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What She Saw by Diane Saxon | Blog Tour | Book Review 

I am delighted to join the blog tour for What She Saw by Diane Saxon today! My thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for my stop and the review copy!

What She Saw by Diane Saxon 

Publication Date: September 22, 2020

Publisher: Boldwood Books

ISBN: 9781838892685

My rating: 5/5

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Book Summary

‘An addictive 5* read that kept me guessing. Diane Saxon’s DS Jenna Morgan series is brilliant’ – bestselling author, Ross Greenwood.

Perfect for fans of Cara Hunter
Why does someone want the Lawrence family dead?

The Lawrence’s were the perfect family; successful, beautiful, and happy until one night their whole world was ripped apart. 
Detective Sergeant Jenna Morgan is called to investigate the suspected arson attack and death of the Lawrence family at the charred remains of their stunning home, Kimble Hall.
The case takes a sinister turn as the body count fails to tally.
Suspecting that someone may have survived the inferno, DS Morgan and her team need to discover whether they have a witness, or someone far more dangerous.
Who set the fire? Who wanted this family extinguished beyond recognition?
As the case progresses, DS Morgan realises she has a calculating, cold-blooded killer on her hands, and the race is on to track them down before they kill again.

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I Thought…

What She Saw is the third instalment in the Detective Sergeant Jenna Morgan series, set in Shropshire, England. Even though I have yet to read the first two books, I jumped at the chance to read this one, and I’m so pleased I did!

The story opens with teenager, Poppy, lying on her bedroom floor along with her dead boyfriend, Aiden, looking at her father who has just shot them. As Poppy plays dead, her father continues his mission to kill the rest of the Lawrence family before setting fire to their home – Kimble Hall.

This exciting start set the tone for the whole book and I was totally hooked. DS Jenna Morgan lives with her sister, Fliss, who is currently dating Jenna’s work partner, DS Mason Ellis. As Jenna and Mason investigate, Diane Saxon strikes a great balance between the crimes and Jenna’s personal life and both are compelling to read. This captivating police procedural is very well plotted and paced and I found Jenna to be a likeable protagonist, though she was certainly not perfect.

With numerous twists and good use of misdirection throughout, What She Saw held my interest. As the tension levels peaked, the shocking revelations left me reeling. A magnificent very highly recommended read.

Thank you to Diane Saxon, Boldwood Books, Rachel’s Random Resources and NetGalley for a complimentary copy of this novel at my request. This review is my own unbiased opinion. 

About the Author:

Diane Saxon previously wrote romantic fiction for the US market but has now turned to writing psychological crime. Find Her Alive was her first novel in this genre and introduced series character DS Jemma Morgan. She is married to a retired policeman and lives in Shropshire.

Social Links: Author WebsiteTwitter * Instagram * Facebook * Goodreads * Pinterest * Bookbub * Newsletter sign up 

Purchase at: Amazon 

Until Next Time, 

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Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café by Jessica Redland | Book Review Tour 

I am delighted to join the blog tour for Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café by Jessica Redland today! My thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for my stop and the review copy!

About the Book

Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café
 
Cosy up with a mug of hot chocolate for some festive sparkle from bestseller Jessica Redland.

Everyone is getting into the festive spirit on Castle Street – snow is falling, fairy lights are glistening and Christmas shopping is underway.

But for Tara Porter, owner of thriving cafe, The Chocolate Pot, this is the most difficult time of the year. From the outside, Tara is a successful businesswoman and pillar of the community. Behind closed doors, she is lonely.

With a lifetime of secrets weighing on her shoulders, she has retreated from all friends, family and romance, and shut her real self away from the world. After all, if you don’t let them in, they can’t hurt you. She’s learnt that the hard way.

But as the weight of her past becomes heavier and an unexpected new neighbour moves onto the street – threatening the future of her cafe – Tara begins to realise that maybe it’s time to finally let people back in and confront her history. It could just change her life forever…

Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café was originally released as Christmas at The Chocolate Pot Café. Now re-released with a new title and new cover, this version has been freshly edited and features several new chapters.

My Thoughts

Tara Porter is the owner the Chocolate Pot Café in Castle Street located in the North Yorkshire seaside town of Whitsborough. I met her in another Whitsborough Bay book, Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes. Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café is complete in itself, and you don’t need to have read any of the others in the series to enjoy it.

