Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Cover Reveal, Friendship, Mystery, Romance

Buried Treasure – Gilli Allan #Paperback #CoverReveal 4* #Review @gilliallan @RandomTTours #Romance #Mystery #Friendship #BuriedTreasure

Jane thinks he sees her as shallow and ill-educated. Theo thinks she sees him as a snob, stuffy and out of touch.

Within the ancient precincts of the university, the first encounter between the conference planner and the academic is accidental and unpromising. Just as well there’s no reason for them ever to meet again.

But behind the armour they’ve each constructed from old scars, they’ve more in common than divides them. Both have an archaeological puzzle they are driven to solve. As their stories intertwine, their quest to uncover the past unearths more than expected.

Treasure is not always what it seems.

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

My Thoughts…

I love to read something a little different this story is a mix of genre. There is a gentle slow-burning romance ridden with internal obstacles to its success. There is a historically rooted mystery that draws the couple together, when it seems, in the beginning, they have nothing in common, except that they irritate each other. There is also a strong emotional thread in this story, as the first part of the book reveals, why Theo and Jane are unwilling to trust again, this poignancy makes the characters easier to empathise.

This story has a believable contemporary setting that is well researched and has intrinsic interest. Character-driven Jane and Theo’s flaws and emotional baggage make them authentic. The subsidiary characters are also realistic.

This is an engaging, intriguing romantic mystery set against a politicised contemporary background.

Gilli Allan began to write in childhood – a hobby pursued throughout her teenage. Writing was only abandoned when she left home, and real-life supplanted the imaginary kind.  

After a few false starts, she worked longest and most happily as an illustrator in advertising and only began writing again when she became a mother. 

Living in Gloucestershire with her husband Geoff, Gilli is still a keen artist. She draws and paints and has now moved into book illustration.

All of her recent books TORN, LIFE CLASS, FLY or FALL and BURIED TREASURE have gained ‘Chill with a Book’ awards.

Following in the family tradition, her son, historian Thomas Williams, is now also a writer.

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Posted in Book Review, Mystery, Romance, Romance -Dark and Steamy, Romantic Suspense, Suspense

An Oxford Revenge Maxine Barry 4*#Review @FaithMartin_Nov @JoffeBooks #Mystery #Oxford #RomanticSuspense #MondayBlogs #MondayMurder #AnOxfordRevenge

 

REVENGE ISN’T ALWAYS AS SWEET AS YOU THINK

HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO FOR REVENGE?

Davina Granger wants revenge. She blames Dr Gareth Lacey for her brother’s suicide. When she gets a fellowship at his Oxford college, she sees her chance to punish him.

But is he really as guilty as she believes?

Alicia Norman is a student at the same college. She’s excited to leave her sheltered, privileged existence for college life. But her brother and his friends will do anything to stop her from being with anyone they think isn’t posh enough for her. Including murder?

HOW FAR WILL THEY GO?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Something different from this crime fiction author that may surprise her readership. If you’re expecting murder mystery, you’ll be disappointed. This story set in an Oxford college, in the early twenty-first century, is about obsession, passion and revenge. These are all motivation for murder, but here the focus is more on romance and suspense.

Davina, a successful poet, gains an honorary fellowship at St Bede’s Oxford college, to compile and write a forward, for a poetry anthology. She has an ulterior motive for being there, but her quest for revenge is convoluted by physical attraction and passion.

The plot is complex with elements of psychological suspense. The characters are flawed and emotionally vulnerable as a consequence of life events, family and social class. There is good suspense building throughout the story. The exploration of the Oxford establishment and family, peer and societal expectations is insightful. An atmospheric and claustrophobic romantic suspense.

