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, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Domestic Thriller, Family Drama, Friendship

Forgive Me Susan Lewis 5*#Review @susanlewisbooks @HarperFiction @fictionpubteam @RandomTTours #RestorativeJustice #Crime #Domestic Suspense #Forgiveness #Family #Friendship #BlogTour #BookReview #ForgiveMe

I can’t forgive myself. Not after what I did. Could you?


This is Claudia Winters’s last chance for a fresh start. Changing her name and leaving her old life behind, she has fled to the small town of Kesterly with her mother and daughter. Here, she hopes they can be safe for the first time in years.

But the past can’t stay hidden forever. And even as Claudia makes new friends and builds a new life, she can’t help feeling it’s all about to catch up with her… Until one disastrous night changes everything forever.

Tense, emotional and gripping, Susan Lewis’s latest novel is a spellbinding story of love, family, and the price of forgiveness. 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is a contemporary emotional story focusing on crime, domestic abuse, family and forgiveness. From the beginning, you aware that someone is seeking forgiveness, but alongside this runs the story of three women, a mother, daughter and grandmother who are seeking a new start. The connection, if any between the two stories, is not immediately apparent.

The characters, especially the female protagonists, are well written. The familial relationship is powerful. This is a story of forgiveness, healing and love. It demonstrates the importance of these in all relationships in a way that resonates.

Despite his actions, the antagonist draws reluctant empathy from the reader, which increases, as the story progresses. Not all the characters are likeable, but they are authentic and play their part, in this family drama with a moral dilemma.

This story is addictive and hard to put down. The protagonists are admirable and human.

Susan Lewis

Susan Lewis is the internationally bestselling author of over forty books across the genres of family drama, thriller, suspense and crime, including One Minute Later and Home Truths and My Lies, Your Lies. Susan’s novels have sold nearly three million copies in the UK alone. She is also the author of Just One More Day and One Day at a Time, the moving memoirs of her childhood in Bristol during the 1960s. Susan has previously worked as a secretary in news and current affairs before training as a production assistant working on light entertainment and drama. She’s lived in Hollywood and the South of France, but now resides in Gloucestershire with husband James, two stepsons and dogs.

Posted in Book Spotlight, Crime, Fantasy, Psychological Thriller

The Strange Book of Jacob Boyce by Tom Gillespie @tom_gillespie @VineLeavesPress @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #BookBlitz

A spiralling obsession. A missing wife. A terrifying secret. Will he find her before it’s too late? When Dr Jacob Boyce’s wife goes missing, the police put it down to a simple marital dispute. Jacob, however, fears something darker. Following her trail to Spain, he becomes convinced that Ella’s disappearance is tied to a mysterious painting whose hidden geometric and numerical riddles he’s been obsessively trying to solve for months. Obscure, hallucinogenic clues, and bizarre, larger-than-life characters, guide an increasingly unhinged Jacob through a nightmarish Spanish landscape to an art forger’s studio in Madrid, where he comes face-to-face with a centuries-old horror, and the terrifying, mind-bending, truth about his wife.

Amazon UK

Tom Gillespie grew up in a small town just outside Glasgow. After completing a Masters in English at Glasgow University, he spent the next ten years pursuing a musical career as a singer/songwriter, playing, recording and touring the UK and Europe with his band. He now lives in Bath with his wife, daughter and hyper-neurotic cat, where he works at the university as an English lecturer. Tom writes long and short stories. His stories have appeared in many magazines, journals and e-zines. He is co-author of Glass Work Humans-an anthology of stories and poems, published by Valley Press.

Website

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Literary Fiction, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

A Song of Isolation Michael J. Malone 4*#Review @MichaelJMalone1 @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours #Psychological #Suspense #LiteraryFiction #BlogTour #BookReview #ASongofIsolation #MeToo

Film star Amelie Hart is the darling of the silver screen, appearing on the front pages of every newspaper. But at the peak of her fame she throws it all away for a regular guy with an ordinary job.

The gossip columns are aghast: what happened to the woman who turned heads wherever she went? Any hope the furore will die down are crushed when Amelie’s boyfriend Dave is arrested on charges of child sexual abuse.

