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#PublicationDayPush #Review ~ The Big Event by @AnneJohnLigali @rararesources @BooksNAuthorsUK

You are cordially invited to the party of the season where you’ll meet Constance and friends in action.

Constance Jeffries is excited when she gets the chance to meet up with virtual friends at a get-together in a London hotel. She’s been tweeting and messaging her lovely friends for years and feels they must be just as excited to finally meet her in person too. Or so she hopes.

The Big Event is first part in a short story series about the importance of ‘real’ friendships and how it’s the little things that matter the most.

A Gorgeous Venue, A Room Full of Friends, What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Purchase from  Amazon UK

About the Author

Anne John-Ligali is a writer and the founder of Books and Authors UK, a popular website featuring author interviews and book reviews. She loves all things books: reading, writing, going to book events, and meeting other book lovers. She has written a series of short stories and is currently writing her first novel.

When Anne is not writing, she is likely to be at soft play with her kids, taking long evening walks in Hyde Park, making green smoothies, window shopping, or having a pampering session at her local beauty salon (whenever she gets the chance). She can also be found watching box sets (albeit with a bit of shame at still having to catch up on Scandal, Grey’s, and Downton).

Originally from Peterborough, Anne now lives in London. After moving to London, she studied graphic design at the University of Arts and has held a number IT administration jobs in the city. Anne continues writing and aspires to write more women’s fiction books, a non-fiction book and several children’s books.

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My Review

I was pleasantly surprised by this short story. I did wonder how such a small piece of work would capture my attention and provide any worthy entertainment. How wrong I was to prejudge! 

The whole concept of meeting the ‘friends’ you find online will probably ring true with many people. You may share your deepest secrets and believe the relationships are true and meaningful but do you really gain an insight into that other person until you meet face to face or get to witness their behaviour unseen?

Constance is certain she knows each of the people she will be seeing at The Big Event and they will undoubtedly return her feelings. This is a wonderful little story that delves a bit further and portrays the real issues. It’s not always the person we first think of that will be the remarkable influence.

I really enjoyed this cleverly written tale, it’s fun but also has serious undertones and opens up a whole new series which I look forward to reading. Set aside five minutes and I think you will also be pleasantly surprised.

Thanks to the author and Rachel’s Random Resources for my copy which I read and reviewed voluntarily.

Giveaway

Win Sparkly Afternoon Tea for Two at Vertigo 42 in central London and one e-copy of The Big Event.

To enter and for full terms and conditions, please follow the link for everything you need to know. http://annejohnligali.com/651-2/

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#BlogTour #Review ~ Only One Woman by Christina Jones @bucolicfrolics @Jane_Risdon @AccentPress

Two women, one love story.

June 1968. Renza falls head over heels for heartthrob guitarist Scott. But after a romantic summer together they are torn apart when Renza’s family moves away.

December 1968. On the night she believes to be her last, Stella meets Scott at a local dance. He’s the most beautiful boy she’s ever seen and if this one night is all they have, she’ll take it.

As the final colourful year of the sixties dawns, the question is: can there be only one woman for Scott?

Ebook pub date: 23rd November 2017 Print pub date: 24th May 2018 Amazon UK

 

About the Authors

Christina Jones has written all of her life (as well as having millions of Proper Jobs including factory worker, secretary, nightclub dancer, blood donor attendant, barmaid, waitress, civil servant and fruit picker) Christina first had a short story published when she was just 14 years old. She has written for teenage and women s magazines fiction and non-fiction for a number of years, had her own humour column in The Oxford Times, and has contributed to national newspapers.

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Having spent most of her life married to a rock musician, Jane Risdon had little time for writing. She and her husband worked with management of musicians, singer-songwriters, and record producers, rubbing shoulders with the great and glamorous all over the world. With time to herself at last, Jane s experiences in the music industry have kick started her writing career. She and Christina Jones have been friends since the Swinging Sixties.

Twitter Website

My Review

I’m a bit of a fan of the swinging sixties, not quite of an age to fully appreciate it but my sister who is a lot older certainly ‘lived’ it so I gained quite a lot of knowledge from her, clothes, perfumes, music etc

Only One Woman nearly turned me off before I begun when I spotted how long it is. Being a blogger entails reading a LOT of books and I don’t always have time or patience to spend on one specific story if it drags into a lengthy tome. However no such fear with this one, as soon as I read the first few pages I just knew I was going to love it.

You soon become absorbed in the era, transported back to a completely different time. Told in the style of diary entries by Renza and Stella we immediately see into the world of these teenagers, what better way to get a feel for the climate.

