Format: ARC

BOOK TOUR: Double or Nothing

Posted September 16, 2022 by louisesr in Review, Tour / 1 Comment

BOOK TOUR: Double or Nothing

BOOK TOUR: Double or NothingDouble or Nothing by Kim Sherwood
Published by HarperCollins on September 1, 2022
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 432
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
four-stars

James Bond is missing. 007 has been captured, perhaps even killed, by a sinister private military company. His whereabouts are unknown. Meet the new generation of spies...

Johanna Harwood, 003. Joseph Dryden, 004. Sid Bashir, 009. Together, they represent the very best and brightest of MI6. Skilled, determined and with a licence to kill, they will do anything to protect their country.

The fate of the world rests in their hands...

Tech billionaire Sir Bertram Paradise claims he can reverse the climate crisis and save the planet. But can he really? The new spies must uncover the truth, because the future of humanity hangs in the balance.

Time is running out. The start of a brand new trilogy following MI6’s agents with a licence to kill, that blows the world of James Bond wide open!

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This is the start of a new trilogy based on the James Bond novels. Unlike the Anthony Horowitz novel which I read earlier this year, this is more of a spin off series, rather than a continuation of the Bond novels. , Bond isn’t actually present in this novel but, he is constantly referenced. He has gone missing and the focus is now on 3 newer MI6 agents Johanna Harwood 003, Joseph Dryden 004 and Sid Bashir 009. I can’t help thinking about the film franchise and how there’s constant speculation about who should play Bond next – should they be a POC, should they be female etc. They’d do well to learn from this and have Bond being Bond and introducing new characters which break from the white male stereotype.

Some of the characters – M, Q, Moneypenny and Felix, who we’ve come to know and love over the years are still around, although, not in exactly the same format as in previous years/books.

The opening of this book got straight into the action, introducing new characters and setting us up for the rest of the novel. There are times when it isn’t as fast paced as I’d have liked but we have twists and turns throughout and the focus on climate change makes this a very modern version of a classic series.

four-stars
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BOOK TOUR: Christmas Miracles at Hedgehog Hollow

Posted September 11, 2022 by louisesr in Review, Tour / 1 Comment

BOOK TOUR: Christmas Miracles at Hedgehog Hollow

BOOK TOUR: Christmas Miracles at Hedgehog HollowChristmas Miracles at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland
Published by Boldwood Books Ltd on September 6, 2022
Genres: Christmas, Women's
Pages: 409
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
five-stars

It's the countdown to Christmas at Hedgehog Hollow Wildlife Rescue Centre, and everyone is gearing up for a festive season to remember...

It should be the most wonderful time of the year for Samantha and Josh as they prepare for the arrival of their first baby. But life at Hedgehog Hollow rarely goes to plan and the pair are faced with adversaries, old and new, and unexpected challenges to overcome.

Fizz's job at the heart of the rescue centre is a dream come true but her personal life is more like a nightmare. With her love life a disaster and her past about to dramatically catch up with her, she needs the love and support of her Hedgehog Hollow family more than ever.

As the snow falls over Hedgehog Hollow, will Samantha and Fizz find the Christmas miracle they need to overcome their heartache and find happiness?

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

WARNING: As this is the final book in the series, I may make mention to things that have happened in the previous books.

If it’s a while since you read the previous book in the series then Jessica Redland rather helpfully gives a full rundown of all the main characters in the front of the book as well as a “previously in Hedgehog Hollow….” summary. While it may be tempting to think that this will tell you all you need to know to jump into this series at book 6 – don’t.

It’s here, and it’s everything that I expected it to be!

This is it, the final book in the series, I’ve been looking forward to this coming out but I’m also ready to cry because it’s the last one in my favourite series. I know it won’t be saying goodbye to the characters for ever as I’m sure that Jessica Redland will feature them in some of her other novels around Whitsborough Bay, but I’m really going to miss our spikey little friends.

Given the characters who have featured in the previous books I had a few things in mind that I knew I needed to happen in this final book –

  • I expected Fizz to be the main focus point
  • I needed for her to have a relationship with Phoebe
  • I hoped for more action around Hedgehog Hollow than in the previous book
  • I wanted to see the further development of the relationship between Sam and her mum
  • Maybe relationships developing for Sam’s parents (but not with each other)
  • A baby for Sam and Josh given the ending to book 5

Did I get everything I wanted? I’m not telling you but what I will say is that it was a very satisfactory ending to the series.

I started crying following a hedgehog incident at around the 50% mark and I was still crying at the 75% mark. Holy Moly, this book was a roller coaster. Fizz’s storyline went in a direction that I never expected and my heart broke for her. She is such a gorgeous, loving character and I really wanted her to have her happily ever after and not be so hurt and broken.

I loved the Christmas setting for the book. We start off around October time with the preparations taking place (wreath decorating anyone) and end in the middle of the following year but the majority of the action takes place in the run up to Christmas. We have a Christmas Fair at the Hollow with more amazing decorations and then we have Christmas Day, told from a number of perspectives.