The Chocolate Pot Café is always busy as it’s very popular and also does extremely well at Christmastime. However, Tara finds the festive period something of a struggle as it sees the return of painful memories – she split from her family on Christmas Day and married her ex husband, Garth Tewkesbury on New Year’s Eve. This year, the Café is the venue for wedding and engagement party, so Tara is going to be rushed off her feet, though she will spend Christmas day itself with her giant house rabbit, Hercules, for company. Adding to her difficulties and woes, Jed Ferguson, the former owner of the building that now houses her Café, is back in town…

I easily warmed to Tara who had a sad and harrowing past. She was reluctant to let people into her life as a result of previous hurts and humiliations, thus spending the last fourteen years practically living as a recluse with only Hercules for companionship, unwilling as she was to emotionally engage with others except whilst working in her Café.

I adored the charming setting of Castle Street in the North Yorkshire seaside town of Whitsborough Bay, especially as I have lived near the area myself. Tara’s Chocolate Pot Café was one of a group of shops on the street and the proprietors of them all complemented this delightful story. Jessica Redland’s descriptions were perfect and I dreamt of walking down the cobbles and popping into the various shops located there.

The Christmas theme was extremely enchanting with it’s festive allure and the story’s overall tone was mostly snug and magical, bringing with it all that delicious chocolatey goodness and sweet, heady aromas. Along with the pleasing characters, dashes of a smouldering romance and an abundance of scrummy sounding treats, there were also some quite dark and shady parts, heart breaking incidents, and touching moments. All in all, Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café is a lovely, heartwarming, as well as an emotional novel that I have no hesitation in recommending. I look forward to reading more from Jessica Redland.

Thank you to Jessica Redland, Boldwood Books and NetGalley for a complimentary copy of this novel at my request. This review is my own unbiased opinion.

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

About The Author

Jessica Redland is the author of nine novels, including The Secret to Happiness, which are all set around the fictional location of Whitsborough Bay. Inspired by her hometown of Scarborough she writes uplifting women’s fiction which has garnered many devoted fans.

Follow Jessica : Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Website | Blog | Bookbub Mailing list sign up 

Buy Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Cafe

Amazon UK  

Don’t forget the other stops on the tour!

Until Next Time, 

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When I Was You by Amber Garza | Blog Tour | Book Review 

Thank you to the publisher, Harlequin Trade Publishing/ MIRA Books, for inviting me to be a part of this exciting Blog Tour for When I Was You by Amber Garza, and for the eARC of this title via NetGalley.

When I Was You by Amber Garza

Publication Date: August 25, 2020

Publisher: MIRA Books

ISBN: 9780778361046

My rating: 5/5

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Book Summary

YOU meets FATAL ATTRACTION in this up-all-night psychological thriller about a lonely empty-nester’s growing obsession with a young mother who shares her name.

It all begins on an ordinary fall morning, when Kelly Medina gets a call from her son’s pediatrician to confirm her upcoming “well-baby” appointment. It’s a cruel mistake; her son left for college a year ago, and Kelly has never felt so alone. The receptionist quickly apologizes: there’s another mother in town named Kelly Medina, and she must have gotten their numbers switched.

But Kelly can’t stop thinking about the woman who shares her name. Lives in her same town. Has a son she can still hold, and her whole life ahead of her. She can’t help looking for her: at the grocery store, at the gym, on social media. When Kelly just happens to bump into the single mother outside that pediatrician’s office, it’s simple curiosity getting the better of her.

Their unlikely friendship brings Kelly a renewed sense of purpose, taking care of this young woman and her adorable baby boy. But that friendship quickly turns to obsession, and when one Kelly disappears, well, the other one may know why.

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I Thought…

There are two women named Kelly Medina living in the town of Folsom. The older Kelly is married to Rafael who is a Professor and they have a son, Aaron, aged 19 and at college. One day she takes a call from the paediatrician’s office about her son’s appointment. It soon becomes apparent that an error has been made and the two Kelly Medinas have been mixed up. But the older Kelly, with time on her hands now that Aaron has left home, decides to turn up for the younger Kelly’s appointment and the two women’s stories follow.

