book review · drama · family · thriller

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – The Legacy

The Legacy

An unexpected inheritance. A web of deceit. A desperate escape. 

London, 1969.

James has his dreams of an easy life shattered when his aunt disinherits him, leaving her fortune to her god-daughter, Charlotte. He turns to his friend, Percy, to help him reclaim his inheritance – and to pay off his creditors. But when their plans backfire, James becomes the pawn of Percy and his criminal associates.

Charlotte is stunned when she is told of her windfall. After an attempt at cheating her out of her inheritance fails, James tries to intimidate her. But she is stronger than he thinks, having secrets of her own to guard, and sends him away with a bloody nose and no choice but to retreat for now.

Resigned, James and his spoilt, pampered girlfriend, Fliss, Percy’s sister, travel across France on a mission that promises to free James from the criminals for good. But James isn’t convinced he can trust Fliss, so he makes his own plans to start a new life.

Will James be able to get away, or will his past catch up with him? Will Charlotte’s secrets turn the legacy into a curse?

Purchase Link – mybook.to/legacy

Author Bio

Alison has been a legal executive, a registered childminder, a professional fund-raiser and a teacher. She has travelled the world – from spending a year as an exchange student in the US in the 1970s and trekking the Great Wall of China to celebrate her fortieth year and lots of other interesting places in between.

In her mid-forties Alison went to university part-time and gained a first-class degree in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and an MA in the same subject from Oxford Brookes University, both while still working full-time. Her first book was published a year after she completed her master’s degree.

The Legacy is a drama set in 1960s London. Like her previous book, Mine, it explores themes of class, ambition and sexual politics, showing how ordinary people can make choices that lead them into extraordinary situations.

Alison teaches creative and life-writing, runs workshops and retreats with Imagine Creative Writing Workshops(www.imaginecreativewriting.co.uk) as well as working as a freelance editor. She is a member of the Society of Authors and the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

She lives in Somerset, within sight of Glastonbury Tor.

Social Media Links

www.facebook.com/alison.knight.942

https://twitter.com/Alison_Knight59

www.imaginecreativewriting.co.uk

www.darkstroke.com/dark-stroke/alison-knight/

My Review

Having read and enjoyed Alison Knight’s previous novel Mine, I had to pick this one up. I wasn’t disappointed.

Jane doesn’t have long to live, but she knows that she doesn’t want her nephew James to inherit her estate, especially as he has rarely visited her over the years, preferring to spend his time and rack up debts in gambling dens. Instead she changes her will to leave the bulk of her estate to her god-daughter, Charlotte, who has been a regular visitor and confidant to the old lady.

Even so, Charlotte is not expecting the windfall any more than James is prepared to be excluded. While Charlotte takes her time to grieve for her godmother, and to let the news settle in, James is already planning to contest the will.

James is in so much debt to all the wrong people and has been counting on his aunt’s money to dig him out of a hole; her change of mind devastates him. He is more upset about losing the money than about his aunt’s passing.

Charlotte, on the other hand, has always lived within her means and cannot imagine how she might spend the money or make use of Jane’s flat in an upmarket part of London.

For James, desperate times call for desperate measures, and “aided” by his friend and lawyer, Percy, he considers his options, not ruling out any nefarious means if the end result sees him getting his “much-deserved” inheritance back.

The Legacy is a short read, a novella in length, but is made even shorter by its fast pace and addictive qualities that had me racing through it to see how it all ended. Both main characters were beautifully depicted: James as the evil, greedy, unscrupulous villain versus Charlotte, the honest, loyal and innocent heroine who was even prepared to help James before he turned nasty.

But both of them were in for a huge shock! Trust me, the twist is excellent.

Highly recommended. Can be read as a standalone, but I felt having read Mine first gave the story extra “juice”.

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Amazon Reviewer Name
Reviewed on Amazon UK as Meandthemutts

blog tour · book review · Contemporary Romance · women's fiction

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – The Borrow-a-Bookshop Holiday

Every book lover’s dream holiday!

The Borrow-A-Bookshop Holiday

The Fully Booked Bookshop Café invites literature lovers to run their very own bookshop … for a fortnight.

Spend your days talking books with customers in your own charming bookshop and serving up delicious cream teas in the cosy café.

Bookworms, what are you waiting for? Your holiday is going to be LIT(erary).

Apply to: The Fully Booked Bookshop, Down-a-long, Clove Lore, Devon.

