Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Suspense

Darkest Night Jenny O’Brien 5*#Review @ScribblerJB @HQStories #CrimeFiction #DetectiveGabyDarin #Wales #BlogTour #DarkestNight #BookReview #17July #Preorder

Christine De Bertrand wakes up to her worst nightmare: rather than the man she went to bed with, lying beside her is her housemate, Nikki – dead. With no memory of the night before, Christine can’t explain what happened, and the police are baffled. For DC Gaby Darin, newly arrived from Swansea after her last case ended in tragedy, it’s a mystery she’s determined to solve. When another woman goes missing, Gaby faces a race against time to uncover the link between the two victims and find the man who vanished from Christine’s bedroom. But as Gaby gets close, the killer gets closer – and soon one of Gaby’s own team is in unimaginable danger…

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

My Thoughts…

The second Detective Gaby Darin book has a well-constructed plot and excellent characters. This contemporary mix of police procedural and psychological suspense told from multi-viewpoints is absorbing. The reader gains an omniscient view of the events but is everyone a reliable narrator?

The story is pacy and intelligently plotted. The crime descriptions are graphic and add to the authenticity. Psychological suspense makes the investigation complex, which makes detecting the criminal harder.

There’s an adrenaline-inducing conclusion that keeps you guessing.

Jenny O’Brien was abandoned in Dublin at the tender age of 17 by her parents when they decided to move to Wales. It was only on the completion of her studies that she was finally able to join them. 
She’s an avid reader and book blogger in addition to being a RoNA book judge. She writes for both children and adults with a new book coming out every six months or so. 

In her spare time, she can be found frowning at her wonky cakes and even wonkier breads. You’ll be pleased to note she won’t be entering Bake-Off. She’s also an all-year-round sea swimmer.

Jenny currently resides on the island of Guernsey with her husband, children and cats. She works as a nurse and writes in her spare time. 
 

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Historical Romance, Romance

Echoes of the Runes Christina Courtenay 5* #Review @PiaCCourtenay @headlinepg @LoveBooksGroup #LoveBooksTours #HistoricalRomance #Vikings #timeslip #ContemporaryRomance#BlogTour #BookReview #Runes #Archaeology

When Mia inherits her beloved grandmother’s summer cottage, Birch Thorpe, in Sweden, she faces a dilemma. Her fiance Charles urges her to sell and buy a swanky London home, but Mia cannot let it go easily. The request to carry out an archaeological dig for more Viking artefacts like the gold ring Mia’s grandmother also left her, offers her a reprieve from a decision – and from Charles.

Whilst Mia becomes absorbed in the dig’s discoveries, she finds herself drawn to archaeologist Haakon Berger. Like her, he can sense the past inhabitants whose lives are becoming more vivid every day. Trying to resist the growing attraction between them, Mia and Haakon begin to piece together the story of a Welsh noblewoman, Ceri, and the mysterious Viking, known as the ‘White Hawk’, who stole her away from her people in 869 AD.

As the present begins to echo the past, and enemies threaten Birch Thorpe’s inhabitants, they will all have to fight to protect what has become most precious to each of them…

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

My Thoughts…

Atmospheric and romantic this is timeslip romantic novel covers the time spectrum from the days of Vikings to the present day. Mia inherits a Swedish cottage from her grandmother, she wants to keep it, but her partner wants her to sell so he can maintain his social-climbing lifestyle in London. The cottage is of archaeological significance and Mia agrees to the dig, to give her time to reach her decision.

Meeting archaeologist Haakon proves to be a meeting of minds and inevitably the chemistry between Mia and Haakon sizzles. As the dig progresses echoes of the past emerge, and the forbidden love of Ceri and Viking, White Hawk flows across time. Both stories are engaging and focus on the impossibility of the romances.

Rich in historical detail, these stories have a believable sense of place and time. The characters are complex and coupled with the vivid imagery, this story is a sensual delight. Echoes of danger, intrigue, and timeless love, make this timeslip romance an addictive absorbing read.

