Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Fiction, Mystery, New Books, Paranormal, Romance

The Last Daughter Nicola Cornick 5* #Review @NicolaCornick @HQStories #HistFic #timeslip #WaroftheRoses #supernatural #romance #Mystery #intrigue #secrets #family #BlogTour #BookReview #TheLastDaughter

A secret hidden in the past.A family bound by a dark legacy…

Ever since her sister disappeared eleven years ago, Serena Warren has been running from a ghost, haunted by what she can’t remember about that night.

When Caitlin’s body is discovered, Serena returns to her grandfather’s house, nestled beside the ruins of Minster Lovell Hall in Oxfordshire, determined to uncover the truth. But in returning to the place of her childhood summers, Serena stands poised at the brink of a startling discovery – one that will tie her family to a centuries-old secret…

Taking readers from the present day to the Wars of the Roses in the 1400s, and with an enthralling mystery at its heart, The Last Daughter is a spellbinding novel about family secrets.
____

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

A dual timeline novel set in Oxfordshire following the lives of Anne Lovell during the War of the Roses historical period and Serena, in current times, drawn to the area when her twin sister’s body is discovered. The two stories are linked believably, and the supernatural element is well written.

The historical element brings this tumultuous period of English history to vibrant life. The intrigue, mysteries and politics are dramatised fascinatingly. Serena tries to discover what happened to her sister as she researches her family history. Her memories return as she connects with the place and its past.

This is an absorbing story, both timelines draw the reader into their worlds, and the connections between the two are perfectly woven.

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

Arrowood and The Meeting House Murders Mick Finlay 4* #Review @mickfinlay2 @HQStories #BlogTour #BookReview #HistoricalCrimeFiction #Victorian #London

Nowhere to hide.
London, 1879. As winter grips the city, a group of African travellers seek sanctuary inside the walls of the Quaker Meeting House. They are being hunted by a ruthless showman, who is forcing them to perform in his ethnic exhibition in the London Aquarium.


Nowhere to turn.
Private investigator William Arrowood and his assistant Barnett agree to help the travellers avoid capture. But when they arrive at the Meeting House, they find a scene of devastation. Two people have been murdered and the others have fled into the night.


Nowhere to run.
The hunt for the real killer leads Arrowood into the dark heart of Victorian London. A shadowy world of freak shows, violence and betrayal, where there are no good choices and only the slimmest chance of survival… 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

A disturbing, late Victorian tale that explores colonialism, depravity, poverty and racism from the point of view of Norman Barnett, assistant to private inquiry agent William Arrowood. In a twisty plot where nothing is what it seems, Arrowood seeks justice.

This well-researched story focuses on the inhumanity of colonialism and the hidden side of Victorian England and its Empire. Vibrant characters draw the reader into a grim Victorian world. The author’s note on his historical research sets the story in context.

The criminal investigation is clever, but it’s the ethos and the inequalities and terrible injustices that resonate.

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

Right to Kill John Barlow 4*#Review @John_Barlow_LS9 @HQStories #CrimeFiction #BlogTour #BookReview #PublicationDay

On a Thursday night in February, DS Joe Romano finds himself back on home turf. He’s following up on the disappearance of drug-dealer Craig Shaw.

It’s the start of a case that could make or break Romano’s career. Because Shaw is about to go from missing to murdered.

While some don’t think Shaw’s killer should be brought to justice, Romano believes every life counts. But he’s running out of time.

The killer is ready to strike again. And Romano will be forced to question whether anyone has the right to kill.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Set in Leeds and the surrounding area, this is a gritty noir style police procedural with an originally crafted detective. Joe Romano believes in justice for all, and for him, that includes criminals that are murdered. Seen from the point of view of the murderer, this story is disturbing and gritty, but it gives the reader insight, into the antagonist’s motivations, from the onset. The story then follows Joe’s viewpoint as he investigations a missing person case turned to murder, in a hostile ethos.

