Friday 27 May 2022

BLOG TOUR: The Island - Adrian McKinty




After moving from a small country town to Seattle, Heather Baxter marries Tom, a widowed doctor with a young son and teenage daughter. A working vacation overseas seems like the perfect way to bring the new family together, but once they're deep in the Australian outback, the jet-lagged and exhausted kids are so over their new mom.

When they discover a remote Dutch Island, off-limits to outside visitors, the family talks their way onto the ferry, taking a chance on an adventure far from the reach of iPhones and Instagram.

But as soon as they set foot on the island, which is run by a tightly knit clan of locals, everything feels wrong. Then a shocking accident propels the Baxters from an unsettling situation into an absolute nightmare.

When Heather and the kids are separated from Tom, they are forced to escape alone, seconds ahead of their pursuers.

Now it's up to Heather to save herself and the kids, even though they don't trust her, the harsh bushland is filled with danger, and the locals want her dead.

Heather has been underestimated her entire life, but she knows that only she can bring her family home again and become the mother the children desperately need, even if it means doing the unthinkable to keep them all alive.


What did I think?

The Island is so tense and gripping that I couldn't put it down.  It's the first book by Adrian McKinty that I have read, although I do have The Chain in my bookcase so I'll be bumping that up the queue now.

Tom brings his family along on a trip to a medical conference in Australia.  Heather is his second wife and she has a strained relationship with Tom's children.  The children are grieving for their mother who died under tragic and mysterious circumstances.  Tom has moved on quickly and I didn't like him at all; he seems to treat his family as his possessions.  On a rare occasion where Tom agrees to do what the kids want, they find themselves trapped on an island with no escape.

From the minute they set foot on the ferry, there is a deep sense of unease.  The O'Neill family are the only people on the island and they don't like outsiders.  They are a scary bunch, none more so than the matriarch Ma, and you don't know what they will do  next as they're playing by their own rules.  They didn't bank on Heather stepping up to defend her family though.

I can totally see why this is being made into a series; it's a thrilling survival story and there's so much action that I couldn't tear my eyes away from the page.  The tension is palpable throughout and I really couldn't predict what was going to happen. 

The Island is a fantastic action-packed survival thriller that really keeps the reader on their toes.  It's an unpredictable rollercoaster of a read and one I'd definitely recommend.  I can't wait to see it brought to life on TV.

I received an ARC to read and review for the blog tour; all opinions are my own.

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Thursday 26 May 2022

Songs in Ursa Major - Emma Brodie

To celebrate the paperback publication of Songs In Ursa Major today, I'm delighted to repost my review of this stunning novel.  You can buy a copy from Amazon,, Waterstones and many other retailers.  Make Songs of Ursa Major the soundtrack to your summer '22.

Behind every greatest hit, is an even greater love story.


From the moment Jane Quinn steps barefoot onto the main stage at Island Folk festival, her golden hair glinting, her voice soaring into the summer dusk, a star is born – and so is a passionate love story.

Jane’s band hits the road with none other than Jesse Reid, the musician whose bright blue eyes are setting hearts alight everywhere. And as the summer streaks by in a haze of crowds, wild nights and magenta sunsets, Jane is pulled into the orbit of Jesse’s star.
But Jesse’s rise could mean Jane’s fall. And when she discovers a dark secret beneath his music, she picks up her guitar and writes her heartache into the album that could make or break her: Songs in Ursa Major.

Set against the heady haze of the 70s and alive with music, sex and sun-soaked hedonism, SONGS IN URSA MAJOR is an unforgettable debut and the soundtrack to a love story like no other.

What did I think?

Wow!  What a debut!  I simply couldn't put it down.  I loved Songs in Ursa Major from the start and not just because it starts in the Summer, the Summer of '69 - oh yeah!  (I just had to get a bit of Bryan Adams in there).  Partly inspired by the life of Joni Mitchell and James Taylor, Songs in Ursa Major is set in the cutthroat music industry and filled with drama and beautiful music.  It actually reminded me a little of the tv show Nashville, although Jane Quinn is a LOT nicer than Juliette Barnes, and it really is the perfect cure for fans of the show who are suffering from a Nashville hangover.

I adored the main character of Jane Quinn and enjoyed reading about her warm and loving family along with an intriguing mystery about her mother's whereabouts.  Jane has such amazing natural talent but the music industry is definitely a man's world in the 60s and 70s.  Jane is thrust into the limelight by a twist of fate that results in her band going on tour with huge folk star Jesse Reid.  It feels like Jane and Jesse are made for each other as the pair get closer but Jane has a difficult decision to make as becoming Jesse's girlfriend will eclipse her musical career.  

