I Know A Secret by Tess Gerritsen – Blog Tour Review.

 

51+xK0jL6NL

About the Book

I have a secret.
And someone wants to make sure I never tell . . .

In a house decorated with horror movie posters, a young woman’s body is found. She lies on her bed, two bloodied objects clutched in her palm. Detective Jane Rizzoli and Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles are called to the murder scene, but even faced with this gruesome sight they are unable to identify the immediate cause of death.

Their investigation leads them to a high-profile murder case that was seemingly solved years before. But when another body is found in horrific circumstances, the link between the two victims is clear. Was the wrong person sent to prison? Is the real killer out there right now, picking off new targets?

One woman knows the killer is coming for her next. She’s the only one who can help Rizzoli and Isles catch him.

But she has a secret that she has to keep . . .

My Review

I haven’t read all the Rizzoli and Isles series and every time I do, I tell myself that I need to catch up. The books that I have read I’ve enjoyed a lot and I Know A Secret is a welcome return to a fascinating series. The novel starts with an unnamed female narrator at the funeral of a young woman who has been killed in a house fire. She doesn’t seem to be there to mourn, more to observe.
When Maura receives a telephone call from Jane whilst she is visiting her mother in hospital she is relieved to have an excuse to leave. But the relief is short lived when she is faced with the grim sight that has sickened many of the team. It is the first in a series of murders that frustrates them all, horrifically staged but with no obvious cause of death.
All the victims appear to be unlinked but Rizzoli and Isles gradually uncover secrets from the past. There are some very unpleasant characters in the novel who try to stop them and with one of the characters I feel that there could be more to come in the future. The murders are fascinating, creepy and had me looking at more deeply on the internet. They are nothing like I have read before.
The scene setting and characterisation in the book is brilliant. I could see the squalor in the film studio and the passion that the team had to get their film into production. I could see the family life and the unhappiness in Jane’s family and I could feel the tension and distrust between Maura and her mother.
Whilst I have enjoyed watching the TV series based on Rizzoli and Isles the books are much more entertaining and informative. Rizzoli is a much deeper character with stronger ties to her mother and is less tolerant of her father and brother. Isles is more of a loner, has a strange relationship with her deeply unsettling natural mother and an on/off relationship with a man who she shouldn’t have a relationship with. If you have watched the series but never read any of the books, they could be read as standalone novels but I would recommend that you start at the beginning. There are many differences between the books and the TV series.

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received via Netgalley.

I Know a Secret - BT Banner Websites

Holly Seddon – My Publication Day.

 

IMG_0741

It is my pleasure to welcome Holly Seddon to my blog to talk about what publication day means to her. Holly has had two novels published and I have read and enjoyed both of them.

How did you spend the day?

When my first book, Try Not to Breathe, came out in the UK, I was in Amsterdam where I live. I felt very weird and disconnected, and a little jealous as I watched my friends and family sharing pictures of themselves in bookshops with it, while I sat at home. So, this time, I made sure I was in the UK.

The evening was spent at my launch party, where I failed to eat anything (rookie error) and then got completely trashed. The run up to the party (and the dreaded speech) was full of welcome distractions like having my hair done and finalising the party play list.

Will you be following reviews from early readers or do prefer not to know?

I do follow reviews. I probably shouldn’t, it’s not good for the ego either way! Good reviews can be a little paralysing when you’re also working on your next book, while bad reviews can be tough to move past. You want to reply to reviewers and explain, or defend your characters, and of course you can’t do that.

I’ve been very lucky with reviews, but I am getting to the point where I’m trying to wean myself off the daily checks!

Is it emotional, getting the novel you have worked on for months into the public eye?

Very. With Don’t Close Your Eyes, I feel especially emotional about the characters being in the public eye. One in particular (I can’t say who without giving things away) broke my heart to write and so I was very moved knowing they were out there, and a bit protective.

If you have had books published before, does the feeling change?

Yes and no. I knew what to expect, so it wasn’t so heightened, but I still felt nervous, emotional, proud… and then drunk.

I often wonder and imagine that when your novel is published and you have been working on at least one novel since, is the book that is published less important?

That’s a good question. It’s not less important as such, but it can be jarring leaving the world of your current work in progress to revisit a plot, setting and characters that you finished working on some time ago. Embarrassingly, I actually forgot a minor plot point during an interview… hopefully I styled it out but it does happen!

And is it a distraction, welcome or otherwise having to focus on what is for you old material?

