Book Review

Hunter’s Secret – Val Penny

As you will all know by now, I am a fan of the Edinburgh Crime Mysteries, so I am thrilled to be joining the blog tour for Val Penny’s fifth book in the series, Hunter’s Secret. Many thanks to Val, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources, for inviting me to take part in the tour, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson is called to the scene of a murder. DCs Tim Myerscough and Bear Zewedu found a corpse, but when Hunter arrives it has disappeared, and all is not as it seems.

Hunter recalls the disappearance of a dead body thirty years earlier. The Major Incident Team is called in but sees no connection – it is too long ago. Hunter is determined to investigate the past and the present with the benefit of modern DNA testing.

Tim has other problems in his life. His father, Sir Peter Myerscough, is released from jail. He, too, remembers the earlier murder. There is no love lost between Hunter and Sir Peter. Will Hunter accept help from his nemesis to catch a killer?

Hunter’s own secret is exciting and crucial to his future. Will it change his life? And can he keep Edinburgh safe?

PURCHASE LINKS:

Purchase Here

Hunters Secret Cover

REVIEW:

Having read all of The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries so far, I have always found Hunter Wilson to be something of an enigma, much more difficult to fathom than the rest of the characters. Discovering more about Hunter’s past in this fifth book, and witnessing his first encounter with both a dead body and the police, explains both a lot about the man he became and about the animosity between him and Myerscough (old Myerscough that is, not young Myerscough who I will confess to having a bit of a crush on). It was interesting to see a more vulnerable side to Hunter, and see beneath the tough exterior that he presents to the outside world.

As ever I was delighted to see the return of Jamie and Frankie. I love their dynamic, and their efforts to remain on the straight and narrow (ish) always add some light relief to the story. The second Jamie was spotted on his “walk” you just knew that the hapless cousins were about to find themselves right in the middle of something big again.

The motivation behind the perpetrator’s crimes in this book is shocking, and whilst I had my suspicions about who was behind the mysterious missing bodies, the reasons for their actions came as a surprise to me.

The character relations on both sides of the law are as incestuous as ever in a way that always make Val’s books feel like returning to a familiar community. It is these relationships that draw me back to each new book as it is released.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Hunters Val Penny 2

Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However, she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels.

Her crime novels, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ Hunter’s Revenge, Hunter’s Force and Hunter’s Blood form the bestselling series The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries. They are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by Crooked Cat Books. The fifth novel in the series, Hunter’s Secret, is published by darkstroke. Her first non-fiction book, Let’s Get Published is available now.

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*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.

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Book Review

Resurrection Men – David Craig

Today I am joining the blog tour for the supernatural fantasy, Resurrection Men, by David Craig. Many thanks to David for providing me with a copy of the book, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour.

BLURB:

Glasgow 1893.

Wilton Hunt, a student, and Tam Foley, a laudanum-addicted pharmacist, are pursuing extra-curricular careers as body snatchers, or ‘resurrection men’, under cover of darkness. They exhume a girl’s corpse, only for it to disappear while their backs are turned. Confused and in need of the money the body would have earnt them, they investigate the corpse’s disappearance. They discover that bodies have started to turn up in the area with ripped-out throats and severe loss of blood, although not the one they lost. The police are being encouraged by powerful people to look the other way, and the deaths are going unreported by the press. As Hunt and Foley delve beneath the veneer of respectable society, they find themselves entangled in a dangerous underworld that is protected from scrutiny by the rich and powerful members of the elite but secretive Sooty Feathers Club.

Meanwhile, a mysterious circus arrives in the middle of the night, summoned to help avenge a betrayal two centuries old…

PURCHASE LINKS:

Elsewhen Press

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Resurrection Men Cover

REVIEW:

As the first book in the Sooty Feathers series, Resurrection Men gets off to an enthralling start with the night time arrival of the mysterious Carpathian circus. Nothing winners me over to a book quicker than a strange circus. Although it appears normal to the innocent bystander, as day turns to night a very different set of performers take over at the circus, luring spectators away from the bright lights.

