Monday 17 June 2024

πŸ“– Blog Tour ~ The Wife at the Window by Cara Reinard

17 June 2024

My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book and the invitation to the blog tour

The little boy runs into the kitchen in his pajamas. He is swept up into a hug and gorgeous auburn hair falls across his face. I shiver, staring through the glass, my cheeks wet with tears as I gaze at the beautiful woman holding my son. That should be me. It will be me again.

We were the perfect family once. Shep, my handsome husband. My darling little boy… and our tiny baby girl. The night she died I lost everything. I know without a shadow of a doubt that I would never, ever have hurt her. I was trying to save her. But nobody believed me.

So, I can only watch through the rain-streaked window as Shep’s new girlfriend plays mother to my son. Hugs him, holds him. Does he even remember me?

Now I am finally out of the hospital, I will make sure everyone knows what really happened. I will get my son back. The doctors might say my nightmares are dangerous…

But the woman in the window has been planning to take my place for a long time. And she doesn’t know how far I will go to protect my family...

πŸ“– My Review..

Emerson is post-recovery following a traumatic incident involving her baby daughter which resulted in the disintegration of her family and necessitated Emerson spending time in hospital. On her release her one main aim is to be reunited with her young son, Leo, who is currently in the custody of his father and his new girlfriend. What then follows is a highly emotive story of a mother’s quest to reclaim her son however, events conspire against her and in a hugely complex domestic thriller we discover the lengths people will go in order to seek revenge.

I raced through The Wife at the Window in almost one sitting as it’s one of those stories which once started you can’t put down. Emerson’s story is told with compassion so that we are soon on her side and want everything to work out for her. Her ex-husband Shep and his girlfriend, Talia are not so likeable but are definitely intriguing and I whilst I didn’t feel any empathy for them I found their story equally fascinating.

The ultimate twist in the tale is cleverly done and I truly didn’t see it coming, so all credit to the author for keeping the momentum and offering twists, turns and surprises in a complex domestic thriller which kept me engaged from start to finish.

About the Author

Cara Reinard is the Amazon bestselling author of SWEET WATER and INTO THE SOUND. She has an MFA in writing from Lindenwood University. Cara has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for two decades and enjoys writing twisty, character-driven psychological thrillers that are as much about the protagonist’s journey as they are about the mystery.

Cara lives just outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband, children, and two fluffy Bernese mountain dogs.

X @carareinard #TheWifeAtTheWindow

@bookouture #booksontour

Thursday 13 June 2024

πŸ“– Book Review ~ Retreat from Nuala by Harriet Steel

Inspector de Silva Mysteries
 Book #14

30 March 2024

My thanks to the author for my copy of this book

Shanti and Jane de Silva’s peaceful retreat at a mountain monastery rapidly turns into something far more challenging when they become involved in the search for a stolen ancient manuscript that is reputed to have the power to shake Christianity to its foundations.As they investigate their fellow guests and the monks themselves, the mystery seems as impenetrable as mountain mist – until events take a deadly turn. Will they succeed in bringing the truth to light?The Inspector de Silva Mysteries are vintage-style mysteries set on the exotic island of Ceylon (modern Sri Lanka) in the 1930s and 40s. Perfect for fans of Death in Paradise, Murder in Provence, and Midsomer Murders.

πŸ“– My Review..

This fourteenth book in the long running Inspector de Silva series sees Shanti and his wife Jane heading to coolness of the hills above Nuala to a peaceful retreat in a mountain monastery. The piece and quiet of this Buddhist sanctuary allows Shanti and  Jane to spend some quiet time together which is, however, bought to an end with the discovery that an ancient Christian manuscript has gone missing from the monastery’s library. This investigation turns out to be something of a locked room mystery as there have been few visitors to this remote place and with several of the other guests all acting strangely the Inspector is determined to discover more about the manuscript and the reason why it has been stolen.

As always the beauty of Ceylon ( Sri Lanka) is described in such detail that I felt as if I too had travelled into the peace of this beautifully described Buddhist sanctuary and watched, with fascination, as the inspector, ably assisted by Jane, sets about discovering who could have been involved in this particular crime. I love how this series has evolved so calmly, there’s a never a rush to get everything done and dusted and the gentle pace of the narrative really suits these stories to perfection. Shanti and Jane work well together and it’s been a real treat to have Jane feature more strongly in the action, and being away from the bustle of Nuala also gives the author more scope to describe the surrounding countryside.