I devoured When I Was You and I flew through its pages, fully immersed in the obsessiveness of the older Kelly Medina and her fixation on the young mother and her baby, Sullivan. Her determination to befriend baby Sullivan’s mother and wriggle her way into their lives was shocking, but believable. With Amber Garza‘s excellent execution, the frequent surprises, alongside an extremely chilling atmosphere, events really turned disturbing in the second half. Written with precisely the right amount of drive resulting in a powerful, and engaging tale, When I Was You was an absolute pleasure to read.

This is the first novel I have read by Amber Garza and I am excited to see what she compiles next. For me, a fabulous, standout novel.

 A special thank you to MIRA Books, the author, and NetGalley for a complimentary copy of this novel at my request. This review is my unbiased opinion.

About the Author:

Amber Garza has had a passion for the written word since she was a child making books out of notebook paper and staples. Her hobbies include reading and singing. Coffee and wine are her drinks of choice (not necessarily in that order). She writes while blaring music, and talks about her characters like they’re real people. She lives with her husband and two kids in Folsom, California, which is—no joke—home to another Amber Garza.

Social Links: Author WebsiteTwitter * Instagram * Facebook * Goodreads

Purchase at:  HarlequinIndieboundAmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-Million / TargetWalmart / Google / iBooks / Kobo

Until Next Time, 

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Someone’s Listening by Seraphina Nova Glass | Blog Tour | Book Review 

Thank you to the publisher, Harlequin Trade Publishing/ Graydon House Books, for inviting me to be a part of this exciting Blog Tour for Someone’s Listening by Seraphina Nova Glass, and for the eARC of this title via NetGalley.

Someone’s Listening by Seraphina Nova Glass

Publication Date: July 28, 2020

Publisher: Graydon House Books

ISBN: 9781525836749

My rating: 5/5

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Book Summary

You’re not alone. Someone’s waiting. Someone’s watching…Someone’s listening.

 In SOMEONE’S LISTENING (Graydon House Books; July 28; $16.99) Dr. Faith Finley has everything she’s ever wanted: she’s a renowned psychologist, a radio personality—host of the wildly popular “Someone’s Listening with Dr. Faith Finley”—and a soon-to-be bestselling author. She’s young, beautiful, and married to the perfect man, Liam.

Of course Liam was at Faith’s book launch with her. But after her car crashes on the way home and she’s pulled from the wreckage, nobody can confirm that Liam was with her at the party. The police claim she was alone in car, and they don’t believe her when she says otherwise. Perhaps that’s understandable, given the horrible thing Faith was accused of doing a few weeks ago.

 And then the notes start arriving—the ones literally ripped from the pages of Faith’s own self-help book on leaving an abusive relationship. Ones like “Secure your new home. Consider new window and door locks, an alarm system, and steel doors…”

Where is Liam? Is his disappearance connected to the scandal that ruined Faith’s life? Who is sending the notes? Faith’s very life will depend on finding the answers.

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I Thought…

Someone’s Listening is an extremely suspenseful story and kicks off with a tantalising prologue. The reader is first introduced to Faith Finley, a talented psychologist with a flourishing career, a bestselling author and the host of a popular local radio program, Someone’s Listening. One icy winter’s night she is travelling home from a book launch party, then wakes up in hospital having been in a car crash. Happily married Faith asks for her husband Liam, but he appears to have vanished… into thin air. The police aren’t listening to Faith’s concerns, but then she starts receiving threatening messages.

This compelling début had me hooked from the very first paragraph, and Faith made a very good, if unreliable protagonist. In this chaotic whirl of lies and duplicity, the abundant wicked twists and turns kept me guessing from the start. The complex characters and arresting dialogue helped to make Someone’s Listening a riveting read. For me, the cherry topping was the obvious ability of Seraphina Nova Glass as she probed ever deeper into the psyches of her characters, creating some fascinating, though alarmingly troubled souls. I read it in one day and was left dumbfounded after the astounding, fast-paced conclusion. Very highly recommended to fans of the genre.

 A special thank you to Graydon House Books, the author, and NetGalley for a complimentary copy of this novel at my request. This review is my unbiased opinion.

About the Author:

Seraphina Nova Glass is a professor and Playwright-in-Residence at the University of Texas-Arlington, where she teaches Film Studies and Playwriting. She holds an MFA in playwriting from Smith College, and has optioned multiple screenplays to Hallmark and Lifetime. Someone’s Listening is her first novel.