As ever there are a number of trigger warnings in here but the warmth and love and community definitely outshine them.

My best advice for anyone considering this book is to go to Book 1 and start the series from the beginning. They’re all quick, easy reads and they’re free on Kindle Unlimited. Click on the book title below to be taken to the Amazon UK page

Book 1 – Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow

Book 2 – New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow

Book 3 – Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow

Book 4 – A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow

Book 5 – Chasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow

Book 6 – Christmas Miracles at Hedgehog Hollow

I’ve also added a list of all Jessica Redlands books here – her series are one of the few where I would say, READ THEM IN ORDER. With recurring characters who have major life changes in each book, there will be spoilers if you don’t and you won’t get the same level of enjoyment.

five-stars

About Jessica Redland

I live in Scarborough on the stunning North Yorkshire Coast in the UK. My home inspired the creation of the fictional seaside town of Whitsborough Bay where I set some of my books. The Hedgehog Hollow series takes readers to a gorgeous countryside setting on the Yorkshire Wolds.

I live with my husband, our teenage daughter and sprocker spaniel, Ella. I’m a stationery addict with a notepad obsession who loves chocolate (although it doesn’t love me), hedgehogs, 80s music, collectible teddy bears and lighthouses.

My career has mainly been in HR as a trainer and recruiter. I had a brief detour into retail to set up and manage my own specialist teddy bear shop and started writing my debut novel on quiet days in the shop.

In June 2020, I became a full-time author. I’m so very grateful to anyone who has bought or borrowed my books in whatever format, helping me fulfil a long-held dream of writing full-time. I still can’t believe I get to spend every day chatting to my fictional friends and making stuff up.

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Book Tour: The Party House by Lin Anderson

Posted August 17, 2022 by louisesr in Review, Tour / 0 Comments

Book Tour: The Party House by Lin AndersonThe Party House by Lin Anderson
Published by macmillan on 04/08/22
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: Random Things Tours
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-half-stars

The Party House by Lin Anderson is a deeply atmospheric psychological thriller set in the Scottish Highlands, for fans of Lucy Foley, Ruth Ware and Sarah Pearse’s The Sanatorium.

Devastated by a recent pandemic brought in by outsiders, the villagers of Blackrig in the Scottish Highlands are outraged when they find that the nearby estate plans to reopen its luxury ‘party house’ to tourists.

As animosity sparks amongst the locals, part of the property is damaged and, in the ensuing chaos, the body of a young girl is found in the wreck. Seventeen-year-old Ailsa Cummings went missing five years ago, never to be seen again – until now.

The excavation of Ailsa’s remains ignites old suspicions cast on the men of this small community, including Greg, the estate’s gamekeeper. At the beginning of a burgeoning relationship with a new lover, Joanne, Greg is loath to discuss old wounds. Frightened by Greg’s reaction to the missing girl’s discovery, Joanne begins to doubt how well she knows this new man in her life. Then again, he’s not the only one with secrets in their volatile relationship . . .

I received this book for free from Random Things Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The description says it’s for fans of Ruth Ware, Lucy Foley and Sarah Pearse – those are some pretty big names to live up to but I think you can quite comfortably add Lin Anderson to the list.

The party house is about to open its doors again. It broke the rules during lock down and hosted a party (no, it’s not 10 Downing Street), a party that brought a new variant to the isolated community where it is situated. A party that led to the deaths of six locals, mainly children. You can see why the locals are not to keen on any more parties being held there. The day before the party is due to happen a number of locals break in and destroy a hot tub, unearthing a body.

This book has the best setting. I love books set in Scotland, not just those set int he grizzly cities like Glasgow but those in the haunting Highlands. It really does become so atmospheric, almost like a character in itself, I could really imagine being there.

There is a very “them and us” between the owners of the party house and the locals, there’s a lot of mistrust there (understandably) and I thought this was written really well. The arrogance of the owners really came across and got my back up.

This took a little while for me to get into, but the payback on sticking with it was more than worth it.

There is so many twists and turns and so much tension, that once I got into this I really didn’t want to put it down.

Now, my biggest warning is – this features COVID – if you have an issue with books that have covid in them, don’t read it. You’ll be missing a treat but I really hate it when people mark a book down because they’re not ready to deal with stories featuring the pandemic.

four-half-stars

About Lin Anderson

Lin Anderson was born in Greenock of Scottish and Irish parents. A graduate of both Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities, she has lived in many different parts of Scotland and also spent five years working in the African bush. A teacher of Mathematics and Computing, she began her writing career four years ago. Her first film, Small Love, which was broadcast on STV, was nominated for TAPS writer of the year award 2001. Her African short stories have been published in the 10th Anniversary Macallan collection and broadcast on BBC Radio Four.

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Book Tour: All The Wicked Games by Lauren North

Posted August 17, 2022 by louisesr in Review, Tour / 0 Comments

Book Tour: All The Wicked Games by Lauren NorthAll The Wicked Games by Lauren North
Published by Penguin on 01/09/22
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: Random Things Tours
Buy on Amazon

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Goodreads
four-half-stars

Are you ready to play?

