Sunday, 29 March 2020

BLOG TOUR: The Silent House - Nell Pattison


If someone was in your house, you’d know … Wouldn’t you?

But the Hunter family are deaf, and don’t hear a thing when a shocking crime takes place in the middle of the night. Instead, they wake up to their worst nightmare: the murder of their daughter.

The police call Paige Northwood to the scene to interpret for the witnesses. They’re in shock, but Paige senses the Hunters are hiding something.

One by one, people from Paige’s community start to fall under suspicion. But who would kill a little girl? Was it an intruder? Or was the murderer closer to home?


What did I think?

There is nothing more disturbing than the death of a child so the storyline of The Silent House will be very difficult reading for many people, especially those who are parents.  I don't have any children and I even found it difficult to read in places, although Nell Pattison thankfully doesn't go into too much grisly detail in her hard-hitting debut.

Having been burgled during the night when we were asleep upstairs, I do have a fear of somebody coming into my house during the night.  At least I would be able to hear a noise which is more than can be said for the Hunter family, who are all deaf.  The police can't believe that Alan Hunter and his girlfriend had no idea that someone came into their house during the night and murdered Alan's 18 month old daughter, Lexi.  How could they know if they couldn't hear anything?  Alan therefore becomes the prime suspect and Paige Northwood, whose sister is Lexi's godmother, is called upon by the police to be the sign language interpreter when all of the suspects are interviewed.

There are more suspects than you'd imagine in this case and most of them are from the deaf community, so Paige is in the unenviable position of hearing things about Lexi's death that she would rather not have known.  Paige starts asking questions at Deaf Club but it isn't long before she starts receiving threats to drop her own investigation.  With the threats increasing in severity, somebody will stop at nothing to prevent Paige from casting doubt on Alan's guilt.

The Silent House is as chilling as it is gripping; I couldn't tear my eyes away from the page even though sometimes I wanted to hide behind my metaphorical sofa.  Nell Pattison has included an added element of menace to her compelling story by choosing to set such a heinous crime in the deaf community.  It definitely made me more appreciative to have all of my five senses.

A disturbing page-turner that will leave you reeling, The Silent House is a fantastic debut from Nell Pattison and I'll certainly be keeping an eager eye open to see what she writes next.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:


Buy it from Amazon




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Friday, 27 March 2020

BLOG TOUR: Cherry Slice (A Cherry Pi Mystery) - Jennifer Stone


Reality TV turns deadly in Cherry Hinton's first case

When Kenny Thorpe, a contestant on Expose TV's Big Blubber, the hot new celebrity weight-loss show, is murdered on live television in front of 3 million viewers, the case seems pretty watertight. After all, everyone saw Martin do it, didn't they?

Cherry Hinton knows there's more to this than meets the eye. As an investigative reporter, she went undercover on dating show Caravan of Love... but after getting in too deep with one of the other contestants, she was caught knickerless in front of the nation. Humiliated, fired and heartbroken, she has fled to Brentwood, where she opens a cake shop, and tries to forget all about Expose.

But when Kenny Thorpe's sister walks into her shop with a letter that turns the case inside out, Cherry realises it's down to her to expose the real killer.


What did I think?

I was drawn to Cherry Slice, not only by the mouthwatering cake on the cover, but by the story being set around the hilariously named reality TV weight loss show: Big Blubber.  I think because I found the show name so funny, I expected Cherry Slice to be quite funny but, although I did laugh at some of the clever show names, I reminded myself that it's a murder mystery not a joke book. 

When Martin appeared to murder fellow contestant Kenny on live TV, he has little choice but to plead guilty.  When Kenny's sister claims that Martin is innocent, she turn to Kenny's old schoolfriend Cherry Hinton to uncover the truth.  'Who killed Kenny?' is the theme of the book and I have to admit to having a little South Park snigger every time I read it.

After being disgraced on TV whilst working undercover to expose vote rigging, Cherry returns home to run a cake shop.  Cherry creates some lovely cakes with clever names and I found the visits from her social media obsessed friend, Kelsey, very entertaining.  Kelsey even gets a cake named after her: a Kelsey Bun.

I really enjoyed the investigative side to the story and the big reveal at the end is absolutely brilliant.  Although I didn't quite connect with Cherry at first, she certainly grew on me and I loved her run-ins with local policeman and one-time crush, Jacob.  This is a part of Cherry's story that is 'to be continued' and leaves the reader not necessarily hanging but interested enough to look forward to the next instalment.

