Posted in Book Review, Friendship, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

One Of Us Is Lying Shalini Boland 4*#Review @ShaliniBoland @bookouture #psychological #suspense #BookReview #OneOfUsIsLying #PsychologicalThriller

Tia never harmed anyone. So why does someone want to destroy her?

Tia is walking home with her children, along the lakeside of their quiet, safe town, when she realises something is wrong with her five-year-old daughter, Rosie. She seems troubled, not at all her usual happy self.

But when Tia finally coaxes Rosie to open up, she wishes she hadn’t. Because her sweet daughter asks a question Tia never thought she’d hear.

‘Mummy, why did you kill someone?’

Tia knows how rumours spread around her small town. She just can’t understand who would have shared such a horrible story. Or why.

It can’t have anything to do with what happened. Only her two best friends really remember that…

Tia thought she could trust Fiona and Kelly with her life. They’ve been through so much together. But when she’s sent photos of herself that could tear her whole world apart, she starts to wonder. Someone is determined to punish her. But who? And will her friends stand by her, or will the past destroy all of their lives?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This fast-paced, multi-point of view psychological suspense breathes new life into a familiar scenario with plenty of twists and turns. Three school friends’ lives unravel years later. All have secrets, but who is targeting them and why?

All the main protagonists have elements of unreliability, who do you trust? The story is addictive and suspenseful and keeps its secrets until the dramatic conclusion.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Suspense

DéjàVu Melody Saleh 3* #Review #UnBroken @MelodySaleh @lovebooksgroup #DéjàVu #LoveBooksTours #Friendship #relationships #Family #Romance #ThursdayMorning #ThursdayThoughts

Happiness is finally within reach for best friends, Amber, Dominque, Debra and Zya.  But fate has other plans…

Pregnant and widowed, Debra is engaged to suave and charming Italian heartthrob Roberto.  So why does her heart race when she thinks about her therapist, Brian?  Has she said yes to the wrong man?

Dominque has found the love and acceptance she always longed for with Tad.  But devastating news soon threatens their future together.

Successful fashion designer Zya has discovered her own unexpected happily ever after with Tina . . . until her daughter, Ashanti is bullied and becomes the focus of a police investigation and the media. Now Zya suddenly stands to lose everything she holds dear.

Finally, together with the only man she’s ever loved, Amber is determined to not let anything come between her and Patrick—not even her jealous and vindictive identical twin sister.  But someone is watching . . . waiting for the right moment to destroy her . . .

Will the women get their happy ending, or is it déjà vu all over again?  Find out in the dramatic and suspenseful second book of the Unbroken series.

Amazon UK Amazon

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

My Thoughts…

This is the second book in the Unbroken series and to understand the characters and their motivations you need to read Facade first. The story has moved on, but the conflict and secrets continue to blight the women’s lives threatening their family and relationships.

Familiarity with the characters makes this an easier read, but the story’s chaos and complexity will not suit everyone. The characters are realistic and relatable. This the story’s greatest strength, as they engage your interest and what happens to them matters.

After 35+ years in operations for various businesses (including her own), Melody pursued her dream of writing a novel. Having written for business publications, local magazines and even publishing a poem, Chemo’s not for Sissies, during treatment after her first cancer diagnosis, it was time to finish the novel that was started many years ago. When she started  writing, “Facade: Things Aren’t Always as They Appear,” she had no idea where her characters were going to take her. “The story basically wrote itself. It was like a movie projector playing in my mind,” is how she describes her experience. It soon became apparent, their voices were not to be silenced… “The Unbroken Series” was born. “Deja Vu: Here We Go Again,” Book II, to be released June 23, 2020, followed by C’est la Vie, Book III, in December.

Melody lives with her husband in her native home state Florida. She’s blessed to be alive today after two cancer diagnoses and enjoys watching her grandchildren grow up; something she doesn’t take for granted.

