Tuesday 27 February 2024

Her Scandalous Suitor by Rachel Brimble BLOG TOUR #HerScandalousSuitor @RachelBrimble @rararesources #BookSpotlight

 


A chance meeting...or so she thought. Is confidence trickster Will Samson the hero he claims to be or someone else entirely...

Emily Darson assumed her future of propriety and privilege amid a loveless marriage was set in stone. At least, she did until confidence trickster Will Samson came into her life...

Then everything changed.

With each revelation about her fiancé and herself that Will uncovers, he also reveals a little more of who is he, what he has suffered, and the volatile vengeance that burns in his heart.

Can Emily really risk security for scandal? Loyalty for love? Only time will tell…




Her Scandalous Suitor by Rachel Brimble is published on 28 February 2024 by The Wild Rose Press. As part of this Rachel's Random Resources Blog Tour I am delighted to shine a spotlight on this book today. 






Rachel lives in a small town near Bath, England. 


She is the author of 29 novels including the Ladies of Carson Street trilogy, the Shop Girl series (Aria Fiction) and several single titles with The Wild Rose Press. 

She is super excited to be the first historical fiction author writing for Harpeth Road Press and her first novel with them will be released May 2024.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Female Entrepreneur Association and has thousands of social media followers all over the world.

To sign up for her newsletter (a guaranteed giveaway every month!), click here: https://bit.ly/3zyH7dt









Monday 26 February 2024

The Descent by Paul E Hardisty BLOG TOUR #TheDescent @Hardisty_Paul @OrendaBooks #ClimateEmergency #BookReview

 


A young man and his young family set out on a perilous voyage across a devastated planet to uncover the origin of the events that set the world on its course to disaster … The prescient, deeply shocking prequel to the bestselling, critically acclaimed Climate Emergency thriller, The Forcing.

 Kweku Ashworth is a child of the cataclysm, born on a sailboat to parents fleeing the devastation in search for a refuge in the Southern Ocean. Growing up in a world forever changed, his only connection to the events that set the planet on its course to disaster were the stories his step-father, long-dead, recorded in his manuscript, The Forcing. 

 But there are huge gaps in the story that his mother, still alive but old and frail, steadfastly refuses to speak of, even thirty years later. When he discovers evidence that his mother has tried to cover up the truth, and then stumbles across an account by someone close to the men who forced the globe into a climate catastrophe, he knows that it is time to find out for himself.

 Determined to learn what really happened during his mother's escape from the concentration camp to which she and Kweku's father were banished, and their subsequent journey halfway around the world, Kweku and his young family set out on a perilous voyage across a devastated planet. What they find will challenge not only their faith in humanity, but their ability to stay alive.

 The Descent is the devastating, nerve-shattering prequel to the critically acclaimed thriller The Forcing, a story of survival, hope, and the power of the human spirit in a world torn apart by climate change.




The Descent by Paul E Hardisty is published on 29 February 2024 by Orenda Books. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this Blog Tour. 



I read and reviewed Paul E Hardisty's The Forcing in February of last year. The Descent is both a prequel and a sequel to The Forcing. The author shows us what happened in the years between 2024 and 2039 that set the scene for the drastic measures demanded by those who governed in the following years. He also takes us forward in time where we meet the descendants of those who made a journey in The Forcing. It is incredibly well structured, and once again, just as I did when I read The Forcing, I felt emotions that ranged from pure anger, to extreme terror. 

Paul E Hardisty is a well respected environmental scientist, his research is source material for many papers prepared for Governments around the world. I heard him speak at the Newcastle Noir crime fiction festival last year, and there is no doubt at all that his fictional characters and events are based on real science and the truth. I guess it's fairly hard for him to get the general public to read long, fairly dry scientific reports, so writing novels about the same subject makes sense. It helps too that his writing is magnificent. It is often lyrical, almost poetic, yet is filled with tension and suspense at the same time. 

The Descent has two main threads, both told in the first person. We get to know Kweku Ashworth, the child of the narrator of The Forcing. Kweku has grown up learning about the events that changed the world from his step-father's manuscript. However Kweku has always been intrigued and worried about the gaps in this story and when he discovers a regular recording, narrated by someone who knows so much about the historical events, he is determined to find out more. 