This is a twenty-first-century police investigation exploring political extremism and vigilante justice. Trial by social media is also an issue. It has an engaging pace and plot that keeps the reader turning the pages.

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

The River Between Us Liz Fenwick 5*#Review @HQStories @liz_fenwick #Cornwall #BlogTour #HistoricalFiction #Saga #Family #WW1 #Gardens #Renovation #Romance #Love #Loss #HistFic #TheRiverBetweenUs #SecondChances

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is an atmospheric and lyrical story of love, loss and familial relationships. Written in dual timelines, 2019 and the early twentieth century during WW1 and its tragic aftermath. The Cornish setting is wonderfully described and gives the story its mystical and timeless qualities.

The characters are diverse and relatable, and the different relationships are full of emotion. The plot is layered and beautifully woven together to allow the reader some precious moments of escapism.

Guest Post: Top Five…Cornish Restaurants – Liz Fenwick

I love food. Some days I wish I didn’t but I do. I’m lucky that Cornwall produces some of the best and that local restaurants have so much fabulous produce to work with which makes choosing my top five restaurants hard so I’ve called in the family for their input.

  1. New Yard Restaurant (and New Yard Pantry) at Trelowarren – they’ve just received a green Michelin star and they have earned it. The restaurant adapted through the pandemic and now operates in a slightly different way. It is a set menu which different every night and it is an adventure. I have been delightfully surprised at the combinations and new foods I’ve been introduced to. When booking make sure they know of any food allergies so they can adapt your meal. And the attached New Yard Pantry produces great small plates plus pizzas for lunch, and their cakes….
  2. Porthminster Beach Café…for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Great food and superb setting. My mouth is watering thinking about the salt and pepper squid…
  3. Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant in Padstow…I’ve been lucky enough to eat there twice. Superb.
  4. The Square in Porthleven…again local foods brilliantly served.
  5. The Mussel Shoal in Porthleven (note: on the quay side in the open and a very small kitchen so there can be no rush. Food is only served from 12:30 to 18:30)

Liz Fenwick – I was born in Massachusetts and after nine international moves – the final one lasting eight years in Dubai- I now live in Cornwall and London with my husband and a cat. I made my first trip to Cornwall in 1989, bought my home there seven years later. My heart is forever in Cornwall, creating new stories.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Parenting and Famlies, Romance, Travel

The Summer Seekers Sarah Morgan 5*#Review @SarahMorgan_ @HQStories #BlogTour #BookReview #BeachRead #Summer #Family #Love #MothersandDaughters #RoadTrip #RomCom #HolidayFiction #Multigenerational #TheSummerSeekers #Route66

Get swept into a summer of sunshine, soul-searching, and shameless matchmaking with this delightfully big-hearted road-trip adventure!

Kathleen is eighty years old. After she has a run-in with an intruder, her daughter wants her to move in to a residential home. But she’s not having any of it. What she craves—what she needs—is adventure.

Liza is drowning under the daily stress of family life. The last thing she needs is her mother jetting off on a wild holiday, making Liza long for a solo summer of her own.

Martha is having a quarter-life crisis. Unemployed, unloved and uninspired, she just can’t get her life together. But she knows something has to change.

When Martha sees Kathleen’s advertisement for a driver and companion to share an epic road trip across America with, she decides this job might be the answer to her prayers. She’s not the world’s best driver, but anything has to be better than living with her parents. And traveling with a stranger? No problem. Anyway, how much trouble can one eighty-year-old woman be?

As these women embark on the journey of a lifetime, they all discover it’s never too late to start over.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The Summer Seekers encapsulates a Summer road trip, a marriage in trouble and three women at different life stages, all in need of emotional support. This multi-generational story is humorous, poignant and romantic as it explores friendship, marriage and mothers and daughter relationships.

Kathleen loves her rambling Cornish cottage close to the beach packed with a lifetime of memories. Liza is the lynchpin of her family, weighed down with her catastrophising and keeping her family’s life stress-free. Kathleen and Liza are emotionally estranged but still care deeply for each other. Martha, unconnected with the women, facilitates Kathleen’s latest adventure despite Liza’s misgivings and her own anxiety.

