Sunday, 22 April 2018

Marina by Aoibheann McCann (2018)


This tragi-comic novel follows Marina from infancy through a troubled childhood and the forging of a lifelong friendship with someone as lost as herself. The story of the heroine’s mental struggles, her musical talent, her escape to London, her offbeat boyfriend, her sojourn in surburbia and eventual return to Ireland builds to a shocking crescendo. It is a narrative so rich with emotion and alive with intimate detail that when you finish reading you wish there could be more.

Review

A dark and compelling debut novel chronicling the life of the musically gifted but emotionally unstable, Marina.
The descriptions of Marina's childhood was fascinating and full of wry humour. I found it difficult to put this book down.
Marina's life in England was a lot different to life in Ireland. She didn't have the safety net that family and friends provide and her life spiralled out of control pretty quickly. There was a dearth of likeable or redeemable characters in this book which added to the darkness and tension that permeated the whole story. I found myself wanting to give Marina a good shake for her choice in men and allowing herself to become abused in the misguided belief that she was 'saving' him. In the end Marina needed saving from herself. 

The author's writing style is very unique and different. Full of imagery, metaphors and told from the perspective of a character whose mind is fractured. The pace of the novel was very quick and I found myself passing quickly over the more thought provoking pieces of prose. Some of Marina's dialogue and inner musings left me with the feeling that I would need to go back and read it again and think about it to fully understand what was going on in her head.  This was especially true at the end of the novel as it ended quite abruptly and tragically. 

Marina complex, unique and brilliant.

Buy Links Amazon

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Save Me (Corrupted Hearts #4) by Tiffany Snow (2018)

In this fast-paced romantic suspense, China Mack will make one final choice.
Computer genius China Mack may be the former head of Vigilance, the government’s clandestine spy program, but she can still be knocked off balance. And two back-to-back personal blows have thrown her into a tailspin.
While her relationship with tech billionaire Jackson Cooper is on the rocks, China is testing the boundaries of what she feels for man-of-mystery Clark Slattery. But when China learns that her mother’s death sixteen years ago wasn’t an accident, she can’t rest until she knows the truth. And China’s own father, an elusive ex–CIA agent, might have been the killer. To avenge her mother’s death, she needs help, and both Jackson and Clark step up to the plate. But when her investigation is linked to a decades-old international plot to hack the New York Stock Exchange, putting both of the men she loves in danger, China must make an impossible decision to keep them safe.
As the three of them are plunged into a far-reaching conspiracy, China’s notions of love and trust are turned upside down. For China, this final case couldn’t be more personal—or more dangerous.

What an ending to an incredibly good series.
China has a difficult choice to make in choosing between two men. I had my hopes on Jackson even though I had a soft spot for Clarke as well. The reader is kept in the dark, much like the two guys, right up to the moment where she finally makes her choice at the end of the book.
The love triangle is a central theme running through the series but the story is much more diverse than that. There is the mystery surrounding China's mother's death. Was she murdered? and why? 
China decides to go it alone to track down her mother's killer which leads to the resurfacing of painful memories and to a father with blood on his hands. The events surrounding her mother's death are very sad and emotionally charged. 
A day in the life of China Mack is full of action and suspense. It doesn't matter which mam she spends her day with she will still end up battered after fighting off dangerous criminals. The many twists and turns kept it fresh and exciting.
It helped that there was humour in the interactions between Jackson and Clarke. Their jealousy fuelled them to behave quite juvenile like at times but I liked that they could put their feelings aside to work together in helping China when she needed it the most.
 I loved every minute of this series. I'm already counting the days until the next Tiffany Snow book releases.
Save Me will be available to buy from Tuesday the 17th of April.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Skin Deep by Liz Nugent (2018)


Publisher's Information
The deliciously sinister new novel from the No 1 bestselling author of Richard and Judy Book Club pick, Lying in Wait