Jude Crawley should be on top of the world. She’s just graduated as a mature student, so can finally go public about her relationship with Philosophy professor, Mack.

Until she sees Mack kissing another girl, and her dreams crumble. And worse, their dream holiday – running a tiny bookshop in the harbour village of Clove Lore for two weeks – is non-refundable.

Throwing caution to the winds, Jude heads down to Devon, eager to immerse herself in literature and heal her broken heart.

But there’s one problem – six foot tall, brooding (but gorgeous) Elliot, who’s also reserved the bookshop holiday for two weeks…

As Jude and Elliot put their differences aside to run the bookshop, it seems that Jude might be falling in love with more than just words. Until she discovers what Elliot is running from – and why he’s hiding out in Clove Lore.

Can Jude find her own happy ending in a tiny, tumbledown bookshop? Or is she about to find out that her bookish holiday might have an unexpected twist in the tale…

Love this cover!

Purchase Links

AMZ: https://amzn.to/30a8F8w

Kobo: http://bit.ly/308giMP

Apple: http://apple.co/3q8A4Ch

Author Bio

Kiley Dunbar writes heart-warming, escapist, romantic fiction set in beautiful places.

Kiley also works as a senior lecturer, teaching creative writing at the Manchester Writing School.

One Winter’s Night is shortlisted for the RNA Romantic Comedy Novel Award 2021.

Social Media Links

‘Kiley Dunbar Author Book Page’ on Facebook website and newsletter: http://www.kileydunbar.co.uk/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCI8wM4Fmkbyg4S_XGSnfUCA

https://twitter.com/kileydunbar

https://www.facebook.com/KileyDunbarAuthor/

My Review

If ever a book were to attract a reader’s attention by its title, this would be it. A bookshop by the sea to run yourself for two weeks with a café on the side … what’s not to love?

Jude’s life is about as “up in the air” as it can be. At 29, she hasn’t really chosen her own path yet but rather has been helping out as her gran’s carer, still living at home with her baker parents. (Baker, not biker … that would be a whole other story!)

So when her parents decide to sell the bakery and her gran asks to move into the new retirement village, Jude is at a loss with what to do with her life. Together with her boyfriend, she had booked a place on the Borrow A Bookshop Holiday website and after a long wait her turn has finally arrived. The former mature student of literature cannot wait to be surrounded by books. Problem is her boyfriend is no longer in the picture, so Jude decides to go it alone. It could be just what she needs: two weeks in a different setting where she can consider her future and “play” at owning a bookshop. So, armed with her family’s recipe book to wow the café’s customers, she makes the long journey south in the worst weather ever … but it’ll all be worth it (she tells herself)

This backstory element of the book is quite drawn-out and paints Jude as a people pleaser, always putting others first, so it was good to see her take charge of her life and do something she really wanted to. The pace picks up from hereon, with both an exhausting journey to deal with and a surprise “partner” (Elliot) to ruin her plans of running the bookshop alone.

Clove Lore sounds like a wonderful place with colourful characters with charming and heartwarming stories to tell. These stories drive the plot in all sorts of directions which come together seamlessly by the end. Jude’s holiday is far from tranquil, but it is most definitively eventful. She and Elliot clash from the start, but it’s not long before secrets from their past reveal they have much more in common than they realise. Watch out for Aldous the dog whose story will break your heart and then mend it perfectly.

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Amazon reviews written as Meandthemutts
book review · family · NetGalley · psychological suspense

Book Review – The Happy Family

My family has just been reunited. So who is trying to tear it apart?

A mother who disappeared…
When Beth was 10 years old, her beautiful, wild mother Alice walked out and never came back. Beth’s life since hasn’t always been smooth sailing, but now she is happy and settled, with a successful career, a loving family and a beautiful home.

An unexpected visitor…
Then one day there’s a knock at the door. Alice has returned. Overjoyed to have the chance to rebuild their relationship, Beth invites her mother to move in.

A life that comes crashing down…
At first, everything seems wonderful. But then Beth’s friends begin to drift away, strange things start to happen at home, and rumours begin to circle about her past. As the mysterious events around Beth become darker and more dangerous, she is forced to question everything. Is somebody in her life trying to destroy her happiness? And how far will they go? 

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My Review

Clever! What a cool storyline … and that twist!

Practice manager, Beth has a happy life, two children she adores, a great job she loves and good friends (although all her best friends are much older than she is, around the same age as her mother – 😉 read into that what you will). And, talking of mothers, Beth’s mum walked out on her and her father some thirty years ago when Beth was ten.