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

A Perfect Cornish Escape Phillipa Ashley 5* #Review @PhillipaAshley @AvonBooksUK #BlogTour #BookReview #PorthmellowHarbour #Cornwall #Romance #UpLit #mystery #APerfectCornishEscape #MondayBlogs #MondayMorning #MondayMotivation

Summer in Cornwall is the perfect time for a fresh start…

Seven years ago, Marina Hudson’s husband was lost at sea. She vowed to love Nate for the rest of her life – but when kind-hearted Lachlan arrives in Porthmellow, should she deny herself another chance at happiness?

Tiff Trescott was living life to the full as a journalist in London – until her boyfriend’s betrayal brought it all crashing down. Fleeing to her cousin Marina’s cottage, Tiff feels like a fish-out-of-water. And when brooding local Dirk wins a day with her in a charity auction, she’s thrown headfirst into Cornish life.

This summer promises new beginnings for both Tiff and Marina. But are they too good to be true?

Escape to Cornwall with this emotional, uplifting read. 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Whether you are a lover of this series or are reading this as a standalone, it’s a great read.

Marina’s husband Nate disappeared at seas seven years ago. She has learnt to live again by focusing on her teaching and volunteer work. Having her cousin Tiff to stay as she runs from her imploding London life is just what she needs. Meeting Lachlan is unexpected and lovely, but both have painful pasts, which they need to overcome.

Tiff’s reputation is in ruins. After her lover’s betrayal, she’s sworn off men too. Dirk dislikes journalists, but he is irresistible at least physically. This is a tumultuous relationship full of anger and passion.

The main protagonists are likeable, and the romance is diverse and lovely. The community is full of colourful characters, some familiar. The Cornish setting is stunning and wild and provides the location for, the wave watchers and the lifeboat rescues.

There is plenty of conflict and twists, and even if you guess the main one, I did, it’s still an engaging, exciting romantic read.

Posted in Book Review, Historical Fiction, International Thriller, Thriller, Travel

The Sacred Spoils Will Adams 4*#Review @canelo_co The Rossi & Nero Thrillers #Archaeology #Thriller #International #Italy #Mystery #BookReview #WillAdams

To the victor go the spoils…

Historian Carmen Nero, in southern Italy to help a friend search for ancient riches, is caught up in the murderous schemes of the Calabrian Mafia.

Cesco Rossi, a quick-witted conman on the run from a brutal group of neo-Nazis, is about to be confronted by his tragic past.

Israeli Professor Zara Gold is on a mission to find Judaism’s most sacred relic.

For the tomb of Alaric I, the Visigoth king who sacked and looted Rome of its most fabulous treasures, is on the point of being revealed. And who knows what secrets may lie within?

The race to uncover history’s greatest lost fortune has begun…

An astounding and twisting mystery 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This book is a fusion of international thriller and historical puzzle. Set predominately in Italy this is intriguing and fast-paced. The story is full of historical detail, which sets the scene for the mystery con man Rossi and historian Nero needs to unravel.

The action is adrenaline-pumping and violent, aptly illustrating the people chasing Rossi and Nero. Sub-plots converge as the menace intensifies. Rossi and Nero are an unlikely partnership, but they need each other to survive. The mystery’s complexities complement the action sequences drawing the reader into the story.

Posted in Book Review, Historical Fiction, Murder Mystery

The Vanished Bride Bella Ellis 5*#Review @brontemysteries @rowancoleman @HodderBooks #BronteSistersMystery #bronte200 #HistFic #Mystery #Detectives #MurderMystery #Haworth #TheVanishedBride #BookReview

Yorkshire, 1845, and dark rumours are spreading across the moors. Everything indicates that Mrs Elizabeth Chester of Chester Grange has been brutally murdered in her home – but nobody can find her body.

As the dark murmurs reach Emily, Anne and Charlotte Brontë, the sisters are horrified, yet intrigued. Before they know it, the siblings become embroiled in the quest to find the vanished bride, sparking their imaginations but placing their lives at great peril . . .

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The author’s love of the Bronte Sisters, permeates every word, of this historical mystery. It portrays the sisters, as complex, relatable characters determined to use their intellect, whatever Victorian society thinks. The bond between the sisters and their brother is believable and poignant.

