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Archive for October, 2018

I’m thrilled to welcome you to another Friday post to celebrate another great indie book, this time it’s Heart in the Right Place by Lisa Hill.

This is billed as “a perfect romantic read for the summer”, and is available to buy now. It was published by Manatee Books in July 2018.


Description:

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Lottie Hardwicke is Yorkshire’s answer to Kirstie Allsopp, but ten years spent raising her three children with husband, Drew, has relegated her to Saturday Girl status at the family estate agents. This is Lottie’s year; she’s turning over a new leaf and is going to make her time in property less of a borderline obsession and more of an actual career. Only, she hasn’t bet on her interfering in-laws returning to scupper her plans or her teenage crush, celebrity Tom Thorpe, arriving in the village and offering her the opportunity of a lifetime, which could compromise everything…

Can Lottie have it all? Can she be a hands-on mum and get her career back, without wrecking her marriage in the process?

My Thoughts & Review:

Heart in the Right Place is the perfect way to round off my summer reads, the sun may not be shining as is did in the summer months but it certainly felt like it was whilst I read this listening to the autumn winds blowing outside.

A cast of very human and relatable characters spring from the pages with some quirky personalities and although some are less likeable than others, they are written in such a way that draws some strong feelings from the readers. And as readers get to know them better, they begin to see that there might be more to the fluster and bluster or the brusqueness, I certainly was surprised by one character once I found out a bit more about them.

Several separate strands make up the plot of this book and for the most part they are intriguing, if not frustrating when you put yourself in the shoes of the character involved. It’s that sort of read that you cannot help but become slightly invested in.
The themes of friendship, love and family play a huge part in the narrative and are written in such a way that moves the pace of the book along so quickly.

A truly lovely and enchanting read to pass a few hours with!

You can buy a copy of Heart in the Right Place via:

Amazon UK

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** My thanks to Karen Sullivan for my copy of this book and to Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

Sex, lies and ill-fitting swimwear … Sun Protection Factor 100

Jan Nyman, the ace detective of the covert operations unit of the National Central Police, is sent to a sleepy seaside town to investigate a mysterious death. Nyman arrives in the town dominated by a bizarre holiday village – the ‘hottest beach in Finland’. The suspect: Olivia Koski, who has only recently returned to her old hometown. The mission: find out what happened, by any means necessary.
With a nod to Fargo, and dark noir, Palm Beach, Finland is both a page-turning thriller and a black comedy about lust for money, fleeing dreams and people struggling at turning points in their lives – chasing their fantasies regardless of reason.

My Thoughts & Review:

Antti Tuomainen has a wonderful sense of humour that he deftly weaves throughout his writing, and so readers are in for a real treat with Palm Beach, Finland.  His unique brand of dark humour is perfectly matched to a superbly plotted narrative and some impressive characterisation, culminating in one of the most impressive reads that will leave you desperate for more!

Jan Nyman is an undercover police officer tasked with some of the most difficult and often taxing operations facing the National Central Police.  His current case, investigating a mysterious death at a peculiar holiday resort billed as Finland’s answer to the Floridan town.
The madcap cast of characters makes this a delight to read, and strangely enough it’s the less wholesome characters that appealed most to me.  Robin, Chico and Holma all have something in common, their actions are the result of circumstance.  Holma in particular is on a mission to get answers and has no qualms about using deception, force or sheer bloody violence to get what he wants.

As with Tuomainen’s other books, the descriptions of settings are magnificent and give the reader the feeling of being transported to the shores of Finland.  The frigid air of the holiday village setting leeches from the pages and leaves you feeling suitably chilled, the plot on the other hand will unnerve you and have you devouring the book to find out what happens.

The writing is clever, it’s electrifying and utterly brilliant.  This is an author you want to watch out for, each of his books is a joy to read and usually renders me speechless at the level of inventiveness woven throughout the plots.

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** My thanks to the wonderful Karen Sullivan for my copy of this book and Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

Happily settled in Florida, Sonja believes she’s finally escaped the trap set by unscrupulous drug lords. But when her son Tomas is taken, she’s back to square one … and Iceland.