Resurrection Men is a book that offers so much for fans of so many different genres. Part gothic horror, part urban fantasy, and at times part dark comedy, the humour primarily coming from the reactions of Hunt and Foley to the situation they find themselves in, it also offers all the twists and turns of a modern day thriller. It is truly a book that refuses to be pigeonholed.

Shady characters, secret societies and the last vestiges of the Knights Templar make up an eccentric cast, which is completed by two body snatchers, Hunt and Foley, who are seemingly scared by their chosen profession in a way that makes them strangely endearing.

With the surprises coming right to the very last page, I am excited to see what happens in book two!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Resurrection Men - me2

Aside from three months living on an oil tanker sailing back and forth between America and Africa, and two years living in a pub, David Craig grew up on the west coast of Scotland. He studied Software Engineering at university, but lost interest in the subject after (and admittedly prior to) graduation. He currently works as a strategic workforce planning analyst for a public service contact centre, and lives near Glasgow with his wife, daughter and two rabbits.

Being a published writer had been a life-long dream, and one that he was delighted to finally realise with his debut novel, Resurrection Men, the first in the Sooty Feathers series, published by Elsewhen Press in 2018. Thorns of a Black Rose was David’s second novel, also published by Elsewhen Press. He returns to the Sooty Feathers series with Lord of the Hunt.

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Book Review

The Recovery Toolkit – Sue Penna

It is my honour today to be joining the blog tour for Sue Penna’s The Recovery Toolkit. My thanks to Sue for providing me with a copy of the book, and to Jennifer Gilmour for arranging the tour and inviting me to be a part of it.

BLURB:

Have you left an abusive relationship?

Are you still carrying guilt?

Would you like to understand, challenge and remove the voice of the perpetrator?

Do you still think what happened to you was your fault?

Do you find dealing with new people in your life something to be scared about?

If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to the above questions you are not alone.

Many people who leave an abusive relationship behind are affected by that former relationship in many different ways. Perhaps you feel guilty when making decisions on your own? You may worry about what motivates others to befriend you? Maybe your children are having to re-learn who it is that’s the adult in the room now that your ex-partner has gone from their lives.

If this all sounds familiar then The Recovery Toolkit is the book for you. Written in an easy and accessible style, the book will take you on a journey that is part discovery, part guide.

RTK Book Cover

FURTHER DETAILS:

The book is based on the successful 12-week group programme of the same name created by author Sue Penna. It is also based on Sue’s professional and lived experience, having worked for more than 20 years for the NHS’s Mental Health Services. For the last 15 years, Sue has specialised in working with individuals who have experienced domestic abuse.

The Recovery Toolkit is crammed with superb observations and suggestions that will help you recognise that you weren’t to blame for the abuse you suffered in the first place and that the real you is still there, ready to emerge.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Purchase here

99p_99c Kindle

REVIEW:

I feel I should preface my review of this book by saying that I have never personally been in an abusive relationship, and as such I have not followed the programme. However, I wanted to be involved in the tour to help raise awareness of the programme and maybe help even just one person find the support they need. I also wanted to read this book to educate myself about domestic abuse and maybe find ways to help a friend who had previously found herself in an abusive situation. Of course, this was the 90s/00s and we were barely out of our teens, so although we could see it wasn’t the healthiest of relationships, the phrase coercive control wasn’t even part of our vocabulary. Looking back now I can see that that’s exactly what it was and reading about how my friend must have been feeling just broke my heart. Happily she is in a relationship with a wonderful man now and her abuser is thankfully ancient history.

The Recovery Toolkit explains the psychology behind the weekly exercises in a clear, accessible manner. It is written in a conversational style, giving the feeling that you are chatting with a trusted friend. It is an easy programme, and some of the exercise will be challenging, but reading Jennifer’s anecdotes as a survivor, advocate and someone who has worked through the programme are infinitely reassuring.

Although I am not the target audience for this book, as I was reading it I found there were elements of what was being said and of the exercises that I could pull out to use with my own self-esteem issues and insecurities as a result of being badly bullied at school, and also the guilt and uselessness I feel as someone with a chronic illness. There are chapters that I know I will be revisiting and trying to put into practice.

