Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Political Thriller, Suspense, Thriller

Blood Red City Rod Reynolds 5*#Review @Rod_WR @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours @AnneCater #Urban #Techno #SocialMedia #political #Thriller#BlogTour #BookReview

A witness with no victim. A crime with no crime scene…

When crusading journalist Lydia Wright is sent a video of an apparent murder on a London train, she thinks she’s found the story to revive her career. But she can’t find a victim, much less the killers, and the only witness has disappeared. Wary she’s fallen for fake news, she begins to doubt her instincts – until a sinister call suggests that she’s not the only one interested in the crime.

Michael Stringer deals in information – and doesn’t care which side of the law he finds himself on. But the murder on the train has left him exposed, and now he’ll stop at nothing to discover what Lydia knows.

When their paths collide, Lydia finds the story leads through a nightmare world, where money, power and politics intersect … and information is the only thing more dangerous than a bullet.

A nerve-shattering and brutally realistic thriller, Blood Red City bursts with energy and grit from the opening page, twisting and feinting to a superb, unexpected ending that will leave you breathless.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is an edgy, urban thriller with an action-driven, pacy plot.

Lydia tired of being sidelined investigates a video detailing a crime. She realises if genuine it has the potential, to mainstream her career. There’s relentless suspense. A sense of menace pervades every page.

Michael Stringer is an enigma. An information mercenary, he wants to know what Lydia knows. The London setting adds authenticity to the story. The story uses sensual imagery well making the events and locations easy to imagine.

The author creates an ethos of mistrust. It’s difficult to establish the truth, and who to believe. The ending answers all these questions with the possibility of a future investigation.

Rod Reynolds

Rod Reynolds is the author of four novels, including the Charlie Yates series. His 2015 debut, The Dark Inside, was longlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger, and was followed by Black Night Falling (2016) and Cold Desert Sky (2018); the Guardian have called the books ‘Pitch-perfect American noir.’ A lifelong Londoner, in 2020 Orenda Books will publish his first novel set in his hometown, Blood Red City. Rod previously worked in advertising as a media buyer, and holds an MA in novel writing from City University London. Rod lives with his wife and family and spends most of his time trying to keep up with his two young daughters.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Bookstagram, Crime, Noir, Suspense

Perdition’s Child Anne Coates 5*#Review @UrbaneBooks @Anne_Coates1 @LoveBooksGroup #LoveBooksTours #PoliceProcedural #Crime #CrimeFiction #HannahWeybridge #Journalist #BlogTour #BookReview #MondayBlogs

Urbane Publications Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Having read Dancers in the Wind the first book, in the Hannah Weybridge series, I eagerly anticipated reading this fourth book and it is an addictive read. Hannah, an investigative journalist, is a dedicated investigator. She believes justice for the victim is worth the personal danger. As a single mother, Hannah is a realistic character, with contemporary relatability. The 1990s setting means less advanced forensic science and technology, making deduction and intuition skills vital, for crime investigation.

The plot is original and cleverly written, full of menace and twists, to keep you reading. There are connections to previously known characters, but the story is standalone.

Anne Coates

For most of her working life in publishing, Anne has had a foot in both camps as a writer and an editor, moving from book publishing to magazines and then freelancing in both. Having edited both fiction and narrative non-fiction, she has also had short stories published in a variety of magazines including Bella and Candis and is the author of seven non-fiction books. Telling stories is Anne’s first love and nearly all her short fiction as well as Dancers in The Wind and Death’s Silent Judgement began with a real event followed by a ‘what if …’. That is also the case with the two prize-winning 99Fiction.net stories: Codewords and Eternal Love.

Perdition’s Child published February 2020

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Read my review of Dancers in the Wind

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Friendship, Romantic Comedy

The Cornish Confetti Agency Daisy James 5* #Review @daisyjamesbooks @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #RomCom #Cornwall #Weddings #WeddingPlanner #Events #CozyMystery #Journalist #UpLit #TheCornishConfettiAgency

The first in a new sun-filled series from the author of the Villa Limoncello trilogy.

Welcome to The Cornish Confetti Agency!

When the grand finale of Lexie Harrington’s catwalk show ends with a disastrous twist on the ‘ice bucket challenge’, she knew her highly-strung boss would fire her on the spot. What she wasn’t expecting was to bump into her fiancé cosied up with an attractive blonde in the restaurant opposite their apartment!

