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

In Dark Water Lynn McEwan 3* #Review @LynneJMcEwan @canelo_co #CrimeFiction @lovebooksgroup @lovebookstours #DetectiveShonaOliver #BlogTour #BookReview #preorder #MondayBlogs #InDarkWater #CaneloCrime

Beneath the surface lie deadly secrets…

DI Shona Oliver agreed to move to Dumfries with her ex-banker husband when their teenage daughter got in with a bad crowd in London. As a Glasgow native, she’s back on home turf.

Living on the shores of the Solway Firth allows Shona to continue as an RNLI volunteer, and a call out to recover a woman’s body indicates foul play. Police in Cumbria take the case but links back to Scotland keep Shona’s team involved. As they investigate, reports of people trafficking and a spate of thefts from local shops compete for attention with a large scale drug bust. But Shona’s work may all be in vain when those close to her threaten to tear the case apart – and ruin Shona in the process.

An unforgettable debut novel by a Scottish crime writer to watch.

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

My Thoughts…

This is a well-written story with a good mix of police procedural and family drama. The setting is one I’ve not read about before, giving the story an added dimension of interest. The main protagonist, Detective Inspector Shona Oliver, is a well-rounded character juggling a challenging career, important voluntary work and family life, sometimes unsuccessfully.

This is the first book in a series, and there is a degree of world-building that affects the plot’s pacing. The characters are complex, and the straightforward plot has twists and a few surprises, making me want to read the next one.

A positive start to a police procedural series set on the Scottish borders.

Lynn McEwan

Glasgow-born Lynne McEwan is a former newspaper photographer turned crime author. She’s covered stories including the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the first Gulf War in addition to many high profile murder cases. She currently lives in Lincoln and is in the final year of an MA in Crime Fiction at the University of East Anglia.

 

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

A Family Affair Julie Houston 5* #Review @JulieHouston2 @Hoz_Books @Aria_Fiction #Family #Friendship #Romance #SecondChance

Joining the family business was never going to be easy…

Frankie Piccione is done running away from her responsibilities, well for now anyway. Having escaped Westenbury after suffering a shattered heart, it’s time to take up her place on the family board. Piccione’s Pickles and Preserves needs Frankie. Frankie knows she can make the business work. But with her brother Luca and the new, rather attractive, Cameron Mancini watching her every move, she’s going to have to come up with something special to get them off her back and recognising she belongs on the board just as much as they do.

With the help of her Aunt Pam and best friend, Daisy, Frankie is thriving with her new sense of purpose. Until someone from her past walks right back into it…

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

My Thoughts…

This story took me a little longer to get into than the previous books about Westenbury, but it’s emotional, insightful and wonderfully romantic. When I finished, it was one of my favourite books in the series.

Frankie returns to the family business after two years away. Her motivations for leaving are understandable and easy to empathise with. Pam sees Frankie as her second daughter. Pam’s story takes place in the 1970s. The seventies are well-described, especially the differences in attitudes and prejudices in comparison with the present day.

The characters are relatable, and the pacing keeps the reader engaged. This is a family centred story with pertinent social history and two believable and satisfying love stories.

Julie Houston

Julie lives in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire where her novels are set, and her only claims to fame are that she teaches part-time at ‘Bridget Jones’ author Helen Fielding’s old junior school and her neighbour is ‘Chocolat’ author, Joanne Harris. After University, where she studied Education and English Literature, she taught for many years as a junior school teacher. As a newly qualified teacher, broke and paying off her first mortgage, she would spend every long summer holiday working on different Kibbutzim in Israel. After teaching for a few years she decided to go to New Zealand to work and taught in Auckland for a year before coming back to this country. She now teaches just two days a week, and still loves the buzz of teaching junior-aged children. She has been a magistrate for the past nineteen years, and, when not distracted by Ebay, Twitter and Ancestry, spends much of her time writing. Julie is married, has a twenty-four-year-old son and twenty-one-year-old daughter and a ridiculous Cockerpoo called Lincoln. She runs and swims because she’s been told it’s good for her, but would really prefer a glass of wine, a sun lounger and a jolly good book – preferably with Matthew Mcconaughay in attendance.

