Source: Publisher

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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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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Bright Burning Things Book Review

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

Bright Burning Things Book ReviewBright Burning Things by Lisa Harding
Published by Bloomsbury on 7 December 2021
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
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
three-half-stars

Being Tommy's mother is too much for Sonya.

Too much love, too much fear, too much longing for the cool wine she gulps from the bottle each night. Because Sonya is burning the fish fingers, and driving too fast, and swimming too far from the shore, and Tommy's life is in her hands.

Once there was the thrill of a London stage, a glowing acting career, fast cars, handsome men. But now there are blackouts and bare cupboards, and her estranged father showing up uninvited. There is Mrs O'Malley spying from across the road. There is the risk of losing Tommy - forever.

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.

Being the mother of a 3 year old and a 5 year old the premise for this book really interested me.

“Too much love, too much fear, too much longing for the cool wine she gulps from the bottle each night. Because Sonya is burning the fish fingers, and driving too fast, and swimming too far from the shore, and Tommy’s life is in her hands.”

Loving your child too much, living in fear are totally normal feelings for most mothers, as is needing a glass of wine at the end of the day to cope with the stresses that you’ve faced. But with Sonya, everything is done to the extreme. Loving your child to the point you almost suffocate him. needing that glass of wine so much that it’s gone in one mouthful (followed by 2 further bottles). Sonya’s life is spiralling out of control and she’s taking Tommy down with her causing her neighbour and her father to intervene.

The entire book is told through Sonya’s eyes, we get to experience just what she is seeing and feeling and it is terrifying. For me the thought of potentially losing my child or doing something that would put them in danger would be enough to stop me from progressing down a dangerous path, but when we meet Sonya she is too far gone and the consequences are inevitable.

There are parallels in here with Hansel and Gretel with Sonya likening their neighbour to the witch, but really it was her father and step-mother who reminded me most of their fairy tale counterparts; although Tommy is let down by Sonya I think she is let down the most by her father who seems to have (perhaps not always intentionally) caused her heartbreak throughout her life.

This is a book that plays on your emotions, to see the heartbreak caused by the separation of Sonya and Tommy is very impactful and the journey back to the family dynamic is a tough read

three-half-stars
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Blog Tour: The House Sitter Book Review

Posted June 15, 2022 by louisesr in Review, Tour / 2 Comments

Blog Tour: The House Sitter Book ReviewThe House Sitter Published by Bookouture on 14 June 2022
Narrator: Kristin James
Length: 9hrs 9 mins
Genres: Thriller
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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

‘You’re just the girl I’ve been looking for,’ Iris told me, her blue eyes sparkling, when she offered me the job as her live-in helper. Little did she know, I thought the exact same about her. And she was wrong to trust me...

As I clean Iris’s large, old house in Pacific Heights, my boyfriend Seth works outside, tending to the lawn and fixing the broken gate. I can’t help but notice Iris’s steely eyes watching our every move. Does she know why we’re really here?

Most days we live in perfect harmony, but today Iris is confused. She thinks we moved in uninvited. I pass her a tablet from the medicine cabinet, knowing she’ll soon calm down and remember how lucky she is to have found us.

Later that night, the police arrive to find Iris’s perfect house turned upside down, the telephone lying on the floor, its cord severed. They walk through each room, calling out, but the house remains totally silent.

You will think you know what happened that night, but when the police discover something unexpected hidden amongst the wreckage in Iris’s bedroom, you’ll find you don’t know a thing.

Today I’m on the blog tour for The House Sitter by Ellery Kane, thank you so much to Bookouture for inviting me to take part in this.

This is actually quite difficult to review without giving anything away. There’s a lot going on, with twists upon twists but so much of it would have the potential to spoil the story for you. I was actually writing notes as I was reading with my thoughts and suspicions, and I can’t share them with you, which is really frustrating!

The book opens with a 911 call, the caller is reporting an intruder, there’s screaming, a gun shot, silence. The rest of the book is told in dual timeline, before and after. Before starts with Iris meeting Seth and Lydia, inviting them to come and work for her. After, Iris is missing, assumed dead and Seth and Lydia are living in her house. In the before we follow Iris’s developing relationship with both Seth and Lydia before her disappearance. In the after we learn more about what has happened to Iris, Lydia and Seth before they met each other. We also get to follow the police investigation as Maureen takes on her first case under the watchful (and disapproving) eye of Walt.

There’s a definite male/female split in this book, I loved all of the female characters and all of the male characters were *choose your preferred derogatory term*.