Desperate to escape her heartbreak, Lexie flees to her childhood home of St Ives to hold the fort at The Cornish Confetti Agency for her best friend Freya, leader of the yummy mummy network and firm believer in ‘happily ever afters’. Little did she know that delivering a Caribbean-themed wedding in sunny Cornwall would rival the fashion industry for drama, tantrums and mysterious goings on.

Who is responsible for dousing the bridesmaid’s dress with tomato ketchup? Or hiding the bride’s beloved Jimmy Choos? Or attaching googly eyes to everything in sight?

The perfect Cornish wedding? Is there such a thing for The Cornish Confetti Agency?

Amazon UK Amazon

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

My Thoughts…

There’s a little bit of everything in this lovely uplit romantic comedy. Lexie is not having the best of times. Her career is imploding, and her love life is following, so she runs back to Cornwall, to regroup.

The Cornish Confetti Agency seems to be the lifeline she needs, Weddings are happy occasions so arranging them should be too? Unfortunately not, and what follows is a lovely story full of impending disaster, laughter and a slow, sizzling romance.

The plot has a cozy mystery vibe, as Lexie and the hot local journalist try to find out the source of the problems affecting the agency. The romance is gentle, but they are so well suited, you want them to take a chance.

Written in an easy to read style, full of visual imagery, it’s a sensual feast in addition to a lovely rom-com read, perfect escapism.

Daisy James

Daisy James is a Yorkshire girl transplanted to the north east of England. She loves writing stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plotlines. When not scribbling away in her peppermint-and-green summerhouse (garden shed), she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter. She loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something pink and fizzy or indulging in a spot of afternoon tea – china plates and teacups are a must.

Daisy would love to hear from readers via her Facebook page or you can follow her on Twitter or on Instagram.

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

The Perfect Couple Jackie Kabler 5*#Review @jackiekabler @0neMoreChapter_ @rararesources @fictionpubteam #RachelsRandomResources #HarperCollinsUK #PsychologicalThriller #ThePerfectCouple

The perfect couple…or the perfect lie?

​A year and a half ago, Gemma met the love of her life, Danny. Since then, their relationship has been like something out of a dream. But one Friday evening, Gemma returns home to find Danny is nowhere to be seen.

​After two days with no word from her husband, Gemma turns to the police. She is horrified with what she discovers – a serial killer is on the loose in Bristol. When she sees the photos of the victims she is even more stunned…the victims all look just like Danny.

​But, the detectives aren’t convinced by Gemma’s story. Why has no one apart from Gemma seen or heard from Danny in weeks? Why is there barely a trace of him in their flat? Is she telling them the truth, or are there more secrets and lies in this marriage than meets the eye?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from One More Chapter in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

‘The Perfect Couple’, is an authentic fusion of unreliable protagonist and police procedural. Gemma is an unreliable protagonist, but easy to empathise. Her point of view makes the story immersive, as you experience all her unfiltered emotions.

The police detectives have an authentic team dynamic, and their complex characters add depth to the story. The setting and job roles are realistic and make the plot scenarios believable. Psychological suspense has unexpected twists, and this story doesn’t disappoint. The plot twists continue with underlying menace and building suspense as the story progresses to its adrenaline-fueled conclusion.

An intrinsic intelligence of journalism and crime investigation, make this story shine. Addictive and absorbing until the last sinister word.

Jackie Kabler

Jackie Kabler was born in Coventry but spent much of her childhood in Ireland. She worked as a newspaper reporter and then a television news correspondent for twenty years, spending nearly a decade on GMTV followed by stints with ITN and BBC News. During that time, she covered major stories around the world including the Kosovo crisis, the impeachment of President Clinton, the Asian tsunami, famine in Ethiopia, the Soham murders and the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Jackie now divides her time between crime writing and her job as a presenter on shopping channel QVC. She has a degree in zoology, runs long distances for fun and lives in Gloucestershire with her husband.

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Posted in Book Review, Crime, Mystery, Noir, Psychological Thriller

I Will Make You Pay Teresa Driscoll 5*#Review @TeresaDriscoll @AmazonPub #Revenge #Secrets #Journalist #Investigator #Mystery #CrimeFiction #PsychologicalThriller #Stalker #BookReview

Every Wednesday, like clockwork, the terror returns.

It seems like an ordinary Wednesday, until the phone rings. A mysterious caller with a chilling threat. Journalist Alice Henderson hangs up, ready to dismiss it as a hoax against the newspaper. But the next Wednesday, the stalker makes another move—and it becomes clear that this is all about Alice.

