Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Romance, Suspense

The Smuggler’s Daughter Kerry Barrett 4*#Review @kerrybean73 @HQStories #BlogTour #BookReview #Timeslip #HistoricalFiction #ContemporaryFiction #Mystery #WeekendReads

Only she knows the truth. Only she can save them.

1799
Emily Moon lives with her mother in an inn on a clifftop in the darkest reaches of Cornwall. After her father mysteriously disappears, her mother finds solace at the bottom of a bottle, and the only way to keep afloat is to turn a blind eye to the smugglers who send signals from the clifftops. But Emily knows that the smugglers killed her father to ensure his silence, and she will not let his murder go unpunished…

Present day
After a case ends in tragedy, police officer Phoebe Bellingham flees to Cornwall for a summer of respite. But rather than the sunny Cornwall of her dreams, she finds herself on storm-beaten cliffs, surrounded by stories of ghosts and smugglers – and the mysterious Emily Moon, who vanished without a trace over two centuries ago. As rain lashes down around her, Phoebe determines to find the truth behind the rumours – but what she uncovers will put herself in danger too…

A haunting and moving timeslip novel

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The Smuggler’s Daughter is a mysterious timeslip story, connected by place and two women. This is an atmospheric story in both 1799 and 2019, with the danger of smugglers and an underlying menace.

In Cornwall in 1799, Emily witnesses a terrible crime which she vows to avenge. Viewed as strange by her community, she has few friends. Phoebe is reeling from a mistake that left someone dead. She escapes to Cornwall and finds a mystery to occupy her mind.

Both stories are engaging with strong female characters who draw you into their lives and gain your empathy. The well-paced plot provides a medley of mystery, paranormal and romance amidst Cornwall at its most haunting and rugged.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Romantic Comedy

Accidentally in Love Belinda Missen 4*#Review @belinda_missen @HQStories @rararesources #RomCom #BlogTour #BookReview

In the space of a week, Katharine Patterson has quit her job, decided to move back home, and broken up with the guy she thought was the one.

No big deal.

Because Katharine has a plan. She’s going to open her own art gallery, just like she’s always wanted. What she’s not going to do is worry about boyfriends.

Then she meets Kit, a handsome and talented local artist. He might be the most stubborn person Katharine has ever met. He might also make her feel like no one ever has before.

And Katharine might be about to fall accidentally in love…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

A good rom-com can brighten your day, and this story does that. Katharine has decided that life is for living so newly single and jobless she follows her dream to own a gallery. Romance is not on the to-do list, but meeting opinionated, talented Kit, may change her mind.

This is an enemy to lover trope, the best kind for a rom-com and these characters work this angle so well. There is lots of conflict and humour, as the two strong characters try to get what they want. Katharine is undeniably attracted to the man, but she wants things her way.

This story has some original touches and great realistic characters. There’s plenty of amusement and although the chemistry sizzles the romance is sweet. The author’s use of sensory imagery makes the events easy to visualise increasing the reader enjoyment.

Everything you want in a rom-com, fun, friction and a fabulous ending.

Belinda Missen

Author and sometimes foodie, Belinda is a ridiculous romantic who met her husband after being set up by a friend two states away.

Residing in country Victoria, surrounded by books, cat-fur, and half-eaten cake, Belinda divides her days between writing rom-coms, baking, and indulging her love of comic books.

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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, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance

Sweet Home Montana Shann McPherson 4*#Review @Shann_McPherson @HQStories #ContemporaryRomance #BlogTour #BookReview #FridayReads #SweetHomeMontana

They say that home is where the heart is…

When a family tragedy strikes, Quinn Wagner travels home to Black Canyon, Montana for the first time in almost a decade. Having left her childhood sweetheart Colt at the altar before she fled, Quinn knows her homecoming will mean facing up to her past.

But when Quinn runs into Colt on her family’s ranch and realises that the old sparks still fly between them, she begins to wonder whether it’s time to come home for good.