The plot echoes the Bronte writings, with strong female characters, mystery elements and paranormal twists. The authentic dialogue helps the reader visualise the people, places and events.

This is an educational, engaging read.

Posted in Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Murder Mystery, Mystery

Mystery at Apple Tree Cottage (An Eve Mallow Mystery Book 2) Clare Chase 4* #Review @ClareChase_ @bookouture #CozyMystery #MurderMystery #Suffolk #Mystery #Village #Coastal #BookReview #EveMallowMystery

Obituary writer and amateur sleuth Eve Mallow is enjoying life in sleepy Saxford St Peter – until a mysterious murder lands right at her door…

It’s spring in Saxford St Peter – time to get back in the garden, listen to the birds, and take gentle strolls in the woods. But for some, it’s the season for murder.

Eve Mallow is relishing the gentle pace of the village until a new arrival stirs everyone up. Ashton Foley is back: a teenage tearaway turned interior designer to the stars. He’s mad, bad and dangerous to know, but charming too – as Eve herself can testify – and every house in Saxford opens its doors to him.

So when he’s found murdered in the woods near his mother’s home, Apple Tree Cottage, there’s no shortage of suspects. A jealous husband? A spurned lover? Or has someone from his past life caught up with him?

The police soon hit on a simple solution, and arrest his mother’s partner Howard. Ashton always hated him, and he bears all the marks of a recent fight. But Ashton’s mother, miles away in New Zealand, is convinced he’s innocent and enlists Eve’s help to prove it.

There’s just one problem. Eve saw Howard sniffing around Apple Tree Cottage on the morning of the murder, and she’s fairly sure he’s guilty, too…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Despite living in London for years American Eve fits effortlessly into the little Sussex coastal village she calls home. Working in the village cafe for her friend Viv and writing obituaries she is enjoying the slower pace of life. The downside is she attracts murder and has a unique talent for solving them. It’s lovely to reacquaint, with characters introduced in book one, but this is a complete mystery and reads as a standalone.

When Ashton returns to the village, reformed and rich, there’s something about him that unsettles Eve. The victim has a chequered past and is a player, the possible suspects are many, including the person the police arrest.

Eve asked to help by Ashton’s mother uses her communication and observation skills to good effect. The plot is fast-paced with subtle twists. The characters are complex and suit the cosy mystery ethos.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Mystery, Suspense

Buried Secrets by Krissy Baccaro 4*#Review @BaccaroKrissy @lovebooksgroup #Mystery #FamilyDrama #Love #Lies #Secrets #Italy #LoveBooksTours #FridayReads #BuriedSecrets

Some things should stay hidden

Families have secrets. Some secrets are locked, sealed and taken to the grave. Others beg to be told. They ooze through cracks a little at a time. You tease them out until an ugly truth is fully exposed.

Ella Perri knows there’s something hidden in the family cottage. In his last breath, Ella’s grandfather reveals to her a startling secret that hints at something sinister. On behalf of her beloved grandfather, she embarks on a dangerous quest for truth. A World War II diary and the 21st century collide as Ella desperately chases every clue in a faraway and unfamiliar setting where the real story begins. Who can be trusted and who has something to hide? One secret leads to another. Ella must decide: share the secrets and alter the fates of her loved ones forever or become part of the lie that’s been buried deep for decades.

Buried Secrets is a suspenseful mystery with twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the shocking ending.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The atmospheric and emotional beginning sets the scene for a dramatic family mystery. Despite family disapproval, Ella sets out to solve a historic secret and honour her Poppy’s dying wish.

The cast of characters is believable and vividly portrayed. The plot is suspenseful with many twists and a surprising and poignant ending. The Italian setting is dramatic and mirrors the story’s emotions.

The ending gives romantic hope for the future and leaves mysteries to be solved.

