Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Detective, New Books

Cold Grave Jenny O’Brien 5*Review @ScribblerJB @HQStories #CrimeFiction #DetectiveGabyDarin #ColdGrave #Detective #BlogTour #BookReview

It’s every parent’s worst nightmare…

Seventeen-year-old Bryony Lloyd’s father drops her off at a friend’s house to study – but when he returns to pick her up there’s no sign of her, and the woman who lives in the house swears she lives alone. Bryony has vanished into thin air, and her ‘friend’ doesn’t seem to exist.

DI Gaby Darin immediately sees similarities with another missing-persons case: seventeen-year-old Christy Taylor, who vanished without warning several months earlier. There’s nothing in the girls’ personal lives to suggest trouble at home – could someone have taken them both?

After a third case is linked, Gaby knows time is running out if she’s going to find Bryony and Christy alive. After going missing over a year ago, this girl’s just been found dead.

When a tragic accident means Gaby loses a vital member of her team, she distracts herself from her grief by throwing herself into finding the missing girls. Even if it means putting her whole career on the line…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Detective Gaby Darin and her motivated detectives try to find a missing teenager whilst looking for links with a past unsolved case. Gaby’s issues, coupled with a bereft of clues case, make it an emotionally challenging time for her. I enjoyed the detailed plot, which only allows Gaby and her team and thus the reader a few clues to solve the mystery. A cleverly crafted antagonist and the impactful plot twists make this an addictive read.

Cold Grave is an excellently paced police drama whose engaging detective team and twisty plot make this a compelling crime fiction.

Jenny O’Brien

Born in Dublin, Jenny O’Brien moved to Wales and then Guernsey, where she tries to find time to write in between working as a nurse and ferrying around 3 teenagers.
In her spare time,
she can be found frowning at her wonky cakes and even wonkier loaves of bread. You’ll be pleased to note she won’t be entering Bake-Off. She’s also an all-year-round sea swimmer. Readers can find out more about Jenny and her books on her blog

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Books in series reading order, although each is stand-alone:-

Click on book title link to read my reviews.

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

The Storm Girl Kathleen McGurl 5*#Review @KathMcGurl @HQStories @rararesources #Timeslip #HistFic #ContemporaryFiction #Adventure #Mystery #Family #Secrets #Betrayal #Loss #friendship #romance #BlogTour #BookReview #TheStormGirl #Mudeford

A heartbreaking choice. A secret kept for centuries.

1784. When Esther Harris’s father hurts his back, she takes over his role of helping smugglers hide contraband in the secret cellar in their pub. But when the free traders’ ships are trapped in the harbour, a battle between the smugglers and the revenue officers leads to murder and betrayal – and Esther is forced to choose between the love of her life and protecting her family…

Present day. Fresh from her divorce, Millie Galton moves into a former inn overlooking the harbour in Mudeford and plans to create her dream home. When a chance discovery behind an old fireplace reveals the house’s secret history as a haven for smugglers and the devastating story of its former residents, could the mystery of disappearance from centuries ago finally be solved?

Amazon UK Amazon

I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher.

My Thoughts…

In a dual timeline story set in Mudeford near Christchurch in Dorset, divorced, Millie moves into an old historic former Inn needing renovation; as the work progresses, the house begins to give up its secrets. In 1784 Ester lives and works in the Inn at Mudeford. She and many townsfolk are involved in smuggling. The sense of betrayal and danger immerses the reader in the historical part of this story. Historical details vibrantly bring 1784 Mudeford to life. The Inn is the link between the past and present, and the two interwoven timelines create an engaging story full of adventure, mystery and romance.

I love the clever plotting that links the two time periods, the believable characters and the mystery to be solved.