Social Links: Author WebsiteTwitter * Instagram * Facebook * Goodreads

Purchase atHarlequin / Barnes & Noble / Books-A-Million / Amazon / Powell’s 

Until Next Time, 

Birdie & Jude by Phyllis H. Moore | Blog Tour 

@phyllishmoore @rararesources #Birdie&Jude

I am delighted to join the blog tour for Birdie & Jude by Phyllis H. Moore today! My thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for the chance to join and the wonderful review copy!

Book Summary

A moving novel of loss, regret, denial, and discovery on Galveston Island, from the author of Opal’s Story and The Ember Months.

Birdie has lived to regret many of her decisions, but she doesn’t regret offering a stranger, Jude, shelter from an approaching hurricane. Their serendipitous meeting will form a bond that will change their lives forever.

In a character driven story with memories of the protests and inequality plaguing the 1960’s, Birdie’s reached middle age and questions her life. Jude is striking out on her own, but has been derailed by a fatal accident claiming her only friend. Although their backgrounds and lives are vastly different, they recognize something in the other that forges a friendship.

As their relationship solidifies, they share glimpses of their pasts. Birdie is a product of the ’60’s, an aging hippie, with a series of resentments. She had a sheltered childhood in an upper class family. Her parents longed to see her make the Texas Dip at the Mardi Gras ball. Jude, however, entered foster care as an infant. Her parents, victims of a murder/suicide, left her and her siblings orphaned and separated.

There is something about their connection that strikes Birdie as familiar. Can souls know each other in different lives? Birdie struggles with the awareness that she has had regrets and hasn’t lived an authentic life, while Jude faces an uncomfortable truth about her own. It has all the feels.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07BLMR63Y

US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07BLMR63Y

I Thought…

Birdie and Jude was a lovely though emotional and heartbreaking story about two women who meet by chance on the beach just before the arrival of a hurricane. What followed was an incredibly moving novel about the difficulties each of them has had to face in life and how these events have shaped them, as well as an exploration of their new found friendship since their meeting.

Written in alternating chapters, I loved Phyllis H. Moore’s writing style which was very easy to read. Both characters were well portrayed and very engaging but I felt more of an affinity with Birdie than with Jude. I understood Birdie more whereas there were times throughout the book that I found myself doubting Jude and certainly there was more of a mystery about her. This feeling continued until all became clear towards the end.

The book dealt with some difficult subjects with sympathy and clarity, but never diminishing their importance. It briefly touched on issues of sexuality, racial prejudice, inequality, self-doubt and loss among others. The author’s exquisite writing had me in tears, in parts, but there were also humorous moments to balance these.

I was engrossed in the story-line right until the fulfilling, though bitter-sweet ending which was something of a surprise, although all of the clues were there. This was a wonderful page-turner with a real warmth to it. I highly recommend this very worthwhile read.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel at my own request. This review is my own unbiased opinion.

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

About The Author

Author Bio – Phyllis H. Moore wants to live life experiences more than once: doing it, writing about it, and reading about it. The atmosphere of the south draws her in and repels her. The characters are rich with dysfunction and redemption, real. She’s had two careers and two retirements.

 Both careers gave her inspiration for her novels: The Sabine Series, Sabine, Billy’s Story,  Josephine’s Journals and Secrets of Dunn House, Opal’s Story, Tangled, a Southern Gothic Yarn, and The Bright Shawl, Colors of Tender Whispers, The Ember Months, Birdie & Jude, and an anthology of spooky short stories inspired by real places and events, The Bridge on Jackson Road. In 2018 she also released a new genre for her, A Dickens of a Crime, a Meg Miller Cozy Mystery. She has authored one nonfiction book, Retirement, Now What? Phyllis has been published by Caffeinated Press in the anthology, Brewed Awakenings 2, Fifteen Tales to Jolt Your Mind Awake. She blogs on her web site http://www.phyllishmoore.com. Follow her on Pinterest and Facebook.

Phyllis is a retired social worker and former owner/operator of a small bed and breakfast. She’s lived in the rural areas and cities of south Texas. She currently lives on Galveston Island with her husband, Richard.

 Social Media Links – https://www.facebook.com/phyllishmooreAuthor/

https://www.pinterest.com/corazone/

http://www.phyllishmoore.com

@phyllishmoore


Be sure to check out the rest of the bloggers on the blog tour!

