#BlogTour: FALSE PROPHET by James Hazel @JamesHazelBooks @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

51qSq4ohhWL.SX316.SY316Publication: 19th September 2019 – Zaffre

A secret buried for two thousand years.
The rise of an ancient evil.
An invisible killer who will stop at nothing.

When a brutal serial killer defies all known methods, the police call in prolific lawyer and former homicide detective, Charlie Priest, to assist the hunt.

Working together they soon discover a link to a lost scripture that contains a secret so devastating that its custodians are prepared to die to keep it.

Tangled in a dark world of fanaticism, chaos and deadly secrets, Priest comes up against a nemesis more formidable and deranged than any he has previously encountered.

There is no Judgement Day. There is something far worse.

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False Prophet is dark and gripping and I am excited to welcome you on my stop of this brand new novel by James Hazel. A huge thank you to Tracy for inviting me to join the blog tour and for providing me with a copy of the novel.

False Prophet is the third novel featuring detective Charlie Priest, but, if, like me, you still haven’t had the pleasure to read the first two books, you won’t have any problem reading it as a stand-alone. There is a serial killer on the loose in London. Three bodies have been found with a nail on their heads and religious symbols, so detective Tiff Rowlinson has no choice but to involve his old friend Charlie Priest, a former detective now working on his own. As Charlie investigates, the case takes a darker and more twisty turn until things get very personal for him.

Why did I enjoy this novel? Well, the tension is high from the very first page and it keeps building up until the end. There is murder, religious fanaticism, conspiracies, and serial killers that fit with the dark and claustrophobic atmosphere of the story. And then the author created a cast of very complex characters. Charlie Priest, the protagonist, is likable and smart and, like every hero in thriller novels, he has a knack for getting himself in trouble and in the path of the killer. He doesn’t stop until he finds out the truth and his life is often in danger. I enjoyed reading about his relationship with his family, from his adorable young niece to his notorious serial killer brother. The author also gives us glimpses of the killer’s mind and it is twisted, sinister, and scary.

False Prophet is a compelling, thrilling, unpredictable and tense novel that will give you goose bumps and will make you check your door is locked at night… so it’s definitely worth reading it!

FalseProphet

#BookReview: 55 by James Delargy @JDelargyAuthor #whoisfiftyfive @simonschusterUK @rhiacarroll @annecater #RandomThingsTour #paperback

In April, I had the pleasure to read 55, the gripping novel by James Delargy. The story of kidnapping and murder so twisted and dark, set in the Australian wilderness, this novel caught my complete attention, so it’s my absoulute pleasure to share again my review to celebrate the publication of the paperback edition.

55 Cover ImagePublication: 4th April 2019 – Simon & Schuster UK

Two suspects. Two identical stories. Which one is the truth?

Wilbrook in Western Australia is a sleepy, remote town that sits on the edge of miles and miles of unexplored wilderness. It is home to Police Sergeant Chandler Jenkins, who is proud to run the town’s small police station, a place used to dealing with domestic disputes and noise complaints.

All that changes on a scorching day when an injured man stumbles into Chandler’s station. He’s covered in dried blood. His name is Gabriel. He tells Chandler what he remembers – he was drugged and driven to a cabin in the mountains and tied up in iron chains. The man who took him was called Heath. Heath told Gabriel he was going to be number 55. His 55th victim. Heath is a serial killer.

As a manhunt is launched, a man who says he is Heath walks into the same station. He tells Chandler he was taken by a man named Gabriel. Gabriel told Heath he was going to be victim 55. Gabriel is the serial killer.

Police Sergant Chandler Jenkins needs to find out who is telling the truth – and quick. is He is forced to call in Mitch, his former partner and now insufferable superior, a partnership which dissolved in acrimony years earlier. Can Mitch and Chandler uncover the truth, before the 55th victim is taken?

James Delargy has written one of the most exciting debuts of 2019. He masterfully paints the picture of a remote Western Australian town and its people, swallowed whole by the hunt for a serial killer.

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In the last few months I have been reading quite a few books set in the Australian outback (mostly thanks to Jane Harper) and I have to admit that I find it fascinating, unforgiving, and mysterious. Because of its isolation, its vastness, its hot and dry weather, the outback is very dangerous and so the perfect setting for a twisty thriller like 55.

