Review, Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Domestic Thriller, Romance -Dark and Steamy, Romantic Suspense

Withstanding The Enemy T.L.Mahrt 4*#Review #AudioBook #Review @tlmahrt @rararesources #Romance #CrimeFiction #DomesticThriller #RomanticSuspense #Noir #Crime #WithstandingTheEnemy #RachelsRandomResources #BlogTour

Emma Andrews was orphaned at a young age with no family to turn to. Tired of the broken foster-care system, and believing it was her only option, she runs to a multi-millionaire with a reputation of hiring young women. It is only then that she learns what real monsters look like…

​Emma uses her overactive imagination to help her get through the toughest of days. By daydreaming a life full of love and freewill, she manages her colorless prison, but even in her wildest dreams, she would have never imagined it could become a reality. That is, until she meets Chance, a man willing to lay his life down to save hers.

But what Emma doesn’t expect is to fight her own personal demons—her heart.

Amazon UK

I received an audiobook copy from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

I reviewed the audiobook edition of this story. Written from the first-person point of view it alternates between the main protagonists, Emma and Chance. Emma has a tragedy filled past. Her current life with Rick is abusive and controlling. Chance is undercover investigating Rick, but his feelings for Emma are real and hard to control.

The suspenseful plot’s dominant focus is Emma and Chance and their passion. The dark sensual romance is erotic and explicit. Naive and vulnerable Emma is easy to empathise. She is confused and fearful but becomes stronger as the story progresses.

The first book in a trilogy, it ends on a cliffhanger.

The narration is clear and well-paced, although some of the male characters would be more convincing, with a male narrator. The English accent of the butler jarred on me.

T.L.Mahrt

T. L. Mahrt is a former business owner, where she utilized her education in cosmetology, barbering, and massage therapy for several years. She was raised on and is currently living on a farm in Nebraska, where you can find her running barefoot in the countryside with her loving husband, inspiring children, and massive dogs.

After having her son, who was born with Cerebral Palsy and DYRK1A Syndrome, she made the life altering decision to stay home to care for her two children and pursue her love of writing. She has a passion for romance and poetry where her overactive imagination, along with her adventures and upbeat lifestyle drives her motivation for her writing.

T. L. Mahrt has a thirst for knowledge and is currently working on her Bachelor of Applied Science in Communication Studies degree.

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Posted in Audiobook Review, Blog Blitz, Book Review, Childrens Books

Daisy May’s Daydream Parade -Treasure Island Arran Francis 5*#Review #Illustrator GillianFlint #Narrator Annette Chown @wombatandjones @rararesources #ClimateEmergency #AudioBook #Review #Fantasy #Adventure #ChildrensBooks #KidLit Ages 5-8 #BlogBlitz #BookReview #MondayBlogs

Eight-year-old Daisy May is the writer and star of her very own TV show, Daisy May’s Daydream Parade, which broadcasts live and exclusively in her imagination. 

​In the latest episode, Daisy May finds herself on a desert island where she discovers a map that leads to buried treasure, but what appears to be a simple quest to find riches soon turns into a roller-coaster ride as evil pirates, grumpy gorillas, and a fire breathing dragon stand in her way. However, when travelling across polluted ocean waters and trash covered beaches, Daisy May soon realises that the hunt for treasure can wait – there’s a much bigger issue in need of urgent attention. 

​Written by Arran Francis, multiple series creator for BBC CBeebies Radio, Daisy May’s Daydream Parade audiobooks show how 8-year-old Daisy May confronts her real life problems in the stories she writes as she floats off into her daydream adventures.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

An exciting often humorous adventure, teaching life skills to five to eight-year-olds. It also highlights the danger of pollution to the earth in a captivating way. Daisy meets various animals and people on her quest, to find the treasure, some good some bad. As her adventure continues, Daisy realises saving the earth and its inhabitants is more important.

The writing style has engaging visual imagery and vivid characters, which will appeal to the intended age group. The clear narration captures the story’s atmosphere and ethos. This story makes learning about new things and the dangers of pollution, fun and something everyone can do.

Having previously written series for BBC’s CBeebies Radio and worked as an audiobook producer on behalf of Harper Collins, MacMillan Audio and Audible, author Arran Francis launched Wombat and Jones Audio in 2019 with the aim to write children’s novels to be released exclusively in audiobook format.