Dave strongly asserts his innocence, and when Amelie refuses to denounce him, the press furore quickly turns into physical violence, and she has to flee the country.

While Dave is locked up with the most depraved men in the country and Amelie is hiding on the continent, Damaris, the victim at the centre of the story, is also isolated – a child trying to make sense of an adult world…

Breathtakingly brutal, dark and immensely moving, A Song of Isolation looks beneath the magpie glimmer of celebrity to uncover a sinister world dominated by greed and lies, and the unfathomable destruction of innocent lives… in an instant.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Whilst this is a contemporary, relevant subject, it’s not easy to read about, but this story captures the collateral damage of an allegation of this type with compelling sensitive writing. This story is multipoint of view and allows the reader insight into all sides of the accusation.

Believable characters are the heart of this story and draw the reader into a world of greed and immorality. All three protagonists have their lives devastated by manipulative individuals. The plot is intricate with flashbacks to illuminate the characters current actions and motivations. Integral to this twisty psychological suspense is the destruction of innocence and the callous disregard for others.

This is a compelling, thought-provoking read with a positive but realistic conclusion.

Michael J Malone


International bestseller Michael J. Malone, the critically acclaimed author of A Suitable Lie and House of Spines, returns with a powerful standalone thriller about secrets, celebrity, and greed.

Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings.

Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize from the Scottish Association of Writers. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number-one bestseller, and the critically acclaimed House of Spines, After He Died and In the Absence of Miracles soon followed suit.

A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber &Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller. Michael lives in Ayr.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Mystery, Paranormal, Psychological Thriller

Siren Song Rebecca McKinney 5*#Review Harrison Jones and Amy Bell Mystery @BexMcKinney @lovebooksgroup #SirenSong #lovebookstours #Psychic #Detective #PsychologicalThriller #Crime

A man who glimpses other people’s inner worlds, and a woman who can foresee death. Can they trace a missing girl before the worst happens?

Harrison Jones is a university lecturer with a secret: he moonlights as a psychic detective. Amy Bell is a paramedic who has the uncanny knack of knowing things are going to happen before they do. From their first accidental meeting on an Edinburgh bridge, both of their lives are destined to change.

Harrison invites Amy to help him investigate the disappearance of a beautiful young singer. The search will lead them into the murky world of human trafficking, from Edinburgh to the streets of Athens, and into the darkest corners of the human mind…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

A book like this succeeds on the quality of its characters, and these are easy to empathise, intelligent and relatable. Harrison is a university lecturer in social anthropology he meets Amy at a low point in her life and saves her. Amy is a paramedic, and ex-military with similar psychic skills to Harrison agrees to work with him to find a missing girl.

The dynamic between Amy and Harrison is believable. A formidable team, stronger together than apart. The case is a noir crime. The immersive writing style draws the reader, into a world of abuse, and trafficking. The well-paced plot has twists and uses vivid imagery to portray psychic experience and settings.

There is a poignant ethos which illustrates the despair of the victims with claustrophobic intensity.

Despite the sadness, this book is enjoyable, and the suspense builds to a justifiable conclusion.

Rebecca McKinney is a writer, therapist and community development practitioner, living and working in Midlothian, Scotland. She shares her home with her husband, two teenagers, three cats, and a growing collection of musical instruments.

Previous novels:

The Angel in the Stone: shortlisted for the Highland Book Prize, 2017: Sandstone Press

Blast Radius: 2015: Sandstone Press

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

In Cold Blood Jane Bettany 5*#Review @JaneBettany @HQStories #CrimeFiction #InColdBlood #BlogTour #BookReview #DIIsabelBlood #FridayReads

No secret can stay buried forever…

As the Whitworth family begin renovations on their new home, their plans are brought to an abrupt end when they discover a body buried in the back garden.

DI Isabel Blood and her team are called to investigate, but as she approaches Ecclesdale Drive, a feeling of unease settles in her gut.

The property cordoned off is number 23. The house she used to live in as a child…

The forensic team estimate that the body has been in the ground for up to forty years – coinciding with the time Isabel’s family lived in the house.