Until Next Time, 

A Modern Family by Helga Flatland | Blog Tour 

@helgaflatland @orendabooks @annecater @randomthingstours
#amodernfamily

I am delighted to join the blog tour for A Modern Family by Helga Flatland today! My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invitation to join and the wonderful review copy received from Orenda Books!

Book Summary

When Liv, Ellen and Håkon, along with their partners and children, arrive in Rome to celebrate their father’s seventieth birthday, a quiet earthquake occurs: their parents have decided to divorce.

Shocked and disbelieving, the siblings try to come to terms with their parents’ decision as it echoes through the homes they have built for themselves, and forces them to reconstruct the shared narrative of their childhood and family history.

A bittersweet novel of regret, relationships and rare psychological insights, A Modern Family encourages us to look at the people closest to us a little more carefully, and ultimately reveals that it’s never too late for change…

Pub date: 21 June 2019 * Paperback * Price: £8.99 * ISBN 978-1-912374-45-8

Click here to buy A Modern Family from Amazon UK now

I Thought…

This book is a beautifully written and very deep exploration into the thoughts and feelings of a family, following the split of a married couple who are divorcing after forty years of marriage.

Like many others, I am currently fascinated by Scandinavian novels and it was a refreshing change to read one that wasn’t crime based.

Helga Flatland’s skills as an author were second to none. A Modern Family was written from the perspectives of three family members, Liv, Ellen and Hakon. These three were the offspring of Sverre and Torill, the aged parents who have had some time to get used to their life-changing decision to split. When they make their announcement to their family, all are shocked.

Liv is the oldest sibling with Ellen as the middle child and the youngest is Hakon. Helga Flatland examines the fallout from the announcement with intelligence and sophistication. The author has an extremely intense writing-style which I found was very befitting to the story.

The complex relationships that exist between siblings, mothers and daughters and fathers and their children were wonderfully and intricately examined and the power of this book was brilliantly executed so that, at times, it took my breath away.

A Modern Family was so incredibly moving and absorbing and for me it is a possible contender for my best books of the year.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel, at my own request, from Orenda Books via Random Things Tours. This review is my own unbiased opinion.

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

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About The Author

Helga Flatland is already one of Norway’s most awarded and widely read authors. Born in Telemark, Norway, in 1984, she made her literary debut in 2010 with the novel Stay If You Can, Leave If You Must, for which she was awarded the Tarjei Vesaas’ First Book Prize.

She has written four novels and a children’s book and has won several other literary awards. Her fifth novel, A Modern Family, was published to wide acclaim in Norway in August 2017, and was a number-one bestseller. The rights have subsequently been sold across Europe and the novel has sold more than 100,000 copies.


Be sure to check out the rest of the bloggers on the blog tour!

Until Next Time, 

Pink Ice Creams by Jo Woolaston | Blog Tour 

@JoWoolaston @rararesources #PinkIceCreams

I am delighted to join the blog tour for Pink Ice Creams by Jo Woolaston today! My thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for the chance to join and the wonderful review copy!

Book Summary

Intent on fixing her broken marriage and the alcohol-fuelled catastrophe that is her life, Kay Harris arrives at her grim and grey holiday let, ready to lay to rest the tragedy that has governed her entire adulthood – the disappearance of her little brother, Adam.

But the road to recovery is pitted with the pot-holes of her own poor choices, and it isn’t long before Kay is forced to accept that maybe she doesn’t deserve the retribution she seeks. Will the intervention of strangers help her find the answers she needs to move on from her past, or will she always be stuck on the hard shoulder with no clear view ahead and a glove box full of empties?

Pink Ice Creams is a tale of loss, self-destruction, and clinging on to the scraps of the long-lost when everyone else has given up hope.

Purchase links:

Amazon.co.uk:

Paperback:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1984168231

Kindle: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07RV49TKB

Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B07RYX3YWP

Amazon.com:

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1984168231

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07RV49TKB

Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/jowoolaston

I Thought…

I was so thrilled to be one of the first to read Pink Ice Creams, the début novel by Jo Woolaston. What a fabulous and exciting read it was!

One of the reasons it was so appealing was its setting. I loved the author’s descriptions of the shabby sea-side town and the fun-fair as I grew up in a place with a very similar environment.

