Friday 26 November 2021

BLOG TOUR: Dead Mercy (Maggie Jamieson thriller, Book 5) - Noelle Holten

‘Hugely confident … harrowing, visceral … recommended’ Ian Rankin on Dead Inside

A brutal murder…
When a burned body is found with its teeth missing, DC Maggie Jamieson discovers that the victim may be the husband of one of her probation colleagues.

A dark history…
As the body count rises, the team becomes increasingly baffled by how the victims could possibly be connected until a clue leads them to a historical case that was never prosecuted.

A terrible secret…
In order to catch the killer, Maggie must piece together what happened all those years ago before it’s too late.

What did I think?

This book is fantastic!  I've loved every single book in the DC Maggie Jamieson series but Noelle Holten has really excelled herself with Dead Mercy and I think it's her best one yet.  Although Dead Mercy is book 5 in the series, you can totally read it as a standalone and any new readers of the series at this point are sure to become huge Maggie Jamieson fans.

Noelle Holten never shies away from tough subjects but they are always dealt with sensitively and realistically.  Without giving away too much of the amazing plot, Dead Mercy centres around a serial killer who is meting out justice to people who were not prosecuted in a historical abuse case.  I did sympathise with the killer as nobody should get away with any form of abuse and of course I had no idea who the killer was so it was fun to gather the clues along with Maggie and her team.

The writing is outstanding, creating levels of suspense and intrigue that kept my eyes firmly glued to the page.  The pacing is fast, the plotting is perfect and the whole book could be the subject of a crime writing masterclass.  

Dead Mercy is a dark, gripping and tense edge of your seat thriller.  It's an exceptional novel that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend.

I received a digital ARC to read and review for the blog tour; this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

About the author:

Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of risk cases as well as working in a multi agency setting. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, attending as many book festivals as she can afford and sharing the booklove via her blog. Dead Inside – her debut novel with One More Chapter/Harper Collins UK is an international kindle bestseller and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.

Connect with Noelle on Social Media here:

Subscribe to Newsletter:

Twitter: (@nholten40)

Bookbub Author page :

Follow the tour:

Monday 22 November 2021

The Final Shot: A 1960s London gangland thriller (Charles Holborne Legal Thrillers Book 7) - Simon Michael

Charles Holborne returns with another high-stakes case! Perfect for fans of John Grisham, Robert Bailey, Michael Connelly and Robert Dugoni.

They think it’s all over…

London, 1966

As England eagerly anticipates the World Cup Final, barrister Charles Holborne is briefed in another high-profile case.

Once a sadistic gangster, Reverend Stanley Sharpe found God while incarcerated and has run his own parish for a number of years since being released. But when he is convicted of murdering Frank Marshall, right-hand man to the Kray twins, he is sent back to prison for life.

Convinced that he is innocent, Reverend Sharpe’s wife begs Charles to apply to the Court of Appeal to reopen the case.

With his own question marks over whether Frank Marshall is really dead, Charles agrees to take the brief on.

But with the media now casting doubt over Sharpe’s redemption, Charles knows he is bound for failure unless he can find further evidence.

And to do so he must once again cross the most dangerous men in London…

THE FINAL SHOT is the seventh crime novel in an exciting historical series, the Charles Holborne Legal Thrillers — gritty, hard-boiled mysteries set in 1960s London.

What did I think?

The Final Shot is book 7 in the Charles Holborne legal thrillers series and it's written in such a way that you could definitely read it as a standalone, but I really do urge you to read the books in order as it's one of my favourite series and every single instalment is brilliant.

Set during the summer of 1966, when England is in the grip of World Cup fever and The Krays rule the shady London underworld, Charles Holborne is asked to advise on an appeal.  Stanley Sharpe gave up his life of crime to dedicate his life to the church and he is in prison for a crime he claims he did not commit.  The police have a confession from him, so why did he confess if he didn't do it?  