James Delargy takes us to Wilbrook, a remote town in Western Australia where the protagonist of the novel, Chandler Jenkins was born, raised, and he still lives with his family. He is the chief of police of this town where nothing much ever happens until, one day, Gabriel stumbles in his station. He is covered in blood and he describes how he was kidnapped and tied up by a man called Heath, who told him he was going to be his victim number 55, before he managed to escape. This shocking revelation becomes even more twisty and astonishing when Heath is captured and claims to be himself Gabriel’s victim. Heath and Gabriel relate the same identical story, word for word, so who is telling the truth? Who is the real killer? Who is the real victim? For Chandler is not easy to figure out the truth, especially when he has to asks for the help of his former partner, Mitch.

I found myself completely engrossed in this novel. The characters are very well-crafted and intriguing and I liked the protagonist, Chandler. His dedication to his job make him a really good sergeant, but we also see him struggle with the guilt he feels for neglecting his two young children, his resentment towards his ex-wife, and his conflicted feelings towards his ex-partner and now boss, Mitch. Thanks to flashbacks from the past we see more about Chandler and Mitch’s partnership. Something happened between them that caused a drift between them, but now they are reunited and determined to solve the case, Mitch looking for the glory while Chandler for the truth.

The plot is very well-written, intense, atmospheric, and sinister, with such a jaw-dropping and unpredictable ending that took me completely by surprise and that will stay with me for a while. With a brilliant, compelling, and masterfully-plotted debut, James Delargy is definitely an author to keep on your reading list.

 

James Delargy Author PhotoJames Delargy was born and raised in Ireland and lived in South Africa, Australia and Scotland, before ending up in semi-rural England where he now lives. He incorporates his diverse knowledge of towns, cities, landscape and culture picked up on his travels into his writing. 55 is his first novel, which has been sold in 19 countries so far and optioned for film by Zucker Productions in partnership with Prodigy Pictures.

#BookReview: PAGES & CO.: TILLY AND THE LOST FAIRY TALES by Anna James @acaseforbooks @HarperCollinsCh

Pages & CoPublication: 19th September 2019 – HarperCollins Children’s Books

A magical adventure to delight the imagination. The curl-up-on-the-sofa snuggle of a series from a uniquely talented author.

Tilly Pages is a bookwanderer; she can travel inside books, and even talk to the characters she meets there. But Tilly’s powers are put to the test when fairytales start leaking book magic and causing havoc . . . On a wintery visit to Paris, Tilly and her best friend Oskar bravely bookwander into the land of fairytales to find that characters are getting lost, stories are all mixed-up, and mysterious plot holes are opening without warning. Can Tilly work out who, or what, is behind the chaos so everyone gets their happily-ever-after?

The second enthralling tale in the bestselling PAGES & CO series.

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I think every book lover dreams of being part of their favourite books. I dreamt of visiting Hogwarts, discovering the secret garden with Mary and Colin, or meeting Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. In Anna James’s children series, my dream is a reality. The protagonist is Tilly Pages. She is a young girl who not only can call “home” her parents bookstore, Pages & Co., but she can wander inside books. She is a bookwanderer, meaning that she can visit Anne of Green Gables or go and have tea with Alice in Wonderland.

In the first book, Tilly and the Bookwanderer, Tilly discovers the truth about her origins and her parents. In Tilly and the Lost Fairy Tales, she is still getting to know her mother who’s recently come back into her life, but there are dangers waiting for her. A mysterious and dangerous man is elected as the head Librarian of the British Underlibrary while something strange is happening inside fairy tales. Together with her best friend Oskar, Tilly will do her best to protect and save the characters and the stories she’s grown up with.

Pages & Co. is a fantastic and magical series, perfect for all booklovers out there, both children and adult. I loved seeing some of my favourite characters coming out of the books and befriend Tilly (especially Anne of Green Gables who made me want to reread her books all over again). Like all fairy tales, there are likable heroes and detestable villains. There are happy endings and a bit of suspense and, above all, there is magic. Beautifully written and engaging, I am looking forward to seeing how Tilly is going to save the Underlibrary.

