Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Detective, New Books, Psychologist, Suspense, Thriller

Her Child’s Cry S. A. Dunphy 5*#Review #BoyleandKeneally @dunphyshane1 @bookouture #BooksonTour #Bookouture #IrishCrimeFiction #CrimeFiction #Detective #CriminalPsychologist #Suspense #Folklore #CrimeNoir #BookReview #HerChildsCry #BlogTour

‘I just want my little girl back. She’s so little, she needs her mummy. And she doesn’t even have her panda bear with her. Find her, please find her, before it’s too late.’

Little Rosie Blake has been taken. Since going missing from the hospital where she was being treated for cancer, Rosie’s distraught parents haven’t heard a word. And time is swiftly running out. They have to find her, and right away because Rosie can only survive for ten days without her medication.

With the police unable to find any leads at all, criminal behaviourist Jessie Boyle and her team are brought in to help. Who would be so evil as to steal a sick child? Narrowing down on a suspect, Jessie quickly moves to arrest them, only to discover the suspect’s dead body instead… And with no Rosie in sight, the case becomes even more desperate.

Who killed their chief suspect, and where is Rosie now? And is Rosie’s disappearance linked to the sudden revival of Dublin’s Hellfire Club, an ancient and terrifying cult obsessed with death and human sacrifice?

As the race to find Rosie intensifies, her heartbroken parents know their little girl’s time is running out. The clock is ticking, but Jessie clings on to the hope of finding her safe. Then her search leads her to Ireland’s remote mountains… Will Jessie be able to survive the deadly threat that awaits her, rescue Rosie, and get her back to safety, before it’s too late?

An utterly compelling crime thriller that will have you hooked from the very first line.

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I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Boyle and Keneally’s courage and their detecting and investigative skills are called upon to find a seriously ill child abducted from her hospital bed, putting her life in imminent danger. The child’s parents seem to be hiding something, and menacing darkness surrounds their investigations. The theme of evil folklore permeates this story, and the reader is never quite sure what is real.

I like the intensity and the story’s suspenseful nature; with its clever plotting and the believable team dynamic, it’s an addictive read. The Irish setting, interwoven folklore, and relatable characters make this disturbing and intriguing to read. The ending is impactful and paves the way for the next instalment in this excellent series.

S.A.Dunphy

Shane Dunphy (S. A. Dunphy) was born in Brighton in 1973 but grew up in Ireland, where he has lived and worked for most of his life. A child protection worker for fifteen years, he is the bestselling author of seventeen books, including the number one Irish bestseller Wednesday’s Child and the Sunday Times Bestseller The Girl Who Couldn’t Smile. His bestselling series of crime novels (written under the name S. A. Dunphy) feature the criminologist David Dunnigan. Stories From the Margins, his new series of true crime books written for Audible, has been critically acclaimed and the second title in the series, The Bad Place, is an Audible True Crime bestseller. 

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Romance, New Books, Regency Romance

The Good Girl’s Guide to Rakes Eva Leigh 5*#Review @Zoe_Archer #EvaLeighAuthor @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks #TheGoodGirlsGuidetoRakes #LastChanceScoundrels #HistoricalRomance #MillsandBoonInsiders #BookReview #MillsandBoonHistorical #HarlequinHistorical

A society darling
A rake never far from scandal
A deal that will change everything…

When Kieran Ransome’s latest antics result in scandal, his father issues an ultimatum: find a respectable wife or inherit nothing. But as one of London’s most notorious scoundrels, Kieran doesn’t know any ladies who fit the bill…or does he?

Celeste Kilburn is a society darling, beloved by influential members of the ton. But keeping a spotless reputation leaves little room for adventure and she longs to escape her gilded cage. When Kieran, her brother’s best friend, begs for her help Celeste makes a deal: she will introduce him to the right social circles if he’ll show her the scandalous side of London!

Amongst ‘proper’ garden parties and, equally enthralling, wild fêtes and sensual art salons an initial attraction builds to a more tempting desire. But when their midnight exploits are discovered, Celeste’s freedom and reputation are at risk and Kieran must save the woman he loves…respectable or not.

 Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Celeste, the female protagonist, wants to explore every aspect of her life. She is determined to defy the bounds of the male-dominated Regency society. Kieran, a dissolute Regency rake with hidden emotional depths, has to find an acceptable wife and enlists Celeste’s help to enter polite society. She agrees, but only if he promises to show her his world. I like how this story explores the inequalities of this historical world and how difficult it was for women to have independence in any aspect of their lives.