I really wished that I was reading this with a buddy. I had so many thoughts and suspicions as I was reading. I would highly recommend reading this with someone else, take nothing at face value and pay close attention to the language used, it’s very clever.

I listened to the audio of this, at the start I got very frustrated by some of the voices used by the actress but by the end I had completely changed my mind on it. They were perfect.

four-stars
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Tour: The Friendship Pact Book Review

Posted June 14, 2022 by louisesr in Review, Tour / 0 Comments

Tour: The Friendship Pact Book ReviewThe Friendship Pact by Jill Shalvis
Published by HarperCollins on June 14, 2022
Genres: Romance
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bookshop
Goodreads
four-stars

Alone in the world, Tae Holmes and her mother April pretty much raised each other, but as Tae starts asking questions about the father she’s never met, April, for the first time in her life, goes silent. To make matters worse, Tae is dangerously close to broke and just manages to avoid financial meltdown when she lands a shiny new contract with an adventure company for athletes with disabilities and wounded warriors.

Her first big fundraiser event falls flat, but what starts out as a terrible, horrible, no-good night turns into something else entirely when Tae finds herself face-to-face with Riggs Copeland. She hasn’t seen the former Marine since their brief fling in high school, and while still intensely drawn to him, she likes her past burned and buried, thank you very much. Hence their friendship pact.

But when April oddly refuses to help Tae track down her father, it’s Riggs who unexpectedly comes to her aid. On a hunt to unlock the past, the two of them find themselves on a wild ride and learn a shocking truth, while also reluctantly bonding in a way neither had seen coming. Now Tae must decide whether she’s going to choose love … or walk away from her own happiness.

Happy Publication Day!!

Today I’m on the blog tour for The Friendship Pact by Jill Shalvis, thank you so much to HarperCollins for inviting me to take part!

For the better part of her childhood, all Tae Holmes had wanted was to be an adult, only as it turned out, adulting was overrated.

I do like it when as soon as you open a book you start highlighting passages that you appreciate!

This was my first Jill Shalvis book having only recently started to read romance again after a long break. One of my friends recommended Shalvis to me and she’s definitely an author I’ll be reading more of. I was a little concerned that I hadn’t read the first book in this series but from what I understand, the location is the only link and not the actual characters so I’ve not missed out by starting on Book 2.

Tae has been raised by her mother, April, who is only 15 years her senior. She’s been told that her father died overseas before she was born but within the first few pages we’re given a hint that things might not quite be as Tae has been led to believe. I do like the relationship between Tae and April, often seeming more like best friends rather than mother and daughter. I don’t completely agree with all the decisions that April has made but she’s made them with the best of intentions.

Tae has recently set up her own events company and has acquired a new client, an adventure company for athletes with disabilities. This gave me major Invictus Games vibes. Having only dealt with Jake so far, Tae has the rug pulled from under her when his silent partner turns up at their first event. His brother Riggs (what tv show do I know that name from, every time I read it I can hear it being said on the tv and can’t for the life of me remember what show it was on), anyway, his brother Riggs has invested 50/50 in the business. The same Riggs who was friends with Tae at school but then ruined it with taking their friendship to the next level.

I’ve decided I really like second chance romance. Finding out what went wrong the first time round and whether they’ll get together again. I mean, it’s a romance, we know it’s going to happen but the push and pull, will they – won’t they that takes us on the journey is great fun. I loved the relationship and banter between Tae and Riggs, even though there were times when they really frustrated me (just how stubborn can one man be!)

four-stars
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Tour: The Lost Ones

Posted June 12, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

Tour: The Lost OnesThe Lost Ones by Marnie Riches
Series: Detective Jackie Cooke #1
Published by Bookouture on 7th June 2022
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 338
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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

The girl is sitting upright, her dark brown hair arranged over her shoulders and her blue, blue eyes staring into the distance. She looks almost peaceful. But her gaze is vacant, and her skin is cold…

When Detective Jackie Cooke is called to the murder scene, she is shocked by what she sees. Missing teenager Chloe Smedley has finally been found – her body left in a cold back yard, carefully posed with her bright blue eyes still open. Jackie lays a protective hand on the baby in her belly, and vows to find the brutal monster who stole Chloe’s future.

When Jackie breaks the news to Chloe’s heartbroken mother, she understands the woman’s cries only too well. Her own brother went missing as a child, the case never solved. Determined to get justice for Chloe and her family, Jackie sets to work, finding footage of the girl waving at someone the day she disappeared. Did Chloe know her killer?

