Sunday, 11 August 2019

BLOG TOUR: The Holiday - T.M. Logan


Seven days. Three families. One killer.

It was supposed to be the perfect holiday, dreamed up by Kate as the ideal way to turn 40: four best friends and their husbands and children in a luxurious villa under the blazing sunshine of Provence. 

But there is trouble in paradise. Kate suspects that her husband is having an affair, and that the other woman is one of her best friends. 

One of these women is willing to sacrifice years of friendship and destroy her family. But which one? As Kate closes in on the truth in the stifling Mediterranean heat, she realises too late that the stakes are far higher than she ever imagined. 

Because someone in the villa is prepared to kill to keep their secret hidden.


What did I think?

Oh this is such a good book; it kept me right on my toes from start to finish.  It says on the cover that there's a killer in their midst but through T.M. Logan's twisty and enthralling writing there is no doubt that there's an ominous cloud of suspense and suspicion hanging over the characters from the very first chapter.  T.M. Logan really is the master of the red herring as he pulls us in every direction and twists us around and around like a game of pin the tail on the donkey.  I pinned the tail on every character at one point or another so I had no idea which direction the story was going and that is what is so brilliant about it.

Kate is a crime scene investigator and even she didn't know what was going on!  The bottom drops out of Kate's world when she finds messages to another woman on her husband's phone.  The message points to the other woman being in France with them so she is one of Kate's three friends: Rowan, Jennifer or Izzy.  I think Kate must have always been a bit insecure about her husband as Sean has history with two of her friends before he married Kate; there's certainly a bucketful of Irish charm in the character of Sean.  Ever the investigator, Kate decides to gather the evidence before confronting Sean and I really admired her ability to keep her cool.  What she is about to discover might not only end her marriage but might tear the three friends apart forever.

Full of suspicion and intrigue, I absolutely raced through The Holiday and found myself thinking about it on the odd occasion I managed to put it down.  There are so many twists and turns that reading it was like being on a rollercoaster and I felt totally breathless at the end.  This superb fast-paced, gripping and highly addictive thriller has more red herrings than the river Tyne and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout.  Pack this one in your case if you're looking for THE holiday read of 2019.

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

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon



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Wednesday, 7 August 2019

BLOG TOUR: Chameleon (DCI Jack Mason series Book 4) - Michael K Foster


It was meant to be a harmless adventure…or so he thought.

When a ten-year-old boy playing hooky from school sees a young woman’s body hanging from a tree, a man at the scene gives chase.

Still recovering from near fatal injuries, Jack Mason is sent to investigate. He knows the boy’s life is in danger, but that’s the least of his worries. There’s a much darker side to this investigation, and one that threatens to change many people’s lives.

What really happened in the woods that day? What dark secrets was the dead woman hiding?

And who, or what, is Chameleon?

You will be hooked from the start by this gripping crime thriller. There’s tension, suspense, and a plot full of unexpected twists and turns. Order your copy today.

Don’t miss out on the rest of the series:
The Wharf Butcher (Book 1)
Satan’s Beckoning (Book 2)
The Suitcase Man (Book 3)
Chameleon (Book 4)


What did I think?

I've been really enjoying the DCI Jack Mason series, set in my native North East, so I was very excited when I heard that a new instalment was coming out.  I think this is Jack's toughest case yet as he's on the tail of a cunning Russian assassin who will stop at nothing to complete his assignment.

Recovering from his run in with The Suitcase Man, Jack has been assigned light duties until he is passed fit.  As if that isn't bad enough, ambitious DI Gamble has been called in from Middlesbrough to take over Jack's role.  Keen to make her mark, DI Gamble and Jack lock horns a few times and I admired his ability to keep his cool, although Gamble plays a little dirtier and remembers the incident slightly different to me.  I really liked this aspect of the story where drive and ambition can cause people to lose sight of the big picture.  It's always better to work together but some people will do anything to further their career.