Scott the rock god is the central link, Renza falls hopelessly for him but the relationship becomes long distance when her family moves abroad. Scott then meets Stella .. my initial thoughts were typical man, can’t have one girl so leaps at another. But the depth of this story explores the feelings from the trio and as much as it pains me I could almost understand Scott’s actions.

Only One Woman is cleverly written to capture the essence of all characters involved and I really felt connected to them. One moment I was rooting for Stella but in the blink of an eye Renza would be my favourite. I think the fact Scott was a hot musician helped his cause in my eyes, if he was just a layabout slob perhaps I would have given him a slap or two! I particularly enjoyed singing a long with the music and reminiscing about various 60’s products. Plenty of research or very good memories have gone into the writing of this book.

Thanks to the authors and publishers for my copy which I read and reviewed voluntarily.

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#BlogTour #Review ~Meet Me Under The Mistletoe by Carla Burgess @MsBear123 @HQDigitalUK #Extract

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the little flower shop…

Florist Rachel Jones might spend every day making beautiful bridal bouquets at her little flower shop, but her own love life is wilting as quickly as a bunch of dead roses.

Luckily, the arrival of handsome detective Anthony Bascombe, the new tenant upstairs is the perfect distraction! Although there’s a catch, Anthony isn’t looking for love – he’s looking for her ex-fiancé, Patrick…

But as the snow begins to fall and her little shop fills with mistletoe ready for Christmas, will Rachel manage to melt Anthony’s heart?

Fans of Debbie Johnson, Holly Martin and Christie Barlow will love this heartwarming read from the bestselling author of Marry Me Tomorrow

Amazon UK

About the Author 

Carla Burgess was born in Solihull and now lives in Chester, UK, with her husband, three children, dog and bearded dragon. She has a degree in English Literature and Psychology and started her working life as an editor on a trade journal.

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My Review

This is very much a boy meets girl, add in the Christmas theme, pop on a pretty festive cover and hope it stands out from the numerous books of the same ilk this year. 

Rachel adores everything about the season but unfortunately her love life is not adding that special someone to share it with. But she is happy and busy in her florist shop and when Anthony rents out the upstairs space things may look up.

Anthony though is a bit of a sourpuss when it comes to Christmas. Nevertheless there is a slight spark between them but life isn’t going to go smoothly. And the inevitable shock comes when she realises why he is there.

So, enjoy the families, Rachel’s parents are great there are a few people popping up from previous books. Meet Me Under The Mistletoe is a quick easy read. Delight in the journey of Rachel and Anthony, because true love always has ups and downs and that is where the real entertainment lies. I could visualise all the flowers and enjoyed the wintery feel. As much as I liked the end it did seem to happen rather abruptly .. maybe there will be a continuation?

Thanks to the author and publisher for my copy which I read and reviewed voluntarily.

Extract Chapter One

Anthony Bascombe walked into my life one Thursday afternoon in the middle of November. The bell above the door tinkled violently and a gust of wind accompanied him into the shop, making the flowers quiver in their buckets and the fairy lights shiver on the shelves. The shifting air carried the scent of his aftershave as it lifted my hair from my shoulders, and I had to place a hand on the sheets of wrapping paper on the counter to stop them flying away.

‘Sorry!’ he said, shutting the door behind him quickly. ‘It’s a bit blustery out there.’

‘It’s okay.’ I laughed and tried to ignore the fizz of attraction that surged through my veins as he smiled across at me. All kinds of customers came into my flower shop, including plenty of attractive men buying gifts for their loved ones, but it wasn’t often that they were dressed so well or had such lovely, twinkly blue eyes. He wore a beautifully cut navy suit and his short, dark-blond hair was styled into a neat little quiff at the front. Self-consciously, I smoothed down my flowery tea dress and tried to remember if I’d applied my winged eyeliner straight this morning. ‘How can I help you? Are you looking for anything in particular?’

‘I’m looking for you, actually,’ he said, still smiling as he walked towards me. ‘If you’re Rachel Jones, that is?’

‘Oh! Yes, that’s me. What can I do for you?’ I cleared my throat, mortified that my voice had gone all squeaky when his was so pleasantly deep.

‘I just came in to introduce myself. My name’s Anthony Bascombe.’ He extended a hand to shake. ‘I’m the new tenant in the apartment upstairs. I believe your parents are my new landlords.’