Emma Brodie's writing feels incredibly authentic as the music industry is laid bare, warts and all.  There are tantrums and power struggles as well as some beautiful songwriting.  The whole book virtually vibrates to the beat of the incredible music within and I found myself composing my own melodies in my mind to match the wonderful lyrics.  Being both visual and audible is something I've never experienced in a book before, showing what an amazing writing talent Emma Brodie has.

An absolutely stunning debut, Songs in Ursa Major is a compelling and entertaining novel.  I felt rather emotional at the end but I know it's not the last I'll see of Jane Quinn as I plan to read Songs in Ursa Major again.  Songs in Ursa Major is definitely the soundtrack to my Summer of '21 - make sure to make it the soundtrack to your Summer of '22.  Highly recommended to all readers and one not to be missed by music fans.

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

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BLOG TOUR: Do No Harm - Jack Jordan

My son has been taken. And I’ve been given a choice…
Kill a patient on the operating table. Or never see him again.

The man lies on the table in front of me.
As a surgeon, it’s my job to save him.
As a mother, I know I must kill him.
You might think that I’m a monster.
But there really is only one choice.
I must get away with murder.
Or I will never see my son again.

Could you kill another person to save your own child?

When heart surgeon Dr Anna Jones returns home to find her son kidnapped, she is forced to make an impossible choice. Kill a high-profile patient on the operating table, or never see her son again.

Told from the perspectives of Anna, her scrub nurse, Margot, who has her own secrets to protect and DI Rachel Conaty, Anna must first make the impossible decision…


What did I think?

This is THE book that everyone is talking about in 2022 and rightly so as it's BRILLIANT!!  I've been a fan of Jack Jordan since I started my blog in 2015, the same year he wrote his stunning debut, Anything for Her and I have been itching to get my hands on a copy of Do No Harm.  It wasn't in my hands long though as I couldn't put it down.

The characters, the plot, and the writing are all exceptional.  This is the definition of a heart-pounding thriller as the writing is so vivid that I felt like I was in the operating theatre myself.  The different character perspectives add depth to the already gripping story as each character struggles with their own demons.

Any story with a moral dilemma begs the question: "What would you do?" and it's a question that I asked myself over and over again as I was reading.  I think it would be a quick and easy decision for anyone who is a mother but I found that I was able to look at it more objectively.  Anna's not exactly the nicest character so that adds another element into the equation. 

Do No Harm is unputdownable and unmissable - it is definitely the book that everyone should read this year.  I would be very surprised if it's not picked up for TV or film as it's such an edge-of-your-seat rollercoaster of a thriller that is so entertaining, gripping and fast-paced from start to finish.

Jack Jordan's star continues to rise and Do No Harm is easily his best novel yet (and I've absolutely LOVED all of his others).  I don't know how he will follow it, but I'm looking forward to seeing him try.  Very highly recommended.

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

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About the author:

Jack Jordan is the global bestselling author of Anything for Her, My Girl, A Woman Scorned, Before Her Eyes, and Night by Night and an Amazon No.1 bestseller in the UK, Canada, and Australia. After selling at auction in the UK and numerous foreign territories, Do No Harm is set to be the thriller of the summer in 2022. The idea for Do No Harm came to Jack after undergoing a minor medical procedure where he had to be sedated and trust strangers with his welfare. After the anaesthesia wore off, Jack began scribbling his notes, wondering to himself just how iron-clad a surgeon’s oath is, and what it would take to break it…

Follow Jack on social media:
Instagram: @jackjordan_author

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Wednesday 25 May 2022

BLOG TOUR: The Italian Job - Kathryn Freeman

I'm a huge Kathryn Freeman fan so I'm delighted to be one of the bloggers opening the Rachels' Random Resources blog tour for The Italian Job.  After you've found out more about the book and read my review below, keep on scrolling for a fab giveaway to win a paperback copy of The Italian Job.

Dream job. Dream house. Fake fiancé.

A year in a gorgeous Italian castle…

When Anna Roberts’ life implodes, an online search leads her to an ad for the ultimate dream job – management of a gorgeous castle on the shores of Lake Como, accommodation included. The only catch? Anna can’t do it alone…

…With the last man on earth she’d choose!

The castle owners will only accept a couple as caretakers, which means Anna needs a man on her arm at the interview. Enter her neighbour, Jake Tucker. Though Anna and Jake have never seen eye-to-eye, Jake’s had a rough few years and an escape to Italy sounds ideal. Yet, when they get the job and jet off, Anna and Jake face an unexpected challenge. Pretending to be a couple is difficult … but pretending the tension simmering between them doesn’t exist is quickly proving impossible!