10 year old Martin Kennedy is the target of Russian hit-man, Chameleon.  Martin accidentally stumbled upon Chameleon neutralising his real target, a local barrister investigating a money laundering scheme.  Unable to complete his assignment until all loose ends are tied up, Martin is taken into police protection while the police hunt for Chameleon.  Chameleon is no amateur though, so he always seems to be one step ahead and it was quite scary how he managed to obtain information so easily.  It just shows that there is always someone willing to gossip and inflate their own importance.

Michael K Foster has taken his crime thrillers up a notch with the Russian spy aspect.  I find the DCI Jack Mason books fast paced already but Chameleon left me breathless.  Set in the North East of England, it got closer to home than ever before with a car chase through my neighbouring housing estate.  It never gets old reading about places you know in books and the description of the scene in Marsden was fantastic; I know the geography of the area so it's easy for me to visualise it but the picture was painted so vividly that I really felt as if I was standing on Marsden beach myself.

This fast-paced, edge of your seat international crime thriller set on Tyneside is my favourite DCI Jack Mason book so far; I would have read it in one sitting if I hadn't had to sleep.  Don't worry if you haven't read any of the series yet, you can definitely read this as a standalone but I guarantee that it will make you want to read more DCI Jack Mason, especially with the little teaser at the end.  I can't wait for Mason and Carlisle's next adventure.

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

My rating:


Buy it from Amazon




About the author:

Michael K Foster has been writing crime thriller novels since 2006, all of them based in and around the North East of England. His bestselling debut novel, ‘The Wharf Butcher,’ was released in 2015 and offers a unique insight into this rugged landscape. He has now written four full-length novels featuring the hard-hitting DCI Jack Mason and local criminal profiler David Carlisle. His latest book in the series, ‘Chameleon,’ is scheduled for release in June 2019.

Michael was born in Plymouth, England. After ten years’ service in the British Army, he moved to Newcastle where he gained a master’s degree. A former Magistrate, he now writes full time and lives with his family in County Durham.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100010775401631
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard
Website: www.michaelkfoster.com




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Tuesday, 6 August 2019

BLOG TOUR: The Moments - Natalie Winter


Life is made up of countless moments. Moments that make us who we are. But what if they don't unfold the way they're supposed to...?

What if you get on the wrong bus, or don't speak to the right person at a party, or stay in a job that isn't for you? Will you miss your one chance at happiness? Or will happiness find you eventually, when the moment is right?

Meet Matthew and Myrtle. They have never really felt like they fitted - in life or with anyone else. But they are meant to be together - if only they can find each other.

A powerful and emotional story about missed chances, interwoven lives and the moments that define us.

What did I think?

I thought my heart was going to burst as I read The Moments; thankfully, it wasn't my heart but my tear ducts as floods of tears streamed down my face and blurred the beautiful words on the page before me.  I couldn't stop reading though, so I read through my mix of sad and happy tears and rather wonderfully felt like I'd been lit up from within as The Moments didn't just steal my heart, it stole my soul.  

Myrtle and Matthew are two halves of one whole but they don't know it yet.  As we follow them through their lives from birth, with chapters alternating between Myrtle and Matthew, I found myself holding my breath in anticipation several times as their paths so very nearly crossed.  As the tension built of 'almost' and 'so very nearly', I willed the stars to align so that the pair would meet and be hit by the proverbial thunderbolt.  Feeling sad as the years progressed and Myrtle and Matthew still hadn't met, Natalie Winter reminded us not to dwell on the missed years but rather to accept that maybe they will meet exactly when they're supposed to.

I think because we meet the two main characters as they are born, I really felt as if I was part of their lives.  We're present for all of their trials and tribulations, the highs and lows of their lives and privy to their personal insecurities.  Neither of them realise how special they are and I do think that this type of insecurity transmits a virtual signal deterring would be mates.  Of course when the right person comes along, the 'I'm not worthy' signal magically stops transmitting and everything becomes right with the world.  I'm speaking from experience here, which is why Myrtle and Matthew's story resonated so strongly with me; it took long enough but thankfully it didn't take me quite so long to find my other half.