Martha and Kathleen take a road trip on Route 66. Liza reconnects with her true self in her Cornish childhood home. This is not a travelogue, but there are some good descriptions of places visited.

Gentle romance, relatable characters, and an uplifting conclusion. An addictive Summer read.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Psychological Suspense, Suspense

Lost Souls Jenny O’Brien 5*#Review @ScribblerJB @HQStories #CrimeFiction #DetectiveGabyDarin #Wales #BlogTour #LostSouls #BookReview @rararesources #MondayBlogs

A MISSING GIRL. A RACE AGAINST TIME.

Ten-year-old Elodie Fry vanishes overnight, along with a rucksack filled with her meagre belongings. Acting DI Gaby Darin and her team are fighting the clock to reunite Elodie with her distraught mother – but was Elodie kidnapped or did she run?

Later that day, a local undertaker uncovers a nasty surprise: the remains of an unidentified second adult among a late pensioner’s ashes. Torn between the two investigations, Gaby decides the gruesome discovery at the crematorium must wait – the team are desperate to find Elodie before they lose her trail.

But as she follows the evidence, Gaby realises the two cases have a sinister connection… and there’s a killer on the loose.

Can Gaby find the missing girl alive… or is she already too late? 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Another emotional and exciting medley of police procedural and psychological suspense featuring Detective Gaby Darin. Set in Wales, this is an atmospheric mystery beginning with a young girl running away, a strange discovery in crematorium ashes and an unsolved missing person’s case.

As events in Gaby’s life continue from previous stories, it’s best to read all the books in the series in order. The crimes are menacing and well-described. The investigative team dynamic is authentic, and Gaby Darin is a likeable protagonist.

Well-plotted with believable characters, there are plenty of twists and an addictive balance of action, emotion and investigation in this story. It keeps the reader engaged and guessing who committed the various crimes.

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 breads. 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:
(jennyobrienwriter.wordpress) and she can also be found on
Twitter and Instagram as ‘scribblerjb’.
Facebook (Jenny O’Brien Guernsey Writer)

Blog Facebook Twitter Instagram

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

The Players Darren O’Sullivan 5* #Review @darrensully @HQStories #PsychSuspense #PsychologicalThriller #CrimeFiction #BlogTour #BookReview #suspense #ThePlayers

A stranger has you cornered.

They call themselves The Host.

You are forced to play their game.

In it one person can live and the other must die.

You are the next player. You have a choice to make.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

If you enjoy your crime fiction addictive and sinister, this book will keep your turning the pages. It involves a series of deadly games where every move has a consequence. The concepts of good and evil are explored, as the players are faced with moral dilemmas with life-changing results. The games are violent and vividly described but only to build the suspense and ethos of terror.

The reader gains insight into The Host’s mind and their pursuer DI Karen Holt, a suspended police officer who is still reeling emotionally from her latest case. Karen is a strong but unreliable protagonist and the best chance of catching The Host. This is a disturbing, immersive and shocking read, but it’s the question, what would you do in this situation? That resonates.

The intensity increases with each game, every outcome tinged with poignancy, until it reaches its climactic conclusion.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Murder Mystery, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Romance

Dial A For Aunties Jesse Sutanto 4*#Review @thewritinghippo @HQStories #BlogTour #BookReview #humour #romance #family #drama #PublicationDay #DialAForAunties #Women

When Meddy Chan accidentally kills her blind date, she turns to her aunties for help. Their meddling set her up on the date so they kind of owe her.

Although hiding this goddamn dead body is going to be harder than they thought, especially when her family’s wedding business has THE biggest wedding of the year happening right now.

 It turns out the wedding venue just happens to be managed by Meddy’s ex, aka the one who got away. It’s the worst time to see him again, or…is it? Can Meddy finally find love and make her overbearing family happy?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This story is a multigenerational delight, full of humorous incidents and vibrant characters. It has a little of everything culture, drama, fun, murder mystery and romance. The family curse means Meddy feels she can’t leave her mother and aunties, as their husbands and sons have, but this has consequences for Meddy, which become clear as the story progresses.

