#BookReview: WHEN I COME HOME AGAIN by Caroline Scott @CScottBooks @simonschusterUK @TeamBATC

Publication: 29th October 2020 – Simon & Schuster UK

They need him to remember. He wants to forget.

1918. In the last week of the First World War, a uniformed soldier is arrested in Durham Cathedral. When questioned, it becomes clear he has no memory of who he is or how he came to be there.

The soldier is given the name Adam and transferred to a rehabilitation home. His doctor James is determined to recover who this man once was. But Adam doesn’t want to remember. Unwilling to relive the trauma of war, Adam has locked his memory away, seemingly for good.

When a newspaper publishes a feature about Adam, three women come forward, each claiming that he is someone she lost in the war. But does he believe any of these women? Or is there another family out there waiting for him to come home?

Based on true events, When I Come Home Again is a deeply moving and powerful story of a nation’s outpouring of grief, and the search for hope in the aftermath of war.

AMAZON

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Prepare the tissues and immerse yourself in this beautiful novel about a man with no memory of his identity and his past, about the doctor who wants to help him while, at the same time, battling his own ghosts, about the three women who hope that that anonymous man is the loved one they have been looking for.

I love Caroline Scott’s writing style. She captures me with the detailed and evocative descriptions, the incredible authentic characters, and the accuracy of the historical facts. World War I is over, but families are still grieving and looking for someone they lost. In the author’s previous novel, The Photographer of the Lost, we saw families paying someone to go on the battlefields and take a picture of the place where their loved one is buried, far away from home. In When I Come Home Again, we read about parents, wives, sisters, brothers, sons, and daughters who are still wondering if their loved one is alive. And that hope is so big that, when the picture of a soldier with no memory appears on the newspaper, many people see in him their son, brother, or husband.

Adam’s story is heartbreaking. A soldier with no name, found wandering by Durham Cathedral. The trauma of the war is so big and shocking that his brain completely shut down, taking all his memories away. He is taken to a rehabilitation house, Fellside House. James Haworth is the doctor who wants to help Adam recover his memories, but he has his own memories from the war to face, memories that give him nightmares and are threatening his marriage. Celia, Anna, and Lucy know that their loved ones didn’t die in the war and one day they will come home. After seeing Adam’s picture on the newspaper, each knows that he is her son, brother, husband. But which one is right?

When I Come Home Again is a haunting and emotional story. The author explores the effects of the war not only on the soldiers, but on their families, too. Adam’s story is the story of many other soldiers. At Fellside House, he is surrounded by other patients suffering from PTSD. The doctor curing them keeps dreaming of the battlefield. Celia, Anna, and Lucy are not the only family members who never stopped hoping.

As I said, don’t forget the tissues, because tears will come, because the story is unique, intense, engrossing, moving, it’s a story that I won’t forget.

A huge thank you to SJ and Simon & Schuster for providing me with a proof of this book.

#BookReview: LOVE YOUR LIFE by Sophie Kinsella @KinsellaSophie @TransworldBooks @BeckyShort1

Publication: 29th October 2020 – Transworld

I love you . . . but what if I can’t love your life?

Ava is sick of online dating. She’s always trusted her own instincts over an algorithm, anyway, and she wants a break from it all. So when she signs up to a semi-silent, anonymous writing retreat in glorious Italy, love is the last thing on her mind.

Until she meets a handsome stranger. . . All she knows is that he’s funny, he’s kind and – she soon learns – he’s great in bed. He’s equally smitten, and after a whirlwind, intoxicating affair, they pledge their love without even knowing each other’s real names.

But when they return home, reality hits. They’re both driven mad by each other’s weird quirks and annoying habits, from his eccentric, naked-sauna-loving family to her terribly behaved, shirt-shredding dog. As disaster follows disaster, it seems that while they love each other, they just can’t love each other’s lives. Can they overcome their differences to find one life, together?