So very highly recommended, do not miss this book especially if you love books by David Nicholls and Jojo Moyes.  The Moments actually affected me more than One Day and Me Before You and I really can't praise Natalie Winter highly enough.  If this is her debut, I really can't wait to see what she writes next.

Written so beautifully, The Moments is undoubtedly a 5 star book but this simply does not suffice; it deserves to be awarded every star in the universe.  This scintillating book touched both my heart and soul and is most definitely my favourite book of the year; it's so good that I could read it all over again right now.  

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

My rating:


Buy it from Amazon




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Monday, 5 August 2019

BLOG TOUR: Truth or Die (D.S. Imogen Grey #5) - Katerina Diamond


Their darkest secrets won’t stay buried forever…

The butchered body of a professor is found in a private office of Exeter University. It is the first in a spate of horrific murders that shakes the city to its core.

Who would target a seemingly innocent man, and why? DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles turn to his students for answers, but their investigation turns up no leads. Someone must know more than they’re letting on…

As the body count rises, the police have to look into the past to uncover the person responsible before it’s too late.

But are they brave enough to face up to the truth?

What did I think?

I've been a fan of the D.S. Grey and Miles books since being bowled over by the first book in the series, The Teacher.  Unfortunately for me I haven't yet read book 3, The Angel, which sees the introduction of some characters who make a reappearance in this book.  It didn't disadvantage me too much, and you can definitely read Truth or Die as a standalone, but I did feel like I had missed out on a great back story so it has spurred me on to read The Angel as soon as possible.

With such multi-dimensional and established characters as D.S. Imogen Grey and D.S. Adrian Miles, Katerina Diamond writes one hell of a police procedural.  Add to that her dark and twisted imagination and you are guaranteed a crime thriller you will never forget.  Often grisly in its level of detail, one particular method of murder is spine-tinglingly chilling but there's a pun attached to the victim's name which did make me smirk.

There's almost a dual storyline running through Truth or Die with Grey and Miles getting a little more up close and personal as well as chasing down a killer of students and professors at Exeter University.  These murders aren't random by any means and Grey and Miles discover that there's a dark and disturbing game afoot.  Can they catch the ringleader before more bodies turn up?  I certainly couldn't read fast enough to find out!

I deliberated a bit over my rating for this one; as a standalone I would rate it 4 out of 5, but as part of the series I have no doubt that it would scoop the full 5 stars.  I now want to read the whole series all over again to see what I've missed and to revisit Grey and Miles from the start.

Fast paced and gripping, Truth or Die is another outstanding page turner from Katerina Diamond that sees the D.S. Imogen Grey series go from strength to strength.  

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, 2 August 2019

BLOG TOUR: One Year Later - Sanjida Kay


Some secrets won’t stay buried…

Since Amy's daughter, Ruby-May, died in a terrible accident, her family have been beset by grief. One year later, the family decide to go on holiday to mend their wounds. An idyllic island in Italy seems the perfect place for them to heal and repair their relationships with one another.

But no sooner have they arrived than they discover nothing on this remote island is quite as it seems. And with the anniversary of the little girl's death looming, it becomes clear that at least one person in the family is hiding a shocking secret. As things start to go rapidly wrong, Amy begins to question whether everyone will make it home...


What did I think?

I'm a little behind with my Sanjida Kay books but having absolutely loved her debut, Bone by Bone, I couldn't wait to get my hands on her new novel, One Year Later.  I have to say that I literally couldn't put this book down; when I wasn't reading it, I carried it around with me as if it was superglued to my hand.  It certainly made a lasting impression on me and I felt incredibly emotional as I turned the final page.

The loss of a child is always going to be highly emotional and I found this story heartbreaking from the very first chapter when we are introduced to grieving mother, Amy.  Amy and Matt's daughter, Ruby-May, died the day before her third birthday whilst in the care of Amy's family.  For the first anniversary of Ruby-May's death, a trip to a remote Italian island is arranged for all but one member of the family - the person who Amy and Matt blame for the death of their daughter.  Some members of the family think it is time to forgive but others want to keep the focus of the blame firmly in the direction it is currently pointed.