The second narrator is know as Sparkplug, and she's the voice of the recordings that Kweku listens to. Her story is frightening and alarming, and there are people who would do anything to ensure that her voice is silenced. Sparkplug's story is terrifying, and for me, it was the part of the novel that most resonated. Readers will recognise some of the people spoken about in her revelations; the leader of Russia, the guy who will be the US president, the extremely wealthy and powerful, they are all there and they all walk amongst us. 

Kweku and his small family set off on a long voyage on the boat that his parents arrived in, and also the boat that he was born on. Their journey is full of danger, they will come across those people who can help, those who pretend they can help and those who are determined to stop them. As they cross the oceans, they land in places that were once thriving, vibrant countries but are now almost deserted, barren and most of the remaining inhabitants are hungry, poverty stricken and hopeless. 

The two narratives appear to be separate yet it soon becomes clear that the events that Sparkplug describe and the actions of the richest and most powerful have shaped the world that Kweku now lives in. 

This is a powerful, thought provoking and chilling story that should be a warning to us all. Whilst it is fiction, we have to realise that it really could be reality. Speculative yes, but very very probable too. Hardisty writes with an authority and conviction that cannot be denied. The Descent is utterly brilliant, even if it sends shivers down the spine. 




Canadian Paul E Hardisty has spent 25 years working all over the world as an engineer,
hydrologist and environmental scientist. 
He has roughnecked on oil rigs in Texas, explored for gold in the Arctic, mapped geology in Eastern Turkey (where he was befriended by PKK rebels), and rehabilitated water wells in the wilds of Africa. 
He was in Ethiopia in 1991 as the Mengistu regime fell, and was bumped from one of the last flights out of Addis Ababa by bureaucrats and their families fleeing the rebels. 
In 1993 he survived a bomb blast in a cafĂ© in Sana’a. 
Paul is a university professor and CEO of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS). 
The first four novels in his Claymore Straker series, The Abrupt Physics of Dying, The Evolution of Fear, Reconciliation for the Dead and Absolution all received great critical acclaim and The Abrupt Physics of Dying was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger and Telegraph Thriller of the Year. 

The Forcing (2023) was a SciFi Now Book of the Month. 

Paul is a sailor, a private pilot, keen outdoorsman, and lives in Western Australia.





Friday 23 February 2024

The Lifeline by Tom Ellen #TheLifeline @TomEllen7 @HQstories #BookReview

 


Will is sleepwalking through life. He works a dead-end job and volunteers at an anonymous crisis line to avoid facing his own problems.

Annie is sure she has her five-year plan all worked out. But when things start falling apart, she just needs someone who will listen. . .

They’re practically strangers but soon Will and Annie rely on their regular phone calls, challenging each other to be brave and rebuild their lives.

They’ve found connection in the most unlikely of places but is it possible to fall in love with someone you’ve never met?





The Lifeline by Tom Ellen is published on 29 February 2024 by HQ. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 


I have enjoyed every minute that I've spent with these magical characters. Both Will and Annie are complex, a little flawed but so totally beautifully created. Their story is a mix of missed opportunities, regrets and new beginnings and Tom Ellen's writing is quite magical. 

Will's life is not how he expected or intended it to be. By day, he works in a store that sells extension leads and USB connectors in the centre of London and when he's not there, he's either at home, alone with just his cat for company, or volunteering at an anonymous crisis line. Taking calls from people who have nobody else to talk to .... a little like Will himself. 


Annie is a writer, although her current job is not exactly thrilling. She compiles quizzes and quick reads for an online page, but would really like to write a novel. She lives with her boyfriend Dom, and her relationship with her Mum and sister is strained since her beloved Dad died a couple of years ago. She is struggling more than she will admit and when she's tasked with tracking down a band that she interviewed years ago, she stumbles across the number for Green Shoots - an anonymous crisis line. 

It is not long before Will and Annie come to look forward to their regular phone calls. Each of them benefitting from their chats, with encouragement about being brave and how to make their lives better, they become friends, of sorts. 