Debut novels for the Daisy May’s Daydream Parade and Wombat & Jones series were released last summer with further books in the series and standalone titles being scheduled for publication in 2020. 

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Posted in Audiobook Review, Blog Tour, Book Review, Humour, Memoir, Motivational

Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds 4* #Review @Nickalbertautho #Audiobook #AudiobookReview #BlogTour #RuralLife #Ireland #Memoir #NonFiction #FreshEggsandDogBeds @rararesources

#FreshEggsandDogBeds

Nick and Lesley Albert yearn to leave the noise, stress and pollution of modern Britain and move to the countryside, where the living is good, the air sweet, with space for their dogs to run free. Suddenly out of work and soon to be homeless, they set off in search of a new life in Ireland, a country they had never visited. As their adventure began to unfold, not everything went according to plan. If finding their dream house was difficult, buying it seemed almost impossible. How would they cope with banks that didn’t want customers, builders who didn’t need work, or the complex issue of where to buy some chickens?

UK: Amazon UK Paperback Audible

USA: Amazon Paperback Audible

#FreshEggsandDogBeds

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

My Thoughts…

I don’t do many audiobook reviews, but they are great, for someone like me. I can work on something else, whilst I’m enjoying the story someone is reading to me, it’s like being a child again, lovely.

This escape to the country, or strictly speaking escape the UK, is an interesting memoir. Full of life events affecting Nick and his wife, as they decide to give up the rat race and move to rural Ireland. I expected lots of life experiences and mishaps as the couple lived the dream in a rural idyll. Eventually, this is what you get, but first, there are many chapters, on how the couple got to this point in their lives. There are comical, poignant and interesting moments, in these early chapters, but this section could be much shorter and still provide a snapshot of life before Ireland.

The couple’s first trip to Ireland and their house search, introduces many colourful characters, lots of humorous moments and interesting facts on Ireland, the housing market and economy in the early twenty-first century.

The difficulty of buying a house in Ireland is surprising These events are retold in an upbeat humorous way, but you can appreciate how stressful this was for the author.

The dogs and chickens have fabulous personalities, and you can see how much they are part of the family. There are also some poignantly sad animal moments, which all of us, who share their lives with animal friends will empathise.

Life in Ireland is never boring, I loved the chapter where Nick moves in, on his own. His experience with the oil fired boiler reminded me of my own experiences with the same sort of boiler. Country living is not for the faint-hearted.

The memoir is authentic and honest. This is a realistic view of escaping the rat race, the problems are numerous, but the will to make the change, is stronger, and ultimately they succeed. This first book, on living the dream in rural Ireland, is factual, humorous, motivational and poignant The narrator is engagingly good, and the memoir flows well. I enjoyed my day listening to this.

Nick Albert

Nick Albert was born in England and raised in a Royal Air Force family. After leaving College he worked in retail management for several years before moving into financial services where he quickly progressed through the ranks to become a training consultant.

As a very passionate and reasonably talented sportsman, Nick had always wanted to use his training skills towards creating a parallel career, so in the mid-1980’s he qualified and began coaching sport professionally.

After a health scare in 2003 and in search of a simpler life, he and his wife Lesley, cashed in their investments, sold their home and bought a rundown farmhouse in the rural west of Ireland – a country they had never before even visited.

With little money or experience and armed only with a do-it-yourself manual, they set about renovating their new home, where they now live happily alongside a flock of chickens, two ducks and several unruly, but delightful dogs.

In 2017 Nick was signed to Ant Press to write a series of humorous memoirs about his life in rural Ireland. Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds (book one) was published in September 2017 and soon became an Amazon bestseller. Book two in the series was published on 1st June 2018 and book 3 in August 2019. Book four is due out in early 2020.

Nick is also the author of the twisty thriller, Wrecking Crew, the first in a series of books featuring reluctant hero Eric Stone.

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Posted in Audiobook Review, Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Mental Health, Romance

The Unfinished Garden – Barbara Claypole-White Narrated by Ana Clements, Paul Heitsch #OCD #MentalHealth #Grief #Family #Friends 5*#AudiobookReview #BlogTour @bclaypolewhite @rararesources @audibleuk @SpokenRealms #TheUnfinishedGarden

A love story about grief, OCD, and dirt 

Tilly Silverberg is rebuilding her life with her young son, Isaac, one potted-up plant at a time. Since her husband’s death, gardening has become her livelihood and her salvation. Hiding out in the North Carolina forest, she wants only to be left alone with Isaac and her greenhouse.