Someone wants her to suffer, but for what? Her articles have made her a popular local champion—could it be her past rather than her work that’s put her life in danger? Alice is determined not to give in to fear, but with the police investigation at a dead end, her boyfriend insists on hiring private investigator Matthew Hill.

With every passing Wednesday, the warnings escalate until it’s not only Alice but also her family in the stalker’s sights. As her tormentor closes in, can Alice uncover what she’s being punished for before the terrifying threats become an unthinkable reality?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Authentic and addictive, this story explores what it’s like to be the focus of a stalker. The suspense builds from the first disturbing, unexpected contact and ends in a heart-pounding conclusion.

Alice, the journalist fulfils the role of an unreliable protagonist. She hates feeling vulnerable, not being able to live her life as she wants to. Her independence is gradually eroded. Her family is small but supportive and she is protective of them. The familial love is a strong theme of this story in both viewpoints portrayed. Alice has secrets, which are not immediately obvious but make her unreliable.

The character notated as ‘Him’, you presume is the antagonist. His story is poignant but increasingly menacing. Again familial love is a predominant theme, but here it takes a dark focus. The plot has many twists and viable suspects. Multiple plot strands, make the investigation complicated, for the police and the reader.

For those who have read the author’s previous book ‘The Promise’, Mathew Hill, the investigator is also a pivotal character in this story. His family life with wife Sally we first met in ‘The Promise’, and his lively daughter, provide light relief, in this often dark story.

This is a page-turning read. Alice is easy to empathise, and you feel her fear and frustration. The plot is relatable and clever, there are no loose ends, with it’s just ending. There is a poignant echo of the sad little boy you meet early in the story.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Noir, Suspense, Thriller

Dancers in the Wind Anne Coates 4* #Review @UrbaneBooks @Anne_Coates1 @LoveBooksGroup #LoveBooksTours #PoliceProcedural #Crime #CrimeFiction #HannahWeybridge #Journalist #BlogTour #BookReview #MondayBlogs

#DancersintheWind

SHE IS HUNTING FOR THE TRUTH, BUT WHO IS HUNTING HER?

Freelance journalist and single mother Hannah Weybridge is commissioned by a national newspaper to write an investigative article on the notorious red-light district in Kings Cross. There she meets prostitute Princess, and police inspector in the vice squad, Tom Jordan. When Princess later arrives on her doorstep beaten up so badly she is barely recognisable, Hannah has to make some tough decisions and is drawn ever deeper into the world of deceit and violence. 

Three sex workers are murdered, their deaths covered up in a media blackout, and Hannah herself is under threat. As she comes to realise that the taste for vice reaches into the higher echelons of the great and the good, Hannah realises she must do everything in her power to expose the truth …. and stay alive.  

Amazon UK

Waterstones

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

My Thoughts…

A fast-paced police procedural, with a twist.

Journalist, Hannah Weybridge, is also a single mum, freelance now, she works mainly for magazines, but work is hard to find, when you not in the centre of things. The chance to write a news article is too good to pass up, even if it means leaving the world of free make-up samples and glamour behind.

Tom Jordan is the Senior Investigating Officer(SIO) in a murder investigation. The victims are all young street workers, and they are connected.

Princess, a young street worker, is the focus of Hannah’s article, she is smart, streetwise, but Hannah still sees, the vulnerability, hidden behind the make-up. She feels sorry for her but is not prepared for the disruption to her life, when they meet again.

The plot has a sinister ethos, everyone is a suspect, Hannah doesn’t know who is telling the truth, who she can trust. She keeps her secrets too. The web of danger closes in, Hannah wishes she’d never met Princess.

This story’s themes are dark. There are violence and abuse, but this is not graphically described. The story doesn’t rely on sensationalism. The themes of corruption, cover-up and vice are common in crime novels, but they are given a new angle here.

The police investigation makes this part police procedural, but the main character is the journalist Hannah. She is ill-equipped, naive, but courageous and tenacious in her investigation. She is believable and easy to empathise. The tentative relationship between Hannah and Tom, adds a romantic layer to the story, it also adds to their inner conflict of how much information to share with the other.

The ending is a perfect fusion of action and suspense, with a satisfying conclusion that makes you want to read the next book in the series.