Reading this book, and knowing how successful the programme can be, makes me want to locate my nearest support service for domestic abuse victims and make sure they are aware of Rockpool and this book/programme.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sue Penna HeadshotSue has worked with individuals who have psychological trauma as a result of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) for over 30 years in her professional life as a clinician, trainer and supervisor both within the NHS and independently.

Sue has worked with individuals who have psychological trauma as a result of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) for over 30 years in her professional life as a clinician, trainer and supervisor both within the NHS and independently.Sue has worked with individuals who have psychological trauma as a result of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) for over 30 years in her professional life as a clinician, trainer and supervisor both within the NHS and independently.

She has specialised in writing psycho-educational programmes that promote trauma informed practice and a recovery model. Sue is passionate for the need for multi-agency working and committed to supporting front line workers to have the skills to support families with a trauma informed approach.

Sue has an extensive background in the domestic abuse sector and has written trauma informed domestic abuse programmes including the Inspiring Families Programme, Adult and Children and Young People Domestic Abuse Recovery Toolkit and the Sexual Violence Recovery Toolkit. Sue has also devised the ACE Recovery Toolkit written for parents and the ACE Recovery Toolkit for children and young people.

ABOUT ROCK POOL:

Our vision is a society that is trauma-informed.

We support organisations that want to improve practice, share knowledge and expertise, and enable their workforce to inspire hope, promote resilience and aid recovery for people affected by trauma. Our innovative, practical solutions and training opportunities are informed by lived experience and what is known to work.

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GIVEAWAY:

For the chance to win a signed paperback of The Recovery Toolkit, click HERE.

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Book Review

The House Party – Mary Grand

Today is my stop on the blog tour for thriller novel, The House Party by Mary Grand. Many thanks to Mary for providing me a copy of the book and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of the tour.

BLURB:

Someone is about to die… Someone is about to lie…

At the intimate house-warming party for her glorious ‘grand design’, Kathleen confides in her best friend Beth that she is terrified of one of their close friends, but daren’t reveal which one. The guests are a tight-knit group, but Kathleen is convinced one of them is dangerous.

The next day Kathleen’s body is found at the foot of a cliff and Beth must face the sickening truth that she may have been killed by one of their trusted friends. With little help from the police, Beth’s decides to seek answers.

All the friends have secrets they are desperate to hide, but only one of them is ready to kill to keep theirs safe…

The House Party is set on the Isle of Wight – insular,claustrophobic, and with nowhere to run. Mary Grand has written a heart-stopping novel of secretsbetrayal and desire, perfect for fans of Louise Candlish and Lucy Foley.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon

thehouseparty

REVIEW:

When I saw the comparisons between this book and those of Lucy Foley, I knew I had to read it, and I wasn’t disappointed. The House Party has all the twists and turns and intrigue you could wish for in a mystery thriller, and I flew through reading it.

Another big draw for this book was its setting on the Isle of Wight. Living just a short hop over the water, I visited the Isle of Wight many times growing up and it was lovely to see so many familiar places included.

The House Party features a cast of incredibly complex characters, each with deeply hidden secrets, which some of them will go to extreme lengths to protect. At different times through the book, I believed each and every one of them would have been capable of murdering Kathleen.

Beth was a tricky character for me – there were times when I wanted to shake her and tell her to go the police with everything she was finding out, but most of the time, I could totally understand her almost obsessive need to uncover the truth herself, and I suspect I would have reacted in a similar fashion in her situation.

The House Party moves from a slow, simmering tension to fast paced action, keeping the reader permanently on their toes, not knowing who to trust, from start to finish.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

The House Party Mary Grand Author PhotoMary Grand is the author of five novels and writes gripping, page-turning suspense, with a dark and often murderous underside. She grew up in Wales, was for many years a teacher of deaf children and now lives on the Isle of Wight where her new novel, The House Party, which will be published by Boldwood in July 2020, is set.