Read my review of Facade Book1

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance, Romance -Dark and Steamy, Suspense

Facade Melody Saleh 3*#Review @MelodySaleh @lovebooksgroup #LoveBooksTours #Romance #Friendship #Relationships #FamilyDrama #BlogTour #BookReview #Facade #Unbroken

Sex in The City meets Fifty Shades… (without the Red Room)

Amber can’t get Patrick out of her mind. Night after night he haunts her dreams . . . teasing her . . .  pleasuring her . . . owning her body . . . until her alarm rings. Left unsatisfied night after night, she devises a plan to bring her fantasies to life—with a platinum wig, blue contact lenses, and a new persona.

Stay-at-home mom Debra adores her husband, but wishes for a little more spice and adventure in her life.  She’s not even sure she’s ever had an orgasm!  But when tragedy strikes, her dreams come true in ways she never imagined…or wanted.

Despite a hard life as a single black Muslim mother, up-and-coming fashion designer Zya finally has a successful business and a sense of security, despite the increasing persecution she and her daughter experience.  But then a mysterious stranger comes into her life, challenging everything she thought she knew about love. But can it be real?

Gorgeous Dominque likes sex—wild, kinky, and lots of it.  Secretly longing for something real and lasting, she settles for less, burying her insecurity and self-doubt between late-night trysts and anemia.  But before long, she’s forced to face her fears, or succumb to them.

Four friends…each hiding behind a façade.  But as fantasy clashes with reality, things aren’t always as they appear.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

There are some great characters in this story which explores contemporary relationships. The dynamic between the main protagonists is believable. The women are likeable and relatable. Everyone has secrets, which makes this story, intense, and suspenseful.

The well written sensual fantasy theme gives the story an erotic edge. It adds to the characters’ complexity. Facade, is an intriguing start, to what promises to be, a page-turning series.

After 35+ years in operations for various businesses (including her own), Melody pursued her dream of writing a novel. Having written for business publications, local magazines and even publishing a poem, Chemo’s not for Sissies, during treatment after her first cancer diagnosis, it was time to finish the novel that was started many years ago. When she started  writing, “Facade: Things Aren’t Always as They Appear,” she had no idea where her characters were going to take her. “The story basically wrote itself. It was like a movie projector playing in my mind,” is how she describes her experience. It soon became apparent, their voices were not to be silenced… “The Unbroken Series” was born. “Deja Vu: Here We Go Again,” Book II, to be released June 23, 2020, followed by C’est la Vie, Book III, in December.

Melody lives with her husband in her native home state Florida. She’s blessed to be alive today after two cancer diagnoses and enjoys watching her grandchildren grow up; something she doesn’t take for granted.

Read my review of DéjàVu Book2

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mystery

This Lovely City Louise Hare 4*#Review @LouRHare @HQStories #London #histfic #literary #Mystery #Social #BookReview #1950s #MondayBlogs #mondaythoughts #ThisLovelyCity

The drinks are flowing.
The music is playing.
But the party can’t last.

With the Blitz over and London reeling from war, jazz musician Lawrie Matthews has answered England’s call for help. Fresh off the Empire Windrush, he’s taken a tiny room in south London lodgings, and has fallen in love with the girl next door.

Touring Soho’s music halls by night, pacing the streets as a postman by day, Lawrie has poured his heart into his new home – and it’s alive with possibility. Until, one morning, he makes a terrible discovery.

As the local community rallies, fingers of blame are pointed at those who had recently been welcomed with open arms. And, before long, the newest arrivals become the prime suspects in a tragedy which threatens to tear the city apart.

Atmospheric, poignant and compelling, Louise Hare’s debut shows that new arrivals have always been the prime suspects. But, also, that there is always hope.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This atmospheric and insightful story set in London in the 1950s captures the ethos of post-war Britain still in the grasp of rationing. Lawrie is a young man drawn to England with promises of a better life. The welcome banner in the skies above the Windrush proves to be a cynical publicity stunt. The reality? Prejudice, poor housing and no jobs.