Christina Courtenay

Christina Courtenay lives in Herefordshire and is married with two children. Although born in England, she is half Swedish and was brought up in Sweden. In her teens, the family moved to Japan and she had the opportunity to travel extensively in the Far East and other parts of the world.

Christina is a former Chairman of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and has won several of their prizes – the Elizabeth Goudge Trophy for a historical short story in 2001, the Katie Fforde Bursary in 2006 and the RoNA for Best Historical in 2012 and 2014 (see below).

Her debut novel Trade Winds, a historical romance and adventure story, was short-listed for the Pure Passion Award for Best Historical Fiction 2011. Her second novel, The Scarlet Kimono, received the Best Historical Fiction prize for the Big Red Read 2011. Her novels Highland Storms and The Gilded Fan both won the RoNA (Romantic Novelists Association Award) for Best Historical Romantic Novel (Highland Storms in 2012 and The Gilded Fan in 2014), while The Silent Touch of Shadows (time slip) won the Festival of Romance award for Best Historical in 2013.

Christina also writes contemporary YA and New England Rocks was shortlisted for the RoNAs in the YA category in 2014. (The second book in the series, New England Crush, was published under a different name – Pia Fenton.)

As well as her novels, Christina has had four Regency novellas published, all available in Large Print and as ebooks.

Her hobbies include genealogy, archaeology (the armchair variety), listening to loud rock music and collecting things. She loves dogs, reading and chocolate.

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

Missing in Wales – Jenny O’Brien 4 * #Review @ScribblerJB @rararesources #Thriller #Crime #Wales #Blog Tour #Extract #PublicationDay

Missing in Wales, the first in an exciting new Welsh-set crime series by Jenny O’Brien, author of The Stepsister. The next in series, Stabbed in Wales, will be available soon. 

Alys is fine – don’t try to find us


Izzy Grant is haunted by the abduction of her newborn daughter five-years ago. When a postcard arrives from her missing partner, the man she believes is responsible, saying they’re fine and asking her not to try to find them, she knows she can’t give up hoping. Then she sees a face from her past. Grace Madden. Just where did she disappear to all those years ago? And is there a connection between her disappearance and that of her child?

DC Gabriella Darin recently transferred from Swansea, is brash, bolshie and dedicated. Something doesn’t fit with the case and she’s determined to find out just what happened all those years ago. 

Amazon UK

Amazon

Extract – Missing In Wales – Jenny O’Brien

Chapter One.

Past

 ‘Be careful. It’s the first time you’ve been out with her by yourself.’

 ‘Give over nagging, Izzy. We’ll be fine, won’t we, gorgeous?’ Charlie said, bending on his haunches and gently running his finger down his daughter’s plump cheek, her dark blue eyes staring back at him. ‘We’re going to let your mammy have some rest while we go to the shops. It’s time we got better acquainted. I can tell you all about football and which team to support.’

‘You will not. Don’t listen, Alys. There’s only one football team worth supporting and it’s not his,’ Izzy teased, feeling redundant now that Charlie had stolen her attention.

This would be the first time they’d been apart since the birth and already she could feel the bonds of motherhood straining at the thought of Alys being out of her sight, even if it was only for half-an-hour. It had only taken a week for her world to shrink to the boundary walls of the house. But she’d never been happier.

 Her eyes grazed the pair of them and love-filled every corner. They needed this time, both of them and a few minutes alone after another interrupted night’s sleep would be like a gift from the gods. 

 ‘Now, what about a goodbye kiss from your pretty mam then?’ he said.

Pushing himself to standing, the car seat in the crook of his arm, he leaned in for a kiss reminiscent of the best Hollywood romances.

‘You daft thing,’ she laughed. But secretly she was pleased, more than pleased.