It’s been a real pleasure to go on Retreat from Nuala in a fascinating story, with clever plot twists, and several red herrings, all of which kept me entertained from first page to last. I look forward to reading more Inspector de Shanti novels in the future.

About the Author

Harriet Steel wrote four historical novels before turning to crime with the Inspector de Silva mysteries, inspired by time spent in Sri Lanka (the former Ceylon)). Her work has also appeared in national newspapers and magazines. Visit her blog to sign up to her monthly newsletter for news of new releases and great offers, Blog 

Harriet is married with two daughters and lives in Surrey. When Harriet is not writing, she likes reading, long walks and visiting art galleries and museums.

Twitter @harrietsteel1

Tuesday 11 June 2024

πŸ“– Book Review ~ Trouble by Michael E Wills

Bygone Ages Press
9 February 2024

Clifftop Farm in Wartime #3

My thanks to the author for my copy of this book

The lives of the four children at Clifftop Farm become very difficult and dangerous when their beloved collie, Billy, gets into serious trouble.

The youngsters are compelled to devise a plan to rescue their dog. However, to get the crucial evidence they require, they must outsmart a group of criminals.

Unexpected assistance emerges from two surprising quarters: an Italian prisoner of war and a sergeant in a commando regiment stationed near to the farm. In a race against time, will the children succeed in locating the vital information needed to secure the dog's safety?

πŸ“– My Review..

This is now the third book in the trilogy of novels for young readers which explores the lives of the children who live at Clifftop Farm on the Isle of Wight. We first met this bunch of children after they had been evacuated to the farm which belongs to Jimmy and his mother, Vera and have followed their adventures in each subsequent book. This story begins in May 1941 when Jimmy and his mother have to attend magistrates court in Newport owing to an incident which has involved their collie dog, Billy. This acts as a catalyst and further adventures begin in the children’s quest to keep Billy safe.

What I have enjoyed about this trilogy is the way the place and the people come alive. The WW2 setting is explained really well and each book is interspersed with ‘true facts’ which help to put the historical details into context. The author writes well for his target audience which for these stories I would say was between 8-11 years. There is enough excitement to keep the attention of the reader and the characters are very personable which makes for an enjoyable and exciting read. I particularly enjoyed the ‘What became of them after the war’ section at the end of the book and the author’s recollections of his own wartime experiences along with the inspiration for the story about Billy.

The Clifftop Farm trilogy is a lovely introduction to WW2 historical fiction for young readers. Each book can be read as a standalone story but it makes sense to start at the beginning with Treason, Treachery and finally, Trouble.

Michael Wills was born in Newport on the Isle of Wight and attended the Priory Boys School and Carisbrooke Grammar. He trained as a teacher at St Peter’s College, Birmingham, before working at a secondary school in Kent.

Twitter @MWillsofSarum


Friday 7 June 2024

πŸ“– Blog Tour ~ A Heart Full of Hope by Kay Seeley


Enterprise Books
1 June 2024

My thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for the copy of the book
and the invitation to the tour

When Charity Browne arrives at The Fitzroy Hotel on her way to a country house party, she knows there’s more to the invitation than a weekend of revelry. She’s old enough to be married and her family are hoping for a good match.
Sparks fly when she collides with dashing Jack Carter, the hotel housekeeper’s disreputable brother. A visit to a home for waifs and strays makes Charity question her values. Her attempt to help a small, mute boy she sees there leads her to attractive and worthy Dr Adam Radcliffe. Together they uncover a web of deceit, betrayal and lies surrounding the boy’s family. Fate unites Jack and Charity in a quest to save the boy from unimaginable evil. Will Charity fall for Jack’s mesmerising charm, or will Adam’s selfless compassion capture her heart?

πŸ“– My Review..

Charity Browne arrives in London with her aunt and stays in the prestigious Fitzroy Hotel. There she bumps into the charismatic Jack Carter who is a guest of the hotel and also the brother of the hotel's housekeeper. There is a spark of attraction between Charity and Jack but with their social classes so very different there can be no hope of a romance. Charity is meant to make an altogether more affluent match but that doesn't stop her hoping for something very different.

Set at the turn of the twentieth century and with the Edwardian era very much settled, Charity has a little more freedom than her Victorian counterparts and yet she is still restrained by what society expects of her. The story shows two very different sides of the social divide, the wealthy with their sojourns in luxury hotels and their affluent country houses, whilst the poor are subject to danger, abuse and unrelenting poverty. The author shows these differences well and yet also shows that kindness and compassion can also be found in unexpected places.