Isabel’s father vanished without a trace when she was fourteen years old. And with her mother remaining tight-lipped about her father’s disappearance, Isabel can’t escape the unnerving sense of dread that it’s his body, buried in the garden.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is a fabulous debut crime novel. Its well-crafted plot has engaging and relatable characters and an authentic urban setting. Isabel Blood is a time-served police detective who juggles family and work life with the help of a supportive partner and professional colleagues. She is believable and easy to empathise, essential characteristics for the lead detective in a police procedural.

The East Midland’s setting in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire is familiar to me, as I lived there for many years. The author conveys it’s idiosyncracies thorough dialogue and description so well.

The plot has depth and unexpected twists that keep the reader absorbed and guessing. The ending is suspenseful and concludes the case satisfactorily. Hopefully, there will be more books in this series with its realistic team dynamic, and likeable lead detective.

Jane Bettany

I am the author of In Cold Blood, a crime novel published by HQ (HarperCollins) featuring DI Isabel Blood and set in the fictional Derbyshire town of Bainbridge. The book won the 2019 Gransnet and HQ writing competition, which was for women writers over the age of 40 who had written a novel with a protagonist in the same age range.

In Cold Blood is my first novel, but I have been writing short stories and non-fiction articles for over twenty years, many of which have appeared in women’s magazines, literary magazines, newspapers and online.

I live in Derby, UK and have an MA in Creative Writing.

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

The Night of the Flood Zoe Somerville 4*#Review @zessomerville @Hoz_Books #BlogTour #BookReview #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #LiteraryFiction #Norfolk #Flood #1950s #Romance #ComingofAge #Secrets #Crime #FridayReads #FridayThoughts #TheNightoftheFlood

Summer, 1952. Verity Frost, stranded on her family farm on the Norfolk coast, is caught between two worlds: the devotion of her childhood friend Arthur, just returned from National Service, and a strange new desire to escape it all. Arthur longs to escape too, but only with Verity by his side.

Into their world steps Jack, a charismatic American pilot flying secret reconnaissance missions off the North Sea coast. But where Verity sees adventure and glamour, Arthur sees only deception. As the water levels rise to breaking point, this tangled web of secrets, lies and passion will bring about a crime that will change all their lives.

Taking the epic real-life North Sea flood as its focus, The Night of the Flood is at once a passionate love story, an atmospheric thriller, and a portrait of a distinctive place in a time of radical social change.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Set on the Norfolk coast in the early 1950s The Night of the Flood is an atmospheric and at times claustrophobic historical story. Centred around a historic natural disaster, the author interweaves a believable fiction of complex emotional relationships and secrets.

It focuses on the five young adults all inexorably changed by WW2 and railing against their allotted roles in life. Peter, shackled to the failing family farm. Verity, an ambitious woman who wants more from life than marriage and domesticity. Arthur, a former evacuee who has journalistic ambitions he may never realise. Muriel is a less distinct character known to all whose role increases with the story’s progression. Finally, there is Jack, an American stationed at the local airbase, who is the catalyst that forever alters the young lives.

The story is sad and suspenseful, the protagonists’victims of society’s expectations and individual flaws. The coastal historical setting reinforces the story’s authenticity. Relatable characters engage the reader’s emotions in this insightful story.

Zoё Somerville -Image Credit Jonathan Pearce

Zoe Somerville is a writer and English teacher. Having lived all over the world – Japan, France, Washington – she now lives in Bath with her family. After completing a creative writing MA at Bath Spa, Zoe started writing her debut novel, which is inspired by her home county, Norfolk, and the devastating North Sea flood of the 1950s.

Posted in Blog Blitz, Crime, Paranormal

Familiar by T.J. Blake @TJBlake93 @freshly_press @lovebooksgroup #Familiar @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #Bookblitz

For the living, it’s closure. For the departed, it’s the last chance to expose the truth.

For as long as she can remember, Arabella has communicated with those who exist only in memory.

Being the centre of attention growing up was uncomfortable, and now, as a renowned psychic medium, it is becoming more of a struggle. Arabella’s ability and reputation always made it impossible to hold onto lasting relationships, but with those who no longer walk this earth, that’s not the case.

