Friday, 28 April 2017

Dead Souls - Angela Marsons

About the book… 
The truth was dead and buried…until now.

When a collection of human bones is unearthed during a routine archaeological dig, a Black Country field suddenly becomes a complex crime scene for Detective Kim Stone.

As the bones are sorted, it becomes clear that the grave contains more than one victim. The bodies hint at unimaginable horror, bearing the markings of bullet holes and animal traps.

Forced to work alongside Detective Travis, with whom she shares a troubled past, Kim begins to uncover a dark secretive relationship between the families who own the land in which the bodies were found. 

But while Kim is immersed in one of the most complicated investigations she’s ever led, her team are caught up in a spate of sickening hate crimes. Kim is close to revealing the truth behind the murders, yet soon finds one of her own is in jeopardy - and the clock is ticking. Can she solve the case and save them from grave danger – before it’s too late?

An addictive, sinister crime thriller that will have readers on the edge of their seat.

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About the author… 

Angela Marsons is the author of the Amazon Bestselling DI Kim Stone series - Silent Scream, Evil Games, Lost Girls, Play Dead, Blood Lines and Dead Souls and her books have sold more than 2 million in 2 years.

She lives in the Black Country with her partner, their cheeky Golden Retriever and a swearing parrot.

She first discovered her love of writing at Junior School when actual lessons came second to watching other people and quietly making up her own stories about them. Her report card invariably read "Angela would do well if she minded her own business as well as she minds other people's".

After years of writing relationship based stories (The Forgotten Woman and Dear Mother) Angela turned to Crime, fictionally speaking of course, and developed a character that refused to go away.

She is signed to for a total of 16 books in the Kim Stone series and her books have been translated into more than 20 languages.

Her last two books - Blood Lines and Dead Souls - reached the #1 spot on Amazon on pre-orders alone.

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My thoughts…

I was given an ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour for Dead Souls organised by Angela Marsons publisher, Bookouture.  This is something I am more than happy to do.

Dead Souls is the sixth book in the D I Kim Stone, detective, thriller series and is as terrifyingly gripping and as nail biting as each of the previous five.

Angela Marsons is a writing phenomenon, just when you think you've got her writing style and characters firmly under your belt she goes and raises the bar just another notch and takes the next story up to a totally different level.

This time in Dead Souls we see Kim Stone move outside of her comfort zone and is forced to leave her team to fend for themselves and is forced to work alongside an old adversary Travis and his team to uncover the truth behind some human bones found on a local farm. This is something she isn't comfortable with and the more time she spends with him it quickly becomes very obvious that something serious has occurred in their past.  Kim as ever wants to front up to him and demand they clear the air but Travis is like a closed book and outwardly at least will not let Kim get under his skin.

Kim has definitely been taken out of her comfort zone, missing her side-kick Bryant more than she ever thought possible as she struggles to find her place in another Inspectors team.  Dead Souls for me was as much about the characters I'd already grown to love as the crimes they have to sold.  Characters I thought I knew really well after reading the previous five books in the series are polished up to reveal surprising facets that we'd previously not glimpsed.

Whilst she incommunicado her team have been left to manage themselves and investigate a series of seemingly unrelated crimes one of which in particular strikes a chord and affects Stacey - normally the unflappable, reliable detective constable who works relentlessly sifting through clues for her team.  It was quite disconcerting to witness her reaction and subsequent actions that not only put her life in danger but those of both teams.  It really highlights how inside of all of us we have a trigger point, something that pushes that button and can send us in to total destruct without the help support and guidance of those around us.  Of course you have to tell somebody for them to help you - something that Stacey quickly learnt to her cost.

I literally don't know how Angela does it but through her writing she highlights some of the most atrocious crimes and allows the reader to delve into a world that most of us thankfully find abhorrent and unthinkable.
As ever Angela, thankyou for another brilliant book of dark, terrifying escapism - another edge of the seat, heart hammering experience - until the next time!

Sunday, 16 April 2017

A Wedding in Italy - Tilly Tennant

About the book… 

Sun, spaghetti and sparkling prosecco. When it comes to finding love, there’s no place like Rome…  

Kate is living the dream with her gorgeous boyfriend Alessandro in his native city, but the reality is sometimes a little less romantic than she’d hoped. Every day in her new home is a fight against leaking pipes, her cantankerous landlord and her less-than-perfect grasp of the Italian lingo.  

All around her there is talk of weddings, but when a secret from her past is thrust out into the open, Kate must fight to prove to Alessandro’s Mamma – and the rest of his formidable family — that she truly is Italian marriage material.  

With the women in Alessandro’s life on a mission to break them apart, the cracks begin to show and Kate starts to question if Alessandro really is the man of her dreams. Can love and the city of romance conquer all, or is that just a fairy-tale? 

Let Rome steal your heart this summer in this gorgeously romantic escapist read. Perfect for fans of Jo Thomas and Abby Clements.