I love books like this where the characters have things to hide and maybe aren't what they seem.  I felt a bit guilty suspecting them of covering up the truth as ultimately they are all grieving the loss of a little girl, but I knew that there was more to this story than first meets the eye.  I really enjoyed delving into the sibling relationships between Amy and her brother Nick and her sister Bethany.  The chapters are told from either Nick or Amy's point of view so you get a really good feel for the characters and also little discrepancies between their memories that really heightened the intrigue.

I liked how Dante Alighieri's poem The Divine Comedy is mentioned quite a few times in the book; it really seemed to fit into the story as the characters were finding their way through their own personal hell.  Along with some great references to Star Wars, I was also delighted to see an Avery Barkley quote from one of my favourite TV shows, Nashville, being immortalised in print. Sanjida Kay is obviously a fellow Nashie!

Heartbreaking from the start and packed with emotion, One Year Later is an intelligent and engrossing domestic thriller.  Sanjida Kay perfectly encapsulates the intense feelings we have for our family in her stunning new novel.  A definite recommended read and a sparkling five stars from me.

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

My rating:


Buy it from Amazon



About the author:

SANJIDA KAY is a writer and broadcaster. She lives in Somerset with her daughter and husband. She has written three previous psychological thrillers, Bone by Bone, The Stolen Child and My Mother's Secret to critical acclaim.













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Thursday, 1 August 2019

BLOG TOUR: Zippy and Me - Ronnie Le Drew, Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi


Over the course of almost half a century, puppeteer Ronnie Le Drew has worked with the greats - from David Bowie in Labyrinth to Michael Caine in A Muppet Christmas Carol. But the role that defined his career was Rainbow's Zippy, who he operated for more than twenty years. 

Zippy and Me is the first time a Rainbow insider has told the true story of what went on under the counter and inside the suits: the petty squabbles between performers, wrangling with TV executives, and scandals such as the 'love triangle' between musicians Rod, Jane and Freddy. Not to mention the now infamous X-rated episode shot for an ITV Christmas party, which subsequently found its way to the Sun. 

Interweaved with the dirt on what really went on behind the scenes is the story of Rainbow's heyday in the 1970s and 80s, when its stars found themselves catapulted into an exciting showbiz world - scooping a BAFTA award and even performing for the queen - and the story of a young lad from a south London council estate who defied his parents' protests to became one of the most respected puppeteers of all time.


What did I think?

What an amazing memoir!  Seriously, this is the best and most interesting biography I have ever read and I'm not just saying that because I love Zippy from Rainbow.  I read it over the course of 24 hours and I have never read a non-fiction book so quickly, so that tells you how good it is.

It's very much a story of Ronnie Le Drew's professional life and that's what makes the prose flow so effortlessly.  Not that some personal lives aren't interesting but sometimes it is a bit like looking at somebody else's holiday photos and you can't wait to get to the end of the album.  With just enough interesting snippets of Ronnie's personal life, the weighting of personal/professional in this book was absolutely perfect to hold my interest.  After all, and no offence to Ronnie Le Drew, I think most people will be attracted to this book by the big mouthed orange puppet on the cover.

With Ronnie Le Drew's behind the scenes story, a lot of questions are answered in Zippy and Me.  George is clearly a hippo but just what exactly is Zippy supposed to be?  It makes much more sense now that the origin of Zippy's creation has been revealed by Ronnie Le Drew.  I always felt that Zippy was different to the other characters and now I know why, with idea stealing TV executives sniffing about.  Also, what was the story with Rod, Jane and Freddy?  Not only are they amazingly prolific composers and talented musicians but their story is indeed as colourful as the rainbow.

I know he likes to take centre stage, but this story isn't just about Zippy.  With Ronnie Le Drew's experience encompassing theatre, TV and film there are so many interesting stories to read in Zippy and Me.  I had no idea that Phillip Schofield had tread the boards in musical theatre after his stint in the Broom Cupboard but perhaps the most interesting fact for me is Ronnie's famous finger.  What an absolutely priceless story!  I'm not going to spoil it so you'll just have to read Zippy and Me to find out where you will have definitely seen Ronnie's famous finger.