A huge thank you to HarperCollins Children’s Books and NetGalley for providing me with a proof copy of this fantastic novel.

#BookReview: A CURSE SO DARK AND LONELY by Brigid Kemmerer @BrigidKemmerer @KidsBloomsbury @TheEmilyRose #Cursebreaker

A Curse So Dark and LonelyPublication: 29th January 2019 – Bloomsbury

Fall in love, break the curse.
Break the curse, save the kingdom.

Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall, is cursed. Forced to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he can only be freed by love. But at the end of each autumn he is transformed into a beast hell-bent on destruction, and after so many failed attempts, his kingdom and its people are barely holding on.

Harper’s life has never been easy, but she’s learned to be tough enough to survive. She won’t let anything hold her back, not her cerebral palsy or her mother’s deteriorating health. But when she is sucked into Rhen’s world, nothing is as it seems. Powerful forces are standing against Emberfalll … and it will take more than a broken curse to save it from utter ruin.

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Recently, I have been reading a lot of fantasy novels and I have discovered many brilliant authors who took me in magical worlds and who I wish I had read earlier. I loved the novels I have read so far, but there are a couple that have completely captured me. A Curse So Dark and Lonely is one of them. Everyone was raving about it so I caved in and bought a copy. I fell in love with the engaging and brilliant characters, the gripping and superb plot, and the author’s clear and beautiful writing style that made it impossible to put the book down. I found myself completely immersed in the world of Emberfall and its inhabitants and I didn’t want to end. I can’t wait to see what happens in the sequel, A Heart So Fierce and Broken, which is out in January.

The plot reminds me of the story of The Beauty and The Beasty and yet it is original and unpredictable. There is a magical reign to protect, a curse to break, a monster to kill, and two powerful women to defeat. Do you want more? The main characters are simply fantastic. The heroine, Harper, doesn’t let her physical disabilities get in the way. After defending a woman being kidnapped in the streets of Washington DC, she finds herself in a different world and newly appointed Princess of Disi. Brave and fierce, she climbs down windows to protect strangers from dangerous men and to feed the poors. She is funny and altruistic, a contrast to Rhen’s darkness and guilt. Rhen is the heir of the reign of Emberfall. He is arrogant and entitled, but also generous and protective and I loved him. And then there is Commander Grey. He is the only one left to protect Prince Rhen. He is loyal, skilled, honest, but also mysterious and I am really looking forward to reading more about him in the sequel.

I finished reading A Curse So Dark and Lonely a few days ago and I am still thinking about it. It is almost 500 pages long and I devoured in two days, missing bus stops during my commute to work and staying up very late at night to finish it, but it was completely worth it. So, go and buy a copy of this unforgettable novel while I am left to count down the days until I get my hands on the sequel and I can read more about Harper, Rhen, and Grey.

 

#BookReview: LIVING MY BEST LI(F)E by Claire Frost @FabFrosty @simonschusterUK @BookMinxSJV @TeamBATC

Living My Best LifePublication: 23rd July 2019 (eBook); 5th September 2019 (paperback) – Simon & Schuster UK

Recently dumped by her boyfriend of ten years, Bell is struggling to move on with her life – and surrender the fleecy pyjamas she’s been living in since January. Haunted by #blessed on social media, she can’t help but compare her life to those she follows online, wondering where she is going wrong . . .

In the world of social media, Millie is the successful online influencer @mi_bestlife. But in real life she’s just a regular single mum trying to make ends meet, while fending off the younger competition and tenacious internet trolls. Her Instagram feed is far more #BestLie than #BestLife, and soon Millie begins to wish her life was more like her filters.

It isn’t until Bell and Millie’s paths cross that they begin to realise what they’re both missing. Can Millie prove to Bell that life online isn’t always what it appears to be? And in return, can Millie learn that she needs to start living for the moment and not for the likes? 

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Living My Best Li(f)e is a fabulous and heart-warming debut novel with two likable female protagonists, an adorable 5-year-old boy, and an entertaining storyline.