It’s a quirk of the job that’s unlike many other things. I guess people who work in films or television have a similar experience where they’ve ‘wrapped up’ months or years before and then have to talk about it like it’s as fresh for them as everyone watching for the first time.

I can’t think of many careers – certainly none I’ve had before – where that’s part of the job description. But it’s a privilege and I’m happy to do it.

What was your publication day treat? Champagne, cream cake, 10km run?

Bit of a weird one, considering I don’t eat meat, but it’s going to the burger joint Shake Shack.

We don’t have them in Holland and when we flew over to London for my first launch party last January, we took our youngest kids to Shake Shack for dinner and decided that would be our ritual. So, at lunch time on the day Don’t Close Your Eyes came out, during a heat wave, we were clustered around a small table eating burgers (or, in my case, a Portobello mushroom in a bap), fries and milkshakes. I probably should have chosen champagne…

Thanks Holly

IMG_0508                                           51jUYF1fNML

Here and Gone by Haylen Beck – Review.

51-ql6jQ-rL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_

About the Book.

Audra has finally left her abusive husband. She’s taken the family car and her young children, Sean and Louise, are buckled up in the back. This is their chance for a fresh start.
Audra keeps to the country roads to avoid attention. She’s looking for a safe place to stay for the night when she spots something in her rear-view mirror. A police car is following her and the lights are flickering. Blue and red.
As Audra pulls over she is intensely aware of how isolated they are. Her perfect escape is about to turn into a nightmare beyond her imagining. . .
Dark secrets and a heart-pounding race to reveal the truth lie at the heart of this page-turning thriller.
Full of dark secrets and heart-pounding twists, Here and Gone is the ultimate page-turner.

My Review

When Audra’s children are abducted late at night she is terrified and desperate to get them back. But when she is told that the children were never there she realizes that her dilemma is much worse than she thought. She also must prove that she never hurt them. Luckily, she gets assistance from Danny whose wife had faced the same situation five years earlier. He hopes that by helping her he can also find answers of his own.
I loved Audra, the treatment she received from her husband and her mother in law probably helped her stand up to the police in the local town. She was abused by the media, people she thought were friends and family but she did find a friend in Danny and a local who knew what happened in her town but had never made it public.
This novel is one of the few this year that I have read that I found impossible to put down. It was a novel that I found myself reading in the middle of the night because I’d glimpsed the opening line to the next chapter. A gripping read.
I must be one of few crime fiction readers who wasn’t aware of Haylen Beck’s true identity. It was only when I added to book to my goodreads library that I realized. I hope that the author continues to write under both identities.

City of Saviours by Rachel Howzell Hall – Guest Post and Review.

51MmZO1y5VL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_

On my blog today, I have a guest post from author Rachel Howzell Hall and a review of her new book City of Saviours.

Character as a Cure by Rachel Howzell Hall

I read a lot.
As a kid, no one knew how I looked because a book always covered my face. From Jackie Collins to Stephen King, from D.H. Lawrence to Alice Walker, I read everything.
Problem was I identified with every character except for characters that represented me, my part of Los Angeles, my experience as an African-American woman.
Sure, Michael Connelly and Walter Mosley, Raymond Chandler and Daschell Hammett put Los Angeles mystery on the map. But in them, I did not see me. And I wondered, what would it look like to have a native Angeleno, a black Angeleno, who grew up working class but went to college and came back home to solve mysteries… What would that look like and who’s gonna write that?
Paula L. Wood wrote that story first in her Charlotte Justice series. These post-Los Angeles riot stories helped meet my need. But I needed more. I deserved more. Hell, I’d purchased my share, and yours, and yours over there of books. Why wouldn’t someone write about my friends, me, my Los Angeles?
In 2002, I’d already published my first novel A Quiet Storm. It’s an L.A. story, with mystery elements but it wasn’t a procedural. I wanted to write that mystery but I was scared—fear of failing, fear of not knowing enough. But then, in 2003, while pregnant with my daughter, I was diagnosed with cancer. That’s when I met true fear.
After successful surgeries and a healthy baby girl, I had another cancer scare. Life had never been a smooth journey for me, but now? So, I asked myself: What do I want to do before I’m taken from this place?
Buy a Benz. Write a crime novel.
Getting the car was easy – my credit was spotless.
Writing that novel, though? I wasn’t a cop. I didn’t know cops. But I knew Los Angeles. And I knew that mystery writers threw some of the best writing conventions ever. And what’s the worst that could happen? I’d beat cancer—nothing could scare me more than that.
Elouise Norton, LAPD Homicide Detective, came out of my frustration as a reader, came out of a desire to see my experience on a page, came out of my embrace of life. She has been my therapy—being a survivor still means living with that threat each day—and she has been my ambassador—I’ve met incredible readers and writers and traveled to so many places because of her.
Lou has changed over the course of four books and in this last, I had to break her. A woman can only be so strong for so long and I wanted to reflect that in her. In City of Saviors, all the stress of the prior three books culminates in this story. She’s weaker, she’s stronger—but she holds fast to hope. Just as I do. She ugly-cries, she laughs, she’s pissed off, she eats bags of Doritos and sometimes, refuses to acknowledge how much she hurts—just like you, just like me.
Necessity is the mother of invention. Lou Norton came out of a selfish need of mine but I’m incredibly proud to share her with you now. Hope she helps—she has certainly helped me.