‘Oh!’ I gazed at him wide-eyed, delighted that I was going to be seeing him around a lot. He had such a lovely warm smile; it lit up his whole face. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. ‘Of course! You moved in on Sunday, didn’t you? I was wondering when we’d get to meet. Have you settled in okay? Is everything to your liking?’

‘Yes, everything’s perfectly fine, thank you. The apartment’s lovely.’

‘It is, isn’t it?’ I said, eager to keep him talking. ‘We had it renovated recently so it’s all fresh and new. I’m quite jealous you’re living there, actually. I felt like moving in myself.’

Raising his eyebrows slightly, he looked at me with interest. ‘Why didn’t you then?’

‘I have my own house already. It’s only a ten-minute walk down the road and over the river. Close enough.’ Realising I was on the verge of giving him my home address and inviting him round for tea, I shut up and then noticed my fingers were still wrapped around his big, warm hand. Trying to pretend it

was normal to hold a handshake for this long, I let go and tucked my hands into the pockets of my cardigan instead. To his credit, Anthony pretended not to notice and turned his attention to the shop.

‘It’s lovely in here. I love the whole vintage vibe.’ He turned around slowly, taking in the shelves of flowers, the display of scented candles on the shabby-chic Welsh dresser in the corner and the floral birdcages hung at different levels from the ceiling. ‘I like the fact you haven’t got any Christmas decorations up yet.’

‘Oh, they’ll be going up this weekend, don’t worry.’

He glanced back over his shoulder and raised an eyebrow. ‘Still too early.’

I laughed. ‘That’s the way it is in retail, I’m afraid. Some shops put them up as soon as Halloween’s out of the way.’

‘I know,’ he said, grudgingly. ‘So, why’s this shop called The Birdcage, then? You’re not trapped here, I take it?’

‘No, it was my Mum’s shop. Her name’s Birdie. I take it you haven’t met her yet. She’s on holiday with her sister at the moment. Dad won’t fly.’

‘Yes, I’ve only met your dad. Nice man.’ He turned back to face me and smiled. ‘Well, if you’re not trapped here, perhaps you’d like to take pity on the new boy in town and come out to dinner with me?’

‘I’m sorry?’ I blinked in surprise, thinking I’d misheard him.

He smiled. ‘No pressure or anything. I just can’t stand the thought of spending another night sitting in the flat sorting out boxes and I’d quite like to see a bit of Chester. That’s unless you already have plans, and only if your boyfriend wouldn’t object, of course?’

‘Oh! No, not at all. What time is it now?’

He looked at his watch. ‘Half past five. What time do you close?’

‘Half past five.’ I smiled, suddenly excited. This was a vast improvement on my original plans for the evening, which involved a microwave meal for one in front of Emmerdale and a bubble bath. ‘Let me bring the flowers in from outside and then I can lock up.’

‘Oh here, I’ll help you,’ he said, following me out of the shop to where more buckets of flowers stood just outside the door.

‘You don’t have to. It’ll only take a minute,’ I said, bending to lift a container of roses.

‘No, here, pass it to me.’ He held the door open with his back and took the container out of my hands. ‘Do I just put them in front of this shelf?’

‘Yes, please. That’s perfect,’ I said, passing him another container. There were only half a dozen or so containers of flowers out today. It had been too windy and cold to risk more. Leaves scuttled along the pavement and my skirt flapped around my legs, lifting and billowing ominously as I passed Anthony the

last container. I clamped it down with my hand, pink with embarrassment, but Anthony either didn’t or pretended not to see to spare my blushes. ‘Thank you,’ I said, as he stood back to let me through the door. I caught another waft of his aftershave and resisted the urge to sniff him all over like my parents’ spaniel. ‘I’ll just lock the back door and get my coat,’ I said, breathlessly, walking through the archway into the back of the shop where we created the flower arrangements. I’d intended to clear the stalks and leaves from the large wooden table before I left tonight, but it could wait until the morning. Locking the door, I set the alarm and grabbed my blue pea coat from the peg. Anthony turned the sign to closed as I dashed round switching off fairy lights and blowing out candles, and then held the door open for me when we were ready to go. I was seriously impressed by his manners. I wasn’t used to such gentlemanly behaviour.

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#BlogTour #Review ~ White Out by Ragnar Jónasson @ragnarjo @OrendaBooks @annecater

Author : Ragnar Jónasson
Title : Whiteout
Series : Dark Iceland #5
Pages : 276
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : November 1, 2017

Two days before Christmas, a young woman is found dead beneath the cliffs of the deserted village of Kálfshamarvík. Did she jump, or did something more sinister take place beneath the lighthouse and the abandoned old house on the remote rocky outcrop?