Best friends Cleo and Rachel spend their evenings pretending to be people they're not, inventing elaborate stories to escape the monotony of their real lives. It's all harmless fun - until they play the game on the wrong person...

It's your move now.

Five years later, Cleo is still struggling to come to terms with the night that destroyed her friendship with Rachel and almost cost them their lives. And then she receives a text: Rachel is missing. Have you seen her?

There's only one person to blame.

Wracked with guilt for failing Rachel the last time they were in danger, Cleo races to find her friend. But could the past be repeating itself? Only this time, they're caught up in a far darker game.

The rules don't matter when the goal is revenge.

I received this book for free from Random Things Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Ah, you know me, I love a good dual timeline thriller!

The book starts with Cleo who is on leave from her job on a cruise ship, receiving news that her friend Rachel has disappeared. Rachel was her best friend, but they’ve not been in touch for years. We then cut back to 5 years ago when Cleo and Rachel shared a flat and played an online “game” together – chatting to others and making up elaborate stories. They thought it was harmless fun. Until it wasn’t. Cleo learns that the games have started up again, and heads to London to investigate.

This has such a sinister feel to it and you know that something bad is going to happen, North spends some time building up to let us know what it was, moving backwards and forwards between then and now. We see the friendship between the two but we also see it all fall apart.

This is one of those books where at one point or another I suspected EVERYONE, I had no clue who to trust or who it might be. And some of the characters… there’s a phrase in Northern Ireland which perfectly describes them (and it’s one of my most favourite phrases ever).. they’re a wee bit west of the Woowah! Not entirely sure how I’m supposed to spell that and unsurprisingly spell checker was absolutely zero help. I quite liked Cleo in the now, but the person she was before, yeah, I’m not a fan, however Rachel, I don’t even know where to begin.

Lastly, the end. Wow. Sometimes I felt it was a wee bit slow getting there but it was worth it. I had the dawning as to what was going on right before it was spelt out for me. And WOW. So good.

four-half-stars

About Lauren North

LAUREN NORTH writes psychological suspense novels that delve into the darker side of relationships and families. She has a lifelong passion for writing, reading, and all things books. Lauren’s love of psychological suspense has grown since childhood and from her dark imagination of always wondering what’s the worst thing that could happen in every situation.
Lauren studied psychology before moving to London where she lived and worked for many years. She now lives with her family in the Suffolk countryside.

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Book Tour: From The Ashes

Posted August 2, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 1 Comment

Book Tour: From The AshesFrom the Ashes by Deborah Masson
Series: Eve Hunter #3
Published by Random House on July 21, 2022
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: Random Things Tours
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-half-stars


As the house burns, the hunt for a killer begins...

In the dead of night someone starts a fire in a home for underprivileged children in Aberdeen. The flames spread quickly, and one person doesn't make it out alive.

But the victim wasn't found in their bedroom; they were discovered locked inside a secret basement underground. As DI Eve Hunter and her team search the blackened ruins, the case takes them into even darker territory.

Soon Eve unearths a horrific discovery at the heart of the property - one that turns the whole investigation on its head. Everyone in this home has something to hide, but who has a secret worth killing for?

I received this book for free from Random Things Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Today it’s my stop on the Random Things Tour for From The Ashes by Deborah Masson.

I was discussing with some of the ladies in my book group last week and we were all in agreement that we’ve been introduced to some fantastic new (to us) authors through doing book tours and this is one of them! In fact, after reading this I’ve nominated the first book in the series as the September read for our book club so that we can introduce Deborah Masson to a whole new group of people.

As you can probably guess from the fact I want us to read the rest of the series, I really enjoyed this book.

I seem to have a lot of “tartan noir” on my reading list at the minute and Aberdeen is a brilliant, dark and gritty backdrop to this novel. I don’t know what it is about Scotland, it’s such a picturesque nation but at the same time the cities are always portrayed as grey and brooding. Maybe this is just a reflection of the books that I read.

This story is told from multiple perspectives; Eve who investigating the fire and the body that has been found, DC Scott Ferguson who is hiding a secret and neglecting the investigation while he concentrates on a child who has been run over; and that of the perpetrator

I spent much of the novel not understanding how all of the strands would pull together and be related to each other but they do, they all come together brilliantly, through a series of twists and turns that I didn’t see coming.

four-half-stars

About Deborah Masson

Deborah Masson was born and bred in Aberdeen, Scotland. Always restless and fighting against being a responsible adult, she worked in several jobs including secretarial, marketing, reporting for the city’s freebie newspaper and a stint as a postie – to name but a few.
Through it all, she always read crime fiction and, when motherhood finally settled her into being an adult (maybe even a responsible one) she turned her hand to writing what she loved. Deborah started with short stories and flash fiction whilst her daughter napped and, when she later welcomed her son into the world, she decided to challenge her writing further through online courses with Professional Writing Academy and Faber Academy, where she wrote her
award-winning debut novel Hold Your Tongue, the first in the DI Eve Hunter series. Since then she has published two more books in the series, Out For Blood and From the Ashes.