Cherry Slice is a fun, murder mystery with an intriguing storyline and an occasional giggle; it's a great parody of reality TV and social media obsessives.  A light, entertaining read and a good start to a new series.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:


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Wednesday, 25 March 2020

BLOG TOUR: Pearl of Pit Lane - Glenda Young


When her mother dies in childbirth, Pearl Edwards is left in the care of her aunt, Annie Grafton. Annie loves Pearl like her own daughter but it isn't easy to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. Annie knows the best way to supplement their meagre income is to walk the pit lane at night, looking for men willing to pay for her company.

As Pearl grows older she is unable to remain ignorant of Annie's profession, despite her aunt's attempts to shield her. But when Pearl finds herself unexpectedly without work and their landlord raises the rent, it becomes clear they have few choices left and Annie is forced to ask Pearl the unthinkable.

Rather than submit to life on the pit lane, Pearl runs away. She has nothing and nowhere to go, but Pearl is determined to survive on her own terms...

What did I think?

I have to be honest and say that I was a bit nervous about reading Pearl of Pit Lane as I don't usually read sagas but I am so glad that I made an exception for Glenda Young.  I clapped my hands with glee when I opened the book and found a map of Ryhope in 1919 (the setting of the book); I do love maps in a book as they really help to bring the story to life.  I enjoyed Pearl of Pit Lane so much more than I expected and Pearl's story is so compelling that I found myself reading just one more chapter until I'd devoured every single page.

I'm from the North East so I was brought up reading Catherine Cookson books and it's inevitable that any sagas based in the North East will be compared to Dame Catherine's famous novels.  So it is praise indeed to say that Pearl of Pit Lane would definitely come top of my Catherine Cookson chart any day.  Through her vivacious and descriptive writing, Glenda Young has an amazing ability to bring her characters and scenery to life and breathes new life into the tired and dusty saga genre.

Pearl is such a brilliant character with an outstanding story; brought up by her Aunt Annie in the shadow of the local colliery and living in squalor, the pair don't have two pennies to rub together.  Annie's meagre income in the shop they live above doesn't even pay the rent so she is forced to sell herself on the street.  When Annie's debts mount up, she can only see one way out of the hole she finds herself in and that's for Pearl to walk the streets with her.  Pearl is such a strong, steely character that she runs away to the village in search of work rather than follow in her Aunt's footsteps and her story just gets better and better from there, although I'm not saying any more about the plot.

Surrounding Pearl are some tremendous characters; I've already mentioned her Aunt Annie but there's also her friend Joey, Reverend Daye the benevolent vicar, Jackson the local bad guy who keeps crossing paths with Pearl, Jim the grocer who takes a chance on Pearl despite the protestations of his wicked witch of the west wife Renee, and last but by no means least Boot the dog who stays by Pearl's side watching out for her.  Such a colourful cast of characters brought amazing depth to the story and brought the whole book to life.

Pearl of Pit Lane is an exceptional and impeccably well researched novel by Glenda Young; Glenda even joined a clippy mat workshop so she could write about Pearl's creations and I'm sure she visited a few of Ryhope's pubs, purely for research, of course!  I found Pearl of Pit Lane surprising enthralling; I'd given myself a couple of days to read it because I thought I would struggle to connect with a saga, however, I was riveted from start to finish and ended up reading it cover to cover within 24 hours.  I can't praise Pearl of Pit Lane highly enough and I would recommend it to all; it's nice to escape to the past sometimes and I loved seeing Ryhope (in Sunderland) through Glenda Young's eyes.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon




About the author:


Glenda Young is a short story award-winner, her fiction is regularly published in Take a Break and My Weekly.  Glenda also writes Riverside, the first weekly soap opera for The People's Friend.  She credits her local library in the village of Ryhope, where she grew up, for giving her a love of books.  She runs two hugely popular Coronation Street fan websites which both respectively have an impressing and international following, with 20k on Facebook, 32k on Twitter and a mailing list of 4.5k.

For updates on what Glenda is working on, visit her website: glendayoungbooks.com.  You can also find Glenda on Facebook: @GlendaYoungAuthor and Twitter: @flaming_nora.







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Tuesday, 24 March 2020

BLOG TOUR: The Walls We Build - Jules Hayes


I have been looking forward to this blog tour for quite some time as I was very fortunate to be an early reader of Jules Hayes' historical fiction debut.  I have beta read a couple of books in the past, where you read an early copy of a novel and provide constructive feedback to the author.  This beta read for Jules Hayes was something very special indeed, and a dream come true for a book lover, as I got a glimpse behind the curtain into the publishing process.  It certainly made writing the book look like the easy part; no disrespect intended.

