#BookReview: MY ONE TRUE NORTH by Milly Johnson @millyjohnson @simonschusterUK @BookMinxSJV @TeamBATC

My One True NorthPublication: 5th March 2020 – Simon & Schuster UK

Laurie and Pete should never have met.
But fate has pushed them together for a reason.
 
Six months ago, on the same night, Laurie and Pete both lost their partners.
Struggling to manage the grief, they join the same counselling group – and meet each other.
 
From their sadness, Pete and Laurie find happiness growing and they sense a fresh new beginning. 
Except, the more they talk, the more they begin to spot the strange parallels in their stories.
Then Pete discovers a truth that changes everything.
 
But, as surely as a compass points north, some people cannot be kept apart.
 
My One True North is a story of friendship and what love means, of secrets uncovered, teashops on corners and the northern lights.

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Grab your tissue and settle down because you’re in for a treat. Milly Johnson is back with a beautiful and emotional story that will break your heart and warm it at the same time. The protagonists are Pete and Laurie and we meet them at the worst time of their lives. What do they have in common? They both lost their partners in a car accident. They meet at a supporting group where, over cake and tea, people share their grief. Pete and Laurie are drawn to each other, but is their grief the only thing they have in common or is there something more?

One thing that I like about Milly Johnson’s novels is how lovable her characters are. Pete and Laurie feel authentic, entertaining, warm, and generous. Their story is moving and engaging and I loved how the perspectives switched between these two characters. Pete and Laurie are surrounded by a cast of characters that are mostly good and likable and who supported them through their grief. Friendship, family, love, honesty, and loyalty are all important themes in the story.

There is laughter and there is sadness, there is grief and there is happiness. The author describes in so much details the protagonists’ sorrow that I shed a few tears, but then she inserted the hilarious snippets from the local newspaper that made me laugh out loud (and made me shed a few tears of joy).

Milly Johnson is one of these authors I will never get tired of reading and My One True North is a fantastic, absorbing, and refreshing addition to her collection of already brilliant novels.

A huge thank you to SJ and Simon and Schuster UK for providing me with a copy of this novel.

#BookReview: RULES FOR PERFECT MURDERS by Peter Swanson @FaberBooks

Rules For Perfect MurdersPublication: 5th March 2020 – Faber & Faber

If you want to get away with murder, play by the rules

A series of unsolved murders with one thing in common: each of the deaths bears an eerie resemblance to the crimes depicted in classic mystery novels.

The deaths lead FBI Agent Gwen Mulvey to mystery bookshop Old Devils. Owner Malcolm Kershaw had once posted online an article titled ‘My Eight Favourite Murders,’ and there seems to be a deadly link between the deaths and his list – which includes Agatha Christie’s The ABC Murders, Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train and Donna Tartt’s The Secret History.

Can the killer be stopped before all eight of these perfect murders have been re-enacted?

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Who doesn’t enjoy a book about books? I adore them and if you add the suspense and the shocking revelations that you won’t see coming you have the new gripping novel by Peter Swanson.

How are a bookshop owner and a serial killer connected? The Old Devils is a mystery bookshop in Boston. One of its owners, Malcolm Kershaw is an expert on crime novels and a few years ago he published on a blog a list of novels depicting the perfect murder. The list included works from Agatha Christie, Donna Tart, James M. Cain, Patricia Highsmith and more. One day, a FBI agent knocks on his door because it seems that someone is using his list to commit the perfect murders. Soon, Malcolm finds himself deep in the investigation, chasing a killer before he strikes again.

The story is told in first person by the protagonist, Malcolm Kershaw. This is a brilliant character. It is well-developed, multi-layered, and as his past slowly unravels he takes you completely by surprise.

Every bookworm out there will love this novel. I already made a list of all the novels mentioned in the story that I want to read and there are many. The plot unravels slowly and it is twisty and unique. You never know what to expect and the surprises just keep coming and coming until the final shocking revelation that made me gasp in surprise and say a bit too aloud in a train full of people “OMG! REALLY?!?”

I found myself racing through the story and, even though I told myself to slow down and take a break, I couldn’t stop reading because I needed to know how it was going to end and that was quite an ending.