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Guest Post: The inspiration behind the Family Affair – Julie Houston

It was the evening before the very first lockdown back in March last year and I was getting desperate. I’d stared at a blank screen for several days but nothing was forthcoming. I knew I had a good eight months to write this novel – my ninth for Aria Head of Zeus – but to be absolutely honest I really didn’t have a clue what direction this new story would take.
And then, a seed, a little germ of hope and inspiration was planted: why wasn’t I using my own Italian heritage as a basis for the story? I knew then that I was going to write Frankie Piccione’s story.
My own grandmother was born Madeleine Scaramuzza and was the daughter of Antonio who’d left Naples to find work in the woollen mills here in Yorkshire. In my home town there are many Italian and Sicilian families and those I’m friendly with are wonderfully warm and extremely sociable as well as great cooks and hosts! I immediately headed down to my Sicilian friends, Joe and Luanda and, armed with notebook and pen, almost drafted the first plan there and then. They told me of wonderful Sicilian food, but especially the crema limon (lemon curd) that Frankie would eventually take on in the quest for manufacturing the best preserve at her Nonno Angelo’s factory. They gave me insights into Italian families and sayings, including the lyrical “bedda mia” – my beautiful one – that Joe’s mum uses all the time when greeting her family.

I’ve loved writing this story. I wanted to embrace the idea of economic migrants coming from different parts of the world – India and Italy – and how they worked hard to establish themselves in the north of England: Frankie’s grandfather, Nonno Angelo, with his pickles and preserves company and Daler’s Indian grandfather with his sandal factory. Both had to overcome prejudice, but fought against the odds to do exceptionally well in their chosen industries. I wanted to show how Pam, introducing a bit of seventies nostalgia, found herself part of the Piccione family at the age of just sixteen, and the prejudices she also had to fight against from her stand as a woman in a company dominated by men at the top.

But mainly, I just loved writing two parallel love stories – Frankie’s and Pam’s – one starting in the seventies and one just two years earlier, but both coming together and bang up to date by the end of the book. I fell a little bit in love with both Rob and Daler. I hope the reader will too!

Posted in Cover Reveal, Crime, Murder Mystery, New Books

OXFORD BLUES Andy Griffee #CoverReveal Johnson & Wilde Crime Mystery 3 @andygriffee @OrphansPublish #OxfordBlues #CrimeFiction #Canals #noir #secrets #preorder #July2021

Winter onboard a narrowboat can be a cold and lonely affair and Jack Johnson is keen to catch up with Nina Wilde, who has moved to Oxford to be near her niece, Anna, an undergraduate at the university, and rekindle the spark of their on-and-off relationship. However, Jack’s relief at seeing Nina is soon tempered. Rather than growing closer, they seem
to be drifting apart. Throwing himself into the search for a job, and the company of his new neighbours on the towpath of the River Isis, he’s soon distracted by the comings and goings on the nearby barges.

But then a young girl’s body is dragged up from Iffley Lock by magnet fishermen and Caleb Hopper her boyfriend, and a classmate of Anna’s falls under suspicion. Nina is determined to help the young man, a member of the prestigious Blues Boat rowing team, devastated by his girlfriend’s death. Jack is reluctantly pulled into the investigation in Nina’s wake. But at what price?

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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.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Humour, Mystery, New Books, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Serial

The Promise of Summer Part 1- With This Ring… Bella Osborne 5* #Review @AvonBooksUK @osborne_bella #romance #mystery #humour #friendship #romcom #preorder #ThePromiseofSummer

With a terrible track record when it comes to men, Ruby has all but given up on love. She finally decides to take fate into her own hands and boards a train to London to attend the appointment of a lifetime.

When a stranger starts chatting to her, Ruby’s faith in romance is restored as he nervously reveals a sparkling diamond and an extravagant proposal plan. When he leaves the ring behind, Ruby is determined to track him down – but fellow passenger Curtis has other ideas about how best to save the day.

Can this unlikely pair reunite the ring with its rightful owner before it’s too late?

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Publication Date – 26th May 2021

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

My Thoughts…

The first part of a new series is something to celebrate, and this one is full of humour, mystery and romance. Ruby works at a friendly florist shop and is friends with Kim, the owner. She travels to London for an important appointment. She meets two men on the train who influence her future life.

Trying to return the ring draws Curtis and Ruby together with amusing results he is a mysterious man but appears kind. The original plot is peppered with witty humour, gentle romance and mysteries to solve. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Bella Osborne

Bella has been jotting down stories as far back as she can remember but decided that 2013 would be the year that she finished a full length novel. Since then she’s written seven best selling romantic comedies and she’s been shortlisted three times for the RNA Contemporary Romantic Novel of the Year Award.

Bella’s stories are about friendship, love and coping with what life throws at you. She lives in The Midlands, UK with her husband, daughter and a cat who thinks she’s a dog. When not writing Bella is usually eating custard creams and planning holidays.