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Blog Tour – The Choice by Penny Hancock

Posted July 29, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 1 Comment

Blog Tour - The Choice by Penny Hancock

Blog Tour – The Choice by Penny HancockThe Choice by Penny Hancock
Published by Pan Macmillan on July 21, 2022
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Random Things Tours
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

An estranged daughter. A missing grandson. A mother faced with an impossible choice.

Renee Gulliver appears to have it all: a beautiful house overlooking a scenic estuary on England’s East Coast, a successful career as a relationship therapist, three grown-up children, and a beloved grandson, Xavier. But then Xavier vanishes after Renee fails to pick him up from school, and the repercussions are manifold.

Renee is wracked with remorse; the local community question her priorities, clients abandon her; and, as long-held grievances surface, her daughter Mia offers her a heartbreaking ultimatum. Amid recriminations, misunderstandings and lies, can Renee find a way to reunite her family?

Wow, there’s no hanging around with this one. That opening chapter. Wow.

Renee seems to have it all, a fantastic career as a therapist, a loving family and a beautiful house. But she’s part of that generation that are trying to do it all, balancing a successful career, caring for her mother and her husband, looking after her grandson. It’s a balancing act and when Renee forgets to pick up Xavier from school one day, everything comes tumbling down.

‘Xavier isn’t here.’

‘What do you mean he isn’t there? Where is he? You were picking him up from school today.’

‘But it’s Monday.’

It is Monday, not one of my usual Xavier days. But Mia’s away, Mia’s in Amsterdam, on a course. I took Xav to school this morning and was supposed to pick him up this afternoon. The kitchen turns vivid, as if until this moment, I’ve been viewing it through soft focus.

Things aren’t always what they seem.

The truth will always come out.

I know it sounds cliched but these two sentences really are at the heart of this book. This is a beautifully written, character driven story of how secrets and misunderstandings can tear a family apart.

Alongside the story of what has happened to Xavier we also look back at what has happened in the past which has led the family to be where they are now.

Brilliantly constructed, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

four-stars

About Penny Hancock

Penny Hancock is the author of internationally bestselling novels including Tideline a Richard & Judy book club pick, The Darkening Hour and A Trick of the Mind and I Thought I Knew You. She writes articles and short stories on family psychology for the national press. Penny divides her time between a village outside Cambridge and her children and grandchildren in London. The Choice is her fifth novel.

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Book Tour: All I Said Was True

Posted July 28, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 1 Comment

Book Tour: All I Said Was TrueAll I Said Was True by Imran Mahmood
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing on July 1, 2022
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Random Things Tours
Buy on Amazon
four-half-stars

I didn't kill her. Trust me...
When Amy Blahn died on a London rooftop, Layla Mahoney was there. Layla was holding her. But all she can say when she's arrested is that 'It was Michael. Find Michael and you'll find out everything you need to know.'

The problem is, the police can't find him – they aren't even sure he exists.

Layla knows she only has forty-eight hours to convince the police that bringing in the man she knows only as 'Michael' will clear her name and reveal a dangerous game affecting not just Amy and Layla, but her husband Russell and countless others.

But as the detectives begin to uncover the whole truth about what happened to Amy, Layla will soon have to decide: how much of that truth can she really risk being exposed?

Why did no-one tell me about Imran Mahmood before? Seriously, how have I never heard of him! Not only does he write outstanding books (I’m assuming from how great this book is that his others are belters) but one of his books is a tv show that I have also somehow missed (I’ve just added it – You Don’t Know Me – to my Netflix list).

OK, if you like thrillers, unreliable narrators and dual timelines then YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK!!!!!

I didn’t know which way to turn, what to believe from Layla and I had no clue what actually happened.

Amy has died, Layla is found with the body. Layla is holding something back. She’s telling the truth – or at least some of it. Why is she holding things back? Why doesn’t she just tell them what happened? Who is Michael? Does Michael actually exist or is Layla making him up?

SO MANY QUESTIONS!!

This is an ideal book to read with a friend then you can throw about theories and ask each others opinion. Be prepared for your head to be spinning, maybe grab a notepad and pen 😂

You do have to suspend belief at some points, but it’s a work of fiction – you have to suspend belief on a regular basis watching the soaps!

four-half-stars
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Blog Tour: The Last Time We Met by Emily Houghton

Posted July 26, 2022 by louisesr in Tour / 1 Comment

Blog Tour: The Last Time We Met by Emily Houghton

Blog Tour: The Last Time We Met by Emily HoughtonLast Time We Met by Emily Houghton
Published by Transworld Publishers Limited on May 31, 2022
Genres: Romance, Women's
Pages: 416
Format: ARC
Source: Random Things Tours
Buy on Amazon

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Goodreads
four-stars

ONE PROMISE Best friends Eleanor and Fin are inseparable. They are convinced that it will always be this way. But to be sure, they make a pact to keep their lives intertwined. And of course, they'll get married if they're both 35 and single. TWO DECADES Eleanor and Fin haven't spoken in fifteen years. They live on different continents, but more than an ocean separates them. Everything has changed since the last time they met. CAN THEY STILL KEEP THEIR WORD? So, when newly single Fin reappears, there's no way they can keep their promise. Is there?