As Quinn and Colt become closer, it’s clear they have unfinished business. But Colt is hiding something, and when his secret is revealed it will show Quinn just how much can change in ten long years—and how difficult it is to slot back in to a life that’s moved on without her…

Full of romance, humor and with a guaranteed HEA,

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

An engaging mix of coming of age, family drama and second chance romance. Ten years on, in the wake of a family tragedy, Quinn is forced to return home. She’s left her boyfriend at the altar to follow her dreams. Her reception at home is less than enthusiastic, but she’s matured and is prepared to acknowledge her mistakes. Colt has issues, and secrets, forgiveness seems far away, but he can’t deny the chemistry still sizzles between them.

This is about following your dreams, finding out what you want in life and the emotions associated with this. It also touches on the expectations of women and what happens when we ignore these.

This is a heartwarming, intense second chance romance with a strong element of family drama in a contemporary setting.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Romance, Travel

Eleven Lines to Somewhere Alyson Rudd 4*#Review @allyrudd_times @HQStories #BlogTour #BookReview #Love #Loss #Mystery #Family #serendipity #LiteraryFiction

In a world of what-ifs, a connection has been made.

When Ryan spots a young woman on the tube on his commute, he can’t take his eyes off her. Instantly attracted and intrigued, he’s keen to find out more about his mysterious fellow passenger.

The woman he thinks of as Millie spends all day travelling the Underground, unable to leave for reasons unbeknownst to Ryan. For some inexplicable reason, he just can’t shake the feeling he wants to help her escape her endless commute.

This is a story of love and loss from the author of The First Time Lauren Pailing Died

Amazon UK Waterstones

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

My Thoughts…

This story relies strongly on its characters to capture the reader’s heart and keep them reading. The plot is detailed and reflective in keeping with literary fiction, but it also relies on serendipity and how one person’s actions can affect others.

The setting on the underground gives the story an iconic quality. It is also relatable for the millions that have ridden the underground. People watching is inevitable when travelling in such proximity. This story stems from people watching and whether they do have mysteries to solve.

Ryan’s fixation with Sylvie, her compulsion to ride the underground, and his quest to help her is the momentum of this story. The characters are emotional and honest and easy to empathise. Their lives are ordinary but fascinating as is their fatalistic overlaps.

Read this book with no expectations and see what you think.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Suspense

Darkest Night Jenny O’Brien 5*#Review @ScribblerJB @HQStories #CrimeFiction #DetectiveGabyDarin #Wales #BlogTour #DarkestNight #BookReview #17July #Preorder

Christine De Bertrand wakes up to her worst nightmare: rather than the man she went to bed with, lying beside her is her housemate, Nikki – dead. With no memory of the night before, Christine can’t explain what happened, and the police are baffled. For DC Gaby Darin, newly arrived from Swansea after her last case ended in tragedy, it’s a mystery she’s determined to solve. When another woman goes missing, Gaby faces a race against time to uncover the link between the two victims and find the man who vanished from Christine’s bedroom. But as Gaby gets close, the killer gets closer – and soon one of Gaby’s own team is in unimaginable danger…

Amazon UK Waterstones

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

My Thoughts…

The second Detective Gaby Darin book has a well-constructed plot and excellent characters. This contemporary mix of police procedural and psychological suspense told from multi-viewpoints is absorbing. The reader gains an omniscient view of the events but is everyone a reliable narrator?

The story is pacy and intelligently plotted. The crime descriptions are graphic and add to the authenticity. Psychological suspense makes the investigation complex, which makes detecting the criminal harder.

There’s an adrenaline-inducing conclusion that keeps you guessing.

Jenny O’Brien was abandoned in Dublin at the tender age of 17 by her parents when they decided to move to Wales. It was only on the completion of her studies that she was finally able to join them. 
She’s an avid reader and book blogger in addition to being a RoNA book judge. She writes for both children and adults with a new book coming out every six months or so. 

In her spare time, she can be found frowning at her wonky cakes and even wonkier breads. You’ll be pleased to note she won’t be entering Bake-Off. She’s also an all-year-round sea swimmer.

Jenny currently resides on the island of Guernsey with her husband, children and cats. She works as a nurse and writes in her spare time. 
 

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

Ride or Die Khurrum Rahman #JayQasim 4*#Review @KhurrumRahman @HQStories #political #thriller #international #Spy #RideorDie #BlogTour #BookReview #pubicationday

JAY QASIM is finally out of the game and trying to lay low. But then he gets news that rocks his world and drags up everything that he thought he’d left behind. Jay must break his vow never to work with MI5 again and turn to the person who sold him out. But this time he’s determined to do it on his terms.

