#BlogTour: THE BURNING MEN by Will Shindler @WillShindler @HodderBooks @JennyPlatt90

9781529301694 THE BURNING MEN JACKETPublication: 6th February 2020 – Hodder & Stoughton

When a development in South London catches fire mid-construction, a close-knit team of fire fighters runs in to save a man spotted at the window.

They come out without a body. They quit the service. They plan never to speak to each other again.

Five years later one of them is set alight at his own wedding. Soon after, a second is found, nothing but a smoking corpse. It appears that someone knows what they did that night. What they chose over their duty. And there are still three men left to burn . . .

DI Alex Finn and his new partner DC Mattie Paulsen are an unlikely pairing, but they need to discover who is behind these killings before the next man faces the fire.

This is first in Will Shindler’s Finn and Paulsen series – a British detective series that ranks with Mark Billingham, M.J. Arlidge, Stuart MacBride.

Amazon.co.uk: https://amzn.to/31Cm2hy

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I am delighted to welcome you on my stop of The Burning Men, the gripping debut novel by Will Shindler.

That’s exactly what I needed… another police procedural series to get addicted to, but I couldn’t help myself because The Burning Men grabbed my attention and didn’t let it go.

The protagonist of the series is DI Alex Finn. He is back at work right after the death of his wife so he is not 100% on the job as he struggles with his grief and the ghost of his wife. Working with him is DC Mattie Paulsen. She’s just joined Finn’s team, but she doesn’t seem interested in interacting with her colleagues. She has her own demons to fight and it takes a while (almost the entire novel) to warm up to her, but I am already looking forward to read more about this character.

The case they are investigating started five years earlier when firefighters entered a burning building to save a man and came out empty-handed… or so it seemed. Now, someone is targeting them and the police needs to find the killer before he kills all of them.

As you read, the story seems very straightforward but there are so many twists that you won’t see coming and that will take you by surprise. If you are looking for murder, you will find plenty of it. There is also corruption, robbery, and blackmail, all wrapped up together in a story that is fast-paced and intense. The characters are well-portrayed and feel very authentic.

If you are still not convinced, there is an ending that will leave you holding your breath. And I am not talking about the final revelations and surprises that close the story, but I am talking about the very last line that made me gasp in surprise. Simply brilliant!

I’d like to thank Jenny and Hodder & Stoughton for inviting me to join the blog tour and providing me with a copy of this fantastic novel.

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Will Shindler has been a Broadcast Journalist for the BBC for over twenty-five years, spending a decade working in television drama as a scriptwriter on Born and Bred, The Bill and Doctors. His time on these leading prime time dramas has given him a rich grounding in authentic police procedure, powerful character development and gripping narratives. He currently combines reading the news on BBC Radio London with writing crime novels and has previously worked as a television presenter for HTV, a sports reporter for BBC Radio Five Live, and one of the stadium presenters at the London Olympics. The Burning Men is his first novel.

 

#BookReview: THE GUEST LIST by Lucy Foley @lucyfoleytweets @HarperFiction

The Guest ListPublication: 20th February 2020 – HarperFiction

On an island off the windswept Irish coast, guests gather for the wedding of the year – the marriage of Jules Keegan and Will Slater.
 
Old friends.
Past grudges.
 
Happy families.
Hidden jealousies.
 
Thirteen guests.
One body.
 
The wedding cake has barely been cut when one of the guests is found dead. And as a storm unleashes its fury on the island, everyone is trapped.

All have a secret. All have a motive.
One guest won’t leave this wedding alive…

Amazon.co.uk: https://amzn.to/2OBcWfW

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Have you read The Hunting Party? Last year, I devoured it and, since then, I’ve been really looking forward to Lucy’s Foley next mystery. Her new novel, The Guest List, has many similarities to the previous one. The Hunting Party was set in a remote castle in Scotland, The Guest List is set in a remote island off the Irish coast. A storm that makes it nearly impossible for everyone on the outside to reach it. A group of friends who reunite to celebrate, but whose jeaulosies and resentments will have dangerous consequences. Different timelines, different perspectives, and different suspects. And revelations that you never see coming. I do love the way Lucy Foley writes.