After divorcing her husband, Beth not only has a good relationship with him but also with his new wife. Her dad is in a fabulous care home and enjoys being there, and Beth visits him often. She works hard, but has help from Robin to do the school run and keep the house clean. Everything is peachy.

And then, a knock at her door turns her life around, upside down and inside out. The woman who says her name is Alice is none other than her mother, complete with the three hearts tattoo on her neck. Beth is stunned, delighted, loss for words one minute and gibbering like an idiot the next. Her mother has returned.

After inviting her mother to stay a few days (at first), Beth can’t wait to tell her friends and family – even her dad – that Alice is back in her life. Everyone is thrilled for her, and totally accepting of Alice.

Weirdly, almost instantly strange things start to happen. Beth loses her keys a lot, the heating system goes bezerk, “accidents” happen and tempers start to fray as Beth seems to be losing her grip on everything, alienating loved ones … and drinking too much. When everything seems to be going wrong, Beth is glad to have her mum around for support.

There are lots of twists in this story, and just when you think things can’t get any worse for Beth, they do. A long-held secret – something which, since their move to Cheltenham after the childhood incident, only Beth and her father are aware of – suddenly has reared its very ugly head. Beth looks in danger of losing everything and everyone close to her until someone totally unexpected comes to her rescue – yet another fabulous twist. Who is Beth’s saviour? Well, while the twist is hugely surprising, it’s not too difficult to join the dots and find her guardian angel, though Beth does make a meal out of that task!

Overall, a compelling and addictive read that I raced through. Admittedly, it sagged a little in the middle as Beth’s paranoia spiralled out of control repeatedly, but the ending more than makes up for that. As does the witty dialogue and hilarious “menopause” chats she and her friends have at the beginning. As the title says, Beth really did have the happy family.

If you enjoy psychological or domestic suspense, then this book is for you. Give it a shot. You won’t regret it.

Thanks to the author, One More Chapter & Netgalley for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

As always,

Amazon Reviewer Name
Reviewed on Amazon UK as Meandthemutts

book review · legal · mystery · series

Book Review – Woodson Falls: 16 Lakeview Terrace

by Andrea O’Connor

Gaby Quinn is hiding from her past, recovering from the senseless death of her husband, and living in a small New England town. She has her law practice, her dog Kat, and a small circle of friends. What more could she need?

But when an unusual probate case crosses her desk, she finds herself looking for a lost body, an abandoned truck, and answers to a mountain of questions, not least of which is, “Who was Pieter Jorgenson?”

Soon enough, she discovers even small towns hold big secrets.

My Review

A most enjoyable read and, I’m glad to say, the first in the series of Gaby Quinn mysteries. I’m happy to return to Woodson Falls when the next book is released.

Gaby Quinn has finally found peace with her life, the move to Woodson Falls having been good for her after the murder of her husband in New York not so long ago. Gaby was there when he died, suffering injuries of her own when an unknown assailant attacked them both for no apparent reason. Mentally, emotionally and physically scarred, she sets up her estate law practice in the home left to her by her grandfather. With only her dog, Kat, for company, she enjoys the less stressful pace of life and the intricacies of her job.

Asked to manage the estate of a Woodson Falls resident, Pieter Jorgenson (a man she never met) she gladly accepts only to learn the case has many loose ends and extends way beyond her regular skillset.

For me, Jorgenson’s character provides great mystery from the outset – neighbours and family despise him, others in town find him friendly and creative in his role as crossing guard at a local school. There is something very iffy about him, and Gaby has her work cut out in sorting his affairs and getting to the truth behind the man who was found dead in his truck back in NYC.

In addition to discovering more about Jorgenson so that she can settle his affairs and pass on any inheritance, there are a couple of subplots running alongside that delve more into Gaby’s past, her husband’s murder, and the amiable officer, Matt Thomas who helps her out more than once. Their frequent connections suggest we’ll be hearing more about Gaby and Matt in future books.

16 LakeView Terrace proved to be a most interesting mystery, with an excellent twist when it came to finally understanding the chilling character of Pieter Jorgenson. For the most part I found it to be a compelling read, maybe a tad heavy on the procedures of her job, nonetheless a fascinating read with well-drawn characters with intriguing backstories to be explored.

Woodson Falls is definitely a place I’ll revisit. My thanks to the author, Emerald Lake Books and Netgalley for my copy which I have reviewed freely.