AMAZON

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Sophie Kinsella is one of my favourite authors. I have been reading her books for almost 20 years now (WOW! That makes me feel old) and I am always excited when a new novel comes out, whether it is a stand alone with new characters or a new Becky Bloomwood adventure, because they make me laugh, they cheer me up, and I always fall in love with the characters.

Love Your Life is her new stand alone (actually, it is out today, so happy publication day!) and I adored the protagonist Ava. How can you not love a character whose mind is an endless surprise? She is very unique: funny, romantic, and loyal. She is so enthusiastic about everything, she has many many interests, and she is optimistic about love despite many bad dates. And I enjoyed how she doesn’t do silences:

“One of my theories of life is: it’s unhealthy not to let words out of your brain. Otherwise they curdle. Plus, you know, someone has to speak.”

Love Your Life is a story about love, about two people who couldn’t be more different and yet they love each other and want to make it work. Ava’s romance with the man she met during a writing retreat in Italy was unexpected, fast, romantic, exciting… it was just perfect! But then they leave Italy behind and return home where reality hits. Are they really meant to be together?

Love Your Life is also a story of friendship. Ava’s family is her three best friends. I loved how different they are, how close they are, how well they know each other, how they are always there for each other.

“I love them all, and you have to, as well. They are part of the deal.”

Love Your Life is a story about delicious food: ice-cream, pasta, pizza… your mouth will be watering.

If this is not enough to convince you to pick up the new novel by Sophie Kinsella, then I should mention my favourite character: Harold, the adorable dog who steals food without you noticing and who disagrees with handbags, shirts, stuffed animals… the list is long.

Love Your Life is an entertaining, addictive, fabulous novel that will make you laugh so much, it will warm your heart, and you don’t want it to end.

A huge thank you to Becky and Transworld for sending me a proof of this beautiful novel.

#BlogTour: THE HOUSE MATE by Nina Manning @ninamanning78 @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources

Publication: 15th October 2020 – Boldwood Books

The perfect life? …Or the perfect lie?

When Regi moves into her new house share, she’s ready for a clean slate. A new home. A new routine. A new identity…

Desperate to escape the shadow of her past that follows her everywhere she goes, Regi finds the ideal distraction in the perfect lives of others on social media.

But as innocent scrolling turns into an unhealthy obsession, Regi will soon learn that seeking perfection comes at a price…

A gripping psychological suspense from the international bestselling author of The Daughter In Law. Perfect for fans of Lisa Jewell, K L Slater and Jackie Kabler.

AMAZON

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Delighted to welcome you on my stop for the blog tour of The House Mate, the gripping new novel by Nina Manning.

The story is told from two perspectives. On the one hand, Regi is a woman in her thirties who suffers from OCD and with a past she wants to forget. She is trying to start over, attending classes at university and sharing a house with younger girls. On the other hand, a young woman with a complicated and abusive relationship with an older boyfriend she can’t leave. How are the two women connected?

I loved how the author slowly unravels pieces of information, leaving me wondering what would happen next. The plot is well-constructed and well-written, full of twists, some of which I managed to figure out, some that I didn’t see coming and when the truth is fully revealed, it took me completely by surprise.

Regi is a relatable and authentic character. Her OCD, her obsession not only with the little boy living next door, but also with an Instagram account, and her mysterious past keep the tension high and the reader on their toes. I was really curious about her past wondering what happened to her? And who is she hiding from? The answers… another surprise!

I was intrigued by the blurb of The House Mate and, after finished reading it, I can honestly say that it lived up my expectations. It is dark and thrilling and the more I read, the more I couldn’t put it down. It is a fantastic psychological thriller to enjoy this Halloween!

A huge thank you to Rachel and Boldwood Books for inviting me to join the blog tour and providing me with a copy of the book.

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Nina Manning studied psychology and was a restaurant-owner and private chef (including to members of the royal family). She is the founder and co-host of Sniffing The Pages, a book review podcast. Her debut psychological thriller, The Daughter in Law, was a bestseller in the UK, US, Australia and Canada. She lives in Dorset.