 

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Book Review

The Mechanical Maestro – Emily Owen

I have something a bit different for you today as historical fiction meets steampunk in The Mechanical Maestro by Emily Owen. Many thanks to Emily for providing me with a copy of the book, and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour.

BLURB:

London, 1857.

Brothers George and Douglas Abernathy are clockmakers who are barely scraping a living in their family’s shop. They are also brilliant inventors with a sideline building custombuilt androids and other technology ahead of its time. Their sixteen-year-old sister, Molly, is also a genius, specialising in transformative plant biology, but earns her keep by sewing.

The Abernathys’ fortunes improve dramatically when the brothers invent a clockwork automaton composer named Maestro, whose musical artistry takes London by storm. But there are those who believe Maestro is a fake, and others who think him a monstrosity.

As Maestro tries to make sense of the world of London’s high society which he is thrown into, he incites the interest of sinister figures who would go to any lengths to discover what makes him tick.

Immerse yourself in the world of three brilliant siblings and their musical automaton, Maestro.

The Mechanical Maestro is the first book in an upcoming series following the adventures of the Abernathy family and their clockwork creations.

This novel is sure to delight fans of historical fiction, steampunk, music lovers and engineers alike.

The Mechanical Maestro Front cover

REVIEW:

When you pick up The Mechanical Maestro, you enter a beautifully detailed world, and meet a cast of extraordinarily colourful characters. Alongside this, you have a story of discovery and intrigue as people plot to get their hands on the titular Maestro.

The eccentric Abernathy family are instantly appealing, George and Douglas with their incredibly advanced automata, and Molly with her (sometimes out of control) botanical experiments. I was particularly fond of Douglas and Molly, but George is a character I found a little harder to fathom – I look forward to getting to know him better in the upcoming books in this series. In my mind their home and shop is a higgeldy-piggeldy affair full of nooks and crannies and strange contraptions. It felt like the kind of place you could spend hours exploring and still not discover all of its secrets.

As well as being story about the talented Abernathys, The Mechanical Maestro is also a tale of their most advanced creation to date, the wonderful Maestro himself, and I was delighted to see that there were chapters in the book told from his point of view. As I was reading, I could almost here the music he composed, and it created a kind of ache to hear it for real. Watching him discover the world and his place in it, and his attachment to Douglas was incredibly endearing.

Emily Owen’s writing has a charm to it that put me in mind of both The Binding and The Toymakers in different ways, and I know she is an author I will return to time and again.

The Mechanical Maestro Back Cover

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Since completing her Masters by Research, Emily Owen has worked as an Archives Assistant at the University of Huddersfield. She lives in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.

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Book Review

Hinton Hollow Death Trip – Will Carver

It’s time for another Orenda published book, as I join the blog tour for Hinton Hollow Death Trip, by Will Carver. Many thanks to Will and Orenda for providing me with a copy of the book, and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to be a part of the tour.

BLURB:

It’s a small story. A small town with small lives that you would never have heard about if none of this had happened.

Hinton Hollow. Population 5,120.

Little Henry Wallace was eight years old and one hundred miles from home before anyone talked to him. His mother placed him on a train with a label around his neck, asking for him to be kept safe for a week, kept away from Hinton Hollow.

Because something was coming.

Narrated by Evil itself, Hinton Hollow Death Trip recounts five days in the history of this small rural town, when darkness paid a visit and infected its residents. A visit that made them act in unnatural ways. Prodding at their insecurities. Nudging at their secrets and desires. Coaxing out the malevolence suppressed within them. Showing their true selves.

Making them cheat.

Making them steal.

Making them kill.

Detective Sergeant Pace had returned to his childhood home. To escape the things he had done in the city. To go back to something simple. But he was not alone. Evil had a plan.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Hinton Hollow Death Trip Cover

REVIEW:

I have grappled with writing this review for some time – in fact it has been twelve days since I finished reading to now where I find myself finally ready to put words into sentences. This is not because I didn’t enjoy the book by any means, just that it is one of those books that is so totally brilliant in its construction that it completely blows your mind. Even now, I am fairly sure that whatever I say here simply won’t do the genius of Will Carver justice.