About the book

Seventy-three-year-old Eugene Washington appears to have died in an unremarkable way, but LAPD homicide detective Elouise “”Lou”” Norton is positive that something isn’t right. Especially when she learns that the only family Washington had was his fellow church-goers. Could the murderer be sitting in one of those red velvet pews? And is someone protecting the wolf in the flock? Lou must force the truth into the light before it’s too late

My Review

City of Saviours is the fourth book in the series to feature Lou Norton but the first that I have read. Obviously, there is a lot of back story but it didn’t stop me enjoying the book and it was easy to read as a standalone. If anything, the back story has made me intrigued about what I have missed.
Lou is my new favourite heroine. A female, black police officer, she has to prove herself more than necessary that she can do her job. She does get respect from her immediate team, although she isn’t entirely trusting of them. There are a few in the force who would be happy to see her fail.
The murder is a strange one. Lou insists that it isn’t natural causes immediately and demands that the property and Eugene’s life is thoroughly investigated. It is when I read books like this that I am reminded that I would be useless working in forensics. With the vivid description of what they had to work through in the property, I could practically see, smell and taste everything. My skin was crawling at times even though living in the North West of England the weather was slightly different to a Los Angeles heatwave.
It wasn’t all about the crime, there was also focus on her private life, the relationship with her ex-husband, best friends and a tentative relationship with Sam. It was this part of the novel where I noticed the back story more.
It is a brilliant introduction to an established series that I plan on catching up with.
With thanks to the author for the fantastic guest post and the publisher for the copy received.

Tin Man by Sarah Winman – Review.

41COGCeH1DL._SX309_BO1,204,203,200_

About the Book

It begins with a painting won in a raffle: fifteen sunflowers, hung on the wall by a woman who believes that men and boys are capable of beautiful things.
And then there are two boys, Ellis and Michael,
who are inseparable.
And the boys become men,
and then Annie walks into their lives,
and it changes nothing and everything.

My Review

There is a quotation from Ellis’s mother that is mentioned a few times in this glorious book – ‘Men and boys should be capable of beautiful things.’ Dora only appears for a short time in this book but she was a character I warmed to instantly.
The novel concerns three friends Ellis, Michael and Annie. After a short but entertaining prologue, where you realise what type of woman Dora is, it moves forward in time to 1996. Ellis is in his mid-forties and struggling to move on from the death of his wife and best friend five years earlier. When he has an accident, and is off work he recalls his relationship with both of them.
I had never read any of Sarah Winman’s earlier novels so had no idea of how beautiful her writing was. Tin Man is only a short novel which I read in a day. But despite being short it has plenty of detail. There was the loss of loved ones, how they coped at the time and in later life. Ellis’s attempts to repair the relationship with his father which gave him the push to fulfil is promise to his mother. When the narrative switched to Michael it detailed how loyal he was to those he connected with. The time he gave to G. and Chris was humbling.
It was just the right length of novel, it is ram packed with emotion. If it had been longer it probably wouldn’t have had the same impact. Despite only making brief appearances Dora and Mabel showed that they wouldn’t be beaten or bullied into submission. Or turn away from somebody who needed love.
Tin Man was a novel that will stay in my thoughts for some time.

Fatal Masquerade by Vivian Conroy – cover reveal.

IMG_0736

Today, I am delighted to share with you the cover for Fatal Masquerade which is the latest in the Lady Alkmene series by Vivian Conroy. It is the fourth book in the series but can be read as a standalone.