Celeste is not a complete innocent. She experienced depravity and poverty in her early life, making her willingness to explore Keiran’s world believable. In keeping with Celeste’s journey of self-realisation, sensual romance defines this story. Celeste and Keiran are likeable characters. I enjoyed their uncensored dialogue, which makes the story authentic and engaging to read.

I enjoyed this delightful escapist read interwoven with insightful thoughts on the double standards of Regency society.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, New Books, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Travel

A Sunrise Over Bali Sandy Barker 5*#Review @sandybarker @0neMoreChapter_ #humour #romcom #Friendship #selfrealisation #Romance #Bali @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #ASunriseOverBali #TheHolidayRomance

Home is where the heart is . . .

When Jaelee Tan leaves her high-flying PR job in Miami for a sabbatical in Bali, the last thing she expects is for it to become permanent. But when her boss demands the trip be cut short, Jae does the only thing she can think of and quits on the spot.
 
With two months in Bali, a new group of friends and the gorgeous scenery and beaches, Jae is determined to make the most of her newfound freedom. And when she locks eyes with hunky Scot, Alistair, Jae wonders if she’ll lose her heart to more than just a Balinese sunrise.

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

My Thoughts…

You are always guaranteed an escapist read with this author, and Bali is a fascinating mix of idyllic and surprising. The references to the less desirable aspects of this paradise create an authentic world for the reader to explore.

Jaelee, who devotees of the series will remember from That Night in Paris, is still healing from a break-up. Her career is full-on, and when she feels betrayed by an old friend, she decides to take time off and spend two months in Bali at a UROP. This place of living with others, particularly favoured by digital nomads, lets her examine her life and what she wants from it.

This story balances humour and poignancy and delivers an uplifting read full of friendships, romance and self-realisation. Jaelee is a complex character. She has a self-deprecating sense of humour and succeeds to achieve the recognition that she never receives from her close family. The characterisation is vivid, and I can picture Jalee and the vibrant characters she meets and gets to know.

Sandy Barker

Sandy is a writer, traveller and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list, and many of her travel adventures have found homes in her novels. She’s also an avid reader, a film buff, a wine lover and a coffee snob. She lives in Melbourne Australia with her partner, Ben, who she met while travelling in Greece. Their real-life love story inspired Sandy’s debut novel One Summer in Santorini, the first in the Holiday Romance series with One More Chapter, an imprint of HarperCollins.The series continues in That Night in Paris and A Sunset in Sydney and there are two more to come in 2022. Her standalone novel The Christmas Swap celebrates her favourite time of the year, and next up is The Dating Game, a laugh-out-loud rom-com set in the world of Reality TV.

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The Holiday Romance Series – Read my reviews.

One Summer in Santorini

That Night in Paris

A Sunset in Sydney

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Detective, Murder Mystery, New Books, Noir, Nordic Noir

Bitter Flowers Gunnar Staalesen 4* #Review @OrendaBooks #BitterFlowers @RandomTTours #GunnarStaalesen #Translator Don Bartlett #BlogTour #BookReview #VargVeum #ChillingWinterReads

Fresh from rehab, PI Varg Veum faces his most complex
investigation yet, when a man is found drowned, a young woman disappears, and the case of a missing child is revived. The classic Nordic Noir series continues…

PI Varg Veum has returned to duty following a stint in rehab, but
his new composure and resolution are soon threatened when three
complex crimes land on his desk.

A man is found dead in an elite swimming pool. A young woman
has gone missing. Most chillingly, Veum is asked to investigate
the ‘Camilla Case’: an eight-year-old cold case involving the
disappearance of a little girl, who was never found.

As the threads of these three apparently unrelated cases
come together, against the backdrop of a series of shocking
environmental crimes, Veum faces the most challenging, traumatic
investigation of his career.

A stunning, sophisticated, tension-packed thriller – the darkest of hardboiled Nordic Noir – from one of
Norway’s most acclaimed crime writers.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The reader is drawn into Varg Veum’s world from the first page in the emotionally poignant Nordic noir. It’s the second book I’ve read in this series. Believably flawed, Varg Veum is a likeable protagonist. His struggle with his addictions contrasts with his desire to achieve justice and truth for victims.

It’s an atmospheric and claustrophobic story where even the simplest things hide a web of complexity.
The multiple plot strands draw together by the astute investigator. It’s a murder mystery within a disturbing environmental and political arena.