This story is a journey of self-realisation for Meddy, who has changed the course of life for her female relatives. It also explores the concept of family and the willingness to do anything for a loved one. The visual writing style makes the comic and dramatic events easy to visualise and therefore more engaging. The dialogue is key to the enjoyment in a novel that is the perfect escape.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Domestic Thriller, Family Drama, Friendship, New Books, Noir, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

The Therapist B.A.Paris 5*#Review @BAParisAuthor @HQStories #psychological #Suspense #domestic #relationships #secrets #lies #friendships #BlogTour #BookReview #TheTherapist #publicationday #PsychSuspense

When Alice and Leo move into a newly renovated house in The Circle, a gated community of exclusive houses, it is everything they’ve dreamed of. But appearances can be deceptive…

As Alice is getting to know her neighbours, she discovers a devastating, grisly secret about her new home, and begins to feel a strong connection with Nina, the therapist who lived there before.

Alice becomes obsessed with trying to piece together what happened two years before. But no one wants to talk about it.

Her neighbours are keeping secrets and things are not as perfect as they seem…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The Therapist is an addictive blend of cleverly crafted characters, nail-biting psychological suspense and a puzzling plot. Alice and Leo move into the exclusive gated development in London to begin their lives together. Alice is unsure if London life will suit her, but Leo wants to live in London, and she wants to see more of him.

Told exclusively from Alice’s perspective, she soon reveals herself as an unreliable protagonist. A past family tragedy still defines her life, and she sees the change of lifestyle as a way of living again. Alice dislikes The Circle’s sinister ethos. A series of unexpected revelations intensify her emotional vulnerability to breaking point. Everyone has secrets, and Alice isn’t sure who she can trust. The house’s tragic history immerses Alice until her life starts to unravel, pushing her relentlessly towards danger.

Short passages from the past with undefinable characters intensify the sense of menace and suspense towards the climactic, twisted conclusion. The final shocking twist is well disguised. This is a book you won’t want to put down. It will have you checking you’ve locked the doors.

Posted in Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Literary Fiction, New Adult Romance, Parenting and Famlies, Romance

Homecoming Luan Golding 4*#Review @HQStories @LuanGoldie #FamilyDrama #LiteraryFiction #Friendship #Relationships #Love #BookReview #Homecoming

For years Yvonne has tried to keep her demons buried and focus on moving forward. But her guilt is always with her and weighs heavily on her heart.

Kiama has had to grow up without a mother, and while there is so much he remembers about her, there is still plenty he doesn’t know. And there’s only one person who can fill in the gaps.

Lewis wants nothing more than to keep Kiama, his son, safe, but the thought of Kiama dredging up the past worries Lewis deeply. And Lewis doesn’t know if he’s ready to let the only woman he’s ever loved back into his life.

When Kiama seeks Yvonne out and asks her to come with him to Kenya, the place that holds the answers to his questions, she knows she can’t refuse. And this one act sets in motion an unravelling of the past that no one is ready for.

Moving between London and Kenya, and spanning almost two decades, Homecoming is a profound story of love, family and friendship. It’s about coming to terms with your past, and about what happens when we finally share our truths.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is a poignant story about culture, family, friendships and love. Yvonne and Emma became friends at university, their cultures and family lives differed, but their friendship was strong until Lewis. There is a love triangle at the centre of this story, but only two people are aware they are in it. Yvonne’s life, marred by her guilt over Emma and her loss of the two people she loved most in life, agrees to a journey to Kenya with Kiama Emma’s son.

The story moves between the early days of their friendship to the present day. A tragic event alters everyone’s lives. Believable characters, relatable relationships and well-described setting make this an absorbing read. Parenting, culture, race and social class underpin the narrative in a way that resonates. There are many poignant moments in this story, but ultimately it is positive and uplifting.

Read my review of Nightingale Point