But then a second body is found on the side of a busy motorway, lit up by passing cars. The only link with Chloe is the disturbing way the victim has been posed, and Jackie is convinced she is searching for a dangerous predator. Someone has been hunting missing and vulnerable people for decades, and only Jackie seems to see that they were never lost. They were taken.

Jackie’s boss refuses to believe a serial killer is on the loose and threatens to take her off the case. But then Jackie returns home to find a brightly coloured bracelet on her kitchen counter and her blood turns cold. It’s the same one her brother was wearing when he vanished. Could his disappearance be connected to the murders? Jackie will stop at nothing to catch her killer… unless he finds her first…

Today is my turn on the tour for The Lost Ones by Marnie Riches, thank you so much to the team at Bookouture for inviting me on to this.

This is the first in a new series by Marnie Riches and I am already looking forward to the next one.

Detective Jackie Cooke is an excellent character, she is what I expect from a Detective in North West England, over worked, under paid and under appreciated by her family. She has a lot going on both in her work life, trying to catch a serial killer while being held back by her boss and in her personal life, trying to cope with her mother and her errant husband as well as twin boys and a pregnancy. How she’s holding it all together is beyond me!

When Jackie is called to investigate the brutal murder of a teenager with Downs Syndrome, it brings back memories of her brothers disappearance when they were children. She’s barely got started on that murder when more body parts start to appear, not belonging to Chloe.

I loved that this included humour and that Jackie wasn’t a stick thin, can do it all detective. She was more real (more my size) and a lot more “normal” than some characters tend to be.

four-stars

About Marnie Riches

Marnie Riches grew up on a rough estate in north Manchester. Exchanging the spires of nearby Strangeways prison for those of Cambridge University, she gained a Masters in German & Dutch. She has been a punk, a trainee rock star, a pretend artist and professional fundraiser.

Her best-selling, award-winning George McKenzie crime thrillers were inspired by her own time spent in The Netherlands. Dubbed the Martina Cole of the North, she has also authored a series about Manchester’s notorious gangland as well as two books in a mini-series featuring quirky northern PI Bev Saunders.

Detective Jackson Cooke is Marnie’s latest heroine to root for, as she hunts down one of the most brutal killers the north west has ever seen at devastating personal cost.

When she isn’t writing gritty, twisty crime thrillers, Marnie also regularly appears on BBC Radio Manchester, commenting on social media trends and discussing the world of crime fiction. She is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Salford University’s Doctoral School and a tutor for the Faber Novel Writing Course.

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My Name is Parvana Book Review

Posted June 2, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

My Name is Parvana Book ReviewMy Name Is Parvana by Deborah Ellis
Series: Breadwinner #4
Published by Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press on May 1, 2015
Genres: Childrens, Autobiography
Pages: 208
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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

The fourth book in the internationally bestselling series that includes The Breadwinner, Parvana's Journey and Mud City.

In this stunning sequel, Parvana, now fifteen, is found in a bombed-out school and held as a suspected terrorist by American troops in Afghanistan.

On a military base in Afghanistan, after the fall of the Taliban in 2001, American authorities have just imprisoned a teenaged girl found in a bombed-out school. The army major thinks she may be a terrorist working with the Taliban. The girl does not respond to questions in any language and remains silent, even when she is threatened, harassed and mistreated over several days. The only clue to her identity is a tattered shoulder bag containing papers that refer to people named Shauzia, Nooria, Leila, Asif, Hassan -- and Parvana.

In this long-awaited sequel, Parvana is now fifteen years old. As she waits for foreign military forces to determine her fate, she remembers the past four years of her life. Reunited with her mother and sisters, she has been living in a village where her mother has finally managed to open a school for girls. But even though the Taliban has been driven from the government, the country is still at war, and many continue to view the education and freedom of girls and women with suspicion and fear.

As her family settles into the routine of running the school, Parvana, a bit to her surprise, finds herself restless and bored. She even thinks of running away. But when local men threaten the school and her family, she must draw on every ounce of bravery and resilience she possesses to survive the disaster that kills her mother, destroys the school, and puts her own life in jeopardy.

A riveting page-turner, Deborah Ellis's final novel in the series is at once harrowing, inspiring and thought-provoking. And, yes, in the end, Parvana is reunited with her childhood friend, Shauzia.

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.

When the book starts 15 year old Parvana is already being held by American soldiers on suspicion of being a terrorist, we quickly learn that although she speaks near perfect English she is refusing to speak. Over the course of the novel we learn of the events that have led up to her being held and the reasons behind her silence.