Would I recommend Rules for Perfect Murder? Of course I would, over and over again. It is thrilling, engaging, clever, and completely addictive, the perfect read for all crime readers out there.

A huge thank you to Faber & Faber and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this delightful novel.

#BlogTour: ROBERT LUDLUM’S THE TREADSTONE RESURRECTION by Joshua Hood @HoZ_Books @midaspr

image005Publication: 25th February 2020 – Head of Zeus

Working as a cabinet-maker in rural Oregon, Adam thinks he has left Treadstone – the CIA Black Ops programme – in the past, until he receives a mysterious email from a former colleague, and soon after is attacked by an unknown hit team at his job site.

Operation Treadstone has nearly ruined Adam Hayes. The top-secret CIA Black Ops programme trained him to be a nearly invincible assassin, but it also cost him his family and any chance at a normal life, which is why he was determined to get out. Everything changes when he receives a mysterious email from a former colleague, and soon after is attacked by an unknown hit team at his job site rural Oregon.

Adam must regain the skills that Treadstone taught him – lightning reflexes and a cold conscience – in order to discover who the would-be killers are, and why they have come after him now. Are his pursuers enemies from a long-ago mission? Rival intelligence agents? Or, perhaps, someone inside Treadstone? His search will unearth secrets in the highest levels of government and pull him back into the shadowy world he worked so hard to forget.

Coinciding with the much-anticipated return of the Treadstone series – released by Amazon in January 2020 in the UK – and with the 40th anniversary of the first Bourne book, The Treadstone Resurrection is the latest instalment of the franchise. Picking up the baton from Robert Ludlum, Joshua Hood is an author and former Airborne Division fighter, whose real-world experience and combat training makes him the perfect writer for The Treadstone Resurrection.

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Happy weekend everyone and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Treadstone Resurrection, the new novel by Joshua Hood.

If you are looking for an action-packed heart-racing spy novel, then this is it. The Treadstone Resurrection introduces a new hero in the Bourne universe, former CIA agent Adam Hayes. I have read enough spy novels to know that you may leave the CIA, but that doesn’t mean that the CIA leaves you. Adam Hayes has retired and he is leading a quiet and normal life which is interrupted when a hit team tries to kill him. Why do they want to kill him? And what does it have to do with the email he received from a former colleague? Adam knows that to go back to his quiet life and his family he needs to go back to the world he had hoped to leave behind.

All fans of the Jason Bourne series will love The Treadstone Resurrection, although don’t expect it to be a Jason Bourne novel because, except for a few references, this novel stands on its own. The chasing, the shocks, the revelations are never enough and the protagonist never rest. Adam Hayes is a very likable hero. The author craftily inserts his backstory in the narrative making the protagonist feel more authentic and less like a killing machine. I am sure there is much more to it and I am already looking forward to reading it.

The writing is fantastic, the characters are complex and engaging, and the story is intense, fast-paced, and adrenaline-filled. Do you want more? There are twists that just keep coming and a gripping and surprising ending that will leave you wanting for more. Highly recommended!

A huge thank you to Midas PR for inviting me to join the blog tour and providing me with a copy of this fantastic book!

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The Treadstone Resurrection Blog Tour

Robert Ludlum (1927 – 2001) was the author of twenty-seven novels, each one a New York Times bestseller. There are more than 225 million of his books in print, and they have been translated into 32 languages in 50 countries. Among his best-sellers were The Scarlatti Inheritance (1971), The Osterman Weekend (1972), The Matarese Circle (1979). He is most famous for the Jason Bourne series – The Bourne Identity (1980), The Bourne Supremacy (1986) and The Bourne Ultimatum (1990). The series was adapted for TV in 1988, for a film featuring Matt Damon in the lead role in 2002, and for a brand-new TV production from the writer behind Heroes and Chicago Hope in January 2020.