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#BookReview: ONE MORE FOR CHRISTMAS by Sarah Morgan @SarahMorgan_ @HQstories

Publication: 29th October 2020 – HQ

Gayle is a highly successful and motivated business woman, but her success has come at a price – she hasn’t spoken to her daughters, Ella and Samantha, for years. But when Gayle has an accident at work, she realises she needs to make amends with her family.

And so she invites herself to join Ella and Samantha for their Christmas in the beautiful Scottish Highlands. The sisters are none too pleased that their mother has inserted herself into their Christmas plans. They have each other – and don’t need their mother back in their lives. Or so they think…

As they embark on their first family Christmas together in years, will the three women learn that sometimes facing up to a few home truths is all you need to heal your heart?

AMAZON

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It’s almost Christmas time which means another fantastic Christmas novel by Sarah Morgan and, this year, it is especially welcome. It really cheered me up and I spent a few enjoyable hours curled up on the couch reading it and forgetting everything else.

One More Christmas is mostly a story about mothers and daughters. Thousands and thousands of women admire Gayle Mitchell. She is an icon, she promotes independence and encourages women to make it on their own, eliminating the things – and the people – that could stop them from reaching their goal. Her books are at the top of the bestselling charts and she wins lots of awards. She has everything she needs until, following an accident, she realizes how lonely she is. Gayle hasn’t talked to her two daughters in five years and it is time to fix their relationship and what better time than during the Christmas holidays?

Samantha is Gayle’s eldest daughter. She’s never agreed with her mother’s philosophy, but she’s followed her footstep and she is the CEO of her own travel company. She is independent and she lives for her job, but she also wants a passionate love affair, wild attraction, drinking champagne naked on the bed, as she reveals to a stranger on the phone.

Samantha has always taken care of her sister Ella. Ella is more sensible. She’s always wanted her mother’s approval, but since she’s never received it, she just stopped communicating with her, keeping important events of her life from her. Will spending the Christmas holiday together in Scotland fix their relationship?

I am so happy Sarah Morgan takes us back to the Scottish Highlands (which we already visited in The Christmas Sisters). Sarah Morgan’s descriptions create such a beautiful atmosphere and an evocative setting and the story is so funny, romantic, and engaging. I adored the characters. They feel authentic and likable. Also there are reindeer, Christmas trees, snowmen, and gingerbread men. So, what more would you want?

A huge thank you to HQ for providing me with a copy of the novel.

#BlogTour: THE CREAK ON THE STAIRS by Eva Bjorg AEgisdottir @OrendaBooks @annecater

Publication: 1st October 2020 – Orenda Books

The first in the electrifying new Forbidden Iceland series, The Creak on the Stairs is an exquisitely written, claustrophobic and chillingly atmospheric debut thriller by one of Iceland’s most exciting new talents When the body of a woman is discovered at a lighthouse in the Icelandic town of Akranes, it soon becomes clear that she’s no stranger to the area.

Chief Investigating Officer Elma, who has returned to Akranes following a failed relationship, and her colleagues Sævar and Hörður, commence an uneasy investigation, which uncovers a shocking secret in the dead woman’s past that continues to reverberate in the present day…

But as Elma and her team make a series of discoveries, they bring to light a host of long-hidden crimes that shake the entire community. Sifting through the rubble of the
townspeople’s shattered memories, they have to dodge increasingly serious threats, and find justice … before it ’s too late.

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I am delighted to welcome you on my stop for the blog tour of The Creak on the Stairs, the thrilling debut novel by Eva Björg Ægisdóttir.

I really hope this is the first book in a series, because I adored it and I hope to read more about the protagonist, Chief Investigating Officer Elma. It is suspenseful, intense, and thought-provoking and I was completely addicted to the story.

Elma left her job and life in Rekjavik to return home in the small town of Akranes where everyone knows everyone and nothing much ever happens, until the body of a woman is found near the lighthouse. She was clearly murdered, but what was she doing in Arkranes? And why was she killed? Elma, together with her colleagues Sævar and Hörður, investigates, bringing to lights secrets and terrifying truths from the past…

There is something about Nordic Noir novels that really grabs my attention and I think that The Creak on the Stairs is one of the best I’ve read this year. I loved the different perspectives and the complex characters. I was immersed in the twisty plot and the chilling atmosphere and I think that the translation is amazing.