Hinton Hollow Death Trip marks the return of Detective Sergeant Pace, a character who I first met in the equally brilliant Nothing Important Happened Today although this is in fact his third outing. I really need to backtrack and read Good Samaritans, the first book in the series, although that said if you haven’t read the series, this book stands up perfectly well as a standalone.

The short disjointed sentences make for snappy reading, and although there was a part of me that wanted to heed Evil’s warning and turn away while I still could, there was a larger part of me that felt compelled to keep reading and find out just why I was being told to run for the hills!

Our narrator for our brief sojourn to Hinton Hollow, Evil himself, is a curious character. He feels almost reluctant to enact his true nature, wishing humans could be better, kinder, so that he needs to cultivate less evil to create a balance. However, in a world where genuine goodness is rare, and what was normal is now good and what was bad is considered normal behaviour, he feels compelled to create worse and worse acts, and this is not something that seems to sit comfortably with him. Although the innate evil of the human race is chilling, there is a dark humour to Evil’s observations and narration, and he has a surprising amount of empathy and a strong sense of justice. Over the course of the book, I found myself seeing not, as expected, a character to dislike, but instead one that I grew rather fond of in a strange way.

Hinton Hollow is a book full of uncomfortably truths, and Carver once again proves that he is an expert at tapping into the human mind, and getting right under the skin of his readers.

The worrying thing is that Hinton Hollow could so easily be the town I have lived in for my whole life, right down to the finer details of the cash machine theft, and reading it made me wonder just how far we had slipped from the safe, friendly place of my childhood.

Hinton Hollow Death Trip is not a light read, not a particularly comfortable one, but it is this that make it such a great book. It is far too near the knuckle to be easy reading, but it is a fascinating look at how little ripples can change people and entire communities forever. As unsettling as it was, it was totally gripping and I couldn’t put it down.

Anyone else who has read this book already, please feel free to get in touch. I have things I need to discuss that I cannot mention here without spoilers!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Will Carver 2Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children. Good Samaritans was book of the year in Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Express, and hit number one on the ebook charts.

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Book Review

Deadly Wishes – Rachel McLean

I am delighted to once again welcome Rachel McLean to my blog, as I join the blog tour for her latest book, Deadly Wishes. Many thanks to Rachel, and to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources, for inviting me to be a part of the tour, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

Meet Zoe Finch, West Midlands Police’s newest Detective Inspector. She’s outspoken, ambitious, and damaged. And she’s working a case that could make her career, or cost her everything…

Fresh from the success of the Canary investigation into depravity and corruption at the highest levels, Zoe has attracted attention. Not least from Assistant Chief Constable Bryn Jackson.

But when Jackson is brutally murdered on the night of his retirement party, Zoe is dragged into a case that’s deeply personal.

All the evidence points to the victim’s downtrodden wife, who has secrets of her own. But Zoe begins to suspect all isn’t as it seems. Could Jackson’s death be linked to the Canary case? And what is her new boss, DCI David Randle, hiding?

Seeking out the truth will force Zoe to confront her own past and put her career, and her team’s lives, on the line.

Deadly Wishes is a gritty crime thriller perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Caroline Mitchell, and the BBC’s Line of Duty.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

FZF1 cover 0.1

REVIEW:

As you will all know by now, I am always eager to read anything that Rachel McLean writes, and I am never disappointed when I do. Deadly Wishes is no exception to this, and I thoroughly enjoyed it – it’s not the first time that Rachel’s books have kept me up for most of the night because I just can’t stop reading, and I am sure it won’t be the last.

Deadly Wishes, book one of the Detective Zoe Finch series, shows a different side to Rachel McLean’s writing, and in some ways it feels a lighter read than her previous books – although it feels strange to say that given the subject matter. Where her other books have a slow burning, almost sinister undercurrent running through them, Deadly Wishes is more upfront and faster paced, and I think this is perhaps why it feels an easier read (that and the fact that I can’t resist a good crime drama in any shape or form).