Charles Holborne never sees things in black and white, not when he knows the many shades of grey that lie within.  With The Krays having their fingers in many pies, nothing is ever as clear as it seems and if anyone will find out the truth, Charles will.  As well as the legal thriller side to the plot, Charles' personal life also plays a big part in the story.  Charles is no stranger to discrimination so he agrees to be shadowed by a young woman doing her pupillage.  Maria Hudson has set tongues wagging in chambers; she's female, American and black - what a shock to the system this must be in 1960's London!

Reconnected with his girlfriend Sally, Charles is in a much happier place now so it was lovely to see how his life has changed (for the better).  That's why it's worth reading the books in order as the reader becomes acquainted with Charles over the course of the series and you really do care about what happens to him.

Gripping, atmospheric and incredibly nostalgic, The Final Shot is a winner!  With the spirit of 1966 woven into the prose, I was gripped by World Cup Fever as well as the razor-sharp plot.  It's another unputdownable legal thriller from storyteller extraordinaire, Simon Michael.

I received an ARC from the author to read and review; all opinions are my own.

My rating:

Publishing on 19/01/22, pre-order now from Amazon UK

Friday 19 November 2021

Everyday Kindness: A collection of uplifting tales to brighten your day - Various Authors

Everyday Kindness is a charity anthology of short, fictional stories of kindness, edited by LJ Ross. These uplifting tales of hope and of small, everyday kindnesses are intended to support wider, positive mental health goals and foster wellbeing through the act of reading tales of goodwill inspired by others. Featuring authors across the spectrum of literature, some international bestsellers and award-winning writers amongst them, this is a unique collection of words.

All proceeds from the book will be donated to Shelter, a charity that helps millions of people a year struggling with bad housing or homelessness.

Authors include: LJ Ross, Adam Hamdy, Alex Smith, Alexander Gordon Smith, Alison Stockham, Anne O’Leary, Barbara Copperthwaite, J.D. Kirk, C.L. Taylor, Caroline Mitchell, Chris McDonald, C.K. McDonnell, Claire Sheehy, Clare Flynn, Darren O’Sullivan, David Leadbeater, Debbie Young, Deborah Carr, Emma Robinson, Graham Brack, Hannah Lynn, Heather Martin, Holly Martin, Ian Sainsbury, Imogen Clark, James Gilbert, Jane Corry, Jean Gill, J.J. Marsh, Judith O’Reilly, Kelly Clayton, Kim Nash, Leah Mercer, Liz Fenwick, Louise Beech, Louise Jensen, Louise Mumford, Malcolm Hollingdrake, Marcia Woolf, Mark Stay, Marcie Steele, Natasha Bache, Nick Jackson, Nick Quantrill, Nicky Black, Patricia Gibney, Rachel Sargeant, Rob Parker, Rob Scragg, S.E. Lynes, Shelley Day, Casey Kelleher, Sophie Hannah, Victoria Connelly, Victoria Cooke, Will Dean.

What did I think?

What a wonderful book!  There is so much warmth and compassion crammed into this superb anthology that it actually moved me to tears.  By buying a copy you'll not only get an awesome book but you'll also be helping the charity Shelter, which helps people who are homeless or are struggling with bad housing.  So although I always include buy links at the end of my review, I think it's worth adding one HERE too.

There's a very high probability that you will find at least one of your favourite authors in this collection, but you're sure to pick up one or two more along the way; I've added a lot of authors to my watch list after reading this fabulous book.  The quality of the writing is exceptional across the board and there's not one story that disappoints.  It's actually really impressive to see a lot of authors writing outside of their usual genre to create such wonderfully uplifting and compassionate stories.

Everyday Kindness is sure to leave a smile on the face of every single reader.  It's a veritable hug in a book and I certainly feel richer for having read it.  5 huge sparkly stars and a big shout out to LJ Ross for leading this magnificent project and making it happen.

I received an ARC to read and review; this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from:

Monday 15 November 2021

Flight of the Shearwater (The Sturmtaucher Trilogy Book 2) - Alan Jones

Flight of the Shearwater: Book 2 in the Sturmtaucher Trilogy, a powerful and compelling story of two families torn apart by evil.

With Poland divided between Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Union of Soviet Republics, the increasingly confident Third Reich flexes its military muscles northwards into Denmark and Norway, while the rest of Europe watches anxiously over its shoulders.