With winter closing in and the snow falling relentlessly, Ari Thór Arason discovers that the victim’s mother and young sister also lost their lives in this same spot, twenty-five years earlier.

As the dark history and its secrets of the village are unveiled, and the death toll begins to rise, the Siglufjordur detectives must race against the clock to find the killer, before another tragedy takes place.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Goodreads

About the Author

Ragnar Jónasson is author of the international bestselling Dark Iceland series. His debut Snowblind went to number one in the kindle charts shortly after publication, and Nightblind, Blackout and Rupture soon followed suit, hitting the number one spot in five countries, and the series being sold in 18 countries and for TV.

Ragnar was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, where he continues to work as a lawyer. From the age of 17, Ragnar translated 14 Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic. He has appeared on festival panels worldwide, and lives in Reykjavik with his wife and young daughters.

Twitter Website

My Review

The thing I like most about Ragnar’s books is the utter absorption into the chilling atmospheric world he lures you into. Always great for a dark, suspenseful novel. 

I will say if you haven’t read any in this series be prepared to put your concentration cap on, they are not the easiest of stories to get into purely because of the names of people/places. Once you accept in your mind what all of them mean it does fall into place, maybe my poor ability to retain knowledge at the moment due to illness possibly skewed my opinion but overall I knew being an Orenda book in this style I would grow to love it.

Allow yourself time to enjoy the slow build case, yet again another fascinating glimpse into Nordic crime fiction. It is purely coincidence that this book is set just prior to Christmas it certainly wasn’t my intention to read ‘another’ festive book. Nothing sweet about this story as death is investigated, is it suicide or more sinister? Nice to see Ari Thór and Tómas back as the investigative duo.

Check out the others in the series before embarking on Whiteout for full understanding and enjoyment.

Thanks to the author and publisher for my copy which I read and reviewed voluntarily. 

 

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#BookBirthdayBlitz #Review ~ Christmas at the Little Knitting Box by @HJRolfe @rararesources #Giveaway #Extract

Christmas is coming and New York is in full swing for the snowy season. But at The Little Knitting Box in the West Village, things are about to change …

The Little Knitting Box has been in Cleo’s family for nearly four decades, and since she arrived fresh off the plane from the Cotswolds four years ago, Cleo has been doing a stellar job of running the store. But instead of an early Christmas card in the mail this year, she gets a letter that tips her world on its axis.

Dylan has had a tumultuous few years. His marriage broke down, his mother passed away and he’s been trying to pick up the pieces as a stay-at-home dad. All he wants this Christmas is to give his kids the home and stability they need. But when he meets Cleo at a party one night, he begins to see it’s not always so easy to move on and pick up the pieces, especially when his ex seems determined to win him back.

When the snow starts to fall in New York City, both Cleo and Dylan realise life is rarely so black and white and both of them have choices to make. Will Dylan follow his heart or his head? And will Cleo ever allow herself to be a part of another family when her own fell apart at the seams?

Full of snow, love and the true meaning of Christmas, this novel will have you hooked until the final page.

Purchase From Amazon UK  Amazon US

About the Author 

Helen J Rolfe writes contemporary women’s fiction with an emphasis on relationships and love. She enjoys weaving stories about family, friendship, secrets, and characters who face challenges and fight to overcome them. Helen enjoys creating strong female lead characters and although her stories often deal with serious issues, they always have a happy ending.

Location is a big part of the adventure in Helen’s books and she enjoys setting stories in different cities and countries around the world. So far, locations have included Melbourne, Sydney, New York, Connecticut, Bath and the Cotswolds.

Born and raised in the UK, Helen graduated from University with a business degree and began working in I.T. This job took her over to Australia and it was there that she studied writing and journalism and began writing for women’s health and fitness magazines. She also volunteered with the PR department of a children’s hospital where she wrote articles and media releases. Helen began writing fiction in 2011 and hasn’t missed the I.T. world one little bit, although the I.T. skills have come in handy of course, especially when it comes to creating and maintaining a website.

After fourteen years of living in Australia, Helen returned to the UK and now lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and their children.

  Website  Facebook  Twitter

Extract

Cleo likes being single…men only add complications. So when she meets Dylan, will she let herself get involved?

‘Something’s put a smile on your face.’ Rita, the manager who served Cleo a hot chocolate at the café next door, loved to banter with her customers. She pushed the plastic lid onto the cup.