Can I just add that the cover may look a little creepy but all will become clear when you read the book at which point “creepy” is an understatement!

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As always,

Amazon Reviewer Name
Reviewed on Amazon as Meandthemutts

book review · family · there's a dog · women's fiction

Book Review – Seven Perfect Things

by Catherine Ryan Hyde

You just know this is going to be good!

A heart-stirring novel about the joy that comes from finding love in unexpected places by the New York Times and #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author.

Thirteen-year-old Abby Hubble lives in an unhappy home in the Sierra Nevada foothills where her father makes life miserable for her and her mother, Mary. One day Abby witnesses a man dump a litter of puppies into the nearby river. Diving in to rescue all seven, she knows she won’t be able to bring them home. Afraid for their fate at the pound, she takes them to an abandoned cabin, where all she can offer is a promise that she’ll be back the next day.

To grieving widower Elliot Colvin, life has lost meaning. Looking for solace, he retreats to the hunting cabin he last visited years ago, before his wife’s illness. What he discovers is not at all what he expected: seven puppies and one determined girl with an indomitable heart.

As Abby and Elliot’s friendship deepens, Abby imagines how much better her life—and the puppies’ lives—would be if her mother were married to Elliot instead of her father. But when Abby’s father moves the family hundreds of miles away, Abby and her mother must decide how long they’re willing to defer happiness.

Seven Perfect Things is a story about joy, where to find it, how to know it when you see it, and the courage it takes to hang on to it once you have it.

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My Review

Can you guess where this is going? I mean, it has not one dog but seven delightful, cute as a button puppies in it – which makes it a must-read in my eyes.

4 paws from me!

If the current pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that our pets are as much part of the family as their human counterparts, and as this story shows, the dogs are a great deal better behaved! The blurb tells us from the start that the puppies have been dumped in a sack in the river (can I get a boo hiss for the hoomans that did this!!!), so we have to be prepared for a tale of survival, a battle against the odds and a whole lot of love, bemusement and shenanigans to follow.

So, to the story …

After rescuing seven puppies from the river, refusing to leave them at the pound where their future is more than uncertain, and knowing her father will not allow her to take them home, Abby traipses up to a unoccupied cabin nearby to care for them. Buying food and water for them with what little money she has, Abby is determined her puppies will survive. She rushes out of the house each morning to check on them, and again after school, keeping them secret from her dad, although she did tell her mum about them … just maybe not all the facts.

Since school is about to break for summer, she reckons she can spend more time with them while looking for new homes to take them in (she does this with the best of intentions not realising how much she has already grown to love the puppers).

For a couple of days, she copes – helped by some money from her mum (who has guessed from the paw prints on her clothes and her late hours that Abby still has the dogs somewhere). Abby and her mother live in fear of upsetting her father, which makes her mum all the more determined to let Abby have her secret knowing that she is of an age where being responsible for something other than herself will be a valuable lesson.

But, then the owner of the cabin arrives …

Recently widowed, Elliot arrives at his cabin for some alone time, only to find the cabin has been broken into and much of his stuff stolen( not by Abby, I hasten to add). Added to that, when checking out his generator – no longer there – in the shed, he finds Abby’s puppies and a pile of smelly newspaper.

When he takes the same trip as Abby to the pound, the staff member recognises the pups and is sorry to see them again. Elliot cannot leave them to their fate, so he returns to his cabin to find a distressed Abby looking for her dogs. And so begins their relationship which, while it has a rocky start, soon becomes focused on the puppies’ wellbeing. If anything, Abby’s presence stops Elliot from sinking into depression, and instead he is cheered by the antics of the playful seven.

But it can’t go on like that. Elliot will have to leave his cabin eventually, and Abby needs to find homes for the dogs. However, by then the two are firm friends and come up with a plan to look after the puppies which just so happens to also take into consideration Abby’s home life and her mother’s unhappy marriage.

The struggle is real and their plan falls apart early on when Abby’s father decides he’s in charge of his family and “takes” them away. With no way of contacting Elliot, it seems Abby may never see her puppies or Elliot again.

An emotionally-charged story that will keep you reading through to the end to see how things work out.

As always,

blog tour · book review · crime · police procedural · series · social media

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – The Hashtag Killer

The Hashtag Killer

Catch a killer or save a child. What would you do?

DI Jen Flowers thought she’d seen it all after fifteen years on the force, but when a vigilante serial killer hits the city and uses social media to gather supporters, she must fight the public and her doubts to catch a murderer and save her daughter.