The plot is gripping and the characters are not very likable, but they are complex and well-crafted. Jules, the bride, wants her wedding to be perfect, but is she really sure she wants to marry Will? Olivia, the bridesmaid, and Jules’s stepsister, is hiding something from her entire family. Jhonno, the best man, has always had Will’s back and he would do anything for him. Hannah, the plus one, looks at this wedding as a romantic getaway for her and her husband Charlie and a chance to reconnect. Aoife, the wedding planner, needs to make sure that the wedding goes smoothly.

The setting is dark, very atmospheric (and very Agatha Christie). It is isolated and, of course, bad weather, cuts off communications with the mainland. The fact that the locals think that the island is cursed is a really nice touch and gave me a few goosebumps.

Thrilling, slow-paced, and full of unexpected twists, The Guest List is another win for Lucy Foley. What will she do next?

A huge thank you to HarperCollins and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of the novel.

 

#BookReview: WATCHING FROM THE DARK by Gytha Lodge @thegyth @MichaelJBooks

Watching From The DarkPublication: 6th February 2020 – Michael Joseph

Aidan Poole logs onto his laptop late at night to Skype his girlfriend, Zoe. But to his horror, he realises she is not alone.

Completely helpless, all he can do is listen to the sounds of a violent struggle.

And then a chilling silence.

He’s desperate to find out if she is OK. But then why is he so hesitant to call the police?

When his messages finally reach them, DCI Jonah Sheens and his team take the case.

And discover the body. . .

Watching from the Dark is an enthralling new thriller that you won’t want to miss.

Amazon.co.uk: https://amzn.to/31CLvYd

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As someone who reads many, maybe too many thrillers, I always appreciate a novel that keeps me on edge the entire time and the new novel by Gytha Lodge certainly delivers.

Watching From The Dark starts with a man skyping his girlfriend and watching helplessly as someone kills her. Who killed her? Also, why didn’t he call the police right away? And why, when he finally did call, he didn’t give his name or where the police could find his murdered girlfriend? To answer all these questions the author brings back DCI Jonah Sheens and his team who we already met in She Lies in Wait (if you haven’t read it, do it… it’s brilliant!). The more they investigate, the more the list of suspects grows, from her boyfriend to her closest friends and her landlord, everyone seems to be hiding something.

The suspense and the tension skyrocket in this novel. Each suspect is hiding a secret (or more than one) that the author unravels bit by bit so that when you think you have figure it out, another truth comes out and suddenly someone else becomes the suspect number one. And this happens over and over again, so that I had to wait for the big revelation at the end. The twists just keep coming and the different timelines and multiple perspective add a lot to the suspense.

I was happy to see again the characters that I first met in She Lies In Wait. DCI Jonah Sheens and his team of hardworking detectives, Domnall O’Malley, Ben Lightman and Juliette Hanson are very likable and well-developed characters. Their personal lives combine well with the murder mystery at the center of the story and I am really looking forward to reading more about them.

Watching From The Dark is a story of jealousies, secrets, and obsession and I devoured in two days. It is addictive, dark, and impossible to put down and now I have the certainty that Gytha Lodge is one of those authors whose book I will buy as soon as it comes out, no matter what.

A huge thank you to Michael Joseph and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this brilliant novel.

#BookReview: MARRIAGE ON MADISON AVENUE by Lauren Layne @eternal_books

Marriage on Madison AvenuePublication: 28th January 2020 – Headline

Can guys and girls ever be just friends? According to Audrey Tate and Clarke West, absolutely. After all, they’ve been best friends since childhood without a single romantic entanglement. Clarke is the charming playboy Audrey can always count on and, knowing that the ever-loyal Audrey will never not play along with his strategy for dodging his matchmaking mother, announces he’s already engaged…to Audrey.

But what starts out as a playful game between two best friends turns into something infinitely more complicated, as just-for-show kisses begin to stir up forbidden feelings. As the faux wedding date looms closer, Audrey and Clarke realize that they can never go back to the way things were, but deep down, do they really want to?