‘I went to a party at my friend’s place last night.’ Cleo clutched her takeaway cup between her palms to warm them up at this early hour. She was due to open the store in fifteen minutes but hadn’t been able to sleep last night, so had been at The Little Knitting Box so early she’d already dusted, vacuumed, got the cash register sorted and even taken a delivery and replenished most of the shelves.

Rita was right. Cleo couldn’t stop smiling, it was ridiculous. She was in her thirties, not her teens.

Rita leaned in and lowered her voice. ‘You hooked up! I can tell. You’ve got that look on your face. And I want details later,’ she demanded with a knowing grin.

Cleo held a hand up in acknowledgement as she left the café to go back to her store. She presumed Rita had had the same letter from the owner of the building that housed both of their businesses and more. But this morning, Cleo didn’t want anything to ruin the euphoria of Dylan and her memories of last night. She’d deal with anything else later. And if she could get another year out of The Little Knitting Box, as the letter had suggested, it gave her plenty of time to think about what she needed to do. Maybe she could work it out and not have to leave New York City and the life she’d built.

Cleo allowed herself some time to enjoy her hot chocolate out the back of the store and checked her phone again. She wasn’t sure whether she was hoping Dylan had called or that he hadn’t. She guessed if he didn’t contact her, she could remember last night for what it was, a bit of fun. But if he did, she’d be forced to think about whether she wanted to see him again. She’d walked home to her apartment from Penn Station last night, determined not to let complications scare her off, but now she’d slept away the wine and the buzz had eased off enough to show a glimpse of reality, she wasn’t sure whether getting involved with him was a good idea in the long run.

My review which I originally shared a year ago! 

It’s a well known fact Helen is one of my ‘go to’ authors as soon as a new book is available so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this. Once again it combines Christmas and NYC so a happy reader here before I began the first sentence.

Cleo inherits a knitting shop .. the story revolves around it’s day to day running and the people involved in it. I could feel myself wrapped in the cosy yarns, sense the exquisite colours, the smell associated with it and the pleasure Cleo gained from putting her life and soul into it. 
 
A steady flow of customers choosing patterns, the excitement of picking special buttons to fix on a finished garment, the knitting groups she hosted where folk came together to create marvellous items. It is all written with fabulous descriptions and feeling. I learned to knit before I went to school, taught by my grandmother so this part of the story was very nostalgic.
 
However the long term outlook for the shop is put in jeopardy. And the person responsible just happens to be an irresistible man, Dylan. Cleo meets him at a friends party and the attraction is instant but Dylan is a single dad and this doesn’t sit well with Cleo’s past, couple that with a possible disruption to her future and trouble must be near by.
 
I enjoyed the blossoming friendship between Cleo and Dylan and especially liked all the Christmas references to NYC.  Another brilliant character is Kaisha, a student who helps out in the shop … she shows such passion and I would love to see more of her in future.
 
It will come as no surprise that I loved every minute of this and had to keep reading until I had finished. A cosy, warm, festive feel-good story that lived up to all my expectations! Helen has done it again .. thanks for several hours of escapism.
 
And ultra exciting news just in, Book 2 will be available on 12th December! 🙂 

Snowflakes and Mistletoe at the Inglenook Inn (New York Ever After, Book 2)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but is it the time to fall in love? As the flames on the log fire flicker and the snowflakes swirl above the New York streets, maybe this Christmas could be the one that changes everything… When Darcy returns to Manhattan, she’s put in charge of the Inglenook Inn, a cosy boutique hotel in the heart of Greenwich Village. The Inn needs a boost in bookings if it’s to survive the competition, so Darcy is convinced that hosting Christmas this year is the answer. What she doesn’t expect is to meet a face from the past, which can only spell trouble. Myles left England behind and took a job in New York. It’s a step forwards in his career, and has the added bonus of being nowhere near his family. He’s also hoping to avoid Christmas, the worst time of the year. But when his company puts him up at the Inglenook Inn and he recognises Darcy, it isn’t long before they clash. When disaster strikes, can Myles and Darcy put their differences aside to make Christmas at the Inglenook Inn a success?

Publication Date – 12th December 2017

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#BlogTour #Review ~ A Little Christmas Faith by @KathrynFreeman1 @rararesources @ChocLituk

 

Is it time to love Christmas again? Faith Watkins loves Christmas, which is why she’s thrilled that her new hotel in the Lake District will be open in time for the festive season. And Faith has gone all out; huge Christmas tree, fairy lights, an entire family of decorative reindeer. Now all she needs are the guests … But what she didn’t bank on was her first paying customer being someone like Adam Hunter. Rugged, powerfully built and with a deep sadness in his eyes, Adam is a man that Faith is immediately drawn to – but unfortunately he also has an intense hatred of all things Christmassy. As the countdown to the big day begins, Faith can’t seem to keep away from her mysterious guest, but still finds herself with more questions than answers: just what happened to Adam Hunter? And why does he hate Christmas?

