Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Cover Reveal, Friendship, Mystery, Romance

Buried Treasure – Gilli Allan #Paperback #CoverReveal 4* #Review @gilliallan @RandomTTours #Romance #Mystery #Friendship #BuriedTreasure

Jane thinks he sees her as shallow and ill-educated. Theo thinks she sees him as a snob, stuffy and out of touch.

Within the ancient precincts of the university, the first encounter between the conference planner and the academic is accidental and unpromising. Just as well there’s no reason for them ever to meet again.

But behind the armour they’ve each constructed from old scars, they’ve more in common than divides them. Both have an archaeological puzzle they are driven to solve. As their stories intertwine, their quest to uncover the past unearths more than expected.

Treasure is not always what it seems.

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

My Thoughts…

I love to read something a little different this story is a mix of genre. There is a gentle slow-burning romance ridden with internal obstacles to its success. There is a historically rooted mystery that draws the couple together, when it seems, in the beginning, they have nothing in common, except that they irritate each other. There is also a strong emotional thread in this story, as the first part of the book reveals, why Theo and Jane are unwilling to trust again, this poignancy makes the characters easier to empathise.

This story has a believable contemporary setting that is well researched and has intrinsic interest. Character-driven Jane and Theo’s flaws and emotional baggage make them authentic. The subsidiary characters are also realistic.

This is an engaging, intriguing romantic mystery set against a politicised contemporary background.

Gilli Allan began to write in childhood – a hobby pursued throughout her teenage. Writing was only abandoned when she left home, and real-life supplanted the imaginary kind.  

After a few false starts, she worked longest and most happily as an illustrator in advertising and only began writing again when she became a mother. 

Living in Gloucestershire with her husband Geoff, Gilli is still a keen artist. She draws and paints and has now moved into book illustration.

All of her recent books TORN, LIFE CLASS, FLY or FALL and BURIED TREASURE have gained ‘Chill with a Book’ awards.

Following in the family tradition, her son, historian Thomas Williams, is now also a writer.

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Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Spotlight, Historical Fiction, Motivational

Billy Tapper Zillionaire Gary Finnan #BookBlitz @GaryFinnan @LoveBooksGroup #HistFic #LoveBooksTours #1950s #1960s #BillyTapperZillionaire

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This colourful novel of adventure, family, and courage shows young Billy McTaggart coming of age as a tapper in a British railyard during the bitter years following World War II. Bullied for his small stature but endowed with a sharp mind, the fierce ambition of his sweetheart Meg, and the love of his Mam, Billy navigates a rapidly changing world where steam engines give way to rock and roll, Elvis, and the Beatles. Everything changes for Billy in one breathtaking moment when he uncovers an amazing secret hidden inside a rail car. Romance, loss, pain, and elation follow his path up and out of England’s rigid class system. Through it all, Billy maintains his generous spirit and sense of what is right. Billy Tapper Zillionaire captures the humanity of simple relationships for an accidental bystander to history growing up in the 1950s and 60s.

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Born in Scotland and raised in Zimbabwe and South Africa, Gary Finnan splits his time between Sonoma Wine country in California and his farm in Aiken South Carolina, along with his wife Eva and two daughters. Gary is an award-winning inspirational author.

Posted in Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Saga

The Orphan’s Gift Renita D’Silva 5*#Review @RenitaDSilva @bookouture #saga #India #historicalfiction #histfic #LiteraryFiction #BookReview #TheOrphansGift

She allows herself to kiss her perfect child just once. She wraps the baby in her last gift: a hand-knitted cardigan, embroidered with a water lily pattern. ‘You’re better off without me,’ she whispers and although every step breaks her heart, she walks away.

1910, India. Young and curious Alice, with her spun-gold hair, grows up in her family’s sprawling compound with parents as remote as England, the cold country she has never seen. It is Raju, son of a servant, with whom she shares her secrets. Together, their love grows like roses – but leaves deep thorns. Because when they get too close, Alice’s father drags them apart, sending Raju far away and banishing Alice to England…

1944. Intelligent and kind Janaki is raised in an orphanage in India. The nuns love to tell the story: Janaki’s arrival stopped the independence riots outside the gates, as the men on both sides gazed at the starry-eyed little girl left in a beautiful hand-knitted cardigan. Janaki longs for her real mother, the woman who was forced to abandon her, wrapped in a precious gift…

Now old enough to be a grandmother and living alone in India, Alice watches children play under the tamarind trees, haunted by the terrible mistake she made fifty years ago. It’s just an ordinary afternoon, until a young girl with familiar eyes appears with a photograph and Alice must make a choice. Will she spend the rest of her life consumed by dreams of the past, or can she admit her mistakes and choose love and light at last?