Filled with charm and heart and plenty of heart and wit, this entertaining series will hook you from the very first page. Look out for the other two titles, Passion on Park Avenue and Love on Lexington Avenue

Amazon.co.uk: https://amzn.to/2OAeeb9

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Over the last year, I often saw people rave about the novels in the Central Park Pact series, so, when more recently, I kept seeing the latest novel in the series, Marriage on Madison Avenue, popping up on my Instagram feed, I decided to give it a try, because I love romantic comedies and, as featured in this novel, “fake” relationships. Me being me, I started the series from the latest book, Marriage on Madison Avenue, that it can easily be read as a stand-alone, and I became addicted to it.

The Central Park Pact series revolves around three best friends who met under quite unusual circumstances. Each novel focus on one of them and in Marriage on Madison Avenue the protagonist is Audrey. She and her best friend from childhood, Clarke, fake an engagement to get back to his controlling mother and an annoying internet troll, but how much of it is really fake? We all know how it’s to going to end, but what I loved about this story is the humour, the witty and entertaining characters, and the friendships.

The story is refreshing and hilarious. Misunderstandings, jealousies, and some drama make for a very enjoyable and funny read. I loved the characters (even Clarke’s controlling mother) and the close friendships between them.

The story is set in New York, which for me it’s always a plus, even more so if the characters are organizing a wedding that takes them to the Plaza and the more exclusive places in Manhattan.

If you are looking for a brilliant and captivating romantic comedy that will keep you entertained for a few hours and make you forget everything else then don’t look any further, because this is it.

A huge thank you to Headline Eternal and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of the novel.

#BlogTour: THE UNLIKELY ESCAPE OF URIAH HEEP by H. G. Parry @hg_parry @orbitbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

511G7YKzF5L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Publication: 23rd January 2020 – Orbit

For his entire life, Charley Sutherland has concealed a magical ability he can’t quite control: he can bring characters from books into the real world. His older brother, Rob – a young lawyer with an utterly normal life – hopes that this strange family secret will disappear with disuse, and he will be discharged from his duty of protecting Charley and the real world from each other.

But then, literary characters start causing trouble in their city, making threats about destroying the world, and for once, it isn’t Charley’s doing. There’s someone else out there who shares his powers and it’s up to Charley and a reluctant Rob to stop them – before anyone gets to The End.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/37EvLpr

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Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep, the fantastic new novel by H. G. Parry where the characters of the books come to life.

Imagine if the characters of the book you’re reading could come out? At first, I think I would freak out, but then I would find that having tea with Sherlock Holmes would be an unforgettable experience. Charley Sutherland does that. He has the gift to bring out characters from the books he is reading, often involuntarily and unwillingly. And since Charley spends his days among books, it happens quite often. For his brother Rob, Charley’s gift is more of a curse because he always has to get his younger brother out of trouble and so he finds himself chasing Dickensian characters around the university campus in the middle of the night. Until now, things have been quite under control, but as the characters starts to behave strangely and new worlds appear out of nowhere, Rob and Charley need to stop them before it’s too late.

This is the story of two brothers who are completely different: one is a close-minded lawyer trying to have a normal and undisrupted life, the other lives in a world of books from which he can summon the characters. They couldn’t be more different. And yet, they are both unique and relatable characters. I adored Charley, quiet and always trying to do the right thing. I just wanted to hug him and protect him.

I loved how the author represented the characters that Charlie pulls out of classic novels. Heathcliff, Mr Darcy, Dorian Gray, Sherlock Holmes, Victor Frankenstein, Fagin, Artful Dodger, Charles Dickens, they all make an appearance (and many more) and H. G. Parry made a great job making them as close to the original as possible.

The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep is a fun read with suspense, brilliant characters, and an original and beautiful plot that kept me completely glued to the pages.

A huge thank you to Tracy Fenton and Orbit for providing me with a copy of the novel.

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H. G. Parry lives in a book-infested flat in Wellington, New Zealand, which she shares with her sister and two overactive rabbits. She holds a PhD in English literature from Victoria University of Wellington, and teaches English, film and media studies. Her short fiction has appeared in InterGalactic Medicine ShowDaily Science Fiction and small press anthologies. The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep is her debut novel.