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About the author… 

From a young age, Tilly Tennant was convinced that she was destined for the stage.  Once she realised she wasn’t actually very good at anything that would put her on the stage, she started to write stories instead. There were lots of terrible ones, like The Pet Rescue Gang (aged eight), which definitely should not see the light of day ever again. Thankfully, her debut novel, Hopelessly Devoted to Holden Finn was not one of those, and since it hit the Amazon best seller lists she hasn’t looked back. Born in Dorset, she currently lives in Staffordshire with her husband, two daughters, three guitars, four ukuleles, two violins and a kazoo.

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My thoughts…

A Wedding in Italy is the second book in this series and sees Kate returning to Rome to take a chance on love with Alessandro the dishy, Italian policeman whom we met in Rome in Where the Heart Is.  A Wedding in Italy has all the dream like qualities we encountered in book one, good food, home, friends and family everything should be perfect.

Kate desperately loves Alessandro and dearly wants to make a new life in the city she fell in love with but things are not as easy or as simple as she'd like. Struggling for work, the language barrier, missing her sisters, Alessandro's tight knit family and their values plus another woman determined to send Kate running for the plane home to England so she can claim Alessandro for herself all throw up obstacles and cause doubts.

This story focuses very much on family. I loved reading about the different values and traditions within an Italian family in comparison to a British one.  Italy is not far from England but the way of life seems more traditional and appears a bit old fashioned, add to that the language barrier too. Kate has left her family behind in England and misses them dearly, she's hoping to get the same closeness with Alessandro's family that she shares with her own but it doesn't happen instantly something which adds to her insecurities.  She didn't anticipate being out of work for so long either and this is another thing that adds to her worries. Without an income she fears she may have to give up on her dreams and return home. 

Tilly Tennant has created strong characters that demand respect - Respect, trust, honesty and loyalty are very strong values and form the very fabric of Italian family life — the Conti family like and love Kate but don't know her well enough to know she will be the right person for their son and brother Alessandro and initially close ranks to protect him.  It was lovely how Tilly developed the relationship of Kate and Alessandro's family, giving her time to shine and grow, allowing their trust to build to such an extent that when the chips really were down for Kate they closed ranks to protect and support her. 

I lost myself totally in this book and the Italian way of life was sold to me completely — so much so I have booked a touring holiday from Venice to Sicily for next summer.  It is a book that inspires hope, living for today and taking a chance on life.  It's good to dream but sometimes it's even better to live those dreams.

I highly recommend this book, but more importantly this author.  Tilly Tennant is a temptress of the highest order — only she would have me looking at flights and surfing the internet for the nooks and crannies she describes so well.  Please tell me the Gelato shop really exists?!  I so want to live inside her books, they provide the perfect amount of escapism — so a huge thank you to her and her publisher Bookouture.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Spring at Blueberry Bay - Holly Martin

About the book… 

Welcome to beautiful Hope Island where the sea sparkles, the daffodils are blooming and a blossoming romance is just around the corner… 

Bella has always had a sunny outlook and caring nature, despite recently falling on hard times. When she finds a handsome homeless man on her doorstep, her kind heart tells her she must help him. So, she invites Isaac into her cottage and into her life in ways she could never have imagined… 

But Isaac is not what he seems. He’s keeping a huge secret from Bella, yet he never expected to fall for this open, generous and charming woman. 

Bella can’t ignore the chemistry between her and Isaac, but she’s had her trust badly broken in her past. Will she run when she learns the truth about Isaac, or will he be the one man who can help Bella believe in love again? 

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About the author… 

I studied media at university which led to a very glitzy career as a hotel receptionist followed by an even more glamorous two years working in a bank. The moment that one of my colleagues received the much coveted carriage clock for fifteen years service was the moment when I knew I had to escape. I quit my job and returned to university to train to be a teacher. Three years later, I emerged wide eyed and terrified that I now had responsibility for the development of thirty young minds. I taught for four years before History Off The Page came to my school to do a Tudor day. I now drive round the country in my little white van, dressing up as a Viking one day and an Egyptian High Priestess the next. 

I love to write. The characters do exactly what I want them to do, most of the time. Sometimes they do seem to go off and do their own thing without my permission. It is complete escapism into a world where I have full control.

I've been writing for four years now, every spare second I have, I'm scribbling ideas in a notebook or typing a scene on my laptop. I have written three romantic fiction books. Changing Casanova and The Chainsaw Masquerade were recently shortlisted for the Festival of Romance New Talent Award. My short story, One Hundred Proposals, won the Belinda Jones Travel Club short story competition and was published in the Sunlounger anthology.

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My thoughts…

I was given an ecopy of Spring at Blueberry Bay as part of the blog tour in exchange for an honest review, something I am more than happy to do.

Holly Martin is one of my all time favourite, feel good authors.  You know before you even open the first page that you're going to fall in love.  Everything from the cover, which I have to say is one of my favourite, to the characters and location were just perfect.