Pink Ice Creams had an enthralling plot and Jo Woolaston displayed some amazing writing skill with her perfect pacing of the story and my goodness, there was never a dull moment! I didn’t want to stop reading this novel. The characters that the author created were so masterfully drawn and I often felt that I was in the ramshackle, jaded town eating chips, marshmallow toffee or an ice cream cornet with them, or drinking a pint of cider!

I didn’t really have a favourite character, but I grew rather fond of Kay as the story progressed. With the heavy burden she was carrying all of the time, it was difficult not to have a great deal of empathy for her, although some of the choices she made really frustrated me. I think this added to the story.

Pink Ice Creams was an intense, highly absorbing story full of angst, alcohol-induced catastrophies and unfortunate situations, but it was also rich in friendship and the importance of looking out for one another. I really enjoyed reading every page of the wonderful début, from the very first pages right through to its fulfilling ending.

I absolutely adored this book and I strongly recommend that you get yourself a copy of Pink Ice Creams right away!

I will be looking out for more by Jo Woolaston in the future.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel at my own request. This review is my own unbiased opinion.

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

About The Author

Jo Woolaston lives in Leicestershire, England with her extreme noise-making husband and two lovely sons. She tries to avoid housework and getting a ‘proper job’ by just writing stuff instead – silly verse, screenplays, shopping lists…

This sometimes works in her favour (she did well in her MA in TV Scriptwriting, gaining a Best Student award in Media and Journalism – and has had a few plays produced – that kind of thing) but mostly it just results in chronic insomnia and desperate tears of frustration. Pink Ice Creams is her first novel, she hopes you liked it.

Social Media Links –

Website: https://www.jowoolaston.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nevermindthebloggers

Twitter: @JoWoolaston

Goodreads: 

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19176972.Jo_Woolaston


Be sure to check out the rest of the bloggers on the blog tour!

Until Next Time, 

A Fatal Flaw by Faith Martin | Review

About The Book

The brand new Ryder & Loveday novel from global bestseller Faith Martin!

1960, Oxford

As the city of Oxford prepares itself for the inaugural Miss Oxford Honey Beauty Pageant at The Old Swan Theatre, excitement is in the air.

Then, tragedy strikes the competition when one of the leading contestants is found dead.

Initially, the authorities assume her death was suicide. But after a malicious series of pranks and blackmail attempts are reported, WPC Loveday and Coroner Clement Ryder are called upon to solve the case.

In an atmosphere of fierce competition, the list of suspects is endless. Could what have started as harmless fun become a deadly race to win the prize?

With time running out, the duo need to spot the killer before tragedy strikes again…

A gripping murder mystery, perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and M.C. Beaton.

The Ryder and Loveday Series

Book 1: A FATAL OBSESSION

Book 2: A FATAL MISTAKE

Book 3: A FATAL FLAW

Book 4: A FATAL SECRET

Readers love the Ryder & Loveday series:

‘Insanely brilliant’

‘I absolutely loved this book’

‘Faith Martin, you’ve triumphed again. Brilliant!’

‘If you haven’t yet read Miss Martin you have a treat in store’

My Thoughts

I first discovered the author, Faith Martin a few months ago, when I read two of her books from the ‘Jenny Starling’ series, both of which I totally adored. I have not read any books from the series featuring Hillary Greene. “A Fatal Flaw” is the first book I’ve read from this series featuring WPC Trudy Loveday and Coroner Clement Ryder, though it is actually the third in the series and is published by HQ. So far, I have taken great delight in each book that Faith Martin has released. “A Fatal Flaw” has proven to be no exception.  

I loved Faith Martin’s characterisation of WPC Trudy Loveday who was enthusiastic, feisty, considerate and, at times stubborn.

Also quite special was the author’s portrayal of Clement Ryder, who was the area coroner. Ryder was a man who has experienced his fair share of life – someone of a certain age who has lived a little.

The duo, Trudy, always eager to learn and Ryder, worked really well together and being a probationary WPC, Trudy was determined to draw on Ryder’s wealth of experience. For his part, Ryder knew the potential in Trudy and their great partnership complemented the story beautifully.

“A Fatal Flaw” is so wonderfully well-written and the writing style was really comfortable for me, helping to tempt me into the story.  There was plenty going on which kept my attention throughout and I never once felt bored.