A Heart Full of Hope is a charming historical romance which continues the Fitzroy Hotel series of historical novels set in Edwardian London. Whilst there is some overlap of characters, it is perfectly possible to read each book as an enjoyable standalone story.

About the Author 

Kay Seeley is a talented storyteller and bestselling author. Her short stories have been published in women’s magazines and short-listed in competitions. Her novels had been finalists in The Wishing Shelf Book Awards. She lives in London and loves its history. Her stories are well researched, beautifully written with compelling characters where love triumphs over adversity. Kay writes stories that will capture your heart and leave you wanting more. Often heart-wrenching but always satisfyingly uplifting, her books are perfect for fans of Anna Jacobs, Dilly Court and Josephine Cox. All her novels are available for Kindle, in paperback, audio and in Large Print.

Kay is a Member of The Alliance of Indie Authors and The Society of Women Writers and Journalists.



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X @KaySeeley #AHeartFullOfHope
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Thursday 6 June 2024

πŸ“– Paperback Publication Day ~ The Fascination by Essie Fox


Orenda Books
6 June 2024

My thanks to the publisher and Random Things Tours for my copy of this book

Twin sisters Keziah and Tilly Lovell are identical in every way, except that Tilly hasn't grown a single inch since she was five. Coerced into promoting their father's quack elixir as they tour the country fairgrounds, at the age of fifteen the girls are sold to a mysterious Italian known as ‘Captain’. 

Theo is an orphan, raised by his grandfather, Lord Seabrook, a man who has a dark interest in anatomical freaks and other curiosities … particularly the human kind. Resenting his grandson for his mother’s death in childbirth, when Seabrook remarries and a new heir is produced, Theo is forced to leave home without a penny to his name. 

Theo finds employment in Dr Summerwell’s Museum of Anatomy in London, and here he meets Captain and his theatrical ‘family’ of performers, freaks and outcasts. But it is Theo’s fascination with Tilly and Keziah that will lead all of them into a dark web of deceits, exposing unthinkable secrets and threatening everything they know...

On it's Paperback Publication Day I am delighted to re-post my review 

πŸ“– My Review..

The Fascination takes us into the dark underbelly of Victorian England to places which creep into your imagination with sinister intent and yet the story is so imaginatively written that you can’t help but be inextricably drawn into a fascinating world of obsession and deeply troubled secrets.

Twins, Tilly and Keziah Lovell tour the country fairs with their father selling a noxious cure-all which provides a living of sorts however, life isn’t easy for the Lovell’s and there is exploitation along with cruelty. On the surface the twins shouldn’t have anything in common with Theo Seabrook whose sad and lonely childhood marks him out as another misfit and yet their lives entwine in a suspenseful story which captures the imagination right from the very first page.

The sinister and morally corrupt world of Victorian England is brought vividly to life, from the simple pleasure of a country fair, to the macabre exhibits in Dr Summerwell’s Museum of Anatomy in London, there is never a moment when the story-telling falters or fails to plunge you deep into a Victorian world of freaks, misfits and the downright macabre. The rich assortment of shady characters who are such an integral part of the story give us a fascinating glimpse into the shadowy world of Victorian obsession.

Beautifully written, and meticulously researched, The Fascination is Essie Fox writing at her Gothic best.

About the Author

Essie Fox was born and raised in rural Herefordshire, which inspires much of her writing. After studying English Literature at Sheffield University, she moved to London where she worked for the Telegraph Sunday Magazine, and then book publishers George Allen & Unwin, before becoming self-employed in the world of art and design. Essie now spends her time writing historical gothic novels. Her debut, The Somnambulist, was shortlisted for the National Book Awards, and featured on Channel 4’s TV Book Club. The Last Days of Leda Grey, set in the early years of silent film, was selected as The Times Historical Book of the Month. Essie is also the creator of the popular blog: The Virtual Victorian. She has lectured on this era at the V&A, and the National Gallery in London.

Twitter @essiefox #TheFascination

@OrendaBooks @randomttours

Wednesday 5 June 2024

πŸ“– Book Review ~ You Me Her by Sue Watson


3 June 2024

My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book

Three people. One marriage. One murder.

YOU: My handsome husband Tom. You've given me everything our beautiful son and our perfect new seaside home. I want to trust you, but I know you haven't been honest about why you really wanted to move here. I haven't been honest with you either.

ME: I make a secret promise as Tom kisses me and pours a glass of ice-cold wine to toast the first night in our dream house: I'm going to forget about his past. For the sake of our son, I'll keep this family together, no matter what.