What did I think?

It always makes me happy when a new Kathryn Freeman book drops on my kindle and I read most of The Italian Job with a huge smile on my face.  It's a little more raunchy than usual, as the sexual tension between the two characters sizzles throughout, but there's no graphic sex scenes.

I just loved the characters of Anna and Jake - they're not your typical girl next door and boy next door as they have always been at loggerheads.  Jake is a bad boy and Anna is a saint, or at least that's how they've always seen each other.  Jake happens to be in the right place at the right time when Anna finds the perfect job to escape her life (and her ex) and the pair find themselves running a castle in Italy.  

Jake would have been the last person I would have asked to help out if I was Anna but she's hardly a big fan of men at the moment so I can see why she'd pick Jake as he can't disappoint her when she doesn't expect anything from him.  He just needs to pretend to be her boyfriend, which isn't as easy as it sounds when they can't stand each other!  Of course, there's no surprises where their storyline goes but I enjoyed it as there are a colourful cast of characters to meet along the way.

Former pharmacist Kathryn should prescribe her novels as a drug-free pick me up; they never fail to put a smile on my face and The Italian Job is no exception.  I enjoyed every minute of my virtual trip to Italy - thank you, Kathryn!

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

My rating:

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About the author:

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to write a book. It may have had something to do with my obsession with reading romance. Real life interfered and I headed off in a different direction – into the world of science, becoming a pharmacist before joining the pharmaceutical industry. I did end up writing, but it was about disease and medicines. Decades later, I’m finally doing what I always wanted to do.

With a husband who asks every Valentine's Day whether he has to buy a card (yes, he does), all the romance in my life is 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 –

Giveaway to Win a PB copy of The Italian Job by Kathryn Freeman (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 May 2022

The Sky Over Rebecca - Matthew Fox

Winner of The Bath Children's Novel Award 2019

There was a single trail of footprints, the first I'd seen all morning. They were fresh tracks, I saw, the edges of the impressions in the snow quite hard. Small feet. Like mine. Someone my age.
Then they stopped.

When mysterious footprints appear in the Stockholm snow, ten-year-old Kara must discover where they've come from - and who they belong to. They lead Kara to Rebecca, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl, and her younger brother Samuel. Kara realises they are refugees - from another time, World War Two - and are trying to find their way home.

The grief and loneliness that Rebecca and Samuel have endured is something Kara can relate to - feeling like you're always on the outside looking in - and she finds herself compelled to help them. Through her eyes, we rediscover the magic that lies in the world around us, if only we have the courage to look for it.

Kara is a heroine for modern times: fragile but fierce, in this utterly compelling story from a stellar new voice in children's literature, Matthew Fox.

What did I think?

What a joy to read; I read this beautiful book in one sitting.  I’m a little older (just thirty years or so) than the 10-12 year old age group it is written for but I absolutely loved it.

Kara is an inquisitive and intelligent child living in Stockholm with her single mum.  When Kara finds an intriguing snow angel and an historical coin she begins an adventure that leads her to an island in the middle of the lake and two Jewish children hidden there.  Only Kara can see Rebecca and her brother Samuel as they are from a different time and only Kara can help them escape the Nazis who are persecuting them.

We must never forget the atrocities of the second world war and I applaud Matthew Fox for bringing the holocaust to the attention of a new generation in such a poignant, yet magical way.

The Sky Over Rebecca is beautifully written and I am getting goosebumps just thinking about it now.  It’s an extraordinary, compelling and completely unforgettable story.  Highly recommended to readers both young and old.

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Saturday 21 May 2022

BLOG TOUR: Curtain Call at the Seaview Hotel (A Helen Dexter Cosy Crime Mystery book 2) - Glenda Young

In the charming Yorkshire seaside town of Scarborough, the stage is set for murder . . .

Helen Dexter has started a new chapter in her life as sole proprietor of the Seaview Hotel.

But things take a dramatic turn when an acting troupe book into the hotel to rehearse a play they hope will save a much-loved theatre from being closed down. Helen immediately picks up on tension between the actors, but there is worse to come when the charismatic leading lady is found dead.

With so much at stake, it's clear the show must go on. Helen is roped into helping the troupe with their performance, giving her ample opportunity to discover who wanted their diva dead.

However, the murder is not the only thing on Helen's mind. She's receiving threatening phone calls, her car is vandalised - and she's just learned of an impending visit from a hotel inspector which could change the fortunes of the Seaview Hotel.