Kathleen McGurl

Kathleen McGurl lives near the coast in Christchurch, England. She writes dual timeline novels in which a historical mystery is uncovered and resolved in the present day. She is married to an Irishman and has two adult sons. She enjoys travelling, especially in her motorhome around Europe but her home is Mudeford, where this novel is set.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Family Drama, New Books, Noir, Suspense, Thriller

The Game Scott Kershaw 4*#Review @MrScottKershaw @HQStories #thriller #THEGAMEISON #TheGame #BlogTour #BookReview #suspense

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Five individuals become involved in a sinister game because they each have to save someone they love. Who initiates the game is a mystery. There are rules to follow, and no one knows each other, but they have to work together to succeed, but only one can win.

This thriller’s premise evokes a chill down your spine from the start. What would you do? It is compelling, disturbing, and suspenseful, written from the viewpoints of the five players interspersed with a few pre-game chapters—the relevance apparent at the impactful conclusion. The author creates a claustrophobic, intense ethos that draws the reader into the game. The characters are flawed and relatable, and the twists are good. I like the original perspective of this contemporary thriller.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Family Drama, Mystery, New Books, Psychological Suspense, Romantic Suspense, Suspense, Thriller

Playing With Fire Mary Burton 4*#Review @HQStories #MaryBurton #BlogTour #thriller #familydrama #BookReview #suspense #romanticsuspense #mystery #PlayingWithFire

A year after the infamous arsonist Nero was found dead in one of his latest fires, journalist Darcy Sampson receives a tip that the body found at the scene wasn’t Nero at all. Determined to solve the case, Darcy heads to her small hometown in Virginia to track Michael Gannon, an arsonist investigator who refuses to believe that Nero is dead.

But when a new series of fires in the area have a remarkable resemblance to the arsonist’s previous work, Darcy and Gannon are in a race against time to put a stop to Nero once and for all.

But Nero is ready and waiting for them, and he intends on teaching both Gannon and Darcy one last, fatal lesson.

Previously published as The Arsonist

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

My Thoughts…

Gannon is an ex-arson investigator; Darcy is a journalist looking for her big story. When she receives a tip suggesting the infamous arsonist Nero may not have died the previous year, she is determined to get to the truth. There is an instant attraction between the couple but conflict too. Their connection puts them on the arsonist’s radar as he plots to bring them down.

I like how the setting and the action scenes intensify the suspense. I also enjoyed the developing relationship between the two investigators and how this made them vulnerable to the antagonist. Well-paced romantic suspense that keeps you absorbed until the end.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Historical Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction, Murder Mystery, Mystery, New Books

Miss Aldridge Regrets Louise Hare 4*#Review @LouRHare @HQStories #murdermystery #histfic #BookReview #BlogTour #London #socialhistory #political #AtlanticCrossing #NewYork #1930s #1936 #crimefiction #historicalcrimefiction #MissAldridgeRegrets

London, 1936

Lena Aldridge is wondering if life has passed her by. The dazzling theatre career she hoped for hasn’t worked out. Instead, she’s stuck singing in a sticky-floored basement club in Soho and her married lover has just left her. She has nothing to look forward to until a stranger offers her the chance of a lifetime: a starring role on Broadway and a first-class ticket on the Queen Mary bound for New York. 
 
After a murder at the club, the timing couldn’t be better and Lena jumps at the chance to escape England. Until death follows her onto the ship and she realises that her greatest performance has already begun.

Because someone is making manoeuvres behind the scenes, and there’s only one thing on their mind…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Set in the classic age of murder mystery, the Atlantic crossing aboard a luxury liner provides the setting for a locked room mystery. The murder mystery is only one aspect of this multilayered novel that explores the social history of the time evocatively, mainly centring on class, politics, and race.

Lena’s career has not developed despite her obvious talent and tenacity. London in 1936 is rife with prejudice and extreme politics making Lena’s position precarious. An offer of a role in New York comes at the right time. Possibly implicated in a murder leaving town seems the best option for Lena. Life on the luxury liner is not what she imagined as beneath the glamour, danger, deceit, and depravity simmer, waiting to destroy her.

