Posted in Audiobook Review, Blog Tour, Friendship, Mystery, Romance, Suspense, Travel, Young Adult

The Island C.L.Taylor 4* #Review @callytaylor @HQStories Narrators Olivia Dowd, Sam Newton, Sarah Ovens, HQ Young Adult #YA #Romance #Teen #Mystery #Psychological #Suspense # audiobook #Relationships #Phobias #BlogTour #FridayMorning #Thailand #TheIsland #HarperCollinsAudioUK

It was supposed to be the perfect holiday: a week-long trip for six teenage friends on a remote tropical island.

But when their guide dies of a stroke leaving them stranded, the trip of a lifetime turns into a nightmare.

Because someone on the island knows each of the group’s worst fears. And one by one, they’re becoming a reality.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is a suspenseful story about six teenagers marooned on an island. Their darkest fears materialise as someone is turning paradise into hell. The characters are authentic and behave relatably. After witnessing an adult tragedy, the team dynamics start to crumble. Vulnerabilities and weaknesses rule each of the teenagers’ motivations. A vividly portrayed island setting is integral to the suspense. The dual point of views are both unreliable protagonists can their accounts be trusted?

The story has psychological suspense and insights into team dynamics and how stress affects individuals and the group. There are poignant moments and twists with a satisfying ending. It’s a fast-paced read which keeps you turning the pages.

The audiobook’s narrators bring the characters to life the different people and their changing emotions and reactions to each other are easy to discern. The narration is professional and builds the suspense and tension in the story well. It’s an easy book to listen to, and you soon become involved in the action and emotions

This audiobook is an addictive medley of naivety and noir that will appeal to its intended audience and adults who like psychological suspense and atmospheric settings.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Mystery, Romance, Suspense, Travel, Young Adult

The Island C.L.Taylor 4* #Review @callytaylor @HQStories #YA #Romance #Teen #Mystery #Psychological #Suspense #BookReview #BlogTour #FridayReads #Thailand #TheIsland

It was supposed to be the perfect holiday: a week-long trip for six teenage friends on a remote tropical island.

But when their guide dies of a stroke leaving them stranded, the trip of a lifetime turns into a nightmare.

Because someone on the island knows each of the group’s worst fears. And one by one, they’re becoming a reality.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is a suspenseful story about six teenagers marooned on an island. Their darkest fears materialise as someone is turning paradise into hell. The characters are authentic and behave relatably. After witnessing an adult tragedy, the team dynamics start to crumble. Vulnerabilities and weaknesses rule each of the teenagers’ motivations. A vividly portrayed island setting is integral to the suspense. The dual point of views are both unreliable protagonists can their accounts be trusted?

The story has psychological suspense and insights into team dynamics and how stress affects individuals and the group. There are poignant moments and twists with a satisfying ending. It’s a fast-paced read which keeps you turning the pages.

It’s an addictive medley of naivety and noir that will appeal to its intended audience and adults who like psychological suspense and atmospheric settings.

Posted in Audiobook Review, Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Fantasy, Folk Tales, Friendship, Horror Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal, Suspense, Young Adult

The Tear Collector Shawn Burgess 4* #Review @ShawnBinjax Narrator Lou Petrella #Audiobook #Review #BlogTour @rararesources #AudibleUK #Horror #Mystery #ComingofAge

The misdeeds of our ancestors are debts passed from generation to generation. They lurk, hidden in the shadows, waiting for the right time to be collected. For the residents of Harper Pass—their debt is due.

When a young autistic girl goes missing from a small Appalachian community, the residents of Harper Pass descend into chaos. Brooks Raker and his friends stumble across the police investigation, and as they dig deeper into the mysterious events, the boys realize the fate of their missing classmate pales in comparison with the evil lurking in the shadows of the quiet little town.

With four boys who believe something sinister is at work, and an ambitious reporter breathing down his neck, Detective Holt of the Harper Pass Police Department must confront his doubts and follow the evidence. A chain of disappearances and suspicious deaths, leads Holt to the doorstep of the mysterious and reclusive Professor Wadlow who may know exactly what has come to collect in Harper Pass.