For more about Bella, visit her website at www.bellaosborne.com or follow her on social media.

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Posted in Book Review, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, New Books, Suspense

Pandora Susan Stokes-Chapman – An Extract… 4*Review #HistoricalFiction #histfic #LiteraryFiction #Georgian #London #Mystery #Legend #Greek #Intrigue #Pandora #Extract #Review

An exclusive sample of Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman, featuring the first thirteen chapters.

A pure pleasure of a novel set in Georgian London, where the discovery of a mysterious ancient Greek vase sets in motion conspiracies, revelations and romance.

There is a fine line between coincidence and fate…

London, 1799. Dora Blake is an aspiring jewellery artist who lives with her uncle in what used to be her parents’ famed shop of antiquities. When a mysterious Greek vase is delivered, Dora is intrigued by her uncle’s suspicious behaviour and enlists the help of Edward Lawrence, a young man seeking acceptance into the Society of Antiquaries. Edward sees the ancient vase as key to unlocking his academic future. Dora sees it as a chance to restore her parents’ shop to its former glory, and to escape her uncle.

But what Edward discovers about the vase has Dora questioning everything she has ever known about her life, her family, and the world as she knows it. As Dora uncovers the truth she starts to realise that some mysteries are buried, and some doors are locked, for a reason.

Gorgeously atmospheric and deliciously page-turning, Pandora deals with themes of secrets and deception, love and fulfilment, fate and hope.

Out on 27 January 2022

Pre-order now. Amazon UK

I received an extract of this book from Random House UK Vintage via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

I have read an extract of this book, thirteen chapters, and I am intrigued to read what follows.

Set in Georgian England, the story weaves a mystical ethos as it introduces the main players of this Greek-inspired story. It centres on a recovered vase taken from a shipwreck. Pandora has aspirations to be a jewellery designer but is thwarted by misogyny. Her parents died mysteriously, leaving her in the care of her uncle Hezekiah who hasn’t respected her parents’ legacy. Edward is a young man with ambition. He wants to study antiquities and be accepted by the professional society, but his class stimies him despite being sponsored by a young aristocrat who appears emotionally attached.

The scene is set for Pandora and Edward to meet as her interest in her uncle’s latest acquisition intensifies. The extract ends as Pandora finds the vase…

This is atmospheric, with complex characters and an intriguing mystery. The legend suggests the reader can envisage what come next but can they. The historical detail and lyrical prose make this an absorbing and immersive reading experience that I would like to continue.

Posted in Cover Reveal, Fantasy, New Books, Paranormal, Suspense

Secrets of Windwood Jack Reece #CoverReveal @CayellePub @lovebooksgroup @lovebookstours #SecretsofWindwood #preorder

 

Simon Lord has it all—the beautiful fiancé, the loving family, the sprawling mansion, and the famous last name. Little does he know that what is supposed to be the happiest day of his life will become his last. The little town of Solomon’s Wake has managed to keeps its secrets hidden for nearly a century, but no darkness can lie dormant forever. It only takes one fateful night, one storm, one wedding, for a vampire to rise, a werewolf to escape, and a witch’s age-old curse to rise again.

Decades later, the Lord family is a shadow of its former self. Windwood, the Lord family ancestral home, sits in near ruin as Simon Lord lies in a coma, but life goes on. That is until Joshua Lord makes the fateful decision to return to Windwood with his young family. Curses, as young Jenna Lord finds out, do not have an expiration date. The Lords and their friends find themselves battling vicious werewolves, homicidal grandmothers, the unrelenting spirit of a vengeful witch, and their own dark pasts. The only question is, who will make it out of Windwood alive this time?

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Posted in Contemporary Fiction, Cover Reveal, Family Drama, Friendship, New Books, Romance

#CoverReveal A Family Affair Julie Houston @JulieHouston2 @Hoz_Books @Aria_Fiction #Family #Friendship #Romance #SecondChance

Publication date: 3rd June 2021

Joining the family business was never going to be easy…

Frankie Piccione is done running away from her responsibilities, well for now anyway. Having escaped Westenbury after suffering a shattered heart, it’s time to take up her place on the family board. Piccione’s Pickles and Preserves needs Frankie. Frankie knows she can make the business work. But with her brother Luca and the new, rather attractive, Cameron Mancini watching her every move, she’s going to have to come up with something special to get them off her back and recognising she belongs on the board just as much as they do.