I received this book for free from Random Things Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Thank you so much to Random Things Tours for the invite to take part in this.

Recently I met my friend from school. We were friends from as soon as we began primary school until we left home after our A levels. I haven’t seen him since (about 25 years). We kept vaguely in touch via social media for a while but his account was deleted a few years ago so I’ve literally had zero idea of what’s been happening in his life. It was good to pick up after all this time. But, could you pick up with your best friend and then turn it into a marriage?

I, Eleanor Ruth Levy, and I, Finley James Taylor, hereby declare that if such a time occurs at the ripe old age of thirty-five that both members of this agreement find themselves single then it shall be mandatory for the individual parties to wed each other. The marriage shall take place in accordance with this binding contract, willingly entered into by both.

……………………………………. …………………………………………

We pick up the story with Eleanor having just been through a breakup with her boyfriend of 10 years. Finn is returning to the UK as his mother is sick. They’re both single and they haven’t seen each other for 15 years.

We all have a good idea of how this is going to end, but as ever with books like this, we know we’ll get the satisfying ending that we want. They joy is in the process of reaching that ending.

Told from the viewpoints of both Finn and Eleanor, in two different timelines this could have been confusing – but it wasn’t. They blended together perfectly. We got to see what had gone wrong for them both that they hadn’t been in touch for so long, while also watch them try to navigate their new friendship and get to know each other all over again.

Obviously this wasn’t plain sailing and along with plenty of laughs there were plenty of tears shed along the way.

There was a great set of supporting characters who added to the storyline, hopefully Emily Houghton will expand on some of these in future and give them their own book, I loved that we really got a feel for them and could imagine them having so much more to tell us.

Emily says: “Last Time We Met is a story of love, loss and enduring friendship. How sometimes the things that aren’t said are the words we need to hear the most; and how forgiving others is nowhere near as important as forgiving ourselves.”

four-stars

About Emily Houghton

EMILY HOUGHTON is the author of Before I Saw You. She is an Essex girl at heart, but now spends most of her time between London and Suffolk. Emily worked in digital product management at Tesco and Barclays for seven years, and it was during a sabbatical from work, travelling around India, that her first book was born; the first draft is still written on her phone!
After a whirlwind few months, Emily quit her corporate job to live her dream of writing full-time. A true Gemini at heart, she’s got many interests and is a trained spin and yoga teacher. She has a curiosity for life and a passion for all things well-being, one day hoping to create her own retreat space with a lot of dogs! Her writing, while centering around love stories, often touches on deeper emotional themes such as self-love, healing and the power of finding yourself.

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Tour: Listen to Me by Tess Gerritsen

Posted July 22, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 2 Comments

Tour: Listen to Me by Tess GerritsenListen To Me by Tess Gerritsen
Series: Rizzoli and Isles #13
Published by Random House on July 7, 2022
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bookshop
Goodreads
four-stars

This time she should have trusted her mother's intuition...

The murder of Sofia Suarez is both gruesome and seemingly senseless. Why would anyone target a respected nurse who was well-liked by her friends and her neighbours? As Detective Jane Rizzoli and Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles investigate the baffling case, they discover that Sofia was guarding a dangerous secret -- a secret that may have led the killer straight to her door.

Meanwhile, Jane's watchful mother Angela Rizzoli is conducting an investigation of her own. She may be a grandmother, not a police detective, but she's savvy enough to know there's something very strange, perhaps even dangerous, about the new neighbours across the street. The problem is, no one believes her, not even her own daughter.

Immersed in the hunt for Sofia's killer, Jane and Maura are too busy to pay attention to Angela's fears. With no one listening to her, and danger mounting in her neighbourhood, Angela just may be forced to take action on her own...

I have a confession to make…

I’ve not read anything by Tess Gerritsen before and I got confused when I chose this as I thought I’d seen the tv series – but I hadn’t (I was thinking of Scott and Bailey 🤣). I was very confused – it happens far more than it should. Anyway, now we’ve established that I’m an idiot who doesn’t know one detective series from another let’s get to the review!

As you’ve probably seen from my previous reviews I’m a big fan of gritty police fiction. I love Karin Slaughter, Chris Carter and Karen Rose. Therefore this seemed like a logical series for me to try.

Obviously having not read the others I can’t compare this to them but to me it didn’t seem like it was Rizolli and Isles, there wasn’t an awful lot of medical examiner Maura Isles in this, the plot focused more on Rizolli and her mum, Angela. Angela was such a mum; comedy gold and interfering, blowing up Jane’s phone with her thoughts, you could imagine her as head of the Neighborhood Watch! I did really enjoy having her in the novel – even if it was at Maura’s expense.