Joshua HoodJoshua Hood is the author of Warning Order and Clear by Fire. He graduated from the University of Memphis before joining the military and spending five years in the 82nd Airborne Division. He was a team leader in the 3-504 Parachute Infantry Regiment in Iraq from 2005 to 2006, conducting combat operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. From 2007 to 2008, Hood served as a squad leader with the 1-508th Parachute Infantry Regiment in Afghanistan for which he was decorated for valour in Operation Furious Pursuit. On his return to civilian life he became a sniper team leader on a full time SWAT team in Memphis, where he was awarded the lifesaving medal. Currently he works as the Director of Veteran Outreach for the American Warrior Initiative.

#BookReview: MESSY, WONDERFUL US by Catherine Isaac @CatherineIsaac_ @simonschusterUK @TeamBATC @BookMinxSJV @ed_pr

A few months ago, I spend two days completely immersed in Catherine Isaac’s beautiful latest novel. Messy, Wonderful Us is a fantastic and emotional journey of self-discovery that will keep you glued to the page. It’s out today in paperback and I am delighted to share again my review.

Messy Wonderful Us

In late 1983, a letter arrives from Italy, containing secrets so unthinkable that it is hidden away, apparently forever. More than three decades later, it is found . . . by the last person who was ever supposed to see it.

When Allie opens an envelope in her grandmother’s house, it changes everything she knows about her family – and herself.

With the truth liable to hurt those she loves most, she hires a private detective to find out what happened to her late mother in the summer before Allie was born. Taking leave from her job as a research scientist, she is led to the sun-drenched shores of Lake Garda, accompanied by her best friend Ed.

But the secrets that emerge go far beyond anything they were expecting. Now, Allie must find the courage to confront her family’s tangled past and reshape her own future.

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What would you do if you find out that everything you believed in about your birth and your family is a lie? Would you look for the truth even if it could hurt everyone you love? That’s a hard decision to make for Allie, the protagonist of Catherine Isaac’s beautiful new novel, Messy, Wonderful Us.

When Allie goes through her grandmother’s drawers what she finds is not at all what she expected. The discovery of a photo and a letter from Italy turns her world upside down. Allie decides to travel to Italy in search of truth without saying anything to her father or her grandparents. Accompanying her is her best friend Ed. Wealthy, handsome, and with a beautiful wife, Ed’s life should be perfect. Yet, he can’t sleep and he is depressed and, in need to take some serious decisions, he decides to take a break from his life and go with Allie to Italy. Travelling from Lake Garda to Portofino, secrets come to light, secrets that could change their lives forever.

The characters are not perfect. They are flawed, but they are also authentic, relatable, and very likable (at least, most of them because there is also a villain). There is also a third character’s point view, with their own secrets and whose identity is revealed towards the end so I am not going to tell much about them. My favourite character was Allie’s father, Joe. So sweet and good and I loved reading about their father-daughter close relationship.

I loved the beautiful descriptions of Italy, so evocative and detailed that it was almost like being there. It’s a fantastic setting for this heart-warming and immersive story. Catherine Isaac masterfully explores themes of grief, second chances, self-discovery, family, and friendship. I was tense as the secrets are slowly revealed and I didn’t relax until the very ending of the story. There are many emotional moments, but I also had a few laugh at Allie and Ed’s witty exchanges and I loved how easy their relationship is.

Messy, Wonderful Us is a brilliant and thought-provoking novel and I can’t wait to read more by Catherine Isaac.

 

#BlogTour: DEEP DARK NIGHT by Steph Broadribb @crimethrillgirl @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #TeamLori #IAmLori #LoriAnderson #GirlPower #DeepDarkNight

Deep Dark Night final coverPublication: 5th March 2020 – Orenda Books

The fourth book in the award-winning Lori Anderson series, Deep Dark Night sees daring bounty hunter and single mother Lori Anderson journey from Florida to Chicago to take down a notorious crime family. Published
to coincide with International Women’s Month, it will see the full series rebranded a fresh, contemporary new look.

Working off the books for FBI Special Agent Alex Monroe, Florida bounty hunter Lori Anderson and her partner, JT, head to Chicago. Their mission: to entrap the head of the Cabressa crime family. The bait: a priceless chess set that
Cabressa is determined to add to his collection.

An exclusive high-stakes poker game is arranged in the penthouse suite of one of the city’s tallest buildings, with Lori holding the cards in an agreed arrangement to hand
over the pieces, one by one. But, as night falls and the game plays out, stakes rise and tempers flare.

