Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Historical Crime Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mystery, New Books, Political Thriller

The Garfield Conspiracy Owen Dwyer 4* #Review @OwenDwyerAuthor @LibertiesPress @midaspr #BlogTour #BookReview #publicationday #histfic #psycholgical #contemporaryfiction #TheGarfieldConspiracy #IrishFiction #LiteraryFiction

A burnt-out writer is visited by the characters he is researching while writing a book about the mysterious assassination of US President James Garfield.

Richard Todd, an award-winning writer, is outwardly successful but inwardly plagued by uncertainties. Worst of all, he can’t seem to write any more. When a bright young editor, Jenny Lambe, arrives on his doorstep to work with him on his latest book, about the assassination of US president James Garfield, his life is sent spinning off in a new direction.

President Garfield was killed by Charles Guiteau, who was tried and hanged for the murder. But was he acting alone, in July 1881, or was there a more sinister force at work? Richard hears Guiteau’s voice in his head, and as his relationship with Jenny deepens, he is visited by other characters from the assassination drama – including Garfield himself, his Secretary of State James Blaine, Republican senator Roscoe Conkling, Conkling’s mistress Kate Chase Sprague, and the investigating police officer, Detective McElfresh. Are they helping Richard to solve the mystery surrounding Garfield’s murder – or pushing him further towards the edge?

A remarkable, disturbing portrait of a middle-aged man torn between his carefully constructed life and new adventures which may beckon, in the present and the past, from one of Ireland’s most exciting emerging authors, and based on original research into a little-known period in US history.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

An engaging medley of historical and literary fiction, this original story is a satisfying read. It begins with a once-successful author being confronted with his failings by a young historical researcher at the behest of his publisher. Richard is a little stereotypical, as is Jenny, but this is intentional, and the reasoning becomes clear as the story progresses.

The author explores contemporary issues in a thought-provoking way. The story’s historical aspect is refreshing and well-researched. The appearance of the salient characters in the story brings it to vibrant life. The twist is unexpected and completes this unique story perfectly.

Owen Dwyer

Owen Dwyer is a prize-winning short-story writer who has won the Hennessy Emerging Fiction Prize, the Silver Quill (twice), the Smiling Politely Very Very Short Story competition, the South Tipperary County Council Short Story competition and the Biscuit Fiction Prize, and has had stories published in Whispers and Shouts magazine. His previous novel, Number Games, was published to glowing reviews by Liberties Press in 2019, and follows The Cherry-picker (2012) and The Agitator (2004). Owen lives in Dublin with his wife and their three children.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Espionage - Spy - Thriller, Friendship, Political Thriller, Romance, Thriller, Young Adult

Codename Firefly C.J. Daugherty 5*#Review @CJ_Daugherty @moonflowerbooks @midaspr @agentmilburn #Number10 #BlogTour #BookReview #YAThriller #Conspiracy #ComingofAge #Spy #Political #CodenameFirefly

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is an excellent sequel to the impactful and intriguing Number 10, which I enjoyed despite being considerably older than the Teen/Young Adult audience this series is aimed at.

Gray, target for the paparazzi, and terrorists is a resident at an exclusive boarding school renowned for keeping dependants of VIPS safe and secure. This book explores her adventures and relationships and the conspiracy that threatens the prime minister her mother.

It’s a balance of coming of age and political thriller that delivers an intriguing, insightful story.

Read my review of Number 10

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Historical Fiction, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Political Thriller, Romance, Saga, Travel

Soul Sisters Lesley Lokko 4* #Review @panmacmillan #LesleyLokko @RandomTTours #SoulSisters #HistoricalFiction #ContemporaryFiction #Sisters #Politics #SouthAfrica #Family #Friendship #Secrets #BlogTour #BookReview

Two women raised as sisters. Bound by a secret that could tear them apart . . .

Since childhood, Jen and South African-born Kemi have lived like sisters in the McFadden family home in Edinburgh, brought together by a shared family history which stretches back generations. The ties that bind them are strong and complicated.

Solam Rhoyi is from South Africa’s black political elite. Handsome and charismatic, he meets both Kemi and Jen on a trip to London and sweeps them off their feet. Kemi, captivated by Solam and wanting to discover more about her past, travels to South Africa for the first time. Jen, seeking an escape from her father’s overbearing presence, decides to go with her.