General Erich Kästner, in his key role in the Abwehr, is fast becoming aware of the mass expulsion of Jews and other minority groups from Germany and from northern Poland, to the new ghettos of the Generalgouverment area of southern Poland, and has an inkling of what the National Socialists' have in mind for Europe's Jews.

As Holland and Belgium fall, and the British are routed at Dunkirk, barely escaping across the channel, the seemingly impregnable France collapses under the Wehrmacht Blitzkrieg, sealing the fate of millions of Jews, now trapped under Hitler's rule.

The Nussbaums, thwarted in their attempts to escape to Denmark, desperately seek other routes out of Germany but, one by one, they are closed off, and they realise they have left it all too late...

What did I think?

Oh my goodness, words failed me when I turned the final page of this wonderful book; no review I write will do it justice as it is SIMPLY STUNNING!  Alan Jones may very well have written the finest historical trilogy of all time and it's not to be missed, so I'm just going to add the buy link for the series right here: BUY IT HERE!!  If you're still with me, I'll tell you what I thought.

Listed as 800 pages in length, it takes about 18 hours to read this second instalment in The Sturmtaucher Trilogy but it's well worth the time investment.  Although you could jump into the series at book 2, I would recommend reading the series in order to understand the background of the characters.  Wartime Germany and the persecution of the Jews is a difficult subject to read about and on more than one occasion I had tears in my eyes.  The characters are brought to life so vividly that I walked every step with them and I was completely invested in their wellbeing.

The Nussbaum family has tried to stay together throughout the war, despite the increasing threat to Jews in Germany.  When it becomes clear that they aren't all going to get out of Germany as a family, Yosef and Miriam make a heartbreaking decision to try to save their children, Ruth and Manny.  With the help of General Erich Kästner, the Nussbaum's employer and friend, the children must embark on a perilous journey to reach safety.

Heartbreaking, harrowing and completely compelling, Flight of the Shearwater is an exceptional piece of historical fiction.  Five stars is simply not enough and I can't wait for the final book in the trilogy to continue reading this outstanding story.

I received a digital ARC from the author to read and review; this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Friday 12 November 2021

BLOG TOUR: The Red Monarch (The Brontë Mysteries Book 3) - Bella Ellis

The Brontë sisters' first poetry collection has just been published, potentially marking an end to their careers as amateur detectors, when Anne receives a letter from her former pupil Lydia Robinson.

Lydia has eloped with a young actor, Harry Roxby, and following her disinheritance, the couple been living in poverty in London. Harry has become embroiled with a criminal gang and is in terrible danger after allegedly losing something very valuable that he was meant to deliver to their leader. The desperate and heavily pregnant Lydia has a week to return what her husband supposedly stole, or he will be killed. She knows there are few people who she can turn to in this time of need, but the sisters agree to help Lydia, beginning a race against time to save Harry's life.

In doing so, our intrepid sisters come face to face with a terrifying adversary whom even the toughest of the slum-dwellers are afraid of . . . The Red Monarch.

What did I think?

I am completely addicted to The Brontë Mysteries series so I have been so looking forward to book 3, The Red Monarch, and it does not disappoint.  Bella Ellis has created such a wonderful portrayal of the Brontë sisters that it feels as if their very essence is woven into the pages.  It's just brilliant and I loved every single page.

With their brother Branwell suffering from a broken heart and the three sisters awaiting the first review of their poetry collection, a distraction is most welcome.  So when Anne receives a plea for help from a former pupil in London, the sisters put on their detector hats once more.  London is indeed a very different place to Yorkshire but the Brontës are fearless and always look out for each other, so I had no doubt that whatever was awaiting them in London would be no match for them.

Filled with danger and so very atmospheric, The Red Monarch isn't just a step back in time it's like stepping in the Brontë sisters' shoes. Bella Ellis' writing is sublime; it's so authentic that I often forgot I wasn't reading one of the Brontë sisters' classic works.  It's such a wonderful book in a wonderful series and I really can't recommend it highly enough.