Suffering from blackouts and abandoned as a child by her father, Ruby Vasquez has been chasing that one scoop to make her an internet star. Living with an alcoholic mother who hates her, Ruby discovers a secret about the vigilante’s first victim, which puts her in the killer and DI Flowers’ sights.

Jen and Ruby have to overcome the secrets in their past while battling each other to discover the Hashtag Killer’s identity. Jen will have to choose between keeping her daughter safe or finding a killer, while Ruby will need to decide if becoming famous is more important than doing the right thing.

Purchase Link

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08SPBY6QZ

US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08SPBY6QZ

Author Bio

Andrew French is a man of no wealth and little taste.

He lives amongst faded seaside glamour on the North East coast of England.

He likes gin and cats but not together, new music and old movies, curry and ice cream.

Slow bike rides and long walks to the pub are his usual exercise, as well as flicking through the pages of good books and the memoirs of bad people.

Social Media Links – Website, Twitter, Instagram, FB page

My Review

An original and timely police procedural with an abundance of twists along the way. The Hashtag Killer, as you might expect, uses the power of social media to bring the killings to the public’s attention, and wannabe influencer Ruby Vasquez cannot resist keeping the story alive with her blog posts.

From the moment Ruby realised she was first on the scene, she was in “detective” mode on the dark web, finding information that a regular internet user would not see about the victim. Her reporting of that info played a massive role in managing the public’s opinion of the victim, and rather than call out for the killer’s arrest, there was instead a sense of justice having been done in ridding society of a rapist. Suddenly, the killer became a vigilante whose actions were appreciated – definitely not the ideal scenario for the police’s investigation.

The story was told from various points of view – DI Jen Flowers, blogger-journo Ruby and the killer him/herself (no spoilers here!) Such an approach allowed the readers great insight into the lives of Jen and Ruby, and how the story impacted their lives. For me, the killer’s chapters were overwritten and full of excessive details that had me skimming ahead. It soon became clear that the person who “claimed” to be the killer couldn’t possibly be, and that aspect made the killer’s chapters a struggle for me to get through.

Things picked up considerably when looking at the investigation from DI Flower’s perspective, and with Ruby’s efforts to remain relevant in the cut-and-thrust world of social media. The friction between the police and the news reporting made for great tension and kept the story moving at a good pace, adding another layer of drama and anxiety to the police’s need to stay ahead of the game if they were to ever catch the killer.

An interesting and original take on a crime investigation, highlighting the difficult job the police have when public opinion is swayed by the force that is social media.

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blog tour · book review · coming of age · women's fiction

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – The Charity of Strangers

The Charity of Strangers

You can find almost anything in a charity shop, but can you find love?

            You can certainly find friendship and there is both laughter and tears ahead when 19yr old Zaffron, lonely, anxious and without direction, meets Blaire Daintry, good-looking, charming, and gay.

            Both volunteers in the charity shop, he has a hidden agenda, she has secrets,  but they are friends from the start, despite Blaire’s constant sparring with Ida, the stern, good-hearted older volunteer who Zaffron admires. And perhaps Ida has secrets too.

            Together with other victims of the city’s housing crisis, Blaire and Zaffron set up a safe and happy home.  Secure at last, she tells him of the dreadful incident in her childhood that has marred her life, but not even his total acceptance gives her the confidence to start a relationship with an attractive and decent young army sergeant who falls in love with her.

            Is it fear of the truth coming out that holds her back? Or is there some other reason, buried too deep in her heart for her to recognise?

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Charity-Strangers-friends-secrets-lies-ebook/dp/B08NXHTG2B/

US – https://www.amazon.com/Charity-Strangers-friends-secrets-lies-ebook/dp/B08NXHTG2B/

Author Bio

I was born and grew up in Lancashire, gained several nursing qualifications and had the privilege of a long and varied nursing career, briefly in the Royal Army Nursing Service abroad, mainly in the NHS in UK.

True love and a happy family came my way and now I have the time to read, write and remember.

Social Media Links

Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/lilydaleco

 Instagram https://www.instagram.com/lily_dale_companies/

 Website https://www.alisonburkefictionwriter.com/

My Review

The Charity of Strangers couldn’t be a more apt title for this story as it centres on a group of individuals who meet through volunteer work at a charity shop. They start as strangers but end as good friends, and have a unique bond that unites them from that point onwards.