In Bryn Jackson, we are presented with a thoroughly unlikable murder victim, who in all honesty, I had absolutely no sympathy for. His murder made for a fascinating plot because there were just so many people who had good reason to want him dead – even when I thought I had it all worked out, I was never 100% certain, nor, as it turned out, was I even close to actually having worked it out. Personally speaking, I prefer it if I haven’t solved the crime myself, so this was perfect for me.

Zoe Finch is a character who I instantly connected with. A little unsure of herself in her new role, Zoe is someone who doesn’t always make the right decision, or even the sensible one, but it is these flaws that make her feel so real. I really enjoyed the relationship she had with her team, and I am keen to see how this develops as the series progresses.

This is a series that has the potential to grow and grow and I look forward to reading future instalments.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

rachel mcleanMy name’s Rachel McLean and I write thrillers that make you think.

What does that mean?

In short, I want my stories to make your pulse race and your brain tick.

Do you often get through a thriller at breakneck pace but are left with little sense of what the book was really about? Do you sometimes read literary fiction but just wish something would damn well happen?

My books aim to fill that gap.

If you’d like to know more about my books and receive extra bonus content, please join my book club at rachelmclean.com/bookclub. I’ll send you a weekly email with news about my writing research and progress, stories and bonus content for each book. And I’ll let you know when my books are on offer.

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Book Review

Empire’s Reckoning – Marian L Thorpe

When I heard that Marian L Thorpe was writing a follow up trilogy to Empire’s Legacy, I was over the moon, and I am delighted to be able to introduce it to you all today, as I join the blog tour for Empire’s Reckoning, the first book in the new series. Many thanks to Marian, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources, for inviting me to be a part of the tour, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

How many secrets does your family have?

For 13 years, Sorley has taught music alongside the man he loves, war and betrayal nearly forgotten. But behind their calm and ordered life, there are hidden truths. When a young girl’s question demands an answer, does he break the most important oath he has ever sworn by lying – or tell the truth, risking the destruction of both his family and a fragile political alliance?

Empire’s Reckoning asks if love – of country, of an individual, of family – can be enough to leave behind the expectations of history and culture, and to chart a way to peace.

BOOK ONE OF THE EMPIRE’S REPRISE SERIES

PURCHASE LINKS:

Purchase Link

Empires Reckoning front cover

REVIEW:

Let me start by saying if you haven’t already read the Empire’s Legacy trilogy, go away and do that now, and then come back to read this review. Although I think there is enough backstory in Empire’s Reckoning for it to make sense if you picked it up with reading the first trilogy, you will be missing out on a really wonderful series if you don’t read it, and it adds so much depth to this book too. I also thoroughly recommend reading the novella Oraiáphon in between the two trilogies. It is a wonderful book, and offers a deeply emotional insight into what happens immediately after the Battle of the Taiva at the end of Empire’s Exile. It also works as a really good way of easing you in to the narrator change that occurs for Empire’s Reckoning.

Getting back to Empire’s Reckoning, I am pleased to report that I loved this book just as much, if not more, than the Empire’s Legacy trilogy. It has a gentler, more emotional feel to it than the first trilogy, which I feel is reflective of the differences between Lena and Sorley’s personalities. Sorley has long been a favourite of mine and him picking up the narrative felt like the perfect way to move forward. Empire’s Reckoning is a tale of love and shared history, and could really only be told by a scaeli of Linrathe.

Picking up some years after the end of Empire’s Exile, Empire’s Reckoning offers a fascinating look at what happened next for some of the much loved characters, and gave an insight into how they had changed and grown in the intervening years. That said, as much as liked reading about where everyone was now, it was the slow unpeeling of the years between the two books that I really enjoyed, seeing how each of them got to the point they were now at, and unveiling the intricacies of their relationships and betrayals.

Often with fantasy and alternate world books, it is easy to completely separate them from the reality of the world that we live in, and I think it is testament to Marian L Thorpe’s writing skill that this book really made me stop and think about various prejudices that exist throughout the world, and how these can be set aside to create something better.