The story is told mostly from Elma’s perspective, but also from the points of view of the various characters involved in the investigation. The story also jumps back into the past, in the life of a young girl whose story is heartbreaking and dark. Even though it is never described in detail, you know exactly what is going on in this child’s life, you feel her fear and her sadness, and you know things aren’t going to end well.

So, once again, thanks to Orenda Books, I’ve discovered another terrific and intriguing Nordic Noir novel, another fantastic author to follow, and another protagonist to love. Dark and captivating, The Creak on the Stairs is a must-read for all crime fans!

A huge thank you to Anne and Orenda Books for inviting me to join the blog tour and providing me with a copy of the novel.

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Born in Akranes in 1988, Eva moved to Trondheim, Norway to study my MSc in Globalisation when she was 25. After moving back home having completed her MSc, she knew it was time to start working on her novel. Eva has wanted to write books since she was 15 years old, having won a short story contest in Iceland.

Eva worked as a stewardess to make ends meet while she wrote her first novel. The book went on to win the Blackbird Award and became an Icelandic bestseller. Eva now lives with her husband and three children in Reykjavík, staying at home with her youngest until she begins Kindergarten.

#BookReview: CONFESSION ON THE 7:45 by Lisa Unger @lisaunger @HQstories

Publication: 6th October 2020 – HQ

Everyone has a secret. Who would you trust with yours?

On Selena Murphy’s train home from work, a mysterious woman named Martha strikes up a conversation and shares a confession: she’s having an affair with her boss. In turn, Selena shares her own secret: she suspects her husband is sleeping with the nanny.

At Selena’s station the two women part, and Selena never expects to see her again. Until she receives a message. I’d love to continue our conversation. Can we get together? It’s Martha, by the way. From the train.

But Selena never gave Martha her number. She brushes the message off – until days later her nanny goes missing, and Selena begins to wonder if it’s all connected. Who is Martha, really? And what does she want with Selena?

Confessions on the 7:45 will have you gripped from the first page until the last. Perfect for fans of Harriet Tyce’s Blood Orange and A.J. Finn’s The Woman in the Window.

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Lisa Unger never disappoints. NEVER. Confession on the 7:45 is another gripping and addictive novel that it was very hard to put down, especially because most of the chapters ended with some sort of cliffhanger or the promise of a big revelation that made me say “just one more chapter and then I’ll stop reading” (and then I didn’t!).

At the center of this new novel by Lisa Unger there are secrets and choices. What if, ten years earlier, Selena hadn’t chosen Graham over her then boyfriend Will? Would she have been happier? Would she now be confiding her secrets to a stranger on a train during her commute home? What if she had made different decisions during her marriage? Would she be spying on her husband and their nanny?

Martha, is the stranger on the train to whom Selena confided, and she has her secrets, too. She is sleeping with her boss and she fears for her job, should his wife find out. But what if their problems would just disappear? What if Selena’s nanny simply disappeared? Would Selena’s problems be over? Or would they just begin?

Confession on the 7:45 is completely addictive. The more I read the more I wanted to know more about the characters, about Selena, about Martha, about the nanny, about the mysterious young Pearl. The plot is dark, intricate, and twisty, the pace is perfect, and I loved how the author slowly unravels the truth, giving you little pieces of the puzzle that slowly comes together.

Confession on the 7:45 will keep you on the edge of your seat and will leave you wondering: who can you trust?

A huge thank you to HQ for providing me with a copy of the novel.

#BlogTour: THE WINTER GARDEN by Heidi Swain @Heidi_Swain @simonschusterUK @harriett_col @TeamBATC

Publication: 1st October 2020 – Simon & Schuster UK

Will love bloom this winter?