Purchase from  Amazon UK

About the Author 

I was born in Wallingford but have spent most of my life living in a village outside Windsor. A former pharmacist, I’m now a medical writer who also loves to write romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero…

I’ve two teenage boys and a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to bother buying a card again this year (yes, he does) so the romance in my life is all in my head. Then again, my husband’s unstinting support of my career change goes to prove that love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes can come in many disguises.

Social Media Links  Website  Facebook  Twitter

My Review

A Little Christmas Faith is another charmer by Kathryn Freeman. I enjoy her style which always makes the story flow smoothly while pulling the reader in and making you feel as though you are a part of the experience.

Faith has rather crazily decided to open up her new hotel just before Christmas, eager to make a good impression she is thrilled when she has a ‘real’ guest, Adam. Her family staying doesn’t count right?

One huge problem Faith hasn’t taken into account with all her decorations and OTT festivities is the fact Adam can’t abide Christmas and simply wants a bolt hole to escape his idea of hell.

Now this wouldn’t be a sappy seasonal book if he ruins it all would it!? However the reality behind his dislike is real and painful and it takes Faith a lot of patience and hard work to slowly draw him out of his protective shell. I liked both of these guys, Faith is so sweet and caring, Adam just oozes manliness so he gets my vote. Add in her family and a couple of furry friends and it makes for a satisfying story. 

The descriptions of the hotel decorated in all it’s glory is enough to melt a corner of the hardest hearts so if you haven’t quite got into the spirit of the season yet maybe this is a good place to start.

Thanks to the author, publisher, netgalley and Rachel’s Random Resources for my copy which I read and reviewed voluntarily.

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#BlogTour #Review ~ You’re Next by @MichaelFowler1 @CarolineBookBit @caffeinenights

It is the opening day of Detective Sergeant Scarlett Macey’s biggest case of her life – ‘The Lycra Rapist’ is standing trial for a series of brutal rapes.

But things don’t go according to plan – the trial collapses – and James Green is freed.

Scarlett is determined his freedom will not last long and immediately begins planning his downfall.

Meanwhile James Green has his own plans for revenge, and driven by feelings of hatred begins to pick out those who brought about his downfall – priming them for the kill.

Scarlett has faced many villains in the past, but never one quite as terrifying as James Green…

Amazon UK  Amazon US

About the Author

Following retirement, after thirty-two years as a police officer, working mainly as a detective, Michael returned to the deadly business of murder, as a writer. His past work brought him very close to some nasty characters, including psychopaths, and gruesome cases, and he draws on that experience to craft his novels: There is nothing gentle about Michael’s stories.

His landmark novel Heart of the Demon, published in 2012, introduced Detective Sergeant Hunter Kerr. Michael has since written five novels and a novella featuring Kerr. He also released the first DS Scarlett Macey book in 2016. Michael is also the author of a stand-alone crime novella and a true crime thriller.

Michael has another side to his life – a passion for art, and has found considerable success as an artist, receiving numerous artistic accolades. Currently, his oil paintings can be found in the galleries of Spencer Coleman Fine Arts.

He is a member of the Crime Writers Association and International Thriller Writers.

Find out more Website Facebook  Twitter

My Review

You’re Next had my skin crawling and spine tingling with that sick to the pit of your stomach feeling, it’s not a book for the faint hearted or easily upset. BUT it is a damn fine police procedural. Sometimes it does the reader good to know that real life does exist, it’s so easy to get caught up in frilly fluffy rom-coms, nothing wrong with that but occasionally I like a book I can get my teeth into and be left holding on with my nails.

Detective Sergeant Scarlett Macey has a huge case and she faces it with the determination you would want if she was on your side. Trouble is the evil slime ball James is freed when the trial goes awry .. which just increases Scarlett’s desire to nab him. Can she possibly contend with such a brutal villain though?

I thoroughly enjoyed the behind the scenes peek into her and her partner DC Scarr’s personal lives. But it was the police cases which held my attention. Knowing the author is an ex-cop certainly adds to the realistic nature of the writing. If you are after a hard-hitting novel that will pull you in and keep you reading until the end then give You’re Next a go! But be prepared for some gruesomeness. 