In Johannesburg, it becomes clear that Solam is looking for the perfect wife to facilitate his soaring political ambitions. And as the real story behind Jen and Kemi’s connection threatens to emerge, Solam’s choice will have devastating consequences for them both…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is a compelling and complex, mainly historical saga that spans continents and cultures. At its core is the sisterly bond between two women who grew up together despite having different birthplaces, cultural identities and families. The story begins in Southern Rhodesia in 1921 and concludes in 2010 in Cape Town. Short chapters and parts propel the reader through family history and political change until we reach the time when the sisterly bond is tested and family secrets revealed.

Well researched historical details and realistically crafted characters make this an absorbing read. It does move through time quickly, but the story’s focus is on the sisters and how their bond is tested. Solam is a pivotal character who represents South Africa’s changing political climate. His political ambition makes him manipulative and ruthless, especially in his interactions with the soul sisters.

This book takes the reader on an emotional journey filled with betrayal, love and secrets. It explores culture, family, identity and political change with rich sensory imagery and believable characters that bring the story to vibrant life.

Lesley Lokko

Lesley Lokko is a Ghanaian-Scottish architect, academic and novelist, formerly Dean of Architecture at City College of New York, who has lived and worked on four continents. Lesley’s bestselling novels include Soul Sisters, Sundowners, Rich Girl, Poor Girl and A Private Affair. Her novels have been translated into sixteen languages and are captivating stories about powerful people, exploring themes of racial and cultural identity.

Posted in Cover Reveal, Espionage - Spy - Thriller, Friendship, New Books, Political Thriller, Romance, Thriller, Young Adult

Codename Firefly C.J. Daugherty #CoverReveal @CJ_Daugherty @moonflowerbooks @midaspr #CodenameFirefly #YAThriller #Conspiracy #ComingofAge #Spy #Political

Head back to school this September with the latest instalment of the UK’s most gripping boarding school series. Perfect for readers aged 13 and upwards Codename Firefly is a thrilling teen crime novel that tackles subjects including mental health and politics while also being an engaging and compelling read that teens will devour.

When Gray Langtree, the daughter of the UK Prime Minister, is moved to an elite boarding school for her own protection, she thinks she’ll finally be safe from both the press and the assassins who tried to kill her mother.

But Cimmeria Academy is no ordinary school. It allows no computers or phones. Its students are an odd mixture of the gifted, the tough and the privileged. And then there’s the secretive Night School, which only a select few students are invited to, and whose activities other students are forbidden even to watch. 

Gray has a hard learning curve in front of her discovering who she can be friends with and who is not to be trusted. When the school grounds are broken into one night,  Gray starts having panic attacks and the school begins to feel like a very dangerous place indeed.

Dylan, a mysterious American student, seems to know more than he should – but he’s always there when Gray needs him. Can she trust him? Can she trust anyone? As winter closes in and darkness falls, Gray will have to think fast.

The hunters are coming…

Codename Firefly  is the second book in a new Night School spin off series that sees CJ Daugherty back at her spine tingling best.  Gripping, thrilling, and filled with intrigue, Codename Fireflyexplores the nexus of power in the UK from a teenager’s point of view. 

C.J. Daugherty

A former crime reporter and accidental civil servant, C.J. Daugherty began writing the Night School series while working as a communications consultant for the Home Office. The young adult series was published by Little Brown and went on to sell over a million and a half copies worldwide. A web series inspired by the books clocked up well over a million views. In 2020, the books were optioned for television. She later wrote The Echo Killing series, published by St Martin’s Press, and co-wrote the fantasy series, The Secret Fire, with French author Carina Rosenfeld.

While working as a civil servant, she had meetings at Number 10 Downing Street, and saw people disappearing through a small door leading to a staircase heading below ground level. This visit became the inspiration for Number 10.  FYI: She still doesn’t know if there are tunnels below Number 10. But she hopes there are.

Her books have been translated into 24 languages and been bestsellers in multiple countries. She lives with her husband, the BAFTA nominated filmmaker, Jack Jewers. 

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, Political Thriller, Thriller

The Rift Rachel Lynch 5* #Review @r_lynchcrime @canelo_co #CrimeFiction #International #Thriller #political #France # MilitaryPolice #BookReview #TheRift

She’s determined to save a stolen son. But will that mean justice?