I like how the social-historical issues explored give this story a literary fiction feel. Interwoven with the well-written classical murder mystery, it has depth and originality that resonates.

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

Last Seen Alive Jane Bettany 5*#Review @JaneBettany @HQStories #CrimeFiction #LastSeenAlive #BlogTour #BookReview #DIIsabelBlood

When Anna Matheson fails to collect her son from the babysitter after a works party, the police are swiftly called. Anna is a stickler for time and a good mother – she would never abandon her baby. Her disappearance is totally out of character and DI Isabel Blood and her team soon suspect foul play.

CCTV footage shows Anna was last seen at precisely 11.11pm, as she collected her coat to leave the party. But the cameras outside the venue have failed to pick up her exit from the car park – how could she have vanished in plain sight?

Rumour has it that Anna was set to make big changes in the workplace, and Isabel can’t help but think someone wanted her out of the way.

Everyone at the party is a suspect, and all the clues point to murder… 

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley.

My Thoughts…

Another riveting instalment of the DI Isabel Blood series with the disappearance of a young single mother after a works party; there is a locked room vibe to this story that has numerous suspects, a few unexpected twists and a detailed police investigation. Set in Derbyshire with an authentic setting and believable cast of characters, this is an immersive reading experience. The characters are relatable and flawed with secrets. I enjoyed working out the connections between characters and their pasts.

The investigation unfolds realistically, with false leads and partial stories before the final unexpected conclusion.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, New Adult Romance, New Books, Paranormal, Romance, Travel

With This Kiss Carrie Hope Fletcher 4*#Review @CarrieHFletcher @HQStories #WithThisKiss #Romance #contemporaryfiction #supernatural #BlogTour #BookReview #fantasy

From the outside, Lorelai is an ordinary young woman with a normal life. She loves reading, she works at the local cinema and she adores living with her best friend. But she carries a painful burden, something she’s kept hidden for years; whenever she kisses someone on the lips, she sees how they are going to die. But she’s never known if she’s seeing what was always meant to be, or if her kiss is the thing that decides their destiny. And so, she hasn’t kissed anyone since she was sixteen.

Then she meets Grayson. Sweet, clever, funny Grayson. And for the first time in years, she yearns for a man’s kiss. But she can’t… or can she? And if she does, should she try to intervene and change what she sees?

Spellbinding, magical and utterly original, With This Kiss is one love story you will never forget. 

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Lorelai is a theatrical character. Despite her ordinary job, she is creative and quirky, but her ability to see someone’s death when she kisses them dominates her life and makes her shy away from love. A new adult romance with a supernatural twist best describes this story. It’s an emotional journey of self-realisation for Lorelai as she comes to terms with her unusual ability. Told in the present day and from Lorelai’s past experiences, the reader gains an insight into the character and her motivations. I like the use of sensory imagery and the distinctive characterisation.

Emotional and original, this story is engaging and evocative to read.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Detective, Family Drama, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Suspense

Breakneck Point T.Orr Munro 4*#Review @HQStories @TinaOrrMunro #BlogTour #BookReview #CrimeFiction #Forensic #CrimeScenesInvestigation #BreakneckPoint #NorthDevon #suspense


CSI Ally Dymond’s commitment to justice has cost her a place on the major investigations team. After exposing corruption in the ranks, she’s stuck working petty crimes on the sleepy North Devon coast.

Then the body of nineteen-year-old Janie Warren turns up in the seaside town of Bidecombe, and Ally’s expert skills are suddenly back in demand.

But when the evidence she discovers contradicts the lead detective’s theory, nobody wants to listen to the CSI who landed their colleagues in prison.