When a power failure plunges the city into darkness, the building goes into lockdown. But this isn’t an ordinary blackout, and the men around the poker table aren’t all who they say they are. Hostages are taken, old scores resurface and the players start to die.
And that’s just the beginning…

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I am delighted to welcome you on my stop for the fourth book of one of my favourite series, Deep Dark Night by Steph Broadribb, out today in paperback.

Another rollercoaster of a read that left me holding my breath and with my heart thumping like if it was me who had spent a night trapped in a city in total black out while a group of dangerous criminals threaten me and not the protagonist of Steph Broadribb fantastic series. I am so happy that Lori Anderson, bounty-hunter, mother, FBI informant, is back.

After we saw her chasing criminals around the country to protect her family for three books, now Lori has made a pact with the devil and, in this case, the devil is FBI agent Alex Monroe. Lori and J.T., her former mentor/lover, will be free if they help entrapping Chicago mob boss Cabressa. So they head to the Windy city and get an invitation to play in an exclusive poker tournament which Cabressa will also be attending. There, using a stolen and priceless chess piece, they will trap the Mafia boss. Of course, things don’t go as planned as the entire city falls into darkness and, in lockdown in one of the tallest building in Chicago, the game goes quickly out of control.

I am a huge fan of this series and its protagonists. Lori is one of my favourite heroines: strong-willed, fierce, and brave, but also compassionate and altruistic, she manages always to survive in a world where men either want to use her or kill her. Accompanying her is J.T., the man who taught her to be a bounty hunter. I love seeing how their relationship develops with each book and I am really looking forward to read what the future has planned for them.

I adore Steph Broadribb’s writing style. It draws you in and doesn’t let you go. I could imagine each scene in my head as it was happening (mostly like if it was a James Bond movie) and as she keeps the suspense at the highest level from the first to the last page, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. Deep Dark Night is fast-paced and gripping, an unputdownable and explosive novel and probably her best yet (although I LOVED each book in the series) and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

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

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Follow the rest of the blog tour:

Deep Dark Night BT Poster

Steph Broadribb Author PicSteph Broadribb was born in Birmingham and grew up in Buckinghamshire.
Most of her working life has been spent between the UK and USA. As her alterego
– Crime Thriller Girl – she indulges in her love of all things crime fiction by blogging at crimethrillergirl.com, where she interviews authors and reviews the latest releases. She is also a member of the crime-themed girl band The Splice Girls. Steph is an alumni of the MA Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) at City University London, and she trained as a bounty hunter in California, which inspired her Lori Anderson thrilliers, She lives in Buckinghamshire surrounded by horses, cows and chickens. Her debut thriller, Deep Down Dead, was shortlisted for the Dead Good Reader Awards in two categories, and hit number one on the UK and AU kindle charts. My Little Eye, her first novel under her pseudonym, Stephanie Marland was published by Trapeze Books in April 2018.

#BookReview: THE MIDNIGHT LIE by Marie Rutkoski @marierutkoski @HodderBooks @hodderscape

The Midnight LiePublication: 3rd March 2020 – Hodder & Stoughton

Set in the world of the NYT-bestselling Winner’s Trilogy, The Midnight Lie is an epic LGBTQ romantic fantasy about learning to free ourselves from the lies others tell us – and the lies we tell ourselves.

Where Nirrim lives, crime abounds, a harsh tribunal rules, and society’s pleasures are reserved for the High Kith. Life in the Ward is grim and punishing. People of her low status are forbidden from sampling sweets or wearing colours. You either follow the rules, or pay a tithe and suffer the consequences.

Nirrim keeps her head down, and a dangerous secret close to her chest.

But then she encounters id, a rakish traveller from far away, who whispers rumours that the High Kith possess magic. Sid tempts Nirrim to seek that magic for herself. But to do that, Nirrim must surrender her old life. She must place her trust in this sly stranger who asks, above all, not to be trusted.

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I spent my last Christmas holidays completely immersed in the world of the Winner’s trilogy, reading all three books one after the other and I loved it, so I was really happy to go back in this fantastic world with Marie Rutkoski’s latest novel, The Midnight Lie.