Two women. Bell is almost 40, newly single after spending ten years with a boring and pompous man. It is time for her to figure out what she wants to do with her life so she joins a photography class in the community centre where she meets Millie. Millie is an Instagram influencer whose inspirational posts with the hashtag #blessed attract many followers and a few haters, but, in reality, her life is far from perfect. She is on a budget, single, with a 5-year-old son, Wolf whose father keeps letting him down. From a casual meeting, a deep and close friendship is born and Bell and Millie learn to stand up for themselves and for the people they love.

The characters are mostly likable, but my favourite are the two protagonists. Millie and Bell are relatable, intriguing, and engaging, the kind of people you wish were your friends.

What I loved most about this brilliant novel is the friendships that develop page after page. The sense of community and the support are heart-warming and capturing. There is also some romance, work-life, and journeys of self-discovery. With a captivating and clear writing style, Claire Frost shows us how social media impacts our everyday life, how friendship and family are more important than the likes we get on our posts.

Living My Best Li(f)e is a feel-good, funny, and refreshing debut novel that already makes me look forward to reading the author’s next novels!

A huge thank you to Simon & Schuster UK, SJ, and Books and the City for providing me with an early copy of the novel.

 

 

#BlogTour: THE TEN THOUSAND DOORS OF JANUARY by Alix E. Harrow @AlixEHarrow @orbitbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #TenThousandDoors

51Q4AqZpzzL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_Publication: 12th September 2019 – Orbit

EVERY STORY OPENS A DOOR

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored and utterly out of place.

But her quiet existence is shattered when she stumbles across a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page reveals more impossible truths about the world, and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

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I have been looking forward to reading THE TEN THOUSAND DOORS OF JANUARY for a long time so it’s my absolute pleasure to welcome you on my stop on the blog tour for this remarkable debut novel by Alix E. Harrow. A huge thank you to Tracy Fenton for inviting me to join the blog tour and providing me with a copy of the novel.

THE TEN THOUSAND DOORS OF JANUARY is such a magnificent read! There is a fantastic and likable heroine that I cheered on from the first to the last page. There is a captivating and magical plot that kept me glued to the page. And, lastly but not least, a beautiful writing style that made me say to myself “Just one more chapter” and suddenly I found myself at the end of the novel.

January Scaller is the protagonist of the novel. When we meet her she is seven years old. She is orphan of mother, her father travels a lot for work, and she is left in the care of Mr. Locke, her father’s employer. During a work trip with Mr. Locke, January finds her first door. But this is not a simple door and January finds herself in a different world. Years pass by, January forgets about the door and, to please Mr. Locke, she behaves like the good girl she is expected to be, but then she finds a book, a book that narrates of doors, new worlds, adventures, and a beautiful love story and her life changes forever.

January is a special character. Red-skinned and with no past, she is accepted by the outside world because of her relationship with Mr. Locke, a wealthy and important white man. January is also brave, smart, and resourceful, useful skills when she finds herself chased by the villains of the novel. Like every hero in the novels, January has her own helpers: Jane, a mysterious and courageous woman who appeared suddenly in January’s life; Samuel Zappia, January’s childhood friend, and, my absolute favourite, (Sin)Bad, her loyal dog.

The story is beautiful and enchanting. There is folklore, magic, friendship, and love that come to life thanks to the author unique prose. I loved the structure of the novel, especially the book within the book. Like January, I was fascinated and engrossed in the book and I couldn’t wait to read more.

The author masterfully mixes fantasy and literary fiction, so even if you don’t like fantasy novels, you are going to enjoy THE TEN THOUSAND DOORS OF JANUARY, an unforgettable and original story that will stay with me for a long time.

Ten Thousand Doors Blog Tour asset part 1

Ten Thousand Doors Blog Tour asset part 2

#BookReview: FIREFLY & WHITE HOT SILENCE by Henry Porter @HenryCPorter @QuercusBooks @Hannah_Robbo

FireflyPublication: 19th June 2018 (hardback); 15th November 2018 (paperback) – Quercus

The boy could help them bring down a deadly ISIS terror cell. They just have to find him before the other side does.

From the refugee camps of Greece to the mountains of Macedonia, a thirteen year old boy is making his way to Germany and safety. Codenamed ‘Firefly’, he holds vital intelligence: unparalleled insight into a vicious ISIS terror cell, and details of their plans. But the terrorists are hot on his trail, determined he won’t live to pass on the information.