As a high-ranking woman in the Royal Military Police, Major Helen Scott gets the job done – no matter the task. So when she is pulled in to lead a NATO summit security team in Paris, it barely causes a ripple. Yet within hours she’s dispatched to Lyon on a new mission. One with a complex problem at its heart.

Kahlil Dalmani and Fawaz bin Nabil were close in childhood, growing up in the hubbub of Algiers. As men, they are both wildly successful. Yet their paths to fortune have caused a rift. Fawaz’s empire is built on illegal trade, and when his estranged friend refuses to grant a favour he seeks to change Kahlil’s mind the best way he knows how: kidnapping his son, Hakim.

Working out of the Interpol headquarters, Helen must unpick a web of deceit that spreads across borders and dates back years. Only by trusting those from her own painful past can she hope to return Hakim to his family. But with her focus on saving one life, she risks overlooking a plan that puts many others in grave danger.

An explosive and gripping crime thriller from one of the most brilliant British crime fiction authors of recent years.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is a suspenseful international thriller from the author of the DI Kelly Porter series.

Set in France and North Africa, it features Major Helen Scott, a Royal Military Police officer. Helen, on first acquaintance, appears to be a career officer but this more by design than intention after a personal tragedy. The story is multi-viewpoint, and several sub-plots successfully dovetail into a climactic conclusion.

The contemporary plot is authentic and multilayered with a good balance of action and introspection. The detailed and vivid writing style makes the action and settings easy to visualise.

The reader gets to know the main characters and what motivates them well. Helen Scott has emotional strength and human flaws making her believable. The cast of characters are diverse and add to the story’s authenticity and depth of interest.

In conclusion, this is an exciting international political crime thriller.

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Literary Humour, Political Thriller

Facets of Death Michael Stanley 4*#Review The Detective Kubu series @detectivekubu @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours #FacetsofDeath #DetectiveKubu #BlogTour #BookReview #MondayBlogs

A dark and sophisticated thriller set in the heart of Botswana,
introducing Michael Stanley’s beloved Detective Kubu

Recruited straight from university to Botswana’s CID, David ‘Kubu’ Bengu has raised his colleagues’ suspicions with his meteoric rise within the department, and he has a lot to prove.

When the richest diamond mine in the world is robbed of 100,000 carats worth of gems, and the thieves are found, executed, Kubu leaps at the chance to prove himself.

First he must find the diamonds – and it seems that a witch doctor and his son have a part to play.

Does this young detective have the skill and integrity to engineer an international trap? Or could it cost him everything?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Botswana in the late 1990s, this story introduces the reader to Kubu as he embarks on his career as a police detective. The story is multi-viewpoint and written in a police procedural style with a keen insight into the culture and politics of the Botswanan setting.

This is an atmospheric noir story with multiple murders. Kubu proves to be worthy of his fast-track appointment, as he gradually wins around those opposed to his detective status. He is an intuitive, intelligent investigator. His relative youth makes him impulsive in following leads despite the personal risk, but this is also what makes him effective.

This is an absorbing story with a likeable detective.

Michael StanleyMichael Sears and Stanley Trollip

Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Both were born in South Africa and have worked in academia and business. Stanley was an educational psychologist, specialising in the application of computers to teaching and learning, and is a pilot. Michael specialised in image processing and remote sensing and taught at the University of the Witwatersrand.

On a flying trip to Botswana, they watched a pack of hyenas hunt, kill, and devour a wildebeest, eating both flesh and bones. That gave them the premise for their first mystery, A Carrion Death, which introduced Detective David ‘Kubu’ Bengu of the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department. It was a finalist for five awards, including the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger.

The series has been critically acclaimed, and their third book, Death of the Mantis, won the Barry Award for Best Paperback Original mystery and was shortlisted for an Edgar award. Deadly Harvest was shortlisted for an International Thriller Writers award. They have also written a thriller, Dead of Night, following the investigative journalist, Crystal Nguyen, who gets caught up in the war against rhino poaching and rhino-horn smuggling.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Political Thriller, Romance, Travel

The Spanish Girl Jules Hayes 5*#Review @JulesHayes6 @books_dash #SpanishCivilWar #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #Family #Love #secrets #Romance #Friendship #TheSpanishGirl #BookReview #BlogTour @rararesources

A country torn apart by war.
Two love stories divided by decades.
One chance to discover the truth… 

Feisty journalist Isabella has never known the truth about her family. Escaping from a dangerous assignment in the turbulent Basque country, she finds her world turned upside down, firstly by her irresistible attraction to the mysterious Rafael, and then by a new clue to her own past. 