New to the area, successful software developer James Nealy needs a garden. On a solitary mission to reclaim his life from irrational obsessions and relentless compulsions, he has a plan: to conquer his greatest fear. Dirt. One glimpse—or two—of Tilly’s garden, and he knows she holds the key. But when he asks her to take him on as a client, she refuses.

After a family emergency pulls Tilly and Isaac back to her native England, she’s quietly happy, because nothing has changed in her childhood village. Or has it? Her first love is unexpectedly single, her mother is scheming, and her best friend is keeping secrets. Then James appears on her doorstep.

Tenuous at first, but gradually taking root, James and Tilly forge an unlikely bond. As they work together to rescue a garden choked by neglect, they unearth each other’s secrets, each other’s fears, each other’s hopes—and maybe, a shared second chance.

Media Reviews

“Claypole White does not merely write about people with mental illness—she inhabits them.”  Lee Smith, New York Times bestseller author

“Claypole White’s gift is her ability to put us into the troubled minds of her characters in a way that helps us not only understand them but fall in love with them as well. We discover that while their minds may be different from ours, their hearts are the same.” Diane Chamberlain, New York Times bestselling author

“A fabulous debut novel, The Unfinished Garden easily earns Romance Junkies’ highest rating of five blue ribbons and a recommended read status for its unpredictable originality! So good!” Romance Junkies

The Unfinished Garden is a powerful story of friendship and courage in the midst of frightening circumstances … I highly recommend this wonderful love story.” Bergers’ Book Reviews 

“Claypole White … conveys the condition of OCD, and how it creates havoc in one’s life and the lives of loved ones, with style and grace, never underplaying the seriousness of the disorder.” Romantic Times

Amazon UK

Amazon

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

My Thoughts…

I enjoyed this audiobook, and it is interesting to review a narrated book.

The story’s main themes are Mental Health Issues, primarily Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), bereavement, grief and coping with loss. This is also partly a family drama, as Tilly has to return to England for a time to help her mother. Tilly experiences guilt over her husband’s death, this and her need to be both mother and father to her son, are common reactions to the death of a partner. Friendship and romance are also intrinsic to this varied, emotion-driven story.

James’ life is governed by OCD, he hopes to confront his fears, to lessen the condition. He associates gardens with loss, and the start of his compulsive behaviour, he wants Tilly to help him overcome his fear of dirt and all gardens represent to him.

Tilly is torn between her feelings for her first love, who turns up in her village when she returns, and a new relationship with James. The story is written with insight and sensitivity. Tilly is courageous and kind, even when life throws another curve ball her way, she is easy to root for. James is lovely, he understands his current limitations but hates himself for them. He is attracted to Tilly and senses, she is keeping secrets and hiding her vulnerability through her reclusive behaviour.

The pacing is gentle, the emotional insight of the main characters, particularly Tilly and James, complex and intensive. You experience James’ OCD and explore how it constrains his life. His point of view is sometimes exhausting to read but is authentic and enthralling, and James is easy to like.

The characters and setting are vividly described, and the character flaws and motivations easy to understand. The story flows well, and the conflicts are both external and internal. Narration brings out the internal musings of James and Tilly, more directly than just reading the book. The narration is good, however, I would have preferred James’ dialogue to be spoken by the male narrator who reads his point of view.

This is an emotional read, James’ attachment to Tilly and Issac, seems to occur quickly, but this is because she holds the key to his aversion therapy, on one hand, and Tilly and Issac represent the family he wants to complete his life but doesn’t think he deserves.

A well-written thought-provoking, story that holds your interest, despite the complexity intensity and length of the novel.

Bestselling author Barbara Claypole White writes hopeful family drama with a healthy dose of mental illness. Born in England, she works and gardens in the forests of North Carolina, where she lives with her family. Her novels include The Unfinished Garden, which won the Golden Quill for Best First Book; The In-Between Hour, a SIBA Okra Pick; The Perfect Son, a Goodreads Choice Awards Semi-finalist; Echoes of Family, aWFWA Star Award Finalist; and The Promise Between Us, a 2018 Nautilus Award Winner.

Barbara is an OCD advocate for the nonprofit A2A Alliance, which promotes advocacy over adversity. To connect with her, please visit www.barbaraclaypolewhite.com 

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