Can the detective and the boys work together to unravel the dark secrets of Harper Pass before those secrets devour them all?

Audible UK Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This story starts with a tragedy and then returns to the present day where it appears, history is repeating its self. A missing girl and horrific deaths mean the inhabitants of Harper Pass are in danger but by whom or what?

The author builds a believable world centred around a group of young adults. The friendship and bullying described are relatable, and the team dynamic realistic. There are elements of horror and mystery. The author explores the susceptibility of young minds to the paranormal believably. The bond between young adults grows into a powerful force for good.

Perfect for audiobook media, the excellent narrator creates easy to identify characters, and traits bringing the story to life for the listener.

The story is claustrophobic and intense. The author’s use of sensory imagery immerses the reader into the characters’ lives. The ending is exciting and satisfying with a twist that makes you want to find out what next?

Shawn Burgess

Shawn Burgess has a BA in English from the University of Florida, and he focused on literature for his postgraduate studies at the University of North Florida. His travels have taken him to most parts of the country, where he often drew inspiration for his stories through meeting interesting people and experiencing unique places. Beware! If you find yourself behaving curiously within the crosshairs of his vision you might end up on one of his pages. In his spare time, Shawn enjoys travelling, attending concerts, reading, and playing golf. He typically makes year-round preparations for Halloween by building props and elaborate sets. Shawn claims Jacksonville, Florida as his home, but he has lived all over the southeastern United States. Many of his stories are set in those towns he once called home, or in fictional places inspired by them. He says, “I enjoy building upon the natural mysteries surrounding those areas I’ve personally experienced.” The Tear Collector is Shawn’s debut novel, but he’s currently working on a YA Fantasy novel, as well as The Tear Collector’s sequel. He is active on social media, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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

A Waltz with the Outspoken Governess Catherine Tinley 4* #Review @CatherineTinley @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks #DollarDuchesses @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #MillsandBoonHistorical #HarlequinHistorical #HistoricalFiction #AWaltzwiththeOutspokenGoverness #HistoricalRomance #MondayBlogs

A quiet governess…

An unruly heart

Sir Nicholas Denny is desperate to find a governess to care for his boisterous nieces and nephews. Demure vicar’s daughter Mary Smith seems ideal—at first. All too soon Nicholas discovers a different side to her… She’s a beautiful, vivacious woman, even if she infuriates him with her strong opinions! When he waltzes with Mary at a party he knows he’s in trouble—the spark between them is so tempting, but she challenges everything he thought he wanted in a wife!

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My Thoughts…

This book gives a different view of early nineteenth-century society which explores the divide between the rich and their servants. Mary is an independent young woman, unfashionably educated, intelligent and outspoken. Receiving some disturbing news of her father, a Norfolk vicar she ingeniously finds a way to be close to him to help. Sir Nicholas Kenney is dreading the annual visit from his sister, and family hiring additional staff essential, especially a governess.

Mary and Nicholas’ romance is gentle with the attraction building insidiously. Mary’s outspoken intelligent nature appeals to Nicholas despite the forbidden nature of their circumstances. This story explores the vulnerability of servants to those who pay their wages.

There’s both mystery and romance in this story with relatable characters, witty dialogue and a happy ending.

#CatherineTinley

Catherine Tinley is an award-winning author who writes witty, heartwarming, Regency love stories for Harlequin Mills & Boon. She has loved reading and writing since childhood and has a particular fondness for love, romance, and happy endings. After a career encompassing speech & language therapy, NHS management, maternity campaigning and being President of a charity, she now manages a maternity hospital. She lives in Ireland with her husband, children, and dog.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Fiction

Last Flight to Stalingrad Graham Hurley 5* #Review @Seasidepicture @HoZ_Books #Thriller #Spy #BlogTour #BookReview #WW2 #LastFlightToStalingrad