This is the fourth book in the series and although it was strong enough to be read as a standalone, I would have liked to have had a better understanding of the relationships between Parvana, Mrs Weera and Shauzia which would have been gained from reading the earlier books in the series.

This book is aimed at the 10 year olds + age range, it’s part of the Accelerated Reading program, as are all of the other books in this series. Although not an easy book for this age range to read, it tackles some difficult subjects but is done in an easy to understand manner which I don’t think younger readers would find too difficult or traumatising.

Although aimed at children I think it’s a good read for all age ranges, I wanted to read a novel centred around the trouble in Afghanistan but I didn’t want something that would be too heavy going. This book was perfect for it.

four-stars
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With A Mind To Kill (007) Book Review

Posted May 31, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

With A Mind To Kill (007) Book ReviewWith a Mind to Kill by Anthony Horowitz
Series: James Bond #2
Published by Penguin Random House on May 26, 2022
Narrator: Rory Kinnear
Length: 7hrs 24mins
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 288
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
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

It is M's funeral. One man is missing from the graveside: the traitor who pulled the trigger and who is now in custody, accused of M's murder - James Bond.

Behind the Iron Curtain, a group of former Smersh agents want to use the British spy in an operation that will change the balance of world power. Bond is smuggled into the lion's den - but whose orders is he following, and will he obey them when the moment of truth arrives?

In a mission where treachery is all around and one false move means death, Bond must grapple with the darkest questions about himself. But not even he knows what has happened to the man he used to be.

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.

It’s a long, long time since I read a James Bond novel. Many years ago I read one of the original Bond’s written by Ian Fleming but it’s so long now that I couldn’t even tell you which it was. I have however, watched all of the films many times.

It says a lot for the writing skills of Anthony Horowitz that he has been entrusted to continue on the James Bond novels, as well as the Sherlock Holmes novels, although I believe that he has said this will be his last

At the start of this novel there is a brief update on what happened in the previous novels

In You Only Live Twice, James Bond was sent to Japan, where he tracked down Ernst Stavro Blofeld on the island of Kyushu. Following a pitched battle in Blofeld’s ‘Garden of Death’ Bond received a traumatic head injury which resulted in amnesia. He spent the next year in a Japanese fishing village. He was reported as missing in action. His obituary was published in The Times.

In The Man With The Golden Gun, the twelth and final James Bond novel written by Ian Fleming, Bond returned to London after having fallen into the hands of the KGB. He had been brainwashed and ordered to assassinate M with a cyanide pistol. The attempt failed. Bond was deprogrammed and sent to Jamaica to kill the freelance assassin ‘Pistols’ Scaramanga.

With A Mind To Kill begins 2 weeks after that mission ends.

Both You Only Live Twice and The Man With The Golden Gun are referenced throughout Horowitz’s writing and Fleming’s work has obviously heavily influenced this storyline (I believe there were notes that he had for future stories which were made available to Horowitz’s previous 2 books, but not for this one).

What immediately struck me was how this novel is following on from where Fleming left off. This hasn’t moved to a modern day setting but is still set in the 1960’s when the original books were. Horowitz is (I think) the fifth author to take on the Bond novels and I found it interesting that he has chosen to pick them up in this way, staying true to what Fleming would have (presumably) done, rather than modernising them as other authors have done.

Bond still has an eye for the ladies with Russian Katya Leonova playing his ‘love interest’, as ever with Bond you are asking the question as to whether she is simply a conquest or the real deal, and whether he is capable of the feelings everyone else actually succumb to.

I found him to be less arrogant in this novel than I expected, he’s more subdued than the Bond that I am used to seeing on my screen, more level headed. He will do anything to protect his country and his colleagues, the danger to his life seems to be secondary in his thoughts.

I listened to the audiobook of With A Mind to Kill which was narrated by Rory Kinnear who has played Tanner in 4 of Daniel Craig’s Bond films and has also voiced other audiobooks of Harowitz’s work. I really think he was the perfect choice, he captures Bond expertly and was easily distinguishable between all of the characters. Reviews of Harowitz’s previous novel, A Line To Kill, have commented that Kinnear had a tendency to overact, while I’ve not yet listened to that book myself (it is sat in my Audible downloads) I can confirm that this definitely wasn’t the case here.

four-half-stars

About Anthony Horowitz

Anthony Horowitz, OBE is ranked alongside Enid Blyton and Mark A. Cooper as “The most original and best spy-kids authors of the century.” (New York Times). Anthony has been writing since the age of eight, and professionally since the age of twenty. In addition to the highly successful Alex Rider books, he is also the writer and creator of award winning detective series Foyle’s War, and more recently event drama Collision, among his other television works he has written episodes for Poirot, Murder in Mind, Midsomer Murders and Murder Most Horrid. Anthony became patron to East Anglia Children’s Hospices in 2009.