'I could probably have been an actress.
It is not difficult to pretend to be somebody else.
Isn't that what I've been doing for most of my life?'
Cordelia Russell has been living on the French Riviera for twenty-five years, passing herself off as an English socialite. But her luck, and the kindness of strangers, have run out.
The arrival of a visitor from her distant past shocks Cordelia. She reacts violently to the intrusion and flees her flat to spend a drunken night at a glittering party. As dawn breaks she stumbles home through the back streets. Even before she opens her door she can hear the flies buzzing. She did not expect the corpse inside to start decomposing quite so quickly . . .
'Bloody brilliant!' Denise Mina
'The finest psychological thriller writer currently at work - no one gets under the skin of monstrous characters like she does' Tammy Cohen
'A wonderful feat of imagination, totally gripping, with a fascinating character at its heart' Sabine Durrant
'Dark, brutal and brilliant' Colette McBeth
'A triumph, from first page to last!' Sarah Hilary
'Monumentally good. Liz Nugent is a beautiful writer and among the very best storytellers in the world' Donal Ryan
'I loved, loved, loved Skin Deep - the compassion of it, the beauty of the language, how glamour and horror intersect, how the tension twists tighter and tighter and is brilliantly done' Marian Keyes
'Dazzling ... chilling, mesmerising and, ultimately, devastating. Pure storytelling genius' Mark Edwards
'Her darkest book yet - a compelling one-sitting read' Sinéad Crowley
'Utterly gripping, fast paced, and featuring my favourite sociopathic female character since Lady Macbeth' Louise O'Neill
'Incredibly dark, twisting and utterly mesmerising - you will not be able to put this down' Sinéad Moriarty
'Pitch dark and thrillingly original' Jane Casey


REVIEW       


An absolute cracker of a book. 

This is definitely my favourite of Liz Nugent's books. After reading Lying in Wait I was a little worried that her books were too dark for me but I was blown away by how much I enjoyed Skin Deep.
Cordelia/Delia is a unique, crazy and sometimes evil character but I liked her nonetheless.....I don't know if that makes me crazy too or maybe Liz Nugent is just a literary genius who can inspire sympathy and empathy for a truly awful, train wreck of a person/character. At times I felt like giving Cordelia a good kick whilst simultaneously hoping and wishing my hardest that she wouldn't ruin the next bit of good luck to come her way. 


There is a great range of side characters, some of whom were as equally crazy as Cordelia but maybe just not quite as destructive. I did feel sorry for Harry but by the end of the book I was more disappointed in how weak he proved to be. I was equally surprised at Peter and how emotionally strong and loving he was. I liked him a lot.

This was a brilliant, brilliant book. One I'll be raving about to all and sundry for a long to come.


Skin Deep is out now in all good book shops. 
You can also buy online at Kennys.ie with FREE world wide delivery.

Also available on Amazon

Monday, 26 March 2018

The Trick To Time by Kit de Waal (2018)


A heart-wrenching love story from the internationally bestselling author of My Name Is Leon

Mona is a young Irish girl in the big city, with the thrill of a new job and a room of her own in a busy boarding house. On her first night out in 1970s Birmingham, she meets William, a charming Irish boy with an easy smile and an open face. They embark upon a passionate affair, a whirlwind marriage - before a sudden tragedy tears them apart.
Decades later, Mona pieces together the memories of the years that separate them. But can she ever learn to love again?
The Trick to Time is an unforgettable tale of grief, longing, and a love that lasts a lifetime.



Review 



An incredibly moving and multilayered piece of writing from Kit de Waal.
Her turn of phrase and skill with the written word had me sinking in to this story from the first page. I wanted to read it all in one go but I found that the story was too powerful. I needed to read it in chunks, to absorb the emotion and turmoil of the characters and to laugh and cry along with them at a gentle pace rather than rattling along to get to the end. Even now, having read this beautiful novel, my heart still mourns for these characters and the dreams they had.



The Trick to Time will be published on the 29th of March 2018 by Penguin.



Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Lady Helena Investigates: Book One of the Scott-De Quincy Mysteries by Jane Steen (2018)


Description



An exciting start to a new series. This historical mystery is a little bit darker than most of historical mysteries that I've read lately.
Lady Helena at first appears to be quite a mild and meek character who is easily dominated by her older siblings. However as she gets mixed up in an investigation to find out what really happened to her husband Helena discovers hidden depths and a strong will. I enjoyed watching her grow and take charge of her life.
There was plenty of mystery surrounding the death of her husband as well as other goings on in their little community. Just when I thought she had everything figured out the story took another turn and I was left completely surprised with revelations about her family. All the threads wove together perfectly to create a wonderful web of intrigue, murder, love, and old family secrets.
Lady Helena's investigative partner is the French doctor Armand Fortier. There is an air of attraction between the pair but Fortier proves to be another man of mystery and we are left with the feeling that he is hiding quite a lot from Helena and maybe can't be trusted completely with her heart.

I quite enjoyed Lady Helena's interactions with her brother's man of affairs. She is quite snobbish in her dealings with him and she thoroughly dislikes him which I found quite entertaining. I can't help but feel there could be a reluctant friendship and possible romance there if things don't work out with Fortier.


I was impressed with this first in the series and I look forward to reading the rest of the series as it becomes published.