Berlin, 1942: for four years, the men in field grey have helped themselves to country after country across Western Europe. For Werner Nehmann, a journalist at the Promi—the Ministry of Propaganda—this dizzying series of victories has felt like a party without end. But now the Reich’s attention has turned towards the East, and as winter sets in, the mood is turning. Werner’s boss, Joseph Goebbels, can sense it. A small man with a powerful voice and coal-black eyes, Goebbels has a deep understanding the dark arts of manipulation. His words, his newsreels, have shaken Germany awake, propelling it towards its greater destiny and he won’t let—he can’t let—morale falter now. But the Minister of Propaganda is uneasy and in his discomfort has pulled Werner into his close confidence. And here, amid the power struggle between the Nazi Chieftains, Werner will make his mistake and begin his descent into the hell of Stalingrad.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Stories like this stand or fall on the quality of the author’s research, understanding of the historical events and the ability to weave fact into fiction believably. This story has authenticity, adrenaline-pumping pace, intricate and vivid historical detail, and creates a believable world of atrocity and war that is both addictive and shocking for the reader.

This story explores the power of propaganda from two protagonist perspectives. One a pilot, the other a journalist both with powerful masters. The story that unfolds is an intriguing balance of action and introspection immersing the reader in the story before delivering the horrors of war and the twists of evil minds.

It’s a pacy read, harrowingly graphic in parts but it’s addictive and stays with you after the last word.

Graham Hurley

Graham Hurley is the author of the acclaimed Faraday and Winter crime novels and an award-winning TV documentary maker. Two of the critically lauded series have been shortlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Award for Best Crime Novel.

The first Wars Within novel, Finisterre, was shortlisted for the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize.

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

A Painter in Penang Clare Flynn 4*#Review @clarefly @LoveBooksGroup #LoveBooksTours #Comingof Age #HistFic #1948 #BookTour #BookReview #APainterinPenang

Sixteen-year-old Jasmine Barrington hates everything about living in Kenya and longs to return to the island of Penang in British colonial Malaya where she was born. Expulsion from her Nairobi convent school offers a welcome escape – the chance to stay with her parents’ friends, Mary and Reggie Hyde-Underwood on their Penang rubber estate. But this is 1948 and communist insurgents are embarking on a reign of terror in what becomes the Malayan Emergency. Jasmine unearths a shocking secret as her own life is put in danger. Throughout the turmoil, her one constant is her passion for painting.

From the international best-selling and award-winning author of The Pearl of Penang, this is a dramatic coming of age story, set against the backdrop of a tropical paradise torn apart by civil war.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is an historical coming of age story set against a turbulent political background in Penang in 1948. Jasmine returns to Penang to stay with friends of her stepmother at the age of sixteen and finds herself amidst a political struggle for power and a personal battle to become the woman she aspires to.

The setting is beautifully portrayed and immerses the reader in the culture and historical context. The uncertainty and menace of Penang at this time draws you into Jasmine’s world as she comes of age. This is the third book in the series but the first one I’ve read. Like all historical sagas, there is merit in reading the series in order, but there is sufficient character development detail to make this an enjoyable standalone read.

Relatable and vivid characters add to the story’s authenticity and Jasmine’s character development, and maturity reflects the place and time.

This is an informative and intriguing story that makes you want to investigate the earlier books in the series.

Clare Flynn



Author Bio-Historical novelist Clare Flynn is a former global marketing director and business owner. She now lives in Eastbourne on the south coast of England and most of her time these days is spent writing her novels – when she’s not gazing out of her windows at the sea.Clare is the author of eleven novels and a short story collection. Her books deal with displacement – her characters are wrenched away from their comfortable existences and forced to face new challenges – often in outposts of an empire which largely disappeared after WW2.

Prisoner From Penang, was published on 17th April 2020. It is set in South East Asia during the Japanese occupation in World War Two.

Clare’s novels often feature places she knows well and she does extensive research to build the period and geographic flavour of her books.

A Greater World – 1920s Australia; Kurinji Flowers – pre-Independence India; Letters from a Patchwork Quilt – nineteenth century industrial England and the USA; The Green Ribbons – the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth century in rural England, The Chalky Sea – World War II England (and Canada) and its sequels The Alien Corn and The Frozen River – post WW2 Canada. She has also published a collection of short stories – both historical and contemporary, A Fine Pair of Shoes and Other Stories.