#BookCover
#AnneCoates

For most of her working life in publishing, Anne has had a foot in both camps as a writer and an editor, moving from book publishing to magazines and then freelancing in both. Having edited both fiction and narrative non-fiction, she has also had short stories published in a variety of magazines including Bella and Candis and is the author of seven non-fiction books. Telling stories is Anne’s first love and nearly all her short fiction as well as Dancers in The Wind and Death’s Silent Judgement began with a real event followed by a ‘what if …’. That is also the case with the two prize-winning 99Fiction.net stories: Codewords and Eternal Love.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Guest post, Romance, Travel

The Postcard – Zoe Folbigg – 5* #Review @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books @zolington #ThePostcard #Romance #Relationships #Travel #Backpacking #Paperback #PublicationDay #GuestPost #TheNote #Mystery#BlogTour

#Paperback 8 August 19

The sequel to the bestselling phenomenon The Note – based on the true story of one girl and her ‘Train Man’…

A year after the kiss that brought them together in a snowy train-station doorway, Maya and James are embarking on another journey – this time around the world.

The trip starts promisingly, with an opulent and romantic Indian wedding. But as their travels continue, Maya fears that ‘love at first sight’ might not survive trains, planes and tuk-tuks, especially when she realises that what she really wants is a baby, and James doesn’t feel the same. 

Can Maya and James navigate their different hopes and dreams to stay together? Or is love at first sight just a myth after all…

Amazon UK Kobo Google Play iBooks Waterstones

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

My Thoughts…

I must be the only person in the UK who didn’t read ‘The Note’, but fortunately ‘The Postcard’ whilst being a sequel, is also a separate adventure for Maya and James and reads well as a standalone.

There is a curious diversion from Maya’s story as she prepares to go on around the world trip with #TheTrainMan. A different character, confused, lost and vulnerable, is introduced, the menace and mystery of this encounter are on your mind as Maya and James start their journey, and then the person’s identity and the situation is revealed, and you wonder if, where and when, Maya will meet her?

The characters and relationships you explore in this story are complex and realistic, whether they be from Maya’s past, present or on the trip of a lifetime. Her best friend’s story is so far removed from Maya’s at this time, and yet both think they want what the other is experiencing.

There is a lovely balance of humour and poignancy in this, the romance is still there, but tempered with reality and therefore authentic. Maya and James find out who they are as a couple as a series of conflicts, try to break them.

The final conflict is adrenaline-fueled, suspenseful and unexpectedly poignant. These scenes are full of vivid imagery that really lets you experience the tension, terror and tumultuousness of the events. Romance and love prevail, and the final scenes provide a heartwarming and believable ending.

#ThePostcard
Guest Post – Zoe Folbigg – The Postcard

Welcome back, Maya and James!

If you enjoyed my debut book The Note then I hope you love the sequel, The Postcard, even more. At first, I was nervy about revisiting Maya and James and writing about what happens after the happy ever after. The Note was based on my own story of how I fell for a stranger on a train on my daily commute and then married him. It was a story I had told a thousand times even before I’d fictionalised it; before Aria offered me a book deal; before it became a bestseller.

When I wrote my second novel, The Distance, a story about long-distance love, based (almost) entirely on characters plucked from my imagination and nothing to do with me or my husband, I enjoyed the liberating feeling of writing about something totally different, telling a new story.

So when Aria suggested a sequel, I was worried. How could I move Maya and James’ story on? In reality, Train Man and I got married and had kids. We settled down to school runs, sports clubs and Friday-night fajitas. Nowadays the most drama in our lives tends to be Sainsbury’s selling out of coriander (those fajitas matter), or me falling over in the mums’ race on Sports Day. Embarrassing, yes, but none of my current life felt like novel material.

Then I remembered the “in-between”.  Those years in a relationship when you’re out of the early throes of glorious newness, when you’re still self-conscious about morning breath and think each other’s bad outfit choices are adorable, but you’re not quite ready for his ‘n’ hers Mahabis or actually saying, “This is the person I want to spend the rest of my life with!”, even if you think it. A period when family and friends ask about marriage and babies in hushed tones and want to move your relationship on to the next stage, even if you haven’t discussed it yet.

Our “in-between” coincided with some amazing travels: a holiday to Argentina with friends, Costa Rica for my 30th (double income no kids = nice holidays) and then a year-long round-the-world trip (redundancy = a “sod-it, it’s now or never” attitude).

Before these trips, friends would gush about the proposal opportunities, how we would definitely come back engaged, that surely Train Man had something up his sleeve, and I felt a mixture of hope and pressure, excitement and resentment.

So while pondering a sequel I remembered that phase. The round-the-world trip was chock full of vibrant places, crazy characters, beautiful scenery, and weirdly that in-between issue that I realised would be as pertinent to Maya and James as it is to many people.