On 19 January 2011, the estate of Arthur Conan Doyle announced that Horowitz was to be the writer of a new Sherlock Holmes novel, the first such effort to receive an official endorsement from them and to be entitled the House of Silk.

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Tour: Missing by KL Slater

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

Tour: Missing by KL SlaterMissing Published by Bookouture on 19 May 2022
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 380
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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

I've known him all my life. I know he has taken my daughter. His mother says she can help me. But she's the last person I can trust...

Samuel lived next door when we were children. We were inseparable. But he didn’t like sharing me with my adored little brother. And one terrible night, he got rid of my brother forever…

Now, years later, he’s free. And my daughter is missing.

I turn on my baby girl’s unicorn nightlight and bury my face in her pillow, my heart breaking. I know Samuel has her – he blames me for ruining his life, and even after all this time, he still doesn’t like to share.

As darkness falls, there’s a knock at my door and I open it to see Samuel’s mother. She says she can help me.

I know I can’t trust her, but I don’t have a choice. With each step I take, my fear grows stronger. Can she help me find my daughter? Or does she know something about what really happened all those years ago? Something that could stop me from saving my baby girl…

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.

Good Morning!!

Today I’m on the Tour for Missing by KL Slater. At the start of the book we meet Jimmy, his sister Josie and their next door neighbour Samuel. Jimmy and Josie are best friends but Josie has caught the attention of their next door neighbour Samuel, a feeling that isn’t reciprocated. It isn’t long before Jimmy isn’t around any more and Samuel is serving time for his murder (not a spoiler – this is in the synopsis).

We then pick up the story 26 years later, Josie has made a life for herself and her daughter running a cafe in a town about 10 miles away. From here the story is told from multiple versions; Samuel’s and his mum Muriel’s, and primarily Josie’s.

There are a number of twists in here, some I saw coming, some were a complete shock. It was really fast paced, there was always something happening with no pause to get your breath back.

This is a book about facing up to your past, owning your actions and having the strength to say what you thought you wanted may not actually be what is best for you.

four-half-stars
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Tour: The Adoption by Jenna Kernan

Posted May 13, 2022 by louisesr in Tour / 0 Comments

Tour: The Adoption by Jenna KernanThe Adoption by Jenna Kernan
Published by Bookouture on 11 May, 2022
Length: 12 hrs 16 mins
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 407
Format: ARC, Audiobook
Source: Publisher
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

Your little girl is all yours… isn’t she?

Dani and her husband Tate’s life together is almost perfect. But Dani is haunted by guilt for causing a terrible car accident that left her unable to have children. She can’t remember why she was driving so fast that day or where she was going. Her therapist says she should try to move on.

So when their application to adopt is accepted, Dani sobs with joy. As perfect little Willow nestles in her arms, Dani looks at Tate’s loving smile and knows he will always provide for his family, no matter what.

When Dani sees a woman staring as she pushes Willow’s stroller around the safe, gated Florida community where they live, she tells herself it’s simply an admiring passer-by. After all, Dani herself used to watch the local moms and wish she was in their shoes.

But when Dani wakes in the night to find Willow’s crib empty, their perfect life becomes a nightmare.

In her frantic distress for her daughter, Dani’s memories of the accident flash through her mind. And with a jolt she realises: everyone around her has been lying about that day.

Will Dani find out the truth before it’s too late for her baby girl?

Or will facing her own dark secrets tear them all apart?

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.

Today I’m on the Bookouture book tour for The Adoption by Jenna Kernan.

My first thought about this is that the premise is incorrect. The adoption is a very small part of the narrative. It’s not the focus of the book by a long shot. The baby itself doesn’t show up until half way through the book and even then it’s not the main part of the storyline. That being said, I did enjoy the book, just because it wasn’t what I expected doesn’t mean it wasn’t good.

I felt for Dani, she’d been through a lot and it had obviously had a major effect on her, Tate was untrustworthy, I never really felt that Dani was safe with him. He pushed her too hard too fast, I wanted to give him the squint eye.