Buy Link Amazon





Sunday, 4 March 2018

Our Secrets and Lies by Sinéad Moriarty (2018)

Summary

Can a mother be true to her children if she cannot be true to herself?

Having her son and daughter at 21 forced Lucy Murphy to walk away from a glittering future. They are the loves of her life and she is determined that they will have wonderful lives.
So a scholarship to a prestigious school seems like a golden opportunity for the twins, the fulfilment of every wish Lucy has for them. But Lucy is confusing her thwarted ambitions with what her children really want. After all, seventeen-year-olds have dreams of their own, dreams they cannot always share with their mother.
Until catastrophe strikes, Lucy is blind to the cost of forcing her own wishes on the twins, particularly her sensitive daughter. To have any hope of surviving as a family, all three will have to face up to some surprising and difficult truths ...
Our Secrets and Lies is a moving, gripping and thought-provoking story about a mother learning the hardest lesson of all - how to let go of her children and how to live without them.
Praise for Sinéad Moriarty
'A heart-warming and a heart-breaking story, beautifully written and sensitive' Woman's Way
'A fascinating exploration of difficult subjects ... Moriarty writes with compelling authority' Irish Times
'There is warmth and heart aplenty in this delicately told story' Daily Mail
'OMG! I'm an emotional wreck after reading this novel, probably not helped by the fact that I pulled an all-nighter to finish it ... I just could not put it down' Eileen Dunne, RTÉ
'Heartfelt and deeply moving ... I couldn't put it down.' Susan Lewis
'We ate this fabulous story up - 4 stars' Heat magazine
'Intriguing and thought provoking ... a great read.' Katie Fforde
'Gripping and thought-provoking - I was desperate to discover how it would pan out!' Paige Toon

Review 

A touching and emotional story that had me laughing out loud and occasionally in tears. The author manages to touch upon a variety of themes and they are handled with empathy and attention to detail. I really liked that a cliche priest didn't factor anywhere in the story to lecture Lucy or to force her down the aisle. This really is a novel that reflects contemporary Ireland.
I liked Lucy and Tom from the beginning. They didn't have much of a chance to survive the mess they found themselves in because they were young and immature and because of the interference from a certain individual who held sway over them. But the story wasn't really about Tom and Lucy. It's about family and friendship, love and hope.
Lucy's family and friends made an excellent cast of side characters. In fact it is these characters that really made the novel shine for me. Young Ollie provided light relief and his antics truly had me laughing out loud. I felt for Lucy's children, Dylan and Kelly, who had to constantly strive to meet their mother's expectations. Kelly also had the added difficulties of being bullied at school and thought the author did a great job of highlighting the issue of cyber bullying and how relentlessly it occurs. It doesn't hold to a timetable and you can't escape it just by leaving the school building.
I also liked Lucy's sister Jenny. She followed her dreams of being a makeup artist and the fact that she is very happy with her life, single and childless, was refreshing to read. Plus her romantic shenanigans made entertaining reading.
This was a great story, difficult to put down. The ending left me feeling happy and imagining good things for this family and for Tom and Lucy.


Buy links Amazon        Book Depository

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Linda Weaver Clarke Author and Series Spotlight



I'd like to welcome Linda Weaver Clarke to the site today to tell us more about her 'Rebels' series.





About Author: Linda Weaver Clarke was raised among the Rocky Mountains of southern Idaho and now lives among the red mountains of southern Utah. Linda is the mother of six daughters and the author of 23 books. She has written in several different genres, which include: historical romances, romantic cozy mysteries, a mystery suspense series, a children’s book, and non-fiction. All her books are family friendly. She has also traveled throughout the U.S. and taught audiences how to write their family history, giving more than 500 workshops.






Historical Romance: Stories of Rebels,
Adventure, and Mystery

My favorite time period is historical because it’s during a time when men defended a lady’s honor and treated women with respect. The women, on the other hand, were not frail by any means. I love strong women characters who fight for what they believe. I love to write stories with a mixture of romance and adventure. My favorite loves stories are about a man and woman who know they are meant for one another, even though there are trials along the way.

The Rebel Series is a Historical Mystery/Adventure Romance set in the 1700s. Many people have asked me why I wrote a story about rebels. Simple! I love a rogue who fights for justice and for the people. It was a bunch of rebels who fought for their freedom in America. They wanted to be free from the dictatorship of a king. How about Robin Hood? He and a bunch of men did the same thing as they helped the needy and poor. Liberty is something that I cherish. So I decided to write about a small country that struggles to be free.



THE REBELS OF CORDOVIA: This creative take on a Robin Hood-like story is charming and touching, and teaches some great morals about agency and choice. It reminded me of childhood fairytales of good versus evil, with a nice romance weaved into it.” --Author Charissa Stastny.