Once I started writing The Postcard and I took Maya and James on their own travels, I fell in love with their new chapter: I could almost smell the coriander and coconut of dinner on the Mekong; hear the beat of a drum at a Hindu wedding; see the mossy limestone karsts looking down on them at a beach in Thailand. And I could hear the ring of that lingering question: “Do you think he’ll ask you to marry him?!” “Do you think you’d ask him?” All from my kitchen table.

So welcome back Maya and James! It’s been an honour to pick up their story and revisit all these amazing places for The Postcard – and I hope you enjoy it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.

Zoë Folbigg is a magazine journalist and digital editor, starting at Cosmopolitan in 2001 and since freelancing for titles including Glamour, Fabulous, Daily Mail, Healthy, LOOK, Top Santé, Mother & Baby, ELLE, Sunday Times Style and Style.com. In 2008 she had a weekly column in Fabulous magazine documenting her year-long round-the-world trip with ‘Train Man’ – a man she had met on her daily commute. She since married Train Man and lives in Hertfordshire with him and their two young sons. Twitter Facebook Instagram Website

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, Psychological Thriller

Then She Vanishes – Claire Douglas 5* #Review @MichaelJBooks @PenguinUKBooks @Dougieclaire #PsychologicalThriller #Crime #FamilyDrama #MondayBlogs

THE ONLY THING MORE SHOCKING THAN THE FIRST CHAPTER . . . IS THE LAST.

Everything changed the night Flora disappeared.

Heather and Jess were best friends – until the night Heather’s sister vanished.

Jess has never forgiven herself for the lie she told that night. Nor has Heather.

But now Heather is accused of an awful crime.

And Jess is forced to return to the sleepy seaside town where they grew up, to ask the question she’s avoided for so long:

What really happened the night Flora disappeared?

Amazon UK

Waterstones

I received a copy of this book from Penguin UK Books – Michael Joseph via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

It is this novel’s complexity and depth that makes it such a riveting read.

A shooting, a missing girl and a failed suicide, the clues are evident, but there are so many permutations when the past is interwoven with the present, is it really as simple as it seems? The beginning is shocking, and the guilty party obvious? Until you meet the cast of characters, both in the present day and eighteen years previously. Everyone seems guilty, and you begin to doubt your observation skills and understanding of what is happening.

Jess, a journalist is trying to make a new start in Bristol, but when there is a sudden, violent incident in the town where she grew up, the past and present collide, and she has to face secrets she kept for years, and confront why she always seems to be running away.

Margot’s life changed irrevocably eighteen years ago, but not for the first time. Now she faces heartbreak again, can she survive the loss of both her daughters?

The plot is fast-paced and easy to follow, as it moves between the past and present, and the different points of view. The characters are believable, as are the situations they find themselves in. Jess has a unique role in the story, both objective from her profession and subjective from her relationship with the family. This allows her, and the reader insights that an outsider wouldn’t have, but also raises moral questions of bias and loyalty.

The unravelling of what led to the murders and the disappearance of Flora is realistic. The twists are clever, and the final chapters, adrenaline led and thought-provoking.

A cerebral thriller, that is both poignant and twisted.

Posted in Book Review

4*Review-The Plus One – Sophia Money-Coutts

The Plus One [n] informal a person who accompanies an invited person to a social function or a reminder of being single, alone and absolutely plus none

Three little words all single ladies dread…

Polly Spencer is fine. She’s single, turning thirty and only managed to have sex twice last year (both times with a Swedish banker called Fred), but seriously, she’s fine. Even if she’s still stuck at Posh! magazine writing about royal babies and the chances of finding a plus one to her best friend’s summer wedding are looking worryingly slim.

But it’s a New Year, a new leaf and all that. Polly’s determined that over the next 365 days she’ll remember to shave her legs, drink less wine and generally get her s**t together. Her latest piece is on the infamous Jasper, Marquess of Milton, undoubtedly neither a plus one nor ‘the one’. She’s heard the stories, there’s no way she’ll succumb to his charms…

Amazon UK

Amazon 

My Thoughts…

Fun, bubbly and romantic with plenty of hot love scenes and 21st- century humour and wit.

The characters are vivid and the relationships dynamic. A simple plot is the charm of this type of book. There are characters to meet and get to know and romance to enjoy. This book delivers a fast-paced, humorous story, that’s easy to read, the perfect place to escape to plus one or not.

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