With her trusty greyhound Suki by her side, Helen is determined to uncover the identity of the killer - even if it means she has to give the performance of her life.

What did I think?

Glenda Young is such an amazing storyteller that I always get excited when she has a new book coming out, whether it's her family sagas or cosy crime series.  Curtain Call at the Seaview Hotel is the second book in the Helen Dexter Cosy Crime Mystery series set in Scarborough but it can totally be read as a standalone.

Helen Dexter runs a guesthouse in the picturesque seaside town of Scarborough and her latest booking is a group of actors who are performing in the town's theatre, in an attempt to save it from closure.  As Helen observes the actors at close quarters, they aren't as friendly towards each other as they first appeared and one of them is about to be murdered.  They all appear to have motive but Helen and her faithful greyhound Suki are determined to sniff out the murderer.

Add in a hotel inspector, a snooty neighbour, and a secretive new boyfriend and you've got a hugely entertaining tale.  There's more drama and entertainment in this one book than in a week's worth of Coronation Street episodes.  The setting is beautiful and Glenda's love of Scarborough shines through in her stunning, evocative writing.

Curtain Call at the Seaview Hotel is absolutely brilliant from start to finish.  There is so much drama and entertainment crammed into this fantastic book that it's impossible to put down.  I loved it and most definitely recommend it.

I received a digital ARC via NetGalley and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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Tuesday 17 May 2022

BLOG TOUR: Yes, I Killed Her (DI Mel Cooper Series Book 2) - Harry Fisher

For fans of Ian Rankin, Val Mcdermind and Chris Brookmyre, Yes, I Killed Her is Harry Fisher's audacious follow-up crime thriller, starring Edinburgh detective Mel Cooper. She takes no crap, not even from the bad guys.

In the 21st century, is the perfect murder remotely possible?

Edwin Fuller is convinced it is. He’s cunning, calculating and chilling. He makes a plan. He carries it out. And he kills his wife.

His plan has worked; he’s got away with murder. Case closed.

Until he makes a big mistake.

What did I think?

OMG!!! This book is AWESOME!!  I absolutely LOVED it.  I have never been so gripped by a book when you already know who the murderer is.  It's the second book in a series but you can most definitely read it as a standalone as I haven't read book one (Be Sure Your Sins) but boy, do I want to now!

DI Mel Cooper is a cracking character, I love her and the whole team and I couldn't read fast enough to see how they would deal with their latest case.  It looks like they have an easy case when a body is found and all the evidence points in one direction, however, Mel thinks it's just a little too easy and something about the victim's husband isn't sitting right with her.  Edwin Fuller is a horrible little man; he thinks he's executed the perfect murder but his ego could end up being his own worst enemy.  

This book is so clever, the plot is razor sharp and the writing is perfectly balanced between detailed police procedural and entertaining dark humour.  It's just brilliant from start to finish and I simply couldn't put it down.  This is a series that I definitely want more of and I'm already adding it to my favourites list, even though I've just jumped in at book two.  Yes, it's that good!!

Yes, I Killed Her is fast-paced, gripping, entertaining and very clever.  It's an outstanding police procedural that's a little different from the norm and I loved every second of it.  VERY highly recommended - don't miss this one, crime fans!

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

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Thursday 12 May 2022

The Twenty-One Year Contract - L. B. Griffin

Kathleen Gray -- talented, a little wild, at times rebellious, but always popular -- has a fun, easy life in rural Somerset, with a doting family. Suddenly, they are gone, everything is changed, and she has only Uncle Jack. Try as he might, he cannot be father and mother to her -- he has a business to run and his own life to manage. Kathleen takes a chance and becomes Kate Westfield, fending for herself in London, with a new life built on her hopes and dreams and new friends. She could hardly have imagined that one of those friends has a shoebox full of answers.

What did I think?

Having read and adored Secrets, Shame, and a Shoebox, I couldn't wait to read the sequel, The Twenty-One Year Contract and I am delighted to say that it is just as outstanding as its predecessor.

Whilst it is a sequel, it can definitely be read as a standalone but for anyone who has read Secrets, Shame, and a Shoebox, it's like seeing that novel in high definition as I saw some of that story from another angle.  This book concentrates on Kathleen's story from her tragic beginnings to her later success and friendship with Harriet, a character I remember fondly from the previous book.

The writing is sublime; L.B. Griffin doesn't just write with her heart, she writes with her heart and soul.  You can't help but be drawn into Kathleen and Harriet's stories as they ebb and flow and eventually intertwine.  The characters are so well developed that they leap out from the page and I feel like I know them and consider them friends.  So much so that I'm not ashamed to admit that I shed a tear or two at the end.