You all should know by now that I love multi-POV and dual timelines, this has them both with chapters being told from the POV of Jane, Maura, Angela or Amy (a girl who was involved in a hit and run a few months previous). I loved getting to see how all of the various threads came together.

This book was enjoyable enough that I’ll be working through the backlist – and hoping for a bit more from Maura in them as I do like a medical examiner’s prespective.

I’ll hopefully get my buddy reader to start this series from the beginning with me (with my memory once we’ve made it to this one I’ll have zero recollections of what happened).

four-stars
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Tour – Death In Blitz City

Posted July 21, 2022 by louisesr in Tour / 0 Comments

Tour - Death In Blitz City

Tour – Death In Blitz CityDeath in Blitz City by David Young
Published by Bonnier Zaffre Ltd. on July 7, 2022
Genres: Fiction / Mystery & Detective / General
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source: Compulsive Readers
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bookshop

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Goodreads
four-half-stars

1942. Hull, East Yorkshire - It is the most heavily-bombed city outside of London - but for the sake of national morale the Hull Blitz is kept top secret. Only the politicians in Whitehall and Hull's citizens themselves know of the true chaos.

Newly-posted Inspector Ambrose Swift cannot believe the devastation he finds. But for Swift and his two deputies - part-time bare-knuckle boxer Jim 'Little' Weighton and Dales farmer's daughter Kathleen Carver - it's murder, not the war, that's at the forefront of their minds.

When a series of sadistic killings is wrongly blamed on locally-stationed black American GIs, Swift, a one-armed former WW1 cavalryman who tours the rubble-strewn city on a white horse, soon discovers these are no ordinary murders. The fetid stench of racism, corruption and perversion go to the very top. And for Swift, Weighton and Carver, finding the real killers means putting their own lives at risk - because powerful forces in the US and Britain cannot let the war effort be undermined. Not even by the truth.

I received this book for free from Compulsive Readers in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Today is my stop on the tour for Death in Blitz City by David Young, thanks to Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to take part in this tour.

I loved the premise for this book, we have plenty of novels set in WWII and plenty of detective fiction novels but this is a first for me in that it blends the two.

As well as a world war and serial killer we have a disabled DCI, sexism, racism and political corruption, there’s a lot happening in this novel and I flew through the pages. While DCI Ambrose wasn’t a character I particularly liked, I did love his team of Seargeant Weighton and WPC Kathleen Carver and I really would like to see more from this team.

Hull was never a place that was really on my radar (sorry), but Young paints us such a vivid picture of the place, it really was a character in itself. As a heavily bombed city during the war it provided a brilliant backdrop to show just how hard life was back then and the extraordinary lengths that people went to just to survive.

Fast paced, part fact, part fiction this weaves the two together really well into a thoroughly enjoyable read which I’m hoping won’t be left as a standalone.

four-half-stars
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Blog Tour – Deep Water by Emma Bamford

Posted July 19, 2022 by louisesr in Tour / 1 Comment

Blog Tour - Deep Water by Emma Bamford

Blog Tour – Deep Water by Emma BamfordDeep Water by Emma Bamford
Published by Simon and Schuster on July 7, 2022
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source: Random Things Tours
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bookshop

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Goodreads
four-stars

Lies can be buried... Secrets always come to the surface

Amarante is paradise...
An uninhabited, unspoilt island somewhere in the Indian Ocean.
Only those who know it exists can find it.
 
But paradise comes with a price...
Virginie and Jake sail to Amarante for their honeymoon, but they are not alone.
They have to adjust to life on the island with five strangers.
 
And not everyone will live to tell the tale…
Dark secrets surface and their dream abruptly turns into a nightmare.
Removed from society, they find out what they’re truly capable of.

I received this book for free from Random Things Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A slow burn atmospheric mystery, this wasn’t the action packed thriller that I had expected but it had me hooked from first page to last wanting to uncover what had happened.

This is one of those books that begins at the end, a navy vessel in the middle of the Indian Ocean receives a distress call from Virginie’s private yacht as her husband needs urgent medical attention. Virginie then announces that she has “killed them all” and proceeds to tell their story.

Virginie and her husband Jake have escaped the rat race, purchased a luxury yacht and headed off to an isolated island Malaysian paradise that they’ve heard of. Except they get their and it’s already inhabited by a crew of expat soldiers.

four-stars

About Emma Bamford

Emma Bamford, a freelance journalist, is working on an MA in prose fiction at University of East Anglia, UK. She is the author of Deep Water and the memoirs Casting Off and Untie the Lines.

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Tour – The Way Back To You

Posted July 8, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 1 Comment

Tour – The Way Back To YouThe Way Back To You by James Bailey
Published by Penguin UK on May 23, 2022
Genres: Romance
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-half-stars

When Simon reconnects with his first love Sylvie - the French pen pal he never met - he is determined to not let her go again.

Life may not be as straight-forward at sixty as it was at sixteen, but that won't stop him.

Together with old school friend Ian, he sets off on the same bike ride - from Bristol to Bordeaux - that they attempted all those years ago.