The start of the book is a lot of scene setting but the last quarter has twist after twist. One of them I was pretty certain of before it was announced, the other had all the hints there, I’d made a note of things I’d noticed that didn’t add up and it still didn’t quite trigger in my mind, a version of it was debated but I never quite managed to get my head around it. I think if the first half of the book was condensed I would have given this another star, but it was well worth the voyage through the first half to get to the more enjoyable second half.

About Jenna Kernan

Publishers Weekly bestselling author Jenna Kernan is a Silver Falchion nominee and winner of the Book Buyers’ Best award. Her new gripping crime thrillers feature a criminal psychologist, and daughter of an infamous female serial killer, facing a series of murders in Florida. Look for A Killer’s Daughter and The Hunted Girls, out now. Jenna is a member of International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Florida Mystery Writers and Novelists, Inc. A natural redhead living with her husband on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Jenna has recently increased her sunblock to SPF 50.

Jenna offers a FREE BOOK as a welcome gift to new VIP Readers. Subscribe here: http://littl.ink/GripThriller7

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Tour – The Lost Bones by Ruhi Choudhary

Posted May 11, 2022 by louisesr in Review, Tour / 0 Comments

Tour – The Lost Bones by Ruhi ChoudharyThe Lost Bones by Ruhi Choudhary
Series: Mackenzie Price #5
Published by Bookouture on May 9, 2022
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 332
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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

The woman’s skin was almost transparent. Her light hair darkened at the tips. Her lips were blue and slightly parted. But all Mackenzie could focus on were the eyes. Those arctic eyes that looked glassy like glistening marbles. She could see her own reflection in them staring back at her. The woman looked almost like a carefully crafted doll.

Detective Mackenzie Price knows what makes a killer tick. But when she finds the body of a young woman dumped in the trunk of her car, she knows this case is going to be the most personal and twisted yet.

Looking down at the victim, Mack recognises her instantly: Sophie Fields, the fiancée of Mack’s co-worker who vanished months before. Reeling in shock, Mack keeps one crucial piece of evidence to herself, too horrified to share it: a crumpled piece of paper bearing the words “You’re welcome, Mackenzie.”

As Mack pieces together Sophie’s last known movements, another body is found with a note. This time the victim is Courtney Montenegro, Mack’s childhood bully. As Mack looks at the note it becomes clear that the killer has an unusual MO: they want to protect her at all costs. But why?

The only evidence connecting the victims are identical pieces of material left at both crime scenes. With no other leads, Mack unearths a cold case which may lead her to the killer. Sophie had a sister who disappeared years before. Did she get too close to the truth and pay the ultimate price?

With an obsessive killer still on the loose, Mack knows that she needs to get deep inside their mind to work out who is next on the hit list. Can she get to the killer in time before someone close to her loses their life?

A completely gripping read that will have you on the edge of your seat, this addictive crime thriller is perfect for fans of Lisa Regan, Kendra Elliot and Melinda Leigh.

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.

Today is my stop on the Bookouture tour for The Lost Bones by Ruhi Choudhary. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book as I agreed to read it before I realised that it was the 5th book in a series and I prefer to read a series in order, however, I felt that this worked well as a standalone and I didn’t think that I was missing anything within the story by not having all the background.

The book opens with Mackenzie “Mack” Price returning from a run and finding the body of her colleagues fiancee in the boot of her car, as the body count keeps increasing it becomes apparent that the murderer is choosing people with a relationship to Mack. With cryptic messages being left for her, the town turning against her and the people in power all in a secret club Mack and Nick have got their work cut out for them.

I loved Sully, the boss who needs something to do with his hands in order to think. Every scene he’s in there’s a different hobby taking place in his hands. I found this really unique – and it’s not often that there’s a unique character in books any more!

I thought I knew how it was going to end, who the bad guy was going to be. I was certain, as we approached the end – yes!! I was right! Feelings of smugness followed. I kept on reading. Two pages later.. doh! I was wrong, everything was turned on it’s head again. I love it when a book can do this to you.

I’ve already downloaded the first book in the series to start reading all of the others.

The whole series is available on Kindle Unlimited.

four-half-stars

About Ruhi Choudhary

Ruhi Choudhary discovered her passion for writing when she was seven years old and wrote her first Star Trek episode. Being a fan of the dark and twisted, she found her calling in crime thriller.

She likes to write stories that make you a little uncomfortable and characters that you struggle to make up your mind about but stay with you.

She lives in Toronto and spends her days training to be a scientist and wishing it rained more often!

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