With an exquisite storyline, I devoured every single page and I'm not mentioning any plot details at all as it is sure to spoil it for other readers and I really do urge you to discover L.B. Griffin's novels for yourself.  The Twenty One Year Contract is described as a sequel but it is so much more than that as it accompanies and enhances Secrets, Shame, and a Shoebox.

The Twenty-One Year Contract is a genre busting novel that will appeal to so many readers; it's historical, family saga, women's fiction, mystery and contemporary.  It's poignant, hopeful, heartwarming and utterly breathtaking.  So very highly recommended.

Many thanks to L.B. Griffin for sending me an ARC to read and review; all opinions are my own.

Monday 9 May 2022

BLOG TOUR: Blood Lines (Steph Grant Murder Mystery Series Book 2) - Lin Le Versha

Set within the mysterious beauty of coastal Suffolk, this gripping new crime series is a dark murder mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end when the final shocking twist is revealed. Lin Le Versha is not to be missed, the brilliant new talent on the British crime writing scene.

Eighteen year-old Darcy Woodard appears to have it all – intelligence, good looks and artistic gifts. His teachers adore him, as does former policewoman Steph Grant, who is now the receptionist at Darcy's college.

But beneath the surface - all is not as it seems.

Adopted and mixed race, Darcy is convinced he doesn't fit in. He tries to ignore the racial taunts.

There's Darcy’s dysfunctional mother Esther who is trapped in a literary time warp.

Then there's his sister Marianne, who Darcy desperately wants to protect from the dark forces that surround her.

Then tragedy rocks Darcy’s life when a drugs gang forces its way into his life and all the people he cares for.

What can Steph and her former boss DI Hale do to protect the local community? And can they really trust Darcy to help them defeat the county lines gang?

Blood Lines is the second thrilling book in the Steph Grant murder mystery series by the brilliant Lin Le Versha.

What did I think?

Blood Lines is the second Steph Grant Murder Mystery book and although I haven't read Blood Notes, the first book in the series, you can absolutely read this as a standalone as I really enjoyed it.

Set mainly on a college campus, it's pretty dark in places as Lin Le Versha takes her readers on a tour of the dark and dangerous drug underworld.  Drugs are rife in the college and the principal decides to take action, with the help of former policewoman and college receptionist Steph Grant and her partner DI Hale.

I love how the Woodard family are incorporated into the story.  Steph knows Darcy and Marianne from college, but she just happens to meet their mother Esther when they are both visiting the local cinema on their own.  Steph soon becomes a friend of this incredibly dysfunctional family but when Darcy seems to turn up at every strange event, Steph realises there's more to this family than meets the eye.

Dealing with drugs, the plotline is quite dark but Lin Le Versha injects (no pun intended) an element of lighthearted humour in the form of Steph's dog Derek.  I mean just him being called Derek made me smile and I loved him tagging along with Steph as she tries to bring down the leader of the drug gang.  I also really enjoyed the college setting with the inevitable power struggles as some tutors vie to show their authority.

Blood Lines is a gripping, fast-paced, dark and twisty murder mystery; it's entertaining and surprising and I definitely want to read more of Steph Grant's story.

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

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Saturday 7 May 2022

BLOG TOUR: When I Close My Eyes - Jemma Wayne

For so many years it haunted. And in the end, all it took was a decision. One decision.

When an old friend reappears in her life, Hollywood screenwriter Lilith is forced to confront childhood demons that threaten to destroy the world she has created to keep herself – and others – safe.

Can she trust anyone?

Can she even trust herself?

What did I think?

When I Close My Eyes starts out as a bit of a slow burn but it heats up significantly in the final third and I couldn't read it fast enough.  It's beautifully written with some chapters being incredibly poetic in their length and carefully chosen wording.

It took me a little while to get into the book as Lilith is the type of person who keeps everyone at arms length so she is very difficult to get to know.  Once I got to know her, I really felt for her as she is haunted by her past and even her name.  Sensitively touching on the subjects of OCD and sleepwalking, I began to empathise with Lilith and even started to understand a little more about this debilitating condition.

While I was reading I kept wondering where the story was going to go but I could never have imagined the twists and turns it would take.  Jemma Wayne certainly has a few surprises in store for her readers in this hugely entertaining novel.

When I Close My Eyes is a beautifully written contemporary novel; it's sensitive, lyrical and surprising.  An absolute delight to read.

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

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