Time is running out to catch a killer no one is looking for – no one except Ally. What she doesn’t know is that he’s watching, from her side of the crime scene tape, waiting for the moment to strike.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

I enjoyed the setting for this crime thriller as it is atmospheric and relatable. Ally, a CSI whose quest for truth defines her, is relegated to routine jobs when she refuses to back up a colleague’s falsification of evidence. Called to a murder scene because of her forensic skills, she is still at odds with her colleagues, and an intensely political game ensues as she tries to expose the killer.

It’s a character-driven story that has serial potential. Ally is streetwise and driven and someone you would want on your side. This engaging dual viewpoint story gives the reader an omnipotent view of events with believable characters and a twisty plot.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Revenge Fiction, Crime, Detective, Family Drama, Mystery, New Books, Psychological Suspense

Find You Mary Burton 4*#Review @HQStories #MaryBurton #CrimeFiction #thriller #BlogTour #BookReview #psychsuspense #familydrama #revengefiction #suspense #detective #romanticsuspense #mystery #FindYou

The chase is on in this utterly suspenseful and unputdownable mystery from New York Times bestselling author Mary Burton.

After being on the run for the last nine months, Kristen Rodale has finally settled in a small town in Virginia, where she hopes her dangerous and deadly brother Benito can never find her.
 
But former FBI agent, Dane Cambia, has other ideas: after his sister died at the hands of Kristen’s brother, he wants to hunt Kristen down and use her as bait to get his final revenge on Benito.
 
Cambia manages to locate Kristen, setting his plan in motion. But playing into the killer’s hands is just the beginning of Kristen and Cambia’s new nightmare…

Previously published as Wise Moves

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

My Thoughts…

‘Find you ‘is an intense and well-paced romantic suspense that keeps the reader engaged, waiting for Elena/Kristen’s past to catch up with her. The opening scene is atmospheric and action-packed and immerses the reader in the main protagonist’s life. Trying to start a new life brings Elena, now Kristen, to a new small town with friendly people who seem willing to help a stranger. Dane is ex FBI out to avenge his sister’s death. He sees Elena as collateral damage in achieving his goal but meeting Kristen makes him reconsider.

The romance between Dane and Kristen is conflicted and gentle and is a counterpoint to the suspense and danger surrounding them. The tension intensifies as the story progresses, and the ending, whilst not unexpected, is impactful and romantic.

I like the believable characters and setting, the suspenseful plot and the gentle romance of this story.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Humour, New Books, Noir, Parenting and Famlies

Other Parents Sarah Stovell 4*#Review @sarahlovescrime @HQStories #otherparents #relationships #community #secrets #rurallife #friendship #political #humour #noir #parenting

Rachel Saunders knows gossip is the price you pay for a rural lifestyle and outstanding schools. The latest town scandal is her divorce – and the fact that her new girlfriend has moved into the family home.

Laura Spence lives in a poky bedsit on the wrong side of town. She and her son Max don’t really belong, and his violent tantrums are threatening to expose the very thing she’s trying to hide.

When the local school introduces a new inclusive curriculum, Rachel and Laura find themselves on opposite sides of a fearsome debate.

But the problem with having your nose in everyone else’s business is that you often miss what is happening in your own home.

Waterstones Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Immersive, insightful and inquisitive are three adjectives that reading this novel conjures in the reader’s mind. It is an intriguing study of small-town/rural life from the viewpoint of five women. It explores disturbing contemporary issues, astutely exposing them to the reader. The narrators have an unreliable quality that makes it difficult to know who to believe and whose opinion to trust. It is addictive reading.

Believably flawed characters all have secrets, and there are relatable dynamics in the acquaintance, family and friendship groups. The writing has a lyrical quality, but the characters and situations are easily recognisable. Vivid settings and vibrant characters bring the story to life in an engaging way.

Sarah Stovell is a lecturer in creative writing at Lincoln University and a crime fiction author. She has published four novels, including the critically-acclaimed psychological thrillers Exquisite and The House. Her latest novel Other Parents, published in January 2022will delve into small-town British life through a series of scandals.