Zaffron is the principal character who wants more from life but doesn’t know how she might achieve it – living in a squat in fear of her life does not inspire her with much confidence to break out of the comfort zone. With a job interview lined up, she plans to “take” a coat from the charity stop but instead gets caught up in a conversation with the ladies running the store and can’t bring herself to steal from them. Instead she contemplates working there as a volunteer which she hopes might look good when she is really ready to find paid work.

The shop soon begins to mean more to her and she grows in confidence. When Blaire joins the workforce, she loves it even more. He’s closer to her age and a lot of fun. Life is picking up.

However, what Zaffy doesn’t realise is that Blaire is also keeping a secret. As their friendship blossoms, their lives becomes more intricately involved. Blaire moves into the squat and soon things change there for the better. In fact, as far as Zaffron is concerned, when Blaire is around everything seems better.

As time passes, Zaffy’s expectations of her future change – she applies for the assistant manager role at the shop with high hopes while also taking classes at night school for GCSE English. Suddenly she has prospects, she is more independent and with things changing at the squat (including the reason for her being so scared now gone) she is even open to a little romance. Unfortunately, this is where things begin to unravel. But there is a silver lining which I won’t reveal here 😉

I enjoyed reading this; a true slice of life drama that touches upon issues that are often side-lined – homelessness and the housing crisis, abuse and poverty – while also looking at the positive elements of life through friendship, having a purpose in life and caring about others. There are moments of sadness and hurt balanced with joy, hope and love.

Definitely a book I’d recommend to readers of coming of age and women’s fiction. It has a strong core of optimism and friendship wrapped in a shell of harsh reality.

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blog tour · book review · crime · police procedural · series

Book Review – Last Seen

I can see her, shouting with laughter as she swings as high as she can, her beautiful blonde curls flying out behind her. I can feel her tiny hot hand in mine, and my heart aches. My little girl. If only I’d listened to my gut. Then maybe she’d be safe here with me…

When five-year-old Molly Reynolds is snatched from the park in the small village of Otterfield, Detective Bernadette ‘Bernie’ Noel throws herself into the search, sick with worry for the quiet, sensitive little girl and her distraught mother.

Wasting no time, Bernie finds a small green cardigan under a bush in the park. It still has the smiley face sticker Molly won that week at school. It’s the first in a chain of clues – and Bernie can’t shake the feeling that it was left deliberately, as a message.

But Bernie encounters a wall of silence. Otterfield is a close-knit community, yet no one in the village seems to care that Molly is missing at all. Why?

And then Bernie makes a chilling discovery: twenty-five years ago, another little girl went missing from the area. Her name was Sophie, and all they ever found of her was her teddy bear, hidden under a bush. Now Bernie knows she’s in a race against time to save Molly’s life.

Bernie’s team work round the clock to find a connection between the two girls, and just when they think they’re making progress a devastating tragedy strikes at the heart of the case. Molly’s family have been hiding a secret, and now their little girl is in greater danger than ever.

Can Bernie outwit the most warped criminal she has ever faced and bring Molly home safe, or will another innocent life be lost?

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My Review

I’m always delighted to get in on the first book in a new police procedural series. Last Seen has set the bar very high and I’ll be looking out for Joy Kluver’s next book for sure.

Detective Bernadette (Bernie) Noel is a former Met Police officer and, at first, it’s not clear why she has transferred out of London to a Wiltshire town where the pace of life is decidedly slower. Nonetheless, she soon faces a major investigation when a five-year-old girl, Molly, goes missing from a local park.

Keen to get search parties organised, she is quick to start door-to-door enquiries with locals in the area, only to find them unwilling to get involved in the search. Mystified as to why none of them are interested in a child’s life, she pushes on. When they find a child’s fleece and a pushchair in the bushes with no prints or DNA other than the child’s, it becomes obvious that this was no random abduction.

Whilst this is going on, we learn a little more about Bernie’s past. Having just returned from a family funeral, she seems concerned that her whereabouts as the lead investigator will have revealed her identity. But to whom? On top of that, she fears a hand-delivered note may mean that they have already found her? But who is looking for her and why?

Struggling to move the case forward, Bernie soon finds her position leading the case is at risk. This only fuels her determination to find Molly, with or without the villagers’ help. Aided by a strong team who have the same goals, Bernie is able to double-down and slowly but surely the pieces begin to fit together. But can she find Molly before she is made to step aside?