A stunning and heartbreaking novel about how a forbidden love can echo through the generations. 

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

My Thoughts…

This author always delivers an emotional story. The lyrical writing style is pleasurable to read. The vivid characters and imagery are evocative of the setting. Told from Alice and Janaki’s viewpoints the story set in India and England encompasses a turbulent time in the two country’s histories. Loss, love, manipulation and prejudice form the intricate embroidery of this story. The characters draw you into their worlds the ripple of effect resonates from carelessly made decisions.

If you are looking for a book that is vibrant yet poignant and full of sensory imagery, this is for you.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance

The Rebel Heiress and the Knight Melissa Oliver 4*#Review @melissaoauthor @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks #HistoricalRomance @rararesources #RachelsRandomResources #BlogTour #BookReview #FridayReads

She must marry the knight


By order of the king!Widow Eleanor of Tallany Castle knows her people are broken by the taxes demanded by King John. So when she’s ordered to marry Hugh de Villiers, a knight loyal to the king, she’s furious—even if he is handsome! As gallant Hugh begins to heal the scars of Eleanor’s abusive first marriage, she’s even more determined to keep her secret: she is the outlaw the king wants to send to the gallows!

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

My Thoughts…

Reminiscent of Robin Hood this is a passionate tale of courage deceit and love. Eleanor likes being a widow her husband’s death allowed her to determine her own life, but now the King’s decreed she is to be married. Hugh never looked for marriage or a place to call home, but it seems he now has both. Too bad that his bride hates him, but there’s passion simmering under the hateful looks, so maybe they have a chance for happiness together?

A plot full of historical detail and intrigue with likeable well-developed characters make this an absorbing read.

Growing up in Richmond- Upon-Thames, Melissa Oliver used to walk past the old Mills and Boon offices as a teen, and wistfully sigh that one day her dream of writing for them will come true. Amazingly, after all these years, it finally has…& now she can bring all those stories out onto the pages of her books. Melissa lives in south-west London with her gorgeous husband and equally gorgeous daughters, who share her passion for castles, palaces and all things historical.

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Posted in Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Historical Crime Fiction, Murder Mystery, Mystery, Travel

Under the Guise of Death / An Exhibition of Murder – Vivian Conroy 5*#Reviews @VivWrites @canelo_co #AMurderWillFollow #cozymystery #MurderMystery #BookReview #MondayBlogs #MurderMonday

In the City of Masks, deadly secrets are about to be revealed…

While attending a lavish masked ball in Venice, retired Scotland Yard detective Jasper has a shock when, at the midnight demasqué, he spots a woman whose accidental death he investigated in England three years ago.

Even more stunned than Jasper is the woman’s husband, Lord Bantham, who has since remarried, not to mention his new wife who sees her acquired position and wealth slip away. Then there are her old friends who all seem to have known more about the ‘accident’ than they ever let on.

When the resurrected lady is found dead the next morning on one of Venice’s many bridges, the question is: who wanted Lady Bantham to die, again?

The third book in the Murder Will Follow series.

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Former Scotland Yard investigator Jasper is back on the case, this time in the glamorous and cultured city of Vienna.


The opening of an archaeological exhibition brings with it intrigue and evil as a fabled cursed golden death mask lives up to its dark past and death strikes at the exhibition. While digging up pieces of history, these archaeologists have also been burying secrets – deadly ones – and it’s up to Jasper to uncover the truth before the murderer strikes again.
 


With a nosy journalist desperate to breathe life into the rumour that the mask brings bad luck to anyone possessing it, and the police eager to blame a famous cat burglar who recently pulled off a string of daring robberies, Jasper is on his own in bringing the true culprit to light. 

The fourth book in the Murder Will Follow series.

I received copies of these books from Canelo via NetGalley in return for honest reviews.

My Thoughts…

Set in atmospheric and dramatic Venice Jasper finds himself embroiled in another murder investigation. The drama takes place at an iconic masked ball closely followed a death.