Fluent in Italian, she loves spending time in Italy. In her spare time she likes to quilt, paint and travel as often and as widely as possible. She is an active member of the Historical Novel Society, the Romantic Novelists Association, The Society of Authors, NINC and the Alliance of Independent Authors.Get a free copy of Clare’s exclusive short story collection, A Fine Pair of Shoes, at www.clareflynn.co.uk.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Medical Romance

The Heart of Doctor Steele Colette Dixon 5*#Review @CDixonBooks @crimsonfoxpub @rararesources #histfic #HistoricalRomance #MedicalRomance #BlogTour #BookReview #TheHeartofDoctorSteele

Are the rumors about him true? She intends to find out. 

The mysterious Dr. Steele has taken up residence next door, and scandalous rumors about him are spreading through Margaret Landeau’s small Massachusetts town. Rumors of women he’s ill-used and exploited for his experimental surgeries. Never one to believe gossip, Margaret arms herself with a basket of baked goods and ventures to discover the truth from the man himself.

John Steele has lost everything. His parents, his aunt, too many women he intended to save, and his good name. All he has left is his aunt’s home in a far-flung village and a library he’s stocked with whiskey. He has nothing to offer anyone. Especially not the bold woman next door whose passion for healing reminds him of the man he once was.

But when a dangerously ill girl arrives on his doorstep, pleading for help, Margaret is thrust into his world. She will learn who the real Dr. John Steele truly is, and soon, not even his dark past can stop her from fighting for the brilliant doctor she now loves. But he must deny his crushing desire for her—loving a man like him can only cast a shadow over her own bright future.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is such an absorbing story full of historical medical details, the emergence of female emancipation and a misunderstood and scandalous hero. This story explores society’s prejudices against the pioneers of medicine who dared to try something different to help their patients.

John Steele flees to his deceased aunt’s house amid a scandal that threatens to ruin his medical career and has devastated him emotionally. He is the subject of gossip, but Margaret likes to make her own decisions and what she finds is a complex, driven man whose motives are predominately good.

The chemistry between them is sizzling even though Margaret is naive and John anxious for her reputation. The romance is full of conflicts, both external and internal, but worth the angst.

The characters are believably flawed and easy to empathise, the historical and medical detail is fascinating, and the plot is original and riveting.

Colette Dixon

Colette Dixon writes steamy stories with heart and humor about slightly tortured people who learn how love can heal. For more years than she cares to admit, she worked in a hospital while dreaming up love story plots. A farm girl who landed in Chicago, she loves to eat (food made by others), drink tea, and sun herself at every chance she can get to survive the Midwest winter.

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Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Giveaway, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance

The Maiden and the Mercenary Nicola Locke 4*#Review @NicoleLockeNews @MillsandBoonHistorical @HarlequinBooks @rararesources #harlequinhistorical #BlogBlitz #BookReview #MillsandBoonHistorical #HistoricalRomance #LoversandLegends #MondayBlogs #Giveaway

Amazon UK Amazon

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

My Thoughts…

This medieval romance is part of the Lovers and Legends series. The romance between a serving girl and a mercenary masquerading as a servant is a forbidden romance trope and is full of adventure, danger and passion.

The lighthearted romance between two individuals with hidden agendas, but a common purpose counters the malevolence underlying the story. Their romance is intense, passionate and secretive. The plot contains intrigue and the threat of being found out, as Louve and Biedeluue indulge their attraction whilst trying to achieve their necessary missions.

The author creates a believable sense of history and a disturbing ethos which changes with the whim of the evil lord. The characters are flawed and relatable, and the romance is the flame that carries them through.

Giveaway to Win a £20 / $20 Amazon Gift Card

(Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Giveaway link above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from 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 despatch or delivery of the prize.

Nicole Locke

Nicole first discovered romance novels hidden in her grandmother’s closet. Convinced that hidden books must be better, Nicole greedily read them. It was only natural she should start writing them (but now not so secretly).

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Posted in Cover Reveal, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction

The Dream That Held Us Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang #CoverReveal @rhiannonjtsang @rararesources #TheDreamThatHeldUs #histfic #Romance #LiteraryFiction

“The Dream That Held US took me on an exquisite exploration if a love that crosses boundaries of time and culture.”