I found this mystery to be totally addictive once I had started to read it, so much so that I was hooked before I even had the chance to scroll to the second page! Faith Martin’s writing was so convincing that I  could have been another in their team.  

I thought “A Fatal Flaw” was a superb read and a real winner. I would recommend it to other mystery readers. I am looking forward to my next book by Faith Martin, whether that will be something new or a book I’ve never yet read from an existing series.

My thanks to #NetGalley, HQ Digital and the author for providing me with a complimentary advanced copy of #AFatalFlaw.

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

Happy Reading!

The East End by Jason Allen | Blog Tour 

@HarperCollins @parkrowbooks @justine_sha @EathanJason #TheEastEnd.

I am delighted to join the blog tour for The East End by Jason Allen today! My thanks to Justine at Park Row Books for the invitation to join and the wonderful review copy received via NetGalley!

The East End is available to buy NOW!

Buy Links:

Harlequin

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Books-A-Million

Powell’s

THE EAST END

Author: Jason Allen

ISBN: 9780778308393

Publication Date: 5/7/19

Publisher: Park Row Books

BOOK SUMMARY

THE EAST END opens with Corey Halpern, a Hamptons local from a broken home who breaks into mansions at night for kicks. He likes the rush and admittedly, the escapism. One night just before Memorial Day weekend, he breaks into the wrong home at the wrong time: the Sheffield estate where he and his mother work. Under the cover of darkness, their boss Leo Sheffield — billionaire CEO, patriarch, and owner of the vast lakeside manor — arrives unexpectedly with his lover, Henry. After a shocking poolside accident leaves Henry dead, everything depends on Leo burying the truth. But unfortunately for him, Corey saw what happened and there are other eyes in the shadows.

Hordes of family and guests are coming to the estate the next morning, including Leo’s surly wife, all expecting a lavish vacation weekend of poolside drinks, evening parties, and fireworks filling the sky. No one can know there’s a dead man in the woods, and there is no one Leo can turn to. With his very life on the line, everything will come down to a split-second decision. For all of the main players—Leo, Gina, and Corey alike—time is ticking down, and the world they’ve known is set to explode.

Told through multiple points of view, THE EAST END highlights the socio-economic divide in the Hamptons, but also how the basic human need for connection and trust can transcend class differences. Secrecy, obsession, and desperation dictate each character’s path. In a race against time, each critical moment holds life in the balance as Corey, Gina, and Leo approach a common breaking point. THE EAST END is a propulsive read, rich with character and atmosphere, and marks the emergence of a talented new voice in fiction.

I THOUGHT…

My word, how exciting and enthralling was this début novel by newcomer Jason Allen?!  

Being honest, I went into The East End without much enthusiasm, thinking “Oh well, yet another novel about dysfunctional behaviour and taking drugs.” (Huge sigh). But if I had continued with that line of thought and not read The East End, I would have missed out on so much as it turned out to be one of the best reads of the year so far.

I was immediately blown away by all of the drama, from page one. Yes there was some drug-taking – well a lot actually – however, it was absolutely essential to the story-line.

The book opens with a break-in. Living with his mum, Gina, in the Hamptons, Corey Halpern has just graduated from high school and Gina  is employed as a housekeeper for billionaire Leo Sheffield. Full of angst towards the filthy rich, Corey spends much of his time breaking into their homes, not to steal but to play pranks on them. He decides to break into the Sheffield mansion which is home to Leo, wife Sheila and teenage daughter, Tiffany and witnesses something he wished he had not. But what will he choose to do next?  

The East End was told from several different perspectives which is normally something I am not too fond of, however, Jason Allen achieved this admirably and without any confusion for me.

The characters that Jason Allen created were so well drawn it was almost unbelievable. I felt that I was part of the unfolding drama with every chapter, as I found myself shouting out advice to the particular character who was facing their latest dilemma. I found it difficult to choose a favourite character so I opted for three of them – Leo, Gina and Angelique. Leo, I felt huge sadness for, as he was so down on his luck, though he did habitually make a lot of bad choices. I had so much empathy with Gina and who could not adore Angelique? She was so feisty, gutsy and full of hope despite her start in life.

The emotional complexity of the story was definitely one of the highlights of The East End and I loved the tenderness between Corey and Angelique.