I could gush about this book for ages, but that would eat into valuable reading time for you, so instead I will let you head off to your favourite outlet for books so you can buy all five of the books set in this wonderfully rich world and settle down for a few happy days reading.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Empires Hostage AuthorNot content with two careers as a research scientist and an educator, Marian L Thorpe decided to go back to what she’d always wanted to do and be a writer. Author of the medieval trilogy Empire’s Legacy and the companion novella Oraiáphon, described as ‘historical fiction of another world’, Marian also has published short stories and poetry. Her life-long interest in Roman and post-Roman European history informs her novels, while her avocations of landscape archaeology and birding provide background to her settings. Empire’s Reckoning is the first of a planned trilogy, Empire’s Reprise.

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Book Review

The Silent Wife – Karin Slaughter

Today marks a massive highlight in my blogging career for me as I join the blog tour for The Silent Wife by Karin Slaughter, my absolute favourite thriller writer. Many thanks to Karin, to Liz at Harper Collins, and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours, for inviting me to be a part of the tour, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

Atlanta, Georgia. Present day. A young woman is brutally attacked and left for dead. The police investigate but the trail goes cold. Until a chance assignment takes GBI investigator Will Trent to the state penitentiary, and to a prisoner who says he recognises the MO. The attack looks identical to the one he was accused of eight years earlier. The prisoner’s always insisted that he was innocent, and now he’s sure he has proof. The killer is still out there.

As Will digs into both crimes it becomes clear that he must solve the original case in order to reach the truth. Yet nearly a decade has passed—time for memories to fade, witnesses to vanish, evidence to disappear. And now he needs medical examiner Sara Linton to help him hunt down a ruthless murderer. But when the past and present collide, everything Will values is at stake.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

The Silent Wife Cover

REVIEW:

Well, what can you say about a book that is so great that it leaves you totally lost for words? I finished this book a good few days ago and it has taken this long for me to gather my thoughts enough to write my review. Karin Slaughter is just pure class, and her writing style puts her firmly at the top of my thriller writer list. Her books are instantly addictive and The Silent Wife is no exception.

The Silent Wife sees the return of many familiar faces as Sara and Will’s life together in Atlanta merges with Sara’s old life in Grant County. The dual timeline allows us to see Sara at two very different times in her life – one where we see the tough, resilient Sara we are used to, following her separation from Jeffrey, and another softer side as she shows her vulnerability in her relationship with Will and struggles to come to terms with the ghosts of her past. I loved seeing this side to Sara, as much as I hated to see her hurting so badly. I found it very interesting to explore her relationships with both men and the emotions they stir up in her.

Faith has long been one of my favourite characters from Karin’s books, and I particularly enjoyed her interaction with Lena in this book, and her blatant hatred of a character that, let’s face it, is totally unlikeable, and who we all love to hate. The years have not mellowed Lena and, much like Faith, I found myself really wanting to slap her! She really is a brilliant character to inspire such strong emotions in the reader.

As always, Karin doesn’t pull any punches with the brutality of the crimes featured in her books, or in the detail of the medical exams of the victims. There are some particularly graphic descriptions in The Silent Wife that may not be for the faint-hearted, but they are in no way gratuitous or out of keeping with the story.

As if being part of the blog tour for this brilliant book wasn’t excited enough, Karin was kind enough to take part in a Zoom Q&A session with the bloggers taking part on the tour, which was just amazing. Thank you so much Karin for being so generous with your time, and thanks to Liz at Harper Collins too for making all the arrangements and hosting the chat. It was most definitely the highlight of lockdown for me and a massive boost to my mental health.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Karin-Slaughter-Alison-RosaKarin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 120 countries with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her 19 novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated Cop Town and the instant Sunday Times bestselling novels Pretty Girls, The Good Daughter, and Pieces of Her.

The Good Daughter and Cop Town are in development for film and television and Pieces of Her is soon to be an eight-part Netflix adaptation, directed by Lesli Linka Glatter (Mad Men), and produced by Charlotte Stoudt (Homeland) and Bruna Papandrea (Big Little Lies).