The investigation soon raises questions about Molly’s family which seems to link her disappearance with another case many years before. As the secrets are revealed, the reason behind the villagers’ reluctance to help becomes known – and it’s a cunning and clever twist, though not one that sits comfortably with Bernie and her team. How can people leave a child’s life in danger as some sort of payback for past events? It is most curious and fascinating.

This story has a compelling mystery at its core but it is the strong cast of characters who carry it through to its conclusion along with family drama, intriguing backstory, and great teamwork and dedication from Bernie’s colleagues.

An excellent start to a new series. I’ll be back for more.

My thanks go to the author, Bookouture and Netgalley for my advanced copy which I have reviewed voluntarily and with pleasure.

As always,

blog tour · book review · dual timeline · historical fiction · WWII

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – You Let Me Go -plus giveaway

 You Let Me Go

After her beloved grandmother Rozenn’s death, Morane is heartbroken to learn that her sister is the sole inheritor of the family home in Cornwall—while she herself has been written out of the will. With both her business and her relationship with her sister on the rocks, Morane becomes consumed by one question: what made Rozenn turn her back on her?

When she finds an old letter linking her grandmother to Brittany under German occupation, Morane escapes on the trail of her family’s past. In the coastal village where Rozenn lived in 1941, she uncovers a web of shameful secrets that haunted Rozenn to the end of her days. Was it to protect those she loved that a desperate Rozenn made a heartbreaking decision and changed the course of all their lives forever?

Morane goes in search of the truth but the truth can be painful. Can she make her peace with the past and repair her relationship with her sister?

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/You-Let-Me-Eliza-Graham-ebook/dp/B08HN92DLQ/

US – https://www.amazon.com/You-Let-Me-Eliza-Graham/dp/1542017106

Author Bio

Eliza Graham’s novels have been long-listed for the UK’s Richard & Judy Summer Book Club in the UK, and short-listed for World Book Day’s ‘Hidden Gem’ competition. She has also been nominated for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.

Her books have been bestsellers both in Europe and the US.

She is fascinated by the world of the 1930s and 1940s: the Second World War and its immediate aftermath and the trickle-down effect on future generations. Consequently she’s made trips to visit bunkers in Brittany, decoy harbours in Cornwall, wartime radio studios in Bedfordshire and cemeteries in Szczecin, Poland. And those are the less obscure research trips.

It was probably inevitable that Eliza would pursue a life of writing. She spent biology lessons reading Jean Plaidy novels behind the textbooks, sitting at the back of the classroom. In English and history lessons she sat right at the front, hanging on to every word. At home she read books while getting dressed and cleaning her teeth. During school holidays she visited the public library multiple times a day.

Eliza lives in an ancient village in the Oxfordshire countryside with her family. Not far from her house there is a large perforated sarsen stone that can apparently summon King Alfred if you blow into it correctly. Eliza has never managed to summon him. Her interests still mainly revolve around reading, but she also enjoys walking in the downland country around her home and travelling around the world to research her novels.

Social Media Links

Website www.elizagrahamauthor.com

Facebook ElizaGrahamUK

Giveaway to Win 3 x Paperback copies of You Let Me Go by Eliza Graham (Open to UK / USA only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK and USA entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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My Review

I know, it’s another book with a WWII connection. What can I say? I love this era, but don’t let my idiosyncrasies put you off. YOU LET ME GO is more than historical fiction, this is a dual timeline story that brings it bang up to date.

Admittedly, it’s a slow burner, but all of that background info only adds to the story as a whole. I guess it could be a little trimmer, but I’m not complaining because, for me, all those details really pay off once the second half gets going and Morane (Morie) heads off to Brittany to look into her grandmother’s past.

Morie had always been closer to her grandmother Rozenn, much more so than her sister, Gwen. It , therefore, came as no surprise to see her portray similar traits to Rozenn as the truth unravelled. This made Rozenn’s decision to leave her Cornwall home entirely to Gwen such a mystery. It made little sense, if any, and proved to be the catalyst for Morie’s trip to France. Was she peeved? You bet. Did she struggle to hide her feelings? Absolutely. Which is why putting some distance between herself and her sister seemed to be the right thing to do …before she could say something she might later regret.

Morie, you see, had had her own fair share of troubles up to that point – a horse riding accident, a failing business due to her partner’s gambling addiction. So this news from Rozenn’s will was the nail in the coffin. By going to France maybe she would be able to understand her grandmother’s decision.