Freya Fuller is living her dream, working as a live-in gardener on a beautiful Suffolk estate. But when the owner dies, Freya finds herself forced out of her job and her home with nowhere to go. However, with luck on her side, she’s soon moving to Nightingale Square and helping to create a beautiful winter garden that will be open to the public in time for Christmas.

There’s a warm welcome from all in Nightingale Square, except from local artist Finn. No matter how hard the pair try, they just can’t get along, and working together to bring the winter garden to life quickly becomes a struggle for them both.

Will Freya and Finn be able to put their differences aside in time for Christmas? Or will the arrival of a face from Freya’s past send them all spiralling?

The Winter Garden is the perfect read this Christmas, promising snowfall, warm fires and breath-taking seasonal romance. Perfect for fans of Carole Matthews, Cathy Bramley and Sarah Morgan.

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Delighted to welcome you on my stop for the blog tour of The Winter Garden, the beautiful new novel by Heidi Swain.

I am so happy to be back at Nightingale Square and read about the lovable characters I met in the author’s previous novels and meet new characters, especially the protagonist Freya Fuller. Fate, or better yet, a friend, leads Freya to find a new job as gardener of the Winter Garden at Prosperous Place, to find a new home in Nightingale Square, and to find new friends. The residents of Nightingale Square are all nice and welcoming and Freya seems to have finally find a place to call home as she quickly joins the community life.

I always enjoy Heidi Swain’s novels and The Winter Garden is the right read to uplift us during this difficult time. I spent a few entertaining hours curled up on the couch with a hot chocolate and this heart-warming and captivating story and its engaging characters. Freya is a fantastic character: hard-working, confident, smart, funny, and I loved how she developed during the story. Her love interest is a handsome local artist compared to Thor and I was completely engrossed as I read their first disastrous meeting which developed in a tentative friendship which developed in something more.

The Winter Garden is the perfect read if you are looking for a fabulous, magical story, a festive atmosphere, and adorable characters.

A huge thank you to Harriet and Simon and Schuster UK for inviting me to join the blog tour and providing me with a copy of this wonderful novel.

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Heidi Swain is the Sunday Times Top Ten best-selling author of SLEIGH RIDES AND SILVER BELLS AT THE CHRISTMAS FAIR. Her other titles include The Cherry Tree Café, Summer at Skylark Farm, Mince Pies and Mistletoe at the Christmas Market, Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage, Snowflakes and Cinnamon Swirls at the Winter Wonderland, Poppy’s Recipe for Life, The Christmas Wish List and The Secret Seaside Escape.

Heidi lives in beautiful south Norfolk with her family and a mischievous cat called Storm. She is passionate about gardening, the countryside, collecting vintage paraphernalia and reading. Her tbr pile is always out of control!

Heidi loves to chat with her readers and you can get in touch via her website heidiswain.co.uk/ or Twitter @Heidi_Swain

#BookReview: IMAGINARY FRIEND by Stephen Chbosky @GrandCentralPub

Publication: 6th October 2020 (paperback) – Grand Central Publishing

Instant New York Times Bestseller

One of Fall 2019’s Best Books (People, EW, Lithub, Vox, Washington Post, and more)

A young boy is haunted by a voice in his head in this acclaimed epic of literary horror from the author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Christopher is seven years old.

Christopher is the new kid in town.

Christopher has an imaginary friend.

We can swallow our fear or let our fear swallow us.

Single mother Kate Reese is on the run. Determined to improve life for her and her son, Christopher, she flees an abusive relationship in the middle of the night with her child. Together, they find themselves drawn to the tight-knit community of Mill Grove, Pennsylvania. It’s as far off the beaten track as they can get. Just one highway in, one highway out.

At first, it seems like the perfect place to finally settle down. Then Christopher vanishes. For six long days, no one can find him. Until Christopher emerges from the woods at the edge of town, unharmed but not unchanged. He returns with a voice in his head only he can hear, with a mission only he can complete: Build a treehouse in the woods by Christmas, or his mother and everyone in the town will never be the same again.