There are many people with a motive for murder and Jasper painstakingly investigates all of them, in his imitable style. The 1920’s setting is vibrant, and the cast of characters secretive and vividly portrayed. The plot is complex full of misinformation and twists that keep you guessing.

This Agatha Christie-style mystery has all the ingredients glamorous golden age setting, complex characters with realistic motivations for murder and an enigmatic detective who outwits them all.

The latest book, in the murder, will follow series, is set in Vienna at an archaeological exhibition. This is a complex noir mystery, involving a cursed mask and a deeply disturbed mind. There is a menacing feel to this story. Is the mask cursed? Or is this something the murder is perpetuating to cover their crimes?

Jasper is personally involved. He promised to protect the victim who dies this guilt spurs him on to solve the mystery. The vividly described historical setting gives the story an authentic ambience that makes it enjoyable.

A complex mystery eerie ethos and a well-orchestrated investigation make this another success for the enigmatic Jasper.

Read my reviews of A Honeymoon With Death and A Testament To Murder by clicking on the links.

Posted in Book Review, Mystery, Romance, Romance -Dark and Steamy, Romantic Suspense, Suspense

An Oxford Revenge Maxine Barry 4*#Review @FaithMartin_Nov @JoffeBooks #Mystery #Oxford #RomanticSuspense #MondayBlogs #MondayMurder #AnOxfordRevenge

 

REVENGE ISN’T ALWAYS AS SWEET AS YOU THINK

HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO FOR REVENGE?

Davina Granger wants revenge. She blames Dr Gareth Lacey for her brother’s suicide. When she gets a fellowship at his Oxford college, she sees her chance to punish him.

But is he really as guilty as she believes?

Alicia Norman is a student at the same college. She’s excited to leave her sheltered, privileged existence for college life. But her brother and his friends will do anything to stop her from being with anyone they think isn’t posh enough for her. Including murder?

HOW FAR WILL THEY GO?

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

My Thoughts…

Something different from this crime fiction author that may surprise her readership. If you’re expecting murder mystery, you’ll be disappointed. This story set in an Oxford college, in the early twenty-first century, is about obsession, passion and revenge. These are all motivation for murder, but here the focus is more on romance and suspense.

Davina, a successful poet, gains an honorary fellowship at St Bede’s Oxford college, to compile and write a forward, for a poetry anthology. She has an ulterior motive for being there, but her quest for revenge is convoluted by physical attraction and passion.

The plot is complex with elements of psychological suspense. The characters are flawed and emotionally vulnerable as a consequence of life events, family and social class. There is good suspense building throughout the story. The exploration of the Oxford establishment and family, peer and societal expectations is insightful. An atmospheric and claustrophobic romantic suspense.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Mystery, Romance

A Perfect Cornish Escape Phillipa Ashley 5* #Review @PhillipaAshley @AvonBooksUK #BlogTour #BookReview #PorthmellowHarbour #Cornwall #Romance #UpLit #mystery #APerfectCornishEscape #MondayBlogs #MondayMorning #MondayMotivation

Summer in Cornwall is the perfect time for a fresh start…

Seven years ago, Marina Hudson’s husband was lost at sea. She vowed to love Nate for the rest of her life – but when kind-hearted Lachlan arrives in Porthmellow, should she deny herself another chance at happiness?

Tiff Trescott was living life to the full as a journalist in London – until her boyfriend’s betrayal brought it all crashing down. Fleeing to her cousin Marina’s cottage, Tiff feels like a fish-out-of-water. And when brooding local Dirk wins a day with her in a charity auction, she’s thrown headfirst into Cornish life.

This summer promises new beginnings for both Tiff and Marina. But are they too good to be true?

Escape to Cornwall with this emotional, uplifting read. 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Whether you are a lover of this series or are reading this as a standalone, it’s a great read.

Marina’s husband Nate disappeared at seas seven years ago. She has learnt to live again by focusing on her teaching and volunteer work. Having her cousin Tiff to stay as she runs from her imploding London life is just what she needs. Meeting Lachlan is unexpected and lovely, but both have painful pasts, which they need to overcome.

Tiff’s reputation is in ruins. After her lover’s betrayal, she’s sworn off men too. Dirk dislikes journalists, but he is irresistible at least physically. This is a tumultuous relationship full of anger and passion.

The main protagonists are likeable, and the romance is diverse and lovely. The community is full of colourful characters, some familiar. The Cornish setting is stunning and wild and provides the location for, the wave watchers and the lifeboat rescues.