The reader is aware of more about Will and Annie's backgrounds. We know about Will's past life as the lead singer in an indie band, we know about his best friend Joe and how much he cared for him, and misses him. We know that Will was once loud and sweary and afraid of nothing, we know that nowadays he never socialises and hates to think back to his younger life. We learn about Annie's relationship with her Dad and how it was his love of books and reading that encouraged her own. We find out why she and her mother and sister are so estranged and we feel the pain that both of them endure. 

The reader realises where this story is going long before the main characters have any clue, but it doesn't go smoothly and there were times when I felt my eyes begin to water, and had a lump in my throat as I desperately wanted Will and Annie to realise what was happening, and what had happened in the past. 

Whilst this is, with no doubt, a beautiful romance, the author also deals sensitively and empathically with various darker issues, including mental illness, grief, suicide and loneliness. The details of some of the anonymous calls to Green Shoots, and the reaction of the volunteers who listen is skilfully and eloquently described. His creation of friendships, most especially between Will and Dev, and Will and Tanvi are just perfectly done, that utter feeling of total trust that you find with certain special people is a joy to read about. 

If you have read and loved books by Jamie Fewery or David Nicholls, you will adore The Lifeline. It is warm and uplifting with characters that you will fall in love with yourself. Highly recommended. 




Tom Ellen is the co-author of three critically acclaimed Young Adult novels: Lobsters
(which was shortlisted for The Bookseller's inaugural YA Book Prize), Never Evers and Freshers. 

His books have been widely translated and are published in 15 countries. 

He is a regular contributor to Viz magazine, and as a journalist he has written for Cosmopolitan, Empire, Evening Standard Magazine, Glamour, NME, ShortList, Time Out, Vice and many more. 

All About Us was his debut adult novel. Tom lives in Paris.

X @TomEllen7





Thursday 22 February 2024

Deadly Animals by Marie Tierney BLOG TOUR #DeadlyAnimals #MarieTierney @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #BookReview

 


Thirteen-year-old Ava Bonney possesses an unusual intellect far beyond her years. While her friends play, Ava's fascination lies in the intricate process of animal decomposition, studying roadkill found in the streets around her home.

But, one night, Ava's secret nocturnal routine takes a chilling turn when she stumbles upon the lifeless body of fellow schoolmate, Mickey Grant.

As Detective Seth Delahaye takes charge of the perplexing case, Ava refuses to sit idle. Determined and resourceful, she embarks on a daring quest to unveil the truth behind the string of chilling deaths plaguing her community.

Armed with her unique skills and unrivalled local knowledge, Ava becomes an unlikely force in the race to apprehend the elusive killer before more lives are claimed.




Deadly Animals by Marie Tierney was published on 15 February 2024 by Zaffre. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this Compulsive Readers Blog Tour 




Oh my goodness! Deadly Animals is both disturbing and poetic at the same time. Marie Tierney is a welcome addition to the UK crime writer's stable. This debut is wonderfully imagined and at times the writing is just beautiful, despite the horrors that it describes. 

We meet thirteen-year-old Ava in May 1981. She lives in a pretty deprived area of Birmingham. Ava is an unusual girl. She is fascinated by how dead animals decompose, she's extremely intelligent and knows so much more than the majority of the adults that surround her, and certainly more than the kids that bully her at school. 

Ava has her own 'lab', an area of waste land where she has buried various dead animals - she hasn't killed them - they are generally road kill. Ava examines them regularly, noting down any differences in the bones, the skin, the innards. It is at one of these examinations that Ava discovers another body. A human body, and she knows who it is. Mickey Grant has been missing for a while, and here he is, in Ava's space. She didn't like the alive Mickey, but realises that she must report her findings. She does, and disguises her voice. 

Detective Seth Delahaye is new to Birmingham, recently arrived from the Met and he is assigned the case. When he and Ava meet, there's an immediate connection. Unlike most people, Delahaye doesn't dismiss her words, or treat her badly, he recognises something in her and he listens carefully to what she says. Ava's only other real friend is an older boy, John. John attends a different school, but will meet Ava at the school gates. He's aware of how she suffers at the hands of bullies and they form an unlikely alliance, along with John's grandfather, in what they call their War Room. 