The story is set in Herrah, an island with a strict class system. At the bottom, there are the Half Kith who live and die in the Ward while outside the High Kith live a life of richness, pleasure, and freedom. The protagonist of the story is Nirrim and she is a Half Kith. Orphaned and with a complex and emotionally abusive relationship with the woman who raised her, Nirrim is put in prison for a crime she didn’t commit and here she meets Sid, a traveler who questions Herrah’s society system and Nirrim’s beliefs. Why is Herrah’s like this? And why nobody seems to question it?

Nirrim is strong and well-developed. She just wants to be loved, so she puts all her trust in the woman who raised her and took care of her, no matter how twisted and complex their relationship is. Even though she started question Herrar’s society from the beginning, it’s her meeting with Sid that really changes her life and make her wonder about everything she believes in. I loved the character of Sid. Arrogant, loyal, charming, and a rulebreaker, Sid is definitely my favourite character in the story.

My favourite part of the story is the romance. The witty banter between Nirrim and Sid was engaging, sexy, funny and made for a captivating read. I liked how their relationship developed and how it takes most of the story. Of course, there is also a fantastic world-building, an intriguing and beautifully-written plot, plenty of surprises and magic that really kept me glued to the pages.

I LOVED the ending. Completely unexpected and so well-done that I can’t wait to see what happens next. Whether or not you have read the Winner’s trilogy, The Midnight Lie is a fantastic must-read!

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

 

 

#BlogTour: THE HOLDOUT by Graham Moore @MrGrahamMoore @orionbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

the-holdout-coverPublication: 20th February 2020 – Orion

One juror changed the verdict. What if she was wrong?

‘Ten years ago we made a decision together…’

Fifteen-year-old Jessica Silver, heiress to a billion-dollar fortune, vanishes on her way home from school. Her teacher, Bobby Nock, is the prime suspect. It’s an open and shut case for the prosecution, and a quick conviction seems all but guaranteed.

Until Maya Seale, a young woman on the jury, persuades the rest of the jurors to vote not guilty: a controversial decision that will change all of their lives forever.

Ten years later, one of the jurors is found dead, and Maya is the prime suspect.

The real killer could be any of the other ten jurors. Is Maya being forced to pay the price for her decision all those years ago?

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I am delighted to welcome you on my stop on the blog tour for the brilliant and twisty new novel by Graham Moore, The Holdout.

I have always found jury duty intriguing. Watching many American TV series, I thought I was pretty familiar with the process, but Graham Moore’s novel is much more informative and insightful about it. Twelve people, twelve strangers have the task to decide the fate of one person. They are chosen and put together in a room to judge. In some cases, like in this novel, they are sequestered to avoid distractions and interference from the outside. They are forced to spend a few months away from their families, spending their days between a court room and an hotel room not being allowed to watch TV or any connection with the outside world. They hear both sides of the case, they see the evidence, they listen to the lawyers arguing with each other, and, in the end, they decide if the defendant is guilty or not. Even if all the evidence seems to point to their guilt, how can you be 100% sure that they are? That’s what Maya Seale argues to her fellow jurors when they are asked to give a verdict on the shocking case of Jessica Silver and Bobby Nock. Are you 100% sure that he killed her? Is there even a little doubt that he may be innocent?

Ten years after the case that shocked the country and caused many criticism, the jurors in the Jessica Silver case reunite in occasion of the 10th anniversary of the verdict. One of them announces to have new evidence that could open again the case, but when there is a murder and Maya is accused, she needs to prove her innocence and find the killer, before it’s too late.

Part courtroom drama, part thriller, I was so engrossed in The Holdout that it was like being part of the story. There are different timelines and perspectives, although the story is told mainly from Maya Seale’s point of view. The characters are different and engaging and the author slowly introduces them and their stories. I can’t say I could relate to any of them, but they are very well-developed.

Some of the storylines are incredible and hard to believe, but it makes the story only more intriguing and entertaining. The twists just keep coming, especially toward the end and the suspense is always high.

I heard there is going to be a TV series based on The Holdout and I am definitely going to watch it. What a fantastic and thrilling read!

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

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The Holdout Part One

The Holdout Part Two