But while they now have better bikes, more acceptable haircuts, and Google Maps, some things never change.

And it soon becomes clear that this trip will have even more bumps in the road than the first . . .

Ah, the nostalgia is strong with this one!

A love story with 2 big differences, the main characters are in their 60’s AND it’s told from the male POV.

This book has made my holiday, I’ve been led on a sun lounger in Majorca absolutely loving this. I’ve recommended it to the other mums around the pool and it’s currently being passed around. This paperback is being shared until it falls apart (which given it’s currently 32 degrees, won’t be long)

I live a second chance romance and I loved the humour in this book. Life in middle age isn’t all parties and how you look, it’s a he’s and pains and having a connection. This is the perfect romance book for me.

This book gave me all the feels, not just the romance but the friendship and the humour. I have laughed, I’ve cried. I can’t recommend it enough!!

If you don’t know what OHP stands for or who Kevin Keenan is … ask your mum (and buy her this book)

four-half-stars
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Tour: The Dark Remains by Ian Rankin, William McIlvanney

Posted July 7, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 1 Comment

Tour: The Dark Remains by Ian Rankin, William McIlvanneyThe Dark Remains by Ian Rankin, William McIlvanney
Published by Canongate Books on September 2, 2021
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

In this scorching crime hook-up, number one bestseller Ian Rankin and Scottish crime-writing legend William McIlvanney join forces for the first ever case of DI Laidlaw, Glasgow’s original gritty detective 'Fantastic' Lee Child 'Absolutely brilliant' Mick Herron If the truth's in the shadows, get out of the light . . . Lawyer Bobby Carter did a lot of work for the wrong type of people. Now he’s dead and it was no accident. He’s left behind his share of enemies, but who dealt the fatal blow? DC Jack Laidlaw’s reputation precedes him. He’s not a team player, but he’s got a sixth sense for what’s happening on the streets. As two Glasgow gangs go to war, Laidlaw needs to find out who got Carter before the whole city explodes.

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Sometimes you read a book by an author and it makes you feel like a bad book blogger that you’ve never read anything of theirs before. This was me with this book. Unbelievably, I’ve never before read either of these authors. William Mcelveney is the Godfather of Scottish Noir, his Laidlaw trilogy paved the way for the police procedural that we read today. When he dies in 2015 an unfinished manuscript was discovered which was a prequel to the trilogy. Ian Rankin, the author of the Rebus novels, was the obvious choice to pick this up and finish it off.

Rankin has not attempted to modernise this novel but has kept it set in 1972, complete with misogyny, sectarianism, gangs and violence.

Laidlaw is an unconventional police detective who also has the stereotypical traits we’ve come to expect. He drinks too much, smokes too much, neglects his family and travels by bus! I never warned to Laidlaw the way I have to Rebus which makes me wonder whether this is due to the character or whether it’s because I’m a huge fan of Ken Stott who plays him in the tv series.

four-stars
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Tour: Chasing Dreams At Hedgehog Hollow

Posted July 7, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 1 Comment

Tour: Chasing Dreams At Hedgehog HollowChasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland
Published by Boldwood Books Ltd on June 28, 2022
Genres: Romance, Women's
Pages: 395
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Samantha has a secret. Returning home from her dream honeymoon to the normality of running her beloved Hedgehog Hollow rescue centre, she's ready for the next chapter of her life with Josh. Or is she? Samantha is hiding something which could forever change the dreams they shared and bring their happy ever after crashing to the ground.

Lauren has given up on love. Twenty-six years ago the love of her life, Shaun, left her a note and was never seen again. Two painful divorces later she still can't face opening up to anyone. But little does Lauren know that the closure she's dreamt of for all these years may be closer than she thinks, and perhaps the only way to let new love in is to forgive and forget.

Samantha and Lauren will need the love and support from the Hedgehog Hollow family more than ever. After all, some dreams are worth chasing...

Top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland welcomes you back to glorious Hedgehog Hollow where love, family and friendship conquer all.

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

We’re back at Hedgehog Hollow for the penultimate book in the series. I honestly think I may shed a tear when I finish the last one later this year. Poor Jessica Redland couldn’t even go on holiday without me stalking her around the Lake District earlier this year!

I know people who read this blog regularly are used to me sharing the dark worlds of Karin Slaughter and Chris Carter type authors but at the other end of the scale, I absolutely LOVE these books, it’s one of my most favourite series, hence my stalking of Jessica Redland.

The main character in this novel is Lauren (Josh’s Aunt), I won’t lie – when I started this book I really didn’t remember who Lauren was but Redland eases you into the story by repeating the last scene from the previous book but from an alternative POV. It quickly settled back in to life at Hedgehog Hollow.

Lauren is Josh’s aunt, she is currently letting Sam’s father, Jonathan, stay with her. At the end of the previous novel she was having thoughts that their relationship may develop further but she had been seriously hurt in the past and so she was fighting her feelings, and then Jonathan’s actions prevented her from taking anything further. The rest of the novel focuses primarily on Lauren’s story, we flit between Lauren’s life now, her past and life at Hedgehog Hollow with it’s full cast of characters.