It’s easy to get absorbed into this distinctive, dark world.

Granite Noir fest 2017. Gunnar Staalesen.

One of the fathers of Nordic Noir, Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway, in 1947. He made his debut at the age of twenty-two with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over twenty titles, which have been published in twenty-four countries and sold over four million copies.

Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Espen Seim. Staalesen has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour) and Where Roses Never Die won the 2017 Petrona Award for Nordic Crime Fiction and Big Sister was shortlisted in 2019.

He lives with his wife in Bergen.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Detective, New Books, Psychologist, Suspense, Thriller

Lost Graves S. A. Dunphy 5*#Review #BoyleandKeneally @dunphyshane1 @bookouture #BooksonTour #Bookouture #IrishCrimeFiction #CrimeFiction#Detective #CriminalPsychologist #Suspense #Folklore #CrimeNoir #BookReview #LostGraves #BlogTour

The only sound in the forest was the wind through the branches; the only light came from the campfire. Jessie stood up, suddenly gripped by a powerful sense of dread. There was something – someone – beyond the darkness, through the trees…

When single father Joe Keenan and his young son Finbar make camp for the night in the ancient forest of Leitrim, little do they imagine their rural escape is about to turn into a nightmare. For deep in the woods they find a corpse… As the remains of dozens more victims are uncovered by police, it becomes clear this is the burial site of a serial killer who has obviously been active, unnoticed, for years.

Arrested for the murders, while his beloved son is sent into care, Joe pleads his innocence to no avail. But criminal behaviourist Jessie Boyle is convinced the killer is still out there. Determined to reunite Joe and his son, Jessie’s investigation turns towards the local community. Who knows the shadowy depths of the forest well enough to hide not just one, but many bodies?

Then someone else goes missing, and the situation takes a terrifying turn: it’s clear the killer is escalating their gruesome spree. Forced to enter the woods alone to save a life, Jessie runs from a killer so skilled at hiding and so clever at hunting, it will take every ounce of her strength to make it out alive…

A gripping, nail-biting crime thriller that will have you hooked from the first page to the final line.

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

My Thoughts…

This story is an addictive mix of Irish crime and folklore. The detective team are complex characters and have a believable team dynamic. The themes in this story are disturbing and shrouded in mystery and the unexplainable.

Boyle and Keneally, part of an elite crime-fighting team, are sent to a remote area in Ireland to investigate the discovery of mass graves in a deeply wooded area. The bodies keep being uncovered as the team try to decipher the truth against a background of political interference and local prejudices.

The story is suspenseful and keeps the reader engaged throughout. This is the second book in a riveting series, and I am looking forward to the next one.

S.A.Dunphy

Shane Dunphy (S. A. Dunphy) was born in Brighton in 1973 but grew up in Ireland, where he has lived and worked for most of his life. A child protection worker for fifteen years, he is the bestselling author of seventeen books, including the number one Irish bestseller Wednesday’s Child and the Sunday Times Bestseller The Girl Who Couldn’t Smile. His bestselling series of crime novels (written under the name S. A. Dunphy) feature the criminologist David Dunnigan. Stories From the Margins, his new series of true crime books written for Audible, has been critically acclaimed and the second title in the series, The Bad Place, is an Audible True Crime bestseller. 

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Posted in Blog Tour, Crime, Murder Mystery, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller

Remember My Name Sam Blake 5*#Review @samblakebooks @CorvusBooks @RandomTTours #BlogTour #RememberMyName #BookReview #BookBlogger

If she’d turned off her phone, instead of listening in, perhaps no one would have died…
When Cressida Howard catches her entrepreneur husband playing away from home, she hires security expert Brioni O’Brien to get the evidence she needs for a speedy and financially rewarding divorce.
But what Brioni uncovers goes beyond simple infidelity. Because Laurence Howard is also in bed with some very dangerous people. Bribery and blackmail are the least of his worries as someone comes after the women in his life – someone who is out to destroy Laurence and his empire, whatever the cost.
And Cressida and her teenage daughter could soon be collateral damage, if she and Brioni don’t act fast.

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

My Thoughts…

Immersive from the first chapter this fast-paced mix of murder mystery and psychological suspense is addictive reading. Cressidia hears something she shouldn’t and it leads to series of events that threaten everything she loves.