Lawrie’s secures work as a postman and works as a musician in a Soho club when he can. He has a girlfriend and a future until he offers a helping hand, and his life changes forever.

This is a well-written story with events and characters that resonate.

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 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.

Amazon UK Waterstones

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.

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

Crystal Heather Burnside 4*#Review #WorkingGirls @heatherbwriter @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #Revenge #Manchester #Extract #UrbanFiction #CrimeFiction #Thriller #BlogTour #BookReview #Crystal

THE PIMP

When Crystal’s pimp, protector and former lover, Gilly, dies of a drugs overdose Crystal is bereft. She refuses the paid protection of a rival pimp, determined to go it alone. But a vicious beating from a client leaves her feeling vulnerable and angry.

THE JUDGE

Meanwhile, Crystal’s daughter, Candice, is asking difficult questions about her job. Crystal decides it’s time to make some changes, and, when a high-profile judge offers her payment to keep schtum about his nefarious activities, it gives her an idea. Perhaps other clients will also pay for her silence…

THE REVENGE

Crystal engages on a revenge mission to rob, blackmail and expose her most depraved clients. But some of these men are highly dangerous and, if Crystal wants to exact her plan of revenge, she must accept the risks that go with it.

Heather Burnside is back with this breath-taking, heart-racing series

Amazon UK Kobo

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

My Thoughts…

The third book in the gritty and gripping working girls series features Crystal. Addicted to alcohol and drugs, Crystal reaches an all-time low when her partner and pimp Gilly dies. It’s decision time for Crystal. She chooses to fight against her addictions and take revenge against her worst clients.
Blackmail forms the basis of Crystal’s exit strategy from her old life, but she fails to see the inherent dangers.

Crystal’s significant character development makes the ending positive in this story of redemption and revenge. Characterised by a pacy, twisty plot and positive female protagonists working girls is an addictive series worth reading.

Crystal – Heather Burnside – Extract

Ruby was becoming irritated as she listened to Crystal defending Gilly. ‘I know he had a temper but I never f**kin’ saw him lose it big time with anyone else,’ she snapped. ‘You were the one that was always on the receiving end and don’t forget that you were the one he beat unconscious as well.’

‘No, he didn’t just lose it with me,’ said Crystal. The guilty expression had returned and Ruby knew there was something more.

‘Go on. Who?’

Crystal swallowed and without further encouragement she came out with it. ‘He killed a man.’

Ruby sprang back in her seat. ‘You’re f**kin’ joking!’

The words hit her like a thunderbolt. It wasn’t only the revelation; it was because it brought home to her that she too was a killer. But, despite prompting Crystal to confide in her, there was no way Ruby was going to share her own secret. Too many people knew already; her partner, Tiffany, and her cousins who had helped her to dispose of the body.

Ruby’s mind drifted back to the scene when Kyle, her childhood nemesis, had tried to take advantage of her. Then she thought of her own callous treatment of him and stifled a shudder of revulsion. Although she was ashamed of how far she had gone, she refused to feel guilty for the piece of shit that was Kyle Gallagher. He was another one who deserved everything that happened to him. And, at the end of the day, she had only paid him back for what he had done to her.

Not content with scarring her for life as a child, Kyle had then moved on to her business, a city centre brothel, where he’d collected protection money and manhandled her girls. But when he’d tried to manhandle her it had been a step too far. There was no way she was going to submit herself to him so he’d had to die.

‘What happened?’ she asked, quickly shifting the focus back to Crystal and blocking her memories but not before she had subconsciously run her finger over her facial scar.

‘He didn’t mean to,’ said Crystal.

Ruby held back her irritation again as Crystal went on to describe how Gilly had made it his mission to punish a client who had abused her. When they’d eventually tracked him down Gilly had driven him to a secluded place, intent on retribution. But the man had retaliated fiercely, forcing Gilly to take desperate action to stop him.