Spring at Blueberry bay introduces us to Bella, her sunny, effervescent character leaps from the page - she's open and far too honest for her own good, the truth just falls from her mouth and to hilarious consequences,not always at the right time.  But, she also has an alter ego who is vulnerable and struggles to trust, believing herself to be unloveable.  surface.  

Spring at Blueberry Bay introduces us to her extended family and friends and from the very first chapter gives us a clear understanding of the 'real' Bella.  Despite being out of work and penniless herself when she encounters a homeless person camped outside her house her heart melts and she invites Zac into her home, offering him a bed for the night and shares the last food in her cupboard with him.

This was a book that made me smile throughout, there are hilarious moments that made me laugh out loud.  One such moment which I shall refer to as the 'sofa tango' had me literally crying laughing and at a totally inappropriate moment - I was sat on the train, next to a total stranger, that coupled with the 'incident' made me lose control.  This happens all the time when reading a book by Holly Martin - she adds empathy and warmth to all her characters with comic timing that is just perfect.

The one thing that shines out from this book for me is that with the support, love and trust of family and friends, determination, loyalty and a strong will anything is possible and Bella proves just that in Spring at Blueberry Bay.

I highly recommend this book, it truly is a another perfect slice of deliciousness by Holly Martin - a dream like book that totally melted my heart. I cannot wait for the next instalment. Bring on summer!

Sunday, 9 April 2017

The Escape - C L Taylor

About the book… 

The new psychological thriller from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Accident, The Lie and The Missing.

"Look after your daughter's things. And your daughter…"
When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn't.
The stranger knows Jo's name, she knows her husband Max and she's got a glove belonging to Jo's two year old daughter Elise.

What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo's own husband turn against her.

No one believes that Elise is in danger. But Jo knows there's only one way to keep her child safe – RUN.

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About the author… 

C.L. Taylor lives in Bristol with her partner and young son. She started writing fiction in 2005 and her short stories have won several awards and been published by a variety of literary and women’s magazines. Cally has a degree in Psychology, with particular interest in abnormal and criminal Psychology. She also loves knitting, Dr Who, Sherlock, Great British Bake Off and Margaret Atwood and blames Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected for her love of a dark tale.

Her dark psychological thriller THE ACCIDENT was published in the UK by Avon HarperCollins in April 2014 and as BEFORE I WAKE in the US in June 2014 by Sourcebooks.

Her second psychological thriller THE LIE was published in the UK in April 2015. It became a Sunday Times bestseller and hit the #1 slots on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play and Sainsbury ebooks. It will be published in the US in June 2016.

CL's third psychological thriller THE MISSING was published in April 2016 and was another Sunday Times and ebook bestseller. 

Contact Links: 
My thoughts…

I was given a copy of C. L. Taylor's latest book The Escape in exchange for an honest review, something I am more than happy to provide.

I have read all of Cally's books and the time in-between finishing one and the next being published is torturous. She is an author that gets inside your mind with characters that are engaging and demand to be heard.

The Escape was a book that I flew through, I lost all sense of time as I flicked through the pages at a rate of knots as the lives of Max and Jo Blackmore and their daughter Elise unravelled.

They are a family that are no strangers to heartbreak and tragedy having lost their first child Henry, their second chance with daughter Elise should be glue that holds them together when in actual fact the very fabric of their family is fractured. Both trying to live their lives together but, are in fact; very much apart. Living lives with increasing difficulty by Max and his job as an investigative journalist and Jo with her panic attacks and agoraphobia. 

To say this was an intense, fast paced read would be an understatement.  I picked this book up and literally didn't put it down until I had read the very last page.  Jo is living a manic existence and her life finally starts to unravel after reluctantly offering - though offer wouldn't really be the right way to describe the situation, a stranger a lift.   She finds herself racing against the clock to pick her daughter up from nursery and in a situation she clearly doesn't feel comfortable in - reluctantly agreeing to giving a lift to a person who once in the car - makes threats and demands of Jo, telling her to keep her daughter safe and telling her to pass a message to her husband Max telling him to return what he took!

The sheer desperation of Jo as she struggles to understand the situation she finds herself in leaps off the page and she appears to be slowly going mad.  There are so many twists and turns I couldn't decide who to trust and see-sawed back and forth trying to decide who was on Jo's side and who was double crossing her. 

A mother will go to any lengths to protect her child and Jo's ability to do just that is stretched beyond belief.  Cally Taylor is an author with huge insight and attention to detail,  She has a writing style that is dark and twisted yet demonstrates an insight into the complex psyche of people and situations that makes every chapter plausible and real.

My heart literally broke in two whilst reading this book, the pain and shear desperation shone through this novel as true stories both past and present became apparent.  

I highly recommend this book to all readers of psychological thrillers who will appreciate the sharp eagle eye of an author who is going from strength t strength with each book published.  I lent this book to a friend before I read it and a couple of days later burst through my front door hardly able to speak ' this is book of the year, you have to read this now!'.  Gill, I have to agree an easy five stars from me!