Whilst Delahaye carries out his investigations, so too do Ava and John, and it becomes clear that there's probably a serial killer on the loose, but is the killer a human? Sightings of a large creature, with yellow eyes make this case seem even stranger. 

There's a darkness about the story that is overshadowed by the beauty of the characters. It is the relationships formed in this novel that really struck home for me. Yes, there's death, and some pretty gritty scenes, but they fit so well and compliment the overall theme of friendship and reliability. 

Ava is a fabulous character. Thirteen, but going on thirty, she has a lot to deal with. She's passionate and loyal and tries her hardest to see the best in people, even when they are not so nice to her. 

Deadly Animals is a novel that will stay with the reader for a long time, populated with characters who are relatable yet unusual. The 1980s era is brilliantly portrayed with a fabulous sense of place too. 

An author to watch for sure. Recommended by me. 




MARIE TIERNEY was a finalist in the Daily Mail First Novel competition and her debut crime novel, Deadly Animals, was selected by bestselling crime writer Peter James as his winner. 

She cites Richard Adams, Margaret Atwood and Stephen King among her literary influences and, when she is isn't researching criminal history, she writes plays, poetry and creates art in different mediums. 

Born and raised in Birmingham, Marie held various jobs across four counties and dedicated almost twenty years to working in education before becoming a full-time writer. 

She now lives in The Fens with her husband and son.






Wednesday 21 February 2024

Death Flight by Sarah Sultoon BLOG TOUR #DeathFlight @SultoonSarah @OrendaBooks #JonnyMurphyFiles #Argentina #BookReview

 


Cub reporter Jonny Murphy is in Buenos Aires interviewing families of victims of Argentina's Dirty War, when a headless torso has washed up on a city beach, thrusting him into a shocking investigation…

Argentina. 1998. Human remains are found on a beach on the outskirts of Buenos Aires – a gruesome echo of when the tide brought home dozens of mutilated bodies thrown from planes during Argentina's Dirty War. Flights of death, with passengers known as the Disappeared.

International Tribune reporter Jonny Murphy is in Buenos Aires interviewing families of the missing, desperate to keep their memory alive, when the corpse turns up. His investigations with his companion, freelance photographer Paloma Glenn, have barely started when Argentina's simmering financial crisis explodes around them.

As the fabric of society starts to disintegrate and Argentine cities burn around them, Jonny and Paloma are suddenly thrust centre stage, fighting to secure both their jobs and their livelihoods.

But Jonny is also fighting something else, an echo from his own past that he'll never shake, and as it catches up with him and Paloma, he must make choices that will endanger everything he knows…




Death Flight by Sarah Sultoon is published on 29 February 2024 by Orenda Books and is the second in the Jonny Murphy Files series. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this Blog Tour. 



This is the fourth book by Sarah Sultoon that I've read and it is safe to say that I am a huge fan. Death Flight features reporter Jonny Murphy - he made his first appearance in the author's previous novel, Dirt.

Sultoon draws on her own extensive experience as a journalist who has been all over the world when creating Jonny and the situations that he finds himself in. There are very few journalists as main characters in crime fiction and I find these stories really refreshing and a different take on the genre. What I also love about these novels is how much I learn about the world, the history of the countries in which they are set and also current issues that affect them. 

Death Flight is set in Agentina in 1998, it is fifteen years after the horrific 'Dirty War' that devastated the country, where prisoners were taken on flights and dropped into the ocean. The perpetrators thought they'd be lost forever, but the sea often washed bodies ashore. The people responsible for these acts still walk free, protected by the Government, never punished or held to account. 

Jonny and his photographer colleague Palmoa are in Argentina to cover the financial crisis that has brought the country to its knees. Jonny had a tip off that the headless, handless corpse of a woman has recently washed ashore. However, despite the horror of this event, there's no reports of it in the media. Jonny's suspicions are roused and he is sure that there's a story to be found there. Whilst he and Paloma do continue to try to cover the financial crisis, he begins to ask questions that soon find both of them in danger. 