‘He did it for me,’ Crystal added. ‘He felt really bad about it afterwards. He never meant to kill him.’ She paused and took a deep breath before adding, ‘So we went back and buried the body. It was on the news about the man disappearing. But we just kept quiet. Gilly didn’t want anyone to know.’

‘So you kept it secret for him?’ asked Ruby. ‘As well as helping him to bury the f**kin’ body!’

‘Yes,’ Crystal whispered before finding renewed vigour as she continued. ‘But, like I said, he did it for me so it was the least I could do.’

Ruby shook her head but Crystal wasn’t finished yet. ‘I feel really bad about that too. Now that I’ve lost Gilly I realise what that man’s family must have felt like. I think I should tell the coppers everything.’

‘What, and take the rap for what Gilly did? Are you off your f**kin’ head? You keep schtum about the f**kin’ lot, Crystal.’ Ruby looked at her friend who had now bowed her head low and was sobbing again. ‘Are you listening?’

‘Yes,’ Crystal mumbled.

#HeatherBurnside

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.

Facebook Twitter Website

Read my reviews of the other working girls books:

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Suspense

Don’t Blink Vanessa Robertson 4*#Review @Ness_Robertson @lovebooksgroup #KateCarpenter #lovebookstours #BlogTour #BookReview #Art #DontBlink #CrimeFiction

A stolen painting. A gangster intent on revenge. And nothing is what it seems.

Art consultant Kate Carpenter has an off-the-books sideline in art recovery, dealing with thieves, gangsters and the occasional war criminal to reunite priceless artworks with their owners. But when she refuses a request from the owner of one missing painting, Yuri Sokolov isn’t prepared to take no for an answer.

Her knowledge has cost him millions, he wants revenge, and he isn’t planning to show any mercy. The only way that Kate can get Yuri Sokolov to keep his distance is to find out exactly what happened to his painting, but when she starts scraping away at the surface, she finds that nothing is exactly as it appears.Don’t Blink is the first book in the Kate Carpenter series.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This story gives tantalising glimpses into the world of art and crime. Kate Carpenter is an art consultant with a rich and powerful clientele. Her less well-known role is as an art recovery expert. She loves this dangerous work which draws her into the darker side of life.

Kate’s associates are complex characters who give the plot its authenticity and vibrancy. Kate’s romantic life is never dull, but she is wary of commitment. Kate’s romance with Pete fizzles out, in favour of the flamboyant Koyla which perturbed me slightly after reading the prequel Vanishing Point.

The suspenseful plot is addictive. Kate is an enigmatic protagonist who is easy to like.

Vanessa Robertson

Vanessa Robertson has lived in Scotland for over twenty years. A former publisher and bookseller, she won the Pitch Perfect event for unpublished writers at the Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in Stirling in 2015.

Death Will Find Me, a crime novel set in 1920s Edinburgh featuring former spy, Tessa Kilpatrick, was her first novel, and Don’t Blink, the first in a series set in the world of art crime investigator Kate Carpenter was published in May 2020, with the second, Trace Evidence, scheduled for later in the year. Vanessa has also published a short novella, Vanishing Point, introducing the character of Kate, which is available on Amazon and free via her website at www.vanessarobertson.co.uk.

Vanessa lives in a cottage in the middle of a Scottish wood with her family and ridiculously large dog. Currently, she’s editing the third Kate Carpenter thriller, researching the next Tessa Kilpatrick 1920s novel, and trying not to be distracted by new plot ideas. Vanessa loves windswept beaches, the coffee-scented fug of Venetian cafes and wandering around art galleries.

Posted in Cover Reveal, Family Drama, Friendship, Romantic Suspense, Suspense

Déjà Vu Melody Saleh #CoverReveal #UnBroken @MelodySaleh @lovebooksgroup #LoveBooksTours #BankHolidayWeekend

Happiness is finally within reach for best friends, Amber, Dominque, Debra and Zya.  But fate has other plans…

Pregnant and widowed, Debra is engaged to suave and charming Italian heartthrob Roberto.  So why does her heart race when she thinks about her therapist, Brian?  Has she said yes to the wrong man?