Jason Allen’s writing style was very unique. There were longer paragraphs of narrative and less dialogue in this book than I’m used to, however, the plot was so engrossing that it didn’t prevent me from loving the story.

This book has everything from secrets, love and family to addiction, scandal, desperation, tragedy and greed. The plot was presented in the form of a slow burning mystery with underlying themes of class, social structure and discrimination packaged as a family drama but with added comedic aspect.

The ending was a surprise and, for me, very fitting and fulfilling. All in all, I found this book to be a fantastic and very worthwhile read and I look forward to reading more from Jason Allen.

Thanks to NetGalley, Park Row Books and the author, Jason Allen for my complimentary ARC of The East End. My honest review is entirely voluntary.

#TheEastEnd #NetGalley

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jason Allen grew up in a working-class home in the Hamptons, where he worked a variety of blue-collar jobs for wealthy estate owners. He writes fiction, poetry, and memoir, and is the author of the poetry collection A MEDITATION ON FIRE. He has an MFA from Pacific University and a PhD in literature and creative writing from Binghamton University, and currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, where he teaches writing. THE EAST END is his first novel.

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @EathanJason

Facebook: @jasonallenauthor

Goodreads

Jason Allen is also doing a book tour on the east coast to the cities listed below.

Until Next Time, 

Apple Of My Eye by Claire Allan | Review

About The Book

‘Utterly addictive. Compulsive, twisty, tense.’ CLAIRE DOUGLAS, author of Local Girl Missing

Just how far is a mother willing to go?

When a mysterious note arrives for seven months pregnant nurse Eliana Hughes, she begins to doubt every aspect of her life – from her mixed feelings about motherhood to her marriage to Martin, who has become distant in recent months.

As the person behind the note escalates their campaign to out Eli’s husband as a cheat, she finds herself unable to trust even her own instincts, and as pressure builds, she makes a mistake that jeopardises her entire future.

Elsewhere, someone is watching. Someone who desperately wants a baby to call their own and will go to any lengths to become a mother – and stay a mother…

My Thoughts

“Apple Of My Eye” is a compulsive and digressive thriller that has been beautifully put together, with motherhood at its core.

This is my second time of reading a book by this author and I was not disappointed! I have previously read the outstanding ‘Her Name was Rose’ which was a five-star read for me, so there was a lot for Claire Allan to live up to.

“Apple of My Eye” brings to life an incredible family account of mistrust, jealousy and suspicion. It is a book about motherhood and all that it means to all of womankind. In this novel, the reader is categorically and unequivocally made aware of how it affects the lives and relationships of different women. It is also a divulgence of desperation, loneliness and all the different layers of love.

As always, I am having a run of strong, inspiring thrillers and this is on the list, along with my other favourites. The plot for this book is awesome and incredibly thrilling. I’m always looking for something in a book in this genre that makes it more notable than the rest. This could be amazingly drawn characters, a super plot, great originality or something entirely different that I couldn’t even imagine.

This book has many of the components that make a really good story: from the mood and undercurrents to the very clever writing and the experience of family secrets, jealousy and incredibly tense relationships.

For myself, the one thing that made this a memorable read was Claire Allan’s ability to send me off course in nearly every chapter. Narrated from three different perspectives – that of Eli, her mother Angela and the mysterious Louise – I found that it was the chapters told from Louise’s angle that added a real sense of apprehension to the plot. Claire Allan managed to create so much suspicion and mistrust through her story-telling and there was an overpowering sense of menace that emanated from the pages of this addictive read which is chock full of mystery. I found that I had no idea who or what I could trust. The emotional, distressed and pregnant wife or the mother who wanted to protect her daughter from an adulterous husband, or the revealing anonymous notes? 

Another of my favourite aspects of this novel was the fluidity of the writing. The details and twists of the plot were brilliantly executed and every chapter left me with a compelling need to read on.

”Apple Of My Eye” is a supreme accomplishment, mixing women’s fiction with a chilling, sharp slice of thriller, culminating in an emotive and fulfilling ending. I absolutely adored every chapter of this pacey novel and I would certainly recommend it.

Thanks to NetGalley, Avon Books UK and the author, Claire Allan, for my free ARC of Apple of My Eye in exchange for an honest review.

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

Happy Reading!