#BlogTour: THE 24-HOUR CAFE’ by Libby Page @LibbyPageWrites @orionbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

Libby PagePublication: 23rd January 2020 – Orion

Welcome to the café that never sleeps.

Day and night, Stella’s Café opens its doors to the lonely and the lost, the morning people and the night owls. It’s a place where everyone is always welcome, where life can wait at the door.

Meet Hannah and Mona: best friends, waitresses, dreamers. They love working at Stella’s – the different people they meet, the small kindnesses exchanged. But is it time to step outside and make their own way in life?

Come inside and spend twenty-four hours at Stella’s Café, where one day might just be enough to change your life…

Amazon.co.uk: https://amzn.to/2uNoZ2v

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I am delighted today to take part in the blog tour for The 24-Hour Café, the enjoyable new novel by Libby Page.

Many things can happen in 24 hours, especially in a café in the heart of London where we meet a cast of various characters all going through an important moment in their lives. There is the young man wondering if he will find a place where to sleep; the couple in love who are saying goodbye to each other; the newlyweds about to go on their honeymoon; the new mother who doesn’t want to go home to her family, and many more. And then there are Hannah and Mona. They are waitresses at Stella’s, the café open all day and all night. Hannah and Mona are best friends: they live together and they share the dream to make it as performers.

With each chapter, an hour goes by and we meet new characters and we learn more about Hannah and Mona’s friendship, from meeting to a party five years earlier to the secrets and resentment that causes a strain in their relationship. During those 24 hours, we really get to know these characters. I liked them, I disagreed with them, I cheered them on, and I really wanted to know how their story would end. Some of the stories were heartbreaking, some had a beautiful happy ending, and they were all thought-provoking and captivating.

The author beautiful and clear writing style made the story more real and it felt like I was watching the events unfold on TV rather than reading it on my kindle. I loved how everything was detailed and authentic and the characters are all relatable.

The 24-Hour Café is an heartwarming and refreshing story full of food that will make your mouth water and with characters that will make you both laugh and cry. Highly recommended!

A huge thank you to Tracy and Orion for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and providing me with a copy of the novel.

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Follow the rest of the blog tour:

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#BlogTour: THE ALIBI GIRL by C. J. Skuse @CJSkuse @HQstories @joe_thomas25

The Alibi GirlPublication: 6th February 2020 – HQ

JOANNE HAYNES HAS A SECRET.
THAT IS NOT HER REAL NAME.

And there’s more. Her flat isn’t hers. Her cats aren’t hers. Even her hair isn’t really hers.
 
Nor is she any of the other women she pretends to be. Not the bestselling romance novelist who gets her morning snack from the doughnut van on the seafront. Nor the pregnant woman in the dental surgery. Nor the chemo patient in the supermarket for whom the cashier feels ever so sorry. They’re all just alibis.
 
In fact, the only thing that’s real about Joanne is that nobody can know who she really is.
 
But someone has got too close. It looks like her alibis have begun to run out….

Amazon.co.uk: https://amzn.to/30SIsuT

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Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for the brand new captivating novel by CJ Skuse, The Alibi Girl.

The story opens with a woman, Mary, who is at the hairdresser with her five-week-old daughter Emily. She tells her hairdresser about her job as a GP, her four other children, and her handsome husband. Only, her name is not Mary, but Joanne, she isn’t married, she doesn’t have four other children, and she isn’t a doctor. She has many identities and she is hiding. Who is really Joanne? And what or who is she hiding from? Is she really in danger or is she simply paranoid?

I love CJ Skuse humour and darkness and, after reading Sweetpea and In Bloom, I was looking forward to reading more from this author. Once again, the protagonist of her novel is a young woman who is not easy to like, at least at the beginning of the story. Joanne, or whoever she is, is scared, paranoid, and childish. She lies non-stop, and her obsessions border to psychopathic. However, the more I read, the more I learned about her life and her childhood, the more I started to feel sympathy for her.

The plot is dark and suspenseful, but it is also heart-breaking and compelling. The author knows how to hold the interest of the reader, with multi-layered characters, different narratives and timelines, twists and turns that make you hold your breath, and a unique plot that made it hard to put the book down.

Thank you so much to Joe, Jess, and HQ for providing me with a copy of this fantastic novel.

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