In The Rebels of Cordovia, Robin’s Rebels realize they must fight against the tyranny of a wicked king and help the people survive the oppression. In this battle for freedom, a tender love story begins to blossom. Daniel, a rogue and a leader of the Freemen, doesn’t realize that the sweet feminine woman he has met and is falling for happens to be the leader of Robin’s Rebels. Realizing the importance of uniting all the rebel groups, Daniel tries to recruit Robin’s Rebels but they refuse. Now he has to find a way to convince them. When he finds out the leader is actually a woman, what will his reaction be?

To watch a Book Trailer for The Rebels of Cordovia, click on the link below:


THE HIGHWAYMAN OF CORDOVIA: “Austin and Christine had been friends, as youth, and separated through the years. As their paths cross again after many years, things spark up between them. Yet their lives do not appear to be headed in the same direction. The twists and turns will keep you turning the pages.” --Sunnie Reivews

In book 2, The Highwayman of Cordovia, the people enjoy their new-found liberty, but all is not well. A group of powerful men plan to take over the small country and replace the leader with a king. With the help of a bold highwayman and a pastor’s daughter, they try to save their country from being taken over by a power-hungry leader. As they strive to stop the Kingmen and thwart their plans, Christine finds herself falling in love with Austin Knight. The only problem with their relationship is that she thinks he is her knight in shining armor instead of a highwayman. If she finds out his trade, what will her reaction be? As a pastor’s daughter, will love override her values?

To watch a Book Trailer for The Highwayman of Cordovia, click on the link below:

THE FOX OF CORDOVIA: “I loved this book. It is full of adventure, drama, intrigue and suspense. We've got kidnapping plots, pirate ships, daring rescues and romance. The author weaves an exciting tale and a sweet romance together in a way that will appeal to all readers.” --Inishowen Cailín

In book 3, The Fox of Cordovia, a sinister plot has just been uncovered and its up to a former patriot and a young nurse to discover who is behind it. Caroline is engaged to the future mayor of Laketown, a man of influence and greatly respected. But all that changes when she overhears a conspiracy behind closed doors. After being discovered, she runs for her life. Caroline needs to report her findings, but whom can she trust? When she asks Jesse Conover for help, the adventure begins.

To watch a Book Trailer for The Fox of Cordovia, click on the link below:
https://youtu.be/mCgwRF5nzQ8

I love research. When I did some research about the “waltz for The Highwayman of Cordovia, I was surprised at what I found. The peasants were the first to dance the waltz. It was such fun that bored noblemen would sneak out and go to the country-dances. The Oxford English Dictionary back then called the waltz “riotous and indecent.” 

In a 1771 German novel, someone complains about the “newly-introduced waltz” among the aristocrats. He wrote: “When he put his arm around her, pressed her to his breast, cavorted with her in the shameless, indecent whirling-dance of the Germans and engaged in a familiarity that broke all the bounds of good breeding—then my silent misery turned into burning rage.” I was so intrigued by this description. The waltz finally became fashionable when the wife of a Russian ambassador endorsed it.

To read a sample chapter from each of my books in The Rebel Series, go to http://www.lindaweaverclarke.com/historicalromance.html and click on the TITLE.
To purchase a book from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Audible Audiobooks, go to http://www.lindaweaverclarke.com/purchasebook.html.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Too Hot to Handel (John Pickett Mysteries #5) by Sheri Cobb South (2016) Narrated by Joel Froomkin (2018)


Summary

When a rash of jewel thefts strikes London, magistrate Patrick Colquhoun deploys his Bow Street Runners to put a stop to the crimes. The Russian Princess Olga Fyodorovna is to attend a production of Handel’s Esther at Drury Lane Theatre, where she will wear a magnificent diamond necklace. The entire Bow Street force will be stationed at various locations around the theatre - including John Pickett, who will occupy a box directly across from the princess. 

In order to preserve his incognito, Pickett must appear to be a private gentleman attending the theatre. Mr. Colquhoun recommends that he have a female companion - a lady, in fact, who might prevent him from making any glaring faux pas. But the only lady of Pickett’s acquaintance is Julia, Lady Fieldhurst, to whom he accidentally contracted a Scottish irregular marriage several months earlier, and with whom he is seeking an annulment against his own inclinations - and for whom he recklessly declared his love, secure in the belief he would never see her again. 