In the lead up to the Hedgehog Hollow family fun day we get to see Lauren develop a great friendship with Chloe, they haven’t been present together in previous books and Lauren really wasn’t keen on Chloe due to how she had previously treated Sam. I loved watching this friendship build and the difference that it made to both of the characters.

What has been evident throughout this series and something that I’ve loved from the start is the great sense of community. Having friends and family gather round and lend their support when one of the characters is having a rough time.

As ever this book does include some difficult subjects and some characters developed in ways that were unexpected (these could be TW for some) but they’re sensitively handled.

All of the books in this series are available on Kindle Unlimited.

four-half-stars

About Jessica Redland

I live in Scarborough on the stunning North Yorkshire Coast in the UK. My home inspired the creation of the fictional seaside town of Whitsborough Bay where I set some of my books. The Hedgehog Hollow series takes readers to a gorgeous countryside setting on the Yorkshire Wolds.

I live with my husband, our teenage daughter and sprocker spaniel, Ella. I’m a stationery addict with a notepad obsession who loves chocolate (although it doesn’t love me), hedgehogs, 80s music, collectible teddy bears and lighthouses.

My career has mainly been in HR as a trainer and recruiter. I had a brief detour into retail to set up and manage my own specialist teddy bear shop and started writing my debut novel on quiet days in the shop.

In June 2020, I became a full-time author. I’m so very grateful to anyone who has bought or borrowed my books in whatever format, helping me fulfil a long-held dream of writing full-time. I still can’t believe I get to spend every day chatting to my fictional friends and making stuff up.

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Tour – Retreat To The Spanish Sun

Posted June 23, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 1 Comment

Tour – Retreat To The Spanish SunRetreat to the Spanish Sun by Jo Thomas
Published by Random House on June 1, 2022
Genres: Romance
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: Random Things Tours

'Warm and life-enhancing, I wanted to move to Spain with these wonderful characters' Katie Fforde

'A fabulous read celebrating the good things in life - fun, friends, family and food' Jill Mansell

From the bestselling author of Escape to the French Farmhouse comes a deliciously feel-good new story...

Eliza has a full house! When her three children grew up and moved out, she downsized to a smaller property... but now they're all back. Every room in the house is taken and Eliza finds herself sharing her bed with her eldest daughter and her daughter's pug. Combined with the online course she's trying to finish, plus her job to fit in, there just isn't the peace and quiet that Eliza needs.

So when an ad pops up on her laptop saying 'house-sitters wanted', Eliza can't resist the chance to escape. She ends up moving to a rural finca in southern Spain, looking after the owner's Iberico pigs, learning about secret gastronomic societies... and finding a new zest for life and love along the way.

Readers have fallen in love with Retreat to the Spanish Sun
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 'Perfect for a summer holiday read'
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐'You'll be craving tapas, Flamenco and the southern Spanish sun after reading this 5-star book'
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 'A lovely read from Jo Thomas, her books never fail to make me happy'
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐'A lovely, warm and sunny read'
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 'Fabulous location, delicious descriptions of food & drink & wonderful characters, an all round feel-good book'

If you love Jo's books, her next Christmas novel, Keeping a Christmas Promise, is available to pre-order now

Today is my turn on the Tour for the fabulous Retreat to the Spanish Sun by Jo Thomas.

As a “woman of a certain age” this book appealed to me. The idea that you hit your mid forties and realise that you no longer have an identity outside of mum is all too real. As my children are 4 and 6 (hello geriatric motherhood!) I have a long wait until my kids leave home but I can imagine that it’s tiring going from them leaving and being an empty nester to them all returning and upturning your life (again). I don’t know whether my time of life affected my reading, I so understand where she’s coming from in having put everyone else first for so long that it’s hard to remember who you actually were before the kids come along.

Oh to get the chance to house sit in the sun!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Having been in the rain of the UK for the past 2 years, this is the closest to a sunny holiday I’ve had in some time. I can’t wait until I’m on Spanish shores again. This has really whet my appetite for it!

The opening to the book was a little rushed; we pretty much had “oh the kids are back, they’re driving me crazy, I need some space, hello house sitting in Spain” which is fair enough as the “meat” of the story happens once Eliza is rediscovering herself (see what I did there, meat – pig farming 🤣 – it’ll mean more once you’ve read the book).

Anyway, as a bit of a foodie I loved learning about Iberico ham and pig farming. I loved the escape to the sun, the friendships, the romance. It really wasn’t the quiet break that Elixa had been hoping for – but then that wouldn’t have made such a good novel.

This was my first Jo Thomas book and I’m not sure why as I love this genre of “feel good fiction” the sort that has so much going on, not always positive, but that written in such a way as to have a constant smile on your face while reading.

I highly recommend reading this, especially if we get a little bit of sun, while armed with an antipasti platter and a nice glass of something alcoholic!

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