Karin is the founder of the Save the Libraries project- a non-profit organisation established to support libraries and library programming.

She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

‘One of the boldest thriller writers working today’ TESS GERRITSEN

‘Fiction doesn’t get any better than this’ JEFFERY DEAVER

‘Passion, intensity, and humanity’ LEE CHILD

Her characters, plot, and pacing are unrivalled’ MICHAEL CONNELLY

‘A great writer at the peak of her powers’ PETER JAMES

‘Karin Slaughter has – by far – the best name of all of us mystery novelists’ JAMES PATTERSON

For information, review copy or interview request

please contact Liz Dawson:

elizabeth.dawson@harpercollins.co.uk / 020 8307 4412

Don’t forget to visit the other blogs taking part in the tour for this fantastic book.

The Silent Wife BT Poster

Book Review

Esme’s Gift – Elizabeth Foster

I am returning to Aeolia as I join the blog tour for Esme’s Gift, book two in Elizabeth Foster’s Middle Grade Fantasy series. Many thanks to Elizabeth, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources, for inviting me to take part in the tour, and for providing me with a copy of the book. If you haven’t read book one, Esme’s Wish, yet, I recommend reading that before you read any further down this post, as there are unavoidable spoilers for it coming up.

BLURB:

Terror was within. Terror was without.
Like her mother, she was at the water’s mercy.

In the enchanted world of Aeolia, fifteen-year-old Esme Silver faces her hardest task yet. She must master her unruly Gift—the power to observe the past—and uncover the secrets she needs to save her mother, Ariane.

In between attending school in the beguiling canal city of Esperance, Esme and her friends—old and new—travel far and wide across Aeolia, gathering the ingredients for a potent magical elixir.

Their journey takes them to volcanic isles, sunken ruins and snowy eyries, spectacular places fraught with danger, where they must face their deepest fears and find hope in the darkest of places.

Esme’s Gift, the second instalment in the Esme trilogy, is a gripping fantasy adventure for readers 12 years and over.

Fans of Harry Potter will love this book for its similar themes. The genuine friendship of the characters make this book a satisfying read, and hints at a healthy romance in the next book. The conclusion of the trilogy will be greatly anticipated! Sorcha, Goodreads

From dragons diving into volcanoes, Esme and her friends portalling out of art class and deep underwater adventures, Esme’s Gift is quite simply a thrilling and exciting read. Jean, Goodreads

9781925652246-Cover.indd

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

REVIEW:

Having enjoyed Esme’s Wish earlier this year, I was looking forward to reading the sequel and getting to know the wonderful world of Aeolia better. The city of Esperance always makes makes me think of Venice and the magical feeling I remember from my visit there – just with fewer tourists, and in Esperance the magic is real.

In Esme’s Gift, we see Esme settling into life in Esperance and starting lessons at Pierpont College. As much as I love Daniel and Lillian, it was great to see Esme making more friends, and interesting to read about her less friendly interactions with some of her fellow students. Watching the students come into their sometimes tricky to control Gifts was very entertaining too. Not least of these unpredictable Gifts is Esme’s, as she races against time to get hold of it before it is too late to save Ariane.

Esme’s Gift is full of drama and action as Esme uncovers more secrets and betrayals on both sides of the portal to Aeolia. Elizabeth Foster has expanded her world beautifully and created so much intrigue that I am left impatiently awaiting the next book!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A-Elizabeth Foster Hi Res 06 (1)I read avidly as a child, but only discovered the joys of writing some years ago when reading to my own kids reminded me how much I missed getting lost in other worlds. It’s never too late to find and follow your passion! I now have two books published and am about to start writing the third and final story in the Esme series.  My home base is Sydney, where I can often be found running (just kidding – walking) by the water, or scribbling in cafés.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

GIVEAWAY:

Win 3 x pairs of e-books Esme’s Wish & Esme’s Gift (Open Internationally)

Esme's Wish cover[2]

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.

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Don’t forget to visit the other blogs taking part in the tour.

Esmes Gift Full Tour Banner