Thanks to the author, publisher and Bits about Books for my copy which I read and reviewed voluntarily.

 

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#BlogBlitz #Review ~ The Last Post by BK Duncan @RuthWadewriter @Bloodhoundbook

It is April 1918. May Keaps is a twenty year old ambulance driver stationed at The Front. As if transporting hideously wounded soldiers, sleep deprivation and constant shell bombardment weren’t enough, she becomes unwittingly entangled in the untimely death of a young captain, Tobias Fairfax.

Newly-arrived in Northern France he was found with a discharged pistol by his side; rumours on the battlefield were that it wasn’t an accident and he had taken the coward’s way out, committing suicide.

Whatever the explanation, Tobias left a dangerous legacy that puts May in the line of fire. But she is not the only one with a reason to want to uncover the truth. And in a world where life can be extinguished in the blink of an eye, May might regret her search for answers…

The Last Post is the haunting introduction to the May Keaps series.

 Amazon UK  Currently FREE to download at time of posting.

About the Author

BK Duncan is the pen name Ruth Wade has adopted for the May Keaps series of historical crime novels.

Born on a steam railway and brought up on the South Coast of England, such beginnings were destined to leave BK Duncan with a love of vintage transport, crashing seas, and Art Deco architecture.

Following a career encompassing developmental learning and change-management consultancy she now combines producing her own work with lecturing part-time in creative writing in colleges and academies in Cambridge and Oxford. Her two great passions are longbow archery and the Argentine Tango. Sadly, she is not nearly as accomplished at either as she’d like.

BK Duncan also writes historical crime novels as Ruth Wade.

BK Duncan on Pinterest BK Duncan on Twitter  BK Duncan pages on Ruth Wade website  Ruth Wade on Twitter  Ruth Wade on Instagram

My Review

This is a very quick novella introducing a new series which will be released next month. The Last Post is an extremely riveting, punchy read. Totally realistic, I have a tendency to lean towards books set in the war/s at the moment and this one features May an ambulance driver at the Front, 1918.

The atmospheric feel of utter despair, the war wounded both physically and mentally scream at you from the pages. May is a very mature, competent 20 year old thrust into the horror of war and if this is an inkling of what is to come with the full length novel I can’t wait.

The Last Post can be read in a coffee break but the contents will stay in your heart a lot longer. Fabulous writing style and a recommended read.

Thanks to the author and publisher .. I enjoyed this and will be keeping my eye open for Foul Trade.

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#BlogBlitz #Review ~ Heart Note by @cass_oleary @rararesources #Giveaway

Love is like a fine perfume. The top note draws you in, an instant attraction, but the Heart Note is the true essence. Like true love – a great perfume should be a woman’s perfect match. At least, that’s what perfume counter manager, Lily Lucas, tells her customers in one of Australia’s largest department stores. It’s almost Christmas, the store is bedecked with baubles and Lily has about eleventy billion gifts to wrap and sell. She and her team of spritzer chicks are glamorous, professional and hoping they don’t have to wear the hideous red onesies and reindeer antlers the store manager has in mind. The high point of Lily’s work life is Christos Cyriakos, ex-cop, security guard, possible Greek god. He’s a mystery box she’d love to unwrap. But can she trust him? All Lily wants for Christmas is to kiss Christos (and more), catch a band of thieves running amok in the store, and live happily ever after. Is that too much to wish for?

Publication date – 6th November 2017

Amazon US  Amazon CA  Amazon UK  Amazon AU Universal Link

About the Author

**Winner of the We Heart New Talent contest, HarperCollins UK. Nominated for BEST NEW AUTHOR in the 2016 AusRom Today Reader’s Choice Awards for excellence in Australian romance fiction.** Cassandra O’Leary is a romance and women’s fiction author, communications specialist, avid reader, film and TV fangirl and admirer of pretty, shiny things. In 2015, Cassandra won the We Heart New Talent contest run by Avon Books/HarperCollins UK. Her debut romantic comedy novel, Girl on a Plane, was published in July 2016. Cassandra was also a 2015 finalist in the Lone Star writing contest, Northwest Houston Romance Writers of America, and a 2014 finalist in the First Kiss contest, Romance Writers of Australia. Cassandra is a mother of two gorgeous, high-energy mini ninjas and wife to a spunky superhero. Living in Melbourne, Australia, she’s also travelled the world. If you want to send her to Italy or Spain on any food or wine tasting ‘research’ trips, that would be splendiferous. You’ll find Cassandra online, drinking coffee and possibly buying shoes. Oh, yes. And writing.