Krissy Baccaro is an author of mystery and suspense. She recently published her short story, LUCA, on Amazon. Krissy collaborated with authors from several countries to bring forth fantastic tales. Together they published Once Upon a Story: A Short Fiction Anthology. This book includes two of her short story mysteries, “Luca” and “Monster.” “Monster” will soon be available for separate purchase on Amazon. The author is a proud member of several online writing groups, and most active in Active Alumni Writers. The Alumni helps authors critique and support one another’s writing projects to polish stories into bestsellers. For 25 years, Krissy taught Kindergarten through fifth grade. Currently, she teaches writing and reading to 5th-grade students and works on her mysterious sequel to Buried Secrets. The author resides in upstate New York not far from Skaneateles, where the puzzle of Buried Secrets begins.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Murder Mystery, Mystery

Canal Pushers /River Rats Andy Griffee 4*#Review @AndyGriffee @OrphansPublish #CrimeFiction #Mystery #Canals #WestMidlands #Bath #MurderMystery #JohnsonandWilde #RandomThingsTours @annecater @RandomTTours

Jack Johnson, ex-journalist, newly divorced and feeling unmoored, has bought a 64-foot narrowboat with absolutely no idea how to captain it. So when an attractive stranger takes pity on his dismal attempts and comes aboard to assist him manoeuvre, Jack is only too happy to make her welcome. But it’s soon apparent that Nina is keeping her own secrets and when they stumble into a murder investigation the past begins to intrude. What’s Nina afraid of? And who is stalking the towpaths?

Amazon UK

Jack Johnson has a talent for trouble – wherever he goes on his narrowboat, it seems to follow him. Moored up on the River Avon in the beautiful Georgian surroundings of Bath, he’s working at the local paper when a prominent magistrate and heritage campaigner is attacked and drowned. Could it be a serial killer copying the Canal Pusher? Or a biker gang who swore revenge on the magistrate? Against his wishes, Jack is pulled into the investigation by his ambitious editor who wants the scoop. Jack and his friend, Nina Wilde, have also been drawn into another struggle. The moorings of a small settled boating community sit alongside a huge former industrial site that property developers want to fill with luxury housing. Nearby residents are enlisted to petition against the boat people, and as the campaign spirals out of control, lives are threatened. Who is helping their enemies? Another gripping tale of corruption and intrigue from the riverbank, full of dark waters and deadly secrets.

Amazon UK

I received copies of these books from the author in return for honest reviews.

My Thoughts…

Canal Pushers

A new crime series is exciting, especially when it’s full of rich characterisation and originality. Jack Johnson is newly divorced and still reeling from the emotional and financial implications. Living on a narrowboat is not his first choice, but at least it’s cheap and will give him a place to live and work.

A freelance journalist he has a keen eye for crime, which comes in useful in this series. A complete novice at boating his serendipitous meeting with Nina leads to an unusual but mutually beneficial friendship. Nina has secrets which reveal themselves as the story progresses.

There is a sinister point of view that adds a noir element and draws the intrepid couple into a dangerous investigation. Jack and Nina are complex, relatable protagonists.

The suspenseful plot is well written. The setting is authentic and full of vivid imagery, in stark contrast to the dark crimes committed.

River Rats

River Rats fulfils the potential suggested in Canal Pushers. Jack has moved down to Bath and is working at the local newspaper for an ambitious editor with dubious scruples. A suspicious death draws Jack and Nina into another dark investigation. Unscrupulous developers threaten a community of boaters and Jack and Nina search for the truth.

The characters continue to develop realistically in a multilayered plot. The setting is easy to visualise and gives the story its uniqueness.

Andy Griffee is a former BBC
journalist and media consultant
with a fascination for stories. He
began his journalism career at the
Bath Evening Chronicle, and then
spent twenty-five years at the BBC,
culminating in his role as Editorial
Director of the redevelopment of
Broadcasting House. Andy lives
in Worcestershire and, when he
isn’t writing, rears rare breed pigs,
struggles to keep a 1964 Triumph
Spitfire on the road and enjoys
hiring narrowboats with his wife Helen.