When MI6 become aware of Firefly and what he knows, the race is on to find him. Paul Samson, ex-MI6 agent and now private eye, finds himself recruited to the cause. Fluent in Arabic thanks to his Lebanese heritage, Samson’s job is to find Firefly, win his trust and get him to safety.

A devastatingly timely thriller following the refugee trail from Syria to Europe, Firefly is a sophisticated, breathtaking race against time from the acclaimed and award-winning author of Brandenburg and The Dying Light.

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I do love a good spy story and when the author is compared to the great Le Carré, I knew I had to read it. So, first of all, a huge thank you to Hannah and Quercus for introducing me to the novel by Henry Porter and providing me with copies of the books.

The protagonist of the series is Paul Samson. Former MI6 agent, he now works for a private agency to do investigative jobs. After failing to find the sister of a wealthy American businessman kidnapped by ISIS, something that it still weighs on him, Paul is asked by his former agency to help locating a young Syrian boy travelling around Europe. No one knows his name and what he looks like. What they know is that this young boy knows something important about the member of a terrorist group who is believed to be in Europe. Travelling from Greece to Macedonia, we follow both Paul and the young boy, whose codename is Firefly, one chasing the other hiding, both trying to survive.

FIREFLY is a spy story with a human and emotional side: Firefly’s story is heart-breaking: a young 13-year-old boy, travelling alone around Europe, missing his family, feeling the weight of the world on his shoulders and not knowing who to trust. I really felt for him. Also, the author portrays in details the awful conditions of immigrants, the cruelty and evil of humankind, but also that there is good in the world from the workers in the refugee camps to the teller who gave food to Firefly and the couple who gave him shelter.

FIREFLY is a thrilling and suspenseful read, perfect for all fans of espionage thrillers!

Henry Porter

White Hot SilencePublication: 27th June 2019 – Quercus

On a deserted road in Calabria, Greek aid worker Anastasia Cristakos is driving alone to visit one of the new refugee centres funded by billionaire Denis Hisami whom she has recently married. She slows down to greet two African migrants she recognises. Too late she realises they are not her friends. This is an ambush.

She manages a desperate phone call to Hisami before her Mafia kidnappers silence her with a powerful drug. Hours later she wakes up in the pitch dark on a container ship, powering eastwards across the Mediterranean.

Anastasia has been abducted and held hostage because Hisami has explosive information that his enemies have killed for and will kill for again. But Hisami can do nothing to save his wife. His time as a commander with the Kurdish Peshmerga has caught up with him. The US authorities have seized his passport and jailed him for possible terrorist activities in the past. For all his wealth, he is powerless.

Only one man can help him. Paul Samson, former MI6 agent and a genius at tracking missing persons. He’s the obvious choice. There’s only one snag. Samson was, and probably still is, in love with Anastasia. If he manages to locate and save her, will it be for Hisami – or himself?

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After devouring Firefly, I had to know what was going to happen next, so I started reading WHITE HOT SILENCE right away.

Paul met Anastasia while he was looking for Firefly and their attraction for each other was obvious, so why three years later she is married to billionaire Denis Hisami? And why is she kidnapped while in Calabria visiting one of the refugee centre that she built together with her husband? Denis Hisami has no choice but to call the best to find his wife and that’s none other than her former lover and former MI6 agent Paul Samson. So while Anastasia fights for her life in the hands of her kidnappers and Denis is trying to figure out who wants to hurt him, Paul is doing everything he can to find the woman he still loves.

The characters are well-developed. I still like Paul Samson, courageous, realistic and really good at his job. We first met Denis Hisami in Firefly. He seemed a good man who uses his money to help others, but in this novel it is clear that he is hiding something, something that he doesn’t want to get out. Anastasia is altruistic, spending her life helping others in need. She is also brave and a survivor.

People with different identities, Russian criminals, Italian Mafia, a well-orchestrated and, I have to say, complex plan to bring down an American billionaire… this spy novel has it all to keep the reader glued to the pages. Now, I am really looking forward to the next book…