With the help of her Aunt Pam and best friend, Daisy, Frankie is thriving with her new sense of purpose. Until someone from her past walks right back into it…

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Julie lives in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire where her novels are set, and her only claims to fame are that she teaches part-time at ‘Bridget Jones’ author Helen Fielding’s old junior school and her neighbour is ‘Chocolat’ author, Joanne Harris. After University, where she studied Education and English Literature, she taught for many years as a junior school teacher. As a newly qualified teacher, broke and paying off her first mortgage, she would spend every long summer holiday working on different Kibbutzim in Israel. After teaching for a few years she decided to go to New Zealand to work and taught in Auckland for a year before coming back to this country. She now teaches just two days a week, and still loves the buzz of teaching junior-aged children. She has been a magistrate for the past nineteen years, and, when not distracted by Ebay, Twitter and Ancestry, spends much of her time writing. Julie is married, has a twenty-four-year-old son and twenty-one-year-old daughter and a ridiculous Cockerpoo called Lincoln. She runs and swims because she’s been told it’s good for her, but would really prefer a glass of wine, a sun lounger and a jolly good book – preferably with Matthew Mcconaughay in attendance.

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Posted in Cover Reveal, Crime, Family Drama, New Books, Suspense, Thriller

A Chance Encounter Rae Shaw #CoverReveal @RaeShawauthor @rararesources #JuliannaBaptiste #CrimeFiction

Julianna Baptiste, a feisty bodyguard, finds her new job tedious, that is until her boss, the evasive Jackson Haynes, spikes her curiosity. Who is behind the vicious threats to his beautiful wife and why is he interested in two estranged siblings?

Mark works for Haynes’s vast company. He’s hiding from ruthless money launderers.

His teenage sister Ellen has an online friend whom she has never met. Ellen guards a terrible secret.

For eight years their duplicitous father has languished in prison, claiming he is innocent of murder. The evidence against him is overwhelming, so why does Mark persist with an appeal?

Keen to prove her potential as an investigator, Julianna forces Mark to confront his mistakes. The consequences will put all their lives in danger.

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Publication Date: 24th March

Rae Shaw is a pen name for the author Rachel Walkley.

Rachel is based in the North West of England. She read her first grown-up detective novel at the age of eleven, which proved to be a catalyst for filling many shelves with crime books, which still occupy her home and grow in number whenever she visits a book shop.

As well as crime, Rachel likes to unplug from the real world and writes mysteries that have a touch of magic woven into family secrets.

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Posted in Cover Reveal, ganglit

Forgive and Forget Stephanie Harte #CoverReveal @StephanieHarte3 @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_books #RiskingItAll #ganglit #preorder #ForgiveandForget #4March21

It’s now or never for Gemma, will she finally be able to step away from a life of crime?

Mob boss Alfie has new rivals in town – and they might be more than a match for the Essex gangster. Between defending his turf, appeasing his crime lord father and holding onto the woman of his dreams, Alfie knows that something’s got to give…

Nathan’s recovering from his coma and trying to come to terms with his wife’s bombshell secret – that her son Luca was fathered by Alfie. Unconvinced of Gemma’s loyalty, he turns to his estranged ex-con father for help…

Gemma will do anything to give her son a normal life – and she’s surprised to find she has unexpected allies. But when the moment of truth arrives, can she trust Nathan to protect her and Luca?

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Stephanie Hart is a debut author writing in the ganglit genre. She lives in London with her family. 

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Posted in Cover Reveal, Crime, Gangland Crime, ganglit, Suspense

Amber Heather Burnside #CoverReveal #WorkingGirls @heatherbwriter @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #ganglit #CrimeFiction #Amber

NOBODY TO CALL

With a mother unfit for purpose and a brother who despises her, working girl Amber can rely on no one but herself – until the meanest pimp in Manchester, Kevin Pike, offers her his protection. Unfortunately, this attracts the fury of Cora, a prostitute no one wants to get on the wrong side of…

NOWHERE TO HIDE

When Cora is found strangled to death, the late-night city streets feel increasingly exposed with a killer on the loose. And as Amber grows closer to Kevin, she realises his security comes at a price she might not be willing to pay…

NOTHING TO LOSE

Amber is frozen in fear, knowing one wrong move will risk her life. But then she discovers a horrifying secret that forces her to choose: stay or run?

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Heather Burnside spent her teenage years on one of the toughest estates in Manchester and she draws heavily on this background as the setting for many of her novels.

After taking a career break to raise two children Heather enrolled on a creative writing course. Heather now works full-time on her novels from her home in Manchester, which she shares with her two grown-up children.

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