Jonny is a complex character, still scarred by his experiences in Northern Israel a couple of years ago where he discovered more about himself and his family than he could ever have expected. Paloma also carries a weight on her shoulders, one that won't be fully revealed until the end of the story. These are two perfectly drawn characters, both intent on finding the story, but both with their own vulnerabilities which makes them so human, so relatable and so realistic. 

As the story progresses, the dangers increase and it is clear that there are people who would like Jonny to keep his nose out, and are prepared to stop at nothing to ensure that he is quietened. There's a sense of mystery about Jonny and Paloma's relationship too, colleagues but also friends, but a feeling of whether we can quite trust this friendship, and whether we are aware of everything. 

It's a fascinating, thrilling crime thriller, set in a country that has so much history, so much corruption and so much still happening. The sense of place is incredibly well done and as the plot evolves, the tension increases, culminating in an ending that left me breathless. 

Sophisticated and stunning, Death Flight is an incredible story. Highly recommended. 



Sarah Sultoon is a journalist and writer, whose work as an international news executive
at CNN has taken her all over the world, from the seats of power in both Westminster and Washington to the frontlines of Iraq and Afghanistan. 
She has extensive experience in conflict zones, winning three Peabody awards for her work on the war in Syria, an Emmy for her contribution to the coverage of Europe’s migrant crisis in 2015, and a number of Royal Television Society gongs. 
When not reading or writing she can usually be found somewhere outside, either running, swimming or throwing a ball for her three children and dog ... 

Her debut thriller The Source is currently in production with Lime Pictures, and was a Capital Crime Book Club pick and a number one bestseller on Kindle. 
The Shot (2022) and Dirt (2023) followed, with multiple award longlistings, including the CWA Daggers. 
Sarah currently works for Channel 4 News and lives in London.





Tuesday 20 February 2024

I Promise It Won't Always Hurt Like This by Clare Mackintosh #18AssurancesOnGrief @claremackint0sh @BooksSphere @bookish_becky @laurasherlock21 #BookReview

 


Grief is universal, but it's also as unique to each of us as the person we've lost. It can be overwhelming, exhausting, lonely, unreasonable, there when we least expect it and seemingly never-ending. Wherever you are with your grief and whoever you're grieving for, I Promise It Won't Always Hurt Like This is here to support you. To tell you, until you believe it, that things will get easier.

When bestselling writer Clare Mackintosh lost her five-week-old son, she searched for help in books. All of them wanted to tell her what she should be feeling and when she should be feeling it, but the truth - as she soon found out - is that there are no neat, labelled stages for grief, or crash grief-diets to relieve us of our pain. What we need when we're grieving is time and understanding. With 18 short assurances that are full of compassion - drawn from Clare's experiences of losing her son and her father - I Promise it Won't Always Hurt Like This is the book she needed then.




I Promise It Won't Always Hurt Like This by Clare Mackintosh is published on 7 March 2024 by Sphere. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

I have been reading Clare Mackintosh's novels for years now, I've met her many times. She's a lovely women who always comes across as cheerful, welcoming and supportive. What many of us will not have realised is that Clare is also a woman who has lost a child. Her son died in 2006, one of a twin, Alex did not have a long time on this earth. His death shattered Clare and her husband, her grief was overwhelming. Her feeling of sorrow and sadness cast a shadow over everything. In this compassionate and reassuring book, she reaches out to others who are grieving and promises that it won't always hurt like this. 

The book is split into eighteen assurances on grief, and as the author explains, some of these will not be relevant to everyone, but I am certain that some of these will be relevant to all of us. 

I feel that this review is more about me, and how I felt when reading this book, and I think that is Clare's intention. Whilst she is utterly frank and honest about her own experience, she creates a safe space for the reader, constantly telling them that it's OK to feel the way that you do. She is also open about the things that did not work for her, for the times when she was angry, and jealous and couldn't bear to see other people's happiness. She makes those feelings feel normal, she understands that human beings are all different, we all react in different ways to things, and even though sometimes we may not like our own behaviour, it is OK. 