About the book

Lady Alkmene Callender has always loved grand parties, but when she receives an invitation to a masked ball thrown by Franklin Hargrove – oil magnate, aviation enthusiast and father of her best friend, Denise – she’s never seen such luxury. The estate is lit up with Chinese lanterns in the gardens, boats operated by footmen float across the pond and the guest list features the distinguished, rich and powerful!
But below the glamour, evil is lurking. When a dead body is discovered, it forces Lady Alkmene to throw off her mask and attempt to find the true killer before Denise’s family are accused. If only her partner, Jake Dubois, weren’t hiding something from her…
This case might just be more dangerous than either of them could have imagined.
You can pre – order the book here

As you can see, this new cover looks perfect with the other books in the series which are published by Harper Collins.

20170805_074453759_iOS

My Publication Day – Jane Isaac.

41jsqpoh0TL._UX250_

Today, it is my pleasure to welcome to my blog Jane Isaac talking about how she likes to spend her publication day. She is the author of two series of books, one features Helen Lavery and the other Will Jackman. I have enjoyed reading both series of books.

How will you spend the day?

I usually have a launch party with friends and family in a nearby bookshop, a lovely occasion affording the opportunity to thank those who’ve helped with research and supported the new release, eat cake, drink plenty of wine, and generally celebrate! If this isn’t scheduled for the actual release day, my husband and I have a nice dinner and raise a glass of something special to toast the new release.

Will you be following reviews from early readers or do prefer not to know?
(Excluding blog tours)

Yes, I tend to read all the early reviews. I’m a bit of a perfectionist I suppose, and try to make every book better than the last, so I don’t really rest easy until I know that the majority of my readers are happy with the new title and how it fits into the series.

Is it emotional, getting the novel you have worked on for months into the public
eye?

Yes, definitely. It takes me almost a year to write a book and there is always a chunk of me in there somewhere, which makes publication day feel quite vulnerable. I guess it’s the culmination of a lot of hard work and meeting readers’ expectations, which is why it’s so special when people take the time to post a review and leave their thoughts.

If you have had books published before, does the feeling change?

I thought it would, but it doesn’t! My fifth book was released in May and that initial feeling of trepidation still trailed me like a shadow for the first few days.

I often wonder and imagine that when your novel is published and you have been working on at least one novel since, is the book that is published less important? And is it a distraction, welcome or otherwise having to focus on what is for you old material?

I tend to write series fiction and am usually writing the next book, whilst working through copy edits and proofing in readiness for publication of the previous. I did struggle with moving between the two in the early stages, but not so much now. I do think every novel is equally important though. They should all be the best work we can produce.

Do blog tours make you more nervous or do you see them as beneficial?

I admit I do feel a little nervous, but I’m also hugely grateful that bloggers feel able to give up their valuable time to take part in a tour. Anything that helps to spread the word about a new title is hugely beneficial for everybody in the industry, from the reader to the author to the publisher, so I believe they are tremendously worthwhile.

I’m also astounded by how much time and effort bloggers put into reading, reviewing and sharing news of new books. In my opinion, they are truly the unsung heroes of the book world.

What is your publication day treat? Champagne, cream cake, 10km run?

A nice glass of wine (Zinfandel Rose is my current favourite).

51zovXiu9IL._UY250_            51hJxa+yqOL._UY250_           515UIM5idtL._UY250_            51fJxwUpLdL._UY250_          51YyyCM4NJL._UY250_

Thanks so much for having me, Stephanie. I really enjoyed answering your questions!

Jenny Sparrow Knows The Future by Melissa Pimentel – Blog Tour Review.

51dxEsIiDCL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_

About the Book

Jenny Sparrow can tell you her future:

1. Meet soulmate at 25
2. Move in with him
3. Marry him this year . . .

According to the plan Jenny made at thirteen, it’s time for her to get married. But when her boyfriend proposes a break instead of a wedding, a girls’ weekend in Vegas is the only solution . . . until she wakes up in a stranger’s bed, and discovers that this is the year she gets married – to the wrong man.
Jenny wants a quick divorce and her old boyfriend back.
But what if her accidental husband has other ideas?

My Review

It is years since I read anything like Jenny Sparrow. I have been trying to remember and it probably is Sophie Kinsella whose books this is likened to. I need a poke in the ribs for leaving it so long, I loved every page of this novel and it was a welcome respite from crime fiction.
Jenny and Isla were brilliant characters, and even though Isla was a little exhausting with some dubious habits she was a good and loyal friend to Jenny. They had a strong friendship that had lasted through their childhood even though they did have different personalities.
You don’t realise at first why Jenny was so obsessed with her lists, I thought it would have been light hearted but there was something much deeper about it so whilst I laughed a lot while reading I was also weepy. In fact, this wasn’t a book I could read in public, laughing, crying and feeling frustrated at some of the decisions she made.
Despite the huge tourist attraction London it was also a lonely place to be and the isolation experienced by Jenny felt real. I liked seeing the different version of London when she was spending time with Jackson. The description of Las Vegas had confirmed its place at the bottom of my list of places I want to visit.
This book is a great read for the summer, I have a vision of it being read on beaches everywhere.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received

 

The Upstairs Room by Kate Murray Browne – Review.