Arabella returns to where it all began fifteen-years before – on the very same stage. After an evening reconnecting loved ones and exposing untold stories, Arabella can’t help but wonder about the one unclaimed ‘friend’, and their cryptic message.

In an unexpected turn of events, Arabella finds herself the subject of morning headlines and at the centre of Detective Barnes’ investigation.

Can Arabella use her ability to prove her innocence and uncover the truth about the past?

Amazon UK

Posted in Cover Reveal, Crime, Paranormal, Psychological Thriller

Siren Song Rebecca McKinney #CoverReveal @BexMcKinney @lovebooksgroup #SirenSong #lovebookstours #paranormal #PsychologicalThriller #Crime

A man who glimpses other people’s inner worlds, and a woman who can foresee death. Can they trace a missing girl before the worst happens?

Harrison Jones is a university lecturer with a secret: he moonlights as a psychic detective. Amy Bell is a paramedic who has the uncanny knack of knowing things are going to happen before they do. From their first accidental meeting on an Edinburgh bridge, both of their lives are destined to change.

Harrison invites Amy to help him investigate the disappearance of a beautiful young singer. The search will lead them into the murky world of human trafficking, from Edinburgh to the streets of Athens, and into the darkest corners of the human mind…

Rebecca McKinney is a writer, therapist and community development practitioner, living and working in Midlothian, Scotland. She shares her home with her husband, two teenagers, three cats, and a growing collection of musical instruments.

Previous novels:

The Angel in the Stone: shortlisted for the Highland Book Prize, 2017: Sandstone Press

Blast Radius: 2015: Sandstone Press

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, Literary Fiction, Literary Humour, Noir

The Big Chill Doug Johnstone 4*#Review doug_johnstone @Orendabooks #TheSkelfs #BlogTour #TheBigChill #CrimeFiction #PI #noir #humour #BookReview #literaryfiction @RandomTTours

Haunted by their past, the Skelf women are hoping for a quieter life. But running both a funeral directors’ and a private investigation business means trouble is never far away, and when a car crashes into the open grave at a funeral Dorothy is conducting, she can’t help looking into the dead driver ’s shadowy life.

While Dorothy uncovers a dark truth at the heart of Edinburgh society, her daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah have their own struggles. Jenny’s
ex-husband Craig is making plans that could shatter the Skelf women’s lives, and the increasingly obsessive Hannah has formed a friendship with an elderly professor that is fast turning deadly.

But something even more sinister emerges when a drumming student of Dorothy’s disappears, and suspicion falls on her parents. The Skelf women find themselves immersed in an unbearable darkness – but could the real threat be to themselves?

Fast-paced, darkly funny, yet touching and tender, the Skelf family series is a welcome reboot to the classic PI novel, whilst also asking deeper questions about family, society and grief.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Stories centred around funeral directors always seem to combine darkness and humour with the possibility of crime and this, in essence, is what’s going on here. This is an atmospheric novel. It has vivid imagery and vibrant characters. It’s easy to imagine the events as they unfold, and this makes it addictive reading.

The second book in the series it reads well as a standalone but if you like to know the minutiae of the characters perhaps read book one first? Told from the three main characters’viewpoints it gives the reader an omnipotent view of the story. The plot is complex and detailed but seen through the characters’ eyes riveting reading.

Character-driven you get to know each of the women well and their familial relationship. This story explores love and loss with a poignant intensity relieved by insightful touches of humour. It’s an engaging fusion of family drama, and crime detection, which works well. The Edinburgh setting is evocative and gives the story a unique edge.

Doug Johnstone

Doug Johnstone is the author of more ten novels, most recently Breakers (2019), which has been shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year and A Dark Matter (2020), which launched the Skelfs series. Several of his books have been bestsellers and award winners, and his work has been praised by the likes of Val McDermid, Irvine Welsh and Ian Rankin. He’s taught creative writing and been writer in residence at various institutions – including a funeral home, which he drew on to write A Dark Matter – and has been an arts journalist for twenty years. Doug is a
songwriter and musician with five albums and three EPs released, and he plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He’s alsoplayer-manager of the Scotland Writers Football Club. He lives in Edinburgh.