Dominque has found the love and acceptance she always longed for with Tad.  But devastating news soon threatens their future together.

Successful fashion designer Zya has discovered her own unexpected happily ever after with Tina . . . until her daughter, Ashanti is bullied and becomes the focus of a police investigation and the media. Now Zya suddenly stands to lose everything she holds dear.

Finally, together with the only man she’s ever loved, Amber is determined to not let anything come between her and Patrick—not even her jealous and vindictive identical twin sister.  But someone is watching . . . waiting for the right moment to destroy her . . .

Will the women get their happy ending, or is it déjà vu all over again?  Find out in the dramatic and suspenseful second book of the Unbroken series.

Amazon UK Amazon

After 35+ years in operations for various businesses (including her own), Melody pursued her dream of writing a novel. Having written for business publications, local magazines and even publishing a poem, Chemo’s not for Sissies, during treatment after her first cancer diagnosis, it was time to finish the novel that was started many years ago. When she started  writing, “Facade: Things Aren’t Always as They Appear,” she had no idea where her characters were going to take her. “The story basically wrote itself. It was like a movie projector playing in my mind,” is how she describes her experience. It soon became apparent, their voices were not to be silenced… “The Unbroken Series” was born. “Deja Vu: Here We Go Again,” Book II, to be released June 23, 2020, followed by C’est la Vie, Book III, in December.

Melody lives with her husband in her native home state Florida. She’s blessed to be alive today after two cancer diagnoses and enjoys watching her grandchildren grow up; something she doesn’t take for granted.

Posted in Audiobook Review, Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, International Thriller, Political Thriller, Suspense, Thriller, Travel

Red Desert Paddy Magrane 5*#Review #AudioBookReview @PaddyMagrane @audibleuk @midaspr #RedDesert #Narrator Joe Jameson #International #Thriller #PoliticalThriller #ConspiracyThriller #BlogTour #BookReview

When his girlfriend is violently attacked, Tom’s life falls apart and escape makes perfect sense. Taking a role as a therapist for staff on an oil camp in southern Iraq seems like the perfect solution. But upon his arrival, an explosion leaves four men dead. Tom starts to ask questions, and his curiosity soon gets him into trouble. An attack on the camp sees Tom shipped home, where he works with a journalist to continue his investigations. But when the journalist falls beneath a tube train, Tom is left wondering whether his search for the truth could end in his death, too…

Amazon UK Audible UK

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

My Thoughts…

This audiobook is a gripping thriller with a complex plot and a believable protagonist. The various settings are authentic and vividly described. You can feel the heat, smell the dust and the sweat in the Iraq sequences.

Tom is easy to empathise with his tragic past and his keen sense for justice. His courage is relatable. He’s fearful but wants to find the truth and is prepared to risk his safety to achieve this.

Flawed and realistic each of the cast of characters make the story more relevant and real.Well-paced the plot enthrals right to the end. The believable ending is positive.

The narration is well balanced and professional. You forgot it is just one person as the characters come to life with subtle voice changes.

A riveting, realistic novel perfect as an audiobook.

Paddy Magrane

Paddy Magrane is a Psychotherapist, journalist and the Kindle #1 ranked thriller writer of The Sam Keddie thrillers. Born in the Middle East, Paddy then grew up on army bases in Germany, Northern Ireland and England. Paddy was an artist for ten years in the UK before working as a journalist for The Guardian, The Observer and The Telegraph. Paddy has travelled extensively, having visited Syria before the civil war and recently worked in Israel and the West Bank. In 2006, Paddy retrained as a psychotherapist and practices at home in rural Devon where he lives with his wife and two daughters.

Joe Jameson

Joe Jameson is a London based actor and voice-over artist. He graduated from the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in 2010 and has since become one of London’s most in-demand voice-over artists.With an excellent ear for accents, and an extensive range, Joe has narrated more than 200 audio-books for Audible, Strathmore and Penguin, among others.