IMRAN SIDDIQUI once tried to kill Jay but now they have a common adversary. The one thing worse than death is watching the people closest to you die. And after the happiest day of Imran’s life becomes the most tragic, he will stop at nothing to take revenge on the people that have taken away his family.

But when everyone has their own agenda, who can you really trust?
Your most deadly enemy is about to become your closest ally.

Ride or Die is an edge-of-your-seat thriller featuring MI5 most reluctant spy Jay Qasim.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The third book in the Jay Qasim series, but the first one I’ve read. There’s a quick catch up of events and character details but read the earlier books first if you can. The writing style is informal and urban and draws you into Jay’s world quickly. There are action, hatred and violence but also love, reflection and selflessness in this thriller.

Jay and his nemesis Imy are both conflicted but likeable. They have the arrogance of youth but tempered by what they’ve done lost and seen. This book views the world through their eyes, and it’s a disturbing place to be. The themes are current, but the interpretation is literary. This is an adrenaline-fueled dangerous adventure which keeps the reader invested and on the edge of their seats.

Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Romance, Travel

Sun, Sea and Sangria Victoria Cooke 4*#Review @VictoriaCooke10 @HQStories #HolidayRomance #Holiday #CanaryIslands #Dancers #Humour #Romance #Friendship @rararesources #BlogBlitz #BookReview #RachelsRandomResources #ThursdayThoughts #SummerReading

Kat swore off dating many years ago, after her marriage ended in a catastrophic mess. Having moved to the Canary Islands for a fresh start, she has never had much time for romance, channelling all her energy into managing all-male dance troupe – the Heavenly Hunks.

With golden beaches, sparkling blue water and relaxing after work with a glass of sangria – or three – for Kat, it’s summer all year round. But despite life being postcard perfect, Kat can’t help but wonder if she is missing out on the most important thing of all… love.

The dancers are all well-known for their flirtatious antics and aren’t looking for anything serious… except Jay. Sitting by the pool, watching the sun reflecting in the water, Kat feels like she can tell him anything.

Handsome, caring and a good listener, he ignites a fire in Kat’s heart that scares her witless. But her relationship with Jay should stay strictly professional… right? There is absolutely no way that she can be his boss and his date.

As the temperature rises, will Kat be able to take the plunge, let go of her past and find romance in paradise?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

If you’re looking for some sunshine and a little romance, this story is for you. Kat’s the manager of an all-male exotic dance troupe in the Canary Islands, sound interesting? Well, it is, but she’s more of a mother than a lover, keeping her relationships strictly business until Jay joins the group and threatens the status quo.

Kat fled to the islands, in the wake of a disastrous controlling marriage. Jay makes her take a look at her life and risk dating again with some hilarious and sometimes poignant results. Jay’s past threatens his future happiness, but his attraction to Kat is hard to ignore.

The story balances fun and more serious moments in a relatable holiday setting. With believable characters and gentle romance, it’s easy to lose yourself in this story. A must-have Summer read.

Victoria Cooke grew up in the city of Manchester before crossing the Pennines in pursuit of a career in education. She now lives in Huddersfield with her husband and two young daughters and when she’s not at home writing by the fire with a cup of coffee in hand, she loves working out in the gym and travelling. Victoria was first published at the tender age of eight by her classroom teacher who saw potential in a six-page story about an invisible man. Since then she’s always had a passion for reading and writing, undertaking several writers’ courses before completing her first novel, ‘The Secret to Falling in Love,’ in 2016.

Her third novel, Who Needs Men Anyway? became a digital bestseller in 2018.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime

Broken Silence Liz Mistry 5*#Review @LizMistryAuthor @HQStories D.S. Nikki Parekh #BrokenSilence #CrimeFiction @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #Detective #weekendreads #RachelsRandomResources

When DS Felicity Springer is reported missing after a police training conference, the countdown to find her begins…

On her way home after an exhausting weekend, with colleagues she can’t wait to escape, Felicity notices something odd about the white van in front of her. A hand has punched through the car’s rear light and is frantically waving, trying to catch her attention.

Desperate to help, Felicity dials 999 and calls it in. But whilst on the phone, she loses control of the car on the icy road, crashing straight into the vehicle ahead.