Social Media Links  Facebook  Twitter Pinterest  Instagram  Goodreads  Website

My Review

I could base my entire thoughts about this book around that cover, I just ADORE it. The contents of the story were almost secondary! 

This is a cute festive novella which has all the ingredients for a fun-filled read. Set at the perfume counter in a department store in Australia so it’s a bit off tangent from the contrived snow and frosty settings which makes a pleasant change.

Lily has a a million things to prepare for the season but hopes it doesn’t mean she has to wear the skimpy ‘Santa’ outfits along with wonky antlers that the management seem to favour. Her and the fellow squirty sales staff want to look and remain professional as they sell their wares.

No matter how busy Lily is though, her eyes focus on Christos the gloriously handsome security guard. Can the sizzle and sparks be kept under control … the chemistry and actions between these two makes for an intriguing tale when it becomes apparent things aren’t quite as simple as they first appear. 

I liked these two, enjoyed watching the plot unfold, could imagine the baubles and lights brightening up the store. Heart Note was a bit slow to grab my attention but stick with it, it’s only a short novella and does draw you in unexpectedly. 

Thanks to the author and Rachel’s Random Resources for my copy which I read and reviewed voluntarily. 

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#BlogTour #Review ~ Blood Rites by @DStuartDavies @urbanebooks @annebonnybook

Blood Rites is a Northern thriller set in Huddersfield, Yorkshire in the 1980s featuring Detective Inspector Paul Snow. DI Paul Snow has a personal secret. He is a homosexual but is desperate to keep it secret, knowing it would finish his career in the intolerant police force of the time. As this personal drama unfolds, he is involved in investigating a series of violent murders. All the victims appear to be chosen at random and to have no connection with each other. After the fourth murder, Snow is removed from the case for not finding the killer but continues investigating the matter privately. Gradually, Paul manages to determine a link between the murder victims, but this places his own life in great danger. Can Paul unmask the killer as he wrestles with his own demons?

Release date 9th November 2017 Amazon UK

About the Author

David Stuart Davies is an author, playwright and editor. His fiction includes six novels featuring his wartime detective Johnny Hawke, Victorian puzzle solver artist Luther Darke, and seven Sherlock Holmes novels – the latest being Sherlock Holmes and the Ripper Legacy (2016). His non-fiction work includes Starring Sherlock Holmes, detailing the film career of the Baker Street sleuth. David has also penned a Northern Noir trilogy of gritty crime novels set in Yorkshire in the 1980s: Brothers in Blood, Innocent Blood and Blood Rites.

David is regarded as an authority on Sherlock Holmes and is the author of two Holmes plays, Sherlock Holmes: The Last Act and Sherlock Holmes: The Death and Life, which are available on audio CD. He has written the Afterwords for all the Collector’s Library Holmes volumes, as well as those for many of their other titles.

He is a committee member of the Crime Writers’ Association and edits their monthly publication Red Herrings. His collection of ghost and horror stories appeared in 2015, championed by Mark Gatiss who said they were ‘pleasingly nasty.’

David is General Editor of Wordsworth’s Mystery & Supernatural series and a past Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund. He has appeared at many literary festivals and the Edinburgh Fringe performing his one man presentation The Game’s Afoot – an evening with Sherlock Holmes & Arthur Conan Doyle. He was recently made a member of The Detection Club.

Website  Twitter  Urbane Publications

My Review

This is the first book I have read by this author, the fact the DI has a personal secret which would likely jeopardise his whole career if it leaks out immediately caught my eye. Set in the 1980’s, which let’s face it was a different rather ignorant era as far as homosexuality was concerned. The force would not tolerate such ‘behaviour’ and in that respect they are notorious for being old-fashioned.

So Paul has some difficult decisions to make, live a life of hypocrisy and marry, remain single and celibate or just risk it all. His job involves investigating several murders, is there a link between the victims or indeed himself? Paul has his work cut out trying to solve the case, each death seems to be more complex than previously. There appears to be little evidence as it progresses fairy rapidly and has a mighty twist near the end.

While this is definitely a police procedural it tends to focus more on Paul’s inner turmoil and acceptance of himself, it certainly portrays how attitudes have changed. I quite liked the ‘romance’ with Matilda and raised many questions about her thought processes.

A slightly off-beat read for me but none the less entertaining. Thanks to the author and publisher for my copy which I read and reviewed voluntarily. 

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