Her lover, Agla, is awaiting sentencing for financial misconduct after the banking crash, and Sonja refuses to see her. And that’s not all … Agla owes money to some extremely powerful men, and they’ll stop at nothing to get it back.

With her former nemesis, customs officer Bragi, on her side, Sonja puts her own plan into motion, to bring down the drug barons and her scheming ex-husband, and get Tomas back safely. But things aren’t as straightforward as they seem, and Sonja finds herself caught in the centre of a trap that will put all of their lives at risk…

Set in a Reykjavík still covered in the dust of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption, and with a dark, fast-paced and chilling plot and intriguing characters, Trap is an outstandingly original and sexy Nordic crime thriller, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.

My Thoughts & Review:

Trap is the second book in the Reykjavík Noir series by Lilja Sigurdardóttir, and it’s unapologetically brilliant. It’s sharp and clever and displays the high level of excellence that fans of Sigurdardóttir have come to expect from her writing.

The writing is evocative, and teeming with detail and atmosphere. Readers get a real feel for the situations that both Sonja and Agla find themselves in, the danger feels so imposing, the fear is almost claustrophobic.
If I thought that Sonja was a great character in the previous book, Snare, then Sigurdardóttir has well and truly made a character that I love and dare I admit it, admire. Her determination to get out of the jam she’s in really impressed me, her tenacity and stubbornness were great to see and I felt that I was almost cheering for her at times. Agla, I really felt for at times. I wanted to shake her, I wanted to laugh with her and I wanted to yell at her. How is it an author can create characters that we shouldn’t like, but still feel sympathy towards? That’s the skill of this author, she can draw strong emotions from the reader with ease. The character that really tugged on my heartstrings was Sonja’s son Tomas. He is a child stuck between divorced parents, adores his mother and wants to be with her, not his father. The complexities of adult relationships are beyond his comprehension, the whys and hows of his current situation only lead to frustration.

A financial investigation thread to the plot is fascinating, seeing how Agla and others planned to work the system is mindbogglingly clever and I applaud Sigurdardóttir for taking something so complex and making it understandable.

Packed with tension, this is a book that you do not want to put down. Short chapters make it far too easy for you to fall into the trap of reading “just one more chapter”, and before you know it, the supper is burnt or it’s 3am and sleep is something you can’t contemplate until you know what’s going to happen next. It’s the sort of book that you can imagine playing out like a film, and the quality of the writing means that it sweeps you away with a momentum akin to jumping into a vortex.

I absolutely cannot wait to see what book three of the series has instore for readers, but I’ll perhaps lay off the caffeine before it comes out so I don’t feel so jumpy and on edge as Sigurdardóttir casts her icy Icelandic spell on me!

 

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The River Runs Red cover

** My thanks to Emma at damppebbles blog tours and Fahrenheit Press for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

Berlin is in the midst of its worst winter in decades.

Against the backdrop of freezing temperatures, blizzards and snowstorms, the city refuses to grind to a halt. Lurking within the shadows is a Stasi victim, out for revenge against the former East German informants known as ‘The Ears’. Their dark secrets are about to be exposed.

A mix of ice and water and a single gunshot, provides the ultimate payback.

With the Millennium approaching, Hanne Drais, the criminal psychologist working within the Berlin Mitte Police team led by the irascible Oskar Kruger and his laid-back sidekick, Stefan Glockner, are seeking the perpetrator of these violent crimes.

Who is the man they’ve nicknamed Snowflake?

Who is turning the river red?

My Thoughts & Review:

I absolutely love books with a Cold War setting, something about them just makes for a thrilling and enticing read, and The River Runs Red by Ally Rose is certainly that.

With a plot that spans two different timelines, Ally Rose introduces readers to a Berlin that is rife with danger and suspicion, the Stasi are omnipresent and overpowering, ordinary citizens are turning informant on their friends, neighbours and even family, and those brave enough to defect make life difficult for the ones they leave behind. But the actions of the Stasi and their informants are the catalyst for a spree of killings some years later, someone is out for revenge for having been wronged.