 Angela Barton author of Arlette’s Story, Magnolia House and You’ve Got My Number

“Deeply imbued with a certain wistfulness and haunting sense of loss brought out by the end of a glorious summer… Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang’s latest novel is a sensitive and skilful exploration of love, longing, and whether life sometimes relents to give us second chances.” Osama Siddique – author of Snuffing Out the Moon

“This book carries a universal message about love and finding your way in the world. I loved it.” Angela Barton author of Arlette’s Story, Magnolia House and You’ve Got My Number

Another stunning Anglo-Indian love story from the author of The Last Vicereine, Penguin Random House 2017.

October 1985, Ash Misra leaves a blood-stained Delhi for Oxford University. Haunted by a terrible secret, he just wants to forget. Music and fresh violence bring him to fellow student and amateur violinist, Isabella Angus, but duty and the burden of history keep them apart. A quarter of a century later against the background of the global ­financial crisis, Sir Peter Roberts, former Master of Woodstock College, receives a letter from Ash for Isabella. They are no longer young but they had made a tryst with destiny; old terrors and suppressed desires return.

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Publication Date – 21st January 2021

Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang

Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang is a British author whose work focuses on cultural and historical fault lines and has strong international themes.  Rhiannon was born and grew up in Yorkshire and has studied, lived and worked in Europe and Asia.  She read Oriental Studies (Chinese) at Oxford University and speaks Mandarin and Cantonese.  Rhiannon lives in a former farmhouse in rural England with her family.

Novels

The Woman Who Lost China, Open Books 2013

The Last Vicereine, Penguin Random House 2017

Short Story Anthology

Hong Kong Noir, Akashic Books 2019

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Romance

The Forgotten Gift Kathleen McGurl 5*#Review @KathMcGurl @HQStories @rararesources #Timeslip #HistFic #ContemporaryFiction #TuesdayThoughts #Mystery #Family #Secrets #Parenting #BlogTour #BookReview #Geneaology #TheForgottenGift




What would you do to protect the ones you love?

1861. George’s life changes forever the day he meets Lucy. She’s beautiful and charming, and he sees a future with her that his position as the second son in a wealthy family has never offered him. But when Lucy dies in a suspected poisoning days after rejecting George, he finds himself swept up into a murder investigation. George loved Lucy; he would never have harmed her. So who did?

Now. On the surface Cassie is happy with her life: a secure job, good friends, and a loving family. When a mysterious gift in a long-forgotten will leads her to a dark secret in her family’s history she’s desperate to learn more. But the secrets in Cassie’s family aren’t all hidden in the past, and her research will soon lead her to a revelation much closer to home – and which will turn everything she knows on its head…

Discover a family’s darkest secrets today.

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

My Thoughts…

A dual timeline novel set in the Victorian era and the present day, this emotional story about love, family, and secrets is an engaging read. George and Cassie’s initial connection is through genealogy. George is a distant relative in Cassie’s family history. The story begins with an extract from George’s will noting a bequest to the wife of a prison chaplain. Moving to the twenty-first century, Cassie finds an unexpected connection in her family tree.

George is a naive man who seeks, but never finds, parental love, he needs. Cassie has parental love, but never recovered emotionally, from an early life experience. Cassie and George’s emotional vulnerability connects them. They are flawed and naive but easy to empathise. Both timelines give the reader a good sense of time and place. It’s easy to visualise the Victorian household and the differences in society’s expectation in the differing centuries.

The brutal contrasts of Victorian society are portrayed well in a story with many poignant moments. George, despite his lack of worldliness, is loyal, and you want him to find the happiness he deserves. Both stories have family and love at their heart. The plot reveals its secrets in a way that keeps you turning the pages.

Believable emotion, clever connections and historical detail make this an intriguing and satisfying story.

Kathleen McGurl

Kathleen McGurl lives in Bournemouth with her husband. She has two sons who have both now left home. She always wanted to write, and for many years was waiting until she had the time. Eventually she came to the bitter realisation that no one would pay her for a year off work to write a book, so she sat down and started to write one anyway. Since then she has published several novels with HQ and self-published another. She has also sold dozens of short stories to women’s magazines, and written three How To books for writers. After a long career in the IT industry she became a full time writer in 2019.

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