As she begins to unravel the tangled story of her identity, Isabella uncovers a story of passion, betrayal and loss that reaches back to the dark days of Spain’s civil war – when a passionate Spanish girl risked everything for her country, and for the young British rebel who captured her heart. 

But can Isabella trust the man she’s fallen in love with? Or are some wartime secrets better left undisturbed…? 

Heartbreaking, gripping historical fiction about the tragedy of war, and the redemption of love.

Amazon UK Amazon

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

My Thoughts…

This dual timeline novel explores two tragic and turbulent times in Spanish history through the eyes of the people who lived through them. Two love stories echo the other in many ways. Family, love, loss and forgiveness are predominant themes in this politically astute story.

The setting and time periods are the ones that affected Spain and drew the attention and interference of the wider world. This is an emotional story, the political struggles, in both of the timelines, were personal to the people living through them, and the writing reflects this.

Believable and vibrant characters give life to familial relationships and friendships. It’s immersive and insightful, evoking all the reader’s senses, so they feel part of it.

The poignant but positive ending is a perfect conclusion.

Jules Hayes

I have a degree in modern history and I’m fascinated with events from the first half of the 20th century, which is the time period my historical fiction is set.

My work has been longlisted in the Mslexia Novel Competition, and shortlisted in the prestigious Bridport Short Story Competition.

I live in Berkshire, UK with my partner, daughter and dog. Before writing stories, I was a physiotherapist.

Jules Hayes is a pseudonym for JA Corrigan who writes contemporary thrillers. Falling Suns by JA Corrigan (Headline Accent) was published in 2016.

Website Twitter Facebook Instagram

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Espionage - Spy - Thriller, Political Thriller, Suspense

A Time to Lie Simon Berthon 4* #Review @HQStories @simonberthon #political #psychological #suspense #BlogTour #BookReview

A divisive prime minister. A long-buried body. A plot to bring him down…

The bigger the secret the more dangerous it is to lie…

On the morning of the Tory Party conference, the bones of a young woman’s hand are discovered in a London building site.

Jed Fowkes, Special Adviser at the Treasury, confronts Prime Minister Robin Sandford with a terrible accusation. He claims the hand belongs to someone they once knew well: a young woman whom Sandford murdered years ago.

With his career on the brink of ruin, the Prime Minister’s only hope is to enlist the unofficial help of MI5. A decision which leads him into a new world of espionage, illegal trafficking and murder.

And the deeper he goes, the more treacherous the game becomes. Because now it’s not just his life on the line; it’s the future of the state itself 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is a political thriller set in contemporary times with relatable characters and believable events. There is a fusion of genres here, as the main protagonists are all essentially unreliable, producing elements of psychological suspense.

Flashbacks to the 1990s evoke interesting historical social and political events adding authenticity. The short chapters and fast-pace keep the reader guessing. There are many twists, people who are not what they seem to make this an absorbing read. The ending is impactful and leaves the reader with a final disturbing twist.

I

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Book Spotlight, Espionage - Spy - Thriller, Friendship, Political Thriller, Romance, Thriller, Young Adult

Number 10 C.J. Daugherty 5*#Review @CJ_Daugherty @moonflowerbooks @midaspr @agentmilburn #Number10 #BlogTour #BookReview #YAThriller #Conspiracy #ComingofAge #Spy #Political

Number 10 tells the spine tingling story of 16-year-old Gray Langtry, the daughter of the UK’s female prime minister, who is about to get in way over her head.

After a wild night with friends is splashed across the tabloids, Gray is grounded for two weeks at Number 10 Downing Street, no ifs no buts.

Left alone one night, with her mother at an important meeting, Gray discovers a secret network of government tunnels leading from 10 Downing Street to the Houses of Parliament and beyond.  What starts as a bit of fun, suddenly gets serious, when Gray stumbles across a secret late night cabinet meeting and overhears what sounds like a Russian-led plot to kill her mother.

Wasting no time, she rushes back to inform her mother’s security detail, but with no proof of what she heard, no-one will believe a wayward teenager. Now, it’s up to Gray to break out of Number 10 and warn her mother before it’s too late.

With the help of her best friend Chloe and love interest Jake McIntyre – who just happens to be the son of the leader of the opposition – will she make it in time to save her mother?  And what will she have to sacrifice in the process?