HER: Chloe is the only friend I've made since the move. I love our long lunches, even though she asks prying questions about my marriage. Tom hates me spending time with her, but I ignore his warning to stay away. I've seen the way he looks at her. It's better to keep your enemies close.

You may think you know what's going on in my marriage, but you'll be wrong. Only three things are true: Someone is a liar. Someone is in danger. Someone is a killer.

πŸ“– My review…

After receiving an inheritance Rachel, her husband, and small son relocate from Manchester to Cornwall. This move should have been the start of a new life for the three of them with everything to look forward to, however, it soon becomes obvious that there are differences in this marriage and even the most idyllic of settings can’t cover up the cracks.

You Me Her is a fast moving thriller which gets more and more complicated as the story progresses especially with the introduction of a character who soon becomes something of a nightmare. I really enjoyed watching how the drama unfolded and whilst none of the major characters were particularly likeable there was more than enough twists and turns to keep me guessing about who did what to whom and why! That there is danger ahead for Rachel is done really well and the hint of a past trauma in her life helps to keep the tension cranked up high. There’s never a moment when the pace slackens and author keeps this momentum going throughout the whole of the story.

You Me Her is an immersive and atmospheric story which really stretches the imagination and keeps you guessing until the final twist in the tale.

About the Author

Sue Watson was a TV Producer at the BBC until she wrote her first book and was hooked.Now a USA Today bestselling author, Sue has written eighteen novels, many have been translated into several languages. Sue is now exploring the darker side of life with her thrillers OUR LITTLE LIES, THE WOMAN NEXT DOOR, THE EMPTY NEST, THE SISTER-IN-LAW, FIRST DATE and her latest, THE FOREVER HOME.

Originally from Manchester, Sue now lives with her family in Worcestershire where much of her day is spent writing - okay, procrastinating. Her hobby is eating cake, while watching diet and exercise programmes from the sofa, a skill she's perfected after many years of practice.

X @suewatsonwriter #YouMeHer


Tuesday 4 June 2024

πŸ“– Book Review ~ The House in the Water by Victoria Darke

Boldwood Books
27 May 2024

Thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book

A secluded house. A lost notebook. A wartime secret.

1942: Young Irish nurse Ellen arrives at May Day House, tasked with helping the men there rehabilitate. But there’s something strange about the house, surrounded by water, on its own island in the Thames. And then there are the traumatised by their experiences of war, and subject to troubling methods in a desperate race to get them back to duty. As Ellen gets drawn into the world of May Day House, she starts to realise this will be no place to hide away from her own troubles…

2013: Philip and Meredith are the proud new owners of May Day House. Following a string of tragedies, the couple have moved to the area in search of a new start. But all is not what it seems in the riverside community. As their plans for the rundown house meet resistance from the neighbours, Meredith finds herself slowly she hears voices on the water, sees figures where there can be no one there. When she finds an old notebook from the war, she seeks solace in the stories about the former patients of the island.

But will shadows from the past threaten her future happiness – and even her life?

πŸ“– My Review..

Meredith and Philip sink all of their money into the dilapidated May Day House but with local opposition renovations are not going to be easy. Meredith spends far too much time alone in the house and with some sinister goings on she pretty much finds that she is isolated and becomes more and more afraid of things that only see can see.

Back in 1942, Ellen, a young Irish nurse, arrives at May Day House to help care for those WW2 soldiers who have been sent to the secluded hospital to recuperate from mental trauma. However, the brutal methods employed by the doctors cause Ellen much distress especially as she is also hiding some traumatic secrets of her own.

This is such an immersive novel that I barely looked up from the page and such was the pull of each time frame that each fitted comfortably within the concept of the story. I was slightly more drawn to the WW2 sections and Ellen's story and yet the modern day setting with Meredith and Philip was filled with such sinister undertones that it kept me on the edge of my seat. I liked the hint of mystery which runs like a thread and I have thoroughly enjoyed watching how all the stands of this complicated story come together. 

The House in the Water is a fast paced and brooding dual timeline mystery with more than enough twists and turns to keep you guessing. 

About the Author

Victoria Darke has been a journalist for many media outlets including the BBC and The Telegraph. She is the author of three novels as Victoria Scott, published by Head of Zeus. Her first book for Boldwood, a Gothic timeslip novel, The House in the Water, was published in May 2024

Twitter / X @ToryScott #TheHouseintheWater