I received an ARC from the publisher to read and review for the blog tour; this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from:

Follow the tour:

Monday 8 November 2021

BLOG TOUR: The Miner's Lass - Glenda Young

'You're a Dinsdale lass, Ruby. Nothing and no one keeps us lot down.'

A life of poverty in a cramped pit cottage is all that seventeen-year-old Ruby Dinsdale has known. Even with her father and younger brother working at the coal mine, money is tight. Her mother Mary is skilled at stretching what little they have, but the small contribution Ruby makes from her job at the local pub makes all the difference. So when Ruby is sacked, and Mary becomes pregnant again, the family's challenges are greater than ever.

When charming miner Gordon begins to court Ruby it seems as though happiness is on the horizon, until she uncovers a deeper betrayal than she could ever have imagined.

But although the Dinsdales are materially poor, they are rich in love, friendship and determination - all qualities that they will draw on to get them through whatever lies ahead.

What did I think?

If you’re thinking you don’t read sagas, then think again; you’ve not read Glenda Young’s sagas!  The Miner's Lass is Glenda's sixth saga and it is absolutely brilliant.  As soon as I opened the book I was transported to Ryhope in 1919 and I simply couldn't put it down.

The Dinsdale family rely on every penny that comes into their small cottage so when Ruby finds herself out of work she needs to find a new job fast.  Ruby's brother Michael will be old enough to go down the mine with his dad when he turns 14 and oh how my heart broke for him; it's almost unimaginable today to think of children working underground in such awful and dangerous conditions.  The whole community revolved around the pit and this was portrayed beautifully in The Miner's Lass.

Life is rarely considered easy but it was definitely a much harder life 100 years ago.  Families didn't have much money to live on but everyone helped each other out and they found joy in the little things.  Mental health is so important these days so it was interesting to read about the local asylum and how men used to drop off their troublesome women at the door.  It's shocking when you think about it as many people should have never been sent there.

So, whilst The Miner's Lass is a wonderful story of family, friendship and community there's so much more to experience in this outstanding novel.  It's packed full of drama and challenges for the characters and it gives us a glimpse of what life was like in an early 20th century coal mining community.  The characters are portrayed so vividly that they virtually leap out from the page as we experience every trial and tribulation with them.

Written with warmth, drama and a bit of humour, The Miner's Lass is hugely entertaining from start to finish.  Once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down and I read it in one sitting.  I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it and it's an easy 5 stars.

I received an ARC from the publisher to read and review for the blog tour; this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from:

Follow the tour:

Thursday 4 November 2021

Kissing Emma - Shappi Khorsandi

Emma and her mother are down on their luck. They're taking turns sleeping on the sofa in her nan's tiny flat - and desperately trying to come up with an escape plan.

Emma is struggling with her family, struggling at school where the girls are bitchy towards her and the boys only seem to want one thing, and struggling with never having enough money for anything, ever.

Just as she's contemplating quitting school to get a real job, she meets two men who convince her that she has a shot at modelling. But their motives are far from innocent, and Emma is soon pulled into a dark world. And then she meets Con, who is rich, handsome and so romantic! Has Emma's luck finally changed?

Kissing Emma is inspired by the real life and untold story of Emma Hamilton, Lord Nelson's mistress. But Shappi Khorsandi's modern Emma is going to get the happy ending her namesake never did - and stick two fingers up at the men who dare to take advantage of young women while she's doing it.

Not suitable for younger readers

What did I think?

I loved Shappi Khorsandi's debut novel, Nina is Not Ok, so I was eager to see how she would follow it. Wow! Kissing Emma completely blew me away; it is so outstanding that I was left speechless and completely bereft after I turned the final page.

Inspired by the story of Lord Nelson's mistress, Emma Hamilton, this is a raw, honest and and often difficult to read 21st century coming of age story. Emma doesn't have a decent male role model to show her what love is and she finds out the hard way that sex isn't love. Emma's story is often disturbing and horrifying as she makes awful decisions and is consequently taken advantage of; I just wished I could have reached inside the book and helped her.