My undying gratitude goes to Jules Hayes for involving me so much in finalising her amazing novel; it's one that is very special to me and as it's a Rachel's Random Resources Blog Tour you can win a signed copy for yourself.  That will be one very lucky winner indeed, so make sure you scroll down to enter the giveaway.  Good luck!


Three friends …

Growing up together around Winston Churchill’s estate in Westerham, Kent, Frank, Florence and Hilda are inseparable. But as WW2 casts its menacing shadow, friendships between the three grow complex, and Frank – now employed as Churchill’s bricklayer – makes choices that will haunt him beyond the grave, impacting his grandson’s life too.

Two Secrets …

Shortly after Frank's death in 2002 Florence writes to Richard, Frank’s grandson, hinting at the darkness hidden within his family. On investigation, disturbing secrets come to light, including a pivotal encounter between Frank and Churchill during the war and the existence of a mysterious relative in a psychiatric hospital.

One Hidden Life …

How much more does Florence dare reveal about Frank – and herself – and is Richard ready to hear?

Set against the stunning backdrop of Chartwell, Churchill’s country home, comes a tragic story of misguided honour, thwarted love and redemption, reverberating through three generations and nine decades.


For readers of Kate Morton, Rachel Hore, Katherine Webb, Lucinda Riley and Juliet West.

Passion, intrigue and family secrets drive this complex wartime relationship drama. A page turner. I loved it.” #1 bestselling author, Nicola May


What did I think?

This is one very special book; not only because I was one of the beta readers but because there is so much going on in the amazing dual timeline that The Walls We Build refuses to sit in any one genre.  There is something for everyone in this exceptional novel; it's part historical fiction, part family saga, part contemporary but completely brilliant.

The opening chapter, set in 2002, is so intriguing as we are introduced to Frank whose final thought is not of his wife Hilda but of Florence, the woman he truly loved.  Through Jules Hayes' outstanding storytelling we unravel the threads of Frank's life going back to a time when he, Hilda and Florence were childhood friends.  I couldn't help but wonder what on earth could have happened to cause such a rift between these inseparable friends.  As if that wasn't enough, it wasn't the only hook to grab my attention but I don't want to say too much for fear of spoiling the story for others; suffice to say there are a few secrets to be revealed.

Aside from Frank and Florence's story, Jules Hayes sets her historical story at Chartwell, the Churchill family home.  Now you would think that including such a huge character as Winston Churchill would take over the story but Jules Hayes shows us a different side to Churchill.  Frank works at Chartwell as a bricklayer and I loved seeing Churchill as a family man and a friendly employer rather than the larger than life persona of Prime Minister that we are more familiar with.  I don't know a lot about Winston Churchill so I was surprised to find out that he was actually a bricklayer himself.  I did google a few other fascinating facts about him that I read in The Walls We Build so I can definitely say that this is a very well researched novel.

There is so much mystery and intrigue of a family saga woven into the historical story that ensures The Walls We Build is a real page turner.  I usually read historical novels a bit slower than books in other genres but I found that I raced through The Walls We Build; having fingers in many genre pies, it's historical fiction but not as we know it.  I was hooked from start to finish, which is a rare feat in historical fiction.  Jules Hayes has written an exceptional cross-genre novel that will appeal to all readers.  Simply outstanding and VERY highly recommended.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from:
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Waterstones




About the author:

Jules Hayes lives in Berkshire with her husband, daughter and a dog. She has a degree in modern history and holds a particular interest in events and characters from the early 20th century. As a former physiotherapist and trainer – old habits die hard – when not writing Jules likes to run. She also loves to watch films, read good novels and is a voracious consumer of non-fiction too, particularly biographies.

Jules is currently working on her second historical novel, another dual timeline story.

Jules also writes contemporary thriller and speculative fiction as JA Corrigan.







Jules Hayes can be found at:

Twitter @JulesHayes6 - http://www.twitter.com/JulesHayes6
Facebook Author Page: JulesHayesAuthor - http://www.facebook.com/JulesHayesAuthor
Instagram: JulesHayes6 - http://www.instagram.com/juleshayes6
Writing as JA Corrigan, Jules can be found at: Website: http://www.jacorrigan.com
Twitter: @juliannwriter - http://www.twitter.com/juliannwriter
Facebook Author Page: JA Corrigan - http://www.facebook.com/jacorrigan
Instagram: corriganjulieann http://www.instagram.com/corriganjulieann





GIVEAWAY

Giveaway to Win a Signed copy of The Walls We Build (Open INT)


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

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Monday, 23 March 2020

BLOG TOUR: The Forbidden Promise - Lorna Cook


Can one promise change the fate of two women decades apart?