Number 10 is a Night School spin off series that sees CJ Daugherty back at her spine tingling best.  Gripping, thrilling, and filled with intrigue, Number 10 explores the nexus of power in the UK from a teenager’s point of view.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is sinister political thrills fused with the courageous, and naive perspective of a sixteen-year-old. Gray’s life as the Prime Minister’s daughter curbs her freedom. Rebellion is her only form of control, putting her on the media radar and in a dangerous spotlight.

Gray is an easy to like character, who draws the reader’s empathy. I understand the reason for the constraints on her life, but it’s hard not to sympathise with her point of view. There is a relatable dynamic between Gray and her mother, which draws the reader into the story. The security team are believable.

The plot is fast-paced and vibrant. The setting’s familiarity adds to the story’s authenticity and conspiracy theme. The sense of danger and the building suspense makes this a hard book to put down. The ending feels like the beginning of something new for Gray, but the undercurrents of menace remain.

C.J. Daugherty

C.J. Daugherty was 22 when she saw her first dead body. Although she’s now left the world of crime reporting she has never lost her fascination with what it is that drives some people to do awful things as well as the kind of people who will try to stop them. While working as a civil servant she visited No. 10 Downing Street and saw people disappearing into a small door with her own eyes – this became the inspiration for the novel Number 10. 

A former crime reporter and accidental civil servant, C.J. Daugherty began writing the Night School series while working as a communications consultant for the Home Office. The young adult series was published by Little Brown and went on to sell over a million and a half copies worldwide. A web series inspired by the books clocked up well over a million views. In 2020, the books were optioned for television. She later wrote The Echo Killing series, published by St Martin’s Press, and co-wrote the fantasy series, The Secret Fire, with French author Carina Rosenfeld.

While working as a civil servant, she had meetings at Number 10 Downing Street, and saw people disappearing through a small door leading to a staircase heading below ground level. This visit became the inspiration for Number 10.  FYI: She still doesn’t know if there are tunnels below Number 10. But she hopes there are. 

Her books have been translated into 25 languages and been bestsellers in multiple countries. She lives with her husband, the BAFTA nominated filmmaker, Jack Jewers.  

One of the UK’s most critically acclaimed teen authors returns with a new novel set in the world of her hugely popular Night School series.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Icelandic Noir, Noir, Political Thriller, Suspense

Betrayal Lilja Sigurdardottir 4*#Review @Lilja1972 @OrendaBooks #LiljaSigurdardottir Translator #QuentinBates @graskeggur #CrimeFiction #PoliticalThriller #Iceland #IcelandicNoir #BookReview #BlogTour @RandomTTours #Betrayal #IcelandNoir

Burned out and traumatised by her horrifying experiences around the world, aid worker Úrsula has returned to Iceland. Unable to settle, she accepts a high-profile government role in which she hopes to make a difference again.

But on her first day in the post, Úrsula promises to help a mother seeking justice for her daughter, who had been raped by a policeman, and life in high office soon becomes much more harrowing than Úrsula could ever have imagined. A homeless man is stalking her – but is he hounding her, or warning her of some danger? And the death of her father in police custody so many years rears its head once again.

As Úrsula is drawn into dirty politics, facing increasingly deadly threats, the lives of her stalker, her bodyguard and even a witchlike cleaning lady intertwine. Small betrayals become large ones,
and the stakes are raised ever higher…

The award-winning internationally bestselling author Lilja Sigurðardóttir returns with Betrayal, a relevant, powerful, fastpaced thriller about the worlds of politics, police corruption and misogyny that feels just a little bit too real…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The ethos and setting of this Icelandic noir novel is in itself fascinating reading. It’s so different from where I live and evokes both claustrophobic and isolation imagery in this reader. Ursula is a courageous woman driven to help others in famine and war zones, returning home to Iceland is an attempt to rekindle her relationship and allow her battered psyche time to heal. She takes an unexpected political appointment leading to a web of deceit and political manoeuvring.

Distinctive characters draw you into their stories, and an intricate plot with short pacy chapters keeps you guessing until the dramatic conclusion. This is a compelling, original tale of secrets and self-discovery with characters that resonate.

Lilja Sigurdardottir

Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, including Snare, Trap and Cage, making up the Reykjavik Noir trilogy, which have hit bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.