There is plenty of conflict and twists, and even if you guess the main one, I did, it’s still an engaging, exciting romantic read.

Posted in Book Review, Historical Fiction, International Thriller, Thriller, Travel

The Sacred Spoils Will Adams 4*#Review @canelo_co The Rossi & Nero Thrillers #Archaeology #Thriller #International #Italy #Mystery #BookReview #WillAdams

To the victor go the spoils…

Historian Carmen Nero, in southern Italy to help a friend search for ancient riches, is caught up in the murderous schemes of the Calabrian Mafia.

Cesco Rossi, a quick-witted conman on the run from a brutal group of neo-Nazis, is about to be confronted by his tragic past.

Israeli Professor Zara Gold is on a mission to find Judaism’s most sacred relic.

For the tomb of Alaric I, the Visigoth king who sacked and looted Rome of its most fabulous treasures, is on the point of being revealed. And who knows what secrets may lie within?

The race to uncover history’s greatest lost fortune has begun…

An astounding and twisting mystery 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This book is a fusion of international thriller and historical puzzle. Set predominately in Italy this is intriguing and fast-paced. The story is full of historical detail, which sets the scene for the mystery con man Rossi and historian Nero needs to unravel.

The action is adrenaline-pumping and violent, aptly illustrating the people chasing Rossi and Nero. Sub-plots converge as the menace intensifies. Rossi and Nero are an unlikely partnership, but they need each other to survive. The mystery’s complexities complement the action sequences drawing the reader into the story.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, Historical Crime Fiction

A Fatal Truth Faith Martin 5* #Review @HQStories @FaithMartin_Nov #hisfic #CrimeFiction #Mystery #Retro #Oxford #1960s #BookReview #bookbloggers #BlogTour #RyderandLoveday #AFatalTruth

As the Hughes family celebrate bonfire night, a terrible accident leaves the garden shed in flames – and father and grandfather Thomas trapped inside.
 
Tragic though it is, Thomas’s death passes without suspicion – until a local journalist makes accusations of a police cover-up in the press. WPC Trudy Loveday is sent to investigate, and asks coroner Clement Ryder to help.
 
But the more questions the two ask the less clear the case seems. There’s no evidence of foul play, and yet the dead man’s family are obviously hiding something. Then there are Thomas’s dubious business practices – was someone out for revenge?
 
All Trudy and Clement know for sure is that everyone is lying – and that they must find the truth…
 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The fifth book in the ‘Ryder and Loveday Mystery’ series, ‘A Fatal Truth’ captures the 1960s perfectly. The mystery is a standalone but to appreciate the partnership between coroner Ryder and police officer Loveday read the previous books in the series.

Loveday’s confidence needs a boost, at the beginning of this story, and she’s apprehensive about working with Ryder again. The story portrays the misogyny prevalent in the 1960s’ police force showing that intelligence and solving crimes aren’t enough for women to succeed.

The story relies on observation and astute detection skills rather than forensics and technology. The clever plot has authentic characters and dialogue. The character development of Loveday is notable and contrasts with Ryder’s ailing health. There is a feeling of the end drawing near for this enigmatic partnership.

Posted in Book Review, Historical Fiction, Murder Mystery

The Vanished Bride Bella Ellis 5*#Review @brontemysteries @rowancoleman @HodderBooks #BronteSistersMystery #bronte200 #HistFic #Mystery #Detectives #MurderMystery #Haworth #TheVanishedBride #BookReview

Yorkshire, 1845, and dark rumours are spreading across the moors. Everything indicates that Mrs Elizabeth Chester of Chester Grange has been brutally murdered in her home – but nobody can find her body.

As the dark murmurs reach Emily, Anne and Charlotte Brontë, the sisters are horrified, yet intrigued. Before they know it, the siblings become embroiled in the quest to find the vanished bride, sparking their imaginations but placing their lives at great peril . . .

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The author’s love of the Bronte Sisters, permeates every word, of this historical mystery. It portrays the sisters, as complex, relatable characters determined to use their intellect, whatever Victorian society thinks. The bond between the sisters and their brother is believable and poignant.

The plot echoes the Bronte writings, with strong female characters, mystery elements and paranormal twists. The authentic dialogue helps the reader visualise the people, places and events.

This is an educational, engaging read.