The inevitable awkwardness of their reunion is forgotten when the theatre catches fire. In the confusion, the Russian diamonds are stolen, and Pickett is struck in the head and rendered unconscious. Suddenly it is up to Julia not only to nurse him back to health, but to discover his attacker and bring the culprit - and the jewel thief - to justice.
©2016 Sheri Cobb South (P)2018 Sheri Cobb South


Review

This is a superb series and after listening to this instalment I just wanted to go back to the very beginning and listen to the whole thing again, starting with John Pickett's early years in 'Pickpocket's Apprentice.'

The mystery of the stolen jewels wasn't very difficult to work out but I really loved following  Julia on her attempts to solve the crime especially as John wasn't in a position to do so himself. I liked that familiar characters popped up to lend a hand or cause mayhem as the case may be. 

One of my favourite scenes was at the theatre when the jewels were stolen and fire broke out. It was very exciting stuff and John showed, yet again, how heroic and romantic he is.

A brilliantly entertaining series. I can't wait to listen to book 6.

Buy Link Audible   Amazon  Book Depository


Tuesday, 20 February 2018

The Whisperer by A. Ireland King (2018)




Publisher's Information


Mystery. Betrayal. Murder.
Following her suicide, Meredith Potts discovers a dark secret.
When Meredith jumps in front of a train, the first surprise is that she still exists.  She meets the mysterious Michael, a glorious being sent to watch over and mentor her.  As Meredith learns to help the living in quiet ways, she must also face her own demons.
Events are now in motion that will uncover a terrible secret and expose a killer.  Where will Meredith’s unplanned journey lead her?  Can the truth really set you free?
Set in Scotland’s capital city, this gripping tale of treachery and redemption is ultimately optimistic. Prepare to be swept away by authentic characters—The Whisperer will keep you guessing and leave you warm and fuzzy.
Scroll up and buy now, get the kettle on, and prepare for a treat!
What readers are saying:
‘I couldn’t stop—I read into the wee hours.’
A stunning debut, skillfully crafted.’
‘King has captured the essence of angels.’





Once I read the opening poem I knew I had my hands on something very special.

This is a beautiful, heartwarming story where tragedy turns to hope, love, redemption and second chances. 

Meredith is the main character and the story revolves around her ability to whisper or encourage living people to make good choices. She is a kind soul and I really loved watching her evolve and harness her otherworldly powers to effect positive change in the lives of those she loves.
There were quite a few characters to keep track of but I liked each one and enjoyed flitting from one to the next as Meredith dipped in and out of their daily lives. Each person needed Meredith's help in some way whether it was a nudge in their love life, making new friends, reconnecting with family or keeping on the straight and narrow. She certainly had her work cut out for her. 
The mystery and the twists and turns took me by surprise and I found that I really couldn't put this book down. 
The epilogue was short and sweet and it ended the story on a very positive, high note. 
This rarely happens to me because of a lengthy TBR pile, but as soon as I finished this book it left me with the feeling of wanting to start at the beginning and enjoy the story all over again.


Buy Links Amazon

Monday, 12 February 2018

Winter's Spy (Guy Winter Mysteries Book 5) by James Philip, Narrated by Melanie Fraser (2018)



Audio Duration 6hrs 39mins

Description

The fifth full-length installment of the Guy Winter Mysteries series, Winter's Spy is set in November 1940.
In Winter's Spy, the Mystery Man is under arrest, suspected of having been an enemy agent for his whole career in the Metropolitan Police and throughout all his years working for MI5. Dammed by the evidence of a German spy whom he encountered in Paris before the war, it seems as if he must literally fight for his life.
Then, transported to Camp 020, MI5’s South London interrogation center, and confronted by his accuser, the Mystery Man begins to suspect that nothing is quite what it seemed.
Is he trapped in a web of deadly intrigue?
Does a beautiful spy hold the key to the greatest secret of the war?
And can MI5 and the Metropolitan Police suspend hostilities long enough for Guy Winter to finally unearth the key to unlock the Ripper case?
©2016 James P. Coldham writing as James Philip (P)2018 James P. Coldham writing as James Philip
Review 


Another exciting story in the Guy Winter series. It follows on from book four, Winter's Return, and indeed threads from earlier books are pulled together to answer long awaited questions. It's a tangled web of intrigue, murder and espionage. It's quite an intricate story line and I got a sense of how complicated and dangerous the political scene was at the time for those involved in the war effort and espionage business.
You do need to be familiar with the characters and the story lines of previous books. I recommend reading the series in order and in its entirety. 

Again the narration is excellent from Melanie Fraser. The accents were very well done and the subtle sound effects were very effective in setting the scenes and making the experience of the story more dramatic.

Highly recommended.


Buy Links AMAZON   AUDIBLE