Set the story has believable, vibrant characters and a twisty plot. Deceit,depravity and dubious business dealings are at the core of this suspenseful story. The multilayered story draws its sub-plots together in a readable way and the impactful ending ensures the story delivers everything it promises.

The perfect read if you like your thrillers packed with adrenaline-fuelled action, edge of your seat suspense and vengeance.

Sam Blake
Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Travel

The Dating Game Sandy Barker 5*#Review @sandybarker @0neMoreChapter_ #Friendship #Dating #Romance #RealityTV @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #TheDatingGame

‘Hilarious and highly original’

Julie Houston, bestselling author of A Village Affair

Once upon a time, twelve women joined the hottest reality TV show looking for love. Except one had a secret identity . . .

Abby Jones is a serious writer. Or at least she will be, one day. Right now, she spends her time writing recaps of reality television under a secret identity.

When a recap for The Stag – the must-watch dating show – goes viral, her editor thinks she should be on set, writing the drama as it happens. The good news: the next season will be filmed in Sydney. Sun, sea and a glamorous trip abroad, this could be Abby’s big break.

The bad news: the producers don’t just want Abby to write the recaps, they want her to be on the show. Abby can’t think of anything worse than being undercover and followed around by cameras. But her career depends on it, and when she meets gorgeous producer Jack, Abby begins to wonder if this job might not be so bad after all . . .

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

My Thoughts…

Whilst I can’t see the appeal of reality TV, the characterisation, humour and romance in this book kept me turning the pages. Abby is an easy to like character with a good heart and witty sense of humour. This book is a good balance of romance and comedy and is the perfect escape from real life, maybe just like the fictional show it features?

The romantic element has a realistic blend of conflict and emotion. The reader is invested in its outcome. The friendship dynamic is believably written. The show’s details are well-researched, immersing the reader in the world of reality TV. Enhanced with angst, believable characters and well-timed comic dialogue, this is an addictive original story.

Sandy Barker

Sandy is a writer, traveller and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list, and many of her travel adventures have found homes in her novels. She’s also an avid reader, a film buff, a wine lover and a coffee snob. She lives in Melbourne Australia with her partner, Ben, who she met while travelling in Greece. Their real-life love story inspired Sandy’s debut novel One Summer in Santorini, the first in the Holiday Romance series with One More Chapter, an imprint of HarperCollins.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Festive Read, Friendship, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Christmas in Cockleberry Bay Nicola May 5* #Review @NicolaMay1 @EyeAndLightning @rararesources #festive #BlogTour #BookReview #CICB

 

Meet old and new characters in the Bay for Christmas fun and frolics.

With both the Corner Shop and Cockleberry Café in safe hands, Rosa turns her attention to Ned’s Gift, the charity set up in memory of the great-grandfather whose legacy turned her life around.

Over at the Ship Hotel, Lucas has his work cut out with his devious new girlfriend and the mystery poisoning of an anonymous hotel inspector. Will the hotel still get its 3-star Seaside Rosette?

Will Mary find true love at last? Can Titch cope with the demands of the shop and being heavily pregnant. And can Rosa, with a baby of her own, pull off the Cockleberry Bay Charity Christmas Concert in time?

Christmas in Cockleberry Bay is a festive delight for fans of Rosa and her cheeky mini dachshund Hot, delivering a feast of unpredictable events and surprises.

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

My Thoughts…

Christmas in Cockleberry what could be nicer? It’s fun to return to Cockleberry Bay and its community at this festive time of year. Whilst this festive book is a complete story, the series is so special if you can read them all.

The story is full of vivid imagery, making the characters, events and setting easy to imagine. There are lots of characters and stories, so you need to concentrate, but it’s realistic and vibrant, and the dynamics are relatable to anyone who lives in a small community. For series regulars, there are updates on their favourite characters’ lives, and for new readers, there’s lots of festive fun, humour and intrigue.

This series would work well on television, it makes such good use of sensory imagery, with larger than life, memorable characters. It’s easy to see why this series is so popular, especially in such an uncertain world. It’s the perfect escapist read, definitely a festive book worth reading.

NIcola May

Nicola May is a rom-com superstar. She is the author of eleven romantic comedies, all of which have appeared in the Kindle bestseller charts. Two of them won awards at the Festival of Romance, and another was named ebook of the week in The SunThe Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay became the best-selling Kindle book in the UK, across all genres, in January 2019, and was Amazon’s third-bestselling novel in that year.

She lives near Ascot racecourse with her black-and-white rescue cat, Stan.