51XFLWEkrdL._SX306_BO1,204,203,200_

About the Book

Eleanor, Richard and their two young daughters recently stretched themselves to the limit to buy their dream home, a four-bedroom Victorian townhouse in East London. But the cracks are already starting to show. Eleanor is unnerved by the eerie atmosphere in the house and becomes convinced it is making her ill. Whilst Richard remains preoccupied with Zoe, their mercurial twenty-seven-year-old lodger, Eleanor becomes determined to unravel the mystery of the house’s previous owners – including Emily, whose name is written hundreds of times on the walls of the upstairs room.

My Review

I thought that The Upstairs Room would be an old-fashioned ghost story, but whilst it did have some spooky moments there wasn’t many of them. The novel was mainly about three of the individuals who lived there.
I have to say that I struggled to like any of them initially, but as I read more I started to like Eleanor. I would think that being married to a man like Richard would be enough punishment for anybody. But as well as putting up with him she was also the one who suffered most living in the house. She knew that there was something wrong, knew that her eldest daughter was suffering but got no help. She was just reminded that she was ill. Their lodger, Zoe was a mess, she had nothing and had no idea what she wanted. But Richard was also causing problems for her.
I persevered with this novel because even though it wasn’t like I expected it to be, a spooky read, the relationship between the three intrigued me. At times, I found it as chilling as what was happening in the upstairs room. If I had a quibble it would be that I would have liked to know more about what happened in the house in the past with less focus on the present day inhabitants.

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received via NetGalley.

 

Dying To Live by Michael Stanley – Blog Tour Review.

IMG_0711

About the Book

When the body of a Bushman is discovered near the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, the death is written off as an accident. But all is not as it seems. An autopsy reveals that, although he’s clearly very old, his internal organs are puzzlingly young. What’s more, an old bullet is lodged in one of his muscles… but where is the entry wound? When the body is stolen from the morgue and a local witch doctor is reported missing, Detective ‘Kubu’ Bengu gets involved. But did the witch doctor take the body to use as part of a ritual? Or was it the American anthropologist who’d befriended the old Bushman? As Kubu and his brilliant young colleague, Detective Samantha Khama, follow the twisting trail through a confusion of rhino-horn smugglers, foreign gangsters and drugs manufacturers, the wider and more dangerous the case seems to grow. A fresh, new slice of ‘Sunshine Noir’, Dying to Live is a classic tale of greed, corruption and ruthless thuggery, set in one of the world’s most beautiful landscapes, and featuring one of crime fiction’s most endearing and humane heroes.

My Review

Dying to Live is the third book that I have read in the marvelous series that features Detective Kubu, Samantha and the rest of the team. Just like the previous novels the cases they have to solve are different to the ones that feature in a book that is set elsewhere.
One of the many reasons I enjoy this series so much is that all the characters are so laid back. Even though there are murders to solve, Kubu still has time to spend time with his family and enjoy his cookies. Samantha is a little different, she is a bit more impatient, more passionate and more eager to prove that she is an able detective.
Both cases are sinister, there is a missing witch doctor and whilst both Kubu and Samantha are critical of the old ways, the case still has to be solved. The other case concerns the body of an old man, who when the autopsy is done shows more questions than answers.
As well as trying to deal with both cases, lazy police officers and plenty of suspects Kubu also has to deal with the deteriorating health of his adopted daughter Nono who is HIV positive. The grief, frustration and guilt felt by Kubu and Joy was raw. I really felt for Kubu with the decisions he was forced to make for the sake of his marriage. I feel that one of the many strong points in this series is how well you get to know Kubu’s family. It is probably the only series that I have read where family features so prominently.
Whilst the storyline features murder, the reasons why it occurred are different and with the added superstition made a fascinating read. I did get a little confused at times, there are a lot of people but there was a reminder at the start of who everybody was along with a guide on pronunciation.
A welcome return to the land of ‘sunshine noir’. Kubu and Samantha are one of my favourite police teams.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.

IMG_0710