The dual timeline makes this quite an interesting read, readers experience a snipped of the East German way of life, and see events through the eyes of a young man struggling with life after his father’s defection to West Germany. Whilst watching life unfolding for this character, readers also see a more modern timeline where they are privy to the actions of the killer, not the exact motives or the identity of the killer but some of their thoughts and actions as they seek revenge for events from the past.
Interestingly, Ally Rose also gives readers the view of the investigating team through the eyes of Hanne Drais, a criminal psychologist working with the Berlin Police. Drais is a fantastic character, her thought processes and actions make her stand out as someone readers will want to know more about. She is a likeable character, and one that I think many readers will connect readily with.

Plotting and characterisation are well done, the way that the story unfolds is sure to hook the interest of readers and keep them captive trying to work out of they’ve guessed the connections between events and if they’ve guessed the identity of the killer. The pace is good, I found that this was a book that I was racing through, thoroughly enjoying each chapter. Giving readers a variety of characters to get to know makes this such an intriguing read, each is well rounded and multidimensional, an whilst I may not have agreed with the actions of all of them, I definitely felt that I was becoming more invested in their tales and wanted to know more.

Although The River Runs Red is the third book in the Hanne Drais series, this can definitely be read as a stand alone book. Ally Rose gives ample background information about Hanne Drais so that you get to know this character and her history, and don’t feel on the back foot at all.
Now, I think I will go back to the start of the series to enjoy books one and two!

You can buy a copy of The River Runs Red via:

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Fahrenheit Press

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Today I am thrilled to welcome you to another post to Celebrate Indie Publishing and share a review of the latest of the series to feature the brilliant Rina Walker, a kick ass character that thrills readers and leaves them breathless! Rina is the creation of Hugh Fraser, author, actor and theatre director, and a man I would recommend seeing at any book event/launch/talk that you can!


Book Feature:

Book Description:41lohuxt0fl-_sx324_bo1204203200_

When a step out of line means a fight to the death…London 1967. A working girl is brutally murdered in a Soho club. Rina Walker takes out the killer and attracts the attention of a sinister line-up of gangland enforcers with a great deal to prove.

When a member of British Military Intelligence becomes aware of her failure to fulfill a contract issued by an inmate of Broadmoor, he forces her into the deadly arena of the Cold War, with orders to kill an enemy agent.

Rina needs to call upon all her dark skills, not simply to survive, but to protect the ones she loves.

 

 

 

My Thoughts & Review:

It’s not often that you eagerly go into a book knowing that danger and thrills lie in wait for you but that’s something you’re guaranteed with a book in the Rina Walker series by Hugh Fraser.

Set in 1960s London, readers are led into the darkness of the underworld and aristocracy as they follow Rina Walker as she attempts to right wrongs, meet obligations and protect those she loves. The themes covered in this book are topical and Fraser does not shy away from the uncomfortable topics when portraying the gang related interactions – violence, torture and abuse featuring within the context of the scenes. There are however themes which some readers may feel difficult to read about.

The writing is rich in atmosphere, the mentions of music throughout evoke a great sense of the period and quite often had me singing along in my head as I read. Tension mounts swiftly as the pace quickens, the situations that Rina becomes involved in make for utterly thrilling reading.

Rina is a character that many readers will take a liking to almost instantly, there’s something so relatable about her, and admirable at the same time. Her quirks and personality are written so that it’s possible to get into the head of this character and appreciate the decisions she makes, understand her actions and in some cases, I found that I was almost cheering for her. The clever juxtaposition of this character’s ruthless side with her softer, caring and passionate traits is one I loved watching develop. She is calm in the face of danger and not fazed by violence, but at the same time, she bears mental scars from events that have moulded her into the assassin she has become. But none of the brutal or violent scenes can remove the humanity from this character, her love for her partner and her family allows her to show a softer side.
The more I read about her the more invested in her fate I became, almost unable to put the book down through fear of missing something!

Whilst this is the fourth book in the series, it can be read as a stand alone. Rina’s past and connections are well detailed throughout the narrative and give a great sense of what has passed before, but if you really want to get the full experience then I would heartily recommend reading the entire series.

You can buy a copy of Stealth via:

Amazon UK
Waterstones

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