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 Blog Tour, Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Friendship, Murder Mystery

The Marlow Murder Club Robert Thorogood 5*#Review @robthor @HQStories #BlogTour #BookReview #MurderMystery #Detective #Women #TheMarlowMurderClub #cosycrime

To solve an impossible murder, you need an impossible hero…

Judith Potts is seventy-seven years old and blissfully happy. She lives on her own in a faded mansion just outside Marlow, there’s no man in her life to tell her what to do or how much whisky to drink, and to keep herself busy she sets crosswords for The Times newspaper. 

One evening, while out swimming in the Thames, Judith witnesses a brutal murder. The local police don’t believe her story, so she decides to investigate for herself, and is soon joined in her quest by Suzie, a salt-of-the-earth dog-walker, and Becks, the prim and proper wife of the local Vicar.

Together, they are the Marlow Murder Club.

When another body turns up, they realise they have a real-life serial killer on their hands. And the puzzle they set out to solve has become a trap from which they might never escape…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This story grabs your immediate attention. Judith is a remarkable woman. Eccentric, independent and intelligent she is the perfect advert for the older person, and it’s no surprise when she witnesses a murder she wants to find out who committed it and why?

There is a good balance of amateur sleuth and professional policing in this tale, and the reader can imagine how it will develop as the series progresses. The other constituents of the Marlow club are equally enigmatic, although more contemporary than Judith. This story sees a believable team dynamic evolve between unlikely allies and shows positive character development in all of the women. There are insights into these women’s lives which are relatable and immerse the reader in the story.

The multilayered plot keeps the reader engaged. It is solvable, which is important in these type of mysteries, rather like the crosswords Judith writes clues for.

This is an enjoyable read, humorous, poignant and satirical with memorable characters. I look forward to more books in this series.

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Domestic Thriller, Murder Mystery, Psychological Thriller, Romance, Suspense

The Wife Who Knew Too Much Michele Campbell 5* #Review @MCampbellBooks @HQStories #BlogTour #BookReview #TheWifeWhoKnewTooMuch #CrimeFiction #PsychologicalThriller #DomesticSuspense #Detective

A decadent summer thriller about marriages tainted by ambition, wealth, and desire.

He said it was forever. HE LIED.

She’s in too deep….

Meet the first Mrs Ford. Beautiful. Accomplished. Wealthy beyond imagination. Married to a much younger man. And now… dead.

Meet the second Mrs Ford. Waitress. Small-town girl. Married to a man she never forgot, from an affair ten years before. And now, she’s wealthy beyond imagination.

But who is Connor Ford? Two wives loved him, and knew him as only wives can…

Who is the victim? Who is the villain? And who will be next to die?

Set amongst the glittering mansions of the Hamptons, The Wife Who Knew Too Much is a decadent thriller about the lives of those who will do anything for love and money

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This domestic suspense story explores the human consequences of love, money and power. It embroils the reader in an intricately built world of abuse, deceit and lust with believable characters and insidious suspense.

Told from two perspectives; journal entries from Nina, the first Mrs Ford and Tabitha, the second Mrs Ford’s past and present points of view. The story draws the reader into two parallel worlds of the rich and poor and explores what someone will do for power and wealth. Tabitha and Nina are both unreliable protagonists, but they both engender the reader’s empathy. Connor is weak and driven by the need for money and not as easy to like. The cast of secondary characters all add to the story and provide its plot twists.

The fast-paced plot builds a world of betrayal and division. It blends introspection and criminal investigation to deliver an absorbing story. I guessed part of the outcome, but that adds to the enjoyment, and the poignant conclusion is both realistic and satisfying.

Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Noir, Psychological Thriller, Science Fiction, Suspense, Thriller

Sleepless Louise Mumford 4*#Review @louise_mumford @HQStories @rararesources #BookReview #AudiobookReview #Sleepless #psychological #suspense #dystopian #thriller #Insomnia #BlogTour #PublicationDayPush

Don’t close your eyes. Don’t fall asleep. Don’t let them in.

Thea is an insomniac; she hasn’t slept more than three hours a night for years.

So when an ad for a sleep trial that promises to change her life pops up on her phone, Thea knows this is her last chance at finding any kind of normal life.

Soon Thea’s sleeping for longer than she has in a decade, and awakes feeling transformed. So much so that at first she’s willing to overlook the oddities of the trial – the lack of any phone signal; the way she can’t leave her bedroom without permission; the fact that all her personal possessions are locked away, even her shoes.

But it soon becomes clear that the trial doesn’t just want to help Thea sleep. It wants to control her sleep…An unputdownable, gripping psychological thriller

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

My Thoughts…

This story gets full marks for originality. The theme of insomnia is a relatable one and the author’s interpretation an interesting balance of imagination and reality. I also listened to the audiobook edition of this. The excellent narration makes the story come alive, creating a claustrophobic and immersive story.