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

Summer in the City Emma Jackson 4*#Review @ESJackson1 @books_dash @OrionBooks @rararesources #NY #Romance #Mystery #romcom #BookReview #BlogTour #SummerintheCity #RachelsRandomResources

The heartwarming new holiday read from the bestselling author of A Mistletoe Miracle

Sometimes the one thing you’re looking for is right in front of you…

Stephen is on a very personal mission to find his father as per the wishes in their mother’s will. But he has no idea where to start, not that he’s going to tell anyone that… When Noelle, native New Yorker, daughter of a detective and desperate for a distraction from the novel she’s been struggling to write, offers to help, it feels like the perfect solution.

Except the last time she spoke to Stephen he thought they’d be seeing the New Year in together and instead she stood him up and sold him out! Stephen’s big enough and been around the block enough times to understand that all is fair in love and war, isn’t he? But when Stephen accepts her offer and they begin their search across the city, it soon becomes clear that the weather isn’t the only thing that’s heating up.

A heartwarming summer romance

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Orion Books – Orion Dash via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This story gets you into the New York vibe from the beginning. Noelle, a cosy crime writer, is struggling with her latest book and could do without family interference, even though she loves them. The descriptions of New York and the family dynamic draw you into the story quickly.

Stephen is fulfilling his mother’s last wish and searching for his estranged father without success.

The chemistry between the two unlikely lovers is a slow build. This is a vibrant story full of laughter, poignancy and romance. The well-described New York setting adds an extra level of interest to this Summer novel.

Author of the Best Selling A MISTLETOE MIRACLE, published in 2019 by Orion Dash, Emma has been a devoted bookworm and secret-story-scribbler since she was 6 years old. When she’s not running around after her two daughters and trying to complete her current work-in-progress, Emma loves to read, bake, catch up on binge-watching TV programmes with her partner and plan lots of craft projects that will inevitably end up unfinished. Her next romantic comedy, SUMMER IN THE CITY, is due for release in June 2020.

Emma also writes historical and speculative romantic fiction as Emma S Jackson. THE DEVIL’S BRIDE will be published by DarkStroke in February 2020.

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Posted in Book Review, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Noir, Suspense

The Temple House Vanishing Rachel Donohue 4*#Review @AtlanticBooks @CorvusBooks #LiteraryFiction #Mystery #Suspense #BookReview #Noir #TheTempleHouseVanishing

Twenty-five years ago, a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl and her charismatic teacher disappeared without trace…

In an elite Catholic girls’ boarding-school the pupils live under the repressive, watchful gaze of the nuns. Seeking to break from the cloistered atmosphere two of the students – Louisa and Victoria – quickly become infatuated with their young, bohemian art teacher, and act out passionately as a result. That is, until he and Louisa suddenly disappear.

Years later, a journalist uncovers the troubled past of the school and determines to resolve the mystery of the missing pair. The search for the truth will uncover a tragic, mercurial tale of suppressed desire and long-buried secrets. It will shatter lives and lay a lost soul to rest.

The Temple House Vanishing is a stunning, intensely atmospheric novel of unrequited longing, dark obsession and uneasy consequences.

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I received a copy of this book from Atlantic Books – Corvus via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The remote setting gives this story a gothic quality. It’s a place that masks deceit, obsession and dark secrets. Louisa is vulnerable and desperate to fit in somewhere in her new school. This makes her an easy target for manipulative Victoria.

Flawed realistic characters are the story’s driving force. They often lack compassion and understanding. The pacing is slow to create the school’s claustrophobic atmosphere. The plot does seem to rely on coincidences in parts, but there are realistic twists and a dark ending.

An absorbing, intriguing tale that has a haunting quality.