Arriving in St Martin, the village from which her grandparents left France for Cornwall, Morie met up with ancestors of villagers who knew Rozenn and Luc. There was some initial reluctance to tell Morie anything, and the puzzle seemed to be missing more pieces than ever until she met with Madame O’Donnell, whose father remembered Rozenn’s family. It was during a conversation with him that Morie discovered her grandmother was not an only child – that she had a brother and a twin sister. So why had she kept their existence a secret all these years?

Piecing the past together, Morie encountered yet more surprises. Including one that would change her own life forever, and which proved her grandmother had made the decision about the Cornish house for a very good reason.

The second half of the book became compelling reading. The author paced the chapters perfectly, swapping point of view at critical times that meant I just had to read on. By the end, I had an inkling as to what was to come for Morie, and it was just as delightful and emotional as I expected.

Neither Morie nor Rozenn are the most instantly likeable of women, but their personalities grew on me and I thoroughly enjoyed how the story came to its conclusion. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves dual timelines and who can hang in through the slow start. It’s worth it. Trust me 😉


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book review · crime · series · thriller

Book Review – Cry for Help

Shivering in the early morning chill, the caretaker flips the switch on the Ferris wheel and stumbles back in shock. The teenage girl’s body is slumped in a halo of pretty colored lights, long red hair spilling over her tear-stained cheeks, her eyes fixed forever on her dangling feet.

When teenager Nikki Jackson’s body is found at an amusement park, just hours after Fourth of July fireworks lit up the night sky, the Lost Creek police rule her death as suicide––a devastating final act from a girl who had lost all hope. But the absence of the knife used to make the wounds on her delicate wrists makes Detective Madison Harper think otherwise. And the partial fingerprint found on the girl’s face proves her right. Someone else was with Nikki in her final moments…

Back home in Colorado for the first time in seven years to investigate the murder of a woman with ties to the son she lost to the care system, the pressure is on for Madison to work both cases at once. Fearing the team has missed a vital clue, Madison searches the crime scene alone and finds the last thing she ever expected: a note proving the victims knew each other, and that the cases are linked. Is this a coincidence, proof a dangerous murderer is on the loose, or a trap set to lead Madison off the trail?

It’s only when Madison finally finds the knife used to harm Nikki, tucked in an almost impossible to find hiding place, that she knows she is closing in on a twisted killer. But the last person she expects to see dragged into the department in handcuffs is her own missing son…

An absolutely unputdownable crime thriller that will have you sleeping with the lights on. Addictive reading for anyone who loves Lisa Regan, Robert Dugoni and Melinda Leigh.

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My Review

Cry for Help picks up the story where Shadow Falls ended, with Madison and Nate heading back to Lost Creek after hearing the news that Madison’s ex-girlfriend has been killed.

Having already agreed to help Madison find her son, Owen, Nate understands the new urgency and is 100% willing to get justice for Madison’s wrongful conviction and to find the corrupt cops who framed her. His hatred for the police has only intensified since meeting Madison, and since he has no new information on Father O’Connor who set him up for his fiancée’s murder, he is more than happy to expose police corruption while he waits.

As the two of them, along with former K9 dog, Brody, make their way there, local police are dealing with the death of a teenage girl at the amusement park – first indications suggest suicide but a link between this case and the murder of Madison ex-girlfriend can’t be ignored. After all, two suspicious deaths in a small town like Lost Creek is more than a coincidence.

Once again, the author has created a story with characters you can’t help but care about. Putting aside Nate and Madison (whose history and relationship develop beautifully throughout), the story of the teenage girl – Nikki Jackson – is heartbreakingly sad and written with great compassion and empathy.

That said, the villains are appallingly vile too. As the truth about her ex’s murder becomes known, Madison is forced to face the cruel reality of her relationship with her own sister as well as with some of her former colleagues in the police force.

Clearing her name, finding her girlfriend’s killer and tracking down Owen all combine into one monumental challenge, and the author doesn’t give in to Madison’s demands easily. She really makes her and Nate work for the truth. All of which makes it compelling reading.

A certain scene with flies buzzing around a dead animal had me worried. Surely no one would hurt Brody? Was I more concerned about the dog than catching the killers? Probably 😉 Nonetheless, this made it even more of a page turner.

Another excellent story that ticks so many genre boxes – drama, crime, thriller and suspense – yet holds together as a cohesive whole. And, I’m even more delighted to hear that book three is not far off and Nate’s own story will be further explored and hopefully concluded.

Thanks to the author, Netgalley and Bookouture for my e-copy which I am delighted to review. Congrats!

As always,