This nostalgia filled memoir tactfully reveals the stories behind the most iconic children's TV show of all time, whilst keeping the magic alive for Rainbow fans.  With something for everyone, whether you're a fan of Rainbow or The Muppets, it's a fascinating insight into the puppetry world.  I absolutely loved it and I devoured every single page with relish.  One not to miss for Rainbow fans and it's very highly recommended.

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

My rating:


Buy it from Amazon



About the author:

Ronnie Le Drew is one of the UK's most respected puppeteers, and recipient of the prestigious Harlequin Award. He has operated many of the most iconic children’s puppets of the twentieth century – Zippy, Sweep, Muffin the Mule, Bill and Ben, Brains from Thunderbirds – as well as working on classic puppet films such as Labyrinth, Little Shop of Horrors and The Muppet Christmas Carol. He continues to work regularly as a puppeteer in TV, theatre and advertising and also teaches at the London School of Puppetry, which he founded in 1987.




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Tuesday, 30 July 2019

BLOG TOUR: The Hidden Wife - Amanda Reynolds


WHAT HAPPENED TO JULIA BLAKE?

She was young and beautiful, married to a famous author. They were celebrating their anniversary at their stunning country estate. So why did Julia Blake walk out of her perfect life, apparently leaving no trace?

Seren, a junior reporter for the local paper, can’t believe her luck when she lands an exclusive with Julia’s husband, Max. But as Seren spends more time at the couple’s remote mansion, probing ever deeper into the case, dark questions await. 

What was Julia really like, behind closed doors? Was her marriage to this brooding, secretive man as perfect as it seemed? And did she really mean to disappear that night - or was she murdered? 


What did I think?

I love a good hook at the start of a book and The Hidden Wife certainly has that.  Not only is the first page labelled 'Thirty-Three Hours Missing' but the opening paragraph left me breathless and thirsty for more.

Max Blake's beautiful wife, Julia, has gone missing but that's not the tastiest part of the worm wriggling on the hook.  Max is dishevelled and desperate as he paces his designer kitchen talking to DS Katie Ingles, but he is also lying.  See what I mean about a great hook?  Just what does he have to hide?  Would a man with something to hide invite a reporter to interview him?  It felt very cool and calculating of Max to request junior reporter, Seren, whose brother also went missing without trace, to interview him for an exclusive piece in The Herald.  Add to the mix that Seren's boss, Theo, was at Max's house the night Julia went missing and we have all the ingredients for a very tasty story. There are so many facets to this story that I had all sorts of crazy ideas floating around my head.  None of them were right, of course and I was completely fooled by Amanda Reynolds' dark and twisty imagination.

It's a very character driven storyline and although I was slightly disappointed that I felt rather ambivalent towards them, I do think that the characters are portrayed very well; from Max's almost bipolar moods to Seren's naivety and desperation to do a good job in the cutthroat world of journalism.  Not forgetting Max's strange and creepy PA, Miriam who always seemed to be hovering in the background keeping her ever-watchful eyes on Seren.  As Seren spends more time at Brooke House, I worried for her safety and that part of the story reminded me of Stephen King's Misery.  Just like Misery, I think The Hidden Wife would transfer beautifully to the screen as Amanda Reynold's words create their very own suspenseful soundtrack.

Ominous and suspenseful, there's so much going on in The Hidden Wife that it kept me guessing from start to finish, with much changing of my mind in between.  The only time I admit to being wrong is when I'm reading a book but The Hidden Wife is so cleverly plotted that I don't feel ashamed to say that I would never have guessed the full story of Julia Blake's disappearance, making it an enjoyable, suspenseful and surprisingly twisty read.

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

My rating:


Buy it from Amazon



About the author:
Photo credit: David Churchill Photography
Amanda Reynolds lives in the Cotswolds with her family where she writes full-time. Her debut novel, Close To Me, is a #1 e-book best- seller. The Hidden Wife is her third book. 


Follow Amanda on Twitter: @AmandaReynoldsJ and visit her website amandareynoldsauthor.com











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