Twenty years ago, Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower made readers everywhere feel infinite. Now, Chbosky has returned with an epic work of literary horror, years in the making, whose grand scale and rich emotion redefine the genre. Read it with the lights on.

AMAZON

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I don’t read many horror books, almost none at all. They terrify me, they make me check that doors and windows are locked at night, but when they are also gripping and you can’t stop reading them, they are worth the chills and the door checking and Imaginary Friend is definitely worth it.

“Don’t leave the street. They can’t get you if you don’t leave the street.”

Christopher Reese and his mother Kate move to Mill Grove, Pennsylvania, to start a new life. Kate’s struggling to make ends meet while Christopher is struggling at school. One afternoon, he wanders into the Mission Street Woods and he is only found six days later with no memory of the missing time. After Christopher’s return, their luck turns, but Christopher also starts to behave strangely and he is not the only one in town.

First of all, yes, the book is long, more than 700 pages, but every page, every scene, every subplot, every perspective counts. I was glued to the pages, immersed in the engaging and dark story, the real and imaginary worlds, the excellent characters, the hissing woman, the mailbox people, the nice man, and the surprising and genius last sentence.

The characters are brilliant. I really liked the characters of Christopher and Kate as humans. Their struggle, their suffering, the poverty, the abuse… I really felt for them. I loved how strong their relationship is, how they love each other and would do anything to protect each other. Other favorites are the sheriff (who I kept picturing as Jim Hopper from Stranger Things), who has demons from his past to face, and Ambrose, still grieving over the death of his younger brother fifty-years earlier.

The author created quite an original and incredible story with the build-up of the suspense, the haunting aspects, and the vivid descriptions that may give nightmares. There are themes of religion (which has a strong presence in the story), of good versus evil, of mental illness and sexual abuse which don’t make for an easy read, but Imaginary Friend is a terrific and memorable story and I won’t easily forget it.

A huge thank you to Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a copy of the novel.

#BlogTour: THE POSTSCRIPT MURDERS by Elly Griffiths @ellygriffiths @QuercusBooks @ellapatel__

Publication: 1st October 2020 – Quercus

The ultimate gripping murder mystery from the bestselling author of The Stranger Diaries and the Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries

PS: Thanks for the murders.

The death of a ninety-year-old woman with a heart condition should absolutely not be suspicious. DS Harbinder Kaur certainly sees nothing to concern her in carer Natalka’s account of Peggy Smith’s death.

But when Natalka reveals that Peggy lied about her heart condition and that she had been sure someone was following her…

And that Peggy Smith had been a ‘murder consultant’ who plotted deaths for authors, and knew more about murder than anyone has any right to…

And when clearing out Peggy’s flat ends in Natalka being held at gunpoint by a masked figure…

Well then DS Harbinder Kaur thinks that maybe there is no such thing as an unsuspicious death after all.

From the sleepy seaside town of Shoreham to the granite streets of Aberdeen, The Postscript Murders is a literary mystery for fans of Anthony Horowitz, Agatha Christie and anyone who’s ever wondered just how authors think up such realistic crimes…

PS: Trust no one.

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Delighted to share my review of The Postscript Murders, the thrilling new novel by Elly Griffiths.

When Peggy Smith is found dead on her chair everyone thinks that it was an heart attack, but not her carer, not her neighbour and close friend, and not the owner of the shack by her flat. They think she was killed and, to convince the police to investigate, they turn into amateur detectives and start digging into Peggy’s life. A vast collection of crime novels, a threatening note, and an harmed man breaking into Peggy’s flat convince DS Harbinder Kaur to investigate, while, at the same time, she tries to keep the detective trio out of trouble.

The Postcript Murders is the second novel featuring DS Harbinder Kaur who we already met in the gripping The Stranger Diaries. I really like this character. She is fun and smart. I enjoyed reading about her relationship with her working partner and about her personal life, living with her parents, worrying about her love life and life in general. She feels authentic and relatable.