Over the past few years I have lost two of the most important people in my life. One of my oldest friends, Rachel, died, aged 46 from a rare and aggressive cancer. She had a small child.  A few years later my Mum died, she was eighty-one and also died of cancer. I dealt with these deaths in completely different ways. I was so angry when Rachel died, angry that this woman who had never smoked, who didn't drink alcohol, and just loved being a mum so much had gone. I was angry that she couldn't be cured. I was angry that I no longer had someone to meet every week for a coffee and a huge slice of cake. I was so angry. I cried buckets, I cried for Rachel, for her little boy and for myself. 

When Mum died, it was like a hole had been drilled into my heart. It felt like a piece of me had gone with her. Our family dynamics changed. Mum was a tiny, feisty woman and I am very like her, I was part of her. I wasn't angry though. I didn't have the same burning anger that I had when Rachel died. I felt a touch of relief, which in turn made me feel so guilty. I was relieved that my elderly Dad no longer had to spend every hour of every day and night caring for the woman who had been his soulmate. I was relieved that we no longer had to watch her fade away day by day. I realise that relief was about me, and my Dad, and I still get feelings of guilt about it. 

What Clare does in this extraordinary book is allow us to look at our feelings, about our reactions and realise that there is no right way to grieve. I saw that I have grieved in different ways for different people and I'm no longer going to ask myself why I cried more when Rachel died than I did when my Mum died. I'm just going to accept that it is me, my way and it's the right way for me. 

I cannot begin to imagine who painful it was for Clare to write this book. The constant memory bombardment must have been hellish at times, and I hope that writing this has helped her as much as reading it has helped me. 

It is compassionate and understanding. It is non-judgemental and insightful. It is a book that I would urge everyone to read, wherever you are in your grief stage.



Clare Mackintosh is a police officer turned crime writer, and the multi-award-winning
author of seven Sunday Times bestselling novels. 

Translated into forty languages, her books have sold more than two million copies worldwide and have spent a combined total of sixty-eight weeks in the Sunday Times bestseller chart. 

Clare lives in North Wales with her husband and their three children.

For more information visit Clare's website www.claremackintosh.com or find her at www.facebook.com/ClareMackWrites or on Twitter @ClareMackint0sh





Monday 19 February 2024

Happy Ever After in Bellbird Bay by Maggie Christensen BLOGTOUR #HappyEverAfterinBellbirdBay @MaggieChriste33 @rararesources #BookSpotlight

 


It’s been over twenty years since Cass Marshall’s relationship fell apart, and she returned home to Bellbird Bay. Now, although happy with the success of her beachwear business, Cass often longs for someone special to share her life.

Nursing the wounds of a failed marriage, Mick Roberts has finally accepted his ex has moved on with her life. Determined to avoid his daughter’s attempts at matchmaking, he immerses himself in his whale-watching business.

When family sickness brings the two together, Cass wonders if her life is about to take a turn for the better. But with Mick’s ex-wife also being Cass’s best friend, a seed of doubt emerges.

This doubt intensifies when Cass’s recently widowed ex arrives in town, determined to use any means to drive a wedge between Cass and Mick as he fights for a second chance.

Can Bellbird Bay work its magic again and provide a happy ever after for Cass and Mick, or are they destined to spend the rest of their lives alone?




Happy Ever After in Bellbird Bay by Maggie Christensen was published on 31 January 2024 by Cala Publishing. As part of this Blog Tour organised by Rachel's Random Resources I am delighted to shine a spotlight on the book, and the author here today.





After a career in education, Maggie Christensen began writing romantic women’s fiction,
feel good stories of second chances. 
Her travels inspire her writing, be it her trips to visit family in Scotland, in Oregon, USA or her home on Queensland’s beautiful Sunshine Coast. 
Maggie writes of mature heroines coming to terms with changes in their lives and the heroes worthy of them. 
Maggie has been called the queen of mature age fiction and her writing has been described by one reviewer as like a nice warm cup of tea. It is warm, nourishing, comforting and embracing.

From the small town in Scotland where she grew up, Maggie was lured to Australia by the call to ‘Come and teach in the sun’. 
Once there, she worked as a primary school teacher, university lecturer and in educational management. 
Now living with her husband of over thirty years on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, she loves walking on the deserted beach in the early mornings and having coffee by the river on weekends. 
Her days are spent surrounded by books, either reading or writing them – her idea of heaven!