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Posted in Book Review, Crime, Murder Mystery, Noir, Nordic Noir

Fallen Angels Gunnar Staalesen 4* #Review @OrendaBooks #FallenAngels #NordicNoir #GunnarStaalesen Translator Don Bartlett #BlogTour #BookReview #VargVeum

Ever-dogged Bergen PI Varg Veum has to dig deep into his own past as he investigates the murder of a former classmate. Eighth in an international-bestselling series of Nordic-Noir thrillers

When Bergen PI Varg Veum finds himself at the funeral of a former
classmate on a sleet-grey December afternoon, he’s unexpectedly
reunited with his old friend Jakob – guitarist of the once-famous 1960s rock band The Harpers – and his estranged wife, Rebecca, Veum’s first love.
Their rekindled friendship is thrown into jeopardy by the discovery of a horrific murder, and Veum is forced to dig deep into his own
adolescence and his darkest memories, to find a motive … and a killer.

Tense, vivid and deeply unsettling, Fallen Angels is the spellbinding, award-winning thriller that secured Gunnar Staalesen’s reputation as one of the world’s foremost crime writers.

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

My Thoughts…

I understand that this is the eight book in a long-running series, but this sees the private investigator Varg Veum as a younger man than some of the earlier books, in a story that delves into his past and shows how he became the man he is. So, in many ways, this is a good starting book for new readers like me. The story reads as a standalone and is true to the Nordic Noir genre.

The themes of good and evil and spirituality and sin underscore this story. It has noir themes which are disturbing to read but are essential to the character of the story. There is a murder mystery which has its roots in Varg’s past, which is described strikingly both in events and location.

The writing is immersive and vivid. The characters distinctive, but not likeable, which is often a given in this genre. It’s not an easy read, but it is insightful, and the Norwegian setting is of intrinsic interest too.

One of the fathers of Nordic Noir, Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway, in 1947. He made his debut at the age of twenty-two with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over twenty titles, which have been published in twenty-four countries and sold over four million copies.

Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Espen Seim. Staalesen has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour) and Where Roses Never Die won the 2017 Petrona
Award for Nordic Crime Fiction and Big Sister was shortlisted in 2019.

He lives with his wife in Bergen.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Domestic Thriller, Family Drama, Friendship, Noir, Suspense

The Memories We Bury H.A. Leuschel 4* #Review @HALeuschel @LoveBooksGroup #lovebookstours #Relationships #Psychological #Suspense #Fiction #Mother #Parenting #DomesticNoir #BlogTour #BookReview #TheMemoriesWeBury

An emotionally charged and captivating novel about the complexities of female friendship and motherhood, from the author of Manipulated Lives.

Lizzie Thomson has landed her first job as a music teacher, and after a whirlwind romance with Markus, the newlywed couple move into a beautiful new home in the outskirts of Edinburgh. Lizzie quickly befriends their neighbour Morag, an elderly, resourceful yet lonely widow, who’s own children rarely visit her. Everything seems perfect in Lizzie’s life until she finds out she is pregnant and her relationship with both Morag and Markus change beyond her control.

​Can Lizzie really trust Morag and why is Markus keeping secrets from her?

In The Memories We Bury the author explores the dangerous bonds we can create with strangers and how past memories can cast long shadows over the present.

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

My Thoughts…

The sense that something is not right hits you from the reading the initial pages of this story. The author creates a claustrophobic ethos with undercurrents of menace as the two main characters share their stories.

Morag and Lizzie are unreliable protagonists. This is evident from the outset, but what the reader doesn’t know is which viewpoint is the least trustworthy. Morag and Lizzie are believable characters. Lizzie’s lack of nurture in childhood left her with low self-esteem and vulnerable to manipulation. Morag’s childhood was similarly lacking in parental care. The fallout from her childhood only manifested when she became a mother.

The disturbing elements and suspense build as the story progresses. Guessing the outcome, as I did, makes the story a satisfying read. Both characters engender empathy, but in addition to poignancy, this story has a distinct domestic noir theme which is disturbing and makes you think.

Helene Andrea Leuschel

​Helene Andrea Leuschel gained a Master in Journalism & Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. She later acquired a Master in Philosophy , specializing in the study of the mind.

Helene has a particular interest in emotional, psychological and social well-being and this led her to write her first book, Manipulated Lives, a collection of five fictional novellas, each highlighting the dangers of interacting with narcissists.

She lives with her husband and two children in Portugal.

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