Pinned in the seat and unable to move, Felicity feels a sudden whoosh of cold air across her face. Someone has opened the passenger door… and they have a gun.

With Felicity missing and no knowledge of whether she is dead or alive, DS Nikki Parekh and DC Sajid Malik race to find their friend and colleague.

But Felicity was harbouring a terrible secret, and with her life now hanging in the balance, Nikki can only hope that someone will come forward and break the silence…

Amazon UK Paperback Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is a gritty, police procedural focusing on modern slavery. Bradford and its criminal fraternity are brought to life by an author that knows the city well. DS Nikita Parekh is a dedicated police officer who believes in getting the job done. She wants justice for victims. The police team’s dynamic and the partnership between Nikki and Saj is believable. It keeps the reader invested in the investigation.

Contemporary and sometimes violent, this is a challenging read. With a complex pacy plot and relatable characters, this is hard-hitting suspenseful crime fiction.

Born in Scotland, Made in Bradford sums up Liz Mistry’s life. Over thirty years ago she moved from a small village in West Lothian to Yorkshire to get her teaching degree. Once here, Liz fell in love with three things; curries, the rich cultural diversity of the city … and her Indian husband (not necessarily in this order). Now thirty years, three children, two cats (Winky and Scumpy) and a huge extended family later, Liz uses her experiences of living and working in the inner city to flavour her writing. Her gritty crime fiction police procedural novels set in Bradford embrace the city she describes as ‘Warm, Rich and Fearless’ whilst exploring the darkness that lurks beneath.

Struggling with severe clinical depression and anxiety for a large number of years, Liz often includes mental health themes in her writing. She credits the MA in Creative Writing she took at Leeds Trinity University with helping her find a way of using her writing to navigate her ongoing mental health struggles. Being a debut novelist in her fifties was something Liz had only dreamed of and she counts herself lucky, whilst pinching herself regularly to make sure it’s all real. One of the nicest things about being a published author is chatting with and responding to readers’ feedback and Liz regularly does events at local libraries, universities, literature festivals and open mics. She also teaches creative writing too. Now, having nearly completed a PhD in Creative Writing focussing on ‘the absence of the teen voice in adult crime fiction’ and ‘why expansive narratives matter’, Liz is chock full of ideas to continue writing.

In her spare time, Liz loves pub quizzes (although she admits to being rubbish at them), dancing (she does a mean jig to Proud Mary – her opinion, not ratified by her family), visiting the varied Yorkshire landscape, with Robin Hoods Bay being one of her favourite coastal destinations, listening to music, reading and blogging about all things crime fiction on her blog, The Crime Warp. 

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

A Fatal Truth Faith Martin 5* #Review @HQStories @FaithMartin_Nov #hisfic #CrimeFiction #Mystery #Retro #Oxford #1960s #BookReview #bookbloggers #BlogTour #RyderandLoveday #AFatalTruth

As the Hughes family celebrate bonfire night, a terrible accident leaves the garden shed in flames – and father and grandfather Thomas trapped inside.
 
Tragic though it is, Thomas’s death passes without suspicion – until a local journalist makes accusations of a police cover-up in the press. WPC Trudy Loveday is sent to investigate, and asks coroner Clement Ryder to help.
 
But the more questions the two ask the less clear the case seems. There’s no evidence of foul play, and yet the dead man’s family are obviously hiding something. Then there are Thomas’s dubious business practices – was someone out for revenge?
 
All Trudy and Clement know for sure is that everyone is lying – and that they must find the truth…
 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The fifth book in the ‘Ryder and Loveday Mystery’ series, ‘A Fatal Truth’ captures the 1960s perfectly. The mystery is a standalone but to appreciate the partnership between coroner Ryder and police officer Loveday read the previous books in the series.

Loveday’s confidence needs a boost, at the beginning of this story, and she’s apprehensive about working with Ryder again. The story portrays the misogyny prevalent in the 1960s’ police force showing that intelligence and solving crimes aren’t enough for women to succeed.

The story relies on observation and astute detection skills rather than forensics and technology. The clever plot has authentic characters and dialogue. The character development of Loveday is notable and contrasts with Ryder’s ailing health. There is a feeling of the end drawing near for this enigmatic partnership.