It's quite a short read at only 296 pages but it is so powerful. All teenage girls should read this book to learn to value themselves instead of trying to make boys love them by offering their bodies on a plate. Back in my day, Judy Blume's Forever was the coming of age novel all girls wanted to read but it really showed relationships through rose-tinted glasses. 

Shappi Khorsandi's Kissing Emma is a stark, honest coming of age story for a new generation and it is destined to become a classic. It's quite simply brilliant!

I received a copy of Kissing Emma for free from the Amazon Vine programme and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

Monday 1 November 2021

Fifty Words for Snow - Nancy Campbell

To celebrate the paperback release of Fifty Words for Snow by Nancy Campbell today, I am delighted to repost my review of this stunning book.  It really is as beautiful inside as out so make sure to pick up a copy for yourself.

The perfect winter gift – each of these linguistic snow crystals offers a whole world of myth and story.

In this lyrical, evocative book, Arctic traveller and award-winning writer Nancy Campbell digs deep into the meanings and etymologies, the histories and the futures of fifty words for snow, using them as clues to the many ways in which we are all connected to one another and to our planet.

From Iceland to Hawaii, every language and culture has its own word for the magical, mesmerising flakes that fall from the sky. Fifty Words… is a journey from the ornate ice houses of country estates to the artificial snow of the movies, from the snow roads across the frozen lakes of Estonia to Kilimanjaro’s snowy peak – a meeting point between the human and the divine. Exploring language in its broadest sense, Campbell includes American Sign Language for ‘snowboard’ and shares how the Inuktitut oral language came to be transcribed. 

What did I think?

Everything single thing about Fifty Words for Snow is stunning: the mesmerising frosty cover, the continuation of the design on to the endpapers, a beautiful snowflake dividing each chapter and, last but not least, the interesting and informative words within.  

Although I read Fifty Words for Snow cover to cover for the purposes of review, it could also be a book to dip in which to dip in and out.  I think it would be a great winter activity to choose a word a day from this book and read the story behind the word.  The only difficult thing would be to close the book after reading just one chapter as I was so charmed and delighted by the stories that I couldn't wait to see what would come next.

As much as this is a book that celebrates climate, it is also a celebration of language.  Seeing words in languages I hadn't even heard of, such as Ojibwemowin and Tamazight, suggests that Nancy Campbell did indeed scour the globe for the fifty best words for snow.  The chapters are perfectly balanced with the stories behind each word appearing to be both detailed and concise.  

There's something for everyone in Fifty Words for Snow, whether you're interested in climate, language or just want to broaden your general knowledge.  I love reading about global myths and legends so I was fascinated by the beautiful Cherokee tale that explains why the pine tree is evergreen and the legend of the snow woman of Japan who disappears as fast as melting snow.  There are some amazing words to discover in this book and although I would find it very hard to name a favourite, I was rather ticked by the final word: suncups.  It's such a simple but perfectly descriptive word and was perfectly placed to end the book.

Fifty Words for Snow is a hugely entertaining and informative book, written in such a warm and engaging style that makes you read 'just one more chapter', which is rare to find in non-fiction.  It's the perfect gift for linguists, booklovers or that hard to buy for person.  I would highly recommend buying a physical copy as even though the words are beautiful whether you're reading on kindle or a physical copy, the hardback is seriously stunning.

Thank you to Elliott and Thompson for sending me a beautiful hardback to review; all opinions are my own.

My rating:

Buy it from:
Amazon UK

About the author:

Nancy Campbell is an award-winning writer, described as ‘deft, dangerous and dazzling’ by the former Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy and whose writing has been inspired by the polar regions.

Her travels in the Arctic resulted in several projects responding to the environment; The Library of Ice: Readings in a Cold Climate was longlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize 2019; Disko Bay, shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2016 and How to Say ‘I Love You’ in Greenlandic received the Birgit Skiöld Award 2015. In 2020 she was the recipient of the Royal Geographical Society’s Ness Award for her published work on the polar regions. She is currently a Literature Fellow at Internationales Künstlerhaus Villa Concordia in Germany.

Instagram: @nancycampbelle