It begins with Thea’s desperation to sleep, which makes her apply for a scientific trial that uses new techniques. She ends up on a creepy island with a medley of different characters. The first part of the story is atmospheric and disturbing, the people running the programme are they trustworthy? Thea’s sense of what is real is impaired, as is her judgement. The author creates a believably, frightening world.

There’s nail-biting drama and then the story twist into something else. After dramatic events, the story becomes more like a science-fiction, dystopian drama, but with the same characters.

The characters are vivid, and the events described using sensory imagery that draws the reader into the story. There’s something for everyone in this mix of genres. This is a unique and disturbing story, with an eerie ending.

Louise Mumford

Louise was born and lives in South Wales. From a young age she loved books and dancing, but hated having to go to sleep, convinced that she might miss out on something interesting happening in the world whilst she dozed – much to her mother’s frustration! Insomnia has been a part of her life ever since.

She studied English Literature at university and graduated with first class honours. As a teacher she tried to pass on her love of reading to her students (and discovered that the secret to successful teaching is… stickers! She is aware that that is, essentially, bribery.)

In the summer of 2019 Louise experienced a once-in-a-lifetime moment: she was discovered as a new writer by her publisher at the Primadonna Festival. Everything has been a bit of a whirlwind since then.

Louise lives in Cardiff with her husband and spends her time trying to get down on paper all the marvellous and frightening things that happen in her head.

Her debut thriller, SLEEPLESS, will be published by HQ on 11th Dec 2020.

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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, 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.

Amazon UK Amazon

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

One More For Christmas Sarah Morgan 5*#Review @SarahMorgan_ @HQStories #BlogTour #BookReview #FestiveRead #Christmas #Family #Love #MothersandDaughters #Sisters #RomCom #HolidayFiction #OneMoreForChristmas

Gayle is a highly successful and motivated business woman, but her success has come at a price – she hasn’t spoken to her daughters, Ella and Samantha, for years. But when Gayle has an accident at work, she realises she needs to make amends with her family.

And so she invites herself to join Ella and Samantha for their Christmas in the beautiful Scottish Highlands. The sisters are none too pleased that their mother has inserted herself into their Christmas plans. They have each other – and don’t need their mother back in their lives. Or so they think…

As they embark on their first family Christmas together in years, will the three women learn that sometimes facing up to a few home truths is all you need to heal your heart?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Snow and the Scottish Highlands at Christmas seems idyllic, and that’s what Sam’s hoping for as she and her sister try out a highland lodge for her bespoke festive holidays’ company. They always spend the festive season together, but this time their estranged mother is coming too. Gayle has a successful company, but her family life is non-existent. This is not something she worries about until she has an accident and realises how alone she is.

The story told mainly from the three women’s point of view is engaging, poignant and realistic. The setting may be like a fairytale, but the angst is real and threatens the magic of the season. There are humour and romance are interwoven into the emotional minefield of past loss and secrets. The flawed characters are appealing, and you want them to find familial happiness.

The romance is magical and passionate. The childlike perspective from Tabitha, light relief in this emotional tale and the end of this story is positive and uplifting.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Festive Read, Romance, Travel

All About Us Tom Ellen 4*#Review @TomEllen7 @HQStories #TimeTravel #Romance #December #Winter #Festive #SecondChances #BlogTour #BookReview #AllAboutUs #MondayBlogs #MondayMotivation #Paperback

If you could turn back the clock, would you choose a different life?

Ben’s always loved the month of December, but this year, with his relationship with Daphne on the rocks, it’s missing its usual magic. And then his old friend Alice gets back in touch. Ben’s always thought of Alice as the one that got away, and he can’t help but wonder: what if he’d done things differently all those years ago?

He never imagines he might get to find out… but when a stranger sells Ben a mysterious watch one freezing winter’s night, he’s astonished to wake up the next morning on 5th December 2005: the day he first kissed Daphne, leaving Alice behind.

Now Ben must make the biggest decision of his life, all over again. But this time around, will he finally find the courage to follow his heart?

Two loves. Two lives. One destiny…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The festive season crystallises memories good and bad for most people and Christmas 2020 proves to be a memorable one for Ben. At a low point in his life, he has a serendipitous meeting with a man who gives him a watch and food for thought. What follows, defies belief but at such a magical time of year, anything is possible, right?

Ben, his wife Daff, best friend Harv and Alice the what-if lover are all well-described, relatable characters in this engaging story. The festive twist comes from the December time frame and the contemporary interpretation of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol.

This story focuses on the turning points of Ben’s life when he makes life-changing decisions. Given the opportunity, should he change them? Revisiting the past forces Ben to see things differently, not everything is as he remembers it, and this is important for his future actions.

There’s a new adult romance, coming of age, loss, love and magical time travel in this reflective story.