She watched as he reversed the Mini into the road and continued watching until they were out of sight before returning to the warmth of the house. She slipped off her shoes by the front door, fumbling into her slippers and heading for the kitchen. There was washing and ironing, not to mention food to prepare. There were so many things she knew she should be doing but she felt sick with tiredness. With a mug of tea in her hand, she returned to the sofa and, feet propped up on the end, rested back, allowing the silence envelop her.

There was always noise in the cottage. It wasn’t Charlie’s fault that he was one of those men you could hear long before you could see them: Charlie, her one-night-stand, who seemed to have taken up root in both her house and her heart. He was always clomping around the place with a heavy tread and if it wasn’t him, it was one of his mates he’d invited back for her to feed. The house suddenly felt empty with the pervading sound of silence.

She’d close her eyes; just for five minutes…they’d be back soon.

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

My Thoughts…

An atmospheric, emotional police procedural, with a refreshingly unique storyline, and a complex and interesting female detective.

Izzy’s story is tragic, and the chance for closure, has her contacting the police again, even though it will mean revisiting her painful past. This is a character-driven story, and the players are believable. Izzy is easy to empathise. The pacing is a little slow in the first third of the story but picks up as the plot twists start.

DC Darin has secrets, but good instincts and insight, which prove to be pivotal in solving the case. The ending is suspenseful, and though I did guess who the antagonist is, the clues are there, if you look, the ending’s impact resonates.

Definitely, a series I would like to read.

Jenny O’Brien was abandoned in Dublin at the tender age of 17 by her parents when they decided to move to Wales. It was only on the completion of her studies that she was finally able to join them. 
She’s an avid reader and book blogger in addition to being a RoNA book judge.
She writes for both children and adults with a new book coming out every six months or so. 
In her spare time, she can be found frowning at her wonky cakes and even wonkier breads. You’ll be pleased to note she won’t be entering Bake-Off. She’s also an all-year-round sea swimmer.
Jenny currently resides on the island of Guernsey with her husband, children and cats. She works as a nurse and writes in her spare time. 
Readers can find out more about Jenny from her blog Facebook Twitter

Giveaway to Win a signed copy of Missing In Wales and the chance to be a character in the next book STABBED IN WALES. ( UK only)

Giveaway Link

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Posted in Book Review

The War Widow – Lorna Gray 4* Review

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The echoes of war live long in the mind…

Wales, 1947

Injured and terrified after an attempted abduction, desperation drives artist Kate Ward to the idyllic scene of her ex-husband’s recent suicide. Labelled a hysterical, grieving divorcée, no one believes she is being pursued by two violent men demanding answers she cannot give. Not the police, not the doctors, and not the guests at the Aberystwyth hotel she has come to in an attempt to find out what happened to her charismatic photographer ex-husband, and why her sanity—and her life—are now at risk.

Kate can trust no one, not even the reclusive war-veteran-turned-crime-novelist, Adam Hitchen, a reserved widower and the only source of kindness in a shadowy world of suspicion and fear. And as ghosts old and new rise to haunt her, Kate must rely on all her strength and courage to uncover the shocking truth hidden within a twisted web of lies…

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

This story isn’t the traditional World War 2 or post-war story. It’s a mystery with elements of a psychological thriller set in post-war Wales and England. The central theme of the story is Kate’s journey of self-discovery. After years of having her self-esteem eroded, facing extreme danger, hardship and loneliness force her to acknowledge her real worth.

There is a clever mystery to solve and carefully built suspense, in this twisty plot, which is a little slow paced in parts. Character-driven this story has a complex protagonist who feels utterly alone, yet this doesn’t quell her survival instinct, and she continually faces her demons and forces her adversaries to meet her head on. The cast of characters are not easy to empathise with, but they are beautifully intricate and seen through Kate’s eyes many take on sinister characteristics. The reader is left wondering whether the threat she perceives is real or paranoia.
The story has various settings, all of which are vividly described with just the right amount of historical detail to make the period setting realistic.

An original, authentic period mystery that keeps you guessing, with a strong female protagonist who is easy to empathise.

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