The author did a great job creating the characters of the amateurs sleuths. Natalka is a twenty-something carer from Ukraine with great math skills that allow her not to worry about money and with a bit of a dangerous past. Benedict is a monk-turned-coffee-shop-owner who still struggles with his identity and his character develops really well in the story. Edwin is Peggy’s fellow resident and friend. He is a brisk 80-year-old former TV producer and radio host looking for the truth about Peggy’s murder. We meet the character of Peggy only briefly at the beginning, but her presence is felt throughout the story thanks to the memories of those who knew her and I found her interesting and entertaining. She was considered a “murder consultant” by many crime writers who asked for her help in making up unthinkable murders for their books. She also seems to have quite a mysterious past.

Elly Griffiths is an author who I have been following and reading for years, especially for her Ruth Galloway series, but I also enjoy this new series and the character of DS Harbinder Kaur. I really like her writing style and her twisty plots and the characters feel realistic and well-developed. The Postcript Murders is really a terrific read and I can’t wait to read more from this series.

A huge thank you to Ella and Quercus for providing me with a copy of this novel.

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#Extract: THE ENTITLED by Nancy Boyarsky @LMpublishing

Publication – 29th September 2020 – Light Messages Publishing

Travel to London and retrieve Abigail Fletcher, a 17-year-old in a study abroad program at the prestigious King’s College in London. The assignment sounds simple enough.

But Abigail’s return is put on indefinite hold when she’s charged with the murder of her boyfriend, a former student at King’s. Nicole believes Abigail has been framed, but the victim’s tight-knit circle of friends and relatives are most unwilling to talk to an American detective. Further complicating the case, is Abigail’s defiant and uncooperative demeanor.

As evidence stacks up against Abigail, Nicole discovers that she herself has become the next target. Nicole’s first solo case abroad as a private detective has just turned a lot more deadly than she ever anticipated.

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Excerpt

A picture of herself and Reinhardt popped up in Nicole’s head—the two of them walking along, enjoying the art, sampling the food, and joking about the more bizarre items for sale at the Brick Lane street market. She thought of all the good times they’d had together and how it had ended. If only things could go back to the way they were. But she couldn’t unlearn the lesson the experience had taught her—a long-distance romance rarely worked out, and never with a spy.

She was getting tired, and her new boots were beginning to hurt. She knew better than to wear new shoes without breaking them in first, but she had been so taken with the purchase that she couldn’t help herself. Rather than risk blistered feet, she decided to change back into her trusty old sneakers. The market was so crowded it was impossible to find a place to sit. So she turned the corner and walked a long block to a house with  steep staircase leading up to the front door.

Before sitting on the steps, she looked around to make sure the street was safe. That’s when she spotted the same man who’d been following her before. He was approaching from the market. She walked faster, half-jogging, and turned another corner. Only after she entered did she realize it wasn’t a street but an alley, dead-ended by a brick apartment house.

She looked around for a place to hide, but there wasn’t any. She headed for the only building in sight that had a door leading to the alley. She tried to open it, but it was locked. She scrunched herself into the shallow recess in which the door was set and fumbled in her purse for her pepper spray.

A moment later the man rounded the corner into the alley and headed straight toward her.

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Author’s bio

Nancy’s award-winning Nicole Graves Mysteries have been compared to Mary Higgins Clark and are praised for contributing to the “women-driven mystery field with panache” (Foreword Reviews) as well as for their “hold-onto-the-bar roller coaster” plots (RT Book Reviews).

Nancy has been a writer and editor for her entire working career. She coauthored Backroom Politics, a New York Times notable book, with her husband Bill Boyarsky. She has written several textbooks on the justice system as well as written articles for publications such as the Los Angeles Times, Forbes, and McCall’s. She also contributed to political anthologies, including In the Running, about women’s political campaigns, and The Challenge of California by the late Eugene Lee. In addition to her writing career, she was communications director for political affairs for ARCO. Her debut novel The Swap—book one of the Nicole Graves Mysteries—won the prestigious Eric Hoffer award for Best Micro Press Book of the Year.

Nancy is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley with a major in English literature. She lives in Los Angeles. Readers can connect with her online at her website nancyboyarsky.com.