Scotland, 1940

War rages across Europe, but Invermoray House is at peace – until the night of Constance’s 21st birthday, when she’s the only person to see a Spitfire crash into the loch. Rescuing the pilot and vowing to keep him hidden, Constance finds herself torn between duty to her family and keeping a promise that could cost her everything.

2020

Kate arrives in the Highlands to turn Invermoray into a luxury B&B, only to find that the estate is more troubled than she’d imagined. But when Kate discovers the house has a dark history, with Constance’s name struck from its records, she knows she can’t leave until the mystery is solved . . .


A sweeping tale of love and secrets, perfect for fans of Kate Morton and Lucinda Riley.


What did I think?

With an amazing dual storyline, set 80 years apart, The Forbidden Promise is like two fabulous books in one.  Usually when I read a dual storyline book one story becomes more preferable to the other, but in the case of The Forbidden Promise they are both so compelling that I couldn't choose between them.

As we swap between 1940 and 2020 the stories intertwine as they are both set in and around Invermoray House.  In 1940 the house belonged to the McLay family and should have been passed down through the generations but for a shocking secret that saw the McLay children being disinherited.  Now in the hands of the Langley branch of the family, 2020 sees them reaching out to Kate, a PR executive, to help them save the house from its rapid decline.

Kate stumbles across an intriguing mystery around Constance McLay who was disinherited in 1940.  What could Constance have done to result in her name being scratched out of the family bible and her portrait desecrated?  While Kate helps to renovate the house she also does some research into the local history and thanks to the dual timeline, Lorna Cook takes us back to 1940 to relive Constance's story.

The Forbidden Promise is doubly compelling with its contemporary storyline set in 2020 and its historical story in 1940.  I loved how the two stories repeatedly flowed towards and away from each other, like the gently lapping water of Invermoray Loch, until the threads all came together at the end.  With a huge jaw-dropping secret to be revealed along the way, the pages of this breathtaking novel can't be turned fast enough.  Highly recommended, especially to fans of historical fiction. 

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon




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Sunday, 22 March 2020

BLOG TOUR: The New Guy - Kathryn Freeman


Phew, that was a close shave, I almost missed out on this blog tour!  I'm a huge fan of Kathryn Freeman and I only happened to spot it on Facebook on one of my rare visits.  So put the kettle on, make a cuppa and read my review of The New Guy but whatever you do, make sure you click the links to buy your very own copy; you won't regret it.


Sam Huxton doesn’t do one-night stands, especially not with men she’s just met! But the hot guy at the bar was hard to resist and their one night together is one she’ll never forget.

But one night is all they share – no names, no numbers, just some much needed fun…

Until the same guy walks into Sam’s life the next day as her new employee.  Sam never mixes business with pleasure and makes it clear an office fling with Ryan is off-limits.  But after-hours…one thing can lead to another. Can Sam trust her heart and her business with the new guy?


What did I think?

Although I don't read a lot of books in the romance genre these days, Kathryn Freeman books are definitely my not so guilty pleasure!  Kathryn's books are always guaranteed to entertain and The New Guy does just that.

We meet Sam Huxton when she is drowning her sorrows in the pub after her Grandad's funeral.  Feeling the need to talk about her beloved 'Grumps' she turns to the man next to her at the bar.  Ryan Black is just trying to have a quiet pint but Sam won't be put off, despite his rudeness and clear annoyance at her chewing his ear off.  As Sam continues to talk and the alcohol begins to flow, she has the crazy idea to have a one-night stand with her nameless bar buddy.  After all, she'll never see him again after tonight...until he walks into her office tomorrow as her newest employee!  Ryan is equally mortified; it's his first day at his new job and he's already slept with the boss!

With so many misunderstandings, insecurities and raging hormones Sam and Ryan attempt to work together but their mutual attraction and memories of an amazing one-night stand keep pushing them together.  Aside from the romance aspect of the story, there is an excellent storyline of Sam trying to keep her business afloat in spite of her ex-boyfriend's efforts to destroy her with his rival business.  Sam's employees are more family and friends than co-workers though, so their strength is very much in their togetherness.  

Ryan also has a very good storyline which shows a different side to him.  He's very anti-social and snappy but he has a lot of emotional baggage to carry in the form of his alcoholic mother and a sister who will barely speak to him.  It just shows how we can make a judgement on someone from first impressions but when you dig beneath the surface there is so much more going on.

So very entertaining, The New Guy is pure escapism in these troubled times.  Kathryn Freeman writes such multi-layered stories that continue to surprise me; The New Guy makes for addictive reading as, with there being so many different strands to the story, I was desperate to find out what was going to happen in every single one of them.  An immensely enjoyable and delightful read, The New Guy gets 5 sparkly stars from me!

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from:
Amazon UK
Amazon US




About the author:

A former pharmacist, I’m now a medical writer who also writes romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero.

With a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to buy a card (yes, he does), any romance is all in my head. Then again, his unstinting support of my career change proves love isn't always about hearts and flowers - and heroes come in many disguises.

Social Media Links –





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Saturday, 21 March 2020

BLOG BLITZ: The Faerie Tree - Jane Cable


I've got a Rachel's Random Resources Blog Blitz for you today which means you not only get to read my review of The Faerie Tree by Jane Cable, there's also a fabulous giveaway!  Scroll to the end of my post to enter.  Good luck!


HOW CAN A MEMORY SO VIVID BE WRONG?

In the summer of 1986 Robin and Izzie hold hands under The Faerie Tree and wish for a future together. Within hours tragedy rips their dreams apart.

In the winter of 2006, each carrying their own burden of grief, they stumble back into each other’s lives and try to create a second chance. But why are their memories of 1986 so different? And which one of them is right?
With strong themes of memory, love and grief, The Faerie Tree is a novel as gripping and unputdownable as Jane Cable's first book, The Cheesemaker’s House, which won the Suspense & Crime category of The Alan Titchmarsh Shows Peoples Novelist competition. It is a story that will resonate with fans of romance, suspense, and folklore.

What did I think?

The Faerie Tree is quite an unusual book; officially in the romantic fiction genre, Jane Cable writes a story that is so very true to life, warts and all.  Dark in places but uplifting in others, it touches on grief and mental health among many other subjects you would come across in your life.  The book is very much the story of Robin and Izzie from their first meeting, full of hope and excitement for the future, to meeting each other again 20 years later when Izzie is a young widow.

A Faerie Tree
Robin and Izzie finding each other again feels very much like fate, or perhaps the magic of the faerie tree where they once made a wish.  The faerie tree itself is such a magical idea; a lone hawthorn tree growing in a field is said to be a gateway between the human world and the fae.  With their strong beliefs in the little people, I wasn't surprised to read that you can find a lot of faerie trees dotted around the Irish countryside.  People leave gifts and letters on the bark or branches whilst making a wish.  This is such a lovely idea, whether you believe in fairies or not, as we could all do with a little bit of magic in our lives.  

Robin's life has been anything but magical; he seems to have been bombarded with one tragedy after another.  He is such a sensitive soul and very much on the side of 'flight' when faced with fight or flight events.  Robin's constant running away from perceived problems annoyed me a little; I wanted to give him a good talking to but his response to such events is what made him who he is, which is the man that Izzie was meant to be with.

I love how Jane Cable writes such a realistic story; Robin and Izzie's life is not full of hearts and flowers but challenges that they must overcome in order to make a future together.  It did feel like everything happened the way it should have, even though both Robin and Izzie have suffered their own individual heartbreaks in the time they were apart.

Aside from the faerie tree itself, there is a theme running through the book of memory.  Robin and Izzie have very different memories of their first meeting and it is hard to decide whose is correct; Izzie is very convincing and Robin is too easy to be convinced that his memory is wrong.  It is quite thought-provoking to see how two people can remember the same event differently.

Thought-provoking and filled with emotion, The Faerie Tree is a fascinating novel written with warmth and realism.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:


Buy it from Amazon




About the author:

Jane Cable writes romantic fiction with the over-riding theme that the past is never dead. She published her first two books independently (the multi award winning The Cheesemaker’s House and The Faerie Tree) and is now signed by Sapere Books. Two years ago she moved to Cornwall to concentrate on her writing full time, but struggles a little in such a beautiful location. Luckily she’s discovered the joys of the plot walk.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: @JaneCable

Facebook: Jane Cable, Author (https://www.facebook.com/romanticsuspensenovels/ )







Giveaway

Giveaway to Win PB copies of The Faerie Tree and The Cheesemaker’s House (UK Only)

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

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